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01.03.20

Links 3/1/2020: Xen Project 4.12.2 and Electronic Arts Shows Its Hatred of GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 2:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • Microphone support finally comes to Linux on Chromebooks

        Linux apps on Chromebooks have become a bit more commonplace than they were just a year ago. Many devices now support this new feature and the overall abilities of the Linux container in Chrome OS continue to grow. As the big pieces have been in place for some time, it is easy at this point to miss the less glaring omissions that are still yet to be fixed, and that is exactly what has happened with microphone support with the latest build of Chrome OS 79.

    • Server

      • Kubernetes Distribution: What It Is and What It Isn’t

        It’s easy to define what a Kubernetes distribution is not: It’s not “vanilla” Kubernetes, meaning a Kubernetes installation that you create by downloading the Kubernetes source code from GitHub, compiling it and installing it yourself. Almost no one would install Kubernetes that way because it would take way too much work.

        Instead, most people who use Kubernetes install it using a distribution. At a high level, a Kubernetes distribution is any pre-built, prepackaged software platform that includes Kubernetes.

        Not only do Kubernetes distributions save you from the hassle of having to download and build a bunch of stuff from source yourself, but most also feature user-friendly installers to help simplify the complex task of installing Kubernetes’ various components.

      • IBM

        • Adapting legacy support systems for the digital era gives telcos a foundation for the future

          The telecommunications environment is growing increasingly complex. Service providers are virtualizing their networks, building for rapid traffic growth with limited revenue growth, and grappling with the Internet of Things (IoT) impact from hundreds of millions of new devices globally connecting to the network every year.

          To make matters even more complex, they are transforming their software and application infrastructure and migrating to 5G so they can deliver the digital services required to compete in the 21st century. They still need to run much of their businesses on legacy networks and services and to maximize their investment returns on legacy operations support systems (OSS) and business support systems (BSS), but they must lay a foundation for the future with new technologies that bring the agility to adapt to accelerating market changes.

          The challenge: How can organizations minimize the risk of transitioning the legacy systems, applications, and the OSS/BSS of today —in a secure and cost-effective manner— to a modern infrastructure that includes cloud, open APIs and other modern technologies so they can realize the value of their networks, applications, and data? A combination of lightweight and distributed integration called Agile Integration can help control the pace and risk of the journey, but it needs to be scalable, secure, and simple to manage. And it should enable innovation among internal teams, with vendors and with partners, helping to clear the hurdles created by multi-vendor environments and the service delivery bottlenecks that can be caused by monolithic enterprise service bus (ESB) approaches.

        • 5 ways to join our growing community of system administrators

          The Enable Sysadmin community has come a long way in just six months. We started publishing new content every weekday in June and have almost 200 articles on the site. We’re adding new authors every week with fresh perspectives and a desire to share their experience.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • EXT4 In Linux 5.6 To See Big Write Performance Boost For Direct I/O

        For those of you running EXT4 with Direct I/O on the likes of Intel Optane DC Persistent Memory or PMEM simulated via a virtual machine, better write performance is coming when overwriting already allocated blocks.

        Queued within the EXT4 development code ahead of Linux 5.6 is optimize EXT4 DIO overwrites by SUSE’s Jan Kara. This optimization about Direct I/O when overwriting already allocated blocks is particularly beneficial for multi-threaded workloads engaging in small writes.

      • A Possible Workaround For AMD APUs With Stability Issues On Recent Kernels

        While we have found recent Linux kernels paired with latest motherboard BIOS releases to work out generally well for recent AMD APUs, not everyone has been having a trouble-free experience on recent kernels. But an affected user has discovered a possible workaround if hitting stability issues.

        There has been a bug report since October stemming from graphics ring timeouts since Linux 5.2 and 5.3 kernels with multiple users affected. Those ring timeouts ultimately lead to graphics no longer functioning until rebooting the system.

      • Google Stadia Port Troubles Blamed on the Linux Kernel Scheduler

        If anyone cares more about millisecond-long delays than gamers, it’s developers. They know a millisecond can make a big difference in how a game plays. That’s bad news for Google Stadia because devs recently claimed an issue with the Linux kernel scheduler can lead to issues in games ported to the platform.

        A developer named Malte Skarupke publicized the problem on Monday. Skarupke explained how he became aware of the issue and his efforts to address it in a blog post (shout-out to Phoronix for spotting the post).

        This is the high-level overview Skarupke provided before offering more technical details about the issue…

      • Xen Project 4.12.2 is available!

        I am pleased to announce the release of the Xen 4.12.2. Xen Project maintenance releases are released in line with our Maintenance Release Policy. We recommend that all users of the 4.12 stable series update to the latest point release.

    • Benchmarks

      • Benchmarking 9 Linux Distributions On A $50 Processor

        Your choice of Linux distribution on a budget PC can mean the difference of ~14% performance overall. Here are benchmarks of Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, EndeavourOS, Manjaro Linux, openSUSE Tumbleweed, Fedora Workstation, and Clear Linux on a $50 processor as we roll into 2020 with the newest Linux distribution releases.

        For some holiday benchmarking fun I was testing out various Linux distributions on the AMD Athlon 3000G, the recent $50 processor that features two cores / four threads, 3.5GHz clock speed, and Vega 3 graphics while having a 35 Watt TDP. Of many Linux distributions tried, the only modern Linux distribution where I ran into troubles was with Debian 10.2 stable. Even with the proprietary microcode loaded, the Vega 3 graphics weren’t working with the default driver stack shipped by Debian 10.2. But aside from that it was a smooth experience on all other major distributions, including Debian Testing.

    • Applications

      • Catfish 1.4.12 Brings Wayland Support

        Catfish File Search Utility Brings Wayland Support.

      • Display Network Bandwidth Utilization Using Bandwhich Tool

        Bandwhich, previously known as What, is a command line, open source utility to display network bandwidth utilization by process, connection and remote IP or hostname. It sniffs the given network interface card and records IP packet size and finally cross reference it with the /proc filesystem on your Linux system or lsof command on Mac OS. It is written in Rust programming language and supports Linux and Mac OS.

      • Clementine 1.4 RC1 Available to Install in Ubuntu 18.04,19.10

        The first release candidate of Clementine 1.4.0, an audio player inspired by Amarok 1.4, was released today.

        Though the last 1.3.1 was released more than 3 years ago, the development of Clementine is being active all the time. Now Clementine 1.4.0 rc1 is available to install in Ubuntu 18.04, Ubuntu 19.04, Ubuntu 19.10 with no announcement or change-log though.

        [...]

        Once installed, open the music player from your system application launcher and enjoy!

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Using Linux Operating Systems In Battlefield V Will Likely Result In A Permanent Ban

        We’ve gone so far in gaming in 2019, and it’s a shame that the community must regress yet again before charging forward. At the center of this is a Linux application known as DXVK, a Vulkan translation of Direct3D which allows running three-dimensional games on Linux via Wine. Linux has made huge strides in the most recent year thanks to Valve, Google, and Red Hat all working in tandem on open source projects to help translate Windows application to Linux.

        If you’re on Linux and looking to get into the most popular titles, you’re likely to end up needing a DXVK distribution to help translate.

        Users have begun reporting that they are being banned for the usage of DXVK from Electronic Arts multiplayer, and that the ban is irrevocable even after them double-checking ban purposes.

      • Looks like EA might be banning Linux gamers using Wine to play Battlefield V

        A heads up: there’s been reports of people being banned by EA and having EA claim their ban will stay, for playing Battlefield V with Wine + DXVK.

