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11.11.17

Links 11/11/2017: Mesa 17.2.5 and Wine 2.21 Released

Posted in News Roundup at 5:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Chrome OS Getting Accelerated Video Decoding and Encoding Capabilities Info Soon

      François Beaufort is always teasing Chromebook users with the latest features, and today he posted a message on his Google+ page that accelerated video decoding and encoding capabilities are now available in the internal chrome://gpu page in Chrome Canary.

      It appears that the functionally works if you set profiles for various of the supported video codecs by Chrome OS, which can be decoded and encoded through hardware acceleration if your Chromebook is supported, which many of them are.

    • Samsung shows off Linux desktops on Galaxy smartmobes

      Samsung teased the idea of Linux on its flagship phones in October 2017, promising that Linux would run in your hand or, if you use its DeX dock, in full desktop mode on a monitor. Now it’s released the video below to show off its idea.

      Described as a “Concept Demo”, the vid has a couple of interesting moments.

      The first comes at the 12 second mark, after the “Linux on Galaxy” app has been run. At this point we see Ubuntu 16 listed, along with a plus sign to add other OSes to the app. This appears to make good on Samsung’s promise that you’ll be able to have multiple OSes in your Galaxy.

    • Linux is coming to Samsung Galaxy smartphones

      The idea of putting Linux on a smartphone is not new but the fact that Samsung is testing the operating system on its smartphones is.

      Samsung made the announcement that it would be possible to run Linux on a Galaxy smartphone at SDC 2017 earlier this year.

    • Linux Distros On Smartphone: The First “Linux On Galaxy” Demo Is Here

      Technology companies involved in desktop and mobile space have been trying hard to achieve a perfect sense of convergence. Microsoft has been doing it with the help of Continuum; Apple has its own approach to make the iPad workflow more PC-like. Along the same lines, Samsung launched the new DeX dock with its flagship Galaxy S8.

    • Apple’s Late-2016 MacBook Pro Is Still A Wreck With Linux

      At the end of last year we had a brief encounter with the new at the time MacBook Pro with Touchbar to see how well it would run under Linux. It was a mess with SSD difficulties, non-working touchpad/keyboard, WiFi issues, and more. It’s a bit better using the newly-released Ubuntu 17.10, but would still advise against Linux for the Apple MacBook Pro Late-2016 model / Mac-A5C67F76ED83108C / MacBookPro 13,3 model.

  • Server

    • What is OpenHPC?

      High performance computing (HPC)—the aggregation of computers into clusters to increase computing speed and power—relies heavily on the software that connects and manages the various nodes in the cluster. Linux is the dominant HPC operating system, and many HPC sites expand upon the operating system’s capabilities with different scientific applications, libraries, and other tools.

      As HPC began developing, that there was considerable duplication and redundancy among the HPC sites compiling HPC software became apparent, and sometimes dependencies between the different software components made installations cumbersome. The OpenHPC project was created in response to these issues. OpenHPC is a community-based effort to solve common tasks in HPC environments by providing documentation and building blocks that can be combined by HPC sites according to their needs.

    • Containerd Brings More Container Runtime Options for Kubernetes

      A container runtime is software that executes containers and manages container images on a node. Today, the most widely known container runtime is Docker, but there are other container runtimes in the ecosystem, such as rkt, containerd, and lxd. Docker is by far the most common container runtime used in production Kubernetes environments, but Docker’s smaller offspring, containerd, may prove to be a better option. This post describes using containerd with Kubernetes.

    • Prometheus 2.0 Arrives with a Speedy New Local Storage Engine

      Improved local storage is at the heart of the new release of Prometheus 2.0, according to Fabian Reinartz, a CoreOS software engineer and a core developer of the Prometheus monitoring system.

      With distributed system coordination software such as Kubernetes and Mesos, monitored environments have become increasingly more dynamic, Reinartz pointed out in a blog post. The motioning software needed its own dedicated storage to ensure responsiveness in these dynamic environments.

      Though Prometheus 1.6 introduced auto-tuning capabilities, the team has been working on a more performant time-series database. “It’s just way more reliable and faster. Ideally, you don’t want to have to reconfigure all the time, so Prometheus just responds to change in demands, so there are way fewer knobs to turn for the people running it,” Reinartz said in an interview.

    • Mesosphere DC/OS Container Platform Now Available through Azure Marketplace
    • Here’s How Microsoft and Google are Trying to Catch Amazon in the Cloud

      It’s hard to think of a business Amazon.com Inc. dominates as convincingly as the market for cloud computing services. Andy Jassy, chief executive officer of the company’s cloud division, Amazon Web Services Inc., likes to brag that his outfit has several times as much business as the next 14 providers combined. Amazon’s next-largest cloud competitor, Microsoft Corp., is less than one-fifth Amazon’s size in terms of sales of infrastructure services, which store and run data and applications in the cloud, according to research firm Gartner Inc. Google, the No. 3 U.S. cloud services provider and the second-largest company in the world by market value, makes one-fifteenth of Amazon’s cloud revenue.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • SoundWire Subsystem Revised For The Linux Kernel

      SoundWire is being proposed again for being introduced to the Linux kernel as a new soundsystem.

      Back in October 2016 is when Intel developers originally proposed SoundWire support for Linux. SoundWire is a low-power, two-pin bus that’s been around since 2014 for supporting multiple audio streams and embedded control/commands. This specification is developed by MIPI. More details on the SoundWire specification via MIPI.org.

    • Fixes MIA for Many Linux Kernel Flaws [Ed: But these are not very severe bugs as they require physical access to the machine to exploit]

      A Google code security researcher’s recent discovery of 14 flaws in Linux kernel USB drivers led to last-minute fixes in the Linux 4.14 release candidate code set for distribution on Sunday.

      The flaws, which Google researcher Andrey Konovalov disclosed earlier this week, affect the Linux kernel before version 4.13.8.

      All 14 have available fixes. However, they are part of a much larger group of 79 flaws affecting the Linux kernel’s USB drivers, some of which remain unpatched.

      Within this larger group of coding flaws, 22 now have a Common Vulnerabilities and Exposures number, and fixes are available for them.

    • We Could See WireGuard Upstreamed In The Linux Kernel In 2018

      WireGuard is the effort led by Jason Donenfeld to provide a next-gen secure network tunnel for the Linux kernel. Jason has laid out plans and next steps for getting this interesting project merged into the upstream Linux kernel.

    • Linux Foundation/Hyperledger/Blockchain

      • The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit: the importance of a diverse community

        The Linux Foundation Open Source Summit was held recently in Prague. During the Summit the important issue of diversity in the opensource and tech communities was addressed.

        It was inspiring to hear from young expert speakers about the opportunities and challenges they face in these communities. Similarly the topic of gender diversity was also discussed.

      • Hyperledger Goes to School

        Hyperledger , the blockchain reference framework launched by the Linux Foundation , is nearly two years old. It is starting to gain commercial traction, underpinning projects such as Everledger , the blockchain to track the provenance of high-value items like diamonds.

        Now that Hyperledger is getting more popular, developers and businesspeople alike will want to get more acquainted with it. To that end, the Linux Foundation has partnered with edX to launch an online course. Founded by Harvard and MIT, edX is one of the many Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) providers on the web.

      • Most Blockchain Projects Go Bust

        Deloitte analyzed GitHub, the popular open-source code repository and collaboration platform, to examine the state of the blockchain development scene. GitHub boasts 24 million users and over 68 million projects.

      • Report: Only 8% of open-source blockchain projects launched in 2016 are still active

        he majority of blockchain projects launched on the open-source platform GitHub were abandoned within months, according to recent research out of consulting firm Deloitte.

        The Deloitte researchers analyzed metadata from blockchain projects available on GitHub, a global software collaboration platform comprising 68-plus projects from 24 million participants. They determined roughly 8,600 blockchain projects, on average, have launched each year since 2009.

    • Graphics Stack

      • OpenGL Atomic Counters Land For R600 Gallium3D

        Support for atomic counters have landed within the R600 Gallium3D driver that continues to be used by pre-GCN graphics cards from the Radeon HD 2000 series through the Radeon HD 6000 series.

      • Geometry Shader Support For RadeonSI’s NIR Back-End

        AMD this year has been developing a NIR back-end for the RadeonSI Gallium3D driver in part for supporting the ARB_gl_spirv extension in being able to re-use/share some code with the RADV Vulkan driver that obviously already deals with SPIR-V and relies on NIR for its intermediate representation. Now support for geometry shaders is coming to RadeonSI NIR.

      • Mesa 17.2.5 Released

        The fifth point release to Mesa 17.2 is now available with the latest fixes while the Mesa 17.3 official release is imminent.

      • mesa 17.2.5

        Mesa 17.2.5 is now available.

        In this release we have:

        In Mesa Core a GL error related to the ARB_ES3_1_compatibility spec
        noticed with the GFXBench 5 Aztec Ruins has been corrected.

        The GLSL compiler is not giving a linker error for mismatching uniform
        precision with GLSL ES 1.00 any more. This enables, specially, several
        Android applications which violate this rule, like Forge of Empires,
        for example.

      • Intel Posts Patches For SPIR-V Generation From Mesa’s GLSL Compiler

        Longtime Intel open-source graphics driver developer Ian Romanick has posted his initial set of patches for what he calls “the first of the real SPIR-V work.”

      • Intel Begins Testing Early Graphics Driver Changes For Linux 4.16

        Linux 4.14 isn’t even out the door yet but with the DRM-Next feature period over in preparation for the Linux 4.15 merge window, Intel open-source developers are already prepping code improvements that will in turn target Linux 4.16.

