Links 30/12/2022: Slimbook Kymera Ventus

Posted in News Roundup at 2:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Desktop/Laptop

      • 2022 was the year of Linux on the Desktop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Applications

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

    • Instructionals/Technical

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

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

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

      • peppe8oRaspberry PI OS Lite: Install, Setup and Configure

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

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

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

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

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

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

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

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

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

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

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

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

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

    • New Releases

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Gentoo Family

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

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

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

      • LinuxiacCalculate Linux 23: Updated Desktop Environments and New Tools

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

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

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

    • SUSE/OpenSUSE

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

        Dear Tumbleweed users and hackers,

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

    • Canonical/Ubuntu Family

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

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

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

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

      • Full Circle MagazineFull Circle Magazine #188

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

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • HacksterAuto-pause your TV – Hackster.io

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      • Scanntronik Manuals – pagetable.com

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

      • Let’s build a nixie watch – jaeblog jaeblog

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

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

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

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

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

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Programming/Development

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

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

      • Golang is evil on shitty networks – Somewhere Within Boredom

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

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

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

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

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

      • ACMThe End of Programming

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

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

      • Another Year of #TidyTuesday | Nicola Rennie

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

      • Perl / Raku

        • PerlSemVer but with Extra Steps | Toby Inkster [blogs.perl.org]

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

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

  • Leftovers

    • CubicleNateA 2022 Christmastime Blathering – CubicleNate’s Techpad

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

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

    • Commonweal MagazineEscaping the Algorithms | Commonweal Magazine

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

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

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

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

    • Science

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

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

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

    • Hardware

      • IEEEMinuscule Sensing Suite Is a Big Step Toward Robotic Gnats

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

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

    • Security

      • LWNSecurity updates for Friday [LWN.net]

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

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

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

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • Bruce SchneierRecovering Smartphone Voice from the Accelerometer

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

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

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

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

    • Defence/Aggression

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

        Spot isn’t like other police dogs.

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

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

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

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

      • Michael West MediaWar Powers Inquiry: “just as Britain has the Gurkhas, the Americans have us?” – Michael West

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

    • Environment

      • Energy

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

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

    • Finance

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

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

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

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

        My auntie is in hospital for christmas this year.

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

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

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

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

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

    • Monopolies

      • Copyrights

        • The VergeSherlock Holmes will finally escape copyright this weekend

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

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Technical

      • Science

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Links 30/12/2022: Ultimate Edition and a ‘Right To Repair’ Bill Scandal

Posted in News Roundup at 11:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • Jupiter BroadcastingJellyfin January | Self-Hosted 87

        We kick off our Jellyfin January challenge and invite you to join us. Plus, Chris has some new hardware and our thoughts on the trouble at the Matrix foundation.

    • Applications

      • OMG! LinuxHandBrake 1.6 Released with AV1 Video Encoding Support – OMG! Linux

        A major update to HandBrake, a popular, cross-platform and open-source video transcoder (and then some), has been released.

        HandBrake 1.6.0 is a notable release as it is the first version of the app to support AV1 video encoding. AV1 is a new, open-source video codec that many hope will supplant H.264 as the go-to video standard in the future — momentum its inclusion here is sure to add to.

        Also new in this release is high bit depth and color depth support for many of HandBrake’s existing encoders and filters. Additionally, there are new 4K AV1 General, QSV, and MKV presets; renamed web presets; and VP8 presets removed (as VP8 is RIP).

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • LinuxConfigHow to mount a remote filesystem over SSH with sshfs

        SSH (Secure Shell) is a protocol used to establish an encrypted connection with a remote machine using a client-server model: the ssh server runs on the machine we want to access remotely, while a client is used on the machines from which we want to connect. Thanks to sshfs, we can use an existing SSH connection to mount a remote directory in a secure way, without using additional services like NFS or Samba.

      • Geetu R VaswaniHow to create and use LUKS encrypted partition in Linux

        It is easy to create a LUKS container and a partition within it, using the GUI on Linux. The application that enables this easily is the gnome-disk-utility. However, if you want to use the command line to set up a LUKS encrypted device, read on.

        Exercise appropriate caution before doing any of the below with appropriate safeguards as they can result in permanent data loss.

      • Unix MenHow To Calculate Ip Subnet Address with Ipcalc

        If you’re working with Linux machines and want to manage a network, the bottom line is that you will need to get a handle on subnetting. 

        Subnetting involves breaking down networks into much smaller networks. This helps improve routing efficiency and prevent network-wide threats from taking them down.

        Managing subnetting requires calculating the subnet mask, which demands that binary math be performed with the IP address. This is where the ipcalc command comes in. 

      • OMG! LinuxMake Firefox Look Like a Native GTK App – Here’s How – OMG! Linux

        Mozilla Firefox is great: it’s free, open source software that works well, is updated often, and looks great on every Linux distro out there, regardless of desktop environment.

        But did you know you can make Firefox look more at home on the GNOME desktop?

        Yup, you can — all thanks to the Firefox GNOME Theme project!

        In this post I detail just how dramatic this theme is; how you can install it on your system; and mention few additional tweaks you can make to complete the transformation.

      • RoseHostingHow to Install Shopware on Ubuntu 22.04 – RoseHosting

        Shopware Community Edition (CE) is a free and open-source e-commerce application. It is an alternative to another e-commerce application, Magento or Prestashop. Shopware is a very powerful and flexible application. It is built on a number of symphony framework components developed in PhpStorm through the core features and its plugins. In this tutorial, we will show you how to install Shopware Community Edition (CE) on a fresh Ubuntu 22.04.

      • H2S MediaAdduser Command usage in Linux with Examples – Linux Shout

        Adding users in Linux using the graphical interface is an easy task. But what about the command line? There are many users who either have only CLI or prefer to use commands for adding a new user.

        We can use the adduser command to create new users. With adduser, not only the user itself is created, but also the other necessary settings are made, such as creating a home directory, assigning the user to a group, setting the login shell, etc. Although it a command line command, but the creation of the user is interactive.

        adduser is typical for all distributions based on Debian, RedHat, and other Linux. Let’s see how to install and use it.

      • UNIX CopHow to install Pix (Linux Mint X-app) on Ubuntu 22.04

        Although I don’t use Linux Mint nowadays, I must admit that your X-Apps are great. Simple, stable, and efficient, they are more than enough for everyone. However, the one I like is Pix. So, today you will learn how to install Pix (Linux Mint X-app) on Ubuntu 22.04.

      • DebugPointHow to Install MX Linux Step-by-Step Guide [Ed: Updated today]

        MX Linux is a Debian-based systemd-free distribution that primarily targets lightweight and older hardware. It became popular recently due to its unique native app tools, stability, active development and a nice community of users & devs. MX Linux currently features Xfce, KDE Plasma and Fluxbox for desktops. The Debian-stable base provides the ultimate stability. Moreover, it also provides a 32-bit installer for that older hardware.

        A simple tutorial shows how to install the popular lightweight distribution MX Linux as a standalone system, dual-boot and in VM.

    • Games

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • Linuxiac5 Best Linux Distro Releases for Servers in 2022: Our Top Picks

      Although Linux has grown in popularity on the desktop, its real strength and power remain on the server front, where the OS is the sole leader. And, because the year is ending, we’ve compiled a list of the best server Linux distro releases in 2022.

      So, if you’re in the market for a reliable and high-performing Linux distro for your server, you’re in luck! There are many excellent options, and we’ve rounded up the top 5 in this list. Each of these distros has its strengths and features, making them stand out as the best choices for servers in 2022.

    • New Releases

      • DebugPointVanilla OS 22.10 “Kinetic” Debuts with Groundbreaking Release

        Vanilla OS’s maiden release is finally out, bringing a new way of computing with Linux distribution. It has been under development and followed by a closed beta for the last few months. And finally, the team officially released Vanilla OS 22.10 “Kinetic” as their first-ever release.

        Vanilla OS makes its much-anticipated maiden debut with its first release: Vanilla OS 22.10.

        Here’s what’s new.

      • It’s FOSSVanilla OS Stable Release Has Landed!

        Previously, they had also announced that they would use the ‘Jade’ installer from the Crystal Linux team.

        But, they changed their mind and opted to build the ‘Vanilla Installer’ on top of their existing ‘Vanilla First Setup’ project.

      • Let’s Rock! Arch! – Ultimate Edition

        It was a huge educational tour for me, yes I have it installed. I modified Repostorm to convert software as well as make it build repositories, multiple at that.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • OMG! LinuxPine64 Announce a PineTab 2 is Coming Next Year – OMG! Linux

        If you’ve been pining (heh) for a souped-up, super-fast Linux tablet running on open source software, Pine64 have you covered.

        Today, Pine64 announced the PineTab2 – a successor to its original PineTab Linux tablet released in 2018.

        Not that many people were able to buy the PineTab. Major supply chain disruptions owing to the pandemic (and the ensuring knock-on effects thereof) made it nigh-on-impossible for Pine64 to source the components and manufacturing slots needed to produce it.

        But forget all that; that’s old news.

      • CNX SoftwareKhadas VIM1S review – Ubuntu 22.04 tested on an Amlogic S905Y4 SBC

        In this review of Khadas VIM1S SBC, we’ll install Ubuntu 22.04, and report our experience testing the performance such as memory speed and eMMC flash performance, and 3D graphics capabilities.

        Just like Khadas VIM4 and Edge2, the Khadas VIM1S SBC ships with the OOWOW firmware that allows easy installation of operating systems by downloading the images, and flashing them directly to the eMMC flash. You need just to connect a monitor and a USB keyboard and have an Internet connection through either LAN or Wi-Fi. Let’s start by installing Ubuntu 22.04 on Khadas VIM1S together.

        If no OS is installed, OOWOW will boot automatically, but if there’s already another OS installed, you can press and hold the Function button, press the Reset button, and release the Function button. After a few seconds, the OOWOW Wizard as shown in the picture below should show up. If an Ethernet cable is not connected, we can select Network to configure Wi-Fi as the installation process requires downloading an image from Khadas servers.

