Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 30/12/2022: Slimbook Kymera Ventus

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 2022 was the year of Linux on the Desktop

        Thanks to the 2022 StackOverflow developer survey we can finally say 2022 was the year of Linux on the Desktop!

        Linux as a primary operating system had been steadily climbing for the past 5 years. 2018 through 2021 saw steady growth with 23.2% , 25.6% , 26.6% , 25.3% , and finally in 2022 the usage was 40.23%. Linux usage was more than macOS in 2021, but only by a small margin. 2022 it is now 9% more than macOS.

      • OMG! LinuxMore Developers Use Linux than Mac, Report Shows - OMG! Linux

        The 2022 StackOverflow developer survey shows that more developers use Linux than Mac.

        And while Windows remains the most used platform with developers overall it’s not by as much as you may think.

        The traditional annual survey from developer resource Stack Overflow reveals, as noted by Thurrot, that Microsoft Windows is the most widely used operating system among developers who took part in the poll.

        A smidgen over 48 percent of developers say they use Windows in their work-related tasks (and a larger 62% say they use it for their non-work/personal/hobby needs).

      • 9to5LinuxMeet the Slimbook Kymera Ventus AMD Black Limited Edition Linux Gaming PC

        To welcome 2023, Linux hardware vendor Slimbook announced today a Limited Edition of their Slimbook Kymera Ventus Linux-powered computer featuring support for the latest and greatest AMD and Intel CPUs, as well as black coating.

        Powered by the latest and greatest AMD Ryzen 7000 series with up to 16 cores and 5,7GHz boost clocks or the 13th Gen Intel “Raptor Lake” processors with up to 24 cores and 5,8GHz boost clocks, the Slimbook Kymera Ventus AMD Black Limited Edition desktop computer comes with an ATX-sized, full-metal case in an “intimidating” black color that “radiates respect and elegance from all its corners.”

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Applications

      • OMG! LinuxPeaZip’s New Update Boosts Speed, Lowers Memory Usage - OMG! Linux

        A new version of PeaZip, a free and open-source file archiver and data compression tool, is available to download.

        PeaZip 9.0 boasts major improvements in speed and memory usage. Developers working on the utility say it is now roughly 10% faster and uses 10% less memory when opening archives with over 250k files. It’s also ~3x faster at adding files to archives too.

        Given that decompression and compression is the core ask of an app of this kind, PeaZip’s newly-added performance improvements are sure to be appreciated by the app’s most avid users.

      • OMG! LinuxTokodon is a Qt-based Mastodon Client for Linux - OMG! Linux

        The decentralised social network Mastodon is ballooning in popularity right now, with millions of folks flocking in to what the Fediverse has to offer.

        But you don’t need to use a web browser or your mobile device to read, follow, and share updates on Mastodon. You can do it from the comfort of the Linux desktop using Tokodon.

        Tokodon is a Qt-based Mastodon client for Linux desktops. It sports a clean, straight-forward user interface with all of the core features front-and-center. You’re never more than a click (or a poke) away from navigating your way around.

        In this post I give you an overview of what the app can (and can’t) do.

      • OMG! LinuxFragments is a Simple Torrent Client for Linux - OMG! Linux

        There are plenty of torrent clients for Linux with open-source apps like Deluge, qBittorrent and Transmission the most post popular.

        But if you’re looking for lightweight torrent client that fits GNOME desktop like a glove, be sure to check out Fragments.

        Fragments is free, open-source torrent client written in GTK4/libadwaita. Designed to be easy to use, Fragments opens BitTorrent files and magnet-links so you can download the files they point to.

        A supremely focused tool, Fragments provides most of the features you need with none of the bloat you don’t. Being built on top of Transmission it supports many of the same features. It can also be used as remote control for Fragments or Transmission running on different devices.

      • MedevelConverter Now: An Impressive Privacy-focused Free Unit Converter

        Converter Now is a Libre (Open Source) lightweight unit converter app, that features a user-friendly interface, and a dozen of units that you can convert from and to.