        Rodrigo Vivi announced the updated drm-intel-testing code today as the start of new feature material that will eventually find its way into the Linux 4.16 kernel next year.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE Applications 17.08 Reaches End of Life, KDE Apps 17.12 Coming December 14

        KDE Applications 17.08.3 is the last stability update for KDE Applications 17.08, bringing a total of 41 bug fixes for various core components and applications, among which we can mention Ark, Gwenview, Kdenlive, KGpg, Kontact, Kleopatra, KMail, KNotes, KWave, Okular, and Spectacle, along with updated translations.

        Among the improvements included in this release, we can mention a workaround for a Samba 4.7 regression related to password-protected SMB shares, a fix for an Okular crash that occurred after certain rotation jobs, as well as support for the Ark archive manager to preserve file modification dates when extracting ZIP archives.

      • Kubuntu 17.10 Users Can Now Update to KDE Plasma 5.11.3 Desktop Environment

        Kubuntu 17.10 was released on October 19, 2017, with the KDE Plasma 5.10.5 desktop environment by default. If you’re running Kubuntu 17.10 on your personal computer, you can now update it to the KDE Plasma 5.11.3 desktop environment, a bugfix release that addresses multiple issues and annoyances.

        The KDE Plasma 5.11.3 packages landed today in the Kubuntu Backports PPA (Personal Package Archive), not Kubuntu 17.10′s standard software repositories, along with several other recent KDE applications and core component, including the recently released Krita 3.3.2.1 digital painting software.

      • Plasma 5.11.3 bugfix release now in backports PPA for Artful Aardvark 17.10
      • Kdenlive 17.08.3 released

        The last dot release of the 17.08 series is out with minor fixes. We continue focus on the refactoring branch with steady progress towards a stable release.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Code indexing in Builder

        Anoop, one of Builder’s GSoC students this past summer, put together a code-index engine built upon Builder’s fuzzy search algorithm. It shipped with support for C and C++. Shortly after the 3.27 cycle started, Patrick added support for GJS. Today I added support for Vala which was rather easy given the other code we have in Builder.

      • Simplifying contributions

        Every release of both GNOME and Builder, we try to lower the barrier a bit more for new contributions. Bastian mentioned to me at GUADEC that we could make things even simpler from the Builder side of things. After a few mockups, I finally found some time to start implementing it.

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia 5 GNU/Linux Operating System to Reach End of Life on New Year’s Eve

        In the blog announcement, the Mageia developer explains that the team decided to postpone the EOL (End-of-Life) for the Mageia 5 release, which was supposed to reach end of life on October 31, until New Year’s Eve, because many Mageia 5 users haven’t upgraded to Mageia 6.

        Announced on July 16, 2017, Mageia 6 is the latest stable release of the GNU/Linux distribution, incorporating some of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source applications, including the KDE Plasma 5.11 desktop environment, AppStream support, GRUB2 as default bootloader, a new Xfce Live edition, and much more.

    • Arch Family

      • A look at Arch Linux based Antergos

        So, I’ve mentioned a few times for my love of Arch Linux and Manjaro, but there is another player in the mix that deserves due diligence, and has actually won over my personal use vote as well; Antergos.

        The main difference between Antergos and Manjaro is updates and repositories. Manjaro holds updates for further testing, Antergos does not, and Antergos uses the Arch repos directly.

        That said, when you are finished installing Antergos, you are essentially left with an Arch Linux system that has a few extra bells and whistles installed, where as Manjaro is Manjaro, based on Arch. This is over-simplifying, but the essential core difference.

        Antergos can be downloaded from the homepage, and comes in either a minimal ISO or a live ISO. Both are graphically bootable and use graphical installers, it’s just that one will allow you to boot into a live system and try things first, the other will not.

        The installation tool is very simple to use, and anyone with prior installation experience will have absolutely no problems using it.

      • Arch Linux Ends Support for 32-Bit Systems

        Arch Linux has ended support for i686 architecture i.e 32-bit systems. This is not a sudden decision because an announcement was made in January this year. Decreasing popularity was cited as the driving factor behind this decision: “Due to the decreasing popularity of i686 among the developers and the community, we have decided to phase out the support of this architecture.”

    • Red Hat Family

      • What is Red Hat Linux?

        Red Hat provides an ecosystem which supports diverse workloads for physical, cloud and virtual environments. Multiple versions of Red Hat are available for desktops, SAP applications, mainframes, servers, and OpenStack. Red Hat supports a large number of different software packages which helps in easy use for enterprise level applications.

      • Red Hat CTO Details the Next Waves of IT Innovation

        Red Hat is involved in a number of areas of IT that use its Linux operating system as a base. Providing direction on many of those areas of IT is Red Hat Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Chris Wright.

        Wright has been with Red Hat since 2005 and was officially promoted to the role of CTO in October 2017. Wright is only the second CTO in Red Hat’s history, following Brian Stevens, who held the position from 2001 until 2014, when he left to join Google.

        In a video interview with eWEEK, Wright discusses some of the future technology directions for his company, including what’s next for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL), where machine learning and artificial intelligence are headed, and what the most exciting areas of innovation are likely to be in the years ahead.

        “At the end of the day, RHEL is about running enterprise workloads on a stable long-term supported platform, and that’s the core focus,” Wright said. “We’re doing some enablement of new hardware and have had a preview release for RHEL on ARM.”

      • Red Hat and Integration Take Center Stage at OpenStack Summit

        Red Hat previews its upcoming release of the cloud platform while the OpenStack Foundation talks product integration.

      • Finance

      • Fedora

        • Fedora 27 Is Cleared For Release Next Week

          Following a few days, Fedora 27 is cleared to ship next week.

          Fedora 27 was due to be released at the end of October but delays pushed it back. Fortunately, at today’s Go/No-Go meeting, the blocker bugs were cleared so the team decided that this next Red Hat sponsored Fedora Linux installment is ready to ship.

        • PHP version 7.0.26RC1 and 7.1.12RC1
    • Debian Family

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 2.9.14 beta released

          The Elive Team is proud to announce the release of the beta version 2.9.14

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark – Art eater

            Ubuntu 17.10 Artful Aardvark is definitely one of the worst releases ever – among the few distros that I actually consider worth actually using to begin with, and probably the most underwhelming Ubuntu ever released. If Canonical really wants to revive the desktop, then it must ditch Gnome and go with Plasma. Otherwise, it’s just going to be one long, neverending disaster of apathy, mediocrity and self-delusion. Fonts are the only thing that works well in this release.

            Everything else is just awful – a sad live session that showcases nothing, Samba regressions, Nouveau color fiasco, application crashes, botched extensions mechanism, a neutered and counter-intuitive desktop, and the list goes on. You’ve read the review, no need for me to repeat itself. And the simple reason for this is Gnome. But then it’s up to Canonical to do things right. Only can you really blame them for not trying? They wanted to make Linux big, but the so-called community took a proverbial dump on them. The only reason why anyone even remotely cares about Linux desktop is Ubuntu, and now it’s not even that. Ubuntu is tired. The old passion is gone.

            The only salvation is to reboot the whole thing. Plasma. Hopefully, come April 2018, there will be one LTS and it will be running KDE, and it will be called Ubuntu. At the moment, we’re back in 2005 or so, when Ubuntu just started. Maybe other DE flavors will be better. 1/10. Hardly worth testing. You might be luckier, but if it comes to luck and not professionalism, you might as well not bother. Dedoimedo regretfully approves this review.

          • Ubuntu 18.04 Daily Builds Available For Download — A New Default Theme Is (Probably) Coming

            The development of next Ubuntu LTS release, i.e., Ubuntu 18.04 Bionic Beaver (here’s the story behind codename), has started. It was preceded by Artful Aardvark that marked a shift from Unity to GNOME desktop environment. For LTS users, who are currently running 16.04, Bionic Beaver would be a landmark release.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • First Look: ‘I Lost My Body,’ A Feature Made With Open-Source Blender Software

    The film will mark the feature directorial debut of French filmmaker Jérémy Clapin, known for atmospheric short-form masterpieces like Skhizein and Palmipedarium, which explore uncomfortable inner states and mental processes.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 57: Good news? It’s nippy. Bad news? It’ll also trash your add-ons

        Open Source Insider Mozilla plans on November 14 to start rolling out Firefox 57, a massive update that just might send many of its users scurrying for the LTS release.

        First the good news. Firefox 57 is faster, quite noticeably so, thanks to improvements to what Mozilla calls Project Quantum. Quantum encompasses several smaller projects in order to bring more parallelisation and GPU offloading to Firefox. That’s developer speak for using more of that really fast GPU you’ve got. And again, the results are noticeable (some of them have already rolled out).

  • SaaS/Back End

    • The OpenStack Foundation starts to look at projects beyond OpenStack

      Over the last few years, we’ve seen the launch of a number of open source foundations like the Cloud Native Compute Foundation, the Cloud Foundry Foundation and others. Most of these run under the Linux Foundation, but one of the largest open source foundation outside of that group’s orbit is the OpenStack Foundation, which — at least until now — has solely focused on the development of the OpenStack cloud computing platform.

    • Organizations Favoring Multicloud Deployments, OpenStack Survey Finds
    • OpenStack adoption grows into multi-cloud formations

      While private clouds are seen as something for larger organizations with healthy IT budgets, open source continues to play the role of disruptor, offering small to medium-size businesses (or departments of larger corporations) opportunities to build in this space as well. That’s why its interesting to see OpenStack, the open source platform for cloud computing, continuing to expand its base, and is increasingly part of more multi-cloud initiatives within enterprises.