      • Linux LinksBrosTrend Linux WiFi Adapter AC1200 AC3L Review

        This review looks at the BrosTrend Linux USB WiFi Adapter AC1200 (AC3L). Unlike most Wi-Fi sellers, BrosTrend provide Linux support for Ubuntu and Ubuntu-based distros. Their Wi-Fi adapter chipsets and drivers are developed by Realtek.

        The AC3L retails for around £36 ($41). You get the Wi-Fi adapter, 2 omni-directional Wi-Fi antenna with a gain of 5dBi, a USB 3.0 cradle with 5 foot USB extension cable. There’s a CD with driver and manual (not for Linux systems), and a quick installation guide (paper).

      • Linux GizmosXiaomi first Mini PC features 12th Gen Intel Core i5

        The XM22AL5S is Xiaomi’s first Mini PC featuring the i5 1240 processor (12-Cores/16-Threads). The device is equipped with one 2.5GbE LAN port, 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports, 2x HDMI ports, an active cooling system and WiFi6/Bluetooth 5.3.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • HackadayA Fun Low-Cost Start For Your Macropad Hobby

        If you were ever looking for a small relaxing evening project that you could then use day-to-day, you gotta consider the Pico Hat Pad kit by [Natalie the Nerd]. It fits squarely within the Pi Pico form-factor, giving you two buttons, one rotary encoder and two individually addressable LEDs to play with. Initially, this macropad was intended as an under-$20 device that’s also a soldering practice kit, and [Natalie] has knocked it out of the park.

      • HackadayPi-Cast Adds ATX Signalling To KVM

        A KVM is a great tool for administering a number of different computers without cluttering one’s desk with extra peripherals, or for having to re-connect the keyboard, video, and mouse to each new machine as needed. For local administration this can save a ton of time and headache. For remote administration, though, a virtual KVM is needed, and although these solutions are pricey it’s possible to build one around a Raspberry Pi for a fraction of the cost. This one adds even more functionality by also switching the ATX signals from the motherboard and simplifying cable management to boot.

  • Leftovers

    • Counter PunchMy Favorites of 2022

      I’m really not a big fan of these “best of” lists, but of all the new arts entertainment (or edutainment as KRS-One would say) I consumed this past year, here’s what helped me most in wading through the radioactive waste of 2022.

    • Counter PunchUnmediated Community – Ten Years of The Invisible Army

      I do not and have never used a smartphone.

      Before you continue reading, I’d like you to stop and ponder that for a moment. Think about how much of your everyday life is now integrated into this machine.

    • Mexico News DailyPoinsettia, from obscure Mexican weed to the ‘Christmas flower’

      However, the poinsettia was still largely unknown in the United States. But all that changed in the early 1900s.

      German emigrant Albert Ecke started a commercial orchard in California in 1909, the Ecke Family Ranch, to cultivate the plant. He started sending free poinsettias to decorate on-air broadcast sets of television studios for the holidays. His plan paid off, and millions began to associate poinsettias with Christmas.

    • GO MediaAndrew Tate Arrested for Human Trafficking in Romania After Pizza Box Gave Away His Location

      A Twitter spat that misogynist social media personality Andrew Tate started with 19-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg over his masculinity led Romanian authorities to arrest him and his brother, Tristan, for human trafficking and rape on Thursday, according to local media and police.

      Tate taunted Thunberg on Twitter about the carbon emissions of his 33 cars, to which Thunberg replied with a joke about “small dick energy” that racked up millions of likes. Tate then posted a humiliating 2-minute video of himself smoking a cigar in a robe and insisting that he was not at all owned by the teenager. The video prominently featured two boxes of pizza from a local shop, which reportedly tipped off authorities to his whereabouts.

    • BBCAndrew Tate detained in Romania over rape and human trafficking case

      Rumours had swirled online that police had been tipped off to Mr Tate’s presence in the country after he posted a video taking aim at the environmental activist Greta Thunberg. However, this is not believed to be the case.

      In the footage he posted, he was handed a pizza box from a local restaurant, which some users suggested had inadvertently revealed his location to officers.

    • Drew Schustersup

      We quickly discovered a few interesting characteristics of net send that could be used for some silliness. For one, the alert dialog that opened up stole keyboard focus and was generally disruptive. You could spam as many net send commands as you wanted and the alerts would just pile up on a user’s screen, with no clear way to dismiss them all. We took advantage of this by mashing up and enter as well as writing batch scripts to render our friends’ computers useless. Eventually a tense truce was called, when we found out that receiving a net send message while playing the hidden copy of Unreal Tournament GOTY we had installed on the school network would temporarily take the player out of the game for just long enough to be killed in a critical moment.

      The most creative exploit we came up with for net send was on students (and teachers) who weren’t yet aware of the feature. We had the ability to open an official windows alert on anyone’s machine, and at a glance it wasn’t obvious these messages were coming from another computer on the network. We started sending messages like “Critical Error: Please Restart Your Computer Immediately” and would watch with glee as our victim sighed deeply before restarting their computer.

    • Common DreamsIn New Year’s Address, UN Chief Says ‘We Need Peace, Now More Than Ever’

      United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday beseeched humanity to “make 2023 a year when peace is restored to our lives, our homes, and our world,” a message that came as dozens of wars and armed conflicts rage around the world.

    • ScheerpostUnited Nations Chief António Guterres Begs the World for Peace in 2023

      Brett Wilkins reports on the United Nations Secretary General António Guterres’ poignant and urgent New Year’s address.

    • Democracy NowAre Peace Talks Possible? Prof. Gilbert Achcar on Whether Russia & Ukraine Can Negotiate End to War

      The war in Ukraine is now in its 11th month, and Russia unleashed a new bombardment this week of cities across the country, including the capital Kyiv. This comes as both Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Russian President Vladimir Putin have expressed a willingness to negotiate an end to the war — but their positions remain so far apart that there are no real hopes of peace talks, says longtime antiwar activist, author and international relations scholar Gilbert Achcar. “For now, both sides are just probably betting on being able to achieve more on the ground and not really serious about a ceasefire and negotiations under the present conditions,” he says.

    • The NationWe Lost Barbara Ehrenreich in 2022, but We Can’t Lose Sight of Her Visionary American Socialism

      Barbara Ehrenreich was every good thing that was said about her, and more. The visionary author and activist, who died in 2022 at age 81, was, as her September New York Times obituary reminded us, America’s great “explorer of prosperity’s dark side.” With Fear of Falling: The Inner Life of the Middle Class (1989), Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (2001), and Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream (2005), Ehrenreich developed a fact-based critique of contemporary capitalism that was brilliantly researched and appropriately acerbic—as were the articles, essays, speeches, and media appearances that made her not just a tireless reporter but also a vital social commentator.

    • MeduzaComposer Eduard Artemyev has died — Meduza

      Soviet and Russian composer Eduard Artemyev passed away at 86 years old.

    • HackadayRobot Rebellion Brings Back BBC Camera Operators

      The modern TV news studio is a masterpiece of live video and CGI, as networks vie for the flashiest presentation. BBC News in London is no exception, and embraced the future in 2013 to the extent of replacing its flesh-and-blood camera operators with robotic cameras. On the face of it this made sense; it was cheaper, and newsroom cameras are most likely to record as set range of very similar shots. A decade later they’re to be retired in a victory for humans, as the corporation tires of the stream of viral fails leaving presenters scrambling to catch up.

    • The NationNew Year Wishes
    • TruthOutNew York Prosecutors Open Investigation Into Representative-Elect George Santos
    • HackadayA Nomadic Chair

      There’s no shortage of different types of folding or portable chairs, but designer [Jorge Penadés] built a backpack chair that will go the long haul.

    • HackadayThe Sweetest Glue In The World

      Perhaps we’re not alone in having a penchant for gummy sweets, but we have to admit to never following the train of thought shared by [Lost Art Press]. Upon finding that a hide glue ingredient was raw gelatin obtained from a confectionery company, they stored away the knowledge and eventually tried making some glue using Haribo Goldbears from a gas station.

    • Hackaday2022 FPV Contest: Turbo Super Submarine

      The projects featured on these pages frequently rule the air, the ground, the rails, and even the waves, but very rarely do they rule the deep. Building a submarine is hard, and thus it’s a challenge not taken on by all but the most courageous of builders. This hasn’t discouraged [Timo] though, who has embarked on the construction of what is shaping up to be a very nice underwater ROV build.

    • Science

      • Counter PunchThe Rise and Rise of Artificiality

        it’s a strange world getting stranger each day viruses coming out of the closet păthos rising from marshes to posit terror, and help us throw it all away.

        on the planet with the only known life in the universe, humans are fading artificial beings are persuading and the mad piper is playing his fife.

    • Hardware

      • HackadayDebugging Laser Cut Wobble, The Scientific Way

        [PWalsh] was using his lasercutter to cut acrylic, expecting the cuts to have a pleasantly smooth edge. Alas, the edges turned out to be wobbly and sandpaper-like, not smooth in the slightnest. Bummer! Internet suggested a stepper motor swap, but not much in the way of insights – and that would’ve been a royal pain for sure. How would you approach debugging such a problem? Well, [PWalsh] didn’t want to swap crucial components willy-nilly, going the scientific way instead, and breaks it down for us.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • VOA NewsUS Lawsuit Claims Pharma Distributor Worsened Opioid Epidemic

        The U.S. Justice Department is suing one of the largest U.S. drug distributors for failing to report suspicious orders of prescription opioids, saying the company’s “years of repeated violations” contributed to the deadly U.S. opioid epidemic.

        In a civil lawsuit filed Thursday, the department alleges that AmerisourceBergen and two subsidiaries violated the Controlled Substances Act by failing to report “at least hundreds of thousands” of suspicious orders for prescription painkillers to the Drug Enforcement Administration.

        The department is seeking potentially billions of dollars in penalties.

      • Common DreamsBig Pharma and GOP Allies Aim to Sabotage Medicare Drug Price Reforms

        The pharmaceutical industry and its Republican allies in Congress are openly signaling their plans obstruct at every turn as the Biden administration looks to begin implementing a recently passed law that will allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices for the first time in its history.

      • TruthOutBig Pharma and GOP Open About Plans to Obstruct Medicare Drug Price Reforms
      • Counter PunchArchitects of Medicare Privatization: Congress, Biden and the CMS

        It is easy and appropriate to target the private health insurance companies who earn excessive profits from the Medicare Trust Fund through Medicare Advantage plans, especially given the well-documented evidence of overcharging and fraud.

