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07.14.18

Links 14/7/2018: Mesa 18.1.4, Elisa 0.2.1, More on Python’s Guido van Rossum

Posted in News Roundup at 9:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Nintendo Found a Way to Patch an Unpatchable Coldboot Exploit in Nintendo Switch

    If you plan on buying a Nintendo Switch gaming console to run Linux on it using the “unpatchable” exploit publicly disclosed a few months ago, think again because Nintendo reportedly fixed the security hole.

    Not long ago, a team of hackers calling themselves ReSwitched publicly disclosed a security vulnerability in the Nvidia Tegra X1 chip, which they called Fusée Gelée and could allow anyone to hack a Nintendo Switch gaming console to install a Linux-based operating system and run homebrew code and apps using a simple trick.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux Foundation

      • Linux Foundation Brings Power of Open Source to Energy Sector

        The Linux Foundation launched on July 12 its latest effort—LF Energy, an open-source coalition for the energy and power management sector.

        The LF Energy coalition is being backed by French transmission system operation RTE, Vanderbilt University and the European Network of Transmission System Operators (ENTSO-E). With LF Energy, the Linux Foundation is aiming to replicate the success it has seen in other sectors, including networking, automotive, financial services and cloud computing.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Libinput Gets Reworked Trackpoint Acceleration

        Peter Hutterer at Red Hat is trying again to get trackpoint acceleration performing nicely under the libinput library so trackpoints behave nicely across Wayland, X.Org, and Mir systems.

        Hutterer believes now that libinput’s previous trackpoint acceleration code was “simply broken”, but he believes this new code is on the right track and supports a wider configuration range.

      • libinput has a new trackpoint acceleration

        Just a heads-up, I just merged a branch that fixes trackpoint acceleration
        in libinput. The previous approach was simply broken, the new one is quite
        similar to what we had before anyway – calculating speed from the deltas and
        applying the acceleration curve from that. The curve is adjusted for
        trackpoints with a relatively wide configurable range.

      • Mir 0.32.1 Released With Launcher For Internal Wayland Clients, Fixes

        Canonical developers working on Mir have prepared the release of Mir 0.32.1 with a few fixes and improvements off the recent release of Mir 0.32.

        The Mir abstraction library (libmiral) now has a launcher for internal Wayland clients and the MirAL shell has reinstated the “spinner” in Wayland for when starting the shell. There are also several bug fixes pertaining to Mir’s Wayland and Mesa support in this point release.

      • Wayland 1.16 & Weston 5.0 Reach Alpha

        Samsung’s Derek Foreman has announced the alpha release of Wayland 1.16 as well as the Weston 5.0 reference compositor.

        As is often the case with recent Wayland releases, they are not all that large. Wayland 1.16 Alpha does away with the deprecated wl_global definition, fixes various oddities, the Wayland code generator now supports foreign enums, and updated contribution documentation.

      • mesa 18.1.4

        Hi list,

        Mesa 18.1.4 is now available for download.

        In this release we have:
        – Several fixes for i965
        – Several fixes for anv
        – A few fixes each for radeonsi, glx, the glsl compiler, the autotools build,
        nir, st/dri, and r600

        Dylan

      • Mesa 18.1.4 Released With Fixes For Intel & Radeon Drivers

        For those abiding by Mesa stable releases, Mesa 18.1.4 is now available — in time for updating prior to any weekend Linux gaming or other activities — for these open-source OpenGL/Vulkan driver components.

        Mesa 18.1.4 truth be told isn’t all that of an exciting release, unless you happened to be affected by any of the just over two dozen fixes incorporated into this timed point release.

      • Raven Ridge Support Posted For AMDKFD Compute Driver

        Felix Kuehling of AMD sent out the remaining six patches for getting the AMD Raven Ridge (Ryzen APUs) working with the AMDKFD kernel compute driver so that the ROCm/OpenCL user-space compute stack can be run on these new APUs.

      • Radeon RX Vega Display Regression Fix Heading To Linux 4.18 Git

        If you have been part of the group of Radeon RX Vega Linux users trying out Linux 4.18 and finding your display no longer lights up, heading to Linux 4.18 Git should be a fix for at least some of the users.

        Sent out on Friday was a batch of AMDGPU DRM-Fixes-4.18. It’s just three fixes, but two of them are pertaining to display problems and the other a segmentation fault if the GPU does not power up properly when resuming the system.

      • Marek Squeezes More Performance Out Of RadeonSI In CPU-Bound Scenarios

        AMD’s leading open-source RadeonSI Gallium3D developer, Marek Olšák, sent out a new patch series this week aiming to benefit this Radeon OpenGL driver’s performance in CPU-bound scenarios.

        The patch series is a set of command submission optimizations aimed to help trivial CPU-bound benchmarks to varying extents. In the very trivial glxgears, the patch series is able to improve the maximum frame-rates by around 10%.

      • Intel Sends In A Final Batch Of DRM Feature Updates Targeting Linux 4.19

        After several big feature pull requests of new “i915″ Intel DRM driver features landing in DRM-Next for Linux 4.19, the Intel open-source developers have sent in what they believe to be their last batch of feature changes for queuing this next kernel cycle.

    • Benchmarks

      • Vulkan vs. OpenGL Performance For Linux Games

        It has been a while since last publishing some Linux GPU driver benchmarks focused explicitly on the OpenGL vs. Vulkan performance, but that changed today with a fresh look at the performance between these two Khronos graphics APIs when tested with AMD and NVIDIA hardware on the latest RadeonSI/RADV and NVIDIA Linux graphics drivers.

  • Applications

    • The Best Linux VPNs of 2018

      If the 20th century was defined by an explosive growth in technology, then the 21st century is beginning to be defined by personal security, or more pointedly, a lack thereof. Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), once mainly a site-to-site connection tool for IT professionals, have evolved to become personal services that let individual users connect to the internet by using encrypted traffic that prevents third parties from snooping on their web activities.

      This VPN evolution occurred because it has become increasingly easy for hackers to exploit constantly changing operating systems (OSes), applications, and networks. This means sophisticated tactics, such as man-in-the-middle attacks, aren’t just being aimed at businesses anymore. It’s happening to everyday folks who are frequenting their favorite coffee shop. This means these folks need to upgrade their security arsenal.

    • Winds – RSS and Podcast software created using React / Redux / Node

      Winds is billed as a beautiful, modern, open-source RSS Reader and Podcast app. It’s certainly garnishing attention among open source enthusiasts. It’s picked up over 5,000 stars on GitHub, so I’ve been putting this JavaScript software through its paces.

      Winds is cross-platform software. There are desktop apps available for Linux, macOS and Windows. There’s also a web version. The software is released under an open source license (BSD-3-Clause). It’s developed by GetStream.io (Stream), a Venture Capital backed company based in the US and the Netherlands.

    • Alacritty – A Fastest Terminal Emulator for Linux

      Alacritty is a free open-source, fast, cross-platform terminal emulator, that uses GPU (Graphics Processing Unit) for rendering, which implements certain optimizations that are not available in many other terminal emulators in Linux.

      Alacritty is focused on two goals simplicity and performance. The performance goal means, it should be speedy than any other terminal emulator available. The simplicity goal means, it doesn’t supports features such as tabs or splits (which can be easily provided by other terminal multiplexer – tmux) in Linux.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine or Emulation

    • Games

      • Don’t miss the GOG weekend sale which has some rather nice Linux games

        GOG are doing weekend sale celebrating French game studios and there’s quite a few really good Linux games worth picking up.

