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Links 24/8/2019: Wayland’s Weston 7.0 and More

Posted in News Roundup at 6:03 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • GNOME on the Road: Linux Fest Northwest and OSCON

      Linux Fest Northwest took place back in April, and we were there! Sri Ramkrishna and I hung out in Bellingham, Washington (USA), meeting GNOMEies, free software contributors, and open source enthusiasts.

    • Desktop

      • Modern Linux Runs On Ancient Toshiba

        While Microsoft no longer supports those of its operating systems that were in heavy use into the early 2000s, support for old hardware is not typically something that you will have to worry about if you run Linux on your machines. Sure, there will be driver issues from time to time, and you might have to do some things by hand, but if you’re using legacy hardware you’ll want a Linux distribution of some sort. Especially if you’re running it on one of the first laptops to ever feature a Pentium processor of any kind.

        This is a Toshiba T4900CT which [MingcongBai] has been able to spruce up by installing a simplified version of the AOSC OS Linux distribution. The distribution is known for its simplified user interface, and this particular one runs a “Retro” command-line-only version. Upon startup (which takes over two minutes), the user can view the hardware and software specs: Linux kernel 4.19.67 (released within the past year) on a 75 MHz Intel processor.

    • Server

      • HPC Computing Is Replacing Supercomputers In Enterprise: Jeff Reser

        Jeff Reser – Global Product and Solutions Marketing Manager of SUSE talks about High-Performance Computing.

      • IBM

        • Accelerating the journey to open hybrid cloud with Red Hat Modernization and Migration Solutions

          The integration of technology into all areas of a business (the “digital transformation” we hear so much about) is fundamentally changing how organizations operate as well as how they deliver value to customers. An example is Lockheed Martin, who opted to undergo an eight-week agile transformation labs residency to implement an open source architecture onboard the F-22 and simultaneously disentangle its web of embedded systems. But such transformation can also create new challenges, from additional competitive pressures to increased customer expectations.

          To help overcome these challenges, Red Hat is introducing a family of solutions to help optimize infrastructure, modernize applications and accelerate innovation while supporting customers in their journey to the open hybrid cloud. Red Hat Modernization and Migration Solutions are designed to help customers realize the benefits of open technologies and adopt containers, Kubernetes and hybrid cloud-ready platforms. The family of solutions offers a path for customers from restrictive, proprietary environments to more flexible and (often) less costly open source alternatives, in an iterative approach.

        • Let’s talk about Privacy by Design

          Privacy by Design or Privacy by Default (PbD) is not a new concept. However PbD received renewed attention when the GDPR added PbD as a legal requirement. PbD refers to the process of building in technical, organizational and security measures at the beginning stage of product development and throughout the product lifecycle.


          One PbD tool we use to build in privacy to our development process is our Privacy Impact Assessment, also known as a PIA. The PIA is a process which assists developers at the early stages in identifying and mitigating privacy risks associated with the collection and use of personal data.

          The PIA tool begins with a self assessment that asks a lot of questions about the planned project or product. This initiates a process of review by individuals trained in privacy and security. The process is collaborative and creates an on-going dialogue about privacy with respect to the product, system or application at hand.

        • IBM Open Sources Its Workhorse Power Chip Architecture

          RISC-V now has formidable competition from an architecture with a long track record in servers and supercomputers.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

    • Applications

      • Save Web Pages As Single HTML Files For Offline Use With Monolith (Console)

        Monolith is a command line tool to save any web page as a single HTML file that contains everything needed to render web page locally, without needing a working Internet connection.

        Use this to save web pages containing documentation, wiki articles, and anything else that interests you, for local/offline use. Since the web pages are saved in plain HTML, use a tool that can search in files to quickly find the web page you’re looking for.

        Unlike the regular “Save page as” (or Ctrl + s) option provided by web browsers to save web pages to your computer, which saves web page assets in a folder next to the saved web page, this command line tool retrieves the web page assets and converts them into base64 data URLs, using that in the document instead of the regular URLs. As a result, page assets like Javascript, CSS or images are embedded in the page HTML, so all you need is a web browser to access the locally saved web page.

      • MicroK8s Gets Powerful Add-ons

        We are excited to announce new Cilium and Helm add-ons, coming to MicroK8s! These add-ons add even more power to your Kubernetes environment built on MicroK8s. The Cilium CNI plugin brings enhanced networking features, including Kubernetes NetworkPolicy support, to MicroK8s. You’ll also get direct CLI access to Cilium within MicroK8s using the microk8s.cilium wrapper.

        If you do not already have a version of cilium installed you can alias microk8s.cilium to cilium using the following command:
        snap alias microk8s.cilium cilium

        Helm, the package manager for Kubernetes will allow even easier management of your MicroK8s environment.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • Mable & The Wood is a fairly unusual Metroidvania out now with Linux support

        Featuring a sweet fairy-powered protagonist wielding a sword so big they can hardly move, Mable & The Wood certainly presents a healthy amount of charm. Developed by Triplevision Games, a solo outfit from the UK, with publishing from Graffiti Games.

        “Mable is a passion project for me and for so long I worked on it by myself,” said Andrew Stewart, Founder of Triplevision Games. “Thanks to Graffiti, I was able to have additional support to release the game sooner and on multiple platforms. Players on Steam can finally get their hands on the brilliant title today, and fear not Switch and Xbox One players, that version will be releasing very soon.”

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Final Days of GSoC 2019

          Hello Friends! Final Evaluation is coming and this brings the GSoC project to an end. I believe it is my duty to let you know all about my contributions to Labplot during this project. I will try to make this post self-contained and will try to cover every detail. Let’s try to answer some general questions. If something is left, please feel free to comment, I will get back to you asap.

        • Preparing for KDE Akademy 2019

          I got three talks accepted this time, which is very nice of course, but it also implies quite some preparation work. The topics are rather diverse, all three cover aspects I ended up looking into for various reasons during the past year, and where learned interesting or surprising things that seemed worthwhile to share.

        • I am going to Akademy

          One more edition of KDE Akademy approaches, and here I am waiting for the day to pack my bags and get into a 15 hours adventure from Brazil to Milan.

          As always I am excited to meet my friends, and have some fun with all people of the community. Discussing our present and future.

          And this year I am going with a pack of KDE 3DPrinted key holders.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • Welcome to the August 2019 Friends of GNOME Update!

          Neil, Molly, and Rosanna went to OSCON, in Portland, OR. While there, we met with people from other free software projects and companies developing open source, or with open source programs offices. Following OSCON, there was the West Coast Hackfest, during which the Documentation, GTK, and Engagement teams met and got a bunch of work done. There are some photos you can check out on our Twitter account.

          Molly attended FrOSCon, giving a keynote entitled “Open Source Citizenship for Everyone!” On September 17th, Molly will be at GitLab Commit in Brooklyn, NY.

          Federico Mena will be at CCOSS in Guadalajara, México, September 14 – 15th. There he will run a workshop on GNOME and deliver a keynote presentation.

        • GNOME Feeds is a Simple RSS Reader for Linux Desktops

          Feedreader, Liferea, and Thunderbird are three of the most popular desktop RSS readers for Linux, but now there’s a new option on the scene.

          GNOME Feeds app is simple, no-frills desktop RSS reader for Linux systems. It doesn’t integrate or sync with a cloud-based service, like Feedly or Inoreader, but you can import a list of feeds via an .opml file.

          “Power” users of RSS feeds will likely find that GNOME Feeds a little too limited for their needs. But the lean feature set is, arguably, what will make this app appeal to more casual users.

