Supporting RMS With a Meme!

Posted in Site News at 4:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Published on April 5, 2021.

Last updated on April 12, 2021.

Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 4.0), original here.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. Well, these do contain some words, seems we are not skilled enough. If you have a nice one, Send it to us, we may be able to publish it here. In any case, sometimes 1,000 words are necessary.

Stallman about Epstein: calling him a “sex offender” tends to minimize his crimes.
    I think the right term for a person such as Epstein is “serial rapist”. Epstein about his crimes: I’m not a sexual predator, I’m an
   “offender.” It’s the difference between a murderer and a person who steals a bagel.

Stallman may have a point that words matter

These guys were Epstein's friends:Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Prince Andrew, Bill Gates,
      Rafael Reif, Prof. Lawrence Krauss, Prof. Alan Dershowitz... All of them still in their positions, undisturbed. This guy never met Epstein, called him a serial rapist: Richard Stallman, got canceled.


The master of a re-education camp is yelling the multiplication tables at Richard Stallman, who has more complex mathematical formulas in his mind. The caption says: Inquisitive minds not allowed.

Scientific thinking not allowed

A sing on a door says: Richard Stallman Knightfor Justice. Also, Hot LAdies. Caption: Stallman never wrote this. It was vandalism... or a joke?

The horrifying sign on the door

A picture of a mattress that says: Of the 1001 uses for a mattress, some people can think of just one... and it's not sleeping.

The single purpose of a mattress

A drawing of a mouse embracing its child, with the image of Stallman's pleasure card attached. A caption says: The harassment of tender embraces.

The danger of a pleasure card


Gemini Gateways for IPFS

Posted in Site News at 6:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The World Wide Web is fine for a lot of things, but for controversial publications and publications that invoke the 'wrath' of corporations/states/plutocracy we must look beyond the traditional protocols, choosing decentralised means and self-hosted means of publication (instead or at the very least in conjunction)

A COUPLE of days ago we did a video and article about Gemini over IPFS (context here) and today we examine what Gemini gateways for IPFS look like. There are already many Web (WWW, https://) gateways for IPFS out there, so why not offer the same over gemini://?

“There are already many Web (WWW, https://) gateways for IPFS out there, so why not offer the same over gemini://?”The video above shows a triplet of Gemini clients and shows how we can, in principle, set up a local Gemini gateway for IPFS access, in effect serving the site’s objects in a decentralised fashion from a home connection (self-hosting). For the future of a censorship-averse Internet we need to look beyond the Web, beyond DNS, and beyond all sorts of other social control mechanisms, notably social control media (e.g. Twitter, Facebook or YouTube, where people’s accounts, channels and subscribers are as transient as monopolies wish them to be) and clown computing — a cleverly-marketed self-harming ploy that encourages companies and individuals to outsource hosting, data and much more to some third parties, typically parties that in the pockets of the Pentagon, companies that have questionable political ambitions.


Accessibility and Availability First

Posted in Europe, Patents, Site News at 1:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: To make Techrights more widely accessible and more difficult to block/censor we’ve been making further changes, including self-hosting where possible

THE site or the “project” (so to speak) Techrights is making a lot of changes, even if most of them are not directly visible. We’re still working on a bunch of code. We also try to improve breadth of access, seeing the censorious atmosphere the Web rapidly becomes notorious for. Right now we have the IPFS index in Gemini (gemini://gemini.techrights.org/ipfs/), just in case something happens to the Web (as in World Wide Web) site. Thinking pessimistically isn’t irrational; you cannot do much about censorship after it happens, so preparation in advance (a priori) is essential, e.g. “insurance files”.

“We also try to improve breadth of access, seeing the censorious atmosphere the Web rapidly becomes notorious for.”In part 10's appendix and part 11 from last night we’re starting to show documents unearthed from the past. We suppose Benoît Battistelli is very unhappy about it and his friend António Campinos has been blocking us in every office he controls since day one (in all EPO facilities!).

The video above discusses some of the things happening behind the scenes and why it’s perfectly reasonable to publish what we publish. It’s “public interest” material.

Self-Hosting Videos With Free Formats and Animated Previews, Watermarks/Logos and Translucency

Posted in Site News, Videos at 11:13 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: We examine the power of video editing with ffmpeg, chained with command-line scripting and HTML5 features

The Web is a powerful platform — to the point where it’s a little ‘too’ powerful if put in the hands of malicious actors. But we’re still using the Web by default; it’s just what most people use. Video functionality on the Web improved a lot over the years, putting aside DRM/EME. So let’s explore what we can accomplish with some command-line scripting and ffmpeg.

