Links 13/02/2023: Skrooge 2.29.0 and PostgreSQL JDBC 42.5.3

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

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

Management of the European Patent Office Has Laid Off All the Staff That Fed the Employees (Despite Drowning in Money Generated by Granting Fake European Patents)

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:06 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

It’s all about greed and exploitation by managers who give themselves massive bonuses

EPO Leonardi Team

Summary: An internal publication explains many of the violations that have occurred at the EPO in the past couple of years, including and especially the attacks on staff

THE UNION of the EPO‘s staff, SUEPO, was targeted by Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos told the vindicated victim of this unlawful witch-hunt — right to his face — that he would rather see him leave (or something to that effect).

“They are in effect an element of vendor (corporate) capture of Europe’s largest patent agency, which is also trying to override pertinent nations’ patent court systems.”The EPO is run by truly corrupt officials. They cannot tolerate criticism and they don’t follow the law. They are in effect an element of vendor (corporate) capture of Europe’s largest patent agency, which is also trying to override pertinent nations’ patent court systems.

The following report was circulated last week and it was authored by one victim of the unlawful witch-hunt. SUEPO members have seen this already and the public should too. This is where the EPO stands


Ortssektion München
Local section Munich
Section locale de Munich

10 February 2023
su23005mp – 0.2.1

SUEPO Munich Chairman’s report

2021 – 2022

The SUEPO Munich elections for the period 2021-2022 took place in March 2021. The election results were announced on 17 March 2021, and the committee constituted on 29 March 2021. Presently the committee is composed of four members. The number of SUEPO Munich branch members remained stable between 1.700 – 1.800. The membership income is however decreasing slowly since more staff are going on pension than are hired by the EPO.

Work with EPO management.
The most prominent fact to be mentioned here is the consistent reluctance of Mr Campinos to talk to the unions over the last two years. Mr Campinos successfully avoided all invitations coming from SUEPO and when the unions called for industrial actions, Mr Campinos sent a delegation of members of the administration without any mandate to propose anything. However, the work with management at all other lower levels is relaxing.


Year 2021

Caterers kicked out

Throughout 2021, the Covid-19 epidemy raged on. EPO staff adapted to the ‘Emergency Guidelines’ allowing them to work 100% from home or from abroad. These had major implications for the EPO, for the staff and for the contractors.

The caterers of our canteens were decimated during the pandemic years, to the extent that all our canteens in Munich were closed down. From April to September 2021, the staff committee Munich supported by SUEPO Munich, organized a GOFundMe campaign and collected over Euro 100.000 support for the 40 canteen staff laid off.

‘Team Leonardi’ was the caterer in Munich who served EPO staff the longest with great food. Some employees had been with us for 20-30 years. Now most of them are either unemployed or retired. All of them however were very thankful for the donations.

Education allowance

In May 2021, the Office tabled in the General Consultative Committee (GCC) the Education and Childcare allowance reform. Officially, the reform was aimed at introducing equal treatment between expatriates and nationals. However, it significantly reduced benefits to EPO sites relying on International Schools while reducing the overall budget by -10% compared to the previous years at a time the EPO made a profit of over 348,9 million euros.

The administration remained oblivious to all the letters sent to them with all the rational arguments presented therein, which were repeated in the GCC. Instead of simplifying the work of the HR Department, we explained that it would rather increase their workload. Two years later in 2023, we are proven right. Any request sent to the HR needs months to be answered due to the high amount of work regarding the education allowance requests. The lack of proper definition of indirect costs is now the preferred tool of HR to reduce reimbursements and pretend they are covered by a “lump-sum”. It is worth nothing that this reform was again drafted and implemented by Ms. Elodie Bergot. Yet another successful project….against the staff.

An army of litigators
The savings made by the EPO on the back of staff and the education of their children amount to what the EPO invested in an army of litigators. In the same month the education allowance reform was introduced, May 2021, the EPO presented a financial request to the Budget and Finance Committee (BFC) for a tremendous increase in their litigation budget for external law firms working on the EPO’s behalf in front of the Tribunal. The budget increased from a few hundred thousand Euros in the past years to 5.8 million Euro. It just shows the kind of social dialogue Mr Campinos has in mind.

New Normal

In May 2021 the EPO embarked on yet another ‘successful’ pilot project described in an orientation paper, the ‘New Normal’. The paper was essentially empty and void of any specifics. It was not even tabled in the GCC. Mr. Campinos considered its purpose was only to give the “opportunity to give further input” to “stakeholders” which will be assessed for inclusion in the final draft of the document.

In our opinion, proper good faith consultation would have allowed a reasonable amount of time for statutory bodies to discuss the issue, to have its main questions answered and to provide reasoned advice. The proposed exercise merely consisting in sending “further input” to an email alias address, lacked essential features of a genuine consultation.

Even external stakeholders have realized that such a call for input is more of a communication exercise than a consultation. The same is still happening on the topic of quality for which the EPO showed reluctance to come to the round table.

Young Professionals
In June 2021 the EPO provided another blow to its staff and future staff. Management tabled Circular 405 which goes again in the exact opposite direction than what is needed. Instead of providing young staff with a safe and secure environment the Circular puts all new staff on a 13 years’ probation. According to the EPO, young staff prefers precarity.

The new colleagues, named ‘Young Professionals’, are recruited directly from the university. In order to propose the lowest salaries ever, the EPO had to cobble together a new way of putting them off-scale below the lowest grade and step at the EPO. They are recruited for one year. They can obtain a two year extension. After these three successful years, the ‘Young Professional’ can apply for a five year contract. Again, passing these 5 years the not so ‘Young Professional‘ anymore can be extended for five more years. Overall, it constitutes 13 years on probation. After passing these 13 years of probation the middle aged ‘Young Professional’ could become a permanent staff provided that the EPO sees a need for her or him.

We are appalled by this new reform and treatment of our new colleagues. Once again, we tried to make positive suggestions but to no avail. In a competitive environment where the industry offers permanent contracts after one year and even 6 months, the EPO is actually deteriorating even further its employment package. We expect this reform to have a profound negative effect on the office capability in finding job applicants to perform its tasks in the future.

Year 2022

Technologia Survey
Beginning of 2022, SUEPO organized the Fifth Edition of the ‘Technologia Staff survey’. The Technologia Survey is organized by SUEPO every three years without interruption since the last 15 years. When the EPO runs its own staff survey, it formulates non-question so as to get non-answers. And when answers tend to be negative for management, the results are swept under the carpet.

Call for actions
Simultaneously, SUEPO called for actions. The action was necessary in view of many unresolved issues such as:

• violation both individual and collective of the rights of staff to freedom of association since 2013;
• inefficient and biased EPO internal justice system
• unsolved major reforms such as the salary adjustment procedure and its disastrous loss of staff’s purchasing power ignoring the massive efforts made by EPO staff during the pandemic time.
• the introduction of an alleged “coverage gap” predicted for 2038 which was covered already in the first two years since mentioning it.

An overwhelming number of staff (90%) voted for the action plan.

The ‘Work to rule’ action appeared to be successful. This action continued throughout 2022 until end of September. The action had a great impact on the production of grants. This effect was also echoed by the delegates in the Administrative Council where they indicated that in some national office they had to lay staff off because of lack of income. However, none of them came to the conclusion that maybe the lack of dialogue with the staff could be a problem and that maybe a different approach from the management would improve things.


SUEPO called for 1 full day of strike on the 22 March 2022.

According to the unsigned Intranet Communiqué from management, 1.514 employees participated in the strike. It was the highest result of an industrial action since 2016 and an even better participation than in the strike of 15 December 2020. It was a clear signal to Mr Campinos that there is room for improvement in terms of social dialogue.

In addition, strike registration was made difficult by the management and therefore still remains an unreliable tool. When putting the figures into perspective, even based on these unreliable and incomplete data, we count that at least 40% of non-managerial available staff went on strike.

SUEPO invited Mr Campinos to urgent meetings and proposed multiple dates (1 April, 5 April or 6 April) with the aim to explore ways out of the social unrest with the aim of delivering positive outcomes to our legitimate claims.

Needless to say that Mr. Campinos did not turn up but sent his management instead to the negotiation table. They came empty handed however, with no proposals or mandate to solve any of the raised problems.

Our successful actions were also followed closely by the media.

Political and legal

SUEPO Central is the structure regrouping all SUEPO committees from all four places of employment (or sites). Together we are able to tackle all the issues which have become of a more general nature concerning all staff. Munich being the biggest site participates financially and legally to this structure to a very large extent. Actions launched by SUEPO Central are normally backed by all SUEPO committees.

Year 2021

Following a series of well attended General Meetings in all sites, the SUEPO committees were entrusted by their members to prepare litigation procedures against the New Salary Adjustment Procedure (SAP). Via SUEPO Central, templates to challenge the procedure were provided for the deadline of 16 March 2021 which was the deadline for filing the management review (RfR). Over 1.200 staff members filed this review.

Campinos protecting Battistelli’s legacy

In February 2021, Mr. Campinos rejected the Appeals against the New Career System and Invalidity Lump sum. As in the past and in the same line with his predecessor Mr. Campinos followed the majority opinion in favor of the EPO for the New Career system but at the same time refused to follow the unanimous opinion for the Invalidity lump sum when this was in favor of the staff.

The days when Mr Campinos preferred to reduce litigation through settlement discussions seem now to be over. By selectively following ApC opinions to confirm two major negative reforms against EPO staff, Mr Campinos reveals one facet of his mandate: to protect and pursue the political legacy of his predecessor.

In May 2021, SUEPO provided appeal templates to challenge these decisions in front of the ILO.

Cash injections for upper management
In April 2021, SUEPO provided another request for review template this time against the unfair cash injections in the Salary Savings Plan (SSP) of lower grades. Managers in higher grade fill their pockets with 16x more injection in their private salary savings plans than the staff in the lower grades. It was questioned why the higher managerial staff should receive 16x more financial injection (bonus) in their private salary savings plans when their salaries can only be up to 3x more than staff in the lower salary scales.

Strike judgments
Since 2013, EPO staff were subject to illegal strike regulations put in place by Mr. Battistelli and zealously implemented by Ms. Elodie Bergot. Such a regime infringing the fundamental right to strike continued to prevail under the first mandate of Mr. Campinos.

