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Inrupt: Tim Berners-Lee's planning to decentralise the Internet away from corporates who have been controlling...

Posted on: Mon, 2018-10-08 - 19:56 By: admin

Inrupt: Tim Berners-Lee's planning to decentralise the Internet away from corporates who have been controlling it for profit

"This week, Berners-Lee will launch Inrupt (https://www.inrupt.com), a startup that he has been building, in stealth mode, for the past nine months. Backed by Glasswing Ventures, its mission is to turbocharge a broader movement afoot, among developers around the world, to decentralize the web and take back power from the forces that have profited from centralizing it. In other words, it’s game on for Facebook, Google, Amazon. For years now, Berners-Lee and other internet activists have been dreaming of a digital utopia where individuals control their own data and the internet remains free and open. But for Berners-Lee, the time for dreaming is over."

When Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, talks about the Internet I take note of what he says. He helped bring about much of what we enjoy on the Internet today except that years ago the Internet was about sharing, doing good, communicating for the benefit of everyone. Unfortunately, commercial interests (not to mention political and other agendas) have created centralised hubs which filter and feed what people see, think and say to fund profit driven corporations. Smaller startups like Mastodon, Diaspora, etc have definitely attracted many users but have just not been able to crack it with the masses. Each has also lacked a bit of "something" hence not being a natural solution to the problem.

"On his screen, there is a simple-looking web page with tabs across the top: Tim’s to-do list, his calendar, chats, address book. He built this app–one of the first on Solid–for his personal use. It is simple, spare. In fact, it’s so plain that, at first glance, it’s hard to see its significance. But to Berners-Lee, this is where the revolution begins. The app, using Solid’s decentralized technology, allows Berners-Lee to access all of his data seamlessly–his calendar, his music library, videos, chat, research. It’s like a mashup of Google Drive, Microsoft Outlook, Slack, Spotify, and WhatsApp."

"The difference here is that, on Solid, all the information is under his control. Every bit of data he creates or adds on Solid exists within a Solid pod–which is an acronym for personal online data store. These pods are what give Solid users control over their applications and information on the web. Anyone using the platform will get a Solid identity and Solid pod. This is how people, Berners-Lee says, will take back the power of the web from corporations.

When asked about this, Berners-Lee says flatly: “We are not talking to Facebook and Google about whether or not to introduce a complete change where all their business models are completely upended overnight. We are not asking their permission.”

Yes, it sounds a bit like what Mastodon, Diaspora, Friendica, etc are trying to achieve but I'm thinking that Berners-Lee has been thinking far bigger picture. Same principle but differently executed and at a more strategic level (that's how you think if you invent the world wide web). I'm going to be following this closely!

See https://www.fastcompany.com/90243936/exclusive-tim-berners-lee-tells-us-his-radical-new-plan-to-upend-the-world-wide-web

#inrupt #deletefacebook


LA Times Features Anthropologist's US Government-Funded Study Of How Virtual Worlds Affect Disabled ...

Posted on: Sun, 2018-10-07 - 16:39 By: admin

LA Times Features Anthropologist's US Government-Funded Study Of How Virtual Worlds Affect Disabled Users

Good LA Times write-up of Tom Boellstorff, the UC Irvine Anthropology professor who's been exploring Second Life since 2004 (and full disclosure, became an IRL pal along the way). The Times' focus is on Tom's latest work, which is funded by the US government, and focuses on the many disabled people who use virtual worlds like Second Life:

Boellstorff and co-researcher Donna Davis of the University of Oregon got to know about 200 disabled players. The researchers found the virtual world provides a way for the mentally and physically disabled to socialize and forge meaningful relationships. “We so often hear about the dark side of technology,” Davis said. “But I think that Tom and I have found that there is a bright side. People can connect in these virtual spaces in really important and meaningful ways.”

Boellstorff’ has received $277,000 in funding from the National Science Foundation since 2015 to research how online environments affect social interaction, self-awareness and the disabled experience. Boellstorff, who is writing a second book on his new research, hopes that his research will cause technology developers to pay heed to the issues of disabled people when creating virtual reality products.

