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08.26.17

Links 26/8/2017: Audacious 3.9, Krita 3.2.1, Eolie 0.9.1, FreeBSD 10.4 Beta 2

Posted in News Roundup at 3:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Ideal OS: Rebooting the Desktop Operating System Experience

    Consider the Raspberry Pi. For 35 dollars I can buy an amazing computer with four CPU cores, each running over a gigahertz. It also has a 3d accelerator, a gig of RAM, and built in wifi & bluetooth & ethernet. For 35 bucks! And yet, for many of the tasks I want to do with it, this Raspberry Pi is no better than the 66 megahertz computer I used in college.

  • Server

    • Tales of an IT professional sailing around the Antarctic loop

      Of course, that kind of rerouting wasn’t an option. Instead, Pina i Estany accessed a remote server, downloaded and compressed all the e-mails to it, and then sent those compressed files to the ship using a piece of software called Rsync, which deals very well with unstable connections. He also wrote a script that meant if the program stopped downloading at any point, it would start again from the same place once a connection was re-established.

      “So I left this program running for eight or nine hours and then opened this huge file using Thunderbird,” he said. “With that, I was able to get all the wanted e-mails, including the permits we needed.”

    • Serverless May Kill Containers [Ed: Mac Asay is not technical. So he says a buzzword will "kill" something that's a real, working implementation. That's like saying containers will "kill" containers, only you lose control over them.]

      Kubernetes, the darling of the container world, seems set to dominate the next decade of container orchestration. That is, if containers last that long.

      While it seems obvious that containers, the heir apparent to virtual machines, should have a long shelf life, the serverless boom may actually serve to cut it short. Though serverless offerings from AWS and Microsoft are built on the backs of containers, they eliminate the server metaphor entirely (and, hence, the need to containerize that server).

    • IT Professionals Largely Unfazed by Cloud Outages
    • Harvey: Hurricane Preparation Tips for Data Center Managers

      As Hurricane Harvey bears down on the Texas coast, expected to make landfall around Corpus Christi either tonight or Saturday morning as a dangerous Category 3 storm, the men and women who work in data centers in the area are undoubtedly earning overtime as they prepare for the storm’s onslaught. Keeping data centers operational during natural disasters can be critical to the health and safety of the affected area’s residents, as they supply the lines of communications for many first responders and provide access to valuable information about weather conditions and the state of the area’s infrastructure.

      During pending disasters such as this, employees from Schneider Electric’s various data center divisions can often be found on the scene, offering their expertise to help data centers successfully get through the emergency. They’re good to have around, because as the old saying goes, they’ve been there and done that — countless times.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Solus 3, Ubuntu 17.10 News, Krita 3.2 & Lots of Gaming News | This Week in Linux

      Coming up on This Week in Linux, we saw some new releases from Solus, Krita, Ardour, feren OS and many more. Debian and GNOME both celebrated their Birthdays this week. We check out some cool software that lets you do Google Searches from the command-line and we’ll take a look at this week’s gaming news. All that and more on today’s episode of This Week in Linux. I’m Michael Tunnell of TuxDigital with Your Weekly Source for Linux GNews.

    • Linux Plex Box Demo | For The Record

      In part 2 of my continuing series on reducing dependencies on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Kindle books and more, today I talk about how I use Plex to make my local video content more accessible. This includes some TV shows and movies I have on DVD.

  • Kernel Space

    • A canary for timer-expiration functions

      A bug that allows an attacker to overwrite a function pointer in the kernel opens up a relatively easy way to compromise the kernel—doubly so, if an attacker simply needs to wait for the kernel use the compromised pointer. There are various techniques that can be used to protect kernel function pointers that are set at either compile or initialization time, but there are some pointers that are routinely set as the kernel runs; timer completion functions are a good example. An RFC patch posted to the kernel-hardening mailing list would add a way to detect that those function pointers have been changed in an unexpected way and to stop the kernel from executing that code.

    • Scaling the kernel’s MAINTAINERS file
    • Another attempt at speculative page-fault handling
    • The D-Bus Broker project

      The D-Bus Broker Project is an effort to rethink the D-Bus message bus and produce an implementation that addresses many of its longstanding problems; this project has now made its first public release. “Its aim is to provide high performance and reliability, while keeping compatibility to the D-Bus reference implementation. It is exclusively written for linux systems, and makes use of many modern features provided by recent linux kernel releases.” See this post for an introduction to the project, or the GitHub page for source. This is a purely user-space implementation.

    • Happy Birthday Linux

      Fast forward to today and Linux has more than 12 000 contributors from over 1300 companies that contribute to the Linux kernel.

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Real world Performance Comparison of Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe SSD and Transcend 2.5″ SATA III SSD on Linux

        Recently I bought a Samsung 960 EVO 500GB SSD to replace my Transcend 128GB SSD360S 2.5″ SATA III. Earlier this PC had this 128GB SATA III SSD for OS and 1TB Seagate Barracuda drive for data. I had not really utilised this 1TB well – data was just around 300GB. So to get faster system at the cost of underutilised free space, decided to buy Samsung 960 EVO 500GB to have both OS and data (Having more free space helps for better performance in case of SSD. So I am planning to add another 500GB to free up a lot of space on this newly purchased 500GB). Here I try to compare my earlier system with SATA SSD with new NVMe SSD. The rest of the configuration of PC is same for both the cases. I use KDE Neon (Ubuntu derivative) Linux Operating System.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • Give Your Desktop An Ancient Look With ‘Ubo Icons’

      You will find very few icons theme where creator work really hard to pencil icons for your desktop to make elegant. Ubo icons a great icons set drawn with ballpoint pen, then scanned and colored in GIMP. Isn’t it feels great to have such hand-crafted icons specially for your desktop, the icons are not glamorous, nor glossy finish but give a unique look to your desktop.

    • Intro To Budgie Desktop 10.4: Now With Control Center & Flexible Panel

      The latest Budgie Desktop 10.4 released at 18 August 2017 and this is a short review. The 10.4 brings huge changes on Budgie featuring new Desktop Settings, new Raven, more flexible panel for any position, ability to add new panel and change control buttons position, default bottom-left menu at bottom panel, and so on! This review is based on Solus OS 3 and not Ubuntu Budgie (because at this day no PPA available for 10.4 yet).

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE and the Menu Crisis

        The menu crisis has been slow in coming — so slowly that few people are aware of it. Bit by bit, they have become accustomed to the inconvenience and distraction of the menu on the computer desktop, and learned to endure it. Yet the fact that KDE’s Plasma 5 desktop offers three choices of menu layouts, as well as a couple of alternatives to alleviate the difficulties shows just how little consensus exists about the most usable menu design.

        The crisis exists because the menu was designed when thirty megabyte hard drives were the norm, yet we continue to use it. The purpose of a menu is to launch an application, preferably as quickly as possible, so a user’s work flow is uninterrupted. When personal computers were first introduced, menus easily filled this purpose. Few applications were available, and menus rarely had to be more than a couple of levels deep, so applications could easily be found.

        However, as hard drives became larger, users had to scan more and more applications to find the one they wanted. The most extreme case was the Debian menu, which in places was six or seven levels deep. All sorts of partial solutions were tried –for example, not listing all the applications, a search field, and favorite list — but the problem has steadily increased with the size of drives. Probably the only reason why all the stopgap designs and solutions for menus are tolerated at all is that their uses on phones and tablets means that they have conditioned all of us to endure the awkwardness as the norm. Most users simply assume that nothing can be done, and continue using menus the same as always — ironically, often at the same time as moving away from desktop launchers, which can have the same problems, but can at least take provide another solution to help keep menus functioning.

      • Angle and Windows Ink – a new test version of Krita for Windows
      • Krita 3.2.1 Released

        Krita 3.2.1 is a bug fix release.

