Planet Russell

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RacialiciousGoogle to Latinos: We Will Define You for You

by Guest Contributor Roberto Lovato, originally published at Latino Rebels

MISSION DISTRICT, SAN FRANCISCO—A new age is upon us, the Age of Soy.

No, I’m not talking about some new genetically-modified organism that will (further) fundamentally alter the corn in our tacos, the gas in our cars or the farmland of the Midwest.

The development of which I speak has to do with how Mountain View, California-based Google’s launch of .SOY, a web domain targeting the country’s Latinos, was supposed to herald a new day on the Latino web, with some “Hispanic marketing experts” waxing triumphant about our (finally) getting some respect from a company that has a less-than-triumphant record of hiring Latinos or black people.

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/iYhPVqfpk2I" width="560"></iframe>

And then the Latino and vegan web responded: Hey Google, “soy,” (Spanish for “I am”) sounds more like a domain name for one of the tony vegan Mexican restaurants that Google and other Silicon Valley workers eat $15 tacos at than it does a hub for online Latinos.

Far from being the Latino web sensation Google and its “experts” expected, .SOY provides fodder for the amateur comedian in us all, with Latinos and vegans joining forces, taking the “.SOY” domain and applying it to different adjectives like quépendejo.soy (how stupid I am), #soyhispandering or calling .SOY “The must-have domain for the lactose-intolerant.”

And you would think a search company such as Google would have known more about a meme and all its variations making the online rounds for a few years now:

what-if-soy-milk-is-really-just-regular-milk-introducing-itself-in-spanish

Apparently not.

Beyond raising the indelicate question (When will Google launch the .IAMWHITE domain?), Google’s latest move raises a more important question: How can a company based in parts of the United States where the overwhelming majority of the country’s 50 million Latinos live, be so border-walled off from the physical, geographic and cultural reality just outside its gates, so self-absorbed in the virtual world where it is king? Another equally pointed question has to do with us, specifically with where and how Latinos relate to the Digital Darwinism that is (again) shuffling and redefining the social and economic positions of Latinos and us all.

In searching for an answer, there’s no better place to find it than here in the Bay Area birthplace of the digital economy. Whether in the area around Twitter headquarters, in the biotech labs surrounding the soon-to-be World Champion (again!) Giants’ stadium or in the former farmlands where I saw Latino farm workers harvesting fruits and vegetables pushed out by mostly non-Latino workers and companies harvesting the new crop (enormous wealth and astonishing class divisions), the genetically-modifying ethic and the spirit in Google’s .SOY capitalism is clear: We will define you for you—if you let us.

Protests by anti-gentrifying forces against private (as in gated off from everybody else) Google buses on 24th and Valencia in the Mission district say as much about Google and renters, Google and working people and Google and Latinos as they do about the we-won’t-let-you dignity of communities struggling not to be erased or forgotten in the Great Digital Transition that Google, The Most Valuable Company on Earth, leads behind the “don’t be evil” slogan. Four blocks from 24th, I saw those same race and class dynamics in the successful fight of soccer-playing Latino youth against Dropbox employees to win back a soccer field just behind my grandmother’s former home on 20th street. Unlike my abuela, who rented at reasonable rates to immigrants, landlords on 24th and on 20th and throughout the formerly working class neighborhoods of the Bay Area joined Google and other tech companies in the long march of digital progress that has brought us the $3000-a-month bedroom rental in the Mission.

As an alumni, I was especially saddened to see how this same Darwinian instinct created a UC Berkeley (UCB) where Latino and black enrollments have diminished to the point where the university no longer ranks among the top 50 Latino-friendly universities in the country. Especially gross and dangerous are comparisons of low working-class Latino enrollments and high middle-class Asia-Pacific Islander enrollments at UCB that are explained in the most subtle, survival-of-the-fittest undertones over cappuccinos in cafes that once housed Black and Brown Panther meetings and “Third World Solidarity” organizing meetings (digitally driven rents make revolution exponentially more difficult).

Google’s faux pas has its political equivalent in the patently false notion that immigration or other Latino issues were ever part of some nonexistent “progressive” community in rapidly non-working class San Francisco and other cities. Such perceptions, exploited by Democrats, are equivalent to Mission District Día De Los Muertos celebrations largely devoid of Latinos as well as to upscale Mexican restaurants where Mexicans work, but can’t eat at because they don’t earn enough in working at the upscale Mexican restaurant.

SOY

It is within such an actually existing cultural context that .SOY is born and may (or may not) thrive. The good news is that many of us are waking up. Here in the Mission, we saw this self-determination in the win against Dropbox. On the national playing field, we see it in the devastation wrought on the Democrat-Republican Washington consensus on immigration—legalizing four out of 11 million people in exchange for even more border militarization, more laws punishing tens of millions of immigrants under cover of “comprehensive immigration reform” proposals. We know that self-respect leads us to take the action of non-participation in anti-democratic processes not of our own making or without our consent or consultation.

Had they looked beyond the gated walls of their headquarters or outside the plastic borders of their imperial computer screens, Google’s chieftains might have realized that the energy and money spent on creating the solipsistic self-absorption inherent in .SOY would have been better placed in a more community-oriented approach of something like .SOMOS, which means WE ARE.

***

Roberto Lovato is a writer and a Visiting Scholar at UC Berkeley’s Center for Latino Policy Research. You can follow Roberto on Twitter @robvato.

The post Google to Latinos: We Will Define You for You appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

Planet Linux AustraliaJan Schmidt: 2014 GStreamer Conference

I’ve been home from Europe over a week, after heading to Germany for the annual GStreamer conference and Linuxcon Europe.

We had a really great turnout for the GStreamer conference this year

GstConf2k14

as well as an amazing schedule of talks. All the talks were recorded by Ubicast, who got all the videos edited and uploaded in record time. The whole conference is available for viewing at http://gstconf.ubicast.tv/channels/#gstreamer-conference-2014

I gave one of the last talks of the schedule – about my current work adding support for describing and handling stereoscopic (3D) video. That support should land upstream sometime in the next month or two, so more on that in a bit.

elephant

There were too many great talks to mention them individually, but I was excited by 3 strong themes across the talks:

  • WebRTC/HTML5/Web Streaming support
  • Improving performance and reducing resource usage
  • Building better development and debugging tools

I’m looking forward to us collectively making progress on all those things and more in the upcoming year.

Planet DebianAlessio Treglia: Handling identities in distributed Linux cloud instances

I’ve many distributed Linux instances across several clouds, be them global, such as Amazon or Digital Ocean, or regional clouds such as TeutoStack or Enter.

Probably many of you are facing the same issue: having a consistent UNIX identity across all multiple instances. While in an ideal world LDAP would be a perfect choice, letting LDAP open to the wild Internet is not a great idea.

So, how to solve this issue, while being secure? The trick is to use the new NSS module for SecurePass.

While SecurePass has been traditionally used into the operating system just as a two factor authentication, the new beta release is capable of holding “extended attributes”, i.e. arbitrary information for each user profile.

We will use SecurePass to authenticate users and store Unix information with this new capability. In detail, we will:

  • Use PAM to authenticate the user via RADIUS
  • Use the new NSS module for SecurePass to have a consistent UID/GID/….

 SecurePass and extended attributes

The next generation of SecurePass (currently in beta) is capable of storing arbitrary data for each profile. This is called “Extended Attributes” (or xattrs) and -as you can imagine- is organized as key/value pair.

You will need the SecurePass tools to be able to modify users’ extended attributes. The new releases of Debian Jessie and Ubuntu Vivid Vervet have a package for it, just:

# apt-get install securepass-tools

For other distributions or previous releases, there’s a python package (PIP) available. Make sure that you have pycurl installed and then:

# pip install securepass-tools

While SecurePass tools allow local configuration file, we highly recommend for this tutorial to create a global /etc/securepass.conf, so that it will be useful for the NSS module. The configuration file looks like:

[default]
app_id = xxxxx
app_secret = xxxx
endpoint = https://beta.secure-pass.net/

Where app_id and app_secrets are valid API keys to access SecurePass beta.

Through the command line, we will be able to set UID, GID and all the required Unix attributes for each user:

# sp-user-xattrs user@domain.net set posixuid 1000

While posixuid is the bare minimum attribute to have a Unix login, the following attributes are valid:

  • posixuid → UID of the user
  • posixgid → GID of the user
  • posixhomedir → Home directory
  • posixshell → Desired shell
  • posixgecos → Gecos (defaults to username)

Install and Configure NSS SecurePass

In a similar way to the tools, Debian Jessie and Ubuntu Vivid Vervet have native package for SecurePass:

# apt-get install libnss-securepass

For previous releases of Debian and Ubuntu can still run the NSS module, as well as CentOS and RHEL. Download the sources from:

https://github.com/garlsecurity/nss_securepass

Then:

./configure
make
make install (Debian/Ubuntu Only)

For CentOS/RHEL/Fedora you will need to copy files in the right place:

/usr/bin/install -c -o root -g root libnss_sp.so.2 /usr/lib64/libnss_sp.so.2
ln -sf libnss_sp.so.2 /usr/lib64/libnss_sp.so

The /etc/securepass.conf configuration file should be extended to hold defaults for NSS by creating an [nss] section as follows:

[nss]
realm = company.net
default_gid = 100
default_home = "/home"
default_shell = "/bin/bash"

This will create defaults in case values other than posixuid are not being used. We need to configure the Name Service Switch (NSS) to use SecurePass. We will change the /etc/nsswitch.conf by adding “sp” to the passwd entry as follows:

$ grep sp /etc/nsswitch.conf
 passwd:     files sp

Double check that NSS is picking up our new SecurePass configuration by querying the passwd entries as follows:

$ getent passwd user
 user:x:1000:100:My User:/home/user:/bin/bash
$ id user
 uid=1000(user)  gid=100(users) groups=100(users)

Using this setup by itself wouldn’t allow users to login to a system because the password is missing. We will use SecurePass’ authentication to access the remote machine.

Configure PAM for SecurePass

On Debian/Ubuntu, install the RADIUS PAM module with:

# apt-get install libpam-radius-auth

If you are using CentOS or RHEL, you need to have the EPEL repository configured. In order to activate EPEL, follow the instructions on http://fedoraproject.org/wiki/EPEL

Be aware that this has not being tested with SE-Linux enabled (check off or permissive).

On CentOS/RHEL, install the RADIUS PAM module with:

# yum -y install pam_radius

Note: as per the time of writing, EPEL 7 is still in beta and does not contain the Radius PAM module. A request has been filed through RedHat’s Bugzilla to include this package also in EPEL 7

Configure SecurePass with your RADIUS device. We only need to set the public IP Address of the server, a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), and the secret password for the radius authentication. In case of the server being under NAT, specify the public IP address that will be translated into it. After completion we get a small recap of the already created device. For the sake of example, we use “secret” as our secret password.

Configure the RADIUS PAM module accordingly, i.e. open /etc/pam_radius.conf and add the following lines:

radius1.secure-pass.net secret 3
radius2.secure-pass.net secret 3

Of course the “secret” is the same we have set up on the SecurePass administration interface. Beyond this point we need to configure the PAM to correct manage the authentication.

In CentOS, open the configuration file /etc/pam.d/password-auth-ac; in Debian/Ubuntu open the /etc/pam.d/common-auth configuration and make sure that pam_radius_auth.so is in the list.

auth required   pam_env.so
auth sufficient pam_radius_auth.so try_first_pass
auth sufficient pam_unix.so nullok try_first_pass
auth requisite  pam_succeed_if.so uid >= 500 quiet
auth required   pam_deny.so

Conclusions

Handling many distributed Linux poses several challenges, from software updates to identity management and central logging.  In a cloud scenario, it is not always applicable to use traditional enterprise solutions, but new tools might become very handy.

To freely subscribe to securepass beta, join SecurePass on: http://www.secure-pass.net/open
And then send an e-mail to info@garl.ch requesting beta access.

Planet Linux AustraliaAndrew Pollock: [life] Day 274: Errands, friends old and new, and swim class

In researching ways to try and help Zoe sleep for longer, I learned that there's basically two triggers for waking up in the morning: light and heat. Because Queenslanders hate daylight saving, the sun gets up ridiculously early in summer. Because Queensland is hot, it also gets very hot pretty early. Our bedrooms are on the eastern side of the apartment to boot.

I already have nice blackout curtains, and I had pelmets installed last summer to try and reduce the light leakage around the curtains. I also had reflective window film put on our bedroom windows last summer in an effort to reduce the morning heat when the sun rose, but I don't think it's made a massive difference to a closed up bedroom. I think Zoe woke up at about 5:40am this morning. I'm not sure what the room temperature was, because the Twine in her room decided not to log it this morning. Air conditioning is the next thing to try.

After breakfast, we ran a few errands, culminating at a trip to the carwash for babyccino. After that, we headed over to Toowong to pick up Geneal, who was a friend of my biological mother that I've kept in loose contact since I've been an adult. We went over to the Toowong Bowls Club for lunch, and had a nice catch up.

The Toowong Bowls Club has a rather disturbing line on the wall showing the height of the 2011 floods. It's probably taller than my raised arm from the ground level of the building.

After lunch, and dropping Geneal home, we headed over for a play date at the home of Chloe, who will be starting Prep next year at Zoe's school. I met Chloe's Mum, Kelley, at the P&C meeting I went to earlier in the year, and then proceeded to continue to bump into her at numerous school-related things ever since. She's been a good person to know, having an older daughter at the school as well, and has given me lots of advice.

Zoe and Chloe got along really well, and Chloe seems like a nice kid. After the play date, we walked to school to collect Chloe's older sister, and then to swim class. We were early, but Zoe was happy to hang out.

I am just so loving the vibe I'm getting about the school, and really loving the school community itself. I'm really looking forward to the next seven years here.

After swim class, we walked back to Chloe's house to retrieve the car, and say goodbye to Chloe, and headed home. It was another nice full, but not too full day.

Worse Than FailureError'd: CMD: Completely Malicious Data

What? Friday already!? Not quite, but close! We have something really good coming up tomorrow for Halloween, so here's your weekly dose of Error'd a day early. Enjoy!

--------

"Yep - nailed it AVG. Well done," writes Jordan R.

 

"I tried to configure a VNC client using an SSH tunnel and I guess this is how I succeeded to connect... or not," wrote Yanick.

 

Chris S. wrote, "Well, I'd love to participate in your survey, Microsoft, but..."

 

"I wanted to download Oracle SQL Developer, but unfortunately, they won't let you do that without registering. When it was time to choose a job title, Oracle was kind enough to give me some suggestions, unfortunately, I was scolded by the form validator for using an invalid character. How silly of me!," writes Patryk.

 

"At a car dealership for service, this appeared in the waiting area," wrote Ari S., "By the way, a license costs about US$60."

 

"This is the website where every highway contractor in my state has to log in to get plans and specifications in order to bid on projects," strong>Ben F. writes, "The site itself is chock full of WTFs everywhere you go, but this little notice on the front page aptly summarizes the sorts of things you can expect once inside."

 

"The 'pine-fresh' flavor was a poor approximation of an actual pine forest. Disappointed; would not recommend," Pi wrote.

 

"Certain people at my workplace decided to enact some very creative marketing strategies in order to correct a mis-priced item," Tony writes.

 

Planet DebianKeith Packard: Glamor cleanup

Glamor Cleanup

Before I start really digging in to reworking the Render support in Glamor, I wanted to take a stab at cleaning up some cruft which has accumulated in Glamor over the years. Here's what I've done so far.

Get rid of the Intel fallback paths

I think it's my fault, and I'm sorry.

The original Intel Glamor code has Glamor implement accelerated operations using GL, and when those fail, the Intel driver would fall back to its existing code, either UXA acceleration or software. Note that it wasn't Glamor doing these fallbacks, instead the Intel driver had a complete wrapper around every rendering API, calling special Glamor entry points which would return FALSE if GL couldn't accelerate the specified operation.

The thinking was that when GL couldn't do something, it would be far faster to take advantage of the existing UXA paths than to have Glamor fall back to pulling the bits out of GL, drawing to temporary images with software, and pushing the bits back to GL.

And, that may well be true, but what we've managed to prove is that there really aren't any interesting rendering paths which GL can't do directly. For core X, the only fallbacks we have today are for operations using a weird planemask, and some CopyPlane operations. For Render, essentially everything can be accelerated with the GPU.

At this point, the old Intel Glamor implementation is a lot of ugly code in Glamor without any use. I posted patches to the Intel driver several months ago which fix the Glamor bits there, but they haven't seen any review yet and so they haven't been merged, although I've been running them since 1.16 was released...

Getting rid of this support let me eliminate all of the _nf functions exported from Glamor, along with the GLAMOR_USE_SCREEN and GLAMOR_USE_PICTURE_SCREEN parameters, along with the GLAMOR_SEPARATE_TEXTURE pixmap type.

Force all pixmaps to have exact allocations

Glamor has a cache of recently used textures that it uses to avoid allocating and de-allocating GL textures rapidly. For pixmaps small enough to fit in a single texture, Glamor would use a cache texture that was larger than the pixmap.

I disabled this when I rewrote the Glamor rendering code for core X; that code used texture repeat modes for tiles and stipples; if the texture wasn't the same size as the pixmap, then texturing would fail.

On the Render side, Glamor would actually reallocate pixmaps used as repeating texture sources. I could have fixed up the core rendering code to use this, but I decided instead to just simplify things and eliminate the ability to use larger textures for pixmaps everywhere.

Remove redundant pixmap and screen private pointers

Every Glamor pixmap private structure had a pointer back to the pixmap it was allocated for, along with a pointer to the the Glamor screen private structure for the related screen. There's no particularly good reason for this, other than making it possible to pass just the Glamor pixmap private around a lot of places. So, I removed those pointers and fixed up the functions to take the necessary extra or replaced parameters.

Similarly, every Glamor fbo had a pointer back to the Glamor screen private too; I removed that and now pass the Glamor screen private parameter as needed.

Reducing pixmap private complexity

Glamor had three separate kinds of pixmap private structures, one for 'normal' pixmaps (those allocated by them selves in a single FBO), one for 'large' pixmaps, where the pixmap was tiled across many FBOs, and a third for 'atlas' pixmaps, which presumably would be a single FBO holding multiple pixmaps.

The 'atlas' form was never actually implemented, so it was pretty easy to get rid of that.

For large vs normal pixmaps, the solution was to move the extra data needed by large pixmaps into the same structure as that used by normal pixmaps and simply initialize those elements correctly in all cases. Now, most code can ignore the difference and simply walk the array of FBOs as necessary.

The other thing I did was to shrink the number of possible pixmap types from 8 down to three. Glamor now exposes just these possible pixmap types:

  • GLAMOR_MEMORY. This is a software-only pixmap, stored in regular memory and only drawn with software. This is used for 1bpp pixmaps, shared memory pixmaps and glyph pixmaps. Most of the time, these pixmaps won't even get a Glamor pixmap private structure allocated, but if you use one of these with the existing Render acceleration code, that will end up wanting a private pointer. I'm hoping to fix the code so we can just use a NULL private to indicate this kind of pixmap.

  • GLAMOR_TEXTURE. This is a full Glamor pixmap, capable of being used via either GL or software fallbacks.

  • GLAMOR_DRM_ONLY. This is a pixmap based on an FBO which was passed from the driver, and for which Glamor couldn't get the underlying DRM object. I think this is an error, but I don't quite understand what's going on here yet...

Future Work

  • Deal with X vs GL color formats
  • Finish my new CompositeGlyphs code
  • Create pure shader-based gradients
  • Rewrite Composite to use the GPU for more computation
  • Take another stab at doing GPU-accelerated trapezoids

Planet Linux AustraliaLinux Users of Victoria (LUV) Announce: LUV Main November 2014 Meeting: Raspberry Pi update + systemd

Nov 5 2014 19:00
Nov 5 2014 21:00
Nov 5 2014 19:00
Nov 5 2014 21:00
Location: 

The Buzzard Lecture Theatre. Evan Burge Building, Trinity College, Melbourne University Main Campus, Parkville.

Please note that the November meeting is on Wednesday night rather than Tuesday night due to the Melbourne Cup.

Alec Clews, Raspberry Pi update

Russell Coker, systemd

The Buzzard Lecture Theatre, Evan Burge Building, Trinity College Main Campus Parkville Melways Map: 2B C5

Notes: Trinity College's Main Campus is located off Royal Parade. The Evan Burge Building is located near the Tennis Courts. See our Map of Trinity College. Additional maps of Trinity and the surrounding area (including its relation to the city) can be found at http://www.trinity.unimelb.edu.au/about/location/map

Parking can be found along or near Royal Parade, Grattan Street, Swanston Street and College Crescent. Parking within Trinity College is unfortunately only available to staff.

For those coming via Public Transport, the number 19 tram (North Coburg - City) passes by the main entrance of Trinity College (Get off at Morrah St, Stop 12). This tram departs from the Elizabeth Street tram terminus (Flinders Street end) and goes past Melbourne Central Timetables can be found on-line at:

http://www.metlinkmelbourne.com.au/route/view/725

Before and/or after each meeting those who are interested are welcome to join other members for dinner. We are open to suggestions for a good place to eat near our venue. Maria's on Peel Street in North Melbourne is currently the most popular place to eat after meetings.

LUV would like to acknowledge Red Hat for their help in obtaining the Buzzard Lecture Theatre venue and VPAC for hosting, and BENK Open Systems for their financial support of the Beginners Workshops

Linux Users of Victoria Inc., is an incorporated association, registration number A0040056C.

November 5, 2014 - 19:00

read more

Planet DebianMatthew Garrett: On joining the FSF board

I joined the board of directors of the Free Software Foundation a couple of weeks ago. I've been travelling a bunch since then, so haven't really had time to write about it. But since I'm currently waiting for a test job to finish, why not?

It's impossible to overstate how important free software is. A movement that began with a quest to work around a faulty printer is now our greatest defence against a world full of hostile actors. Without the ability to examine software, we can have no real faith that we haven't been put at risk by backdoors introduced through incompetence or malice. Without the freedom to modify software, we have no chance of updating it to deal with the new challenges that we face on a daily basis. Without the freedom to pass that modified software on to others, we are unable to help people who don't have the technical skills to protect themselves.

Free software isn't sufficient for building a trustworthy computing environment, one that not merely protects the user but respects the user. But it is necessary for that, and that's why I continue to evangelise on its behalf at every opportunity.

However.

Free software has a problem. It's natural to write software to satisfy our own needs, but in doing so we write software that doesn't provide as much benefit to people who have different needs. We need to listen to others, improve our knowledge of their requirements and ensure that they are in a position to benefit from the freedoms we espouse. And that means building diverse communities, communities that are inclusive regardless of people's race, gender, sexuality or economic background. Free software that ends up designed primarily to meet the needs of well-off white men is a failure. We do not improve the world by ignoring the majority of people in it. To do that, we need to listen to others. And to do that, we need to ensure that our community is accessible to everybody.

That's not the case right now. We are a community that is disproportionately male, disproportionately white, disproportionately rich. This is made strikingly obvious by looking at the composition of the FSF board, a body made up entirely of white men. In joining the board, I have perpetuated this. I do not bring new experiences. I do not bring an understanding of an entirely different set of problems. I do not serve as an inspiration to groups currently under-represented in our communities. I am, in short, a hypocrite.

So why did I do it? Why have I joined an organisation whose founder I publicly criticised for making sexist jokes in a conference presentation? I'm afraid that my answer may not seem convincing, but in the end it boils down to feeling that I can make more of a difference from within than from outside. I am now in a position to ensure that the board never forgets to consider diversity when making decisions. I am in a position to advocate for programs that build us stronger, more representative communities. I am in a position to take responsibility for our failings and try to do better in future.

People can justifiably conclude that I'm making excuses, and I can make no argument against that other than to be asked to be judged by my actions. I hope to be able to look back at my time with the FSF and believe that I helped make a positive difference. But maybe this is hubris. Maybe I am just perpetuating the status quo. If so, I absolutely deserve criticism for my choices. We'll find out in a few years.

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Planet Linux AustraliaStewart Smith: New libeatmydata release: 105

Over on the project page and on launchpad you can now download libeatmydata 105.

This release fixes a couple of bugs that came in via the Debian project, including a rather interesting one about some binaries not running .so ctors to properly init libeatmydata and the code path in the libeatmydata open() not really dealing with being called first in this situation.

Enjoy!

Planet Linux Australialinux.conf.au News: Speaker Feature: Meg Howie, Joshua Hesketh

Meg Howie

Meg Howie

Ask Away: Staking Out the Stakeholders

11:35am Friday 16th January 2015

Meg is a designer and thinker whose practice spans graphic, interactive, film, service and performance design. She is currently undertaking a Master of Design at Massey University and her research explores the influence of open source culture and participatory democracy on civic engagement. Meg’s work is deeply social, and draws from human-centred design, behavioural psychology and collaborative modes of working.

For more information on Meg and her presentation, see here. You can follow her as @howiemeg and don’t forget to mention #LCA2015.


Joshua Hesketh

Joshua Hesketh

Who is Linux Australia?

3:40pm Thursday 15th January 2015

Joshua is a software developer for Rackspace Australia working on upstream OpenStack. He works from his home in Hobart, Tasmania. Joshua is currently President of Linux Australia, previously the co-chair for PyCon Australia and a key organiser for linux.conf.au. He has an interest in robotics having recently completed a degree in mechatronic engineering. Josh is an active contributor to the openstack-infra and nova projects.

For more information on Josh and his presentation, see here.

Planet DebianGunnar Wolf: Guests in the classroom: @chemaserralde talks about real time scheduling

Last Wednesday I had the pleasure and honor to have a great guest again at my class: José María Serralde, talking about real time scheduling. I like inviting different people to present interesting topics to my students a couple of times each semester, and I was very happy to have Chema come again.

Chema is a professional musician (formally, a pianist, although he has far more skills than what a title would confer to him — Skills that go way beyond just music), and he had to learn the details on scheduling due to errors that appear when recording and performing.

The audio could use some cleaning, and my main camera (the only one that lasted for the whole duration) was by a long shot not professional grade, but the video works and is IMO quite interesting and well explained.

So, here is the full video (also available at The Internet archive), all two hours and 500MB of it for you to learn and enjoy!

TEDThe economy in 20 short films, what was on that NASA rocket and the Oscars for wildlife photographers

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The past week brought lots of excitement for members of the TED community. Below, some highlights.

Morgan Spurlock’s latest project, “We the Economy,” has a tagline that really explains it bestl. Billed as “20 short films you can’t afford to miss,” this online series brings together filmmakers and economists to answer big questions about the economy via short films. The series features the work of several TED community members—directors include Jon M. Chu (watch the TED performance, “In the internet age, dance evolves”) and Jehane Noujaim (watch her TED Prize talk, “My wish: a global day of film”); meanwhile, Adam Davidson (watch his talk, “What we learned from teetering on the fiscal cliff”) was an advisor. And if you haven’t seen Morgan’s talk, “The greatest TED Talk ever sold,” watch it now.

Last night’s Antares rocket explosion brought sad news for Will Marshall of Planet Labs, as 26 of the company’s ultra-compact satellites were onboard. Luckily, the rocket was unmanned and there were no injuries. But still, a loss for science. (Read about Will’s talk at TED2014, “Taking pictures of the entire planet, every day.”)

Svante Pääbo’s team has sequenced the genome of a man who lived 45,000 years ago, from a thigh bone found in Siberia in 2008. In a paper published in Nature, they explain how the bone revealed Neanderthal DNA fragments in short segments, which suggests that humans and Neanderthals interbred somewhere in the range of 50,000 to 60,000 years ago. (Watch Svante’s talk, “DNA clues to our inner neanderthal.”)

Last week, Frans Lanting co-hosted the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards, the 50th anniversary of this competition that’s akin to the Oscars for wildlife photographers. See the winning image below. Meanwhile, National Geographic in the Netherlands recently announced the first  “Frans Lanting Award,” which will celebrate photographers who interpret the environment through their lens. Check out images from the finalists.  (Watch Frans’ latest TED Talk: “Photos that give voice to the animal kingdom.”) 

Wildlife Photography

This image of lions sunning in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park was shot by Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols. It won the Wildlife Photographer of the Year Awards, the 50th bestowing of the honor. Photo: Michael ‘Nick’ Nichols

Jer Thorp helped create the new browser plug-in Floodwatch, which tracks the ads you’re served up during the course of your regular browsing—for a good purpose. The app is designed to help you understand the ads you see, and to create a large online database that will give a detailed picture of how advertisers are using search data. Thorp explains on Medium why this project is so important. (Watch Jer’s TED Talk, “Make data more human.”)

Professor Thomas Dolby took part in a panel called “What’s Next for Classical Music?” at Johns Hopkins University last week. Watch the whole panel on Ustream (it also features TEDx speaker Ben Cameron). At 0:37:55, Dolby shows how TED has shared classical music with an audience of millions. (And watch one of Thomas’ own TED performances, “Love Is a Loaded Pistol.”)

It’s that time again: The annual “Dance Your PhD” finalists are ready for you to watch and vote. Dreamed up by writer John Bohannon, the contest encourages young scientists to think about how to communicate the key points of their work in crisp, memorable ways. Bonus: You will learn how low-fat mayonnaise can even exist. (Watch John walk the talk, err, dance it, in his TED Talk “Dance vs. Powerpoint” and his TED-Ed collaboration “Let’s Talk About Sex.”) 

Ramesh Raskar’s EyeMITRA — a mobile retinal scanning system that he imagines becoming  a health intervention you do daily after brushing your teeth — is in the running for the Nokia Sensing XChallenge prize. Browse the 11 other worthy entries too. (Watch Ramesh’s TED Talk, “Imaging at a trillion frames per second.”)

Shea Hembrey’s newest show, MultiVerses, opens Oct. 30 in New York. It’s a solo exhibition presented as a “group show” from five fictional artists (Artemesia Adebayo, Pawnee Calhoun, Harvey Lee, Elgin Rivers, and Phyllia Stanhope) who imagine the cosmos through paintings, sculpture and multimedia. (Meet Shea’s previous collection of invented artists in his TED Talk “How I became 100 artists.”)

Last week, science writer Emily Willingham was name-checked in Susan Etlinger’s TED Talk, “What do we do with all this big data?” This week, Willingham has won the John Maddox Prize for Standing up for Science for her calm, data-based reporting on hot-button issues such as autism. (And yes, we’ve been fans of Willingham for a long time.)

Gulp, the latest book from science writer Mary Roach, is shortlisted for the 2014 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books, with winner to be announced Nov. 10. Bonus: Read the first chapter of all seven shortlisted books. (And watch Mary’s TED Talk: “10 things you didn’t know about orgasm.”)

Did you know Chris Hadfield — astronaut, guitarist, test pilot — was also a photography geek? He’s just published an album of his jawdropping photos from space: You Are Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes. (Watch his TED Talk, “What I learned from going blind in space.”)


Planet DebianRhonda D'Vine: Feminist Year

If someone would have told me that I would visit three feminist events this year I would have slowly nodded at them and responded with "yeah, sure..." not believing it. But sometimes things take their own turns.

It all started with the Debian Women Mini-Debconf in Barcelona. The organizers did ask me how they have to word the call for papers so that I would feel invited to give a speech, which felt very welcoming and nice. So we settled for "people who identify themselves as female". Due to private circumstances I didn't prepare well for my talk, but I hope it was still worth it. The next interesting part though happened later when there were lightning talks. Someone on IRC asked why there are male people in the lightning talks, which was explicitly allowed for them only. This also felt very very nice, to be honest, that my talk wasn't questioned. Those are amongst the reasons why I wrote My place is here, my home is Debconf.

Second event I went to was the FemCamp Wien. It was my first event that was a barcamp, I didn't know what to expect organization wise. Topic-wise it was set about Queer Feminism. And it was the first event that I went to which had a policy. Granted, there was an extremely silly written part in it, which naturally ended up in a shit storm on twitter (which people from both sides did manage very badly, which disappointed me). Denying that there is sexism against cis-males is just a bad idea, but the background of it was that this wasn't the topic of this event. The background of the policy was that usually barcamps but events in general aren't considered that save of a place for certain people, and that this barcamp wanted to make it clear that people usually shying away from such events in the fear of harassment can feel at home there.
And what can I say, this absolutely was the right thing to do. I never felt any more welcomed and included in any event, including Debian events—sorry to say that so frankly. Making it clear through the policy that everyone is on the same boat with addressing each other respectfully totally managed to do exactly that. The first session of the event about dominant talk patterns and how to work around or against them also made sure that the rest of the event was giving shy people a chance to speak up and feel comfortable, too. And the range of the sessions that were held was simply great. This was the event that I came up with the pattern that I have to define the quality of an event on the sessions that I'm unable to attend. The thing that hurt me most in the afterthought was that I couldn't attend the session about minorities within minorities. :/

Last but not least I attended AdaCamp Berlin. This was a small unconference/barcamp dedicated to increase women's participation in open technology and culture named after Ada Lovelace who is considered the first programmer. It was a small event with only 50 slots for people who identify as women. So I was totally hyper when I received the mail that was accepted. It was another event with a policy, and at first reading it looked strange. But given that there are people who are allergic to ingredients of scents, it made sense to raise awareness of that topic. And given that women are facing a fair amount of harassment in the IT and at events, it also makes sense to remind people to behave. After all it was a general policy for all AdaCamps, not for this specific one with only women.
I enjoyed the event. Totally. And that's not only because I was able to meet up with a dear friend who I haven't talked to in years, literally. I enjoyed the environment, and the sessions that were going on. And quite similar to the FemCamp, it started off with a session that helped a lot for the rest of the event. This time it was about the Impostor Syndrome which is extremely common for women in IT. And what can I say, I found myself in one of the slides, given that I just tweeted the day before that I doubted to belong there. Frankly spoken, it even crossed my mind that I was only accepted so that at least one trans person is there. Which is pretty much what the impostor syndrome is all about, isn't it. But when I was there, it did feel right. And we had great sessions that I truly enjoyed. And I have to thank one lady once again for her great definition on feminism that she brought up during one session, which is roughly that feminism for her isn't about gender but equality of all people regardless their sexes or gender definition. It's about dropping this whole binary thinking. I couldn't agree more.

All in all, I totally enjoyed these events, and hope that I'll be able to attend more next year. From what I grasped all three of them think of doing it again, the FemCamp Vienna already has the date announced at the end of this year's event, so I am looking forward to meet most of these fine ladies again, if faith permits. And keep in mind, there will always be critics and haters out there, but given that thy wouldn't think of attending such an event anyway in the first place, don't get wound up about it. They just try to talk you down.

P.S.: Ah, almost forgot about one thing to mention, which also helps a lot to reduce some barrier for people to attend: The catering during the day and for lunch both at FemCamp and AdaCamp (there was no organized catering at the Debian Women Mini-Debconf) did take off the need for people to ask about whether there could be food without meat and dairy products by offering mostly Vegan food in the first place, even without having to query the participants. Often enough people otherwise choose to go out of the event or bring their own food instead of asking for it, so this is an extremely welcoming move, too. Way to go!

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Planet DebianSteve Kemp: A brief introduction to freebsd

I've spent the past thirty minutes installing FreeBSD as a KVM guest. This mostly involved fetching the ISO (I chose the latest stable release 10.0), and accepting all the defaults. A pleasant experience.

As I'm running KVM inside screen I wanted to see the boot prompt, etc, via the serial console, which took two distinct steps:

  • Enabling the serial console - which lets boot stuff show up
  • Enabling a login prompt on the serial console in case I screw up the networking.

To configure boot messages to display via the serial console, issue the following command as the superuser:

 # echo 'console="comconsole"' >> /boot/loader.conf

To get a login: prompt you'll want to edit /etc/ttys and change "off" to "on" and "dialup" to "vt100" for the ttyu0 entry. Once you've done that reload init via:

 # kill -HUP 1

Enable remote root logins, if you're brave, or disable PAM and password authentication if you're sensible:

 vi /etc/ssh/sshd_config
 /etc/rc.d/sshd restart

Configure the system to allow binary package-installation - to be honest I was hazy on why this was required, but I ran the two command and it all worked out:

 pkg
 pkg2ng

Now you may install a package via a simple command such as:

 pkg add screen

Removing packages you no longer want is as simple as using the delete option:

 pkg delete curl

You can see installed packages via "pkg info", and there are more options to be found via "pkg help". In the future you can apply updates via:

 pkg update && pkg upgrade

Finally I've installed 10.0-RELEASE which can be upgraded in the future via "freebsd-update" - This seems to boil down to "freebsd-update fetch" and "freebsd-update install" but I'm hazy on that just yet. For the moment you can see your installed version via:

 uname -a ; freebsd-version

Expect my future CPAN releases, etc, to be tested on FreeBSD too now :)

TEDHow to run a brainstorm for introverts (and extroverts too)

How-to-brainstormCocktail party trivia: Brainstorming was invented in the 1930s as a practical idea-generation technique for regular use by “creatives” within the ad agency BBDO. That all changed in 1942, when Alex Osborn — the “O” in BBDO — released a book called How to Think Up and excited the imaginations of his fellow Mad Men.

Since 1942, the idea-generation technique that began life in a New York creative firm has grown into the happy kudzu of Silicon Valley startups. Somewhere near Stanford, an introvert cringes every time the idea comes up of sitting in a roomful of colleagues, drawing half-baked ideas on Post-it notes, and then pasting them to the wall for all to see. (If this is you, watch David Kelley’s TED Talk on creative confidence, followed by Susan Cain’s on the power of introverts.)

I’ve run a lot of brainstorms over the years: with designers at IDEO, with Tom and David Kelley (I co-authored the book Creative Confidence with them), and with TED’s editorial team. And I’ve noticed that not everyone is down with the whole brainstorm thing. In fact, I’ve come to believe that there’s no one right way to run a brainstorm. You have to be willing to modify the format, length and parameters of each session to match the mix of introverts, extroverts and creative confidence levels in the room.

Below, 12 tips on how to run a killer brainstorm for (mostly) introverts:

  1. Circulate the question or topic before you start. For introverts who generate ideas best without the looming presence of others, knowing the topic in advance is key. This allows them to come prepared with several creative options — and not feel stampeded by extroverts who prefer to riff.
    .
  2. Seat the group at a round table. It worked for King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.
    .
  3. Keep each session short. 10 minutes at the end of a regular meeting is fine, as some people might get a case of the woozies if they see a 60-minute session pop up on their calendar.
    .
  4. Number the group list of ideas as it’s generated. Skip the Post-its and just use big pieces of paper on the table, or a whiteboard if there happens to be one. The numbering part helps people feel especially accomplished as they go. A mental pat-on-the-back.
    .
  5. Aim for a specific quantity of ideas. 25 ideas, say. Let people know the goal at the start, and don’t stop till you get there. Keep going after you reach the goal if you want, but that’s just gravy.
    .
  6. Start at your left and go around the circle. Each person gives one idea at a time. No one gets skipped over. This will help you hear from all members of the group—and not just the ones with the loudest voices.
    .
  7. The default mode for a successful brainstorm is “Yes, and.” As in comedy improv, good brainstormers don’t waste time tearing down silly-sounding ideas. Instead, they either improve on the idea by adding something awesome to it, or generate a new idea quickly. Another way to phrase this is “build on the ideas of others.” This is one guideline I always mention at the beginning of every brainstorm, and reinforce throughout, since it’s the exact opposite of how large, traditional corporations tend to work with new ideas. The goal at this stage is to remix and add to others’ ideas — not filter or critique.
    .
  8. Write down every single idea that’s mentioned, and take a neutral, respectful stance toward each idea. Consciously or subconsciously, others will cue off your lead. You want everyone in the room to feel heard, to have permission to speak their piece, and to defer judgment during the brainstorm. Pro tip: Don’t attach people’s names to ideas.
    .
  9. Share back the unfiltered ideas list after the brainstorm ends. You can share this in an email, as a Google Doc — whatever’s best for your team. You never know which stub of an idea might spark the next great thing for someone else on your team.
    .
  10. If the word ‘brainstorm’ doesn’t work for you or your group, don’t use it. Call it design improv, call it a pitch jam, call it a ‘5-minute think’ — whatever. The name is way less important than the goal, which is to get people together in a manner that allows them to generate ideas worth spreading or solutions to problems worth fixing.
    .
  11. Modification #1: Passive brainstorm, 5-day version. One successful alternative to an in-person group brainstorm, if you’re all physically in the same office, is to tape a large piece of paper to an office wall near the kitchen or bathroom, with your question at the top and a pen for writing in answers (at IDEO, blackboard paint on the bathroom wall worked well). Leave it up for 5 days, then take a picture and transcribe it.
    .
  12. Modification #2: Passive brainstorm, 5-minute version. A second alternative to a meeting-room brainstorm is to throw a 5-minute inspiration break around 3 in the afternoon, when people tend to need a boost anyway. To kick it off, send a group email (or whatever works for your company culture) with the subject line: “5-minute inspiration break: [your question here]” — and ask them to discuss. One caveat: This method works best when you start the email string with a few options you’re already considering, and keep it time-boxed to 5 minutes.

Like other idea-generation tools, brainstorming was invented to make creative success easier, not more stressful — which is why creators are still using this technique 75 years after its invention. But coming up with lots of great ideas is just one step. The crucial next phase, often in a smaller group: filter the ideas list and start picking the best ideas to move forward on.

 


Planet DebianPatrick Matthäi: geoip and geoip-database news!

Hi,

geoip version 1.6.2-2 and geoip-database version 20141027-1 are now available in Debian unstable/sid, with some news of more free databases available :)

geoip changes:

   * Add patch for geoip-csv-to-dat to add support for building GeoIP city DB.
     Many thanks to Andrew Moise for contributing!
   * Add and install geoip-generator-asn, which is able to build the ASN DB. It
     is a modified version from the original geoip-generator. Much thanks for
     contributing also to Aaron Gibson!
   * Bump Standards-Version to 3.9.6 (no changes required).

geoip-database changes:

   * New upstream release.
   * Add new databases GeoLite city and GeoLite ASN to the new package
     geoip-database-extra. Also bump build depends on geoip to 1.6.2-2.
   * Switch to xz compression for the orig tarball.

So much thanks to both contributors!

Krebs on SecurityHow to Tell Data Leaks from Publicity Stunts

In an era when new consumer data breaches are disclosed daily, fake claims about data leaks are sadly becoming more common. These claims typically come from fame-seeking youngsters who enjoy trolling journalists and corporations, and otherwise wasting everyone’s time. Fortunately, a new analysis of recent bogus breach claims provides some simple tools that anyone can use to quickly identify fake data leak claims.

dataleakThe following scenario plays out far too often. E-fame seekers post a fake database dump to a site like Pastebin and begin messaging journalists on Twitter and other social networks, claiming that the dump is “proof” that a particular company has been hacked. Inevitably, some media outlets will post stories questioning whether the company was indeed hacked, and the damage has been done.

Fortunately, there are some basic steps that companies, journalists and regular folk can take to quickly test whether a claimed data leak is at all valid, while reducing unwarranted damage to reputation caused by media frenzy and public concern. The fact-checking tips come in a paper from Allison Nixon, a researcher with Deloitte who — for nearly the past two years — has been my go-to person for vetting public data breach claims.

According to Nixon, the easiest way to check a leak claim is to run a simple online search for several of its components. As Nixon explains, seeking out unique-looking artifacts — such as odd passwords or email addresses — very often reveals that the supposed leak is in fact little more than a recycled leak from months or years prior. While this may seem like an obvious tip, it’s appalling at how often reporters fail to take even this basic step in fact-checking a breach claim.