        • GTimeVal deprecation in GLib 2.61.2

          One of the latest changes in GLib (released in 2.61.2) is the deprecation of GTimeVal, g_get_current_time(), and a number of other time functions. This is because we can’t guarantee they’re wide enough on all platforms to be year-2038-safe.

          Instead, you should use GDateTime or, if you just need to store epoch time, guint64. They are year-2038-safe — and with that, GLib should be entirely year-2038-safe.

          GTimeVal is used in a number of places, and widespread (but simple) changes will need to be made to stop using it. You will likely have already seen some deprecation warnings popping up to inform you of this, if you use any C-based and GLib-based libraries.

          If you can’t allocate time to fixing these deprecation warnings yet, you can silence them by explicitly stating your minimum and maximum supported versions of GLib. If your minimum supported version of GLib is older than 2.62, you won’t see deprecation warnings for GTimeVal (since it was deprecated in 2.62, and your code is claiming to need to support older GLib versions than that).

        • Mayank Sharma: GSoC’19 – GVfs and the Google Backend demystified

          Note: Due to time limitations, I haven’t been able to devote much time to writing a blog post. Each time I started, some or the other thing bothered me and I ended up having a draft. My humble apologies to my readers.

          So, over the past 3 months or so, I’ve been working on the Google Backend for GVfs (GNOME Virtual File System), and as of today, the backend is in a state where it’s completely useable. Earlier, a large number of operations were disabled. So, if you tried to copy a file from one folder to the other, you’d be given an error “Operation not supported”. Now, you may be wondering what’s there in a simple copy operation that the developers/maintainers can’t fix, or shouldn’t something like Google Drive backend for GVfs receive better attention since a great deal of peope keep their important data on their G-Drive?

          The answer isn’t a yes or no, and it’s much more subjective since it pertains to the state of current open-source software. One of the big reasons has been that OSS always lacks man-power, and that the problem at hand wasn’t trivial in any sense. My mentor (Ondrej Holy), is the sole maintainer of a project as big as GVfs, and he certainly doesn’t have the time of look at each backend’s issues.

    • Distributions

      • Cryptocurrency OS Makes It Easy to Buy and Spend Digital Cash

        Cryptocurrency OS is a specialty Linux distribution that serves a niche user market destined to grow as the crypto economy continues to develop. This distro is packed with all the tools you need to create and manage your crypto accounts. It also is a fully functional Linux operating system. It is easy to use this distro as your daily computing platform.

      • New Releases

        • Simplicity Linux 19.10 Alpha ISOs are here!

          We’re proud to announce the release of Simplicity Linux 19.10. It is based on Stretchdog, which in turn is based on Debian Stretch. As this is an alpha release, none of these images should be considered finished versions, and may contain bugs or issues which won’t be present in the final release. These images should also be considered to be designed for live booting rather than being installed.

          All three editions of Simplicity Linux 19.10 feature Ecosia as the default search engine. This is a search engine where revenue from ads is used to plant trees. It is something we have been testing for some time, and we weren’t going to include it in the alpha releases. However, after hearing about the fires in the Amazon Rainforest, we have decided to include Ecosia in each version. It’s our way of trying to help in whatever small way we can.

          Simplicity Mini 19.10 Alpha is our cut down version of Simplicity Linux. There are few local applications, instead being replaced by browser based versions of software which are run through Google Chrome. comes with Google Docs, Gmail, Netflix, Vortex Cloud Gaming, Spotify, Mega.nz, Vivaldi browser which opens on boot, Lastpass password manager, DotVPN, uBlock Origin.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Telnet Is Not A Crime: Unconvincing Prosecution Screenshot Leaked in Ola Bini Case

        Since EFF visited Ecuador three weeks ago, the investigation into open source developer Ola Bini has proceeded as we described then: drawn out, with little evidence of wrong-doing, but potentially compromised by acts of political theater outside the bounds of due process and a fair trial.

        Last week — shortly after prosecutors successfully extended the investigation for another 30 days and informed Bini that they would also be opening new investigations into his taxes and visa status — Ecuadorean TV and newspapers published leaked imagery and conversations from evidence collected in the trial, together with claims from sources that this imagery proved Bini hacked the systems of Ecuador’s national communications provider, ECN.

        The evidence offered was a screenshot, said to be taken from Bini’s mobile phone. The press reported that the phone was unlocked by police after seized security footage revealed Bini’s PIN when he used his phone in his own office elevator.

      • The Latest Victim in the Crucifixion of Julian Assange

        The case of Ola Bini, a Swedish data privacy activist and associate of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has been shrouded in mystery since his arrest in Quito, Ecuador, on April 11. He was detained on the same day Assange was forcibly removed from the Ecuadorian Embassy in the United Kingdom, inevitably raising questions about whether Bini was being held because of his connection with Assange and whether the United States was involved in the case in some form.

      • Khara to Completely Switch to Blender Open-Source 3D Software After Evangelion 3.0+1.0

        The anime studio Khara announced on July 30 that it and its Project Studio Q subsidiary will switch to Blender, a free and open-source 3D modeling and animation software, for its future productions. Khara already uses Blender with other software for the studio’s upcoming Evangelion: 3.0+1.0 (Shin Evangelion Gekijō-ban :||) film, but the studio will fully adopt the software for 3D CG animation after that project.

        The company is also now supporting the Blender Foundation, and both Khara and Project Studio Q have signed up as Corporate Silver and Bronze members, respectively, for the Blender Development Fund.

      • This Program Makes It Even Easier to Make Deepfakes

        A new method for making deepfakes creates realistic face-swapped videos in real-time, no lengthy training needed.

        Unlike previous approaches to making deepfakes—algorithmically-generated videos that make it seem like someone is doing or saying something they didn’t in real life—this method works on any two people without any specific training on their faces.

        Most of the deepfakes that are shared online are created by feeding an algorithm hundreds or thousands of images of a specific face. The algorithm “trains” on that specific face so it can swap it into the target video. This can take hours or days even with access to expensive hardware, and even longer with consumer-grade PC components. A program that doesn’t need to be trained on each new target is another leap forward in making realistic deepfakes quicker and easier to create.


        On their project website, the researchers say that the project code will eventually be available on GitHub…

      • 5 Free and Open Source CRM Software

        We’re here to save you time by going over some of the most popular free and open source CRM solutions and when you should consider paid system…

      • A free/open tool for making XKCD-style “hand-drawn” charts

        Tim Qian, a “full stack developer and open source activist,” has published chart.xkcd, a free/open tool that lets you create interactive, “hand-drawn” charts in the style of XKCD comics. It’s pretty fabulous!

      • The Secret Source: Machine Learning and Open Source Come Together

        There was a time when banks and asset managers would dare not talk about their use of AI—and, specifically, machine learning—in public forums, as they either viewed it as taboo or they wanted to hide its power from competitors. The secret, though, is out of the black box.

      • How China became a hero in open source

        China was once a relative zero when it came to software. Not anymore. In both proprietary and open source development, China’s influence is growing. Sure, open source has helped to fuel that rise—as Swim.ai CTO Simon Crosby has suggested, “Now [China] can download our best, for free, every day”—but this tells an incomplete story. China may have been a net consumer of code once upon a time, but now has gone from zero to hero in open source.

      • The 7 Best Tools for Open-Source Network Bandwidth Monitoring

        Network bandwidth monitoring is a very specific type of monitoring. What it does is measure the amount of traffic passing a given point on a network. Typically, the measuring point is a router or switch interface but it’s not uncommon to monitor bandwidth utilization of a server’s LAN interface. The important thing here is to realize that all we’re measuring is the amount of traffic. Bandwidth monitoring won’t give you any information about what that traffic is, only how much of it there is.