    • OpenStack Neutron Set to Improve Cloud Networking in Queen’s Release

      There was a time when the Neutron networking project in OpenStack was not the default networking choice. Those times are now past, with Neutron now being used by the vast majority of OpenStack deployments.

      At the OpenStack Summit in Sydney, Australia the past and the future Project Technical Leads (PTLs) for Neutron talked about what landed in Neutron during the recent Pike release and what’s on roadmap for the upcoming Queen’s release cycle.

      “The mission of OpenStack networking is to implement services and associated libraries to provide on-demand, scalable and technology agnostic network abstraction,” Miguel Lavalle, PTL for Neurton for Queens’ told the audience.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • gtk3 + broadway + libreoffice

      Out of the box in Fedora 26 I see that our gtk3 version of LibreOffice mostly works under broadway so here’s libreoffice displaying through firefox. Toolbar is toast, but dialogs and menus work.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • Funding

    • Outreachy 2017 Participants Selected For Winter 2017 Open-Source Work

      The Outreachy participants for the Winter 2017 internship program for “underrepresented people in tech” have been named.

      There are 42 interns that were selected for the internship period running from December to March. The selected women and other underrepresented groups in the Linux/open-source world will be working on items including…

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Licensing/Legal

    • How OpenChain can transform the supply chain

      OpenChain is all about increasing open source compliance in the supply chain. This issue, which many people initially dismiss as a legal concern or a low priority, is actually tied to making sure that open source is as useful and frictionless as possible. In a nutshell, because open source is about the use of third-party code, compliance is the nexus where equality of access, safety of use, and reduction of risk can be found. OpenChain accomplishes this by building trust between organizations.

      Many companies today understand open source and act as major supporters of open source development; however, addressing open source license compliance in a systematic, industry-wide manner has proven to be a somewhat elusive challenge. The global IT market has not seen a significant reduction in the number of open source compliance issues in areas such as consumer electronics over the past decade.

      [...]

      The OpenChain Project, hosted by The Linux Foundation, is intended to make open source license compliance more predictable, understandable, and efficient for the software supply chain. Formally launched in October 2016, the OpenChain Project started three years earlier with discussions that continued at an increasing pace until a formal project was born. The basic idea was simple: Identify recommended processes for effective open source management. The goal was equally clear: Reduce bottlenecks and risk when using third-party code to make open source license compliance simple and consistent across the supply chain. The key was to pull things together in a manner that balanced comprehensiveness, broad applicability, and real-world usability.

    • Software Freedom Strategy with Community Projects

      All of those led me to understand how software freedom is under attack, in particular how copyleft in under attack. And, as I talked during FISL, though many might say that “Open Source has won”, end users software freedom has not. Lots of companies have co-opted “free software” but give no software freedom to their users. They seem friends with free software, and they are. Because they want software to be free. But freedom should not be a value for software itself, it needs to be a value for people, not only companies or people who are labeled software developers, but all people.

      That’s why I want to stop talking about free software, and talk more about software freedom. Because I believe the latter is more clear about what we are talking about. I don’t mind that we use whatever label, as long as we stablish its meaning during conversations, and set the tone to distinguish them. The thing is: free software does not software freedom make. Not by itself. As Bradley Kuhn puts it: it’s not magic pixie dust.

      Those who have known me for years might remember me as a person who studied free software licenses and how I valued copyleft, the GPL specifically, and how I concerned myself with topics like license compatibility and other licensing matters.

      Others might remember me as a person who valued a lot about upstreaming code. Not carrying changes to software openly developed that you had not made an effort to put upstream.

      I can’t say I was wrong on both accounts. I still believe in those things. I still believe in the importance of copyleft and the GPL. I still value sharing your code in the commons by going upstream. But I was certaily wrong in valuing them too much. Or not giving as much or even more value to distribution efforts of getting software freedom to the users.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • SUVs based on Tesla’s open source patents, fighting cancer with open source, and more
    • Open Data

    • Open Access/Content

      • Grants encourage faculty to use open-source course materials

        Shakespearean resource — Students in the “Acting Shakespeare” class of SUNY Oswego theatre department faculty member Mya Brown (front, with arm raised) work on a passage from “Romeo and Juliet.” With the assistance of a grant for open educational resources, Brown’s class is creating an annotated database of dialogues from Shakespeare’s plays that will be available as a resource for future students. From left are Esther Guidet, Marisa Miner, Wyatt Gilbert, Trey Thomas, Maegan Kenny and Evan Ribaudo.

        Recognizing that textbooks and courseware have become issues of affordability and access for many, faculty members have joined a State University of New York initiative to boost availability of and support for materials that students can freely or less expensively use.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Open-source 3D printed kit transforms $500 wheelchair into $2500 electronic wheelchair

        A team of around 30 high school roboticists from Ra’anana in Israel has developed a 3D printed Electric Wheelchair Kit that transforms an ordinary wheelchair into a motorized one. The free-to-download 3D printed tool could save wheelchair users around $2,000.

      • Open Source Motor Controller Makes Smooth Moves with Anti-Cogging

        Almost two years ago, a research team showed that it was possible to get fine motor control from cheap, brushless DC motors. Normally this is not feasible because the motors are built-in such a way that the torque applied is not uniform for every position of the motor, a phenomenon known as “cogging”. This is fine for something that doesn’t need low-speed control like a fan motor, but for robotics it’s a little more important. Since that team published their results, though, we are starting to see others implement their own low-speed brushless motor controllers.

  • Programming/Development

    • Practical Functional Programming

      40 years ago, on October 17th, 1977, the Turing Award was presented to John Backus for his contribution to the design of high-level programming systems, most notably the Fortran programming language. All Turing Award winners are given the opportunity to present a lecture on a topic of their choice during the year in which they receive the award. As the creator of the Fortran programming language, one may have expected Backus to lecture on the benefits of Fortran and future developments in the language. Instead, he gave a lecture entitled Can programming be liberated from the Von Neumann style? in which he criticized some of the mainstream languages of the day, including Fortran, for their shortcomings. He also proposed an alternative: a functional style of programming.

    • The long goodbye to C

      I was thinking a couple of days ago about the new wave of systems languages now challenging C for its place at the top of the systems-programming heap – Go and Rust, in particular. I reached a startling realization – I have 35 years of experience in C. I write C code pretty much every week, but I can no longer remember when I last started a new project in C!

    • Ten interesting features from various modern languages
    • 7 Open-Source Test Automation Frameworks

      As we enter the last quarter of 2017, TestProject’s team decided to round up the best open-source test automation frameworks out there, to help you choose the right one for you!

      Here are the pros and cons of 7 different open-source test automation frameworks.

Leftovers

  • Wife discovers spouse’s affair midair, outburst forces pilot to land

    The woman had unlocked her husband’s phone using his thumb impression when he was sleeping and then blew her top after discovering his infidelity. The crew tried to pacify her but she did not listen.

  • Algorithmic Videos Are Making YouTube Unsuitable For Young Children, And Google’s ‘Revenue Architecture’ Is To Blame

    The piece on Medium explores a particular class of YouTube Kids videos that share certain characteristics. They have bizarre, keyword-strewn titles like “Bad Baby with Tantrum and Crying for Lollipops Little Babies Learn Colors Finger Family Song 2 ” or “Angry Baby vs Spiderman vs Frozen Elsa BABY DROWNING w/ Maleficent Car Pink Spidergirl Superhero IRL”. They have massive numbers of views: 110 million for “Bad Baby” and 75 million for “Angry Baby”. In total, there seem to be thousands of them with similar, strange titles, and similar, disturbing content, which collectively are racking up billions of views.

  • How a smart phone makes time irrelevant

    So the smart phone age of the information era deteriorates time’s hold on capturing your attention. Just like a digital song starts analog, goes digital, and comes out analog again, we down-scale our memories on the conversion scale. It’s a lossy compression. We hold a moment in our hands, measured by pixels, over a connection and passion that comes from remembering the full power of a moment.

    But the solution isn’t to abandon the digital world and cast the device aside. The solution is to promote and encourage better balance between the digital and analog worlds. Compact lenses capture a moment, but the act of capturing doesn’t have to end the moment. If your digital world is ever gnawing at your back, find time to pull out into the analog world a bit.

  • 4 Situational Leadership Styles

    At SEETEST this year I visited only tracks related to management and leadership. The presentation How good leadership makes you a great team player by Jeroen Rosink was of particular interest to me. He talked about situational leadership.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Brexit, weak growth and an ageing population risk sinking the NHS

      In a couple of weeks, Philip Hammond will deliver his second Budget and the first since the snap general election. It’ll be a stressful time for him. Walk past the Treasury building this week and it’s a fair bet the lights will be on late into the night.

      Budgets are economic events but they’re also intensely political. Being able to navigate between the economics and the politics is the mark of a successful chancellor. But this Budget feels rather like Franklin’s famous search for the elusive North West Passage between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans: paved with icebergs and icy winds. Brexit – and the substantial downgrading of the productive potential of the economy that is expected to come with it – will significantly reduce his room for manoeuvre. And the public is clearly fed up with austerity. The risk of being sunk by icebergs is huge.

    • What Corporate Media Failed to Learn About Canadian Single-Payer

      When it was announced that several journalists would travel with Sen. Bernie Sanders in October for a hospital tour of Canada to learn about its single-payer system, one question immediately sprang to mind: What would corporate media do to smear universal healthcare this time?

      It is a sad reflection on the state of healthcare reporting in the United States that one can so easily predict how many media outlets will respond to a news event before it even happens. Yet for many familiar with years of media either ignoring or rejecting the merits of a universal public healthcare system—Canada’s in particular—it was hard not to expect dismissiveness and/or mockery from outlets such as the New York Times and Vox, who sent reporters on the tour.