        But it is essential that we remember that it has been the U.S. Congress and the Executive Office that promoted the privatization of Medicare, to varying degrees, since it was first signed into law by President Johnson in 1965 and enacted the following year.

      • TechdirtUniversity Of Oklahoma The Latest To Issue A Performative Ban Of TikTok

        Pretending that you’re actually fixing the world’s privacy and national security issues by banning TikTok is just so very hot right now. Numerous states have passed new rules banning TikTok on government employee devices. And Marco Rubio has proposed a federal law that would ban TikTok unless ByteDance is willing to sell the popular app to an American company (presumably GOP-aligned Oracle).

      • ABCIndiana blocks Chinese-owned app TikTok from state devices

        The blockage came on the same day that Indiana’s attorney general sued TikTok, claiming the video-sharing platform misleads its users, particularly children, about the level of inappropriate content and security of consumer information.

      • Common DreamsDOJ Suit Accuses Major Drug Distributor of Fueling US Opioid Crisis

        The Biden administration on Thursday filed suit against one of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical distributors, AmerisourceBergen, and two of its subsidiaries for allegedly violating federal law and contributing to the opioid epidemic.

      • Pro PublicaHow Fraud Increases Medicare Spending on COVID-19 Testing

        As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to churn, Medicare spending on testing for the virus continued to increase in 2022 and is outpacing the two prior years.

        Through Oct. 31, Medicare had spent $2 billion on COVID-19 tests in 2022, an amount that will surpass last year’s total as claims are filed, according to new data provided to ProPublica by CareSet, a research organization that works to make the health care system more transparent.

      • Common DreamsHouse Dems Say FDA ‘Inappropriately Collaborated’ With Biogen on New Alzheimer’s Drug

        Nearly two years after a leading U.S. consumer advocacy group sounded the alarm on the matter, House Democrats released a report Thursday showing the Food and Drug Administration and pharma giant Biogen “inappropriately collaborated” prior to the controversial approval of a new $28,000-per-year Alzheimer’s drug of questionable efficacy.

    • Security

      • Krebs On SecurityHappy 13th Birthday, KrebsOnSecurity!

        KrebsOnSecurity turns 13 years old today. That’s a crazy long time for an independent media outlet these days, but then again I’m bound to keep doing this as long as they keep letting me. Heck, I’ve been doing this so long I briefly forgot which birthday this was!

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • NPRA U.K. medical office mistakenly sent patients a text message with a cancer diagnosis

          About 20 minutes later, the “NHS-NoReply” number messaged: “Please accept our sincere apologies for the previous text message sent. This has been sent in error. Our message to you should have read We wish you a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”

        • EFFSurveillance in San Francisco: 2022 in Review

          Unfortunately, San Francisco took a wrong turn in 2022. Over objections of many community groups, the Board of Supervisors passed temporary legislation allowing police to get live access to private security cameras to address any crime, no matter how minor. We’ll be back in 2024, when the ordinance sunsets, to demand that the city not restart this surveillance program. 

           The prolonged fight began in early 2022 with the threat of dueling ballot measures on whether to strengthen or weaken the surveillance control ordinance.  A coalition came together, and the measures were withdrawn. Then the fight shifted to a new proposed ordinance to authorize a specific surveillance ordinance. The bill would allow police to request live access from the owner of any private security camera for up to 24 hours after an alleged crime, as well as during any “significant events.”

          The SFPD’s proposal allowed the police to access thousands of private surveillance cameras,including those outside of residences and businesses, as well as the massive surveillance camera networks of the many Business Improvement Districts and Community Benefit Districts in various neighborhoods around the city. Before the new legislation, police could only request historical footage from these cameras. But this new proposal gave police the power to live monitor “significant events”—defined to include any “large or high-profile event,” implicating people exercising their First Amendment rights during protests or religious gatherings. The concern was far from hypothetical: EFF and the ACLU of Northern California sued the city after SFPD accessed a business district’s camera network to monitor protests for 8 days following the police murder of George Floyd in the summer of 2020.

        • TechdirtPhone Malware Company Linked To Greek Domestic Surveillance Scandal Raided By Law Enforcement

          NSO Group isn’t the only phone malware firm to draw international attention. Sure, NSO’s decision to sell to human rights abusers and aid/abet surveillance of journalists, lawyers, government critics, and political leaders drew the most attention, but there were others. And all of these malware purveyors seem to have sprung from the same source: spies whose last employer was the Israeli government.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • MeduzaRussia fires new wave of missiles across Ukraine Thousands are without power in Kyiv, Lviv, and beyond after Moscow’s latest attack — Meduza

        On the morning of December 29, the Russian army launched another round of shelling attacks on Ukraine. Air raid alerts were issued for all of Ukraine’s regions. Before the shelling began, Ukrainian presidential advisor Oleksiy Arestovich reported that Russia was expected to fire about 100 missiles over multiple waves. His colleague Mykhailo Podolyak later said that the country had actually been targeted by 120 missiles, though after the shelling stopped, the Ukrainian General Staff reported that the total number of missiles was 69. According to Mykolaiv Regional Governor Vitalii Kim, in addition to missiles, Russia also used Iranian drones to attack Ukraine’s territory. The previous massive shelling attack against Ukraine occurred on December 16.

      • MeduzaLavrov rejects Zelensky’s ‘peace formula,’ questioning his sanity — Meduza

        Russia is rejecting the 10-step peace plan proposed by the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, said Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in an interview to the state-run RIA Novosti. In his own words,

      • TruthOutCan Russia and Ukraine Negotiate an End to War Amid New Wave of Strikes?
      • TruthOutJanuary 6 Committee Withdraws Trump Subpoena
      • Counter PunchUnderwhelmed: Some Predictable Silences in the U.S. House Select Committee Report on January 6th

        What to make of the Final Report of the US House Select Committee on the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol (hereafter “the report”)?

        Let’s start with the good news – the discovery, telling, and re-telling of some basic truths. The report shows beyond serious doubt that the wannabe fascist strongman  Donald Trump was the “the central cause” of the insurrection. “None of the events of Jan. 6,” the committee rightly found, “would have happened without him.”

      • Counter PunchLife After Trump

        What I find so hopelessly frustrating about the January 6th inquiry is this. Yes, it is no doubt true that Trump, his cohorts and a sizable amount, if not the entire Republican Party is corrupt, quite likely criminal in nature as well but definitely complicit in corruption and in the defense of Trump and his actions. Yes, Trump and his cohorts should be tried and punished in that so rare of things, a just and fair manner, and we as a nation should be able to put this whole affair, the Trump era that is, behind us

        Yes, the American democratic experiment is at stake as we so often hear these days. But the threat to our democracy is from both sides of the aisle (oh the irony) and a “turning point”, as they also like to say, may have been reached (really?). But will prosecuting a number of the January 6th rioters or even the “Orange One” himself bring much real satisfaction and save our democracy? I think not.

      • Common DreamsFaith Leaders Say Jan. 6 Committee Report Downplays Role of Christian Nationalism

        In an effort to fill in what they say are critical gaps in the U.S. House select committee’s report on the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol, faith leaders are pushing the corporate media and the American public to confront the role Christian nationalism played in the insurrection, warning that ignoring the link could make similar violence more likely in the future.

      • TruthOutJan. 6 Transcripts Show Trump Wanted “Blanket Pardon” for Capitol Attackers
      • Common DreamsThe January 6 Committee’s ‘Crime and Punishment’

        The most surprising thing about the final report of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol isn’t the mountain of evidence of Donald Trump’s criminality that it contains nor the criminal referrals it makes to the Justice Department, but its readability. According to The New York Times, at least a half dozen publishing houses are releasing their own editions of the 845-page tome. On a December 22 broadcast, MSNBC host Lawrence O’Donnell nailed it when he remarked, “This is the way a great novelist would lay out this story.”

      • Counter PunchWhite Supremacy and January 6: What’s Missing from the Congressional Report

        In the run-up to the two-year anniversary of January 6th (J6), the United States House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack has released a new report highlighting some troubling realities regarding Donald Trump’s failed insurrection. Unfortunately, it falls short in exposing the extent of the threat of rising white supremacy in America. At a whopping 814 pages, the report is incredibly thorough in documenting what happened on J6 and Trump’s role in stoking a failed coup. The report blames “one man” for the insurrection, emphasizing a “multi-part conspiracy” on the former president’s part to overturn the lawful results of the 2020 presidential election.” Those who’ve paid close attention to news reporting in the wake of the J6 attack are unlikely to be surprised by any of the committee’s major findings. Some of the most detailed scholarship on this matter (see here and here) has already sketched out the story of J6, which is reinforced in this report, including the following:

        One of the recommendations from the J6 committee is that Trump should be prosecuted for his actions in relation to the insurrection and failed coup. As the report states:

      • Common DreamsBlackRock Accused of ‘Trying to Cash In On the Disaster’ With Ukraine Reconstruction Deal

        Investment behemoth BlackRock was accused Thursday of what author Naomi Klein termed “disaster capitalism” after war-ravaged Ukraine’s president announced he would work with the firm to coordinate foreign investment in the country’s reconstruction.

      • The Gray ZoneDeclassified intelligence files expose inconvenient truths of Bosnian war
      • Counter PunchThe Kremlin Goes Neocon
      • Counter PunchWars and More Wars: The Sorry U.S. History in the Middle East

        The American republic morphed well over a century ago into an empire of many endless wars. With U.S. troops still in Syria, Iraq, Somalia and numerous African countries, with over 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and a war budget of roughly one trillion dollars a year, it’s no surprise that one of our main exports is weapons and that arms merchants call the shots in Washington. Presidents come and go, but the wars don’t: they drag on. And when a president does manage to extract the country from one of these military quagmires, as Biden did in Afghanistan, he gets nothing but grief.

        This only serves to encourage barbarity – like freezing Afghanistan’s $7 billion in the bank, while Afghans starve due to the U.S. having bombed their country back almost to the stone age. Afghans need their funds. They have an absolute moral right to them, as most of the world recognizes, because famine kills them in greater numbers without those monies. Indeed, after the U.S. military departure, reparations would have seemed to be in order. But no. Washington just stole their money and walked away.