We’re always trying to encourage digital autonomy, which is why we adopt self-hosting whenever possible. This includes videos. For the sake of example, in this post we use an old video about Gemini proxies. It was picked at random, no special reason at all. None.

Extracting bits of the video with ffmpeg isn’t hard (check the official ffmpeg Web site; their documentation explains the pertinent options, which should be changed depending on the video):

ffmpeg -ss 600 -t 5 -i gemini-proxies.webm -vf "select=not(mod(n\,1)),fps=10,scale=480:-1:flags=lanczos,split[s0][s1];[s0]palettegen[p];[s1][p]paletteuse" -loop 0 roy-talks.gif

This gets us started:

To add the resultant preview (known as “poster”) to the video, consider using the following, based on the above example: poster="http://techrights.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/roy-talks.gif"

This attribute belongs in the <video> element as it is part of the standard.

Add the watermark/logo with ffmpeg:

ffmpeg -i roy-talks.gif -i mogz-video-poster-4-small.png -filter_complex "overlay=0:H-h--1" -codec:a copy roy-talks2.gif

We use artwork prepared by Mogz for us.

These two passes may be lossy and maybe possible to combine rather easily, but splitting it into two stages aids simplicity. Here it goes:

For center: overlay=(W-w)/2:(H-h)/2
Top left (with 5 pixels of padding): overlay=5:5
Top right: overlay=W-w-5:5
Bottom right: overlay=W-w-5:H-h-5
Bottom left: overlay=5:H-h-5

With improved quality and translucency:

ffmpeg -i roy-talks.gif -i mogz-video-poster-4-small.png -filter_complex "[1]format=rgba,colorchannelmixer=aa=0.7[logo];[0][logo]overlay=0:H-h--1:format=auto" -codec:a copy roy-talks2.gif

The above scripts are possible to chain together and variables can be used, too. Let’s change the time to one minute from the start (-ss 60) for a duration of 2 seconds (-t 2):

ffmpeg -ss 60 -t 2 -i $VIDEO_FILE.webm -vf "select=not(mod(n\,1)),fps=10,scale=480:-1:flags=lanczos,split[s0][s1];[s0]palettegen[p];[s1][p]paletteuse" -loop 0 intermediate.gif
ffmpeg -i intermediate.gif -i mogz-video-poster-4-small.png -filter_complex "[1]format=rgba,colorchannelmixer=aa=0.7[logo];[0][logo]overlay=0:H-h--1:format=auto" -codec:a copy $VIDEO_FILE.gif

Of course it is also possible to use loops and batch-process many files in this way. Welcome to the power of GNU/Linux.

Voila. The translucency is easier to see because of the mug of coffee.


Gemini Over IPFS (Decentralised Web, Accessed Over Gemini Protocol)

Posted in Site News at 9:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: The Gemini protocol (gemini://) can already be used to fetch (at the back end) and present objects from a P2P-like network; we’re currently exploring practical use cases and possibilities

It’s possible to chain/group together and then fetch CIDs (obtain IPFS access) over the Gemini protocol; the number of software tools being developed around Gemini protocol is rather astounding. It’s like for every 10 Gemini capsules which exist and are known about there’s one bit of publicly-accessible Free software project (we have our own too, to be published some time soon under terms of the GNU AGPLv3). The number of clients or browsers is also huge; they’re often implemented from scratch, unlike today’s Web browsers that are mostly Chrome (or Chromium) ‘clones’. This video started by debating a recent message about work that was done to chain IPFS and Gemini (“Gemini-IPFS gateway”) and we too have been doing work towards that. It’s actually possible already (presenting Gemini pages as output from ipfs cat [CID]), but we’re trying to present that in a way that includes practical benefits. Given a Gemini server (backend software) that can handle CGI, it should be possible to make Gemini capsules that serve contents of any given CID/hash. When it comes to very large files, it can tackle storage limitations, albeit Gemini is notoriously unsuited for very large files. So this is still work in progress as a side project.


He Said, Xi Said: Hard to Censor Techrights and It’s More Than a Web Site

Posted in Site News at 10:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link

Summary: An explanation of some of the latest Techrights changes (mostly work on IPFS and Gemini this week, as they complement the Web site)

HAVING just published this article about the purposeless office, EPO, where two corrupt politicians are basically demolishing the institution for personal gain, we turn again to our censorship resistance mechanisms. The video above discusses changes to our IPFS index pages and changes to the Gemini capsule, mostly intended to better suit blind readers (we’ve received some constructive suggestions). Gemtext/Plain Text are now better separated, there’s a complete index in archive form (over 30,000 blog posts), and we’ve finally added a link to the feeds, as well as an archive of older feed elements (“daily-feed” and “feed” now appear in the front/landing page, as more software supports capsule subscriptions in Gemini).

