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Carlos Fenollosa

Carlos Fenollosa

Engineer, developer, entrepreneur

Carlos Fenollosa — Blog

Thoughts on science and tips for researchers who use computers

Links for 2019-11-17

November 17, 2019 — Carlos Fenollosa

PeerTube 2.0 released

PeerTube has worked twice as hard to free your videos from YouTube! (5 min, via)

PeerTube is a decentralized alternative to Youtube. Essentially, you can have your own Youtube-like website, with the added bonus that video traffic is distributed among viewers using p2p techniques.

PeerTube is to YouTube what Mastodon is to Twitter, but with an interesting benefit: you don't need to have your friends using it to enjoy the tool. If a cool video is on PeerTube, you can just go and watch it.

Gaming on OpenBSD

OpenBSD gaming Peertube (RH, via) combines two interesting concepts: Peertube, already mentioned above, and OpenBSD gaming, whichs seems like an oxymoron.

The OpenBSD gaming community is bigger and more vocal than you'd expect, and they have started to do livestreams with their favorite games, some of which, you'd never expected.

Solène is one of the most active members, make sure to follow her on Mastodon.

Using AI to scam $250k

Scammers deepfake CEO's voice to talk underling into $243,000 transfer (5 min, via) and its related AI Clones Your Voice After Listening for 5 Seconds (RH, via)

We're moving into a very cyberpunk future where you can only trust when you use your five senses.

Carmack working on AI

Carmack's statement (1 min)

Starting this week, I'm moving to a "Consulting CTO" position with Oculus. [...] As for what I am going to be doing with the rest of my time: [...] I have sometimes wondered how I would fare with a problem where the solution really isn't in sight. I decided that I should give it a try before I get too old. I'm going to work on artificial general intelligence (AGI).

Let's see what one of the top minds alive can do to help advance AI.

No police in Mastodon

The account of the Assam Police has been suspend from this instance (5 min, Mastodon thread)

An interesting discussion about banning cops in Mastodon instances. This is a gray topic with no easy solution, so I'll share some replies from users:

cm_kropot (OP):

The account of the Assam Police has been suspend from this instance.

We decided that we will not welcome cops on this instance, and we encourage the rest of the fediverse to do the same.

Following multiple reports, we decided that it's more important that our community feels safe and in security, than to be a platform for official communication.

Charles mentions pros and cons:

I can't speak for the mods, but I suspect the issue is more that they don't want the presence of police to have a chilling effect on speech. Police are very often at the sharp end of structural violence in any country.

However, cancelling police accounts may create a false sense of security. The police can still read your posts. They can still subpoena your mods. However, at least they're preventing from stirring up trouble.

Alex shares his experiences:

my experience from moderating a forum globally with popular ravers in the 90s/00s is discouraging overt cops works in the short term but (unsurprisingly) they switch to detective methods to glean info, often co-operating with journalists and agencies (often across borders), and it was still up to "normal" users not to blatantly incriminate themselves.

OTOH US corporate socnets welcome cops as "free moderators" so officers get a sense of entitlement to these spaces..

Ravi arguments on the other side of the spectrum:

Banning their official account from an open network is not going to solve any of those problems in the least. They can carry on their more nefarious activities under cover if required anyway. This ban only serves to illustrate a knee jerk reaction, goes against fediverse practice where somebody is banned only for CoC violation and not on a feel or whim, goes against free speech and is opaque without any upfront policies on this. This is worse than banana republic.

Protonmail can read your emails

Bitcoin and Protonmail, the calling cards of the cryptoshit techbro (5 min, Mastodon thread)

Drew, who you may know as the creator of sourcehut, argues against the use of Bitcoin and Protonmail.

The thread goes back and forth with many people, myself included, asking why Protonmail is not secure as they claim.

After all, the explanation is simple. The only way to send e2e encrypted mail is to use a technology which is similar to PGP.

Drew explains:

  1. I write a plaintext email to you@protonmail.com
  2. My mail server connects to mail.protonmail.ch and writes the plaintext email to it
  3. mail.protonmail.ch now has the plaintext email

Q.E.D.

I feel kind of cheated by Protonmail, because they are claiming something which is just impossible to do technically.

A more thruthful claim would be: after sending your unencrypted mail to the recipient, we promise to delete it and only keep an encrypted copy. But they do have access to a plaintext copy at some point. The only exception, it seems, is for mail sent between Protonmail accounts.

If you want security, disable hyper-threading

Running on Intel? If you want security, disable hyper-threading, says Linux kernel maintainer (2 min, via)

Here is a summary:

MDS is where one program can read another program's data. That's a bad thing when you are running in a shared environment such as cloud computing, even between browser tabs [...] I see a slowdown of about 20 per cent. That's real. As kernel developers we fight for a 1 per cent, 2 per cent speed increase. Put these security things in, and we go back like a year in performance. [...] We are still fixing Spectre 1.0 issues [almost] two years later. [...] If you're not using a supported distro, or a stable long-term kernel, you have an insecure system. It's that simple. All those embedded devices out there, that are not updated, totally easy to break [...]

Go ahead and read the full article, it's not much longer, and paints a pretty depressing picture for current Intel users.

(If you prefer to run a faster system with no security, read this)

The SQL detective

sql-murder-mystery (RH, via) is a game where you have to solve a crime by writing SQL queries.

Fun, but this is not a five minute game. Prepare a whole afternoon if you want to solve it.

An aggregated "home feed"

Fraidycat (2 min, via)

is a browser extension for Firefox or Chrome that can be used to follow folks on a variety of platforms. But rather than showing you a traditional 'inbox' or 'feed' view of all the incoming posts, you are shown an overview of who is active and a brief summary of their activity.

and

Fraidycat attempts to dissolve the barriers between networks - each with their own seeming 'network effects' - and forms a personal network for you, a personal surveillance network, if you will, of the people you want to monitor.

I need to check this out in more depth. I would love to have something similar to this on my server, so I can access it from anywhere.

I want to follow people, not networks

Fraidycat feed

You should have seen this

Greg Rutter's definitive list of the 99 things you should have already experienced on the internet unless you're a loser or old or something and his second list (RH, via)

  • Charlie bit me
  • Chocolate rain
  • Mentos and diet coke
  • Badger Badger Badger
  • Play him off, keyboard cat

Stop reading this and watch the 198 videos NOW!

Feature comparison of UNIX flavors

Linux VS open source UNIX (30 min, via)

Is a very in-depth feature comparison of Linux and the BSDs, mostly at the kernel level. Not everybody's cup of tea, but make sure to at least check out the first table and the summary.

Table comparing UNIX kernel features

The Real UNIX

Will the real UNIX please stand up? (2 min, via) opens a discussion about UNIX roots and its impact in the 21st century.

At our level it's not worth worrying too much about which is the "real" UNIX, because all of these projects have benefitted greatly from the five decades of collective development. But it does raise an interesting question: what about the next five decades? Can a solution for timesharing on a 1960s minicomputer continue to adapt for the hardware and demands of mid-21st-century computing?

No more random phone searches in US airports

EFF statement (1 min, via)

In a major victory for privacy rights at the border, a federal court in Boston ruled today that suspicionless searches of travelers' electronic devices by federal agents at airports and other U.S. ports of entry are unconstitutional.

Some good news to wrap this roundup.

Tags: roundup

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