Digiworld

  • an Internet of Things that we definitely don’t need there is a project, over at Seeed, that is a good example of a really (too) large category of projects that I really do not get. At least, I don’t get why they should have anything like “smart” or “smarter” in their name. I’m talking of “Gmail Buddy - Smarter Email Notifications”:”Gmail Buddy is companion device which checks your Gmail inbox every 15 secs and notify you using sweet elegant light [and] can also be used as a sweet night light!
  • By now, you probably already know that Yahoo scanned customer emails for U.S. intelligence”, and if you haven’t you can read all the details in the previous link, or in many other places. Here, I only want to point out one thing, mainly but not only to software geeks, and to any organizations whose goal include promoting privacy: this whole Yahoo story is just one more perfect example that one of the most urgent things to do in the digital sphere is to give everybody their very own, personal email server, at the smallest possible cost.
  • Here are a couple of comments about the article “3D Printing: IP Vulnerability and Information Technology”, which are directly related to the EU research project DiDIY (Digital DIY) in which I am participating these days. In my opinion, THE most relevant paragraph of that article, the one that should receive more attention, is this:“It may also become more difficult to secure digital blueprints within the supply chain and companies who believe they will never give their suppliers or customers digital blueprints may be living in a fool’s paradise.
  • Screenshot source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bKggZezZf2M FBI says that Apple must help them, because nobody else can do it, to unlock the iPhone used by San Bernardino shooter. The complete story is quite more complex than this one-sentence summary, but there is **one part of it that, as far as I can see has received almost zero *attention so far ():if the only entity in a given country who can actually monitor someone’s “private data and conversations” is ONE corporation, then who actually holds police power in that country, and is actually ruling it, is that corporation, not the official government.
  • Internet of Things. Smart homes. Smart appliances. Smart everything. How smart is the result?These days we may buy or self-build “connected kitchen gadgets” like: a Smart Grill that can cook almost any food perfectly based on weight, composition, and desired done-ness, all controlled through an iPad app an electronic fork that measures how long it took you to eat, the amount of fork servings and the time in between servings.
  • roddenberry-star-trek-in-floppies “Star Trek creator didn’t have a clue of how computer actually work, and how to preserve digital documents, and the curators of his estate weren’t much better”: **this **should be the appropriate title for the story titled “How Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry’s words were freed from old floppy disks”. (but see the important update below!) The facts: During the 1970s and 1980s Gene Roddenberry saved a lot of unpublished writings as files stored in about 200 5.
  • A long time ago, we had really smart mobile phones: devices compatible with any pocket, that wouldn’t distract us every second, but get enough signal even inside a cave, last one week without recharging, and years without breaking. Then we got dumb phones that do all the opposite.Some months ago a Kickstarter project tried to fix this sorry situation, by letting us recycle the dumb, bigger phones as protecting coasters for the really smart ones.
  • I had (at least) three big reasons to be at the fOSSa 2015 conference, a couple of weeks ago. Two already covered elsewhere and one, “Citizen Cloud: Towards a more decentralized internet?”, that deserves its own separate post. Before getting to that, however, let me quickly remind the first two reasons: first, I and Wouter Tebbens had to present a great research project we of the Free Knowledge Institute are working on, that is Digital Do-It-Yourself (DiDIY).
  • Some recent declarations from VW executives about the Volkswagen scandal are half unbelievable, half totally irrelevant. Seriously.Quoting from “Could Rogue Software Engineers Be Behind VW Emissions Cheating?”: “This was not a corporate decision,” [Michael Horn, CEO of Volkswagen America] later added. “There was no board meeting that approved this.” Duh. Really? How unexpected! Who would have thought? All laws, ethics and morals aside…, if I had shares in any company whose board members were so idiot to discuss something like this in an official meeting, maybe even leaving a written record, I’d either fire them on the spot, or get rid of my shares as quickly as I could.
  • A few days ago I summarized the most questionable or uncertain points of the software odissey of the City of Pesaro, saying that I’d also post questions and consequences, both for the City and Open Source advocates, not mentioned yet in this story. For Pesaro, the road forward has little or nothing to do with the initial topic, that is Open Source Software in Public Administration. The advocates, instead, should rethink some of their strategies.