Category Archives: News

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Researchers propose a new approach for dismantling online hate networks

Source: The Verge - All Posts

Article note: Hmm. The "composed of loosely connected clusters of tightly connected individuals" thing is not surprising, basically all social systems look like that. The "When you try to mass-deplatform a group, it leaves for somewhere it will be dominant" observation is not surprising, there are lots of visible cases. The other thoughts are _weird_ though. Non-unifomly banning, knocking off small groups and random problematic individuals, aiming to slowly dissociate rather than trigger a mass migration seems like a reasonable response to that information, but is the opposite of the "Consistent rules, applied consistently" thing that is required for a platform to be trustworthy for anyone. Baiting fights between rival groups so they expend all their energy fighting is ..sometimes appealing and hilarious... but the opposite of the now-forgotten "Don't feed the trolls" rule that always seemed to keep things much less obnoxious than the present era of performative outrage.
Network stock

How do you get rid of hate speech on social platforms? Until now, companies have generally tried two approaches. One is to ban individual users who are caught posting abuse; the other is to ban the large pages and groups where people who practice hate speech organize and promote their noxious views.

But what if this approach is counterproductive? That’s the argument in an intriguing new paper out today in Nature from Neil Johnson, a professor of physics at George Washington University, and researchers at GW and the University of Miami. The paper, “Hidden resilience and adaptive dynamics of the global online hate ecology,” explores how hate groups organize on Facebook and Russian social network VKontakte — and how they resurrect...

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Researcher banned on Valve’s bug bounty program publishes 2nd Steam 0-day

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Aaand this is why you don't shit on security researchers when they try to do the right thing.
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An oral history of the AIM away message

Source: Hacker News

Article note: It's an interesting history, and I certianly do have fond memories of AIM, both the interpersonal kind and the "OSCAR doesn't support encryption" kind. It's also interesting that it completely ignores IRC in its telling.
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Sunsetting Mercurial Support in Bitbucket

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Huh. I was recently working on something hosted on bitbucket with mercurial for the first time in years and was refreshed by how much less gross mecurial is than git (granted, mercurial is still aggravatingly slow). It's very weird to see the over-complicated "Hammering a nail by de-orbiting a space station" ergonomic nightmare that is git become de-facto standard.
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Print Your Own Heat Shrink Labels for Factory-Chic Wire Naming

Source: Hack a Day

Article note: Hmmm. I have a D1 printer, and thanks to this article I now know that unsupported P1 printers can be tricked into running heatshrink. The internet tells me they also make D1 cartridges full of heatshrink...the combination makes me very curious. Unfortunately, it'll cost me at least $30 in examples to decode the sense holes on the P1 carts, and a quick search hasn't turned up an answer.

Heat shrink tubing is great for insulating wires. Labeling wires in a bundle is always useful, too. [Voltlog] has a cheap Brother label printer and discovered he can buy knock off label cassettes for a lot less from China. However, he also found something else: cassettes with heat shrink tubing in them made for the same kind of printer. Could he use the heat shrink cassettes to make neat wire labels? In his first video the answer was sort of, but not really. However, he later had a breakthrough and made a second video explaining how to do it. You can see both videos, below.

At first, the printer didn’t even want to recognize the cassette. It seems like Brother doesn’t want you using exotic tapes with cheap printers. No worry, this isn’t sophisticated DRM, just a sense hole that you need to cover with tape. This discovery was made using the extremely scientific trick of covering all the holes that were not on a regular cassette.

With the holes covered up, the printer worked, but the print came out mirrored. To understand why, you have to understand how the normal labels work. In the cassette, the label material has no paper backing which is separate in a different part of the cartridge. The printer marks the backside of the see-through label and then bonds the paper backing to it as it exits the printer. This makes sense because it puts the markings under the tape where they are relatively safe from moisture or physical abrasion.

However, with heat shrink, it isn’t transparent and there’s no backing material. So the reverse print doesn’t really help you. It turns out the cheap printer can do non-mirrored printing, but to make that work, one of the holes in the special cassette needed to stay open. Once the proper holes were covered and uncovered, everything worked great.

Heat shrink is probably more high tech than you’d think. Did you know you can get it with adhesive inside it, too?

 

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We checked and yup, it’s no longer 2001. And yet you can pwn a Windows box via Notepad.exe

Source: The Register

Article note: I just remember the "complex text handling for things like internationalization exposes an unacceptable amount of complex surface area" vs. "inclusion, compatibility, configurability, pretty" discussions getting brutal way back when. The "no" side lost hard. Now, as usually happens in these things, the "yes" side's legacy is currently losing.

Google guru shows how WinXP-era text code grants total control

Patch Tuesday  Software buried in Windows since the days of WinXP can be abused to take complete control of a PC with the help of good ol' Notepad and some crafty code.…

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Verizon to Sell Tumblr to Automattic

Source: Hacker News

Article note: Another step in the saga. They're keeping the porn ban, so it's still worthless, meaning Automattic now has a pile of toxic fandoms in addition their pile of toxic PHP (I'm aware of the irony of ribbing about Wordpress on Wordpress, I'm wayy too lazy to do my own web front-end shit, and I value self-hosted comments, so I'm pretty stuck.)
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The US Navy Will Replace Its Touchscreen Controls With Mechanical Ones On Its Destroyers

Source: Slashdot

Article note: A decade ago I made PhD applications about doing interface tactility and memorability work with some UX groups and got very negative responses because ubiquitous touchscreens were the future. The backlash in Auto and mil applications recently are very validating.

The US Navy will replace the touchscreen throttle and helm controls currently installed in its destroyers with mechanical ones starting in 2020. From a report: The move comes after the National Transportation Safety Board released an accident report from a 2017 collision, which cites the design of the ship's controls as a factor in the accident. On August 21st, 2017, the USS John S. McCain collided with the Alnic MC, a Liberian oil tanker, off the coast of Singapore. The report provides a detailed overview of the actions that led to the collision: when crew members tried to split throttle and steering control between consoles, they lost control of the ship, putting it into the path of the tanker. The crash killed 10 sailors and injured 48 aboard the McCain. The report says that while fatigue and lack of training played a role in the accident, the design of the ship's control console were also contributing factors. Located in the middle of the McCain's bridge, the Ship's Control Console (SCC) features a pair of touch-screens on both the Helm and Lee Helm stations, through which the crew could steer and propel the ship. Investigators found that the crew had placed it in "backup manual mode," which removed computer-assisted help, because it allowed for "more direct form of communication between steering and the SSC."

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Xfce 4.14

Source: Hacker News

Article note: I'm split between KDE and XFCE on my various systems right now, but XFCE is possibly the single most dependable no-capricious-changes piece of software I've ever worked with, and I love it for that. I hope they continue as they have.
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Will allowing granny flats and tiny houses help solve Lexington’s housing crunch?

Source: Kentucky.com -- Fayette County

Article note: Yes please. I don't know if it will be overwhelmingly helpful to housing prices, but we could really use some small infill housing (the opposite of the long trend of turning reasonable houses into pseudo-mcmansions by attaching ginormous vinyl boxes attached like cancerous growths).

When Marie Allison’s autistic son Chris Riddell was about to graduate high school, Allison was faced with a common problem for parents of children with disabilities: Where should her son … Click to Continue »

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