      • Third-person shooter with Battle Royale modes ‘Crazy Justice’ to launch towards the end of this month

        It’s seen a number of delays, along with repeated silence from the developer but it looks like Crazy Justice [Official Site] may finally arrive this month.

        After promising daily updates almost two weeks ago and then going silent, the developer Black Riddles Studio today put out an update on Twitter which gave an estimated release date of “anywhere between 20th-30th of July”.

      • What are you playing this weekend and what do you think about it?

        It’s the weekend and the sun is out, so naturally many of us will be staring at a bright screen playing the latest and greatest Linux games.

        I tend to go through phases of being attached to specific games for a few weeks before utterly burning myself out on them, currently Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has managed to hook me back in. It’s not exactly the newest game, but it still has such fluid and fun gameplay that there’s still really nothing else like it in the shooter scene.

      • ‘Hacknet’ Is Free on Steam Right Now
      • Xbox 360 Wireless Controller for PC+Rocket League+Ubuntu=Awesome

        I’m a gamer. I’ve been playing PC games since DOS, and have no plan to ever stop, thankfully there are an increasing number of wicked games available on GNU/Linux systems, like Rocket League for example.

        If you’ve been living under a rock for the past few years, and have no idea what Rocket League is, it’s basically Soccer/Football (other game modes have other sports, etc, but the primary focus is as mentioned) in super high powered, jet propulsed cars; it’s awesome. However, Rocket League is not very easily played via keyboard, and having some kind of controller is essential.

        I use an Xbox 360 Wireless Controller as my primary controller when playing games that support one on Linux.

      • Egosoft have confirmed that X4: Foundations will be on Linux

        Fantastic news for fans of Egosoft space simulation games, as they have now actually confirmed that X4: Foundations [Official Site] will be on Linux.

      • We Happy Few has a brand new trailer out

        We Happy Few, the action adventure from Compulsion Games and Gearbox Publishing looks rather promising in the brand new trailer.

      • Get your game on, in the browser

        The web is a gamer’s dream. It works on any device, can connect players across the globe, and can run a ton of games—from classic arcade games to old-school computer games. The web could be the best platform for gaming, and Firefox is the the best browser for gaming. Here’s why.

        [...]

        Firefox is the fastest and most efficient browser for gaming. Don’t believe us? Try out some of these games and see for yourself:

        The Internet Archive Mac Software Library – Do you miss those black-and-white games you used to play on your old Macintosh? The Internet Archive has worked to preserve many older, classic computer games so now you can play them in your browser.

        http://slither.io/ – This is a fun, MMO Snake-like game with good graphics, is in-browser, and also happens to have a really good Privacy Policy (we’re into stuff like that).

        Battlestar Galactica Online – Who’s a Cylon? Are you a Cylon? Find out.

        LEGO Online – Playing with LEGO IRL is awesome, but the toy maker has made some of the best console and computer games in the past decade. Now you can play some of them online.

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • 0.2.1 Release of Elisa

        The Elisa team is happy to announce our new bugfix release, version 0.2.1.

        Elisa is a music player developed by the KDE community that strives to be simple and nice to use. We also recognize that we need a flexible product to account for the different workflows and use-cases of our users.

        We focus on a very good integration with the Plasma desktop of the KDE community without compromising the support for other platforms (other Linux desktop environments, Windows and Android).

        We are creating a reliable product that is a joy to use and respects our users privacy. As such, we will prefer to support online services where users are in control of their data.

      • More Konsole Updates: Tabs

        One of the things that every old application suffers is from old code. It’s easier to keep something that works than to move to something new, even if the final result is better. Take a look at the current Tabbar + Buttons of Konsole.

      • [Okular] GSoC 2018 – Second month status

        I am working on the GSoC project Verifying signatures of pdf files and since the last blog post I have made number of improvements. They are listed below.

        [...]

        This is a dialog similar to print preview dialog but instead of previewing what is about to be printed it loads the data covered by a signature in a read-only KPart. In its current state this dialog is pdf specific. This is problematic since okular is a universal document viewer. So I plan to make it a bit more generic.

      • Going to Akademy 2018
      • Chrome Browser Launching Mitigation for Spectre Attacks, The Linux Foundation Announces LF Energy Coalition, Kube 0.7.0 Now Available, New Android Apps for Nativ Vita Hi-Res Music Server and More

        Version 0.7.0 of Kube, the “modern communication and collaboration client”, is now available. Improvements include “a conversation view that allows you to read through conversations in chronological order”; “a conversation list that bundles all messages of a conversation (thread) together”; “automatic attachment of own public key”; “the account setup can be fully scripted through the sinksh commandline interface”; and more. See kube.kde.org for more info.

      • Release of KDE Frameworks 5.48.0

        July 14, 2018. KDE today announces the release of KDE Frameworks 5.48.0.

        KDE Frameworks are 70 addon libraries to Qt which provide a wide variety of commonly needed functionality in mature, peer reviewed and well tested libraries with friendly licensing terms. For an introduction see the Frameworks 5.0 release announcement.

      • KDE Frameworks 5.48 Brings KWayland Fixes & Many Other Improvements

        KDE Frameworks 5.48 is now the latest monthly update to this collection of add-on libraries complementing Qt5.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • Carlos Soriano: Gtk4 Flatpak example

        As part of Ernestas Kulik work on porting Nautilus to gtk4 he has created a tagged entry widget to replace libgd tagged entry and eventually upstream to gtk proper. To give easy testing he created a Flatpak file for building a simple app with this widget, which serves as an example of how to create a simple app with gtk4 too.

      • Philip Withnall: GUADEC 2018 thoughts

        GUADEC this year was another good one; thank you to the organisers for putting on a great and welcoming conference, and to Endless for sending me.

        Unfortunately I couldn’t make the first two days due to a prior commitment, but I arrived on the Sunday in time to give my talks. I’ve got a lot of catching up to do with the talks on Friday and Saturday — looking forward to seeing the recordings online!

        The slides for my talk on the state of GLib are here and the notes are here (source for them is here). I think the talk went fairly well, although I imagine it was quite boring for most involved — I’m not sure how to make new APIs particularly interesting to listen to!

      • Georges Basile Stavracas Neto: My Perspective on This Year’s GUADEC

        This year, I had the pleasure to attend GUADEC at Almeria, Spain. Lots of things happened, and I believe some of them are important to be shared with the greater community.

        [...]

        A big cleanup was merged during GUADEC. This probably will mean small adaptations in extensions, but I don’t particularly think it’s groundbreaking.

        At the second BoF day, me and Jonas Ådahl dived into the Remote Desktop on Wayland work to figure out a few bugs we were having. Fortunately, Pipewire devs were present and we figured out some deadlocks into the code. Jonas also gave a small lecture on how the KMS-based renderer of Wayland’s code path works (thanks!), and I feel I’m more educated in that somewhat complex part of the code.

        As of today, Carlos Garnacho’s paint volume rework was merged too, after extensive months of testing. It was a high-impact work, and certainly reduces Mutter’s CPU usage on certain situations.

        At the very last day, we talked about various ideas for further performance improvements and cleanups on Mutter and GNOME Shell. I myself am on the last steps of working on one of these ideas, and will write about it later.

        [...]

        Even though I was reluctant to go, this GUADEC turned out to be an excellent and productive event.

      • Daniel García Moreno: GUADEC 2018

        GUADEC is the GNOME Users And Developers European Conference, is an annual conference that take place in Europe, and this year was in Spain, so I should go. I’ve became a foundation member this year and I’ve two Google Summer of Code students from GNOME organization working on Fractal, so this year GUADEC was an important one for me.