“This is an important thing for these CEOs to look at,” Boellstorff said. “Over and over again, if you look at the history of technology, often the tech gets developed assuming the consumer is able-bodied."

See http://nwn.blogs.com/nwn/2018/10/-tom-boellstorff-second-life-virtual-therapy-disabled-la-times.html

#disability #virtualworld


LA Times Features Anthropologist's US Government-Funded Study of How Virtual Worlds Affect Disabled Users
Good LA Times write-up of Tom Boellstorff, the UC Irvine Anthropology professor who's been exploring Second Life since 2004 (and full disclosure, became an IRL pal along the way). The Times' focus is on Tom's latest work, which is funded...

How To Backup And Restore Linux (System files like Windows Restore) With Timeshift

Posted on: Sun, 2018-10-07 - 14:33 By: admin

How To Backup And Restore Linux (System files like Windows Restore) With Timeshift

Be it a beginner or an advanced coder, A Linux user will, at some point find the need for a backup solution. All it takes is just one sudo command to go wrong and you’ll be sent back to the stone age. Linux shows you no mercy when you don’t have a solid a backup.

There are lots of impressive backup software available for Linux. Almost all distros come with an easy to use backup tool too. They back up and keep your docs, music and other important stuff safe.

But, it’s reinstalling all the software, drivers and configuring the system that turns out to be a nightmare. Although there are software like Aptik which do backup all your installed packages, They still don’t just cut it.

Timeshift can backup your Home data files too but note by default it excludes them. Which is nice as I still use LuckyBacup for my data files. Timeshift is totally GUI and very intuitive to use.

See how to use Timeshift at https://itsfoss.com/backup-restore-linux-timeshift/

#timeshift #backup


How To Backup And Restore Linux With Timeshift | It's FOSS

How to Replace One Linux Distribution With Another From Dual Boot [Keeping Home Partition and Your Data...

Posted on: Sun, 2018-10-07 - 12:38 By: admin

How to Replace One Linux Distribution With Another From Dual Boot [Keeping Home Partition and Your Data]

If you have a Linux distribution installed, you can replace it with another distribution in the dual boot. You can also keep your personal documents while switching the distribution.

Suppose you managed to successfully dual boot Ubuntu and Windows. But after reading the Linux Mint versus Ubuntu discussion, you realized that Linux Mint is more suited for your needs. What would you do now? How would you remove Ubuntu and install Mint in dual boot?

You might think that you need to uninstall Ubuntu from dual boot first and then repeat the dual booting steps with Linux Mint. Let me tell you something. You don’t need to do all of that.

If you already have a Linux distribution installed in dual boot, you can easily replace it with another. You don’t have to uninstall the existing Linux distribution. You simply delete its partition and install the new distribution on the disk space vacated by the previous distribution.

Another good news is that you may be able to keep your Home directory with all your documents and pictures while switching the Linux distributions.

I've been happily doing this since I created a separate Home partition with my data files on. If this is your first time doing this make sure you have got a full backup of your Home folder.

See https://itsfoss.com/replace-linux-from-dual-boot/


How to Replace one Linux Distro With Another in Dual Boot [Guide]

My Yaesu FT-60R VHF/UHF Dual Band Transceiver radio arrived today

Posted on: Sat, 2018-10-06 - 00:27 By: admin

My Yaesu FT-60R VHF/UHF Dual Band Transceiver radio arrived today

It will receive in the 144, 250, 350, 430 and 850 MHz bands and will transmit in the 144 and 430 MHz bands on either 5W, 2W or 0.5W power levels. This is about a mid-range portable so not as bad UI as the cheaper ones but certainly lacks the touchscreens of the higher end models (same goes for its ease of use relating to programming it but I got used to it after 30 mins or so). Portables are just not going to be as easy to operate as mobiles and base stations as they lack the size to pack buttons and knobs on.

Yes it's only 5W max (I can't transmit yet until I get my license) but we have an extensive repeater network in the Western Cape which covers way more area than I normally travel in from week to week.