        Converter Now is released under the GNU General Public License Version 3.0.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • ID RootHow To Install Ghost on Rocky Linux 9 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Ghost on Rocky Linux 9. For those of you who didn’t know, Ghost is a popular open-source blogging platform that allows users to easily create and manage their own blogs. It is written in JavaScript and runs on the Node.js library, making it a highly scalable and flexible platform.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Ghost Content Management System on Rocky Linux. 9.

      • peppe8oRaspberry PI OS Lite: Install, Setup and Configure

        Install Raspberry PI OS Lite without Desktop Environment to provide a lite OS for your Raspberry Pi Projects, with extra guides for advanced settings...

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Make Use Of6 Reasons Why Many Linux Distros Don't Ship KDE by Default

          When it comes to customizability, there's no other desktop that even comes close to KDE Plasma. So why don't more distributions ship KDE by default?

          The KDE Plasma desktop is great, but most Linux distros default to GNOME instead. Why don't more go all-in on KDE? Plasma is more than capable of serving as the foundation for a distro, so why aren't more KDE-based options available? Turns out, the reasons are mostly technical.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Ubuntu HandbookThis Extension Adds Audio Visualizer on Desktop in Ubuntu 22.04 | 22.10 | UbuntuHandbook

          Want to display audio/music visualizer on the desktop? This extension can do the job for Ubuntu 22.10, Fedora 37, Arch/Manjaro Linux with GNOME.

          It’s “Sound Visualizer” extension for Gnome Shell based on Gstreamer specially for Wayland. And, it’s working good in my case in Ubuntu 22.04, though it’s said for Gnome v43.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • H2S Media5 Best Linux Distros to use on Home PC - laptop in 2023

      When it comes to a home pc or laptop that is accessible by multiple people then you must want an operating system that is not only secure but also enough simple and easy to understand by everyone. As more and more people are getting aware of security and privacy concerns because of increasing internet penetration in our daily lives, Linux distros’ developers keep doing hard work to make them more user-friendly and easy to understand.

      Also, if you have multiple PCs in your home, then for installing Linux you don’t have to pay anything. Moreover, you don’t want RedHat, CentOS, Kali Linux, or OpenSUSE which are more inclined toward professional users. In-home, we want something which indeed Linux but less sophisticated, and easy to understand, installation packages should be available via Software Manager and can detect all PC hardware to set up corresponding drivers.

    • New Releases

      • OMG! LinuxEndeavourOS ’Cassini' is Now Available to Download - OMG! Linux

        A new version of Arch-based EndeavourOS Linux distro is available to download.

        EndeavourOS “Cassini” — as with previous EndeavourOS releases the codename references a NASA mission/project/effort — features a wealth of lower-level changes, new artwork, and improved support for ARM devices, including the PineBook Pro.

        Although EndeavourOS is a rolling release distro new ISO images are issued periodically. These make it easy for new users to jump-aboard the rolling-release train without needing to download and install an avalanche of post-install updates.

      • OMG! LinuxManjaro 22.0 ‘Sikaris’ is Now Available to Download - OMG! Linux

        A brand new version of Manjaro, a popular Arch-based Linux distro, is available to download.

        Manjaro 22.0 “Sikaris” makes a stack of updated tech available to users, including Network Manager 1.40, PipeWire 0.3.57, Mesa 22.1.7, and a refresh to the Calamares installer. The recent Linux 6.1 kernel is available in this release.

        Three distinct editions, each based around a different open-source desktop environment, are available. I personally use the regular KDE version, but the GNOME and Xfce editions are pretty popular too.

        Manjaro GNOME edition ships with GNOME 43 (which features a wealth of improvements across the board including a more user-friendly Quick Settings menu).

        Manjaro also updates its “Layouts Switcher” app with the ability to create dynamic wallpaper pairs (that change with system dark mode preference) and an toggle to fetch the latest version of the Firefox GNOME Theme for better integration.