      • Harish Fulara: [GSoC 2018] Welcome Window Integration in Pitivi – Part 4

        The next and the last task under “Welcome Window Integration in Pitivi” as per my GSoC project is to integrate project thumbnails in recent projects list. I am currently working on this task and hope to finish it by next week.

      • Application screenshots with Gitlab CI

        The fresh new tooling used for development in the GNOME project (gitlab, meson, docker, flatpak) has a lots of potential

      • Matthias Clasen: The Flatpak BoF at Guadec

        Here is a quick summary of the Flatpak BoF that happened last week at Guadec.

      • Flatpak 1.0 Is En Route For Linux App Sandboxing & Easy Program Distribution

        At the recent GUADEC 2018 conference in Spain, GNOME developers plotted the imminent Flatpak 1.0 release as well as what’s coming after the big 1.0 milestone.

      • More Mutter Performance Tuning Work Landing For GNOME 3.30

        GNOME 3.30 is looking like Mutter will be quite fit with the ability to remove its dependence on X11 code and various performance tuning optimizations. On top of already landed performance work in recent months, more optimizations have just landed and it looks like more could still be on the way.

        Most recently, as of this morning, this two month old GitLab request was merged about re-using paint volumes. From the last commit it explains, “Cuts down approximately all paint volume calculations when there’s windows that redraw frequently, but don’t move.”

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Best open source business intelligence and analytics tools

    So what are some open source alternatives to these proprietary tools? And aside from cost what benefits can they bring? Here’s our pick of the market.

  • SD Times Open-Source Project of the Week: GraphQL Engine from Hasura

    With its open source release this week, GraphQL-as-a-Service company Hasura’s GraphQL Engine is looking to lift the burden on front-end and enterprise application developers who want to begin incorporating GraphQL’s data querying and manipulation capabilities in their preexisting Postgres-based applications without having to dig through the back-end of GraphQL’s code to implement it.

    ”GraphQL and the tooling around it dramatically increases the feature velocity for developer teams by reducing the communication required between them while developing new features,” the company wrote in this week’s announcement. “As a result, GraphQL servers are like self-documenting APIs that enable full API discoverability for the developers. This enables the front-end developers to make API requests, in order to introduce new features or change existing ones, in GraphQL without having to wait for back-end developer teams to deliver APIs and document the changes.”

  • FOSS Project Spotlight: Pydio Cells, an Enterprise-Focused File-Sharing Solution

    Pydio Cells is a brand-new product focused on the needs of enterprises and large organizations, brought to you from the people who launched the concept of the open-source file sharing and synchronization solution in 2008. The concept behind Pydio Cells is challenging: to be to file sharing what Slack has been to chats—that is, a revolution in terms of the number of features, power and ease of use.

    In order to reach this objective, Pydio’s development team has switched from the old-school development stack (Apache and PHP) to Google’s Go language to overcome the bottleneck represented by legacy technologies. Today, Pydio Cells offers a faster, more scalable microservice architecture that is in tune with dynamic modern enterprise environments.

    In fact, Pydio’s new “Cells” concept delivers file sharing as a modern collaborative app. Users are free to create flexible group spaces for sharing based on their own ways of working with dedicated in-app messaging for improved collaboration.

    In addition, the enterprise data management functionality gives both companies and administrators reassurance, with controls and reporting that directly answer corporate requirements around the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and other tightening data protection regulations.

  • Open Cars Kick-Off Conference

    Autonomous cars are coming. But how are we going to deal with keeping both the software and hardware up-to-date? Odds are, a three-year computer and software a few months old are going to be too old to drive autonomously, at least while the technology is in its infancy. And how do we train the guys in your local garage to maintain an AI?

    The automobile industry thinks they have a solution: lease rather than sell autonomous cars, lock the hood shut, and maintain them exclusively through their dealers.

    That works great for the 1%. But what about the rest of us? The folks who drive a dented, 10-year-old car? We should have the option to drive autonomous cars, and to participate in the same world as the more wealthy folks.

  • Web Browsers

    • Browsh – A Modern Text Browser That Supports Graphics And Video

      Browsh is a modern, text-based browser that supports graphics including video. Yes, you read that right! It supports HTML5, CSS3, JavaScript, photos, WebGL content and of course video as well. Technically speaking, it is not much of a browser, but some kind of terminal front-end of browser. It uses headless Firefox to render the web page and then converts it to ASCII art. According to the developer, Browsh significantly reduces the bandwidth and increases the browsing speed. Another cool feature of browsh is you can ssh from, for example an old laptop, to a regular computer where you have Browsh installed, and browse HTML5 webpages without much lag. Browsh is free, open source and cross-platform.

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla B-Team: happy bmo push day!
      • Mozilla VR Blog: This week in Mixed Reality: Issue 12

        This week we landed a bunch of core features: in the browsers space, we landed WebVR support and immersive controllers; in the social area, added media tools to Hubs; and in the content ecosystem, we now have WebGL2 support on the WebGLRenderer in three.js.

      • Robert Kaiser: VR Map – A-Frame Demo using OpenStreetMap Data

        The prime driver for writing my first such demo was that I wanted to do something meaningful with A-Frame. Previously, I had only played around with the Hello WebVR example and some small alterations around the basic elements seen in that one, which is also pretty much what I taught to others in the WebVR workshops I held in Vienna last year. Now, it was time to go beyond that, and as I had recently bought a HTC Vive, I wanted something where the controllers could be used – but still something that would fall back nicely and be usable in 2D mode on a desktop browser or even mobile screens.

      • Firefox Test Pilot: The Evolution of Side View

        Side View is a new Firefox Test Pilot experiment which allows you to send any webpage to the Firefox sidebar, giving you an easy way to view two webpages side-by-side. It was released June 5 through the Test Pilot program, and we thought we would share with you some of the different approaches we tried while implementing this idea.

  • Pseudo-Open Source (Openwashing)

  • BSD

    • DragonFly BSD Lead Developer Preaches The Blessing Of SSDs

      DragonFlyBSD lead developer Matthew Dillon has provided an update on the open-source operating system project’s infrastructure and acknowledging the SSD upgrades that are noticeably beneficial over HDDs.

      DragonFlyBSD has recently been replacing various HDDs with SSDs in their build machines and other systems having an important presence in their infrastructure. Following these storage upgrades, things have been running great and ultimately should deliver a snappier experience for users and developers.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Revealing unknown DWG classes

      I implemented three major buzzwords today in some trivial ways.

      massive parallel processing
      asynchronous processing
      machine-learning: a self-improving program

      The problem is mostly trivial, and the solutions also. I need to
      reverse-engineer a binary closed file-format, but got some hints from
      a related ASCII file-format, DWG vs DXF.

    • Binutils 2.31 Offers Faster DLL Linking For Cygwin/Mingw, Freescale S12Z Support

      A new release of the Binutils collection of important tools is now available with a number of new features and improvements.

      Binutils 2.31 contains work like direct linking with DLLs for Cygwin/Mingw targets now being faster, AArch64 disassembler improvements, MIPS GINV and CRC extension support, Freescale S12Z architecture support, the x86 assembler now supports new command line options to enable alternative shorter instruction encodings, and the Gold linker now supports Intel Indirect Branch Tracking and Shadow Stack instructions.

    • GCC 8/9 Land Fix For “-march=native” Tuning On Modern Intel CPUs

      The other day we reported on a GCC 8 regression where Skylake and newer CPUs with “-march=native” haven’t been performance as optimally as they should be. Fortunately, that patch was quickly landed into the GCC SVN/Git code for GCC 9 as well as back-ported to GCC 8.