        There are several reasons for wanting to monitor network bandwidth utilization. First and foremost, it can help you pinpoint areas of contention. As a network circuit’s utilization grows, its performance starts degrading. This is a fact of life. The more you approach the maximum capacity, the more impact there is on performance. By allowing you to keep an eye on network utilization, bandwidth monitoring tools give you a chance to detect high utilization—and address it—before it becomes noticeable by users.

        Capacity planning is another major benefit of network monitoring tools. Network circuits—especially long-distance WAN connections—are expensive and will often have only the bandwidth that was required when they were initially installed. While that amount of bandwidth might have been OK back then, it will eventually need to be increased. By monitoring the evolution of your network circuits’ bandwidth utilization, you’ll be able to see which ones need to be upgraded and when.

        Bandwidth monitoring tools can also be useful for troubleshooting poor application performance. When a user complains that some remote application has slowed down, looking at the network bandwidth utilization can give you a pretty good idea whether or not the problem is caused by network congestion. If you see low network utilization, you can likely concentrate your troubleshooting efforts elsewhere.

      • Au Revoir DTW

        While I wanted to use it for my tiny, crazy, work in progress thoughts, I find that it was increasingly being subsumed by my new shiny Mastodon.

        And as the volume of things I write now scales up, I do not want another place to maintain.

      • How To Promote Real Social Good

        It was big news this week when the nation’s most powerful chief executives finally acknowledged that corporations should contribute more to society than maximizing shareholder value.


        This news story caught our attention here at Purism because we have been thinking about how to build a company that promotes social good. Our company was incorporated in Washington State as a Social Purpose Corporation.


        We at Purism are grateful to the many US states offering to give companies the freedom to actually benefit society, rather than contribute to its ills. We believe that consumers who really care about their freedom, privacy, and security, or other issues like climate change, seek out companies like ours that exist, first and foremost, to do something important that can better people’s lives. We use capitalism, and the corporate form, to build a sustainable company that can continue to serve our mission. Making money is a means to an end, not the end itself. We exist for our customers, not for our shareholders, and our shareholders back us because know the social good that comes from our efforts. People parting with their hard-earned money for products and services deserve that much.

      • How open source is benefitting SUSE, its channel partners and customers

        Open source technology is being talked about even more rampantly today. Phillip Cockrell, Vice President of Global Channels, SUSE articulates, “More than anything, open source is the core of innovation. It is by all and for all and propelling all aspects of technology development today.”

        SUSE, a native open source software company, which provides reliable, software-defined infrastructure and application delivery solutions that give organisations greater control and flexibility, is a seasoned 25-year-old player in the domain.

      • What is AOSP? Android Open Source Project, the ‘Android without Google’

        AOSP is the acronym for Android Open Supply Challenge ; that’s, ‘Android Open Source Project’. So it’s simply the supply code of Android, the cellular working system of the Mountain View firm. However what’s it for? Its fundamental software is by OEMs; cellular producers obtain AOSP and make their ‘ROM inventory’, but additionally serves as the premise for customized ROMs and forks.

        AOSP, or Android Open Supply Challenge, isn’t the identical as Android Inventory . Whereas AOSP is the supply code of the working system, Android Inventory is the ‘pure model’ with out bloatware of any sort and solely with apps and Google providers, in addition to the native launcher. AOSP, nevertheless, is the premise of Android Vanilla , which is the model that’s distributed to smartphone producers and is topic to modifications. On it, the producer’s personal purposes and providers are launched, and naturally the customization layer and the variations which can be essential for particular elements to work.

      • How to Avoid Technical Debt in Open Source Projects
      • Introducing OpenDrop, an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python

        A group of German researchers recently published a paper “A Billion Open Interfaces for Eve and Mallory: MitM, DoS, and Tracking Attacks on iOS and macOS Through Apple Wireless Direct Link”, at the 28th USENIX Security Symposium (August 14–16), USA. The paper reveals security and privacy vulnerabilities in Apple’s AirDrop file-sharing service as well as denial-of-service (DoS) attacks which leads to privacy leaks or simultaneous crashing of all neighboring devices.

        As part of the research, Milan Stute and Alexander Heinrich, two researchers have developed an open-source implementation of Apple AirDrop written in Python – OpenDrop. OpenDrop is like a FOSS implementation of AirDrop. It is an experimental software and is the result of reverse engineering efforts by the Open Wireless Link project (OWL). It is compatible with Apple AirDrop and used for sharing files among Apple devices such as iOS and macOS or on Linux systems running an open re-implementation of Apple Wireless Direct Link (AWDL).

      • The Top 13 Free and Open Source Storage Solutions

        In this article we will examine free and open source storage solutions by providing a brief overview of what to expect, as well as blurbs on each tool.

      • Open Source Origination Technology Platform for Online Lenders

        DigiFi was founded by Joshua Jersey and Bradley Vanderstarren in 2014. It started its life as Promise Financial, an online lender, and raised $110 million in credit capital. It built up its own proprietary tech as there was no solution provider in 2014 offering an end-to-end loan origination platform that could automate the entire process. They sold off the tech to a large lending institution in 2017 and pivoted to DigiFi, one of the world’s first open source loan origination systems (LOS) which equips the lenders with flexible and modern tools to create unique platforms and digital experiences.

      • IT favors open source networking over Cisco ACI, VMware NSX

        Companies trying to avoid or lessen the use of expensive network automation software from Cisco and VMware are turning to open source tools that are often good enough for many tasks associated with managing complex modern networks.

        Cisco’s application-centric infrastructure (ACI) and VMware’s NSX are powerful technologies for operating networks built on the vendors’ respective products. But many large enterprises have data centers filled with perfectly good multivendor hardware and software that very few organizations are willing to swap for an all Cisco or VMware alternative.

        Therefore, companies are turning to open source networking products, such as Ansible, Chef, Puppet and SaltStack, for automating many network-related chores across as much of the data center as possible, while relegating ACI and NSX to Cisco- or VMware-only portions of the network.

      • Events

        • ICFP 2019

          ICFP 2019 in Berlin ended yesterday, and it was – as always – a great pleasure. This year was particularly noteworthy for the quite affordable conference hotel and the absolutely amazing food during the coffee breaks.

      • Databases

        • From Spark To Airflow And Presto: Demystifying The Fast-Moving Cloud Data Stack

          Putting data to work starts with exploration, or inspecting data so that you know what you have to work with and its characteristics. Presto is excellent for exploring large, unstructured data sets because it uses storage efficiently, which keeps costs down, and it’s compatible with SQL, a language data analysts are familiar with.

          Spark, on the other hand, is great for exploring data sets when programming is required, such as being able to manipulate data for use in data science or machine learning. It has good support for non-SQL interfaces.

        • Databricks launches AutoML Toolkit for model building and deployment

          Databricks today introduced its AutoML Toolkit, an automated end-to-end machine learning service made to accommodate developers with a range of experience.

        • DigitalOcean Managed Databases add MySQL, Redis support

          DigitalOcean Managed Databases introduced support for open source relational database MySQL and in-memory database Redis to eliminate the complexity involved in managing, scaling and securing database infrastructure.

          DigitalOcean, a cloud computing vendor offering infrastructure-as-a-service platforms for software developers, intends its new managed database offerings to enable developers to focus more exclusively on building apps and boosting productivity.