It has some nice functions they've packed in:
* Has over 1,000 memory channels to save with alpha-numeric names
* Automatic and manual repeater shift (repeaters receive on an offset frequency and transmit out on their main frequency)
* CTCSS/DCS operation (basically where repeaters need triggering)
* Scanning can be all bands, a single band or just between two specific frequencies (can also skip a channel in scanning, or select specific channels in memory to scan)
* Dual watch where it monitors two different frequencies for activity
* Enhanced Paging & Code Squelch (EPCS) for placing a call to a specific station (paging) or to receive calls only directed to me (code squelch)
* Emergency channel operation for someone monitoring your home channel and you have an emergency situation where it will sound an alarm by you and also let the remote listener be alerted
* Emergency automatic ID used when searching for someone when they are incapacitated - a searcher can send a unique command which can cause the incapacitated person's radio to respond automatically with its callsign, which can help with direction finding
* Internet connection using Yaesu WIRES-X to remote nodes via radio which can provide access to the Internet
* Automatic Range Transponder System (ARTS) which basically confirms if you are in range out warns you if you are out of range where it is important to stay in range with a group (hiking, search and rescue, etc)

Some of these functions are more unique to portable use and do require proper configuration when used with a group.

#amateurradio #yaesuft60r #hamradio

05/10/2018


Beware of Bid or Buy sellers in South Africa with competitive prices in Rands which exclude customs ...

Posted on: Wed, 2018-10-03 - 07:48 By: admin

Beware of Bid or Buy sellers in South Africa with competitive prices in Rands which exclude customs duties in the fine print

This is something I have recently come up against since my allocated quoted of 3 import consignments by SARS is exhausted (I ordered 4 $2 items from AliExpress in August) so I was driven to Bid or Buy to select something locally offered in Rands. In the past, most items are already in stock locally and they just courier it to you.

But now more than one seller is showing a price in big bold letters so that you select their item because it is cheaper than others, you see a local courier cost (in this case SA Direct Courier) and it shows 29 available.

They state "to keep our prices as competitive as possible all our items are shipped from our suppliers abroad, therefore, your packaging may be inspected at customs". Then in non-bold, it states "We cannot be held responsible for extra charges. Buyer responsible for Customs Charges".

Actually, this is anti-competitive because this is then implied to be a more expensive cost to the consumer, but a lower price is advertised. It may be stated in the fine print but I still think this was not the spirit that the SA Consumer Act intended. It's like saying we leave the VAT out of our price to make our product pricing appear more competitive but it will be borne by you later on.

Well, I also cannot provide my ID number for customs clearance as it will endanger my earlier imports still on the way. The seller has assured me I must ignore a request for my ID number.

Another item I bought does clearly state all costs are included and there is nothing in addition that I as the seller will pay - good for them as their advertised price was what I paid with shipping which I chose. How are they expected to compete fairly though with other sellers who just exclude the customs duty? Is that fair to the consumer or the reseller?

I've lodged a complaint with +bidorbuy so long to give comment on this practice and its fairness. At the least, there should be a warning right next to the price of the item stating "full cost not stated" or something like this. I'd have then excluded those items from my comparison. I'm not sure Bid or Buy should be allowing such a practice. Whether it contravenes the Consumer Act is still another issue.

But other buyers in South Africa may just want to watch out for this when comparing items.


Vodacom can charge South Africas R10 per MB for WhatsApp calls = R4 per minute

Posted on: Tue, 2018-10-02 - 22:57 By: admin

Vodacom can charge South Africas R10 per MB for WhatsApp calls = R4 per minute

They're not actually doing it but they applied to ICASA for it and it is included in the terms and conditions so subscribers want to keep an eye open for this. If it happens they may want to use a different messenger service that fully encrypts the transmissions and should not reveal the type of traffic being transmitted. True end-to-end encryption should only show SSL traffic flowing. How would the ISP know what is in that encrypted SSL traffic?