      The results were unsurprising. Vox (10/31/17) used the occasion to explain why single-payer is likely a pipe dream that doesn’t fit with American values. Much of the Times article (11/2/17) read like satire aimed at mocking Canada and Sanders.

    • First Consultations Held On WHO Pandemic Flu Framework Options
    • WIPO Vaccines Report Contestable, Advocate Says, With UN High-Level Panel Misquoted

      But a column published by InfoJustice.org, written by researcher Yuan Qiong Hu, is contesting the finding of the WIPO report, which according to her “concluded with several contestable remarks and downplayed the role of patent in hindering vaccine competition.”

      [...]

      Hu, who was attending the WIPO event, remarked at that time that the United Nations High Level Panel on Access to Medicines was mentioned in the WIPO report, but not in a satisfying way.

      [...]

      “WIPO needs to retreat this report to give a more professional analysis on the concrete patent barriers facing the new vaccine market, and the legal and policy tools that countries could use in tackling evergreening practices,” she added.

    • Is TRIPS preventing vulnerable countries from accessing basic drugs? The case of South Africa

      Against this background, countries such as China, South Africa and Brazil have challenged certain IP laws, especially those that preclude access to essential drugs. For example, the cost of cancer-treating drugs in both South Africa and China are unaffordable for the majority of the population, amounting by one estimate to 286% of the monthly salary of the average Chinese cancer patient. More generally, governments and NGO’s have claimed that IP protection imposed by TRIPS serves to maximise multinational pharmaceutical companies profits rather than foster innovation.

  • Security

    • CIA created code to impersonate Kaspersky Lab: WikiLeaks

      The CIA created code that could be used to impersonate exfiltration attempts from computers infected with its malware implants as being staged by others, according to WikiLeaks. Three examples of impersonating Kaspersky Lab were released by the whistle-blower website on Thursday.

    • Security updates for Thursday
    • Ubuntu Insights: Security Team Weekly Summary: November 9, 2017
    • Intel’s super-secret Management Engine firmware now glimpsed, fingered via USB
    • MINIX based Intel Management Engine Firmware & UEFI are Closed Source & Insecure, NERF to the Rescue!

      You may have heard a few things about Intel Management Engine in recent months, especially as security issues have been found, the firmware is not easily upgradeable, and the EFF deemed it a security hazard asking Intel for ways to disable it.

    • Recent Intel Chipsets Have A Built-In Hidden Computer, Running Minix With A Networking Stack And A Web Server

      The “Ring-3″ mentioned there refers to the level of privileges granted to the ME system. As a Google presentation about ME (pdf) explains, operating systems like GNU/Linux run on Intel chips at Ring 0 level; Ring-3 (“minus 3″) trumps everything above — include the operating system — and has total control over the hardware. Throwing a Web server and a networking stack in there too seems like a really bad idea. Suppose there was some bug in the ME system that allowed an attacker to take control? Funny you should ask; here’s what we learned earlier this year…

      [...]

      Those don’t seem unreasonable requests given how serious the flaws in the ME system have been, and probably will be again in the future. It also seems only fair that people should be able to control fully a computer that they own — and that ought to include the Minix-based computer hidden within.

    • “Game Over!” — Intel’s Hidden, MINIX-powered ME Chip Can Be Hacked Over USB

      Even the creator of MINIX operating system didn’t know that his for-education operating system is on almost every Intel-powered computer.

    • Researchers find almost EVERY computer with an Intel Skylake and above CPU can be owned via USB

      Turns out they were right. Security firm Positive Technologies reports being able to execute unsigned code on computers running the IME through USB. The fully fleshed-out details of the attack are yet to be known, but from what we know, it’s bad.

    • Hacking a Fingerprint Biometric
    • Dashlane Password Manager Now Supports Linux [Ed: But why would anyone with a clue choose to upload his/her passwords?]

      Dashlane, the popular password manager, now supports Linux (and ChromeOS and Microsoft Edge) thanks to new web extension and web app combination.

    • Source Code For CIA’s Spying Tool Hive Released By Wikileaks: Vault 8

      From November 9, Wikileaks has started a new series named Vault 8. As a part of this series, the first leak contains the source code and analysis for Hive software project. Later, the other leaks of this series are expected to contain the source code for other tools as well.

    • Cryptojacking found on 2496 online stores

      Cryptojacking – running crypto mining software in the browser of unsuspecting visitors – is quickly spreading around the web. And the landgrab extends to online stores. The infamous CoinHive software was detected today on 2496 e-commerce sites.

    • 2,500+ Websites Are Now “Cryptojacking” To Use Your CPU Power And Mine Cryptocurrency
    • MongoDB update plugs security hole and sets sights on the enterprise

      Document database-flinger MongoDB has long positioned itself as the dev’s best friend, but after ten years it is now fluffing itself up for the enterprise.

      The firm, which went public just last month and hopes to earn up to $220m, has now launched the latest version of its database, which aims to appeal to these bigger customers.

    • How AV can open you to attacks that otherwise wouldn’t be possible [Ed: Any proprietary software put on top of any other software (FOSS included) is a threat and a possible back door]

      Antivirus programs, in many cases, make us safer on the Internet. Other times, they open us to attacks that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. On Friday, a researcher documented an example of the latter—a vulnerability he found in about a dozen name-brand AV programs that allows attackers who already have a toehold on a targeted computer to gain complete system control.

      AVGater, as the researcher is calling the vulnerability, works by relocating malware already put into an AV quarantine folder to a location of the attacker’s choosing. Attackers can exploit it by first getting a vulnerable AV program to quarantine a piece of malicious code and then moving it into a sensitive directory such as C:\Windows or C:\Program Files, which normally would be off-limits to the attacker. Six of the affected AV programs have patched the vulnerability after it was privately reported. The remaining brands have yet to fix it, said Florian Bogner, a Vienna, Austria-based security researcher who gets paid to hack businesses so he can help them identify weaknesses in their networks.

    • Estonia arrests suspected FSB agent accused of “computer-related crime”

      Estonian authorities announced this week that they had recently arrested a Russian man suspected of being an agent of the Federal Security Service (FSB) who was allegedly planning “computer-related crime.”

      The 20-year-old man, whose identity was not made public, was arrested last weekend in the Estonian border city of Narva as he was trying to return to Russia.

  • Defence/Aggression

    • The Military-Industrial Complex Is Fundamentally Changing the European Union
    • U.S. announces sanctions against 10 Venezuelan officials
    • US unveils fresh Venezuela sanctions, targets 10 officials

      The United States on Thursday (Nov 9) slapped more sanctions against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government, targeting 10 officials it said engaged in election irregularities to perpetuate what Washington called a dictatorial regime.

    • U.S. Hits Venezuela Electoral, Media Heads in New Sanctions

      The Trump administration slapped sanctions on 10 Venezuelan officials Thursday on allegations of corruption and rights violations after President Nicolas Maduro’s candidates swept nationwide state governor elections last month.

      The individuals are associated with undermining electoral processes, media censorship, or corruption in Maduro’s administered food programs in Venezuela, the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control said in a statement. As a result of the Treasury’s action, all of the sanctioned individuals’ assets under U.S. jurisdiction are frozen and all U.S. citizens are prohibited from dealing with them.

    • How Saudi Arabia Sows Instability

      U.S. propaganda claims Iran causes Mideast instability, but the truth is that Saudi Arabia – from backing Islamic extremists to blockading and bombing Yemen – is the real culprit, as ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar explains.

    • The CIA’s House of Horrors: Frank Olson’s Fatal Trip

      By the early 1950s the CIA’s relationship with drugs stretched from alliances with criminal smugglers of heroin to research in, and application of, lethal or mind-altering chemical agents. On November 18, 1953, a group of seven men gathered for a meeting at the Deer Creek Lodge, in the mountains of western Maryland. Three were from the US Army’s biological weapons center at Fort Detrick; the other four were CIA officers from the Agency’s Technical Services Division. This encounter was one in a regular series of working sessions on Project MK-NAOMI, with MK being the prefix for work by Technical Services and NAOMI referring to a project to develop poisons for operational use by the CIA and its clients. The men at Fort Detrick had, at the CIA’s request, already stockpiled a lethal arsenal of shellfish toxins, botulinum, anthrax and equine encephalitis.

    • Gangsters of the Mediterranean

      It wasn’t long before police began to wonder about Gennady Petrov. He and his family were clearly Russian, but their passports were Greek. They seemed to have a lot of money, and to spend it in unusual ways. A real estate agent reported that Petrov had paid a contractor to build a tunnel down to the sea from another home he had owned in the area. Then there was an incident involving two Russians who were arrested as they prowled outside an upscale shopping center. The suspects wouldn’t talk, even after the police found a bomb in their car. But detectives eventually determined that the men were hoodlums who had flown in from Frankfurt to track another Russian—a businessman who was apparently involved in a dispute with Petrov.

      The authorities soon discovered that Petrov was indeed a former boxer—and reputedly a high-ranking figure in one of Russia’s most powerful criminal organizations, the Tambovskaya. In Spain alone, he had amassed at least $50 million in properties and businesses. Beyond his island refuge, he was said to control a global network of legitimate and illicit activities, ranging from jewelry stores and extortion rings to the gray-market sale of Soviet MiG-29 fighter jets. But even the scope of Petrov’s enterprises did not prepare Spanish investigators for what they heard when they began to listen in on his telephone calls.

    • Giving the Game Away

      Take these words that became ubiquitous among U.S. media and political elites referring to the United States of America in the wake of 9/11: “the homeland,” “defense of the homeland,” “homeland defense,” “homeland security.”