        Manjaro Xfce is based around the new Xfce 4.18 release, which includes split view, file highlighting, and recursive search in the Thunar file manager, new panel options, and other miscellaneous improvements.

    • Gentoo Family

      • 9to5LinuxGentoo-Based Calculate Linux 23 Is Out with Xfce 4.18, Cinnamon 5.6, and LXQt 1.2

        Calculate Linux 23 has been released by maintainer Alexander Tratsevskiy and it’s now available for download as the latest version of this rolling-release Gentoo Linux-based distribution featuring some of the latest GNU/Linux technologies and Open Source software components.

        Arriving a year after Calculate Linux 22, the Calculate Linux 23 release is powered by the long-term supported Linux 5.15 LTS kernel series and comes with some of the latest and greatest desktop environments, including Xfce 4.18, Cinnamon 5.6, LXQt 1.2, and MATE 1.26. The KDE edition, unfortunately, ships with KDE Plasma 5.25.5 instead of the latest KDE Plasma 5.26 release.

      • LinuxiacCalculate Linux 23: Updated Desktop Environments and New Tools

        KDE Plasma 5.25.5, Xfce 4.18, MATE 1.26.0, Cinnamon 5.6.5, LXQt 1.2, and newly added containerization tools shine in the brand-new release of Gentoo-based Calculate Linux 23.

        Calculate Linux is a Gentoo-based Linux distribution that brings the complexity of Gentoo to the average Linux user in a convenient and easy-to-use box. In other words, it is an excellent way to get started in the Gentoo ecosystem without compiling everything.

        However, even though it comes with a GUI installer and some graphical tools, the distribution is intended for more advanced Linux users. In other words, expect to see something other than the features you’re used to seeing in distros like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Manjaro, etc. No, we’re talking about a one-of-a-kind beast.

    • SUSE/OpenSUSE

      • Dominique LeuenbergeropenSUSE Tumbleweed - Review of the week 2022/52 - Dominique a.k.a. DimStar (Dim*)

        Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

        The last week of the year was tranquil, and I think nobody is surprised by this. The holiday takes time away from computers and redirects it to other important events. Yet, sufficient requests had been submitted to openSUSE Tumbleweed to let the distro roll on with another 7 snapshots published (1223…1229). Granted, there have not been ground-breaking changes happening.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

      • OMG! LinuxLinux Mint 21.1 Upgrade Now Available to Existing Users - OMG! Linux

        It’s now possible to upgrade Linux Mint 21 to Linux Mint 21.1, the latest version of the popular Ubuntu-based Linux distribution.

        In a blog post the Linux Mint team announced they’ve opened the official upgrade path from Linux Mint 21 to 21.1. This means anyone using Linux Mint 21 can upgrade to Linux Mint 21.1 from the desktop itself, without needing to download an ISO and perform a “reinstall”.

        Linux Mint 21.1 “Vera” released on December 20. It features a modest crop of changes, including a new “show desktop” applet, restyled folder icons, and the ability to install Flatpak app updates from the Update Manager.

      • Full Circle MagazineFull Circle Magazine #188

        This month: * Command & Conquer * How-To : Python, Blender and Latex * Graphics : Inkscape * Everyday Ubuntu * Micro This Micro That * Review : Kubuntu 22.10 * Review : Ubuntu Cinnamon 22.04 * Ubports Touch : OTA-24 * Tabletop Ubuntu * Ubuntu Games : Dwarf Fortress (Steam Edition) plus: News, My Story, The Daily Waddle, Q&A, and more.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • HacksterAuto-pause your TV -

        I'm often tired when I sit down to watch TV at the end of a day, so I want the experience to be as easy as possible. One simple improvement I've dreamt about is having the TV notice when I've got up so it can automatically pause the current show, and then resume it when I return. I decided to prototype this using one of our Person Sensors, together with a Circuit Playground Express board from Adafruit. This guide will show you how to build one too, with no soldering required!

