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Links 30/10/2022: TDE R14.0.13 and Russia's Move to GNU/Linux

  • GNU/Linux

    • Russia tries to impose switch to Linux from Windows

      Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, and US and EU sanctions, western companies began a steady withdrawal from Russian markets. Microsoft was no exception, and in June, the company blocked Russian users from downloading the latest versions of Windows – impacting the roughly 95% of computers and laptops that currently run on Windows.

      This may not seem like a particularly drastic move to the average Windows user in Russia – who at least in the short term, won’t be hugely impacted by a loss of remote support from Microsoft, or official updates for Windows 10 and 11.

    • DebugPointDebugPoint Weekly Roundup #22.11: Ubuntu 23.04 Code Name, Linux Container in FreeBSD and More

      Here’s the weekly roundup #22.11 for you across the GNU/Linux and tech world.

      Welcome to the DebugPoint Weekly roundup #22.11, where you can find all the happenings from this week, mainly from the Linux and open-source space.

      In this week, we saw several critical updates from GNOME, Ubuntu and applications. A few releases were also added this week with some BSD updates.

      Here’s what happened this week.

    • Linux LinksLinux Around The World: Hungary

      We cover events and user groups that are running in Hungary. This article forms part of our Linux Around The World series.

    • Applications

      • DebugPoint3 Best Free Photoshop Alternatives for Ubuntu and other Linux

        We present three best Photoshop alternatives for Linux systems that are free and open-source.

        Photoshop is a raster graphics image editor and manipulator developed by Adobe. This decade-old software is a de facto standard for the photographic industry. However, it is a paid product and doesn’t run on Linux. For many users in this industry, Photoshop is still costly and comes with a hefty subscription fee. Since it does not run on Linux, you must use Windows or macOS with additional free operating systems and hardware.

        As you can see, to use Photoshop, you end up paying additional fees, which are not even related to Photoshop.

        Though nothing technically replaces software, below are some free and open-source apps that come close to Photoshop in terms of its functionality.

        Also, all these three apps are available as Flatpak and Snap. So you can install it in any Linux distribution.

      • GSoC'22 - [Part 3] Tree-View in Thunar

        This feature aims to enable the user, when in list-view, to expand non-empty folders (as shown in the image above).

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • OMG UbuntuAdd Notifications, Media Controls - Media Streams to GNOME Quick Settings - OMG! Ubuntu!

        A new GNOME extension allows you to tweak the layout, appearance, and functionality of the new Quick Settings menu in GNOME 43.

        I wrote about a similar-ish GNOME extension last week that let you remove buttons from showing up in Quick Settings. The author of that extension is back with a new add-on that can that too plus a whole lot more.

      • Linux Cloud VPSDifference Between Curl and wget Commands | LinuxCloudVPS Blog

        In this tutorial, we are going to explain the main difference between the curl and wget commands in Linux with examples.

        These two commands are very often used by system administrators and other Linux users on daily basis. Curl is a free and open-source utility that offers to transfer data between remote machines. Wget is also a free command line utility that offers transferring files using HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, and FTPS. Wget is a simple transfer utility, while curl offers so much more.

        In this tutorial we are going to execute the commands on Ubuntu 22.04 but you can choose any Linux distro. Let’s get started!

      • Linux Host Support5 Most Used Echo Commands in Linux With Examples | LinuxHostSupport

        This blog post will show you the five most used echo commands in Linux with examples.

        The echo command in Linux is a command that outputs the strings passed to its arguments. The echo command is supported on various Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, CentOS, Debian, and other OS like Windows. This command is most used in shell scripts and batch files to output status text to the screen.

        In this tutorial, we will use the latest Ubuntu 22.04 OS, but you can choose any Linux distro per your choice. Let’s get started!

      • HowTo GeekHow to Add a User to the sudoers File in Linux

        The people who can use the Linux sudo command are members of a small and select club, sometimes called the “sudoers” list. Each member has the same powers as root. So how do you join that club? We’ll walk through adding a person to sudoers as well as editing the sudoers file to limit permissions.

      • Make Use OfHow to Use lsof to Track Down Open Files on Linux

        The lsof command lists down open files and network connections on Linux. Here's how you can use it to your advantage.

      • AddictiveTipsHow to listen to Spotify music on a Chromebook

        Spotify has a web player, but if you use a Chromebook and wish you could use a native application to listen to your music, you’re in luck. Spotify is available on Linux, so it will work on your Chromebook. Here’s how to set it set up.

      • EarthlyK3s vs K8s - Earthly Blog

        Container orchestration tools automate container management tasks, such as scheduling, scaling, load balancing, and networking. Orchestrators have become the standard way to run containerized workloads in production. They solve many of the challenges of successful container operation by abstracting low-level concepts and providing solutions for common problems.

        Orchestrators allow you to rapidly deploy containers and scale them across multiple physical hosts. They make it easier to build highly available applications with good scalability. While smaller systems can get away with simpler technologies, like Docker, orchestration will usually prove more effective for larger teams dealing with sprawling microservices architectures. It lets you create, distribute, and roll back container deployments with consistency.

