Weekly Update: 2020-01-05 to 2020-01-11

Linus Torvalds: Avoid Oracle’s ZFS Kernel Code Until 'Litigious' Larry Signs Off

The number one reason I have not used ZFS is because of my concerns around the licensing and Oracle who are just not a trustworthy, good-faith actor.

via slashdot

Charter’s Spectrum Kills Home Security Business, Refuses Refunds on Now-Worthless Equipment

Whenever possibly I would opt for open-source software and owning my own hardware.

via slashdot

Why I Finally Switched from Chrome to Firefox - and You Should Too

It is encouraging to see major publications advocating for switching from Chrome to Firefox.

via slashdot

Skype Audio Graded by Workers in China With 'No Security Measures'

A Microsoft program to transcribe and vet audio from Skype and Cortana, its voice assistant, ran for years with "no security measures," according to a former contractor who says he reviewed thousands of potentially sensitive recordings on his personal laptop from his home in Beijing over the two years he worked for the company.

via slashdot

Y2K Still Alive

Programmers wanting to avoid the Y2K bug had two broad options: entirely rewrite their code, or adopt a quick fix called "windowing", which would treat all dates from 00 to 20, as from the 2000s, rather than the 1900s. An estimated 80 per cent of computers fixed in 1999 used the quicker, cheaper option.

I was totally unaware that this was a fix people were actually using, and the idea that as high as 80% of people opted for it is really shocking.

Why is a 22GB database containing 56 million US folks' personal details sitting on the open internet using a Chinese IP address? Seriously, why?

It is hard to be shocked anymore by these types of massive leaks of personal information.

via el reg

China Initiates Conflict with Indonesia in the South China Sea

Huawei Unveils OpenEuler, CentOS-Based Linux Distribution

Here’s the interesting bit:

A-Tune is a system software to auto-optimize the system adaptively to multiple scenarios with embedded AI-engine.

via slashdot

Intel’s First Discrete GPU is Built For Developers

The first Intel Xe hardware is now ready for developers.

via slashdot

Pilotless Air Taxi From China’s Ehang Takes Flight in the US for the First Time

I really think that in a few decades pilotless taxis will be commonplace.

via theverge

US Government-funded Android phones come preinstalled with unremovable malware

Literally an unremoveable backdoor that can silently install software, hidden within an application called "Wireless Update."

CES 2020: Samsung’s 8K QLED TVs Use AI Quantum 8K SoC, Add Support For AV1 Video

Curious to see if 8K really takes off. They claim the new SoC has "higher compute and machine learning performance." In a TV. AV1 hardware decoding is certainly an interesting feature.

via anandtech

Lime to pull its electric scooters out of 12 cities

I remember in one day counting seven different electric scooter companies. I cannot imagine there is enough demand for that many. And like most of these companies, I assume many are subsidizing ride costs to buy market share.

via autoblog

Cloudflare buys browser isolation biz S2 Systems in bid to realize Sun’s network computing vision at long last

The most interesting method involves running the headless version of Chromium which intercepts the drawing, compresses them and sends them on to the client where a local library (using WebAssembly) then draws them. Supposedly this removes the potential attack vector, because it is only the drawing commands.

via el reg

AMD rips covers off 64-core Threadripper desktop monster, plus laptop chips, leaving Intel gesturing vaguely at 2021

The performance is really staggering. It’s outperforming a pair of top-end Intel Xeon’s at about 1/4 or 1/5 the price in some tests.

via el reg

nomacs Image Viewer

Qt5 based image viewer application that supports lots of formats (including RAW!). I’ve been using imv for a couple of years as my very quick, go-to image viewer application (ls | imv or imv .) and it has worked wonderfully. But nomacs also offers broader filetype support and even basic image editing functionality. I think this might have a place for me somewhere between imv and darktable.

The Biggest Problems With Bluetooth Audio Are About To Be Fixed

Called Audio LE, it will add Multi-Stream Audio to stream to multiple devices at the same time.

via slashdot

Samsung’s at it again and this time it stole Apple’s Face ID icon

Absolutely shameless.

via via daringfireball

Major Union Launches Campaign To Organize Video Game, Tech Workers

I feel like unionization of tech is just a foregone conclusion.

via slashdot

Tesla’s market value eclipses GM and Ford — combined

Important to keep in mind that Tesla isn’t just an automanufacturer, but incredible nonetheless.

via autoblog

The Original Xbox Was Announced 19 Years Ago Today

Which then spawned the XBMC (now kodi) which was just the coolest thing back then. Being able to use an xbox to stream your media made it far more accessible than it had been before.

via slashdot

Acer Swift 3, either with Core i7-1065G7 or Ryzen 7 4700U: The Laptop Market Just Blew Wide Open

The interesting part:

AMD Prices will start from $599 for the base configuration, and exact specifications will come closer to the launch in May. Intel will start from $699 and be available from March.

via anandtech

Toyota Will Transform a 175-Acre Site In Japan Into a 'Prototype City of the Future'

At CES on Monday, Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda said the Japanese auto giant will transform a 175-acre site of a former car factory into a "prototype city of the future" where it can test autonomous vehicles, innovative street design, smart home technology, robotics, and new mobility products on real people who would live there full-time.

via slashdot

Xerox grabs $24bn from banking titans to fund hostile takeover of HP Ink

I guess the slow death of printing will continue to drive consolidation. But I wonder if regulators would be concerned about Xerox and HP merging.

via el reg

Chrome OS Has Stalled Out

This feels right based on absolutely nothing other than my gut feeling. I haven’t seen any interesting progress in the Chrome OS ecosystem, save for the ability recently to run native Linux (and Android) applications. But I don’t think that appeals to many people, even if it might to me.

via slashdot

First on CNN: More than a dozen Saudi servicemen to be expelled from US after review of December shooting at Naval Air Station

The Saudis are not accused of aiding the 21-year-old Saudi Air Force second lieutenant who killed three American sailors in the December shooting, two sources said, but some are said to have connections to extremist movements, according to a person familiar with the situation.

A number are also accused of possessing child pornography, according to a defense official and the person familiar with the situation. The FBI and Justice Department declined to comment.

via cnn

NextMind is Building a Real-Time Brain Computer Interface, Unveils Dev Kit For $399

I just think of all the time I spent learning to type well …​

via slashdot

Self-Sovereign ID Tech Is Being Advanced By Security Failures, Privacy Breaches

The idea of creating a single digital ID, using PKI and blockchain (I know, I know …​) is really interesting. Being able to decouple your identity from each and every centralized service and allow portability would be huge.

via slashdot

Rare Salt Formations Appear Along Utah’s Great Salt Lake

Funny enough I just got back from Park City and visited the Great Salt Lake and didn’t know about them until we were leaving.