On 15 December 2020, 1.448 employees representing 22,6% of all staff participated in a strike against the new salary adjustment procedure. On the January 2021 salary slip, the EPO deducted 1/20th of a monthly’s salary for a whole day of strike (instead of 1/30th) or 1/40th for half a day of strike (instead of 1/60th). The excessive strike deductions put in place since 2013 were already the subject of complaints pending in front of the Tribunal.

SUEPO provided yet again a Management review template to challenge this excessive deductions.

In its 132nd session on 7 July 2021, the Tribunal delivered a total of 43 judgments, of which 25 concern the EPO. The encouraging news from this session was that very important cases were finally ruled in favour of the complainants (i.e. the staff):

• Judgments 4433 and 4435 on strike deductions;
• Judgments 4430, 4432 and 4434 on Circular 347.

A more detailed overview of all judgments of the 132nd session can be found here. The Tribunal ruled that the EPO infringed upon staff’s fundamental rights and imposed excessive strike deductions of punitive character. EPO management, Mr. Battistelli and Ms. Elodie Bergot, were sanctioned for abusing their power. Furthermore, the Tribunal considered that the EPO interfered in the legitimate call for strike on 2 and 3 July 2013.

At the time, Ms. Elodie Bergot had sent letters to those declaring themselves on strike informing them that their absence was treated as unauthorised absence and that future unauthorised absences would lead to disciplinary action. The Tribunal considered it was an attempt to stifle, by threat, the exercise of the lawful right to strike and that Ms. Elodie Bergot acted without authority when sending the letter.

After 8 years of breach of a fundamental rights at the EPO (including 3 years under the mandate of Mr. Campinos), it was now up to Mr. Campinos to take the consequences and to repair the damage done to the Organisation. Mr. Campinos reimbursed the excessive strike deductions with interests. The bigger damage however was to the reputation of the office now proven to be a repetitive offender of fundamental rights. Ms. Elodie Bergot suffered no consequence and was even promoted to Chief Policy Officer was left in charge of the sensible Welfare and

Remuneration department (where she did the most damage) and her contract was then extended for a further 5 years until 2028.

No moral damages have been awarded to those who neither filed a complaint in front of the Tribunal nor an application to intervene although their rights have also been infringed. In a meeting with the Central Staff Committee (CSC) on 15 September 2021, Mr Campinos even strongly excluded any form of apology from the Organisation to the staff.

A biased Appeals Committee?
The Tribunal declared the strike regulations (Circular 347) illegal and set these aside. Back in 2015, the Dutch Court of Appeal had also found that these violated fundamental rights.

However, the EPO Appeals Committee (ApC) had issued a majority opinion in favour of the strike regulations. This wrong opinion was even supported by the Appeal’s committee Chair at that time, Sir Paul Mahoney despite his former experience as a Judge at the European Court of Human Rights. This blunder came as clear evidence of bias and dysfunction of the EPO internal justice system.

In view of the fundamental importance of legal certainty and social peace, and in order to restore staff’s confidence in the opinions of the internal Appeal’s committee (ApC) as soon as possible, as well as to be settle disputes internally instead of at the ILOAT, the CSC urged the delegations in the Administrative Council (AC) to take steps to ensure that:

• staff representation is allowed to appoint members to the selection board for the Chair and Vice-Chairs of the ApC,
• the General Consultative Committee (GCC) is consulted prior to appointment of the Chair and Vice-Chairs,
• no Chair or vice-Chair may be appointed who does not find consensus in the GCC.

Litigation: past and new reforms

In July 2021, SUEPO prepared and published the internal appeals templates for challenging the new Salary adjustment procedure.

In September 2021, SUEPO provided requests for review (RfR) templates to contest the Education and Childcare allowance that disproportionately affected some colleagues more than others.

In November 2021, SUEPO organised a survey on teleworking in order to reassess the telework preferences one year after the introduction of the new normal way of working.

In December 2021, SUEPO prepared templates to challenge the new career system (CA/D10/14) in front of the Tribunal.

Year 2022

“Social Democracy” and EPO institutional harassment

In February 2022, the Tribunal ruled in its 133rd Session on 51 cases among which
12 EPO cases.

For the second time after the judgments on the unlawful strike regulations, the Tribunal ruled in Judgment 4482 that an EPO reform, “Social Democracy“, breached the fundamental right to freedom of association.

Judgments 4488, 4489, and 4490 sanctioned the EPO’s institutional harassment of a former Principal Director by Mr. Battistelli and Ms. Elodie Bergot and awarded above 250.000 € of damages in total. Judgment 4491 ordered the reinstatement of a single mother with babies (at the material time) unlawfully charged with fraud by the Investigative Unit which made an unfair and distorted analysis of the facts.

Between all these successful legal actions SUEPO continued also in 2022 to provide staff with standard management reviews or complaint templates against the different negative reforms such as the salary adjustment procedure.

Ban on mass-emails declared unlawful

On 6 July 2022, the Tribunal ruled yet again against the EPO in another blockbuster Judgement 4551 that the EPO Communiqué of 31 May 2013 restraining the use of email to no more than 50 recipients without prior authorisation breached the fundamental right to freedom of association. The Tribunal considered that the true reason was to exercise prior censorship on the content of communications.

It also confirmed that the mass emails of the staff representation and unions at the material time did not exceed the limits to freedom of opinion and speech, and hence did not justify a mechanism of a prior authorisation.

After 9 years of breach of freedom of communication (including 4 years during the mandate of Mr. Campinos), the Tribunal has declared the ban of mass emails was unlawful. Six months later, at the time of writing this report (February 2023) Mr. Campinos has still not lifted the technical restrictions imposed on staff and their representation. It is yet another judgment confirming his lack of willingness to restore fundamental rights at the EPO on his own initiative.

In August, in September and then in November 2022, SUEPO and the staff representation demanded that the judgment be finally executed. The response was a lame excuse. The EPO now pretends that staff representation is an entity not in the interest of the service and which makes ‘marketing’ for itself or others on EPO lines. On top of that, management wants to force the use of an external provider acting as a black box for sending emails. Access to EPO mailing-lists for addressing all staff remained forbidden as well as the limitation to 50 recipients.

Final words

Presently, the EPO managed to yet again anger staff by starting a new ‘successful’(!) project named ‘Bringing teams together’. This project is so badly managed that even hard line managers are distancing themselves from it. Allowing only a selected few to have an individual office and moving the rest of staff out of their rooms in ‘workplaces-for-the-day’ (hot desking) is demotivating and it is disconnecting staff from the EPO. The aim of the higher management is apparently to overcome the ‘ghost’ feeling in the buildings and to “bring the teams” together. Following the first plans we saw the teams will neither be together nor is the EPO any better. The EPO has now, next to the ‘ghost’ feeling also the ‘hospital-sterile’ feeling too as no personal items are allowed in the office anymore.

During the last two years, the EPO staff underwent several badly designed and wrongly implemented reforms. It would take a lot of time to comb through them to find a single positive aspect for the staff. Over the same period, Mr. Campinos neither met

with SUEPO Central nor with SUEPO Munich. The last meeting was on 18 November 2020. To be noted that during that meeting Mr. Campinos forecasted that: “In any case, if SUEPO wants back access to mass-emails, it would be only in the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding. SUEPO will lose in Geneva anyway.” Now that Mr. Campinos lost the case in Geneva, he launched into an exercise of bad faith in order not implement it.

In 2023 the office embarks on a follow up financial study to the biased financial study made by Mercer in 2019. Mr. Campinos already announced in the Administrative Council that the office is again looking at a deficit of two billion Euro. This number was mentioned even before starting the financial study. It shows already where the ride will end. The main reason mentioned for this was the salary adjustment.

Internally however, we see an imbalance in the workforce. Namely, in the number of staff working on the line and those who don’t. It has become very obvious that new Director posts are generated regularly in the DG’s outside the line. Also the ratio of staff to a director in DG1 in comparison to those in the other DG’s is highly imbalanced. This increase in the ‘Wasserkopf’ is unsustainable to use a managerial term. Less ‘Chefs’ and more ‘Indians’ would be appreciated in order to alleviate the pressure put on the examiners to produce the 10% more products to cover the apparent deficit.

The mathematically challenged salary adjustment was a shock to everyone. The lack of a salary adjustment for many years was a shock to staff. This was followed by a large adjustment which was a shock to the management and the AC. Hence, the salary adjustment method designed by Ms. Bergot is demonstratively a complete failure. A new method needs to be presented to the AC at the end of the six years period, in 2026. The preparations need to already start next year. This time around, maybe Mr. Campinos considers a tried and proven salary method like the one from the European Commission, instead of re-inventing the wheel. That method was agreed on by the ministers of all member states, hence also by those member states in our Administrative Council. It provided moderate adjustments over the years without any shock effects and is not legally challenged by the over 30.000 staff to whom it applies. Also it is ready to be implemented, therefore the cost in developing a sound salary adjustment method is minimal.

In view of the financial study to be performed, we can only warn of any new negative reforms in the near future and other cuts in staff’s welfare and employment package (eg: pension reform). If the management want to reach the envisioned drastically increased targets then unrest, especially in the examiners area is probably not the best way to achieve it. Presently, after the pandemic years and the new normal project staff need a period of consolidation with no new detrimental reforms. EPO staff do not need even more disruption. What they do need is to be moved back into their comfort zone. The EPO experimented enough on the back of the staff over the last 10-15 years with the mantra of ‘moving the staff out of their comfort zone’. The result is high sickness levels, lower production, lower quality, demotivation and disconnection.

And finally for the next SUPO mandate, the pensioners and their rights should come more into focus. The EPO has more and more pensioners but treats them stepmotherly. Pensioners are treated almost like every other external public member even if they worked for the EPO and contributed to the success of this office for 20, 30 or even 40 years. The support they receive from the office when they have difficulties with their pension or health care needs to be improved, a lot.

It is time for management to revise their policies.

Ion Brumme

Chairman SUEPO Munich (2021-2022)

There’s so much more wrong with the EPO than just the granting of European software patents illegally (see these leaks). We’re not dealing with law here; we deal with a law-breaking agency that’s being protected by the Dutch and German governments. Their secret pact involves passive corruption, so they try to hush up everyone and everything. One day it’ll all come out.