      • Counter PunchThe Radioactive Legacy of the Cold War

        That the world hasn’t been the same since the ignition of the Atomic Age in the 1940s is certainly an understatement, yet the public’s awareness of how the nuclear industry operates has always been dismally low. Secrecy has played a part — especially in relation to bomb-making activities — but so too has the establishment news media, which focuses on individual events and sidelines institutional factors. So an accident is news (if it’s not covered up), but not the regular practices or misguided motivations that led to it, even though they were ultimately responsible.

      • Counter PunchThe Dialogic of Violence

        The word “dialogic” refers to the logic of dialogue. Dialogue is more than just two people talking “at” each other – you know, throwing opinions around like candy. “Dialogue” refers to an exchange of ideas. Opinions just come and go. But in dialogue, ideas address each other. Underlying each statement in a dialogue is the (often unspoken) question, “why do you think what you just said is so, or even meaningful, to either of us?” It is the fact that participants can answer that question as their exchange proceeds that drives each dialogue to new and more insightful ideas (about whatever they are talking about). The ethics of that question provide inclusion in mutual reasoning and the building of thought; it enables each participant to reach into the universe of the other, which makes both bigger. It brings people together. The luxury of throwing around opinion-candy leaves one isolated in what just tastes good personally.

        Crime is not an opinion. And neither is police brutality. Both are forms of social violence for which the gnawing question silently lurks: “why are you doing this?” Though it asks for reasons, the act of violence never goes beyond its raw existence. It simply violates. Period. Whatever the robber is responding to in his past, or in his situation, the meaning of the theft is performative, nothing else. When a cop gives a command, and responds to disobedience with violence, its performativity is its reality. It simply exists. Indeed, if the cop had a warrant, he would simply serve it. But when the cop shoots a person, he is by-passing that “detail.” No warrants are served, and no messages are given. The relevance of any message (such as for justice) would have already died under the force of that violence. When somebody dies, it is too late to make a “message” relevant to them. Only the “fear component” of law enforcement is left, lying around on the ground for others to see.

      • Counter PunchSeeking Justice in the Name of Hate: In Defense of BDS

        With this clarion call born of principle and necessity, a respected Rabbi and leader of the American Jewish community of the early 1930’s called for an absolute boycott of German goods as the “duty of all self-respecting Jews.”

        He urged the boycott not because German’s were white, or Christian, or blonde haired and blue eyed. And few if any in the United States accused him of any such mindless targeted hate. The boycott, which was fundamentally rooted in human rights, was necessary in an effort to try to stem the growing odium and bloodletting sure and soon to follow.

      • Counter PunchZelensky’s Visit and the Season’s Spirit

        Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s surprise visit to Washington on December 21 was hailed as “historic.” It came 300 days after the Russian invasion and at a critical time for the continuation of robust United States aid and support. While Zelensky got much of what he asked for in terms of military equipment (Patriot air defense system) and cash ($850 million in security assistance), a holiday season perspective offers a different focus on the visit. While accepting that Zelensky told the Congress, “Your money is not charity. It is an investment in global security and democracy,” one should wonder about the presents given by the U.S. Congress (and taxpayer) in the spirit of the holiday season.

        All Christmas presents given to children are investments in one way or another. As for giving during Hanukkhah, gifts are exchanged each of the eight days and nights, and often “Hanukkah Gelt (money)” is given to children as are books and educational material.

      • Counter PunchUkraine Women Prove Resilient in the Face of War

        The war in Ukraine is having growing negative effects on women and girl’s health and well-being. They encompass not only gender-based violence, but include all aspects of women’s and girl’s lives. Access to basic services and life-saving sexual and reproductive health care have been drastically disrupted.

        Since the 2013 Maidan revolution, also known as “dignity revolution,” Ukrainian women have been increasingly engaged in the political, social, and economic affairs of the country. This engagement has led to an increase in women’s political participation, manifested by gains in parliamentary seats and in village and regional councils. As a result, Ukraine has ratified or joined most international agreements on gender equality.

      • Counter PunchGo Bonobos in 2023!

        Moving through the fog of perma-war, pestilence, puritanism and greed into the bright, blinding light of a brand new year that’s looking to be worse—much worse!—I will fear no evil, as I continue along the Bonobo Way of peace, love, equality, ecology and good sex.

        At least, that’s what I keep telling myself as I pop the bubbly for a “Happy Nude Rear,” kick up my heels and say “Howdeeeee 2023!”

      • ScheerpostState Department Approves $180 Million Arms Sales for Taiwan

        The deal is for Volcano anti-tank mine-laying systems.

      • ScheerpostPatrick Lawrence: The Souls of Ukrainian Folk

        As Kyiv prepares to persecute the souls of its own people, it seems we are about to witness just how inhumane this project has been from the outset.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

      • ScheerpostFBI Cointelpro Is Back and Worse Than Ever

        Elon Musk has opened the floodgates to expose the FBI’s latest war on Americans’ freedom of speech.  The FBI massively intervened to pressure Twitter to suppress accounts and tweets from individuals the FBI disapproved, including parody accounts.  The FBI and other federal agencies also browbeat Facebook, Instagram, and many other […]

    • Environment

      • Eesti RahvusringhäälingFrom new year ‘blue’ diesel will only be available with prior registration

        Special-purpose diesel, known as “blue” diesel, has a lower excise tax and is intended for farmers who use tractors to till fields and fishermen. However, the cheaper fuel is frequently purchased and used for other purposes.

      • Common DreamsI’m Dreaming of a Warm Christmas

        2:00 am. Boink! My eyes pop open. It’s Christmas Eve, but it’s not that I just heard Santa wandering through the house. It’s far more banal: gotta use the bathroom. I crawl out of bed, step bare-assed into… oh my God… a learning experience.

      • The NationA Habitable Earth Depends on Lula

        On January 1, the moment he is sworn in as president of Brazil for a second time, Lula da Silva will become perhaps the most important person in the worldwide effort to confront the climate emergency. Usually, the obstacles to slowing global warming are somewhat dispersed: wasteful electric utilities in rich nations; multiple oil giants, ranging from Chevron to Saudi Arabia’s national producer; even individual consumers who persist in buying gas-guzzling SUVs. No one person or single government can challenge them all at the same time.

      • TruthOutClimate Crisis Made Everyday Life More Expensive in 2022
      • Counter PunchAnother Blistering Year Next Year?

        NASA claims that 2022 was one of the hottest years ever recorded. Furthermore, according to CareOurEarth.com, this past year experienced: “Record-Breaking Heatwaves Around the World.”

        It was the year of fires (everywhere, big fires), scorching heat (globally) floods (Pakistan! Europe, China) loss of potable water (especially France and Italy) nearly impassable commercial waterways (Danube, Po, Rhine, Mississippi) sunbaked droughts (US Southwest, Chile) sputtering water reservoirs (Lake Mead). In all, a mini-biblical-scale worldwide disaster scenario that conditioned people of the world for what to expect when global warming really cranks up bigtime.

      • Counter PunchBan the Bomb Cyclone!

        As I write, a bomb cyclone has turned much of the continental United States into an ice palace. In Wyoming the temperature dropped 40°, from 43° to 3°, in a half an hour, breaking all records. NBC reports 55 dead in a “once-in-a-lifetime” blizzard. The New York Times reports 29 people died in western New York state. The dead included, “people found trapped in their cars and those who had “cardiac-related events” while removing snow from driveways outside their homes and businesses I email my 82-year-old retired doctor friend in Woods Hole, “How are you doing?” after I look up the temperature there and see that it’s 15°. He’s doing fine. He sends pictures of snow in his front yard. He’s got an insulated house, heat pumps, and radiant floor heating– the comforts money can buy. Others are not so lucky.

        The article in the New York Times and NBC news report do not mention climate change. It’s hard to believe the subject never occurred to the reporters or their editors. So why not add a paragraph quoting a climate scientist on the subject. Were they concerned if they interviewed one saying, yes, these events are going to become more common, because of climate change they would need to interview another with an opposing opinion, and readers would lose interest. Or is there some other reason?

      • Energy

        • The Hill‘Absolutely shocking’: Traveler records airport police threatening to arrest Southwest customers

          While inside the terminal, they were approached by a BNA police officer. The video, captured by Robinson, showed the officer saying, “You and her need to leave or you’ll be arrested for trespassing.”

          Morrison couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

          “You said you’re going to arrest people for trespassing, for being at a ticket counter for a flight?” Morrison asked in the video.

        • Counter PunchHalf Lives, Half Strories and Half Truths from Department of Energy This Week

          When Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Secretary of Energy, posthumously restored the security clearance of Robert Oppenheimer this week, she revealed little that had not been known about the “father of the Atomic Bomb”, and more about the culture of secrecy that surrounds the history of nuclear weapons.

          Testimony in secret committee hearings about Oppenheimer’s loyalty to the United States, declassified after sixty years, attested to Oppenheimer’s patriotism, his singular contribution to the development of the fission bombs that destroyed the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and his ardent support for tactical nuclear weapons defending Europe against Soviet invasion.

        • Counter PunchAmtraks Across America: The City of New Orleans to Chicago

          This is the eighth part in a series about Amtrak travels during summer 2022.

          Before leaving New Orleans, I made the long bike ride out to Chalmette, where in 1815 the last battle of the American Revolution (well, officially it was in the War of 1812) was fought between Andrew Jackson’s rabble-at-arms and British redcoats under the command of General Sir Edward Pakenham.

      • Wildlife/Nature

    • Finance

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

      • Common DreamsWest Virginia Journalist Fired in Alleged Retaliation Over Reporting on Abuse in State Facilities

        A journalist at West Virginia Public Broadcasting, the state’s public television and radio news network, was fired from her position after reporting on abuses taking place at state-run psychiatric facilities—reporting that allegedly sparked threats from state health officials and pressure on the network to change its coverage of the state government.

      • VOA NewsFleeing Taliban Rule, Journalists Find Themselves Trapped in Iran

        Shortly after, Taliban fighters stormed the paper’s office in Kabul, Rasoli said, and warned the staff “not to publish anything that is not in line with the group’s policies.”

        Rasoli said the Taliban were angry that the paper had used the term “suicide attackers” instead of “self-sacrificing.”

        The Taliban did not respond to VOA’s request for comment.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • MeduzaPutin signs law making ‘sabotage’ punishable by life in prison — Meduza

        Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a federal law making activities classified as “sabotage” punishable by up to life in prison.

      • Counter PunchConfessions of a Vegan Evangelist

        What omnivores complain about is true

        Vegans are evangelical. Case in point: On the day I ate my last morsel of Parmigiano Reggiano, I was born again, and I wanted everybody to know that my animal-eating sins were washed away. It didn’t matter how many hot dogs, hamburgers, rashers of bacon, pounds of beef and chicken, cheese balls or ice cream cones I ate in my former life, I was now as guiltless as a new-born babe – even more so, since I didn’t drink milk. And in the glow of my conversion, I felt like my other sins were cleansed too. If Macbeth and Lady Macbeth were vegans, he’d have found a good night’s sleep and she’d have washed away that “damned spot.”

      • Counter PunchRoaming Charges: Watching the Detectives, the Year in Police Crime

        + Since 1970, the number of incarcerated people in the US has increased by 700%, to the point that the US prison population is the largest in the world both per capita and in total numbers. As of 2019, there are an estimated 2.3 million people behind bars.

      • Counter PunchHelping These Groups Helps You and Reflects Your Generosity of Spirit

        It is that time of the year when generous people make donations to civic organizations that are the bedrock of our democratic society. Some are worthy charities. Others are advocates for change through advancing justice.

        Below are many nonprofit groups working for causes furthering environmental and consumer health and safety, economic well-being and peace.

      • Counter PunchBecause Polygamists Are Queer People Too, Goddammit

        Nicky, why can’t you just smile and join the pride parade? I must hear this refrain at least ten times a day from people both inside and out of my community. With all the progress, with all the popular approval, why can’t I just be one of those happy Queers you see on TV? Why must I insist on being such a fucking bummer? And sometimes I wish it was that easy too. That I could just put on a pair of heels and embrace the simple pleasures of mainstream inclusion. The only problem is that I know way too much about the history of Western Civilization to pretend that progress isn’t a fucking trap.

        I can’t pretend that the globalized corporate culture that defines the collective West isn’t a moral desert defined by commercialism, conformity and assimilation. I can’t pretend that this culture isn’t the direct descendant of the White Anglo-Saxon Puritan culture that wiped out the pagan tribes who once revered my people for what made us unique, and I can’t pretend that being Queer isn’t defined by our long history of resistance to this culture and that allowing ourselves to be absorbed into it would be tantamount to genocide.

      • Democracy NowIran Protests Pass 100 Days as Demonstrators Facing Brutal Crackdown Request International Solidarity

        Anti-government protests in Iran, launched in September following the death of Iranian Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini in the custody of Iran’s morality police, have passed their 100th day, even as demonstrators have been met with widespread arrests, brutal violence by police and executions. The Human Rights Activists News Agency reports thousands of protesters have been arrested and more than 500 protesters have been killed so far, including 69 children. At least 26 more demonstrators are facing execution. As calls grow for the United States and the international community to respond to Iran’s brutal crackdown, President Biden has hinted attempts to restore the Iran nuclear deal may be dead. We’re joined by Hadi Ghaemi, executive director and founder of the Center for Human Rights in Iran, and Nahid Siamdoust, a former journalist who is now Middle East and media studies professor at the University of Texas at Austin.

      • Counter PunchJames P. Cannon: America’s Pioneer Trotskyist

        A Review of Bryan D. Palmer’s James P. Cannon and the Emergence of Trotskyism in the United States, 1928–38

        (This is an expanded version of Murray E.G. Smith’s presentation at “Historical Materialism 2022,” November 13, 2022, SOAS, University of London)

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • TechdirtAT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile Could Dodge Millions In Location Data Fines Thanks To Industry Attacks On FCC Nominee Gigi Sohn

        Telecom and media giants are running a sleazy year-long smear campaign against Biden FCC nominee Gigi Sohn aimed at miring the agency in perpetual consumer protection gridlock. The attacks have been carefully seeded across the US press through various think tanks and nonprofits, and falsely accuse Sohn of everything from hating police to being an enemy of rural America. The lies are baseless, but have proven effective enough to stall Senate confirmation.

    • Digital Restrictions (DRM)

    • Monopolies

      • EFFThe Year We Got Serious about Tech Monopolies: 2022 in Review

        As they address tech monopolies, courts and enforcement agencies are beginning to acknowledge the interplay of user privacy and security concerns with antitrust, thanks in part to EFF’s advocacy. In February, we explained to a federal appeals court that Apple’s total control over apps on its mobile devices is not necessary to keep users safe, and in fact makes many users less safe.

        Antitrust cases against the tech giants still face serious obstacles from a judiciary that’s become increasingly hostile to claims of monopoly abuse. EFF’s brief was filed in Epic Games’s challenge to Apple’s restrictive App Store policies, which was thrown out by a district court and is now awaiting an appeals court ruling. The FTC’s challenge to Facebook (now Meta) over its history of acquiring potential competitors like Instagram and WhatsApp has faced similar obstacles. We’ve also seen some small but significant wins, including suits against legal research provider Westlaw and computer gaming giant Valve getting past their initial legal hurdles.

        It’s important that antitrust enforcers persist in their efforts because we can’t count on internet platforms and services that don’t face real competition to safeguard users’ rights. Sometimes they fail spectacularly. And even when they do a good job of protecting users, their protection is fickle, able to be stripped away with the whims of a mercurial CEO, or when cooperation with government surveillance suits their business interests.

      • Copyrights

        • [Old] uni North Texas17 USC § 109: The First Sale Doctrine

          There are at least two issues with digital files that make a digital first sale rule problematic. First, it is difficult to transfer digital files without creating a copy in some way. If I want to sell you a song I legally purchased from iTunes, I will almost certainly create a copy when I give it to you. If I email it to you, I create a copy when I attach it to the email and you create a copy when you download it. If I burn it to a CD, I create a copy on the CD and you create a copy when you put it on your computer. Or if I put it on a flash drive, I create a copy when I put it on the drive, and you create a copy when if access it from the drive. I might be able to get around this by selling you my hard drive, but not only is that impractical, it’s also not clearly permitted by the law. The problem is that when you access the file, your computer still create a copy in some way, and that may still trigger infringement.

          Second, digital files are infinitely and perfectly copyable in a way that physical media are not. As such, it’s much harder to be sure the thing you’re transferring is, in fact, the original, or even what the original is. Even if I decide to sell you my iTunes songs by giving you my hard drive, it is difficult to ensure I didn’t create a copy for myself and stash it on my other hard drive. The first sale doctrine allows people to dispose of the works they have purchased, but does not permit them to keep a copy for themselves. So we have to be careful how to apply this doctrine to digital works.

        • [Old] uni MassachusettsFirst Sale (or Exhaustion) Doctrine in Copyright

          “First Sale” (also called the “exhaustion doctrine”) is the name in US copyright law for the idea that owners of copies of copyrighted works have the right to re-sell, lend, give away, or even destroy their personal copies of works. The copyright holder’s right to control the distribution of their work goes away after the “first sale” of the work. The “First Sale Doctrine” is codified in U.S. copyright law at 17 U.S.C. Section 109.

          In other areas of law, such as patent law, this principle is called the “exhaustion” principle.

        • Torrent FreakPirate Movie Cammers Plagued UK Cinemas After COVID Shut Them Down

          Protecting movies from piracy during their theatrical windows is an industry priority but week in and week out, ‘cammed’ copies stubbornly appear online. This summer several unusually good copies were linked to cinemas in the UK, where ‘camming’ can result in a prison sentence. Logically, camming should be incredibly rare, but that’s certainly not the case, far from it.

        • Counter PunchThe Radically Changing Art Market

          The art world system includes artists, dealers, curators, collectors and critics. Artists make works sold by dealers, who sell with the help of museum curators and private collectors. And critics interpret and validate this art. But right now the role of the critic has become deeply insecure. At present, it’s almost impossible to make a living as a freelance critic. And the number of journalistic posts for critics is vanishingly small. Gentrification which transforms former down-and-out neighborhoods like Manhattan’s East Village, good places for writers and young artists, into trendy sites has transformed the entire art world. Young artists can no longer afford lofts, and art dealing has become much more expensive. The same is happening in many other cities. And so while in the mid-twentieth century there were important independent scholars, now it’s no longer possible to make a living from art writing.

          The value of many commodities is established by the marketplace. And so we don’t require critics to establish the value of raw materials or useful goods. But we do need critics to establish the value of the artifacts that are displayed to be sold in the art market. No one needs a painting- and there is no particular relation between the cost of art production and its exchange value. An enormous number of paintings are produced, and just a few of them have economic value. This present role of art criticism is a relatively new development associated with modernism. In the Dutch Golden Age, Rembrandt, Saenredam and Vermeer didn’t need art critics. And outside of Europe, often art worlds functioned without art criticism. The importance of art criticism in modernism and what comes after is in part a response to the very nature of this art. In this period, when radical aesthetic innovation is the norm, we need theorization provided by critics in order to identify what art matters. Without art critics, we wouldn’t know what to make of the paintings of Jackson Pollock, Robert Ryman or Sean Scully, who all rework tradition in ways that require articulation in order to be understood.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Technical

      • Fountain Pen Notebooks

        I own a Pilot Vanishing Point fountain pen, a fairly expensive pen but well worth the price for me. In two years I’ve only seen it clog once, after almost two straight months of no use–which if course was my own fault.

        Fountain pens tend to write better on certain types of paper than others. Glossy paper can interrupt the smooth flow of ink from the pen’s nib, and in extreme cases can cause the pen to either leak or clog. Coarse paper can transmit a scratchiness through a fountain pen that would otherwise be dampened by the rollerball in a ballpoint or gel pen. Other types of paper are prone to feathering (ink spreading along the surface of the paper) or bleeding (ink soaking through the paper and becoming visible on the other side).