        The video above shows how the final device works. When no face is detected for five seconds, an IR signal is sent to the TV emulating pressing the pause button on your remote control. When a face is detected again for at least one second, the code for play is sent. It's definitely still a prototype, with lots of rough edges to be smoothed out, but I've had fun playing with it myself and demoing it to other people. I'd love to see a commercial product like this, so I hope it sparks someone's imagination.

      • Pi Pico Pinout Display on the Command Line - Raspberry Pi Spy

        Displaying the pinout of a Raspberry Pi Pico is possible using my “picopins” script. The script displays the pinout in a colour coded format showing the location of power, ground and GPIO pins. I find it useful if I’m coding Pico projects on my laptop or Pi 400 and need to check the location of a GPIO pin.

      • [Older] Pi Pico W Pinout and Power Pins - Raspberry Pi Spy

        The Pi Pico W Pinout is identical to that of the original Pi Pico. The Pi Pico W microcontroller board offers all the features of the Pi Pico with the addition of WiFi and Bluetooth.

        The Pico W can accept 0.1″ pin-headers which can be soldered to the board as required.

      • Scanntronik Manuals -

        The German company “Scanntronik” offered a lot of high-quality hardware and software for the Commodore 64 series computers, most in the space of graphics and desktop publishing. They are well-known for their Pagefox and Printfox software as well as their Handyscanner 64 hardware. This page offers most of the German-language manuals from across their product range as searchable PDFs.

      • Let’s build a nixie watch - jaeblog jaeblog

        Ok ok ok, this is not a Nixie, it’s a Panaplex watch, but that sounds so much less fun. They work like nixies, but they are flat and often 7 segment displays, somewhat common in alarm clocks and tech gear.I got a few of them from a friend and compared to nixies, they are rather small and flat. So why not make a wristwatch with them!

        Like nixies, panaplex displays require a high voltage to operate, around 200V. Which, on a wristwatch is a little challenging. I also wanted this to be a somewhat usable watch, unlike some of the nixie watches that, while cool, look quite cumbersome to wear due to their size.

        This display is the ZM1570, which according to the datasheet, is similar to the ZM1550 but a little radioactive, fun!

        So let’s look at what it takes to make a watch with these and how small all the circuitry can be.

        So for a simple watch, without any smart nonsense, just a few things are needed. A display, a simple microcontroller, a somewhat accurate clock source and a battery. Of course, this display also needs quite a unique power supply, so let’s start with tackling that.

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Programming/Development

      • Programming Language DataBaseA brief interview with Mu creator Dr. Kartik Agaram

        Dr. Kartik Agaram is a professional programmer by day and the author of several open source projects that try to demystify computers. His projects all show a great love for programming and empathy for readers grappling with a strange codebase.

      • Golang is evil on shitty networks - Somewhere Within Boredom

        This adventure starts with git-lfs. It was a normal day and I added a 500 MB binary asset to my server templates. When I went to push it, I found it interesting that git-lfs was uploading at 50KB per second. Being that I had a bit of free time that I’d much rather be spending on something else than waiting FOREVER to upload a file, I decided to head upstairs and plug into the ethernet. I watched it instantly jump up to 2.5 MB per second. Still not very fast, but I was now intensely curious.

        Since I figured I would have originally been waiting FOREVER for this to upload, I decided to use that time and investigate what was going on. While I would expect wired ethernet to be a bit faster than wifi, I didn’t expect it to be orders (with an s) of magnitude faster. Just to check my sanity, I ran a speed test and saw my upload speed on wifi at 40MB per second, and wired at 60MB per second.

