EPO: Getting Rid of Examiners, Hiring PR People Instead

Posted in Deception, Europe, Patents at 10:48 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

This has just turned up:

Media Relations Specialist (f/m/d)

Summary: The number of EPO examiners decreases each year, based on internal documents that we published approximately a year ago; and watch what they’re looking for (hiring); it’s easy to get the impression the EPO rapidly becomes just a money-printing operation, not actually interested in patent examination and in science/innovation as much as in keeping the media under control (to defuse negative press)

Links 28/12/2021: New antiX Kernels, Self-Hosted ‘Home Assistant’

Posted in News Roundup at 9:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Kernel prepatch 5.16-rc7

        The 5.16-rc7 kernel prepatch is out for testing. “Obviously the holidays are a big reason it’s all small, so it’s not like this is a sign of us having found all bugs, and we’ll keep at this for at least two more weeks”.

      • Latest antiX kernels

        Latest antiX kernels should now be in the repos.
        All users are strongly advised to upgrade (via synaptic, cli-aptiX or package-installer).

      • Apple Broadcom Wi-Fi Chips Now Supported in Linux on T2 and M1 Macs

        Hector Martin, the guy behind the Linux port for Silicon Macs, announced on Twitter over the weekend that has added support for Apple Broadcom Wi-Fi chips used in T2 and M1 Macs.

    • Applications

      • My 40 most favorite applications for Linux in 2021

        And so we reached the end of my best apps list and preferred app list for the year 2021. A list that is of course personal to me and can look different for everyone else. But by sharing this kind of information and the reasoning behind my choices, I hope I can help some of you start using applications that you may not have known or considered using. Next to creating my own, I also like to read these kinds of lists from others, because it gives me new ideas and keeps the drive to keep trying new things and investigating new things, alive. If you want to share your list, please feel free via my contact page.

        Linux and everything around it is a fantastic hobby for me and I notice that others get excited when I talk to them about the possibilities of Linux. Only if we share our enthusiasm with friends, colleagues, etc, is it possible to turn what I believe to be the wrong image of Linux in the right direction, namely a productive, simple, beautiful and user-friendly platform, as the old image of too technical, too complex and not user-friendly has long been gone.

        To end this article, I wish you fun trying out some of the applications from this list and I hope to talk to you again soon via a new article. I wish you a good end of 2021 and much love and health to your friends and family.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Install MariaDB 10.7 on openSUSE Leap 15

        MariaDB is one of the most popular open-source databases next to its originator MySQL. The original creators of MySQL developed MariaDB in response to fears that MySQL would suddenly become a paid service due to Oracle acquiring it in 2010. With its history of doing similar tactics, the developers behind MariaDB have promised to keep it open source and free from such fears as what has happened to MySQL.

        MariaDB has become just as popular as MySQL with developers, with advanced clustering with Galera Cluster 4, faster cache/indexes, storage engines, and features/extensions that you won’t find in MySQL.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install MariaDB 10.7 on openSUSE Leap 15.

      • How to Set Up and Configure OpenVPN Server and Client on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. – Unixcop the Unix / Linux the admins deams

        So, in this guide you will learn how to Set Up and Configure OpenVPN Server and Client on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS.

        Open source OpenVPN uses VPN technologies to secure and encrypt data sent over the internet. Its custom VPN protocol uses SSL/TLS for key exchange and released under the GNU GPL license.

      • How To Install Zoom Client on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Zoom Client on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, Zoom application is one of the most popular applications these days. The Zoom cloud meetings application provides simplified video conferencing with real-time messaging and content sharing over the internet. It provides free video call, chat, and remote desktop sharing services but with time and participant limitations. The users with paid subscriptions can host a meeting of up to 1000 people with no time restriction. You can easily download Zoom on your PC to start video conferencing with your colleagues and friends around the world.

        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 Zoom Client on a Fedora 35.

      • How to Create Librem File Backups – Purism

        Backing up and restoring your Librem devices can all be done with the same backups application. It’s always secure to keep a recent backup in case you lose or damage your device. To get started, you’ll need your device (of course!) and an external hard drive or a remote Nextcloud supporting WebDAV.

      • How to install FL Studio 20 on a Chromebook with Crossover 21 – Updated Tutorial

        Today we are looking at how to install FL Studio 20 on a Chromebook with Crossover 21. Please follow the video/audio guide as a tutorial where we explain the process step by step and use the commands below.

      • How to upgrade to Krita 5.0 on Linux

        Krita 5.0 is out for Linux users, and it is packed with new and exciting features. If you’ve been looking to upgrade to 5.0, this guide will help! Follow along as we show you how you can upgrade to Krita 5.0 on Linux!

      • How to upload photos to Flickr from the Linux desktop

        Krita 5.0 is out for Linux users, and it is packed with new and exciting features. If you’ve been looking to upgrade to 5.0, this guide will help! Follow

      • Install SQLite on Debian 11 / Ubuntu 20.04 – Unixcop the Unix / Linux the admins deams

        Hello, friends. Although the database industry is dominated on a large scale by solutions such as MySQL, PostgreSQL, SQL Server or Oracle, there are also alternatives for different projects. One of these solutions is SQLite. So, in this post, you will learn how to install SQLite on Debian / Ubuntu and take the first steps with this program.

      • How to Install Fedora Workstation 35 from USB

        Fedora is one of the most stable and bleeding edge Linux distributions. It’s great for software development, web development, multimedia, office works, and many more.

        Fedora Workstation 35 is the latest version of Fedora Linux distribution. Fedora Workstation 35 features the latest version of the GNOME Desktop Environment – GNOME 41. It also has lots of updated software packages.

        In this article, I am going to show you how to create a Fedora Workstation 35 bootable USB thumb drive and install Fedora Workstation 35 on your computer from the USB thumb drive. So, let’s get started.

      • How to install Gnome 41 in Ubuntu 20.04 LTS using PPA – Linux Shout

        While doing this tutorial, Gnome 41 was not still available for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS Focal using the official APT repository. However, we can install Gnome on Ubuntu 20.04 Focal fossa using an unofficial PPA. And here we let you know how to do that?

        Similar to KDE, Gnome has existed for over two decades and has reinvented itself several times during this time. The previous major version of Gnome, 40th, also brought significant visual changes compared to the previous version.

        The Gnome project has released version 41 of its Linux / Unix desktop. In addition to a significantly improved settings dialog, it offers an improved calendar application, “Connections” for remote connections to other computers, and improvements to the Nautilus file manager. On top of that, the developers promise more oomph through various performance improvements.

      • How to Install Mattermost on Debian 11 | RoseHosting

        Mattermost is a self-hosted and open-source online chat service designed to be used as an internal chat platform for companies and organizations. It is one of the main alternatives to the Slack Chat and Microsoft Teams platforms.

      • How To Eliminate All Screen Tearing On Linux – Invidious

        Screen Tearing on linux can be increidbly annoying but it doesn’t have to be there, in fact there’s a way to just turn it off and no longer have to deal with it.

      • Using two-factor authentication with Ubuntu 21.04

        The following guide explains how to use the Google Authenticator PAM module on Ubuntu for both SSH and sudo authentication. Usernames and passwords can undoubtedly be broken utilizing plenty of hacking methods. So, any organization or element that seriously treats security needs to carry out 2-Factor confirmation.

        In addition to the conventional password provided. An extra layer of authentication will be added for SSH. That extra layer will be Google authenticator. Where using google authenticator the password will be generated on your mobile device. This will add an extra layer of security while accessing your server using SSH. This two-factor authentication system will improve the security liability of the server or other related resources.

        So, in our scenario, we will be using SSH and Ubuntu 21.04 for demonstration purposes. A smart device installed with Google Authenitcator is required, android in our case.

      • Set Up Open VPN Server and Client on CentOS 8. – Unixcop the Unix / Linux the admins deams

        In this post, you will learn how to set up Open VPN Server and Client on CentOS 8.

        A virtual private network extends a private network across a public network and enables users to send and receive data across shared or public networks as if their computing devices were directly connected to the private network.

      • How to Utilize Kubectl in Verbose Log Level

        Kubernetes is the foundation for handling the containerized submissions through numerous hosts and provides a simple appliance for organizing, maintaining, and scrabbling the applications. Kubernetes is a helpful tool for arranging and handling the applications. However, even experienced Kubernetes devotees agree that Kubernetes placements and debugging broken pods can be difficult. This is due to the dispersed nature of Kubernetes that marks it as difficult to imitate the particular problem and define the reason.

        Whether fixing the application in Kubernetes or on a computer, it’s important to ensure that the process stays the same. The tools used are identical, but Kubernetes is used to examine the form and outputs. We can utilize kubectl to begin the debugging procedure at any time or utilize some debugging tools. This article describes certain common strategies that we utilize to fix the Kubernetes placement and some definite faults we can assume.

        In addition, we learn how to organize and manage Kubernetes clusters and how to arrange the whole policy to the cloud with constant assimilation and continuous distribution. In this tutorial, we are going to discuss further the Kubernetes clusters and the method of debugging and retrieving the logs from the application.

      • The Kubectl Debug Feature

        A common problem with new Kubernetes installations is when a service is not performing properly. You have created a service and run your Pods via a deployment or another task controller. However, nothing happens when you try to access it. In this post, we will explain the background of debugging, a new feature in kubectl. Each Pod in Kubernetes runs as a docker container, which is separated using the Linux namespace isolation feature. For processes, each container has its filesystem. The debug capability automates container attachment and namespace sharing with a single command and no manifest files.

        Every developer and DevOps engineer who works with Kubernetes has to debug containerized workloads and Pods daily. Simple kubectl logs or kubectl describe Pods can often pinpoint the source of a problem. However, certain issues are more difficult to track down. You could attempt kubectl exec in certain cases. However, even that might not be adequate because some containers, such as Distroless, don’t even have a shell that you can SSH into. So, if all of the foregoing fails, what are our options? The kubectl debug, as a new instruction added not long ago (v1.18), would be the right tool for troubleshooting workloads on Kubernetes.

      • Kubectl Exec Command With Arguments

        The kubectl exec command creates easy to accomplish tasks remotely within the current container of the pod. If we want to see the contents, status, and environment of the container, it is simple. The kubectl exec command is a lifesaver for all users who frequently interrelate with containerized Kubernetes requests. We can examine and fix the app by running different commands in the container. Kubectl is one of the tools for running Kubernetes commands.

        In this article, we are going to describe the syntax of kubectl, actions of different commands, and common instances. We have to create the situation on the container for the procedure to run effectively. The real purpose of using the shell script is to construct the environment according to the requirement and start the core procedure. When using this procedure, shell scripts are assigned PID 1 instead of a method. Therefore, we must operate the exec command to begin the procedure. This is the built-in instruction of the shell script. The exec instruction substitutes the script with the required application. At that time, PID 1 is directed to the procedure. This artifact gives specifics on how to use the kubectl exec command.

      • Kubectl Ignore Certificate

        TLS encryption is an essential requirement of a secure system. This system spontaneously supports TLS termination/HTTP. This simplifies TLS encryption and centralizes TLS termination for every resource in Kubernetes. This instinctive certificate management is useful for simple TLS configurations in a cluster. However, open-source representatives access the requirements provided by the certificate to activate TLS. In this article, we describe the procedure of assisting TLS using a certificate formed by using the OpenSSL service.

      • How to Run the Kubectl Exec Commands

        When we make a pod, we have to define the commands and parameters for the containers running on the pod. Before starting a command, we add a field of command to the conformation file. To describe the command and parameters, we have to add the args field to the conformation file. We cannot modify the definite commands and arguments once the pod is formed. The commands and parameters described in the configuration file supersede the default commands and parameters delivered through the container image. When we state an argument but not a command, the definite command is utilized with a different argument. Command fields relate to specific container’s runtime entry points. We will make a pod that runs a different container. The pod’s configuration folder states the command and parameters.

        A kubectl command-line service is an influential tool that we can utilize to build items and interrelate through the Kubernetes API. Though by this time, it makes sense to run the kubectl commands, which are applied to every Kubernetes item. In this article, we are going to discuss kubectl exec multiple commands.

      • How to Delete a Node in Kubernetes

        Kubernetes manages your workload by dividing it into Pods that execute on Nodes. A node might be a physical or virtual machine, as it completely depends on the cluster. The control plane manages each node, containing the services required to execute Pods. In a cluster, there are usually numerous nodes. However, in a learning or resource-limited context, there may be only one node. The kubelet, the kube-proxy, and a container runtime are all installed on a node. Using the kubectl commands, you can easily delete a pod from a Kubernetes node. Before you delete a pod, however, you should go through the following steps. This article will provide the complete guidelines on how to delete a Kubernetes node.

        We have implemented this tutorial on an Ubuntu 20.04 Linux system. You can also do the same. Let’s get the minikube cluster up and running on an Ubuntu 20.04 Linux server by using the attached command.

      • How to create temporary files using mktemp on Linux

        Temporary files and directories are very important: they can be used from shell scripts for example, to store information which are necessary to complete some tasks and can be safely removed once the work is done. In this tutorial we will see how to safely create temporary files and directories using the mktemp utility on Linux.

      • Introduction to crypttab with examples

        In a Linux based operating system, the crypttab file (/etc/crypttab), is used to store static information about encrypted block devices which are meant to be set up and unlocked at boot. In this tutorial we learn how it is structured and how to organize data in it.

    • Games

      • Whipping Together A Little Ray Tracer Racer | Hackaday

        When you hear raytracing, you might think of complex dark algorithms that to stare too long at their source code invites the beginning of madness. And you’re technically not far off from the truth, but [h3r2tic] put a small open-source ray tracing game demo up on GitHub. The actual rust code powering the game is relatively short (just four files), with the longest file being the physics file. But, of course, there is a small mountain of code under this sample in the form of libraries.