      • Krita’s Updated Vision

        In 2010, during a developer sprint in Deventer, the Krita team sat down together with Peter Sikking to hammer out a vision statement for the project. Our old goal, be KDE’s Gimp/Photoshop, didn’t reflect what we really wanted to do.

      • Google Summer of Code: Help Alexey Kapustin by Testing His Work!
      • It seems like it works
      • Krita 3.2.0 Best Alternative To Photoshop for Ubuntu/Linux Mint

        Krita is a KDE program for sketching and painting, although it has image processing capabilities, offering an end–to–end solution for creating digital painting files from scratch by masters. Fields of painting that Krita explicitly supports are concept art, creation of comics and textures for rendering. Modelled on existing real-world painting materials and workflows, Krita supports creative working by getting out of the way and with a snappy response.

      • Gsoc Final Week Report

        Koko is a simple image gallery application that is designed to view, edit and share the images.

      • Look what you have done^W^Wdo!

        You are using Kate or KDevelop and often editing directly the sources of Markdown files, Qt UI files, SVG files, Dot graph files and whatever else formats which are based on plain text files?

        And you are having to use a workflow to check the current state which is saving the file and (re)loading it in a separate viewer application?

      • GCompris- Digital Electricity Tutorial levels
      • Hundreds of visual surveys in KStars!

        With the KStars “Hipster” 2.8.1 release, I introduced Hierarchical Progressive Survey (HiPS) in KStars with three sample catalogs in the optical, infrared, and gamma regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

      • A new QProcess::startDetached
      • Announcing Sticklyst – leveraging KDE Frameworks on the Web

        Sticklyst is a web paste tool, like pastebin, Stick Notes (paste.kde.org), build with Cutelyst and KDE Frameworks.

        Building this kind of tool has been on my TODO list for a long time, but never really put some effort into it. When the idea first came by, I decided to look at the code of http://paste.scsys.co.uk/ which is powered by a Perl Catalyst application, to my surprise the Perl module that handled syntax highlighting was a port of the code of Kate, and it even said it used Kate’s definitions.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GSoC Report 4

        This report is about Controller Reassignment.

        Previously, Games used to order controllers according to how they were plugged in. So. if I want to be the P1 (which I always want), I can simply exchange the controller with my brother. But hey, what if he is sitting 5 feet away from me?

      • GSoC Report – Part 1

        GJS is a complex piece of software that does some very low-level manipulation using various libraries; the GNOME libs (GLib and friends), libffi, and Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey JS engine.

      • GSoC ’17: Wrapping Things Up

        My GSoC project on GNOME Calendar was full of ups and downs (more ups of course). As this was my first GSoC project I was practically new to this workflow. Having weekly meetings, pushing code on a timely basis, discussing ideas regularly with my mentor etc. made things all the more intense. There were weeks were I made more progress than expected and then there were weeks where we headed nowhere (due to lack of knowledge regarding recurrences). The reason for this was using the sparsely documented library, ‘libical‘ and deciphering the cryptic code of ‘evolution calendar‘. But in the end everything came out just fine. 😀

      • Matcha GTK Is A Flat Design Theme For Linux Desktop

        There are many flat design themes available for Linux desktop, here is another one Matcha based on Arc theme. It is a flat theme with transparent elements. It has theme for Gnome Shell to go along with GTK theme. It is designed to work with most of the desktop environments including Gnome, Unity, Xfce, Mate, Cinnamon and so on. If you are using distribution other than Ubuntu/Linux Mint then download zip file directly from theme page and install it in this location “~/.themes” or “/usr/share/themes”. There is also theme for Gnome Shell which can go along with its Gtk version. If you find any kind of bug or issue within this theme then report it to creator and hopefully he will fix it soon.

      • Eolie 0.9.1

        Web Browser for GNOME

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Open-spec SBC features octa-core -A53 SoC

      The “Khadas Vim2” SBC runs Android 7.1 or Ubuntu 16.04 on an octa-core, -A53 Amlogic S912 with up to 3GB DDR4, WiFi, GbE, HDMI 2.0, and dual USB ports.

      Late last year, the Khadas project launched an open spec Khadas Vim SBC that runs on the Amlogic S905X, a cheaper version of the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Amlogic S905 used on Hardkernel’s Odroid-C2. Now, Khadas is back with a similarly open-spec Khadas Vim2 board that advances to the octa-core Amlogic S912.

    • [Video] ODROID HC1 : Home Cloud One Introduction

      ODROID-HC1 is a mini PC which can be an affordable solution for a network attached storage (NAS) server. This home cloud-server centralizes data and enables users to share and stream multimedia files to phones, tablets and other devices on a network. Ideal for a single user on many devices, sharing between family members, developers or a group. Tailor the ODROID-HC1 to your specific needs. Plenty of software is available with only simple configuration. Determine the storage capacity of your server with a higher HDD/SSD. Depending on your needs, the frame is made to be stackable.

    • Purism

      • Purism Librem 13 v2 Linux laptop review

        At first glance, the Purism Librem 13 v2 looks like a lot of other laptops on the market. It’s a compact notebook that measures about 0.7 inches thick, weighs about 3.3 pounds, and which has a 13.3 inch, 1920 x 1080 pixel display, a backlit keyboard, and a large touchpad.

        But take a closer look at the touchpad and you’ll notice that there’s a rectangle where you’d normally find a Windows key. And glance up to the space above the touchpad and you’ll find two hardware switches.

      • The Librem 5: Your Ultimate GNU/Linux FLOSS Smartphone

        Purism is well known for Linux based laptop with Coreboot. Now they started a crowdfunding campaign today for its smartphone called Purism Librem 5. What is so special about this phone? It is 100% powered by GNU/Linux. You can run any Linux distro on it. The phone provides high security and privacy features, i.e., it does not track you. This seems like an excellent device. One that I would certainly purchase or recommend to a privacy-conscious person.

      • The Librem 5 from Purism: A Matrix Native Smartphone.

        We’ve been approached by Purism to partner up to provide the communications subsystem for their upcoming Librem 5 smartphone – for which they are launching a crowdfunding campaign starting today! The whole idea of the phone is to provide unprecedented privacy, security and autonomy by running an entirely FOSS Debian-based GNU/Linux stack (even including CPU & GPU drivers!), and we are incredibly proud and overexcited that the folks at Purism have asked the Matrix core team to provide the native dialler and messaging app for the phone. Yes, this means that the phone will literally boot by default into Matrix for all its primary communications (although, being FOSS, you could of course use a different dialler if you wanted). The intention is to be a very usable and flexible phone for folks who value freedom, privacy and simplicity over the (relative) quagmire of iOS or Android – and of course jumping way ahead of where Apple or Google are in terms of integrating next-generation communications into the very heart of the device.

    • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Riot.im/Web 0.12 — WIDGETS HAVE LANDED!! + Jitsi Video conferencing + New Composer, Mentions & Emoji Picker!

    Riot.im 0.12 is here and by golly it’s a big one! The main headline is that WIDGETS HAVE LANDED!!! — small form web apps you can share with everyone in a room, unlocking a whole new dimension of collaboration within Riot😊. We’ve been working on this for months, and it’s insanely exciting to see us finally able to start decorating our rooms with Hangouts-quality video conferences (from Jitsi), document editors, graphing dashboards, and anything else you can imagine!

  • Convenient Industrial Ethernet Master Is Now Open-Source and Free

    Offered by Bosch Rexroth under MIT open-source license, the software can also come with a Sercos-on-a-Stick livesystem demo on a free USB thumb drive. The livesystem is useful for those looking to learn how to use the software.

  • Google Builds Open-Source Voice Kit For AI Devices

    Google researchers have open-sourced snippets of data to give developers using artificial intelligence tools the ability to create basic voice commands for smart devices. This will help users query content and help the devices recognize meaning and search for answers.