        The post on the Lutris forum, has multiple people claiming the same thing. This wouldn’t be the first time playing an online game with some form of Wine got people banned, as the same happened with Activision Blizzard and the game Overwatch although the majority of those bans were overturned. In this case, things might not go so well with EA already telling users they will not “remove this sanction from your account”—ouch.

      • Exhumed/PowerSlave can now be played easily with a cross-platform game engine

        Exhumed, also known as PowerSlave, a retro shooter from the 90s has been revived with the power of open source.

        A coder going by the tag of sirlemonhead, released PCExhumed which they did with EDuke32. They said it’s a “reverse engineering of the version of the game that is considered the most complete – the 1996 retail release of Exhumed”. The code to run it has also been pulled into NBlood, giving another easy way to run it.

      • Survive the aftermath of a zombie apocalypse in Z Dawn, recently released for Linux

        One missed from early last month is Z Dawn from GoldenGod Games, a fast-paced turn-based survival strategy game about getting through the zombie apocalypse.

        GoldenGod Games previously developed Expect The Unexpected released back in 2016 and Dungeons of Hell in 2017 so this is their third game with Linux support. Looks like a fun mix of strategy, survival and base building all in one.

      • With wireframe-like visuals, the dungeon crawler Der Geisterturm is releasing this month

        Graverobber Foundation are back with another dungeon crawler, after previously releasing Das Geisterschiff / The Ghost Ship they’re releasing Der Geisterturm / The Ghost Tower later this month.

        Releasing on January 23, Der Geisterturm / The Ghost Tower is a futuristic dungeon crawler with survival horror elements set inside a mysterious tower known as Turm der Wiederkehr. You are a Robotic Combat Suit pilot taking part in a war between two powerful megacorps over what little resources Earth has left. If this sounds familiar, it’s because it seems to be set in the same universe as the previous game acting as a spin-off.

      • My top 5 Linux games released in 2019, those that truly won me over

        As 2019 is now properly over and done with, it’s time to take a quick look back. Here’s some thoughts on the Linux games released that sat above the rest.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Take Screenshot of LightDM Login Screen in 2020

        There are not many clear tutorials available in taking picture of the login screen of latest Ubuntu, Mint, and elementary OS. Their login screen technology is called LightDM. You cannot simply press Printscreen key in the login screen to create its screenshot. Instead, you need a complicated way with superuser access to do so. This might give you frustration if you do not know the way especially if you are a writer like me. Fortunately, it is easy and everybody can do it like my explanations below. You can do this both in LiveCD session and in an installed system. I write this tutorial by testing it first on elementary OS 5.1 Hera that released recently at the end of 2019. After a long time, I am happy to finally figure out this method. Enjoy!

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Educational Data Sets

          There are many online sources available that provide data sets for educational and study purposes. They cover many different areas (physics, statistics, medicine, etc.) and many tools and frameworks provide wrappers for them and allow you to easily play around with the data sets. In many cases, the technical tasks of fetching the data from the server, parsing it and installing it are completely transparent for users.

          We recently added a similar functionality to LabPlot and we plan to release this new feature as part of the upcoming 2.8 version. The initial implementation for this was done by Ferencz Kovács during Google Summer of Code 2019.

    • Distributions

      • Top 5 Linux Distros You Must Use in 2020

        Windows 10 is currently in a mess and there’s a lot to not like. Fortunately, it isn’t the only OS out there and Linux distros are now just as feature-packed as Windows with arguably better user interfaces. Moreover, Mac’s can be pricey whereas Linux distros are usually free. But there are a boatload of Linux distributions out there and finding the best can be tricky.

        To help you in your journey to find the perfect distro, we’ve created a list of the top 5 Linux distros you should try in 2020. You might have tried a couple distros in the list if you’ve used Linux before. However, if this is your first time using Linux, then don’t fret. All five distros listed here are user-friendly and can be set up easily. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about entering codes or commands to get things up and ready. Before switching to Linux, you might want to check out 5 reasons why Windows is better than Linux.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Dominique Leuenberger: openSUSE Tumbleweed – Review of the week 2020/01

          Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

          Happy new year! The year 2020 has started in full swing and I wish everybody a great new year!

          For Tumbleweed, things have started off reasonably well: Snapshot 20200101 (first one of the year) has been published, and 0102 will be discarded. Ups  But let’s step back a bit and do the review of the whole week (which was the crossing over of 2019 to 2020). In the last week, we have released a total of 6 snapshots! Ok, I admit, they were all rather ‘small’ updates, as many contributors are with their families and have better things to do than submitting breaking updates. The six updates released were, still from 2019: 1227, 1228, 1229, 1230 and 1231 and from 2020 the one mentioned earlier: 20200101.

      • Fedora Family

        • Fedora 32 Goes Through Its Formalities To Land GCC 10 + Golang 1.14

          Fedora Linux has long been well known for always shipping with bleeding-edge GCC compiler releases even if it means a near-final pre-release, thanks in part to Red Hat’s significant engineering resources to GCC and the GNU toolchain in general. With Fedora 32 it’s expected to be no different with having the upcoming GCC 10 compiler.

          We’ve already known Fedora 32 would aim for LLVM 10 and GCC 10 to little surprise. Now they are just going through the formalities of submitting a change proposal to introduce these system-wide changes.

        • Fedora Magazine: Tracking Translations with Transtats

          Translation is an important step in software localization which helps make software more popular globally, and impacts international user experience. In recent years, localization processes have been evolving worldwide to become more continuous, faster, efficient with automation. In Fedora, the development of the Zanata platform and its plugins, then Transtats, and now the migration to the Weblate platform are part of this common ongoing goal. The localization of a desktop OS like Fedora is highly complex because it depends on many factors of the individual upstream projects which are packaged in Fedora. For example, different translation timelines, resources, and tooling.

          [...]

          In translation of software packages, one of the challenges is to prevent string breakage. Package maintainers should strive to abide by the scheduled Fedora release String Freeze. However, in some circumstances it could be necessary to break the string freeze and to inform the translation team on the mailing list. As well as, to update latest translation template (POT) file in the translation platform. Just in case these actions seem missing – translators may get new strings to translate very late or the application may have some strings untranslated. In the worst case, an outdated translation string mismatch may result in a crash. Sync and automation pipelines are there to prevent this, nevertheless it depends on the push or pull methods followed by package developers or maintainers.

          To deal with the same context, we can use a job template in Transtats to detect this string change – particularly useful after string freeze in Fedora release schedule. This would be really helpful for the folks who look for packaging translations without string breakage, keeping translation template (POT) file in sync with translation platform, and testing localized form of the application for translation completeness to back trace.

        • Paul Mellors [MooDoo]: The Fedora Way – Day 1/2/3

          Well if you’ve read my last post then you’ll think that I’ve been running Linux as my daily driver since the 1st Jan 2020.

          Well ooops, it’s now the 3rd Jan and I’ve just wiped my hard drive and installed Fedora 31. It’s currently had no updates, the nvidia drivers need installing and er it needs making look nice :)

      • Debian Family

        • November and December Update for FreeCAD & Debian Science

          In November a strange bug was found in the OpenFOAM package which led to only one core being used during builds, even though the logs reported an N core build. In the worst case scenario, on the mipsel architecture, this led to an increase in build times from 17 to 92 hours! I did some troubleshooting on this but found it a bit difficult since OpenFOAM uses a bespoke build system called wmake. I found myself wishing for the simplicity of CMake, and found there was an experimental repo implementing support for it but it didn’t seem to work out of the box or with a bit of effort. I wonder if there’s any consideration amongst OpenFOAM developers in moving away from wmake?