        Kajiya, physx-rs, and dolly are the three libraries that make this little demo possible. Kajiya, in particular, is what makes raytracing possible as it uses the newer RTX features (so only more recent Nvidia and AMD cards are supported) and Vulkan bindings. But, of course, it isn’t wholly ray-traced as we are still several years out from proper real-time raytracing. Nevertheless, the blend between raytracing and traditional rasterization looks incredible. The most important thing about this simple tiny sample isn’t the game itself but what it stands for. It shows how easy it is to create a sample like this. Even just five years, creating a demo like this required massive effort and expertise.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • Desktop Environment Vs. Window Manager

        Every new Linux user is likely to run across the question of what the difference is between a desktop environment and a window manager at some point in their learning process. I’ve been asked this question several times, and the answer isn’t always simple. It depends on the questioner’s previous knowledge and how well he has grasped the basics of a Linux operating system.

        In this article, I will attempt to answer this question from the standpoint of a new Linux user. For new users, please have a seat and join us as we begin the article. For more experienced users who have anything to contribute to the subject, please start a discussion below this post or join our Discord community. I will surely add valuable information in the article shared by the community members.

      • Enlightenment Desktop Update Brings a New Look, Fingerprint Support + More – OMG! Ubuntu!

        An all-new version of the Enlightenment desktop for Linux and BSD has been released.

        Arriving over the Christmas period, Enlightenment 0.25.x (E25) is a sizeable update to the innovative window manager n’ shell combo, and includes new versions of many core modules.

        Now, Enlightenment is not strictly a ‘desktop environment’ per se, more a collection of modular technologies designed to work together. Still, the end result looks a lot like a desktop environment so, in much the same way people refer to KDE Neon as a Linux distro, many people call Enlightenment a desktop environment — it’s shorthand.

        There are some really great visual additions shipping in E25, including a new ‘flat’ look and theme, higher-quality wallpapers, and window previews when hovering over Tasks.

        Additionally, devs say they’ve refactored code for screen dimming/blanking/timeout, added gesture recognition for touchpads via elput, improved monitoring of hardware temperatures via hwmon, and made it easy to see Bluetooth battery levels from within the Enlightenment desktop.

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • KDE’s Plasma Wayland Session Achieves Better Battery Life Than With X.Org – Phoronix

          Last week I posted some benchmarks looking at the laptop battery life implications of GNOME’s Wayland vs. X.Org sessions. From that testing with a Lenovo ThinkPad T14s Gen2 with AMD Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U laptop, the GNOME Wayland session led to around 3 Watt lower power consumption than with the same software stack while logging into the X.Org-based session. For those curious about the KDE Wayland vs. X.Org power impact, here is the same set of tests carried out in the KDE space.

          Due to reader interest stemming from that GNOME testing last week, off the Ryzen 7 PRO 5850U powered notebook running Ubuntu 21.10, I ran the same tests with the KDE Plasma Wayland and KDE Plasma X.Org sessions side-by-side with the GNOME results.

    • Distributions

      • Manjaro 21.2 Qonos Gnome – It’s an alright distro, but …

        Linux distros seem to be a game of chance. Take five categories of functional usability. Now, three of these will be excellent, and two will be awful, and you can choose how to assemble the final model, but you won’t get away from the equation. Something will be brilliant, and something will suck, and in the next release, the odds will change in a random way, and round and round we go. This was exciting in 2007, it’s sad in 2021. The number of people who actually want to stick by the classic desktop is not getting bigger, newer generations don’t have our fascination with the keyboard and mouse (apart from the cruel reality of work), and each day, the dream of Linux making it big gets that much farther away. And it comes down, among many various reasons, to the total lack of product focus, no quality control or any serious testing, and dev-focused, dev-driven design.

        Manjaro 20.2 fits the description well. Some superb points coupled to 2005 command-line tricks that no one wants or needs, dubious ergonomic choices, and just too much inconsistency to rely on for serious work. I know the nerds will hate me, ignore me, label me [favorite ad hominem], whatever, but that does not change the fact that only a pure, dedicated techie can and will be able to commit oneself to Qonos. Now, that said, I am actually cautiously optimistic about Manjaro. Over the years, it’s showed steady progress. Yes, lots of inconsistency and randomness, but there’s progress, too.

        This means, one day, Manjaro could be a mature, reliable system for ordinary people as well as diehard techies. I just hope that happens before total Digital Dystopia befalls us, before the “bullshit as a service” devours us all. That’s the reason for my bitterness, dear nerds. It’s not that I hate Linux, it’s that I hate the world that awaits us, and resent the fact no distro has managed to redeem us yet, because they are all stuck in a self-feeding loop of dev-centric mantras that have no bearing to 99% of people out there. Anyway, Qonos ain’t bad, but its Gnome flavor is probably not the best choice, and you might as well give it a try, see what gives.

      • Linux Distro Types Explained: Originals, Derivatives, Flavors

        If you’ve heard about Linux, you’ve probably heard terms like Fork, Derivative, and Flavor. They refer to different Linux distro types, so let’s learn more about them.

        These terms being used to distinguish one type of distribution from another and they are actually very helpful. In fact, they help you differentiate between how a particular Linux distribution will work from another one.

        If you don’t know what these terms means, don’t worry. In this article I’m going to break down this terms, explain what they mean and how you can use these terms to narrow down your options in picking the best Linux distribution for you.

        Above all there are two terms that are like main hierarchy terms – Original distributions and Derivative distributions.

      • SUSE/OpenSUSE

        • Download redirector current state – openSUSE News

          Package updates are a bit controversial point in the openSUSE world and sometimes are related to questionable user experience, especially for those who are outside of Europe and the US.

          It is important to understand that it is controversial to compare to experience in other distributions because openSUSE infrastructure is responsible not only for downloading Leap and Tumbleweed packages but potentially any other OBS project on any supported architecture / OS. This makes openSUSE infrastructure care about ~95000 various projects, which can receive updates every moment; compared to 5-8 projects with more or less defined release schedule in the typical infrastructure of other Linux providers.

          Now, somebody can point out that openSUSE could split those challenges and provide a more consistent experience for selected projects like Leap and Tumbleweed, and have a separate solution for other OBS projects. This way allows minimizing chances of poor experience for most users and newcomers. And that will be a correct observation, just it doesn’t make the overall technical challenge much simpler and potentially will require more resources to enable and support both solutions. In any case, this paper doesn’t have the intention of going deeper into such discussion and its main goal is to serve general OBS downloads and Leap / Tumbleweed downloads as part of that.

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • 5 Redhat enterprise based alternatives for CentOS 8 | 7 in 2022

          Here is the list of best RHEL based CentOS 7 or 8 Linux server alternatives or replacements in 2022 to start hosting server applications on Cloud or VPS. Well, if you don’t want to go through articles then AlmaLinux and RockyLinux are the best CentOS alternatives to go with.

          With the end of support in CentOS 8 by RHEL, people start looking for Linux distribution to replace their existing CentOS 8 or looking to upgrade CentOS 7 to some other compatible one. Well, your quest might end here, if you are one of them.

          Although we have an Ubuntu server to replace CentOS, however, there are many users already using RPM-based server applications. Hence, the Debian-based server wouldn’t be a great option. Of course, those who want to start from scratch to set up their servers, can for sure go for it.

          Well, the CentOS version series 7. x, which will receive updates until the regular end of support in June 2024, remains unaffected. CentOS 7.9 will therefore be the last edition to be created from the RHEL sources. The reason behind this is that still many companies relied on CentOS 7. Therefore, the CentOS developers do not want to stop the distribution prematurely.

          Whereas, as Redhat announced CentOS 8 will be available as a rolling distro in the form of Stream. Well, those are already using the Stream version, then maybe you want to get and test the CentOS 9 Stream available as an ISO file.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

        • 10 Cool Things to do With Linux Mint

          Linux Mint is one of the most popular Linux distros that focuses on simplicity, stability, and availability of software packages. It strives to be a modern, elegant, and comfortable operating system that’s easy to use. Because it’s based in Ubuntu, it also comes with robust community support.

          In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most interesting and cool things you can do with Linux Mint.

        • Ubuntu Fridge | Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 715

          Welcome to the Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter, Issue 715 for the week of December 19 – 25, 2021.

    • Devices/Embedded

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • Funding

        • How to get selected for Outreachy internships

          We recently documented the series of encounters linking Chris Lamb with an Albanian woman who received travel grants and a $6,000 Outreachy internship from Debian.

          Other women may want to apply for the same funds in future. We don’t want to cause any embarrassment, we are simply providing more details to help other women decide if they want to take risks with Debian.

          The woman began contributing as an OpenStreetMap (OSM) volunteer. She has contributed as a mapper, not as a developer. She was invited to the State of the Map conference to give a talk about community. She has good speaking skills.

          She enrolled in undergraduate studies in agriculture. She worked part time in various jobs that do not involve technology.

          OSM Belgium runs a monthly Mapper of the Month interview. In 2018 they selected this woman for the interview, she answers a wide range of questions.

          It is an unfortunate coincidence, these interviews were run by OSM Belgium and her ex was an OSM mapper from Belgium. He blogged a series of photos from the infamous FOSSCamp where Albanians used funds from free software organizations to travel to the Greek island of Syros. Here they are together:

        • Matcher Interview – Mark Galassi [Ed: Supporting people who attack the FSF for personal gain?]

          This fundraising season we were incredibly fortunate to be supported by so many individuals. In addition to our large anonymous donors, we had a few people contribute to bump up the number. One of donors was a board member, Mark Galassi, who runs The Institute for Computing in Research. We asked him a few questions about free software and his passion and motivations for interdisciplinary research.

      • Programming/Development

        • It’s Printable, It’s Programmable, It’s E. Coli | Hackaday

          Well, whaddya know? It seems that E. coli, the bane of Romaine and spinach everywhere, has at least one practical use. Researchers at Harvard have created a kind of 3D-printable ink that is alive and made entirely of microbes produced by E. coli. Although this is not the first so-called living ink, it does hold the title of the first living ink that doesn’t need any additional polymers to provide structure.

        • Rust Dev Lang – how to view onboard html based documentation (man page) – The Rust Standard Library
        • Perl/Raku

          • 2021.52 JDV Released – Rakudo Weekly News

            Justin DeVuyst has announced the 2021.12 Rakudo Compiler Release, their first release and hopefully the first of many to come! Claudio Ramirez quickly provided Linux packages for this release. And JJ Merelo published updated Docker Containers. And Anton Oks published a new Rakudo Star Windows image. Good to see such cooperation! And good to see more and more coverage about the Raku Programming Language!

        • C++

          • Beginner C++ Projects

            Students might find it challenging to get started with long and expert-level projects when learning a new language. Students used to derive help from books, online programming tutorials, and guides. However, these sources are not enough when you want to become an expert at a certain language. Hence, they try to search for projects which are less complicated, short, and simple to accomplish within the initial stage of practice. Within this guide, we will let you know about some C++ beginner projects along with their codes that are short and easy. Now, let’s start with Ubuntu 20.04 system.

          • Array as Parameter C++

            Functions in C++ can accept different types of arguments when they are called. In the same manner, an array can also be passed as a parameter to a function in C++. To figure out whether passing an array as a parameter to a function in C++ is the same as passing any other type of argument to a function or not, you will have to give a read to this article.

          • Argc and Argv C++

            While writing C++ programs, we all know that the “main()” function is considered very important since we cannot compile our program if the implementation of this function is missing. Just like all other functions in C++, the “main()” function is also capable of accepting arguments. However, the difference between passing arguments to the “main()” function from passing arguments to the other functions is that you have to pass the arguments through the command line in the former case. It is so because the “main()” function itself is the driver function which is why no other function is capable of calling it and passing arguments to it. In this article, we will be discussing the two parameters of the “main()” function, i.e., “argc” and “argv” in C++ in Ubuntu 20.04.

        • Java

          • Convert List to Array in Java

            A list differs from an array, in the sense that it can grow or shrink in length. It can also have elements inserted within its length, and so increasing the length. It can also have its elements deleted. If the aim of the list is not to make it grow or shrink or have any special function, then the array should be used. And so, it would be necessary to convert a list to an array.

            In Java, a list is not a class. It is an interface. An interface in Java is like an abstract class, but it is not meant to be subclassed. An interface is meant to have unrelated classes. The method declarations without body of the interface are defined in a class implemented from the interface. This should not be confused with instantiation. An object is instantiated from a class. A method is implemented from an abstract method, which may be a member of an interface, or an abstract class. With the interface, the “abstract” method declaration is not preceded by the reserved word, abstract. Note: a class created from an interface is said to have implemented the interface.

            Among classes of list already implemented in the Java compiler, are the ArrayList, LinkedList and Vector. These three classes will be used to show how a list can be converted into an array in this article, beginning with the ArrayList.

          • Java Thread Sleep

            A thread can be made to halt its execution for some time before it continues to operate. The thread is considered to sleep, in the period that it halts. But, what is a thread? A thread is a sub-program. It is possible to have more than one thread in one program, running concurrently. The main program itself is the main thread. A single threaded program is just the normal program. In Java, the normal program is the class that has the main() method. In a multi-threaded program, the main() method, can be considered as the main thread.

            A thread can be created by sub-classing the Thread class. The thread can be made to sleep. This article explains how to make a thread sleep, beginning with a summary of how to create a new thread in Java. The Thread class does not need to be imported in order to have a thread in the program.

          • Recursion in Java

            Recursion in Java is the calling of a method, by the method, from within the method. This action repeats itself until a condition is met. The method should be a method in a class, other than one in the main class. The main class is the class that has the main() method. The name of the Java file is that of the main class. A static method in the main class can still be made recursive, but that will not be addressed in this article. This article explains recursion in Java, with three good examples.

          • Java Thread Timer Usage

            In Java, a timer is a class from which timer objects can be instantiated. The timer schedules task for execution in the near future. A task is like a method (function). Java has the class, TimerTask from which task objects can be instantiated. Different tasks are scheduled to operate (execute) at different times. This tutorial explains how to instantiate and use the timer object in Java, beginning with the instantiation of the TimerTask object and its nature.