    The TensorFlow and AIY teams at Google built the Speech Commands dataset, a Voice Kit created with a collection of 65,000 utterances of 30 words. Google released the tool to help developers or anyone who wants to train AI models.

  • A heartfelt thank you to all who contribute to FOSS

    I am not good at TL:DR and this won’t be short to warn you up front. When I sat down to make the original post I was emotional because everything in my life is shit and breaking and hopeless. I was melting in the heat and humidity as the AC broke and my body doesn’t do well with extremes. Some people I had been waiting on for possible help with other things for a very long time had finally made it clear they were never going to help and had been jerking me around. My pain has been worse lately. I lost access to even the shit income based medical care I can get because of rule changes. My living situation is miserable. I was sitting there thinking about just getting it over with like I often do and is sadly all too common in people with chronic pain or other illness (don’t panic or post hotlines please..this is an ongoing thing and I have tried all the usual stuff…I need health and money and have done all I can to that end)…and the ONE thing that was working was this free OS and the tools I was using right then to distract myself. Everything else I need in life is some costly thing or service and never seems to work right and I am alone and miserable…and here was this FREE thing that people donate to that was my belay line in that moment. It was sort of an emotional drunk text if you will. All around me people and things suck and I just wanted to say thanks to the people who sat and braided that rope for little to nothing in return. When everything is so terrible you appreciate the things that aren’t with some intense clarity.

    So I post that thanks expecting it to drop off the page by the evening and instead of being ignored or argued with or told to pull on my bootstraps when I dont even have any proverbial boots at this point…people posted offers of laptops, practical suggestions for pain relief, and ways to help give back even though I am just one or two levels above everyone’s parents in tech competency. I’ve posted my story in moments of desperation several times over the years on various throwaway accounts. I’ve asked everyone I know irl and online for help and hope. Not once in any other community or place or time have so many people been so willing to help and giving practical advice rather than platitudes and word noise. No victim blaming, no absurd “The Secret” sort of advice, no empty gestures. It just further reinforces my feeling of thanks to the community. I thank you and you offer more. Most people really underestimate how much the smallest practical kindness can matter to someone. If more of the world’s problems were met with the FOSS attitude and community spirit it could only be a benefit.

  • Events

    • Embedded Linux Conference Europe schedule published

      The Linux Foundation has posted a schedule for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe, to be held Oct. 23-25 in Prague with the Open Source Summit Europe.

      Full program notes are available for the combined Embedded Linux Conference Europe (ELCE) and Open Source Summit Europe event to be held in Oct. 23-25 in Prague, with discounted registrations of $800 still available through Aug. 27. The Open Source Summit combines the previous LinuxCon, ContainerCon and CloudOpen conferences.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla ponders making telemetry opt-out, ‘cos hardly anyone opted in

        Mozilla may require users to opt-out of sending telemetry from its Firefox browser because so few have opted in that it’s hard for developers to get a good sample of what causes problems.

        The idea of opt-out telemetry has sparked a pretty lively mailing-list debate (at the time of writing, 42 posts in just a couple of days, from 31 authors, on what’s a moderately-obscure topic) about how to improve that data collection.

        The rough consensus so far is that if it approaches the question right, Firefox could flip to opt-out – just so long as it doesn’t become a stalker.

        The solution for that, as the thread discusses, is to follow Google’s lead and implement what’s known as differential privacy has used by Google’s project RAPPOR).

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • GSoC 2017: Charmap Integration

      These awesome three months of summer spent developing for LibreOffice under Google Summer of Code, have filled me with great zeal and zest. A plethora of important additions was made to the software bundle under the project titled “Usability of Special Characters”, and these new features will be made available in the version 6.0 of LibreOffice (Release Notes for 6.0). Here is a glimpse of what the users will be receiving in the new update.

  • BSD

  • Licensing/Legal

    • Making a Wrong into a Right: After Violating GPL and Filing for Bankruptcy, Chinese OEM IUNI Releases Source Code

      There are times in life when making the wrong decisions can have major repercussions in all the spheres that surround you. These repercussions can be so severe that they can literally turn your life upside down and nothing you say or do can change the self-consuming spiral that they set you on. Smartphone company IUNI learned this the hard way, and as a result they’ve finally decided to comply with the GPL.

      This was the case for a relatively small Asian manufacturer called IUNI, which was a small subsidiary company of the much-larger Gionee. As was the case with many Eastern OEMs, IUNI was the proud manufacturer of entry to mid range devices, with phones closely resembling those from Xiaomi, which coincidentally also resembles other manufacturers as well (plagiarism is the ultimate form of flattery after all). The company, unfortunately had a rough start, which ultimately led to its impending doom and eventual demise about a year ago.

    • Grsecurity Vendor Sues Open Source Pioneer Bruce Perens in GPLv2 Disagreement

      One of open source’s guiding lights, Open Source Initiative co-founder Bruce Perens, is being sued by Open Source Security, the company behind the Grsecurity patch management software for the Linux kernel, over a disagreement about the GNU GPLv2 license.

      Open Source Security alleges that Perens made “abusive and false” claims in a blog post that resulted in “substantial harm to Grsecurity’s reputation, goodwill, and future business prospects,” according to a complaint filed at the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.

      Perens’ own attorney Heather Meeker sees the defamation lawsuit as “an attack on the free exchange of ideas in the free software community on matters of public interest.” Open Source Security did not respond to a request for comment.

    • Don’t Over-REACT to the Facebook Patents License

      Recently, Apache re-classified code under Facebook’s “BSD+ Patents” license to “Category X,” effectively banning it from future contributions to Apache Foundation projects. The move has re-ignited controversy over the patent grant, but like many events in the open source community, the controversy is more partisan than practical. In fact, it’s unlikely the move will affect adoption of ReactJS, and the criticisms of the BSD+patent grant mostly don’t survive the scrutiny of reason.

      The Facebook patent grant, officially called the Additional Grant of Patent Rights Version 2, has been in effect for years. It applies to the wildly popular ReactJS code — a Javascript library for rendering user interfaces. The roster of major technology companies using the code is impressive, including such consumer-facing giants as Netflix — and of course, Facebook itself.

  • Programming/Development

    • Reducing Python’s startup time

      The startup time for the Python interpreter has been discussed by the core developers and others numerous times over the years; optimization efforts are made periodically as well. Startup time can dominate the execution time of command-line programs written in Python, especially if they import a lot of other modules. Python startup time is worse than some other scripting languages and more recent versions of the language are taking more than twice as long to start up when compared to earlier versions (e.g. 3.7 versus 2.7). The most recent iteration of the startup time discussion has played out in the python-dev and python-ideas mailing lists since mid-July. This time, the focus has been on the collections.namedtuple() data structure that is used in multiple places throughout the standard library and in other Python modules, but the discussion has been more wide-ranging than simply that.

    • Makefiles for Golang

      Go’s toolchain is awesome. make makes the toolchain awesome-er. Go’s fast compile times and internal change-tracking eliminate the need for esoteric Makefiles. This is great since we can write simple Makefiles to get the job done in style.

    • Boostnote changes programmers’ note-taking experience

      Hi programmers, what apps do you use for your note-taking? Default Note-app? Evernote?

      But you know, it’s sometimes not useful to use for programming things.

    • OpenJDK may tackle Java security gaps with secretive group

      The proposed OpenJDK (Java Development Kit) Vulnerability Group would provide a secure, private forum in which trusted members of the community receive reports on vulnerabilities in code bases and then review and fix them. Coordinating the release of fixes also would be part of the group’s mandate. (Java SE, the standard edition of Java, has been developed under the auspices of OpenJDK.)

    • Final GSoC Blog Post – Results

      This is my final GSoC update post. My name is Paul Schaub and I participated in the Google Summer of Code for the XMPP Standards Foundation. My project was about implementing encrypted Jingle File Transfer for the client library Smack.