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • Annual Report 2018: LibreOffice Hackfests

          Most LibreOffice developers are working from their home offices, so hackfests provide a unique opportunity to spend some time working shoulder-to-shoulder with their peers. In 2018, LibreOffice developers and community members met at four hackfests in Brussels, Hamburg, Tirana and Munich.

      • Funding


        • GNU Radio Launches, First Minor-Version Release In Six Years

          The GNU Radio maintainers have announced the release of GNU Radio, the first minor-version release of the popular LimeSDR-compatible software defined radio (SDR) development toolkit in over six years.

          “It’s the first minor release version since more than six years, not without pride this community stands to face the brightest future SDR on general purpose hardware ever had,” the project’s maintainers announced this week. “What has not changed is the fact that GNU Radio is centred around a very simple truth: Let the developers hack on DSP. Software interfaces are for humans, not the other way around. And so, compared to the later 3.7 releases, nothing has fundamentally modified the way one develops signal processing systems with GNU Radio: You write blocks, and you combine blocks to be part of a larger signal processing flow graph.”

      • Licensing/Legal

      • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

        • Open Data

          • Schlumberger open-sources data ecosystem, contributing to industrywide data development
          • Schlumberger Open Sources Data Ecosystem

            Oilfield services company Schlumberger said it will open source its data ecosystem and contribute to The Open Group Open Subsurface Data Universe (OSDU) Forum to accelerate the delivery of the OSDU Data Platform.

            The OSDU Forum is an international forum of oil and gas operators, cloud services companies, technology providers, suppliers of applications to oil and gas operators, academia and other standards organizations working together to develop an open, standards-based, data platform that will bring together exploration, development and wells data.

          • Waymo open-sources data set for autonomous vehicle multimodal sensors

            Waymo, the Alphabet subsidiary that hopes to someday pepper roads with self-driving taxis, today pulled back the curtains on a portion of the data used to train the algorithms underpinning its cars: The Waymo Open Dataset. Waymo principal scientist Dragomir Anguelov claims it’s the largest multimodal sensor sample corpus for autonomous driving released to date.

            “[W]e are inviting the research community to join us with the [debut] of the Waymo Open Dataset, [which is composed] of high-resolution sensor data collected by Waymo self-driving vehicles,” wrote Anguelov in a blog post published this morning. “Data is a critical ingredient for machine learning … [and] this rich and diverse set of real-world experiences has helped our engineers and researchers develop Waymo’s self-driving technology and innovative models and algorithms.”

        • Open Hardware/Modding

          • Huawei mulls open-source chip design if US ban continues

            Huawei Technologies Co said Friday that it would consider using RISC-V, an open-source chip architecture, if the US government continues restricting its access to the latest technologies from the UK firm ARM Holdings for a long time.

            Xu Zhijun, rotating chairman of Huawei, said in an interview in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, that the company has already obtained the perpetual license to ARM’s V8 architecture technology, so the US government ban does not affect its current launch schedule of chips.

            “If ARM’s new technologies are not available in the future, we can also use RISC-V, an architecture which is open to all companies. The challenge is not insurmountable,” Xu said.

      • Programming/Development

        • Animating Ptolemy’s Equant with Python, SVG, and CSS

          You will recall my previous blog post that tried to build the necessary scaffolding for me to finally write up my 2017 PyCon Ireland keynote on the structure of the Medieval universe. It ran into several problems with matplotlib animations — but, having written that post, I realized that the problem ran deeper.

          How could any animation show a Solar System, when a Solar System’s motion never exactly repeats? The orbital periods of the planets aren’t exact multiples of each other, and don’t provide a moment when the planets reach their original positions and the animation can start over again. At whatever moment an animation finished and looped back to the beginning, the planets would visibly and jarringly jump back to their original position.

        • Train your own spell corrector with TextBlob

          TextBlob is a wonderful Python library it. It wraps nltk with a really pleasant API. Out of the box, you get a spell-corrector.

        • How To Learn Any Programming Language Online in 2019

          Let’s face it, computers are everywhere these days, and the need for programmers is ever-increasing. Programming is vital to make computers be able to help us solve our everyday problems. It’s also a means to increase their speed and usability. With this in mind, it’s high time you jumped on this bandwagon and learned a language yourself!

          However, picking out the most appropriate programming language to learn is a substantial task for beginners. A good approach to making this choice is to consider the most popular programming languages, which languages are easy-to-learn, and how easy it is to find a job for beginners in these languages.

        • How to Build a Custom Anaconda Installer for R

          A frequent question on the Anaconda Community mailing list is how to package R with conda for distribution. Depending on the use case, one option may be to use conda to move environments. This requires that conda has been previously installed on the system. Another option is conda constructor, a utility for packaging a complete conda installation with Python and R packages.

          Constructor is the same utility we use to build Anaconda Distribution and Miniconda installers. It’s a multi-platform installer which means you can build an installer for Windows, Linux and macOS. It also supports a number of options to control how the installer is built. These options are documented on the GitHub constructor repository.

        • Digging into regressions

          Whenever a patch is landed on autoland, it will run many builds and tests to make sure there are no regressions. Unfortunately many times we find a regression and 99% of the time backout the changes so they can be fixed. This work is done by the Sheriff team at Mozilla- they monitor the trees and when something is wrong, they work to fix it (sometimes by a quick fix, usually by a backout). A quick fact, there were 1228 regressions in H1 (January-June) 2019.

          My goal in writing is not to recommend change, but instead to start conversations and figure out what data we should be collecting in order to have data driven discussions. Only then would I expect that recommendations for changes would come forth.

        • “Sudo Mastery” and the new Tilted Windmill Press clothing line

          Sudo Mastery, 2nd edition, is now complete. I’m doing the release slightly different this time, however.

        • Fossil Versus Git

          The feature sets of Fossil and Git overlap in many ways. Both are distributed version control systems which store a tree of check-in objects to a local repository clone. In both systems, the local clone starts out as a full copy of the remote parent. New content gets added to the local clone and then later optionally pushed up to the remote, and changes to the remote can be pulled down to the local clone at will. Both systems offer diffing, patching, branching, merging, cherry-picking, bisecting, private branches, a stash, etc.

        • Golang or go home: how Curve is taking Golang to new heights

          Emerging only in 2009, Golang is still relatively new and not as widely used as other mainstream coding languages.

          This young language was incubated inside Google, and has already been proven to perform well on a massive scale. We wanted to share with you a few reasons why we love Golang (Go) and how Curve is using it.

          Go has excellent characteristics for scalability and services written using it typically have very small memory footprints. Because code is compiled into a single static binary, services can also be containerised with ease, making it much simpler to build and deploy. These attributes make Go an ideal choice for companies building microservices, as you can easily deploy into a highly available and scalable environment such as Kubernetes.

          Go has everything you need to build APIs as part of its standard library.

  • Leftovers

    • This video of electric toothbrushes playing the Soviet anthem is the perfect end to your week, comrade

      Device Orchestra isn’t just another pop music YouTube account. Its covers are all performed on everyday electric devices: toasters, printers, credit card machines, and more. In Device Orchestra’s most recent video, five electric toothbrushes and one steam cleaner hum out the Soviet national anthem, each sporting a pair of googly eyes (and the occasional bow tie as well).

    • Hardware

    • Health/Nutrition

      • Russian doctors announce that cesium-137 in colleague’s tissues was from food, not the Nyonoksa nuclear explosion

        The government of Russia’s Arkhangelsk region reported today on the results of medical examinations that followed the region’s August 8 nuclear accident. The patients examined included doctors who treated the victims of the blast. While 110 health workers in a variety of roles did not display “radiation levels above acceptable standards,” one doctor did have unusually high levels of the radioactive isotope cesium-137 in his muscle tissue.

