Thursday, October 21, 2010

History of Pumpkin Carvings

Halloween is coming and is hardly surprising that the pumpkin carving ideas is one of the hottest searches on Google. There are so many free downloadable templates and web sites sharing the ideas, that I will not follow this line of inquiries. I would prefer to review the history of this celebration, which is quite strange for the modern civilized World. Don’t you think so?

The history of pumpkin carving                                                                                                           

Without a doubt the most recognizable symbol of Halloween is a pumpkin carved into a jack-o-lantern. To understand the origins of how pumpkin carving began and what it really means we must first take a look at the holiday itself. How long has Halloween been around? Have there always been pumpkins carved? Here are some answers!


For most of the general population it is known as Halloween and is a night for dressing up, telling ghost stories, having spooky parties, trick-or-treating and pumpkin carving. What most people don't know is that Halloween is actually based on an ancient Celtic holiday known as Samhain (pronounced "sow wan"), which means "summer's end".

It was the end of the Celtic year, starting at sundown on October 31st and going through to sundown November 1st. It was a night to honor loved ones that had passed on since the veil between their realm and ours is at its thinnest on that night.

Celebrated for centuries by the Celts of old, Witches and many other nature based religions, it is the most magical night of the year. It is the Witches' New Year, and the Last Harvest. Although the religious significance of it has passed for the general public, Halloween is a "magical" night for all!

On this magical night, glowing jack-o-lanterns, carved from turnips or gourds, were set on porches and in windows to welcome deceased loved ones, but also to act as protection against malevolent spirits. Burning lumps of coal were used inside as a source of light, later to be replaced by candles.

When European settlers, particularly the Irish, arrived in American they found the native pumpkin to be larger, easier to carve and seemed the perfect choice for jack-o-lanterns. Halloween didn't really catch on big in this country until the late 1800's and has been celebrated in so many ways ever since!


Legend of Stingy Jack

The legend of Jack O' Lantern goes back to hundreds of years in the Irish history. The original Jack O' Lantern was not a pumpkin, but a miserable, old drunkard who played tricks on anyone he could lay his hands on, including family, friends, his mother and even the Devil himself. As the story goes, one fine day, he tricked the Devil to climb up an apple tree. Once the devil reached up the tree, Stingy Jack placed crosses around the tree, so that the Devil was unable to come down. Only when Jack took a promise from the Devil that his soul would not be taken away when he dies, he allowed the Devil to come down.

After many years, when Jack finally died, he went to the bejeweled gates of heaven, where Saint Peter told him that he was mean and cruel and led a worthless life on earth. Jack reached hell, as he was not allowed to enter heaven. The Devil also kept his promise and didn’t allow Jack to enter hell. Jack was scared that he would have to keep wandering in the unending darkness between heaven and hell, since he was not welcome anywhere. Jack asked the devil where to find his way in the darkness. The Devil tossed an ember from the flames of the hell to help Jack light his way. Jack kept the ember safely in a hollowed out turnip, his favorite food. From that day onwards, Stingy Jack roamed around on the earth without any place to rest, with his lit Jack-O' Lantern.

The Irish people kept the fable of Stingy Jack alive by hollowing out turnips, rutabagas, gourds, potatoes and beets on All Hallow's Eve. They placed a candle in them, to ward off the evil spirits and keep the Stingy Jack away. These were the original Jack-O-Lanterns. But later on, the Irish migrants discovered that pumpkins were much easier to carve than turnips etc. and switched over to pumpkin-carving. The modern day Halloween celebrations have improvised pumpkin carving beautifully. Pumpkin-carving activities are perused with great enthusiasm on Halloween and people of all age participate in it with keen interest and eagerness.


Pumpkins are indigenous to the western hemisphere and were completely unknown in Europe before the time of Columbus. In 1584, the French explorer Jacques Cartier reported from the St. Lawrence region that he had found "gros melons", which was translated into English as "ponpions," or pumpkins.  In fact, pumpkins have been grown in America for over 5,000 years. Native Americans called pumpkins "isquotersquash."

The Purpose of a Jack-O’-Lantern

The primary purpose of a jack-o’-lantern in tradition was that to be placed in the window of a home or on the doorstep to ward off evil spirits, and sometimes even Stingy Jack himself. These lanterns are often accompanied by treats, in order to prevent the spirits from playing a trick on the occupants.

Today, the carving of a jack-o’-lantern is an activity enjoyed by young and old alike. While the majority of faces remain as representations of demons, by the end of the 20th century it was becoming increasingly popular to carve the faces of popular figures or celebrities into pumpkins, as well as using stencils to form more intricate designs. It is also common for young children – for whom handling sharp objects may pose a safety risk – to paint a face on the side of the pumpkin.


Interesting Fact

Did you know that pumpkins are not a vegetable - they are a fruit! Pumpkins, like gourds, and other varieties of squash are all members of the Cucurbitacae family, which also includes cucumbers, gherkins, and melons.