          • Java instanceof Operator

            The instanceof operator checks if its operand on the left is an object of its operand on the right. If yes, it returns true, otherwise it returns false, or issues an error message at compile time. The operand on the left should be an instantiated object of the operand on the right. The operand on the right is a type, e.g. a class.

          • 2D Array in Java

            In Java, a one-dimensional array is a consecutive set of values of the same type. The type of the values is the type of the array. A 1D array is an object from the Object superclass. A 1d array is a list. In this article, the list for the one-dimensional array is assumed to be displayed in a vertical column. A 1d array has the property length, which returns the number of elements in the array.

            A two-dimensional array is a table. A table is a vertical list of horizontal lists. In Java, a two-dimensional array is an array of arrays. That is, a 2d array is a vertical array of horizontal arrays. That is, a 2D array in Java is a vertical list of horizontal lists. The 2D array has rows and columns. The length of the 2D array is the number of rows, which is the length property of the 1D column array. All the values in all the cells of the table are of the same type; this is said to be the type of the 2D array.

            This article explains, what a 2D array in Java is, and how to create and access its elements. All code for this article takes place in the main() method.

          • && and & Operators in Java

            In Java, && is called the conditional-And operator. It is an example of a logical operator in Java. As another operator, & has two functions in Java. In one situation, it is called a logical-And operator. In the other situation, it is called the bitwise-AND operator. Each of these operators is a binary operator. This means that each has an operand on its left and on its right. The result of all that expression can be assigned to a variable. These operators work with primitive types, and so its class does not have to be imported by the programmer.

          • Absolute Value in Java

            A number can be an int, a long, a float, or a double. The difference between an int and a long variable is that the long variable can hold a bigger value than an int variable. A long variable can also hold a number that an int would hold. Each of these number types can be negative or positive. For example, an int can be -5 or +5. When it is +5, the plus sign in front of it can be omitted.

            So, a number can be negative or positive. Absolute value is simply the positive value of the pair. The positive value is still the number without a sign. Java has the math abs() method to return the absolute number. So, if the argument is -5, 5 will be returned. If the argument is +5 or 5, 5 will be returned. Java also has the absExact() method – see below.

            These methods are all of the Math class. The Math class does not have to be imported by the programmer to be used. This article explains the use of the abs() and absExact() methods of the math class.

  • Leftovers

    • Science

      • Taste The Television: TTTV | Hackaday

        Associate Professor [Homei Miyashita] from Meiji University’s School of Science and Technology in Tokyo has developed a new technology for reproducing taste on a television or monitor, a system called Taste the TV (TTTV). The team of researchers used taste sensors to sample a variety of foods, and came up with a palette of 10 different aerosol flavors which can be combined in various ratios. The taste is generated in a staging area at the top of the screen onto a thin plastic film, which is then scrolled down into position.

    • Hardware

      • Single Bit Computer From Vacuum Tubes | Hackaday

        Culminating a year-long project, [Usagi Electric] aka [David] has just wrapped up his single-bit vacuum tube computer. It is based on the Motorola MC14500 1-bit industrial controller, but since [David] changed the basic logic unit into an arithmetic-logic unit, he’s dubbing it the UE14500. Built on a wooden panel about 2.5 x 3 rabbit lengths excluding power supply. [David] admits he has cheated a little bit, in that he’s using two silicon diodes instead of a 6AL5 dual diode tube in his universal NOR gate on which the computer is based — but in his defense he notes that plenty of vacuum tube computers of the era used silicon diodes.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Voluntary licensing on the rise as Medicines Patent Pool signs second deal for COVID-19 treatment [Ed: This is not good enough; a “compromise” to avoid having these patent monopolies canceled altogether (as they ought to, for many reasons); Caution: Bristows bias]

          It was announced last week (16 November 2021) that Pfizer has agreed a voluntary licence with the UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool for Pfizer’s oral COVID-19 antiviral treatment candidate, PF-07321332. PF-07321332 has not yet been approved by regulators but has shown promising results in controlling symptoms of COVID-19. Recent interim analysis from Pfizer’s Phase 2/3 trial showed an 89% reduction in risk of COVID-19-related hospitalization or death compared to placebo in patients treated within three days of symptom onset. It will be administered with a low dose of ritonavir (a repurposed HIV antiviral medicine) which helps slow the breakdown of PF-07321332 in the body.

        • The United Arab Emirates Joined The Madrid System [Ed: WIPO is protecting the richest, while the rest of us are the ‘collateral damage’]

          The World Intellectual Property Organization (“WIPO”) has announced that it has received the United Arab Emirates’ accession document to the Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks (“Madrid Protocol”). Accordingly, the United Arab Emirates has become a member country of the Madrid System.

          Through the Madrid System, trademark owners can file a single international application to enjoy trademark protection in multiple member countries. Alongside facilitating the process of obtaining and managing trademark registrations, the Madrid System allows saving time and money by the single language and a single set of fees

        • European Union: Long Covid In The Way We Work [Ed: Henrik Skodt (aera) seems to be celebrating the EPO breaking the law because this suits some patent litigation companies, though nobody else]

          We have all had to adapt our way of working to the new reality we have lived in the last year. One significant change for those of us regularly doing oral proceedings before the European Patent Office (EPO) (and not living in the Munich area) is that we have not actually gone to the EPO since the beginning of the pandemic.

          The EPO showed great initiative when they introduced the pilot project for conducting oral proceedings in opposition proceedings by videoconference (ViCo) in May 2020. Until then, it had only been possible to do oral proceedings by ViCo before Examining Divisions. Since it was a pilot project, oral proceedings by ViCo before Opposition Divisions were made dependent on the consent of the parties to the proceedings.

        • New presiding judge for Munich Higher Regional Court’s patent-specialized 6th Civil Senate: Judge Lars Meinhardt succeeds Judge Konrad Retzer

          Munich is one of the world’s most important patent litigation hotspots. Last month the new patent litigation division of the Landgericht München I (Munich I Regional Court)–the 44. Zivilkammer (44th Civil Chamber)–held its premiere hearing. Today I’ve been able to find out from the press office of the Oberlandesgericht München (Munich Higher Regional Court) who will succeed retired Presiding Judge Konrad Retzer of the 6. Zivilsenat (6th Civil Senate), which hears patent appeals from the lower Munich court but also some other IP and competition matters: Judge Lars Meinhardt.

          Judge Meinhardt has not been mentioned on this blog before. You can find a picture and short bio (in German) here. He presided over the lower Munich court’s 33rd Civil Chamber from 2012 to 2018. The 33rd Civil Chamber hears cases involving trademark, copyright, design rights, and unfair competition claims–all of which fields are adjacent to patent law. He then joined the 29th Civil Senate of the Munich appeals court, which has a similar focus. Apparently he also dealt with matters involving the professional code governing the work of patent attorneys.

        • Sinusoidal Vision Technology has been officially patented in China [Ed: China hands out literally million of junk patents, so what's to boast about here?]

          VSY Biotechnology registered a patent with the People’s Republic of China for the ‘Sinusoidal Vision Technology’ used in AcrivaUD Trinova Pro C Pupil Adaptive®, the world’s first and only sinusoidal trifocal intraocular lens. As a result of evaluations, office actions, examinations, correspondence, and revisions, the state intellectual property office of the People’s Republic of China subsequently approved the patent for VSY Biotechnology’s ‘Sinusoidal Vision Technology’. Furthermore, after registering a European Patent (EP) for SVT, VSY Biotechnology received validation from the relevant patent offices from Europe. VSY Biotechnology’s ‘Sinusoidal Vision Technology’ has patent registration in many countries of the world.

        • The perks and pitfalls of creating prolific AI inventors [Ed: This says "he says he should own the patent rights because he owns DABUS." But patents are not rights, aren't owned and so on. This helps spread lies for a troll and charlatan who provokes courts and patent offices.]

          Artificial intelligence (AI) has had a profound impact on our society in recent years, but it’s been around longer than you may realize. Many people attribute the beginning of AI to a paper written in 1950 by Alan Turing titled “Computer Machinery and Intelligence.” The term artificial intelligence, however, was first coined in 1956 at a conference that took place at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Since then, interest in AI has wavered. Its most recent resurgence can be attributed to IBM’s Deep Blue chess-playing supercomputer and its question-answering machine Watson. Today, AI is part of our everyday lives – from facial recognition technology and ride-share apps to smart assistants. It’s also at the forefront of the future’s driverless vehicles.

          As AI continues to get more and more intelligent, it begs the question – should AI machines be able to patent their inventions?

          At the center of this debate is Stephen Thaler and his AI computer DABUS (“device for the autonomous bootstrapping of unified science”). Unlike everyday AI such as Alexa and Siri, DABUS is a unique type of AI often referred to as a “creativity machine,” meaning it is capable of independent and complex functioning. As such, it is named as the sole inventor on two patent applications filed in several countries. One invention is for a food container, and the other for an alert light. This has resulted in a worldwide legal fight and debate over how to handle computer-created innovation.

          Thaler claims he didn’t direct the machine to invent these products. Instead, he said that DABUS analyzes data, generates ideas, and invents products. Since Thaler wasn’t involved in the process of inventing these products, he feels that DABUS should be named as the inventor. However, he says he should own the patent rights because he owns DABUS.

        • Software Patents

          • Preventing payment in case of an incorrect amount entered by a customer: non-technical [Ed: Software patents denied, but Bardehle Pagenberg (or Patrick Heckeler in this case) keeps looking for sneaky new ways to pass them through an already profoundly compromised EPO]

            In this decision, relevant for providers of digital payment solutions, the European Patent Office refused to grant a patent relating to prevent a payment in case of an incorrect amount entered by a customer. Here are the practical takeaways of the decision T 0994/18 of July 20, 2021 of Technical Board of Appeal 3.5.01…

          • As AI powers more and more medical technology don’t overlook patenting – Tim Hargreaves & Rhona Muir [Ed: Scottish media taken over by patent fanatics and profiteers who disguise fake patents like software patents using buzzwords like “Hey Hi” and “Medical Technology (MedTech)”]

            Scotland has a thriving Medical Technology (MedTech) industry, with more than 250 companies, and approximately 9,000 people employed in the sector. Many of these businesses have Artificial Intelligence (AI) powering them, as AI’s ability to analyse large swathes of data in a matter of moments enables faster diagnosis and improved patient outcomes.

          • $2,000 for SecurityProfiling prior art

            On December 27, 2021, Unified Patents added a new PATROLL contest, with a $2,000 cash prize, seeking prior art on at least claim 1 of U.S. Patent 10,873,595. The patent is owned by SecurityProfiling, LLC, an NPE. The ’595 patent relates to real-time vulnerability monitoring. The patent has been asserted against Cisco and Trend Micro.

      • Trademarks

        • Turkey: Madrid E-Filing Now Available To Applicants In Turkey [Ed: Be sure to check who runs TURKPATENT]

          As a result of the cooperation between the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TURKPATENT) and WIPO,Turkey has taken its place among thecountries that enable applicants to file their international trademark applications directly through the Madrid e-Filing service.

          Before this change, the MM2 form – the application form for the registration of international trademark applications – had to be filled in manually and submitted to TURKPATENT via the EPATS – TURKPATENT’s electronic filing system – for processing.

      • Copyrights

My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part III — Lost and Found; Losing the Mobile Phone (Cellphone)

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 7:43 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

By Dr. Andy Farnell

Series parts:

  1. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part I — 2021 in Review
  2. My Year as a Digital Vegan — Part II — Impact of a ‘COVID Year’
  3. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Lost and Found; Losing the Mobile Phone (Cellphone)

Free Business trip

Summary: Dr. Andy Farnell shares his experiences from this past year; in this third part he turns his attention to what Americans typically call “cellphone” and we in little Britannia call “mobile phone”

This year I lost my phone. That’s never happened in 30 years of owning a mobile phone. Mainly because I often leave it off and at home where it’s safe. Seriously? Yes, I make a rather conscious decision when going out, “Will I need a phone?”. More than half the time the answer is “No need to be contactable.” My collection of ‘handy little pocket things’ hasn’t changed much in decades; bank card, cash, keys, a little key-fob torch, a whistle, a button compass. Only sometimes that collection includes a ‘communication device’. Interestingly, on this occasion I took out the phone in place of a watch I’d mislaid, to be punctual for an arranged meeting.

“I did a lot more writing and coding without any impending possibility of interruption.”Word has it that one in ten people would rather lose a finger than their phone. Instead I experienced unexpected relief. Several days of complete peace passed before a fresh SIM was sent to me. I did a lot more writing and coding without any impending possibility of interruption. Rummaging through a junk drawer unearthed another £5 Nokia which charged immediately and has served me since.

One reason for my easy-going phone attitude (or as my partner would probably put it – ambivalent attachment pattern) to phones is that I see it as a single function object. It’s a voice communicator. For example; I never use phones for 2FA, and neither should you. For gigs where I am dealing with sensitive access or data I am given OTP keys that I hide somewhere safe close to where I usually log-in, or add them to a physical key-ring.

“It’s a voice communicator.”Even though I publish my phone number so anyone can contact me, nothing else important should ever rely on it. I call this resilience/security stance the “It’s just a f**king phone, don’t get hung-up on it” principle. Don’t be taken in by corporate know-nothings who insist you make a phone the centre of your life and a phone number synonymous with your identity – that is wholly for their benefit to extract more personal data from you.

This year I also found a couple of phones. They taught me that our natural instinct to return property is now fraught with obstacles and complexity. The first rang within a few minutes, and I was able to answer “Hello! Lost phone department, how may I help you?”. I arranged with the voice to meet in a nearby park, described my appearance and a suitable RV point. I was approached by a girl, definitely no more than 12 years old, who thanked me and walked off.