A somewhat more advanced test seeks to measure how many of the “leaked” accounts are already registered at the supposedly breached organization. Most online services do not allow two different user accounts to have the same email address, so attempting to sign up for an account using an email address in the claimed leak data is an effective way to test leak claims. If several of the email addresses in the claimed leak list do not already have accounts associated with them at the allegedly breached Web site, the claim is almost certainly bogus.

uniquenesstest

To determine whether the alleged victim site requires email uniqueness for user accounts, the following test should work: Create two different accounts at the service, each using unique email addresses. Then attempt to change one of the account’s email address to the others. If the site disallows that change, no duplicate emails are allowed, and the analysis can proceed.

Importantly, Nixon notes that these techniques only demonstrate a leak is fake — not that a compromise has or hasn’t occurred. One of the sneakier ways that ne’er-do-wells produce convincing data leak claims is through the use of what’s called a “combolist.” With combolists, miscreants will try to build lists of legitimate credentials from a specific site using public lists of credentials from previous leaks at other sites.

This technique works because a fair percentage of users re-use passwords at multiple sites. Armed with various account-checking programs, e-fame seekers can quickly build a list of working credential pairs for any number of sites, and use that information to back up claims that the site has been hacked.

Account checking tools sold on the cybercriminal underground by one vendor.

Account checking tools sold on the cybercriminal underground by one vendor.

But according to Nixon, there are some basic patterns that appear in lists of credentials that are essentially culled from combolists.

“Very often, you can tell a list of credentials is from a combolist because the list will be nothing more than username and password pairs, instead of password hashes and a whole bunch of other database information,” Nixon said.

A great example of this came earlier this month when multiple media outlets repeated a hacker’s claim that he’d stolen a database of almost seven million Dropbox login credentials. The author of that hoax claimed he would release on Pastebin more snippets of Dropbox account credentials as he received additional donations to his Bitcoin account. Dropbox later put up a blog post stating that the usernames and passwords posted in that “leak” were likely stolen from other services.

Other ways of vetting a claimed leak involve more detailed and time-intensive research, such as researching the online history of the hacker who’s making the leak claims.

“If you look at the motivation, it’s mostly ego-driven,” Nixon said. “They want to be a famous hacker. If they have a handle attached to the claim — a name they’ve used before — that tells me that they want a reputation, but that also means I can check their history to see if they have posted fake leaks in the past. If I see a political manifesto at the top of a list of credentials, that tells me that the suspected leak is more about the message and the ego than any sort of breach disclosure.”

Nixon said while attackers can use the techniques contained in her paper to produce higher quality fake leaks, the awareness provided by the document will provide a greater overall benefit to the public than to the attackers alone.

“For the most part, there are a few fake breaches that get posted over and over again on Pastebin,” she said. “There is just a ton of background noise, and I would say only a tiny percentage of these breach claims are legitimate.”

A full copy of the Deloitte report is available here (PDF).

Sociological ImagesChart of the Week: The Business of Halloween

Measured by spending, Halloween is the second largest holiday in the U.S. after Christmas. The National Retail Federation estimates that Americans will spend $7.4 billion dollars celebrating Halloween this year. In total, 74% of households will buy something for Halloween and, among those, the average will spend $125.

2

There’ll be a bumper crop of pumpkins, more than ever before, and worth about $149 million dollars.

4

A full two-thirds of the population will buy a costume, spending an average of $77.52 each. That’s a record in terms of both spending and the sheer number of costumes sold.

3

Interestingly, the holiday has evolved from primarily a children’s holiday to one celebrated by adults, especially millenials. Less than half of the money spent on costumes is going to costumes for children. Adults dress up (to the tune of $1.4 million) and their dress up their pets ($350 million). They also throw parties for other adults and patronize bars and clubs, which increasingly feature Halloween-themed events, food, and drinks.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Google AdsenseLinking Google Analytics with your Google AdSense account just became easier

If you want to grow your website and your ad revenue, you need to understand your audience. Google Analytics is a powerful tool that helps you better understand your site visitors and define the right strategy for your site.

We've recently improved how Google Analytics links to your AdSense account, making it easier than ever to understand what's working on your site. With this new update, you can link your AdSense account within Google Analytics in fewer steps and can also link your AdSense account to multiple Google Analytics accounts.

If you haven’t linked Google Analytics with your AdSense account yet, it’s a good time to learn more about your audience. Linking these accounts can help you:

  • Optimize your website: Identify opportunities across traffic sources, geographies, devices, pages and browsers.
  • Improve user experience: See which pages are popular among your visitors and which pages drive them away. Understanding where your visitors’ attention is focused will also help you to place your ads where users are most likely to look at them.
  • Grow revenue: Make changes based on how earnings are affected by aspects of user behaviour such as visit frequency and page depth.
Learn how to link Google Analytics with your AdSense account in our Help Center and start identifying revenue opportunities. If you don’t have a Google Analytics account, you can easily set up your account now.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback. Tell us what you think and share your insights from Google Analytics in the comment section below this post.

Posted by Matthew Anderson - Product Manager Publisher Analytics
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Chaotic IdealismThe Bus and the Waiting Room

I'm in the process of trying to get a case manager, possibly an aide of some kind. I've applied at the department of developmental disabilities; their waiting list is months long, and I'd need to make an appeal because I had an unusually late diagnosis, since as a child I was denied an evaluation for autism by a mother in deep denial and probably mildly autistic herself. I've tried to get an appointment with my primary care doctor; I made an appointment in August and still haven't seen them. My last resort was TCN community mental health services, which has in the past kicked me off a case manager's workload for missing an appointment (note: Missing appointments is one of the problems I have thanks to the executive dysfunction part of my disability) and diagnosed me with borderline personality disorder on the strength of a single symptom (self-injury, which is related to autism; I have none of the others). They treated me for quite a while and didn't catch my (apparently glaringly obvious) autism until a nurse-practitioner with an autistic son spoke up. So needless to say I wasn't sanguine about my chances with them, and of course, they have a monopoly on community mental health services in my county, so there's no one else.

With help, I called TCN and was told that they had walk-in intakes only, and only on Tuesdays; and you should really be there before 7:30, or you might not be seen that day. Be prepared to wait.

This was a problem for me, whose "early morning" at that point was somewhere around 2 p.m. But I agreed to try anyway. We talked about how to use the GreeneCATS bus (an assisted transport service on a fixed loop). Over the next week I painstakingly worked through the equivalent of jet lag, and on the next Tuesday I was up at 4 a.m., giving myself plenty of time to ensure I had the chance to get onto that bus. I walked through the morning darkness and made my way to the bus stop, in front of my university, and soon I was sitting and clutching my coins and my "Disabled pass" card. I'd already planned out exactly how I would survive the bus trip and the long hours in the waiting room, and how I would explain what I needed and try to get them to help me with it.

The bus approached... and didn't stop. They drove away without me. Cue meltdown.

Because, seriously, planning for something for a week, something you desperately need? And then realizing--everything just changed--what do I do now?--that's just an invitation for a meltdown.

I got myself to the disability services center at the school, where they still help me despite no longer technically being a student, and I couldn't stop crying, lying on the floor next to the door. Once I'd calmed myself a little, I went inside. It wasn't open yet, but the door was unlocked, and one of the workers there very sensibly offered me a cup of coffee while I explained what had happened. I expressed my very strong desire never to have anything to do with either TCN or GreeneCATS, ever again. Even if things had gone perfectly, I would have spent a week preparing myself for that early-morning bus, spent hours waiting for an appointment with someone who probably knows less about psychology than I do, and possibly gotten some kind of sub-standard assistance, but more likely been referred to the same developmental disability department that had already told me I needed to wait months, possibly a year or more. And then I would've had to survive the trip home, and there would go another few days to recover.

Now imagine what might happen to someone with, say, depression. Ask them to get up at 4 a.m., to wait for hours... they don't have that much willpower. I know I didn't, when I had depression. They could die because they didn't get treatment. The inconvenience of this kind of thing is nearly universal when disabled people try to get services. In many cases, like my own, and that of the hypothetical depressed person trying to wrap their heads around the task of getting to an early-morning appointment that may never even happen, this kind of extreme inconvenience is as effective at blocking access to services as putting a wheelchair repair office up four flights of stairs in a building with no elevator, and then blaming the wheelchair user for not caring enough to drag themselves and their malfunctioning chair up those stairs.

Well, the disability services people at first guessed that I had waited for the bus at the wrong place, or done something else wrong, being a novice public-transport user. So, they finally talked me into trying again (I agreed mostly because I realized I would have to prove that TCN would be no help before they took it off their list). With me in tow, a disability services counselor took me to the bus stop and waited with me until the bus pulled into the bus stop--and then pulled away again without stopping.

I felt vindicated.

Her footsteps sounded angry as we walked back to the disability services office, but I knew she wasn't angry at me. She knows it's hard to get services; she sees every day how much prejudice we face. She tends toward the mama-bear approach when the system fails the students she serves, most of whom are much younger than I am.

This is how they keep us from getting what we need. Poor, disabled, old, young, gay, or the wrong race--we technically have access to everything we need. It's just inconvenient. Except that this kind of inconvenience is not just a minor annoyance, like waiting in line at the bank. This is a barrier to services as real as any other.

If you're part of a minority, any minority really, and you need something that's ostensibly been provided for you, you have to wait. You have to be a good little supplicant and stand in that line until you go nuts from the boredom and you lose all the other things you could have done with that time. I've been both a client and a worker at food pantries, and that's how it was there. People would arrive hours ahead of time, lining the hallways. I tried to create a more efficient system to get people through faster, but the established hierarchy of the food pantry rejected any innovations I could've created. Even passing out forms for people to fill in while they waited was verboten. You wait for food; you wait for medical care; you wait for opportunities that are just handed to people who aren't poor, or disabled, or whatever you happen to be that makes you less-than. If you're not constantly on top of everything, all the paperwork and all the appointments, you lose your chance and you have to wait all over again. Want a job? Spend two hours on the bus, one way, to get there. Want good food? Spend time preparing it; you can't afford ready-made food unless it's junk food. Want medical care? Wait in line. Wait again. You're not important; you're just set aside until someone important has the time to deal with you.

The poorer you are, the less your time is worth. By the time you get to where I am, it's totally normal for a week's preparation for a day-long wait for a fifteen-minute intake appointment to be wasted because the assisted transport bus didn't think you were important enough to stop for.

RacialiciousBlack Panther and Beyond: The (potential) Winners And Losers of Marvel’s Phase 3

By Arturo R. García

It was easy to approach Marvel Entertainment’s Phase 3 announcement Tuesday morning somewhat skeptically. After all, the 24 hours leading into it were consumed by the rumor that Benedict Cumberbatch had been cast as Doctor Strange.

Then came the news:

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Coupled with the news that Marvel was finally moving forward with a Captain Marvel film, the day ended with not only widespread anticipation, but the question: where do we — fans of diversity in the superhero movie realm — go from here?

Let’s try to answer that question by asking another: Which actors and character/brands benefit from Tuesday’s news?

THE WINNERS

Concept art for Marvel Entertainment’s Black Panther. Image via Comic Book Resources.

Chadwick Boseman: After well-received turns portraying two real-life icons in Jackie Robinson and James Brown, Boseman gets a shot at portraying one from the comics realm. It’s also encouraging to note that, as Deadline reported, he has signed a five-picture deal. So the talk of T’Challa being a key player in the movie world actually has some substance behind it.

The announcement of a Panther movie also signals a hard reversal from just two years ago, when the company’s co-president, co-president Louis D’Esposito, fretted that showing Wakanda would be “difficult” at the same time he was shilling a movie featuring a talking raccoon. As David Brothers observed at the time:

I hear the taint of that fear in D’Esposito’s statements. What other reason could there be for a movie about a talking raccoon in outer space being a great idea while a movie about a black superhero being more difficult? He has a point that it’s always easier to base movies in LA or New York, because decades of movies have taught us about those places.

What’s so hard about a fictional African nation that looks like anything you want it to look like? Wakanda has been varyingly composed of ultra-high tech cities, dense jungles, huts, and isolated houses on plains. It looks like Blade Runner, Total Recall, the Dust Bowl, New York City, or Hotel Rwanda, depending on what book you’re reading and what part of the country you’re looking at. Movie Wakanda could be anything. If moviegoers can buy Middle Earth, Asgard, Fargo, Texas, Alderaan, and Hogwarts, I don’t think Wakanda would be too hard. In fact, compared with a talking raccoon, Wakanda is easy.

Now, let’s compare D’Esposito’s worries to the reaction Boseman got on Tuesday morning:

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Those cheers should serve as industry-wide confirmation that there is a streak of fandom ready for something other than white guys named Chris at the forefront of a superhero tentpole. And T’Challa’s debut as part of the Captain America series now gives those films three Black characters, counting Anthony Mackie’s Falcon and Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury.

‘Ultimate Spider-Man’s’ Miles Morales. Image via Moviepilot.com.

Miles Morales & Miguel O’Hara: Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach have to be feeling at least a little stupid this morning. After all, it was just five months ago that they flatly rejected the idea of putting a Spider-Man on the big screen that wasn’t Peter Parker. But now? Well …

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Unless Michael B. Jordan’s Fantastic Four reboot defies expectations in a major way, Sony’s control of the Spider-Man film brand is still its top drawing card in the increasingly-crowded superhero film world, and right now the next projects on the horizon are a Sinister Six film nobody wanted and an X-Men film that is unlikely to get much promotion from Marvel itself.

As the men in charge of the Spider-brand, Arad and Tolmach should find it harder this morning to justify avoiding investing in not one, but two biracial heroes carrying the mantle. As we’ve argued in the past, Miles allows them to springboard off a popular young character, while O’Hara (aka Spider-Man 2099) gives them the chance to venture into sci-fi territory.

Luke “Power Man” Cage. Image via Superheromovienews.com.

Luke Cage: Cage was announced last year as part of the company’s initial slate of Netflix offerings. And this past April, Marvel confirmed that those shows would be in line with the movie universe. With Phase 3 set to culminate in the Infinity War two-parter, one would think there’s enough time between those two movies to give Cage and Agent of SHIELD’s Melinda May a chance to join the fray.

Green Lantern John Stewart. Image via moviepilot.com.

John Stewart: No way around it: DC Entertainment’s PR “victory” following the announcement of its own film slate was short-lived. And, sure, Cyborg is a part of that. But unless the character can be elevated in a major way, he’s liable to be viewed as a consolation prize. There is a Green Lantern film on the docket, and relying on Hal Jordan again is suddenly a less palatable option after the reception for Boseman and the Panther.

THE LOSERS

Women Of Color: As we predicted two years ago, Danvers’ emergence confirms that women of color — Agent May and Zoe Saldana’s Gamora in Guardians of the Galaxy — are still on the back burner. At least for now.

The saving grace here might be the new Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan. In the comics, Kamala has been steered closer to the Inhumans realm, and with Black Bolt and company scheduled for a November 2018 film, the convergence of both brands could lead to something big. Sony would also be better off jettisoning the X-Men baggage for at least one film and — like we’ve all been saying — rolling the dice on a Lupita Nyong’o Storm project.

Black Widow: Marvel studio chief Kevin Feige effectively shut down hopes of seeing Scarlett Johansson helm her own action franchise within the Avengers universe.

“Black Widow couldn’t be more important as an Avenger, but like Hulk, the Avengers films will be the films where they play a primary role,” he was quoted as saying. That has to … sting. In fact, given that Joss Whedon is in charge of that universe, fans of the Widow and Hawkeye might do well to start worrying.

In the meantime, we as fans of a more diverse superhero realm have to start considering the POC heroes of the future. As @TS_NVstudies said on Tuesday, we shouldn’t be happy with having “a single PoC or Black token as ‘the answer.’” There’s still a lot of ground to cover after Phase 3 wraps in 2019.

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Top image via Wallcoo.net

The post Black Panther and Beyond: The (potential) Winners And Losers of Marvel’s Phase 3 appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

Planet DebianMike Gabriel: Join us at "X2Go: The Gathering 2014"

TL;DR; Those of you who are not able to join "X2Go: The Gathering 2014"... Join us on IRC (#x2go on Freenode) over the coming weekend. We will provide information, URLs to our TinyPads, etc. there. Spontaneous visitors are welcome during the working sessions (please let us know if you plan to come around), but we don't have spare beds anymore for accomodation. (We are still trying hard to set up some sort of video coverage--may it be life streaming or recorded sessions, this is still open, people who can offer help, see below).

Our event "X2Go: The Gathering 2014" is approaching quickly. We will meet with a group of 13-15 people (number of people is still slightly fluctuating) at Linux Hotel, Essen. Thanks to the generous offerings of the Linux Hotel [1] to FLOSS community projects, costs of food and accommodation could be kept really low and affordable to many people.

We are very happy that people from outside Germany are coming to that meeting (Michael DePaulo from the U.S., Kjetil Fleten (http://fleten.net) from Denmark / Norway). And we are also proud that Martin Wimpress (Mr. Ubuntu MATE Remix) will join our gathering.

In advance, I want to send a big THANK YOU to all people who will sponsor our weekend, either by sending gift items, covering travel expenses or providing help and knowledge to make this event a success for the X2Go project and its community around.

read more

Planet Linux AustraliaAndrew Pollock: [life] Day 273: Kindergarten, more startup stuff, and another Prep day

I had another busy day today. I've well and truly falled off the running wagon, which I really need to fix rather urgently. I would have liked to have gone for a run this morning, but it didn't happen.

I started off with a chiropractic adjustment, and then a bit of random cooking to use up some perishables, before the cleaners arrived.

While the cleaners were here, I managed to knock over another unit of my real estate course, which I was pretty stoked about. I'll try and get it in the mail tomorrow, and that's the last one from the first half of the course done.

I grabbed a massage, and then headed over to pick up Zoe early from Kindergarten to take her to school for another Prep introduction session. I really like Zoe's school. This year for the first time they're running a four week program where the kids can come for a couple of hours.

Today it was fine and gross motor skills. They divided the group in half, and Zoe's half did fine motor skills first. The kids rotated through three different stations, which all had three or four activities each. Zoe did pretty well with these.

Then the groups swapped over, and we returned to the hall where we started, to do some gross motor skills. I would have thought this would have been right up Zoe's alley, since a lot of it was similar to TumbleTastics, but she was very clingy, and they kept rotating between stations faster than she got warmed up to the activity.

She was a bit overwhelmed in the larger group setting in general. Hopefully next week with a bit of preparation before we come (and no Kindergarten) she'll do better.

After we got home, I showed Zoe a balloon full of water that I'd put in the freezer. She had a great time smashing it on the balcony. I'll have to do that again.

It's a hot night tonight, I hope Zoe sleeps okay. It was definitely time to bust out the fan.

Worse Than FailureThe Alpha-Team

In 2010, a crack development team was formed inside of a Fortune 500 company. These developers promptly escaped the maximum security Project Management Office and instituted an Agile Scrum. Today, they survive as green-field developers. If you have a problem, if traditional corporate IT can’t help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire… Alpha Team.

When Thom interviewed at said Fortune 500 company, he didn’t know he was interviewing for Alpha Team. He assumed that it would be like any other huge enterprise development shop- tedious line-of-business applications that helped ship widgets but didn’t do much more. The product and the team was sold to him as being very exciting, and he liked the idea of the stability a large company offered, so Thom joined the Alpha Team.

The team room was slightly larger than the inside of a large van. John, the team lead, greeted Thom with a sly grin. “Great to have you on the team. You’ll be sitting between Albert and Murdock. I hope you don’t have any plans for lunch- today’s our weekly team lunch. Good chance for you to get to know everyone.”

The team’s architect, Murdock, grabbed Thom for a few minutes to brief him on the application’s architecture. It wasn’t surprising: a SQL server backend, a web-service based middle-tier, and a hybrid ASP.NET and WebForms presentation tier. “This application is extremely flexible,” Murdock said. “That’s the main goal, really. We’ve got it set up so our business analysts have a lot of control over the display, so that we aren’t wasting time just changing field names around.” The exact details were simply described as “magic”, which Murdock didn’t have time to explain right then; “It’s documented, and I need to crank on a few tasks, our burndown is terrible this sprint.”

Albert showed Thom where to find the key documents. “You should start with the environment setup. I pity the fool that tries to set up their dev environment without reading that.” Thom spent the rest of the morning following Albert’s advice. The environment setup document covered how to install and configure Visual Studio. There was nothing unusual or surprising in the document, except perhaps its enthusiastic level of detail- it was over 100 pages of screenshots covering every possible screen and message you might encounter while configuring your environment.

Thom didn’t meet the product owner until lunch. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there in the morning, but you know how it is with meetings,” Templeton said. “User engagement, same old, same old, right? The good news is that I specced out a feature which we can sneak into this sprint. It should be easy for you to implement.”

“Oh, that sounds good,” Thom said. “Are you sure we should change the deliverables mid-sprint?”

Templeton shrugged it off. “Don’t think of it as changing the deliverables. This’ll just give you a head start on the next sprint. You’ll probably need the extra time while you’re learning the ropes.”

The new feature was a simple memo field on a transaction entry screen. It was a string field, with a 500 character max-length, and was informational only. Templeton had estimated it out as a 50 hour task, which seemed amazingly generous, but when Thom checked the backlog, “add a single field” was routinely estimated between 40 and 100 hours. Thom wondered: had he joined a team that padded out its estimates and spent only three days doing real work out of any given month? Or was there something much more wrong?

Thom dug into the docs and the code to try and find out. The first time he saw Albert’s documentation reference “the Data Dictionary”, he assumed it was a reference to the SQL Server data dictionary. “The Data Dictionary” kept appearing, again and again, which seemed odd. Then Thom saw this line:

The Data Dictionary should be stored at \CorpFileSrv01\d$\TransApp\DataDictionary.accdb. Contact the service desk to be granted write permissions. Use Access to edit the file.

Thom had found the “magic” in Murdock’s design, but it was dark, twisted and evil magic. For example, let’s say you wanted to add a memo field to the transaction screen in the accounting module. First, you needed to find out the ModuleID for the accounting module by looking in the Modules table. Then, you could go to the Screens table and find the record for the transaction entry screen. With that ScreenID, you could now add a record to the Elements table, which described the field. The elements table required you to specify the DisplayName of the field, the DataType, ServiceName, ApplicationName, and DatabaseName. You also had to create a set of records in the Validations table, which described the validation rules which should be applied tot he field.

Once Thom had entered a set of records to describe his “TransactionMemo” field, he could then add widgets to the ASP.NET page. The label needed to have the ID lbl_TransApp_Accounting_strMemo. “Memo” was the value in ApplicationName. The actual text box needed to be IDed txt_TransApp_Accounting_strMemo, while the read-only display of the memo field needed to be IDed txt_show_TransApp_Accounting_strMemo.

The idea was that business analysts could control the DisplayName without involving the developers. Since Access databases couldn’t be versioned by source control, and since the BAs were constantly changing things in production based on user feedback, there was only one version of the Access database, shared by production, test, development, QA, etc. Since Access isn’t exactly built around multi-user deployments, or trivial things like “security”, the BAs constantly changed columns they shouldn’t, breaking one or more environments in the process.

Thom decided to keep his head down, and just do his best. After a few months, all of the team lunches in the world couldn’t help his morale, and he was ready to quit. Ready, that is, until he heard about the Beta Team. You see, in 2014, a crack development team was formed inside of that Fortune 500 company. These developers escaped from legacy code. Today, they survive as “rearchitects <script src="http://www.cornify.com/js/cornify.js" type="text/javascript"></script>”, identifying and redesigning broken applications. If you have massive technical debt, if you have an unsupportable product, and if you can find them… maybe you can apply to work on the Beta Team.

Planet Linux AustraliaLev Lafayette: Training and Education in High Performance Computing for eReseachers

"Big data" requires processing. Processing requires HPC. Increased processing results in increased research output. Research organisations that do not increase HPC usage will fall behind. HPC requires either 'dumb down the interface or skill up the user'. Making "user friendly" interfaces may not be the right path to take as HPC use will always have a minimum level of complexity. Training courses that use andragogical technqiues correlate with increased HPC use.

Presentation to eResearch Australasia, Melbourne, October 28, 2014

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TED8 smart strategies TEDx organizers use to find great speakers

TEDx speakersTalks on science, space and dung beetles. Talks on philosophy, medicine and folding paper towels. Every day, all over the globe, TEDx organizers are tirelessly working to find inventive, ingenious speakers ready to bring talks to life.

We asked 10 TEDx organizers to share the process behind sourcing great speakers and great talks. Below, 8 pieces of advice that came up again and again:

  1. Look for the ideas your community cares about, and then look for the people who can speak on them. What ideas and questions are starting to percolate where you live? Now, do some research on who has unexpected takes on them.
    .
  2. Use your theme as a guide. Let it to lead you to the questions and issues that could be tackled in talks.
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  3. Plan (far, far) ahead. Finding speakers takes time. As does communicating with them, navigating their schedules, calling them in for rehearsals and working with them on revisions. Just know: there will be unexpected hiccups. So give yourself time to look, time to invite, time to schedule and time to rehearse.
    .
  4. Put together a curation team whose members have different interests and expertise. It will help make your line-up well-rounded and well-researched.
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  5. Read, research, watch. Throw a wide net: read magazines, journals and reports, watch online videos and the local news.
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  6. Your secret weapon: local universities. Colleges and universities are full of professors—and graduate students—researching interesting ideas, so make sure to look there. Local museums are great sources, too!
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  7. Ask around. Put out feelers in your community. Let your wider team — including your first batch of prospective speakers — know what you need to make your lineup feel complete.
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  8. Stick with it. It will be hard at times, but on the big day, seeing your speakers light up a room with their passion for great ideas will be worth it.

To read in-depth interviews with these 10 experienced organizers on the ins and outs of finding speakers, head to the TEDx Innovations Blog »


Planet Linux Australialinux.conf.au News: Speaker Feature: Christoph Lameter, Brandon Philips

Christoph Lameter

Christoph Lameter

SL[AUO]B:Kernel memory allocator design and philosophy

12:15pm Friday 16th January 2015

Christoph specializes in High Performance Computing and High Frequency Trading technologies. As an operating system designer and kernel developer he has been developing memory management technologies for Linux to enhance performance and reduce latencies. He is fond of new technologies and new ways of thinking that disrupt existing industries and causes new development communities to emerge.

For more information on Christoph and his presentation, see here. You can follow him as @qant and don’t forget to mention #LCA2015.


Brandon Philips

Brandon Philips

CoreOS: An introduction

11:35 am Friday 16th January 2015

Brandon Philips is helping to build modern Linux server infrastructure at CoreOS. Prior to CoreOS, he worked at Rackspace hacking on cloud monitoring and was a Linux kernel developer at SUSE. In addition to his work at CoreOS, Brandon sits on Docker's governance board and is one of the top contributors to Docker. As a graduate of Oregon State's Open Source Lab he is passionate about open source technologies.

Brandon has also been a speaker at many conferences including Open Source Bridge 2012 and Open Source Conference 2012.

For more information on Brandon and his presentation, see here. You can follow him as @BrandonPhilips and don’t forget to mention #LCA2015.

LongNowGrowing A Book For One Hundred Years


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It started with a seed planted in the mind of Scottish artist Katie Paterson when she made the connection between tree rings and chapters of books. Now several years in the making, Paterson’s vision will unfold over the next century in her artwork Future Library–an ambitious and evolving piece that will outlive Paterson and most of us living today.

Photo by Giorgia Polizzi

In the summer of 02014, Paterson and her team planted 1,000 Norwegian Spruce saplings in the forest Normarka, situated just outside of Oslo. The site is about a 25-minute walk from a metro station, yet according to Paterson, feels deep within the forest and has no city sounds.

Photo by Giorgia Polizzi

These trees will supply the paper for an anthology of books to be printed in a hundred years’ time, when the saplings are fully grown. In the meantime, one writer every year will be invited to add a new text to the collection of unpublished, unread manuscripts held in trust at the New Public Deichmanske Library in Bjørvika until their publication date in 02114. The text can take on any length, form, and genre. The only request is to have the work submitted by manuscript within one year of invitation. As the trees grow, so does the collection. Katie Paterson explained:

The idea to grow trees to print books arose for me through making a connection with tree rings to chapters – the material nature of paper, pulp and books, and imagining the writer’s thoughts infusing themselves, ‘becoming’ the trees. Almost as if the trees absorb the writer’s words like air or water, and the tree rings become chapters, spaced out over the years to come…This artwork will bring together the work of preeminent writers, thinkers and philosophers of this and future generations. It is an artwork that belongs not only to us and the City of Oslo now, but to these who are not yet born.

With the forest planted, the next key part of the Future Library is designing the Silent Room to house the unpublished texts in the New Deichmanske Library, which will open in 02018. In collaboration with the library’s architects Lund Hagem and Atelier Oslo, Paterson is specially constructing this room from the cut-down trees recently cleared for the Future Library saplings.

Photo by Giorgia Polizzi

The Silent Room will be located on the top floor of the library – the floor that houses the library’s special collection of books and archives. The small, intimate room will be geared for one or two people; it will face the forest, awaiting the growth of the trees and providing a view of where, in essence, the books are developing. The other aspect of the texts–the unpublished manuscripts–will be contained here with only the authors’ names, the title of their work and the year visible to visiting patrons. Katie Paterson explained:

The atmosphere is key in our design, aiming to create a sense of quietude, peacefulness, a contemplative space which can allow the imagination to journey to the forest, the trees, the writing, the deep time, the invisible connections, the mystery.

As is the case with any long-term project, questions of trust dominate the design of Paterson’s Future Library. Planning a project with a timescale of 100 years provides many challenges, such as the consideration of tree types, native Norwegian pests, climate, or potential fires; communicating across time; ensuring access to a printing press (one will be stored in Oslo and workshops will be held for the next generations in printing and binding books); and crafting 100-year contracts with lawyers. How will the library room be looked at and experienced in a century? How will the materials react over the decades to come? What languages will people be speaking in 02114? What kind of technologies will exist? What will be the status of the printed book, the written word? Paterson asked herself 100-year-timespan questions such as these with every decision made for Future Library. It involves thinking and developing on a timespan that transcends most conventional artwork. Paterson explained:

The works like Future Library really slow the pace down, to over a century. There is still constant movement within the artwork; inviting authors, the library room design, trust meetings, forest tending, yearly events, the writing, even the tree rings forming. Future Library will evolve and live over ‘long time’ and over ‘now’ simultaneously…I like the idea that time is substance, that can be manipulated and invented. I certainly see time as non-linear – reaches of time, webs, loops, networks, holes – and visualize time growing and existing like a cell or a wave, expanding and contracting. Future Library is marked out by yearly demarcations and these ‘chapters’ keep it fluid.

Future Library was conceived by Paterson, is commissioned and supported by the Bjørvika Utvikling urban development project, and produced by the Bristol-based arts producer Situations. A Future Library Trust has been established to help sustain Future Library for its 100-year duration. It consists of seven members, including the literary director of the Man Booker Prize. Its members will change decade by decade, and they are the ones to invite the 100 authors, whose names will be announced year by year. The authors are being selected for their “outstanding contributions to literature or poetry and for their work’s ability to capture the imagination of this and future generation.”

Photo by Giorgia Polizzi

This month, award-winning author Margaret Atwood was named as the first contributor to the Future Library. The author of novels such as Daughters of the North and Oryx and Crake (both of which will be included in Long Now’s own Manual for Civilization) is in many ways ideally suited for a collection like Future Library: much of Atwood’s work explores human lives and lived experience in a variety of possible futures. As Paterson explains,

[Atwood] is incredibly perceptive, continually writing about prescient subjects and her work speaks across generations, across time. She writes about time and catapults her readers to a future time and place, projecting unsettling, strange, dystopian worlds. Her work has so much to say about us alive now and futures we are building as a species.

Atwood has already started writing the tale that only she will read during her lifetime.

When asked about the content of her story in an interview with the Louisiana Channel, Atwood stated that wild horses could not drag it out of her:

I think it takes us to that period of childhood when we used to bury things in secret locations and hope that somebody would come and dig them up. Or that other period when we put messages in bottles and put them into the ocean. But essentially that’s what writing is anyway, so publishing a book is like a message in the bottle and throwing it in the ocean because you never know who will read it. And writing and publishing a book is also like time travel because the book is a vehicle for the voice, and it doesn’t turn into a voice again until somebody at the other end reads it. So in this case, the filament between the launching of the book and the turning of the book back into voice just happens to be longer than usual.

On a cosmic timescale, a span of 100 years is fleeting and insignificant. “However, in many ways the human timescale of 100 years is more confronting,” Paterson explains. “It is beyond many of our current life spans, but close enough to come face to face with it, to comprehend and relativize.”

What can help us confront and comprehend this short-yet-long timespan is, perhaps, a sense of hope and optimism. The Future Library project, for its part, tries to encourage these perspectives. In her reply letter to her Future Library invitation, Atwood wrote, “This project, at least, believes the human race will still be around in a hundred years!” Paterson expands upon Atwood’s statement in her own words:

In its essence, Future Library is hopeful – it believes there will be a forest, a book, and a reader in 100 years. The choices of this generation will shape the centuries to come, perhaps in an unprecedented way. Inside the forest time stands still. This place could have existed for one hundred, one thousand, one million, or even one hundred million years. I take comfort in the natural processes that have unfolded over such enormous expanses of time. Imagining the plethora of living beings that have evolved in its ecosystem. The earth itself has a predicted lifespan of another few billion years, and there are millions of other planets and galaxies. Life in this universe will continue to exist.

Photo by Giorgia Polizzi

Planet DebianKurt Roeckx: DANE

I've been wanting to set up DANE for my domain, but I seem to be unable to find a provider that offers DNSSEC that can also do TLSA records in DNS. I've contacted several companies and most don't even seem to be offering DNSSEC. And if they offer DNSSEC they can't do TLSA records or rfc3597 style "unknown DNS resource record types". I would like to avoid actually running my own nameservers.

So if someone knows someone that can provide that, please contact me at kurt@roeckx.be.

Update [29 October 2014]:
Some people suggested that I set up a hidden master. I actually wanted to avoid that, but I guess I'm going to do that.

Sociological ImagesOur Annual Halloween “Sexy What!?” Post

Here are my picks for the bizarrest sexy costumes this year. Enjoy!

Sexy George Washington (via):

2

Sexy Crime Scene:13

 

Sexy Lobster:

11

Sexy Yoda (via):

4

Sexy Scrabble (via):

2

Except — I know, I know — nothing’s sexier than Scrabble.

 

Sexy Mr. Peanut:

12

I take it back; that costume is fantastic.

 

Sexy BDSM pig (via):

3

Okay, I admit. I have absolutely no idea what’s going on here.

Want more? See sexy what!? (2012) and sexy what!? (2010) or What do sexy Halloween costumes for men look like?

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Planet Linux AustraliaAndrew Pollock: [life] Day 272: Kindergarten, startup stuff

I had a great, productive day today.

I got stuck into my real estate licence coursework this morning, and finished off a unit. I biked down to the post office to mail it off, and picked up the second half of my coursework. After I finish the unit I started today, I'll have 8 more units to go. Looking at the calendar, if I can punch out a unit a week (which is optimistic, particularly considering that school holidays are approaching) I could be finished by the end of the year. More realistically, I can try to be finished by the time Zoe starts school, which will be perfect, and well inside the 12 month period I'm supposed to get it done in. We shall see how things pan out.

I biked to Kindergarten to pick up Zoe, and she wanted to watch Megan's tennis class for a while, so we hung around. She was pretty wiped out from a water play day at Kindergarten today. We biked home, and then she proceeded to eat everything in the house that wasn't tied down until Sarah arrived to pick her up.

I used the rest of the afternoon to do some more administrative stuff and tidy up a bit, before heading off to my yoga class. I had a really lovely stretch class with just me and my yoga teacher, so we spent the whole class chatting and having a great catch up. It was a great way to end the day.

Planet DebianJonny Lamb: Sciopero

screenshot

Public transport strikes in Rome are so frequent that it’s hard to remember when they are. I wrote a Gnome Shell extension to help remind me when there’s one either coming up or in progress. Find it on extensions.gnome.org. It gets its data from another little service I just made.


A Roma gli scioperi dei mezzi pubblici sono così frequenti che spesso è facile dimenticarsi quando ci sono. Ho scritto un’estensione per Gnome Shell per avvisare quando c’è o si avvicina uno sciopero dell’Atac. La puoi trovare su extensions.gnome.org. Funziona grazie ad un altro piccolo servizio che ho creato.

Worse Than FailureRepresentative Line: Advanced Time Management

Whenever a computer wants to sync its internal clock, usually right around reboot, it'll check in with a time server. This is built-in functionality that spans across every modern OS.

Now, in some cases you might have a reason to disable the time check - and that's fine.

However, if you were Paul M., you might find that your admin had implemented a third option in the form of the below script that he uncovered while hunting down a shell script bug.

DATE=`wget -T 3 -t 5 -S --no-check-certificate https://www.example.com/default.css -O /dev/null 2>&1 | grep Date | awk '{ print $3 " " $4 " " $5 " " $6 " " $7 " " $8 }' 2>/dev/null`

date -s "$DATE" >/dev/null

hwclock -uw >/dev/null

To break it down, here's the result of the wget:

mbowytz@mbowytz-PC ~
$ wget -T 3 -t 5 -S --no-check-certificate https://www.example.com/default.css -O /dev/null
--2014-10-22 08:00:07--  https://www.example.com/default.css
Resolving www.example.com (www.example.com)... 93.184.216.119, 2606:2800:220:6d:26bf:1447:1097:aa7
Connecting to www.example.com (www.example.com)|93.184.216.119|:443... connected.
The certificate's owner does not match hostname ‘www.example.com’
HTTP request sent, awaiting response...
  HTTP/1.1 404 Not Found
  Accept-Ranges: bytes
  Cache-Control: max-age=604800
  Content-Type: text/html
  Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:00:12 GMT
  Etag: "359670651"
  Expires: Wed, 29 Oct 2014 12:00:12 GMT
  Last-Modified: Fri, 09 Aug 2013 23:54:35 GMT
  Server: ECS (iad/19BF)
  X-Cache: 404-HIT
  x-ec-custom-error: 1
  Content-Length: 0
2014-10-22 08:00:07 ERROR 404: Not Found.

That result is then grepped for the text "Date" to get the current GMT date and then use awk to extract the 3rd through the 8th data fields so that the result is in DD Mon YYYY HH:MM:SS GMT. Oh, and there's no 8th field, but on the bright side - it works.

Planet DebianKeith Packard: Goodbye-Barnes-and-Noble

Goodbye Barnes & Noble

I've read books on electronic devices for many years now; the convenience of having a huge library with me while traveling makes up for the lower quality of the presentation. I've read books on a selection of Palm devices, an old OpenInkpot compatible ereader, my phone and, most recently, on my Kobo Aura.

To get reading material, I've used a variety of sources, including the venerable Project Gutenberg, the Internet Archive, directly from authors like Cory Doctorow and even our local Multnomah County Public Library.

I like to have books in epub format; it's a published standard, based on HTML and CSS. My recent devices have all happily supported that, and it allows for editing when I feel the need to correct typos or formatting problems.

Purchasing Books

When I wanted to actually purchase a book, I bought from Barnes & Noble; they have a good selection, and reasonable automatic recommendations. According to their web site, since I started shopping there, I've purchased 51 books. I can't tell how much I've spent, but probably in excess of $500.

Not knowing which device I'd be reading on at any one time, and liking to have the assurance of ongoing access to my library, I would always download the epub files to my laptop and then transfer them to whichever device I wanted to read on. This ensured that my books would be available even when I didn't have a network connection (as happened yesterday during a wind storm which cut the power to the DSLAM which connects me to the internet).

I'd created a simple shell script which captured the file after it was downloaded on my laptop and prepared it for my reader. A bit of browser configuration and it really was as simple as clicking the 'download' button to get a book onto both my laptop and my reading device.

Barnes & Noble Disables Downloading

I was traveling in Bordeaux a couple of weeks ago and wanted to get the latest volume in a series I was reading. My library didn't have it available, and so I decided that it was worth a few dollars to purchase it for the flight home.

After clicking through the Barnes & Noble store, I was ready to download the book so that I could transfer it to my reader. Going to 'My Library', I found my new purchases but the usual 'Download' button was missing. I was a bit surprised as I'd purchased and downloaded the previous volume just before leaving without any troubles.

At first, I assumed there was some kind of region restriction on the distribution of this book. I'm familiar with that from DVD region locking of movies, and supposed that the same could be done with books for some reason. However, after setting up a VPN back to home and browsing through that (to ensure that my browser would appear with an Oregon address), the download button was still not present.

The unhelpful Barnes & Noble representative that I accessed through the 'help' button disclosed that the 'download' "feature" had been disabled for "security" reasons.

Not really having any alternative, I requested a refund for the new book.

Barnes & Noble Loses a Customer

With no way to actually use ebooks purchased through the Barnes & Noble store, I won't be spending any more money with them.

I'm not sure how that helps their "security" issues, although if they lose enough customers and they close their doors, I guess that would make them about as secure as imaginable.

Kobo Makes a Sale

Having purchased a Kobo Aura, it had built-in access to their book store, which made it easy to download the book that I wanted. Then, I simply connected my reader to my laptop and copied the file over for safe keeping.

Buying Books under Linux

After I got home, I had to figure out how to get Adobe Digital Editions installed on my laptop. Fortunately, I discovered that version 2.0.1 runs fine under wine.

Now, purchasing books can be done with my laptop (a vastly superior browsing experience). The .acsm file can be dragged straight from the iceweasel download menu to Adobe Digital Editions, which happily downloads the actual .epub file and makes it available for transferring to my reader.

Of course, now that I've got Adobe Digital Editions working, I can also get digitally restricted books from all over the net, greatly expanding my options for purchasing (or borrowing) books. It's a bit less convenient, and requires that I run an icky Windows binary under wine, but at least I have choices, which is some consolation.

Planet Linux AustraliaAndrew Pollock: [life] Day 271: Kindergarten, lots of administrivia and some tinkering

Zoe woke up at about 6am, which gave us a bit of extra time to get moving in the morning, or so I thought.

We biked over to the Kindergarten for drop off, and I left the trailer there to make biking back in the afternoon heat easier.

I had a pretty productive day. It was insanely hot, so I figured I could run the air conditioning more or less guilt (and expense free) courtesy of my solar power. I should check just how much power it draws to see how "free" it is to run.

I mostly cleared lots of random stuff off my to do list, and made a few lengthy phone calls. I also did some more tinkering with my BeagleBone Black, trying to get it set up so I can back up daedalus. It's been fun playing with Puppet again. I now have a pretty nice set up where I can wipe the BeagleBone Black and get it back to how I want it configured in about 5 minutes, thanks to Puppet.

I biked over to Kindergarten to pick up. I got there a few minutes early, and received a very heartening phone call regarding an issue I'd been working on earlier.

Zoe and Megan wanted to have a play date, and since it was hot and I'd left the air conditioning on, I suggested it be at our place. I biked home, and Jason dropped Megan around.

The girls played inside for a bit, but then wanted to do some more craft on the balcony, so I let them get to it, with instructions to put stuff away before they took more stuff out, and the balcony ended up significantly cleaner as a result. I used the time to do some more tinkering with my backups and to book a flight down to Sydney to help a friend out with some stuff.