    • BH 1.65.0-1

Leftovers

  • Samsung heir convicted, sentenced to 5 years on corruption charges

    Lee Jae-yong, the head of the Samsung Group empire, was convicted in a South Korean court Friday on corruption allegations. He was sentenced to five years in prison in connection to a bribery scandal that took down the nation’s president, Park Geun-hye. Among other things, Lee was found to have paid Park bribes in exchange for favors.

    The 49-year-old Lee, who is the heir to one of the world’s largest companies, was also found guilty of perjury, embezzlement, and of hiding assets outside of South Korea following a six-month trial. The development comes two days after Samsung unveiled its latest flagship mobile phone, the Note8.

  • Science

  • Hardware

    • If ‘Everyone Just Wants Free Stuff’ Is Responsible For Piracy, Why Can’t Nintendo Keep Its Classic Consoles In Stock?

      For a long time, we’ve been trying to debunk the “But people just want stuff for free” myth that purports to explain why the only proper strategy for infringement is heavy enforcement. Everyone should have instantly recognized that this was a dumb meme put forth by the content industries, so simple was the offered explanation for what is a vastly complex issue. Still, the meme persists, even in the face of contrary evidence.

      Evidence such as the fact that Nintendo has had trouble keeping its classic consoles in stock to meet consumer demand. Earlier this year, Nintendo hit the brakes on manufacturing the classic NES mini console after selling over two million of them. The result on the secondary market was immediate. Prices for the retro console skyrocketed, with people desperately searching for one. The interest from the public was high enough that, as Nintendo is set to release the SNES mini console as a follow up, the company is going out of its way to assure the public that it is making enough of them to meet demands.

    • GameStop blames “lagging Xbox One sales” for poor software performance

      With Microsoft no longer reporting specific hardware or software shipments for the Xbox One, public market watchers are forced to use tidbits from other sources to try to divine the system’s performance relative to the console competition. GameStop provided one of those tidbits in its latest earnings report, noting that its new and preowned software sales were both hurt by “lagging Xbox One sales.”

      The mega-retailer, which has nearly 4,000 stores in the US and 2,000 more internationally, didn’t share specific breakouts for the Xbox One or other consoles, but it did say that new and preowned software sales had declined 3.4 and 7.5 percent, respectively. Microsoft’s “lagging” performance was the only reason for that drop that the retailer shared publicly; GameStop cited the slow sales a number of times in an earnings call yesterday. “In both new and preowned, we’re seeing underperformance in Xbox One versus PS4, which we believe is due to the coming Xbox One X launch,” GameStop CFO Robert Lloyd said in that call.

  • Security

    • MalwareTech’s legal defense fund bombarded with fraudulent donations

      Marcus Hutchins, the popular British security researcher, has a new legal headache beyond the criminal charges against him.

      Hutchins, AKA “MalwareTech,” pleaded not guilty two weeks ago to criminal charges in Wisconsin that accuse him of creating and distributing the Kronos malware that steals banking credentials. Now comes word that his legal defense fund was riddled with illicit donations.

    • Leak of >1,700 valid passwords could make the IoT mess much worse

      Security researchers have unearthed a sprawling list of login credentials that allows anyone on the Internet to take over home routers and more than 1,700 “Internet of things” devices and make them part of a destructive botnet.

      The list of telnet-accessible devices, currently posted at this Pastebin address, was first posted in June, but it has been updated several times since then. It contains user names and passwords for 8,233 unique IP addresses, 2,174 of which were still running open telnet servers as of Friday morning, said Victor Gevers, chairman of the GDI Foundation, a Netherlands-based nonprofit that works to improve Internet security. Of those active telnet services, 1,774 remain accessible using the leaked credentials, Gevers said. In a testament to the poor state of IoT security, the 8,233 hosts use just 144 unique username-password pairs.

    • Security updates for Friday
    • Reproducible Builds: Weekly
  • Defence/Aggression

    • I Asked the U.S. Military for Its Leaflets About Joseph Kony. It Sidestepped the Request, Then Burned Them.

      Over the last six years, the United States invested the better part of $1 billion to make that statement a reality. America sent military advisers, set up bases, gathered intelligence, and funded and equipped local proxies across the region in an effort to kill or capture Kony and destroy his Lord’s Resistance Army, a militia that has committed atrocities since the 1980s. The U.S. military even created that flier to tout Kony’s death and sent reams of them to a shadowy outpost in the Central African Republic where they sat, waiting for the day they could rain down from the sky. Now that leaflet — and that dream — have gone up in smoke.

    • With the USS McCain collision, even Navy tech can’t overcome human shortcomings

      In the darkness of early morning on August 21, the guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain collided with a tanker in the Strait of Malacca off Singapore. Ten sailors are believed to have lost their lives in the McCain collision. When added to the seven who died in the June 17 collision of the USS Fitzgerald with the container ship ACX Crystal, this has been the deadliest year at sea for the US Navy’s surface fleet since the 1989 turret explosion aboard USS Iowa (in which 47 sailors perished).

    • North Korea fires three missiles into sea

      They were launched from a site in the North Korean province of Gangwon and flew for about 250km (150 miles), officials in South Korea said.
      Since firing an intercontinental ballistic weapon last month, Pyongyang has threatened to aim missiles at the US Pacific territory of Guam.
      But this latest test did not threaten the US or Guam, the US military said.
      North Korean missile tests often come in response to South Korean military exercises involving the US.
      Thousands of US and South Korean troops are currently taking part in joint military drills, which are mainly largely computer-simulated exercises.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • With Trump in Charge, Heightened Fears of a Hurricane Harvey Petrochemical Nightmare

      Texas is bracing for potentially “catastrophic” flooding as Hurricane Harvey is set to make landfall Friday, and many are raising concerns that given the state’s role as the heart of the petrochemical industry, the storm could create a “nightmare situation” for the environment—one that the Trump administration’s aggressive deregulatory agenda will only make worse.

    • As Hurricane Harvey Approaches, Trump Appoints Deputy Chief of Staff Who Failed to Prepare for Katrina

      Hurricane Harvey, a storm expected to bring catastrophic flooding to Texas, could be the first major disaster under the watch of President Trump, attracting new attention to how the administration has staffed its emergency response teams.

      Trump has faced growing criticism for leaving vacancies in many government positions, as well as apparently handing out appointments to connected Republican insiders and lobbyists over experts and well-qualified public servants. But as the administration faces Harvey, a reshuffle that’s brought Kirstjen Nielsen to the White House may raise eyebrows even further.

      Until recently Nielsen served as the top aide to retired Gen. John Kelly as Kelly headed the Department of Homeland Security. But when Kelly moved from the DHS to become Trump’s chief of staff, Nielsen changed positions simultaneously, becoming deputy chief of staff to Trump.

    • VW engineer sentenced to 40 months in prison for role in emissions cheating

      In his guilty plea, Liang attested that Volkswagen gave him and his colleagues a mandate to build a new diesel engine for sale in the US. When the engineers realized they couldn’t build the engine to meet the US’ emissions standards, Liang and his colleagues designed software to help the car recognize when it was being tested for emission compliance and turn on the control system that would otherwise be off during normal driving. “VW tasked Liang with making the defeat device work by calibrating it to recognize specific US emissions tests’ drive cycles,” the Justice Department (DOJ) wrote in a press release.

      Liang also said he personally attended meetings with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) and deceived those regulators by omitting the fact that the new VW diesel models were in not compliance with emissions standards. Additionally, he “admitted that he helped his co-conspirators continue to lie to the EPA, CARB, and VW customers even after the regulatory agencies started raising questions about the vehicles’ on-road performance,” the DOJ said.

  • Finance

    • 35 Blockchain Startups to Watch

      There’s a reason that blockchain startups are hot. Technologies come and go over the years and raise their share of hype, but few can match the enthusiasm that has been shown for blockchain technology.