      • In Men, It’s Parkinson’s. In Women, It’s Hysteria.

        Once it was called “hysterical” movement disorder, or simply “hysteria.” Later it was labeled “psychogenic.” Now it’s a “functional disorder.”

        By any name, it’s one of the most puzzling afflictions — and problematic diagnoses — in medicine. It often has the same symptoms, like uncontrollable shaking and difficulty walking, that characterize brain diseases like Parkinson’s. But the condition is caused by stress or trauma and often treated by psychotherapy. And, in a disparity that is drawing increased scrutiny, most of those deemed to suffer from it — as high as 80% in some studies — are women.

    • Security (Confidentiality/Integrity/Availability)

      • Security Researchers Find Several Bugs in Nest Security Cameras

        Researchers Lilith Wyatt and Claudio Bozzato of Cisco Talos discovered the vulnerabilities and disclosed them publicly on August 19. The two found eight vulnerabilities that are based in the Nest implementation of the Weave protocol. The Weave protocol is designed specifically for communications among Internet of Things or IoT devices.

      • Better SSH Authentication with Keybase

        With an SSH CA model, you start by generating a single SSH key called the CA key. The public key is placed on each server and the server is configured to trust any key signed by the CA key. This CA key is then used to sign user keys with an expiration window. This means that signed user keys can only be used for a finite, preferably short, period of time before a new signature is needed. This transforms the key management problem into a user management problem: How do we ensure that only certain people are able to provision new signed SSH keys?

      • Texas ransomware attacks deliver wake-up call to cities [iophk: Windows TCO]

        The Texas Department of Information Resources has confirmed that 22 Texas entities, mostly local governments, have been hit by the ransomware attacks that took place late last week. The department pointed to a “single threat actor” as being responsible for the attacks, which did not impact any statewide systems.

      • Texas Ransomware Attack

        On Security Now, Steve Gibson talks about a huge ransomware attack. 23 cities in Texas were hit with a well-coordinated ransomware attack last Friday, August 16th.

      • CVE-2019-10071: Timing Attack in HMAC Verification in Apache Tapestry

        Apache Tapestry uses HMACs to verify the integrity of objects stored on the client side. This was added to address the Java deserialization vulnerability disclosed in CVE-2014-1972. In the fix for the previous vulnerability, the HMACs were compared by string comparison, which is known to be vulnerable to timing attacks.

      • VLC Media Player Allows Desktop Takeover Via Malicious Video Files

        Two high-risk vulnerabilities in the VLC media player could allow an adversary to craft a malicious .MKV video file that could be used in an attack to gain control of the victim’s PC. The flaws were made public Monday by the developer of the open-source VLC media player, VideoLAN project, who also made patches available to mitigate the issues.

      • Yubico YubiKey 5Ci Review & Rating

        The YubiKey 5Ci is Yubico’s latest attempt to bring hardware two-factor authentication to iOS with a double-headed USB-C and Apple Lightning device

      • Los Angeles County voting system pits cybersecurity vs. disability advocates

        Some advocates for open source election systems are concerned, though, that L.A. County hasn’t actually released its code yet – and plans to release it only to some vetted groups, not to the public at large.

    • Defence/Aggression

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • Dear Democrats, the Mainstream Media Are Not Your Friends

        The Democrats’ misplaced trust that the mainstream media would allow them to make their case to the public above the din of right-wing misinformation continues to derail their legislative and electoral success. It’s as if party leaders have bought into the lie that the media has a liberal bias and so expect at least a fair shake when they present their case to the voters. This repeated triumph of hope over experience has a pathetic quality to it, not unlike, say, Charlie Brown with Lucy and that football.

    • Environment

    • Finance

      • Recession Now, Please

        It is a basic fact of economic life in capitalist economies: recessions happen, there are cycles of boom and bust.

      • Donald Trump Is Coming for Medicare and Social Security

        After exploding the federal budget deficit with over a trillion dollars in tax cuts for the rich and massive corporations, President Donald Trump is reportedly considering using his possible second term in the White House to slash Medicare and Social Security—the final part of a two-step plan progressives have been warning about since before the GOP tax bill passed Congress in 2017.

      • Slaves to the Clock

        As I have pointed out in previous reviews, Icarus, the New York film distributor, is far and away the most important source of anti-capitalist documentaries. In keeping with their commitment to class struggle cinema, “Time Thieves”, their latest, hones in on the ways in which the capitalist system makes us slaves to the clock.

      • State Tax Breaks Rewarded Companies Connected to One Powerful Man. The Governor Just Killed Them — for Now.

        New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday vetoed legislation that would have extended the state’s controversial tax break law, and he recommended a sweeping overhaul of a program state investigators say benefited powerful insiders at the expense of taxpayers.

        “For the past six years, New Jersey has operated under a severely flawed tax incentive program that wasted taxpayer money on handouts to connected companies instead of creating jobs and economic growth,” Murphy said in a prepared statement.

      • Insurance Companies Are Destroying People’s Lives And Cops Are Being Paid To Help Do It

        Insurance claims result in investigations. This much is a given. Sometimes it involves both insurance companies and law enforcement agencies, depending on what’s being investigated. But in many cases, insurance companies are doing the investigative work for law enforcement agencies and pushing prosecutors towards bringing fraud charges against claimants just trying to be compensated for valuables damaged or lost.

      • Trump Never Had a Grand Strategy for China

        President Trump has delayed the new tariffs he threatened to impose on Chinese imports in the early fall, and exempted some other Chinese imports altogether. The de-escalation of the Sino-U.S. trade war is especially welcome, given the markets’ renewed concerns about impending recession. Also striking was the president’s tacit acknowledgment that the tariffs threatened to harm the American consumer (which is probably the closest approximation we’ll ever get to an actual admission of error on his part).

      • Subsidizing Underfunded Schools, US Teachers Spend $459 of Their Own Money Each Year on Classroom Supplies

        Union leader responds to new analysis with vow that educators will continue “to fight to fund our future, to fight the defunding and underinvestment that created this crisis in the first place.”

      • Sanders and Warren Celebrated for Returning Donations From Employees at Hedge Funds Linked to Puerto Rico

        “No candidate should take contributions from hedge funds and vulture funds driving austerity in Puerto Rico.”

      • The NYT’s Upside Down Economics on Germany and the Euro Zone

        Paul Krugman already jumped on this New York Times piece, but the paper really deserves a thrashing for it. The story is that Germany’s economy had been driving the euro zone economy. It now appears on the edge of recession, having shrunk at a 0.4 percent annual rate in the second quarter. The article then asks whether the rest of the euro zone will now be able to support Germany’s economy and restore it to growth.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Is a Nationally Widespread New Voting System Ready for the 2020 Elections?

        A new precinct-based voting system being widely acquired by states and counties before 2020 that relies on printed bar codes to record votes, not handmade ink marks, may pose problems for independent efforts seeking to double-check election results.

      • Russian Troll Farm Tries Again To Sue Facebook, Despite Having Its Original Complaint Dismissed On 230 Grounds

        Last month we wrote about how Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act did exactly what it was supposed to do in protecting Facebook from a bogus lawsuit from a Russian news trolling operation, called Federal Agency of News (FAN). Facebook had kicked FAN off its platform soon after the 2016 election, when it realized it was a Russian operation spewing nonsense, often targeting people voting in the 2016 US election. FAN somehow found US lawyers from a previously reputable firm to represent them in this quixotic attempt to sue Facebook. The whole thing flopped, of course, because Facebook is free to kick whomever it wants off its platform, including Russian trolls seeking to spread fake news to influence an election. The court dismissed the case easily under Section 230. All of the Russian attempts to claim it violated their 1st Amendment rights, California civil rights, breach of contract, etc., went nowhere fast.