“It’s infeasible to take us (or the information) down.”What does it all mean to people who are lesser technical or differently technical (proficient in a technical field that isn’t computing or the Internet)?

Can't censor this *Xi-tLet’s explain this very briefly.

Gemini is self-hosted (from my own home), it’s simple and light, and it should generally be robust to censorship unless my connection is cut or the home gets raided or something radical to that effect.

IPFS is a decentralised Web/Internet network akin to P2P; it’s almost impossible to take down and as long as copies of objects reside on several machines around the globe it’s really difficult to take down some controversial/sensitive bit of information (or an object; any kind of file would do, even video). We don’t have reasons to believe that the EPO will try to take down this (Web) site, which is possible with lawfare directed at DNS or World Wide Web equipment (routers, servers). The EPO has blocked Techrights for 6 or 7 years already. Of course staff can evade the block, especially when working from home or some mobile network (inside the Office many would not use the local Wi-Fi; it’s not trustworthy when it’s controlled by what many employees call “Mafia”).

Either way, the Web site has become just one of three methods for accessing the material. It’s infeasible to take us (or the information) down. They know it, so they’re less likely to even try. Deterrence works.

It’s worth noting that there are things in IPFS and Gemini that don’t exist anywhere in the site. So in a sense we’re already at a point where they’re not mere mirrors of the site.


Big Traffic in Tux Machines Ahead of 17th Anniversary

Posted in Site News at 5:11 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Big Big Traffic
Credit: Penguin rendering by Mogz

THE Tux Machines site turns 17 in a couple of months and traffic has never been better. This past week it was on average 100,000 hits per day and later this month we will have posted the 150,000th node.

Sorting out the news isn’t a simple task, but with experience it gets a lot easier and we’re glad to be a leading syndicator in that space.


Gemini Space is Growing (Over a Thousand Known Capsules)

Posted in Site News at 8:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Techrights and capsules

Summary: The Web alternative known as Gemini (where sites are known as capsules) is growing in popularity and scale; we look back at usage statistics for March

Gemini space (or cyberspace over gemini://) is fast-growing and we've attempted to get the Free Software Foundation (FSF) interested. The FSF seems like a good advocate for such a thing (having long warned about proprietary JavaScript), so we were very happy after it had mentioned it in LibrePlanet. Gemini was mentioned explicitly by Mr. Oliva. March was the first month we logged the Gemini capsule of Techrights (it doesn’t specify what’s accessed, only when, and we permanently delete logs after 4 weeks, as usual, as per privacy policies). What’s interesting is that if one plots usage over time, even for just one month, the median goes up over time. Maybe that’s because the capsule is relatively new, but at any rate, 72,305 requests (pages) in one month isn’t something negligible. Almost 800 unique hosts were observed in that period of time.

    919 gemini-log-2021-03-01.log
    857 gemini-log-2021-03-02.log
    886 gemini-log-2021-03-03.log
   2400 gemini-log-2021-03-04.log
   1450 gemini-log-2021-03-05.log
    818 gemini-log-2021-03-06.log
    624 gemini-log-2021-03-07.log
    777 gemini-log-2021-03-08.log
  13196 gemini-log-2021-03-09.log
   2139 gemini-log-2021-03-10.log
    818 gemini-log-2021-03-11.log
    772 gemini-log-2021-03-12.log
    896 gemini-log-2021-03-13.log
    800 gemini-log-2021-03-14.log
    930 gemini-log-2021-03-15.log
    911 gemini-log-2021-03-16.log
    893 gemini-log-2021-03-17.log
    960 gemini-log-2021-03-18.log
    955 gemini-log-2021-03-19.log
  14933 gemini-log-2021-03-20.log
   1701 gemini-log-2021-03-21.log
   1101 gemini-log-2021-03-22.log
   1151 gemini-log-2021-03-23.log
   1429 gemini-log-2021-03-24.log
   1053 gemini-log-2021-03-25.log
    985 gemini-log-2021-03-26.log
    961 gemini-log-2021-03-27.log
   1474 gemini-log-2021-03-28.log
   1620 gemini-log-2021-03-29.log
    943 gemini-log-2021-03-30.log
  12953 gemini-log-2021-03-31.log
  72305 total

If you wish to join the Gemini space with your own capsule, here's where to start. To merely access existing capsules, a GUI is possible to install. It’s a lot like a Web browser and we recently reviewed Moonlander and Lagrange. Lupa observes the known space and currently lists over 1,000 capsules. “There are 1029 capsules,” it says. “We successfully connected recently to 858 of them.”

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