          Anyway, OpenFOAM ended up getting removed from Debian Testing, but thankfully Adrian Bunk identified the problem, which is that the environment variable MAKEFLAGS was getting set to ‘w’ for some reason, and thus falling through the wmake code block that set up a proper parallel build for OpenFOAM. So, unsatisfyingly, as a workaround I uploaded the latest OpenFOAM version, 1906.191111, with unexport MAKEFLAGS. It would be nice to find an explanation, but I didn’t spend much more time digging.

          [...]

          For the past several summers, FreeCAD has participated in the Google Summer of Code program under an umbrella organization led by Sean Morrison of BRL-CAD. BRL-CAD is a very interesting bit of software with a long history, in fact the oldest known public version-controlled codebase in the world still under development, dating back to 1983-12-16 00:10:31 UTC. It is inspired by the development ideas of the era, a sort of UNIX philosophy for CAD, made up of many small tools doing one thing well and meant to be used in a normal UNIXy way, being piped into one another and so forth, with a unifying GUI using those tools. Since it’s made up of BSD/LGPL licensed code, it ought to be available as part of the Debian Science toolkit, where it may be useful for FreeCAD as an included alternative CAD kernel to the currently exclusive OpenCASCADE. For example, fillets in OpenCASCADE are somewhat buggy and unmaintainably implemented such that an upstream rewrite is the only hope for long-term improvement. BRL-CAD could potentially improve FreeCAD in areas like this.

          It turns out a Debian Request for Packaging bug for BRL-CAD has been open since 2005. I plan to close it! It turns out there’s already existing Debian packaging work, too, though it’s quite a few years old and thus some adaptation still is required.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • Standard Notes is Now Available as a Snap App

          This makes it super easy to install the productivity tool on Linux distributions like Ubuntu and Manjaro.

          Not familiar with Standard Notes? It’s a cross-platform note taking tool available on all major desktop operating systems, as well as mobile and web.

          Using it you can create multiple notes, apply tags, search, and sync your stuff between devices securely, using end-to-end-encryption.

          Standard Notes is both open source and free to use — you can even run your own self-hosted server — but an “extended” plan is available for those who want to support the project and its ideas.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Web Browsers

        • Mozilla

          • Firefox 72 new contributors

            With the release of Firefox 72, we are pleased to welcome the 36 developers who contributed their first code change to Firefox in this release, 28 of whom were brand new volunteers!

      • Funding

        • Daniel Stenberg: curl receives 10K USD donation

          The largest ever single-shot monetary donation to the curl project just happened when indeed.com graciously boosted our economy with 10,000 USD. (It happened before the new year but as I was away then I haven’t had the chance to blog about it until now.)

          curl remains a small project with no major financial backing, with no umbrella organization (*) and no major company sponsorships.

      • FSF

        • Licensing / Legal

          • Free Software for Privacy and Education: Support for REUSE (SPDX) headers in emacs-reveal

            I continue to use and develop emacs-reveal, a FLOSS bundle to create HTML presentations based on reveal.js as Open Educational Resources (OER) from Org mode source files in GNU Emacs. Last time, I mentioned license attribution for OER figures as tedious challenge, which I believe to be addressed properly in emacs-reveal.

            Over the last couple of days, I added functionality that generates license information in my OER HTML presentations from SPDX headers embedded in source files. The FSFE project REUSE recommends the use of SPDX headers to indicate copyright and licensing information in free software projects, and, although OER are not software, I started to make my OER source files REUSE compliant.

      • Programming/Development

        • [Old] Why I’m focusing only on some programming languages

          I tried so many languages and tried to do so much, that in the end I don’t know nothing deep enough to do useful stuff at a reasonable speed. To paraphrase a well-known quote:

          I know the trade-offs of everything, but the depths of nothing.

          This is why from now on, I’m going to learn and focus only on some languages and tools.

        • Scripting tmux

          I often want to start similar workspaces in tmux; for example I always want to tail those two log files in a pane, or I always want to start both vim and mysql in a pane, etc.

          If you try to find information about starting tmux workspaces you typically get advised to use wrapper programs such as tmuxinator, tmux-resurrect, or tmux-continuum. These programs may be great, but I like a simple approach.

        • New essay: Trying to convince application developers to write API documentation

          I’ve written a new short essay: Trying to convince application developers to write API documentation

          I’ve created the Short essays page on my website. I plan to write more essays in the future, as short articles that can be read independently. Around the theme of programming best-practices. I’ll inform you on my blog when I publish a new essay.

          Note, it’s unfortunately not written in ConTeXt (see this previous blog post), as I haven’t found a text editor for ConTeXt that just works and is easy to install, with all the features I’m accustomed to when I write a LaTeX document. So I fell back to using LaTeX.

        • GCC 10 Adds ARMv8.6-A Targeting, BFloat16 + i8MM Options

          Building on earlier GCC commits for Arm’s BFloat16 (BF16) support and other new extensions, a late change landing for GCC 10 is the command line options for targeting the ARMv8.6-A architecture and optionally toggling i8mm and BF16 extensions.

          ARMv8.6-A brings BFloat16 for helping the performance of neural network performance running on Arm-based systems. There has been compiler support worked on already for Arm BFloat16 while now the CLI switches are there for toggling it with +bf16.

          Another new CLI option is +i8mm for enabling Arm’s new 8-bit Integer Matrix Multiply instructions.

        • What you need to know about Rust in 2020

          Rust has drawn plenty of attention from programmers on sites like Hacker News for a while. While many have long loved using the language for hobby projects, it didn’t start catching on in industry until 2019, when this really started to change.

          Over the last year, many large companies, including Microsoft, Facebook, and Intel, came out in support of Rust, and many smaller ones took notice. As the first emcee at RustFest, the largest Rust conference in Europe, in 2016, I didn’t meet a single person professionally using Rust who didn’t work at Mozilla. Three years later, it seemed like every other person I talked to at RustFest 2019 was using Rust in their day job for another company, whether as a game developer, a backend engineer at a bank, a creator of developer tools, or something else.

          In 2019, Opensource.com also played a role by reporting on the growing interest in Rust. In case you missed them, here are the top articles about Rust on Opensource.com over the last year.

        • Python

          • Snakes on a wane: Python 2 development is finally frozen in time, version 3 slithers on

            With the arrival of 2020, the Python Clock has stopped ticking, marking the end of development for the Python 2 programming language.

            Nevertheless, Python 2 should still be shambling about through April at least, when the final Python 2.7 release (v2.7.18) is slated for delivery. And it’s likely to linger for years to come in corporate environments, propped up by enterprise vendors.

            But the Python 2.7.18 code base has officially been frozen. Between now and PyCon 2020 (April 15-23), code fixes developed in 2019 will be integrated through the beta and Release Candidate process and new pull requests are blocked.

            “The CPython core developer community is retiring the Python 2 series after nearly 20 years of development,” the Python Foundation said in a statement last month. “The last major version 2.7 will be released in April 2020, and then all development will cease for Python 2.”

          • Add scorekeeping to your Python game

            If you’ve followed along with this series, you’ve learned all the essential syntax and patterns you need to create a video game with Python. However, it still lacks one vital component. This component isn’t important just for programming games in Python; it’s something you must master no matter what branch of computing you explore: Learning new tricks as a programmer by reading a language’s or library’s documentation.

            Luckily, the fact that you’re reading this article is a sign that you’re comfortable with documentation. For the practical purpose of making your platform game more polished, in this article, you will add a score and health display to your game screen. But the not-so-secret agenda of this lesson is to teach you how to find out what a library offers and how you can use new features.

            Displaying the score in Pygame

            Now that you have loot that your player can collect, there’s every reason to keep score so that your player sees just how much loot they’ve collected. You can also track the player’s health so that when they hit one of the enemies, it has a consequence.

            You already have variables that track score and health, but it all happens in the background. This article teaches you to display these statistics in a font of your choice on the game screen during gameplay.