Management of the European Patent Office is Lying About Office Space

Posted in Europe, Patents at 10:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 11765bbb40cd5784da21a97480b580b4
EPO Does Not Lack Desks and Seats
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: European Patent Office (EPO) officials, predominantly friends of Benoît Battistelli and António Campinos (chosen owing to nepotism, not qualifications) are innovating ways to suppress speech (communication with colleagues), oppress the staff, crush unions, and generally make people miserable

THIS site has already published about 4 videos and half a dozen posts about this topic, but there are some new developments and they help expose the insincerity of EPO management.

Some of the existing issues are discussed in the video above. The Central Staff Committee, or CSC for short, tells colleagues: “In its Communiqué of 2 February 2023, the administration announced new accommodation plans for Munich and The Hague together. In a letter sent to the Central Staff Committee (CSC), Ms Simon (VP 4) reaffirmed that “staff members who work at least three days per week at the office or have special needs determined on a case-by-case basis will be allocated a fixed workplace”. We strongly advise staff to make sure their line manager follows this guiding principle.”

The accompanying publication is reproduced below as HTML, plain text, and GemText. The general public needs to be aware of this.

Zentraler Personalausschuss
Central Staff Committee
Le Comité Central du Personnel


Bringing Teams Together:

“Three days per week” for a fixed workplace

In its Communiqué of 2 February 2023, the administration announced new accommodation plans for Munich and The Hague together. In a letter sent to the Central Staff Committee (CSC), Ms Simon (VP4) reaffirmed that “staff members who work at least three days per week at the office or have special needs determined on a case-by-case basis will be allocated a fixed workplace”. We strongly advise staff to make sure their line manager follows this guiding principle. This paper gives more details.

Dear Colleagues,

A major cause of concern
In January 2023, EPO staff gathered in General Assemblies in all places of employment (including 850 attendees in Munich and 631 in The Hague). The “Bringing Teams Together” project triggered many questions from the floor and confirmed to be a hot topic for staff.

The staff representation met on 18 January 2023 with the administration in a working group on this topic. We voiced major concerns of staff about the organisation chaos and unrest caused by the project among teams and made concrete proposals (see our report here).

Quotas vs staff wishes
Line managers were asked to proceed on the basis of quotas (70% of workplaces per directorate, among which 50% can be allocated fixed) thereby triggering divisive discussions among staff. The implementation is chaotic and arbitrary with a broad range of diverging implementations on top of “managerial arbitrariness”. A purely quota-based distribution of workplaces and allocated fixed workplaces cannot match the wishes of staff.

Three days per week as a guiding principle
In a letter of 3 February 2023 (see annex), Ms Simon (VP 4) reaffirmed that

“as a guiding principle it makes complete sense that staff members who work at least three days per week at the office or have special needs determined on a case-by-case basis will be allocated a fixed workplace, while staff choosing to come less often will use workplaces for the day.”

Ms Simon had already stated this principle in the December Administrative Council meeting.

However, the new accommodation plans for Munich and The Hague still feature an amount of workplaces which we know is incompatible with this principle. Indeed, in several directorates, the amount of workplaces is not sufficient to have an allocated fixed workplace for everyone who fulfil the above guiding principle.

What can you do?
If you come to work at least three days per week at the Office or have special needs, we strongly invite you to write to your line managers and to put your local staff committee in Cc.

[skipped template]

The “Bringing Teams Together” project contains many flaws. In our view:
−allocated fixed workplaces must have a key and storage space and personalisation should be allowed;
− the project lacks a proper impact study and is likely to increase disengagement of staff.

The administration still refuses to properly address these points. For the time being, make sure your line management implements the project in line with the guiding principle stated by Ms Simon (VP4) and keep us informed.

The Central Staff Committee

Annex: Letter of Ms Simon (VP4) to the CSC dated 3 February 2023

European Patent Office | 80298 MUNICH | GERMANY
Mr Alain Dumont
Chairman of the Central Staff Committee

Sent by email only to:

European Patent Office
80298 Munich
DG4 Corporate Services

Nellie Simon

Tel +49 (0)89 2399 – 4000

Date: 03.02.2023

Your communications on “Bringing our Teams Together”

Dear Mr Chair,

Reference is made to your open letter dated 18 November 2022 and the CSC various publications, in which you raise concerns regarding “Bringing our Teams Together”. We would like to take the opportunity of this letter to clarify the points you address.

With regard to the Office’s intranet communication of 17 November 2022, please note that the aim was to inform and update staff about the next steps towards bringing our teams together, notably following the feedback obtained from staff in DG 1. The next steps will be implemented on the basis of the guiding principles already communicated to staff and their representatives, i.e. to bring teams together and life back into our buildings and to provide allocated workplaces to staff mostly coming to the office or having specific and individual needs.

Keeping in mind these guiding principles, the next steps also need to be implemented in light of the following two main considerations:

First, and in addition to the feedback gathered from staff and managers, it is recalled that since the full entry into force of the New Ways of Working (NWoW) on 1 September 2022, building occupancy rates show that our buildings have remained empty to a large extent. This observation is particularly relevant as autumn is the time of the year when staff members’ presence in the buildings would traditionally be at its peak.

You state that the low occupancy rates are due to the fact that the buildings and facilities offered are insufficiently attractive to staff. However, ambitious renovations of the Office’s buildings, including new sports facilities, have recently been completed to provide staff with a modern workplace. As regards the canteens, the aim is to provide the best service possible, in view of the reduced number of staff present at the sites. We will continue to monitor closely how the needs of our staff evolve as we settle into the NWoW and suggestions and ideas as to how to improve this service are always welcome.

Second, the Office’s commitment to environmental sustainability and the energy crisis which we are currently facing compels us to use our premises in a sustainable way. When the facts show that our buildings are being used only partially, it is not socially responsible to leave large areas empty.

In this context, and as further explained in our dedicated meetings of 21 November 2022 and 18 January 2023, this means that as a guiding principle it makes complete sense that staff members who work at least three days per week at the office or have special needs determined on a case-by-case basis will be allocated a fixed workplace, while staff choosing to come less often will use workplaces for the day. Additionally, the consolidation of staff in certain areas might also lead to emptying other parts of some sites, notably the Shell building and some of the buildings in the PschorrHöfe.

Please be assured that the implementation steps will be closely monitored and modified as necessary. It is worth emphasising that the preparation of the accommodation plans by the relevant units, which is currently ongoing, is taking place in close co-operation with the departments affected.

Finally, many of the points you address have already been discussed in statutory bodies or at technical meetings. For instance, at the last meeting with the staff representatives of the different sites which took place on 18 January 2023 concrete progress on operational preparation was shared and the staff representatives were able to ask any questions or raise any concerns they had. Such ad hoc technical meetings will continue to be held to allow continuous exchanges on this specific subject. Additionally, this specific subject will be put on the agenda of the relevant Local Staff Committee meetings.

We hope that this clarifies the aforementioned points and look forward to continuing discussions with you.

Yours sincerely,
Nellie Simon
Vice-President DG 4
Corporate Services

Yes, “Corporate Services”. The EPO… Corporate Services. Do not overlook the irony of all this.

Links 13/02/2023: KiCad 7 Released, Earthquake Death Toll Exceeds 35,000

Posted in News Roundup at 9:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • GNU/Linux

    • 9to5Linux9to5Linux Weekly Roundup: February 12th, 2023

      This week has been pretty interesting with some great software releases, starting with the highly-anticipated Transmission 4.0 and continuing with NetworkManager 1.42 and KDE Frameworks 5.103.

      On the distro side of things, SparkyLinux 6.6, Endless OS 5.0, and EndeavourOS Cassini Neo are all out for you to play with on your personal computer. On top of that, I take a quick look at the upcoming official Fedora Linux 38 Budgie and Sway spins.

      Linux gamers got a new Steam Client stable release and the chance to buy the next-gen AMD-powered gaming laptop from System76. Below, you can read the hottest news of the week and access all distro and software downloads available in 9to5Linux’s Linux weekly roundup for February 12th, 2023.

    • Server

      • IT JungleAIX: The Last Standing Commercial Unix

        Nearly six decades ago, a bunch of researchers at AT&T Bell Labs, MIT, and General Electric started work on a new multi-user operating system for General Electric mainframes called Multiplexed Information and Computing Service, or MULTICS. After four years of work, the project was mothballed, but was reborning when Ken Thompson, a researcher at Bell Labs, created a single-user operating system based on the ideas behind MULTICS to run on a PDP-7 that Ma Bell had laying around.

    • Audiocasts/Shows

      • CubicleNateLinux Saloon | Application Appetizer Potluck

        This week the panel of presenters brought an app they use to share. Instead of choosing a specific application to try out or explore the panel decided that we would all bring something interesting that we use to share with others and explain why it was interesting.

    • Kernel Space

      • The Register UKLinus Torvalds releases probably unnecessary release candidate eight for Linux 6.2

        Work on version 6.2 of the Linux kernel will stretch into an eighth release candidate, despite emperor penguin Linus Torvalds now saying it isn’t really necessary.

        In late January, Torvalds rated release candidate five as “fairly sizable” due to “pent up testing and fixes from people being off.”

        He therefore flagged his intention to extend this kernel development cycle beyond his preferred seven release candidates.

    • Applications

      • Distro WatchReview: Playing (music) with the PinePhone

        Having spent an evening hunting for software, experimenting, reading documentation, troubleshooting, reading log files, and trying various client applications I came to a few conclusions, most of which won’t surprise anyone.

        One of the more obvious is that “Top 10″ lists of applications are usually useless. They typically don’t provide a list of features or drawbacks, they never provide dependency information, most of them don’t mention a license, whether the software is still maintained, or (in some cases) even include a link to the software’s website. Most of them feel like copy and pasted blurbs from a Wikipedia list.

        Docker can be a useful piece of technology if a person is using the latest version, has lots of free space on their root partition, isn’t using a long-term support distribution, and has up to date documentation with which to work. When any one of these stops being true, Docker suddenly becomes a lot less useful. Unfortunately, as far as I can tell, there isn’t any clearly presented information to tell the user which version of Docker a container requires or how much space it will use once installed.

      • Trend OceansLapce: Lightning-fast And Powerful Code Editor

        Looking for a new editor to replace your old one? Look no further than Lapce – a lightning-fast and powerful code editor.

      • It’s FOSSDesign is a New 2D CAD App for Linux in Development

        Most of the popular CAD (Computer Aided Design) software options are either proprietary or do not offer native support for Linux.

        It does not mean that we do not have any FOSS alternatives to them. We already have valuable alternatives like FreeCAD and other CAD programs for Linux.

        And, if we have more native CAD software options on Linux, it should make things better for designers and makers.

        Design is an upcoming 2D CAD software tailored for GNOME that sounds interesting.

      • Linux LinksBest Free and Open Source Alternatives to Apple Contacts

        Apple Contacts is a computerized address book included with the Apple operating systems iOS, iPadOS and macOS. It includes cloud synchronization capabilities.

        Contacts is proprietary software and not available for Linux. We recommend the best free and open source alternatives.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • [Old] Scott O’HaraThe details and summary elements, again

        HTML classifies both elements as “interactive elements”. The <details> element serves as the containing element for the widget, though it is not expected to be directly interacted with by users. Nor is <details> generally expected to be exposed to assistive technologies. The open attribute of the <details> element is used to modify the expanded or collapsed state of the widget. When present it represents the widget being in the expanded state, and when absent the collapsed state. While the attribute is used on the <details> element, the state is programmatically communicated by its required <summary> element.

      • Linux HintHow to tar a Folder in Linux?

        Linux offers a built-in “tar” command tool to compress and extract the “tar” files and folders having formats “.gz”, “.bz2”, “.xz”, “.tbz” and many more.

      • LinuxTechiHow to Hide Nginx Version in Linux (Simple Guide)
      • UNIX CopHow to use TCPdump with examples

        Hello, friends. Getting network statistics is a basic task that allows you to monitor what is going on with your network. So, today, you will learn how to use the tcpdump command on Linux. We will also use examples to facilitate the tutorial.

      • FOSSLinuxThe Beginner’s Guide to Using Iptables for Port Forwarding

        Port forwarding is a network address translation (NAT) mechanism that enables proxy firewalls to forward communication queries from one IP address and port to another. Port forwarding is typically configured on Linux systems using iptables, a program for defining IP packet filter rules.

      • Linux Shell TipsHow to Empty Buffer and Cache Memory in Linux

        Linux provides an efficient memory management mechanism that ensures optimal utilization of memory by various programs and processes. H

      • LinuxTechiHow to Hide Nginx Version in Linux (Simple Guide)

        Attackers are constantly on the prowl, conducting reconnaissance on web servers to retrieve crucial details such as the Nginx version. With this information at hand, they can then leverage known vulnerabilities associated with the version of the Nginx web server and initiate an attack.

    • Games

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • DebugPointGNOME 44 Release: Overview of Its Features and Enhancements

          The GNOME desktop environment is a popular open-source desktop option for Linux users. It provides a user-friendly interface with various features to help you customize your workspace and get more done.

          With this release, GNOME offers a few key improvements to its performance and adds some new features to enhance your experience.

          Explore the improved GNOME 44 desktop environment and discover new features, customizations, and performance upgrades.

        • Unicorn MediaA Beginners’ Guide for Learning Your Way Around the GNOME Desktop Environment

          Linux. Ah, Linux. The operating system I’ve called “home” since 1997. Over the years, I’ve tried just about every distribution possible and every conceivable desktop environment. My life with Linux desktops began with Fvwm95 and then traversed a course of AfterStep, Enlightenment, Blackbox, KDE, Unity, Pantheon, and everything in between.

          Eventually, I landed on Gnome and never looked back. I’ve tried to return to other desktops but always found them either too little or too much. Gnome fits right there in the middle, like the ideal desktop for Goldilocks.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Programming/Development

      • TediumAI, Minus the Hype

        AI is a fascinating topic that seems to dominate the cultural conversation lately. Whether it’s AI being used to write anything imaginable or one of the many AI image generators making waves everywhere, there’s no denying the fact that AI is here to stay—and people are utilizing it in some very strange ways. AI inspires conversations on everything from copyright issues to regulation and potential job losses. But there’s also a distinct novelty to AI, and if you’ve been reading Tedium for a while, you probably already know where we’re going with this. In today’s Tedium, we’re looking at generative AI though our grainy, red-and-gray tinted glasses.

      • FuturismDavid Guetta Faked Eminem’s Vocals Using AI for New Song

        “Eminem bro, there’s something that I made as a joke and it works so good — I could not believe it!” says Guetta. “Basically you can write lyrics in the style of any artist you like, so I typed: ‘write a verse in the style of Eminem about future rave,’ and I went to another AI website that can recreate the voice. I put the text in that and I played the record and people went nuts.”

      • RlangSome different graph types in R

        Of course there are many more chart types that are beyond the scope of this blog post. One reference is Top 50 ggplot2 Visualizations – The Master List (With Full R Code). A very cool chart type is the radar chart which you can see at How to Create Radar Charts in R (With Examples).

      • Daniel MiesslerCustom Models Are AI’s Killer App

        The whole game will be how fast they can be trained, on the most data, at the lowest cost.

      • HackadayGhostSCAD: Marrying OpenSCAD And Golang

        It’s been at least a couple of months since we’ve seen a different 3D modeling language project, so here’s [Lukasz Janyst] with GhostSCAD: a take on creating OpenSCAD models, using the Go language as the front end, bringing all the delights this modern modular language has to offer (and a few of its own idiosyncrasies.) As [Lukasz] says in the blog, from a programmer’s viewpoint, openSCAD has a number of failings that make it not necessarily hard, just kinda annoying to work with, due to the way the geometry tree works. The OpenSCAD way of working ends up with the programmer requiring knowledge of the internal workings of sub-modules, in order to work at the top level (assembly) which is not an ideal situation from a code reuse perspective.

      • OpenSource.comA 10-step guide for a successful hackathon

        Hackathons are easy. How much thought do you need to put into them anyway? Just set a date, and people will show up. Well, that is not quite true!

        While you may get lucky with that approach, the reality is that hackathons are a keystone experience in the tech industry, and attendees have specific expectations. Not only that, but your organization also has certain needs and should set goals for a hackathon. So, how do you ensure that a hackathon works for your organization and attendees?

        A successful hackathon depends on several decisions that tend to be recursive. Decisions about what you want to achieve will impact what resources you allot and how you want to communicate. Those decisions affect whether you go virtual or in person, and that decision will once again impact the resources you need and how you communicate. Alignment when planning hackathons is not just about getting people to agree. You will have a whole suite of decisions that must internally align. For example, a technically difficult hackathon might not be able to attract a large audience (ask me how I know!) and will require a specialized recruitment strategy that requires different resources.

        I’ve done many hackathons over the years, including just a few months back, when my organization hosted a hackathon that led to new features that we will incorporate into the next version of our open source product, Traefik Proxy 3.0. So, trust me when I say planning a hackathon that will enrich attendees and create valuable outcomes for your project is about more than hope, pizza, and chaos.

        This downloadable guide serves as a model for you to outline best practices so that you can hold a successful hackathon with a sizable target audience that delivers results…

      • OpenSource.comLearn Expect by writing and automating a simple game

        While trying to automate my workflow, I hit upon a configuration utility that defied meaningful automation. It was a Java process that didn’t support a silent installer, or support stdin, and had an inconsistent set of prompts. Ansible’s expect module was inadequate for this task. But I found that the expect command was just the tool for the job.

        My journey to learn Expect meant learning a bit of Tcl. Now that I have the background to create simple programs, I can better learn to program in Expect. I thought it would be fun to write an article that demonstrates the cool functionality of this venerable utility.

        This article goes beyond the typical simple game format. I plan to use parts of Expect to create the game itself. Then I demonstrate the real power of Expect with a separate script to automate playing the game.

        This programming exercise shows several classic programming examples of variables, input, output, conditional evaluation, and loops.

      • WebAssembly

        • The New StackJava’s History Could Point the Way for WebAssembly

          It’s hard to believe that it’s been over 20 years since the great dotcom crash happened in 2001, which continues to serve as a harbinger of potential doom whenever cyclic tech is on a downward path. I remember quite distinctly hanging out with either unemployed or underemployed folks in the IT field shortly after the great crash in 2001. We were doing just that: hanging out with time on our hands.

          During that time, one day in a park in New York City, Brookdale Park in Montclair, NJ, one of my friends was sitting on a park bench pounding away on his laptop, and he said there was this really cool thing for website creation called Java. It’s been around for a long time, actually, but described how amazing it was that you could program in Java code and deploy, where you want on websites, he said. And of course, have played a key role in transforming the user experience on websites compared to the days of the 1990s when HTML code provided the main elements of website design. Sure, why not, I’ll check it out, I said. And the rest is history as Java secured its place in history, not only for web development, but across IT infrastructure.

        • The New StackPerformance Measured: How Good Is Your WebAssembly?

          WebAssembly adoption is exploding. Almost every week at least one startup, SaaS vendor or established software platform provider is either beginning to offer Wasm tools or has already introduced Wasm options in its portfolio, it seems. But how can all of the different offerings compare performance-wise?

          The good news is that given Wasm’s runtime simplicity, the actual performance at least for runtime can be compared directly among the different WebAssembly offerings. This direct comparison is certainly much easier to do when benchmarking distributed applications that run on or with Kubernetes, containers and microservices.

        • The New StackWebAssembly vs. JavaScript: Security, Speed, Flexibility

          Towards the beginning of what is popularly known as the World Wide Web, there was JavaScript. JavaScript has been around since 1995 when Brendan Eich created the language to support Netscape, the now sadly defunct yet aesthetically pleasing web browser that was revolutionary for its time. Since then, the ECMAScript standard has served to underpin web development, representing the vast majority of applications that run in the web browser.

          More recently, WebAssembly (Wasm) — which actually has been around for a while — has emerged. After the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) named it as a web standard in 2019, it has thus become the fourth web standard with HTML, CSS and JavaScript. But while web browser applications have represented Wasm’s central and historical use case, again, the point is that it is designed to run anywhere on a properly configured CPU — this is where Wasm and JavaScript both bifurcate and become more integrated for some use cases.