      This omnipresent “homeland” rhetoric is profoundly nationalistic, authoritarian, and imperial. There’s a Germanic, blood and soil feel about it: a sense that U.S.-Americans connection to North America below the Canadian line (plus Alaska and Hawaii) is rooted in race, ethnicity, and ancestry. At the same time, it carries an implicitly imperial vision of the United States’ global place and role. There’s normal “defense” – “defense” of areas beyond our borders in alien regions we control and dominate – and then there’s defense of us proper: the home-/father-land.

    • Pope Denounces ‘Mentality of Fear’ Caused by Nuclear Regimes, Urges Disarmament

      At a Vatican seminar attended by Nobel Peace Prize winners, United Nations officials, and representatives from countries with nuclear capabilities, Pope Francis urged leaders to move towards nuclear disarmament on Friday.

      The pontiff’s speech came a week after he made a plea for an end to “useless massacres” in an anti-war speech at a military cemetery in Italy, in which he alluded to the rising tensions between the U.S. and North Korea, exacerbated in recent months by President Donald Trump’s bellicose threats in response to Kim Jong-un’s nuclear tests.

      Pope Francis argued that the insistence on maintaining nuclear arsenals by nations including the United States, North Korea, and France “creates nothing but a false sense of security,” and therefore total disarmament is the only acceptable solution.

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • UK prosecutors admit destroying key emails in Julian Assange case

      The Crown Prosecution Service is facing embarrassment after admitting it destroyed key emails relating to the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is holed up in Ecuador’s London embassy fighting extradition.

      Email exchanges between the CPS and its Swedish counterparts over the high-profile case were deleted after the lawyer at the UK end retired in 2014.

      The destruction of potentially sensitive and revealing information comes ahead of a tribunal hearing in London next week.

      Adding to the intrigue, it emerged the CPS lawyer involved had, unaccountably, advised the Swedes in 2010 or 2011 not to visit London to interview Assange. An interview at that time could have prevented the long-running embassy standoff.

      The CPS, responding to questions from the Guardian, denied there were any legal implications of the data loss for an Assange case if it were to come to court in the future. Asked if the CPS had any idea what was destroyed, a spokesperson said: “We have no way of knowing the content of email accounts once they have been deleted.”

    • Seven Years Confined: How A Foia Litigation Is Shedding Light On The Case Of Julian Assange

      The siege by Scotland Yard agents around the red brick building in Knightsbridge has been gone for two years now. And with Sweden dropping the rape investigation last May, even the European arrest warrant hanging over Julian Assange’s head like the sword of Damocles has gone. Many expected the founder of WikiLeaks to leave the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been confined for over five years, after spending one and a half years under house arrest. But Assange hasn’t dared leave the Embassy due to concern he would be arrested, extradited to the US and charged for publishing WikiLeaks’ secret documents.

      Julian Assange’s situation is unique. Like him and his work or not, he is the only western publisher confined to a tiny embassy, without access to even the one hour a day outdoors maximum security prisoners usually receive. He is being arbitrarily detained, according to a decision by the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detentions in February 2016, a decision which has completely faded into oblivion. December 7th will mark seven years since he lost his freedom, yet as far as we know, in the course of these last 7 years no media has tried to access the full file on Julian Assange.

    • British prosecutors ‘deleted key emails’ linked to Julian Assange investigation

      Emails sent between officials from the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and Swedish lawyers, discussing the case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, were reportedly deleted back in 2014, data obtained from Freedom of Information (FoI) has suggested.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • French institute suspects nuclear accident in Russia or Kazakhstan in September

      IRSN estimates that the quantity of ruthenium 106 released was major, between 100 and 300 teraBecquerels, and that if an accident of this magnitude had happened in France it would have required the evacuation or sheltering of people in a radius of a few kilometers around the accident site.

    • US House Science Committee just had a rational hearing about climate

      House Science Committee hearings on climate change are many things to many people. For members of the committee, they are typically soapbox pageants, with long, blustery declarations punctuated by leading questions to witnesses who have been invited because they will give a desired answer. For well-known contrarians who reject most of the conclusions of climate science, they are a platform to wax martyrish about why the entire field doesn’t believe them. And for scientists (and humble journalists) who know the topic, they are primarily generators of head-to-desk contact and almost hazardously vigorous eye-rolling.

      On Wednesday, the committee held a hearing that was none of these things.

      To be fair, it was a subcommittee hearing that didn’t feature the full roster of members, but there is reason to believe that made no difference. So why the departure? The topic of the hearing was not the human actions responsible for global warming or the emissions cuts necessary to halt it. Instead, the committee discussed the science of geoengineering: the techniques that could potentially be employed to intentionally manipulate the climate in ways that would limit climate change.

    • Delhi becomes “gas chamber” as air pollution reaches ludicrous levels

      With calm winds, seasonal crop burns, and the usual vehicle and industrial emissions, an extremely thick, toxic fog of pollution has settled on Delhi, choking and sickening residents.

      Pollution measurements and indexes have exceeded charted ranges, blowing past the highest categorized levels dubbed “severe” and hazardous to health. In some areas of the gigantic metropolitan area, measurements of certain pollutants were around 30 times the levels considered safe by the World Health Organization. Local journalists reported that the smog is causing throat irritation, wheezing, nausea, vomiting, and extreme fatigue.

    • The Breakthrough: How Journalists in the Virgin Islands Covered the Disaster Happening to Them

      The rest of the world watched as Hurricanes Irma and Maria — both category 5 storms — slammed into the Virgin Islands, leaving devastation in their wake. Most of the news coverage came from journalists who flew in, and had the luxury of returning home. Reporters and editors with The Virgin Islands Daily News covered a disaster happening to them.

      One editor lost his house. Another lost his car. A circulation employee died from injuries he sustained during Hurricane Maria. Still, The Virgin Islands Daily News pressed on. Reporters and editors slept in the St. Thomas newsroom, taking turns cleaning their clothes in a washer/dryer the owner brought in after the storm. They produced a paper almost every day, and broke a government curfew to venture outdoors and deliver the news by hand.

  • Finance

    • Mother of Four Found Dead in Freezing Home After Her Welfare Was Cut Off

      In the UK, reports have emerged that a mother of four died alone in a freezing home after her social security was stopped unfairly due to sickness.

      38-year-old Elaine Morrall, from Runcorn in northwest England, was found wearing a coat and scarf after allegedly losing her social security despite suffering periods of ill health. Her cause of death is not currently known, although police have confirmed they’re investigating her death.

      A local newspaper reports that Morrall’s case came to light after her mother Linda Morrall posted a letter that subsequently went viral on social media. In the letter, Morrall’s mother alleges that she died on November 2 after her social security payments were stopped.

      “[She died] in the cold with her coat and scarf on because she wouldn’t put her heating on until her kids came home from school. [She] was in and out of hospital in recent months in intensive care but was not deemed ill enough for employment and support allowance,” Linda wrote, according to reports.

    • ‘Brexit is reversible,’ says man who wrote article 50 – video

      The former diplomat who drafted article 50 says the UK could opt to reverse Brexit up to the moment Britain leaves the European Union, even if a date for the country’s departure were added to the withdrawal bill. Lord Kerr, a former UK ambassador to the EU, said Brexiters in Theresa May’s cabinet were suggesting Brexit was irreversible and thereby misleading the public. Speaking before a speech to an Open Britain event on Friday, he added: ‘One should bear in mind that it is always possible at a later stage to decide that we want to do something different.’

    • Article 50 architect says Brexit can be reversed

      The British people are in danger of being “misled” by Government claims that Brexit cannot be reversed, the architect of Article 50 will warn.

      Lord Kerr, the former UK ambassador to the European Union, will say during a speech in London later: “We can change our minds at any stage of the process.”

      Lord Kerr played a key role in drafting Article 50, the legal mechanism for a country to withdraw from the EU.

      He will contradict the Government’s view that the process is irreversible now that it has begun.

    • In Search of Los Angeles’ Lost Socialist Colony, Llano del Rio

      It’s a typical summer day in the desert of Southern California. Very little breeze and blazing, unforgiving heat. We’re in the Mojave on an excursion to find the ruins of Llano del Rio, a socialist colony that sprouted up here in 1914. The temperature is well over 100 and it feels even hotter. As we drive past barren fields, a few groves of Joshua Trees and miles upon miles of scrub brush along Pearblossom Highway — that is, California State Route 138 — it’s hard to imagine an off-the-grid band of leftists calling this sunbaked land home over a century ago.

      Job Harriman, the founder of this utopian community, ran as Eugene Debs’ Veep in 1900 and later for California governor and twice for mayor of Los Angeles, almost winning the thing in 1911 with 44% of the vote. He likely would have won had he not lent his legal services to the infamous McNamara brothers, who blew up the Los Angeles Times building a year earlier. His association with the McNamaras was the death knell of his political aspirations.

      The bombing, which killed 21 Times’ employees and injured another 100, was carried out by J.B. McNamara and organized by his older brother J.J., both Irish American Trade Unionists, who opted for violent coercion as efforts to organize unions in Los Angeles were proving futile. After carrying out numerous bombings of ironworks in the city, at least 110 from 1906-1911, J.J. decided it was time to go after the Times, whose editorial board was vehemently anti-union.

    • The Republican Tax Plan Is Doomed, But It’s Still Worth Gawking at in Amazement
    • James Henry on Paradise Papers, Soraya Chemaly on Domestic Violence and Mass Killings

      The millions of leaked documents dubbed the Paradise Papers bring some sunlight to an arena where secrecy is the point: the world of “offshore financial centers,” where a melange of the world’s wealthiest stash money, bilk governments and generally betray any notion of a social compact. It’s great reporting; it involves trillions of dollars. Now what? We speak with investigative economist and author James Henry.