          • Creating Sitemaps in Django

            Django comes with baked-in functionality for generating sitemaps dynamically using the sitemap framework.

            A sitemap is an XML file that informs search engines such as Google, the pages of your website, their relevance, and how frequently they are updated. Using sitemaps facilitates crawlers indexing the site, therefore sitemap plays a crucial role in modern SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

            In this article, we will go through the process of creating sitemaps in Django.

          • Python IDEs and Code Editors

            A code editor is a tool that is used to write and edit code. They are usually lightweight and can be great for learning. However, once your program gets larger, you need to test and debug your code, that’s where IDEs come in.

            An IDE (Integrated Development Environment) understand your code much better than a text editor. It usually provides features such as build automation, code linting, testing and debugging. This can significantly speed up your work. The downside is that IDEs can be complicated to use.

          • The Skills to Get a Job As a Django Developer

            When I first started to learn Django. I used videos from DjangoCon US, DjangoCon Europe, Coding for Entrepeneurs, Chris Hawks and a book from Two Scoop of Django to start my journey to learn about how to program in Django.

            Those are how it got me started to learn Django. I sought to learn to build a project using the TryDjango series from the basics of deploying it to Heroku.

            So I think it might be good to offer my own two cents on what to learn to land a job as a Django developer. Besides that, you do need to know that you do not need to know everything at the start instead pick it up along the way in your job.

          • Intro to Arduino with LoRa

            If you’ve ever wanted to get started using LoRa wireless communication in your Arduino projects this video is for you. It covers some popular LoRa module options, a brief introduction to the Arduino code needed to control them, and an explanation of the different ways to configure your LoRa modem to maximize range or data transfer rate along with visualizations of the LoRa packet transmissions.

          • How to Read a File in Python, Write to, and Append, to a File

            In this tutorial, we are going to learn how to read a file in Python 3. After we have learned how to open a file in Python, we are going to learn how to write to the file and save it again. In previous posts, we have learned how to open a range of different files using Python. For instance, we have learned how to open JSON, CSV, Excel, and HTML files using Pandas, and the json library. Here, however, we are going to open plain files (.txt) in Python.

          • New NumPy and Panda Courses Released

            The best place to start any journey is at the beginning and NumPy is where it all started. NumPy was the library that gave rise to the Data Science / Python revolution. Therefore, as you?re working through the course, you?ll build upon the foundations of Data Science and large data processing.

          • Introduction to Speech Recognition with Python

            Speech recognition, as the name suggests, refers to automatic recognition of human speech. Speech recognition is one of the most important tasks in the domain of human computer interaction. If you have ever interacted with Alexa or have ever ordered Siri to complete a task, you have already experienced the power of speech recognition.

            Speech recognition has various applications ranging from automatic transcription of speech data (like voicemails) to interacting with robots via speech.

            In this tutorial, you will see how we can develop a very simple speech recognition application that is capable of recognizing speech from audio files, as well as live from a microphone. So, let’s begin without further ado.

            Several speech recognition libraries have been developed in Python. However we will be using the SpeechRecognition library, which is the simplest of all the libraries.

          • Django: Django 3 Tutorial & Example: Build a CRUD REST API for A Simple CRM

            Django 3 is released with full async support!

            In this tutorial series, you’ll learn about Django 3 by creating a CRUD example application with database, admin access, and REST API views. We’ll be using MySQL as the database system.

            Throughout this beginner’s tutorial for Django 3, we are going to learn to build web applications with Python and Django. This tutorial assumes no prior experience with Django, so we’ll be covering the basic concepts and elements of the Django framework by emphasizing essential theory with practice.

            Basically, we are going to learn Django fundamental concepts while building a simple CRM web application.

            This tutorial doesn’t only cover fundamental basics of Django but also advanced concepts such as how to use and integrate Django with modern front end frameworks like Angular 2+, Vue and React.

            You’ll learn about CRUD, database ORM, how to create API views and URLs.

          • Django: Python Webviews with PyWebView

            Have you ever wanted to use your python and web development skills to build cross platform desktop GUI apps? if yes then welcome to this tutorial where we’ll show you how to use PyWebView to turn your web application built using python and client side technologies such as HTML, CSS and JavaScript into a standalone cross platform GUI application that runs under major operating systems such as Linux, Windows and MAC.

            You can also use any web framework based on python such as the so popular django framework or also the lightweight web development framework flask to build business logic of your app and then wrap the whole app, server and client side, into a desktop app .

          • Weekly Python StackOverflow Report: 20 best Python questions at stackoverflow in 2019
          • 3 Tips to be Effective In Pycharm

            I had been using PyCharm for a very long time whenever I am developing in Python.

            It’s one of the best IDEs for Python out there that I had encountered.

            Which I am coming from realms of Visual Studio, Netbeans & Eclipse in other programming languages.

            What blew me away for Visual Studio the most is their debugger & their IntelliSense.

            This made me set a high bar for selecting an IDE for any new programming language.

            It must have an excellent debugger and great IntelliSense.

  • Leftovers

    • The Public Trust is Slipping Away
    • Health/Nutrition

      • All Students Should Receive Free School Meals

        In Luzerne County, Pennsylvania, an area with a poverty rate of 13.8 percent, about 1,000 families received letters in August warning that unless their arrears were paid in full, they could be taken to Dependency Court for negligence. “The result may be your child being removed from your home and placed in foster care,” threatened the missive, which was sent a month before the 2019-2020 school year began. The total owed, the district reported, was more than $22,000.

      • Whales Help Explain the Evolutionary Mystery of Menopause

        The “grandmother hypothesis” suggests that grandmas play a crucial role in the survival of their grandchildren, which obviously gives the grandmas’ own genes a boost. But that doesn’t explain why humans—along with killer whales, short-finned pilot whales, belugas, and narwhals—stop reproducing with decades left to live. Wouldn’t it be better to just keep having babies of your own and help your grandchildren? Possibly not: in certain species, with certain family dynamics, evolutionary models show that it’s more worthwhile for grandmas to invest all their resources in their grandchildren, rather than compete with their own daughters.

      • Bangladesh halts breast milk scheme after Islamic cleric backlash

        A Bangladesh hospital has suspended plans to give donated breast milk to needy newborns after a backlash by Muslim clerics, who said the scheme was a violation of Islamic law.

        The programme was to feed up to 500 orphans and infants of working mothers in the Muslim-majority country, which has one of the world’s highest rates of child malnutrition and stunted growth.

        But religious leaders said that the plan could lead to breaches of Sharia law if two babies drank milk from the same mother and later married.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Dear Apple, a little help here? How hard can it be to move our developer account to our new not-for-profit?

          Apple: Computer says no?

        • How I once saved half a million dollars with a single character code change

          Unless you know that the trick will make a different in that location, the optimisation is premature. There is no benefit, but there is still a cost. And it is a real cost — I had to spend time justifying the presence of that ‘0’ many times over the years as other developers questioned its purpose.

          And if the optimisation was applied everywhere how would people know which ones were important?

          This particular trick also no longer works.

        • Google veterans: The company has become ‘unrecognizable’

          Former workers shared why they left the company, citing organizational changes and a lack of transparency from management.

          Workers said the company’s culture has turned into the opposite of what the founders said they had hoped for.

        • Good times create weak men

          Yes, these particular bugs are pretty minor and probably do not affect business in the short run, only Apple’s reputation. Still, it is a big deal. Imagine how tall, opaque and unstable that ladder of abstractions is that it’s even possible to fail such a simple thing as selecting an item in a list??? It is a freaking list and if you click it, it should select a thing that you just clicked. How hard of a task do you think that is? Why it has worked flawlessly since the first iPod with a monochrome screen and quarter of computing power of modern watch, but can’t be done in a flagship product of the most advanced operating system in the world?