      • Federal Elections Committee Chair Is Sick Of Donald Trump’s Bullshit: Put Up Or Shut Up About Voter Fraud

        Just days after the two Republican members of the Federal Election Commission (FEC) blocked an investigation into the NRA and its use of Russian funds to influence the election, the chair of the FEC (who voted for that investigation) has pointed out that Donald Trump should put up or shut up with his totally baseless, absolutely insane, claims that “voter fraud” cost him millions of votes in the election.

      • GateHouse’s Takeover of Gannett: Bad News for Journalism and the Planet

        USA Today ran a piece (8/20/19) on the Amazon fires in which “anthropogenic climate change” were almost literally the last three words. Media watchers are wondering if that’s more likely to reflect the outlet’s priorities now that its owner, Gannett—the largest newspaper publisher in the country, as measured by total daily circulation—has merged with GateHouse Media, owned by Wes Edens’ New Fortress Investment Group, which also owns New Fortress Energy, which deals in natural gas.

      • Communist running for Moscow City Duma withdraws after endorsement from barred opposition candidate

        Vladislav Kolmagorov announced on August 23 that he is withdrawing from this year’s Moscow City Duma elections, which have inspired regular mass protests due to their exclusion of opposition candidates. The Communist Party member’s withdrawal immediately followed a call by Ilya Yashin, one of the blocked opposition candidates, for voters to back Kolmagorov instead of him

      • Mr. Trump Goes to Kensington

        The election of Donald Trump should have forced broad reconsideration of the American project. Whatever the factors one chooses to explain his political ascension, he comes from outside the realm or ordinary expectations. However, in Mr. Trump’s case, it is the expectations that are skewed. In a world run by and for the rich, less probable explanations of how wealth and power are achieved predominate.

      • WaPo Complicit in Corruption of DC Council’s Corporate ‘Concierge’

        When the FBI came knocking on DC Councilmember Jack Evans’ door in June, it set off an earthquake in local politics and business.

      • Are the Saudis using big sporting events to ‘sportswash’ their image?

        News of a prizefight set to take place in Saudi Arabia in December has riveted boxing fans but outraged human rights advocates, who pointed at a new trend — “sportswashing” — in which countries with questionable human rights reputations organize mass sporting events to escape international opprobrium.

      • YouTube disabled 210 accounts for spreading disinformation about Hong Kong protests [iophk: for how much longe will VPNs be allowed anywhere? VPNs do not solve any problems only worsten Internet conditinos]

        Google just published a blog post revealing that it has disabled 210 YouTube channels that the company says “behaved in a coordinated manner while uploading videos related to the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.” Google cites the behavior as being “consistent with recent observations and actions related to China announced by Facebook and Twitter.” The accounts were disabled earlier this week.

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • Shut Up David Boies, You Hypocritical, Censorial Oaf

        NPR has an incredible story about the media and Jeffrey Epstein. You should read the whole damn thing, because no summary here will do it justice. It covers multiple attempts by various large media organizations, including Vanity Fair, the NY Times and ABC to report on Jeffrey Epstein over the years, and how Epstein, intimidated, coaxed and even potentially bought off reporters to get more favorable coverage, or to kill stories outright. It’s horrific and awful and everything along those lines. Go read it.

      • Devin Nunes Discovery Requests Against Twitter, A Fake Cow, And Liz Mair Show Just How Much A Fishing Expedition He’s On

        We’ve written a few times now about Devin Nunes’ ridiculous lawsuit against Twitter, two parody Twitter accounts, and political strategist Liz Mair. In a news interview back in April, Nunes more or less admitted that these lawsuits were fishing expeditions to reveal journalists’ sources on articles about himself that he didn’t like. Meanwhile, both Twitter and Mair filed motions in the case saying that a Virginia state court is the wrong venue.

    • Privacy/Surveillance

      • Facebook Starts Rolling Out Tool to Clear User Info Shared by Third Parties — But Not in the U.S. Yet

        The Off-Facebook Activity feature shows users a summary of the apps and websites that send Facebook information about their activity, which Facebook uses to better target ads. The tool will let users clear that information and also disconnect all future off-Facebook activity from their accounts (or only for specific apps and websites). That data technically will not be deleted, but Facebook says it will no longer link the external browsing history of individual users who opt-out to their accounts. Also note that the company will still track and retain data about users’ activity on Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp.

      • T-Mobile ‘Put My Life in Danger’ Says Woman Stalked With Black Market Location Data

        It later turned out John Edens didn’t have a warrant, nor was he from law enforcement at all. Instead, he was a debt collector with a history of stalking and domestic violence who had managed to get ahold of Johnson’s phone location data. He did this by pretending to be a U.S. Marshal with the “Georgia Fugitive Task Force” to T-Mobile, which then provided Edens with the location of Johnson’s phone in a handy Google Maps interface—”pinging” the phone, in industry parlance.

      • Building a more private web

        So we are doing something different. We want to find a solution that both really protects user privacy and also helps content remain freely accessible on the web. At I/O, we announced a plan to improve the classification of cookies, give clarity and visibility to cookie settings, as well as plans to more aggressively block fingerprinting. We are making progress on this, and today we are providing more details on our plans to restrict fingerprinting. Collectively we believe all these changes will improve transparency, choice, and control.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • A Dead Cat, A Lawyer’s Call And A 5-Figure Donation: How Media Fell Short On Epstein

        “We count on the press to uncover problems, not merely to report on when problems have been prosecuted and when people have been indicted, but to uncover problems before they reach that stage,” says David Boies, an attorney for several of Epstein’s accusers. “And here you had a terrible problem. A horrific series of abuses.”

        Boies’ firm helped file lawsuits in 2015 and 2017 for clients alleging that Epstein and his associates had sexually trafficked underage girls, at his various homes. The suits were publicly available documents but received little attention in the press.

      • Are Terrorism Watch Lists Expanding Under Trump?

        Sixteen years after it was created in the post 9-11 hysteria of the Patriot Act, the Homeland Security Terrorist Watch List is alive and, apparently, going off the rails, with increasing numbers being kept from boarding, while others are simply harassed, seemingly for political activism of one kind or another.

        As I reported back in 2003 at Salon, there are actually at least two watch lists: a “No Fly” list of suspected terrorists, many of whom the Justice Department doesn’t have sufficient evidence to arrest but who are nonetheless barred from boarding a plane, and a second list of people who “don’t qualify” for that list because they have never shown any terrorist proclivities, but who are “selected” to be harassed and searched at the gate before flying, often—as I discovered and reported 16 years ago—for clearly political, not security, reasons.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Meditation on a Racist Nation
      • The White-Nationalist Great Fear

        A century ago, the nation was wracked by race wars known as the “Red Summer” of 1919.  Today, race wars are resurging, but implemented not by gangs or groups as in the early-20th century but by isolated — and heavily armed – individuals who share a common white-nationalist ideology.

      • ‘Putin could shut us down with one little finger’ ‘Ekho Moskvy’ chief editor Alexey Venediktov lays out his storied career and insider insights

        On August 19, Ekho Moskvy editor-in-chief Alexey Venediktov granted a two-hour interview to Ukrainian journalist Dmitry Gordon, where the two discussed Venediktov’s storied career and various backroom insights into major political events in Russia over the past two decades. Meduza presents a summary of the exchange, broken down by subject.