      Blockchain is the brainchild of Satoshi Nakamoto, who may or may not be real and may or may not be one person or a group of people. All that is known is that Nakamoto is also the brains behind Bitcoin. Blockchain is in fact the technology behind Bitcoin but the two are totally separate. Blockchain provides the means to record and store Bitcoin transactions, but the blockchain technology has many uses beyond Bitcoin.

    • IBM Debuts Secure, ‘Enterprise-Ready’ Blockchain Platform

      For IBM, there’s no time like the present for enterprises looking to build their first of potentially many blockchain applications.

      Blockchain is ready to get to work with today’s introduction of the “world’s first enterprise-ready blockchain platform,” Angel Diaz, vice president of Developer Technology and Advocacy at IBM, told Datamation. The IT giant today officially launched its IBM Blockchain Platform, enabling developers to harness the IBM cloud and the high-performance compute and end-to-end encryption capabilities provided System Z hardware running in its data centers to build and deploy secure blockchain applications for business.

    • As Coding Boot Camps Close, the Field Faces a Reality Check

      But the coding boot-camp field now faces a sobering moment, as two large schools have announced plans to shut down this year — despite backing by major for-profit education companies, Kaplan and the Apollo Education Group, the parent of the University of Phoenix.

    • It Was 50 Years Ago Today: Abbie Hoffman Threw Money at the New York Stock Exchange

      Dancis conceded that the action failed to bring about Abbie’s proclaimed goal, “the death of money.” But the event did mark the emergence of Abbie Hoffman as the media maven of the anti-war movement. A few months later, he organized a march on Washington to, as he put it, “exorcise” or perhaps “levitate” the Pentagon. Tens of thousands showed up for that, on October 21, 1967.

    • Vote Tallies and Class Struggle

      With the United States stumbling toward a new post- pre-modernity, a state of unknowing where technocratic pedantry guided by an unrepentant id defines the realm of social truth, a remnant of the past is re-asserted through the division of social analysis into realms of alleged expertise. Economists address the economy, environmental scientists address the environment, political scientists address the political and historians address the historical.

      Less certain is the state of political economy that once united these to define the realm of social concern. In the domain of history the pitch of the sun, the smell of the grass, the feel of the breeze and the ties through remembrance to how these were, aren’t tales of land wars and presidents and anti-trust legislation, but neither are they nothing. And in fact, this embeddedness is political in the sense of grounding the social-discursive in ways that aren’t fungible.

    • ‘Time to Redistribute Wealth’: 1% Thriving While 78% Living Paycheck to Paycheck

      Top CEOs may be thriving, but most American workers are drowning in debt, saving little, and living paycheck to paycheck.

    • Government Greenlights Amazon’s Expansion Into Grocery Industry

      A proposed $13.7 billion takeover of Whole Foods Market, by the world’s largest online retailer, was approved by federal trust-busters on Wednesday.

      With regulatory hurdles now cleared, Amazon said it intends to finalize the deal sometime later this year, giving the tech giant an opportunity to bolster its grocery delivery services.

      Consumer advocates worry that Amazon could leverage its robust supply chain and soon-to-be acquisition of more than 465 Whole Foods stores to dominate the burgeoning home grocery delivery industry. The development would strengthen its grip on the online sales sector.

    • King of the Hate Business: Inside the Southern Poverty Law Center

      What is the arch-salesman of hate-mongering, Mr. Morris Dees of the Southern Poverty Law Center doing now? He’s saying that the election of a black president proves his point. Hate is on the rise! Send money!

      Without skipping a beat, the mailshot moguls, who year after year make money selling the notion there’s been a right resurgence out there in the hinterland with massed legions of haters, have used the election of a black president to say that, yes, hate is on the rise and America ready to burst apart at the seams, with millions of extremists primed to march down Main Street draped in Klan robes, a copy of Mein Kampf tucked under one arm and a Bible under the other, available for sneak photographs from minions of Chip Berlet, another salesman of the Christian menace, ripely endowed with millions to battle the legions of the cross.

      Ever since 1971 US Postal Service mailbags have bulged with Dees’ fundraising letters, scaring dollars out of the pockets of trembling liberals aghast at his lurid depictions of hate-sodden America, in dire need of legal confrontation by the SPLC. In 2000, Ken Silverstein wrote a devastating commentary on Dees and the SPLC in Harpers, dissecting a typical swatch of Dees’ solicitations. At that time, as Silverstein pointed out, the SPLC was “the wealthiest civil rights group in America,” with $120 million in assets.

    • DOJ To End Operation ChokePoint; Porn Stars Free To Bank Once More!

      You may recall that in 2014 we wrote about a strange occurrence having to do with Chase Bank refusing to provide its banking services to Teagan Presley, a rather well known adult film actress. When it became clear that Presley wasn’t the only performer to whom this was happening, it initially looked as though banks were engaging in a form of slut-shaming of adult film actors. It turned out, however, that it was the federal government doing the slut-shaming, with the emergence of the Department of Justice’s Operation Choke Point. This DOJ policy that was developed to combat financial fraud somehow bled over the stencil lines and became a sort of banking morality police, encouraging banks to cut off services to industries like adult film, fireworks retail stores, and sellers engaged in what the DOJ deemed to be “racist materials.” It’s worth highlighting that all of these industries and actions, whether you like them or not, are legal, yet the DOJ was essentially attempting to extra-judiciously scuttle them through secretive federal policy. That should have terrified everyone, but didn’t, and so the program went on.

    • Justice Department to end Obama-era ‘Operation Choke Point’

      The Justice Department has committed to ending a controversial Obama-era program that discourages banks from doing business with a range of companies, from payday lenders to gun retailers.

      The move hands a big victory to Republican lawmakers who charged that the initiative — dubbed “Operation Choke Point” — was hurting legitimate businesses.

    • Apple to build Iowa data center, get $207.8 million in incentives

      Apple Inc will build a $1.375 billion data center in Waukee, Iowa, Apple and state officials said on Thursday, with $207.8 million in incentives approved by the Iowa Economic Development Authority and Waukee city council.

    • Tim Cook: Apple will invest $1.3 billion in Iowa

      It’s common for states to offer money to businesses in order to secure big investments. But the price tag of such packages can be controversial. The Wisconsin state legislature is currently debating whether to approve a whopping $3 billion in incentives for a Foxconn plant that could create between 3,000 and 13,000 jobs.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Paul Ryan Debated a Nun and the Nun Won

      Challenged by a former educator, the Speaker of the House got everything wrong— factually, and morally.

    • James Clapper calls Trump speech ‘downright scary and disturbing’
    • Trump nominates Andrei Iancu to be director of patent office

      Iancu is currently the managing partner of Irell & Manella LLP, a Los Angeles-based law firm that focuses on intellectual property {sic} law.

    • Piecemeal Reforms Won’t Stem the Tide of Fascist Politics

      The far-right assembly in Charlottesville, Virginia, represented a social and political crisis of consciousness for many people. Between Jimmy Fallon’s uncharacteristically morose words on the gravity of the event (despite playfully ruffling President Trump’s hair on his show just months before), growing criticisms about free speech absolutism (with the ACLU slightly modifying its defense of the “Unite the Right” with a new refusal to defend armed hate groups), a slowly growing mainstream acceptance of anti-fascist confrontation, and accelerating removals of Confederate statues, the value and values of liberalism in the face of increasingly publicly articulated fascistic politics are being more frequently and loudly contested.

      [...]

      The United States’ liberal democratic political framework was created to maximize liberties in resistance to British monarchial impositions, and also, quite explicitly, around notions of empowerments and citizenship rights afforded only to white, landowning men. Even within the 1776 declaration of the apparently self-evident equality of all men, a declaration that in no way contradicted the flourishing institution of slavery, the universally assured unalienable rights were not applicable to everyone: Blacks — then categorized as chattel — were neither citizens nor recognized as fully human, and Native peoples were enduring a genocide that is still ongoing.

    • Trump Labor Department Announces It will Honor Ronald Reagan, the Man who Broke American Labor

      Every year the Department of Labor posthumously honors Americans “whose distinctive contributions to the field of labor have enhanced the quality of life of millions yesterday, today, and for generations to come.” Past honorees have included socialist leader Eugene Debs and labor organizer Cesar Chavez.

      Today, Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta announced that the department’s first honoree under the Trump administration would be a former president: Ronald Reagan.

      This marks perhaps the first time the Department of Labor has honored someone who openly and actively diminished the power of American labor unions.

      The department press release notes that Reagan, a Republican, was a member of a union himself, the Screen Actors Guild, which he led. It also notes that he was vocally supportive of the Solidarity union in Poland, which did battle with the Soviet Union.

    • Washington lobbying firms receive subpoenas as part of Russia probe

      Lawyers for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, who is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election, have issued subpoenas to several prominent Washington lobbying firms as the probe examines the finances of two former Trump campaign advisers, according to people with knowledge of the requests.

      The subpoenas asked the firms to answer questions and provide records regarding their interactions with the consulting firms led by Michael Flynn, a former national security adviser to President Trump, and Paul Manafort, former chairman of the Trump presidential campaign, these people said.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Actors Guild Urges Judge to Save Age-Censorship Law to Combat Rampant Bias

      IMDb, an Amazon.com subsidiary, is suing over the law on free speech grounds. The plaintiff has brought a summary judgment motion that argues that the statute passed last year by California lawmakers is a content-based restriction that isn’t narrowly tailored to address the intended interest of combatting age discrimination in the entertainment industry. Besides nodding to how people like to debate actors’ ages and complaining how the law censors truthful information in the public interest, IMDb suggests there’s a better way to crack down on age bias.

    • Why Government Can’t Be Allowed to Make You Pay for Free Speech

      Imagine if Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., future Congressman John Lewis, and their compatriots in the civil rights movement had been stuck with the bill for Sheriff Bull Connor’s harassment, beatings, and arrests. Under a proposal before the Pennsylvania Senate, people who take to the streets to express their political views would face exactly that if they end up on the wrong side of the law.

      On August 16, Senator Scott Martin (R-Lancaster) introduced a bill that could hold protesters liable for public safety costs associated with demonstrations. The primary trigger for this proposed legislation was the protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline, though it was introduced just four days after the white supremacist demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    • Nazis, The Internet, Policing Content And Free Speech

      I’m going to try to do something that’s generally not recommended on the internet: I’m going to try to discuss a complicated issue that has many nuances and gray areas. That often fails, because all too often people online immediately leap to black or white positions, because it’s easy to miss the nuance when arguing about an emotionally potent issue. In this case, I want to discuss an issue that’s already received plenty of attention: how various platforms — starting with GoDaddy and Google, but with much of the attention placed on Cloudflare — decided to stop serving the neo-Nazi forum site the Daily Stormer. Now, I’ll note that as all that went down, I was focused on a multi-day drive out to (and then back from) the middle of absolute nowhere (a beautiful place) to watch the solar eclipse thing that everyone was talking about — meaning that for the past week I’ve been disconnected from the internet quite a bit, which meant that I (a) missed much of the quick takes on this and (b) had plenty of time to really think about it. And, the simple fact is that it is a complicated issue, no matter what anyone says. So let’s dig in.

    • TV Station Falls For Pranksters; Sues Them For Fraud

      Playing pranks on local newscasters is a proud tradition that dates back to the days when people actually watched local newscasts for news. All it takes is willing pranksters, segment producers looking for filler, and staffers unwilling to perform even the most basic due diligence.

      Enter Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, most famous for buying up flea market VHS recordings and dubbing comedic commentary over the top of them. Their current catalog covers everything from retailer-produced sexual harassment videos to jazzercise to a variety of self-appointed experts opining on subject matter in which they clearly have no expertise.

    • Why China hurts itself more than others with censorship

      Last week, Cambridge University Press proposed to limit access to The China Quarterly, a major academic journal in the field of Chinese Studies. A Chinese import agency had requested Cambridge University Press (CUP) alter the website to make articles concerning topics such as the 1989 Tiananmen killings and the Cultural Revolution unavailable to readers inside China.

      The reaction from the academic world was swift and outraged. Dr Tim Pringle, the editor of the journal, made an unequivocal statement that this was unacceptable: the standards of international academic freedom meant that either the whole journal must be made available, or none of it. CUP in fact reversed its decision very swiftly and it’s unlikely that they or any other publisher will try to promote selective access to its journals in the near future. But this tactic highlights why China remains hobbled when it comes to understanding a topic of more concern to the Chinese than to anyone else: the reasons for change and conflict in their own society. By obstructing free research by its own academics, the Chinese government limits the analysis and judgment of the experts it surely wants to advise it. In the end, China loses more from censorship than Westerners.

    • Cambridge University Press Refuses to Comply With Second Chinese Takedown Request
    • Cambridge University Press Censorship Storm Continues, Despite Reversal
    • Universities must stand up to Chinese censorship

      Cambridge University Press, or CUP, recently found itself at the centre of a storm of controversy when it tamely acceded to the demands of the censorship arm of the mainland Chinese government to remove 300 articles from the Chinese website version of one of its well-respected journals, The China Quarterly.

      Following critical press coverage and protests from academics, CUP made a sharp U-turn, claiming that the decision was only a temporary measure. Whatever the excuses, the incident is a worrying illustration of the lengths Beijing will go to in order to shore up the Great Firewall of China.

    • The Trump Administration Censors Climate Change Research as Hurricane Harvey Barrels Down on Texas
    • China’s New Wave of Internet Censorship: Name Verification for Online Commenting
    • Gab fights censorship with free speech social media platform
    • YouTube censors Jihad Watch, Daily Bible readings, and more
    • OPINION | Nancy Pelosi is on her way toward killing free speech
    • KRON4’s exclusive interview with Nancy Pelosi
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Student Privacy Tips for Students

      Students: As you get ready to go back to school, add “review your student privacy rights” to your back-to-school to-do list, right next to ordering books and buying supplies. Exciting new technology in the classroom can also mean privacy violations, including the chance that your personal devices and online accounts may be demanded for searches by school personnel.

    • Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner in court next week

      Accused NSA leaker Reality Winner will be in federal court in Augusta next week.

      Winner, who worked for a defense contractor here in Augusta, is charged with leaking classified information to an online news site called “The Intercept.”

      Prosecutors say the report she’s accused of leaking suggested Russian hackers attacked U-S voting software days before November’s Presidential election.

    • NSA ramps up PR campaign to keep its mass spying powers

      The NSA has begun what is likely to be a determined PR campaign to retain mass spying laws as they head toward expiration at the end of the year.

      In a post on its website titled “Section 702 Saves Lives, Protects the Nation and Allies,” America’s surveillance nerve center argues it “relies” on the controversial part of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to “uncover the identities or plans of terrorists.”

      The law has “played both a unique and decisive role in national defense,” it goes on, adding that it also “informs” the intelligence community’s “cybersecurity efforts.”

    • Once Again, New Zealand’s Spying On Megaupload Execs Found To Be Illegal

      Earlier this week, the new documentary by Annie Goldson about Kim Dotcom, Kim Dotcom: Caught In The Web was released. It’s available on basically any authorized platform (and, not surprisingly, quickly showed up on a number of unauthorized platforms as well). I should note that I sat for two interviews with the filmmakers, and am very briefly in the film. It’s really worth watching. While it doesn’t go as deep into the weeds of the specific legal issues at play as I, as a legal geek, might enjoy, that’s understandable as a more mass market documentary. And I think it does a really great job of at least getting across the basic issues, of how people in Hollywood, the DOJ and New Zealand law enforcement, intelligence and government were so won over by the image of Kim Dotcom, that they didn’t bother much with the legal details.

      One aspect of the legal case that is definitely discussed in the documentary is the fact that the New Zealand intelligence service, GCSB, illegally spied on Kim Dotcom on behalf of the US government. That’s supposed to be forbidden, as the GCSB is only supposed to spy on foreigners, and not citizens or permanent residents. This came out fairly early on in the case against Dotcom, but there’s been an ongoing legal battle (one of many…) into what it means concerning the case against him. GCSB had said that they didn’t mean to break the law, so it shouldn’t matter. And New Zealand moved to change the law to expand GCSB’s surveillance powers over New Zealanders in the future.

    • GCSB found to have illegally spied on others in new Megaupload twist

      The GCSB has been found to have acted unlawfully when it spied on foreigners in the FBI-led Megaupload investigation.

      In doing so, it has raised the possibility the entire operation was illegal.

    • Dotcom’s lawyer calls for case to be dismissed after court rules that New Zealand’s GCSB illegally spied on Megaupload

      “The government’s illegal conduct has reached such an extreme level that we believe that no court should entertain an extradition proceeding so tainted with state sponsored abuse and violations of basic human rights.”

    • Entire Kim Dotcom Spying Operation Was Illegal, High Court Rules

      The whole New Zealand-based spying operation against Kim Dotcom and his Megaupload co-defendants was illegal, the High Court has ruled. The revelation appears in a newly released decision, which shows the GCSB spy agency refusing to respond to questions about its activities on the basis that could jeopardize national security.

    • Megaupload execs’ extradition may be at risk after new spying revelations

      The High Court of New Zealand, the country’s intermediate appellate court, has ruled that the entire government spying operation conducted against two of Kim Dotcom’s closest colleagues was not authorized under local law in 2011.

      According to a court filing newly released on Friday afternoon, Auckland time (late Thursday evening, Eastern Time), the Government Communications Security Bureau conducted an “unlawful” and “unreasonable search” of Bram van der Kolk and Mathias Ortmann, two Megaupload executives. The GCSB is the New Zealand equivalent of the National Security Agency in the United States.

      At the time, van der Kolk (like Dotcom himself) was a permanent resident of New Zealand, which meant that he should have been exempted from being spied upon by the GCSB, which apparently failed to adequately verify their immigration status.

    • Citizens of India today have right to privacy, says former Justice Puttaswamy

      While the Court will still hear the case on the use of Aadhaar, the judgment by the nine-judge bench delivered on Thursday deals with the larger issue of the right to privacy of an individual and its classification as a fundamental right under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution. The Hindu spoke to Justice (retd) Puttaswamy following the verdict.

    • ‘Data is the new oil’: Your personal information is now the world’s most valuable commodity

      Traditionally, this is where the antitrust regulators would step in, but in the data economy it’s not so easy. What we’re seeing for the first time is a clash between the concept of the nation state and these global, borderless corporations. A handful of tech giants now surpass the size and power of many governments.

    • Welcome to the Internet of listening, eavesdropping, spying things

      There’s a new frontier for digital privacy: home devices that understand spoken commands. That’s impressive and convenient, but it comes with definite risks, as Rick Falkvinge pointed out earlier this week. The product sites of the main players in the so-called “smart speaker” sector – Amazon, Apple, and Google – offer plenty of upbeat advertising copy about the convenience, but are naturally silent about the potential problems.

    • Facebook hires former NYT public editor to help with transparency [iophk: "official spinmeister"]

      According to the company, Spayd will be tasked with helping Facebook pull the curtain back on how it handles internal moves on matters like terrorism, fake new and privacy.

    • Instagram is listening to you

      In any of the two conclusions: the microphone is used to record your environment. Today I’m 100% sure about this.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Nearly Half of Trump Voters Think Whites, Christians Are Most Oppressed Groups

      He has come for Mexicans, Muslims, Black people, trans people, Democrats, the news media, activists and even leading members of Congress from his own party. Few have been spared Donald Trump’s scorn, but when it came time to condemn white supremacists for inciting deadly violence last week, the president was quick to argue that it wasn’t entirely their fault.

      A storm of media controversy followed, but Trump refused to back down, defending his initial remarks about the racist invasion of Charlottesville, Virginia. Then he held a rally in Phoenix, Arizona this week where he threatened to shut down the government over funding for his unpopular border wall and flirted with pardoning former Phoenix Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a known racist who is facing jail time because he refused to stop racially profiling Latinos.

    • ‘Positively Evil’: Immigrant Checkpoints to Remain Open as Harvey Forces Evacuations

      As residents of Southeast Texas evacuate under strict orders in preparation for the rapidly-approaching Hurricane Harvey, members of the area’s immigrant community are being left with an impossible choice on Friday: face the potentially life-threatening storm or follow evacuation orders and risk being detained and even deported.

      Border Patrol officials said late Thursday they were not planning to close roadside immigration checkpoints north of the affected area as tens of thousands made their way out of several coastal counties, where Harvey was expected to make landfall by early Saturday.

    • Video: How White Nationalism Became Normal Online

      One of the most shocking images from the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Aug. 11 was the spectacle of several hundred young people taking up torches and marching in support of white nationalism.

      The avalanche of media coverage that followed the murder of antiracist activist Heather Heyer by far-right member James Alex Fields Jr., the 20-year-old who drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters, has touched on many reasons for the recent explosion in white supremacist organizing. The dehumanization of marginalized groups, from immigrants to racial minorities to Muslims, has played an increasingly overt role in mainstream conservative media and Republican election campaigns, culminating in the open bigotry of Donald Trump’s presidential bid. Many experts point to backlash against shifting racial demographics, newly won rights for gays and lesbians, and the rising economic power of women as other reasons to explain the growth of racist, far-right organizations.

    • Colin Kaepernick and the NFL: Man vs Machine

      Specifically, the 29-year old quarterback’s stand was undertaken in solidarity with the growing number of black and minority victims of police brutality in America, and in protest at the lack of prosecutions with regard to the officer’s involved. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color”, he told the press afterwards. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”

    • Trump signs directive banning transgender military recruits

      President Donald Trump on Friday directed the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan that would have allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, following through on his intentions announced a month earlier to ban transgender people from serving.

      The presidential memorandum also bans the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment regimens for transgender individuals currently serving in the military.

      Trump also directed the departments of Defense and Homeland Security “to determine how to address transgender individuals currently serving based on military effectiveness and lethality, unitary cohesion, budgetary constraints, applicable law, and all factors that may be relevant,” the White House official said.

    • Court: TSA Agents Can Be Shielded From Certain Civil Rights Lawsuits Because They’re Too Important

      A First and Fourth Amendment lawsuit filed against a TSA agent and a handful of Philadelphia police officers has reached the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals. Unfortunately, the court has decided the work TSA agents do, however incompetently, is too important to be in any way stifled by the threat of First Amendment lawsuits. [h/t Brad Heath]

      Roger Vanderklok was attempting to fly from Philadelphia to Miami to participate in a half-marathon. He packed his heart monitor and watch inside something certain to be flagged by TSA agents 5-7% of the time: a PVC pipe with both ends taped shut.

      In this case, a TSA employee did flag the “device” and had some questions about Vanderklok’s PVC-and-wires package. Agent Charles Kieser engaged in a conversation with Vanderklok about the pipe, ultimately resulting in the TSA employee having Vanderklok arrested for threatening to smuggle a bomb onto a plane.

    • Repeal All UK Terrorism Laws, Says UK Government Adviser On Terrorism Laws

      It’s become a depressingly predictable spectacle over the years, as politicians, law enforcement officials and spy chiefs take turns to warn about the threat of “going dark”, and to call for yet more tough new laws, regardless of the fact that they won’t help.

    • President Trump pardons controversial sheriff Joe Arpaio

      US President Donald Trump has pardoned ex-Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who had been convicted of criminal contempt.