    • ‘There You Have It’: McConnell Says He ‘Misspoke’ When He Promised No Tax Hike on Middle Class

      McConnell’s reversal on a talking point that has become a mainstay for Republicans over the last several months as they attempt to sell their tax proposals to a skeptical public comes just 24 hours after the Senate unveiled its own tax plan. Like the House version, the Senate bill calls for massive tax cuts for wealthy Americans and large corporations.

      A Times analysis published Friday found that while middle class Americans would fare better under the Senate’s plan than the House’s, “both bills would disproportionately benefit high earners and corporations and raise taxes on millions of middle class families.”

    • The Public Bank Option – Safer, Local and Half the Cost

      A UK study published on October 27, 2017 reported that the majority of politicians do not know where money comes from

    • CEO who presided over Mt. Gox’s collapse could end up with massive profits

      Despite the fact that he oversaw the period when Mt. Gox went from the world’s largest Bitcoin exchange to a bankrupt and damaged company, CEO Mark Karpelès could stand to profit hundreds of millions of dollars.

      According to The Wall Street Journal, because the value of claims by people who had bitcoins stored at the Tokyo-based site are calculated in the April 2014 exchange rate between bitcoins and Japanese yen, those creditors may miss out on Bitcoin’s meteoric rise over the last year.

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Year One: It’s Up to Us

      One year after his highly improbable election, President Donald Trump woke up this morning to news that in elections across the country, candidates standing for liberty, equality, and dignity defeated Republican opponents, as American voters sent a clear message that they are not buying what the president is selling. Trump has shown disregard or outright disdain for constitutional constraints, from the First Amendment to the Emoluments Clause. But Tuesday’s election underscored that in a constitutional democracy, Trump’s ability to do damage can be—and has been—substantially checked, even when his party controls Congress and two-thirds of the state legislatures, and, with his Supreme Court appointment, has a majority on the Court. In ordinary times, Congress and the president check each other, as do the Senate and the House, the Supreme Court and the other branches, and the state and federal governments. One-party control, however, requires that we find checks and balances elsewhere—in civil society. Authoritarians know this, which is why, when they come to power, among their first targets are the press, the academy, and nonprofit advocacy groups and watchdogs.

    • Veteran’s Day Reflections From a Civil Libertarian Former Soldier

      If you want to honor a veteran or service member, work to defend the rights of everyone in this nation.

      In the past few weeks, I’ve spent considerable time, far more than usual in fact, reflecting on what Veteran’s Day means to me both now and at different times in the past decade. Before joining the military, Veteran’s Day for me was what I imagine it to be for most Americans: a day to recognize the service that a portion of our population volunteered for and to thank the veterans and active duty service members I knew for serving and risking their lives for our country.

      While I was on active duty, Veteran’s Day was mostly a time to tune out the noise and check in on fellow soldiers at home and abroad. During this time, I developed a tradition of calling at least three soldiers I had served with each Veteran’s Day to say hello and see how they were doing.

      I have now been out of the Army for nearly four and a half years and, in many ways, the day has taken on increasing significance with each passing year. This year in particular, the day has taken on increased meaning in light of the initiatives coming out of the White House and the broader political climate.

    • NBC News’ Breezy Whitewash of White Supremacist Group

      A good way to gauge whether white supremacists think they’ve succeeded in spinning a news outlet into giving them a platform to “gain sympathy for pro-white advocacy” is to see whether the supremacists use their own media to promote the outlet’s coverage.

    • How Putin’s Using Hungary to Destroy Europe

      Russian President Vladimir Putin has some key allies in the European Union. In some countries, they are outliers, even fringe elements. In some, like France and the Netherlands, they made impressive bids for power before, finally, they failed. But in Hungary, a nation of about 10 million people east of Austria, west of Ukraine, and north of the Balkans, Putin’s soulmate is the prime minister, Viktor Orban.

      As with so many Putin allies and apologists (including in the United States) Orban made the fight against immigration a centerpiece of his agenda. And he then went one better by identifying another Hungarian as the personification of evil “liberalism.”

      Last month Hungary hosted a unique conference for persecuted Christians. Orban opened the conference by scolding Europe for, “denying its Christian roots” and for allowing in “dangerous extremists.”

    • Snag in Media Merger Stirs Tensions Over Trump-CNN Feud

      Early this year, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and aide, Jared Kushner, met a top executive at CNN parent Time Warner Inc. TWX 4.08% and raised concerns about the network’s coverage of the presidential election.

      Mr. Kushner told the executive, Gary Ginsberg, that CNN should fire 20% of its staff because they were so wrong in their analysis of the election and how it would turn out, people familiar with the matter say.

    • Kushner told Time Warner exec CNN should fire a fifth of its staff: report

      President Trump’s son-in-law and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner told an executive from CNN’s parent company earlier this year that the news organization should fire 20 percent of its staff over their coverage of the 2016 election, according to a new report.

    • France’s Le Pen stripped of immunity over gruesome IS pictures

      France’s National Assembly on Wednesday lifted the immunity from prosecution of far-right leader Marine Le Pen for tweeting pictures of Islamic State group atrocities, parliamentary sources said.

      The decision was taken by a cross-party committee in charge of the internal functioning of the assembly, after a request from the authorities to lift Le Pen’s parliamentary immunity over a crime that carries up to three years in prison.

      The leader of the National Front, who ran a failed campaign for president this year, in 2015 tweeted three pictures of IS atrocities, including one of James Foley, an American journalist beheaded by the extremists.

      [...]

      In September, tensions between rival party factions — one led by anti-immigration hardliners, the other by anti-EU nationalists — burst into the open with the resignation of Le Pen’s right-hand man Florian Philippot.

      Philippot devised Le Pen’s strategy of detoxifying the FN brand and her unpopular promise to pull France out of the eurozone if elected president.

    • Bill Binney: CIA Admits It Has No Evidence of Russian Hacking

      For the past several days, the corporate-owned media has been engaged in a smear campaign against Binney, the former NSA technical director and legendary whistleblower, labelling him a conspiracy theorist. This was prompted by reports that he met with CIA director Mike Pompeo to discuss his finding that the alleged hack of the DNC server during the 2016 election campaign was in fact a leak.

      The high-stakes intrigue in Saudi Arabia continues as Saudi citizens are instructed to leave Lebanon immediately, and the Lebanese Prime Minister continues to be held in what appears to be house arrest. Is another war around the corner? Radwan Chehab, political analyst, joins the show.

      A new study from Brown University has found that the total cost of the so-called War on Terror amounts to an eye-popping $5.6 trillion. That’s $23,386 per US taxpayer! Ted Rall, editorial cartoonist and columnist, joins Brian and Walter.

    • TRUMP: ‘I really believe’ Putin ‘means it’ when he says Russia didn’t interfere in the election

    • Trump chooses Putin’s word over the US intelligence community — again
    • Donald Trump Says He Believes Putin’s Election Meddling Denials
    • Fear of Corbyn: How Theresa May Clings to Power

      British Prime Minister Theresa May is well on course – if indeed she is not already there – to go down down as the most weak and ineffectual Tory prime minister since John Major presided over his cabinet of ‘bastards’ in the early nineties.

      The escalating crises that are now a near daily occurrence within May’s government and cabinet are symptomatic of a Tory party which is irretrievably split on Brexit between no-deal fundamentalists, of whom Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is most prominent, and soft Brexit single market adherents, led by Chancellor Phillip Hammond.

      It is in the context of this split, which has grown evermore deep and antagonistic over the months of deadlock and lack of progress in the government’s Brexit negotiations with Brussels, that Theresa May has been drained of personal authority to the point where the likes of Johnson and her former International Development Secretary, Priti Patel, have felt emboldened to go rogue and plough their own furrows. Add to the mix the recent resignation of Defence Secretary Michael Fallon over sexual harassment revelations, and at this writing the mounting pressure on her Secretary of State Damien Green to resign over similar allegations of sexual impropriety, and Theresa May has been reduced to a political mannequin.

    • 2017 Elections Mark the Dawn of Change

      What a difference a year makes! Waking up after Election Day in 2017 is incredibly different from last November, when we faced the prospect of a misogynist-in-chief in the White House, starring in a four-year reality show of his own creation at our expense.

      Trump and his cronies have worked hard to undermine every fundamental of our society: trust, solidarity, and equal opportunities for all. From the environment to health care, voting rights to immigration and education, they’ve relentlessly chipped away the bonds that hold us together.

    • Unusual experiment reveals the power of non-mainstream media

      Pundits and activists have long blamed the “mainstream media” for having an outsized effect on public perceptions. Whatever side of the political spectrum you’re on, some people say, it seems as if large media outlets like the New York Times or FOX News exert too much power over the national conversation. Ideas from non-mainstream media, according to this logic, get drowned out. But a new long-term study reveals that small media outlets have a far greater effect on public discussions than anyone realized.

      To be more precise, it only takes three or more stories from small news outlets covering the same topic to make discussions of that topic go up by 62.7 percent on Twitter.

      It took a group of Harvard researchers five years to reach this conclusion. They did it by tracking the effects of stories covered by 48 small media outlets, measuring how they affected conversations on Twitter. Harvard political scientist Gary King and his colleagues explain in the journal Science that they honed in on 11 broad topics in public policy, ranging from refugees and race to food policy and domestic energy production.

  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Venezuela’s New Anti-hate Law Derided as Censorship

      Venezuela’s passage of a new law threatening up to 20 years in prison for “inciting hatred” is generating concerns about a growing crackdown on dissent.

