Digiworld

  • Mastodon is the latest “Twitter replacement”. Yesterday I said on Twitter that something described as its “bigger flaw” seems no big deal to me. Here I explain why. I had never heard of Mastodon until 2 days ago, when I wrote that yes, even Nazis can use it. Yesterday I found this comment on BoingBoing to a more complete article by Sean Bonner. The Boingboing comment ends with this quote:
  • Short answer: yes, they can. Regardless of what some websites are saying. Mastodon is “an alternative to Twitter”. Mashable just wrote that: “Mastodon.. in many ways it’s like Twitter, but it is also so not like Twitter… What makes it stand out? It has better privacy controls than Twitter. Also, neo-Nazis are explicitly banned.” and then, 2 lines below: “Mastodon is a type of free and open source software (FOSS) known as “GNU social.
  • Today’s copyright law is ridiculous and offensive, to say the least, and this week it’s Mr Roger’s Neighborhood” turn to prove it. Andrea James writes on Boing Boing that "Over the weekend, two episodes of Mister Roger's Neighborhood "Conflict" series unexpectedly appeared on YouTube after being unavailable for three decades. YouTube quickly removed them, but to many, the timing felt related to Trump's plans to defund PBS." The full story is here, but I’m not mentioning it it because it may “be a message to Trump”.
  • On February 28th, 2017, a “cockup at Amazon facility in Virginia, US” caused its S3 cloud storage to fail. This fault led to “major websites and services - including Imgur, Medium, Trello, Yahoo webmail, the Docker Registry Hub.. falling offline, losing images, or left running like treacle. Basically, that outage “knackered half the internet, it seems, because it all relies on S3 to store data online”. Just to stress: this is one S3 region that has become inaccessible, yet web apps are tripping up and vanishing as their backend evaporates away.
  • Former CIA director Michael Hayden recently said that millennials may leak secrets because they are “culturally different”. OK but.. please let me point out some of the culprits for such a difference, and the fact that those same culprits had been clearly named and described more than three years ago. Mr. Hayden said that millennials have different instincts than the people who hired them and this cultural difference may be the reason why “millennials leak secrets”:
  • On the left: the “new” Nokia cell phone. On the right: why they may be a HUGE commercial success. The phone on the left is a reboot of the Nokia 3310 model, “the most reliable phone ever made”. That article calls it “dumbphone” because… it should be, as its direct ancestor, a real, serious mobile phone. A mobile phone, that is, that: receives and makes phone calls, SMS and nothing more should be “nearly indestructible” (compared to modern “smartphones”, at least) wouldn’t know what to do with a Wi-Fi signal, no matter how strong but… has a battery that will last one month on one charge will connect even from the bottom of a cave, if there is a base station in a radius of 2 KM… costs only 59 Euros The screenshots on the right outline the excellent reasons why many people may want to buy that phone, or one like that, as soon as possible: switch to a phone like that and you will be able to hand over your phone without problems to any border guard, anywhere.
  • (this is a translation of my Italian post of 2012 on the same issue. I’ve done it because the problem, and the need to solve it as imagined below, are still there)

    The airport of Fiumicino offers a good example of the real, and really serious digital divide that afflicts many Italians. That divide is not the lack of broadband connectivity, smartphone or computers: it is the lack of knowledge and capability of using those tools for doing something that is actually, really useful for themselves. In the Fiumicino’s case, this can be seen by connecting three facts.

  • It looks like the UK Labour party will soon call for closer scrutiny of tech firms and their algorithms. If all goes well, it just won’t work, and that will the end of it. Otherwise, it will be really bad.After the 2016 Christmas break, a Labour’s industrial paper will call for suggestions on “how tech firms could be more closely supervised by government”. The algorithms, that is the formulas and rules used by those firms to run their services, are closely guarded trade secrets.
  • This seems real, and if it is.. I thought Italy was among the best when it comes to, huh, less than smart law proposals about computers and the Internet, but it’s not match for South Carolina. Quoting from RT America: A bill pre-filed by Republican State Representative William Chumley would require that personal computers and other devices block internet access to pornography and obscene content This “Human Trafficking Prevention Act” would fine manufacturers or sellers of electronic devices that do not install the blocks, whether they are created in factories or are at the point of sale.
  • I enjoyed POSS2016 in Paris Last week, I presented the current status of the EU-funded research I am working on these days, that is DiDIY (Digital DIY), at the Paris Open Source Summit. I have already reported about that side of the conference on the DiDIY blog, but I found many more interesting things at POSS 2016.What I heard at POSS 2016 about OpenDocument and Free Software in Public administration is so important, in my opinion, that I put it into a separate post.