Sources and Additional Information:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

iPad Jailbreaking News: LimeRa1n or GreenPois0n

Definitely, the news about jailbreaking process breakthrough is not just for iPad holders, but for all kind of iPhones as well. But since, I am faithful Droid fan, I personally care about iPhones much less. So, October 10 and October 11 should be great days in the technological history of iProducts. Because the solutions to unlock the full power of these devices are coming...

What is Jailbreaking?
Jailbreaking is a process that allows iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad users to run any code on their devices, as opposed to only that code authorized by Apple. This process permits users to install homebrew applications on their devices by unlocking the operating system and allowing the user root access. Once jailbroken, iPhone users can download many extensions and themes previously unavailable through the App Store via unofficial installers such as Cydia. A jailbroken iPad, iPhone or iPod Touch is still able to use the App Store and iTunes.

Does Apple like the users’ ability to bypass their filters and use the commercial applications for free? Definitely, no. Therefore, they release once a while software updates, which cause the jailbroken devices to be returned to the original state. The severe competition between freelancing hackers and hackers employed by Apple continues.

Is that legal to Jailbreak your device?

All the law obedient citizens would be surprised, but the answer is YES. You have a freedom to unlock the Apple device, and Apple has a freedom to prevent you from doing that, but not through legal and enforcement approaches, but purely through technological solutions only.

Jailbreaking an iPod or iPhone in the United States is legal "fair use", and does not violate copyright laws defined by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. In response to a request by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the U.S. Copyright Office explicitly recognized an exemption to the DMCA to permit jailbreaking in order to allow iPhone owners to use their phones with applications that are not available from Apple's store, and to unlock their iPhones for use with unapproved carriers. Apple had previously filed comments opposing this exemption and indicated that they did consider jailbreaking to be a violation of copyright (and by implication prosecutable under the DMCA). Apple's request to define jailbreaking as a violation of copyright was denied as part of the 2009 DMCA rulemaking. In their ruling, the Library of Congress affirmed on July, 26, 2010 that jailbreaking is legal under U.S. copyright law.

Tim Wu, a professor at Columbia Law School, argued that jailbreaking is "legal, ethical, and just plain fun." Wu cited an explicit exemption issued by the Library of Congress in 2006 for personal unlocking, which notes that locks "are used by wireless carriers to limit the ability of subscribers to switch to other carriers, a business decision that has nothing whatsoever to do with the interests protected by copyright" and thus do not implicate the DMCA.  Wu did not claim that this exemption applies to those who help others unlock a device or "traffic" in software to do so. As of July 26, 2010, The U.S. Copyright Office has approved exemptions to the DMCA that allow iDevice users to Jailbreak their devices legally. These exemptions also allow phone users to unlock their phone in order to switch carriers. It is still possible Apple may employ technical countermeasures to prevent jailbreaking or prevent jailbroken phones from functioning, but they will not be able to sue users who jailbreak.

GreenPois0n and LimeRa1n


All the iDevices fans were expecting the new jailbreak solution from Chronic Dev Team, and recently the release date of the Greenpois0n  has been announced as October 10, 2010. It supposed to cover all iOS 4.1 Devices for life including Apple T.V 2G (which means a solution for all iPad 3.2.2 holders as well). There are two more important points to bring in: the solution should be for life, so Apple future efforts should not harm the unlocked devices, and that the solution is untethered meaning that users do not have to plug the jailbroken device into a computer every time it needs to be restarted (as in some previous software releases.

The spice to the picture added the fresh news on the competitive solution LimeRa1n, created by Geohot, the famous guy who unlocked the iPhone and also creator of blackra1n. This new exploit supposed to jailbreak all iDevices including iPhone 3GS and iPod Touch 3G which even the SHAtter exploit and GreenPois0n cannot jailbreak.

With Limera1n and GreenPois0n around the news, one thing is sure that we will definitely get the jailbreak for iPhone 4, 3GS, iPod Touch 4G, 3G and iPad with in next 2 days. It can either GreenPois0n or Limera1n or even both. The Chronic Dev Team did note that since Geohot's LimeRa1n is a different exploit, it will effectively "burn" it. This is because Apple will be tipped to the new exploit. With rumors of a Verizon iPhone coming in early 2011, this could enable them to close the bootrom exploits, both of them, prior to that device's rumored launch.

Which jailbreak I will recommend? At the moment it is still unclear even for the people which are more experienced on the topic than I am. I would recommend not jumping to the first trials, but waiting to see what the results of both GreenPois0n and LimeRa1n are. Wait couple of days and choose jailbreak which is the easiest, fastest, and safest.

Happy Jailbreaking!

The plans have changed fast. Jailbreak limera1n was released today for 4.1 iDevice users with some limitations, like supported only for Windows OS, while the previously announced dev-team jailbreak, which was due out tomorrow, may be put on hold while the team works on revising their tools for the limera1n exploit rather than exposing multiple exploits that will quickly be patched.

You can download Limera1n now: