Author Archives: pappp

While giving a student some hints about an ARM assembly assignment I just noticed that google services (eg. gmail) want to auto-complete “R0” to “R0lGODlhAQABAIAAAP”… which, upon inspection, is the base64 encoding of a 1px transparent gif, something spammy over-formatted … Continue reading

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The Framework Laptop

Source: Hacker News

Article note: It's a pleasing idea. I suspect, like most modular consumer electronics (see: Project Ara) that it won't actually pan out because the requirements will change too much generation-to-generation for the modules to actually be interchangeable, but it is very appealing.
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Nickelodeon creates Avatar Studios to create new Avatar, Legend of Korra content

Source: The Verge - All Posts

Article note: Hyyyyyype.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
Photo: Nickelodeon

ViacomCBS has announced a new studio based entirely around Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra.

Avatar Studios will create “original content spanning animated series and movies,” according to a press release. Avatar and Korra original creators, Michael DiMartino and Bryan Konietzko, are joining Nickelodeon as co-chief creative officers of Avatar Studios. The first project is an animated theatrical title set to begin production soon. More information will be announced soon, according to the company.

Having exclusive Avatar and Korra content is pretty key for Nickelodeon and ViacomCBS’ new streaming service, Paramount Plus. While the company’s business strategy is to license out a number of its shows and films on a...

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Firefox 86 brings multiple Picture-in-Picture, “Total Cookie Protection”

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: It's a good thing, and it should be the default everywhere. I wish this didn't feel as "starting to close the gate after the horses bolted" - Cookies are a problem, but having turned our little hypertext rendering tool into a runtime full of leaky things like WebGL, it's going to be hard to really confront ubiquitous tracking without re-constraining the scope of the browser.
  • I installed Firefox 86 on my Ubuntu workstation using Snap to be certain I wouldn't accidentally mess with my working system configuration. [credit: Jim Salter ]

Mozilla released Firefox 86 yesterday, and the browser is now available for download and installation for all major operating systems, including Android. Along with the usual round of bug fixes and under-the-hood updates, the new build offers a couple of high-profile features—multiple Picture-in-Picture video-watching support, and (optional) stricter cookie separation, which Mozilla is branding Total Cookie Protection.

Taking Firefox 86 for a spin

Firefox 86 became the default download at on Tuesday—but as an Ubuntu 20.04 user, I didn't want to leave the Canonical-managed repositories just to test the new version. This is one scenario in which snaps truly excel—providing you with a containerized version of an application, easily installed but guaranteed not to mess with your "real" operating system.

As it turns out, Firefox's snap channel didn't get the message about build 86 being the new default—the latest/default snap is still on build 85. In order to get the new version, I needed to snap refresh firefox --channel=latest/candidate.

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Kentucky lawmakers to consider bill curtailing controversial no-knock warrants

Source: -- Fayette County

Article note: Good. And it's bipartisan, which is also good, let's see if we can not get identity-wedged out of this. No-Knocks should be limited to situations where issuing institution has weighed the goal they are trying to accomplish against everyone involved - police, suspects, bystanders - dying in the process, and still thought it was a good idea. Situations where that is a reasonable conclusion exist, but they are rare.

No-knock search warrants like the one involved in the police shooting death last March of Breonna Taylor in Louisville would be curtailed under legislation filed Monday in the Kentucky General … Click to Continue »

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AT&T and Frontier have let phone networks fall apart, Calif. regulator finds

Source: Ars Technica

Article note: The problem isn't that the POTS network is old and rotting (and basically just a vestigial adapter to a VOIP system). The problem is that we've been paying for replacements for over 25 years, and the incumbent telcos have not been delivering on promised coverage and reliability. Largely by successfully lobbying to not be regulated to an appropriate level, and blithely ignoring the regulations that do exist with no fear of repercussions because of staggeringly successful regulatory capture.
A pair of scissors being used to cut a wire coming out of a landline telephone.

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | CalypsoArt)

AT&T and Frontier have let their copper phone networks deteriorate through neglect since 2010, resulting in poor service quality and many lengthy outages, a report commissioned by the California state government found. Customers in low-income areas and areas without substantial competition have fared the worst, the report found. AT&T in particular was found to have neglected low-income communities and to have imposed severe price increases adding up to 152.6 percent over a decade.