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

Links 30/12/2022: Vanilla OS 22.10 and Calculate Linux 23

Posted in News Roundup at 7:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • Server

    • Applications

      • It’s FOSSAn Open-Source Alternative to Google, Alexa, and Siri in Works for Home Assistant Platform

        Home Assistant is an open-source smart home platform that focuses on providing local control and privacy to its users. It can run off a Raspberry Pi or even a local server.

        They also have a subscription service for access to additional features such as support for Alexa and Google Assistant, which is managed by a company called ‘Nabu Casa’.

      • Medevel9 Open Source Serious Calculator Apps For Linux, Windows, and macOS

        Math calculators are handy tools not just for students, but for everyone. Even we have access to calculators as built-in apps for mobiles and our operating systems, there is still need to have open-source advanced calculators on our systems.

        Here in this article, we offer you a list of open source calculator apps, as some come with advanced and unique features.

      • TecMintMust-Have Essential Applications for Linux Desktop Users

        Modern GUI Linux distributions bundle with essential applications to help users get started without much of a hassle. This means that you don’t need to install them in the first place.

        Despite that, developers are constantly coming up with newer and more innovative applications which streamline workflows and make the life of the ordinary desktop user much easier.

        In this guide, we look at some of the most essential applications for desktop Linux users.

      • Barry KaulerLimine Installer frugal install detection fix

        Limine Installer is a project for a GUI to install the Limine bootloader.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • AdafruitThe Linux Command Line by William Shotts 5th Ed (free PDF available) #Linux

        The Linux Command Line by William Shotts – Fifth Internet Edition Available Now!

      • Linux CapableHow to Install Telegram on Linux Mint 21 | 20 – LinuxCapable

        Telegram is a free, cross-platform messaging app with end-to-end encryption. It’s famous for providing video calling and other missing features from Facebook or Twitter – one of its main attractions! In the following tutorial, you will learn to install Telegram on Linux Mint 21 or Linux Mint 20 release series using the apt package manager and flatpak package manager, with some tips for maintaining or removing popular messenger software in the future.

      • How to Download and Install Kdenlive 22.12 on Ubuntu, Linux Mint

        This beginner tutorial will show you how to download and install Kdenlive 22.12 on Ubuntu 22.04, Ubuntu 20.04, and Linux Mint 21.

      • Doug BrownUpgrading my Chumby 8 kernel part 2: Initial Linux boot

        This is a continuation of my previous post about upgrading the old 2.6.28 Linux kernel that came with my Chumby 8. In that post, I got a modern U-Boot working with SD card support, which is what I needed in order to boot Linux.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install Tor Browser on Linux Mint 21 | 20

        Tor browser provides a secure, anonymous way to explore the Internet. With its open-source code and mission of protecting personal identity, Tor helps you stay safe while browsing online. In the following tutorial, you will learn how to install Tor Browser on Linux Mint 21 or Linux Mint 20 release series using various methods using the command line terminal with some information on basic setup.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install QMPlay2 on Ubuntu 22.04 | 20.04

        QMPlay2 is a free, open-source multimedia player that offers enhanced audio and visual experience. It’s equipped with the latest technology to deliver excellent playback of all formats supported by FFmpeg, libmodplug (including J2B and SFX), Audio CDs, raw files, Rayman 2 music, and chiptunes. The following tutorial will demonstrate how to install QMPlay2 on Ubuntu 22.04 Jammy Jellyfish or Ubuntu 20.04 Focal Fossa using a LaunchPAD PPA dedicated to QMPlay2 or using Flatpak with Flathub repository.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

    • New Releases

      • Vanilla OS Vanilla OS 22.10 Kinetic is out!

        It is with great pleasure that we announce that Vanilla OS 22.10 Kinetic, the first stable release of the project, is available for download!

        We have been working on the project for many months, there were many changes along the way and also many complications, but we managed to get through them.

        Introducing such a large project is not easy, there are many ways, many means and so many things to say. To make it easier for you to understand this project, we created a commercial like the big guys do (or at least we tried). Here it is below, enjoy it but then come back here, we have a lot to talk about!

      • Meet Calculate Linux 23! – Forum Announcements – Calculate Forum

        We are pleased to announce the release of Calculate Linux 23.

        This new (year) version includes a server Calculate Container Manager for working with LXC, a new cl-lxc tool, and features mirror selection for updates.

        Calculate Linux Desktop featuring the KDE (CLD), Cinnamon (CLDC), LXQt (CLDL), Mate (CLDM) or Xfce (CLDX and CLDXS) desktop, Calculate Container Manager (CCM), Calculate Directory Server (CDS), Calculate Linux Scratch (CLS) and Calculate Scratch Server (CSS) are now available for download.

    • Fedora / Red Hat / IBM

      • Red Hat OfficialTop 22 sysadmin guides and tutorials of 2022 | Enable Sysadmin

        This was an amazing year for the Enable Sysadmin community. We saw an average of more than 825,000 page views per month in 2022, which is over 200,000 per month more than in 2021. Overall, we generated more than 9.5 million page views and 5.4 million unique visitors in 2022, far surpassing 2021′s traffic.

      • Enterprisers Project11 hot IT roles: A day in the life

        Ever wonder what it’s like to be a CISO, product leader, or software developer? Are you looking to pivot careers from being a data scientist to a cognitive scientist? This year, The Enterprisers Project published a special series entitled “A day in the life”. Contributing authors shared their career stories to highlight what they love about their job, and the challenges they are facing. Through this series, readers get right in the shoes of their colleagues.

      • OpenSource.com5 ways to bring open source to your job | Opensource.com

        Open source drives businesses and organizations around the world. This year, Opensource.com authors published several outstanding articles about open source at work. Topics ranged from contributing to open source, to mentoring, and productivity. Here are five of my favorite articles about how open source can help your career and organization.

      • Fedora MagazineWorking with Btrfs – Snapshots – Fedora Magazine

        This article will explore what Btrfs snapshots are, how they work, and how you can benefit from taking snapshots in every-day situations. This is part of a series that takes a closer look at Btrfs, the default filesystem for Fedora Workstation and Fedora Silverblue since Fedora Linux 33.

    • Devices/Embedded

      • CNX SoftwarePironman review – A Raspberry Pi 4 enclosure with M.2 SATA, safe power off, RGB LED strip, and more

        SunFounder Pironman is a Raspberry Pi 4 enclosure inspired by Michael Klement’s DIY Raspberry Pi 4 mini server with an OLED display and ICE Tower cooling solution, as well as some improvements such as an aluminum alloy and acrylic enclosure, support for an M.2 SATA SSD, a power button for safe shutdown, an IR receiver, and an RGB LED strip.

        The company sent me a Pironman kit without Raspberry Pi 4 for review. I’ll check the package content, go through the assembly, software installation, and testing of the unique features listed above.

    • Open Hardware/Modding

      • Jamie ZawinskiRotary Keypad
      • AdafruitAdafruit 7 Segment 0.56″ Backpack Holder
      • AdafruitArduino Mega + Ethernet Shield + DMX Shield

        Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

        Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

      • AdafruitCircuitPython 8.0.0 Beta 6 Released!
      • AdafruitGingerbread: automate design of decorative PCBs in KiCad

        Gingerbread is a set of Python utilities used by Winterbloom to create decorative printed circuit boards (PCBs), such as the ones used for front panels. It initially started with a command-line driven, Python implementation but eventually involved into a fully browser-based application utilizing a native library written in Zig & C and compiled to WASM.

    • Mobile Systems/Mobile Applications

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Programming/Development

      • DJ AdamsLearning from exploring a question on jq | DJ Adams

        Occasionally I browse the Newest ‘jq’ questions on Stack Overflow and try to gently expand my jq knowledge, or at least exercise my young jq muscles. This morning I came across this one: Jq extracting the name and the value of objects as an array. Sometimes the questions are hard, sometimes less so. This one didn’t seem too difficult, so I thought I’d take a quick coffee break to see what I could come up with (the question had already been answered but I didn’t look until later).

      • Data Science TutorialsLoad Multiple Packages in R – Data Science Tutorials

        Load Multiple Packages in R, The following example demonstrates how to apply this syntax in practice.

      • Plotting two-way interactions from mixed-effects models using alias variables | Pablo Bernabeu

        Whereas the direction of main effects can be interpreted from the sign of the estimate, the interpretation of interaction effects often requires plots. This task is facilitated by the R package sjPlot (Lüdecke, 2022). In Bernabeu (2022), the sjPlot function called plot_model served as the basis for the creation of some custom functions. One of these functions is alias_interaction_plot, which allows the plotting of interactions between a continuous variable and a categorical variable. Importantly, the categorical variable is replaced with an alias variable. This feature allows the back-transformation of the categorical variable to facilitate the communication of the results, for instance, when the categorical variable was sum-coded, which has been recommended for mixed-effects models (Brauer & Curtin, 2018).

      • Why can’t we be friends? Plotting frequentist (lmerTest) and Bayesian (brms) mixed-effects models | Pablo Bernabeu

        Frequentist and Bayesian statistics are sometimes regarded as fundamentally different philosophies. Indeed, can both methods qualify as philosophies, or is one of them just a pointless ritual? Is frequentist statistics about \(p\) values only? Are frequentist estimates diametrically opposed to Bayesian posterior distributions? Are confidence intervals and credible intervals irreconcilable? Will R crash if lmerTest and brms are simultaneously loaded? If only we could fit frequentist and Bayesian models to the same data and plot the results together, we might get a glimpse into these puzzles.

      • Bayesian workflow: Prior determination, predictive checks and sensitivity analyses | Pablo Bernabeu

        This post presents a code-through of a Bayesian workflow in R, which can be reproduced using the materials at https://osf.io/gt5uf. The content is closely based on Bernabeu (2022), which was in turn based on lots of other references. In addition to those, you may wish to consider Nicenboim et al. (2023), a book in preparation that is already available online (https://vasishth.github.io/bayescogsci/book).

      • Python

        • TecAdminPython writelines() Method – TecAdmin

          If you’re a Python programmer, you may have heard of the `writelines()` Method. But what exactly is it? The `writelines()` Method is a powerful tool that makes it easy to write a list of strings to a file. You can think of it as a shortcut for writing multiple lines to a file. It’s a great way to save time and effort when writing files.