        • The New StackWebAssembly: When You Hate Rust but Love Python

          One of the main attributes of WebAssembly is how it can accommodate a number of different languages that are deployed — in theory at least — wherever there is a CPU device that can run instruction sets. The languages Wasm can run include, in addition to JavaScript, Rust, Go, .NET, C++, Java, PHP — and Python (a lot more about Python below).

          As an early web browser application, Wasm has been, and continues to be, heavily entwined with JavaScript. More recently, Rust has entered the fray, and its integration with JavaScript and even when running alone without JavaScript for WebAssembly applications is showing a lot of promise.

  • Leftovers

    • HackadayArtNet Not Going Through? Your Switch Might Be Protecting You

      Cool technology often comes at a cost, and it’s not always that this cost is justified. For instance, [Rainfay] tells us about how the the ArtNet protocol’s odd design choices are causing incompatibility with certain Ethernet switches. ArtNet is a protocol for lighting control over DMX-512 – simply put, it allows you to blink a whole ton of LEDs, even literally. Unlike DMX-512 which can use different physical mediums, ArtNet uses Ethernet, taking form of the usual kind of network packets – and it does seem to do a great job about that, if it weren’t for this one thing.

    • France24‘It’s too much’: Waiting for the dead in Turkey’s quake-stricken Nurdagi

      Search and rescue teams are still at work amid an apocalyptic landscape in Nurdagi, a southeastern Turkish town near the epicentre of the January 6 earthquakes. But at this point they are looking for the remains of the dead, not survivors.

    • France24Live: UN says quake rescue phase ‘coming to a close’ as deaths surpass 35,000

      The Turkey and Syria earthquake’s rescue phase is “coming to a close”, with urgency now switching to providing shelter, food, schooling and psychosocial care, United Nations aid chief Martin Griffiths said during a visit to Aleppo in northern Syria on Monday. The combined death toll has surpassed 35,000.

    • France24‘Miracle’ baby pulled alive from rubble in Turkey’s Antakya days after quake

      Amid the anguish in quake-stricken Turkey, FRANCE 24 brings you the remarkable story of a baby girl called Aliye Dagli, pulled alive from the rubble of her home in Antakya almost six days after the devastating February 6 earthquakes – when experts say the chances of finding survivors is lower than 10 percent. Our reporters Julie Dungelhoeff and Nadia Massih have her story.

    • AxiosTurkey investigates building contractors as earthquake deaths top 33,000

      Turkish authorities have launched an investigation into contractors allegedly linked to deadly building collapses that occurred after amassive earthquake and aftershocksstruck last Monday.

    • The Kent StaterDeath toll climbs to 33,000 people in Turkey-Syria earthquake

      More than 33,000 people have died across Turkey and Syria since a devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck on Monday, as hopes of rescuing more survivors dwindle amid freezing conditions. The latest figures show that 33,181 have died across both countries.

    • Modern DiplomacyPakistan’s Helping Hand for Earthquake Hit Turkey

      It is truly heartbreaking and disturbing to see the images of utter destruction coming from Turkey and Syria. The powerful 7.8 and 7.6 magnitude earthquakes that occurred on February 6th, 2023, together with the subsequent aftershocks, have unleashed unsettling pictures over the landscape in the two countries.

    • Modern DiplomacyPakistan’s Efforts to Uplift South Asia

      Pakistan has made significant efforts to uplift the regional connectivity and contribute to its development. These efforts are of great significance in fostering regional unity and cooperation, promoting economic growth, and improving the standard of living for the people of South Asia. Pakistan’s active participation in regional organizations such as the South Asian Association for […]

    • NPRThis race is a nonstop sail around the world. Cassette tapes are allowed, but no GPS

      “I really like the aspect of sailing by celestial navigation, sailing old school,” she says, adding that she’s always wanted to know “what it would have been like back then when you didn’t have all the modern technology at your fingertips.”

      Satellite phones are allowed, but only for communication with race officials and the occasional media interview. Each boat has collision-avoidance alarms and a GPS tracker, but entrants can’t view their position data. There’s a separate GPS for navigation, but it’s sealed and only for emergencies. Its use can lead to disqualification. Entrants are permitted to use radios to communicate with each other and with passing ships. They’re allowed to briefly anchor, but not get off the boat nor have anyone aboard. And no one is allowed to give them supplies or assistance.

    • New York TimesWhy Are You Seeing So Many Bad Digital Ads Now?

      But lately, on several platforms, the opposite seems to be happening for a variety of reasons, including a slowdown in the overall digital ad market. As numerous deep-pocketed marketers have pulled back, and the softer market has led several digital platforms to lower their ad pricing, opportunities have opened up for less exacting advertisers.

    • Franz DillMalvertizing Search

      Over the past month, Google has been outgunned by malvertisers with new tricks.

    • ScheerpostSon Down
    • ScheerpostEarthquake Leaves Millions Homeless and Without Water and Electricity in Turkish, Syrian Harsh Winter, Many Facing Death

      By Juan Cole / Informed Consent Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) – The Jordanian newspaper al-Ghad reports that on top of the now nearly 30,000 known deaths in Turkey and Syria, millions people are estimated to have been made homeless. Not only are they without shelter, they now lack water and electricity, and often even food and the World Health Organization […]

    • TruthOutThere Was No Mention of 853 Migrant Deaths in 2022 in Biden’s State of the Union
    • Hong Kong Free PressMan with 40 mobile phones strapped to his body arrested at Hong Kong border

      Hong Kong Customs arrested a man over suspected smuggling after 40 mobile phones were found strapped to his body at Shenzhen Bay Control point last Thursday. The 39-year-old was heading into the mainland. The 40 phones had an estimated value of HK$35,000.

    • JURISTSyrian people “failed” as UN warns that level of humanitarian aid is currently insufficient in aftermath of earthquakes

      The Emergency Relief Coordinator of the UN Martin Griffiths Sunday declared that there has been a failure in the delivery of international aid to the people of northwest Syria. Griffith urgently calls for international support in the wake of a series of earthquakes that hit Türkiye, Syria, and the surrounding region.

    • Education

      • [Old] teleSURWorld’s Largest Floating Book Fair Visits Egypt

        With a crew of nearly 350 volunteers of more than 60 nationalities, Logos Hope ship is currently docked at Port Said, in northeastern Egypt, holding the world’s largest floating book fair as part of its humanitarian mission to spread knowledge and foster cultural exchange.

      • Counter PunchCredentialism and the Fate of Academia

        Public education in the United States has always had very specific objectives: (1) It aims to produce qualified workers for a multilayered labor market. Two hundred years ago, at the college level, this meant doctors, lawyers and Protestant pastors. For the last one hundred years or so, higher education has served a broader middle class, white collar market. The shortage of “voc-tech” options is a function of modern cultural bias—such career paths have long been seen as lower class and traditionally came through an apprenticeship. These were careers that got one’s hands dirty. Even today such work does not lead to high starting salaries. Educational institutions did not create these dichotomies. They just conformed to them. (2) Public education aims to produce aware and loyal citizens. This used to be done at the lower educational levels in civics courses, but many of these have fallen victim to financial exigencies. U.S. history and courses on “government” offered at middle and high school stages were supposed to pick up where civics left off. However, this was never a systematic effort. When it comes to higher education, enrollment in courses in U.S. history and relevant political science offerings suffer due to the “consumer” approach to education. Students often see such courses as requiring “too much work” and, of course, what does one do with a “history major”? Business courses are all the rage—again for economic and class based reasons. Please note that the production of aware and loyal citizens is not the same as graduating critical thinkers. In fact there might be a contradiction between the two.

        Today, public education at all levels is confronted with a curriculum crisis. Irate parents want to censor local and national history, the range of acceptable literature, and even set limits on what they believe is a tolerable approach to biology. At the college level, a “market” orientation has led state education administrators to favor the above-mentioned “consumer choice” approach. Under this system you get the following weirdness: philosophy should compete with English literature and/or history, etc. for “consumer” student enrollment—after all, all these subjects supply “the same humanities credits”. Education has finally turned its back on the ideal of a liberal arts education.

    • Hardware

      • HackadayRCA’s Clear Plastic TV Wowed Crowds In 1939

        In the United States in 1939, television sets still had a long way to go before they pretty much sold themselves. Efforts to do just that are what led to RCA’s Lucite Phantom Telereceiver, which aimed to show people a new way to receive broadcast media.

      • HackadayChallenging A Broken DualShock 4 Controller To A Duel

        A broken PlayStation controller would normally be a bummer, and if the issue is losing calibration that’s stored in a non-documented format, you might as well bin it. For [Al] of [Al’s blog], however, it’s a challenge, turning into a four-part story – so far. The first installment was published January 1st this year, and seeing the pure enthusiasm [Al] has reverse-engineering the DualShock 4 controller, you might guess that this is a New Year’s gift from someone who knows [Al] very well. The list of problems with the joystick is numerous, to begin with – it’s easier to list all the things that work properly, and it isn’t many of them. Perhaps, the firmware problem is is the most interesting one to start with.

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • FuturismGoogle Issues Warning About AI-Generated Content About Health and Finance

        Specifically, Google is warning outlets that there’ll be extra scrutiny from its search team on AI-generated content regarding “health, civic, or financial information.” So, basically, areas where you really want to get things right.

        “These issues exist in both human-generated and AI-generated content,” reads the new Google FAQ, speaking specifically to “AI content that potentially propagates misinformation or contradicts consensus on important topics.”

      • Science AlertWorld’s Wealthiest May Actually Be Less Intelligent Than Those Who Don’t Earn As Much

        A team of researchers from Linköping University in Sweden, the European University Institute in Italy, and the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands say that better cognitive ability plays more of a role further down the pay scale.

        “We find that the relationship between ability and wage is strong overall, yet above €60,000 (US$64,407) per year ability plateaus at a modest level of +1 standard deviation,” write the researchers in their published paper.