A massive storm rolled in, not long after Anshu arrived, so we all went out on the balcony to watch the lightning, and then Sarah arrived to pick up Zoe. Megan hung out for a bit longer until Jason arrived to pick her up.

,

Planet Linux Australialinux.conf.au News: Speaker Feature: Lillian Grace, David Rowe

Lillian Grace

Lillian Grace

Wiki New Zealand: Winning through collaboration

4:35pm Thursday 15th January 2015

Lillian is the founder and chief of Wiki New Zealand.

Wiki New Zealand is a collaborative website making data about New Zealand visually accessible to everyone. The site presents data in simple, visual form only, so that it remains as unbiased and as accessible to everyone as possible. The content is easy to understand and digest, and is presented from multiple angles, wide contexts and over time, inviting users to compare, contrast and interpret. Lillian is an accomplished presenter who was invited to speak at OSDC 2013, was a keynote speaker at Gather 2014 and a speaker at TEDx Auckland 2013.

For more information on Lillian and her presentation, see here. You can follow her as @GracefulLillian and don’t forget to mention #LCA2015.


David Rowe

David Rowe

The Democratisation of Radio

10:40am Thursday 15th January 2015

David is an electronic engineer living in Adelaide, South Australia. His mission is to improve the world – just a little bit, through designing open hardware and writing open source software for telephony.

In January 2006 David quit corporate life as an Engineering Manager to become an open source developer. He now develops open telephony hardware and software full time. David likes to build advanced telephony technology – then give it away.

For more information on David and his presentation, see here. You can follow him as @davidgrowe67 and don’t forget to mention #LCA2015.

Planet DebianJunichi Uekawa: Running git grep under emacs compilation mode.

Running git grep under emacs compilation mode. It's driving me nuts because there's 0xfeff(BOM) at the beginning which seems to break file name matching.

Planet DebianPetter Reinholdtsen: First Jessie based Debian Edu released (alpha0)

I am happy to report that I on behalf of the Debian Edu team just sent out this announcement:

The Debian Edu Team is pleased to announce the release of Debian Edu
Jessie 8.0+edu0~alpha0

Debian Edu is a complete operating system for schools. Through its
various installation profiles you can install servers, workstations
and laptops which will work together on the school network. With
Debian Edu, the teachers themselves or their technical support can
roll out a complete multi-user multi-machine study environment within
hours or a few days. Debian Edu comes with hundreds of applications
pre-installed, but you can always add more packages from Debian.

For those who want to give Debian Edu Jessie a try, download and
installation instructions are available, including detailed
instructions in the manual[1] explaining the first steps, such as
setting up a network or adding users. Please note that the password
for the user your prompted for during installation must have a length
of at least 5 characters!

 [1] <URL: https://wiki.debian.org/DebianEdu/Documentation/Jessie >

Would you like to give your school's computer a longer life? Are you
tired of sneaker administration, running from computer to computer
reinstalling the operating system? Would you like to administrate all
the computers in your school using only a couple of hours every week?
Check out Debian Edu Jessie!

Skolelinux is used by at least two hundred schools all over the world,
mostly in Germany and Norway.

About Debian Edu and Skolelinux
===============================

Debian Edu, also known as Skolelinux[2], is a Linux distribution based
on Debian providing an out-of-the box environment of a completely
configured school network. Immediately after installation a school
server running all services needed for a school network is set up just
waiting for users and machines being added via GOsa², a comfortable
Web-UI. A netbooting environment is prepared using PXE, so after
initial installation of the main server from CD or USB stick all other
machines can be installed via the network.  The provided school server
provides LDAP database and Kerberos authentication service,
centralized home directories, DHCP server, web proxy and many other
services.  The desktop contains more than 60 educational software
packages[3] and more are available from the Debian archive, and
schools can choose between KDE, Gnome, LXDE, Xfce and MATE desktop
environment.

 [2] <URL: http://www.skolelinux.org/ >
 [3] <URL: http://people.skolelinux.org/pere/blog/Educational_applications_included_in_Debian_Edu___Skolelinux__the_screenshot_collection____.html >

Full release notes and manual
=============================

Below the download URLs there is a list of some of the new features
and bugfixes of Debian Edu 8.0+edu0~alpha0 Codename Jessie. The full
list is part of the manual. (See the feature list in the manual[4] for
the English version.) For some languages manual translations are
available, see the manual translation overview[5].

 [4] <URL: https://wiki.debian.org/DebianEdu/Documentation/Jessie/Features >
 [5] <URL: http://maintainer.skolelinux.org/debian-edu-doc/ >

Where to get it
---------------

To download the multiarch netinstall CD release (624 MiB) you can use

 * ftp://ftp.skolelinux.org/skolelinux-cd/debian-edu-8.0+edu0~alpha0-CD.iso
 * http://ftp.skolelinux.org/skolelinux-cd/debian-edu-8.0+edu0~alpha0-CD.iso
 * rsync -avzP ftp.skolelinux.org::skolelinux-cd/debian-edu-8.0+edu0~alpha0-CD.iso .

The SHA1SUM of this image is: 361188818e036ce67280a572f757de82ebfeb095

New features for Debian Edu 8.0+edu0~alpha0 Codename Jessie released 2014-10-27
===============================================================================


Installation changes
--------------------

 * PXE installation now installs firmware automatically for the hardware present.

Software updates
----------------

Everything which is new in Debian Jessie 8.0, eg:

 * Linux kernel 3.16.x
 * Desktop environments KDE "Plasma" 4.11.12, GNOME 3.14, Xfce 4.10,
   LXDE 0.5.6 and MATE 1.8 (KDE "Plasma" is installed by default; to
   choose one of the others see manual.)
 * the browsers Iceweasel 31 ESR and Chromium 38 
 * !LibreOffice 4.3.3
 * GOsa 2.7.4
 * LTSP 5.5.4
 * CUPS print system 1.7.5
 * new boot framework: systemd
 * Educational toolbox GCompris 14.07 
 * Music creator Rosegarden 14.02
 * Image editor Gimp 2.8.14
 * Virtual stargazer Stellarium 0.13.0
 * golearn 0.9
 * tuxpaint 0.9.22
 * New version of debian-installer from Debian Jessie.
 * Debian Jessie includes about 42000 packages available for
   installation.
 * More information about Debian Jessie 8.0 is provided in the release
   notes[6] and the installation manual[7].

 [6] <URL: http://www.debian.org/releases/jessie/releasenotes >
 [7] <URL: http://www.debian.org/releases/jessie/installmanual >

Fixed bugs
----------

 * Inserting incorrect DNS information in Gosa will no longer break
   DNS completely, but instead stop DNS updates until the incorrect
   information is corrected (Debian bug #710362)
 * and many others.

Documentation and translation updates
------------------------------------- 

 * The Debian Edu Jessie Manual is fully translated to German, French,
   Italian, Danish and Dutch. Partly translated versions exist for
   Norwegian Bokmal and Spanish.

Other changes
-------------

 * Due to new Squid settings, powering off or rebooting the main
   server takes more time.
 * To manage printers localhost:631 has to be used, currently www:631
   doesn't work.

Regressions / known problems
----------------------------

 * Installing LTSP chroot fails with a bug related to eatmydata about
   exim4-config failing to run its postinst (see Debian bug #765694
   and Debian bug #762103).
 * Munin collection is not properly configured on clients (Debian bug
   #764594).  The fix is available in a newer version of munin-node.
 * PXE setup for Main Server and Thin Client Server setup does not
   work when installing on a machine without direct Internet access.
   Will be fixed when Debian bug #766960 is fixed in Jessie.

See the status page[8] for the complete list.

 [8] <URL: https://wiki.debian.org/DebianEdu/Status/Jessie >

How to report bugs
------------------

<URL: http://wiki.debian.org/DebianEdu/HowTo/ReportBugs >

About Debian
============

The Debian Project was founded in 1993 by Ian Murdock to be a truly
free community project. Since then the project has grown to be one of
the largest and most influential open source projects. Thousands of
volunteers from all over the world work together to create and
maintain Debian software. Available in 70 languages, and supporting a
huge range of computer types, Debian calls itself the universal
operating system.

Contact Information
For further information, please visit the Debian web pages[9] or send
mail to press@debian.org.

 [9] <URL: http://www.debian.org/ >

TEDArt that floats: A TED Fellow plans an immersive experience on a boat

Screen Shot 2014-10-05 at 8.17.32 AM

In Floating Peep Show, audiences were ferried across the San Francisco Bay to four sailboats rafted together, where they paid to watch live performances in the hulls. Photo: Constance Hockaday

Constance Hockaday makes large-scale installations on open water. Identifying as a Chilean-American queer artist, Hockaday creates spaces that celebrate creative freedom and counterculture communities while defying gentrification. Take the Floating Peep Show — in which out-of-work drag queens and exotic dancers performed in the hulls of sailboats in the middle of San Francisco Bay. Now, Hockaday plans to turn a retired Coast Guard vessel into a venue for a huge waterborne multimedia spectacle. Always Get on the Boat will both celebrate and mourn the likely demise of the Fifth Street Marina — a longstanding alternative community on a post-industrial waterfront in Oakland, California, that is slated to be overrun by commercial development.

As she sets the plans for this new work, we talked to Hockaday about the struggle to make space for alternative culture, and why urban access to open water is so important.

In your talk at TEDGlobal 2014, you described the Floating Peep Show, and how it was inspired by two San Francisco counterculture establishments that had closed within months of each other — the Lusty Lady and Esta Noche. Tell us more about what these were.

The Lusty Lady was the nation’s only worker-owned, unionized adult entertainment business. It was a peep show, so you looked through a window at women — and people of actually many different genders, body shapes and looks — and you look at them without their clothes off, or erotic dancing. It was an institution, and it was located in what was known as the Barbary Coast. It felt a part of the old San Francisco, maybe one of the last places that felt like it was connected to that. It catered to the general public and also specifically to feminists, queers and radical sex culture, as well as kink and a very counterculture underground scene that’s played a huge part in the shaping of San Francisco. They shut down this past year.

Then, six months later, so did Esta Noche, a Latino gay bar in the Mission. It was spectacular, very special. It provided a place for gay Latinos who didn’t necessarily have a place in white gay-man world or in Latino culture. Everybody was welcome — it was like a queer Quinceañera every night.

Why did they shut down?

It was partly because clientele had moved out of the city because they couldn’t afford to be there. Social networking has also changed a lot of the way that queer culture interacts with each other. But these were cultural institutions.

So I rafted together four sailboats, and each one was a performance space. I contacted a bunch of Lusty Lady alumni, a bunch of drag queens from Esta Noche, as well as DJs and people from the Center for Sex and Culture. I hired them for four nights to perform inside the hulls of sailboats. We built a wall so that you couldn’t actually walk all the way into the boat: you could just step in. There was a money slot, and you could pay to see the performers. I told them to do whatever they wanted. Some of them did sex shows, some of them did strip shows, some of them did karaoke shows, some of them did super high fashion.

We picked people up in small inflatable boats, and transported more than 600 audience members across the San Francisco Bay to the sailboats in four nights. One night we did it near Dogpatch, in industrial San Francisco, and then three nights we did it in Clipper Cove, on Treasure Island. Everybody was there: all the old, curmudgeonly sailors who were all in charge of the sailboats, plus sex workers, drag queens, friends, art dorks, pervy kink dudes, tech kids. All hanging out in the middle of the water on these boats.

This was great, because it can be lonely and frustrating and confusing to be an artist in a place where artists are losing real estate, and losing a way to survive in that role in society. It’s hard enough to be an artist in general. It’s a scary life path to choose.

Above: In Floating Peep Show, audiences were ferried over to four sailboats rafted together, where they could pay to watch a live performance in the hulls. Photo: Constance Hockaday

A customer takes in a peep show being performed in the hull of a sailboat. Photo: Constance Hockaday

There’s so much going on in your work — gentrification, changing urban landscapes, water as public space. Is this all something that you set out to do, or did it all just happen?

Oh my god, no. I tried really hard not to do it, for a long time. I didn’t want to be an artist! It’s a total pain.

Really? What did you start out doing?

I did everything possible. I have three degrees: an undergraduate degree in community development, a master’s in conflict resolution, and a master’s in fine art. I wanted to do something important, that would change the world. I was going to be a pediatrician, then a psychologist, then an eco-design architect, then a city planner, and then alternative dispute mediator. I did a lot of work with indigenous communities living in low-intensity war zones in Mexico and Central America, working for media justice.

But the one thing I know for sure is that I really love the ocean. I just want to interact with the ocean on my own terms. It’s beautiful, and it calls to me spiritually, but it’s also a space that is a no-man’s land. It’s upholding some other value system. In maritime law, you can move in whatever direction you want. Private property does not dictate your trajectory. It is a self-directed process, and you are in participation with nature and the shapes that the water is making.

So that, to me, is really important. It’s convenient to call it art, but I don’t know if it’s really art. It’s just what I do. I want to get people on the water in boats, and I want to tell a really good story. So I work with boats, making worlds on the water because I feel people behave differently, interact with each other differently there. I’m interested in getting people into a place where they can find some reverence.

Constance Hockaday

Constance Hockaday speaks about the Floating Peepshow at TEDGlobal 2014. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

And now you’ve launched a Kickstarter campaign for your next project — which celebrates another marginalized community that lives on the urban waterfront. Tell us about that.

Always Get on the Boat is a participatory community art project with a group of sailors and artists that are losing their place on a piece of land, which is connected to a marina, in Oakland, California. The Fifth Avenue Marina is a very special piece of property that artists and sailors have been building out — little nooks and studios, workshops, metal shops, with a very Cannery Row kind of feeling. It was an old industrial foundry that shut down. It got re-purposed around 50 years ago, and the owners of this property have allowed people to inhabit it and create spaces that fit their very specific creative needs.

Is this a cohesive, established community?

It’s established, but it’s also been very secret. People might not be building to code, and it has been on the outskirts of the town in this industrial wasteland. It’s been a free-for-all for many decades. And what’s really special about it is that it has had many decades to evolve and grow, and make itself into this world. There aren’t a lot of places in urban areas — especially in California — that are given that much time to just see what people with limited resources and a lot of really great ideas can build.

All of the land around the studios and the Marina is public trust land, and it’s also a Superfund site. People have been working for decades to figure out how to utilize this land in a way that is best for the public. People spent 10 years writing a plan for the estuary. However, there’s another contingency that is trying to change things so that the public trust land may be developed for private homes.

To make a long story short, development of private condos on this land is now set to go ahead, and they will be the largest buildings in Oakland. People will still have access to the water — but via mall boardwalks. And while the Marina community is not yet slated to be bulldozed, it will be developed around. That means that at any moment, somebody can roll up in there and be like, “That’s not up to building code. It’s going to cost you $5 million to bring this up to code.” And that will be the end.

A big part of the Marina community’s original ties was from fighting this development project the first time, and now everyone there is super depressed. So I thought, “Let’s do a project, something that’s going to bring everybody together so we can talk about what there is to celebrate in this place, as well as express the grief and the trauma of losing it.” There are old men — 80-, 90-year-old men — that have lived there for most of their lives. I have no idea, if they get kicked out, where they will go.

What will the project look like?

I’m getting a retired Coast Guard vessel — a 175-foot long, 1939 Coast Guard cutter called the Fir, and we plan to do an immersive performance inside and throughout the ship. The audience will be taken by boat to the ship, as we did with Peep Show, and then allowed to roam free. As they’re going through, different artists and sailors will perform. There’s a choreographer, and we’ll have drone operators and projection mappers. It will be a performance spectacle that allows the community to confront and process the grief and the frustration and the feeling of disempowerment that is coming with all of the changes — as well as celebrating itself.

While this will be quite far out in the water, the hope is that the Marina and development will be in view. We will be using drones and light to close the gap, so people can witness their landscape from another perspective, and multimedia will close the gap between the audience and the landscape.

Diagram of Hockaday's proposed project Always Get on the Boat, a waterborne celebration of the Fifth Street Marina community in Oakland, California. Image: Julie Freeman

A diagram of Hockaday’s proposed project, Always Get on the Boat, a waterborne celebration of the Fifth Street Marina community in Oakland, California. Image: Julie Freeman

Is this project partly about advocating the protection of public space?

Yes, but it’s also specifically about access to the water. It’s about having a relationship with the water. Not just walking on a boardwalk at a mall looking at the water, but being in participation with it, whether it’s recreationally, or for food, or for stewardship.

Different urban areas have different relationships to their waterfronts. In Santa Cruz, California, for example, public staircases go down the sides of cliffs straight into the water for the surfers. But in New York, people have been conditioned to understand the waters as a place of industry. Now all of that industry is coming down and the waterfront can be reinterpreted, but there’s been a century of no relationship to it. So people aren’t even imagining how to use it in any other way.

This is why, to me, a waterfront is so important in an urban area. There is a wilderness and spirit that I feel is important for the survival of all of humanity. The Fifth Avenue Marina has direct access to the water, in whatever crappy boat or whatever makeshift thing you have. You get in the water, and there’s this whole wilderness just right off the shore of the city. I’m not just talking about the seals, egrets and other creatures. I’m also talking about weather and a power of nature that is greater than the hand of man.

Would the ship be a permanent installation?

It will be temporary, but then — who knows? A museum in Santa Cruz is asking for it once we’re finished, and we might bring it back down the coast to Monterey Bay. I’m hoping to partner with museums and the Exploratorium, and we could technically take it on tour. But one thing at a time.

I’m also interested in collaborating with the tech industry, which is booming in San Francisco again. It’s frustrating, because there are a lot of really creative, socially conscious, wonderful people who are a part of that industry, who are sort of the face what is changing the city. I can’t help but feel pissed off at them, which sucks, because I love Google, right? I think it would be interesting to find ways to really make relationships with those people who innovate: the drone people, the people who are innovating with LEDs, and so on. I use technology more and more, and it would be cool to bridge a gap between what is happening in the tech world, with artists that feel like they’re being displaced by the tech world.

Apart from the technology, there’s another part of my practice that’s very much about video and storytelling and weaving all my ideas together. In the ship, there will be room for all different kinds of lectures. I want there to be a section of the ship that’s the story of the universe, and a section of the ship that’s the story of civilization. My hope is that the audience will be there for around three hours. There will be rooms where they can take sanctuary, and then go back out and take more information.

Why the story of the universe?

Because the story of the universe is really important. The sun is burning up right now, and eventually it will burn up completely, and then we’ll all die. That’s the trajectory of the planet. I think that’s important to keep in mind.

Yes, I’m sad about the general trajectory of how post-industrial American cities are developing, destroying all creativity and texture, as has happened in San Francisco’s gay bars, sex clubs and all of this radical culture. The same thing happened in New York. Maybe these cultures got a decade or two — maybe three, with momentum — to build a place. And then they are stamped out by completely sterile, contrived architectural realities that diminish the complexity of culture.

But having said all that,  it’s also true that everything has to change and die. We can’t get stuck in nostalgia forever. We sort of have to get in line with what’s going on in the universe. And this is not a brand-new story. San Francisco is a boom-and-bust town. All of civilization has been on this path, and that’s important to keep in perspective.

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="330" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/107430734" title="ALWAYS GET ON THE BOAT" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="586"></iframe>

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Above, watch Constance Hockaday’s video introducing Always Get on the Boat, and visit Kickstarter to help make it happen.


TED10 weird things I accidentally learned about New York

New York, . Here's one of my favorite images of it, Image: Wikipedia/George Schlegel lithographers

New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town! Here’s one of my favorite images of it, created by George Schlegel lithographers in 1873, while the Brooklyn Bridge was under construction. Image: Wikipedia

New York is a playground of absurdity. I’ve lived here on and off for the past decade. Since I ate my first workday lunch in a “park” in downtown Manhattan, I’ve been blindly accepting everyone’s inexplicable behavior in this city, not least of all the block-long cronut line I pass on my way to work every morning. So when I started curating the speaker program for TEDxNewYork — which is less than two weeks away — it seemed a productively impossible task: to expand my view beyond my own little pocket of the city.

New York is an extrovert, leading and looking forward, not looking underground, inside or backwards. So finding local speakers with ideas that haven’t yet surfaced has been surprisingly difficult. But during our curation research, my team and I fell down a lot of research rabbit holes, each leading to something we just didn’t know about New York’s underbelly. Doing research like this means a lot of nights on the Internet — Wikipedia lists, New Yorker archives, the tables of contents of academic publications, Reddit — but also just talking to people — to strangers in bars, to your friend about their dissertation, to others standing on the subway platform. Once people know you’re looking for local stories, they start volunteering weird information. When you hear about a person, place or thing from multiple sources before NPR or The New York Times has caught on, you start to connect the dots as to what’s about to break out.

Keeping your ear to the dirty Manhattan ground doesn’t always yield great TEDx Talks, but it does make for good watercooler conversation. Below, 10 facts we learned from our research that we thought you’d enjoy.

  1. City Hall used to be a place for “sturdy beggars.” In 1735, New York built its first almshouse where City Hall is today. According to urban archaeologist Alyssa Loorya, one of our speakers, “It served five groups: ‘Poor Needy Persons,’ ‘Idle Wandering Vagabonds,’ ‘Sturdy Beggars,’ ‘Parents of Bastard Children,’ and the ‘bastard’ children.”
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  2. If you drop your Blackberry into the subway tracks, you can get it back from these guys. Dubbed “the fishermen of the subway” they use homemade tools to recover the things New Yorkers drop on the tracks.
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  3. One fire hydrant and a badly designed parking spot can net the city $33,000 in a year. But: Thanks to speaker Ben Wellington, who first posted this data on his blog, the city also shows that it can self-correct.
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  4. Some subway buskers have agents. We were surprised to discover this when we approached one.
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  5. New York State is buying out 750 homes in Staten Island and Long Island as a strategy to protect against future hurricanes. The City, which normally favors rebuilding over demolishing, turned down residents, so the people of Staten Island went over their heads to the State. A friend in an urban planning program at MIT told me about this over a beer one night recently, and I can’t say I’ve met one Manhattanite who knows about it.
    .
  6. The ubiquitous voice of subway announcements lives in Maine. Her name is Carolyn Hopkins, and she does non-New York gigs, too: She’s the voice of 200 different airports.
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  7. As of June this year, New York now has a Morbid Anatomy Museum. You can take workshops there on some pretty weird stuff.
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  8. There are only two states in the US that automatically charge 16- and 17-year-old as adults, and New York is one of them. Unhealthy jail systems have been in the news quite a bit since Preet Bharara, the US attorney in Manhattan, published a lengthy report in August on treatment of teens in Rikers Island. Now as solitary confinement for teens at Rikers comes to an end we turn to our speaker Ismael Nazario, who was in solitary in Rikers for over 300 days before ever being convicted of a crime, to hear his story.
    .
  9. The James A. Farley Post Office, the enormous historic building next to Penn Station bears the inscription: “Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.” You can take a tour of the nearly empty building, or even have a fashion show. (You can also try to have a TEDx event there. Not that we would know.)
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  10. Oh, and one thing everyone knows: The Rent is (still) 2 Damn High.

TEDxNewYork 2014 — themed “Grand, central” — will take place on November 1, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Find out more.


LongNowLarry Harvey Seminar Media

This lecture was presented as part of The Long Now Foundation’s monthly Seminars About Long-term Thinking.

Why The Man Keeps Burning

Monday October 20, 02014 – San Francisco

Audio is up on the Harvey Seminar page, or you can subscribe to our podcast.

*********************

The Hundred Year Burn – a summary by Paul Saffo

Stewart Brand’s flight from London was delayed causing him to miss this talk, so this months Seminar was hosted by Long Now executive director Alexander Rose, and the write up is by board member Paul Saffo.

Burning Man is like one of those birthday candles you can’t blow out,” observed Burning Man’s primary founder and Chief Philosophical Officer. Indeed, Burning Man has thrived in the face of Burners and skeptics alike declaring it dead after each of its first 25 years. Too big, too fashionable, too many rich people, too hard to get in: each year the rationale changes, and Burning Man continues to thrive.

Half of the secret is simplicity. Consider the Man. Before anything exists on the playa, Burning Man begins with a single stake pounded into the ground marking the spot where the Man will stand. This is the axis mundi of Burning Man, the point on which everything converges, from the radiating streets to the final ritual of the burn. The stake itself is the object of a spontaneous ritual: as it is placed each year, each crew-member gives the stake a few hammer-blows to drive it in.

The other half of Burning Man’s secret is transformation. “Just when you are done with one existential challenge, then you encounter another.” For example, in recent years, forty percent of Burning Man’s population are newcomers. “I am pretty comfortable with that – it is new energy that keeps things very much alive,” observed Harvey.

Burning Man is now setting on a course to thrive for another 75 years. Its Ten Principles are the compass and the newly established Philosophical Center is the think tank and “collective memory and conscience” helping guide Burning Man on this 100-year journey. Harvey observed that, “Corporations have a remarkably short life-span, while cities have a remarkably long life-span – drop an atom bomb on it and it comes right back. We will find our way. It always looks dubious when we set out because we are setting out in the dark. But your faith always guides you.” Our advice: mark your calendar for the last Monday of August 02090 and sign up early; the tickets are certain to sell out fast.

Subscribe to our Seminar email list for updates and summaries.

RacialiciousI’m Sorry: Reflections on Shootings on Parliament Hill

by Guest Contributor Dorothy Attakora-Gyan

By now I am sure most people worldwide have heard about the October 22 shootings that took place on Parliament Hill in the nations capital in Canada.

Tragically the event took the life of Cpl Nathan Cirillo, a young 24 year old father.

The very fact that this fallen soldier lost his life at the National War Memorial has the nation in collective mourning.

As a student residing in Ottawa, one privileged to live downtown, mere minutes and walking distance from Parliament Hill, I have witnessed the fear and uncertainly that throughout the day evolved into moral panic.

More specifically, I speak of panic that has led to some very racist depictions in the media, over social media, and in public domains, some riddled with undertones of Islamaphobia and anti- Indigenous sentiments. As the day came to an end and night approached few still had answers and I was only left with my reflections.

So many ‘feels’ that left feeling conflicted and unsettled.

All I could do was sit in this pool of sorry’s that still threatens to drown me.

I’m really sorry that today was so awful and triggering for so many people. I’m especially sorry for the soldier who lost his life today as well as those affected a few days ago in Québec. Sorry for their families and friends. I’m sorry for the collective fear felt by all, children, youth, adults, and elders alike. I’m sorry for the lockdown across downtown Ottawa and University of Ottawa that kept people indoors when they could have been out getting fresh air. Sorry for the pregnant and expectant mothers, those that are differently abled who were inconvenienced unexpectedly from the lock out. Sorry for the classes that were canceled. For the dogs that couldn’t be walked. That time stood still for so many.

I’m sorry for all the victims of today that won’t be written about. I’m simultaneously sorry for any ‘Aboriginal’/ ‘South American looking’/ ‘terrorist looking Muslim’ folk who fit the ‘description’ of the suspect as depicted and labeled by the media. I’m sorry for those who embody such descriptions and the experiences they will have in this world walking the streets the next few days as a result.

I’m also sorry for anyone in uniform who risks their lives for all of us walking through this city the next few days as a result of today. I’m sorry for the girls and women in scarves/ hijabs/ burqua’s who will be given the collective side-eye from society. Sorry for those who have ever experienced war previously and taken back to those days.

I’m sorry for guns even existing in this world. Sorry for violence of any kind.

Including systemic.

I’m sorry for anyone else who was in crisis today and their emergencies overshadowed by the chaos. I’m sorry for Malala Yousafzai who traveled to Toronto today to speak and share in celebration her Nobel Peace Prize on a day so tension filled with undertones of Islamaphobia.

I’m sorry that we are all so easily bought into fear. That we even experience fear.

I’m sorry for all my friends on my timeline who have me questioning their loyalty and critical analysis. Those who have shown me who they are today. The ones that have showed me who matters in their world. The ones that have long stayed silent about things that also matter but have chosen today as the day to express their rage about injustices in the world. Those who have posted nothing about Aboriginal/ Indigenous/ First Nations/ Métis women missing in Canada.

Those who have long stayed ‘neutral’ while trans* women have been murdered the last few months. The colour-blind ones who think young black men being gunned down by police has nothing to do with race; yet understand that when one soldier is gunned down, all in uniform are under attack and at risk.

Those who literally benefit off our communities, will exoticize us, fuck us, want ‘unique’ looking bi-racial babies with us, co-opt us, appropriate us, and yet go ghost when our communities come under attack.

I’m also sorry that I internalize all these things and always thinking of saying sorry when so many people refuse to stay woke and act so violently towards each other. That my gender conditioning has me role playing apologies as if I were the gun man myself. Sorry that I feel guilty for burdens that are not mine to own. Sorry that so many people checked in on me, concerned for my safety when there are so many street- involved, houseless, folk who walked the streets never privy to a lockdown or someone checking for them.

Sorry that I felt guilty for my privileges rather than checking them.

Today I watched my Facebook timeline so hard. The comments. The posts. The likes. The photos. I hope tomorrow I wake up and we are all invested in doing better for each other. That we are all infuriated by what is happening in the world around us.

I hope that more lives matter to us as a collective.

That we no longer place more or less value on human beings. Humans born into this world the same as the next person.

May we all never lose our will to feel compassion in any situation.

And may we avoid dangerous binaries that silence voices for being critical assuming they aren’t compassionate.

May we stop policing folks for how they should feel during tragedies of any sort?

Can we stop the investment in systems and more in each other?

It shouldn’t be like this but it is and I’m sorry.

A self- identified African feminist Dorothy Attakora- Gyan straddles multiple often conflicting positionalities. With identities as hyphenated as her last name, she is a nomad and community member currently completing her Doctorate at the Institute for Feminist and Gender Studies at the University of Ottawa. Dorothy is invested in studying the processes, discourses and practices of solidarity building across differences within transnational feminist networks, with a particular interest in rural and peasant women in the Global South organizing around food sovereignty. A community health promoter and sexual health educator, Dorothy approaches her life and work from a holistic anti- oppressive framework. Always keen on pushing boundaries and disrupting taken for granted assumptions of normativity she is continuously interrogating how power and privilege operate in interlocking and intersecting ways.

The post I’m Sorry: Reflections on Shootings on Parliament Hill appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

Sociological ImagesWhy Do Witches Ride Brooms?

According to an article by Megan Garber at The Atlantic, they did it for the drugs.

Starting in the 1300s, Europeans developed a taste for hallucinogenic drugs. Unfortunately, ingesting them often caused nausea and vomiting. Absorbing them through the skin came with fewer side effects and delivering them through the mucous membranes of the female genitals was ideal.

A physician quoted at The Guardian says the claim is medically sound:

Ointment would have been very effective as a delivery method… Mucous membranes are particularly good at transporting drugs – that’s why cocaine is snorted… Vaginal application would be pretty efficient, and the effects of the drugs would be noticeable quite rapidly.

According to legend, then, witches would coat the handle of a broom — a convenient household item — lift their skirts and get high.

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The women who trafficked in hallucinogenic substances were often accused of being witches.  Or, conversely, women accused of being witches were also accused of making magic ointments (from the fat of murdered children, no less). And witch experts in the 15th century claimed that they used these ointments not just to get high, but to get high; that is, that they literally flew using ointments.

Hence, witches on brooms.

Vintage witch poster for sale here.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Planet Linux AustraliaJames Morris: Linux Security Summit 2014 Wrap-Up

The slides from the 2014 Linux Security Summit in August may be found linked at the schedule.

LWN covered both the James Bottomley keynote, and the SELinux on Android talk by Stephen Smalley.

We had an engaging and productive two days, with strong attendance throughout.  We’ll likely follow a similar format next year at LinuxCon.  I hope we can continue to expand the contributor base beyond mostly kernel developers.  We’re doing ok, but can certainly do better.  We’ll also look at finding a sponsor for food next year.

Thanks to those who contributed and attended, to the program committee, and of course, to the events crew at Linux Foundation, who do all of the heavy lifting logistics-wise.

See you next year!

Planet DebianPatrick Matthäi: BASH fix Debian Lenny (5.0) CVE-2014-6271, CVE-2014-7169 aka Shellshock

Hello,

I have decided to create fixed bash packages for Debian Lenny. I have applied the upstream patchsets from from 052 until 057, so some other issues are also addressed in it. :-)
And here they are:

Source .dsc: http://misc.linux-dev.org/bash_shellshock/bash_3.2-4.1.dsc
amd64 package: http://misc.linux-dev.org/bash_shellshock/bash_3.2-4.1_amd64.deb
i386 package: http://misc.linux-dev.org/bash_shellshock/bash_3.2-4.1_i386.deb

Much fun with it!

Worse Than FailureIt's Easier This Way

After more than two years at WTF Inc., I thought I'd seen everything that could be done wrong actually done wrong in the worst possible way. Whether it was DBAs who wcouldn't administer a database if their lives depended upon it, managers who wcouldn't manage anything, or business people who simply could not understand the concept of save a dollar today, spend ten tomorrow to fix it.

After that dalliance, I'm back in my chosen field. While crazy things sometimes get done in insane ways, it's usually in the name of beating the competition to market, and (almost) always with the understanding that it will be fixed later - at a price.

However, this one struck me as sooo wtf that I'm not even going to try to anonymize it.

Every project from hello world on up has a source tree. It might be as simple as a single directory with one or more source files, or it could be an entire hierarchy of packages, common and external libraries, and so forth. The one thing they all have in common is that the one or more main programs in a project are all applications that pertain to that project. You never see two unrelated projects sharing the same source tree. They might share a common shared library, but not the same source tree. It just isn't done.

Or so I thought.

At my present firm, the culture specifies that for major architectural/code reviews, there must be one very senior member from an unrelated team/department present, and that individual has veto authority on anything that's said or presented. This is to allow an unbiased opinion to be offered without threat of reprisal by the manager.

As one of the more senior folks, I was volunteered for this task at a department that could only be linked back to me from five levels up. I didn't know any of these people, and so had no axe to grind. I went in with an open mind.

When they described their project, for the most part, their approach, level of scalability and parallelism, use of database, messaging and services, etc. made sense. Then they showed me their repository tree. It did not make sense. There were thirteen different (unrelated) projects in there. Together:

	MasterRepository
	  |
	  |-- classes
	  |-- srcproject1
	  |    |-- com
	  |         |
	  |         |-- company
	  |               |-- business
	  |               |-- comm
	  |               |-- gui
	  |               |-- services
	  |               |-- util
	  |-- srcproject2
	  |    |-- com
	  |         |
	  |         |-- company
	  |               |-- business
	  |               |-- comm
	  |               |-- gui
	  |               |-- services
	  |               |-- util
	  | ...
	  |-- srcproject13
	  |    |-- com
	  |         |
	  |         |-- company
	  |               |-- business
	  |               |-- comm
	  |               |-- gui
	  |               |-- services
	  |               |-- util

Naturally I queried why all the other projects were in there together, and why all of their source directories were configured as source directories in this project, I was told that they were told that it's easier this way.

Though I began to shudder, I just had to know, so I looked into the source trees. There were numerous classes with the same names and implementing the same interface at the same package path but in multiple source trees. Thus, auto-complete could pick any one of them because they all had the same signature, albeit subtly different implementations. As you might imagine, this led to all sorts of debugging fun at run time.If they were lucky, something would be null and it would dump the stack. If they were less than angelic, it wouldn't perform the calculation in quite the right way. If they had been particularly bad, if wouldn't perform the calculation in quite the right way only some of the time.

As if this wasn't far enough off the beaten path, I noticed that they were all using the same build/package/deploy mechanism, but at seemingly random intervals. It turns out that to prevent each of the teams from blocking any of the other teams from doing a deployment-at-will, all of the units of work were designed to be less than one day. That is, you had one day to design, code and test your work before committing. Thus, if the other team needed to deploy, they could grab the entire tree - including all of the tiny units of work done by the other teams - that compiled but didn't necessarily accomplish anything useful - package it up and deploy it.

Of course, if someone happened to be changing some piece of functionality that was shared, but hadn't yet made all of the one-day-of-work units that comprised the larger logical change, it was possible to get a melange of code that could best be described as: it might work.

Needless to say, the entire department was experiencing very high levels of instability, blocking deployment collisions when some piece of code absolutely could not be deployed without the rest of the related changes - without breaking the other projects.

When I pointed out the folly of all of this, they told me that the boss four levels up had experienced massive problems with multiple projects under his control, and decided that a single source tree would only need to be fixed once and would thus improve throughput. I told them that all of the projects had to be liberated separated into individual project source trees. Anything that was common would need to be its own project and released on its own schedule. When they were informed that this had to be done, they said they were under a mandate from four levels up. I went to the common manager five levels up, explained the situation, and that this was the reason for all the red on the dashboard.

The order to break it all apart was given.

Krebs on Security‘Replay’ Attacks Spoof Chip Card Charges

An odd new pattern of credit card fraud emanating from Brazil and targeting U.S. financial institutions could spell costly trouble for banks that are just beginning to issue customers more secure chip-based credit and debit cards.

emvblueOver the past week, at least three U.S. financial institutions reported receiving tens of thousands of dollars in fraudulent credit and debit card transactions coming from Brazil and hitting card accounts stolen in recent retail heists, principally cards compromised as part of the breach at Home Depot.

The most puzzling aspect of these unauthorized charges? They were all submitted through Visa and MasterCard‘s networks as chip-enabled transactions, even though the banks that issued the cards in question haven’t even yet begun sending customers chip-enabled cards.

The most frustrating aspect of these unauthorized charges? They’re far harder for the bank to dispute. Banks usually end up eating the cost of fraud from unauthorized transactions when scammers counterfeit and use stolen credit cards. Even so, a bank may be able to recover some of that loss through dispute mechanisms set up by Visa and MasterCard, as long as the bank can show that the fraud was the result of a breach at a specific merchant (in this case Home Depot).

However, banks are responsible for all of the fraud costs that occur from any fraudulent use of their customers’ chip-enabled credit/debit cards — even fraudulent charges disguised as these pseudo-chip transactions.

CLONED CHIP CARDS, OR CLONED TRANSACTIONS?

The bank I first heard from about this fraud — a small financial institution in New England — battled some $120,000 in fraudulent charges from Brazilian stores in less than two days beginning last week. The bank managed to block $80,000 of those fraudulent charges, but the bank’s processor, which approves incoming transactions when the bank’s core systems are offline, let through the other $40,000. All of the transactions were debit charges, and all came across MasterCard’s network looking to MasterCard like chip transactions without a PIN.

The fraud expert with the New England bank said the institution had decided against reissuing customer cards that were potentially compromised in the five-month breach at Home Depot, mainly because that would mean reissuing a sizable chunk of the bank’s overall card base and because the bank had until that point seen virtually no fraud on the accounts.

“We saw very low penetration rates on our Home Depot cards, so we didn’t do a mass reissue,” the expert said. “And then in one day we matched a month’s worth of fraud on those cards thanks to these charges from Brazil.”

A chip card. Image: First Data

A chip card. Image: First Data

The New England bank initially considered the possibility that the perpetrators had somehow figured out how to clone chip cards and had encoded the cards with their customers’ card data. In theory, however, it should not be possible to easily clone a chip card. Chip cards are synonymous with a standard called EMV (short for Europay, MasterCard and Visa), a global payment system that has already been adopted by every other G20 nation as a more secure alternative to cards that simply store account holder data on a card’s magnetic stripe. EMV cards contain a secure microchip that is designed to make the card very difficult and expensive to counterfeit.

In addition, there are several checks that banks can use to validate the authenticity of chip card transactions. The chip stores encrypted data about the cardholder account, as well as a “cryptogram” that allows banks to tell whether a card or transaction has been modified in any way. The chip also includes an internal counter mechanism that gets incremented with each sequential transaction, so that a duplicate counter value or one that skips ahead may indicate data copying or other fraud to the bank that issued the card.

And this is exactly what has bank fraud fighters scratching their heads: Why would the perpetrators go through all the trouble of taking plain old magnetic stripe cards stolen in the Home Depot breach (and ostensibly purchased in the cybercrime underground) and making those look like EMV transactions? Why wouldn’t the scammers do what fraudsters normally do with this data, which is simply to create counterfeit cards and use the phony cards to buy gift cards and other high-priced merchandise from big box retailers?

More importantly, how were these supposed EMV transactions on non-EMV cards being put through the Visa and MasterCard network as EMV transactions in the first place?

The New England bank said MasterCard initially insisted that the charges were made using physical chip-based cards, but the bank protested that it hadn’t yet issued its customers any chip cards. Furthermore, the bank’s processor hadn’t even yet been certified by MasterCard to handle chip card transactions, so why was MasterCard so sure that the phony transactions were chip-based?

EMV ‘REPLAY’ ATTACKS?

MasterCard did not respond to multiple requests to comment for this story. Visa also declined to comment on the record. But the New England bank told KrebsOnSecurity that in a conversation with MasterCard officials the credit card company said the most likely explanation was that fraudsters were pushing regular magnetic stripe transactions through the card network as EMV purchases using a technique known as a “replay” attack.

According to the bank, MasterCard officials explained that the thieves were probably in control of a payment terminal and had the ability to manipulate data fields for transactions put through that terminal. After capturing traffic from a real EMV-based chip card transaction, the thieves could insert stolen card data into the transaction stream, while modifying the merchant and acquirer bank account on the fly.

Avivah Litan, a fraud analyst with Gartner Inc., said banks in Canada saw the same EMV-spoofing attacks emanating from Brazil several months ago. One of the banks there suffered a fairly large loss, she said, because the bank wasn’t checking the cryptograms or counters on the EMV transactions.

“The [Canadian] bank in this case would take any old cryptogram and they weren’t checking that one-time code because they didn’t have it implemented correctly,” Litan said. “If they saw an EMV transaction and didn’t see the code, they would just authorize the transaction.”

Litan said the fraudsters likely knew that the Canadian bank wasn’t checking the cryptogram and that it wasn’t looking for the dynamic counter code.

“The bad guys knew that if they encoded these as EMV transactions, the banks would loosen other fraud detection controls,” Litan said. “It appears with these attacks that the crooks aren’t breaking the EMV protocol, but taking advantage of bad implementations of it. Doing EMV correctly is hard, and there are lots of ways to break not the cryptography but to mess with the implementation of EMV.”

The thieves also seem to be messing with the transaction codes and other aspects of the EMV transaction stream. Litan said it’s likely that the perpetrators of this attack had their own payment terminals and were somehow able to manipulate the transaction fields in each charge.

“I remember when I went to Brazil a couple of years ago, their biggest problem was merchants were taking point-of-sale systems home, and then running stolen cards through them,” she said. “I’m sure they could rewire them to do whatever they wanted. That was the biggest issue at the time.”

The New England bank shared with this author a list of the fraudulent transactions pushed through by the scammers in Brazil. The bank said MasterCard is currently in the process of checking with the Brazilian merchants to see whether they had physical transactions that matched transactions shown on paper.

In the meantime, it appears that the largest share of those phony transactions were put through using a payment system called Payleven, a mobile payment service popular in Europe and Brazil that is similar in operation to Square. Most of the transactions were for escalating amounts — nearly doubling with each transaction — indicating the fraudsters were putting through debit charges to see how much money they could drain from the compromised accounts.

Litan said attacks like this one illustrate the importance of banks setting up EMV correctly. She noted that while the New England bank was able to flag the apparent EMV transactions as fraudulent in part because it hadn’t yet begun issuing EMV cards, the outcome might be different for a bank that had issued at least some chip cards.

“There’s going to be a lot of confusion when banks roll out EMV, and one thing I’ve learned from clients is how hard it is to implement properly,” Litan said. “A lot of banks will loosen other fraud controls right away, even before they verify that they’ve got EMV implemented correctly. They won’t expect the point-of-sale codes to be manipulated by fraudsters. That’s the irony: We think EMV is going to solve all our card fraud problems, but doing it correctly is going to take a lot longer than we thought. It’s not that easy.”

Planet Linux Australialinux.conf.au News: Speaker Feature: Lana Brindley & Alexandra Settle, Olivier Bilodeau

Lana Brindley and Alexandra Settle

Alexandra Settle Lana Brindley

8 writers in under 8 months: from zero to a docs team in no time flat

11:35am Thursday 15th January 2015

Lana and Alexandra are both technical writers as Rackspace, the open Cloud Company.

Lana has been writing open source technical documentation for about eight years, and right now I’m working on documenting OpenStack with Rackspace, she does a lot of speaking, mostly about writing. She also talks about other topics from open source software to geek feminism and working in IT.

Lana is also involved in several volunteer projects including linux.conf.au, Girl Geek Dinners, LinuxChix, OWOOT (Oceania Women of Open Tech), and various Linux Users Groups (LUGs). Alexandra is a technical writer with the Rackspace Cloud Builders Australia team. She began her career as a writer for the cloud documentation team at Red Hat, Australia. Alexandra prefers Fedora over other Linux distributions.

Recently she was part of a team that authored the OpenStack Design Architecture Guide, and hopes to further promote involvement in the OpenStack community within Australia.

For more information on Lana and Alexandra and their presentation, see here. You can follow them as @Loquacities (Lana) or @dewsday (Alexandra) and don’t forget to mention #LCA2015.


Olivier Bilodeau

Olivier Bilodeau

Advanced Linux Server-Side, Threats: How they work and what you can do about them

1:20pm Friday 16th January 2015

Olivier is an engineer that loves technology, software, security, open source, linux, brewing beer, travels and android.

Coming from the dusty Unix server room world, Olivier evolved professionally in networking, information security and open source software development to finally become malware researcher at ESET Canada. Presenting at Defcon, publishing in (In)secure Mag, teaching infosec to undergrads (ÉTS), driving the NorthSec Hacker Jeopardy and co-organizer of the MontréHack training initiative are among its note-worthy successes.

For more information on Olivier and his presentation, see here. You can follow him as @obilodeau and don’t forget to mention #LCA2015.

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Planet DebianJoey Hess: a programmable alarm clock using systemd

I've taught my laptop to wake up at 7:30 in the morning. When it does, it will run whatever's in my ~/bin/goodmorning script. Then, if the lid is still closed, it will go back to sleep again.

So, it's a programmable alarm clock that doesn't need the laptop to be left turned on to work.

But it doesn't have to make noise and wake me up (I rarely want to be woken up by an alarm; the sun coming in the window is a much nicer method). It can handle other tasks like downloading my email, before I wake up. When I'm at home and on dialup, this tends to take an hour in the morning, so it's nice to let it happen before I get up.

This took some time to figure out, but it's surprisingly simple. Besides ~/bin/goodmorning, which can be any program/script, I needed just two files to configure systemd to do this.

/etc/systemd/system/goodmorning.timer

[Unit]
Description=good morning

[Timer]
Unit=goodmorning.service
OnCalendar=*-*-* 7:30
WakeSystem=true
Persistent=false

[Install]
WantedBy=multi-user.target

/etc/systemd/system/goodmorning.service

[Unit]
Description=good morning
RefuseManualStart=true
RefuseManualStop=true
ConditionACPower=true

[Service]
Type=oneshot
ExecStart=/bin/systemd-inhibit --what=handle-lid-switch --why=goodmorning /bin/su joey -c /home/joey/bin/goodmorning

installation

After installing those files, run (as root): systemctl enable goodmorning.timer; systemctl start goodmorning.timer

Then, you'll also need to edit /etc/systemd/logind.conf, and set LidSwitchIgnoreInhibited=no -- this overrides the default, which is not to let systemd-inhibit block sleep on lid close.

almost too easy

I don't think this would be anywhere near as easy to do without systemd, logind, etc. Especially the handling of waking the system at the right time, and the behavior around lid sleep inhibiting.

The WakeSystem=true relies on some hardware support for waking from sleep; my laptop supported it with no trouble but I don't know how broadly available that is.

Also, notice the ConditionACPower=true, which I added once I realized I don't want the job to run if I forgot to leave the laptop plugged in overnight. Technically, it will still wake up when on battery power, but then it should go right back to sleep.

Quite a lot of nice peices of systemd all working together here!

xfce workaround

If using xfce, xfce4-power-manager takes over handling of lid close from systemd, and currently prevents the system from going back to sleep if the lid is still closed when goodmorning finishes. Happily, there is an easy workaround; this configures xfce to not override the lid switch behavior:

xfconf-query -c xfce4-power-manager -n -p /xfce4-power-manager/logind-handle-lid-switch -t bool -s true

Other desktop environments may have similar issues.

why not a per-user unit?

It would perhaps be better to use the per-user systemd, not the system wide one. Then I could change the time the alarm runs without using root.

What's prevented me from doing this is that systemd-inhibit uses policykit, and policykit prevents it from being used in this situation. It's a lot easier to run it as root and use su, than it is to reconfigure policykit.

Planet DebianHideki Yamane: Open Source Conference 2014 Tokyo/Fall


18th and 19th October,  "Open Source Conference 2014 Tokyo/Fall" was held in Meisei University, Tokyo.  About 1,500 participates there. "Tokyo area Debian Study Meeting" booth was there, provided some flyers, DVDs and chat.



 

In our Debian community session, Nobuhiro Iwamatsu talked about status of Debian8 "Jessie". Thanks, Nobuhiro :)


It seems to be not a "conference" itself but a festival for FOSS and other IT community members, so they enjoyed a lot.





... and we also enjoyed beer after party (of course :)




see you - next event!

TEDHow business can stay ahead of the curve in the age of data: Report from TED@BCG

Karin-Nilsdotter-at-TED@BCG

Karin Nilsdotter posits an intriguing idea at TED@BCG: “I believe that space is the next business frontier.” Photo: Wolfram Scheible/TED

Tuesday morning in the former East Berlin, the midcentury Kosmos cinema hummed with new ideas on business, technology and self, at an event called TED@BCG. The event was produced by TED Institute, a project that embeds within organizations and companies to help employees develop their ideas. Six hundred TEDsters, BCG’ers and guests filled the main hall for a day of surprising talks curated by Juliet Blake and hosted by Bruno Giussani. It was, Giussani said, “the first business conference in recent times where no one used the word ‘pivot'; may it be on its way out”

The talks, in chronological order:

BCG head Rich Lesser started the event by talking about the change he’s seen just this year in businesses’ attitude toward new technology. “Technology used to be something that happened ‘over there,'” he said, in labs, outside the world of companies. “But the conversation about technology has changed. Between Davos 2013 and Davos 2014, it stopped being about what’s happening ‘over there’ and is now more about: how can we rewire our companies and business models? How can we use the revelations in big data and cognitive science to do better?”

Patrick Forth talked about companies who know full well that technology is changing the world — but yet, for many reasons, they don’t change. Something like 70% of change programs at large organizations fail, he says. As he put it: “We are in the midst of a war between an irresistible force and an immovable object. The irresistible force is technology disruption. And the immovable object is the Change Monster: the inability of large organizations to change quickly.” In the rapidly changing future, he says, “The definition of competitive advantage will be the relative speed and ability of companies to change.”

Karin Nilsdotter is the manager of the Swedish spaceport at Kiruna, 200 kilometers above the Arctic Circle. And we’re all invited to drop by. As she says, “I believe that space is the next business frontier. The global turnover is expected to double from today’s $300 billion USD to over $600 billion within the next 15 years.” It’s a big goal, in an era where even her title (reminder: she is the manager of the Swedish spaceport!) still sounds science-fictional. But as she says: “Audacious goals attract talent. It is no longer enough to adapt to change, we need to lead.”

After her talk, Giussani has a question: What is the state of space race in Europe? Nilsdotter concedes: “The US is about 15 years ahead of Europe in developing a space industry.” And that’s because, as she put it, “NASA said: We have seen development but not innovation. So they opened up to private companies to bid.”

Computer scientist Dario Gil from IBM’s Watson project starts his talk by showing a video of two men talking to Watson on a wall-mounted screen. They’re working on mergers and acquisitions, so Watson pulls up a set of company data, then more data; you know, computer stuff. Then the men feed Watson a framework for making decisions about a potential merger. Now, Watson is not just serving up data but actually applying cognitive intelligence to make decisions. You can hear the audience shift in their chairs: Making decisions is a human’s job, isn’t it? “As computers get closer to areas we believe are the exclusive territory of human intelligence,” Gil says, “we oscillate between genuine excitement and deep anxiety.” So as he and his lab (he’s the director of Symbiotic Cognitive Systems at IBM Research) dive into machine intelligence, they also think deeply about the role of human intelligence. A computer’s cognitive systems, for instance, could help humans overcome some of our decision biases. But when we’re working with a cognitive system, what do humans add? His answer: “We bring the problems, the context, our expertise, our common sense and our values.”

Mikael Fogelström heads the Graphene Institute at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology. And if you haven’t yet heard of graphene, you soon will. Made of a single layer of carbon atoms in a lattice structure, graphene is called “the material of superlatives,” because so many things about it are extreme: it’s the thinnest material ever (it’s literally two-dimensional); it’s impermeable yet almost transparent; it’s stronger than diamond, yet flexible; and it’s the best thermal conductor we know. Fogelström suggests a range of uses for the material, from a tennis racket to a matrix for human cell growth to a replacement for the rare-earth minerals in mobile phones. Carbon is the fourth most abundant material on the planet, so anything is possible. What’s keeping this wonder material out of our hands for now? As he says: Production. “As soon as it moves from us research scientists to production engineers, this will start moving very quickly,” he says.

Time for a micro-doc break. In the 1990s, John Clarkeson, the former CEO of the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), mused about the future of leadership, using an unusual metaphor. His thoughts from several decades ago unlock new insight about how to do business now:

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Next, Carey Kolaja from PayPal offered a look at the future of money, from two sides of the coin: protection from fraud, and making money itself easier to use. Paypal’s vision of fraud protection goes beyond passwords and PINs, adding proofs that are harder to fake: your typical behavior, your networks. Imagine money not as the focal point of a transaction, she says, but as “an invisible event in the background of a transaction. With systems of trust in place, verification of our identity becomes passive. You merely need to acknowledge you want something in order to buy it.” Her vision also extends money to places where it’s not very available now: “When money is hard to get to, it slows society down.”

Stefan Gross-Selbeck, the new head of Digital Ventures at BCG, talks about how a business that’s running well must also plan for the next disruption — because disruptions will happen. He pulls lessons from a timely example: the battle between Uber and local taxi companies. “Why didn’t one of the global automotive giants come up with the idea for Uber?” he asks. “How is it possible that a few people with little resources can outcompete big and powerful companies when it comes to disruptive innovation?” He asks his audience the million-dollar question: “Can you execute on your current business model, and discover a new one at the same time?”

With her team, Alison Sander, the director of BCG’s Center for Sensing & Mining the Future, tracks more than 100 megatrends. But not the fast-breaking trends you might think of, like, “Where will Alibaba stock be in 2016?” These are the vast, society-changing trends that touch us all: the graying of the population, the rise of celebrity culture, the evolution of the Internet of Things. Sander shares five tips on how to use trends to your advantage. As she says: “There is no credit for spotting trends; the future belongs to those with the courage to act on what they see.”

Creative technologist Peter Kirn starts the session two of the event with a short talk on new technology in music. He demos a Kinect-powered synthesizer that turns the body into a giant theremin, a vintage electronic instrument he adores. He says: “Whether ideas are musical or not, for ideas to be successful, they need to have that same physical, emotional connection.”

As a lawyer and governance expert, Preeta Bansal believes that our technological capabilities have outpaced our ability to make laws that regulate them — including the kinds of laws that keep humanity’s worst impulses in check. “We need a postmodern moral conception of ourselves,” she suggests, “because we can no longer rely on the state and market to regulate our excesses.” And we need to start now. “In this age of do-it-yourself innovation, where an individual can now produce and distribute what governments, corporations and large institutions did in previous centuries, we no longer have the luxury of waiting for law, policy and ethics to catch up.” She muses: “Where will we find the sustained compassion and wisdom that will allow us to regulate ourselves?”

Rainer Strack of BCG’s People & Organization group starts his talk with a bar chart that sorts the German population by age. Kids of the 1960s are the largest group, while there are fewer ’70s and ’80s kids, and many, many fewer teenagers and children. Fast-forward a couple decades: As the boom generations retire, and today’s teenagers take their place in the working world — there just aren’t enough of them to do all the jobs, especially if Western economies grow as predicted. The gap between labor and demand can’t be filled by robots and algorithms. Strack lays out this coming global workforce crisis, and makes a bold four-step plan for planning, training and retaining the people our countries will need. “Sounds simple, straightforward,” he says, “so why aren’t we doing it?”

In 2030, suggests Rainer Strack, the labor supply in Germany will fall short of demand by about 8 million people. (And not all of these people can be replaced by robots or algorithms.) Slide: Rainer Strack/BCG

In 2030, suggests Rainer Strack, the labor supply in Germany will fall short of demand by about 8 million people. (And not all of these people can be replaced by robots or algorithms.) Slide: Rainer Strack/BCG

Complementing Strack’s call to action, Alexander Tuerpitz (who is BCG’s global topic leader for Labor Markets, Employment and Welfare) talks about how he’s helping Saudi Arabia tackle its unemployment crisis, especially among youth. “We have 200 million unemployed in the world, and 100 million jobs that are open right now,” he says. “Why can’t we simply connect the two?” His answer in Saudi Arabia: Rebuild the job-finding process itself. “The processes I found … were often quite complicated. The job seeker has to visit authorities, needs to fill out manual forms, has to provide documentation and finally has to wait for a letter on the application outcome.” Now, a mobile phone app lets job-seekers register and be quickly matched with a job or training.

Martin Reeves heads The Strategy Institute, BCG’s vehicle for exploring ideas from beyond the world of business. Which means he thinks about “meta-strategy.” In his work, he hears things like this from clients: “We spend 3 months of the year planning, and our plans are out of date in a month.” His answer: There is no more “strategy,” but instead five strategies to keep in mind. One strategy keeps your current business on track, while another hunts for new opportunity, and a third works to shape the larger ecosystem your business is part of.

Rochelle King, the senior designer for Spotify, was tasked a couple years ago with unifying a mismatched set of interfaces into a suite where users could live for hours, moving seamlessly between web and mobile. User data and A/B testing gave her designers measurable insight into design choices that encouraged users to explore more new music — be it the color of a background or the presence of a Play button. “The designer needs to be able to understand and interpret the nuances of the data,” she says. “But fundamentally, we can’t lose sight of the fact that both design and data are tools we use in service of crafting better experiences for people.”

“There is this advertisement for shoes that keeps following me around online,” says Kristi Rogers of BCG, “and it is extremely annoying. One — because I already bought the shoes. And two — because they are now showing up 50% off.” Why are we still seeing ads that are not relevant? Rogers borrowed a couple of quants — people who apply sophisticated mathematical analysis to financial markets — and put them to work tweaking an online advertising campaign. The strong results allow her to dream of a world where advertising isn’t intrusive, but rather a carefully targeted set of things you’d want to know about anyway.

“We think that cities automatically represent civilization,” suggests Antonella Mei-Pochtler of BCG as she kicks off session 3. But the world’s fastest growing cities are sprawling slums that disconnect urbanization and civilization. “Our challenge, our mission, is to reconnect, to make sure the promise of the city is being fulfilled,” she says. Core to this: fixing transportation. “Transportation has a lot of collateral damage if it doesn’t work: it affects your health, breaks the infrastructure, slows the economy.” In Indonesian cities, where the average traffic speed in rush hour is slower than walking pace, it’s estimated that 3-5% of GDP is lost to low mobility. Her vision: “Provide connectivity for many, not speed for few.”

On his first day of work in Boston, Daniele Quercia mapped the shortest bike route from home: Mass Ave, a busy street packed with cars. He biked it for a month before realizing: if he rode down a smaller, parallel street, he’d lose a few minutes — but he’d have a pleasant ride on a tree-lined street that would make him happier all day long. So Quercia started the Urban Opticon project, crowd-sourcing ideas about happier, quieter routes around town. You can see the preliminary results on Yahoo! Labs. He leaves us with this thought: “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is deadly.”

Daniele Quercia says, "TK" at TED@BCG. Photo: Wolfram Scheible/TED

Daniele Quercia says, “If you think adventure is dangerous, try routine. It is deadly,” at TED@BCG. Photo: Wolfram Scheible/TED

Julia Kloiber works at the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany, which encourages governments to release more public data. She shares several amazing examples of local projects that used data that a city or government was collecting anyway — and that turned it into insight for better lives. Two from her list: :snips identifies the safest and most dangerous intersections in Paris by analyzing the traffic, weather and street topology. GreatSchools.org uses US state data to analyze the quality of schools, helping 52 million parents make sure that their children are getting the education they deserve.

Anil Raj asks us to remember the cross-India blackouts of 2012, in which 700 million people lost power, some for weeks. The sad punchline: almost 400 million Indian citizens never had power to begin with. It would cost hundreds of millions of dollars to build the infrastructure to serve these 400 million people, he says. His proposal instead: Micropower. These small-scale, distributed power plants collect energy from multiple sources — from home solar, windmills and bio-fuels. The anchor tenant is the local telecom site and, from there, local entrepreneurs extend power into the community at low cost. “Low cost is religion,” he says. He asks us: If India launched the Mangalyaan Mars orbiter mission for less than it cost to make the film Gravity, why couldn’t we make 200 new power plants by January 2016?

“Small farmers in Kenya have a huge productivity gap,” says Sarah Cairns-Smith, describing three smart, tailored tech tools that work on simple mobile phones to help farmers do better. About 180,000 Kenyan farmers are using iCow, an SMS reminder service to help track the health and needs of their herds. She also points to Kilimo Salama, a phone-based crop insurance, sold along with packets of seeds, that guarantees farmers an automatic pay-out if rainfall is too low or high during seed germination. And Jamii Smart, a mobile web portal for community health workers, who can enter and access information about every mother and child in their care. Each app meets a clear need. As Carins-Smith says, “Only stuff that’s simple to use and delivers real value will survive the Darwinian app ecosystem.”

Karalee Close wants to know: Will digital disrupt healthcare — or will we die waiting? As she begins: “If I were to ask you, ‘what are the leading causes of death in developed countries today?’ you might say cancer or heart disease. Would you be surprised if I told you that preventable medical errors cause more deaths than accidents or diabetes? Mistakes are the 4th leading cause of death in the US.” Closes wants to collect the right data to understand what and who causes errors, and to help doctors get second opinions from specialists and algorithms around the world. Bigger picture, Close wants us to start using data to find the best doctors and clinics: “Imagine a TripAdvisor for healthcare, with data you can actually understand.” An important caveat on medical data: the privacy issues are complicated. But let’s take the data we have now, and start somewhere.

A bundle of energy, Jay Cousins takes the stage to challenge this audience, many of whom work for or consult for large, long-lived companies: Have you planned for the death of your company and its afterlife? “When the dotcom bubble burst,” he reminds us, “the dead dotcoms left the world with the transatlantic internet backbone, from which we all now benefit. When your organization dies, what will your corporate legacy be?” Or perhaps you’d like to avoid obsolescence. Cousins’ insight: Look at what part of your company is interesting to hackers and creators, and lean into it. “Hackers are like bees — they don’t ask the flower for permission before they take the pollen. Your product and your brand are fair game … Hackers look first at what exists and how they can use it. You can see them as a part of an ecosystem, not a threat.”


Planet DebianColin Watson: Moving on, but not too far

The Ubuntu Code of Conduct says:

Step down considerately: When somebody leaves or disengages from the project, we ask that they do so in a way that minimises disruption to the project. They should tell people they are leaving and take the proper steps to ensure that others can pick up where they left off.

I've been working on Ubuntu for over ten years now, almost right from the very start; I'm Canonical's employee #17 due to working out a notice period in my previous job, but I was one of the founding group of developers. I occasionally tell the story that Mark originally hired me mainly to work on what later became Launchpad Bugs due to my experience maintaining the Debian bug tracking system, but then not long afterwards Jeff Waugh got in touch and said "hey Colin, would you mind just sorting out some installable CD images for us?". This is where you imagine one of those movie time-lapse clocks ... At some point it became fairly clear that I was working on Ubuntu, and the bug system work fell to other people. Then, when Matt Zimmerman could no longer manage the entire Ubuntu team in Canonical by himself, Scott James Remnant and I stepped up to help him out. I did that for a couple of years, starting the Foundations team in the process. As the team grew I found that my interests really lay in hands-on development rather than in management, so I switched over to being the technical lead for Foundations, and have made my home there ever since. Over the years this has given me the opportunity to do all sorts of things, particularly working on our installers and on the GRUB boot loader, leading the development work on many of our archive maintenance tools, instituting the +1 maintenance effort and proposed-migration, and developing the Click package manager, and I've had the great pleasure of working with many exceptionally talented people.

However. In recent months I've been feeling a general sense of malaise and what I've come to recognise with hindsight as the symptoms of approaching burnout. I've been working long hours for a long time, and while I can draw on a lot of experience by now, it's been getting harder to summon the enthusiasm and creativity to go with that. I have a wonderful wife, amazing children, and lovely friends, and I want to be able to spend a bit more time with them. After ten years doing the same kinds of things, I've accreted history with and responsibility for a lot of projects. One of the things I always loved about Foundations was that it's a broad church, covering a wide range of software and with a correspondingly wide range of opportunities; but, over time, this has made it difficult for me to focus on things that are important because there are so many areas where I might be called upon to help. I thought about simply stepping down from the technical lead position and remaining in the same team, but I decided that that wouldn't make enough of a difference to what matters to me. I need a clean break and an opportunity to reset my habits before I burn out for real.

One of the things that has consistently held my interest through all of this has been making sure that the infrastructure for Ubuntu keeps running reliably and that other developers can work efficiently. As part of this, I've been able to do a lot of work over the years on Launchpad where it was a good fit with my remit: this has included significant performance improvements to archive publishing, moving most archive administration operations from excessively-privileged command-line operations to the webservice, making build cancellation reliable across the board, and moving live filesystem building from an unscalable ad-hoc collection of machines into the Launchpad build farm. The Launchpad development team has generally welcomed help with open arms, and in fact I joined the ~launchpad team last year.

So, the logical next step for me is to make this informal involvement permanent. As such, at the end of this year I will be moving from Ubuntu Foundations to the Launchpad engineering team.

This doesn't mean me leaving Ubuntu. Within Canonical, Launchpad development is currently organised under the Continuous Integration team, which is part of Ubuntu Engineering. I'll still be around in more or less the usual places and available for people to ask me questions. But I will in general be trying to reduce my involvement in Ubuntu proper to things that are closely related to the operation of Launchpad, and a small number of low-effort things that I'm interested enough in to find free time for them. I still need to sort out a lot of details, but it'll very likely involve me handing over project leadership of Click, drastically reducing my involvement in the installer, and looking for at least some help with boot loader work, among others. I don't expect my Debian involvement to change, and I may well find myself more motivated there now that it won't be so closely linked with my day job, although it's possible that I will pare some things back that I was mostly doing on Ubuntu's behalf. If you ask me for help with something over the next few months, expect me to be more likely to direct you to other people or suggest ways you can help yourself out, so that I can start disentangling myself from my current web of projects.

Please contact me sooner or later if you're interested in helping out with any of the things I'm visible in right now, and we can see what makes sense. I'm looking forward to this!

Planet DebianGregor Herrmann: RC bugs 2014/38-43

it's this time of the year^Wrelease cycle again – almost. in ten days (& roughly two hours), the freeze for the next debian release, codenamed jessie, will start. by this time packages must be in testing in order to be candidates for the release, as explained in the release team's detailed freeze policy. this also means, with the regular testing migration time set to ten days, that tonight's dinstall run closed the regular upload window.

& this also means that we should all concentrate on fixing RC bugs to make the freeze as short as possible & jessie yet another great release. before I head over to the UDD bugs page, I'd like to summarize my work on RC bugs in the last weeks, which was again focussed on packages in the Debian Perl Group.

  • #736739 – src:lemonldap-ng: "[src:lemonldap-ng] Sourceless file"
    upload new upstream release prepared by Xavier Guimard (pkg-perl)
  • #736807 – src:lemonldap-ng: "[src:lemonldap-ng] Non free file"
    upload new upstream release prepared by Xavier Guimard (pkg-perl)
  • #742409 – libsereal-encoder-perl: "libsereal-encoder-perl: FTBFS on some architectures"
    upload new upstream release, with patch from ntyni (pkg-perl)
  • #755317 – src:libnet-bonjour-perl: "libnet-bonjour-perl: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    lower severity (pkg-perl)
  • #755328 – src:libgraph-writer-graphviz-perl: "libgraph-writer-graphviz-perl: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    update patches for test suite (pkg-perl)
  • #759966 – src:libvideo-fourcc-info-perl: "libvideo-fourcc-info-perl: FTBFS: dh_auto_test: perl Build test returned exit code 255"
    close bug, fixed in #762334 (pkg-perl)
  • #762333 – libcgi-application-plugin-ajaxupload-perl: "libcgi-application-plugin-ajaxupload-perl: FTBFS with libjson-any-perl 1.36-1: test failures"
    close, as the bug is fixed in libpackage-stash-perl, cf. #762334 (pkg-perl)
  • #763254 – src:libcrypt-gcrypt-perl: "libcrypt-gcrypt-perl: FTBFS: GCrypt.xs:59:5: error: unknown type name 'gcry_ac_handle_t'"
    add patch from CPAN RT (pkg-perl)
  • #765053 – libapache-dbilogger-perl: "libapache-dbilogger-perl: FTBFS - undefined symbol: modperl_is_running"
    close, as the bug is fixed in libapache2-mod-perl2, cf. #765174 (pkg-perl)
  • #765137 – src:libcgi-fast-perl: "libcgi-fast-perl: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    upload new upstream release (pkg-perl)
  • #765150 – src:libhtml-formfu-perl: "libhtml-formfu-perl: FTBFS: Tests failures"
    lower severity (pkg-perl)
  • #765165 – liblog-dispatch-perl: "liblog-dispatch-perl: missing dependency/recommendation on libdevel-globaldestruction-perl"
    add missing (build) dependency (pkg-perl)

Planet DebianSune Vuorela: KDE makes Qt

Recently I was trying some statistics on the qtbase-module (where QtCore, QtGui, QtWidgets and so on lives) and was wondering who made them.
Not based on their current paid affilation, like Thiago’s graphs, but if each commit was made by a person coming from KDE.

So, I got hold of Thiago’s scripts, a lovely mix of perl and zsh, and a QtBase git repository. First steps was to try to classify people as person coming from KDE or not. Of course, I’m a KDE person. Thiago is a KDE person. David Faure is a KDE person. Olivier Goffart is a KDE person. Lars Knoll is a KDE person.

By the help of the KDE accounts file, and some of the long time KDE contributors, I got after a half day of work a good list of it. Then next steps was trying to put it into Thiago’s perlscripts

All of it kind of succeeded:

qtbase-KDE.graph

So, KDE people makes up for 40-60% of the weekly commits to QtBase. This is again shows that KDE is important to Qt, just as the reverse is. So, let’s keep KDE healthy.

KDE is running a end-of-year fundraiser over here https://www.kde.org/fundraisers/yearend2014/. Go ahead and donate, and help KDE stay healthy. For your own sake. And for Qt’s.

Planet DebianPau Garcia i Quiles: FOSDEM 2015 Desktops DevRoom Call for Talks

FOSDEM is one of the largest gatherings of Free Software contributors in the world and happens each February in Brussels (Belgium). One of the tracks will be the Desktops DevRoom (formerly known as “CrossDesktop DevRoom”), which will host Desktop-related talks.

We are now inviting proposals for talks about Free/Libre/Open-source Software on the topics of Desktop development, Desktop applications and interoperability amongst Desktop Environments. This is a unique opportunity to show novel ideas and developments to a wide technical audience.

Topics accepted include, but are not limited to: Enlightenment, Gnome, KDE, Unity, XFCE, LXQt, Windows, Mac OS X, software development for the desktop, general desktop matters, applications that enhance desktops and web (when related to desktop).

Talks can be very specific, such as the advantages/disadvantages of development with Qt on Wayland over X11/Mir; or as general as predictions for the fusion of Desktop and web in 5 years time. Topics that are of interest to the users and developers of all desktop environments are especially welcome. The FOSDEM 2014 schedule might give you some inspiration.

Please include the following information when submitting a proposal:

  • Your name
  • The title of your talk (please be descriptive, as titles will be listed with around 250 from other projects)
  • Short abstract of one or two paragraphs
  • Short bio (with photo)
  • Requested time: from 15 to 45 minutes. Normal duration is 30 minutes. Longer duration requests must be properly justified. You may be assigned LESS time than you request.

The deadline for submissions is December 7th 2014. FOSDEM will be held on the weekend of January 31st-February 1st 2015 and the Desktops DevRoom will take place on Sunday, February 1st 2015. Please use the following website to submit your proposals: https://penta.fosdem.org/submission/FOSDEM15 (you do not need to create a new Pentabarf account if you already have one from past years).

You can also join the devroom’s mailing list, which is the official communication channel for the DevRoom: desktops-devroom@lists.fosdem.org (subscription page for the mailing list)

– The Desktops DevRoom 2015 Organization Team

Planet DebianRuss Allbery: California general election

Probably only of interest to California residents.

Time again for the general election voting. This is probably too late to be helpful for a lot of people voting permanent absentee, but may as well write this down anyway. (Hm, I apparently didn't do this in 2012.)

Propositions:

Proposition 1: YES. Now is one of the best times in history to borrow money for infrastructure improvements, and our water infrastructure in the state can certainly use it.

Proposition 2: YES. I have somewhat mixed feelings about this, since I hate passing complex legislation like this via proposition, but this already went through the legislature. It would be dumb for the federal government, which can more easily borrow money, but given how the finances of state governments work in the US, this sort of rainy day fund is probably prudent. This one seems reasonably well-designed, and the opposition is panic about a secondary effect on how school reserves are managed that can be changed with later legislative action and which is rather unconvincing.

Proposition 45: YES. I can't get very enthused about yet more bandaids on top of our completely broken health care system, but forcing insurance companies to justify rate increases results in some public pressure against profit-taking by insurance companies. Single payer is what we actually need, but this might be mildly helpful. Plus, the argument against is more incoherent nonsense. So, I'm voting yes, but I don't think it's important and I won't mind if it loses.

Proposition 46: NO. There are a lot of things that we should do about preventable medical errors, starting with funding our health care system properly, testing drugs properly, and investing in proper inspections and medical licensing investigations. Drug testing doctors is not among those things. This is a well-meaning but horrible idea pushed by a victim's advocacy group that won't do anything to improve our health care system. The fear-mongering of the opponents about malpractice lawsuits is a bit much, but there are essentially no positive benefits here.

Proposition 47: YES. Requires that misdemeanor crimes actually be misdemeanors, rather than giving prosecutors discretion to charge them as felonies if the person charged happens to be black-- er, I mean, if the prosecutor doesn't like them for some reason. Obviously a good idea on all fronts: stop over-charging crimes, stop giving prosecutors discretion to choose the impact of laws on particular people (since they rarely use it appropriately), and further try to decriminalize our completely worthless "war on drugs."

Proposition 48: YES. I'm opposed to the Indian gaming system in general, but this proposition appears to be a rather cynical attempt to block new casino development by tribes that already have casinos. My general feeling is that if we're going to have casinos, they should generally be legal; the bizarre system where each casino is subject to public approval seems designed to create political cronyism.

State offices:

I'm not going to comment on the partisan offices, since no one interesting survived the primaries. Across the board, it's basically the Democratic incumbants against various Republicans. The state Republican party in California is dominated by science denialists, Randian objectivists, and people who think the solution to all problems is ensuring rich people don't pay taxes, so it takes rather a lot to get me to vote for any of them. At the moment, the Democrats are doing a reasonably good job running the state, so while I'd vote for challengers from the left against several of them, given the boring candidate slate, I'm just voting Democrat down the line.

California has a system that requires voter approval for various state judicial offices. In general, I don't agree with voter approval for judges, since voters are rarely in a position to make reasonable choices about justices. Since there's a Democratic administration in power at the moment, these are probably the best judges that we're going to get (the few I've heard of are good choices), and I don't think the yes/no approval voting is useful anyway. So I'm voting to approve across the board.

Superintendent of Public Instruction: Tom Torlakson. I'm not a huge fan of Torlakson, but Tuck is a Harvard MBA who ran charter schools and then a school privatization initiative. Everyone always claims that they want to reduce bureaucracy and empower teachers, but Tuck has a past track record of trying to do so by taking public education private, something that I am passionately opposed to. So Torlakson it is.

Local measures:

Measure B: YES. Increases the local hotel tax and uses it for local infrastructure. I'm generally in favor of raising taxes, and the amount certainly won't be significant in the ridiculous Palo Alto hotel market. The arguments against feature one of my favorite stupid right-wing talking points: the tax is unfair because it isn't earmarked to benefit the people paying it.

Measure C: YES. Reasonable, small reform of the local utility tax, opposed by the Libertarian Party and "taxpayer associations" using an "all taxation is theft" argument. What's not to like?

Measure D: NO. Reduces the size of the city council for no clear reason. The stated reasons are saving money (not credible given how little money is involved) and making city meetings not take as long. I'm going to need something better than that to vote for this.

Local offices:

Judge of the Superior Court, Office #24: Matthew S. Harris. I'm making one exception for my normal rule against voting for former prosecutors for judges because the incumbant, Diane Ritchie, is apparently a train wreck. All it takes is a quick Google search to reveal multiple news stories about strange behavior, clear conflicts of interest, and other serious problems, including a rebuke by the local bar association. Even if not all of that information is true, judges should be above reproach, or at least farther above reproach than this.

Palo Alto City Council: I have an agenda here: I think housing density is about the best thing that the local community could support. Housing density enables better mass transit options, makes housing more affordable and brings more housing under possible rent control, and simply makes more sense given the cost of housing in the area. A lot of the city council members run on low-density or anti-growth platforms; I vote against those and for people who support development. And, of course, I'll filter out candidates who believe stupid things, like claiming a minimum wage is un-American (Seelam-Sea Reddy). The best seem to be Greg Scharff, A.C. Johnston, Nancy Shepherd, Cory Wolbach, and Wayne Douglass.

Palo Alto Unified School District: The Democratic party has endorsed four out of the five candidates, so it probably doesn't matter too much. Gina Dalma and Ken Dauber sound like the best of the candidates to me, so I will probably vote for them.

Santa Clara Valley Water District #7: I voted for Brian Schmidt last time, and I don't see a reason to change my mind. His opponent is a Silicon Valley millionaire who is spending a surprisingly large amount of money on this race and is involved with a business that sells software to water boards, which raises some eyebrows.

Planet DebianBen Armstrong: Eleventh hour upload of tuxpaint

I have just made an eleventh hour upload of tuxpaint, tuxpaint-config and tuxpaint-stamps. With luck, this will make it in time for the Nov. 5 Jessie freeze deadline so it goes in as an unassisted migration. Coming soon to a mirror near you!

Geek FeminismThe Fellowship of the Linkspam (26 October 2014)

  • Meet the Awesome League of Female Magic: The Gathering Players | bitchmedia (20 October): “Magic: The Gathering is a collectible trading card game published by Wizards of the Coast, the same company responsible for Dungeons and Dragons. Over the last twenty or so years, Magic has gained significant popularity and become a staple of nerd culture. Magic: The Gathering is played in a competitive tournament setting, casually at kitchen tables, while waiting in line at cons, and everything in between. Magic tournaments are not often a welcoming space for women despite the efforts of many within the community so, naturally, Magic horror stories were a popular topic of discussion at Geek Girl Con.”
  • Disney Princesses Are My (Imperfect) Feminist Role Models | boingboing (24 October): “So why not write off these problematic princesses and find better role models? Part of the power of the Disney princess is that she is inescapable. As a massive conglomerate, Disney is able to give its princess line an almost frightening level of cultural ubiquity. Conventional wisdom holds that girls will watch male-driven stories while boys will simply ignore female-driven ones. But it was impossible to ignore Frozen last year just as it was impossible to ignore Snow White, The Little Mermaid, and Beauty And The Beast when they premiered. Stop a few hundred people on the street and they’ll likely be able to name more Disney princesses than American Girl dolls, Baby-Sitters Club members, or Legend Of Korra characters. It’s important to introduce young girls to well-written female characters in niche properties, but it’s equally important to teach young girls that their stories don’t have to be niche.”
  • [infographic] The Gender Divide in Tech-Intensive Industries | Catalyst (23 October): While the leaky pipe metaphor has its flaws, it is one of the many reasons the tech industry is hostile to women.
  •  Anita Sarkeesian speaking at XOXO Conference | Feminist Frequency (7 October): “In September 2014, I was invited to speak at the XOXO conference & festival in Portland. I used the opportunity to talk about two subtle forms of harassment that are commonly used to try and defame, discredit and ultimately silence women online: conspiracy theories and impersonation. (Note: trigger warning early on for examples of rape and death threats as well as blurred images of weaponized pornography).”
  • [warning for discussion and examples of sexual harassment] A Natural A/B Test of Harassment | Kongregate (23 October): “all the questions made me think more deeply about my experience, particularly the low-level harassment I get that I’d taken as a given, normal for a co-founder of a game site. It occurred to me to check with my brother/co-founder Jim, but he said he almost never gets hassled. Most of the harassment I receive is through Kongregate’s messaging system, and looking at my last 25 public messages mixed in with compliments and requests for help there are several harassing/sexual messages. Jim has none.”

#Gamergate

  • It’s Not Censorship to Ignore You | NYMag (21 October): “women were merely pointing to a threatening, gender-specific kind of speech, and asking for the tools to avoid it. There’s something obviously illogical about free-speech panic among white Americans in 2014. Thanks to online publishing and social media, the barrier to entry for free public speech is lower than ever.  What I suspect truly bothers free-speech reactionaries is that the same, democratized new media that allows them to publish free-speech rants has opened public discourse up to a lot of people they’re not used to hearing from — women, people of color, and those Gamergate calls “social justice warriors,” in particular. Some of the people who historically controlled the media uncontested might not like what these people have to say, but these newcomers are nonetheless very popular. And when a “social justice warrior” chooses to wield the “block” button against a troll, it’s not his freedom of speech that’s in danger, it’s his entitlement to be heard.”
  •  S4E7 – #GamerGate (Base Assumptions) | blip.tv (22 October): Critical discussion of Gamergate in terms of base assumptions. “The use of terror tactics, even if only by a minority, has created an environment of fear that all members [who believe gamergate is solely about ethics in games journalism] enjoy the privilege of. When people are unwilling to engage because of fears that they’ll be next, all members [of gamergate] benefit from that person’s silence, even if they were not responsible for that harassment.”
  • [warning for harassment and threats of violence] GamerGate’s Economy Of Harassment And Violence | ravishly (20 October):”You cannot separate violence, any violence, from the context and circumstances of the society in which that violence transpires. Whoever benefits from violence is culpable for that violence. For this reason, every woman who endures harm in the wake of GamerGate’s expansion – whether it’s being forced into hiding or self-harming in the wake of unrelenting pressure and harassment – is a victim of GamerGate.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Planet Linux AustraliaSridhar Dhanapalan: Twitter posts: 2014-10-20 to 2014-10-26

Sociological ImagesSchool Shootings: What’s Different About Europe?

Yesterday’s killing was the 39th school shooting in the U.S. this year.  Most of those got little press coverage. Unless someone is actually killed, a shooting might not even get coverage in the local news.

Yesterday’s did.

Why would an apparently happy kid shoot several classmates? That seems to be the question that’s getting the attention of the press and perhaps the public. “Struggling to Find Motive,” said one typical headline. That’s the way we think about school shootings these days.

It’s unlikely that any of the motives that turn up will be all that strange. Fryberg may have been upset by a racial comment someone had made the day before or by a break-up with a girl. He may have had other conflicts with other kids. Nothing unusual there.

But “why” is not the question that first occurs to me. What I always ask is how a 14-year old kid can get his hands on a .40 Beretta handgun (or whatever the weaponry in the shooting of the week is).  For Fryberg it  was easy. The pistol belonged to his father. Nothing strange there either.  Thirty million homes in the US, maybe forty million, are stocked with guns.

Do European countries have school shootings like this? Surely kids in Europe get upset about break-ups; surely they must have conflicts with their classmates; and surely, some of them may become irrationally upset by these setbacks.  So surely there must have been school shootings in Europe too.

I went to Wikipedia and looked for school shootings since 1980 (here and here).  I eliminated shootings by adults (e.g., Lanza in Sandy Hook, Brevik in Norway). I also deleted in-school suicides even though these were done with guns and were terrifying to the other students. I’m sure my numbers are not perfectly accurate, and the population estimate in the graph below  is based on current numbers; I didn’t bother to find an average over the last 35 years. Still the differences are so large that I’m sure they are not due to technical problems in the data.

1 (3) - Copy
Does the U.S. have a much greater proportion of kids who are mentally unstable? Do our schools have more bullying? Are European kids more capable in dealing with conflicts? Are they more stable after break-ups? Do they spend less time with violent video games? Do their schools have more programs to identify and counsel the potentially violent?  I’m not familiar with the data on these, but I would guess that the answer is no and that our kids are no more screwed up than kids in Europe. Or if there are differences, they are not large enough to explain the difference in the body count.

No, the important difference seems to be the guns.  But guns have become the elephant in the room that nobody talks about.  Even asking about access to guns seems unAmerican these days.  Thanks to the successful efforts of the NRA and their representatives in government, guns have become a taken-for-granted part of the landscape. Asking how a 14-year old got a handgun is like asking how he got a bicycle to ride to school.

When the elephant’s presence is too massive not be noticed – for example, when the elephant kills several people –  the elephant’s spokesmen rush in to tell us that “No, this is not the time to talk about the elephant.”  And so we talk about video games and psychological screening and parents and everything else, until the next multiple killing. But of course that too is not the time to talk about elephants.

Jay Livingston is the chair of the Sociology Department at Montclair State University. You can follow him at Montclair SocioBlog or on Twitter.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

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Planet DebianMiriam Ruiz: Video game players and Gamers are different things

Even though the Wikipedia defines “gamer” as “someone who partakes in interactive gaming, such as (predominantly) video games or board games”, this doesn’t really gets close to that term means socially at the moment. Going back to Wikipedia, we find that the video game subculture is “a form of new media subculture that has been influenced by video games”, so it might be quite accurate to define gamers as members of that subculture. You will find that most of the uses of the term “gamer” in the social networks and in the blogosphere refer to that. Please notice that, even though it is quite likely that most of the gamers play video games, the other way round does not need to be true and, in fact, it isn’t. Not everyone who plays video games belongs to the video game subculture, shares their point of view, their values and aesthetics, or even know about it. Kind of like what happens with the word “hacker”. Not everyone who hacks around with a computer belongs to the hacker subculture.

Mostly everyone who has access to the technology plays video games now. From babies and kids to grandparents. And people play them in every possible technological system around, not only on video game consoles or personal computers, but alse on mobile phones, tablets, web browsers. And many of those people who use different kind of technologies to play video games are not gamers. Not in the sense of belonging to the video game subculture. It is important to acknowledge that: that the video game subculture does not have the monopoly over video games or the video game developing industry anymore.

As you can imagine, all this rand doesn’t come from nowhere. During the last months, we have been witnessing a fight between some conservative core members of the video game subculture and people who want to bring some fresh air into the sociocultural elements of that subculture. Namely, that women shouldn’t be discriminated inside it. As every time that a women raises her voice to complain about anything in the Internet, they have been subjected to insults, attacks, rape and death threats, etc. I’m talking about something called #GamerGate, and even though I’m not going to get into it, I will provide some URLs in case someone might be interested. Please acknowledge that not all the points of view might be represented in this list (in fact, they are not, as I won’t be promoting in my blog things that I severely disagree with), so search the web for more information if you want to get that.

I’ve never been a gamer myself, meaning part of the subculture I mentioned. At some point I was probably closer tho the core values they had then than I am now. In any case, video games have already consolidated themselves as an important part of current culture, entertainment, education and socialization, and are definitely here to stay. That will probably mean that the percentage of gamers (members of the video game subculture) will become smaller. as the number of non-gamer video game players keeps raising.

Don MartiIf users don't care about privacy...

Another one from the "If users don't care about privacy, why is this even a thing?" department. (Previously: gas pump sticker, RFID protector )

Here's a page from a mailer opposing California's Proposition 46.

Prop 46 mailer

If the "privacy is dead" crowd were anywhere near right, the pro-46 mailers would have come out with something like:

"Proposition 46 helps you connect with public and private sector stakeholders and share your love for your favorite health brands!"

But that's not the kind of message that works on regular people. All that connect, share, conversations with brands jive? That only works in Marketing meetings with too few breaks and too much PowerPoint® and CO2.

Bonus links

No on 46: Privacy

George Tannenbaum: Conversations about brands. A Primer.

The Economist: Leaders: Advertising and technology: Stalkers, Inc.

Emerging Technology From the arXiv - MIT Technology Review: The Murky World of Third Party Web Tracking

Adam Tanner, Contributor: Health Entrepreneur Debates Going To Data's Dark Side

In the Pipeline: The Most Unconscionable Drug Price Hike I Have Yet Seen

Alltop RSS: Kyle and Stan Malvertising Network Nine Times Bigger Than First Reported

Darren: Some big hairy questions for advertising and marketing technology

Quinn Norton: "What Does Ethical Social Networking Software Look Like?" in The Message

Paul Scicchitano: Critics Say Big Data May Discriminate

Zach Rodgers: Under Pressure From Buyers, Fraud-Plagued AppNexus Girds For Battle

AdExchanger: Come Together: How The Advertising And Software Industries Are Converging

ronan: It’s Official: Consumers Are Just Not That Into Retargeted Ads

Sociological ImagesJust for Fun: The Tax Return and Other Sexy, Sexy Costumes for Halloween

Our previous sexy Halloween costume mockery was so popular (30,000 likes!), we thought we’d offer you another.  This one is from genius comic Gemma Correll.  Lose hours on her site like I did.  I dare you to click.

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Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Planet Linux AustraliaCraige McWhirter: Craige McWhirter: Automating Building and Synchronising Local & Remote Git Repos With Github

I've blogged about some git configurations in the past. In particular working with remote git repos.

I have a particular workflow for most git repos

  • I have a local repo on my laptop
  • I have a remote git repo on my server
  • I have a public repo on Github that functions as a back up.

When I push to my remote server, a post receive hook automatically pushes the updates to Github. Yay for automation.

However this wasn't enough automation, as I found myself creating git repos and running through the setup steps more often than I'd like. As a result I created gitweb_repo_build.sh which takes all the manual steps I go through to setup my workflow and automates it.

The script currently does the following:

  • Builds a git repo locally
  • Adds a README.mdwn and a LICENCE. Commits the changes.
  • Builds a git repo hosted via your remote git server
  • Adds to the remote server, a git hook for automatically pushing to github
  • Adds to the remote server, a git remote for github.
  • Creates a repo at GitHub a via API 3
  • Pushes the READEME and LICENCE to the remote, which pushes to github.

It's currently written in bash and has no error handling.

I've planned a re-write in Haskell which will have error handling.

If this is of use to you, enjoy :-)

Planet Linux AustraliaMark Terle: That rare feeling …

… of actually completing things.

Upon reflection, it appears to have been a sucessful week.

Work – We relocated offices (including my own desk (again)) over the previous week from one slightly pre-used office building to another more well-used office building. My role as part of this project was to ensure that the mechanics of the move as far as IT and Comms occured and proceed smoothly. After recabling the floor, working with networks, telephones and desktops staff it was an almost flawless move, and everyone was up and running easily on Monday morning. I received lots of positive feedback which was good.

Choir – The wrap up SGM for the 62nd Australian Intervarsity Choral Festival Perth 2011, Inc happened. Pending the incorporation of the next festival, it is all over bar a few cheques and paperwork. Overall it was a great festival and as Treasurer was pleased with the final financial result (positive).

Hacking – This weeks little project has been virtualsnack. This is a curses emulator of the UCC Snack Machine and associated ROM. It is based on a previous emulator written with PyGTK and Glade that had bitrotted in the past ten years to be non-functioning and not worth the effort to ressurect. The purpose of the emulator is enable development of code to speak to the machine without having to have the real machine available to test against.

I chose to continue to have the code in python and used npyscreen as the curses UI library. One of the intermediate steps was creating a code sample, EXAMPLE-socket.py, which creates a daemon that speaks to a curses interfaces.

I hereby present V1.0 “Gobbledok” of virtualsnack. virtualsnack is hosted up on Github for the moment, but may move in future. I suspect this item of software will only be of interest to my friends at UCC.

Planet DebianJaldhar Vyas: Sal Mubarak 2071

Wishing all of you a happy Gujarati New Year (Vikram Samvat 2071 called Parabhava.)

May Lakshmi Mata protect you and your loved ones from poverty, misfortune, and systemd in the upcoming year.

Planet DebianBálint Réczey: XBMC (from Debian) running on MIPS CI20 dev board

XBMC on CI20 MIPS dev board

Imagination Tech kindly offered many developers (including me) a CI20 development board which let me play with XBMC on it a bit and patching it alive. The OpenGL GUI works smoothly, but video can’t be played due to crashes in FFmpeg/Libav/libva (I’ll submit the bug reports soon.).
The patches needed  are sent to upstream and the latest Debian package already ships them.

Big part of the credits go to Cory Fields who created the first MIPS patches I found and updated for latest XBMC code. Thanks!

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Planet DebianDaniel Pocock: Positive results from Outreach Program for Women

In 2013, Debian participated in both rounds of the GNOME Outreach Program for Women (OPW). The first round was run in conjunction with GSoC and the second round was a standalone program.

The publicity around these programs and the strength of the Google and Debian brands attracted a range of female candidates, many of whom were shortlisted by mentors after passing their coding tests and satisfying us that they had the capability to complete a project successfully. As there are only a limited number of places for GSoC and limited funding for OPW, only a subset of these capable candidates were actually selected. The second round of OPW, for example, was only able to select two women.

Google to the rescue

Many of the women applying for the second round of OPW in 2013 were also students eligible for GSoC 2014. Debian was lucky to have over twenty places funded for GSoC 2014 and those women who had started preparing project plans for OPW and getting to know the Debian community were in a strong position to be considered for GSoC.

Chandrika Parimoo, who applied to Debian for the first round of OPW in 2013, was selected by the Ganglia project for one of five GSoC slots. Chandrika made contributions to PyNag and the ganglia-nagios-bridge.

Juliana Louback, who applied to Debian during the second round of OPW in 2013, was selected for one of Debian's GSoC 2014 slots working on the Debian WebRTC portal. The portal is built using JSCommunicator, a generic HTML5 softphone designed to be integrated in other web sites, portal frameworks and CMS systems.

Juliana has been particularly enthusiastic with her work and after completing the core requirements of her project, I suggested she explore just what is involved in embedding JSCommunicator into another open source application. By co-incidence, the xTuple development team had decided to dedicate the month of August to open source engagement, running a program called haxTuple. Juliana had originally applied to OPW with an interest in financial software and so this appeared to be a great opportunity for her to broaden her experience and engagement with the open source community.

Despite having no prior experience with ERP/CRM software, Juliana set about developing a plugin/extension for the new xTuple web frontend. She has published the extension in Github and written a detailed blog about her experience with the xTuple extension API.

Participation in DebConf14

Juliana attended DebConf14 in Portland and gave a presentation of her work on the Debian RTC portal. Many more people were able to try the portal for the first time thanks to her participation in DebConf. The video of the GSoC students at DebConf14 is available here.

Continuing with open source beyond GSoC

Although GSoC finished in August, xTuple invited Juliana and I to attend their annual xTupleCon in Norfolk, Virginia. Google went the extra mile and helped Juliana to get there and she gave a live demonstration of the xTuple extension she had created. This effort has simultaneously raised the profile of Debian, open source and open standards (SIP and WebRTC) in front of a wider audience of professional developers and business users.

Juliana describes her work at xTupleCon, Norfolk, 15 October 2014

It started with OPW

The key point to emphasize is that Juliana's work in GSoC was actually made possible by Debian's decision to participate in and promote Outreach Program for Women in 2013.

I've previously attended DebConf myself to help more developers become familiar with free and open RTC technology. I wasn't able to get there this year but thanks to the way GSoC and OPW are expanding our community, Juliana was there to help out.

Geek FeminismCall Me Linkspam

  • It’s Ada Lovelace Day: Get Angry | Garann Means (October 14): “It’s Ada Lovelace Day and we’re supposed to talk about the women in technology who’ve inspired us. The women who inspire me are those who’ve taken the frightening step of lessening their culpability by decreasing their participation. While it’s courageous to remain in tech/on the internet and try to make it a better place, you can’t get around the compromise in doing so.”
  • When Women Stopped Coding | NPR Planet Money (October 21): “These early personal computers weren’t much more than toys. You could play pong or simple shooting games, maybe do some word processing. And these toys were marketed almost entirely to men and boys. This idea that computers are for boys became a narrative. It became the story we told ourselves about the next computing revolution.”
  • Online Harassment | PEWResearch Internet Project (October 22): “In broad trends, the data show that men are more likely to experience name-calling and embarrassment, while young women are particularly vulnerable to sexual harassment and stalking.”
  • Breaking gender and racial barriers in Netrunner | Gamasutra (October 20): “Netrunner is a lovely and beloved experience for all those reasons, but the game is worth championing for other ideas that go beyond its smart design too. It’s also worth celebrating because Netrunner is one of the most progressive games in terms of gender and minority representation today.”
  • Life and Times of a Tech Feminist Killjoy: The Cuts Leave Scars | Julie Pagano (October 6): “After years of pushing yourself and being stretched too thin, you lose the flexibility you once had to bounce back. You snap more easily. The paper cuts are harder to brush off. You are likely to be punished for this. You will be seen simultaneously as too sensitive and too harsh.”
  • Marvel’s Victoria Alonso wants a female superhero movie, calls for more women in VFX | Variety (October 20th): “You’ve got to get the girls in here, boys. It’s better when it’s 50-50,” she continued. “I have been with you beautiful, handsome, talented, creative men in dark rooms for two decades and I can tell you those rooms are better when there are a few of us in them. So as you take this with you, please remember that it’s OK to allow the ladies in. They’re smart, they’re talented. They bring a balance that you need.”

#Gamergate

  • The only thing I have to say about gamer gate | Felicia Day (October 22): “I know it feels good to belong to a group, to feel righteous in belonging to a cause, but causing fear and pushing people away from gaming is not the way to go about doing it. Think through the repercussions of your actions and the people you are aligning yourself with. And think honestly about whether your actions are genuinely going to change gaming life for the better.”
  • Felicia Day’s worst Gamergate fears just came true | The Daily Dot (October 23): “Day wrote of realizing after crossing the street to avoid two gamers she saw in Vancouver that she had allowed Gamergate to enhance her fear of other people within her community. Her post was an attempt to conquer that fear and to urge other women to do the same.But less than an hour after describing her past experiences with stalkers in the post, a commenter showed up to do the one thing she feared would happen.”
  • Why #Gamergate is actually an ed tech issue | Medium (October 20): “It’s not simply the hyper-macho shoot ‘em up games, either. I’ve had girls leave Minecraft because of misogynist threats. Apparently, this isn’t an isolate case. Others have seen the same thing. If we want to talk about integrating games into the classroom, we need to rethink what culture we’re inviting in.”
  • Gamergate goons can scream all they want, but they can’t stop progress | Wired (October 21): “Even more fascinating is how these insecurities have allowed some gamers to consider themselves a downtrodden minority, despite their continued dominance of every meaningful sector of the games industry, from development to publishing to criticism. That demonstrates a strange and seemingly contradictory “overdog” phenomenon: The most powerful members of a culture often perceive an increase in social equality as a form of persecution.”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

Planet DebianRichard Hartmann: Release Critical Bug report for Week 43

Just a friendly reminder: If your package is not in unstable (and reasonably bug free) by Sunday, it's not in Jessie.

I am not doing full stats as I am unsure about the diff format at the moment, but in week 43, we had 284 bugs for Squeeze and 468 for Wheezy.

(282 + 468) / 2 = 376; so we are a bit better off than on average. Still, here's to hoping this freeze will be shorter.

The UDD bugs interface currently knows about the following release critical bugs:

  • In Total: 1193
    • Affecting Jessie: 319 That's the number we need to get down to zero before the release. They can be split in two big categories:
      • Affecting Jessie and unstable: 240 Those need someone to find a fix, or to finish the work to upload a fix to unstable:
        • 20 bugs are tagged 'patch'. Please help by reviewing the patches, and (if you are a DD) by uploading them.
        • 22 bugs are marked as done, but still affect unstable. This can happen due to missing builds on some architectures, for example. Help investigate!
        • 198 bugs are neither tagged patch, nor marked done. Help make a first step towards resolution!
      • Affecting Jessie only: 79 Those are already fixed in unstable, but the fix still needs to migrate to Jessie. You can help by submitting unblock requests for fixed packages, by investigating why packages do not migrate, or by reviewing submitted unblock requests.
        • 0 bugs are in packages that are unblocked by the release team.
        • 79 bugs are in packages that are not unblocked.

Planet DebianIngo Juergensmann: Bind9 vs. PowerDNS

Currently I'm playing around with DNSSEC. The handling of DNSSEC seems a little bit complex to me when looking at my current Bind9 setup. I was following the Debian Wiki page on DNSSEC and related links. The linked howto on HowToForge is a little bit outdated as it targeted to Squeeze. I've learned in the meanwhile that Bind9 can do key renewal on its own, but anyway, I did look around if there other nameservers that can handle DNSSEC and came across PowerDNS, which seems to power a large number of european DNSSEC zones.

Whereas Bind9 is well-known, well documented and serving my zones well for years. But I got the impression that DNSSEC is a more or less a mess with Bind9 as it was added on top of it without being well integrated. On the contrary, DNSSEC support is built into PowerDNS as if it was well integrated from scratch on a design level. But on the other hand there doesn't seem much ressources available on the net about PowerDNS. There's the official documentation, of course, but this is not as good as the Bind9 documentation. On the plus side you can operate PowerDNS in Bind mode, i.e. using the Bind9 configuration and zone files, even in hybrid-mode that enables you to additionally run a database-based setup.

So, I'm somewhat undecided about how to proceed. Either stay with Bind9 and DNSSEC, completely migrate to PowerDNS and a database setup or use PowerDNS with bind backend? Feel free to comment or respond by your own blog post about your experience. :-)

Kategorie: 
 

TEDOur laws belong to us: Kimberley Motley live at TEDGlobal 2014

Kimberley Motley speaks at TEDGlobal 2014. Photo: James Duncan Davidson/TED

Kimberley Motley is an impossible woman: The former Mrs. Wisconsin, whose father is African-American and mother is a North Korean refugee, is the first foreigner to litigate in the courts of Afghanistan. Today she closes the penultimate session at TEDGlobal 2014 to send a message to the world: Our laws can protect us, as long as we know how to use them.

She starts with the story of Naghma Mohammad, who was promised to a neighbor’s 21-year-old son in return for a $2,500 debt her father owed the neighbor. Mohammad was six years old. The agreement was made at a jirga, an informal mediation in which elders and religious leaders make decisions by consensus. “We may look at this story as another crushing blow to women’s rights,” says Motley. “Or you can look at Afghanistan and see it as a failed state.” But there was no way that what happened to Mohammad was legal – so what Motley saw when she decided to accept her case was very simple: This jirga had broken Afghan law. And that could be fought.

In her work as a litigator in Afghanistan, Motley has come to see three major obstacles for people living in corrupt systems: People aren’t aware of their legal rights; laws are often superseded or ignored by tribal customs; and even with good laws in place, there aren’t lawyers willing to fight for them. That’s why, says Motley, “I work the system from the inside out. I use the laws the way they’re intended to be used.”

Take journalist Matthew Rosenberg, who was expelled from Afghanistan and barred from re-entry after he wrote an article for The New York Times this year about the election impasse. Says Motley firmly, “Freedom of press does exist in Afghanistan, and there are consequences if that is not followed.” Motley was able to show that Rosenberg’s ban was illegal, and the order was reversed.

Or Sahar Gul, who was sold by her brother at the age of twelve to a family that forced her into prostitution and brutally tortured her. When Motley eventually spoke with Gul, she found: “Sahar didn’t know what her rights were, but she did know she had a certain level of protection by her government, and it had failed her.” So they went to the Supreme Court. Gul sued for civil damages, the first time the law had ever been used. Gul won her case, and the in-laws were jailed for their crime. Though her in-laws were later released early to much controversy, it was, says Motley, “the first time a victim of domestic violence in Afghanistan was being represented by a lawyer.”

And Naghma Mohammad? Motley fought her case – by holding a second jirga. She gathered the religious leaders together in a jirga of appeals and got them all to agree to have her preside, and to put the law at the center. The two families agreed that what they had done was illegal. The debt was paid to Mohammad’s neighbor, and her engagement was terminated. What Mohammad and others’ cases show is, as Motley says: “The laws are ours. No matter your ethnicity, gender or race, they belong to us.”


TEDReflections on TEDGlobal 2014, from the community

TEDGlobal 2014 brought our conference to the tropics. Here's what the community had to say following this conference all about the theme "South!" Photo: Ryan Lash

TEDGlobal 2014 brought our conference to the tropics. Here’s what the community had to say following this conference all about the theme “South!” Photo: Ryan Lash

One of the best things about a week after a conference? The chance to reflect on the experience. In the last week, several TEDGlobal 2014 attendees and community members have shared their thoughts throughout the blogiverse. Below, some highlights:

Steve Song shared his experience preparing to speak at TED in a post called “Steve and TED’s Excellent Adventure.” “Have you ever found yourself at a party where you felt like if someone discovered who you really were, you would be ejected immediately? That’s a little bit how I’ve felt for the last six months since my invitation to speak at TEDGlobal 2014,” he writes in a wonderful diary. “My dominant emotion in coming away from TEDGlobal — a powerful urge to kick things up a notch.  Several notches, actually.”

Emmanuelle Roques, an organizer of TEDxBordeaux, used the conference as way to meet people in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Rather than watch from the theater, she traveled each day to a different collaborative space that was participating in TEDGlobal Para Todos to watch the livestream with whoever happened to be there. Read her diary.

Igor Botelho Bernardes calls TEDGlobal a “life-changing” experience. On his site, AsBoasNovas.com (aka “The good news”), he shared a roundup of the Brazilian speakers who took the stage and teased out 15 ideas that he thinks could revolutionize the southern hemisphere. (In Portuguese.)

Fabiano Serfaty wrote about his TEDGlobal experience through his blog for Veja magazine. Read his highlights,  and an interview with TED Fellow Joe Landolina, who talked about his incredible gel that stops severe bleeding. (In Portuguese.)

Luke Barbara shares how he crowdfunded his way to TEDGlobal 2014.

Dilip Ratha — the lead economist of the World Bank who gave the incredible talk, “The hidden force in global economics: sending money home” — shared his experience at the conference on his blog. It begins, “Chief Experience Disruptor. I stared at the name tag again — yes, that was his title…”

Gabriel Borges posted his diary of the event through ProjetoDraft.com. Read his recaps of day 1, day 2, and day 3 – or skip on over to his final thoughts. (In Portuguese.) 

Rishad Tobaccowala of Publicis Groupe revealed the three main takeaways that he saw in the TEDGlobal program, including the many ways that the intersection of mobile technology and cloud computing is having an impact.

Paul Robert Reid admits that he has “Post #TEDGlobal blues.” Another fun read from his site: his recap of visiting Jardim Gramacho, aka Rio’s rubbish dump, where artist Vik Muniz found materials for his work “Waste Land.” 

And if you too have blogged about watching TED Live or going to the conference — share a link in the comments!


TED8 ideas for the future of cities

TEDCity2.0In 2012, the TED Prize was awarded to an idea: The City2.0, a place to celebrate actions taken by citizens around the world to make their cities more livable, beautiful and sustainable. This week, The City2.0 website evolves. On the relaunched TEDCity2.org, you’ll find great talks on topics like housing, education and food, and how they relate to life in the bustling metropolis. You’ll find video explorations of 10 award-winning local projects that received funding through this TED Prize wish, and resources for those hoping to spark change in their own cities. The site will also be the home of all future TEDCity2.0 projects. In other words, it’s an online haven for everyone who wants to create the city of the future.

Below, a sampling of the great ideas you’ll find on TEDCity2.org. Enjoy, as most of these have never been seen on TED.com before.

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1. Buildings can promote healing. Alan Ricks wields his architecture degree in an unusual way—he aims to build structures that heal. In this talk, he shares statistics on how many people around the world actually get sicker in hospitals, giving the example of a tuberculosis epidemic in rural South Africa which spread “in crowded, unventilated hallways.” Even in the United States, he says, the death rate from hospital-born infections is staggeringly high. Ricks tells the story of helping build the Butaro Hospital in Rwanda, a state-of-the-art hospital with beautiful, airy, open wards. Butaro has transformed the health of some of Rwanda’s poorest people — and it was built in collaboration with the community. “I learned that architecture wasn’t about simply a completed building,” he explains, “but about the process that created it.”

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2. An app could invert street harassment. In this talk, feminist activist Emily May paints a picture of a world without street harassment. It’s a tricky thing to build a movement around, she says, because “you can sue the pants off corporations, but you can’t sue the pants off the sidewalk.” May co-founded Hollaback! in 2005 to reverse the power dynamics of street harassment. “We wanted to take the focus off of the woman and put it onto the harasser,” she says. While street harassment is a global epidemic, May refuses to accept it as a fact of life. So she leveraged her 2012 City2.0 award to build an app that allows users to geo-document street harassment and, in the process, crowdsource data with the power to influence policy. “The larger system we need to change here is called ‘culture’ and it’s big,” says May. “I want to live in a world where street harassment is so rare that when it does happen, people are shocked.”

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3. Food can be a form of diplomacy. Leah Selim co-founded Global Kitchen, which promotes cultural exchange through food. Food is deeply tied to our culture and identity, she says, and what we cook is an expression of who we are. In this talk, Selim discusses how food, identity, place and politics intersect, and digs into the growing trend of “gastrodiplomacy,” the idea that by being introduced to a cuisine, we also gain awareness of the culture itself. When we travel, she says, “So much of actually experiencing the culture of a new place is trying the food. It’s definitely why Anthony Bourdain tried warthog anus in Namibia.” Bottom line? In an increasingly globalized world, sharing food is a powerful tool. And not just outside of a geographical area. She says, “It is through the communal act of sharing food that ideas can be exchanged freely — an essential first step in growing a community.”

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4. A city’s quiet nooks can be a source of inspiration. In this quiet talk, Jason Sweeney offers an aural picture of the city, highlighting the “in-between spaces.” Sweeney admits that he prefers “to disappear into a metropolis and … go unnoticed” as he composes music in his head. So he seeks out quiet spots — those rare spaces where you can hear the sound of birds chirping or where a flowing fountain masks the sound of the crowd nearby. His idea: “a sonic health service for built environments.” In 2012, Sweeney used his City2.0 award for an online, participatory composition project called Stereopublic. His idea has now been activated in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne, Edinburgh, Sheffield, London, Los Angeles and New York.

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5. Tiny houses could offer security and mobility. “The biggest ideas come in the smallest packages,” says Amy Henion, a “tiny house” advocate. Like many college students and recent grads, Henion isn’t sure what the next few years will hold. While fretting about how to pay the bills while still being flexible to new opportunities in other areas, she stumbled upon a solution: a tiny house. “Think of a house so small that it fits within the footprint of a parking space,” she says. In this talk, she shares the benefits of tiny living, and gives a short history of the tiny house movement in the United States. With our economy reeling and natural resources running out, she may just be onto something.

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6. Playgrounds can include all kids. G Cody QJ Goldberg sees playgrounds as places of incredible potential. “Play is quite literally how we learn,” he says. Goldberg advocates for more play time, and makes the case that building better playgrounds could actually help improve lives. He and his wife live in Portland with their daughters Harper and Lennon. Because Harper has special needs, the couple launched “Harper’s Playground,” a passion project that has spurred a movement to create the city’s first inclusive playground. The idea: that it adapts to the needs of a wide range of children. “What the world needs more of is more people making more play,” he says.

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7. Great design is universal. As a young man, Lance Hosey was inspired by Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead to become an architect. But now, he hates the image of the architect in the book. “Consider the core message: the creator serves nothing and no one,” he says. “He lives for himself.” Hosey wants that to change. He takes issue with the idea that good design isn’t definable because, again and again throughout nature and history, certain patterns and shapes recur — for example, the “golden rectangle” and fractals. Hosey invites architects to create spaces that speak this universal language, while also being sustainable.

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8. A city is ultimately about its people. “The city is man-made now / Concrete / Asphalt fueled by caffeine, commerce, nicotine and childlike dreams of making it big.” These are the verses of urban wordsmith Felice Belle, who makes the city come alive with this Walt Whitman-inspired ode to New York. Belle reminds us that beyond the planning and the policy are everyday people — and it is in their stories that the city is born. “Stockbrokers, stickup kids, baristas, bartenders, actors moonlighting as cater-waiters, private investigators, substitute teachers, corporate lawyers, janitors … the unemployed, the unseen pricetags on individual life,” lists Belle as she explores the dark underside to city dwelling, than shows each of us to be its soul.


Sociological ImagesMen Dressing Up as Fat Women

Flashback Friday.

An excellent piece of evidence that femininity is hilarious or ridiculous in U.S. culture, or even frightening or disgusting, is the fact that men use the category “woman” as a Halloween costume. We laugh when we see men dressed up as women because how ridiculous, right? Women do not generally dress up like a generic man on Halloween because adopting masculinity is an everyday things for us. It’s valued, not mocked.

Many costume manufacturers (or homemade costume makers, for that matter) add fat hatred to the mix. Because there is nothing more disgusting and hilarious, we are told, than a fat woman. Except, perhaps, a fat woman who fails to be properly humiliated.

The costume manufacturers know this and are trafficking in this hatred on purpose. Here are some examples, sent in by Michaela N. and Shane M., from several different online costume stores:

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Pamela Anderson’s character on Baywatch wasn’t fat. This reveals that the costume manufacturers aren’t just making costumes that let people dress up as fat others, they’re adding fatness as a joke.

Halloween is a disturbing fun house mirror, showing us what we really think about each other.

Originally posted in 2010. Cross-posted at The Huffington Post.

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Planet DebianWouter Verhelst: Not using adirent

About a month ago, I received an upstream bugreport that the nbd-server wouldn't build on Solaris and its derivatives. This was because nbd-server uses the d_type field of struct dirent, which is widely implemented (in Linux and FreeBSD, at least), but not part of POSIX and therefore not implemented on Solaris (which tends to be more conservative about implementing new features).

The bug reporter pointed towards a blog post by a Solaris user who had written something he calls "adirent", meant to work around the issue by implementing something that would wrap readdir() so that it would inject a stat() call when needed. While that approach works, it seems a bit strange to add a function which wraps readdir to become portable. After all, readdir() does not always return the file type in d_type, not even on systems that do implement it. One example in which this is true is XFS; if one runs readdir() on a directory on an XFS filesystem, then everything will have DT_UNKNOWN as its filetype, indicating that you need to run stat() after all.

As such, I think a better approach is to use that fact so that things will just work on systems where d_type isn't available. The GNU autotools even have a test for it (AC_STRUCT_DIRENT_D_TYPE), which makes things easier. In the case of NBD, I've added that to configure.ac, and then added a touch of preprocessor magic to reuse the infrastructure for dealing with DT_UNKNOWN which is already there:

#ifdef HAVE_STRUCT_DIRENT_D_TYPE
#define NBD_D_TYPE de->d_type
#else
#define NBD_D_TYPE 0
#define DT_UKNOWN 0
#define DT_REG 1
#endif

(...opendir(), readdir(), ...)

switch(NBD_D_TYPE) {
    case DT_UNKNOWN:

(...call stat(), figure out if it is a file...)

    case DT_REG:

(...we know it is a file...)

    default:

(...we know it is not a file...)

this seems cleaner to me than using a wrapper, and has the additional advantage that the DT_UNKNOWN code path could receive some more testing.

Planet Linux AustraliaAndrew Pollock: [life] Day 268: Science Friday, TumbleTastics, haircuts and a big bike outing

I didn't realise how jam packed today was until we sat down at dinner time and recounted what we'd done today.

I started the day pretty early, because Anshu had to be up for an early flight. I pottered around at home cleaning up a bit until Sarah dropped Zoe off.

After Zoe had watched a bit of TV, I thought we'd try some bottle rocket launching for Science Friday. I'd impulse purchased an AquaPod at Jaycar last year, and haven't gotten around to using it yet.

We wandered down to Hawthorne Park with the AquaPod, an empty 2 litre Sprite bottle, the bicycle pump and a funnel.

My one complaint with the AquaPod would have to be that the feet are too smooth. If you don't tug the string strongly enough you end up just dragging the whole thing across the ground, which isn't really what you want to be doing. Once Zoe figured out how to yank the string the right way, we were all good.

We launched the bottle a few times, but I didn't want to waste a huge amount of water, so we stopped after about half a dozen launches. Zoe wanted to have a play in the playground, so we wandered over to that side of the park for a bit.

It was getting close to time for TumbleTastics, and we needed to go via home to get changed, so we started the longish walk back home. It was slow going in the mid-morning heat and no scooter, but we got there eventually. We had another mad rush to get to TumbleTastics on time, and miraculously managed to make it there just as they were calling her name.

Lachlan wasn't there today, and I was feeling lazy, and Zoe was keen for a milkshake, so we dropped into Ooniverse on the way home. Zoe had a great old time playing with everything there.

After we got home again, we biked down to the Bulimba post office to collect some mail, and then biked over for a haircut.

After our haircuts, Zoe wanted to play in Hardcastle Park, so we biked over there for a bit. I'd been wanting to go and check out the newly opened Riverwalk and try taking the bike and trailer on a CityCat. A CityCat just happened to be arriving when we got to the park, but Zoe wasn't initially up for it. As luck would have it, she changed her mind as the CityCat docked, but it was too late to try and get on that one. We got on the next one instead.

I wasn't sure how the bike and the trailer were going to work out on the CityCat, but it worked out pretty well going from Hawthorne to New Farm Park. We boarded at Hawthorne from the front left hand side, and disembarked at New Farm Park from the front right hand side, so I basically just rolled the bike on and off again, without needing to worry about turning it around. It was a bit tight cornering from the pontoon to the gangway, but the deckhand helped me manoeuvre the trailer.

It was quite a nice little ride through the back streets of New Farm to get to the start of the Riverwalk, and we had a nice quick ride into the city. We biked all the way along the riverside through to the Old Botanic Gardens. We stopped for a little play in the playground that Zoe had played in the other weekend when we were wandering around for Brisbane Open House, and then continued through the gardens, over the Goodwill Bridge, and the bottom of the Kangaroo Point cliffs.

We wound our way back home through Dockside, and Mowbray Park and along the bikeway alongside Wynnum Road. It was a pretty huge ride, and I'm excited that it's opened up an easy way to access Southbank by bicycle. I'm looking forward to some bigger forays in the near future.

Planet DebianStefano Zacchiroli: Italy puts Free Software first in public sector

Debian participation in Italy's CAD68 committee

(The initial policy change discussed in this document is a couple of years old now, but it took about the same time to be fully implemented, and AFAIK the role Debian played in it has not been documented yet.)

In October 2012 the Italian government, led at the time by Mario Monti, did something rather innovative, at least for a country that is not usually ahead of its time in the area of information technology legislation. They decided to change the main law (the "CAD", for Codice dell'Amministrazione Digitale) that regulates the acquisition of software at all levels of the public administration (PA), giving an explicit preference to the acquisition of Free Software.

The new formulation of article 68 of the CAD first lists some macro criteria (e.g., TCO, adherence to open standards, security support, etc.) that public administrations in Italy shall use as ranking criteria in software-related calls for tenders. Then, and this is the most important part, the article affirms that the acquisition of proprietary software solutions is permitted only if it is impossible to choose Free Software solutions instead; or, alternatively, to choose software solutions that have already being acquired (and paid for) by the PA in the past, reusing preexisting software. The combined effect of these two provisions is that all new software acquisitions by PAs in Italy will be Free Software, unless it is motivated—in writing, challengable by a judge—that it was impossible to do otherwise. Isn't it great?

It is, except that such a law is not necessarily easy to adhere to in practice, especially for small public administrations (e.g., municipalities of a few hundred people, not uncommon in Italy) which might have very little clue about software in general, and even less so about Free Software. This is why the government also tasked the relevant Italian agency to provide guidelines on how to choose software in a way that conforms with the new formulation of article 68. The agency decided to form a committee to work on the guidelines (because you always need a committee, right? :-) ).

To my surprise, the call for participation to be part of the committee explicitly listed representatives of Free Software communities as privileged software stakeholders that they wanted to have on the committee—kudos to the agency for that. (The Italian wording on the call was: Costituirà titolo di preferenza rivestire un ruolo di […] referenti di community del software a codice sorgente aperto.) Therefore, after various prods by fellow European Free Software activists that were aware of the ongoing change in legislation, I applied to be a volunteer CAD68 committee member, got selected, and ended up working over a period of about 6 months (March-September 2013) to help the agency writing the new software acquisition guidelines.

Logistically, it hasn't been entirely trivial, as the default meeting place was in Rome, I live in Paris, and the agency didn't really have a travel budget for committee members. That's why I've sought sponsorship from Debian, offering to represent Debian views within the committee; Lucas kindly agreed to my request. So what did I do on behalf of Debian as a committee member during those months?

Most of my job has been some sort of consulting on how community-driven Free Software projects—like Debian—work, on how the software they produce can be relied upon and contributed to, and more generally on how the PA can productively interact with such projects. In particular, I've been happy to work on the related work section of the guidelines, ensuring they point to relevant documents such as the French government guidelines on how to adopt Free Software (AKA circulaire Ayrault). I've also drafted the guidelines section on Free Software directories, ensuring that important resources such as FSF's Free Software Directory are listed as starting points for PAs that looking for software solutions for specific needs.

Another part of my job has been ensuring that the guidelines do not end up betraying the principle of Free Software preference that is embodied in article 68. A majority of committee members came from a Free Software background, so that might not seem a difficult goal to accomplish. But it is important to notice that: (a) the final editor of the guidelines is the agency itself, not the committee, so having a "pro-Free Software" majority within the committee doesn't mean much per se; and (b) lobbying from the "pro-proprietary software" camp did happen, as it is entirely natural in these cases. In this respect I'm happy with the result: I do believe that the software selection process recommended by the guidelines, finally published in January 2014, upholds the Free Software preference principle of article 68. I credit both the agency and the non-ambiguity of the law (on this specific point) for that result.

All in all, this has been a positive experience for me. It has reaffirmed my belief that Debian is a respected, non-partisan political actor of the wider software/ICT ecosystem. This experience has also given me a chance to be part of country-level policy-making, which has been very instructive on how and why good ideas might take a while to come into effect and influence citizen lives. Speaking of which, I'm now looking forward to the first alleged violations of article 68 in Italy, and how they will be dealt with.

Abundant popcorn will certainly be needed.

Links & press

If you want to know more about this topic, I've collected below links to resources that have documented, in various languages, the publication of the CAD68 guidelines.

Worse Than FailureError'd: Undefined Favorites

"It's great I can ship my favorites to Europe, I just wish I knew what they were," writes Nick.

 

"Nope. I don't think I'll be buying my Froot Loops there," wrote Bernard.

 

"I'm kind of afraid and yet curious to see what would happen if I attempted to convert 1 AUD into USD," writes John.

 

"Whoa! I wonder where I could get one of them driver's licenses that don't expire for 60 years," wrote Russ.

 

"Ah yes...The dreaded 'infinite spam notification loop'," writes Jeff J.

 

"While tracking a package via Israel Post's website it became so confused that it ATE the error!" Dor writes.

 

"As the year winds down I thought a good idea to review mutual fund options," Dan wrote, "However, I found myself wondering why they only rate against 0x8000 other funds and not 0xFFFF."

 

"Okay...I give up. Microsoft, you win. YES," Alan wrote.

 

Planet Linux AustraliaTim Serong: Watching Grass Grow

For Hackweek 11 I thought it’d be fun to learn something about creating Android apps. The basic training is pretty straightforward, and the auto-completion (and auto-just-about-everything-else) in Android Studio is excellent. So having created a “hello world” app, and having learned something about activities and application lifecycle, I figured it was time to create something else. Something fun, but something I could reasonably complete in a few days. Given that Android devices are essentially just high res handheld screens with a bit of phone hardware tacked on, it seemed a crime not to write an app that draws something pretty.

openSUSE wallpaperThe openSUSE desktop wallpaper, with its happy little Geeko sitting on a vine, combined with all the green growing stuff outside my house (it’s spring here) made me wonder if I couldn’t grow a little vine jungle on my phone, with many happy Geekos inhabiting it.

Android has OpenGL ES, so thinking that might be the way to go I went through the relevant lesson, and was surprised to see nothing on the screen where there should have been a triangle. Turns out the view is wrong in the sample code. I also realised I’d probably have to be generating triangle strips from curvy lines, then animating them, and the brain cells I have that were once devoted to this sort of graphical trickery are so covered in rust that I decided I’d probably be better off fiddling around with beziers on a canvas.

So, I created an app with a SurfaceView and a rendering thread which draws one vine after another, up from the bottom of the screen. Depending on Math.random() it extends a branch out to one side, or the other, or both, and might draw a Geeko sitting on the bottom most branch. Originally the thread lifecycle was tied to the Activity (started in onResume(), killed in onPause()), but this causes problems when you blank the screen while the app is running. So I simplified the implementation by tying the thread lifecycle to Surface create/destroy, at the probable expense of continuing to chew battery if you blank the screen while the app is active.

Then I realised that it would make much more sense to implement this as live wallpaper, rather than as a separate app, because then I’d see it running any time I used my phone. Turns out this simplified the implementation further. Goodbye annoying thread logic and lifecycle problems (although I did keep the previous source just in case). Here’s a screenshot:

Geeko Live Wallpaper

The final source is on github, and I’ve put up a release build APK too in case anyone would like to try it out – assuming of course that you trust me not to have built a malicious binary, trust github to host it, and trust SSL to deliver it safely ;-)

Enjoy!

Update 2014-10-27: The Geeko Live Wallpaper is now up on the Google Play store, although for some reason the “Live Wallpaper” category wasn’t available, so it’s in “Personalization” until (hopefully) someone in support gets back to me and tells me what I’m missing to get it into the right category.

Updated Update: Someone in support got back to me. “Live Wallpaper” can’t be selected as a category in the developer console, rather you have to wait for Google’s algorithms to detect that the app is live wallpaper and recategorize it automatically.

Planet DebianEnrico Zini: systemd-cryptsetup-password

cryptsetup password and parallel boot

Since parallel boot happened, during boot the cryptsetup password prompt in my system gets flooded with other boot messages.

I fixed it, as suggested in #764555, installing plymouth, then editing /etc/default/grub to add splash to GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="quiet splash"

Besides showing pretty pictures (and most importantly, getting them out of my way if I press ESC), plymouth also provides a user prompt that works with parallel boot which sounds like what I needed.

Kelvin ThomsonAre We Better Off Now?

The right of politics can't work out whether we're better off now or better off in the past. The Prime Minister describes the Menzies era as a golden age of prosperity, saying "These years of low unemployment, low interest rates and strong social cohesion are the gold standard by which all governments will be judged". He describes this period as one of expanding Universities, the building of Canberra, and home ownership being brought within reach of most families.<o:p></o:p>

The Institute of Public Affairs, on the contrary, titled a recent report "Things are Getting Better All the Time", and claims that life has improved dramatically for Australians in terms of earnings and work and economic changes.<o:p></o:p>

They should try and explain this to our young people, who are today caught in an Axis of Financial Evil – student debt, job insecurity, and housing unaffordability.<o:p></o:p>

We would be better placed to judge whether life is improving or not if we produced more accurate performance indicators than the deeply flawed and inadequate GDP, and adopted in Australia, as other countries and States of the USA have done, a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI).<o:p></o:p>

Planet Linux AustraliaMichael Still: Specs for Kilo

Here's an updated list of the specs currently proposed for Kilo. I wanted to produce this before I start travelling for the summit in the next couple of days because I think many of these will be required reading for the Nova track at the summit.

API

  • Add instance administrative lock status to the instance detail results: review 127139 (abandoned).
  • Add more detailed network information to the metadata server: review 85673.
  • Add separated policy rule for each v2.1 api: review 127863.
  • Add user limits to the limits API (as well as project limits): review 127094.
  • Allow all printable characters in resource names: review 126696.
  • Expose the lock status of an instance as a queryable item: review 85928 (approved).
  • Implement instance tagging: review 127281 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Implement tags for volumes and snapshots with the EC2 API: review 126553 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Implement the v2.1 API: review 126452 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Microversion support: review 127127.
  • Move policy validation to just the API layer: review 127160.
  • Provide a policy statement on the goals of our API policies: review 128560.
  • Support X509 keypairs: review 105034.


Administrative

  • Enable the nova metadata cache to be a shared resource to improve the hit rate: review 126705 (abandoned).
  • Enforce instance uuid uniqueness in the SQL database: review 128097 (fast tracked, approved).


Containers Service



Hypervisor: Docker



Hypervisor: FreeBSD

  • Implement support for FreeBSD networking in nova-network: review 127827.


Hypervisor: Hyper-V

  • Allow volumes to be stored on SMB shares instead of just iSCSI: review 102190 (approved).


Hypervisor: Ironic



Hypervisor: VMWare

  • Add ephemeral disk support to the VMware driver: review 126527 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Add support for the HTML5 console: review 127283.
  • Allow Nova to access a VMWare image store over NFS: review 126866.
  • Enable administrators and tenants to take advantage of backend storage policies: review 126547 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Enable the mapping of raw cinder devices to instances: review 128697.
  • Implement vSAN support: review 128600 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Support multiple disks inside a single OVA file: review 128691.
  • Support the OVA image format: review 127054 (fast tracked, approved).


Hypervisor: libvirt



Instance features



Internal

  • Move flavor data out of the system_metdata table in the SQL database: review 126620 (approved).
  • Transition Nova to using the Glance v2 API: review 84887.


Internationalization

  • Enable lazy translations of strings: review 126717 (fast tracked).


Performance

  • Dynamically alter the interval nova polls components at based on load and expected time for an operation to complete: review 122705.


Scheduler

  • Add an IOPS weigher: review 127123 (approved).
  • Add instance count on the hypervisor as a weight: review 127871 (abandoned).
  • Allow limiting the flavors that can be scheduled on certain host aggregates: review 122530 (abandoned).
  • Convert the resource tracker to objects: review 128964 (fast tracked, approved).
  • Create an object model to represent a request to boot an instance: review 127610.
  • Decouple services and compute nodes in the SQL database: review 126895.
  • Implement resource objects in the resource tracker: review 127609.
  • Isolate the scheduler's use of the Nova SQL database: review 89893.
  • Move select_destinations() to using a request object: review 127612.


Security

  • Provide a reference implementation for console proxies that uses TLS: review 126958 (fast tracked).
  • Strongly validate the tenant and user for quota consuming requests with keystone: review 92507.


Tags for this post: openstack kilo blueprint spec
Related posts: One week of Nova Kilo specifications; Compute Kilo specs are open; On layers; Juno nova mid-cycle meetup summary: slots; My candidacy for Kilo Compute PTL; Juno nova mid-cycle meetup summary: nova-network to Neutron migration

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Planet Linux AustraliaAndrew Pollock: [life] Day 267: An outing to the Valley for lunch, and swim class

I was supposed to go to yoga in the morning, but I just couldn't drag my sorry arse out of bed with my man cold.

Sarah dropped Zoe around, and she watched a bit of TV while we were waiting for a structural engineer to come and take a look at the building's movement-related issues.

While I was downstairs showing the engineer around, Zoe decided she'd watched enough TV and, remembering that I'd said we needed to tidy up her room the previous morning, but not had time to, took herself off to her room and tidied it up. I was so impressed.

After the engineer was finished, we walked to the ferry terminal to take the cross-river ferry over to Teneriffe, and catch the CityGlider bus to the Valley for another one of the group lunches I get invited to.

After lunch, we reversed our travel, dropping into the hairdresser on the way home to make an appointment for the next day. We grabbed a few things from the Hawthorne Garage on the way through.

We pottered around at home for a little bit before it was time to bike to swim class.

After swim class, we biked home, and Zoe watched some TV while I got organised for a demonstration that night.

Sarah picked up Zoe, and I headed out to my demo. Another full day.

Planet Linux Australialinux.conf.au News: Call for Volunteers

The Earlybird registrations are going extremely well – over 50% of the available tickets have sold in just two weeks! This is no longer a conference we are planning – this is a conference that is happening and that makes the Organisation Team very happy!

Speakers have been scheduled. Delegates are coming. We now urgently need to expand our team of volunteers to manage and assist all these wonderful visitors to ensure that LCA 2015 is unforgettable – for all the right reasons.

Volunteers are needed to register our delegates, show them to their accommodation, guide them around the University and transport them here and there. They will also manage our speakers by making sure that their presentations don't overrun, recording their presentations and assisting them in many other ways during their time at the conference.

Anyone who has been a volunteer before will tell you that it’s an extremely busy time, but so worthwhile. It’s rewarding to know that you’ve helped everybody at the conference to get the most out of it. There's nothing quite like knowing that you've made a difference.

But there is more, membership has other privileges and advantages! You don't just get to meet the delegates and speakers, you get to know many of them while helping them as well. You get a unique opportunity to get behind the scenes and close to the action. You can forge new relationships with amazing, interesting, wonderful people you might not ever get the chance to meet any other way.

Every volunteer's contribution is valued and vital to the overall running and success of the conference. We need all kinds of skills too – not just the technically savvy ones (although knowing which is the noisy end of a walkie-talkie may help). We want you! We need you! It just wouldn't be the same without you! If you would like to be an LCA 2015 volunteer it's easy to register. Just go to our volunteer page for more information. We review volunteer registrations regularly and if you’re based in Auckland (or would like a break away from wherever you are) then we would love to meet you at one of our regular meetings. Registered volunteers will receive information about these via email.

Planet DebianPetter Reinholdtsen: I spent last weekend recording MakerCon Nordic

I spent last weekend at Makercon Nordic, a great conference and workshop for makers in Norway and the surrounding countries. I had volunteered on behalf of the Norwegian Unix Users Group (NUUG) to video record the talks, and we had a great and exhausting time recording the entire day, two days in a row. There were only two of us, Hans-Petter and me, and we used the regular video equipment for NUUG, with a dvswitch, a camera and a VGA to DV convert box, and mixed video and slides live.

Hans-Petter did the post-processing, consisting of uploading the around 180 GiB of raw video to Youtube, and the result is now becoming public on the MakerConNordic account. The videos have the license NUUG always use on our recordings, which is Creative Commons Navngivelse-Del på samme vilkår 3.0 Norge. Many great talks available. Check it out! :)

Planet DebianEnrico Zini: systemd-default-rescue

Alternate rescue boot entry with systemd

Since systemd version 215, adding systemd.debug-shell to the kernel command line activates the debug shell on tty9 alongside the normal boot. I like the idea of that, and I'd like to have it in my standard 'rescue' entry in my grub menu.

Unfortunately, by default update-grub does not allow to customize the rescue menu entry options. I have just filed #766530 hoping for that to change.

After testing the patch I proposed for /etc/grub.d/10_linux, I now have this in my /etc/default/grub, with some satisfaction:

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_RECOVERY="systemd.log_target=kmsg systemd.log_level=debug systemd.debug-shell"

Further information:

Thanks to sjoerd and uau on #debian-systemd for their help.

LongNowAlexander Rose on The 10,000 Year Clock @ The Interval, Tuesday 10/28

Zander photo by Chris Michel small
Alexander Rose photo by Christopher Michel

Alexander Rose: Designing for Longevity
Building The 10,000 Year Clock
Tuesday October 28, 02014 at 7:30pm
at The Interval (check-in at 6:30)
Advanced Tickets recommended

Late in the last millennium, Danny Hillis told a small group of friends about his idea for building a monument-scale clock that would last for 10,000 years. The group included Stewart Brand, Kevin Kelly, and Brian Eno – and the conversations that followed led to the founding of The Long Now Foundation in 01996. Ever since then, Long Now has worked to bring the Clock into reality.

Alexander Rose has been there almost from the start. The first employee of Long Now, he assisted Danny Hillis in early design work. Now he is the Foundation’s Executive Director and serves as the project manager for the full-sized Clock construction which is now underway in Texas. In his talk at The Interval he will discuss both the beginnings of the Clock project and where we are today.

The Clock has been built slowly, methodically, with a dedication to doing it right for the long term. And without a short-term deadline. The design process has been slow and painstaking. Our prototypes are built from the highest-quality materials and feature hand-crafted custom work. Our durability testing approximates the wear of slow moving mechanisms running for thousands of years.

Tickets are still available but space is limited and this talk will sell out

This talk will also include the lessons that Long Now’s team has learned from studying these previous millennial design projects. Alexander has travelled the world researching other projects designed to last for a thousand years or more. These include the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, the Granite Mountain Records Vault built by the Mormon Church, and most recently Ise Grand Shrine in Japan.

LabeledFaceSM

Alexander Rose is Executive Director of The Long Now Foundation and project manager of the construction of the full-sized 10,000 Year Clock which is now underway in West Texas.

Zander Rose and the first Clock prototype

Alexander’s combat robots have won six world championship titles and appeared in the TV show BattleBots. Alexander has built large pyrotechnic displays for the Burning Man festival, robotic bartenders, and other dangerous machines. He is part of the Thiel Fellowship Network, and founded the Robot Fighting League.

Planet DebianGunnar Wolf: Listadmin — *YES*

Petter posted yesterday about Listadmin, the quick way to moderate mailman lists.

Petter: THANKS.

I am a fan of automatization. But, yes, I had never thouguht of doing this. Why? Don't know. But this is way easier than using the Web interface for Mailman:

$ listadmin 
fetching data for conoc_des@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for des_polit_pub@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for econ_apl@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for educ_ciencia_tec@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for est_hacend_sec_pub@my.example.org ... 

[1/1] ============== est_hacend_sec_pub@my.example.org ======
From:     sender@example.org                                            
Subject:  Invitación al Taller Insumo Producto                          
Reason:   El cuerpo del mensaje es demasiado grande: 777499    Spam? 0  
Approve/Reject/Discard/Skip/view Body/Full/jump #/Undo/Help/Quit ? a
Submit changes? [yes] 

fetching data for fiscal_fin@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for historia@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for industrial@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for medio_amb@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for mundial@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for pol_des@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for sec_ener@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for sec_prim@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for trab_tec@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for urb_reg@my.example.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for global@my.example.org ... nothing in queue

I don't know how in many years of managing several mailing lists I never thought about this! I'm echoing this, as I know several of my readers run mailman as well, and might not be following Planet Debian.

TEDBadminton birdies, floppy disks and old toys become art — and connections — in Chiang Mai, Thailand

This resident of Chiang Mai, Thailand, filled a bag with colorful puff balls for a project designed to connect members of the community. Photo: TEDxChiangMai

This resident of Chiang Mai, Thailand, filled a bag with colorful puff balls for a project designed to connect members of the community. Photo: TEDxChiangMai

In the days before their event in Chiang Mai, Thailand, the team at TEDxChiangMai spent a large chunk of their time collecting stuff. All kinds of stuff — the quirky, the old, the new, the unwanted, the loved and the thoroughly weird — that could be used for a collaborative art project on the big day. They found people at their workplaces, shops, studios, and homes and asked them to contribute in the spirit connecting the city.

The exchange would go like this, they told locals turned potential donors: Materials donated to the project — dubbed, “Connecting Creativity,” a play on their event theme: “Creating Connections” — would be given to an attendee at random during the event. With the materials, this attendee would build a craft of their own invention. Afterwards, they’d snap a photo of themselves with the piece and send it to the donor as a thank you.

The community responded in droves. The team collected a wide range of donations, many reflective of the donors’ personalities, lives and work: everything from homemade CDs to badminton birdies, from floppy disks to bells, birthday candles to figurines, faux flowers to old toys. Donors provided their contact information on specially-printed index cards, and these cards and materials were included in 300 grab bags.

On the big day, bags were handed out to attendees at random. Each person was challenged to create something from the items in their bag, with help from baskets of open-to-all extra materials. It was a whir of tape, glue and creativity. And the items they created showed off each attendee’s ingenuity and sense of humor.

Here’s how it worked. First, the donors pose with the bags of materials they contributed:

TEDxChangMai donor 2 TEDxChangMai donor 1 TEDxChangmai donor 4

edit15211766928_f0e37faee4_o_cc

The crafting begins the day of TEDxChiangMai.

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15211721170_8e93d3e044_k edit15398055942_f22cff0279_k_cc 15211651220_710dc5cdf3_k

edit15211698950_2d17e123b4_o_cc

Attendees pose with their crafts.15398294805_5414631c78_k 15211375040_1fd87fe26b_k 15211645220_5334a574d2_k 15394979571_f106a7709b_k

15375292236_e15af0ec65_k15397769702_e00c07349c_k 15211717238_38d08fd5f2_k 15211777767_3a1a540fd7_k TEDxChangMai donor 3 15375232006_41e79f29a2_k

All photos courtesy of TEDxChiangMai. Find out more about this event »


Planet DebianDirk Eddelbuettel: Introducing Rocker: Docker for R

You only know two things about Docker. First, it uses Linux
containers. Second, the Internet won't shut up about it.

-- attributed to Solomon Hykes, Docker CEO

So what is Docker?

Docker is a relatively new open source application and service, which is seeing interest across a number of areas. It uses recent Linux kernel features (containers, namespaces) to shield processes. While its use (superficially) resembles that of virtual machines, it is much more lightweight as it operates at the level of a single process (rather than an emulation of an entire OS layer). This also allows it to start almost instantly, require very little resources and hence permits an order of magnitude more deployments per host than a virtual machine.

Docker offers a standard interface to creation, distribution and deployment. The shipping container analogy is apt: just how shipping containers (via their standard size and "interface") allow global trade to prosper, Docker is aiming for nothing less for deployment. A Dockerfile provides a concise, extensible, and executable description of the computational environment. Docker software then builds a Docker image from the Dockerfile. Docker images are analogous to virtual machine images, but smaller and built in discrete, extensible and reuseable layers. Images can be distributed and run on any machine that has Docker software installed---including Windows, OS X and of course Linux. Running instances are called Docker containers. A single machine can run hundreds of such containers, including multiple containers running the same image.

There are many good tutorials and introductory materials on Docker on the web. The official online tutorial is a good place to start; this post can not go into more detail in order to remain short and introductory.

So what is Rocker?

rocker logo

At its core, Rocker is a project for running R using Docker containers. We provide a collection of Dockerfiles and pre-built Docker images that can be used and extended for many purposes.

Rocker is the the name of our GitHub repository contained with the Rocker-Org GitHub organization.

Rocker is also the name the account under which the automated builds at Docker provide containers ready for download.

Current Rocker Status

Core Rocker Containers

The Rocker project develops the following containers in the core Rocker repository

  • r-base provides a base R container to build from
  • r-devel provides the basic R container, as well as a complete R-devel build based on current SVN sources of R
  • rstudio provides the base R container as well an RStudio Server instance

We have settled on these three core images after earlier work in repositories such as docker-debian-r and docker-ubuntu-r.

Rocker Use Case Containers

Within the Rocker-org organization on GitHub, we are also working on

  • Hadleyverse which extends the rstudio container with a number of Hadley packages
  • rOpenSci which extends hadleyverse with a number of rOpenSci packages
  • r-devel-san provides an R-devel build for "Sanitizer" run-time diagnostics via a properly instrumented version of R-devel via a recent compiler build
  • rocker-versioned aims to provided containers with 'versioned' previous R releases and matching packages

Other repositories will probably be added as new needs and opportunities are identified.

Deprecation

The Rocker effort supersedes and replaces earlier work by Dirk (in the docker-debian-r and docker-ubuntu-r GitHub repositories) and Carl. Please use the Rocker GitHub repo and Rocker Containers from Docker.com going forward.

Next Steps

We intend to follow-up with more posts detailing usage of both the source Dockerfiles and binary containers on different platforms.

Rocker containers are fully functional. We invite you to take them for a spin. Bug reports, comments, and suggestions are welcome; we suggest you use the GitHub issue tracker.

Acknowledgments

We are very appreciative of all comments received by early adopters and testers. We also would like to thank RStudio for allowing us the redistribution of their RStudio Server binary.

Published concurrently at rOpenSci blog and Dirk's blog.

Authors

Dirk Eddelbuettel and Carl Boettiger

This post by Dirk Eddelbuettel originated on his Thinking inside the box blog. Please report excessive re-aggregation in third-party for-profit settings.

Krebs on Security‘Spam Nation’ Publisher Discloses Card Breach

In the interests of full disclosure: Sourcebooks – the company that on Nov. 18 is publishing my upcoming book about organized cybercrime — disclosed last week that a breach of its Web site shopping cart software may have exposed customer credit card and personal information.

Fortunately, this breach does not affect readers who have pre-ordered Spam Nation through the retailers I’ve been recommending — Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Politics & Prose.  I mention this breach mainly to get out in front of it, and because of the irony and timing of this unfortunate incident.

From Sourcebooks’ disclosure (PDF) with the California Attorney General’s office:

“Sourcebooks recently learned that there was a breach of the shopping cart software that supports several of our websites on April 16, 2014 – June 19, 2014 and unauthorized parties were able to gain access to customer credit card information. The credit card information included card number, expiration date, cardholder name and card verification value (CVV2). The billing account information included first name, last name, email address, phone number, and address. In some cases, shipping information was included as first name, last name, phone number, and address. In some cases, account password was obtained too. To our knowledge, the data accessed did not include any Track Data, PIN Number, Printed Card Verification Data (CVD). We are currently in the process of having a third-party forensic audit done to determine the extent of this breach.”

So again, if you have pre-ordered the book from somewhere other than Sourcebook’s site (and that is probably 99.9999 percent of you who have already pre-ordered), you are unaffected.

I think there are some hard but important lessons here about the wisdom of smaller online merchants handling credit card transactions. According to Sourcebooks founder Dominique Raccah, the breach affected approximately 5,100 people who ordered from the company’s Web site between mid-April and mid-June of this year. Raccah said the breach occurred after hackers found a security vulnerability in the site’s shopping cart software.

Shopping-Cart-iconExperts say tens of thousands of businesses that rely on shopping cart software are a major target for malicious hackers, mainly because shopping cart software is generally hard to do well.

“Shopping cart software is extremely complicated and tricky to get right from a security perspective,” said Jeremiah Grossman, founder and chief technology officer for WhiteHat Security, a company that gets paid to test the security of Web sites.  “In fact, no one in my experience gets it right their first time out. That software must undergo serious battlefield testing.”

Grossman suggests that smaller merchants consider outsourcing the handling of credit cards to a solid and reputable third-party. Sourcebooks’ Raccah said the company is in the process of doing just that.

“Make securing credit cards someone else’s problem,” Grossman said. “Yes, you take a little bit of a margin hit, but in contrast to the effort of do-it-yourself [approaches] and breach costs, it’s worth it.”

What’s more, as an increasing number of banks begin issuing more secure chip-based cards  — and by extension more main street merchants in the United States make the switch to requiring chip cards at checkout counters — fraudsters will begin to focus more of their attention on attacking online stores. The United States is the last of the G20 nations to move to chip cards, and in virtually every country that’s made the transition the fraud on credit cards didn’t go away, it just went somewhere else. And that somewhere else in each case manifested itself as increased attacks against e-commerce merchants.

If you haven’t pre-ordered Spam Nation yet, remember that all pre-ordered copies will ship signed by Yours Truly. Also, the first 1,000 customers to order two or more copies of the book (including any combination of digital, audio or print editions) will also get a Krebs On Security-branded ZeusGard. So far, approximately 400 readers have taken us up on this offer! Please make sure that if you do pre-order, that you forward a proof-of-purchase (receipt, screen shot of your Kindle order, etc.) to spamnation@sourcebookspr.com.

Pre-order two or more copies of Spam Nation and get this "Krebs Edition" branded ZeusGard.

Pre-order two or more copies of Spam Nation and get this “Krebs Edition” branded ZeusGard.

Geek FeminismWhy We’re Not Talking About GamerGate

Content warning: stalking, harassment, threats, violence–GamerGate, basically.

Geek Feminism’s lack of a statement about the GamerGate hate campaign has felt conspicuous to me. We’re a community dedicated to promoting justice and equality within geek communities. Documenting harassment and abuse in geek communities is one of our biggest projects. GamerGate is on our beat.

But while our fabulous team of linkspammers has been on top of the story, we haven’t put up a statement.

I spoke to some of our other bloggers about ways we could respond. The conversation we had was pretty illustrative.

Here are the ideas we had, and why we discarded them:

1: A “Seriously, Fuck GamerGate” Post

Why we didn’t:

“Fuck GamerGate” is a fairly obvious statement from us. It might be satisfying to say, but it adds little to the conversation.

And women who’ve said it before us have been stalked, harassed, doxxed, and threatened–some to the point of fleeing their homes.

2. A statement of support for GamerGate’s victims

Why we didn’t:

Telling folks we support them is nice, but it doesn’t provide the victims of these terror campaigns with the practical support they need to protect themselves. Talking about them has a very high chance of exposing them to even more abusers. When you’re the target of an organized campaign of terror, the last thing you need is more attention.

And women who’ve made statements of support have been stalked, harassed, doxxed, and threatened–some to the point of fleeing their homes.

3. An Ada Lovelace-style celebration of women in gaming, where we encourage folks to blog about games they love by women, and women in gaming who inspire them.

Why we didn’t:

We didn’t want to paint a target on anyone’s back.

Women in gaming who’ve gotten positive attention have been stalked, harassed, doxxed, and threatened–some to the point of fleeing their homes.

4. Present an iron hide and dare them to bring it.

Some of us feel guilty for not telling GamerGaters exactly where they can shove the horseshit they have the temerity to present as discourse.

Why we didn’t:

We want to live in a world where terror campaigns like this are ineffective; where that which does not kill us makes us stronger; where good triumphs over obtuse, selfish, cowardly evil. But wanting to live in that world doesn’t make that world real. In this world, oppression and injustice have built a system whereby that which does not kill us often leaves us personally and professionally damaged.

The fantasy that bravado would win the day is appealing, but daring abusers to come for us won’t do anything constructive. As much as we might want to put ourselves between GamerGate and its victims, we can’t. There are too many of them to successfully draw their fire.

We’d just end up getting stalked, harassed, doxxed, and threatened–possibly to the point of fleeing our homes.

By now, you’ve surely noticed the theme here.

It’s tempting to offer cheap platitudes to the women who’ve been the focus of these abuse campaigns, or those who might become them. To tell them to be brave, to speak their truth, to not let violent assholes scare them.

Platitudes won’t keep the cesspits of the internet from backflowing into their homes and workplaces. Platitudes won’t secure their computers and personal information; protect their families from detailed, sexually-explicit death threats; walk their kids to school; or stay at home to protect their pets while they’re at work. Platitudes won’t explain to their bosses why their companies’ websites are being DDOSed. Platitudes won’t stop bullets.

So before you lament how terrible it is to ‘let them win’ by being silent, please stop and think of a better way to phrase “I want to live in a world where the victims of abuse campaigns have a winning move.” Don’t ask women to sacrifice their names, careers, and safety to the fantasy that life is fair.

Telling women to be brave and speak up is telling them to face a violent horde unarmed. We don’t have an effective defense against these terror campaigns. We desperately need one. We’re going to follow up and see if we can develop any effective strategies.

In the meantime, I’ve already painted the target on my back, so I might as well say it.

Fuck GamerGate.

Cory DoctorowInterview with The Geekcast


I sat down at New York Comic-Con with Aaron from The Geekcast podcast for a long, interesting interview (MP3) on a wide variety of subjects about art, computers, games and justice!

Sociological ImagesFrom the Archives: Halloween

It’s that time of year again!  We are about to embark on seven straight days of Sociological Halloween Images.  As usual, you’re welcome and we’re sorry.

Look, Ashley S. is sad already:

1 (2)

In the meantime, enjoy our collection of Halloween posts from years past or visit our Halloween-themed Pinterest page.

Just For Fun

Screenshot_2

Halloween, Politics, and Culture

Race and Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

Gender

Gender and Kids

The intersection of Race, Class, and Gender

And, for no conceivable reason…

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Geek FeminismGF classifieds (October, November, and December 2014)

This is another round of Geek feminism classifieds – now quarterly! If you’re looking to hire women, find some people to participate in your study, find female speakers, or just want some like-minded folk to join your open source project, this is the thread for you!

Here’s how it works:

  1. Geeky subjects only. We take a wide view of geekdom, but if your thing isn’t related to an obviously geeky topic, you’ll probably want to give a bit of background on why the readers of Geek Feminism would be interested.
  2. Explain what your project/event/thing is, or link to a webpage that provides clear, informative information about it. Ideally you’ll also explain why geek women might find it particularly awesome.
  3. Explain what you’re looking for. Even if it’s not a job ad, think of it like one: what is the activity/role in question, and what would it involve? What is the profile of people you’re looking for?
  4. GF has international readership, so please be sure to indicate the location if you’re advertising a job position, conference, or other thing where the location matters. Remember that city acronyms aren’t always known world-wide and lots of cities share names, so be as clear as possible! (That is, don’t say “SF[O]” or “NYC” or “Melb”, say “San Francisco, USA”, “New York City, USA” or “Melbourne, Australia”.) And if you can provide travel/relocation assistance, we’d love to know about it.
  5. Keep it legal. Most jurisdictions do not allow you to (eg.) advertise jobs for only people of a given gender. So don’t do that. If you are advertising for something that falls into this category, think of this as an opportunity to boost the signal to women who might be interested.
  6. If you’re asking for participants in a study, please note Mary’s helpful guide to soliciting research participation on the ‘net, especially the “bare minimum” section.
  7. Provide a way for people to contact you, such as your email address or a link to apply in the case of job advertisements. (The email addresses entered in the comment form here are not public, so readers won’t see them.)
  8. Keep an eye on comments here, in case people ask for clarification or more details. (You can subscribe to comments via email or RSS.)

If you’d like some more background/tips on how to reach out to women for your project/event/whatever, take a look at Recruiting women on the Geek Feminism Wiki.)

Good luck!

Don MartiQoTD: Bob Hoffman

The addiction to targeting, which digital technology has only amplified, has derailed the advertising industry from concentrating on its real job—creating interesting messages.

Bob Hoffman

Planet DebianAlessio Treglia: Bits from the Debian Multimedia Maintainers

This brief announcement was released yesterday to the debian-devel-announce mailing list.

 

Ciao!

The Debian Multimedia Maintainers have been quite active since the Wheezy release, and have some interesting news to share for the Jessie release. Here we give you a brief update on what work has been done and work that is still ongoing.

Let’s see what’s cooking for Jessie then.

 

Frameworks and libraries

Support for many new media formats and codecs.

The codec library libavcodec, which is used by popular media playback applications including vlc, mpv, totem (using gstreamer1.0-libav), xine, and many more, has been updated to the latest upstream release version 11 provided by Libav. This provides Debian users with HEVC playback, a native Opus decoder, Matroska 3D support, Apple ProRes, and much more. Please see libav’s changelog for a full list of functionality additions and updates.

libebur128

libebur128 is a free implementation of the European Broadcasting Union Loudness Recommendation (EBU R128), which is essentially an alternative to ReplayGain. The library can be used to analyze audio perceived loudness and subsequentially normalize the volume during playback.

libltc

libltc provides functionalities to encode and decode Linear (or Longitudinal) Timecode (LTC) from/to SMPTE data timecode.

libva

libva and the driver for Intel GPUs has been updated to the 1.4.0 release. Support for new GPUs has been added. libva now also supports Wayland.

Pure Data

A number of new additional libraries (externals) will appear in Jessie, including (among others) Eric Lyon’s fftease and lyonpotpourrie, Thomas Musil’s iemlib, the pdstring library for string manipulation and pd-lua that allows to write Pd-objects in the popular lua scripting language.

 

JACK and LADI

LASH Audio Session Handler was abandoned upstream a long time ago in favor of the new session management system, called ladish (LADI Session Handler). ladish allows users to run many JACK applications at once and save/restore their configuration with few mouse clicks.

The current status of the integration between the session handler and JACK may be summarized as follows:

  • ladish provides the backend;
  • laditools contains a number of useful graphical tools to tune the session management system’s whole configuration (including JACK);
  • gladish provides a easy-to-use graphical interface for the session handler.

Note that ladish uses the D-Bus interface to the jack daemon, therefore only Jessie’s jackd2 provides support for and also cooperates fine with it.

 

Plugins: LV2 and LADSPA

Debian Jessie will bring the newest 1.10.0 version of the LV2 technology. Most changes affect the packaging of new plugins and extensions, a brief list of packaging guidelines is now available.
A number of new plugins and development tools too have been made available during the Jessie development cycle:

LV2 Toolkit

LVTK provides libraries that wrap the LV2 C API and extensions into easy to use C++ classes. The original work for this was mostly done by Lars Luthman in lv2-c++-tools.

Vee One Suite

The whole suite by Rui Nuno Capela is now available in Jessie, and consists of three components:

  • drumkv1: old-school drum-kit sampler synthesizer
  • samplv1: polyphonic sampler
  • synthv1: analog-style 4-oscillator substractive synthesizer

All three are provided in both forms of LV2 plugins and stand-alone JACK client. JACK session, JACK MIDI, and ALSA MIDI are supported too.

x42-plugins and zam-plugins

LV2 bundles containing many audio plugins for high quality processing.

Fomp

Fomp is an LV2 port of the MCP, VCO, FIL, and WAH plugins by Fons Adriaensen.

Some other components have been upgraded to more recent upstream versions:

  • ab2gate: 1.1.7
  • calf: 0.0.19+git20140915+5de5da28
  • eq10q: 2.0~beta5.1
  • NASPRO: 0.5.1

We’ve packaged ste-plugins, Fons Adriaensen’s new stereo LADSPA plugins bundle.

A major upgrade of frei0r, namely the standard collection for the minimalistic plugin API for video effects, will be available in Jessie.

 

New multimedia applications

Advene

Advene (Annotate Digital Video, Exchange on the NEt) is a flexible video
annotation application.

Ardour3

The new generation of the popular digital audio workstation will make its very first appearance in Debian Jessie.

Cantata

Qt4 front-end for the MPD daemon.

Csound

Csound for jessie will feature the new major series 6, with the improved IDE CsoundQT. This new csound supports improved array data type handling, multi-core rendering and debugging features.

din

DIN Is Noise is a musical instrument and audio synthesizer that supports JACK audio output, MIDI, OSC, and IRC bot as input sources. It could be extended and customized with Tcl scripts too.

dvd-slideshow

dvd-slideshow consists of a suite of command line tools which come in handy to make slideshows from collections of pictures. Documentation is provided and available in `/usr/share/doc/dvd-slideshow/’.

dvdwizard

DVDwizard can fully automate the creation of DVD-Video filesystem. It supports graphical menus, chapters, multiple titlesets and multi-language streams. It supports both PAL and NTSC video modes too.

flowblade

Flowblade is a video editor – like the popular KDenlive based on the MLT engine, but more lightweight and with some difference in editing concepts.

forked-daapd

Forked-daapd switched to a new, active upstream again dropping Grand Central Dispatch in favor of libevent. The switch fixed several bugs and made forked-daapd available on all release architectures instead of shipping only on amd64 and i386. Now nothing prevents you from setting up a music streaming (DAAP/DACP) server on your favorite home server no matter if it is based on mips, arm or x86!

harvid

HTTP Ardour Video Daemon decodes still images from movie files and serves them via HTTP. It provides frame-accurate decoding and is main use-case is to act as backend and second level cache for rendering the
videotimeline in Ardour.

Groove Basin

Groove Basin is a music player server with a web-based user interface inspired by Amarok 1.4. It runs on a server optionally connected to speakers. Guests can control the music player by connecting with a laptop, tablet, or smart phone. Further, users can stream their music libraries remotely.
It comes with a fast, responsive web interface that supports keyboard shortcuts and drag drop. It also provides the ability to upload songs, download songs, and import songs by URL, including YouTube URLs. Groove Basin supports Dynamic Mode which automatically queues random songs, favoring songs that have not been queued recently.
It automatically performs ReplayGain scanning on every song using the EBU R128 loudness standard, and automatically switches between track and album mode. Groove Basin supports the MPD protocol, which means it is compatible with MPD clients. There is also a more powerful Groove Basin protocol which you can use if the MPD protocol does not meet your needs.

HandBrake

HandBrake, a versatile video transcoder, is now available for Jessie. It could convert video from nearly any format to a wide range of commonly supported codecs.

jack-midi-clock

New jackd midiclock utility made by Robin Gareus.

laborejo

Laborejo, Esperanto for “Workshop”, is used to craft music through notation. It is a LilyPond GUI frontend, a MIDI creator and a tool collection to inspire and help music composers.

mpv

mpv is a movie player based on MPlayer and mplayer2. It supports a wide variety of video file formats, audio and video codecs, and subtitle types. The project focuses mainly on modern systems and encourages developer activity. As such, large portions of outdated code originating from MPlayer have been removed, and many new features and improvements have been added. Note that, although there are still some similarities to its predecessors, mpv should be considered a completely different program (e.g. lacking compatibility with both mplayer and mplayer2 in terms of command-line arguments and configuration).

smtube

SMTube is a stand-alone graphical video browser and player, which makes YouTube’s videos browsing, playing, and download such a piece of cake.
It has so many features that, we are sure, will make YouTube lovers very, very happy.

sonic-visualiser

Sonic Visualiser Application for viewing and analysing the contents of music audio files.

SoundScapeRenderer

SoundScapeRenderer (aka SSR) is a (rather) easy to use render engine for spatial audio, that provides a number of different rendering algorithms, ranging from binaural (headphone) playback via wave field synthesis to higher-order ambisonics.

Videotrans

videotrans is a set of scripts that allow its user to reformat existing movies into the VOB format that is used on DVDs.

XBMC

XBMC has been partially rebranded as XBMC from Debian to make it clear that it is changed to conform to Debian’s Policy. The latest stable release, 13.2 Gotham will be part of Jessie making Debian a good choice for HTPC-s.

zita-bls1

Binaural stereo signals converter made by Fons Adriaensen

zita-mu1

Stereo monitoring organiser for jackd made by Fons Adriaensen

zita-njbridge

Jack clients to transmit multichannel audio over a local IP network made by Fons Adriaensen

radium-compressor

Radium Compressor is the system compressor of the Radium suite. It is provided in the form of stand-alone JACK application.

 

Multimedia Tasks

With Jessie we are shipping a set of multimedia related tasks.
They include package lists for doing several multimedia related tasks. If you are interested in defining new tasks, or tweaking the current, existing ones, we are very much interested in hearing from you.

 

Upgraded applications and libraries

  • Aeolus: 0.9.0
  • Aliki: 0.3.0
  • Ams: 2.1.1
  • amsynth: 1.4.2
  • Audacious: 3.5.2
  • Audacity: 2.0.5
  • Audio File Library: 0.3.6
  • Blender: 2.72b
  • Bristol: 0.60.11f
  • C* Audio Plugin Suite: 0.9.23
  • Cecilia: 5.0.9
  • cmus: 2.5.0
  • DeVeDe: 3.23.0-13-gbfd73f3
  • DRC: 3.2.1
  • EasyTag: 2.2.2
  • ebumeter: 0.2.0
  • faustworks: 0.5
  • ffDiaporama: 1.5
  • ffms: 2.20
  • gmusicbrowser: 1.1.13
  • Hydrogen: 0.9.6.1
  • IDJC: 0.8.14
  • jack-tools: 20131226
  • LiVES: 2.2.6
  • mhWaveEdit: 1.4.23
  • Mixxx: 1.11.0
  • mp3fs: 0.91
  • MusE: 2.1.2
  • Petri-Foo: 0.1.87
  • PHASEX: 0.14.97
  • QjackCtl: 0.3.12
  • Qtractor: 0.6.3
  • rtaudio: 4.1.1
  • Rosegarden: 14.02
  • rtmidi: 2.1.0
  • SoundTouch: 1.8.0
  • stk: 4.4.4
  • streamtuner2: 2.1.3
  • SuperCollider: 3.6.6
  • Synfig Studio: 0.64.1
  • TerminatorX: 3.90
  • tsdecrypt: 10.0
  • Vamp Plugins SDK: 2.5
  • VLC: Jessie will release with the 2.2.x series of VLC
  • XCFA: 4.3.8
  • xwax: 1.5
  • xjadeo: 0.8.0
  • x264: 0.142.2431+gita5831aa
  • zynaddsubfx: 2.4.3

 

What’s not going to be in Jessie

With the aim to improve the overall quality of the multimedia software available in Debian, we have dropped a number of packages which were abandoned upstream:

  • beast
  • flumotion
  • jack-rack
  • jokosher
  • lv2fil (suggested replacement for users is eq10q or calf eq)
  • phat
  • plotmm
  • specimen (suggested replacement for users is petri-foo – fork of specimen)
  • zynjacku (suggested replacement for users is jalv)

We’ve also dropped mplayer, presently nobody seems interested in maintaining it.
The suggested replacements for users are mplayer2 or mpv. Whilst the former is mostly compatible with mplayer in terms of command-line arguments and configuration (and adds a few new features too), the latter adds a lot of new features and improvements, and it is actively maintained upstream.

Please note that although the mencoder package is no longer available anymore, avconv and mpv do provide encoding functionality. For more information see avconv’s manual page and documentation, and mpv’s encoding documentation.

 

Broken functionalities

rtkit under systemd is broken at the moment.

 

Activity statistics

More information about team’s activity are available.

 

Where to reach us

The Debian Multimedia Maintainers can be reached at pkg-multimedia-maintainers AT lists.alioth.debian.org for packaging related topics, or at debian-multimedia AT lists.debian.org for user and more general discussion.
We would like to invite everyone interested in multimedia to join us there. Some of the team members are also in the #debian-multimedia channel on OFTC.

Cheers!

Alessio Treglia
on behalf of the Debian Multimedia Maintainers

 

Worse Than FailureCodeSOD: The Beginning of the Zend

Karol found a program that needs to look at a timestamp, and determine if that timestamp is before or after an expiration date. The code that was handling this looked like this:

public function _isSmsCodeExpired($id)
    {

        $genDateStr = $this->db()->query(&aposSELECT date FROM table&apos)->fetchColumn();

        if (empty($genDateStr))
        {
            return true;
        }
        
        $expireDateArr = array();
        $intervalSec = 120;

        $genDataTmp = explode(&apos &apos, $genDateStr);
        $genDataArr = explode(&apos-&apos, $genDataTmp[0]);

        $expireDateArr[&aposyear&apos] = $genDataArr[0];
        $expireDateArr[&aposmonth&apos] = $genDataArr[1];
        $expireDateArr[&aposday&apos] = $genDataArr[2];

        $genDataArr = explode(&apos:&apos, $genDataTmp[1]);

        $expireDateArr[&aposhour&apos] = $genDataArr[0];
        $expireDateArr[&aposminute&apos] = $genDataArr[1];
        $expireDateArr[&apossecond&apos] = substr($genDataArr[2], 0, 2);

        $intervalMin = (int) $intervalSec / 60;
        $intervalSec = (int) $intervalSec - ( $intervalMin * 60 );

        $expireDateArr[&apossecond&apos] += $intervalSec;
        $expireDateArr[&aposminute&apos] += $intervalMin;

        $expireDateArr[&apossecond&apos] += $intervalSec;
        if ($expireDateArr[&apossecond&apos] > 60)
        {
            $expireDateArr[&aposminute&apos] += 1;
            $expireDateArr[&apossecond&apos] = $expireDateArr[&apossecond&apos] - 60;
        }

        if ($expireDateArr[&aposminute&apos] > 60)
        {
            $expireDateArr[&aposhour&apos] += 1;
            $expireDateArr[&aposminute&apos] = $expireDateArr[&aposminute&apos] - 60;
        }

        if ($expireDateArr[&aposhour&apos] > 24)
        {
            $expireDateArr[&aposday&apos] += 1;
            $expireDateArr[&aposhour&apos] = $expireDateArr[&aposhour&apos] - 24;
        }

        $daysInMonth = date("t", strtotime($expireDateArr[&aposyear&apos] . "-" . $expireDateArr[&aposmonth&apos] . "-01"));

        if ($expireDateArr[&aposday&apos] > $daysInMonth)
        {
            $expireDateArr[&aposmonth&apos] += 1;
            $expireDateArr[&aposday&apos] = $expireDateArr[&aposday&apos] - $daysInMonth;
        }

        if ($expireDateArr[&aposmonth&apos] > 12)
        {
            $expireDateArr[&aposyear&apos] += 1;
        }


        $expireDate = new Zend_Date($expireDateArr);
        $now = new Zend_Date();

        if ($now->isEarlier($expireDate))
            return false;
        else
            return true;
    }

The real fun part of this was the choice to use Zend_Date, which not only parses date strings, but also has built in methods to add seconds to a date. Of course, even that’s overkill <script src="http://www.cornify.com/js/cornify.js" type="text/javascript"></script> for solving this problem. Karol replaced most of the function with this:

return ((strtotime($genDateStr) + $intervalSec) > time()) ;

Planet DebianErich Schubert: Clustering 23 mio Tweet locations

To test scalability of ELKI, I've clustered 23 million Tweet locations from the Twitter Statuses Sample API obtained over 8.5 months (due to licensing restrictions by Twitter, I cannot make this data available to you, sorry.
23 million points is a challenge for advanced algorithms. It's quite feasible by k-means; in particular if you choose a small k and limit the number of iterations. But k-means does not make a whole lot of sense on this data set - it is a forced quantization algorithm, but does not discover actual hotspots.
Density-based clustering such as DBSCAN and OPTICS are much more appropriate. DBSCAN is a bit tricky to parameterize - you need to find the right combination of radius and density for the whole world. Given that Twitter adoption and usage is quite different it is very likely that you won't find a single parameter that is appropriate everywhere.
OPTICS is much nicer here. We only need to specify a minimum object count - I chose 1000, as this is a fairly large data set. For performance reasons (and this is where ELKI really shines) I chose a bulk-loaded R*-tree index for acceleration. To benefit from the index, the epsilon radius of OPTICS was set to 5000m. Also, ELKI allows using geodetic distance, so I can specify this value in meters and do not get much artifacts from coordinate projection.
To extract clusters from OPTICS, I used the Xi method, with xi set to 0.01 - a rather low value, also due to the fact of having a large data set.
The results are pretty neat - here is a screenshot (using KDE Marble and OpenStreetMap data, since Google Earth segfaults for me right now):
Screenshot of Clusters in central Europe
Some observations: unsurprisingly, many cities turn up as clusters. Also regional differences are apparent as seen in the screenshot: plenty of Twitter clusters in England, and low acceptance rate in Germany (Germans do seem to have objections about using Twitter; maybe they still prefer texting, which was quite big in Germany - France and Spain uses Twitter a lot more than Germany).
Spam - some of the high usage in Turkey and Indonesia may be due to spammers using a lot of bots there. There also is a spam cluster in the ocean south of Lagos - some spammer uses random coordinates [0;1]; there are 36000 tweets there, so this is a valid cluster...
A benefit of OPTICS and DBSCAN is that they do not cluster every object - low density areas are considered as noise. Also, they support clusters of different shape (which may be lost in this visualiation, which uses convex hulls!) and different size. OPTICS can also produce a hierarchical result.
Note that for these experiments, the actual Tweet text was not used. This has a rough correspondence to Twitter popularity "heatmaps", except that the clustering algorithms will actually provide a formalized data representation of activity hotspots, not only a visualization.
You can also explore the clustering result in your browser - the Google Drive visualization functionality seems to work much better than Google Earth.
If you go to Istanbul or Los Angeles, you will see some artifacts - odd shaped clusters with a clearly visible spike. This is caused by the Xi extraction of clusters, which is far from perfect. At the end of a valley in the OPTICS plot, it is hard to decide whether a point should be included or not. These errors are usually the last element in such a valley, and should be removed via postprocessing. But our OpticsXi implementation is meant to be as close as possible to the published method, so we do not intend to "fix" this.
Certain areas - such as Washington, DC, New York City, and the silicon valley - do not show up as clusters. The reason is probably again the Xi extraction - these region do not exhibit the steep density increase expected by Xi, but are too blurred in their surroundings to be a cluster.
Hierarchical results can be found e.g. in Brasilia and Los Angeles.
Compare the OPTICS results above to k-means results (below) - see why I consider k-means results to be a meaningless quantization?
k-means clusters
Sure, k-means is fast (30 iterations; not converged yet. Took 138 minutes on a single core, with k=1000. The parallel k-means implementation in ELKI took 38 minutes on a single node, Hadoop/Mahout on 8 nodes took 131 minutes, as slow as a single CPU core!). But you can see how sensitive it is to misplaced coordinates (outliers, but mostly spam), how many "clusters" are somewhere in the ocean, and that there is no resolution on the cities? The UK is covered by 4 clusters, with little meaning; and three of these clusters stretch all the way into Bretagne - k-means clusters clearly aren't of high quality here.
If you want to reproduce these results, you need to get the upcoming ELKI version (0.6.5~201410xx - the output of cluster convex hulls was just recently added to the default codebase), and of course data. The settings I used are:
-dbc.in coords.tsv.gz
-db.index tree.spatial.rstarvariants.rstar.RStarTreeFactory
-pagefile.pagesize 500
-spatial.bulkstrategy SortTileRecursiveBulkSplit
-time
-algorithm clustering.optics.OPTICSXi
-opticsxi.xi 0.01
-algorithm.distancefunction geo.LngLatDistanceFunction
-optics.epsilon 5000.0 -optics.minpts 1000
-resulthandler KMLOutputHandler -out /tmp/out.kmz
and the total runtime for 23 million points on a single core was about 29 hours. The indexes helped a lot: less than 10000 distances were computed per point, instead of 23 million - the expected speedup over a non-indexed approach is 2400.
Don't try this with R or Matlab. Your average R clustering algorithm will try to build a full distance matrix, and you probably don't have an exabyte of memory to store this matrix. Maybe start with a smaller data set first, then see how long you can afford to increase the data size.