          The `writelines()` method in Python is a method that is used to write a list of strings to a file. It is a method of the File object in Python, which represents an open file. With `writelines()`, you don’t have to worry about formatting the lines correctly – it does it for you. All you have to do is provide a list of strings and the `writelines()` Method will handle the rest. Another great benefit of `writelines()` is that you can use it with any type of file – from plain text to audio and video files. So if you need a quick and easy way to write to a file, the `writelines()` Method is the perfect solution.

        • Didier StevensNew tool: teeplus.py | Didier Stevens

          This new tool, teeplus.py, is an extension of the tee command.

          The tools takes (binary) data from stdin, and sends it to stdout, while also writing the data to a file on disk.

          While the tee command requires a filename as argument, teeplus.py takes no arguments (only options).

          By default, teeplus.py will write the data to a file on disk, with filename equal to the sha256 of the data and extension .vir.

          And it will also log this activity in a log file (teeplus.log by default).

  • Leftovers

    • Bryan LundukeCIA – FBI can neither confirm nor deny they know about these Operating Systems

      Which is pretty doggone funny. I’d like to imagine that Plan 9 is part of some complex spy program. Possibly involving Nazi’s. And space lasers.

      But this got me thinking… What other Operating Systems can the CIA “neither confirm nor deny” knowing about?

      Let’s find out!

    • Bryan LundukeHelp The Lunduke Journal “Speak Truth to (Tech) Power”

      The sad reality is that every major Tech Publication is directly funded by the very same companies that they cover.

      Publications writing about Microsoft are funded by ad dollars from Microsoft.

      Publications writing about Enterprise Linux companies are funded by ad dollars from Enterprise Linux Companies.

    • Ben CongdonMy Favorite Books of 2022

      Another year, another slate of books to reflect back over! I read about as many books this year as I usually do (perhaps slightly fewer), but many more of them were read as audiobooks than I usually do.


      TPM is a philosophy textbook about phenomenology, but it’s written in a pretty accessible style if you’re modestly familiar with philosophy. It was likely the most illuminating books I read this year, as it gave me a much more complete set of words/concepts to talk about consciousness. If you talk to people about philosophy enough, or are in circles that discuss AI, you often get to this frustrating breaking point in conversations around debates about what consciousness is. Phenomenology, in a sense, is a study of that debate.

      I haven’t had time to digest the concepts in this book enough to give a full treatment to them, but a couple key items I enjoyed reading in this book were: (1) the idea of reflective and pre-reflective consciousness, (2) the idea that consciousness and embodiment are intertwined at a deep level, (3) a description of how conscious thought interacts with the passage of time, (4) the integration of perception and intentionality into consciousness, and (5) the idea that there is valuable scientific information to be discovered from using an “inside-out” view of consciousness as the object of study.

    • ESPNPele, king of ‘beautiful game,’ dies at 82

      Pele, the Brazilian king of football who won a record three World Cups and became one of the most commanding sports figures of the past century, died Thursday. He was 82.

      The standard-bearer of “the beautiful game” had undergone treatment for colon cancer since 2021. He had been hospitalised for the past month with multiple ailments. Sao Paulo’s Albert Einstein hospital, where Pele was undergoing treatment, said he died at 3:27 p.m. “due to multiple organ failures resulting from the progression of colon cancer associated with his previous medical condition.”

    • Adriaan ZhangSo Long, 2022

      As I write this blogpost, 2022 will meet its demise in the span of just three days. So I thought I’d take a moment to reflect on what a year it’s been.

    • Terence EdenEarly forms of Interactive TV

      Way back in the mists of time, I did my secondary-school work experience at the BBC. Specifically, Children’s BBC. Every day for a couple of weeks, I’d commute into White City, wander those hallowed halls, sit at a desk, and…

      You know… I can’t remember! I know I got to visit the “Broom Cupboard”, and I’m pretty sure I did a lot of data entry, oh – and I sat in a meeting for “Two-Way TV”.

      These were the early days of the consumer Internet. The WWW was still brand new and it wasn’t certain that it would be the dominant communications medium of the future. Digital TV had just launched in the UK and users were regularly exhorted to “press the red button now!” Doing so would bring up an MHEG page which acted as a sort of fancy teletext.


      In the year 1999, Children’s BBC launched a TV show called “Sub-Zero”. Hardly anyone remembers it – indeed there’s barely a paragraph on Wikipedia. It doesn’t exist on YouTube. Essentially, it was kids’ version of The Crystal Maze. With some kids taking part via webcams!

    • Terence EdenThe Life Script – a play for algorithms

      Another short story. This time in the form of a screenplay – formatted with screenplay.css.

    • Favourite books of 2022: Memoir/biography – Chris Lamb

      In my two most recent posts, I listed the fiction and classic fiction I enjoyed the most in 2022.

    • Science

      • 2D material may enable ultra-sharp cellphone photos in low light | Penn State University

        A new type of active pixel sensor that uses a novel two-dimensional material may both enable ultra-sharp cellphone photos and create a new class of extremely energy-efficient Internet of Things (IoT) sensors, according to a team of Penn State researchers.

        “When people are looking for a new phone, what are the specs that they are looking for?” said Saptarshi Das, associate professor of engineering science and mechanics and lead author of the study published Nov. 17 in Nature Materials. “Quite often, they are looking for a good camera, and what does a good camera mean to most people? Sharp photos with high resolution.”

      • New York TimesAn A.I. Pioneer on What We Should Really Fear
      • Victor Venema 1971 – 2022

        Victor Venema PhD was born in Groningen in the Netherlands. He attended Groningen University, where he was awarded his PhD in Physics for research on the measurement of cloud structure.

    • Security

      • DiffoscopeReproducible Builds: diffoscope 230 released

        The diffoscope maintainers are pleased to announce the release of diffoscope version 230. This version includes the following changes:

        [ Chris Lamb ]
        * Fix compatibility with file(1) version 5.43; thanks, Christoph Biedl.
        [ Jelle van der Waa ]
        * Support Berkeley DB version 6.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • Tim Brayongoing by Tim Bray · Privacy Is OK

          I hate to write a piece just saying Someone Is Wrong On The Internet. But Reid Blackman’s The Signal App and the Danger of Privacy at All Costs (in the NYTimes, forsooth) is not just wrong but dangerously misleading. I haven’t seen a compact explainer on why, so here goes.

          Blackman’s description of what Signal does is accurate: Provides an extremely private communication path among individuals and groups; private to the extent that Signal.org (a nonprofit) doesn’t even know who’s talking to whom, let alone what they’re saying.

          Blackman argues that this is dangerous because bad people could use it to plan nefarious activities and the legal authorities wouldn’t be able to eavesdrop on them and stop them. Indeed, bad people can and (I’m sure) do use cryptography to evade surveillance.


          Don’t worry, be happy · While I acknowledge that in an ideal world we’d be able to eavesdrop on bad people without shattering privacy for good ones, that’s not the world we live in. And I actually don’t think it’s that big a problem. For example, Blackman notes that in the course of the law-enforcement investigation of the January 6th insurrection, police got access to the traitors’ Signal conversations. How? Obviously, by getting into their computers or phones, where those conversations are stored.

          Serious security professionals would rather hide a camera on your office wall or a keylogger in your PC than try to break the code.

        • Bloomberg[Repeat] NSA Watchdog Concluded One Analyst’s Surveillance Project Went Too Far
    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Michael West MediaA hissy fit for the record books – Michael West

          Kevin Gallagher is crying poor whilst raking in cash. Using his media allies to push a false narrative around the minor gas price caps.

        • David RosenthalDSHR’s Blog: Dominoes

          When important parts of the cryptosphere collapse, such as Terra/Luna or FTX/Alameda, people often ask “is this the end of crypto?”. The answer so far is no. But as the “crypto winter” continues, and contagion spreads from exchanges to miners and their financiers, the number of important parts still standing is decreasing.


          If you look at the cryptocurrency ecosystem as a black box, nothing inside the box can create fiat currency. Some of the fiat currency flowing in from the buyers ends up with the miners, the remainder ends up with the sellers. The professionals are not in the business of losing money, so they expect to take out more than they put in. This would represent not paying the miners, and a disproportionate share of what is left after that. So everyone else has to both pay the miners and take out less than their share of what is left. The criminals using cryptocurrencies for money laundering are doing so because it is cheaper than other laundries; they expect to lose some on the deal. The retail traders have to lose the rest.

          A rough estimate of the total amount of fiat currency that could be extracted from the black box can be made by taking the “attestations” of the major stablecoins at face value and summing them; there are unlikely to be large stores of fiat in the box that haven’t been converted to stablecoins. This gets us $66.2B (USDT) + $44.2B (USDC) + $17.4B (BUSD) + $0.7B (USDD) = $128.5B, against a current total “market cap” of cryptocurrencies at around $800B. If there was a “bank run” in the cryptosphere, it is likely that the total recovery would be around the $128.5B or 16%. The costs involved in selling the non-cash securities forming part of the stablecoins’ backing might be roughly matched by the fiat the estimate missed.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

    • Technical

      • Programming

        • Using markov chains to generate gibberish

          Playing around with it, I wanted to generate some text and started porting some code I wrote in Clojure to Guile Scheme. It’s a basic implementation of Markov Chains; analyze input to record the likelihood some term(s) are followed by other terms and use those statistics to generate data at random.

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

Symptoms of an Impending Bankruptcy?

Posted in Deception, Finance, Free/Libre Software at 3:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 40e0b150595f3d35232a867e7c02391f
The Sirius Implosion
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The situation at Sirius has gotten really bad; there are well overdue invoices, dodgy address changes, and recently a major client (oldest client) suffered a very major outage after Sirius had racked up thousands of pounds in unpaid hosting bills

THE above video deals with this morning’s part as well as yesterday’s part. Some of the symptoms we’ve been seeing lately suggest that Sirius ‘Open Source’ might be heading towards bankruptcy/insolvency/administration (tomorrow’s part is entitled “Successful Bankruptcy”).

