Archive for the ‘review’ Category

Review: Helm Personal Server gets email self-hosting (almost) exactly right

December 4th, 2018
The Helm Personal Server, <em>in situ</em> in my office during the review.

Enlarge / The Helm Personal Server, in situ in my office during the review.

Specs at a glance: Helm Personal Server
CPU Quad-core 1.6GHz ARM Cortex-A72 w/TrustZone crypto module
RAM 2GB ECC
Storage 128GB NVMe SSD w/256-bit AES-XTS encryption
Connectivity 802.11ac/a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2, Gigabit Ethernet, 2x USB-C 3.0
Dimensions 111.1mm x 180.9mm x 130.1mm (4.375" x 7.125" x 5.125")
Price $499.99 at the Helm store (plus $99/year subscription, waived for first year)

As Ars security-meister Dan Goodin noted in his initial write-up back in October, the Helm Personal Server is a small-ish ARM-based email server that sits in your home and does for you what Gmail or Outlook.com or whomever your current email provider does for you. It’s a full-featured, single-domain (for now) MTA in a box that you can use with an unlimited number of email addresses and accounts, and it gives you 128GB of space to use as a mail store for those accounts. It also gives you CalDAV calendaring, notes, and CardDAV contacts, and it does it all with open-source applications that are chosen and configured in a way that demonstrates a solid bias toward individual security and privacy.

And I like it. I like it a lot. I didn’t think I would, but after spending a week with the device, I’m almost ready to spring for one—almost. And that’s high praise, coming from a paranoid email self-hoster like me.

Based on my short time with the Personal Server, the praise is properly earned. The Helm team based its product mostly around the same mail stack that I personally prefer and use—the holy trinity of Postfix for SMTP, Dovecot for IMAP, and SpamAssassin for keeping things clean. The device properly uses SPF, DKIM, and DMARC—and handles all the DNS stuff necessary to make those things work. End-user data is smartly encrypted at rest and in flight. Clever use of tunneling to AWS-based gateways transparently works around common ISP blocks on email service ports. And, perhaps most importantly, you don’t have to know what any of that stuff means to use the device securely—casual folks who maybe just want to lessen their reliance on Google or Microsoft will find the transition to Helm relatively painless, and there aren’t many ways to screw it up and make yourself less secure.

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Posted in Ars Approved, e-mail, e-mail hosting, helm, helm personal server, home server, review, servers, taking back e-mail, Tech | Comments (0)

Mac mini review—a testament to Apple’s stubbornness

November 23rd, 2018
The 2018 Mac mini.

Enlarge / The 2018 Mac mini. (credit: Peter Bright)

This is probably not the byline you were expecting for a review of some Apple hardware. It comes as a bit of a shock to both of us, to be honest, but here we are: I have a Mac mini on my desk, along with a Magic Trackpad and Magic Keyboard. It's all hooked up to an LG 4K 21.5-inch display, all supplied by Apple.

To set your minds at ease; this isn't the first Mac I've used. I have owned a few MacBook Pros over the years, and there was a time a few years go where I was seriously considering giving up Windows and switching entirely to Mac OS X. For now, it suffices to know that if I were to get back into using macOS as my daily driver, the Mac mini is probably the machine I'd want to get.

With the newest Mac mini, gone is the two-core, four-thread 28W Haswell processor with up to 16GB soldered RAM. This machine boasts Coffee Lake processors, either a four-core, four-thread Core i3 base model or the six-core, 12-thread Core i7 chip as found in my review system. This processor is paired with up to 64GB socketed, user-serviceable RAM. Storage has also been shaken up. Instead of a range of hybrid and SSD options, the new Mac mini is all SSD, from 128GB to 2TB. There are four Thunderbolt 3 ports, one wired Ethernet port (usually gigabit, but optionally upgraded to 10 gigabit), an HDMI 2 port, two USB 3.1 generation 1 ports, and a 3.5mm headset jack.