Would I have been happy if that was daughter? I had suspected it was a young person when perusing the contacts list. The number I was about to call when it rang was “Mum”. I don’t agree with giving phones to kids under 16, but since some parents do, I wonder what advice we should give them about what to do when they lose them? I chose the park because it was nearby, but would have been impressed had the girl insisted on a more busy public place, or sent her dad. And thinking with my security-engineer hat on for a moment, how might the finder be at risk? This time it was a young girl, but a lost phone seems like appetising bait for something.

“As citadels of personal information, access, agency, identity, mobility, and reputation, they are security and resilience anti-patterns. My determination to avoid them myself, and help friends and family to get unhooked from such silliness is bolstered.”The second phone was more of a puzzle. It was locked, absent any finger smudges and clinging to it’s last minutes of battery life after possibly days lost in long grass. Incoming seemed to be going automatically to voicemail. There was no accessible IMSI or ICE medical-data. It looked like I was going to take this one home to my work-bench and hack it. The story ends rather ordinarily, the dying device was reunited with its owner when we saw someone milling about as if searching for something in the same general area.

These experiences have only strengthened my conviction that we are on a road to ruin with smartphones. These single points of failure concentrate too much function. Depending upon highly vulnerable and easily lost or damaged stores of wealth is foolishness. As citadels of personal information, access, agency, identity, mobility, and reputation, they are security and resilience anti-patterns. My determination to avoid them myself, and help friends and family to get unhooked from such silliness is bolstered.

Mobile Phones With Privacy Almost an Impossibility

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 6:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 484343ca1539b0249846743888fa69c2

Summary: Contrary to what some companies with privacy-themed Web sites baselessly promise or want you to believe, the moment you connect a mobile phone to the network you’re giving away vast amounts of data, not only about yourself but also those in your vicinity; we need to quit promoting that same old nonsense about spying-resistant portable phones as the real substitute (replacing today’s “smart” phones) is none at all, even if people don’t like to hear that

THE subject of privacy with a mobile phone (or “cellphone” as Americans typically call these) was covered here several times in the past (in my personal site I’ve been covering that subject for over a decade and researched it for almost 20 years), but it’s worth revisiting that same subject today because we’ve just shared a couple of videos [1, 2], which were informative albeit misguided in a few places (as noted in my video above). Over the years many companies came and went, offering privacy-preserving cellular devices, even more so in the wake of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks (Blackphone was one of many). Pretty much every single company like this became a farce (many lapses found) and ended up defunct; many people had come to grips with the facts, concluding a dud is just a dud. Librem, for that matter, is still being given far too much benefit of the doubt (it does not deserve this).

“For those of us who live in the “real world” (with real facts, not buzzwords and hype waves) the impact matters profoundly because human rights, including concepts such as due process, are on the line.”The threat associated with these mobile (or cellular) devices is only growing over time because of the ways in which different devices connect to one another, even prior to COVID-19 (with all that contact-tracing snake oil). With all sorts of “smart” things (spy things) and their Wi-Fi/Bluetooth connection — not to mention hype like edge/clown computing and “IoT” — many gullible (even if well-meaning and well-intentioned) people fall into traps, sharing an enormous amount of data about themselves and those around them. Some are seduced into enabling always-on microphones and installing GAFAM-connected CCTV inside their own homes. Many don’t even realise the ramifications and just press “accept” (consent based on a misunderstanding is a legal grey area). Resistance to this must begin with proper information; people who aren’t properly informed won’t quit. It’s like smoking.

For those of us who live in the “real world” (with real facts, not buzzwords and hype waves) the impact matters profoundly because human rights, including concepts such as due process, are on the line. As we put it exactly one week ago, Smart People Reject the Newest Cars. Rejecting and even boycotting things isn’t an act of intolerance but of self-defense. We need to teach more people out there the full impact of surrendering to Pentagon-connected ‘technology’ giants that are mostly in the business of manipulating/controlling populations (they receive money from taxpayers to do this) while promising us better “lifestyles” based on ridiculously shallow criteria like number of “likes”.

What Real (Fact-Based) 5G and Privacy Issues the Media Casually Distracts From

Posted in Deception, Security at 2:32 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Note: Startpage (in this video) is a bad recommendation, as it spies on users; the video is about tracking in general (and IMEI), not 5G; “smart” phones, in our view, are generally a lost cause.

Video download link

Summary: Loaded and ill-advised narratives have made 5G almost impenetrable to criticism (unless one wishes to be relegated to stereotypes like “paranoia” with straw man arguments), but let’s examine the actual facts and many criticisms which by far predate COVID-19 (no, there’s no connection between radio waves and a virus)

More difficult topics to cover involve preconditioned readers, who are meant to associate one thing with another, based on misinformation/disinformation. One of those subjects is the the Gates Foundation and another notable subject is 5G, as we noted here in past years.

Having just covered Two Factor Surveillance (2FA), we’ve decided to also share this new video from the same person, as “this one is about mobile phones, too,” as our associate notes, and it’s another one of those things that should make people rethink “smart” (spy) phone ownership [sic] (they aren’t truly owned by those who possess or carry them around).

Sky at sunset“5G gives mm level accuracy to positioning,” our associate points out, causing issues for airplanes as a side effect. It moreover disrupts weather forecasting (signal pollution) [1, 2, 3], but if you search the Web you might struggle to find information about it. In fact, our associate reminds us that “a single 5G mast won’t even cover a football stadium,” so large numbers and high intensity are both needed. Some of these media reports hopefully help refute the narrative wherein every 5G sceptic/critic is a potentially violent conspiracy buff/crank. The video from Rob says more. Many people who oppose vaccination in general seem to have co-opted privacy fears. They than spread falsehoods, which saturate the debate with garbage.

There are perfectly legitimate things to criticise about 5G, including the patent pools (evergreening), performance levels, and even radiation levels. “I would say that is one of the reasons why all the aspersions have been made against 5G criticism,” our associate opines. “It would be useful to know for sure all the groups backing the disinformation and misdirection. It is likely a lot of the military-industrial complex in general. The phone network companies benefit a little out of it, but not to the extent that the surveillance state does.”

Two Factor Surveillance and Fake Security Practices

Posted in Deception, Security at 1:51 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Related (older, both from early 2021): Fake Security From Linux Foundation and the Monopolies It’s Fronting for | Fake Security is Still a Real Problem, Even in the GNU/Linux (and BSD) Spheres

Videos below (newer): Google Tricking Me to Get a Phone Number (2FA)! Why This is Not About Security | 2FA is a Big Tech Scam! You Must Resist!

Video download link

Video download link

Summary: Rob’s videos have recently covered some of the reasons why “2FA is a Big Tech Scam!” and “Why This is Not About Security”; so today we want to highlight some of the issues (there’s more on that coming up tomorrow)

OVER the past few years there was growing adoption of 2FA, which is typically marketed as “security” (sometimes falsely). A number of good articles on this topic highlighted the issues associated with recycled numbers, SS7 issues, among other things.

Two hands and many phoneSee articles like Stop using your phone number for two-factor authentication and read up on what Pegasus was doing. Giving your phone number away and associating a back-doored device with authentication is basically a bad idea. Also see ample media coverage about the pitfalls associated with lost devices — a subject we’ll mention in passing tomorrow.

As our associate notes, “that’s the high-profile stuff requiring the attacker actually expend effort, but the topics covered in Rob’s video are more relevant to your average person…”

“Part III,” which we’ll publish tomorrow, “could expound ever so briefly on why smartphones fail at 2FA,” our associate notes.

Rob’s “presentation style is a bit ranty but the substance is all accurate,” our associate says. Since it’s one topic we never quite covered (I am not entirely ignorant about it, but my explanation would be poor, unconvincing, terse) and since we’re going to be writing more about “Smartphones” (Spyphones) in the future, it’s never too late to catch up. Another under-reported and grossly neglected (barely covered) issue is ClownFlare’s takeover or control of Web traffic.

For now, or today at least, we focus on the problem with 2FA over “smart” (spy) phones, just ahead of Part III of My Year as a Digital Vegan.

Andy himself has told me that “this is hard to explain. I think a key issue – as I’ve presented it to my cybersecurity classes ( and it’s a Bruce Schneier thing) that an illusion of security (trustworthyness) of one factor can be an overall negative (real) security impact.”

He has further used this analogy: “In reality they should operate as if in series/cascade however people treat the factors such they function as if in parallel, which as for an electrical circuit resistance, brings down the security.”

Links 27/12/2021: RapidDisk 8.0.1 and LibreOffice 7.3 RC1

Posted in News Roundup at 12:49 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Kernel Space

      • Intel Has A Number Of WiFi Improvements Ready For Linux 5.17 – Phoronix

        Intel’s modern WiFi driver “IWLWIFI” is set to see a number of improvements with the Linux 5.17 kernel development cycle kicking off in January.

        Merged to the networking subsystem’s net-next branch ahead of the Linux 5.17 merge window in mid-January were a number of improvements for new and existing wireless hardware. Some of the Intel WiFi improvements coming for the Linux 5.17 kernel include:

        - Continued work enabling their next-generation “Bz” hardware family. Going back to the summer Intel was working on Linux support for yet-to-be-released “Bz” WiFi hardware and that enablement work is continuing for Linux 5.17. There are also Rx changes for new hardware families.

      • Sound Open Firmware 2.0 Released For The Intel-Led Open-Source DSP Stack – Phoronix

        It was nearly four years ago already that Intel announced Sound Open Firmware in pushing for open-source sound firmware for their hardware. The Sound Open Firmware effort has been a great success even if it’s not a shiny project widely talked about among consumers. Just prior to the holidays Sound Open Firmware 2.0 was quietly released.

        The Sound Open Firmware project provides an open-source digital signal processing (DSP) firmware stack and software development kit around it as well as open-source emulation support with QEMU, etc. Beyond the firmware itself the Linux kernel has the Sound Open Firmware host driver support and the SOF driver stack is dual-licensed under both the BSD and GPL. More details on the SOF project can be found via the project documentation.

      • Linux Kernel Preparing Support For A More Practical Virtual M68k Machine – Phoronix

        When it comes to the Motorola 68000 “m68k” virtual machine targets, the most powerful option under Linux right now is the Quadra 800. That though for virtualization purposes isn’t too useful by today’s standards with being limited to 1GB of RAM and limited interface support. But a new Virtual M68k Machine aims to provide a more useful target and support has already landed in QEMU while the Linux kernel support is pending.

        The new Virtual M68k Machine is based on Google’s Goldfish interfaces used for the Android simulator and reuses some of that Goldfish code for this more relevant M68k machine.

      • Graphics Stack

        • AMDVLK 2021.Q4.3 Released To Fix Poor Wayland Performance – Phoronix

          AMD’s official Vulkan driver team is ending out the year by pushing out AMDVLK 2021.Q4.3 as their official open-source Radeon Vulkan driver implementation for Linux systems. This alternative to the Mesa RADV driver finally has fixed up its very poor performance for Vulkan under Wayland.

          AMDVLK 2021.Q4.3 was released this morning as their latest routine code drop accompanied by binaries for RHEL/CentOS 7 and 8 and Ubuntu LTS releases. It’s been three weeks since the last AMDVLK code drop while this end-of-year release has just a few changes but rather notable.

    • Benchmarks

      • Linux 5.16 is great news for AMD Ryzen users, massive performance boosts incoming – Neowin

        Linux 5.16 is looking extremely promising for AMD Ryzen, at least for the APUs. In a recent comparison test conducted by Phoronix, the tested Ryzen APUs have shown up to a 28% performance boost over kernel 5.15. This 28% boost was captured in the Xonotic game at 4K resolution using low settings (image below). Other games and benchmarks have also shown significant improvements on Linux 5.16 in the range of around 10-20% on average.

    • Applications

      • RapidDisk 8.0.1 now available

        RapidDisk is an advanced Linux RAM Disk which consists of a collection of modules and an administration tool. Features include: Dynamically allocate RAM as block device. Use them as stand alone disk drives or even map them as caching nodes to slower local disk drives. Access those drives locally or export those volumes across an NVMe Target network.


        In the last RapidDisk-related post, I forgot to make it a point of emphasizing that as of 8.0.0, RapidDisk officially supports export RapidDisk and RapidDisk-Cache devices across an NVMe Target network (both TCP and RDMA). This is a big deal if you need to share high speed devices remotely and across a larger network of nodes.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • How to Compile GNU Emacs from Source in Ubuntu 20.04 / 21.10 | UbuntuHandbook

        For those hating the Flatpak and Snap packages, here’s how to compile GNU Emacs editor (v27.2 tested) from the source tarball while the Kevin Kelley’s PPA seems NOT to be updated anymore.

        Before getting started, it’s recommended to remove old Emacs (if any) by running command in terminal (Ctrl+Alt+T)…

      • How To Check Your Server Load in Linux System

        If you’re a system administrator, you probably already know the hassle of checking the server loads on a Linux system. There are many tools that allow you to check the server loads in different ways. Some of them work in an integrated way, and some of them function as individual tools. However, there are ways to check the server load contentiously through the command-line interface in Linux. Using the CLI methods can save your time and be easy to use. Besides, the CLI also gives you an accurate value of the server load. No matter which server you work with, Apache or Nginx, the CLI commands for checking server load works smoothly on both.

      • Master your server with these 7 informative resources

        Servers are one of the most critical components in any IT infrastructure. Virtually all business functions require some kind of server, from checking your email inbox to accessing client files. It’s safe to say that servers are the backbone of your business—and it can be disastrous if they should fail.

        According to ITIC’s 2021 Hourly Cost of Downtime Survey, 91% of organizations say a single hour of server downtime costs $300,000 or more. And of that 91%, nearly half or 44% say that hourly outage costs exceed $1 million to over $5 million. Yikes.

        It’s impossible to completely avoid downtime. After all, some things are out of your control. However, it’s possible to reduce the chance of it by improving and securing your server. It’s also possible to be prepared for downtime so that when it happens, you can quickly bounce back.

      • How To Install VLC Media Player on Fedora 35 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install VLC Media Player on Fedora 35. For those of you who didn’t know, VLC is a free and portable open-source media player for both audio and video. This app can play nearly all known multimedia files and DVDs, Audio CDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols and can be extended and customized with various plugins.