        After some investigations with WireShark and other tools, I learned that my wifi channels have a shitload of interference in the 2Ghz band, and just a little in the 5Ghz band. During this time, I also learned that my router wouldn’t accept a single 5Ghz client due to a misconfiguration on my part. So, non-sequitur, apparently enabling “Target Wake Time” was very important (I have no idea what that does). Once that was fixed, I saw 600MB per second on my internal network and outside throughput was about the same as wired.

      • MediumThe Bitter Truth: Python 3.11, Cython, C++ Performance | Agents and Robots

        This article compares various approaches to speed up Python. However, it should be clear in advance that C++ is still faster than Python. The question is by how much? The article is tailored for Data Scientists and persons with domain knowledge and Python experience that are interested in results gained from a simulation. The article demonstrates the current state of Python's performance using one example only. It is not a rigorous comparison. It shows what tools are available, how to measure performance gains, and what best practices are.

      • ACMThe End of Programming

        When I was in college in the early 1990s, we were still in the depths of the AI Winter, and AI as a field was likewise dominated by classical algorithms. My first research job at Cornell University was working with Dan Huttenlocher, a leader in the field of computer vision (and now Dean of the MIT Schwarzman College of Computing). In Huttenlocher's Ph.D.-level computer vision course in 1995 or so, we never once discussed anything resembling deep learning or neural networks—it was all classical algorithms like Canny edge detection, optical flow, and Hausdorff distances. Deep learning was in its infancy, not yet considered mainstream AI, let alone mainstream CS.

        Of course, this was 30 years ago, and a lot has changed since then, but one thing that has not really changed is that CS is taught as a discipline with data structures, algorithms, and programming at its core. I am going to be amazed if in 30 years, or even 10 years, we are still approaching CS in this way. Indeed, I think CS as a field is in for a pretty major upheaval few of us are really prepared for.

      • Another Year of #TidyTuesday | Nicola Rennie

        Last year, I wrote a blog post discussing of how I found participating in #TidyTuesday every week for a year. Well, this year I did the same again. And so I’m writing another blog post about it! If you’re unfamiliar with #TidyTuesday, it’s a weekly data challenge aimed at the R community. Every week a new data set is posted alongside a chart or article related to that data set, and ask participants explore the data.

      • Perl / Raku

        • PerlSemVer but with Extra Steps | Toby Inkster []

          This is a variant of SemVer which mostly meets all its rules, except for releases prior to 0.2.0, where we bend them slightly.

          It is my intention to use this versioning system for all open source software I develop from 1 January 2023 onwards. Existing open source projects I manage will adopt this scheme from their next release onwards. (Type::Tiny already somewhat does.)

  • Leftovers

    • CubicleNateA 2022 Christmastime Blathering - CubicleNate’s Techpad

      As the year comes to a close, it is often filled with mixed emotions about my personal evaluation of my performance for the year. Many things were advanced, some things didn’t advance far enough and others may have even regressed a bit but I would say, over all, I am in a better position today than I was at the end of last year.

      It’s easy to dwell on the mistakes I made, especially about what I prioritized but very often those things are observed with the benefit of hindsight. I do what I can to take my various decisions, regardless of outcome and learn from it the best that I can.

    • Commonweal MagazineEscaping the Algorithms | Commonweal Magazine

      In recent months, artificial intelligence developers have released tools to the general public that have demonstrated the capacity of AI to mimic and perhaps, in some cases, even surpass human creative capacities. The technology, known by the general term “generative AI,” is trained on large datasets consisting of examples of images or writing. It can then spit out images conforming to a specific description, pieces of writing in a user-specified genre, or convincing responses to a series of questions.

      The results can be quite startling. When I asked DALL-E 2, the image generator, to produce an image of “an FBI agent playing pinball in the style of Paul Klee,” it produced something that felt like a Klee to the untrained eye and wouldn’t look out of place in an art gallery. I had the uncomfortable experience of kind of liking it. And the text generator ChatGPT (Generative Pre-trained Transformer) produced a plausible, if juvenile, draft of a poem about the risks of AI: “Once we create it, we can’t control its mind, / It could turn against us, and be unkind.” Others have used AI to write code, play games, and even diagnose maladies.