      • COVID-19 is now a leading killer of children

        As someone who has been following the antivaccine movement for over twenty years (and blogging about it for over 18 years), before the pandemic I never thought I would see my “provaccine” colleagues claim that children don’t need to be vaccinated against an infectious disease that kills at least as many children as measles did in the days before there was a vaccine. Indeed, that is basically the entire message behind the “Urgency of Normal” movement promoting a message during the Delta wave claiming that masks and COVID-19 mitigations in schools were not necessary because so few children die of the diseases, a state public health authority actively discouraging parents from vaccinating their children against COVID-19, and academics even recycling hoary old antivax tropes in a bioethics journal to argue against the need to vaccinate children against COVID-19. I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised, as I’ve been reminding my colleagues who are shocked at how many doctors are antivaccine that such antivax docs have always been among us, but the intensity and degree of the pushback among colleagues against vaccinating children against COVID-19 and their utter obliviousness that the arguments they were making were nothing more than old antivax arguments indistinguishable from the arguments antivaxxers used to make about measles vaccines surprised even me. What particularly surprised and disappointed me is the degree to which seemingly eminent academic physicians, while showing concern about reports of myocarditis after vaccination, seemingly shrug their shoulders about the disease, thinking it seemingly “natural and healthy” for children to die of a vaccine-preventable disease. They even argue, as antivaxxers did prepandemic for measles and chickenpox “parties,” that we should let children catch Omicron rather than impose anything resembling pandemic restrictions like masking or vaccine mandates in a school ever again.

      • Common DreamsDamar Hamlin and the Super Bowl’s Big Hit

        The echoes still linger from that national sigh of relief last month when Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin, slammed into cardiac arrest during a game on January 2nd, was declared out of danger. It was a justified sigh. A vibrant young life had been spared.

      • Counter PunchHow Trump’s Legacy Could Make a Bird Flu Pandemic More Deadly Than Covid

        Trump’s no longer president, but he and his racism could still be responsible for millions more American deaths from a new pandemic disease. How and why? I’ll explain in just a moment, but first let’s look at the disease itself.

        One reason egg prices are so high right now is because a new strain of bird flu — H1N5 — has popped up among egg-laying chickens. The disease has a shocking mortality rate, leading to the death (both from disease and from euthanizing flocks to stop its spread) of almost 60 million domesticated birds in the US alone, so far.

      • JURISTMadrid health workers protest amid staffing issues and decreased funding

        Health workers Sunday protested in Madrid, Spain over staffing issues and what protesters claim to be the favoritism of private health services. According to the protesters, the public health system has broken down due to the conservative regional authorities favoring private health services and disbanding public health services—leaving many hospitals poorly staffed.

      • JURISTUS states file amicus brief in abortion medication lawsuit

        A coalition of 22 states Friday filed an amicus brief opposing a proposed preliminary injunction that would withdraw or suspend the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the abortion medications Mifepristone and Mifeprex.

      • The Straits TimesHong Kong reports outbreak of African swine fever

        The outbreak has been contained to just one farm near Hong Kong’s border with the mainland.

      • The Straits TimesChina Covid-19 deaths in hospitals drop 72% in a week as wave eases

        Official figures show a continued, rapid decline in deaths.

    • Linux Foundation

      • The New StackLinux Foundation Study Assesses ‘Outsized’ U.S. Influence on Open Source [Ed: Linux Foundation is like 90% US, so its agenda is accordingly biased and corporate, not internationalist]

        While the open source has always been about sharing the code for one and all, this ideal has been increasingly at odds with a range of factors, including software fragmentation, politicization, weaponization, and a creeping techno-nationalism, which all can negatively impact open source’s vital collaborative framework.

        Addressing these issues is a new report from the Linux Foundation, “Enabling Global Collaboration: How Open Source Leaders are Confronting the Challenges of Fragmentation,” authored by Anthony D. Williams, founder and president of the research firm the DEEP Centre.

        The report was sponsored by Futurewei, Huawei’s U.S.-based research and development arm, and is a product of the Linux Foundation Research, founded in 2021.

    • Security

      • Integrity/Availability/Authenticity

        • MandiantI Solemnly Swear My Driver Is Up to No Good: Hunting for Attestation Signed Malware [iophk: Windows TCO]

          Mandiant has continually observed threat actors use compromised, stolen, and illicitly purchased code-signing certificates to sign malware, lending legitimacy and subverting security controls such as application allow-listing policies. Attestation signed drivers take the trust granted to them by the CA and transfers it to a file whose Authenticode signature originates from Microsoft itself. We assess with high confidence that threat actors have subverted this process using illicitly obtained EV code signing certificates to submit driver packages via the attestation signing process, and in effect have their malware signed by Microsoft directly.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • HackadayDeciphering Queen Of Scots, Mary Stuart’s Lost Letters

          Communications by important people over the past thousands of years have been regularly encrypted, making the breaking of this encryption both an essential and also a fascinating historical field. One recent example of an important historical discovery by codebreakers are letters dating back to 1578 through 1584 by Mary Stuart, the Queen of Scots in the 16th century. While deemed lost for centuries, researchers came across them in a stash of encrypted letters that were kept at the Bibliothèque nationale de France’s (BnF). After decrypting these 57 letters, they realized what they had come across.

        • Indian ExpressHow Union budget 2023 may foster greater violations of privacy
    • Defence/Aggression

      • US News And World ReportUkraine Says Italy’s Berlusconi ‘Spreading Russian Propaganda’

        Ukraine accused former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi on Monday of spreading Russian propaganda…

      • Modern DiplomacyFOCUS: Five surprising facts about anti-Russia sanctions

        After the invasion of Ukraine, the West imposed sanctions on its longtime trading partner, Russia. But they appear to be hitting the Russian economy much less than expected, writes German magazine FOCUS. According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in the foreseeable future Russia will grow even faster than Germany.

      • Defence WebAU Ethiopia/Tigray peace committee meets for first time

        Just over a month after hostilities ceased in Ethiopia’s Tigray province, an African Union (AU) joint committee overseeing agreement for lasting peace in  the east African country met for the first time.

      • Defence WebRamaphosa’s VIP jet grounded following Cape Town mishap

        President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Boeing Business Jet (BBJ) will be out of action for some time following a hangar incident in Cape Town that damaged its tail.

      • Defence WebBody of SA airman killed in DR Congo arrives home

        The mortal remains of South African Air Force (SAAF) Sergeant Vusimusi Mabena, killed by a sniper in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), were repatriated on Sunday 12 February to Air Force Base (AFB) Waterkloof in Centurion.

      • France24Live: Ukraine says situation ‘difficult’ amid fierce fighting near Bakhmut

        Ukraine said Monday the situation was “difficult” in a village just north of Bakhmut, a day after the Russian paramilitary group Wagner claimed control of another settlement near the eastern Ukrainian city that has been the stage for the longest battle of the invasion.

      • France24China accuses US of sending balloons into its airspace ‘more than 10 times’

        China accused the United States on Monday of flying balloons over its territory, hitting back against Washington’s claims that Beijing has been sending alleged surveillance aircraft.

      • France24US military shoots down fourth flying object after Great Lakes airspace closure

        A US fighter jet shot down an “unidentified object” over Lake Huron on Sunday on orders from President Joe Biden. It was the fourth such downing in eight days and the latest military strike in an extraordinary chain of events over US airspace that Pentagon officials believe has no peacetime precedent.

      • Hong Kong Free PressPhilippine coast guard accuses Chinese ship of using ‘laser light’ near disputed islands

        The Philippine Coast Guard on Monday accused a Chinese coastguard vessel of shining a “military-grade laser light” at one of its boats in the disputed South China Sea, temporarily blinding crew members.

      • The Straits TimesPhilippines accuses China of aiming ‘military-grade’ laser at coast guard vessel in South China Sea

        The Philippine Coast Guard said the Feb 6 incident caused temporary blindness to crew members.

      • US News And World ReportNATO’s Stoltenberg: ‘We Plan to Increase Targets for Ammunition Stockpiles’

        NATO plans to increase its targets for ammunition stockpiles, which are being depleted by the war in Ukraine…

      • US News And World ReportRussia Likely to Spy More on Norway’s Energy Industry, Say Norway Security Police

        Russia will seek to gather more intelligence about Norway’s oil and gas infrastructure…

      • France24Ukraine says over 1,200 health facilities damaged since start of war

        According to Ukrainian Health Minister VIktor Liashko, 1,218 Ukrainian health facilities have been damaged, including 540 damaged hospitals, 173 of which were totally destroyed. The leader of the Russian paramilitary group Wagner said Sunday that his troops had taken an eastern Ukrainian village a few kilometres from the key city of Bakhmut which Moscow has been trying to capture for months.

      • The Straits TimesJapan police file new charges against ex-prime minister Abe’s murder suspect

        The new charges of making a gun and damaging a building are expected to end investigations.

      • RAIR FoundationThreat Alert: ISIS Calls for Muslims to Attack Christians Around the World, Especially in Europe

        See the following threat assessment report by The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Israeli Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center: [...]

      • VOA NewsAustralia to Grant Permanent Visas to Thousands of Refugees

        The policy has been condemned by rights groups.

        Opposition lawmakers say the new visa changes will encourage more asylum-seekers to try to reach Australia by sea and would “enliven opportunities for people smugglers.”

      • Meduza‘I realized this isn’t my war’: New footage appears to show the sledgehammer murder of another former Wagner Group mercenary — Meduza

        A new video posted by the Wagner mercenary group’s semi-official Telegram channel appears to show the murder by sledgehammer of Dmitry Yakushchenko, an ex-convict who joined Wagner Group from prison before apparently surrendering to Ukraine on the battlefield. The gruesome clip comes just three months after a similar video surfaced that showed the murder of Yevgeny Nuzhin, another former Wagner fighter. Here’s what we know about the Yakushchenko video so far.

      • Counter PunchSyria Held Hostage by the U.S.A. and Its Allies

        Perhaps the most agonizing experience for a family, for any bystander, even for humanitarian professionals, is a double tragedy—a death or calamity where they are refused access, where they are forced to helplessly witness suffering, unable to offer succor. This is surely what faces millions of able-bodied Syrians today. It affects Syrians within the stricken nation along with their faraway relatives and friends.

