Weekly Update: 2019-09-15 to 2019-10-05

This is going to be three weeks condensed into one.

Richard Stallman Resigns from MIT CSAIL and then FSF

Covered everywhere. I can’t help but feel bad for the guy. He’s at best oblivious. But he’s also a genius and one of the most important figures in computing.

via and and pretty much everywhere else

Stallman post about his talk at Microsoft

And in other Stallman news: hell froze over and Stallman gave a talk at Microsoft. It’s not really that interesting to be honest, it’s just his standard speech for the most part.


I saw the marketing material for this, allegedly, first 16-bit minicomputer and fell in love. It’s just beautiful.

Daytripper: The new Boss Key

Laser tripwire - hide windows, lock computer or whatever. Ahh, the good ol' days.

Questions to ask during an interview ("Reverse interview")

As someone on HN pointed out, you can ask questions that can turn the interviewer around into trying to "sell" you on the job, which in my experience is very accurate.

What is "DCC SEND startkeylogger"?

I found this amusing. Apparently an old bug where anti-virus software would terminate the IRC session if it saw the tech "startkeylogger". People would use it to force disconnect people.

via blog

T. Boone Pickens Passes Away

He left a "final message" which is worth the read, at least the bulleted list of advice. This one really stuck with me:

Be willing to make decisions. That’s the most important quality in a good leader: Avoid the “Ready-aim-aim-aim-aim” syndrome. You have to be willing to fire.

Man used drone to pelt ex-girlfriends home with bombs

First Librem 5 Smartphones are Shipping

And I found out they don’t have any biometrics for "security" ? Unfortunately I’m out. I can appreciate that in some countries, like mine, you can be compelled by law enforcement to provide biometrics but not a passcode. But I would like to have the option to chose for myself.


MorphOS 3.12 Released

An "enhanced clone" of AmigaOS. Based on a microkernel called "Quark" and a complete install is 140MB. Proprietary, closed source commercial product as of version 2.0, but interesting nonetheless.

Intel Dramatically Cuts Prices of Top-End i9 Gaming Chips

These price cuts are ENORMOUS. Obviously these are in response to Zen 3 and the upcoming threadripper CPU. They even skipped the 16-core part so there couldn’t be a more direct comparison to the threadripper part, instead releasing 14 and 18 core products. Very telling.

For example, last year’s top-end Core i9-9980XE processor costing $1,990 at retail is replaced by the $979 Core i9-10980XE.

Even if you hate AMD you certainly have to appreciate that competition is good for everyone. Except maybe Intel.

Samsung Ends Mobile Phone Production In China

Samsung market share in China has collapsed from around 15% in mid-2013 to 1% in the first quarter, it has just been crushed by domestic brands like Huawei and Xiaomi.

Ready, text, go: typing speeds on mobiles rival keyboard users

Except they don’t.

People who tapped out messages with a single finger managed on average only 29 words per minute (wpm), but those who mastered the two-thumb technique hit a blistering 38wpm, only 25% slower than an average typer on a full-sized Qwerty keyboard.

But still certainly impressive for the average person. I think people with 100+ wpm speeds obviously still consider using these devices as frustratingly slow.

Pager services to end Tuesday in Japan after 50 years

TLDR: Everytone in japan switched to mobile phones

Unpatchable iOS jailbreak-enabling exploit called Checkm8

Unpatchable because it’s in bootrom which is readonly. Affects every device up to the iPhone X, which is still relatively recent at around two years old. Requires physical access and the device to be put into a special firmware update mode called "DFU mode."

Oracle Reaffirms Supporting Solaris 11 Through Part Of The Next Decade

Already eight years old and "no signs" of Solaris 12 aka "Solaris-Next." But, Oracle has committed to supporting Solaris 11 through 2031-2034 depending on the support agreement.

The /e/ Google-free, pro-privacy Android clone is now available

Worst named project I can think of. Imagine trying to search for this name on Google. Developed by a guy named Gaël Duval who created Mandrake Linux. /e/ is a fork of LineageOS bundled with a "set of online services."

Legit-Looking iPhone Lightning Cables That Hack You Will Be Mass Produced and Sold

G is the creator of the O.MG Cable. It charges phones and transfers data in the same way an Apple cable does, but it also contains a wireless hotspot that a hacker can connect to. Once they’ve done that, a hacker can run commands on the computer, potentially rummaging through a victim’s files, for instance.

US income inequality jumps to highest level ever recorded

A key measure of wealth distribution jumped to 0.485 in 2018, the Census Bureau said Thursday, its highest reading since the so-called Gini index was started in 1967. The gauge, which uses a scale of 0 to 1, stood at 0.482 a year earlier.

GNOME Foundation Is Being Sued Because of Shotwell Photo Manager

Rothschild was only recently awarded a patent relating to wifi image transfers, but he has a long history taking companies like Apple and Samsung to court. His LLC was named in 2015 as the single largest nonpracticing entity by defendant count; a NPE is a company or person who holds patents but makes no products, instead pursuing companies that do for settlements. One website counts 30 lawsuits filed since June involving Rothschild Patent Imaging LLC, with more than 100 ongoing.
— BoingBoing

CentOS 8 Released

CentOS 8 was released and Red Hat made some interesting announcements. Including CentOS Stream which will be a rolling release version that will sit between Fedora and RHEL. CentOS will still function in the same role as version based on RHEL with the trademarks removed.

Cyberbunker Busted

It’s fascinating how long it took to arrest these guys who appeared to operate so brazenly in the open.