    • AI: Markets for Lemons, and the Great Logging Off

      The good news is, we know how to fix the root problem of information asymmetry. In the case of used cars, there are now services like CarFax and CarMax and the whole "certified pre-owned vehicle" thing that make it a lot easier to know a car's history before you buy it. And even in the old days, you could insist on taking the car to your local mechanic first. Similar fixes have come for spam phone calls – caller ID makes it clear when the caller is someone from my contacts list, and iOS now even pre-flags suspicious calls as probable spam. And in the case of people I might want to talk to but aren't in my contact list yet, in almost all cases they'll have scheduled the call ahead of time.

    • Science

      • Ars TechnicaScientists may have found the first water worlds | Ars Technica

        Two planets that were originally discovered by the Kepler mission may not be what we thought they were. Based on an initial characterization, it was thought these planets were rocky bodies a bit larger than Earth. But continued observation has produced data that indicates the planets are much less dense than we originally thought. And the only realistic way to get the sort of densities they now seem to have is for a substantial amount of their volume to be occupied by water or a similar fluid.

        We do have bodies like this in our Solar System—most notably the moon Europa, which has a rocky core surrounded by a watery shell capped by ice. But these new planets are much closer to their host star, which means their surfaces are probably a blurry boundary between a vast ocean and a steam-filled atmosphere.

    • Hardware

      • IEEEMinuscule Sensing Suite Is a Big Step Toward Robotic Gnats

        In the late 1980s, Rod Brooks and Anita Flynn published a paper in The Journal of the British Interplanetary Society with the amazing title of Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control: A Robotic Invasion of the Solar System. The paper explored the idea that instead of sending one big and complicated and extremely expensive robot to explore (say) the surface of Mars, you could instead send a whole bunch of little and simple and extremely cheap robots, while still accomplishing mission goals. The abstract of the paper concludes: “We suggest that within a few years it will be possible at modest cost to invade a planet with millions of tiny robots.”

        That was 1989, and we’re still nowhere near millions of tiny robots. Some things are just really hard to scale down, and building robots that are the size of bees or flies or even gnats requires advances in (among other things) sensing for autonomy as well as appropriate power systems. But progress is being made, and Sawyer Fuller, assistant professor at the University of Washington (who knows a thing or four about insect-scale flying robots), has a new article inScience Robotics that shows how it’s possible to put together the necessary sensing hardware to enable stable, autonomous flight for flying robots smaller than a grain of rice.

    • Security

      • LWNSecurity updates for Friday []

        Security updates have been issued by Debian (libcommons-net-java), Fedora (python3.6), and SUSE (conmon, polkit-default-privs, thunderbird, and webkit2gtk3).

      • Bleeping ComputerNew Linux malware uses 30 plugin exploits to backdoor WordPress sites [Ed: Microsoft-connected tries to badmouth GNU/Linux and free software with a word salad, mistaking malware for "back doors" and not bothering to explain the machines need to be compromised in the first place (somehow)]

        A previously unknown Linux malware has been exploiting 30 vulnerabilities in multiple outdated WordPress plugins and themes to inject malicious JavaScript.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • Bruce SchneierRecovering Smartphone Voice from the Accelerometer

          Eavesdropping from the user’s smartphone is a well-known threat to the user’s safety and privacy. Existing studies show that loudspeaker reverberation can inject speech into motion sensor readings, leading to speech eavesdropping. While more devastating attacks on ear speakers, which produce much smaller scale vibrations, were believed impossible to eavesdrop with zero-permission motion sensors. In this work, we revisit this important line of reach. We explore recent trends in smartphone manufacturers that include extra/powerful speakers in place of small ear speakers, and demonstrate the feasibility of using motion sensors to capture such tiny speech vibrations. We investigate the impacts of these new ear speakers on built-in motion sensors and examine the potential to elicit private speech information from the minute vibrations. Our designed system EarSpy can successfully detect word regions, time, and frequency domain features and generate a spectrogram for each word region. We train and test the extracted data using classical machine learning algorithms and convolutional neural networks. We found up to 98.66% accuracy in gender detection, 92.6% detection in speaker detection, and 56.42% detection in digit detection (which is 5X more significant than the random selection (10%)). Our result unveils the potential threat of eavesdropping on phone conversations from ear speakers using motion sensors.