        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 through the step-by-step installation of the VLC Media Player on a Fedora 35.

      • How to comment multiple lines at once in vim editor using 3 methods
      • How to install elementary OS 6.1 Jólnir – Invidious

        In this video, I am going to show how to install elementary OS 6.1 Jólnir…

      • How To Install Snipe-IT on AlmaLinux 8 – idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Snipe-IT on AlmaLinux 8. For those of you who didn’t know, Snipe-IT is a free and open-source, cross-platform, feature-rich IT asset management system built using a PHP framework called Laravel. It is a web-based software, which enables IT, administrators, in medium to large enterprises to track physical assets, software licenses, accessories, and many more.

        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 through the step-by-step installation of the Snipe-IT asset management system on an AlmaLinux 8. You can follow the same instructions for Fedora, RHEL, CentOS, and Rocky Linux distributions.

      • Install Kubernetes Cluster Using Kubeadm In RHEL – OSTechNix

        In this article, we are going to learn about Kubernetes cluster installation using Kubeadm in RHEL 8, and its clones like AlmaLinux 8, CentOS 8, and Rocky Linux 8.

        Before getting into it, you must have a basic understanding about Kubernetes concepts and architecture. In this article, we are going to demonstrate two node cluster.

      • Install Lighttpd with PHP and MariaDB on Rocky/AlmaLinux

        Lighttpd is an open-source, high-performance, super-fast, flexible, and simple to configure secure web server that provides support for the broad technologies that include PHP, FastCGI, Auth, SSL, URL rewriting, reverse proxy, load balancing, and much more.

        Lighttpd is extremely efficient, lightweight, and offers optimized speed-critical environments with lower memory and CPU usage than other popular web servers like Apache and Nginx.

      • How to remove horizontal line across the desktop on Linux mint

        In this tutorial you will learn how to remove the black horizontal line that shows up across the screen on Linux mint xfce. I have been using a lot of different Linux distros and on my experience this has happened to me only when using Linux mint xfce version, however the good news is that this issue can be fixed without having to download anything or replacing any hardware part.

      • How to install Linux Ubuntu on Hyper-V in Windows 11/10 [Ed: The hypervisor and the OS are proprietary software, so there are better ways to do all this]

        There are multiple ways to try any Linux distribution on Windows 11 or Windows 10 computers. However, Hyper-V is the native virtual machine app that you can use to install Linux Ubuntu on your PC. As it is a virtual machine app, your hardware must support virtualization, and it needs to be enabled in the BIOS.

      • How to Install Open VM Tools on Pop!_OS

        Sometimes you may want to install Pop!_OS on a virtual machine. However, you may have realized that communication between the host and the VM machine doesn’t exist. Luckily, many distributions now carry the open-source VM tools that can be used for many of the most popular Virtual Machine products such as VMware.

        In the following small tutorial, you will learn how to install these tools on your Pop!_OS desktop.

      • How to Install & Configure Deja Dup in Linux – TREND OCEANS

        Backup is one of the essential requirements for Linux users. The next Sudo command may ruin your whole system into an empty bucket.

        It’s happened to me, and I have also heard it from others. When new user joins the Linux army, they tend to forget that they are not in the Windows system anymore; here, any wrong step can bring misfortune to your files.

      • Using your OpenPGP key on Yubikey for ssh

        Last week I wrote about how you can generate ssh keys on your Yubikeys and use them. There is another way of keeping your ssh keys secure, that is using your already existing OpenPGP key (along with authentication subkey) on a Yubikey and use it for ssh.

        In this post I am not going to explain the steps on how to move your key to a Yubikey, but only the steps required to start using it for ssh access. Feel free to have a look at Tumpa if you want an easy way to upload keys to your card.

      • How to Install GNOME 41 Desktop on Linux Mint 20

        GNOME 41 introduces many changes from visual changes, new apps and overhaul back-end changes to improve performance. Overall, it is a solid upgrade from GNOME 40 with introductions of a new remote desktop client called Connections, new mobile settings, improved multi-tasking, improved UI, and back-end performance, amongst many other additions.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the new GNOME 41 on Linux Mint 20 desktop using a PPA by Taha Nouibat that was designed for Ubuntu 20.04 LTS but given that Linux Mint 20 LTS is based on it, you can safely install this PPA in the same method.

      • How to Install Liquorix Kernel on Rocky Linux 8

        Liqourix Kernel is a free, open-source general-purpose Linux Kernel alternative to the stock kernel shipped with Rocky Linux. It features custom settings and new features and is built to provide a responsive and smooth desktop experience, especially for new hardware.

        Liquorix Kernel is popular amongst Linux Gaming, streaming, and ultra-low latency requirements and often boasts the latest Linux Kernels.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install the latest Linux Kernel on your Rocky Linux 8 system.

      • How to Install Chromium Browser on Rocky Linux 8

        Chromium is an open-source browser project that aims to build a safer, faster, and more stable way for all users to experience the web. The Chromium codebase is widely used, and Microsoft Edge, Opera, and many other browsers are based on the code. Chromium is well-liked amongst advanced users that prefer not to have all the bloat of tracking that can come in Chrome and other proprietary software.

        In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Chromium Web Browser on your Rocky Linux 8 desktop.

      • Arch Linux – News: libxml2>=2.9.12-6 update may require manual intervention

        The libxml2 package prior to version 2.9.12-6 was missing the compiled python modules. This has been fixed in 2.9.12-6, so the upgrade may need to overwrite any untracked pyc files created.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • Maui Shell is a Beautiful Vision for the Future of Linux

          Now, “convergent” Linux UIs aren’t new. Ubuntu tried (and failed) to materialise its idea of one with Unity 8. What would be new is a convergent Linux shell that’s actually realised in real, usable, working code.

          KDE Plasma (with Plasma Mobile) and GNOME (with Phosh) are already making major inroads in this area so there’s plenty of momentum that Maui Shell, which is also rooted in KDE technologies, can take advantage of.

    • Distributions

      • IBM/Red Hat/Fedora

        • Firewalld Fedora 34 -> 35 Masquerade between Zones not working anymore | IT-Hure

          I updated my firewall from 34 to 35 and my firewall was not working anymore. There is a not good documented change with the release of firewalld 1.0 that hit me.

        • 10 Podman guides to do more with containers in 2022 | Enable Sysadmin

          While many of us stayed at home for most of 2021, Podman continued traveling the globe and even went to space. In just the first 10 months of 2021, 153 authors from all over the world contributed over 2,200 pull requests and closed over 1,600 issues in the Podman repository. This doesn’t include all the contributions to Buildah, Skopeo, and the containers/image and containers/storage libraries that we maintain.

        • Top 10: Our most read developer articles of 2021 | Red Hat Developer

          We’re taking a quick break from the winter recharge to share our 10 most read articles of 2021. Some of the best developers in the world work for Red Hat, and we’re fortunate that many of them contribute to Red Hat Developer. We think this year’s top 10 articles showcase the breadth of our contributors’ interests and expertise, as well as that of our readers. Without further ado, here are Red Hat Developer’s most popular articles of 2021.

        • 8 new rules for winning the IT talent battle | The Enterprisers Project

          The predicted turnover tsunami is well underway, with enterprises across industries facing record-high IT talent losses. Attrition rates had risen an average of 10.5 percent over the previous quarter, according to an August 2021 quick poll conducted by Everest Group, with more than one-third (36 percent) of respondents reporting increases of more than 11 percent over the previous three months. “We are definitely seeing attrition rates starting to rise,” says Michel Janssen, chief research officer at Everest Group. “It’s becoming an across-the-board issue.”

          The resulting battle for technology pros hitting the market is bound to grow more intense. Yet only a minority of enterprise IT organizations have the kind of well-defined and proactive strategies needed to ensure some level of predictability in their workforce pipelines in this challenging environment.

          Everest Group has taken research from its strategic IT workforce development assessments to examine what the highest-performing IT functions (those that achieve the greatest business, operational, and cost impacts) are doing to address current talent gaps and prepare their workforces for the future. They discovered that it’s not the biggest companies – or those with the most money to spend – who perform the best.

        • Digital transformation: 4 tips to be a successful IT leader in 2022

          In 2021, leadership was about finding new ways to deliver on commitments and grow, despite global challenges. It involved coaching teams that were working out of home offices and balancing new distractions and personal commitments – all while managing anxiety about what was to come. In 2022, we hope to finally put the pandemic behind us and set the tone for a new kind of workplace and workplace culture.

          Whether you are a veteran leader or are stepping into a leadership role for the first time, you likely realize that there is no one-size-fits-all approach for the times ahead. The following tenets can help you craft a leadership strategy that supports your team as they deliver results without disruption.

        • 5 ways open source software transformed business in 2021 | Opensource.com

          Open source software isn’t just about creating alternatives to proprietary software. On the business side, open source has become a “force multiplier” to transform how organizations do business. At the same time, more companies have started to adopt more open source methodologies, even in managing teams and processes.

          In the last year, we ran many great articles that show how businesses connect with open source software.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • Open Hardware/Modding

        • $1.8 XT-ZB1 Zigbee & BLE devkit features BL702 RISC-V module – CNX Software

          Bouffalo Labs BL702 is a 32-bit RISC-V microcontroller with a 2.4 GHz radio for Zigbee 3.0 and Bluetooth 5.0 LE connectivity that we first found in the Sipeed RV-Debugger Plus UART & JTAG debug board that did not make use of the radio at all.

          But a BL702 development kit was brought to my attention, with the XT-ZB1 devkit equipped with a Zigbee & BLE module of the same name, and sold for just $1.80 per unit on Aliexpress. Shipping adds $4.63 where I live, but they also offer packs of 5 or 10 with the same shipping fee, meaning if you buy 10 the total cost should be around $22 including shipping, or around $2.2 per board. Alternatively, the module alone goes for $1.

    • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

      • The Apache Weekly News Round-up: week ending 24 December 2021 : The Apache Software Foundation Blog

        Happy Friday, everyone. The Apache community has had another great week…

      • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

        • LibreOffice 7.3 RC1 is available for testing

          The LibreOffice Quality Assurance ( QA ) Team is happy to announce LibreOffice 7.3 RC1 is available for testing!

          LibreOffice 7.3 will be released as final at the beginning of February, 2022 ( Check the Release Plan for more information ) being LibreOffice 7.3 RC1 the third pre-release since the development of version 7.3 started in mid June, 2021. Since the previous release, LibreOffice 7.3 Beta1, 241 commits have been submitted to the code repository and 130 issues got fixed. Check the release notes to find the new features included in this version of LibreOffice.

          LibreOffice 7.3 RC1 can be downloaded from here for Linux, macOS and Windows, and it will replace the standard version.

          In case you find any problem in this pre-release, please report it in Bugzilla ( You just need a legit email account in order to create a new account ).

        • LibreOffice Calc Guide 7.1 Russian Edition
      • Programming/Development

        • VLC 3.0.12 with Qt5 GUI compiled

          EasyOS has VLC video player available via the package manager, however is it the CLI (commandline) application only. It was compiled in OpenEmbedded.

          Now that Qt5 has been compiled in OE, VLC can be compiled with its Qt5-based GUI.


          It is quite a big package, don’t know if will include it builtin in the next release of Easy, but it will be available via the package manager.

        • Perl/Raku

        • Python

          • Yet More Python for Beginners: Saving Input to a File – The New Stack

            So far in this introductory series to the Python programming language, we’ve learned some pretty cool basic Python tricks. We’ve learned what makes the language special, learned about the Python console and used variables, and learned how to accept input from users.

            With that knowledge, we’ve created a couple of interesting little programs that illustrate how these features work in Python, but the applications themselves don’t do much outside of proving to your friends and family that you can learn a programming language.

  • Leftovers

    • Diving the Depths of Ma Bell

      The modern smartphone is a marvel of sensors, radios, inputs, outputs, and processing power. In particular, some of those radios, such as WiFi and cellular, have grown fiendishly complex over the years. Even when that complexity is compressed down for the user into the one-dimensional space of the signal strength bars at the top of your phone. So when [David Burgess] was asked to look at some cellphone records of text messages and figure out where some of the more mysterious messages were coming from, it led him down a rabbit hole into the dark arts behind the glowing phone screen.

      The number in question was 1111340002, sent by a phone connected to AT&T at the time, and was crucial for a legal case around distracted driving. [David’s] tools in his investigation were YateBTS (a cellular network simulator), SimTrace2 (pictured above), and old reliable Wireshark. Since the number isn’t a specific phone number and is not reachable from the public phone network, it must be a unique number inside AT&T processed by one particular AT&T SMSC (Short Message service center). The SMSC in question is in Atlanta and isn’t a typical texting center, so it must have some particular purpose. The message’s payload is raw binary rather than text, and [David] has done a pretty good job of decoding the majority of the format.

    • Why I stopped publishing end-of-year most-read lists

      In previous years, I used to publish a “Most Read of the year” listicle (“list article”) around the holiday season. It let me take a break from writing and still generate lots of traffic to the featured articles. People still need things to read during the holidays, you know. However, I stopped publishing these a few years ago after learning of an unintended consequence.

      All of my most popular articles kept appearing on other websites! Either in their original or a slightly rewritten form; most in English but sometimes translated. For years, I failed to spot an — in hindsight completely obvious — pattern for which of my works got plagiarized.

      Almost all the plagiarized articles had appeared in one of my end-of-year most-read lists. Other publications were mining and replicating my most popular content, and almost universally out-competed the original article on search engine result pages.