        Anyone seeing suffering is involuntarily driven forward– to assist. Yet Syrians globally, those most affected by the agonizing images and stories emerging from the earthquake sites, feel both immobilized and shy behind their tears and frustrations. It’s not any threat of personal danger in a war zone that inhibits them from joining the rescue. It’s the international embargo against Syria.

      • Counter PunchPolice Accountability is a “Non-Starter” Without Discarding the Qualified Immunity Doctrine

        Some reps in Congress assert that dismantling qualified immunity (“QI”)—a police officer’s so-called good faith defense to a civil rights lawsuit—is a “non-starter” in negotiations to pass the George Floyd Civil Rights Act. In reality, meaningful police accountability is a non-starter without discarding QI.

      • Common DreamsUS Media ‘Spy Balloon’ Obsession a Gift to China Hawks

        For over a week, U.S. corporate media have been captivated by a so-called “Chinese spy balloon,” raising the specter of espionage.

      • ScheerpostPentagon Wants To Return Special Ops Propagandists To Ukraine

        An article by The Washington Post titled “Pentagon looks to restart top-secret programs in Ukraine” contains some interesting information about what US special ops forces were doing in Ukraine in the lead-up to the Russian invasion last year, and what they are slated to be doing there in the future.  […]

      • Counter PunchRemembering Vladimir Putin’s speech of 10 February 2007 at the Munich Security Conference

        Sixteen years ago, on 10 February 2007, Russian President Putin delivered a landmark speech at the Munich Security Conference, a clear statement of post- Cold War Russian foreign policy, focusing on the need for multilateralism and international solidarity.  The mainstream media did not give much visibility to Putin’s security analysis in 2007, and still fails to do so.  Yet, it is worth our while to revisit that speech.

        In 2007 I did recognize the implications of Putin’s speech and even distributed the text to my students at the  Geneva School of Diplomacy.  Sometimes I distribute the Putin speech together with President John F. Kennedy’s brilliant commencement address at American University[1] on 10 June 1963, an appeal to rationality that is as relevant today as it was then.  If everyone would read it and implement what is in there, we would not be in the dangerous and tragic situation we are in today.

      • Counter PunchThe Balloon, the Rabbit and the Dragon: the Chinese New Year in San Francisco

        To write her most recent novel, Demon Copperhead (2022; 549 pages; $32.50; Harper Collins) her tenth in the past 35 years, Barbara Kingsolver turned for inspiration to Charles Dickens whom she calls her “genius friend.” In the acknowledgements, she writes, “I’m grateful to Charles Dickens for writing David Copperfield, his impassioned critique of institutional poverty and its damaging effects on children in his society.” She adds, “Those problems are still with us.” Isn’t that obvious? Why hit us over the head with it?

        In the body of the novel, Kingsolver’s protagonist and narrator— a poor white kid, a drug addict, an orphan and a born again artist— explains that while Dickens was a “seriously old guy, dead and a foreigner, but Jesus Christ did he get the picture on kids and orphans getting screwed over and nobody giving a rat’s ass. You’d think he was from around here.” For Copperhead, whose hair is the color of copper wire, “around here” means Appalachia, where Kingsolver lives on a farm with her husband. The time is now, though there are very few references to contemporary events. The Iraq war is one of them.

      • Common DreamsAnti-war Voices Decry Army, NFL for ‘Hijacking the Pat Tillman Story’ During Super Bowl LVII

        Advocates of peace, truth, and basic human decency on Sunday excoriated the National Football League’s “whitewashing” of former Arizona Cardinal and Army Ranger Pat Tillman’s death in Afghanistan by so-called “friendly fire” and the military’s subsequent cover-up—critical details omitted from a glowingly patriotic Super Bowl salute.

      • ScheerpostChris Hedges: There Are No Permanent Allies, Only Permanent Power

        If we do not build left-right coalitions on issues such as militarism, health care, a living wage and union organizing, we will be impotent in the face of corporate power and the war machine.

      • MeduzaPrigozhin claims Wagner Group has captured Krasna Hora to the north of Bakhmut — Meduza

        Wagner Group founder and Kremlin-backed tycoon Evgeny Prigozhin says that Wagner fighters have occupied the village of Krasna Hora, located 7 kilometers (about 4 miles) north of Bakhmut.

      • The StrategistFrom the bookshelf: ‘Abyss: the Cuban missile crisis 1962’

        Over the course of the past week we saw a faction within the American polity exhibit collective panic about a Chinese balloon that floated across the US. Whatever the nature of the balloon, the fears …

      • The StrategistPolicy, Guns and Money: Ukraine war and Indonesia’s ASEAN chairmanship

        As the one-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches, ASPI’s Executive Director Justin Bassi speaks to historian and writer Olesya Khromeychuk.

      • The StrategistChina–Philippine relations sail on calmer seas—for now

        On 4 January, Chinese President Xi Jinping clasped hands with his Philippine counterpart under very different circumstances from the last time he welcomed a Philippine leader to Beijing.

      • Defence WebBurkina Faso inches closer to Wagner mercenaries

        As it seeks to expand its presence in the Sahel region, Russia appears to be following the same playbook in Burkina Faso that it used to embed itself into Mali’s security apparatus. Despite recent denials, Burkina Faso has courted Russian support, possibly including Wagner Group mercenaries.

      • Defence WebOutgoing MONUSCO force commander believes DRC is better today than in 1999

        Summing up his tenure as MONUSCO force commander, Lieutenant General Marcos da Costa maintains much was done under his watch, with more work needed to guarantee peace in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

      • Defence WebC-in-C’s attendance at Armed Forces Day parade confirmed

        Torrential rain and localised flooding in KwaZulu-Natal is putting the ingenuity of the national defence force’s logistic specialists to the test as they battle the elements and the clock preparing for Armed Forces Day (AFD) and associated events.

      • The Straits TimesTaiwan says it reserves right to shoot down Chinese balloons

        Any move by Taiwan to down such a balloon would likely prompt an angry response from China.

    • Transparency/Investigative Reporting

    • Environment

      • India TimesAI integration in Google, Microsoft search results won’t be good for the environment

        For both companies, maintaining computer systems to help with search engines is already a resource-intense operation. AI chatbot integration will make the operation even heavier and will lead to more energy consumption.

        According to a report by Wired, the power that is needed to train a single AI can produce a huge amount of carbon emissions. Meanwhile, internet usage produces nearly 4% of total global greenhouse gas emissions.

        The report also mentions that experts have warned that the computing prowess required to combine AI with a load of search engine queries will be increased for companies like Google and Microsoft by up to 5 times. With more computers, greenhouse gas emissions will also increase.

    • Finance

      • YLEEva report: Finland needs to make €13bn in cuts

        The economic think tank offers four economic policy options aimed at helping Finland’s political leaders balance the state’s books.

      • Thomas Vander Stichele: How to Support Through Layoffs

        The number one question I’ve gotten in the past week has been “how can I support people affected by the layoff?”

        First, some general advice:

        • For everyone, remember to “comfort in, dump out” – vent your frustrations to people less affected, support those who are more affected than you.
        • To support Xooglers, don’t ask “how can I help?” as that places more burden on them. Offer specific ways you can help them – “Can I write you a Linkedin recommendation? Can I connect you with this person I know at this company who’s hiring?”. People are affected disproportionally, and if you want to prioritize your help, consider starting with the people on a visa who are now on a tight deadline to find a new sponsor or face leaving the country.
        • To support your colleagues still here, remember we’re not all having the same experience. In particular, people outside of the US will be in limbo for weeks or months to come. People can be anywhere on a spectrum of “long time Googler, first mass layoff” to “I’ve had to go through worse”. Don’t assume, lead with curiosity, and listen.
      • Modern DiplomacyAbout a ‘US default’ and “the fate of dollar”

        Prepare for a US debt default and a recession that will drag down corporate earnings, according to Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan. In an interview with CNN, the head of the second-largest US bank said he hoped the government wouldn’t slip into default on its debt.

      • Counter PunchWill the States Finally Tax the Rich?
      • Common DreamsNearly 1 Million March Against ‘Unjust and Brutal’ Plan to Raise French Pension Age

        Nearly a million people took to the streets of cities across France on Saturday during the fourth round of nationwide protests against President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to raise the country’s pension eligibility age from 62 to 64.

      • ScheerpostWe Already Know Who’s Winning Super Bowl LVII — the Billionaire Class

        The players are preparing to face off, but billionaire NFL owners are all on the same team.

      • TruthOutBig Tech Aims to Punish Workers and Drive Down Wages With Wave of Layoffs
      • TruthOutHyundai’s Suppliers Employ Child Labor, Democrats Call on Biden to Crack Down
      • Counter PunchCorrupt and Fraudulent: Laying Bare the Adani Group

        There is nothing Gautam Adani will not do for money.  In this sense, he is admirably dedicated to greed, so much so he has become its foremost caricature worthy of permanent enthronement.  Mark this man’s name in the scriptures of eternity: There was nothing he did not do for the filthy lucre.

        For the unfamiliar reader, the $218 billion Adani imperium, one specialising in transport, infrastructure, and mining, is vast, with far reaching feelers, prongs and tentacles that have made their mark in a number of countries.  Along the way, Adani’s companies have made quite a name for themselves.  Employment laws have been breached and treated with disdain.  Broader human rights abuses have featured.  Governments and regulators have been lied to.  No environment is ecologically safe from the company’s activities, despite their assertions to the contrary.

      • TruthOutHow the Wealthy Are Saving Billions in Taxes by Skirting a Century-Old Law
      • Silicon AngleMeta reportedly planning more layoffs as part of efficiency drive
        Meta Platforms Inc. is reportedly planning more layoffs in March as part of an efficiency drive after having laid off around 11,000 employees in November. The Financial Times, referencing employees familiar with the situation, Saturday reported that Meta has delayed finalizing multiple teams’ budgets ahead of the planned cuts.

      • Hong Kong Free PressPrioritise post-Covid recovery over enacting Hong Kong’s own security law, pro-Beijing heavyweight says

        A pro-Beijing heavyweight has said it would not be suitable to begin legislative work to enact Hong Kong’s own security law this year, citing the city’s need for post-pandemic recovery and the run-up to Taiwan presidential elections.