        • Associated PressPolice Tap COVID-19 Tech to Expand Global Surveillance

          Police forces worldwide are tapping technologies developed for coronavirus contact tracing for mass surveillance.

          China, for example, requires citizens to install cellphone applications to move about freely in most cities as part of its COVID policy. The apps use telecommunications data and polymerase chain reaction test results to generate individual quick response codes that change hue based on a person's health status, but evidence suggests these and other health codes have been used to suppress dissent.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Los Angeles TimesA new generation of police robots faces backlash - Los Angeles Times

        Spot isn’t like other police dogs.

        For starters, it has no head. Or fur. And instead of kibble and water, it runs on a lithium-ion battery.

        When the four-legged robot, which can climb stairs, open doors and transmit 360-degree video, was unveiled a few years ago, it was billed as a potent new tool for industries whose workers are often in dangerous conditions. It could, for example, detect radiation for an energy company or inspect the safety of a mining tunnel, its creator, Boston Dynamics, said in promotional material.

        And police officials around the U.S. realized that Spot, which its inventors named, also offered an upgrade from the slower, less agile robots currently used in high-risk situations such as negotiating with hostage takers and assessing suspicious packages.

        The Los Angeles Police Department decided it needed to have a Spot. It turned to the L.A. Police Foundation, which raises money for the department, to cover the nearly $280,000 price tag that included upgrades and warranties.

      • Michael West MediaWar Powers Inquiry: "just as Britain has the Gurkhas, the Americans have us?" - Michael West

        The Parliamentary Inquiry into War Powers heard the pros and cons of a parliamentary vote to go to war versus the status quo, that is, the Prime Minister alone can make the call. Zacharias Szumer reports on the hearings and the big points of concern. Civil society groups, veterans and all who have long fought for a greater democratisation of the way Australia goes war finally got their day in parliament on Friday, with what may be the one and only hearing of the Inquiry into International Armed Conflict Decision Making. Over five hours, those both for and against reform were questioned on the arguments made in their submissions by members of the defence subcommittee of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade (JSCFADT). Debates ranged from complex Constitutional questions to the toll of war on veterans’ mental health. However, there were several themes that consistently loomed over the proceedings.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Erich Styger[Older] Energy Crisis in Europe: Optimizing a Building from 4.5 to 2.4 MWh | MCU on Eclipse

          With the war in the Ukraine, energy prices in Europe reached new record levels. This initially affected the gas price which does not affect me directly. But it had a big impact on the price for electrical energy too. In my village, the price for electrical energy is now at 0.45 CHF/kWh, starting October 1st 2022. It is twice as much as what it used to be, and three times more what it used to be the price for the energy at night time.

    • Finance

      • Michael West MediaFares zoom above costs as Qantas cries poor to politicians and staff; cries rich to sharemarket - Michael West

        antas is pulling back capacity to keep its airfare prices high as cagey chief Alan Joyce profiteers from the airline’s dominant market position and political clout. Michael Sainsbury reports on the insipid ACCC report into airline competition. The combination of Qantas’s mounting profits, record high airfares, threats by Alan Joyce to cut “marginal” routes and the struggle of offshore airlines to get more landing slots in Australia all point to one thing: the failure of competition in the Australia airline sector. Yet the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and the Albanese government seem determined to do not very much about it. On December 6, the competition watchdog issued its latest quarterly report on domestic competition in the Australian airline market. It runs to over 100 pages, a quarterly exercise that is surely costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars a pop, and details the fact that average revenue per passenger, an indication of average airfares across all fare types, was 27% higher in October 2022 than it was in October 2019 before the Pandemic. It also confirms that airlines have wound back capacity, the key move behind rising prices and corporate profits at the expense of customers. An index of the discounted economy fares on the top 70 domestic routes in November 2022 was more than double what it was in April 2022, an 11-year low. In September this year, the same index of the cheapest available fares reached a 15-year high.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

      • I'm Done With Google | Deijin's Blog

        My auntie is in hospital for christmas this year.