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Posted in apple, Features, Gadgetology, hardware, Mac mini, review, Tech | Comments (0)

Doctor Who review: Time tumbles out of control in The Doctor Falls

July 3rd, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Simon Ridgway/Ray Burmiston/BBC)

This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: The Doctor Falls. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who, season 10, airs on Saturdays at 6:30pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America.

Bookends are a common theme in the final episode of season 10 of Doctor Who—the reading material in between places Missy and the Master in the same time stream, and the 12th Doctor and, tantalisingly, the first Doctor also collide in the final moments of The Doctor Falls.

And the seed was there from the very beginning of Steven Moffat’s swansong season at the helm of Doctor Who. “Never underestimate a crush,” the Doctor (Peter Capaldi) tells Bill (Pearl Mackie) in The Pilot, after he manages to see off the ever-advancing, drippy goth monster Heather (Stephanie Hyam). In The Doctor Falls, Heather returns to bring Bill back to life and mend her broken heart. All the while, Bill is oblivious to the fact the Time Lord is still alive, albeit fatally wounded.

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Posted in bill, cybermen, Doctor Who, heather, missy, mondasian, original doctor, review, the doctor falls, the master, The Multiverse | Comments (0)

Doctor Who: World Enough and Time review

June 25th, 2017

Enlarge (credit: Simon Ridgway/Ray Burmiston/BBC)

This is a post-UK broadcast review of Doctor Who: World Enough and Time. River Song always warned the Doctor against spoilers, so be sure to watch the episode first. Doctor Who, season 10, airs on Saturdays at 6:45pm UK time on BBC One, and 9pm EDT on BBC America.

Season 10 of Doctor Who has been incredibly lopsided—floating in and out of decent stories, while teasing us with a subtle Missy narrative that is finally, tantalisingly coming to full fruition in World Enough and Time. It’s just a shame that the engines have been on reverse thrust a little too often over the past few weeks.

There have been some good standalone episodes and an excellent opening to a deeply disappointing trilogy. The popular sci-fi-on-a-shoestring-budget drama has also failed to bring an instant hit with any of the new monsters introduced over the last 10 weeks: too much cheap CGI in the absence of made-you-look, made-you-jump detail, perhaps with the exception of Knock Knock and its quirky use of 3D surround sound. And while lead performances have been one of the highlights—particularly with the introduction of Bill, played by Pearl Mackie—some of the flimsier scripts have made the series feel like a washout.

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Posted in cybermen, Doctor Who, doctor who review, episode 11, john simms, missy, review, season 10, the master, The Multiverse, world enough and time | Comments (0)

Colossal review: Everyone has a monster, most aren’t this fun

October 1st, 2016

Colossal, a modern take on kaiju films starring Anne Hathaway, officially enjoys wide release in the US starting today (4/7/17). Ars was lucky enough to catch the film early at last fall’s genre-centric Fantastic Fest 2016, and we’re resurfacing our review (which originally ran on 10/1/16) accordingly.

Warning: This review contains minor spoilers for Colossal.

AUSTIN, Texas—The film Colossal currently doesn’t have a publicly-available trailer, let alone a release date. But it aired at the Toronto International Film Festival earlier this month, sparking hurried whispers of “Anne Hathaway’s kaiju movie” among #FilmInternet. Those four words made up all the prior knowledge I had when the title slid into this week’s genre-centric Fantastic Fest for its US premiere.

Having seen it, I can now confirm: Anne Hathaway appears in this film, so does a kaiju monster. But pitching Colossal as Hathaway taking the Bryan Cranston role in the most recent Godzilla sells writer/director Nacho Vigalondo’s latest work so, so short. Instead, Colossal proves to be an incredibly fun mishmash of well-established genres with two extremely accessible characters at its core. Over the course of 110 minutes, things shift fluidly between rom-com and monster film, dark horror and art-house indie. All the while, Colossal does its best kaiju impression, leaving tropes of each mashed in its path.