Planet DebianMatthew Garrett: Linux Container Security

First, read these slides. Done? Good.

(Edit: Just to clarify - these are not my slides. They're from a presentation Jerome Petazzoni gave at Linuxcon NA earlier this year)

Hypervisors present a smaller attack surface than containers. This is somewhat mitigated in containers by using seccomp, selinux and restricting capabilities in order to reduce the number of kernel entry points that untrusted code can touch, but even so there is simply a greater quantity of privileged code available to untrusted apps in a container environment when compared to a hypervisor environment[1].

Does this mean containers provide reduced security? That's an arguable point. In the event of a new kernel vulnerability, container-based deployments merely need to upgrade the kernel on the host and restart all the containers. Full VMs need to upgrade the kernel in each individual image, which takes longer and may be delayed due to the additional disruption. In the event of a flaw in some remotely accessible code running in your image, an attacker's ability to cause further damage may be restricted by the existing seccomp and capabilities configuration in a container. They may be able to escalate to a more privileged user in a full VM.

I'm not really compelled by either of these arguments. Both argue that the security of your container is improved, but in almost all cases exploiting these vulnerabilities would require that an attacker already be able to run arbitrary code in your container. Many container deployments are task-specific rather than running a full system, and in that case your attacker is already able to compromise pretty much everything within the container. The argument's stronger in the Virtual Private Server case, but there you're trading that off against losing some other security features - sure, you're deploying seccomp, but you can't use selinux inside your container, because the policy isn't per-namespace[2].

So that seems like kind of a wash - there's maybe marginal increases in practical security for certain kinds of deployment, and perhaps marginal decreases for others. We end up coming back to the attack surface, and it seems inevitable that that's always going to be larger in container environments. The question is, does it matter? If the larger attack surface still only results in one more vulnerability per thousand years, you probably don't care. The aim isn't to get containers to the same level of security as hypervisors, it's to get them close enough that the difference doesn't matter.

I don't think we're there yet. Searching the kernel for bugs triggered by Trinity shows plenty of cases where the kernel screws up from unprivileged input[3]. A sufficiently strong seccomp policy plus tight restrictions on the ability of a container to touch /proc, /sys and /dev helps a lot here, but it's not full coverage. The presentation I linked to at the top of this post suggests using the grsec patches - these will tend to mitigate several (but not all) kernel vulnerabilities, but there's tradeoffs in (a) ease of management (having to build your own kernels) and (b) performance (several of the grsec options reduce performance).

But this isn't intended as a complaint. Or, rather, it is, just not about security. I suspect containers can be made sufficiently secure that the attack surface size doesn't matter. But who's going to do that work? As mentioned, modern container deployment tools make use of a number of kernel security features. But there's been something of a dearth of contributions from the companies who sell container-based services. Meaningful work here would include things like:

  • Strong auditing and aggressive fuzzing of containers under realistic configurations
  • Support for meaningful nesting of Linux Security Modules in namespaces
  • Introspection of container state and (more difficult) the host OS itself in order to identify compromises

These aren't easy jobs, but they're important, and I'm hoping that the lack of obvious development in areas like this is merely a symptom of the youth of the technology rather than a lack of meaningful desire to make things better. But until things improve, it's going to be far too easy to write containers off as a "convenient, cheap, secure: choose two" tradeoff. That's not a winning strategy.

[1] Companies using hypervisors! Audit your qemu setup to ensure that you're not providing more emulated hardware than necessary to your guests. If you're using KVM, ensure that you're using sVirt (either selinux or apparmor backed) in order to restrict qemu's privileges.
[2] There's apparently some support for loading per-namespace Apparmor policies, but that means that the process is no longer confined by the sVirt policy
[3] To be fair, last time I ran Trinity under Docker under a VM, it ended up killing my host. Glass houses, etc.

comment count unavailable comments

Planet Linux AustraliaJonathan Adamczewski: Assembly Primer Part 7 — Working with Strings — ARM

These are my notes for where I can see ARM varying from IA32, as presented in the video Part 7 — Working with Strings.

I’ve not remotely attempted to implement anything approximating optimal string operations for this part — I’m just working my way through the examples and finding obvious mappings to the ARM arch (or, at least what seem to be obvious). When I do something particularly stupid, leave a comment and let me know :)

Working with Strings

.data
     HelloWorldString:
        .asciz "Hello World of Assembly!"
    H3110:
        .asciz "H3110"

.bss
    .lcomm Destination, 100
    .lcomm DestinationUsingRep, 100
    .lcomm DestinationUsingStos, 100

Here’s the storage that the provided example StringBasics.s uses. No changes are required to compile this for ARM.

1. Simple copying using movsb, movsw, movsl

    @movl $HelloWorldString, %esi
    movw r0, #:lower16:HelloWorldString
    movt r0, #:upper16:HelloWorldString

    @movl $Destination, %edi
    movw r1, #:lower16:Destination
    movt r1, #:upper16:Destination

    @movsb
    ldrb r2, [r0], #1
    strb r2, [r1], #1

    @movsw
    ldrh r3, [r0], #2
    strh r3, [r1], #2

    @movsl
    ldr r4, [r0], #4
    str r4, [r1], #4

More visible complexity than IA32, but not too bad overall.

IA32′s movs instructions implicitly take their source and destination addresses from %esi and %edi, and increment/decrement both. Because of ARM’s load/store architecture, separate load and store instructions are required in each case, but there is support for indexing of these registers:

ARM addressing modes

According to ARM A8.5, memory access instructions commonly support three addressing modes:

  • Offset addressing — An offset is applied to an address from a base register and the result is used to perform the memory access. It’s the form of addressing I’ve used in previous parts and looks like [rN, offset]
  • Pre-indexed addressing — An offset is applied to an address from a base register, the result is used to perform the memory access and also written back into the base register. It looks like [rN, offset]!
  • Post-indexed addressing — An address is used as-is from a base register for memory access. The offset is applied and the result is stored back to the base register. It looks like [rN], offset and is what I’ve used in the example above.

2. Setting / Clearing the DF flag

ARM doesn’t have a DF flag (to the best of my understanding). It could perhaps be simulated through the use of two instructions and conditional execution to select the right direction. I’ll look further into conditional execution of instructions on ARM in a later post.

3. Using Rep

ARM also doesn’t appear to have an instruction quite like IA32′s rep instruction. A conditional branch and a decrement will be the long-form equivalent. As branches are part of a later section, I’ll skip them for now.

    @movl $HelloWorldString, %esi
    movw r0, #:lower16:HelloWorldString
    movt r0, #:upper16:HelloWorldString

    @movl $DestinationUsingRep, %edi
    movw r1, #:lower16:DestinationUsingRep
    movt r1, #:upper16:DestinationUsingRep

    @movl $25, %ecx # set the string length in ECX
    @cld # clear the DF
    @rep movsb
    @std

    ldm r0!, {r2,r3,r4,r5,r6,r7}
    ldrb r8, [r0,#0]
    stm r1!, {r2,r3,r4,r5,r6,r7}
    strb r8, [r1,#0]

To avoid conditional branches, I’ll start with the assumption that the string length is known (25 bytes). One approach would be using multiple load instructions, but the load multiple (ldm) instruction makes it somewhat easier for us — one instruction to fetch 24 bytes, and a load register byte (ldrb) for the last one. Using the ! after the source-address register indicates that it should be updated with the address of the next byte after those that have been read.

The storing of the data back to memory is done analogously. Store multiple (stm) writes 6 registers×4 bytes = 24 bytes (with the ! to have the destination address updated). The final byte is written using strb.

4. Loading string from memory into EAX register

    @cld
    @leal HelloWorldString, %esi
    movw r0, #:lower16:HelloWorldString
    movt r0, #:upper16:HelloWorldString

    @lodsb
    ldrb r1, [r0, #0]

    @movb $0, %al
    mov r1, #0

    @dec %esi  @ unneeded. equiv: sub r0, r0, #1
    @lodsw
    ldrh r1, [r0, #0]

    @movw $0, %ax
    mov r1, #0

    @subl $2, %esi # Make ESI point back to the original string. unneeded. equiv: sub r0, r0, #2
    @lodsl
    ldr r1, [r0, #0]

In this section, we are shown how the IA32 lodsb, lodsw and lodsl instructions work. Again, they have implicitly assigned register usage, which isn’t how ARM operates.

So, instead of a simple, no-operand instruction like lodsb, we have a ldrb r1, [r0, #0] loading a byte from the address in r0 into r1. Because I didn’t use post indexed addressing, there’s no need to dec or subl the address after the load. If I were to do so, it could look like this:

    ldrb r1, [r0], #1
    sub r0, r0, #1

    ldrh r1, [r0], #2
    sub r0, r0, #2

    ldr r1, [r0], #4

If you trace through it in gdb, look at how the value in r0 changes after each instruction.

5. Storing strings from EAX to memory

    @leal DestinationUsingStos, %edi
    movw r0, #:lower16:DestinationUsingStos
    movt r0, #:upper16:DestinationUsingStos

    @stosb
    strb r1, [r0], #1
    @stosw
    strh r1, [r0], #2
    @stosl
    str r1, [r0], #4

Same kind of thing as for the loads. Writes the letters in r1 (being “Hell” — leftovers from the previous section) into DestinationUsingStos (the result being “HHeHell”). String processing on little endian architectures has its appeal.

6. Comparing Strings

    @cld
    @leal HelloWorldString, %esi
    movw r0, #:lower16:HelloWorldString
    movt r0, #:upper16:HelloWorldString
    @leal H3110, %edi
    movw r1, #:lower16:H3110
    movt r1, #:upper16:H3110

    @cmpsb
    ldrb r2, [r0,#0]
    ldrb r3, [r1,#0]
    cmp r2, r3

    @dec %esi
    @dec %edi
    @not needed because of the addressing mode used

    @cmpsw
    ldrh r2, [r0,#0]
    ldrh r3, [r1,#0]
    cmp r2, r3

    @subl $2, %esi
    @subl $2, %edi
    @not needed because of the addressing mode used
    @cmpsl
    ldr r2, [r0,#0]
    ldr r3, [r1,#0]
    cmp r2, r3

Where IA32′s cmps instructions implicitly load through the pointers in %edi and %esi, explicit loads are needed for ARM. The compare then works in pretty much the same way as for IA32, setting condition code flags in the current program status register (cpsr). If you run the above code, and check the status registers before and after execution of the cmp instructions, you’ll see the zero flag set and unset in the same way as is demonstrated in the video.

The condition code flags are:

  • bit 31 — negative (N)
  • bit 30 — zero (Z)
  • bit 29 — carry (C)
  • bit 28 — overflow (V)

There’s other flags in that register — all the details are on page B1-16 and B1-17 in the ARM Architecture Reference Manual.

And with that, I think we’ve made it (finally) to the end of this part for ARM.

Other assembly primer notes are linked here.

Kelvin ThomsonSchizophrenia About the Past and the Present

The right of politics can't work out whether we're better off now or better off in the past. The Prime Minister describes the Menzies era as a golden age of prosperity, saying "These years of low unemployment, low interest rates and strong social cohesion are the gold standard by which all governments will be judged". He describes this period as one of expanding Universities, the building of Canberra, and home ownership being brought within reach of most families.<o:p></o:p>

The Institute of Public Affairs, on the contrary, titled a recent report "Things are Getting Better All the Time", and claims that life has improved dramatically for Australians in terms of earnings and work and economic changes.
<o:p></o:p> 
They should try and explain this to our young people, who are today caught in an Axis of Financial Evil – student debt, job insecurity, and housing unaffordability.<o:p></o:p>

We would be better placed to judge whether life is improving or not if we produced more accurate performance indicators than the deeply flawed and inadequate GDP, and adopted in Australia, as other countries and States of the USA have done, a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI).<o:p></o:p>
 

,

Planet Linux AustraliaStewart Smith: CFP for Developer, Testing, Release and Continuous Integration Automation Miniconf at linux.conf.au 2015

This is the Call for Papers for the Developer, Testing, Release and Continuous Integration Automation Miniconf at linux.conf.au 2015 in Auckland. See http://linux.conf.au

This miniconf is all about improving the way we produce, collaborate, test and release software.

We want to cover tools and techniques to improve the way we work together to produce higher quality software:

– code review tools and techniques (e.g. gerrit)
– continuous integration tools (e.g. jenkins)
– CI techniques (e.g. gated trunk, zuul)
– testing tools and techniques (e.g. subunit, fuzz testing tools)
– release tools and techniques: daily builds, interacting with distributions, ensuring you test the software that you ship.
– applying CI in your workplace/project

We’re looking for talks about open source technology *and* the human side of things.

Speakers at this miniconf must be registered for the main conference (although there are a limited number of miniconf only tickets available for miniconf speakers if required)

There will be a projector, and there is a possibility the talk will be recorded (depending on if the conference A/V is up and running) – if recorded, talks will be posted with the same place with the same CC license as main LCA talks are.

CFP is open until midnight November 21st 2014.

By submitting a presentation, you’re agreeing to the following:

I allow Linux Australia to record my talk.

I allow Linux Australia to release any recordings of my presentations, tutorials and minconfs under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License

I allow Linux Australia to release any other material (such as slides) from my presentations, tutorials and minconfs under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

I confirm that I have the authority to allow Linux Australia to release the above material. i.e., if your talk includes any information about your employer, or another persons copyrighted material, that person has given you authority to release this information.
Any questions? Contact me: stewart@flamingspork.com

 

http://goo.gl/forms/KZI1YDDw8n

Planet Linux AustraliaAndrew Pollock: [life] Day 266: Prep play date, shopping and a play date

Zoe's sleep seems a bit messed up lately. She yelled out for me at 3:53am, and I resettled her, but she wound up in bed with me at 4:15am anyway. It took me a while to get back to sleep, maybe around 5am, but then we slept in until about 7:30am.

That made for a bit of a mad rush to get out the door to Zoe's primary school for her "Prep Play Date" orientation. We managed to make it out the door by a bit after 8:30am.

15 minutes is what it appears to take to scooter to school, which is okay. With local traffic being what it is, I think this will be a nice way to get to and from school next year, weather permitting.

We signed in, and Zoe got paired up with an existing (extremely tall) Prep student to be her buddy. The other girl was very keen to hold Zoe's hand, which Zoe was a bit dubious about at first, but they got there eventually.

The kids spent about 20 minutes rotating through the three classrooms, with a different buddy in each classroom. They were all given a 9 station name badge when they signed in, and they got a sticker for each station that they visited in each classroom.

It was a really nice morning, and I discovered there's one other girl from Zoe's Kindergarten going to her school, so I made a point of introducing myself to her mother.

I've got a really great vibe about the school, and Zoe enjoyed the morning. I'm looking forward to the next stage of her education.

We scootered home afterwards, and Zoe got the speed wobbles going down the hill and had a spectacular crash, luckily without any injuries thanks to all of her safety gear.

Once we got home, we headed out to the food wholesaler at West End to pick up a few bits and pieces, and then I had to get to Kindergarten to chair the monthly PAG meeting. I dropped Zoe at Megan's place for a play date while I was at the Kindergarten.

After the meeting, I picked up Zoe and we headed over to Westfield Carindale to buy a birthday present for Zoe's Kindergarten friend, Ivy, who is having a birthday party on Saturday.

We got home from Carindale with just enough time to spare before Sarah arrived to pick Zoe up.

I then headed over to Anshu's place for a Diwali dinner.

Planet DebianSylvain Le Gall: Release of OASIS 0.4.5

On behalf of Jacques-Pascal Deplaix

I am happy to announce the release of OASIS v0.4.5.

Logo OASIS small

OASIS is a tool to help OCaml developers to integrate configure, build and install systems in their projects. It should help to create standard entry points in the source code build system, allowing external tools to analyse projects easily.

This tool is freely inspired by Cabal which is the same kind of tool for Haskell.

You can find the new release here and the changelog here. More information about OASIS in general on the OASIS website.

Here is a quick summary of the important changes:

  • Build and install annotation files.
  • Use builtin bin_annot and annot tags.
  • Tag .mly files on the same basis as .ml and .mli files (required by menhir).
  • Remove 'program' constraint from C-dependencies. Currently, when a library has C-sources and e.g. an executable depends on that library, then changing the C-sources and running '-build' does not yield a rebuild of the library. By adding these dependencies (rather removing the constraint), it seems to work fine.
  • Some bug fixes

Features:

  • no_automatic_syntax (alpha): Disable the automatic inclusion of -syntax camlp4o for packages that matches the internal heuristic (if a dependency ends with a .syntax or is a well known syntax).
  • compiled_setup_ml (alpha): Fix a bug using multiple arguments to the configure script.

This new version is a small release to catch up with all the fixes/pull requests present in the VCS that have not yet been published. This should made the life of my dear contributors easier -- thanks again for being patient.

I would like to thanks again the contributor for this release: Christopher Zimmermann, Jerome Vouillon, Tomohiro Matsuyama and Christoph Höger. Their help is greatly appreciated.

Planet Linux Australialinux.conf.au News: Speaker Feature: Audrey Lobo-Pulo, Jack Moffitt

Audrey Lobo-Pulo

Audrey Lobo-Pulo

Evaluating government policies using open source models

10:40am Wednesday 14th January 2015

Dr. Audrey Lobo-Pulo is a passionate advocate of open government and the use of open source software in government modelling. Having started out as a physicist developing theoretical models in the field of high speed data transmission, she moved into the economic policy modelling sphere and worked at the Australian Treasury from 2005 till 2011.

Currently working at the Australian Taxation Office in Sydney, Audrey enjoys discussions on modelling economic policy.

For more information on Audrey and her presentation, see here. You can follow her as @AudreyMatty and don’t forget to mention #LCA2015.


Jack Moffitt

Jack Moffitt

Servo: Building a Parallel Browser

10:40am Friday 16th January 2015

Jacks current project is called Chesspark and is an online community for chess players built on top of technologies like XMPP (aka Jabber), AJAX, and Python.

He previously created the Icecast Streaming Media Server, spent a lot of time developing and managing the Ogg Vorbits project, and helping create and run the Xiph.org Foundation. All these efforts exist to create a common, royalty free, and open standard for multimedia on the Internet.

Jack is also passionate about Free Software and Open Source, technology, music, and photography.

For more information on Jack and his presentation, see here. You can follow him as @metajack and don’t forget to mention #LCA2015.

LongNowWorld War II Sites, Then and Now

Image_fader

About two years ago, we shared with you a set of enhanced photographs that visualized the transformation of World-War-II-era Leningrad into contemporary St. Petersburg.

We recently came across a similar photographic experiment in picturing historical change. The temporal lapse is similar: this interactive series compares 1940s images of European sites that played an important role in World War II history with their contemporary counterparts. There is no stitching together of old with new in these images; instead, your mouse performs the magic of time travel, revealing the new in place of the old as you drag it to the right.

Nevertheless, these photos have the same effect of making visible, even tangible, the radical transformations that a locale can undergo in the fleeting span of a half century – while simultaneously highlighting the endurance of its sense of place.

 

Planet DebianPetter Reinholdtsen: listadmin, the quick way to moderate mailman lists - nice free software

If you ever had to moderate a mailman list, like the ones on alioth.debian.org, you know the web interface is fairly slow to operate. First you visit one web page, enter the moderation password and get a new page shown with a list of all the messages to moderate and various options for each email address. This take a while for every list you moderate, and you need to do it regularly to do a good job as a list moderator. But there is a quick alternative, the listadmin program. It allow you to check lists for new messages to moderate in a fraction of a second. Here is a test run on two lists I recently took over:

% time listadmin xiph
fetching data for pkg-xiph-commits@lists.alioth.debian.org ... nothing in queue
fetching data for pkg-xiph-maint@lists.alioth.debian.org ... nothing in queue

real    0m1.709s
user    0m0.232s
sys     0m0.012s
%

In 1.7 seconds I had checked two mailing lists and confirmed that there are no message in the moderation queue. Every morning I currently moderate 68 mailman lists, and it normally take around two minutes. When I took over the two pkg-xiph lists above a few days ago, there were 400 emails waiting in the moderator queue. It took me less than 15 minutes to process them all using the listadmin program.

If you install the listadmin package from Debian and create a file ~/.listadmin.ini with content like this, the moderation task is a breeze:

username username@example.org
spamlevel 23
default discard
discard_if_reason "Posting restricted to members only. Remove us from your mail list."

password secret
adminurl https://{domain}/mailman/admindb/{list}
mailman-list@lists.example.com

password hidden
other-list@otherserver.example.org

There are other options to set as well. Check the manual page to learn the details.

If you are forced to moderate lists on a mailman installation where the SSL certificate is self signed or not properly signed by a generally accepted signing authority, you can set a environment variable when calling listadmin to disable SSL verification:

PERL_LWP_SSL_VERIFY_HOSTNAME=0 listadmin

If you want to moderate a subset of the lists you take care of, you can provide an argument to the listadmin script like I do in the initial screen dump (the xiph argument). Using an argument, only lists matching the argument string will be processed. This make it quick to accept messages if you notice the moderation request in your email.

Without the listadmin program, I would never be the moderator of 68 mailing lists, as I simply do not have time to spend on that if the process was any slower. The listadmin program have saved me hours of time I could spend elsewhere over the years. It truly is nice free software.

As usual, if you use Bitcoin and want to show your support of my activities, please send Bitcoin donations to my address 15oWEoG9dUPovwmUL9KWAnYRtNJEkP1u1b.

Update 2014-10-27: Added missing 'username' statement in configuration example. Also, I've been told that the PERL_LWP_SSL_VERIFY_HOSTNAME=0 setting do not work for everyone. Not sure why.

Google AdsenseShare your thoughts on AdSense, AdMob and other Google publisher solutions

Your thoughts and suggestions play a key role in shaping our publisher offerings. That’s why we’re looking forward to hearing from you in our semi-annual publisher survey launching on November 4th. Make your voice heard by sharing your thoughts, and help us provide you a more useful and impactful publisher experience.

The feedback collected from this survey is closely reviewed to help determine our product roadmap. Thanks to your suggestions last time round, we’ve launched a number of new features to grow your earnings and improve our service. On AdSense these include improved performance with magazine ads, enhanced control filters in the AdSense Ad review center and the launch of wire transfer as a convenient payment method in more countries. You also now have access to additional insights with the integration of Google Analytics into the new AdMob.

Over the coming weeks, you may receive a survey by email. To take part, please take the following steps as soon as possible:

  • Update your contact details.
  • Update your email preferences to receive ‘occasional survey’ messages.

Whether you’ve completed this survey before or you’re providing feedback for the first time, we’d like to thank you for taking the time to tell us how we’re doing. We’re looking forward to hearing your feedback.

Posted by Adriana Satmarean - AdSense Publisher Happiness Team

Sociological ImagesWhat’s for Breakfast?

One of my favorite examples of social construction is that we eat hot links for breakfast and pork chops for dinner. Both pig, but morning sausage seems odd in the evening and pork chops for breakfast would be a decidedly deviant sunrise treat.

A pretty set of photos at The New York Times illustrates this social construction of breakfast food by highlighting the first meal of the day for children in seven parts of the world. It would be fun — for those of you teaching classes — to show some of them to students and ask them to guess (1) the meal of the day and (2) the age of the eater.

Chitedza, Malawi: cornmeal porridge with soy and groundnut flour; deep-fried cornmeal fritters with onions, garlic and chiles; boiled sweet potato and pumpkin; juice of dried hibiscus and sugar.

2

São Paulo, Brazil: ham and cheese, bread with butter, coffee.

3

Tokyo, Japan: stir-fried green peppers with dried fish, soy sauce, and sesame seeds; raw egg and soy sauce poured over rice; lotus root, burdock root, and carrot sautéed with a rice wine; miso soup; fruit; milk.

4

Istanbul, Turkey: bread, Nutella, strawberry jam, honey butter; olives; sliced tomato; hard-boiled egg; goat and cow cheeses.

11

More at The Times.

See also our Social Construction of Flavor Pinterest board. Lots of neat stuff there!

Lisa Wade is a professor of sociology at Occidental College and the co-author of Gender: Ideas, Interactions, Institutions. You can follow her on Twitter and Facebook.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Krebs on SecurityGoogle Accounts Now Support Security Keys

People who use Gmail and other Google services now have an extra layer of security available when logging into Google accounts. The company today incorporated into these services the open Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) standard, a physical USB-based second factor sign-in component that only works after verifying the login site is truly a Google site.

A $17 U2F device made by Yubikey.

A $17 U2F device made by Yubico.

The U2F standard (PDF) is a product of the FIDO (Fast IDentity Online) Alliance, an industry consortium that’s been working to come up with specifications that support a range of more robust authentication technologies, including biometric identifiers and USB security tokens.

The approach announced by Google today essentially offers a more secure way of using the company’s 2-step authentication process. For several years, Google has offered an approach that it calls “2-step verification,” which sends a one-time pass code to the user’s mobile or land line phone.

2-step verification makes it so that even if thieves manage to steal your password, they still need access to your mobile or land line phone if they’re trying to log in with your credentials from a device that Google has not previously seen associated with your account. As Google notes in a support document, security key “offers better protection against this kind of attack, because it uses cryptography instead of verification codes and automatically works only with the website it’s supposed to work with.”

Unlike a one-time token approach, the security key does not rely on mobile phones (so no batteries needed), but the downside is that it doesn’t work for mobile-only users because it requires a USB port. Also, the security key doesn’t work for Google properties on anything other than Chrome.

The move comes a day after Apple launched its Apple Pay platform, a wireless payment system that takes advantage of the near-field communication (NFC) technology built into the new iPhone 6, which allows users to pay for stuff at participating merchants merely by tapping the phone on the store’s payment terminal.

I find it remarkable that Google, Apple and other major tech companies continue to offer more secure and robust authentication options than are currently available to consumers by their financial institutions. I, for one, will be glad to see Apple, Google or any other legitimate player give the entire mag-stripe based payment infrastructure a run for its money. They could hardly do worse.

Soon enough, government Web sites may also offer consumers more authentication options than many financial sites.  An Executive Order announced last Friday by The White House requires the National Security Council Staff, the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to submit a plan to ensure that all agencies making personal data accessible to citizens through digital applications implement multiple layers of identity assurance, including multi-factor authentication. Verizon Enterprise has a good post with additional details of this announcement.

RacialiciousRe-Re-Birth Of The Cool: Static Shock Gets A Shocking Online Revival

By Arturo R. García

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Bk1lNNMKfnw" width="560"></iframe>

Well now this is interesting.

As Variety reported on Tuesday, the demand for a new Static Shock revival will finally be met, in perhaps the most unexpected of fashions: an online-only live-action series.

It’s also encouraging to see the revival of Milestone Entertainment’s signature character is being led by Milestone alumni: Film and comics veteran Reginald Hudlin will be the executive producer, in collaboration with Denys Cowan, who produced the much-missed animated series that Warner Brothers stubbornly left by the wayside years ago.

Cover to first Static Shock TPB, “Rebirth Of The Cool,” from Milestone Entertainment.

Pushing Static into the digital realm through its new Blue Ribbon Content imprint could help DC Entertainment in its bid to keep up with archrivals Marvel in that arena; the comics division has won popular and commercial praise for offering Smallville, Batman ’66 and the upcoming Wonder Woman ’77 as online exclusives.

The upside might be more than even DC anticipates: Static now has the benefit of returning to television after literally years of fans and critics (including this site) denouncing the company for letting him languish in the name of feeding executives’ apparent love for Silver Age white heroes.

This new incarnation is also arriving at a moment when the Black audience is growing online; according to Interactive One, that audience has grown by 30 percent since 2011 to an estimated 23 million viewers. Comparatively, the white online audience has only grown by 8 percent during the same span.

But as is the case with Cyborg, DC must now consider how to take advantage of Static’s new presence in its comics. Currently, the character is supposed to be featured in upcoming issues of Teen Titans. But it’s going to be hard for longtime fans to forgive how badly the company botched its relaunch as part of the New 52 era, in a short-lived run that “featured” original writer John Rozum, another Milestone alumnus, essentially get turfed out:

From the first issue on, I was essentially benched by Harvey Richards and artist/writer Scott McDaniel. All of my ideas and suggestions were met with disdain, and Scott McDaniel lectured me on how my method for writing was wrong because it wasn’t what the Robert McKee screenwriting book he read told him was the way to do things. The man who’d never written anything was suddenly more expert than me and the editor was agreeing with him. Scott had also never read a Static comic book, nor seen the cartoon series, yet was telling me that my dialogue didn’t sound true to the character and would “fix it.”

There was more concern about seeing that the title sold and didn’t get cancelled than there was in telling good stories and having something coherent to bring readers in. This is what led Harvey to insist on the stuff with the two Sharon’s and cutting off Static’s arm. He had no answers for how to resolve these things, but thought it would keep reader’s wowed enough to stick with the series. This, too, was frustrating. It was a lot of grasping at straws and trying to second guess what would keep it selling. It was decided that “bigger action” on every page of every issue was the key.

Static’s alter ego, Virgil, who was more important to the original series than his super hero persona, was put on the very back burner because Harvey said it wasn’t important and that the book just needed to be all action. One of my scripts was deemed too slow because there were a total of 4 pages where no one was hitting or shooting anything.

There’s little reason to believe that Cowan and Hudlin won’t want to avoid this kind of creative debacle. Nor should we doubt that they’ve considered the tremendous upside Static stands to give DC. The big question, as always, is whether a company that complained nobody would buy his action figures is willing to let them develop and deliver on that promise.

The post Re-Re-Birth Of The Cool: Static Shock Gets A Shocking Online Revival appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

Planet DebianKonstantinos Margaritis: Eigen NEON port extended to ARMv8!

Soon after the VSX port, and as promised I have completed the ARMv8 NEON (a.k.a. Advanced SIMD) port. Basically this extends support to 64-bit doubles and also provides faster alternatives to division as ARMv8 has builtin instructions for division both for 32-bit floats and 64-bit doubles. Preliminary benchmarks (bench_gemm):

Worse Than FailureSecurity through Idiocy

The ticket Bruce found in his help desk queue seemed innocuous enough on the surface. A user in the Finance department complained about not being able to create a file named “Wire Transfer” in their network folder. Being in finance, they did this many times in the past, but suddenly it no longer worked. Bruce assumed the user was doing something wrong, and that it would be resolved in five minutes.

Bruce navigated to the Finance network share, and attempted to create a new file named WireTransfer.txt. A big, ugly “ACCESS DENIED: Security Policy Violation!” message box stared back at him. “That’s odd…” Bruce muttered, knowing he had write access to the directory. “I’ll bet Duane had something to do with this…”

Duane was the resident security “expert”, which always made him Public Enemy #1. He was a kooky old-timer, with a short temper and a low tolerance for human interaction. Duane spent most of his time researching everything but the threats their systems were likely to face. Bruce slinked up to Duane’s office, took a deep breath, and said, “Hey, Duane, I got a ticket for…”

Duane held up a hand to silence him, and continued staring at his screen. “I’m reading the FBI cyber-security threat assessments for the week. This is more important than your helpdesk crap.”

“Well, this is a critical issue, Duane. Finance needs to make this multi-million dollar wire transfer…”

“Hey!” Duane interjected. “I’ve been thinking that one of our janitors looks suspiciously like D.B. Cooper.” He pointed at the “America’s Most Wanted” printout on the wall. “If you see him, or anyone else on this poster, let me know immediately! These criminal types can be anywhere. Even you could be one!”

“Uh huh… sure. Listen, is there any strange reason why no one can create a file named ‘Wire Transfer’? They need to do that to process wire transfers.”

Duane rolled his eyes and threw his bald head back. “Ohhh, no. No. That is strictly forbidden. I’m not cleaning up after another wire transfer virus again!” Duane explained that a month ago, a dozen employees received an email with a zip file named WireTransfer.zip. It claimed to be from “YOUR BANK HERE”, and said to open the attachment to claim the spoils of a “bank error in youre[sic] favour!” Despite Duane’s constant warnings about suspicious attachments, several users opened the file and infected their computers.

“You see, Bruce, I deal with these attacks every day! This is my life. I flexed my security muscles and I took care of the problem. The network won’t allow anything with the words ‘wire’ and ‘transfer’ in the name. That virus will never get through here again! Now, toddle back to your little help-desk station, and explain to our users, in small words, that they need to figure out another way to do transfers.” Duane waited a beat, and when Bruce didn’t vanish as quickly as he wanted. “You need to leave my office. I have to go traverse the building perimeter to look for physical vulnerabilities!” Duane leapt out of the chair, pushing Bruce ahead of him, while leaving his workstation unlocked.

Back in his own cube, Bruce contacted the user to see if they could name the file something different. Unfortunately, the inflexible, in-house application they used to process transfers only accepted files with names styled WireTransfer20141023. Bruce resigned himself to a bleak future, where he escalated this to his manager, who then escalated to the finance manager, who would then go above Duane’s head to the IT director, who would then force Duane to remove this “fix”. Duane would then catch wind of Bruce’s betrayal and vengefully pull some strings in the security community to get Bruce’s mug added to that “America’s Most Wanted” poster, right next to D. B. Cooper.

Planet DebianSteve Kemp: On writing test-cases and testsuites.

Last night I mostly patched my local copy of less to build and link against the PCRE regular expression library.

I've wanted to do that for a while, and reading Raymond Chen's blog post last night made me try it out.

The patch was small and pretty neat, and I'm familiar with GNU less having patched it in the past. But it doesn't contain tests.

Test cases are hard. Many programs, such as less, are used interactively which makes writing a scaffold hard. Other programs suffer from a similar fate - I'm not sure how you'd even test a web browser such as Firefox these days - mangleme would catch some things, eventually, but the interactive stuff? No clue.

In the past MySQL had a free set of test cases, but my memory is that Oracle locked them up. SQLite is famous for its decent test coverage. But off the top of my head I can't think of other things.

As a topical example there don't seem to be decent test-cases for either bash or openssl. If it compiles it works, more or less.

I did start writing some HTTP-server test cases a while back, but that was just to automate security attacks. e.g. Firing requests like:

GET /../../../etc/passwd HTTP/1.0
GET //....//....//....//etc/passwd HTTP/1.0
etc

(It's amazing how many toy HTTP server components included in projects and products don't have decent HTTP-servers.)

I could imagine that being vaguely useful, especially because it is testing the protocol-handling rather than a project-specific codebase.

Anyway, I'm thinking writing test cases for things is good, but struggling to think of a decent place to start. The project has to be:

  • Non-interactive.
  • Open source.
  • Widely used - to make it a useful contribution.
  • Not written in some fancy language.
  • Open to receiving submissions.

Comments welcome; but better yet why not think about the test-coverage of any of your own packages and projects...?

Planet DebianRuss Allbery: Another haul post

I know I've been very quiet here lately. That's due to a variety of reasons, but mostly because settling in to a new job is taking nearly all of my attention and time. When that's combined with getting obsessed with watching the League of Legends world championships, it means no real time for writing things.

I've had lots of time for reading things, though, and have a lot of book reviews that I need to write. So, of course, I felt like buying more books.

Elizabeth Bear — One-Eyed Jack (sff)
Steven Brust — Hawk (sff)
Kenneth T. Jackson — Crabgrass Frontier (non-fiction)
Ann Leckie — Ancillary Sword (sff)
Scott Lynch — Republic of Thieves (sff)
Randall Munroe — What If? (non-fiction)
Sarah Tolmie — The Stone Boatmen (sff)
Jeffrey Toobin — The Oath (non-fiction)

I'm pretty excited about everything in this shipment, but particularly the new Vlad Taltos novel from Brust and the sequel to Ancillary Justice (probably the best novel that I've read so far this year). And of course there's What If?.

Worse Than FailureAnnouncements: Tokyo Meet-up & Site Fixes

Tokyo readers -- I am once again visiting your fine city this week, and thought it'd be fun to try for another Tokyo/TDWTF meetup. Earlier this year, we got together at an izakaya for nomihoudai:

If you're unaware, nomihoudai is an easy way for a group of folks to get as much food and drink from the menu as they'd like for a set price over a set duration, without fussing over details like who ordered what and how many. While Japanese people often see this as a convenient offer, as an American I recognize it for the challenge it is -- and conquer it I shall!

So, if you're up for getting together this Friday (possibly Saturday?) in Shinjuku or Shibuya area, please drop me a note via the contact form or direct, apapadimoulis/inedo.com.

As for everyone else, thanks for submitting the bugs/issues/suggestions for the new site. We just fixed a bunch of them earlier today, and will continue to fix stuff as it comes in. Your help is greatly appreciated -- not just for submitting issues but for helping with fixed teh codez as well. If you're brave enough to explore the TDWTF codebase, I'll gladly send you some brand new TDWTF stickers with the updated logo.

Planet DebianJunichi Uekawa: Migrating my diary system to some new server.

Migrating my diary system to some new server. I took the chance to migrate my system from CVS-based system to Git-based system. It no longer relies on a chain of CVS commit hooks, and now I have a makefile to publish. I also took the chance to rewrite my 15 year old elisp so that I can use UTF-8 instead of a mix of ISO-2022-JP and EUC-JP. Dusting off some old code. No test exists, what could go wrong!

Geek FeminismFish Are Friends, Not Linkspam (21 October 2014)

#Gamergate

  • On Gamergate: a letter from the editor | Polygon (October 17): “Video games are capital “C” Culture now. There won’t be less attention, only more. There won’t be less scrutiny. There certainly won’t be less diversity, in the fiction of games themselves or in the demographics of their players. What we’re in control of is how we respond to that expansion, as journalists, as developers, as consumers. Step one has to be a complete rejection of the tools of harassment and fear — we can’t even begin to talk about the interesting stuff while people are literally scared for their lives. There can be no dialogue with a leaderless organization that both condemns and condones this behavior, depending on who’s using the hashtag.”
  • Gamergate threats: Why it’s so hard to prosecute the people targeting Zoe Quinn and Anita Sarkeesian | Slate (October 17): “The light penalties attached to many of these online crimes also deter officials from taking them seriously, because the punishment doesn’t justify the resources required to investigate and prosecute them”
  • Of Gamers, Gates, and Disco Demolition: The Roots of Reactionary Rage | The Daily Beast (October 16): “Our various “culture wars” tend to boil down to one specific culture war, the one about men wanting to feel like Real Men and lashing out at the women who won’t let them.”
  • Gamergate in Posterity | The Awl (October 15): “Maybe there will be some small measure of accountability in the far future, not just for public figures and writers and activists, but for all the people who could not or would not see their “trolling” for what it really was. Maybe, when their kids ask them what they were like when they were young, they will have no choice but to say: I was a piece of shit. I was part of a movement. I marched, in my sad way, against progress. Don’t take my word for it. You can Google it!”

We link to a variety of sources, some of which are personal blogs.  If you visit other sites linked herein, we ask that you respect the commenting policy and individual culture of those sites.

You can suggest links for future linkspams in comments here, or by using the “geekfeminism” tag on Pinboard, Delicious or Diigo; or the “#geekfeminism” tag on Twitter. Please note that we tend to stick to publishing recent links (from the last month or so).

Thanks to everyone who suggested links.

,

Planet Linux Australialinux.conf.au News: Speaker Feature: Denise Paolucci, Gernot Heiser

Denise Paolucci

Denise Paolucci

When Your Codebase Is Nearly Old Enough To Vote

11:35 am Friday 16th January 2015

Denise is one of the founders of Dreamwidth, a journalling site and open source project forked from Livejournal, and one of only two majority-female open source projects.

Denise has appeared at multiple open source conferences to speak about Dreamwidth, including OSCON 2010 and linux.conf.au 2010.

For more information on Denise and her presentation, see here.


Gernot Heiser

Gernot Heiser

seL4 Is Free - What Does This Mean For You?

4:35pm Thursday 15th January 2015

Gernot is a Scientia Professor and the John Lions Chair for operating systems at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

He is also leader of the Software Systems Research Group (SSRG) at NICTA. In 2006 he co-founded Open Kernel Labs (OK Labs, acquired in 2012 by General Dynamics) to commercialise his L4 microkernel technology

For more information on Gernot and his presentation, see here. You can follow him as @GernotHeiser and don’t forget to mention #LCA2015.

RacialiciousWho We Be Examines the War on Multiculuralism

“Color is not a human or a personal reality, it is a political reality.” – James Baldwin

This is not a book review, because Who We Be isn’t really a book. It’s more of a thoughtful examination of how the United States arrived at this point in racial history.

Long time friend of the blog Jeff Chang is the author of the American Book award winning Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation and editor of the anthology Total Chaos: The Art and Aesthetics of Hip Hop. To say we’ve been waiting for Who We Be is an understatement.

But in the introduction, Chang frames the core of the most recent case of racial backlash. Explaining the outsized reaction by some whites to President Obama, Chang notes:

In the 1830s white minstrels had put on blackface, creating space for the white working class to challenge the elite, while keeping Blacks locked into their racial place. Obama now appeared as a dual symbol of oppression. Because of his Blackness, he was even more of an outsider—and in that sense, even more American—than them. But he was also the president. His Blackness did not just confer moral and existential claims, it was backed by the power of the state.

And there went everything.

As much as we like to talk about the inevitability of America being majority-minority in 2042, the events playing out across the nation show that most places are outright hostile to the idea that people of color are equal Americans, with the same rights, privileges, representation, and agenda setting power bestowed to whites. Chang turns his critical eye to shifts in culture which becomes documentation of rise (and fall?) of multiculturalism.

The opening chapter is on the funny pages and American comic culture acting as a barometer for race relations. Chang finds amazing gems – Morrie Turner’s Wee Pals frames the narrative since Turner was the first black syndicated cartoonist, but we also hear about the work of Jackie Ormes, Gus Arriola, Barbara Brandon-Croft, Ray Billingsley, George Harriman, Robb Armstrong, and Oliver Harrington.