        It's been identified as flu, but it seriously affected her because she has a lot of heath problems including terminal cancer.

        Every year at christmas she likes to watch The Wizard of Oz. She has a copy of it I got on google play for her which she can play on her tablet. So this year my dad brought her tablet to me before taking it to the hospital.

        Why did my dad need to bring it to me? Well they don't have internet at their house, and every so often google decides to lock you out of the google play movies app until you connect to the internet to verify the licence. That's right, downloaded copies of a movie that you purchaced can be taken from you on a whim.

        But whatever, my dad has brought it to me, lets connect it to the internet and get it working for her.

        So I connect it to the internet and I click onto the app, it says that new higher quality versions are available for the movies. I don't care, just let me check it plays... oh, it's not downloaded anymore. Okay, let me download this new copy, huh. Failed to download. I click on another one that is still downloaded from before and it says "video format not supported". Well that's a lie, it is a fairly old android tablet, but I haven't downloaded anything since connecting to the internet so this is the same copy of the movie that has played fine previously on this tablet.

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • The VergeSherlock Holmes will finally escape copyright this weekend

          Watching the copyrights on art expire still feels like a novelty. After all, the US public domain was frozen in time for 20 years, thawing only in 2019. But this weekend’s Public Domain Day will give our cultural commons a few particularly notable new works. As outlined by Duke Law School’s Center for the Study of the Public Domain, the start of 2023 will mark the end of US copyrights on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s final Sherlock Holmes stories — along with the seminal science fiction movie Metropolis, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, and the first full-length “talkie” film The Jazz Singer.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Technical

      • Science

        • Extreme TechNASA’s Lunar Flashlight Launches to Shine a Light on Lunar Ice - ExtremeTech

          The Lunar Flashlight is a compact 6U CubeSat, sporting mostly off-the-shelf hardware like a conventional lithium-ion battery and HaWK solar panels. There’s also a flashlight of sorts, as the name implies. It’s actually an infrared spectrometer that emits light in four different wavelengths. We already know there is frozen water on the moon, but the Lunar Flashlight aims to create a more accurate map of its distribution. It will scan the shadowy depths of craters where sunlight has never reached, mostly in the higher latitudes.

          When shined on the lunar surface, the infrared lasers will bounce back after striking regolith. However, water ice will absorb light and give away its presence. Locating an accessible supply of ice on the moon could be a boon to future missions, which could use lunar water to make fuel for a return trip to Earth or a trip to the outer solar system.

        • Medical NewsResearchers develop a virtual molecular library of thousands of 'command sentences' for cells

          Using new machine learning techniques, researchers at UC San Francisco (UCSF), in collaboration with a team at IBM Research, have developed a virtual molecular library of thousands of "command sentences" for cells, based on combinations of "words" that guided engineered immune cells to seek out and tirelessly kill cancer cells.


          The advance allows scientists to predict which elements – natural or synthesized – they should include in a cell to give it the precise behaviors required to respond effectively to complex diseases.

          "This is a vital shift for the field," said Wendell Lim, PhD, the Byers Distinguished Professor of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, who directs the UCSF Cell Design Institute and led the study. "Only by having that power of prediction can we get to a place where we can rapidly design new cellular therapies that carry out the desired activities."

* Gemini (Primer) links can be opened using Gemini software. It's like the World Wide Web but a lot lighter.

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