      The powerful, pro-government Constituent Assembly approved the measure Wednesday.

    • “No Question” Presser and Weibo Censorship Mark Trump’s “State Visit Plus”

      On Donald Trump’s first presidential tour of Asia, he enjoyed red-carpet treatment in China during what Chinese state media billed as a “state visit-plus.” After a military parade welcome that he deemed “magnificent,” Trump was treated to a personal tour of the Forbidden City, complete with dinner (a first for a U.S. president since the founding of the PRC) and a traditional opera and acrobatics performance. President Trump appears to be getting along with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping wonderfully—a far cry from his staunchly critical China-focused campaign rhetoric, Trump lavished praise on the country and its leader, blaming his predecessors for the trade deficit that he compared to rape during a May 2016 rally.

    • Iranian regime’s censorship of films is easing, says director Hamid Nematollah

      He sat down for an interview with Fairfax Media while in Melbourne for the seventh annual Iranian Film Festival Australia (IFFA). (It’s his first time in Australia – he likens Melbourne to Prague and says it’s “one of the best cities” he’s ever travelled to.)

      His latest feature Subdued (Rag-e Khab) was among a shortlist of four for the Academy Awards best foreign language film category. But it was drama Nafas (Breath), directed by filmmaker Narges Abyar, that was selected as the final nomination. Both films are showing at the festival here.

    • Creator Of Arguably The World’s Worst Film Loses Injunction Against Unflattering Documentary

      Actor/director Tommy Wiseau has, for some reason, been trying since June of this year to block the release of an unflattering documentary about his infamous 14-year-old film, The Room. Why Wiseau would be concerned about a documentary detailing the making of one of the worst films ever is beyond me, considering Wiseau’s post-The Room career has generally been held together by the film’s cult status as the worst film of all time, which has led to additional revenue and a number of personal appearances at screenings.

    • Cambridge slammed for ‘censoring’ Palestine BDS event

      The University of Cambridge is facing accusations of censorship after it allegedly threatened to ban a meeting about the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement unless the Palestinian academic chairing it was removed and replaced with its own choice.

    • Wikipedia Warns That SESTA Could Destroy Wikipedia

      So much of the debate about SESTA has focused on three companies: Backpage, Facebook and Google. The focus on Backpage was because it’s the go to example for why some claim this bill is needed (even though Congress passed another law two years ago to target Backpage, and that law has never been used, and even though there’s already a federal grand jury investigating Backpage and there’s nothing that stops the DOJ from going after Backpage under federal law). The focus on Facebook and Google is a bit more nebulous, but could be summed up as: “those companies are too big and should do more to stop bad stuff happening online.” There’s a pretty easy path from “Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act says internet platforms aren’t responsible for what their users do” to “we need them to be more responsible” to “let’s amend CDA 230.” This line of thinking is problematic for any number of reasons that we’ve already discussed, so I won’t go over them again now.

    • Celebrate The 20th Anniversary Of A Seminal Section 230 Case Upholding It With This Series Of Essays

      We have been talking a lot lately about how important Section 230 is for enabling innovation and fostering online speech, and, especially as Congress now flirts with erasing its benefits, how fortuitous it was that Congress ever put it on the books in the first place.

      But passing the law was only the first step: for it to have meaningful benefit, courts needed to interpret it in a way that allowed for it to have its protective effect on Internet platforms. Zeran v. America Online was one of the first cases to test the bounds of Section 230′s protection, and the first to find that protection robust. Had the court decided otherwise, we likely would not have seen the benefits the statute has since then afforded.

    • Lawsuit Brought By Cosby Show Production Company Against Documentary Is The Reason We Have Fair Use

      Looking through the history of our posts on the topics of fair use and fair dealing, you find plenty of examples for why these exceptions to copyright law are so important. These exceptions are, at their heart, designed to be boons to the public in the form of an increased output in creative expression, educational material, and public commentary on matters of public interest by untethering the more restrictive aspects of copyright law from those efforts. Without fair use and fair dealing, copyright laws are open for use as weapons of censorship against unwanted content, rather than being used for their original purpose of increasing expression and content. Still, in the history of those posts, you might struggle to find what you would consider the perfect example of why fair use laws are necessary.

  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • Sex toy company admits to recording users’ remote sex sessions, calls it a ‘minor bug’
    • [Old] Reverse Engineering Social Media
    • New Italian data retention laws forces ISPs to store phone usage and internet history for six years

      The Italian Senate has recently passed the final approval for new data retention laws included in their 2017 laws. There are two main changes to the data retention laws that recently came into action. The first being the egregious extension of the amount of time that your online data needs to be maintained; the second being the introduction of web monitoring for copyright compliance… without prior judicial review. The Italian Authority for Communications Guarantees (AGCOM) has been granted the mandate to demand the takedown or blocking of websites without judicial oversight. Under this new law, actions like the Sci-Hub block – which caused a lot of controversy in the states – could happen at the drop of a hat and without judicial. Additionally, AGCOM has been granted the power to use deep packet inspection on all internet traffic.

    • How To Safeguard Your Phone Against Spyware [Ed: Phones themselves are spyware (27/4 tracking). There’s no escaping it except avoiding them altogether.]

      Safeguarding Your Phone Against Spying Apps That prevention is better than cure is a maxim that holds true in everything. If you want to protect your phone against spy apps, you have to engage your protective gear and do what you should to keep off the spying.

    • Declassified Document Shows Reagan Had the NSA Monitor Vietnam for Details on POW/MIAs

      In a simple coincidence, U.S. President Donald Trump will spend Veterans Day 2017 in Vietnam, underscoring just how much the relationship between the two countries has changed in more than four decades. If anything, he is likely to laud the Vietnamese for their help in resolving the long-standing and controversial issue of American prisoners of war and those still listed as missing in action during the fighting in Southeast Asia. But while there is absolutely no evidence to support the idea that there are still any U.S. POWs alive in the region, declassified documents show that the United States put the full power of the intelligence community to work for years so as to be absolutely sure this was the case.

    • House Judiciary Committee Forced Into Difficult Compromise On Surveillance Reform

      The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday approved the USA Liberty Act, a surveillance reform package introduced last month by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Ranking Member John Conyers (D-MI). The bill is seen by many as the best option for reauthorizing and reforming Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which is set to expire in less than two months.

      Some committee members described feeling forced to choose between supporting stronger surveillance reforms or advancing the Liberty Act, and voiced their frustration about provisions that only partly block the warrantless search of Americans’ communications when an amendment with broader surveillance reforms was introduced by Reps. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Ted Poe (R-TX). Complicating their deliberations was the fact that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has already reported out a bill with far fewer surveillance protections.

    • Exclusive: Patent shows Facebook’s ideas for payments using facial recognition
    • DOJ: Strong encryption that we don’t have access to is “unreasonable”

      Just two days after the FBI said it could not get into the Sutherland Springs shooter’s seized iPhone, Politico Pro published a lengthy interview with a top Department of Justice official who has become the “government’s unexpected encryption warrior.”

      According to the interview, which was summarized and published in transcript form on Thursday for subscribers of the website, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein indicated that the showdown between the DOJ and Silicon Valley is quietly intensifying.

      “We have an ongoing dialogue with a lot of tech companies in a variety of different areas,” he told Politico Pro. “There’s some areas where they are cooperative with us. But on this particular issue of encryption, the tech companies are moving in the opposite direction. They’re moving in favor of more and more warrant-proof encryption.”

    • Did the NSA spy on El Chapo? His lawyer sure thinks so

      Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán’s lawyer claims spending nearly a year in solitary confinement has made the Sinaloa cartel boss paranoid that authorities are “recording” his every move. But he also suspects Chapo’s fears might be justified.

      Last month, Chapo’s attorney Eduardo Balarezo filed a pretrial motion (viewable in full below) asking the Justice Department to hand over any evidence against his client that “was derived from eavesdropping through warrantless wireless surveillance.” Balarezo specifically asked for “all evidence obtained pursuant to the National Security Agency’s ‘PRISM’ program,” a secret spy operation revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden in 2013.

    • Facebook Was Built To Exploit Bugs In Human Brain, Says Facebook ex-President

      At an Axios event in Philadelphia, Parker gave some tidbits on how companies like Facebook are ballooning so much. That’s because people like him, Mark Zuckerberg, and Kevin Systrom (co-founder of Instagram) found the bugs in the human brain. All people crave is appreciation and fame, and that’s what social networks have given to the netizens.

    • TSA Plans to Use Face Recognition to Track Americans Through Airports

      The “PreCheck” program is billed as a convenient service to allow U.S. travelers to “speed through security” at airports. However, the latest proposal released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reveals the Department of Homeland Security’s greater underlying plan to collect face images and iris scans on a nationwide scale. DHS’s programs will become a massive violation of privacy that could serve as a gateway to the collection of biometric data to identify and track every traveler at every airport and border crossing in the country.

      Currently TSA collects fingerprints as part of its application process for people who want to apply for PreCheck. So far, TSA hasn’t used those prints for anything besides the mandatory background check that’s part of the process. But this summer, TSA ran a pilot program at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport and at Denver International Airport that used those prints and a contactless fingerprint reader to verify the identity of PreCheck-approved travelers at security checkpoints at both airports. Now TSA wants to roll out this program to airports across the country and expand it to encompass face recognition, iris scans, and other biometrics as well.

    • Facebook’s Not Listening Through Your Phone. It Doesn’t Have To

      Not exactly. The Facebook targeting system had something like a million targetable keywords when I left, and it’s likely held steady or increased slightly. But unlike the Amazon Echo, which listens for just one of four trigger words, millions or perhaps billions of words and phrases could land you in a Facebook targeting segment.