      In the GCC 8.1 release and mainline code since April, as the previous article outlined, when using “-march=native” as part of the compiler flags with GCC the full capabilities of the CPU haven’t been leveraged. This affects Intel Skylake CPUs and newer generations, including yet to be released hardware like Cannonlake and Icelake.

  • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • ARM Kills Its RISC-V FUD Website After Staff Revolt

        ARM is under fire for the way it attempted to kneecap a fledgling open-source hardware project, and has retreated from its own line of attack after several days. ARM had launched a website, riscv-basics.com, which purported to offer “real” information on the rival ISA. As one might expect, the “information” on display was a bit less neutral than a visitor might hope for. Taking this kind of shot against an open-source hardware project also struck many in the OSS community as being in exceptionally poor taste, given how critical open source software has been to ARM’s overall success and visibility.

        First, a bit of background: RISC-V is an open-source ISA based on RISC principles and is intended to eventually provide flexible CPU cores for a wide variety of use-cases. By using the BSD license, the RISC-V teams hope to allow for a greater range of projects that support both open and proprietary CPU designs. RISC-V CPUs are already available today in a range of roles and capabilities. Despite some modest initial success, RISC-V, today, isn’t even a rounding error in CPU marketshare measurements. It’s certainly no threat to ARM, which enjoys the mother of all vendor lock-ins measured in per-device terms.

  • Programming/Development

    • Becoming a senior developer: 9 experiences you’ll encounter

      Being a developer—a good one—isn’t just about writing code. To be successful, you do a lot of planning, you deal with catastrophes, and you prevent catastrophes. Not to mention you spend plenty of time working with other humans about what your code should do.

    • Python and Its Community Enter a New Phase

      Python is an amazing programming language, there’s no doubt about it. >From humble beginnings in 1991, it’s now just about everywhere. Whether you’re doing web development, system administration, test automation, devops or data science, odds are good that Python is playing a role in your work.

      Even if you’re not using Python directly, odds are good that it is being used behind the scenes. Using OpenStack? Python plays an integral role in its development and configuration. Using Dropbox on your computer? Then you’ve got a copy of Python running on your computer. Using Linux? When I purchased Red Hat Linux back in 1995, the configuration was a breeze—thanks to visual tools developed in Python.

      And, of course, there are numerous schools and educational programs that are now teaching Python. MIT’s intro computer science course switched several years ago from Scheme to Python, and thousands of universities all over the world made a similar switch in its wake. My 15-year-old daughter participates in a program for technology and entrepreneurship—and she’s learning Python.

      There currently is an almost insatiable demand for Python developers. Indeed, Stack Overflow reported last year that Python is not only the most popular language on its site, but it’s also the fastest-growing language. I can attest to this popularity in my own job as a freelance Python trainer. Some of the largest computer companies in the world are now using Python on a regular basis, and their use of the language is growing, not shrinking.

    • Python boss Guido van Rossum steps down after 30 years

      He lays out a list of things that the users will need to consider going forwards like who has banning rights and who inducts noobs to the core developer team, but its laid out in a context of ‘do what you want but keep me out of it’.

      “I’ll still be here, but I’m trying to let you all figure something out for yourselves. I’m tired, and need a very long break.”

Leftovers

  • Science

    • Open offices are as bad as they seem—they reduce face-to-face time by 70%

      Before the study it was clear from employee surveys and media reports that workers are not fans of the open architecture trend. Employees complain of noise, distractions, lowered productivity, a loss of privacy, and a feeling of being “watched.” On top of that, studies have suggested that open offices can be bad for workers’ health.

      Still, Bernstein and Turban write that, up until now, there has been a dearth of data on how employee behaviors change in these boundless, despised work spaces. To come up with that data, they enlisted employees in two big companies as their employers embarked on remodeling office areas from traditional closed offices and cubicles to open, boundary-less space.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • HHS Plans to Delete 20 Years of Critical Medical Guidelines Next Week

      The Trump Administration is planning to eliminate a vast trove of medical guidelines that for nearly 20 years has been a critical resource for doctors, researchers and others in the medical community.

      Maintained by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality [AHRQ], part of the Department of Health and Human Services, the database is known as the National Guideline Clearinghouse [NGC], and it’s scheduled to “go dark,” in the words of an official there, on July 16.

      Medical guidelines like those compiled by AHRQ aren’t something laypeople spend much time thinking about, but experts like Valerie King, a professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Director of Research at the Center for Evidence-based Policy at Oregon Health & Science University, said the NGC is perhaps the most important repository of evidence-based research available.

  • Security

  • Defence/Aggression

    • Fish Out of Water: How the Military Is an Impossible Place for Hackers [sic], and What to Do About It

      For most hackers [sic], an ADCON job means one to two years away from mission doing a non-technical job they’ll probably detest. So, the military’s most talented hackers [sic] are caught squarely in an identity crisis: Buck the promotion system and continue being a contributor who is “50 to 100 times better than their peers” fighting adversaries in cyberspace or take a year or two off mission to collate push-up scores in Excel spreadsheets.

      It might seem that putting technical talent in ADCON command positions would help fix the problem, but it doesn’t for three reasons:

    • Should Your Company Help ICE? “Know Your Customer” Standards for Evaluating Domestic Sales of Surveillance Equipment

      Employees at Google, Microsoft, and Amazon have raised public concerns about those companies assisting U.S. military, law enforcement, and the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE) in deploying various kinds of surveillance technologies.

      These public calls from employees raise important questions: what steps should a company take to ensure that government entities who purchase or license their technologies don’t misuse them? When should they refuse to sell to a governmental entity?

      Tech companies must step up and ensure that they aren’t assisting governments in committing human rights abuses.

      While the specific context of U.S. law enforcement using new surveillance technologies is more recent, the underlying questions aren’t. In 2011, EFF proposed a basic Know Your Customer framework for these questions. The context then was foreign repressive governments’ use of the technology from U.S. and European companies to facilitate human rights abuses. EFF’s framework was cited favorably by the United Nations in its implementation guide for technology companies for its own Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

      Now, those same basic ideas about investigation, auditing, and accountability can be, and should be, deployed domestically.

      Put simply, tech companies, especially those selling surveillance equipment, must step up and ensure that they aren’t assisting governments in committing human rights, civil rights and civil liberties abuses. This obligation applies whether those governments are foreign or domestic, federal or local.

      One way tech companies can navigate this difficult issue is by adopting a robust Know Your Customer program, modeled on requirements that companies already have to follow in the export control and anti-bribery context. Below, we outline our proposal for sales to foreign governments from 2011, with a few updates to reflect shifting from an international to domestic focus. Employees at companies that sell to government agencies, especially agencies with a record as troubling as ICE, may want to advocate for this as a process to protect against future corporate complicity.

    • The Media’s Brazen Dishonesty About North Korean Nuclear Violations

      In late June and early July, NBC News, CNN, and The Wall Street Journal published stories that appeared at first glance to shed a lurid light on Donald Trump’s flirtation with Kim Jong-un. They contained satellite imagery showing that North Korea was making rapid upgrades to its nuclear weapons complex at Yongbyon and expanding its missile production program just as Trump and Kim were getting chummy at their Singapore summit.

      In fact, those media outlets were selling journalistic snake oil. By misrepresenting the diplomatic context of the images they were hyping, the press launched a false narrative around the Trump-Kim summit and the negotiations therein.

      The headline of the June 27 NBC News story revealed the network’s political agenda on the Trump-Kim negotiations. “If North Korea is denuclearizing,” it asked, “why is it expanding a nuclear research center?” The piece warned that North Korea “continues to make improvements to a major nuclear facility, raising questions about President Donald Trump’s claim that Kim Jong Un has agreed to disarm, independent experts tell NBC News.”