      • The Straits TimesThai police warn lovers about ‘sextortion’ scams ahead of Valentine’s Day


        Thai police said romance scams reported last month mainly targeted women in their 40s.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

    • Censorship/Free Speech

      • RAIR FoundationThousands of Radicalized Muslims Demonstrated in Germany Against the Qur’an Burning in Sweden

        The Hamburg Office for the Protection of the Constitution warned against joining the demonstration. The radical Islamic network Muslim Interaktiv (MI), which has the same ideology as the terrorist group, Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT), was behind the protest. “Anyone who takes part in this demonstration stands side by side with enemies of the constitution who want to enforce a form of society incompatible with our free democratic basic order,” it said in advance.

      • Times Higher EducationIran forces regime critics out of academia

        Reports of scholars being retired early or dismissed indicate that the Iranian government has ordered a cleansing of academia in the wake of protests that have gripped the country since September. Demonstrations were triggered by the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini, who was accused of wearing her hijab “improperly”.

        “We can expect more expulsions of students and faculty and a more conservative academic curriculum in the coming months,” said Mehrzad Boroujerdi, author of Iranian Intellectuals and the West and vice-provost of Missouri University of Science and Technology.

      • France24France slams Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ over depiction of its army in Africa

        Paris’ defence minister on Sunday condemned the latest instalment of Marvel’s Black Panther franchise, which depicts French troops caught trying to steal resources belonging to the fictional African kingdom of Wakanda.

    • Freedom of Information / Freedom of the Press

    • Civil Rights/Policing

    • Internet Policy/Net Neutrality

      • Informa PLCEricsson networks boss shares open RAN hopes and fears

        “It’s a big, complex question,” said Fredrik Jejdling when asked about his organization’s current stance on open radio access network (RAN) technology. Jejdling manages Ericsson’s networks business, which generates about 70% of company revenues. A noisy infant today, open RAN is often depicted as one of the biggest future threats to this business. Even Ericsson believes it will account for about a fifth of RAN market sales by the end of this decade.

    • Monopolies

      • Trademarks

        • YLERebrand your balls, court orders company

          A lower court had previously forced the Finnish food company Pouttu to change the names of its plant-based balls and burgers. The burgers were given a reprieve by the Supreme Administrative Court.

      • Copyrights

        • RFERLRussian Streaming Companies To Lose Access To Disney Library

          Russian online streaming services will lose access to Disney’s library of films when their current contact with the U.S. entertainment firms expires in March, Vedomosti reported. [...]

        • Torrent FreakAnti-Piracy Outfits Target TorrentFreak in PikaShow Crackdown

          Copyright holders are doing all they can to dissuade people from using the popular pirate streaming app PikaShow. In addition to criminal referrals, this also includes efforts to remove PikaShow references from Google’s search results. This isn’t without collateral damage, as TorrentFreak’s news reports are mistakenly flagged too.

        • Torrent FreakAussie Piracy “Disturbingly High” Despite 97% Using Legal Sources

          The Australian government has released the 2022 edition of its Consumer Survey on Online Copyright Infringement. At 159 pages it’s a big read, but in the spirit of showman P.T. Barnum, it has something for everyone. Almost 90% of the most dedicated Aussie consumers obtain content strictly legally, but it can also be argued that 40% of the population are pirates.

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • Some Hardware Repairs

        In which I discuss recent repairs and upgrades I’ve done for several of my devices.

        Written on a MacBook Pro while listening to the Bugsnax Original Soundtrack by Seth Parker.

        For the past several years I’ve been using a 45 W MacBook Air charger for my Macbook Pro, because the real 85 W MacBook Pro charger I had got burnt out from a power surge or something at a previous school; new ones cost $80 so I never got it. But using the much lower power charger meant that my comptuer would often still die even when plugged in, and it ruined the battery life because it was acting like an online UPS where the battery was being constantly charged and drained.

      • Update your mirrors!

        Mirrors are what powers all distros: they’re a (de)centralized solution for downloading pre-compiled binaries and scripts for your operating system.

      • February

        Another month, another… something. Still wrestling with the issue at work, still killing my mental health, to the point of driving me to want to quit. I feel like I’m close to a solution now. But being essentially the one person in my field, I also have to shoulder all of the projects related to that. I’m in over my head. I’ve told my boss that I need another person working with me, and the guy at the help desk that handles some of it is nice, but that’s not a real solution.

    • Technical

      • A grade-A ditz tries video games

        So I had played like three seconds of Popeye on a home computer (guessing the C64) at a distant relative’s house and had two Game & Watches (Life Boat and a non-Nintendo space shooter, both of which I loved), but the first real video game I really played was Duck Tales.

        Loved it, amazing game, kind of sad to start with one of the best games of all time since it was all downhill from there, but point of the story is that I play a couple of levels, get to Transylvania, start talking to Webby, and… I have no idea how to move forward. I was stuck on the same screen for an hour.

        Because I didn’t know to press A to continue the dialogue.

        I must’ve accidentally hit A without realizing it because I was stuck again the next time, a li’l bit shorter since that time I did figure it out.

      • Programming

        • How to host git repos

          In honor of World Give Up GitHub day, here’s a quick guide to how to serve up your own git repos.

          In an empty directory readable from WWW (that has the URL you want your repo to have, for cloning) that you also can write to over SSH, run

          git init --bare
          mv hooks/post-update.sample hooks/post-update

          Make sure the directory has the permissions you want for web (world readable, not writable).

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

How Much Longer Can the EPO Deny That It Has a Patent Quality and Patent Legitimacy Crisis?

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:38 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 550c4201b173a1a6a233b1d0b1d1b5e4
EPO Quality is Low, Say Patent Maximalists
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: The EPO has a legal and technical crisis, but it is talking about natural disasters like earthquakes in order to change the subject and act like a political party, not a patent office (it also does greenwashing this month)

QUALITY of EPO-granted patents is a longstanding theme here. Staff has warned about this for years and Kluwer now reports on the issue (focus on the comments), probably more than 5 years late. SUEPO, the staff union, has been cautioning about this for nearly a decade already!

“The corrupt management does everything it can to hide the grim reality — to the point of even exploiting the devastating earthquakes.”The video above talks about the issue and then shows the latest propaganda from the EPO’s official site. The corrupt management does everything it can to hide the grim reality — to the point of even exploiting the devastating earthquakes. If Benoît Battistelli habitually exploited crises including earthquakes for self-serving propaganda in the EPO’s Web site, why can’t António Campinos too?

“An Earthquake Would be Needed for the Administrative Council… Not to Support My Major Proposals.” -Benoît Battistelli

“An Earthquake Would be Needed for the Administrative Council… Not to Support My Major Proposals.” -Benoît Battistelli

EPO Falcon

Tens of Millions of GNU/Linux Users in Two Countries

Posted in Asia, GNU/Linux at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 9078d035b9766fb443cb6ebeb9e93ea3
GNU/Linux Growing in Asia
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: In the world’s most populous countries GNU/Linux is making big strides; it’s fair to say that this is a growth area that thwarts the near-monopoly of Windows on desktops/laptops

THE GNU/Linux operating system is turning 40 later this year, assuming we started counting or started the clock in 1983. Back then a 30-year-old Richard Stallman (yes, he’s turning 70 on March 16th) started the vision of a freedom-respecting operating system. He had already made his emacs and various other programs.

The media is gaslighting GNU and the FSF, but in a lot of ways they got their way. Free software continues to grow.

“The world is changing. Microsoft isn’t keeping up.”The video above speaks about my early years with GNU/Linux (as a young scientist) and explains that it has found growing exposure in two countries that have about 3 billion people in them. When it comes to GNU/Linux adoption, China was always behind India, but it is catching up while Microsoft lays off many workers and Windows loses market share. As per this page, this month Android is up to 45% of all market share, whereas Windows is down to 27% this month. The funny thing is that Microsoft Edge market share — just like Bing's market sharefell by about 5% this month, in spite of all the media SPAM from Microsoft, sprinkling “HEY HI” (AI) pixie dust over everything, including Edge and Azure (now they say the same about Teams and Office). This helps distract from Edge staff being laid off and Bing staff being laid off. Azure too has many layoffs (for several years already). “HEY HI” (AI) is the new clown computing, i.e. misleading hype.

The world is changing. Microsoft isn’t keeping up. Buying GitHub was buying debt and perpetual losses (in an effort to control the competition and attack copyleft-based licences). Now, amid a class action lawsuit, all the offices are being disbanded.

Microsoft Shuts Down GitHub (All Offices)

Posted in Microsoft at 2:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Video download link | md5sum 5a3cb71ec214a973713d91f1d5b50228
GitHub Closing Shop
Creative Commons Attribution-No Derivative Works 4.0

Summary: GitHub isn’t free-as-in-freedom (it’s proprietary) and it was never ‘for free’; many people are failing to see — at their own peril — that GitHub has no business model and thus it will never be ‘for free’ (Microsoft is realising the losses are becoming too much of a yoke already)

THE company GitHub was never profitable. It just gave Git hosting ‘for free’ with a Web interface to manage and navigate repositories. GitHub itself is proprietary and for many years it managed to attract many users, offering ‘for free’ all sorts of things, including computational resources. But how did GitHub plan to make money, even just to cover salaries?

Blender, taking note of GitHub just riding shareholders’ money, avoided the GitHub trap and explained why. Microsoft, desperate to take control over Free software somehow, decided to take this thing which operated at a loss. It was never going to work because efforts to make it profitable would result in an exodus greater than what happened in the wake of ICE scandals.

In the GitHub series (Part 28 in particular) we’ve taken note of serious trouble. The latest is office closures. This is permanent. What comes next? Our guess is that Microsoft will try to increase fees; it already does this with Teams and no doubt Azure will continue to raise the prices, which still isn’t going to be enough (hence layoffs in Azure for 3 years already).

People who still use GitHub because they think it’s cheap or “for free” need to learn a lesson from Gitlab.com. Hosting is never free. There’s this new post in Gemini that says: “In honor of World Give Up GitHub day, here’s a quick guide to how to serve up your own git repos.”

It’s not as hard as it may seem. People need not even be programmers to do this. Relying on Microsoft or outsourcing to Microsoft is a foolish move.

IRC Proceedings: Sunday, February 12, 2023

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:00 am by Needs Sunlight

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