    • Paywalls drive mass surveillance and give the NSA the advantage

      Putting network specifications behind subscription paywalls gives the NSA and other surveillance agencies a decisive advantage against the freedom of the Internet. That is the unescapable conclusion of the recent KRACK vulnerability.

    • Ex-Facebook president Sean Parker: site made to exploit human ‘vulnerability’

      Site’s founding president, who became a billionaire thanks to the company, says: ‘God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains’

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Freedom of speech or censorship?

      Our constitutional right of freedom of speech is protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution. It is among our most cherished rights. Certainly our Founding Fathers held it sufficiently dear to have enshrined it in the First Amendment.

      [...]

      I’m not saying I agree with the players’ protests. I do, absolutely, agree with their right to stage their protests without fear of arrest or interference by any government or police action.

    • Returning to the Scene of a Trauma

      At 16, Brandon Whitehead and his father were held at gunpoint by an off-duty Chicago police officer. The cop got suspended for five days, which he served 11 years later. Brandon, now 27, goes back to the scene.

    • And Another Thing: Those Dumb Social Media Guidelines For Journalists Are Going To Paint A Target On Their Backs

      Just last week we discussed the alarming trend in media companies for putting in place restrictive social media policies for their employees, including their opinion commentators. In that post, we focused on how this move is both dumb and bad for two reasons. First, restricting the opinions of those followed by the public for their opinions is flatly nonsensical. Second, the goal of these policies — to have the public view companies as non-partisan — is simply a fantasy in these hyper-partisan times. Nobody is going to decide that the New York Times or Wall Street Journal are suddenly bastions of non-partisanship simply because either muzzled its staff.

      But there is another negative consequence of these policies that the original post didn’t touch: it paints a target on the backs of the employees it governs. Because of, again, hyper-partisanship that has reached true trolling levels, these social media policies will be wielded like a cudgel by every trollish dissenter that doesn’t like a particular media outlet. The New York Times, for example, is already having to endure this.

    • DOJ: Man fired laser at police helicopter, tried to drive away then crashed

      A man in Fresno, California was indicted this week on federal criminal charges—prosecutors say that Michael Vincent Alvarez fired a laser pointer repeatedly at a local police helicopter.

      According to the criminal complaint filed on October 30, 2017, Alvarez fired a green laser at a police helicopter shortly after midnight on October 22.

      The Fresno Police helicopter, Air-1, was responding to reports of a domestic disturbance before it was struck three times. The pilot, who was not named, was hit in the eyes directly each time.

    • Hundreds of thousands pack Barcelona streets to demand Catalan separatist leaders’ release

      Hundreds of thousands of people backing Catalonia’s bid to secede from Spain have packed the streets in of central Barcelona to demand the release of jailed separatist leaders.
      The rally’s grassroots organisers called for 10 prominent members of the secessionist movement in the north-eastern Spanish region to be freed from prison.
      Eight former members of Catalonia’s dissolved Cabinet and two activists are in jail while Spanish authorities investigate their alleged roles in promoting an illegal declaration of independence last month in violation of Spain’s Constitution.
      A separate court in Madrid granted bail on Thursday to another six Catalan MPs who are the subject of another investigation into the secession push.
      Barcelona police said that 750,000 people attended the rally.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality rules should apply to ISPs and websites, senator says

      Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) wants the US to impose net neutrality rules on Google, Facebook, Amazon, Twitter, and other Web companies.

      Net neutrality rules today apply only to Internet service providers, such as cable companies and mobile carriers. ISPs are not allowed to block, throttle, or demand payments to prioritize delivery of lawful Internet traffic. The rules are meant to give all websites—both the established players and startups—a fair shot at reaching Internet users.

      But Franken argues that similar non-discrimination rules should apply to the most dominant websites.

    • Dear Al Franken: Net Neutrality Is Not A Magic Wand You Can Wave At Any Company

      By now, most Techdirt readers are well aware that net neutrality violations are just a symptom of the lack of competition specifically in the broadband industry. If we had lawmakers that were genuinely interested in policies that improve competition, we wouldn’t need net neutrality rules protecting consumers from often-unchecked duopoly power. In the absence of said competition — or lawmakers willing to stand up to AT&T, Verizon and Comcast — the FCC’s current net neutrality rules, however imperfect, are the next best thing.

    • Don’t Let AT&T Exploit Your Distrust of Trump

      Later reports showed this to be untrue. The Justice Department offered AT&T two choices: Sell Turner Broadcasting, a collection of over a dozen stations of which CNN is only a part, or sell off DirecTV, AT&T’s satellite-television distributor. If one of the options for AT&T involves keeping CNN, I don’t know how “it’s all about CNN” could be true. AT&T’s CEO Randall Stephenson further muddied the waters by saying today, “I have never been told that the price of getting deal done was selling CNN.”

    • AT&T says it’s “prepared to litigate” if US tries to block Time Warner deal

      AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson today said his company is ready to fight the Trump administration in court in order to complete its $85.4 billion purchase of Time Warner Inc.

      The Department of Justice is reviewing AT&T’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner and could file an antitrust lawsuit to block the deal or force AT&T to make concessions. Reports yesterday indicated that the DOJ is asking AT&T and Time Warner to sell off either CNN or DirecTV in order to win government approval of their merger (Time Warner owns CNN and AT&T owns DirecTV).

  • Logitech

    • After online outrage, Logitech will now replace Harmony Link devices for free

      Customers were rightfully outraged when Logitech announced it would end service and support for its Harmony Link devices next year. Now, Logitech is attempting to right some of the wrongs of this situation, even though its plans to end the life of all Link devices hasn’t changed. According to a Logitech blog post, the company will now provide all Harmony Link users with a free replacement Harmony Hub before service and support to Link devices ends in March 2018.

    • Logitech Once Again Shows That In The Modern Era, You Don’t Really Own What You Buy

      Time and time again we’ve highlighted how in the modern era you don’t really own the hardware you buy. In the broadband-connected era, firmware updates can often eliminate functionality promised to you at launch, as we saw with the Sony Playstation 3. And with everything now relying on internet-connectivity, companies can often give up on supporting devices entirely, often leaving users with very expensive paperweights as we saw after Google acquired Revolv.

      The latest example of this phenomenon is courtesy of Logitech, which annoyed consumers this week by announcing that it would be shutting down all support for the company’s Harmony Link hub. Released in 2011, the Link hub provided smartphone and tablet owners the ability to use these devices as universal remotes for thousands of devices.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Samsung Patent Details User Interface of a Potential Foldable Phone

      For some years now, we have been hearing that foldable phones will be launched in the future. In 2009, Samsung demoed a flexible AMOLED display, but it was extremely bulky and the resolution was low. Since then, the company has confirmed that it is interested in the foldable phone space, but until this year, we have not see any phone foldable phone launch in the market as the technical difficulties to make a foldable phone are immense. In October, we finally saw a foldable phone launch in the form of the ZTE Axon M, a dual-screen device which is now available from AT&T in the US.

    • Copyrights

      • Despite A Victory on IP, the TPP’s Resurgence Hasn’t Cured Its Ills

        Ever since the United States withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) back in January, the remaining eleven countries have been quietly attempting to bring a version of the agreement into force. Following some initial confusion, it was finally announced today that they have reached an “agreement in principle” on “core elements” of a deal.

        Even so Canada’s trade minister, Francois-Philippe Champagne has confirmed that the agreement is far from being finalized, recognizing that more work was needed on some key issues. Meanwhile the TPP has been renamed as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and an official statement is due to be released on Saturday November 11.

      • Wikimedia France and La Quadrature du Net defend the public domain before the Constitutional Council

        This new version of image rights stems from a so-called “Chambord amendment” tabled by legislators during the debates on the “Creation, Architecture and Patrimony” law (or Création law). It echoes a conflict dating back several years opposing the castle of Chambord and the Kronenbourg company regarding the use of the monument’s image in an advertising campaign. As the courts hadn’t yet resolved the matter, the Members of Parliament wanted to use this law to enshrine the possibility for estate administrators to control the use of the images of the historical monuments they are in charge of.

      • Playboy Sues BoingBoing For Linking To Collection Of Centerfold Pictures

        Playboy apparently has lawyers with itchy trigger fingers. As first spotted by Law360, Playboy Entertainment Group has sued the BoingBoing, the popular and awesome blog that covers a variety of issues around culture and technology. The case is technically against the company that owns BoingBoing, called Happy Mutants LLC. Law360 claims the lawsuit claims that BoingBoing “stole every centerfold ever.” But… that’s not at all what the lawsuit says.

      • Another Court Overreaches With Site-Blocking Order Targeting Sci-Hub

        Nearly six years ago, Internet user communities rose up and said no to the disastrous SOPA copyright bill. This bill proposed creating a new, quick court order process to compel various Internet services—free speech’s weak links—to help make websites disappear. Today, despite the failure of SOPA, a federal court in Virginia issued just such an order, potentially reaching many different kinds of Internet services.

        The website in the crosshairs this time was Sci-Hub, a site that provides free access to research papers that are otherwise locked behind paywalls. Sci-Hub and sites like it are a symptom of a serious problem: people who can’t afford expensive journal subscriptions, and who don’t have institutional access to academic databases, are unable to use cutting-edge scientific research. Sci-Hub’s continued popularity both in the U.S. and in economically disadvantaged countries demonstrates the unfair imbalance in access to knowledge that prompted the site’s creation. Sci-Hub is also less revolutionary than its critics often imagine: it continued a longstanding tradition of informal sharing among researchers.

      • What the Sci-Hub saga and DNA testing services can teach us about privacy
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