    • Hardware

      • Maximum Throughput Benchie

        The idea behind the SpeedBoatRace is how quickly you can print a Benchy — the little boat that is used as a test print for a 3d printer. Speeding up a print is quite tricky as it means moving the head quicker and giving layers less time to deposit and a whole other host of problems. So [Roetz] took a page out of a CPU designer’s playbook, and rather than increasing the latency, he raised the throughput. The original plan was for 20 hot ends, but due to cooling issues, that had to be reduced to 18. Perhaps even more impressive than the scale of the machine is that the only off-the-shelf parts on it are the fans for cooling. Everything else is printed or machined by [Roetz] himself. The whole run was completed in less than an hour, which technically gives him a sub 3.6 minute time per benchy, even accounting for a few that failed.

      • First Hacks: The Brand New Nokia 5G Gateway Router | Hackaday

        Aside from being the focus of a series of bizarre conspiracy theories, 5G cellular networks offer the promise of ultra-fast Internet access anywhere within their range. To that end there are a new breed of devices designed to provide home broadband using 5G as a backhaul. It’s one of these, a Nokia Fastmile, that [Eddie Zhang] received, and he’s found it to be an interesting teardown and investigation. Spoiler: it runs Android and has exploitable bugs.

        A privilege escalation bug in the web administration tool led to gaining the ability to export and modify configuration files, but sadly though a telnet prompt can be opened it’s not much use without the password. Uncovering some blocked-off ports on the base of the unit revealed a USB-C port, which was found to connect to an Android device. Via ADB a shell could be opened on Android, but on further investigation it was found that the Fastmile is not a single device but two separate ones. Inside is a PCB with an Android 5G phone to handle the connection, and another with a completely separate home router.

      • Steinar H. Gunderson: USB-C shenanigans

        At some point, my phone stopped taking charge (over USB-C) from one charger, but not the other—it would briefly say “charging”, then drop it, wait a few seconds, and then try again in an infinite loop. However, charging every night on the included charger worked fine, so I wasn’t that worried.

      • The Label Says HDMI 2.1 But That Doesn’t Mean You’ll Get It | Hackaday

        Technology moves quickly these days as consumers continue to demand more data and more pixels. We see regular updates to standards for USB and RAM continually coming down the pipeline as the quest for greater performance goes on.

        HDMI 2.1 is the latest version of the popular audio-visual interface, and promises a raft of new features and greater performance than preceding versions of the standard. As it turns out, though, buying a new monitor or TV with an HDMI 2.1 logo on the box doesn’t mean you’ll get any of those new features, as discovered by TFT Central.


        Also new is the Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) technology, which helps reduce tearing when gaming or watching video from other sources where frame rates vary. Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) also allows displays to detect if a video input is from something like a game console. In this situation, the display can then automatically switch to a low-latency display mode with minimal image processing to cut down on visual lag.

        A handful of other features were included too, like Quick Media Switching to reduce the time blank screens are displayed when swapping from one piece of content to another. There’s also special Dynamic HDR technology which can send data for color control on a frame-by frame basis.

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Security updates for Monday [LWN.net]

            Security updates have been issued by Debian (apache-log4j2, libextractor, libpcap, and wireshark), Fedora (grub2, kernel, libopenmpt, log4j, mingw-binutils, mingw-python-lxml, and seamonkey), Mageia (golang, lapack/openblas, and samba), and openSUSE (go1.16, libaom, log4j12, logback, and runc).

          • In 2022, security will be Linux and open-source developers job number one | ZDNet [Ed: Back doors have crept into proprietary software at all levels, but SJVN/ZDNet participates in the phony narratives wherein the problem (security-wise) is the alternative to such software]

            But with great power also comes great responsibility as Spider-Man knows. And, as many developers recently found out when multiple security vulnerabilities with the Apache Java logging open-source library log4j2 were discovered, also comes great headaches.

            The log4j2 problems are as bad as bad can get. By the National Vulnerability Database (NVD) scale, it’s rated as 10.0 CVSSv3 which is perfectly awful.

            Its real trouble isn’t so much with open-source itself. There’s nothing magical about open-source methodology and security. Security mistakes can still enter the code. Linus’s law is that given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow. But, if not enough developers are looking, security vulnerabilities will still go unnoticed. As what I’m now calling Schneier’s law, “Security is a process, not a product,” points out constant vigilance is needed to secure all software.

          • rC3 2021: Now Here, Nowhere

            The annual meeting of the Chaos Computer Club, Germany’s giant hacker group, is online again this year. While those of us here are sad that we don’t get to see our hacker friends in person, our loss is your gain — the whole thing is online for the entire world to enjoy.

            This year’s Congress has gone entirely decentralized, with many local clubs hosting their own video streams and “stages”. Instead of four tracks, there are now six or seven tracks of talks going on simultaneously, so prepare to be overwhelmed by choice. You can find the overall schedule here, so if you see anything you’d like to watch, you’ll know when to tune in.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • 2021: A year of standing for your digital rights in courts

        As a digital liberties organisation, IFF’s mission statement is to ensure that Indian citizens can use the internet with liberties guaranteed by the Constitution. To that end, we engage in strategic litigation to defend the rights of the litigants that approach us and make incremental changes in society. In 2020, as all of us relied on digital connections more than ever, issues such as access to the internet, surveillance, censorship and data protection gained prominence. IFF rose to action to defend these threats against civil liberties and, on behalf of litigants, challenged the 4G mobile internet ban in Jammu & Kashmir, questioned the mandatory imposition of Aarogya Setu, sought an extension to the consultation process for the Health Data Management Policy, and called into question illegal website blocking.

        In 2021, we continued our work on these issues while responding to greenfield challenges such as the Pegasus Spyware, governmental regulation of digital space, copyright infringement suits and anti-competitive practices of big tech. In this post, we provide you with a snapshot of our work that defends your rights. As always, we are thankful to our members for enabling us to perform this important task, the litigants (mentioned below) for trusting us with their cases and the litigators who spent countless hours working pro bono.

      • Remembering Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s Teachings About Human Dignity | NewsOne

        Tutu’s ideas about humanness, harmony and reconciliation have been enormously influential, not merely in South Africa, but also throughout the world.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Is the UK bad at R&D? [Ed: Patent litigation firm spreads lies, in order to ‘shame’ the market into giving it more money. EPO is Germany-centric, so you cannot judge the UK based on how many Brits go to some highly corrupt office in Germany for a patent of dubious legitimacy]

          A much-debated topic is how to determine R&D productivity. Although it has its limitations, the number of European patent applications that originate from a country can be taken as an indicator of its R&D productivity. While it may not give us the precision we’d like, it provides a good measure by which to compare the UK with other European nations.

          To understand where R&D productivity is highest, let’s look at the figures published by the European Patent Office (EPO) for Europe-originating EPO filings in 2020, classified according to the country of origin of the filings, and compare them with the size of the population of that country.

          The figures are often skewed if the population is small and/or there is a reason for companies to be based there. For example, Liechtenstein, a corporate tax haven with a population of only 38,000, is far and away the most productive on this measure, with the equivalent of 1,149 filings per 100,000 people. Likewise, Luxembourg with 65. Switzerland also does well, with 94 filings per 100,000 citizens, possibly driven by the number of pharmaceutical companies located there.

        • Korean Intellectual Property Office Issues Core Patent for NEO Battery Materials’ Silicon Anodes for High Performance Lithium-Ion Batteries

          Vancouver, British Columbia–(Newsfile Corp. – December 24, 2021) – NEO Battery Materials Ltd. (TSXV: NBM) (OTCQB: NBMFF) (“NEO” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that the Korean Intellectual Property Office (“KIPO”) has issued a core patent of NEO’s silicon (Si) anode material technology following the Notice of Allowance announcement made on November 18, 2021.

          Mr. Spencer Huh, President and CEO, commented, “We are glad to announce that the KIPO has issued one of the core patents related to NEO’s low-cost, single-step nanocoating technology for manufacturing silicon anode active materials. As South Korea stands as one of the largest battery manufacturing countries and an epicenter of battery innovation, NEO will continue to strategically establish its presence and development within this market.”

        • Merry Christmas 2021, your Patent is Invalid [Ed: Any fake patents being tossed out is always good news. Always was, always is.]

          The claimed invention then is directed to a “deposit book,” with each page having a stub and detachable coupon. The customers keep the book with all the stubs showing deposits while the coupon goes to the bank to help direct the deposit.

          Landis Christmas Sav Club was already selling supplies to banks, but Barkley was able to improve the system. In particular, with the Landis system, the a book of coupons was held by the bank, and individual sheets given out to the customer with each deposit. The Barkley reversal allowed the customer to keep the book and give deposit slips to the bank. Apparently Landis then copied the Barkley approach and an infringement suit followed. In essence, Barkley’s device is a reversal of the Landis approach. And, the appellate court recognized that the Barkley approach was and improvement that “could be more easily and conveniently handled.”

        • AI cannot be named as inventor on patent applications [Ed: There is no such thing as "Hey Hi"; corrupt EPO management is infatuated with -- and helps spread -- buzzwords, misnomers, and hype]

          In public oral proceedings today, in combined cases J 8/20 and J 9/20, the Legal Board of Appeal of the EPO confirmed that under the European Patent Convention (EPC) an inventor designated in a patent application must be a human being. The board dismissed the applicant’s appeal. The written decision and reasons will be issued in due course and will be available via the European Patent Register. The Boards of Appeal have issued a communiqué with further details.

        • BREAKING: InterDigital announces 4G, 5G, HEVC patent lawsuits against high-volume smartphone maker OPPO and its OnePlus, realme affiliates in UK, India, Germany

          In a dedicated filing (dated December 22, 2021) with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), patent licensing firm InterDigital (a publicly-traded non-practicing entity) has announced multiple patent infringement lawsuits against OPPO (one of the world’s largest smartphone makers) and its OnePlus and realme affiliates in the UK, India, and Germany. OnePlus is famous for high-end Android phones.

          According to the regulatory filing, InterDigital brought those complaints last week (December 20 and 22, 2021), just before the Christmas holidays, and is seeking injunctions (as well as unspecified other remedies, i.e., damages). The patents-in-suit have been declared essential to the 4G/LTE and 5G wireless standards and the HEVC video codec standard.

          InterDigital’s revenue stream consists of royalties on its many standard-essential patents (SEPs), though what sets it apart from the vast majority of other SEP NPEs (which buy up patents on the secondary market) is that it obtains SEPs itself through participation in standard-setting processes. It doesn’t make its own devices, however. An InterDigital official once told me in a semi-public LinkedIn discussion that there was a time when they made one, but declined to provide further information when I asked for specifics (particularly unit volumes).


          The combination of the license deals I read about on OPPO’s website and the two major infringement campaigns it is currently dealing with suggests to me that this company is neither an unwilling licensee nor a soft target. There will be a license deal in the end, but in the meantime I’m sure OPPO will present InterDigital with a formidable challenge.

          In related news involving other companies, it may just be a matter of days until we see patent litigation flare up again between Ericsson and Apple, with a license agreement set to expire this week and no renewal having been announced yet.

        • Green Party Activists: End Covid Vaccine Patents to End “Vaccine Apartheid”

          With the new omicron covid variant burning its way through the US and global populations, Green Party activists demanded that the Biden administration follow through on its stated policy of having covid vaccine patents waived in order to make covid vaccines affordable and available throughout the world.

          “Global vaccine apartheid, where covid vaccines are too expensive and unavailable to people in low-income countries, is not only immoral. It is also a public health threat to people in high-income and relatively highly vaccinated countries like the US. President Biden should do all he can to lift the covid vaccine patents in order to enable all nations to cheaply manufacture and distribute the vaccines,” said Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for President in 2020.

          Public health experts say that expanding vaccination throughout the world would curb the amount of virus in circulation and reduce the emergence of new mutations and variants in regions where vaccination rates are low.

          The Green Party’s 2016 presidential candidate, Jill Stein, a medical doctor, commented, “Making vaccines available without deadly patent restrictions is one of many critical steps that should be taken immediately to address the wider crisis in public health underlying the COVID-19 pandemic. Predatory profiteering should be eliminated from pharmaceutical sales and health care in general. And it ought to start by making life saving treatments available as a public good. A nation that’s squandered $21 trillion dollars on disastrous militarism over the past two decades can afford to put health care over profit at home and abroad, starting with simple steps to end vaccine apartheid.”

        • Benefits and Considerations for Patent Prosecution Under Patent Prosecution Highway in Australia, Canada, South Korea, and Japan [Ed: This has nothing to do with science, nothing to do with innovation, and it is a symptom of what became of the patent system; it's about monopolies and their litigation firms, nothing else]

          This is the second article of the multi-part series discussing benefits of prosecuting patents under Patent Prosecution Highway or PPH. The first article can be accessed here. To recap, PPH is a set of initiatives promulgated by participating patent offices around the world to accelerate patent prosecution in countries of the participating patent offices. PPH allows participating patent offices to share information and to benefit from work performed by other participating patent offices, thereby reducing examination workload and improving quality of patents. Interested readers are invited to read the first article through the link provided.


          As discussed in the first article, requirements to participate in PPH in each of the participating patent offices may differ slightly. However, some general rules can be gleaned. To be eligible for PPH at a participating patent office of interest, at time of filing, applicants are required to show that: (1) a related patent application has been determined by a participating patent office to be patentable; (2) the related patent application includes at least one patentable claim; and (3) claims of a filed patent application must sufficiently correspond to allowed claims of the related patent application. Once these requirements are met, applicants can apply for PPH by filing a PPH request and providing the participating patent office of interest: (1) copies of all correspondences of the related patent application; (2) a copy of the allowed claims of the related patent application; and (3) a claim correspondence table indicating relatedness between the claims of the filed patent application and the allowed claims of the related patent application. With this in mind, we will continue our look into PPH requirements for Australia, Canada, South Korea, and Japan.

        • 2021 Roundup: List Of Women Who Excelled In The Field Of Science [Ed: #EPO has a habit of promoting frauds using this reward]

          The Indian-American chemist was honoured with the European Inventor Award this year. It is a prestigious innovation prize in Europe. Mitra won the award for her application of nanotechnology in dentistry. She won it under the non-European Patent Office (EPO) countries category. Her creation integrated nanoparticles into the production of dental materials which led to a new composite to repair teeth. She is a partner at Mitra Chemical Consulting, LLC, a company she started with her husband Smarajit Mitra.