      CNN’s coverage of the same story was even more sensationalist, declaring that there were “troubling signs” that North Korea was making “improvements” to its nuclear facilities, some of which it said had been carried out after the Trump-Kim summit. It pointed to a facility that had produced plutonium in the past and recently undergone an upgrade, despite Kim’s alleged promise to Trump to draw down his nuclear arsenal. CNN commentator Max Boot cleverly spelled out the supposed implication: “If you were about to demolish your house, would you be remodeling the kitchen?”

  • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Inter-American Court Ruling Benefits Julian Assange

      The ruling was deemed a huge victory for the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
      The Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled on Friday the right to seek asylum in embassies and other diplomatic compounds. The ruling includes a mandatory safe process, and the obligation of states to provide safe passage to those granted asylum. Without naming Julian Assange, the ruling was deemed a huge victory for the WikiLeaks founder who has been held up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife/Nature

    • New Dutch study recommends optimal EVSE rollout strategy

      As the worldwide fleet of EVs expands, it’s becoming clear that governments around the world need to make significant investments in public charging infrastructure. However, there are few examples to follow in developing an effective rollout strategy.

      A new study, published in the journal Energy Policy, aims to guide policy makers in the deployment of future charging infrastructure. The study analyzes the use of 1,700 public charging points in the Netherlands over the first 4 years of EV adoption, representing more than 1.3 million charging sessions.

  • Finance

  • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Social media platforms must police their sites better, says Ofcom

      White highlighted Ofcom research that demonstrated how little trust user have in what they read on social media. “Only 39% consider social media to be a trustworthy news source, compared with 63% for newspapers, and 70% for TV,” she wrote.

      “Many people admit they simply don’t have the time or inclination to think critically when engaging with news, which has important implications for our democracy.”

    • Ray McGovern: Strzok Hoisted on His Own Petard

      If FBI agent Peter Strzok were not so glib, it would have been easier to feel some sympathy for him during his tough grilling at the House oversight hearing on Thursday, even though his wounds are self-inflicted. The wounds, of course, ooze from the content of his own text message exchange with his lover and alleged co-conspirator, Lisa Page.

      Strzok was a top FBI counterintelligence official and Page an attorney working for then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe. The Attorney General fired McCabe in March and DOJ has criminally referred McCabe to federal prosecutors for lying to Justice Department investigators.

      On Thursday members of the House Judiciary and Oversight/Government Reform Committees questioned Strzok for eight hours on how he led the investigations of Hillary Clinton’s unauthorized emails and Donald Trump’s campaign’s ties with Russia, if any.

      [...]

      There were moments of high irony at Thursday’s hearing. For example, under questioning by Darrell Issa (R-CA), Strzok appealed, in essence, for the same kid-gloves treatment that his FBI and DOJ associates afforded Mrs. Clinton during the Strzok-led investigation of her emails.

    • Mueller indicts 12 Russians for DNC hacking
    • Russian Influence Campaign Sought To Exploit Americans’ Trust In Local News

      Russia’s information attack against the United States during the 2016 election cycle sought to take advantage of the greater trust that Americans tend to place in local news.

      The information operatives who worked out of the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg did not stop at posing as American social media users or spreading false information from purported news sources, according to new details.

      They also created a number of Twitter accounts that posed as sources for Americans’ hometown headlines.

    • Russian Dressing On Everything

      Reporting on the Russia investigation is not for the faint of heart. This week, a look at how a journalist became entangled in the investigation when she turned her source over to the FBI. Plus, how another reporter avoided common journalistic mistakes during the Iraq War and a conversation with the director of the new documentary The Other Side of Everything about the end of Yugoslavia.

    • Evidence Will Probably Never Be Produced in Indictments of ‘Russian Agents’

      The indictment of 12 Russian ‘agents,’ which included no collusion with Trump’s team, is essentially a political and not legal document because it is almost certain the U.S. government will never have to present any evidence in court, reports Joe Lauria.

    • 2016 US Elections: 12 Russian Spies Charged For Hacking
  • Censorship/Free Speech

    • EFF to Japan: Reject Website Blocking

      Website blocking to deal with alleged copyright infringement is like cutting off your hand to deal with a papercut. Sure, you don’t have a papercut anymore, but you’ve also lost a lot more than you’ve gained. The latest country to consider a website blocking proposal is Japan, and EFF has responded to the call for comment by sharing all the reasons that cutting off websites is a terrible solution for copyright violations.

      In response to infringement of copyrighted material, specifically citing a concern for manga, the government of Japan began work on a proposal that would make certain websites inaccessible in Japan. We’ve seen proposals like this before, most recently in the European Union’s Article 13.

      In response to Japan’s proposal, EFF explained that website blocking is not effective at the stated goal of protecting artists and their work. First, it can be easily circumvented. Second, it ends up capturing a lot of lawful expression. Blocking an entire website does not distinguish between legal and illegal content, punishing both equally. Blocking and filtering by governments has frequently been found to violate national and international principles of free expression [pdf].

      EFF also shared the research leading Internet engineers did in response to a potential U.S. law that would have enabled website blocking. They said that website blocking would lead to network errors and security problems.

    • Slipping past the censors

      During a panel discussion at the Odisha Literary Festival last year, actor Tillotama Shome remarked that a strict or even unreasonable censorship regime can, paradoxically, aid the cause of creativity—by forcing a film-maker to find more inventive ways of saying what he needs to say.

      Shome’s words were an echo of Orson Welles’ famous observation, “The absence of limitations is the enemy of art”, and had a similar subtext, which went something like: Yes, we all know these aren’t optimum conditions for creative work, but let’s make the best of a tough situation.

    • GOP candidates for KS governor don’t hold back in final debate before primary

      During the last debate before the August primary, the candidates for the Republican gubernatorial nominee were not pulling punches.

      One issue taking center stage — an American flag art project at the University of Kansas.

      “When somebody wants to use taxpayer funds and tax-payer institutions to desecrate our flag, I say not in Kansas and not on my watch,” said Governor Jeff Colyer.

    • The Flag and Free Expression

      An art piece at the University of Kansas featuring a U.S. flag with illustrations on it is stirring up a decades-old debate: Should the flag get special protection under the First Amendment? The Supreme Court says no and has affirmed the right to burn the flag, but the Kansas dispute is one of many in which colleges have been questioned for uses of the flag to make art and/or political points.

      “Untitled (Flag 2)” by German artist Josephine Meckseper was intended to serve as commentary on the deep divisions in the United States, according to a statement by the artist. Meckseper drip painted a rough illustration of the U.S. on the flag and a striped sock in the left-hand corner to symbolize children imprisoned on the border. Some are viewing the work as an affront to active military and veterans. Among them is Kansas governor Jeff Colyer, who called for the flag’s removal in a statement Wednesday.

    • Pledges of Allegiance
  • Privacy/Surveillance

    • ‘Data is a fingerprint’: why you aren’t as anonymous as you think online

      Names and other identifying features were removed from the records in an effort to protect individuals’ privacy, but a research team from the University of Melbourne soon discovered that it was simple to re-identify people, and learn about their entire medical history without their consent, by comparing the dataset to other publicly available information, such as reports of celebrities having babies or athletes having surgeries.

      The government pulled the data from its website, but not before it had been downloaded 1,500 times.