          Because advanced means complex. So complex that no one could reasonably understand it or have control over it, even if they wanted. Apple DID want it. But even they couldn’t. Even with all the resources in the world.

          At this point, you might think I’m just picking on Apple or Catalina. God knows what went wrong there. Maybe they did change priorities and re-hired all the programmers. But no. This problem is universal.

        • Security

          • UL Pushes Security Standards For The Internet Of Broken Things

            If you hadn’t noticed yet, the internet of things is a security and privacy shit show. Millions of poorly-secured internet-connected devices are now being sold annually, introducing massive new attack vectors and vulnerabilities into home and business networks nationwide. Thanks to IOT companies and evangelists that prioritize gee-whizzery and profits over privacy and security, your refrigerator can now leak your gmail credentials, your kids’ Barbie doll can now be used as a surveillance tool, and your “smart” tea kettle can now open your wireless network to attack.

          • Warning Issued For Millions Of Microsoft Windows 10 Users

            Picked up by the ever-reliable Windows Latest, Microsoft’s Windows 10 November update is causing significant problems by breaking core elements of File Explorer. These include file search, file transfers and being, as one user described, “generally all around terrible”. Windows Latest notes these bugs are “widely reported”.

            For its part, Microsoft has committed to investigate the issue, though Microsoft senior program manager Brandon LeBlanc has riled some affected users after tweeting “We will look into this but since it’s not a pressing issue, we may not get traction until after the holidays.”

            “It’s a very pressing issue, affecting everyone,” replied one disgruntled user.

          • Cisco critical bugs: Nexus data center switch software needs patching now

            Cisco warns that a remote attacker can bypass DCNM’s authentication and carry out tasks with administrative privileges on an affected device.

            The available updates are highly important for enterprise data centers built with its Nexus NX-OS-based switches. DCNM is a key component for automating NX-OS-based network infrastructure deployments.

            Cisco points to three separate authentication bypass vulnerabilities in a single advisory. They’re tagged as CVE-2019-15975, CVE-2019-15975, and CVE-2019-15977 and the trio have a severity rating of 9.8 out of a possible 10, meaning they are firmly critical security issues.

            The bugs “could allow an unauthenticated, remote attacker to bypass authentication and execute arbitrary actions with administrative privileges on an affected device”, Cisco said.

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • TikTok Transparency Report Released to Try and Prove China Isn’t Spying

              ByteDance has released the first-ever TikTok transparency report. TikTok claims it received no requests for user information from China in the first half of 2019.

            • Samsung smart TVs are set to upload screenshots of what you’re watching

              Samsung’s privacy policy reveals an unnerving reality: that Samsung smart TVs are sending clips of whatever is playing on the television to be sent back to Samsung. It’s hard to imagine a deeper violation of privacy from a smart TV set than having a screenshot of what you’re watching be uploaded to the cloud for corporate advertising purposes. As early as 2018, researchers from the University of Chicago and Princeton University have even highlighted that data from your smart TVs, not just Samsung branded ones, is making its way back to third parties such as Netflix or Facebook.

            • Court (Barely) Allows Class Action Lawsuit Over Google’s Location Tracking To Move Forward

              A 2018 lawsuit [PDF] against Google over location tracking survives, but only just. The lawsuit — filed after a report showed Google was still collecting location data even after users shut off location services on Android phones — alleges Google violated California laws and privacy protections by tracking users (including children) after it had been told not to.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Rojava’s Revolution Begins in the Classroom

        From the start of the Rojava revolution in 2012, the Syrian regime has maintained control of a small area of the regional capital, Qamishli. Symbolic of its ongoing power and threat of return, members of the Syrian regime forces patrol what is called “security square,” or the Christian quarter. On the roundabout just outside the square stands a statue of President Bashar al-Assad set against the backdrop of the Syrian flag, with posters of martyrs who have died fighting for the regime.

      • Hypersonic Putin and Gonzo Weaponry

        Weapons of dazzling murderousness have always thrilled military industrial establishments. They make money; they add to the accounts; and they tickle the pride of States who manufacture them. From time to time, showy displays of restraint through arms limitation agreements are made. These can apply to either the offensive element of such weapons, or their defensive counters.

      • Another penitentiary torture video surfaces in Russia, but officials say those responsible have already been punished

        The human rights project Gulagu.net (“No to the Gulag”) has posted a video that allegedly shows defendants being tortured in the Kemerovo region’s Pretrial Detention Center 4. The video, titled “Everyday Sadism,” was sent to Gulagu.net’s hotline.

      • With Space Force, Congress Hands Trump a Major Victory

        Donald Trump, who will go down in history as the most reviled president of all time, has just won a major victory in the creation of a sixth branch of the military: Space Force. Trump will be able to claim credit for a serious milestone — with the smooth cooperation of both major parties.

      • ‘War Hawks Must be Celebrating’: Trump’s Defense Secretary Claims US Ready to Strike Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq

        “We’re back to preemptive wars now! Dick Cheney might as well be president.”

      • A New Year and a New Trump Foreign Policy Blunder in Iraq

        We hope that 2020 will be the year when the American public finally looks at the fateful choice between war and peace with 20/20 vision, and that we will start severely punishing Trump and every other U.S. politician who opts for threats over diplomacy, coercion over cooperation and war over peace.

      • ‘An Explicit Act of War’: US Kills Senior Iranian Military Official Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad Drone Strike

        “It’s like Iran killing the head of the CIA or the Mossad on foreign soil.”

      • Could a New Civil War Erupt in Iraq as the US and Iran Vie for Influence?

        In Iraq, Iran-backed militia members withdrew from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad’s heavily guarded Green Zone on Wednesday after being tear-gassed by American security forces. Their withdrawal ended a tense standoff that began Tuesday when militia members broke through the embassy’s reception area chanting “Death to America” while thousands rallied outside to protest a slew of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria that killed at least 24 members of the Iranian-backed militia Kata’ib Hezbollah. The U.S. airstrikes came after an American contractor was killed in a rocket attack in Kirkuk, Iraq, Friday. The embassy withdrawal was ordered by militia leaders, who said they agreed to leave after Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi pledged to pursue legislation to force U.S. troops out of Iraq. We speak with Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, a correspondent for The Guardian newspaper.

      • Pentagon: U.S. Airstrike Kills Powerful Iranian General

        The Pentagon said Thursday that the U.S. military has killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, at the direction of President Donald Trump.

      • Turkish Lawmakers Authorize Sending Troops to Fight in Libya

        Turkey’s parliament on Thursday authorized the deployment of troops to Libya to support the U.N.-backed government in Tripoli that is battling forces loyal to a rival government seeking to capture the capital.

      • Telecom giant MTN accused of paying bribes to Taliban, al-Qaeda

        Africa’s largest mobile operator MTN says it is reviewing allegations that it paid protection money to militant Islamist groups in Afghanistan.

      • Europe: Anti-Christian Attacks Reach All-Time High in 2019

        Gatestone Institute reviewed thousands of newspaper reports, police blotters, parliamentary inquiries, social media posts and specialized blogs from Britain, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy and Spain. The research shows (see appendices below) that roughly 3,000 Christian churches, schools, cemeteries and monuments were vandalized, looted or defaced in Europe during 2019 — which is on track to becoming a record year for anti-Christian sacrilege on the continent.

        Violence against Christian sites is most widespread in France, where churches, schools, cemeteries and monuments are being vandalized, desecrated and burned at an average rate of three per day, according to government statistics. In Germany, attacks against Christian churches are occurring at an average rate of two per day, according to police blotters.