        • EPO opposition statistics: a five-year review [Ed: This is a new example of EPO puff pieces; they seem to find plenty of time for such fluff and never mention EPO corruption (they used to, but then EPO threatened writers and got rid of them)]
        • Spotlight on mRNA – IP landscape [Ed: Misleading from Bristows. It's not about mRNA but about 'stealing' from taxpayers; they helped fund this research and some raiders now want to privatise it all with patents]

          The number of patents filed relating to use of mRNA as a vaccine for both infectious diseases and cancer has increased dramatically over the five years to 2020[1]. As we highlighted in our previous article, numerous companies and institutions are actively working in this field. It is not surprising then that the patent landscape is highly fragmented. Patent owners range from large multinational companies (such as GSK, Bayer and Boehringer Ingelheim), smaller biotech companies (such as Translate Bio) to universities and research institutions (such as University of Pennsylvania, where mRNA pioneers Katalin Karikó and Drew Weissman conducted their early research)[2].

          The web of intellectual property that protects the mRNA candidates currently in development is complex and overlaid by a large network of partnerships and licensing arrangements. For the purpose of this article, we will briefly examine some of the IP that protects key aspects of the technology and look at some of the key players in the space. This article is based on publically available information only and is non-exhaustive; we do not propose here to dig deep into the extensive web of patent filings, partnerships and litigation.

        • Can you patent an idea? Get the facts! [Ed: Those are not the facts, this is shameless marketing for oneself. Patents are for implementations, not ideas.]

          Every human invention begins as a spark in the mind — or, neurologically speaking, as activity in the brain’s associative and administrative control regions. But that is only the first of many steps on the road to commercial realization.

          One must travel down a relatively long path to bring an innovative idea to fruition as a full-fledged invention, and an even longer route to attain patent protection. Here, we will examine the standards of patentability for modern innovations and review best practices that, if followed, can boost your chances of filing a successful patent application.

        • UK Patent Joint Ownership: a reminder of the importance of joint ownership agreements [Ed: No, Bristows. Patents are assigned or held (temporarily), not owners.]

          The past week has seen issues of patent inventorship hit the headlines in the US as a simmering dispute between Moderna and the NIH has bubbled over into the public arena. At the centre of the dispute is a claim by the NIH that Moderna has failed to name three NIH scientists as inventors on a US patent application covering Moderna’s mRNA based COVID vaccine. A key focus of the commentary surrounding the dispute is the fact that, if successful in having the NIH scientists named as inventors on the patent, the NIH would gain the right to grant licences under the patent to third parties.

        • South Africa and Australia tackle AI inventorship in patents [Ed: Lawyers celebrate nations that shame themselves by showing their ignorance. Patent maximalists don't care about the law, only money.]

          In recent years, artificial intelligence (AI) systems have been moving from the realm of science fiction into real life as advanced neural networks begin to find applications in various industries. In the world of patent law, AI-related patent applications have been subject to scrutiny concerning issues of patentability, including the fundamental questions of who qualifies as an “inventor” and whether a highly developed AI system can fulfill that role.
          These questions have been raised most notably by a group of AI engineers and forward-thinking legal professionals who are connected with an international project to secure patent rights for inventions developed entirely by an AI system. DABUS, or “Device for the Autonomous Bootstrapping of Unified Sentience,” was engineered by AI pioneer Dr. Stephen Thaler. This AI system has developed two inventions that have been submitted in patent applications for consideration by Intellectual Property (IP) offices across the world. These inventions are an improved container for liquids that has a fractal profile to reduce slipping and increase safety during transport and enhanced methods for attracting attention using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that produce pulse trains at a highly noticeable frequency to humans.

        • [Old] Recent developments: update on FRAND in Germany

          In the past 12 months, the case law of German courts regarding the FRAND defence has developed significantly and strengthened the position of SEP owners in the wake the of the first Sisvel v Haier (KZR 36/17) Federal Court of Justice judgment on 5 May 2020. The court confirmed this judgment with its second Sisvel v Haier (KZR 35/17) decision on 24 November 2020. In both judgments, the Federal Court of Justice rejected the rather formal approach that the German courts of first and second instance took in applying the European Court of Justice’s (ECJ) Huawei v ZTE decision.

          Following the first Sisvel v Haier judgment of May 2020, the Mannheim and Munich District Courts rendered against Daimler in August and September 2020, injunctions in the proceedings Nokia v Daimler and Sharp v Daimler. Both courts rejected Daimler ’s FRAND defence after applying the Sisvel v Haier judgment from May 2020, holding that Daimler did not act how a willing licensee should have acted. These were the first post-Sisvel judgments in Germany in which that Federal Court of Justice decision was applied.

        • Mixed news for Apple: App Store accusers lose their most effective voice as Spotify’s top lawyer Horacio Gutierrez joins Disney–but State of California may support Epic Games on appeal [Ed: Reminder that Microsoft's patent extortion person, who fought against GNU/Linux by extortion, is now at Spotify]

          Yesterday I saw on LinkedIn that Horacio Gutierrez is leaving Spotify. He served as Spotify’s Head of Global Affairs and Chief Legal Officer for six years after a long and successful career at Microsoft where he was basically the #2 lawyer (and would easily have become #1, but Microsoft already has the one and only Brad Smith). Now he is joining Disney as General Counsel and Secretary (press release on BusinessWire).

          Horacio and I didn’t always agree. We’ve known each other for well over a decade, and about each other for even longer as we were on opposing sides of the European software patent-eligibility debate in the early to mid 2000s. Even when we were partly aligned, we weren’t of exactly the same opinion. But as an app developer (currently working on a new app, not a game this time) I’m profoundly disappointed because this means the App Store-critical movement loses the most effective and forceful advocate it ever had. There are some other people I consider similarly important, but at least for now they are acting in the background.

          Disney also faces the gatekeeper problem of mobile ecosystems (Apple’s and Google’s “vice-like”–maybe they meant “vise-like”–grip that the UK’s competition authority called out this month), but at least for the time being and probably for the foreseeable future, they’re nowhere near as antagonistic as Spotify. Apple’s insatiable appetite for grabbing additional revenue streams by leveraging the monopoly power it enjoys in its single-brand aftermarket make it a possibility that Disney, too, will feel as threatened by the app distribution duopoly as Spotify, but it’s not sure to happen, and not on the horizon for now.


          Epic’s Tim Sweeney has also done great things. He apparently can’t deal with people putting the finger in a wound for the sake of accurate analysis, which is why he unfollowed me on Twitter after I started explaining the narrow scope and uselessness of Epic’s consolation-prize UCL injunction and predicted precisely what was going to happen (clarification of scope by district court and stay by appeals court). That’s OK. I continue to like and share tweets of his that I agree with, and I wish him luck, but some mistakes have been made by Epic that the Fortnite maker can’t correct anymore. In fact, Mr. Sweeney himself made a far stronger argument in some Twitter debates against Apple’s “Progressive Web Apps” smokescreen than Epic did in court. It has helped and continues to help that Mr. Sweeney draws attention to Apple’s behavior and double standards. But Horacio was the far better chess player in the competition policy arena and the kind of advocate who can convince politicians and regulators of the need to take action.

          The Coalition for App Fairness needs a new strategic leader whose primary challenge it will be to make the CAF a credible voice of many developers even though there is no indication that anyone other than Epic, Spotify, and Tinder company Match Group has contributed substantial funding or has much of a say. It has to define its focus more broadly than just dealing with the 30% cut, and it also needs to find outside counsel capable of taking on Apple. As a motion to quash subpoenas shows, the CAF was at some point represented by the Kanter Law Group, the law firm of Jonathan Kanter, who is now the U.S. antitrust chief (official title: Assistant Attorney General, Antitrust Division, DOJ).

      • Trademarks

        • Turkey: The Required Evidence Regarding Proof Of Use In Trademark Matters

          With the introduction of the Industrial Property Law (“IPL”), the “proof of use” practice, which is applied in EUIPO and many countries, came into force in trademark opposition cases. In this article, we discuss how it works in Turkey.

          Upon the request of the owner of a trademark application, a party opposing trademark application must prove the use of the trademark on which the opposition is based to the extent it has been registered for more than five years at the application or priority date of the opposed trademark application.

Links 27/12/2021: BLAKE2s, KiCad 6.0.0, and Orange Pi 3 LTS

Posted in News Roundup at 7:35 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Leftovers

    • Parents With Disabilities Face Medicare Rules That Exclude Parental Assistance
    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

    • Integrity/Availability

      • Proprietary

        • Security

          • Privacy/Surveillance

            • We Encrypted the Web: 2021 Year in Review

              For more than 10 years, EFF’s HTTPS Everywhere browser extension has provided a much-needed service to users: encrypting their browser communications with websites and making sure they benefit from the protection of HTTPS wherever possible. Since we started offering HTTPS Everywhere, the battle to encrypt the web has made leaps and bounds: what was once a challenging technical argument is now a mainstream standard offered on most web pages. Now HTTPS is truly just about everywhere, thanks to the work of organizations like Let’s Encrypt. We’re proud of EFF’s own Certbot tool, which is Let’s Encrypt’s software complement that helps web administrators automate HTTPS for free.The goal of HTTPS Everywhere was always to become redundant. That would mean we’d achieved our larger goal: a world where HTTPS is so broadly available and accessible that users no longer need an extra browser extension to get it. Now that world is closer than ever, with mainstream browsers offering native support for an HTTPS-only mode.

              In 2020, Firefox announced an “HTTPS-only” mode feature that all users can turn on, signaling that HTTPS adoption was substantial enough to implement such a feature. 2021 was the year the other major browsers followed suit, starting with Chrome introducing an HTTPS default for navigation when a user types in the name of a URL without specifying insecure HTTP or secure HTTPS. Then in June, Microsoft’s Edge announced an “automatic HTTPS feature” that users can opt into. Then later in July, Chrome announced their “HTTPS-first mode”, which attempts to automatically upgrade all pages to HTTPS or display a warning if HTTPS isn’t available. Given Chrome’s dominant share of the browser market, this was a huge step forward in web security. Safari 15 also implemented a HTTPS-first mode in its browsers. However, it does not block insecure requests like in Firefox, Chrome, and Edge. 

              With these features rolled out, HTTPS is truly everywhere, accomplishing the long-standing goal to encrypt the web.

            • [Old] What’s in a blue checkmark?

              Twitter has gotten a lot more transparent recently about what the blue checkmark means and is meant to achieve. Their documentation says that it’s used to mark authentic accounts of public interest. But there is still a lot to ponder about what those words mean (what’s “public interest”? what’s “authentic”?) and why this is a useful feature. The verification program could be motivated by mis-/disinformation, harassment and abuse (e.g. preventing impersonation), scams and phishing, or some combination of the above. It’d be fascinating to know what Twitter’s internal success metrics (if any) are for the blue checkmark feature.

            • Urban Indians set to make their homes smarter in 2022

              As per a recent report by Allied Market Research, the India home automation market size was valued at $1.79 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach $13.5 billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 29.8 per cent during the forecast period.

            • Confidentiality

              • When a web PKI certificate won’t cut it

                In recent years, setting up a public HTTPS website has gotten easier and easier, thanks to widespread automated certificate management, free certificates, inexpensive CDN support, and other developments. However, for the most part, these advancements – and the web PKI in general – are designed for publicly accessible websites. That is, a website with a publicly resolvable domain name can undergo domain name validation to get an HTTPS certificate. You can also get an HTTPS certificate for a public IP address, but this type of certificate is much more rare and less widely supported than certificates for public domain names. What you cannot do is get a publicly trusted HTTPS certificate for a non-public domain name (such as an intranet hostname) or a reserved private network or localhost IP address (such as That is, a certificate authority like Let’s Encrypt or DigiCert will not be able to provide you with an HTTPS certificate for foo.test or that works with an out-of-the-box client like a major web browser. This is because there’s no way for the certificate authority to validate that you are the true owner of such a name; by definition, there is no such concept of the true owner of such a name.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Islamists terrorise Muslim and non-Muslim pupils and teachers at schools in Berlin, Germany

        Students from Muslim families in particular are under strong pressure to adapt, for example in terms of behaviour during the fasting month of Ramadan, dealing with religious minorities or the headscarf. “It is not enough that the pupils privately decide in favour of a stricter interpretation of Islam. Increasingly, such views are dominating the mainstream, with increasingly clear demands that these rules also be observed by others,” the inventory states. “This then also applies to educational staff, provided they themselves have a Muslim migration background.”

        For example, the head of one school reported that teachers and students there had been challenged about their “summer clothes”. The management of another school stated that a pupil told a staff member of Arab origin that he did not listen to her because she was a “very bad Muslim” due to her lack of a headscarf. The boy’s father, who was called in, had encouraged his son in his behaviour.

      • Taliban govt scraps Afghan election commission

        Established in 2006, the IEC was mandated to administer and supervise all types of elections, including presidential, according to the commission’s website.

        “They have taken this decision in a hurry… and dissolving the commission would have huge consequences,” Aurangzeb, who headed the panel up until the fall of the previous regime, said.

        “If this structure does not exist, I’m 100 percent sure that Afghanistan’s problems will never be solved as there won’t be any elections,” said Aurangzeb, who like many Afghans goes by only one name.

      • Sutherland man arrested on Christmas Eve over alleged terror attack plans

        The 34-year-old had planned to attack police officers, government officials and other Muslims that he deemed insufficiently devout, Detective Superintendent Michael Sheehy told reporters on Friday morning.

        “This individual is [allegedly] posting a significant amount of material about bombings and manufacturing explosives,” Det Supt Sheehy said.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Opinion | Top Six Reasons to Be Happy About Electric Vehicles in the US in 2022

          The Biden administration’s Infrastructure and Jobs Act, passed in October, and the new fuel standards set by the EPA will have a positive impact on electric vehicles in the United States in the coming year. Let’s review this good news.