German Cops Raid “Cyberbunker 2.0,” Arrest 7 in Child Porn, Dark Web Market Sting

Cloudflare, Google Chrome, and Firefox add HTTP/3 support

Moving along nicely. The new version uses QUIC instead of TCP and has built-in TLS. via

Amazon Sidewalk - Long-range Wireless

Details are scant, but supposedly 900mhz wireless good for up to 1 mile of range. Amazon is currently testing devices.

Russian national confesses to biggest bank hack in US history

Andrei Tyurin (alsp "Tiurin) admitted to the 2014 breach of JPMorgan Chase which "generated hundreds of millions of dollars in illicit revenue and stole the data of more than 80 million JPMorgan clients."

Apparently all started from malware that infected an employee’s desktop computer.

'machine hallucination' at ARTECHOUSE in new york’s chelsea market

I don’t really get it, but it sure looks cool via

Fedora 31 coming this month

Not a lot I see so far that I’m really excited about except that PipeWire is going to be interesting. My use of audio on linux ends at "listening to stuff" so my use case seems to work well for pulseaudio. But for music creation my understanding is pulseaudio doesn’t support nearly low enough latency to make that realistic on its own.

The beta was released a few days ago and is available in the usual places.

Also, they plan on dropped 32-bit support via

Best SSDs: Q3 2019

Anandtechs regular rundown of which SSDs to buy.

iOS 13 Released

And immediately followed by 13.1, 13.1.1 and 13.1.2. For me it has been a buggy disaster. Far too much being added, discoverability that used to be so good seems to be falling by the wayside. For me the general trajectory of iOS has been very poor since around version 9. Unfortunately I believe it is still the best option currently.

EasyOS - An experimental Linux distro

A desktop operating system designed specifically around the use of containers, based on "the best from both Puppy and Quirkly linix." Using "Easy Containers" any application, and "even the desktop" can be run inside of a container and the whole thing runs from RAM (lets not argue semantics, that’s their verbiage) and uses a layered filesystem, I believe aufs.

Western Digital Announces Energy-Assisted Hard Drives

"Energy-Assisted" is an umbrella term for HAMR and MAMR drives. This is really the announcement of their new Ultrastar DC HC550 drives, which are non-SMR Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) drives, non-SMR (as in, not shingled). Good for around 550TB/year, thus the name, presumably. They also feature a bunch of fancy datacenter-class features like top and bottom (7200rpm) motors, top and bottom disk clamps, RVFF sensors, humidity sensors, etc.

But, I kind of buried the lede here because the interesting part is the capacities which are both nine platter and clock in at 16 and 18TB.

HD Moore announces Rumble

This is an absolutely critical component that we do not focus on enough. No one really knows what is on their network. If I remember correctly, the Equifax breach was caused by an unpatched server, which was unpatched because it was not in an inventory system, so no one noticed it.

Systemd-homed: Systemd Now Working To Improve Home Directory Handling

No. Please stop overcomplicating things to solve problems that affect almost no one . via

Windows 3.1 Screensaver Twitter Bot

Finally, a good use of twitter. Tweets three times a day with videos of Windows 3.1 screensavers. via

PulseAudio 13 Released

Includes support for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, among other improvements.

Tractor-trailer overturns, spreads 44,000 pounds of Nutella on I-94

The most delicious of all auto accidents. In all seriousness, no one was injured and the "44,000 pounds of Nutella Singa was hauling weren’t irreparably harmed." Thank goodness.

HP Launches Their S430c 43.4-Inch Ultrawide Curved Display

Monitors in the last couple of years have been really fascinating. Wide, Super Wide, Ultra Wide. Refresh rates up to over 200Hz. Crazy high resolutions. Features like G-Sync and FreeSync.

Obscure Window Manager: JWM

Wikipedia describes JWM as:

JWM (Joe’s Window Manager) is a lightweight stacking window manager for the X Window System written by Joe Wingbermuehle. JWM is written in C and uses only Xlib at a minimum. Configuration is done by editing an XML file; no graphical configuration is necessary or supplied.

This was a new one for me, but apparently it is the default in Damn Small Linux and Puppy Linux.

Ok, I’m in Darkshore, and It Just Started Raining

Great piece by Rands on Classic WoW. I sure wish I had another 20 hours in the week because I would dedicate it all to playing Classic WoW. I wish I could go back to having all that free time I somehow had 10 years ago.

IBM Introduces Next-Gen Z Mainframe: The z15; Wider Cores, More Cores, More Cache, Still 5.2 GHz

A shocking amount of the world still runs on Z series.

Life is Short (Paul Graham)

I’ve always loved his writing. I don’t know that there’s anything profound here but it’s certainly a good take on the topic and in Paul Graham fashion, it’s well written and touching.

Wi-Fi 6 Officially Launches Today, With Up to 3x the Performance of 802.11ac

802.11[whatever] is gone. The Wi-Fi Allianced decided on just numbering them numerically, which is going to get tricky. But for now we’re dealing with Wi-Fi 6 which is 802.11ax. 802.11ax adds OFDMA (Orthogonal frequency-division multiple access) which should help in dense environments, which apparently is all of our homes these days.

PineTime is a $25 smartwatch/companion for PinePhone Linux phone

I just love everything Pine is doing. I can’t wait for the pinephone either. I’m definitely fascinated by the opportunities that a $25 smartwatch could provide.

Moloch - Full Packet Capture

Designed for "large scale" full packet capture at 10 or even 100Gb/s