The report was written in April 2019 but kept private because data submitted by the carriers was deemed confidential and proprietary. The report finally became public after the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) ruled in December 2020 that a redacted version had to be released by mid-January.

A summary of the CPUC-commissioned report identified six key findings:

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Daft Punk drops ‘Epilogue’ video announcing retirement

Source: The Week: Most Recent Home Page Posts

Article note: Aw, bummer, they've been a constant. Hopefully they find fun new things to do and/or enjoy their retirement.

After 28 years, the Daft Punk duo are hanging up their helmets.

Daft Punk announced their retirement on Monday by way of an eight-minute video called "Epilogue," which according to Pitchfork was excerpted from Electroma, their 2006 film. In it, the "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" duo slowly walk into the desert in total silence before one of them blows up and the other walks into the distance, with "1993-2021" appearing on screen. In case that wasn't definitive enough, Daft Punk's publicist confirmed to Variety they have, indeed, split up after almost three decades.

Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo formed Daft Punk in 1993, releasing their most recent studio album, the Grammy-winning Random Access Memories, in 2013. Fans quickly flooded social media Monday to pay tribute and express sadness over the news — not to mention concern that, after Daft Punk's unforgettable work on the Tron: Legacy soundtrack, Tron 3 just won't be the same.

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The modern packager’s security nightmare

Source: OSNews

Article note: I'm less down on static linking schemes (at least they allow for cool optimizations and all their BS happens at build-time) than the variations on the traditional "Give up and throw this recalcitrant software in /opt with it's entire dependency tree" scheme (containers, flatpack/snap, and other sorts of virtual environment with whole dependency trees of dynamically linked shit being bolted on to the system in gross ways). ...that said, the prevalence of dung-beetle programming in the modern era has really created a clusterfuck with dependencies.

One of the most important tasks of the distribution packager is to ensure that the software shipped to our users is free of security vulnerabilities. While finding and fixing the vulnerable code is usually considered upstream’s responsibility, the packager needs to ensure that all these fixes reach the end users ASAP. With the aid of central package management and dynamic linking, the Linux distributions have pretty much perfected the deployment of security fixes. Ideally, fixing a vulnerable dependency is as simple as patching a single shared library via the distribution’s automated update system.

Of course, this works only if the package in question is actually following good security practices. Over the years, many Linux distributions (at the very least, Debian, Fedora and Gentoo) have been fighting these bad practices with some success. However, today the times have changed. Today, for every 10 packages fixed, a completely new ecosystem emerges with the bad security practices at its central point. Go, Rust and to some extent Python are just a few examples of programming languages that have integrated the bad security practices into the very fabric of their existence, and recreated the same old problems in entirely new ways.

This post explains the issue packagers run into very well – and it sure does look like these newer platforms are not very good citizens. I know this isn’t related, but this gives me the same feelings and reservations as Flatpak, Snap, and similar tools.

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Paint-On Copperplating? What is this Sorcery?

Source: adafruit industries blog

Article note: Well that's cool and useful. Looks like it's basically a displacement reaction with not-too-nasty supplies. I wish there were text instructions, it _appears_ to be 10 mg Cupric Oxide (pretty sure it's CuO, it's black so it's not CuO2 or Cu2O) dissolved in hot 20ml 85% Formic Acid + 100mL distilled water that reduces on the surface.

In a follow-up to her recent video where she electroplated the gas tank of her motorcycle with copper, Laura Kampf decided to try a much easier method of simply painting on a copperplate solution.

She saw a video demonstrating the technique and wanted to try it out. It appears to work. Amazing. As she points out, this could lend itself to all sorts of applications.

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A Dishonest, Indifferent, and Toxic Culture

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Damn. I've been watching this at a distance since it went down, at least the guilty parties are being punished (By the ACM, IEEE doesn't give a fuck about anything but money, and I let my membership lapse this year because I've become so cumulatively sick of their shit), which is more than I expected. It really is a perfect "The incentive structure of academia laid bare" situation.
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