      • LinuxTechi26 Useful examples of find command in linux

        In this post, we will cover 26 useful examples of find command in linux. find command is used to find files and directories and run subsequent actions on them.

      • Ubuntu HandbookAdd Media Control & Remove Buttons from Ubuntu 22.10 System Menu | UbuntuHandbook

        For Ubuntu 22.10 and other Linux with GNOME 43, it’s now easy to add Media Control, Notifications, or Volume Mixer to the top-right corner system status menu (aka Quick Settings), or remove useless buttons.

      • LinuxConfigHow to keep configuration files under version control with Etckeeper

        On Linux-based operating system the /etc directory is used to hold global configuration files for applications and services. A good set of configurations is really important for a good working system, so being able to keep track of changes and quickly revert them, in case something go wrong, is crucial. Etckeeper helps us achieve this goal keeping configuration files under version control.

      • LinuxConfigCurl command basics tutorial with examples

        Curl is a free and open source software we can use to exchange data with servers using one of the many supported protocols, such as HTTP, HTTPS, FTP, FTP, SFTP. Since Curl is a command line tool, we can use it in our scripts, to automatize repetitive tasks, for example. There are many use-cases Curl can cover. In this tutorial, however, we see some of the most common ones.

        In this tutorial we see how to use Curl to perform basic GET and POST requests and how to set the header parameters of a request.

      • NextGenTipsHow to undo a git merge – NextGenTips

        In this tutorial, we will learn how to undo a merge in git.

        Have you been in a position where you pushed your code production codebase without realizing you were not working on your branch. This sometimes happens if you don’t have restrictions on the production branch.

        Git is a free and open-source distributed version control system designed mostly for developers. If you have developers from all over the world and you want to collaborate on some projects git will come to the rescue.

      • Linux NightlyHow to Install MATLAB on Ubuntu 22.04 - Linux Nightly

        MATLAB is a computing and programming language platform used to create and develop algorithms and analyze data. In this article, we will learn how to install MATLAB on Ubuntu 22.04.

      • It's FOSSInstall WoeUSB on Ubuntu to Create Bootable Windows USB

        Want to create a bootable Windows USB on Linux? Ventoy is a pretty good option.

        But before Ventoy, WoeUSB used to be the go-to tool for this purpose. The original WoeUSB project got discontinued around 2014.

        Owing to its popularity, a new developer took the task of bringing the project back from the dead. And hence WoeUSB-ng was born. “ng” here stands for “new generation”. In other words, WoeUSB-ng is the new generation WoeUSB. But since the original tool doesn’t exist anymore, I’ll be referring WoeUSB-ng as WoeUSB.

      • Make the DNF package manager faster and more efficient. - Darryl Dias

        Here is how to speed up the DNF package manager on your Rocky, Fedora, CentOS, RHEL, or any other Linux distribution that uses Dnf as its package manager.

        The default configuration of DNF is not optimized for speed. We can add a few tweaks to the dnf.conf and make it faster.

        The tweak we can do is to set the maximum parallel download to 20. By default, it is set to 3.

        To do this, we need to edit the dnf.conf file. Let’s use nano and edit the file.

      • Linux CapableHow to Install DeaDBeeF Player on Manjaro Linux

        DeaDBeeF is a music player for Linux, Android, and other UNIX-like operating systems. Released under the GNU General Public License, it is free software anyone can download and use. DeaDBeeF has many features that make it an excellent choice for music playback on Linux, as it supports various audio formats, including MP3, Ogg Vorbis, FLAC, and WAV. The following tutorial will show you how to install the player on Manjaro using the Arch Linux user repository.

      • Linux HintStealth Scans With Nmap

        This tutorial describes different techniques to execute stealth scans with Nmap.

        Stealth scan techniques are implemented to bypass firewalls or discover hosts alive while remaining undetected.

        Nmap offers a variety of flags and options to execute different stealth scan types, most of which are explained in this article. They are easy to implement and constitute a nice learning process on IP packets.

        After reading this content, the reader will enjoy a better understanding of network packets and communications while acquiring deep practical knowledge on stealth scans with Nmap.

        All instructions in this tutorial contain screenshots, making it easy for all readers to understand how they are executed and their outputs or results.

      • Linux HintNmap Xmas Scan

        This tutorial explains how to execute the Xmas stealth scan technique using Nmap.

        Nmap Xmas scan was considered a stealthy scan that analyzes responses to Xmas packets to determine the nature of the replying device.

        Each operating system or network device replies in a different way to Xmas packets revealing local information, such as OS (Operating System), port state, and more.

        Currently, many firewalls and Intrusion Detection Systems can detect Xmas packets, and it is not the best technique to carry out a stealth scan. Yet it is extremely useful to understand how it works.

        After reading this tutorial, the user will understand how Xmas, NULL, and FIN scans work. All instructions below contain screenshots, making it easy for readers to understand how Nmap commands are executed.

      • ID RootHow To Install WineHQ on AlmaLinux 9 - idroot

        In this tutorial, we will show you how to install WineHQ on AlmaLinux 9. For those of you who didn’t know, Wine (Wine Is Not an Emulator) is a program that can be used to run Windows software on Linux. If you want to use graphical Microsoft Windows applications on your AlmaLinux system, you can install Wine.