      • Amir Khan Shocked By “All The Hate” For Celebrating Christmas

        British boxer Amir Khan was stumped by the hateful reactions he got for posting Christmas wishes on his social media platforms.

      • Pakistan: “Saving one Christian girl suffering persecution will help others”

        Recently, Huma’s abductor has threatened both her parents and their lawyer, Tabassum Yousaf, that he would accuse them of blasphemy. The High Court of Sindh lawyer has worked on many cases of forced marriage, and speaking with Aid to the Church in Need, she says that these threats are common. She explains that the abductors often say, “If you do not stop searching for your daughter, we will rip pages out of the Koran, place them on your doorstep, and accuse you of profaning the sacred book”.

      • Canadian Islamic Sermons, Literature on Killing Jews and Enemies of Islam

        This is a first segment of hadith 2922 in Sahih Muslim: “Abu Huraira reported Allahs Messenger as saying: The last hour would not come unless the Muslims will fight against the Jews and the Muslims would kill them until the Jews would hide themselves behind a stone or a tree and a stone or a tree would say: “Muslim, or the servant of Allah, there is a Jew behind me; come and kill him; but the tree Gharqad would not say, for it is the tree of the Jews.”4

        The same hadith, accompanied with modern commentary, appears also in an online book (Riyadh as-Salihin – The Gardens of the Righteous, by Al-Nawawi) on the website of the Islamic Circle of North America (ICNA) Canada:5

    • Environment

      • Plastics Industry’s Greenwashing Aggravates Environmental and Health Crises

        Janine Jackson: Those of a certain age will remember a TV spot in which a Native American man — the actor was Italian-American, it turns out, but never mind — surveys a roadside full of discarded bottles and bags, and a single tear rolls down his cheek. Memorable and impressive, the spot did a couple of things: It located the responsibility for pollution at the level of the individual — the litterbug — and it suggested that the big problem with these plastic bags and bottles was their improper disposal, and not their production. But what we saw as a Public Service Announcement, and a fairly lofty one at that, was, in reality, more like an ad, intended to sell the public on a particular viewpoint, specifically to deflect growing contemporary concerns. The production of plastics has exploded since then, tons of it in the ocean and inside sea creatures, as well as inside us. And industry deflections about the environmental and health effects of plastics production and destruction continue apace — including, it seems, the idea of plastic recycling. Our next guest has been reporting this difficult set of issues. Sharon Lerner covers health and the environment for The Intercept, and is a reporting fellow at Type Investigations. She joins us now by phone from here in town. Welcome to CounterSpin, Sharon Lerner.

      • Welcome to 2020: 8 Important Environmental Stories to Follow This Year
      • Kill GDP to Help Save the Planet

        There’s a problem with America’s favorite statistic: GDP. It avoids pretty much everything that’s actually, truly, really good for society, including the importance of robust ecology. Still, it’s the biggest measure of what’s happening with the economy and used around the world, even though horribly flawed.

      • Flooding From What Officials Called ‘Not Ordinary Rain’ Kills Dozens and Displaces Thousands in Jakarta

        Greenpeace Indonesia demanded climate action “in accordance with the advice of world scientists,” warning that “otherwise disasters like this will only become more frequent and worse.”

      • Energy

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • The Last Decade Brought the Conflict to the U.S., and That Is Progress

        Mainstream politicians are talking about BDS and Zionism. A portion of the Democratic Party is firmly committed to Palestinian human rights, because the Democratic base is demanding it.

      • ‘We Will Not Change a Damn Thing’: Sanders Campaign Vows No Pivot to Big Money in General Election

        “If you have Pete Buttigieg, Joe Biden telling you that they need to kowtow at the altar of the rich to fundraise in the general election, they’re wrong. We’re upending those notions.”

      • Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg Are Not to Be Trusted

        It’s understandable that corporate-backed candidates don’t want to be cornered by questions that touch on realities of political and economic power.

      • “Netanyahu Knows He’s Guilty”: Israeli Prime Minister Asks Parliament for Immunity From Corruption Charges

        “Trump claims absolute immunity. Sounds like he and his buddy, Netanyahu, have the same cheat sheet.”

      • Death Toll Rises in India as Protests Against Modi’s Citizenship Law Intensify

        In India, the death toll amid the government’s crackdown on widespread protests has risen to at least 27 people, and over 1,000 more have been arrested. The protests are against a controversial new citizenship law, which provides a path to Indian citizenship for undocumented immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan — unless they are Muslim. Opponents of the law say it’s a step toward the official marginalization of India’s 200 million Muslims. Paramilitary and police forces were deployed in response to the demonstrations in Muslim-majority districts in Uttar Pradesh and New Delhi, and the internet was shut down. We go to Mumbai for an update from Rana Ayyub, global opinions writer for The Washington Post, where her latest piece is headlined “India’s protests could be a tipping point against authoritarianism.”

      • 2020: Buckle Up for a Rough Ride

        Here we are, saddle pals, heading into a new year, a new decade and a host of new elections nationwide. It would be wonderful to say it’s going to be a great year ahead, but that would require some serious myopia on the challenges facing the nation and world. Realistically, it’s going to be a very rough ride stoked by partisan hatred as we wrestle with a host of difficult issues. But strength and unity can and often do come from adversity, which is what keeps hope for a better future alive and inspires us to do the best we can to make that dream come true.

      • A More Perfect Union

        Current partisan politics frequently returns to questions and debates about the supreme law of the land—The Constitution—as it should, because two articles of impeachment against Donald Trump passed on December 18, 2019. This affirmed an ugly truth about Trump’s illegitimate use of the office of the White House. Trump will go down in history for his transgressions.

      • Our Nazis: the Gehlen Org

        In February 2019 Germany opened a brand new intelligence complex in the city of Berlin. The new headquarters of the BND (Bundesnachrichtendienst or Federal Intelligence Service) occupies a huge space—by the way, much as STASI or State Security Service once did in East Berlin the former German Democratic Republic—and supposedly employs a total of over six thousand persons. The move from its former secret location in the Munich suburb of Pullach reflects both the centralization in Berlin of federal institutions that after World War Two were widely dispersed throughout Germany and importantly, European Union-NATO leader Germany’s efforts to get away from the nation’s Nazi past. The new BND location in Germany’s capital city seems also a giant step away from the former obsessive secrecy of its location in Munich, hidden away in that obscure suburb and operating under a cover name and, above all, until the late 1950s an affiliate of the CIA. The move to Berlin can be interpreted as the BND’s declaration of sovereignty.

      • Cuba’s Revolutionary Origins: a Personal Reflection

        Some time ago in another late December my partner in life commented that she liked beginnings in reference to the approaching new year. I became immediately aware that other traditions may have a calendar different from the Gregorian calendar and the beginning of their new year may take place at a different time. But the notion of “beginning” intrigued me, especially because I had another upcoming beginning in my political mind.

      • Labour’s Patriotism Test

        In the recent UK general election the winning Conservatives managed to convince voters nostalgic for the days of Empire that the repeated slogan “Get Brexit Done” was somehow the guarantee of a “Rule Britannia” resurgence of patriotism.

      • Bernie Sanders Condemns Trump for Putting US on Path to ‘Another Disastrous War in the Middle East’

        “Trump promised to end endless wars, but this action puts us on the path to another one,” 2020 Democratic candidate said of Trump’s order to assassinate top Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani.

      • Sanders Announces ‘Staggering’ $34.5 Million Fourth-Quarter Haul, With Average Donation of Just $18.53

        “Bernie Sanders is closing the year with the most donations of any candidate in history at this point in a presidential campaign,” said campaign manager Faiz Shakir.