      • Notes on Inauthenticity in a Creeping Fascist Nuthouse

        Among the suggestions I would have made to the Yale philosophy professor Jason Stanley had I been an editor of his important book How Fascism Works: The Politics of Us and Them (Random House, 2018), two seem particularly relevant in the present political juncture.

      • Ruth Bader Ginsburg Treated for Tumor on Pancreas

        Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has completed radiation therapy for a cancerous tumor on her pancreas and there is no evidence of the disease remaining, the Supreme Court said Friday.

      • Ruth Bader Ginsburg Undergoes Treatment for Pancreatic Tumor—Doctors Say Supreme Court Justice Completely ‘Cancer-Free’

        “Getting a push notification that starts with the words ‘Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’ will get the heart rate ramped up.”

      • Sick of Being a Guinea Pig

        Some corporations and governments have used the US public as guinea pigs in uncontrolled experiments conducted without the public’s approval. They were often gambling with our well being when they introduced new products or conducted risky tests. In contrast, there were usually few risks for the CEOs or government officials in charge of these unacknowledged experiments.

      • Justice Department Sent Anti-Semitic Post to Immigration Judges

        The Justice Department’s immigration arm sent judges a morning news briefing that included a blog post from a virulently anti-immigration website that also publishes work by white nationalists.

      • Why I Stopped Being White (and You Should Too)

        Race is a touchy subject in the West. People across the aisle, especially white folk, tend to avoid it like a plague. A big part of the reason behind this reservation has to do with the fact that both the left and the right maintain an equally immature grasp on the subject. While the right seems to be convinced that race is some kind of scientific fact like a species of bird, the left seems to view it as an inescapable historical prison sentence with no hope for escape. Like usual, the left is wrong and the right is way fucking wrong. There is nothing scientific or permanent about race. It is a social construct as fluid in nature as gender or sexuality, and it is constantly evolving. Almost every known race was created by a collision of former races that have ceased to exist. About the only thing that the clueless class in the left-right paradigm gets right is that the white race is a very unique creature, and a dangerous one.

      • Will North Carolina’s Supreme Court Allow Racism to Remain a Persistent Factor in its Death Penalty?

        In 2009, North Carolina passed the Racial Justice Act (RJA), which allowed defendants to strike the death penalty from their cases if they could show that racial discrimination was a factor in their prosecution. The law came as a response to a series of exonerations of Black people who were falsely convicted of crimes they did not commit by all-white or nearly all-white juries. The legislature took a bold step to address was what suspected to be deeply troubling evidence of racism infecting the death penalty—but no one knew for sure what evidence uncovered by the RJA would find.

      • Sasha Abramsky on Trump’s New Attack on Immigrants

        This week on CounterSpin: The Trump administration planned massive ICE workplace raids for the first day of school that included no plans for children coming home to empty houses; they tried to find a way to block undocumented kids from going to public schools; they refuse to give flu vaccines to migrant children in custody, even after several deaths; and they’ve just announced a new rule dictating there be “no limit“ on how long migrant families can be detained. When that same administration announces changes to “public charge” rules that link visas or deportation to an immigrant’s being deemed likely to possibly rely on government aid—what’s the point of relaying earnestly, as does the Washington Post, the Trump team’s claim that it’s “seeking to bring precision to an existing tenet of law that has lacked a clear definition,” or of typing the words, “The administration has portrayed the rule as a way to promote sufficiency and independence among immigrants,” as they did at The Hill? Orwell’s 1984 may be overquoted, but one to hold on to: “The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power.” So who, at this point, is served when corporate media consider Trump’s cruel attacks on immigrants in any context other than cruelty?

      • Should We Fight a War on White Terrorism?

        Although its precise scale is hard to measure, violent white supremacy is clearly a problem in the United States.

      • Trump administration plans rule change that allows indefinite detention for migrants

        The Trump administration on Wednesday unveiled a rule that allows officials to detain migrant families indefinitely while judges consider whether to grant them asylum in the United States, abolishing a previous 20-day limit.

      • Ryanair cabin crew in Spain will strike for 10 days in September

        Ryanair cabin crew will strike on September 1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 29 after mediation, between the airline and union leaders from USO and Sitcpla failed to produce an agreement.

        The meeting on Tuesday, organized by Spain’s state arbitrator SIMA, lasted more than seven hours but ended without a deal, once the low-cost airline confirmed its plans to close down its bases in Gran Canaria and Tenerife.

      • Jeffrey Epstein was accused of sex trafficking young girls on his mysterious private island. Over 40 years ago, a different millionaire escaped justice in a stunningly similar case.

        The story of the financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was accused of sexually abusing and trafficking minors, erupted in the news this year, and internet sleuths say the case of Shelden and Lake Michigan’s North Fox Island bears an uncanny resemblance to today’s scandal.

        Both center on allegations that secretive millionaires weaponized their philanthropic giving, cliques of connected friends, and private island paradises to prey on young victims and escape justice. Like Shelden, Epstein was a millionaire, a philanthropist, and a man with powerful friends. And neither stood trial for the crimes for which he was accused.

      • Swatting Is a Deadly Problem—Here’s the Solution [iophk: in addition to the failure in policing, swatting is attempted murder]

        One exception: Seattle. As of last October, the Seattle Police Department has maintained an anti-swatting registry that lets people who fear being swatted give the police advance warning by adding the concern to a profile associated with their address—in much the same way you might add a note about a serious allergy, a child with autism, or pets in the house in case of fire. If an officer is dispatched to your address, they’ll see your profile and proceed with appropriate caution. According to Sean Whitcomb, the registry’s inventor and a sergeant at the police department, it was a fast and easy fix. “We had it launched in three months, which is light speed for any government bureaucracy,” he says. The registry simply adapts an existing Rave Mobile Safety product the police department already had the rights to—a system that connects a 911 call to the profile of a specific address. “It’s a great use case and didn’t require any tech changes from us,” says Katharine Dahl, Rave Mobile Safety’s senior director of product marketing.

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Altruism Still Fuels the Web. Businesses Love to Exploit It

        My hunch is they wouldn’t be as astounded by our world as we like to think. Our technologies of instant communication would be impressive, yes, but they’d at least make sense as the culmination of a trend that began with the telegraph. Other seemingly new phenomena like viral false news and deepfakes have predigital precedents. Even some of the most bizarre facts of online life chime with what’s come before: Anyone familiar with the ancient Egyptian fixation on felines (cat mummies, cat statues, cat pictographs) and the mid-century American obsession with TV would at least have some pretext to accept that one of the largest conglomerates on the planet is the owner of a massive video site with millions of cat clips.

        My guess is that the real surprise for our visitor would be the vast open source projects, relying mainly on volunteer labor, that underpin the internet. As a social scientist myself, I can say that convincing a colleague from the past that Wikipedia and Linux actually work the way they do would be a pretty huge lift. Given the assumption, common to many 20th-century schools of thought, that humans act in incorrigibly selfish ways, the notion that tens of thousands of people would collaborate to create, respectively, a living monument to human knowledge and a foundational piece of computing infrastructure, free of charge, simply sounds too fanciful.

        And it’s not just Wikipedia and Linux. The whole open source software ecology is a miracle whose branches sprawl in every direction. The internet as we know it simply couldn’t operate without it.

        To put things in terms our time-traveling professor would understand, much of the web is an exception to the famed “free rider” problem—the idea that people will not make sacrifices toward a common goal if they can get away with coasting on other people’s efforts.