        This article assumes you have at least basic knowledge of Linux, know how to use the shell, and most importantly, you host your site on your own VPS. The installation is quite simple and assumes you are running in the root account, if not you may need to add ‘sudo‘ to the commands to get root privileges. I will show you the step-by-step installation of the Tor Browser on AlmaLinux 9. You can follow the same instructions for CentOS and Rocky Linux or RHEL-based.

    • Desktop Environments/WMs

      • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

        • 2022.10.30: TDE R14.0.13 is here!

          The Trinity Desktop Environment development team is pleased to announce the immediate availability of the TDE R14.0.13 release.

          TDE is a free/libre lightweight desktop environment intended for computer users preferring a lean and efficient experience. It is available for various Linux distros, BSD and DilOS.Low on system requirements, it is also an ideal choice for dated hardware, while still providing a fully usable desktop.Born from the ashes of KDE 3.5.10 in 2010, TDE is a fully independent project with its own personality, community and development team.

          This release comes with fixes for both CVE-2020-12755 (FISH protocol) and KMail's EFAIL vulnerabilities.It adds Markdown support in Kate, a new window style (twin-style-machbunt), a new tdeioslave protocol to gather application information (tdeio-appinfo), several improvements to GUI interaction and a new SFTP tdeioslave based on libssh.It also solves the issue with opening files from media:/ and system:/media/ URLs from non-TDE applications and is compatible with OpenSSL 3.0 API.

          Refer to the links below for further details. Full version of the Release Notes TGW issue list Detailed changelog We would like to thank all the people who have contributed to the preparation of this release and we are looking forward for further contributions in future.

        • SVG text layout for Krita. -

          The past few months I’ve been rewriting the text layout engine used by Krita’s text tool. This is not the same as the text tool itself, which is still a super small rich text editor, but it is a prerequisite to getting any kind of new features into the text shape. We haven’t done any real improvements to text since the work for the last fundraiser we had for it, and that is because this needed to be done, it is a lot of work, an we had vowed to take care of resource management first, which, uh, took us so long and was so intensive that it covered the whole development cycle from 4.0 to 5.0, or a span of 5~ years. I’m not the only developer who can finally tackle a sore point, there’s work being done on audio, lots of file format updates, work on assistants, technology upgrades and more… But this blog is about text.

      • GNOME Desktop/GTK

        • GTK: On deprecations

          If you are paying attention to GTK’s git repository, you may have noticed a change in the last weeks.

          We have a directory gtk/deprecations, which is destined to contain source files that implement deprecated APIs and will be dropped in the next major release. For the 4.0 release, we emptied it out, and it has been empty ever since. But recently, it started to accumulate files again.

          This is a good opportunity to remind folks how we are using deprecations in GTK. But first, lets take a look at the details.

  • Distributions and Operating Systems

  • Free, Libre, and Open Source Software

    • Productivity Software/LibreOffice/Calligra

      • UbuntubuzzLibreOffice Math Equation Editor Tutorials Collection

        This collection will help you using LibreOffice Math so you can write mathematics and scientific equations easily on Writer, Calc, and Impress. Math is the equation editor of LibreOffice that is well integrated to every window and can be called with menubar Insert > Formula. We have several tutorials with examples and pictures included you can learn below.

    • Openness/Sharing/Collaboration

      • Open Data

        • [Old] Yes, Open Data will not fix everything quickly. So what? | Stop at Zona-M

          First of all, Open Data is not always, or necessarily, about “offering our wisdom”. I am well aware that law making on many topics is a complex process that requires lots of time and special skills. Open Data is about knowing what the government is actually doing and why.

          Secondly, sure, we know that’s how it is today. If things were working, there would be no need or excuse to try something different. We want to change the system. We are not doing this to have something else to watch on TV.

    • Programming/Development

      • Nolan LawsonA beginner's guide to Chrome tracing | Read the Tea Leaves

        I’ve been doing web performance for a while, so I’ve spent a lot of time in the Performance tab of the Chrome DevTools. But sometimes when you’re debugging a tricky perf problem, you have to go deeper. That’s where Chrome tracing comes in.

        Chrome tracing (aka Chromium tracing) lets you record a performance trace that captures low-level details of what the browser is doing. It’s mostly used by Chromium engineers themselves, but it can also be helpful for web developers when a DevTools trace is not enough.

      • Matt RickardThe Inner Dev Loop

        How fast does it take from a code change to an observable result in development? The inner loop is loosely defined as a local build and deploy. Optimizing this loop is one of the keys to developer productivity. But it’s one of the things that developers rarely think of. A good inner dev loop is both fast and correct. It’s easy in theory to get “correct”: work in an environment as close to production as possible and run a production build and deploy loop on every change. That’s usually too slow. “Correct” is so important because it prevents reproducibility bugs that are notoriously hard to track down and fix. “It works on my machine.”. You can get “fast” by syncing files and doing incremental compilation tricks. Webpack dev server is probably the best example of this. You can get even faster if you hook the entire loop up to a file-watching trigger — automatically debouncing and triggering background compilation and deploys. However, an optimized runtime that’s completely different than a production environment loses much of its benefit. Most of these “fast” tools are specific to a framework or language, which limits their usefulness.