        • Climate crisis puts oil in the crosshairs, but dependence persists

          The International Energy Agency warned in May that an immediate halt to new investment in fossil projects is needed if the world is to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and to stand any chance of limiting warming to 1.5C.

          The call was a revolution for an agency created in the wake of the first 1970 oil shock to protect the energy security of rich, oil-consuming nations.

          Another major moment in 2021 was the emergence at the COP 26 climate summit in Glasgow of a coalition of nations that pledged to phase out oil and gas production, although no major oil and gas producing nation joined that group.

        • Miami wants to become [cryptocurency]‘s financial capital. New York’s response? Bring it on

          Cryptocurrencies are seen by many as the future of finance, and Miami is aggressively angling to become the world’s crypto capital – in a direct threat to New York’s status as the country’s financial hub, threatening New York’s dominance in finance.

        • How Bitcoin miners are exploiting cheap electricity in Siberian ‘cryptocurrency allotments’

          In an extraordinary gesture of desperation that upset many Bitcoin miners in the region, local governor Igor Kobzev in a confidential memo to Russia’s energy minister this autumn complained about a “skyrocketing electricity use in the region” fraught with “accidents”.

          Irkutskenergo, the region’s main electricity company, insists that it cannot deny service to suspected Bitcoin miners as it is obliged to provide as much as electricity to households as it has the capacity for, and it has no right to ask if the customer wants to build five heated pools or install 100 mining rigs on their property.

          The energy company was desperate enough to launch private investigations into suspected illegal farms in order to seek damages in court.

        • Iceland Cuts Power to Industry, Turns Away New Bitcoin Miners

          Low hydro reservoir levels, a malfunction at a power station and a delay in obtaining power from an external producer led to the reduction, effective immediately, the company said on Tuesday. In addition to fish-feed plants, the reductions apply to large customers on curtailable short-term contracts. Record demand also played a part, said Tinna Traustadottir, executive vice president of sales and customer service at Landsvirkjun.

        • [Old] Bitcoin Mining Breathes Life into Zombie Coal Plants

          Scrubgrass is just the start. Stronghold has executed a purchase agreement to acquire a second waste coal plant in Pennsylvania, the Panther Creek Energy Facility, and aspires to buy a third. Like Scrubgrass, Panther Creek was increasingly unable to compete on the open electricity market– operating at less than one tenth of its capacity prior to its acquisition by Stronghold.

      • Wildlife/Nature

        • PM shares rare snow leopard footage

          Amid the ongoing government efforts for wildlife conservation through community invo­lve­ment and afforestation in the country, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday shared a rare footage of a snow leopard roaming and roaring over the snowy mountains in the Khaplu area of Gilgit Baltistan.

      • Overpopulation

        • Iran Condom Ban Sparks Fears Of Disease, Unwanted Pregnancies, And A Black Market

          Iran has passed a law banning the free, state-subsidized distribution of contraceptives in a bid to boost its population growth — but the move has raised fears of catastrophic repercussions. Iran’s government systematically cracks down on the free flow of information and those who speak to foreign media may be subject to persecution. For that reason, the identities of the interviewees are not disclosed and their faces are blurred or not shown.

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • A Year in, Biden Hasn’t Fulfilled Promise to Repair Refugee Resettlement Program
      • Control of House Up in Air as More Dems Say They Won’t Seek Reelection in 2022
      • Are U.S. Charities Backing Hindu Nationalism?

        The two viruses are related due to the way in which Hindu nationalist aligned charitable organizations in the United States and the United Kingdom have raised money for Covid relief and then funnelled these funds to Hindu nationalist groups in India, where they are potentially used to spread hatred against religious minorities.

        To read this article, log in here or subscribe here. In order to read CP+ articles, your web browser must be set to accept cookies.

      • President Erdoğan has only brought poverty to Turkey, numbers show

        In the past two days, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his supporters have rejoiced in the rebound of the Turkish Lira against the dollar. However, reporting by daily BirGün shows that that celebration is misplaced. Not only was the currency crisis self-inflicted, but over the past two decades of Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule, people in Turkey have only gotten poorer.

      • Lira plunges again after Erdogan cites Islam to defend rate cuts

        Erdogan has previously cited his religion in explaining why he believes interest rates cause inflation instead of reining it in.

        High interest rates are a drag on activity and slow down economic growth.

        But central banks raise their policy rates out of necessity when inflation gets out of hand.

        The Turkish lira has now lost nearly half its value in the past three months alone.

      • Nigeria places Erdogan’s enemies on surveillance in exchange for Turkey’s military assistance

        Nigeria’s unfavourable response further infuriated the Turkish government. Consequently, several Nigerian students attending Turkish schools abroad were arrested while others were deported for reasons never stated.

        President Buhari’s adviser on Diaspora Affairs at the time, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, confirmed to local media that “the Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the permanent secretary summoned the Turkish Ambassador immediately the information was received. While both countries are working at resolving the issue through every possible diplomatic channel, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs made it clear that such acts against Nigerians will not be accepted.”

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • 2021 Was the Year Lawmakers Tried to Regulate Online Speech

        So, it’s inevitable that services make mistakes—removing users’ speech that does not violate their policies, or terminating users’ accounts with no explanation or opportunity to appeal. And inconsistent moderation often falls hardest on oppressed groups. 

        The dominance of a handful of online platforms like Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter increases the impact of their content moderation decisions and mistakes on internet users’ ability to speak, organize, and participate online. Bad content moderation is a real problem that harms internet users. 

        There’s no perfect solution to this issue. But U.S. lawmakers seem enamored with trying to force platforms to follow a government-mandated editorial line: host this type of speech, take down this other type of speech. In Congressional hearing after hearing, lawmakers have hammered executives of the largest companies over what content stayed up, and what went down. The hearings ignored smaller platforms and services that could be harmed or destroyed by many of the new proposed internet regulations. 

      • More Tiananmen massacre memorials removed in Hong Kong

        The removal of the monuments testifies to the ruling Communist Party’s efforts to erase the bloody events from the public consciousness. It also comes as the party snuffs out democratic challenges in Hong Kong to its rule.

        On Thursday, a monument at the University of Hong Kong was dismantled, wiping out one of the city’s last remaining places of public commemoration of the crackdown.

        The government has never provided a figure on casualties and the pro-democracy movement remains a taboo topic in mainland China. Hong Kong and Macao, the two semi-autonomous territories, were the only places on Chinese soil where commemorations of the crackdown were allowed until authorities banned annual candlelight vigils for two consecutive years.

      • Steam Global Domain Appears to Be Banned in China

        Indeed, the Steampowered domain isn’t accessible anymore to Chinese users according to Comparitech, while Steamchina is. That’s the domain of the Chinese version of Steam, which Valve launched in February 2021 through a partnership with Perfect World.

        Steam China is far more limited than the global version, though. It was built to comply with the Chinese government’s strict regulations on videogames and Internet usage. First and foremost, to publish a game on this platform a developer would need Chinese government approval for the game. That’s why the Chinese version only had 53 games at launch, not to mention the lack of features such as Steam Forums, Steam Workshop, Steam Market, and more.

      • The global version of Steam appears to be banned in China

        China’s apparent ban on Steam Global is a rough way to end a year that the country has spent cracking down on gaming. In July, Tencent rolled out a facial recognition technology that scans kids’ faces to keep them in compliance with the 10PM curfew that China set to prevent kids from gaming late at night. Just one month later, China implemented a new rule that restricts minors from playing games for more than three hours per week. China later banned Fortnite, even though the game was already heavily modified to comply with China’s strict rules.

      • Steam Global Faces Ban in China; Chinese Version Available Only with 103 Games in Its Library

        According to The Verge, Steam China only has 103 titles on its library, and it is a massive step down for gamers and enthusiasts. The library only holds less than ten percent of the games it originally featured.

      • After the cross of Notre-Dame de la Garde on the New Year’s card of Marseille’s city hall was erased by the Islamist-Stalinist city government, the opposition protests

        The New Year’s card proposed by the city of Marseille shocked the conservative opposition a few days before the New Year. The reason: in the photo, the cross of the Basilica Notre-Dame de la Garde was removed from its dome, France 3 reported in an article published on Thursday December the 23rd. This detail caught the attention of numerous local politicians, such as Valérie Boyer, who addressed the city council on Twitter. The Les Républicains (LR) senator of the Bouches-du-Rhône department reacted not without irony: “Thank you to the city administration for being so attached to our traditions, our roots and our identity. After the disappearance of Merry Christmas (which has been replaced by Happy Feast), we learn that Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde has no cross. The Virgin Mary could be next?”.

    • Freedom of Information/Freedom of the Press

      • New Year’s Eve Rally in Boston to Support Julian Assange

        This article was originally published on If This Be Treason.

        New Englanders concerned about the treatment of Julian Assange, the founder of the radical news site Wikileaks who is currently in custody in the UK awaiting extradition to the US under espionage charges, will gather as part of a “First Night Against the Wars” event at Boston’s Copley Square on the afternoon on December 31. The gathering will take place between 2 pm-3:30 pm.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Envisioning a World With No Bosses
      • Opinion | The Age of Discontent: What Drives the Rising Wave of World Protests?

        In recent years, the world has been shaken by protests. From the Arab Spring to the social uprisings in Chile and Latin America, the world has seen a dramatic rise in protests. In a polarized world, the COVID-19 pandemic has only accentuated feelings of outrage and discontent.

      • Desmond Tutu, Fierce Opponent of South African and Israeli Apartheid, Dies at 90
      • Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Defender of Human Rights in South Africa and Beyond, Dies at 90

        Leaving behind a legacy of fighting for oppressed people in South Africa and around the world, Archbishop Desmond Tutu died Sunday at age 90 in Cape Town, South Africa. The cause was reportedly cancer.

        Advocates for human rights, health equity, economic justice, and nonviolence honored Tutu, who helped lead the anti-apartheid movement in South Africa and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission which was formed afterwards.

      • Ugandan maid dies in Egypt two years after travelling to Saudi Arabia

        Many young women like Namazzi who try to escape unemployment and poverty at home, often end up as domestic workers in the Middle East where over the years, there has been systematic documentation of cases of exploitation, physical and/or sexual abuse, and even fatalities.

        In August this year, Uganda said it was to review the agreements with a number of countries, particularly in the Middle East, as cases of abuse of migrant workers continue to rise.

      • Iran Executes Kurdish Man Despite International Appeals, Rights Activists Say

        Heidar Ghorbani was executed early on December 19 in Sanandaj prison in western Iran’s Kurdistan Province, the Oslo-based Iran Human Rights (IHR) and the France-based Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN) said, adding that neither his family nor his lawyer had been given prior warning.

        Ghorbani’s execution was carried out while his case was still under consideration at the Supreme Court.

      • [Old] I travelled around Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. This is what I saw

        Perhaps no woman on Earth can relate to an Afghan woman more than an Iranian. With shared language and culture, we know what it means when a political power transfer happens and men in power decide on women’s issues. We know that when those men say that ‘proper systems are in place to ensure the safety of women’, it means that they are going to gradually ignore us.

        We know the process: first, they announce their respect for women, emphasising women’s duty of childbearing, then they rule how women should cover themselves, before banning us from going to work or having higher education, ‘for our own good and security’. And then, some time later, after wars, bombs, suicide attacks or economic crises, women’s issues are forgotten altogether.

      • Pak Court Allows Minor Christian Girl Who Converted To Islam To Go With Parents

        Arzoo had earlier refused to go home with her parents, who filed a case last year claiming that a Muslim man named Syed Azhar Ali, who is much older than their daughter, first abducted her and then forcibly converted her to Islam and married her.

      • Taliban Further Restrict Afghan Women With New Travel Rules

        Afghanistan’s ruling Taliban issued on Sunday new travel restrictions for the country’s women, an action criticized by the U.S. as further mistreatment of Afghan women by the terror group.

        The Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice directive limits a woman’s ability to travel farther than 72 kilometers unless accompanied by a close male relative. It also advised taxi drivers to offer rides only to women wearing an Islamic hijab or a headscarf.

        Ministry spokesman Sadiq Akif Mahajer defended the restrictions, telling VOA they were in line with Sharia, or Islamic law.

      • No trips for Afghan women unless escorted by male relative: Taliban

        The move follows the Taliban barring many women in public-sector roles from returning to work in the wake of their August 15 seizure of power, and as girls remain largely cut off from state secondary schooling.

        It also comes despite the hardline Islamists seeking to project a moderate image internationally in a bid to restore aid suspended when the previous government imploded during the final stages of a US military withdrawal.

    • Monopolies

      • Patents

        • Japan to pay companies to keep sensitive patents secret- Nikkei

          Japan will compensate companies to keep secret patents with potential military applications under proposed legislation, the Nikkei reported on Sunday, without citing sources.

          The patents under review in the proposed economic security legislation will include technology that can help develop nuclear weapons, such as uranium enrichment and cutting-edge innovations like quantum technology, the financial daily said.

        • Japan To Pay Firms To Keep Sensitive Patents Secret: Report

          Japan will compensate companies to keep secret patents with potential military applications under proposed legislation, the Nikkei reported on Sunday, without citing sources.

          The patents under review of the proposed economic security legislation will include technology that can help develop nuclear weapons, such as uranium enrichment and cutting-edge innovations like quantum technology, the Nikkei report said.

        • Hush money: Japan to pay companies to keep sensitive patents secret

          The Japanese government will introduce legislation to keep patents with potential military applications secret, compensating companies and applicants for forgone licensing income, Nikkei has learned.

      • Copyrights

        • Amazon, Lee Child & John Grisham Win $7.8m Judgment Against eBook Pirates

          In 2020, Amazon teamed up with publisher Penguin Random House and authors including Lee Child and John Grisham to sue several pirate eBook sites operating out of Ukraine. After a tortuous legal process, a Washington court has awarded the maximum available statutory damages of $7.8 million.

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