“When a company starts debt-loading or offloading liabilities to other parties (public companies, upstream suppliers, private clients, staff) it’s certainly time to demand what you’re entitled to and go away.”A company that fails to pay bills and is making up excuses/pretexts to deny severance is a company that does not care about its future. A recent example of this was Elon Musk at Twitter. When a company starts debt-loading or offloading liabilities to other parties (public companies, upstream suppliers, private clients, staff) it’s certainly time to demand what you’re entitled to and go away. My wife and I left this month and the video above is part of a long story we must tell, ensuring others are forewarned (not about Sirius alone; other companies behave similarly sometimes).

IRC Proceedings: Thursday, December 29, 2022

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:49 am by Needs Sunlight

Also available via the Gemini protocol at:

Over HTTP:

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HTML5 logs

#techrights log as HTML5

#boycottnovell log as HTML5

HTML5 logs

HTML5 logs

#boycottnovell-social log as HTML5

#techbytes log as HTML5

text logs

text logs

#techrights log as text

#boycottnovell log as text

text logs

text logs

#boycottnovell-social log as text

#techbytes log as text

Enter the IRC channels now

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 QmbBKK8GTcU7fwH1GvV5UJoprgZiCokSZSgwGkSKiZM4H9 IRC log for #boycottnovell
(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
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(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
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(full IRC log as HTML)
HTML5 logs
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(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
text logs
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(full IRC log as HTML)
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(full IRC log as plain/ASCII text)
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text logs

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GAFAM Against Higher Education: Fixing the Broken Academy

Posted in Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft at 12:14 am by Guest Editorial Team

Guest post by Dr. Andy Farnell

In this mini-series:

  1. GAFAM Against Higher Education: University Centralised IT Has Failed. What Now?
  2. GAFAM Against Higher Education: Toxic Tech
  3. YOU ARE HERE ☞ Fixing the Broken Academy
  4. GAFAM Against Higher Education: Digital Crash Diet

Andy Farnell's Digital VeganSummary: “I was being polite, and writing in a moderate style appropriate for The Times,” Dr. Farnell stresses. “The truth is much harder.”

In my summing up of inappropriate technologies that blight higher education, I previously claimed that the primary cause is lack of joined-up understanding. I said that we should re-examine the power to shape academic life accidentally handed to non-academic faculties such as ICT, security and compliance teams.

“Many of these trajectories are beyond reform. They have become societal issues that even governments are struggling to address.”I was being polite, and writing in a moderate style appropriate for The Times. The truth is much harder. Many of these trajectories are beyond reform. They have become societal issues that even governments are struggling to address.

What is happening in universities reflects a global trend. However, it’s the job of universities is to resist that. The trend is “technological ignorance”. A harsh fact is, digital technology is making us stupid at a tremendous rate.

The greatest violence in the world is ignorance, and if universities are anything at all, they are by definition the natural enemy of the ignorance companies like Microsoft, Facebook and Google are offering us – a descent into passivity and dependence. Universities have survived historical attempts at dissolution, but those threats have been external. Unhealthy technology gets into the marrow of our institutions.

“In a pathological rush toward centralisation and scale institutions have grown by ingesting food that has the sugar coating of “efficiency and control”, both of which are toxic except in small amounts.”In Digital Vegan I offered a different perspective on technology, not as a tool, but as a food. Healthy technology does not make us bloated and slow like the heavily processed junk-food of Big-Tech.

In a pathological rush toward centralisation and scale institutions have grown by ingesting food that has the sugar coating of “efficiency and control”, both of which are toxic except in small amounts. This fat (over-systematisation, security, silos, AI, central portals) accumulates around the institutional organs. A defensive reaction against information overload, plus a paranoid drive to hide or abstract organisational workings, then blocks our communication pathways.

Soon all problems, even fatal ones are hidden from top management. Oblivious managers lie about things being all-well. Systems of metrics, surveillance and modelling lie too, because the entire organisation is now mobilised around making them lie. The organisation becomes fat, dumb and happy. But junk technology is not made to nourish and satisfy. Digital solutionism means always consuming more. The next update. The next security fix.

“Once upon a time being a university sysadmin was a high accolade. Few jobs were as challenging and diverse.”Returning to the question of what can be done, I will go much further here; In academia, the conceits of centralised network governance and common policies have failed. Spectacularly. They are a race to the bottom of cheaply outsourced junk-food that bleeds control from those who should hold it. Most of all there is a profound competence problem, which companies like Microsoft and Google are exploiting to the hilt.

Once upon a time being a university sysadmin was a high accolade. Few jobs were as challenging and diverse. The ability to install, configure and run a mail server, multiple web servers and a network with thousands of nodes and thousands of password logins was a badge of professional pride. It meant running a heterogeneous network of Sun, Silicon Graphics, Apple, Windows, and specialised hardware while supporting academics in their selection, installation and self-directed usage of diverse software. Professors in the maths, physics, economics and computing departments would regularly write and deploy their own software! Like a good librarian, even if the sysadmin did not understand all those subjects, she at least had to be able to talk to the academics.

“The disconnect between the official theoretical syllabus and daily practice is immense. Today my university could not afford to hire my own graduates for roles currently occupied by people I would fail if they were my students.”Today that role is unrecognisable. Not because technology “got better”, but because we all got a lot dumber and more dependent on click-box cloud technology. We don’t own or really understand it now. We have a shrugging, negative permissions culture. The first position is to assume nothing can be done.

The disconnect between the official theoretical syllabus and daily practice is immense. Today my university could not afford to hire my own graduates for roles currently occupied by people I would fail if they were my students.

Much of what we teach is in fact obsolete because, if the standards of our own institutions are anything to go by, nobody actually needs to know how anything really works. The reality is they’d be better off doing a Microsoft Azure, Amazon AWS or Google Cloud certificate for a tenth of the price and spend the rest of their careers clicking on drop-down menus with meaningless brand names. The skill-set of educational ICT has been eviscerated.

“What that means is that it no longer the academics who decide what research and teaching can or cannot happen. Nor its it deans and vice-chancellors. It is Microsoft and Google.”Most egregiously, the highest levels have been staffed not by experienced administrators with an understanding of the demands and complexities of a university network, but by “industry dropouts” who bring toxic corporate buzzwords and hostile values into an institution that requires curious, tactful consultation, openness, trust and cooperation.

What that means is that it no longer the academics who decide what research and teaching can or cannot happen. Nor its it deans and vice-chancellors. It is Microsoft and Google. Their minions, installed within our universities are now in control.

[Meme] The Koala Nightmare

Posted in Australia, Deception, Free/Libre Software, Law at 12:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Sirius UK CEO, Andrew Bucknor; Koala: I'll always remember

Summary: Haunted by burning koalas, the ‘UK’ CEO of Sirius ‘Open Source’ belatedly realises his mistake; maybe he should not be using animal charities as ‘evidence’ in a witch-hunt next time… (if he finds another job)

Kakistocracy at Sirius ‘Open Source’: Running the Company Like a ‘Hobby’, Perpetually and Shamelessly by Hobbyist and Absent ‘Management’

Posted in Deception, Free/Libre Software at 12:02 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

How Sirius wants to be perceived; What Sirius became
Half of what’s left of the company is basically a family

Sarin bombletsSummary: Sirius ‘Open Source’ has become a minuscule company that’s unable to serve clients and is shamelessly lying to what remains of its client base; Human Resources (HR) is missing in action (MIA), so the operations are improvised and detached from the Rule of Law

TWO DAYS remain until the end of the year and the end of my last month at Sirius — a company that I joined in February 2011. Most of my time at the company was OK, but things took a drastic turn for the worse around 2019 or a little earlier (it was like a Sarin cluster bomb; see image to the right). There was a glimmer of hope (that things would improve) at the end of 2020 owing to a managerial shuffle, but such hopes were short-lived and overly optimistic. The person who was meant to ameliorate matters resorted to finger-pointing and cover-up at the end of 2021, culminating in fierce arguments over legality, truth, ethics, and various technical aspects.

“The person who was meant to ameliorate matters resorted to finger-pointing and cover-up at the end of 2021, culminating in fierce arguments over legality, truth, ethics, and various technical aspects.”The differences became irreconcilable in November of this year and at the start of December I deposited a report that I had prepared with my wife for a few days. It was almost 50 pages in length, accurately highlighting the abuse we had encountered in recent years.

We regret to say that Sirius doesn’t stand a chance of surviving. It’s run by dishonest people who don’t know what they’re doing and they’re moreover unable/unwilling to listen to important stakeholders.

“We regret to say that Sirius doesn’t stand a chance of surviving.”At the moment it is unclear where the company is based or where to send legal papers to. The ‘UK’ CEO is sending envelopes without a return address, the other CEO lives in some unspecified address in another country (colleagues haven’t seen him for about half a decade), and the company’s registered address changed three times this past autumn (both the company and the awkward subsidiary attached to it — more on that another day), so the only address for the company is in fact some accountancy firm that deals with salaries.

Sirius will mostly be remembered by us as a company that originally strived to spread and support Free and Open Source software… years before it became so desperate for cash that it started lying and outsourcing everything (in spite of strong opposition from staff).

From the report sent to our employer on December 1st:

The Office Manager, the Account Manager, and the CEO don’t have understanding of Open Source and some lack any technical background and are thus unfit for the roles they occupy. In some contexts, this is legally actionable and as far as the public knows, there was never a job advertised for those roles, i.e. each of these was just ad hoc appointment. The CEO has a single-page Web site that says almost nothing and has no track record of actual work (in 18 years). It’s hard to figure out where all that confidence is derived from.

A company that had properly accredited managerial staff in 2011 is now run like a hobby, or by people who think they themselves are the law. No involvement of HR — no evidence of it anyway — so it’s all improvised and likely a one-man fishing expedition, trying to become judge, jury, and executioner. This is not acceptable. This needs to be independently investigated.

There are many legal issues with the way Sirius handles itself. As noted earlier in this document, the company did not pay the pension for months at the time, it did not pay a webhost until it was too late, and staff members haven’t received payslips for months.

The company conveniently shifts the attention to two workers. Funnily enough, the official Sirius web site still links to the sites they claim to be “defamatory”, using Roy and Rianne for self-serving marketing purposes. The Sirius Web site states that Rianne runs TuxMachines, yet it’s presented as a “discovery” in the accusations. How is that anything short of satire?

Photo credit: U.S. Honest John missile warhead cutaway, showing M134 Sarin bomblets (c. 1960). Public Domain.

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