      • Matt RickardKubernetes Interfaces

        Any good platform project needs to be extensible. Kubernetes accomplishes this through APIs.

        A brief overview of the major interfaces in Kubernetes for extensibility.

      • EarthlyHow to Build GraphQL APIs Using Go
      • EarthlyConcurrency in Go

        By default, computer programs are executed sequentially, usually line-by-line. Although this is very efficient, you may need to run multiple processes simultaneously or control the flow and runtime of your programs for numerous reasons. Luckily, Go gives us a way to run various processes concurrently or in parallel. Concurrency comes in handy for speed, process synchronization, and resource utilization.

      • Supply Chain Management Strategies with R and Shiny - R programming

        During the pandemic, the supply chain and its management strategy burst into the spotlight. Supply chain management (SCM) became a household topic as its disruptions began to directly impact people’s lives and the global economy.

      • The Reciprocal Value of Access to Maintainers

        Last May I left Google to build a more sustainable model for Open Source maintenance. After a summer break, I resumed my maintenance work on the Go project in September, and I started offering my services to companies that rely on Go.

        My vision is that of Open Source maintenance as a real profession, where maintainers offer ongoing contracts to the companies that critically rely on their projects. Maintainers get paid like the senior engineers they are, and companies get reassurances on the reliability of their dependencies, mitigating business risk.

      • Jumping RiversTop 5 Shiny UI Add-On Packages

        There are a growing number of Shiny users across the world, and with many users comes an increasing number of open-source “add-on” packages that extend the functionality of Shiny, both in terms of the front end and the back end of an app.

      • A Linux Live USB as a statistical programming dev environment

        This blog post is divided in two parts: in the first part I’ll show you how to create a Linux Live USB with persistent storage that can be used as development environment, and in the second part I’ll show you the easiest way to set up RStudio and R in Ubuntu.

  • Leftovers

    • GeorgeA Newsletter No More - by George - Epistemink

      The future of this blog includes it being a blog no more, at least not in the typical substackian / wordpressy / RSSfeedy sense.

      I will be transitioning to a website with very few articles, which are well-researched and which I try to keep evergreen. Inspired by the model of David Chapman’s book blogs, with functionality and style similar to Nintil, and with a very high bar for publishing.

      I expect this new blog to have no more than half a dozen articles in the next couple of years, the first of which will potentially appear before Christmas 2022

    • Mark DominusA linguistic oddity

      Last week I was in the kitchen and Katara tried to tell Toph a secret she didn't want me to hear. I said this was bad opsec, told them that if they wanted to exchange secrets they should do it away from me, and without premeditating it, I uttered the following:

      You shouldn't talk about things you shouldn't talk about while I'm in the room while I'm in the room.

    • CoryDoctorowThe Persuaders (how minds really change)

      I have always been interested in how people change their minds. I think it started with my Dad's story – he was a conservative, religious Jew until he was 18, then he had an argument with a union activist on a picket line, and within a year had renounced his faith and become a lifelong revolutionary communist.

      My dad was and is an arguer, as am I. He was raised on vigorous debate, and when he lost to someone who had arguments he couldn't refute, he returned to the picket line, day after day, to continue the debate to learn, and ultimately to change – forever.

      I, too, had an experience like this: as a baby writer, I was raised on the idea that the more copyright there was, the better I – and other creative workers – would do. Then I found myself traveling to conferences in the early 2000s with Fred von Lohmann and Cindy Cohn.

      We argued about copyright the entire way across first the Pacific and then the Atlantic, and then through the streets of London and Hong Kong, for literally days on end. Within a couple of months, I had resigned from the company I cofounded and joined EFF.

    • CoryDoctorowAn hour of interwar Halloween music

      As great as the thematic programs are, you really need to check out the annual ones. Errington just published a very special 1943 installment, special because in '43, there was no US recorded music, thanks to a bitter strike over stolen royalties by the American Federation of Musicians.

      For the '43 edition, then, Errington turned to "the small quantity of records being made in the USA, a host of South and Central American music, radio broadcasts, speeches, film dialogue and other assorted audio artefacts."

    • Matt RickardDaily is the Product

      Daily also enhances weak network effects. Having all users simultaneously on the app creates a fake (or actual) density previously unavailable to apps that aren’t operating at scale. Whether it’s a social network or an auction, density matters.

    • Matt RickardMoat By Induction

      Most startups are founded with no moats. But the best ones can prove moat by induction. Induction is a simple mathematical way to prove statements. An example: Can you climb a ladder to the top?

    • Science

      • Robotics Research Changes the Trajectory of Drones for the Better | Computer Science | UIUC
      • Bryan LundukeWho (really) created the "Byte"?

        Kilobytes (KB). Megabytes (MB). Gigabytes (GB).

        We use these storage measurements every single, gosh-darned day. And most of us feel like we know exactly what they mean. But do we really?