    • US: Government Has Planted Spy Phones With Suspects

      Human Rights Watch has identified two forms of this technique that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has used or, evidence suggests, has contemplated using. One involved the undercover sale of BlackBerry devices whose individual encryption keys the DEA possessed, enabling the agency to decode messages sent and received by suspects. The second, as described in a previously unreported internal email belonging to the surveillance software company Hacking Team, may have entailed installing monitoring software on a significant number of phones before attempting to put them into suspects’ hands.

  • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Videos that incited lynchings in Maharashtra were manipulated: Police

      The videos were widely circulated on social media across the state following which seven offences were registered by the Malegaon Police in Nashik district.

      “During our investigation, we found these videos were manipulated and the clippings were also not of places as claimed by people on social media,” Malegon’s Additional Superintendent of Police Harsh Poddar told PTI.

    • Sex Jehad: The Religious Undertones In Viral Video Clips

      Social scientists feel this new brand of porn promotes “hate sex”, with revenge as the motive. Since the beginning of recorded history, men have been using sex as a weapon to demean rival men, showing them as weak and inferior by “having sex” with ‘their’ women. These vanquished men are stigmatised as cuckolds, and ridiculed. Porn, which can seriously distort male perspectives on women and intimate relationships, becomes a platform to broadcast such hatred and tag an intended target as a cuckold with videos running under titles such as “Desi Hindu girl f***s her Muslim cab driver” and such like. The tacitly offered subtext is that Hindu women have to be protected, and vice versa, Batabyal says.

    • Woman with biscuits thrashed in Tamil Nadu on suspicion of being child lifter

      The attack comes in the backdrop a spate of similar such incidents in several parts of the country when people were either beaten up or lynched on suspicion that they were child abductors, which prompted the government to ask social media operators such as WhatsApp to clamp down on rumours.

    • The Shadow of Torture Behind Trump’s Britain Visit

      The U.K. Was Complicit in America’s Torture. Neither Country Should Let It Happen Again.

      As President Trump visits the United Kingdom, the focus has been on strained trans-Atlantic relations, his intervention in domestic politics, and massive public protests.

      A different, diplomatically-couched protest has received less attention but sends a consequential signal about the so-called “special relationship” between the two countries: U.K. parliamentarians are concerned that under Trump, America could return to a policy of torture — and they are warning British intelligence agencies to guard against it.

      Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee released a pair of reports at the end of June providing extensive detail about U.K. complicity in torture, rendition, and other abuses of detainees by the U.S. military and the CIA during the George W. Bush administration. The reports by the committee, which oversees the U.K.’s intelligence agencies, also focus on policy changes needed to avoid a repeat of such abuses.

      The committee uncovered at least 166 instances in which British officials either directly witnessed or had credible information suggesting that torture and abuse were carried out by Americans. It also found 232 cases in which U.K. personnel continued to interrogate or provide intelligence about a U.S.-held detainee even after they knew or suspected that the detainee had been abused. And there were 192 cases in which the U.K. accepted intelligence information obtained by the U.S. from detainees the U.K. knew or should have suspected had been tortured or abused.

      The committee found dozens of instances in which the U.K. provided intelligence or financial support to illegal U.S. “renditions” — in which the U.S. essentially kidnapping people and transferring them to third countries where they were subjected to torture and degrading treatment.

    • Dear Brett Kavanaugh, Justices Do Make Law

      The Supreme Court nominee says judges ‘must interpret the law, not make’ it. He’s wrong. Here’s why.

      Judges “must interpret the law, not make the law,” observed Judge Brett Kavanaugh in accepting Donald Trump’s designation to fill Justice Anthony Kennedy’s seat on the Supreme Court. This oft-repeated assertion is an invention of conservatives who seek to criticize and curtail rights-enhancing decisions of the Supreme Court. But the assertion that judges should not make law rests upon a fundamental misunderstanding of the role of judges within our common law tradition.

      It is a hallmark of our common law system that judges not only resolve the controversies before them but, in doing so, write opinions that explain their decisions and identify the legal principles and factual conclusions upon which the decisions rest. These opinions are designed to persuade the litigants and the public that the case was decided fairly and in accordance with law. But the written opinions also serve as a source of law for future controversies. In this way, common law courts resolve individual disputes and, at the same time, issue opinions that create legal precedent which guides future behavior and informs subsequent adjudications.

      In writing opinions that will serve as precedent and in relying on precedent as a source of law, the Supreme Court functions as a common law court. The justices of the court who write these opinions are unquestionably engaged in making law, not merely in applying law.

      By way of example, the entire body of law regarding freedom of expression has been created by the Supreme Court. The First Amendment provision pertaining to freedom of speech and press reads: “Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech or of the press ….” The text seems clear. But reading the text alone fails to capture the scope of the provision. We know, because the Supreme Court has told us, that “no law” does not really mean “no law.” And the proscriptions of the First Amendment are not limited to “Congress.” They apply, as well, to the executive branch and to state and local governments. Moreover, the First Amendment extends its protective reach beyond “speech” and “press” as it also guards against government censorship of movies, artwork, the internet, and other forms of expression.

    • How Black Lives Matter Changed the Way Americans Fight for Freedom

      Five years after the founding of Black Lives Matter, the movement has transformed the nation’s approach to social justice.

      Freedom fighters around the globe commemorate July 13 as the day that three Black women gave birth to a movement. In the five short years since #Black LivesMatter arrived on the scene — thanks to the creative genius of Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometti — the push for Black liberation from state-inflicted violence has evolved into one of the most influential social movements of the post-civil rights era.

      Black Lives Matter has always been more of a human rights movement rather than a civil rights movement. BLM’s focus has been less about changing specific laws and more about fighting for a fundamental reordering of society wherein Black lives are free from systematic dehumanization. Still, the movement’s measurable impact on the political and legal landscape is undeniable.

      Since 2013, the organizing labor of BLM has led to the ousting of high-profile corrupt prosecutors. In Chicago, BLM pressure led Anita Alvarez — who had inexplicably failed to charge police officers who shot at least 68 people to death — to lose her re-election bid for Cook County prosecutor. And in Florida, BLM helped end Angela Corey’s reign as a state attorney. Corey remains infamous for failing to convict Trayvon Martin’s killer George Zimmerman while prosecuting Marissa Alexander, a Black woman who didn’t hurt anyone when firing a warning shot at her abusive ex-husband.

    • Jacinta Gonzalez on Immigration Rights, Jocelyn McCalla on Haiti Uprising

      Americans, many of them anyway, have been filled with outrage—and anger, and sadness—at the fact that immigrants escaping violence and deprivation (some of it visited on them by US policy and practice) are being treated as criminals at the US border. Children being literally pulled from their parents’ arms and locked up in pens—and it’s all in aid of, what, exactly? The truth is US “policy” on immigration has long veiled, thinly, an abject cruelty and racism. And so while outrage at family separation at the Mexican border is a fine starting point for a movement for change, it cannot be its end. We’ll talk about bigger, positive visions on immigration with Jacinta Gonzalez, senior campaign organizer at mijente, the national political hub for Latinx organizing.

    • ‘It Is Really Crucial That People Stand Up for What They Believe In’

      A Washington Post poll from July 2017 found that one out of every three Washington, DC, residents said they’d taken part in a protest against Donald Trump since his inauguration. That number included half of the district’s white residents, half of people making more than $100,000 a year, and a fifth of the respondents over the age of 65.

      As more and more people go out in the street, states are rushing to criminalize that resistance. This time last year, we talked about the right to protest and the role of law in a time of widespread dissent with activist attorney Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive of director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. I started by asking about the J20, the group of people—including journalists—arrested for protesting at Trump’s January 20 inauguration. CounterSpin listeners got an update on the state of that case just a few weeks back on the show. Mara Verheyden-Hilliard explained the nature of the J20 case.