Everyone’s from a Mainline, USA

Burnt-out online writer Gloria (Anne Hathaway) has been losing the eternal battle with NYC. She drinks too much, works not enough, and may be involved in an emotionally abusive relationship with Tim, a successful suit-type. It all comes to a breaking point after one too many midday, inebriated return trips to their apartment. Tim has Gloria’s bags packed and ready for departure.

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Posted in Ars Approved, Fantastic Fest, film, review, The Multiverse | Comments (0)

Riversimple Rasa review: Is this hydrogen car the future—or just a gimmick?

April 20th, 2016

(credit: Alun Taylor)

Specs at a glance: Riversimple Rasa
Body type 2-seat, 3-door hatchback
Power source 8.5kW Hydrogenics hydrogen fuel cell
Transmission Four wheel-mounted electric motors
Power 16kW continuous (55kW peak)
Torque 4x 60Nm continuous (170Nm peak)
Chassis Carbon composite monocoque with aluminium crash structure
Bodywork Self-coloured thermoplastic panels
Steering Unassisted rack and pinion
Suspension Double wishbone (front)
Semi-trailing arm (rear)
Tyres Michelin 115/80R15
Top speed 60mph (97km/h)
0-60mph Under 10 seconds
Fuel tank capacity 1.5kg (hydrogen)
Extra power storage 1.9MJ (lithium-ion hybrid capacitors)
Rated max range 300 miles (485km)
Weight 580kg (1278lbs)
Wheelbase 2272mm (89.4in)
Dimensions 3673mm (144.6in) x 1630mm (64.1in) x 1332 (52.4in) (LWH)
Base price TBA

An industrial estate on the outskirts of a sleepy spa town in deepest Powys, Wales, may not strike you as the obvious place to find an ambitious little hydrogen vehicle maker with plans to revolutionise the way we power, drive, and own our cars. But it shouldn’t come as that much of a surprise.

Why not? Well, if you drive seventy-five miles to the south-west from Riversimple’s HQ in Llandrindod Wells, you end up in Swansea, once the home of William Robert Grove who in 1842 pretty much invented the hydrogen fuel cell. And it’s a hydrogen fuel cell that part-powers the Rasa, Riversimple’s funky little two-seater prototype.

“Part-powers?” I hear you ask. While the majority of electric and hydrogen cars currently on the market are essentially conventional designs with battery or fuel-cell-and-battery power sources, the Rasa—the name comes from tabula rasa, the Latin for blank or clean slate—is the result of altogether more clever thinking. I’m inclined to use a word I usually avoid like the plague—holistic—to describe Riversimple’s view of automotive design.

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Posted in Cars Technica, electric car, fuel cell, hydrogen car, rasa, review, riversimple | Comments (0)

Review: Tesla’s new Model S P85D—double your engines, double your fun

May 24th, 2015

In its December 1997 issue, Road & Track published the first US road test of the otherworldly McLaren F1. The issue became one of the most famous in R&T’s history due to the 12+ page review of a car that the stateside automotive press hadn’t yet had a chance to spend a few days of unchaperoned time. The daily-driver details about the famous 240mph Lamborghini destroyer inspired true awe. The review, done with a privately owned F1 on loan to the magazine, contained superlative after superlative. The F1’s 627bhp BMW-built V-12 could rocket the car from 60 miles per hour to 160 miles per hour in the time it took to pour a glass of water.

“Surely,” I thought as I read and re-read the review with the fervor that only a teenage boy could have for the hottest of hot cars, “I’ll go my whole life and never get the chance to drive anything even remotely that fast.”

Turns out I was wrong—I had to wait 18 years.

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Posted in Cars Technica, electric cars, electric vehicle, Elon Musk, Features, Gadgetology, model s, model s p85d, review, Tesla, tesla model s, tesla motors | Comments (0)