      • After Year-Long Run as Outspoken Advocate for Immigrants and the Poor, Julián Castro Suspends Presidential Campaign

        “We’ve shaped the conversation on so many important issues in this race, stood up for the most vulnerable people, and given a voice to those who are often forgotten.”

      • Julian Castro’s Story Should Cause the Democratic Party to Reflect on How It Chooses Candidates

        In general, it should make the country melancholy about how we do politics in the age of big money.

      • Julián Castro Ends 2020 Bid by Listing Names of People of Color Killed by Police

        Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, who was the only Latino candidate in the Democratic presidential field, announced that he would end his 2020 campaign on Thursday.

      • Democrat Julián Castro Drops Out of 2020 Presidential Race

        Former Obama housing secretary Julián Castro, the only Latino in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary race, on Thursday ended his campaign that had pushed the field on immigration and swung hard at rivals on the debate stage but never found a foothold to climb from the back of the pack.

      • A New Year’s Resolution For Democrats
      • Before Putin It’s been two decades since Boris Yeltsin stepped down and tapped his successor, but there are lingering questions about the official history

        Twenty years ago, on December 31, 1999, Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin, announced his resignation, catapulting a young Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to head of state. It was the first time in Russia’s history that a living leader left office voluntarily. Everyone who witnessed or participated in the event remembers it roughly the same way, but there are still a few things we don’t know about how Yeltsin stepped down. Meduza’s Dmitry Kartsev looks at the lingering questions.

      • In This Time Of Techlash, It’s Important To Remember That Sometimes Social Media Is Actually Good

        It feels like pretty much every day there’s some sort of new “techlash” story, about how awful social media is, about how it’s dragging down democracy, destroying lives, and that we’d all be better off without it. We’ve been arguing for quite some time now that while there are real issues of concern about social media, most of the narrative is exaggerated to downright misleading. So it’s actually surprising, but nice, to see the NY Times (which has been among the most vocal cheerleaders of the “internet is bad” narrative) have an excellent opinion piece by Sarah Jackson outlining how Twitter, in particular, has “made us better.”

      • Russian officials introduce bill to allow mandatory evacuations following refusals during escalating floods

        Russia’s Emergencies Ministry has posted draft legislation that would allow for mandatory evacuations following natural disasters and other emergencies even if a state of emergency has not been officially declared. If approved, the bill is scheduled to take effect in April.

      • Two Right-Wing Democrats Join Republicans in Asking Supreme Court to Consider Overturning Roe v. Wade

        “It’s happening, people. This is what’s at stake in 2020.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Navy SEAL Leader Accused Of War Crimes Threatens Defamation Suit Against NY Times Reporter For Revealing Videos & Text Of Men Who Reported Him

        The NY Times recently published quite a story, sharing videos and text messages of various Navy SEALs who had reported to officials their concerns with Special Operations Chief Eddie Gallagher. Gallagher was then put on trial for war crimes and mostly acquitted last summer. The one charge he was convicted for resulted in a demotion and a confinement sentence, but President Trump stepped in and reversed that decision, leading to some turmoil within the military, as many leaders were not at all happy about what former Secretary of the Navy, Richard Spencer (who was fired over all of this) called “shocking and unprecedented interference.” Other long term military officials also found the decision shocking.

      • Hit With a YouTube Copyright Claim? Now You Can Surgically Remove It

        YouTube Studio has been updated with trim tools to assist with the YouTube copyright claim process. The Assisted Trim tool lets creators remove the offending portion of the video, releasing the claim.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Women Who Struggle
      • The Struggle to Vote in the U.S.

        From the suffragettes to today’s voting rights advocates, securing the right to vote should be a common pursuit of us all.

      • Fighting for Reforms Isn’t Enough. It’s Time We Reach for Prison Abolition.

        It’s time to drastically reconsider what safety means to our communities.

      • Chelsea Manning Says She Is ‘Never Backing Down’ in Face of US Detention Meant to Break Her

        “My long-standing objection to the immoral practice of throwing people in jail without charge or trial, for the sole purpose of forcing them to testify before a secret, government-run investigative panel, remains strong.”

      • Today’s Concentration Camps Go by Many Names, But They’re Still Open

        “The use of concentration camps changes the world, but going forward, the most predictable outcome of their use is a world with more camps.”

      • Pentagon Tells Military Members To Steer Clear Of Consumer DNA Testing Kits

        Dozens of companies are offering off-the-shelf DNA tests that promise to do everything from settling paternity claims to letting you know what horrible disease is going to end your life. Other companies simply offer you a chance to connect with the roots and outer branches of your family tree by matching your DNA to the thousands of other people in their databases.

      • Minnesota Appeals Court Nukes State’s Broadly-Written Revenge Porn Law

        Revenge porn laws generally aren’t built to last. When crafting these laws, legislators tend to lose sight of the Constitution. Everyone agrees revenge porn is bad, but simply being in agreement isn’t enough when rights are on the line.

      • What We Found in Three Years of Documenting Hate: A Letter to Our Partners

        After a spate of hate incidents in the wake of the 2016 election, we wanted to better understand why the government does such a bad job tracking hate crimes. So we launched Documenting Hate, working to uncover as much as we could about hate in America. It’s an enormous task, and we knew from the beginning we’d need lots of help. That’s where you, our partner newsrooms, came in.

        Now that the collaboration is coming to an end, we wanted to share with you the impact that we’ve been able to achieve together and to thank you for working with us for these three years.

      • French National Dies in ICE Custody, Marking Agency’s Ninth Death in 2019

        According to a statement shared by ICE, the individual, whose identity has yet to be released as officials work to identify next of kin, was a 40-year-old native of Angola.

        It is still unclear how the French national came to arrive in the U.S. or why they were being held under ICE custody.

      • UN experts urge Pakistan to clear scholar of blasphemy, lift death sentence

        In 2013 students at the university where Hafeez taught accused him of making blasphemous Facebook posts. Insulting Islam’s Prophet Mohammad carries a mandatory death penalty in Pakistan, which is about 95% Muslim.

        His lawyers say he was framed by students from a militant Islamist party because of his liberal and secular views. This month a US religious freedom commission placed Hafeez on its list of global victims.

        Hafeez’s family and lawyers released a statement saying the trial had been marked by a “wave of fear” and intimidation after Hafeez’s initial defence lawyer, Rashid Rehman, was shot and killed in 2014 after agreeing to take on the case. No one has been charged with that murder.

      • In Iran, It Is a Crime to Be a Christian

        Converts to Christianity from Islam, according the Iran’s Islamic law, can face the death penalty. The Iranian Islamist judges generally resort to verses from the Quran and Hadith (Muhammad’s sayings and acts) to justify their verdicts.

        Iran systematically violates the U.S. International Religious Freedom Act and this is why, since 1999, the U.S. has designated the Islamic Republic as a “Country of Concern.”

      • Gaza sermon: Florida shooter acted out of compassion for Islamic nation

        The sermon was delivered at the Al-Huda Mosque in Rafah in the Gaza Strip and uploaded to Sheikh Mossran’s YouTube channel on Dec. 22.

      • Female athletes deprived of Afghanistan National Bowling Team membership due to disregarding Islamic hijab

        “The decision made by the Afghanistan Bowling Federation is discriminatory and a clear violence against women. It is not the first time that women in Afghanistan have been deprived of their membership rights. No law or policy can limit a person’s privacy. The statement of Afghanistan Bowling Federation seems suspicious for me, they spoke of ‘violation’ but never ‘specify’ it. If such discriminations in Afghanistan’s sport section are not stopped, women will not dare to attend such environments.”, Samira told Khaama Press.