    • Stop-and-Frisk Settlement in Milwaukee Lawsuit Is a Wakeup Call for Police Nationwide

      Police must institute reforms to end biased policing and unlawful stops and frisks.

      In a banner day for police reform, the city of Milwaukee has entered into a settlement agreement to end practices amounting to a decade-long stop-and-frisk program that resulted in hundreds of thousands of baseless stops as well as racial and ethnic profiling of Black and Latino people citywide. The agreement provides a roadmap for how the Milwaukee Police Department and Fire and Police Commission must reform to protect the constitutional rights of the people they serve.

      The reforms are local, but the implications are national. This settlement sends a signal to police departments across the country about how to remedy stop-and-frisk practices that wrongfully criminalize people of color.

      The reforms in Milwaukee are the result of the settlement of Collins v. City of Milwaukee, a 2017 lawsuit brought by the ACLU and the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP on behalf of Black and Latino people, including a military veteran, a grandmother, students, and a state legislator. Each of the plaintiffs was stopped or stopped and frisked by Milwaukee police when doing nothing wrong.

      Our plaintiffs were not alone.

    • The Supreme Court’s Disingenuous Funeral Ceremony for Korematsu

      Instead of truly putting Korematsu to rest, the Muslim ban decision revived that shameful decision under another name.

      Over Independence Day weekend, I joined hundreds of fellow Japanese-Americans at the Tule Lake Pilgrimage. Held on the site of the Tule Lake Segregation Center, this pilgrimage offers a chance to remember how the U.S. government imprisoned our families without trial during World War II.

      President Franklin D. Roosevelt provided the legal authority for this incarceration by signing Executive Order 9066, which directed military officials to “prescribe military areas . . . from which any or all persons may be excluded.” The language of the order was facially neutral, in that it named no particular ethnic groups. However, everyone involved in its drafting and implementation knew it would target people of Japanese ancestry, both U.S.-born citizens and noncitizen immigrants.

      In the ensuing weeks and months, Lt. General John L. DeWitt — an avowed racist who famously declared that “a Jap’s a Jap” regardless of citizenship — designated large swaths of Arizona, California, Oregon, and Washington as “military areas” from which Japanese-Americans would be “excluded” by force. As a result, my grandmother Bette — a 23-year-old aspiring fashion designer from a small California town — was forced to interrupt her junior college education to be imprisoned with her parents and siblings at the Tule Lake prison camp. They were assigned to tarpaper barracks to live behind barbed wire under the watch of armed guards. Meanwhile, my grandfather Kuichi — who had actually been drafted into the U.S. Army before Pearl Harbor — was left in an uncomfortable limbo while military authorities decided what to do with this newly enlisted soldier who happened to be of an “enemy alien” race. Eventually, they ordered him to join the fight in Europe.

    • Watch the 6-Year-Old Salvadoran Girl Heard on a Secret Recording Out of a Border Patrol Detention Facility Finally Being Reunited With Her Mom

      Alison Jimena Valencia Madrid walked out of a Houston airport early this morning to cheers, holding her mother’s hand, one month after they were separated at a Border Patrol detention facility and the 6-year-old’s voice was captured in an audio recording, begging for a phone call. A van pulled up, and Jimena sat on her mother’s lap in the backseat. She looked out through a window and waved at a handful of reporters, beaming.

      It was a whirlwind government handoff as improvised and clandestine as their separation. Jimena was bundled out of a shelter in Phoenix on Thursday evening, loaded onto an airplane at supper time and flown three hours to Houston, where she kept herself awake all night in a passenger lounge in Terminal A with crayons and coloring books. Meanwhile her mother, Cindy Madrid, fresh out of a detention facility in south Texas, got word about the government’s plans too late to catch a flight, and barreled with her lawyer six hours down the highway to reach the little girl.

      Both were too exhausted to answer questions upon leaving the airport at 3 a.m. Madrid’s lawyer said that Jimena had a bit of an emotional meltdown at the first sight of her mother. When asked in an earlier interview what she’d feel once she had her daughter back in her arms, Madrid said, “I’ll be the happiest woman in the world. It’s been very painful to be apart.”

    • Congressman Introduces Legislation To Criminalize Protesting In A Mask

      Antifa, of course, being the favored bogeyman target from the political interests of those supporting the President, at least at the moment. And, sure, some protests where Antifa has participated in have gotten out of hand and criminal activities have taken place. We have laws for that. Using them as an excuse to specifically outlaw wearing a mask or face-covering while protesting is just plain stupid.

      And pretty plainly unconstitutional. I would guess Donovan knows that, too, and is actually using this bill purely as a, shall we say… “virtue signal” to his constituents without having any expectations that it will both pass into law and defeat the immediate First Amendment challenges that will surely be thrown at it from many places. And, in case it isn’t clear, playing those sorts of political games with free speech is about as scummy as it gets for a politician.

    • Guy Gets Tossed In Jail For Contempt Charges Because Cops Say They Need To Unlock His Phones To Get Evidence Of Drug Possession

      There’s a Fifth Amendment case developing in Tampa, Florida revolving around cellphones, passcodes, and contempt charges. (h/t Dissent Doe)

      William Montanez has just been jailed for 180 by a Florida judge for refusing to unlock two phones seized from him by police. This happened in an extremely unorthodox fashion. In court, the judge said “Unlock them,” and Montanez was handed both phones. He claimed he couldn’t remember the passcodes, saying they both had been recently purchased. No passcode, no freedom, the judge instantly ruled.

      The police have a warrant and claim that’s all they need to demand access to the phones’ contents. But that’s predicated on a string of events that seem constitutionally-dubious, to say the least.

      An emergency petition [PDF] (via Florida You Judge) to challenge the judge’s contempt ruling (and the warrant itself) has been filed by Montanez’s attorney, Patrick Leduc. The petition details the traffic stop and arrest of Montanez, which appears to contain a handful of constitutional violations.

      Montanez was pulled over for failure to yield. During this stop, a K-9 unit was brought to the scene to sniff Montanez’s car after he refused to consent to a search. This is already questionable. The Supreme Court’s ruling in Rodriguez makes it clear regular traffic stops aren’t supposed to be fishing expeditions. If no reasonable suspicion presents itself (and refusing consent isn’t suspicious activity), officers aren’t allowed to extend stops to further badger drivers into relinquishing consent or bring a dog to scene to ask its permission for a search.

    • Rogue CBP Agent Decided To ‘Drain The Swamp’ By Tracking Down A Journalist To Sniff Out Her Sources

      The DOJ has decided it can safely threaten First Amendment protections, so long as it’s done in the pursuit of leakers. The Trump Administration has leaked like no other, prompting AG Jeff Sessions to triple-up on former president Obama’s war on whistleblowers. Omelets/eggs broken, I suppose, if the end goal is dialing back leaks to only the ones the administration approves of.

      It’s cool to target journalists’ communications again. That’s the general mood of the DOJ, which slapped itself on the wrist during Eric Holder’s tenure for hoovering up AP journalists’ communications, only to reverse course when the desire to prosecute leakers surpassed its desire to not look like a thuggish force of government oppression.

      The indictment of Senate Intelligence Committee advisor James Wolfe contained a lot of journalists’ communications and metadata obtained from several sources, including service providers these journalists used. This was disturbing enough, suggesting the new normal for leak investigations is targeting members of the press to work backwards to their anonymous sources.

