Daily Archives: 2021-02-22

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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