        Do we really — truly — know what a “Byte” is… and its origin? I mean… who came up with the term “Byte”, anyway?

        Let’s take a moment to look over the history of the term. If, for no other reason, than to feel smarter than most other nerds.

      • ACMSoftware Robots Gaining Ground in White-Collar Office World

        Software is making inroads into white-collar professions due to innovations enabled by artificial intelligence and machine learning, fueled by pandemic-surging demand.

      • Why Not Space Mirrors? | RAND

        Given the potential consequences of climate change and a danger of reaching irreversible “tipping points,” there is an argument to be made that all options should be carefully considered. Sending giant mirrors into space to reflect solar radiation away from the Earth is one such option.

        The problem is that the many such geoengineering approaches have been so taboo that there is not enough information from researchers to definitively decide what options are still viable. A National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine report in 2021 and a report from the Council on Foreign Relations argue for further research and associated governance on solar geoengineering approaches (i.e., stratospheric aerosols, cloud seeding, or cirrus cloud thinning). These reports omit the solar geoengineering approach that utilizes large-scale space mirrors.

      • NatureLiving material assembly of bacteriogenic protocells | Nature

        Advancing the spontaneous bottom-up construction of artificial cells with high organizational complexity and diverse functionality remains an unresolved issue at the interface between living and non-living matter. Here, to address this challenge, we developed a living material assembly process based on the capture and on-site processing of spatially segregated bacterial colonies within individual coacervate microdroplets for the endogenous construction of membrane-bounded, molecularly crowded, and compositionally, structurally and morphologically complex synthetic cells. The bacteriogenic protocells inherit diverse biological components, exhibit multifunctional cytomimetic properties and can be endogenously remodelled to include a spatially partitioned DNA–histone nucleus-like condensate, membranized water vacuoles and a three-dimensional network of F-actin proto-cytoskeletal filaments. The ensemble is biochemically energized by ATP production derived from implanted live Escherichia coli cells to produce a cellular bionic system with amoeba-like external morphology and integrated life-like properties. Our results demonstrate a bacteriogenic strategy for the bottom-up construction of functional protoliving microdevices and provide opportunities for the fabrication of new synthetic cell modules and augmented living/synthetic cell constructs with potential applications in engineered synthetic biology and biotechnology.

      • ACMIs AI Becoming Sentient? [Ed: Buzzwords and superstition combined]

        There has been more than a little sensational speculation in recent months regarding the ability of artificial intelligence (AI) to attain sentience, but Bruce McNaughton, distinguished professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California at Irvine, does not waste much time pondering the possibility.

        In fact, McNaughton doesn't ascribe much to the idea of sentience, period. He discourages his students from using the term, as well as "consciousness."

        "I discourage them from using the term because as a scientist, I think of the brain as a physical system that obeys the laws of physics," McNaughton said. "We just didn't understand that implementation of the laws of physics could become so incredibly complex through the laws of evolution, and I think most people have only the fuzziest idea of how complex it really is in the brain."

        Konstantinos Voudouris, a psychologist and graduate student researcher at the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence of the U.K.'s University of Cambridge, shares McNaughton's sentiments to a fair degree. "It's beguiling almost to be anthropomorphic about how these systems are behaving," said Voudouris, first author of a recent study that directly compared the cognitive abilities of AI agents and children age 6-10. "It's almost a quality of human psychology to anthropomorphize things, but the psychologist can come in and scientifically evaluate that hypothesis against the many alternatives that exist."

      • 3D printing drones work like bees to build and repair structures while flying | Imperial News | Imperial College London

        Imperial College London and Empa researchers have created a fleet of bee-inspired flying 3D printers for building and repairing structures in-flight.

      • Deep learning makes X-ray CT inspection of 3D-printed parts faster, more accurate

        A new deep-learning framework developed at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory is speeding up the process of inspecting additively manufactured metal parts using X-ray computed tomography, or CT, while increasing the accuracy of the results. The reduced costs for time, labor, maintenance and energy are expected to accelerate expansion of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing.

        “The scan speed reduces costs significantly,” said ORNL lead researcher Amir Ziabari. “And the quality is higher, so the post-processing analysis becomes much simpler.”

      • Smelling in VR environment possible with new gaming technology

        An odor machine, so-called olfactometer, makes it possible to smell in VR environments. First up is a “wine tasting game” where the user smells wine in a virtual wine cellar and gets points if the guess on aromas in each wine is correct. The new technology that can be printed on 3D printers has been developed in collaboration between Stockholm University and Malmö University.

      • New ScientistAIs become smarter if you tell them to think step by step [Ed: They just mean algorithms, not "Hey Hi", but even the New Scientist became lousy]

        Artificial intelligence models can outperform humans at tasks AIs normally struggle with if they are told to think a certain way, but it doesn’t help them grasp sarcasm

    • Hardware

      • CoryDoctorowIt was all downhill after the Cuecat

        Sometime in 2001, I walked into a Radio Shack on San Francisco's Market Street and asked for a Cuecat: a handheld barcode scanner that looked a bit like a cat and a bit like a sex toy. The clerk handed one over to me and I left, feeling a little giddy. I didn't have to pay a cent.

