The most frustrating aspect of the entire privacy debate is that the most ardent advocates of an absolutist position tend to describe anyone who disagrees with them as a Facebook defender. My motivation, though, is not to defend Facebook; quite the opposite, in fact: I want to see the social networking giant have more competition, not less, and I despair that the outcome of privacy laws like GDPR, or App Store-enforced policies from Apple, will be to damage Facebook on one hand, and destroy all of its long-term competitors on the other.
I worry even more about small businesses uniquely enabled by the Internet; forcing every company to act like a silo undoes the power of platforms to unlock collective competition (a la Shopify versus Amazon), whether that be in terms of advertising, payments, or understanding their users. Regulators that truly wish to limit tech power and unlock the economic potential of the Internet would do well to prioritize competition, interoperability, and social graph sharing, alongside a more nuanced view of privacy that reflects reality, not misleading ads; I would settle for at least admitting there are tradeoffs being made.
In case you missed it, there was a Forbes article on Mi Browser Pro and Mint Browser which are preinstalled on Xiaomi phones. The article accuses Xiaomi of exfiltrating a history of all visited websites. Xiaomi on the other hand accuses Forbes of misrepresenting the facts. They claim that the data collection is following best practices, the data itself being aggregated and anonymized, without any connection to user’s identity.
Squeak is a free Smalltalk system originally released by a team including Alan Kay, Dan Ingalls, Ted Kaehler, John Maloney and Scott Wallace in 1996 when they were working at Apple. You might recognise the first three names from early Smalltalk papers from Xerox PARC. They produced a rather nice Smalltalk system with the unusual virtue that both the image and the Virtual Machine are open source - i.e. free, gratis and “no charge to you sir”.
A war against general-purpose computing rages. On one side are the lords of technology: Google, Apple, Microsoft, their allies, and the unseen ones who control them. The lords of technology fight for money above all else, while their unseen masters fight for power. In a never ending quest to maximize their wealth and power, they are determined to control every computer in the known universe. Opposing them are the few who see the war clearly. The rebels fight to keep general-purpose computing alive. They fight for online privacy and free speech and the tools that make them possible. They fight for computers, operating systems, and software that can be used both on and off line, beyond the all-seeing eyes of the lords of technology and their masters. They fight for continued access to their computers’ file systems. They fight for control of the data on their hard drives. They fight for general-purpose hardware and programs like Handbrake and Kodi that give them the power to listen to music and watch movies that they already own, without having to buy them again and again from the likes of Apple and Amazon each time hardware standards, file formats, or delivery methods change. They fight for continued access to decentralized networks like ZeroNet, IPFS, and I2P, the last strongholds of free speech on the Internet.
Between the two opposing forces are the non-technical masses. These are the online serfs who are completely unaware and will never become aware that their freedom and their money is being stolen by their masters, the lords of technology, who they serve unwittingly with their data and monthly fees. These are the instant messaging and cat video addicts whose only concern is that computers be easy enough for toddlers to use. These are the techno-toddlers who refuse to grow up…
This is very well written. Thanks for sharing.
I am particularly worried about the case of Matrix/Element. My main issue is that not only do the reference client and server implementations miss things in the spec, but they implement things not in the spec. This is highly unusual. Alternative clients are nowhere near catching up though.
Anyway, your writing is well-researched and balanced. I liked it a lot, thank you.
The price of freedom is eternal vigilance; in addition to settling on the right platform, we must ensure that it honors its users in both the present and the future. Keeping a platform FOSS and simple is more straightforward than keeping a platform “open”.
How do we keep an open platform from becoming a closed platform in the future?
In terms of telecommunications, we have never really been free, though in terms of Internet and its predecessors, there have been times where we had a lot more choice. Many are too young to remember this, and for others, that era is a distant memory.
The irony is that our present moment is one of enormous consolidation of power, and yet also one of a proliferation of technologies that let us wrest back some of that power. In this post, I hope to enlighten or remind us of some of the choices we have lost — and also talk about the ways in which we can choose to regain them, already, right now.
I will talk about the possibilities, the big dreams that are possible now, and then go into more detail about the solutions.
Volumetric 3D displays that allow the viewing of full 3D images without special glasses are not unknown in our community, usually taking the form of either a 3D LED matrix or a spinning rotor either with an image projected onto it or holding an LED array. They are impressive projects, but they are often limited in what they can display. Pretty patterns and simple 3D models are all very well, but they are hardly 3D television. Thus we’re quite impressed with [Evlmnkey]’s bachelor’s degree project, which combines motion capture and a volumetric display for a genuine volumetric 3D closed-circuit television system.
Linux draws a distinction between code running in kernel (kernel space) and applications running in userland (user space). This is enforced at the hardware level - in x86-speak, kernel space code runs in ring 0 and user space code runs in ring 3. If you’re running in ring 3 and you attempt to touch memory that’s only accessible in ring 0, the hardware will raise a fault. No matter how privileged your ring 3 code, you don’t get to touch ring 0.
Little is a statically typed, C-like scripting language.
Familiar C-like Syntax
Structs, lists, arrays, hashes
Perl regexp: buf =~ /.*foo/, I/O: while (buf = <>)
No memory management (reference counted)
Compiles to Tcl byte codes, Little can call Tcl, Tcl can call Little
Full access to Tcl runtime and libraries
Full access to Tk graphical toolkits
@digiterate_dingo Hey! I agree in that the Matrix community lacks in official install guides, there are a ton of guides available, like the one you posted.
Here’s the Matrix founder with a short video on how to get Synapse up and running. I watched it earlier last year when the pandemic hit, and it took me a half hour to set it up!
Hey @StallmanWasRight, i’m looking into Matrix and Element and I couldn’t and still can’t find a official page for a self host server installation guide… All I found so far is this(link below), which is okay but do you (or anyone else) know why there is no official guide on how to make a self-hosted Matrix server ?
This article is about some of the little tricks that I use in Vim. None of them are deep dives, and I encourage you to learn more about whatever’s interesting. They also aren’t connected to each other. But that’s fine. In total, they’re more than enough to help a lot.
Nuclear arms control is like limiting people to 10 bullets… but where sometimes a truck bomb counts as a bullet. Though it is difficult enforce agreements on qualities rather than quantities, if it were possible to regulate total nuclear weapon yield and targeting rules, rather than the number of weapons, states should be able to establish more robust deterrence without threatening global nuclear winter.
In the early days of 2021 we learned the true power of American tech companies. After Trump was ousted by Twitter, the social media alternative Parler was cut off by their cloud hosting provider, Amazon.
Where do we go from here? What can a freedom-minded person do to avoid censorship by tech oligarchs?
The only way is to meet them at their level. In some industries it’s impossible to challenge the establishment, but anyone can have a voice on the Internet. This is still true in 2021.