    • Monopolies

      • Amazon will no longer use tips to pay delivery drivers’ base salaries

        Now, Amazon confirms that the initial minimum payment for each delivery will come entirely from Amazon, with driver’s tips going directly to the driver on top of that — i.e., the almost universally understood intent of how tips should work in the first place, where they’re a bonus for a specific person on top of their base pay from the company for which they work.

      • Here’s every study of every terrible thing Lyft and Uber do to SF traffic

        Almost everyone agrees that ride-hailing apps create a tremendous amount of congestion in SF specifically—even the companies themselves often cop to this in the comments below, while at the same time arguing that their ultimate goal is to minimize the number of cars on the street.

        But the details vary wildly, along with the methods. Here’s a brief survey of the surveys on this eternally idling question.

      • Patents and Software Patents

        • PTAB Won’t Ax Patent For Wine Dispenser, Aerator

          The Patent Trial and Appeal Board on Friday refused to invalidate a liquid dispenser patent claim in a fight between two wine aerator companies.

          3BTech Inc., which sells the Waerator, failed to prove that one claim in a patent covering MercAsia’s Aervana is obvious, the board said in its final written decision. The eight-claim patent is owned by Jingle Master International Ltd., and exclusively licensed to MercAsia, according to filings in related infringement litigation.

          The board said 3BTech failed to show that someone would have been motivated to combine the three pieces of prior art referenced, among other failings.

          3BTech had…

        • Are you a Patent Troll, or merely Rhetorical Hyperbole

          Automated Transactions holds several patents on automated teller machines (ATMs) and was seeking licensing revenue (reportedly receiving more than $3 million in a single year). Potential licensees started identifying the patentee a “patent troll” and the licensing effort “extortive.” Automated (along with its founder Barcelou) sued in NH state court alleging defamation and violation of the NH Consumer Protection Act (CPA).

          The district court dismissed the case — holding that the patent-troll statements by the defendants were non-defamatory “expressions of opinion” based upon known underlying facts and that the “extortion” statements were rhetorical hyperbole.

        • Protecting Inventors—Independent Invention As A Defense

          This isn’t an unusual circumstance. Even looking at major innovations, there’s a long list of near-simultaneous inventions—the telephone (Bell and Gray), the light bulb (Edison and Swann), calculus (Newton and Leibniz), and the plethora of claimed inventors of the telescope, among many other such examples. There’s even a term for it among science historians—“multiples.” More recently, the Berkeley-MIT-Harvard dispute over CRISPR technology is a similar circumstance. And when it comes to the kind of minor incremental improvement that most patents claim, independent invention is almost a given.

          The idea behind the patent bargain is that, in exchange for sharing their technology with the public, the patent owner gets to have some level of control over that technology for a period of time. But in cases of independent invention, the later inventors never received the benefit of that bargain—they’re only receiving the harm of having spent time and resources on inventing something they can’t then pursue. And multiple independent inventions suggest that the innovation in question isn’t the type of non-obvious advance that requires an incentive to be made, but is simply the kind of normal advance in technology that an ordinarily skilled artisan can achieve.

          Stated otherwise: how inventive can an idea truly be, when multiple people have all had it around the same time? And perhaps more importantly, if multiple people would all have had the idea anyway, do we really need to provide a government incentive for that inevitable invention?

          The phenomenon of independent invention, and the failure to address it in a meaningful way, thus points to serious flaws in the U.S. patent system that provide a windfall return to inventors for advances that would have been achieved without the patent incentive.

          It doesn’t have to be that way.


          These approaches include treating independent invention as probative evidence that the patent was obvious and incorporating independent invention as a factor in the injunction inquiry.

          In terms of evidence of obviousness, simultaneous invention by others is already a factor in the obviousness inquiry. However, that factor is often discounted by the courts for various reasons and requires simultaneous invention, which does not include independent invention done slightly later. Instead of treating only simultaneous invention as evidence of non-obviousness, courts could treat evidence of independent invention without actual knowledge of the patented technology—and certainly any independent invention prior to the publication of the patent in question—as creating a rebuttable presumption that the patent was in fact obvious.

          The second—incorporation of independent invention into the injunction inquiry—is even simpler. Injunctions in patent cases may only issue “in accordance with the principles of equity.” Where someone has independently created something, it’s simply inequitable to bar them from using their own idea simply because someone else came up with it earlier.

          And even if these defenses or presumptions never become part of U.S. patent law, it’s worth remembering that most of the time, the accused infringer didn’t “copy” anything—they came up with it on their own, just a little bit later. Keeping that at the forefront of the patent debate is important to ensuring that the patent system remains appropriately balanced.

        • Ninth Circuit motions panel grants Qualcomm’s motion to stay enforcement of FTC’s antitrust remedies; appellate hearing to be held in January

          That means they don’t view the district court’s decision as being in the antitrust mainstream, the sole question from the vantage point of those circuit judges being whether it’s about novel theories that might be affirmed nonetheless or just squarely outside the boundaries of antitrust law.

          Even if the same three judges were to evaluate the merits of the case, affirmance would be possible, but it would be an uphill battle for the FTC. With a different panel, however, and extensive briefing on the merits, anything is still possible. At this procedural stage, a panel with a Republican majority simply didn’t want to turn a deaf ear to a Republican government’s input urging the appeals court to stay the enforcement of remedies and warning of grave consequences even for national security.

          Qualcomm’s opening brief is due today. Qualcomm had first requested and obtained an expedited appeal, but then it was too tight a schedule even for their purposes, so they asked for an extension, which they got.

      • Trademarks

        • Rutgers Forces LA High School To Change Logos Due To Its ‘R’ Trademark

          Over the years, we’ve seen plenty of aggression from universities when it comes to trademark enforcement. The impetus for much of this was rulings nearly a decade ago that essentially gave universities far broader and more exclusive rights to their school logos. The fallout of those rulings became schools going after all kinds of uses and near-uses of those logos, including a strange war on pastries, and colleges going after high schools for using similar iconography.

      • Copyrights

        • Can YouTube Be Liable For Copyright Infringing Videos? EU Court to Decide

          The European Court of Justice is being asked to answer several questions regarding YouTube’s potential liability for pirated videos that are uploaded by its users. The case was referred by Austria’s Supreme Court, which has to decide on a copyright dispute between local television channel Puls4 and the video host. The latter stands accused of not doing enough to curtail piracy.

        • Look What They Made Her Do: Taylor Swift To Re-Record Her Catalog

          Swift claimed that she was unaware of the sale to Braun’s company, and called the deal “my worst-case scenario,” alluding to Braun’s involvement in a number of feuds between her and artists he has managed, including Kanye West. Swift also said that she had tried to buy back her masters from Big Machine, but that the terms the label offered her were intolerable. In a blog post, she wrote: “For years, I asked, pleaded for a chance to own my work. Instead I was given an opportunity to sign back up to Big Machine Records and ‘earn’ one album back at a time, one for every new one I turned in. I walked away because I knew once I signed that contract, Scott Borchetta would sell the label, thereby selling me and my future. I had to make the excruciating choice to leave behind my past.”

          Last year, Swift signed a deal with the world’s largest record company, Universal Music Group, and its subsidiary Republic Records; Lover is her first release under this new contract.

          For artists, master recordings — the original recordings of musicians’ work — are vital musically, historically and financially. In most situations, labels own those masters. But many musicians, both prominent and independent ones, have tried to hang on to their masters. As Prince famously told Rolling Stone back in 1996, “If you don’t own your masters, your master owns you.”

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DecorWhat Else is New

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  3. [Meme] Meanwhile in Austria...

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  5. The Letter EPO Management Does Not Want Applicants to See (or Respond to)

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