"Vodacom’s terms and conditions give it the right to charge more for VoIP traffic – like WhatsApp and Skype calls – on its network compared to the normal mobile data rate. The company also lodged a tariff of R10 per MB for VoIP traffic with ICASA several years ago."

Vodacom explained that VoIP data calls are currently charged at normal data rates rather than standard voice rates. Through these terms and conditions, however, Vodacom “reserves the right to change this should we deem it appropriate from a business perspective”.

See https://mybroadband.co.za/news/cellular/277287-vodacom-can-charge-you-r10-per-mb-for-whatsapp-calls.html

#vodacom #whatsapp




Vodacom can charge you R10 per MB for WhatsApp calls
Vodacom’s terms and conditions give it the right to charge high rates for VoIP traffic.

The Very First Social Network - How a 1979 chain email about science fiction spawned the internet we...

Posted on: Tue, 2018-10-02 - 21:15 By: admin

The Very First Social Network - How a 1979 chain email about science fiction spawned the internet we know today

The crux for me out of this article is:

"Fortunately for all of us who are reading this article online today, this is when Vint Cerf entered the scene. As a young researcher in the nascent field of computer science, Cerf recognized this compatibility problem would keep computerized communication from ever scaling. So he and his friend Robert Kahn designed a single common protocol that could govern the transmission of data across an exponentially expanding “network of networks,” or “internet.” The adaptable framework, TCP/IP, allowed the original ARPANET to bind together all of these mini-networks that had been springing up around the world—and it remains the backbone of the internet this day."

If we'd let Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc create the Internet today we'd have separate Internets and e-mail that would only go to others using the same mail server service that we use. Totally unacceptable and the Internet would never have taken off.

So why do we allow walled gardens for social networks still? Why are we not demanding to be able to post in the network of our choice (think say GMail for e-mail) and then have our post be followed or read at any other social network being used by others (such as Microsoft Exchange mail or Thunderbid Mail)?

Why is it today that private profit-driven companies get to decide they can wall us in and sell our data? It's because of the principles of the original Internet are no longer upheld as the primary driving force, and the few individuals who still hold those principles dear, are not easily heard and have often themselves moved on to using some other open platform.

We should be demanding open standards which allow inter-communication whilst still letting individual social networks flourish with their own offerings, but in this way users can move on to another competitor and social media companies must compete and innovate to keep their users.

When commercial interests overtake those of the Internet's users it is not a good thing in the long run for users (consumers).

The biggest thing are OPEN: USB ports, metric measures, e-mail, TCP/IP, AAA batteries, and many more. If you want something to go really big and last many decades it has to bew open!

See https://slate.com/technology/2018/10/internet-social-media-sf-lovers-arpanet.html

#openstandards


SF-LOVERS: the Little-Known Story of the Internet’s First Social Network
It all started with a chain email the Pentagon tried to shut down.

Play 'Assassin's Creed Odyssey' for Free by Beta Testing Google's Cloud Streaming Service - using just...

Posted on: Tue, 2018-10-02 - 07:31 By: admin

Play 'Assassin's Creed Odyssey' for Free by Beta Testing Google's Cloud Streaming Service - using just Chrome browser and 25mbps Internet

Rumors of Google’s entry into the game-streaming space have circulated for ages, but today those rumors were finally confirmed when the company announced it will be teaming up with game publishers for its newly announced Project Stream service. Project Stream will allow users to play fully-fledged console and PC games through their Chrome browser without the need for a gaming PC or console hardware, all thanks to the cloud.

The first of these partnerships is with French publisher Ubisoft and its upcoming title, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey. While Google says the full, public version of Project Stream won’t be released for some time, those interested in helping Google test the service can sign up for its upcoming closed beta. Selected beta users will be able to play Assassin’s Creed Odyssey via Chrome, provided they meet all the technical requirements.

See https://lifehacker.com/play-assassins-creed-odyssey-for-free-by-beta-testing-g-1829446196

#cloudgaming


Play 'Assassin's Creed Odyssey' for Free in Google's Beta
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