        The Cuecat was a good idea and a terrible idea. The good idea was to widely distribute barcode scanners to computer owners, along with software that could read and decode barcodes; the company's marketing plan called for magazines and newspapers to print barcodes alongside ads and articles, so readers could scan them and be taken to the digital edition. To get the Cuecat into widespread use, the company raised millions in the capital markets, then mass-manufactured these things and gave them away for free at Radio Shacks around the country. Every Wired and Forbes subscriber got one in the mail!

      • Daniel MiesslerPodcast Audio Quality: AI-based Post-processing vs. Hardware [Ed: Software based, not "AI-based"]

        I’ve been podcasting since 2015 and got really into audio when the plague started. Like…too much.


        I’ve been obsessed with podcast audio quality for years, and have been through so…many…iterations of my setup. I started with a Yeti (still a great mic). Did the Electrovoice. Did the Shure SM7B. And now I’m using a Neumann U87ai.

        You always want the initial recording to be as clean as possible.

        But that’s not what matters. What matters is the quality of the chain, especially as you start fixing crap that’s in the original recording.

        Here’s the basic rule. The most important rule. Don’t fuck with it.

      • EngadgetMicroscopic robots walk autonomously using simple 'brains' | Engadget

        It's long been possible to make extremely small robots, but they usually need some form of direct external control just to operate. Cornell scientists may have solved that problem on a basic level, however. They've created microrobots (no more than 250 micrometers across) with basic electronic "brains" that let them walk autonomously. Two- and six-legged robots move relatively simply, while a four-legged "dogbot" changes speed when an operator sends laser pulses.

      • TechCrunchThese autonomous, wireless robots could dance on a human hair - TechCrunch

        The competition to create ever smaller, ever better robots is a fierce one, and Cornell University is out front now with a set of bots small enough to sit on a human hair but that can move on their own using nothing but light as a power source.

      • The VergeThe future of solid-state batteries could be 3D-printed - The Verge

        That means batteries could have customized shapes

    • Health/Nutrition/Agriculture

      • Scientific AmericanAI in Medicine Is Overhyped - Scientific American

        We use tools that rely on artificial intelligence (AI) every day, with voice assistants like Alexa and Siri being among the most common. These consumer products work reasonably well—Siri understands most of what we say—but they are by no means perfect. We accept their limitations and adapt how we use them until they get the right answer, or we give up. After all, the consequences of Siri or Alexa misunderstanding a user request are usually minor.

        However, mistakes by AI models that support doctors’ clinical decisions can mean life or death. Therefore, it’s critical that we understand how well these models work before deploying them. Published reports of this technology currently paint a too-optimistic picture of its accuracy, which at times translates to sensationalized stories in the press. Media are rife with discussions of algorithms that can diagnose early Alzheimer’s disease with up to 74 percent accuracy or that are more accurate than clinicians. The scientific papers detailing such advances may become foundations for new companies, new investments and lines of research, and large-scale implementations in hospital systems. In most cases, the technology is not ready for deployment.

    • Security

      • Digital TrendsIt’s not just you — Microsoft admits it broke OneDrive | Digital Trends

        If you’ve been experiencing OneDrive crashes and error messages, before digging too deep for a solution, note that it might be Microsoft’s fault. Common solutions like restarting, or signing out and back in won’t help because the issue is with the latest Windows 10 update.

      • MandiantHardening the Election Security: Supply Chain, Zero Trust and Insider Threats [Ed: Elections should just not be done on computers]

        In the past, supply chain risks to elections were typically comprised of risks of ballot availability, voting locations, and personnel to facilitate voting. This was demonstrated during the pandemic as the influx of mail-in ballots threatened the supply of paper ballots. Integrity was maintained through physical control that could be readily cataloged and captured through two-person integrity and other commands. Fraud, in general, was not scalable. Supply chain risks, in this sense, affected availability.

      • MandiantLiving off the Orchard: Leveraging Apple Remote Desktop for Good and Evil | Mandiant

        Mandiant has observed attackers using the ARD screen sharing function to move laterally between systems. If remote desktop was not enabled on a target system, Mandiant observed attackers connecting to systems via SSH and executing a kickstart command to enable remote desktop management. This allowed remote desktop access to the target systems.

      • Bleeping ComputerNew open-source tool scans public AWS S3 buckets for secrets

        A new open-source 'S3crets Scanner' scanner allows researchers and red-teamers to search for 'secrets' mistakenly stored in publicly exposed or company's Amazon AWS S3 storage buckets.

        Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is a cloud storage service commonly used by companies to store software, services, and data in containers known as buckets.

        Unfortunately, companies sometimes fail to properly secure their S3 buckets and thus publicly expose stored data to the Internet.

      • Privacy/Surveillance

        • GizmodoCasino Developers Want to Fill Times Square With Surveillance Drones

          "If the city makes this high-stakes bet on casino surveillance, I worry they’ll gamble away the future of our public streets," said one privacy expert.