      Mr Arpaio, 85, was found guilty after he defied a court order to stop traffic patrols targeting suspected immigrants. He was due to be sentenced in October.

      The president had hinted at the pardon at a rally in Phoenix on Tuesday.

    • Home Office privately says it will pay back deportation legal fees

      The Home Office has privately told an EU national who received a deportation letter in error that it will be reimbursing the legal fees she incurred in fighting the order to leave the UK.

      After Eva Johanna Holmberg spent about £3,800 fighting the government decision to order her to leave the country or face deportation or detention, she discovered that the letter had been sent in error – and that up to 100 EU citizens had received similar ultimatums.

      When the Guardian raised the issue the Home Office apologised to Holmberg and the prime minister, Theresa May, called the incident an “unfortunate error”.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • A Title II opponent explains why Ajit Pai’s plan won’t protect net neutrality

      The Federal Communications Commission plan to repeal net neutrality rules depends partly on the argument that antitrust rules can protect consumers and websites from bad behavior by Internet service providers.

      “I think that antitrust and consumer protection authorities stand at the vanguard to make sure that consumers and competition are protected,” FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said in a recent interview with NPR.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • Atari Sues Nestle Over A KitKat Commercial With An Homage To ‘Breakout’

        A few decades ago, Atari was one of the few indisputable titans in the the early gaming industry. With early titles like Pong and Breakout, Atari became a household name for gamers. At the present, however, Atari is little more than an intellectual property troll, scouring the world for anything it might frame as copyright or trademark infringement, often to laughable lengths. For the rest of this post, it is important to keep in your mind the fact that this is now Atari’s chief industry: licensing and lawsuits.

      • Nestle accused of pilfering Atari ‘Breakout’ game for ‘Kit Kat’ ads

        A new lawsuit accuses Nestle SA (NESN.S) of blatantly violating the rights of Atari (ATAR.PA) by using without permission the classic 1970s video game “Breakout” in a new marketing campaign for its Kit Kat chocolate-covered wafers.

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  4. Update on the EPO's Crackdown on the Boards of Appeal

    Demand of 35% increases from the boards serves to show that Battistelli now does to the 'independent' judges what he already did to examiners at the Office



  5. The Lobbyists Are Trying to Subvert US Law in Favour of Patent Predators

    Mingorance, Kappos, Underweiser and other lobbyists for the software patents agenda (paid by firms like Microsoft and IBM) keep trying to undo progress, notably the bans on software patents



  6. Patent Trolls Based in East Texas Are Affected Very Critically by TC Heartland

    The latest situation in Texas (United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas in particular), which according to new analyses is the target of legal scrutiny for the 'loopholes' it provided to patent trolls in search of easy legal battles



  7. Alice Remains a Strong Precedential Decision and the Media Has Turned Against Software Patents

    The momentum against the scourge of software patents and the desperation among patent 'professionals' (people who don't create/develop/invent) is growing



  8. Harm Still Caused by Granted Software Patents

    A roundup of recent (past week's) announcements, including legal actions, contingent upon software patents in an age when software patents bear no real legitimacy



  9. Links 18/11/2017: Raspberry Digital Signage 10, New Nano

    Links for the day



  10. 23,000 Posts

    23,000 blog posts milestone reached in 11 years



  11. BlackBerry Cannot Sell Phones and Apple Looks Like the Next BlackBerry (a Pile of Patents)

    The lifecycle of mobile giants seems to typically end in patent shakedown, as Apple loses its business to Android just like Nokia and BlackBerry lost it to Apple



  12. EFF and CCIA Use Docket Navigator and Lex Machina to Identify 'Stupid Patents' (Usually Software Patents That Are Not Valid)

    In spite of threats and lawsuits from bogus 'inventors' whom they criticise, EFF staff continues the battle against patents that should never have been granted at all



  13. The Australian Productivity Commission Shows the Correct Approach to Setting Patent Laws and Scope

    Australia views patents on software as undesirable and acts accordingly, making nobody angry except a bunch of law firms that profited from litigation and patent maximalism



  14. EPO 'Business' From the United States Has Nosedived and UPC is on Its Death Throes

    Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot further accelerate the ultimate demise of the EPO (getting rid of experienced and thus 'expensive' staff), for which there is no replacement because there is a monopoly (which means Europe will suffer severely)



  15. Links 17/11/2017: KDE Applications 17.12, Akademy 2018 Plans

    Links for the day



  16. Today's EPO and Team UPC Do Not Work for Europe But Actively Work Against Europe

    The tough reality that some Europeans actively work to undermine science and technology in Europe because they personally profit from it and how this relates to the Unitary Patent (UPC), which is still aggressively lobbied for, sometimes by bribing/manipulating the media, academia, and public servants



  17. Links 16/11/2017: WordPress 4.9 and GhostBSD 11.1 Released

    Links for the day



  18. The Staff Union of the EPO (SUEPO) is Rightly Upset If Not Shocked at What Battistelli and Bergot Are Doing to the Office

    The EPO's dictatorial management is destroying everything that's left (of value) at the Office while corrupting academia and censoring discussion by threatening those who publish comments (gagging its own staff even when that staff posts anonymously)



  19. EPO Continues to Disobey the Law on Software Patents in Europe

    Using the same old euphemisms, e.g. "computer-implemented inventions" (or "CII"), the EPO continues to grant patents which are clearly and strictly out of scope



  20. Links 16/11/2017: Tails 3.3, Deepin 15.5 Beta

    Links for the day



  21. Benoît Battistelli and Elodie Bergot Have Just Ensured That EPO Will Get Even More Corrupt

    Revolving door-type tactics will become more widespread at the EPO now that the management (Battistelli and his cronies) hires for low cost rather than skills/quality and minimises staff retention; this is yet another reason to dread anything like the UPC, which prioritises litigation over examination



  22. Australia is Banning Software Patents and Shelston IP is Complaining as Usual

    The Australian Productivity Commission, which defies copyright and patent bullies, is finally having policies put in place that better serve the interests of Australians, but the legal 'industry' is unhappy (as expected)



  23. Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) Defended by Technology Giants, by Small Companies, by US Congress and by Judges, So Why Does USPTO Make It Less Accessible?

    In spite of the popularity of PTAB and the growing need/demand for it, the US patent system is apparently determined to help it discriminate against poor petitioners (who probably need PTAB the most)



  24. Declines in Patent Quality at the EPO and 'Independent' Judges Can No Longer Say a Thing

    The EPO's troubling race to the bottom (of patent quality) concerns the staff examiners and the judges, but they cannot speak about it without facing rather severe consequences



  25. The EPO is Now Corrupting Academia, Wasting Stakeholders' Money Lying to Stakeholders About the Unitary Patent (UPC)

    The Unified Patent Court/Unitary Patent (UPC) is a dying project and the EPO, seeing that it is going nowhere fast, has resorted to new tactics and these tactics cost a lot of money (at the expense of those who are being lied to)



  26. Links 15/11/2017: Fedora 27 Released, Linux Mint Has New Betas

    Links for the day



  27. Patents Roundup: Packet Intelligence, B.E. Technology, Violin, and Square

    The latest stories and warnings about software patents in the United States



  28. Decline of Skills Level of Staff Like Examiners and Impartiality (Independence) of Judges at the EPO Should Cause Concern, Alarm

    Access to justice is severely compromised at the EPO as staff is led to rely on deficient tools for determining novelty while judges are kept out of the way or ill-chosen for an agenda other than justice



  29. Links 14/11/2017: GNU/Linux at Samsung, Firefox 57 Quantum

    Links for the day



  30. Microsoft: Sheltering Oneself From Patent Litigation While Passing Patents for Trolls to Attack GNU/Linux

    Another closer look at Provenance Asset Holdings and what exactly it is (connection to AST, part of the cartel Microsoft subsidises to shield itself)


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