      • U.N. experts urge Pakistan to clear scholar of blasphemy, lift death sentence
      • The Terrifying Rise of the Zombie State Narrative

        The ruling Establishment has learnt a profound lesson from the debacle over Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction. The lesson they have learnt is not that it is wrong to attack and destroy an entire country on the basis of lies. They have not learnt that lesson despite the fact the western powers are now busily attacking the Iraqi Shia majority government they themselves installed, for the crime of being a Shia majority government.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Merger Lawsuit Docs Reveal T-Mobile Eyed Merging With Comcast

        We’ve long noted that T-Mobile’s brand reputation as a feisty consumer-friendly disruptor is only really skin deep. While the T-Mobile of 2012 or so certainly added some much needed competition to the wireless sector (killing ETFs, eliminating long-term contracts, and eroding international roaming costs), more recently the company has started to look a lot like the bigger competitors (AT&T, Verizon) it pretends to be superior to. From mocking groups like the EFF to opposing net neutrality, the company isn’t all that different from the companies its brash CEO John Legere likes to make fun of.

    • Monopolies

      • Guest Post: Against the Design-Seizure Bill [Ed: By Sarah Burstein, Professor of Law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law]

        As previously covered here on Patently-O, a new design patent bill has been introduced in Congress. The so-called “Counterfeit Goods Seizure Act of 2019” would allow Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) to seize goods accused of design patent infringement.

        This is a bad idea.

        This bill is not reasonably tailored to address its purported goal of “stem[ming] the flow of counterfeit goods.” Instead, it will allow design patent owners to foist their private enforcement costs onto taxpayers, under circumstances that are unlikely to result in accurate determinations of infringement. Moreover, this type of ex parte, non-public system of adjudication is ripe for abuse.

        I have three major groups of concerns about this bill: substantive, procedural, and rhetorical. This post will address them in turn.

        [...]

        Many (perhaps most) design patents claim just a small part of a larger design; the whole point of such patents is to capture competing products that don’t look the same overall. When an applicant claims a small part of a design, there is no requirement that it be an important or valuable part—let alone a part that would lead to serious consumer deception. (If you’re interested, I wrote more about these claiming techniques here and here.)

        Over the years, I’ve heard many design patent attorneys say they want border enforcement. But it’s not because they’re worried about counterfeiting. They want it because it will make design patents more valuable—or at least seem more valuable—to their clients, which in turn makes it easier to sell their design patent prosecution services. (It’s perhaps not surprising that the push for CBP enforcement became more organized after the Supreme Court’s decision in Samsung v. Apple which, in the eyes of many, made design patents less valuable. The ultimate impact of that case, however, remains to be seen. For more on that case, see here; for more on the developments since then, see here.) While some proponents of this bill may truly, in their hearts of hearts, be worried about actual counterfeiting, the fact remains that many design patent attorneys want border enforcement for these other reasons.

        We’ve seen this rhetorical technique before—in the past, proponents of broader copyright laws have used the word “counterfeiting” to conjure the specter of medicines laced with poisons and other horrors to scare legislators into enriching private rights holders. I hope Congress doesn’t fall for it.

      • Trademarks

        • How much trademark protection does a full name enjoy?

          When one uses a full name as a trade mark, to what extent can one rely on that name to prevent others from registering similar marks? In therecent case of Multi Access Limited v Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited [2019] SGIPOS 15, the Registry found that the protection afforded to a full name mark was narrower than one might expect.

          On 15 December 2015, Guangzhou Pharmaceutical Holdings Limited (“the Applicant”) applied to register the trade mark “WONGLO” (“the Application Mark”) in Singapore under International Registration No. 1297792 (Trade Mark No. 40201608455Q) in Classes 5, 30 and 32.

          On 5 September 2017, Multi Access Limited (“the Opponent”) initiated opposition proceedings against the Application Mark, relying on a host of earlier trade mark registrations in Singapore, including the mark “WONG LO KAT” registered in Classes 5, 30 and 33 in 2018 (Trade Mark No. T1015993G) (“the Opponent’s Mark”).

        • Meghan Markle and Prince Harry seek to register “Sussex Royal” as a UK trade mark

          The applications were published on 20 December 2019, after it was announced that the couple would separate from the organization (The Royal Foundation), to which they participated together with Prince William and Duchess Kate Middleton, in order to form their own charitable venture, that is … Sussex Royal. The foundation will likely start operating this year. Also the launch of a Sussex Royal newspaper appears to be on the cards.

          Kensington Palace acknowledged the dissolution of the former joint charity in a statement last year: “The Royal Foundation will become the principal charitable and philanthropic vehicle for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge”.

          The Palace went on to describe the choice for the royals to separate their charitable ventures as a decision to “best complement the work and responsibilities of Their Royal Highnesses as they prepare for their future roles, and to better align their charitable activity with their new households.” (see here).

          [...]

          This is not the first time that we see celebrities, including those with a royal status, applying to register trade marks that cover a wide range of goods and services. Also, it would not be the first case to make headlines in the event that the trade mark application was opposed.

          One of the main issues with these applications is that it is not a given that the relevant signs actually function as trade marks. For instance, readers might recall the bad luck of Cardi B’s trade mark application for the word mark “OKURRR” (see here). The more common a term or expression is, the less likely it is that the public will use it to identify only one source and the less likely that it will be recognized by purchasers as a trade mark.

          Now that the application has been published on the Trade Mark Journal, third parties are able to oppose the registration for another two months, based on absolute and/or relative grounds. Once two months have passed (without any opposition), the marks will officially be registered.

      • Copyrights

        • Our 4.0 License Suite Is Now Available in Simplified and Traditional Chinese

          Traditional Chinese and Simplified Chinese are different in important respects, but also have many similarities and overlapping communities. Even within each language, variances occur depending on region and cultures. While all official translations are faithful linguistic translations of the original English language 4.0 licenses, CC and its community account for these variations and document the rationale for those differences on our website.

        • ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ by George Gershwin Enters the Public Domain

          “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershwin is entering the public domain, along with other works from 1924. Not everyone is happy about it.

        • How the Entertainment Industry Solved Piracy, Then Made It Popular Again

          Only in the last 10 years has the industry’s thinking finally started to evolve. Instead of treating would-be customers as nefarious villains, companies began listening to data showing that—fair or not—the industry needs to view piracy as a competitor. In short, it finally learned the best way to stop piracy is to listen to consumers and start giving them what they want.

          That lesson remains a work in progress. While video streaming has exploded in the last decade, an ocean of costly services—all rushing to hide exclusive content behind paywalls—risk annoying consumers and driving them right back to piracy.

        • Nintendo Wins Injunction Against Switch Mod & Pirate Game Seller

          In 2018, Nintendo filed a lawsuit against a California man it accused of selling pirated Nintendo games, modding devices and modding services. As part of a stipulated judgment, a California court has now handed down a permanent injunction restraining the man from circumventing Nintendo’s technical measures or offering any unauthorized copies of Nintendo’s copyright works.

        • Torrent Site YTS ‘Settles’ Piracy Lawsuit with Movie Company but Stays Online

          The operator of the popular torrent site YTS has resolved the piracy lawsuit that was filed by movie outfit Wicked Nevada last year. In a consent judgment, which is signed by both parties, the YTS admin agreed to pay $150,000 in damages. The site is no longer allowed to share torrents of the film “Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, And Vile,” but YTS itself remains online for now.

        • Streaming Accounted for 80% of US-Based Recording Revenues in 2019

          In an announcement that mirrored a similar report from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) said that music streaming accounted for 80% of the U.S. recorded music market in 2019.

        • Music Streams Cross 100 Billion Annually in the U.K. — Another Record

          According to a new report from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI), there were more than 100 billion music streams in the United Kingdom during 2019, which breaks a record.

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