        • uni ChicagoCommon deidentification methods don’t fully protect data privacy, study finds

          When datasets containing personal information are shared for research or used by companies, researchers try to disguise data – removing the final one or two digits of a zip code, for example – while still preserving its utility for insight.

          But while deidentification is often intended to satisfy legal requirements for data privacy, the most commonly used methods stand on shaky technical ground.

          University of Chicago computer scientist Aloni Cohen deals the latest decisive blow against the most popular deidentification techniques in a new paper.

          By describing a new kind of attack called “downcoding,” and demonstrating the vulnerability of a deidentified data set from an online education platform, Cohen sends a warning that these data transformations should not be considered sufficient to protect individuals’ privacy.

          “Even by the regulatory standards, there’s a problem here,” said Cohen, an assistant professor of computer science and the Data Science Institute.

    • Defence/Aggression

      • Ali Reza HayatiWho is NIAC?

        While the Iranian people are fighting for regime change, Iran regime lobby in United States, NIAC, is busy trying to reclaim the narrative and making it one of reform, and not regime change.

        But the Iranian people aren’t calling for reform, they’re calling for regime change. NIAC isn’t just a group which advocates for US-Iran relations, they are an active body of the Islamic regime.

        Now their activists are trying to twist the protests into an issue of forced hijab, or of economic stressors; anything to avoid admitting reality, that people are saying no to the Islamic regime.

        Their main talking point is that the left should make an Iran-deal and lift sanctions, as if that’s what causing the protests. NIAC founder, Trita Parsi, and NIAC activists such as Negar Mortazavi and Ellie Geranmayeh of the European Council of Foreign Relations, as well as Hoda Katebi, a hijabi fashion influencer, have all called for sanction relief.

    • Environment

      • Energy

        • Michael West MediaA politically safe budget lacking in courage to tackle energy prices, fossil fuel profiteering, housing

          Jim Chalmer’s first Federal Budget was delivered this week. Politically astute, yet containing few surprises or significant reform measures, it was a budget lacking in courage to tackle the big challenges. Kim Wingerei reports.

          The Federal Budget is first and foremost a political statement. And even more so when it is the first budget presented by the new Treasurer after Labor’s May election win. There is an overall feeling in Canberra’s press gallery that Jim Chalmers is a steady hand on the tiller of our economy.

          Even the AFR hailed the budget’s “admirable moves to slash waste and unnecessary expenditure”, and The Age called it an “aspirational budget.” Some of those aspirations will be hard to implement, though. The promise of at least one nurse in every aged care home round the clock is commendable, except where will those nurses be found? Apart from allowing for modest wage increases, there was nothing announced in the budget to address the shortage of nurses, nor the even more critical dearth of doctors in the regions.

    • AstroTurf/Lobbying/Politics

      • Xe's BlogYou don't want Twitter to be a free speech zone

        Every so often I get another update about the Elon Musk buying Twitter saga and every so often I get this unspecified feeling of dread for the future where that purchase goes through. Among the things that I've seen, the biggest thing that worries me is the idea that Elon Musk wants to turn Twitter into a "free speech zone". In terms of red flags being raised, this should be the biggest, reddest flag ever raised in the history of social media.

        If this happens and Twitter is made into a "free speech zone", I am going to drastically lessen my use of it in favor of more ethical social media protocols like the Fediverse. I really hope this is an "if" problem and not a "when" problem, but I'm getting the feeling that it's a "when" problem. You can follow me on Mastodon or another ActivityPub server (such as Pleroma or Pixelfed) at If Twitter really does fall, you probably should get on Mastodon too.

    • Civil Rights/Policing

      • Michael West MediaA verdict on juries: when they work, they work well - Michael West

        The jury system works well when jurors respect the rules. But whether there are clean hands among the media personalities who have inserted themselves into the story, time will tell, writes Mark Sawyer.

        The discharging of the jury in the rape trial of Bruce Lehrmann made October 27, 2022, a black day for Australian justice. The cost of the aborted trial runs into the millions, notwithstanding the prolonged anguish it has caused accuser and defendant.

        Lehrmann has pleaded not guilty to the charge of raping a fellow political aide, Brittany Higgins, in an office at Parliament House, Canberra, in a case which has drawn saturation media coverage.

    • Monopolies

      • New York TimesYouTube’s Dislike Button Rarely Shifts Recommendations, Researchers Say - The New York Times

        For YouTube viewers dissatisfied with the videos the platform has recommended to them, pressing the “dislike” button may not make a big difference, according to a new research report.

        YouTube has said users have numerous ways to indicate that they disapprove of content and do not want to watch similar videos. But all of those controls are relatively ineffective, researchers at the Mozilla Foundation said in a report published on Tuesday. The result was that users continued receiving unwanted recommendations on YouTube, the world’s largest video site.

        Researchers found that YouTube’s “dislike” button reduced similar, unwanted recommendations only 12 percent, according to their report, titled “Does This Button Work?” Pressing “Don’t recommend channel” was 43 percent effective in reducing unwanted recommendations, pressing “not interested” was 11 percent effective and removing a video from one’s watch history was 29 percent effective.