    • Islamic scholar detained in Saudi Arabia

      delete

      Sheikh Safar al-Hawali is known for his anti-American sentiments and wish for Islamic rule.

  • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

    • After AT&T Jacks Up Prices Post Merger, DOJ Decides To Appeal Court Loss

      AT&T recently defeated the DOJ’s challenge to their $86 billion merger with Time Warner thanks to a comically narrow reading of the markets by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon. At no point in his 172-page ruling (which approved the deal without a single condition) did Leon show the faintest understanding that AT&T intends to use vertical integration synergistically with the death of net neutrality to dominate smaller competitors. In fact, net neutrality was never even mentioned at the multi-week trial.

      The trial did a wonderful job showing how modern antitrust law does a dismal job policing companies that dominate both the conduit to the home (wireless, wired connection) and the content running over it. And shortly after Leon signed off on the deal, AT&T got right work… being AT&T.

      The company had made repeated promises before, during and after the trial that the merger would only result in price reductions and other wonderful things for consumers. But with the ink barely dry on the deal, AT&T quickly began raising rates on its streaming video services, eliminating promo offers providing free HBO to its wireless customers, jacking up the price of the company’s unlimited data wireless plans, and imposing bogus new fees on those same subscribers. Most of these moves were expected as AT&T tries to recoup some of the monumental debt incurred by its endless quest to grow ever larger.

      Initially, the DOJ stated it wouldn’t appeal its court loss, even though Leon’s myopic ruling opened the door to the idea. But the DOJ clearly sees something in AT&T’s recent moves that gives it additional ammunition for another shot at the merger, so it’s appealing the judge’s ruling to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit according to a DOJ filing (pdf).

    • The Cable TV & Broadband Sector Has A Nasty Billing Fraud Problem

      As we’ve well discussed, the broadband and TV sector not only has some of the worst satisfaction scores in modern history. A lack of real competition has long allowed the industry to double down on all manner of bad behavior, whether that’s net neutrality and privacy violations, or just unprecedentedly-awful customer service. But in recent years the industry has developed another nasty habit: billing fraud involving everything from falsely signing customers up for services they never ordered to entirely bogus fees designed to let companies falsely advertise lower rates.

      T-Mobile was accused last year of signing users up for services they neither wanted nor ordered. Centurylink has similarly found itself in hot water for the same thing on a larger scale, the company now facing lawsuits in more than a dozen states for the practice. Washington State also recently sued Comcast, noting that the company not only routinely signs its customers up for a “Service Protection Plan” they never ordered, but consistently misrepresents what the plan actually does. You may or may not notice a pattern here.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • What to expect when JPO improves its machine translation system [Ed: When it comes to patents, automated translations are worse than useless. The patent extremists just try to cheapen the process while broadening their power.]

      When the JPO successfully improves accuracy of machine translation, I would suggest to the JPO to further consider not requiring overseas patent applicants to submit the Japanese translation of patent application documents. Because several people from overseas firms have told me that their clients hesitate or give up patent application filing in Japan, considering the cost of Japanese translation which they feel expensive. Alternatively, allowing the submission of English translation may work. Because the English translation can be used for patent application filing in other English-speaking countries and it would not bother so much. Anyway, I expect the JPO to create an environment where overseas clients who want to obtain patent rights in Japan don’t have to give up due to just translation cost.

    • Trademarks

      • Leaving Apple and Google: /e/ is the symbol for “my data is MY data”

        The “eelo” trademark we have been using so far has been filed by myself in the EU and in the USA. However, some companies have filed opposition to its registration, because they claim that there exists a likelihood of confusion between their prio similar marks and “eelo”.

        In some cases, we could arrange a coexistence agreement, by reducing the scope of our goods and services, that was somewhat too broad. For instance, it’s clear that our project is not about producing energy or developing human-resource management software.

        But one company that opposed our registration in the EU has refused to even discuss a peaceful coexistence agreement.

        This company is Meurs HRM B.V. and owns prior rights on the “eelloo” trademark, in several identical classes as the eelo trademark was filed for.

    • Copyrights

      • Anti-Piracy Group BREIN Plans to Target ‘Frequent’ Seeders

        Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN stresses that its plan to go after frequent seeders of pirated material is still on. The outfit will use its own tracking software to detect persistent infringers and hold them accountable. Movie distribution Dutch FilmWorks is working on a similar scheme, which is also yet to launch.

      • Russia Adopts Draft to Prohibit ‘Piracy-Enabling’ Software

        Russia’s State Duma has adopted a draft law that aims to tackle software applications through which pirated content is distributed. The proposals foresee the owner or operator of an application being warned that infringement is taking place while giving them time to remove the offending content. Failure to do so will result in the software application being blocked by ISPs.

      • Digimarc Fighting Piracy By Submitting Incomplete DMCA Notices Targeting Tons Of Non-Infringing URLs (Including Techdirt’s)

        There are bogus DMCA takedown requests — something we’ve covered frequently here — that try to use a copyright tool to make unflattering content disappear. Then there’s this form of bogus, the kind being engaged in by Digimarc. It appears to be the result of inadequate automation handling everything terribly.

        A July 3rd DMCA notice issued by Digimarc on behalf of AVID Center makes five copyright claims. For whatever reason, only two of the claims have allegedly infringing URLs appended. Where bare minimum competence should be, there’s only white space.

        [...]

        That’s not the only time Techdirt is targeted by Digimarc’s sudden burst of stupid DMCA takedowns. This one, sent on behalf of the American Psychological Association, demands the takedown of a completely unrelated webpage and every post Techdirt has published about Sci-Hub.

        Digimarc has dumped hundreds of DMCA notices into Google’s lap over the last few weeks, many of which are loaded with unvetted garbage.

      • Misleading Subscription Practices At The Financial Times

        We’ve spent years highlighting how ISPs especially tend to really screw customers over with things like hidden fees or (a personal least favorite) “low introductory prices” that hide the price jump you’ll face at the end of the term. Broadband providers can often get away with those practices thanks to absentee overseers at the FCC/FTC and importantly, the lack of competition. But it’s absolutely insane to see those in competitive or struggling organizations pulling the same kinds of stunts. Right now there’s all this concern out there about media business models, and lots of publications are pushing people to sign up for their subscription plans. There are lots to choose from, and playing stupid games is not a good idea. That’s why I was a bit flabbergasted by the following story, which comes from Hersh Reddy, who co-hosts the Techdirt Podcast. He shared with me this following chat he had with the Financial Times.

        You can read the whole insane thing below, in which it appears that FT’s policies are designed to trick people (i.e., it’s not at all the fault of the poor woman he’s speaking to). Specifically, it appears that FT has two “cheap” offers to try to get people: one that is $1 for the first 4 weeks, and another that says a full subscription is $144/year.

        [...]

        This is the kind of shady bait-and-switch practices that broadband companies try to get away with. It’s pretty shameful to see FT trying it as well. Especially in a time where newspapers are desperate for subscribers. It certainly seems like a damn good reason not to give any money to the FT. Their reporting may be good, but these practices are sketchy.

      • All the news that’s fit to share: Melody Kramer on CC and the power of media

        Melody Kramer is a media expert with a special gift for uplifting open knowledge and demonstrating the power of the Commons. Previously, she held roles in public media and government and currently works as the Senior Audience Development Manager at Wikimedia. A prolific content producer and media mover and shaker, Kramer is also the Reese News Lab Fellow at the UNC School of Media and Journalism, where she’s completing research to better understand the needs of journalists across North Carolina. She writes a weekly column on the future of news for the Poynter Institute and devoted that column to CC and its necessary role in journalism in 2016.

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