      • uni CornellFairer ranking system diversifies search results | Cornell Chronicle

        Cornell researchers have developed a fairer system for recommendations – from hotels to jobs to videos – so a few top hits don’t get all the exposure.

        The new ranking system still provides relevant options, but divides user attention more equitably across search results. It can be applied to online markets such as travel sites, hiring platforms and news aggregators.

      • Patents

        • US court upholds ruling that AIs can’t be patent holders

          The US Court of Appeals has upheld previous rulings that AIs cannot hold patents for inventions.

          AIs are increasingly being used to make new discoveries but, under most patent laws, a human must be listed as the patent holder for inventions.

          Dr Stephen Thaler created a device called DABUS that consists of neural networks and has been used to invent an emergency warning light, a food container that improves grip and heat transfer, and more.

      • Copyrights

        • NatureCollaborative creativity in AI | Nature Machine Intelligence

          The public release of ‘Stable Diffusion’, a high-quality image generation tool, sets new standards in open-source AI development and raises new questions.

          Generative AI tools provide creative inspiration for artists, illustrators and writers, but also for scientists — for example, in the discovery of drugs, materials and even the design of quantum experiments. Powerful capabilities arise in particular with very large neural network models that have billions or even trillions of parameters and are trained on vast amounts of data on the internet. For example, language models such as GPT-3 from OpenAI can generate original text as if written by humans. More recently, such algorithms have been trained on text–image pairs and developed into image generation models. DALL-E (from OpenAI), Imagen (from Google) and Midjourney produce stunning images in any style, from photorealistic portraits and newspaper cartoons to medieval tapestry and much more, given text or other images as prompts.

        • The VergeGetty Images bans AI-generated content over fears of legal challenges

          Getty Images is worried about future copyright claims

  • Gemini* and Gopher

    • Personal

      • New Pocket Watch

        I bought an Ingersoll Buck pocket watch at an estate sale yesterday. The watch is fairly basic, and it's missing the front glass that protects the clock face, but the watch was only $15--less than the cost of my own cheap Timex wristwatches.

        This is the second mechanical watch I own, and the first mechanical pocket watch. I bought another pocket watch many years ago, but it was a cheap quartz piece of junk that beguiled me into buying it due to a frilly front cover.

      • Pretty Pictures

        Recently LibreHacker has been posting some fractal images on the gemini aggregators.

      • in the middle of strange nowhere - Martinville, Missouri

        I went out west in May. I took and Amtrak, got stranded, twice, and eventually made my way from Missoula, Montana via Greyhound (well, American Lines, which *became* Greyhound) back to St Louis, Missouri - home. The travel back was safe but lengthy.

        Departing from *somewhere* (who knows what state/town) we entered into Missouri on the way to stop off at the Kansas City terminal, and while on that journey we went through Martinville, Missouri.

      • I blinked and I forgot who I am.

        I did a similar thing, oh gosh, it's a few years ago at this point, listening to Ambient 3: Day of Radiance by Laraaji and Brian Eno, typing an email to my old friend Sean detailing how I was awakening again. I'd go back and read it but I was so in love with him that all my emails sound so corny to me now.

        The one I have the most fondness for is one I wrote my first semester of college, before I met Ameen and had my heart crushed in the most awful way. I had stayed up to work on a paper but I ended up reading about and listening to the Voyager Record and crying a ton. It was around the time I was a little obsessed with videos of people performing zäuerli yodels on YouTube and not really knowing what to do with myself as a college student. I get very nostalgic for this time period; a time before some kind of fall from grace (la chute d'Icare).

      • Setting up a new morning routine

        All of the sudden not going to work anymore for the upcoming months.

        We'll, It's been somewhere in my head but starting maternity leave was the last thing I actively thought about. So what should I do? Been struggling to keep my daily routine stable for years now and yes, this is an important factor for my well-being.

      • 🔤SpellBinding: VCEILNB Wordo: THREW
    • Technical

      • PICO-8 development with OpenBSD…

        Or how to VNC connecting a RPI2 to a Crapbook empowered by OpenBSD…


        Actually PICO-8 development sounds too much ambitious, however I crossed again a path where Linux is "in" while (Open)BSD is "out".

        In the difficult task to create interest around Computer Science for my eldest child, I thought that making video games might be enough engaging to stimulate its attention. While this has revealed — once again — wrong, I found that running PICO-8 from OpenBSD was something out of the reach, for the same usual reasons.

      • Science

      • Internet/Gemini

        • No Internet for Old Computers

          Well, it lasted about a week hosting this web site and gemini capsule on the Sun Blade 100. Although only a handful of people visit here, the 500MHz UltraSparc IIe CPU was no match for bots, and floods of automated requests from Mastodon servers.

          Both gemini and any sane website really need to be using TLS 1.2 or above, with good ciphers and large enough key size. Modern low power / low spec embedded systems of comparable general compute ability to the 21 year old UltraSparc tend to have acceleration of the encryption mathematics. This means you can host an https site on something really low spec, but it can remain fairly responsive. There's no such luck on the Sun Blade. It just has to slowly churn through the encryption/decryption code, and takes about 1-2 seconds to handle a request.

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

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