Chang also points to the variety of issues at play in cartoons like the friendly Sambo model that led to popular characters like Felix the Cat, Mickey Mouse, and Bugs Bunny. Racism was even in the inking -comics used three colors: black, white, and the pinkish “flesh” tone. Anyone who did not conform became odd tones of purple. The modern world of comics hasn’t improved much – even with established cartoonists like Lalo Alcaraz and Keith Knight doing their thing, the Sunday comics pages have stubbornly resisted full integration.

From comics, Chang moves to art and the marketing of identity. Then on to politics, culture,The DREAMers, politics, war, neoliberalism, capitalism Occupy Wall Street and more in a bid to make racial sense of the country’s political mood.

While reading, one could wonder if society learned anything from the past 40 years? Or has polite society only learned to spout the “correct” answers? Later in the book, Chang discusses the phenomenon of people saying they want diversity, but seeing the reality play out in one of the biggest areas of segregation in America – housing:

How much did Americans value diversity and integration? Over the course of four decades, the Gallup survey had asked whites, “Would you move if great numbers of Blacks moved into your neighborhood?” In 1958, 79% said they would. In 1997, 75% said they would not. A month after Obama’s victory, a report from the Pew Research Center showed that almost 2 in 3 Americans—including 52% of Republicans, 60% of whites, 83% of Blacks, and 76% of 18-29 year olds—said that they preferred to live in a community made up of people who were a mix of different races. The numbers were similar for religious, political, and socioeconomic diversity.

Fully 68% of those making $100,000 or more a year—a significantly larger proportion than every other income bracket—said they preferred to live in a community with a mix of economic classes. But when Stanford professors Sean F. Reardon and Kendra Bischoff examined the data from 1970 to 2009, they found that not only had residential segregation by income soared, the wealthy had segregated themselves the fastest.

Large majorities told pollsters they wanted integrated schools and diversity in education. Pundits and politicians would often trot out such these polls as cause for optimism around racial justice issues. But in light of the actual social facts, the survey data looked less like an emerging consensus for cultural equity than evidence that multiculturalism had made some better primed to answer the questions “correctly.” For in this colorized generation, public schools were resegregating at a dramatic rate.

By 2010, 80% of Latinos and 74% of Blacks attended majority non-white schools. Around 40% of Blacks and Latinos in public schools attended hypersegregated schools in which 90-100% of the students were nonwhite. Blacks and Latinos were also twice as likely to attend a school predominantly serving low-income students than white or Asian students. White students were the most racially isolated of all—the average white student attended a school that was 75% white.

Resegregation did not escape even the rapidly diversifying suburbs or the most liberal strongholds. From city to exurb, the San Francisco Bay Area— one of the nation’s most diverse regions, the birthplace of the multiculturalism movement, and the site of Berkeley’s national model public school desegregation program—also boasted California’s highest rates of White isolation. Although white students made up only 28% of the Bay Area’s student-age population, 65% of them attended majority white schools. Those schools were eight times less likely than predominantly non-white ones to be deemed “high-problem” schools.

After 1968, busing, court orders, and district plans had helped to integrate the schools from the deep South to the Northwest. In turn school desegregation climbed sharply and peaked in the late 1980s. But then conservative challenges to desegregation mounted, and anti-integrationists began to accumulate victories in the courts and the legislatures. During the 1990s, while multiculturalists were winning the battle to change school curriculum and staffing, they were losing the battle to desegregate the next generation of public school students. By the new millennium, the same southern school systems that had made the most progress toward integration were the fastest to resegregate. Progress had always been fragile.

The book ends on equal parts heartbreak and hope, juxtaposing a few different stories to paint a picture of where we are.

The ambiguous ending fits the overall theme of the book – after all, isn’t that what we go through as people of color everyday?

Ultimately, Who We Be can feel a little disjointed – condensing America’s entire racial history in imagery is a major feat, and the book is much better at raising ideas and questions than providing concrete answers. But anyone who cares about racial equity should read this book – if for nothing else than to supply the foundation for our action.

Racialicious is giving away a copy of Who We Be. To enter, leave a comment addressing this question: “What does multiculturalism mean now and what needs to happen next?”

The post Who We Be Examines the War on Multiculuralism appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

Oreilly Linux PlanetTizen Cookbook

Tizen is an open source Linux-based software platform for a variety of devices, from smartphones and watches to in-vehicle infotainment. Application development is based on open standards and HTML5 is the primary development technology.

Starting with a detailed description of using the Tizen SDK, you will delve into Tizen development on Linux, Windows, and Mac OS with this book. You will learn to use the Tizen IDE and move on to using the web simulator and device emulator.

The recipes in this book are invaluable in exploring and optimizing Tizen to develop exciting mobile and web applications.

Geek FeminismQuick hit: A good example of how to handle trolls

With his permission, I’m reposting this blog comment from Marco Rogers, in a reply to an anti-feminist comment on a blog post about women in tech that he wrote 2 1/2 years ago. Although the post is that old, the comment is from a few days ago, because even years later, anti-feminist trolls are stumbling across Marco’s blog post and feeling the need to express their displeasure with it.

I’m reposting Marco’s comment because I think it’s a good example about how to respond to a troll. I would love to see more men let their anti-feminist peers know that uninformed anti-feminist wankery is a waste of time. And I would love to do that more often myself, rather than engaging with it.

Hi [REDACTED]. I thought a long time about whether to let this comment stand or delete it. I do listen to input from different perspectives. I read this entire thing. And I’m sorry to say it was a waste of my time.

I’m afraid this reply won’t be very constructive. I had to chose whether to waste further time dismantling your false logic, and I had to take into account whether it would make any difference to you or anyone reading. I don’t think it will. In my experience, it’s very difficult to educate men who think like you do.

I’ll admit it also annoys me that you would come and write a small novel in my blog comments but not say anything new or original. Men have been making this argument that their long history of sexism is somehow the natural order of things since the beginning of time. It’s not revelatory, it’s not some profound wisdom that people haven’t heard, it’s boring. The feminist/womanist movement grew in direct opposition to all the nonsense you spouted above. There is a ton of literature that debunks and rejects every single point you are poorly trying to make. The least you can do is educate yourself on the system you’re up against, so you can sound more cogent and have an actual chance of convincing anyone.

The question remains of whether I let your comment stay up. I think I will. Not because I feel compelled to represent multiple viewpoints here. This is my blog and I choose what goes here. But I’ll leave it because I’m no longer afraid of letting people read tripe like this. You’re losing. We WILL create a world where the mentality of men like you is a minority and women get to exist as themselves without fear. You can’t stop it. Stay mad bro. Thanks for dropping by.

Planet DebianDebConf team: DebConf15 dates are set, come and join us! (Posted by DebConf15 team)

At DebConf14 in Portland, Oregon, USA, next year’s DebConf team presented their conference plans and announced the conference dates: DebConf15 will take place from 15 to 22 August 2015 in Heidelberg, Germany. On the Open Weekend on 15/16 August, we invite members of the public to participate in our wide offering of content and events, before we dive into the more technical part of the conference during following week. DebConf15 will also be preceeded by DebCamp, a time and place for teams to gather for intensive collaboration.

A set of slides from a quick show-case during the DebConf14 closing ceremony provide a quick overview of what you can expect next year. For more in-depth information, we invite you to watch the video recording of the full session, in which the team provides detailed information on the preparations so far, location and transportation to the venue at Heidelberg, the different rooms and areas at the Youth Hostel (for accommodation, hacking, talks, and social activities), details about the infrastructure that are being worked on, and the plans around the conference schedule.

We invite everyone to join us in organising this conference. There are different areas where your help could be very valuable, and we are always looking forward to your ideas. Have a look at our wiki page, join our IRC channels and subscribe to our mailing lists.

We are also contacting potential sponsors from all around the globe. If you know any organisation that could be interested, please consider handing them our sponsorship brochure or contact the fundraising team with any leads.

Let’s work together, as every year, on making the best DebConf ever!

Planet Linux AustraliaJoshua Hesketh: OpenStack infrastructure swift logs and performance

Turns out I’m not very good at blogging very often. However I thought I would put what I’ve been working on for the last few days here out of interest.

For a while the OpenStack Infrastructure team have wanted to move away from storing logs on disk to something more cloudy – namely, swift. I’ve been working on this on and off for a while and we’re nearly there.

For the last few weeks the openstack-infra/project-config repository has been uploading its CI test logs to swift as well as storing them on disk. This has given us the opportunity to compare the last few weeks of data and see what kind of effects we can expect as we move assets into an object storage.

  • I should add a disclaimer/warning, before you read, that my methods here will likely make statisticians cringe horribly. For the moment though I’m just getting an indication for how things compare.

The set up

Fetching files from an object storage is nothing particularly new or special (CDN’s have been doing it for ages). However, for our usage we want to serve logs with os-loganalyze giving the opportunity to hyperlink to timestamp anchors or filter by log severity.

First though we need to get the logs into swift somehow. This is done by having the job upload its own logs. Rather than using (or writing) a Jenkins publisher we use a bash script to grab the jobs own console log (pulled from the Jenkins web ui) and then upload it to swift using credentials supplied to the job as environment variables (see my zuul-swift contributions).

This does, however, mean part of the logs are missing. For example the fetching and upload processes write to Jenkins’ console log but because it has already been fetched these entries are missing. Therefore this wants to be the very last thing you do in a job. I did see somebody do something similar where they keep the download process running in a fork so that they can fetch the full log but we’ll look at that another time.

When a request comes into logs.openstack.org, a request is handled like so:

  1. apache vhost matches the server
  2. if the request ends in .txt.gz, console.html or console.html.gz rewrite the url to prepend /htmlify/
  3. if the requested filename is a file or folder on disk, serve it up with apache as per normal
  4. otherwise rewrite the requested file to prepend /htmlify/ anyway

os-loganalyze is set up as an WSGIScriptAlias at /htmlify/. This means all files that aren’t on disk are sent to os-loganalyze (or if the file is on disk but matches a file we want to mark up it is also sent to os-loganalyze). os-loganalyze then does the following:

  1. Checks the requested file path is legitimate (or throws a 400 error)
  2. Checks if the file is on disk
  3. Checks if the file is stored in swift
  4. If the file is found markup (such as anchors) are optionally added and the request is served
    1. When serving from swift the file is fetched via the swiftclient by os-loganlayze in chunks and streamed to the user on the fly. Obviously fetching from swift will have larger network consequences.
  5. If no file is found, 404 is returned

If the file exists both on disk and in swift then step #2 can be skipped by passing ?source=swift as a parameter (thus only attempting to serve from swift). In our case the files exist both on disk and in swift since we want to compare the performance so this feature is necessary.

So now that we have the logs uploaded into swift and stored on disk we can get into some more interesting comparisons.

Testing performance process

My first attempt at this was simply to fetch the files from disk and then from swift and compare the results. A crude little python script did this for me: http://paste.openstack.org/show/122630/

The script fetches a copy of the log from disk and then from swift (both through os-loganalyze and therefore marked-up) and times the results. It does this in two scenarios:

  1. Repeatably fetching the same file over again (to get a good average)
  2. Fetching a list of recent logs from gerrit (using the gerrit api) and timing those

I then ran this in two environments.

  1. On my local network the other side of the world to the logserver
  2. On 5 parallel servers in the same DC as the logserver

Running on my home computer likely introduced a lot of errors due to my limited bandwidth, noisy network and large network latency. To help eliminate these errors I also tested it on 5 performance servers in the Rackspace cloud next to the log server itself. In this case I used ansible to orchestrate the test nodes thus running the benchmarks in parallel. I did this since in real world use there will often be many parallel requests at once affecting performance.

The following metrics are measured for both disk and swift:

  1. request sent – time taken to send the http request from my test computer
  2. response – time taken for a response from the server to arrive at the test computer
  3. transfer – time taken to transfer the file
  4. size – filesize of the requested file

The total time can be found by adding the first 3 metrics together.

 

Results

Home computer, sequential requests of one file

 

The complementary colours are the same metric and the darker line represents swift’s performance (over the lighter disk performance line). The vertical lines over the plots are the error bars while the fetched filesize is the column graph down the bottom. Note that the transfer and file size metrics use the right axis for scale while the rest use the left.

As you would expect the requests for both disk and swift files are more or less comparable. We see a more noticable difference on the responses though with swift being slower. This is because disk is checked first, and if the file isn’t found on disk then a connection is sent to swift to check there. Clearly this is going to be slower.

The transfer times are erratic and varied. We can’t draw much from these, so lets keep analyzing deeper.

The total time from request to transfer can be seen by adding the times together. I didn’t do this as when requesting files of different sizes (in the next scenario) there is nothing worth comparing (as the file sizes are different). Arguably we could compare them anyway as the log sizes for identical jobs are similar but I didn’t think it was interesting.

The file sizes are there for interest sake but as expected they never change in this case.

You might notice that the end of the graph is much noisier. That is because I’ve applied some rudimentary data filtering.

request sent (ms) – disk request sent (ms) – swift response (ms) – disk response (ms) – swift transfer (ms) – disk transfer (ms) – swift size (KB) – disk size (KB) – swift
Standard Deviation 54.89516183 43.71917948 56.74750291 194.7547117 849.8545127 838.9172066 7.121600095 7.311125275
Mean 283.9594368 282.5074598 373.7328851 531.8043908 5091.536092 5122.686897 1219.804598 1220.735632

 

I know it’s argued as poor practice to remove outliers using twice the standard deviation, but I did it anyway to see how it would look. I only did one pass at this even though I calculated new standard deviations.

 

request sent (ms) – disk request sent (ms) – swift response (ms) – disk response (ms) – swift transfer (ms) – disk transfer (ms) – swift size (KB) – disk size (KB) – swift
Standard Deviation 13.88664039 14.84054789 44.0860569 115.5299781 541.3912899 515.4364601 7.038111654 6.98399691
Mean 274.9291111 276.2813889 364.6289583 503.9393472 5008.439028 5013.627083 1220.013889 1220.888889

 

I then moved the outliers to the end of the results list instead of removing them completely and used the newly calculated standard deviation (ie without the outliers) as the error margin.

Then to get a better indication of what are average times I plotted the histograms of each of these metrics.

Here we can see a similar request time.
 

Here it is quite clear that swift is slower at actually responding.
 

Interestingly both disk and swift sources have a similar total transfer time. This is perhaps an indication of my network limitation in downloading the files.

 

Home computer, sequential requests of recent logs

Next from my home computer I fetched a bunch of files in sequence from recent job runs.

 

 

Again I calculated the standard deviation and average to move the outliers to the end and get smaller error margins.

request sent (ms) – disk request sent (ms) – swift response (ms) – disk response (ms) – swift transfer (ms) – disk transfer (ms) – swift size (KB) – disk size (KB) – swift
Standard Deviation 54.89516183 43.71917948 194.7547117 56.74750291 849.8545127 838.9172066 7.121600095 7.311125275
Mean 283.9594368 282.5074598 531.8043908 373.7328851 5091.536092 5122.686897 1219.804598 1220.735632
Second pass without outliers
Standard Deviation 13.88664039 14.84054789 115.5299781 44.0860569 541.3912899 515.4364601 7.038111654 6.98399691
Mean 274.9291111 276.2813889 503.9393472 364.6289583 5008.439028 5013.627083 1220.013889 1220.888889

 

What we are probably seeing here with the large number of slower requests is network congestion in my house. Since the script requests disk, swift, disk, swift, disk.. and so on this evens it out causing a latency in both sources as seen.
 

Swift is very much slower here.

 

Although comparable in transfer times. Again this is likely due to my network limitation.
 

The size histograms don’t really add much here.
 

Rackspace Cloud, parallel requests of same log

Now to reduce latency and other network effects I tested fetching the same log over again in 5 parallel streams. Granted, it may have been interesting to see a machine close to the log server do a bunch of sequential requests for the one file (with little other noise) but I didn’t do it at the time unfortunately. Also we need to keep in mind that others may be access the log server and therefore any request in both my testing and normal use is going to have competing load.
 

I collected a much larger amount of data here making it harder to visualise through all the noise and error margins etc. (Sadly I couldn’t find a way of linking to a larger google spreadsheet graph). The histograms below give a much better picture of what is going on. However out of interest I created a rolling average graph. This graph won’t mean much in reality but hopefully will show which is faster on average (disk or swift).
 

You can see now that we’re closer to the server that swift is noticeably slower. This is confirmed by the averages:

 

  request sent (ms) – disk request sent (ms) – swift response (ms) – disk response (ms) – swift transfer (ms) – disk transfer (ms) – swift size (KB) – disk size (KB) – swift
Standard Deviation 32.42528982 9.749368282 245.3197219 781.8807534 1082.253253 2737.059103 0 0
Mean 4.87337544 4.05191168 39.51898688 245.0792916 1553.098063 4167.07851 1226 1232
Second pass without outliers
Standard Deviation 1.375875503 0.8390193564 28.38377158 191.4744331 878.6703183 2132.654898 0 0
Mean 3.487575109 3.418433003 7.550682037 96.65978872 1389.405618 3660.501404 1226 1232

 

Even once outliers are removed we’re still seeing a large latency from swift’s response.

The standard deviation in the requests now have gotten very small. We’ve clearly made a difference moving closer to the logserver.

 

Very nice and close.
 

Here we can see that for roughly half the requests the response time was the same for swift as for the disk. It’s the other half of the requests bringing things down.
 

The transfer for swift is consistently slower.

 

Rackspace Cloud, parallel requests of recent logs

Finally I ran just over a thousand requests in 5 parallel streams from computers near the logserver for recent logs.

 

Again the graph is too crowded to see what is happening so I took a rolling average.

 

 

request sent (ms) – disk request sent (ms) – swift response (ms) – disk response (ms) – swift transfer (ms) – disk transfer (ms) – swift size (KB) – disk size (KB) – swift
Standard Deviation 0.7227904332 0.8900549012 434.8600827 909.095546 1913.9587 2132.992773 6.341238774 7.659678352
Mean 3.515711867 3.56191383 145.5941102 189.947818 2427.776165 2875.289455 1219.940039 1221.384913
Second pass without outliers
Standard Deviation 0.4798803247 0.4966553679 109.6540634 171.1102999 1348.939342 1440.2851 6.137625464 7.565931993
Mean 3.379718381 3.405770445 70.31323922 86.16522485 2016.900047 2426.312363 1220.318912 1221.881335

 

The averages here are much more reasonable than when we continually tried to request the same file. Perhaps we’re hitting limitations with swifts serving abilities.

 

I’m not sure why we have sinc function here. A network expert may be able to tell you more. As far as I know this isn’t important to our analysis other than the fact that both disk and swift match.
 

Here we can now see swift keeping a lot closer to disk results than when we only requested the one file in parallel. Swift is still, unsurprisingly, slower overall.
 

Swift still loses out on transfers but again does a much better job of keeping up.
 

Error sources

I haven’t accounted for any of the following swift intricacies (in terms of caches etc) for:

  • Fetching random objects
  • Fetching the same object over and over
  • Fetching in parallel multiple different objects
  • Fetching the same object in parallel

I also haven’t done anything to account for things like file system caching, network profiling, noisy neighbours etc etc.

os-loganalyze tries to keep authenticated with swift, however

  • This can timeout (causes delays while reconnecting, possibly accounting for some spikes?)
  • This isn’t thread safe (are we hitting those edge cases?)

We could possibly explore getting longer authentication tokens or having os-loganalyze pull from an unauthenticated CDN to add the markup and then serve. I haven’t explored those here though.

os-loganalyze also handles all of the requests not just from my testing but also from anybody looking at OpenStack CI logs. In addition to this it also needs to deflate the gzip stream if required. As such there is potentially a large unknown (to me) load on the log server.

In other words, there are plenty of sources of errors. However I just wanted to get a feel for the general responsiveness compared to fetching from disk. Both sources had noise in their results so it should be expected in the real world when downloading logs that it’ll never be consistent.

Conclusions

As you would expect the request times are pretty much the same for both disk and swift (as mentioned earlier) especially when sitting next to the log server.

The response times vary but looking at the averages and the histograms these are rarely large. Even in the case where requesting the same file over and over in parallel caused responses to go slow these were only in the magnitude of 100ms.

The response time is the important one as it indicates how soon a download will start for the user. The total time to stream the contents of the whole log is seemingly less important if the user is able to start reading the file.

One thing that wasn’t tested was streaming of different file sizes. All of the files were roughly the same size (being logs of the same job). For example, what if the asset was a few gigabytes in size, would swift have any significant differences there? In general swift was slower to stream the file but only by a few hundred milliseconds for a megabyte. It’s hard to say (without further testing) if this would be noticeable on large files where there are many other factors contributing to the variance.

Whether or not these latencies are an issue is relative to how the user is using/consuming the logs. For example, if they are just looking at the logs in their web browser on occasion they probably aren’t going to notice a large difference. However if the logs are being fetched and scraped by a bot then it may see a decrease in performance.

Overall I’ll leave deciding on whether or not these latencies are acceptable as an exercise for the reader.

RacialiciousOn DC Entertainment, Cyborg, And Going Back To The Afrofuture

By Arturo R. García

DC Entertainment scored a rare PR victory over archrival Marvel over the weekend when it announced its upcoming slate of films. At first glance, this latest take on the DC movie universe instantly puts Marvel’s to shame when it comes to inclusion.

But besides the far-flung timetable involved, it very much remains to be seen whether the company is willing to put in the work to elevate its non-white heroes to a position befitting their upcoming roles on the big screen.

Here’s how the schedule looks, courtesy of Slate:

Not only does this signal the long-awaited arrival of Wonder Woman in her own solo feature, but the Flash movie will be led by a queer actor in Ezra Miller. And that’s before getting to the two POC leads in Jason Momoa’s Aquaman and, perhaps more surprisingly, Ray Fisher starring as Cyborg.

Ray Fisher (right) will play Cyborg for DC Entertainment. image via wn.com

If you’ve never heard of Fisher, don’t be surprised; according to IMDB, his appearance in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice will constitute his first major on-screen role. No pressure, right?

But look at the timeline again. Throw in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson appearing in Shazam, and it’s likely that POC will not be prominent in a DCE film for at least three years. The X-factor here is Suicide Squad, which appears to be on the fast track and should by all rights include Amanda Waller. Even if it means the “sexy” version unveiled three years ago as part of the company’s comics relaunch.

A cynical observer might point out that waiting until 2018 for an Aquaman film starring Momoa and Fisher’s starring role two years(!) later gives DC enough time to scuttle their plans if Dawn of Justice is as much of a disappointment as Man of Steel. Or that Aquaman and Cyborg’s position in the movie pipeline reflects their standing within the Justice League. They’re such valued members that the Suicide Squad got the nod first, and Cyborg has to wait for two Justice League movies before getting his shot. A cynic might argue that the only reason Cyborg isn’t dead last is because Ryan Reynolds’ turn as Hal Jordan was enough of a flop that the Green Lantern movie brand still hasn’t recovered.

Cyborg in the “Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians” cartoon. Image via DC Wikia.

On the bright side, DC now has no excuse to decisively elevate Cyborg into the top tier of its roster, even if most sensible fans wish John Stewart were getting that same treatment. It’s important to remember, first of all, that Victor Stone’s inclusion in the Justice League’s “New 52″ comics roster isn’t without precedent; in 1985, the character was featured on the Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians animated series, the final incarnation of the venerable SuperFriends franchise.

Cyborg on the cover of “Tales of the New Teen Titans” #1, as published in June 1982. Image via Wikipedia.

Then, as now, Cyborg was the junior member of the team — the POV character for the audience and the team’s designated IT person. Which probably seemed fine to casual viewers, but was in fact a reduction of his much larger role in DC’s hottest property of that time, the Teen Titans comic. As conceived by Marv Wolfman and George Perez, the Victor Stone of the ’80s had the benefit of a full journey from being horrified at his condition to eventually leading the team and forging a new family relationship with them.

But just as John Stewart went from a stalwart hero to one with a higher profile thanks to the Justice League and Justice League Unlimited series, another version of the Titans brand put Cyborg in the public eye:

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Cyborg in the “Teen Titans Go!” animated series. Image via Fanpop.com.

It’s very possible that, to non-comics fans, their image of Cyborg is of the high-appetite, high-energy version from Teen Titans Go!. A funny guy, sure, but maybe not the kind of hero that’s going to fill up a multiplex. If DC is serious about making the character the next great POC movie superhero, we’d like to argue that the company needs to split the difference: show his traumatic origin, sure, but take him beyond the JLA’s sidekick and let his film reach for the afrofuturistic heights he’s perfectly positioned to reach. A movie-going public living in an increasingly tech-reliant world could really get behind a hero who can plumb the depths of the grid from anywhere in the physical world. If DC wants to end its “phase one” with a bang, it needs to stop treating Cyborg like the last one in line, and understand that for this position in pop culture, he’s the first of his kind.

The post On DC Entertainment, Cyborg, And Going Back To The Afrofuture appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

TEDWhat’s it like to live with locked-in syndrome? One family’s experience

TED Fellow Kitra Cahana shares the story of her father at TEDMED. Photo: Courtesy of TEDMED

Kitra Cahana shares the extraordinary story of her father’s brain stem stroke, a catastrophe that transformed into an inspiring spiritual journey. Photo: TEDMED

Three years ago, Rabbi Ronnie Cahana suffered a rare brain stem stroke that left him fully conscious, yet his entire body paralyzed. It’s a condition known as “locked-in syndrome.”

Last month, TED Fellow Kitra Cahana spoke of her father’s experience at TEDMED (watch her talk, “My father, locked in his body but soaring free”), revealing how her family cocooned Rabbi Cahana in love, and how a system of blinking, in response to the alphabet, patiently allowed him to dictate poems, sermons and letters to his loved ones and to his congregation.

Kitra began documenting her father’s recovery in photographs and video, creating layered images that — in contrast to her photojournalistic work — are more abstract and emotional. “I wanted to try to find a way to take photographs that reflected the mystical things that were happening in the hospital room,” she says. “How do I explain, in a photograph, the power that another human being has to either add or detract from the healing of another person? I started a process of trying to tell a story in images.”

As Rabbi Cahana began to regain his ability to speak, Kitra started recording his voice. She is now in the process of developing this body of work for an exhibition to help raise support for his ongoing care and rehabilitation.

Below, see Kitra’s stunning images — accompanied by her father’s poems — and hear more about the thoughts behind them. But first, a Q&A with Rabbi Cahana himself, in which he describes his own experience.

Rabbi Cahana writes: "You have to believe you’re paralyzed to play the part of a quadriplegic. I don’t. In my mind and in my dreams every night I Chagall-man float over the city, twirl and swirl, with my toes kissing the floor. I know nothing about this statement of man without motion. Everything has motion. The heart pumps, the body heaves, the mouth moves, the eyes turn inside-out.  We never stagnate. Life triumphs up and down." Image: Kitra Cahana

Rabbi Cahana writes, “You have to believe you’re paralyzed to play the part of a quadriplegic. I don’t. In my mind and in my dreams, every night I Chagall-man float over the city, twirl and swirl, with my toes kissing the floor. I know nothing about this statement of man without motion. Everything has motion. The heart pumps, the body heaves, the mouth moves, the eyes turn inside-out. We never stagnate. Life triumphs up and down.” Image: Kitra Cahana

Rabbi Cahana answers our questions on being locked in

Can you tell us what happened, from your point of view?

In July of 2011, upon returning from a weeklong visit to my mother and sister’s home in Houston, I had a stroke that shut down my body into a complete paralysis besides my mind and my uneasy use of my weakened, blurred eyes. Locked-in syndrome, they called it. “The air weighs a hundred pounds,” I wanted to say to anyone who was interested.

I was not in discomfort. I felt the sensation of touch on me, and surrounding me. I was sure that I had a helmet over my head to safeguard me. My neck itself seemed to weigh fifty pounds. A mysterious tortoise-shell immediately clasped me and kept me safe whenever needed. With my torso secure, my limbs felt doubled — the wooden petrified ones tethered by leather straps to ones jumping and slapping around. It was my duty to bring these fiery, spirited, animated parts to merge with my outer deadwood. I worked incessantly through sleepless nights and tyrannical days to fuse the miniature into the large. I kept hearing sirens from outside the hospital interrupting this task. It took about a year until each member became whole again, until they became one.

It took me three and a half months to get off the artificial breathing machine. That was my first miraculous victory. The next task was to get my epiglottis active. They wanted to give me thickened food — puréed this-and-that — whereas I wanted raw vegetables and fruit. I was denied the right to drink water for months over months. Water is the source of life, that which I craved most as an elixir. I dreamt of it. I tasted it. I could sense the coldness and the raw beauty of thirst — parched parts quenched. These days I eat whatever I want, whatever I am blessed with. I have a good physio who stands me upright, and a speech therapist to bring out the voice.

How would you describe your mental and emotional state during the time of being locked in?

The stroke transcended me. I don’t know much about it except that I was replanted into the ground and found my discombobulated bodyparts spread across the landscape. My holy work of these last three years has been to re-unify from a central whirlwind of light — dizzying, upside-down, topsy-turvy. I want to grow this plant of mine out of the underground. I imagine this is what every seed sees before it proceeds.

Doctors live by science and statistics. Rabbis live by inner spirit and G-dliness. Nobody has ever asked me what it’s like to have a paralyzed digit — fingers that lead a motionless existence. I, too, refrain from asking: “How does it feel to handle dried-up bones? Do you fear a life without movement?” But this is the under-exchange of everyone in touch with those who can’t touch back. My biggest loss is the gentle caress that I once could give.

Throughout this process, the air I breathe has been full with open prayers of love, with eyes upon me, soothing, cooing soft-spoken kindnesses. My family wiggles my flapping shoulder blades to revive them. My congregation visits me as if agreeing that nothing has happened; there is no loss, there is only us today and our future. We all ease each other’s lives. I am wondrously happy for the privilege of seeing life in this dimension. I capture miracles in instants. Challenge is privilege. It is a privilege to live this story.

The images Kitra takes of you feel very vulnerable and reflective. Did your father-daughter relationship change dramatically after the stroke?

I am in awe of Kitra’s art and her desire to unstiffen what is locked up. She finds communities of the locked-away; she researches for breakthroughs and latest up-to-date machinery and medical advances. She speaks the language of negating the impossible. She champions me through pitfalls and traps of institutional clumsiness. She sees me already walking through the streets; she chaperones me down the halls of my returning. It is wondrous to never be defeated. Transformation is celebratory.

I loved Kitra the same in the instant of her birth. She created me as a father that day. I’ve only begun to emerge as she nurses me and nurtures me up to a sense of knowing what it means to be alive. My love for her and all my children has deepened in the emergency status. There is only intimate language in the presence of a precious person of your own issue. The privilege of parenthood is even more daunting than the responsibility. I am overwhelmed with the gratitude of being remade in my children’s image now that they are adults. I tell them I see G-d’s face when they present their loving glow. They are the Sabbath candles themselves.

You wrote texts to go with each of Kitra’s images. To whom are they addressed? They seem to be meditations on consciousness rather than communication. After your illness, was all your communication in this form?

After coming to consciousness, the mind narrowed to simple whispers. I was bare-faced and raw matter. The blessing ‘to bless’ in Hebrew is “Yisai Adonai Panav Elecha,” or “May G-d lift your countenance.” “Ya’er Panav Elecha v’Chuneka.” “May G-d’s light illuminate your face and bring forth your grace.” Or as King David said, “From G-d’s divine light we see light.” At the moment of arising from the stroke, I felt G-d lift my face and pierce into an inner glow. I spoke to that light and from it all at once. I understood that everyone gets this brilliant radiance early in life, and I know that it’s a mere temporary flash to return to again and again. This is enlightened consciousness. It’s a flash that I ever try to retrieve.

All my writings are love songs to G-d. I only have thanks. G-d has given me a future again. And this is a glimpse (the marvel) of eternity’s touch.

Your texts refer to a passionate love. Is this about the love between husband and wife, or love for the divine?

Both. G-d’s challenge to each human being is to reach the fullest extent of your capacity to love and ever grow it, ever test it, ever push it. That’s why we are created and how we continue creating ourselves. The passionate love of me to my wife, my wife to me, is an embodiment of the challenging love that the Almighty presents before us. How much of the heavenly abode do we bring into our love? Loving [my wife] Karen, she loving me, brings us to seek the Almighty’s presence. When I pray to G-d I ask to find Karen. When I’m near Karen, I ask her to help me discover the Creator of Life. This is love language. It doesn’t matter what state of disrepair the body is in. This is the heart’s fullest reach. Nothing has changed in our love for each other. I am alive because I live for Karen’s eyes upon me once again.

001

Rabbi Cahana writes, “What is beautiful? We can close our eyelids, but it’s hard to close our ears. All directions can come to the ear. We can’t really turn our heads, like in seeing, to a particular angle. Hearing is how G-d responds to prayer. That’s sincere.” Photo: Kitra Cahana

Rabbi Cahana writes, "Oh my wife. I belong to you. I see the skin fold hurry under your eyelids. I want to be your sleep. I walk along your long grace. Your bones are hard to everyone’s stance but not to my fingers’ touch. There are tender demands when you open your lips, your tongue, your teeth. Your teeth are teaching my empty throat. Am I only just now breathing? G-d has given me this. We are face, two legs, alike. We have no weight. Wherever we are, the world is turning. This is nonesuch time." Image: Kitra Cahana

Rabbi Cahana writes, “Oh my wife. I belong to you. I see the skin fold hurry under your eyelids. I want to be your sleep. I walk along your long grace. Your bones are hard to everyone’s stance, but not to my fingers’ touch. There are tender demands when you open your lips, your tongue, your teeth. Your teeth are teaching my empty throat. Am I only just now breathing? G-d has given me this. We are face, two legs, alike. We have no weight. Wherever we are, the world is turning. This is nonesuch time.” Image: Kitra Cahana

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Rabbi Cahana writes, “There’s a new kind of slumber with a stroke. You get dizzy, lucid. There is a mini explosion and there is no up. There is no forward. It’s just twisting like a space-man’s walk, tethered to the intangible. It’s amazing. I was lifted into a hoist. I said to myself: Remember you’re in the air for real now. Hover over this bed, and be there more than you are under it.” Video: Kitra Cahana

My dream state is closer to G-d than any open-eyed watch of how foreshortened my wingspan might be. I feel awake and alive and follow through with what my body can’t seem to do. It’s not pretending when I say I believe this is only temporary. It is my open-aired will that makes these three years seem like only a blink. And still I see the world stumble by and I criticize its footwork. I still believe I walk more gracefully. After all, who among us is really sure-footed?

Rabbi Cahana writes, “My dream state is closer to G-d than any open-eyed watch of how foreshortened my wingspan might be. I feel awake and alive and follow through with what my body can’t seem to do. It’s not pretending when I say I believe this is only temporary. It is my open-aired will that makes these three years seem like only a blink. And still I see the world stumble by and I criticize its footwork. I still believe I walk more gracefully. After all, who among us is really sure-footed?” Image: Kitra Cahana

Rabbi Cahana writes, "I singsong my body as its own cradle. Back and up head and down. There is a floating whir on my skin. Only a year and a half later will it dissipate. Its the skinny skin that crinkles. My eyes stay closed. All of life now will forever be whispers. But G-d’s ear is here." Image: Kitra Cahana

Rabbi Cahana writes, “I singsong my body as its own cradle. Back and up head and down. There is a floating whir on my skin. Only a year and a half later will it dissipate. Its the skinny skin that crinkles. My eyes stay closed. All of life now will forever be whispers. But G-d’s ear is here.” Image: Kitra Cahana

Kitra Cahana answers our questions about these images

What has your father’s experience been like for you?

It has been a shift in my trajectory. My father’s experience of the stroke was one of endless spirituality and curiosity and this mystical understanding of how to heal. He’s a rabbi, a spiritual leader and poet and as such often spoke in this kind of otherly language about reality and his experience — a very surreal, poetic language. His language has a cadence of its own. Sometimes it can be difficult to understand, but it speaks to me on a deep level. Somehow it’s very accessible to me.

We were raised on mystical ideas about G-d. ‘Does G-d exist?’ was never a relevant or pertinent question to my spirituality. The root question to ask is: How do people experience existence? Do you have an experience of a G-d or a G-dlike concept? is more telling to me, than declaring one’s belief in an unknown. I’ve approached a lot of what my father has said regarding his stroke in the same manner. I don’t question what he says, as in: ‘Did that really happen?’ He had many visions when the stroke first struck him. In one, he had an encounter, standing before G-d, wherein the totality of his own life, his own soul, accused him for all his wrong-doings and shortcomings. His own father’s soul came to his defense, and pleaded for my father to get more life. I don’t question whether that is real or not. I listen to him openly, trying to just understand what his experience of reality looks like.

How do you do that? How does he communicate?

Right after the stroke, we communicated through a blinking methodology where the transcriber recites the alphabet and he would blink at each letter. People started flocking to our ICU room, and then our hospital room, and he would hold these long conversations with them. Congregants, nurses and orderlies would come to his bedside at their break time and, through us, my father would counsel them. It was all in this very, very slow time — this sort of otherly orbit that was created in midst of the hustling, bustling hospital.

Initially, communication was extremely disorienting. Until we got into a good rhythm and flow — and established how to initiate vowels, and other shortcuts — there were so many miscommunications. We would recite the alphabet, A, B, C, D, and he would wait to blink at the correct letter. Afterwards he told us that anticipating each letter was excruciating. He would keep his eyes wide open, in fear that he would blink at the wrong letter and our whole communication would get thrown off. There were so many moments to misread what he wanted to say. Even when he started mouthing, and then speaking intermittently, it continued — and continues — to be difficult. Initially we tried different methods. We tried to do the alphabet of most commonly used letters, but there were a lot of confusions. There’s another smart system wherein the locked-in patient divides his or her gaze into different quadrants, and then divides each quadrant again to indicate a specific letter. We could have learned that language, but I think my father was in such a rush to express all the things running through his mind that the simple ABCD method was the easiest.

Can he feel his body right now?

He always had sensation. But he describes his first sensation as though he were floating through the ether. He has this strange description that each of his limbs were dead logs and tethered to each was this miniature limb that was just full of spirit — zinging all over the room. He said there was a rope attached to each of these smaller limbs, and that if the rope wasn’t there, these limbs would just fly across the world, to everywhere. I don’t necessarily understand his physical experience. He describes it as being rebirthed at 57 — that he was conscious, going through the birth canal. He says ‘I’m two years old now.’ To him that’s a complete privilege and blessing.

Initially, I started documenting him in the style that I know — traditional journalistic photographs. But those photographs were so literal. Those images spoke to the care and the love in our hospital room, but they weren’t able to access the deeper soul experience. My challenge was to find a visual language that would be in dialogue with our spiritual and emotional landscape.

Did changing your usual style feel good?

I’ve never felt like my documentary work reflected my inner essence. In a way, when I work on a story — documenting in a traditional documentary manner — I feel as though my role between my subject and the audience is one of a medium. There’s a subject who passes through my lens, my aesthetic filter, in order to reach an audience, a public. I can overlay an aesthetic voice to that, but I never felt like I was giving it my voice. Photographing my father — layering images, video and audio on top of each other — it’s the first time I’m expressing something deep inside of me in a photographic language. I’ve never felt that way about my work before. It’s the first seed. But it’s lovely growing into this new place with my father as a collaborator and subject.

What motivated you to speak at TEDMED?

It’s very difficult to express the sublime and the surreal in words and photographs. I wanted to attempt to communicate all that my family had experienced – my father’s brain stem stroke, and the profound spiritual awakening that followed – with others. This is what my father taught us; he said that all who came into his room of healing should expect to be healed themselves. Healing has to be mutual.

The stroke ruptured my reality as well as his. In those initial months, I saw sides of myself I never knew existed. I would have loved for him to have spoken at TEDMED himself but, as in the hospital — where my mother, sisters, brother and I acted as his mouthpiece — we continue to act in that capacity.

What impact do you hope the talk will have?

Part of my father’s message is that he hopes others will step outside of the space-time hustle and bustle that many of us are so used to. He experiences life in a kind of slow-time. He spent and continues to spend hours alone with himself.  That space of aloneness with his thoughts is not a place of anxiety, but a place of joy and introspection. I hope that others get a sense of this slow-space-time, where you exist only with yourself, with those other humans that you are intimate with, and – as my father would also say – with God.

Since my father’s stroke, I’ve become involved in a global community of people who have experienced brain stem strokes, either personally or on the part of a loved one. They are either still fully locked-in or have made progress, including some partial to full recoveries. So many of those who have experienced being locked-in were written off too early. Their families were told to expect very little. As a result, they did not receive proper rehabilitation therapies, nor were their bodies moved on a daily basis to maintain a minimum quality of comfort. I’ve seen health care professionals refuse to address the locked-in patient directly, speaking about him or her in the third person, insensitive to the fact that the person is still completely conscious and able to communicate. We struggle every day to sensitize health care professionals and institutions.

Healing is taxing. But what is even more taxing is trying to heal in systems and institutions that drain the already low reserves of patients. My father was able to have the spiritual experience that he had because he had a family and a congregation that preserved him in his role as father, husband and rabbi and advocated for him when he wasn’t able to.

You said before that he can feel his body now. To what extent?

He’s made huge progress — he breathes by himself, he predominantly has his own speaking voice to rely on now. It wanes, but he conducted a wedding last year, and he teaches in the synagogue. He has some motion capabilities. A lot of it’s about getting stronger; it’s really hard to rebuild an entire body all at once. I don’t know if or when he’s going to reach his limits, but that’s not an important question to me. To me, it’s about being part of his healing support network.

002

Rabbi Cahana writes, “When my brain exploded my body flew apart onto my backyard, only ten times larger. My mind landed on top of the hedges. One arm a mile away, another arm over here. Legs here, legs there. The torso somewhere else. It was my job to somehow bring these all back together. To bring the body back to the head. This was my spiritual duty.” Image: Kitra Cahana

Want to support Rabbi Cahana? Find out how.

And special thanks to TEDMED, for contributing to this piece.


TEDAndrew Bastawrous’ bakery for better eye care gets lift off, the Sleepy Man Banjo Boys make a video, and more

Andrew_Bastawrous_Mazda_rebel_with-cause

As always, members of the TED community have been very busy the past few weeks. Below, just a few of them making the news:

Earlier this month, Mazda promised to fund one of four projects dreamed up by TED Fellows — based on your votes. The winner: eye surgeon Andrew Bastawrous has won for his Eye Bake program. With Mazda’s help, he’ll be building up the Ujima Bakery in Kenya, which will employ local people while raising money to subsidize eye care. (Watch Andrew’s TED Talk, “Get your next eye exam on a smartphone.”)

Susan Cain is writing a children’s book, to be released in May 2015. While Quiet focused on the workplace, this new book — called Quiet Power – will focus on school, extracurriculars and family life. It’ll also feature illustrations by Grant Snider. (Watch Susan’s talk, “The power of introverts.” And read our interview with her: “How to teach a young introvert.”)

Speaking of school, Clay Shirky has banned the use of technology in his classes. In an essay on Medium, he admits that this is a bold move for a technologist. (Watch Clay’s most recent TED Talk, “How the internet will (one day) transform government.”)

The Sleepy Man Banjo Boys have made their very first music video: “Same Same Stars.” Watch it below. (And check out their TED Talk, “Teen wonders play bluegrass.”)

<iframe allowfullscreen="true" class="youtube-player" frameborder="0" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/2JDaNYDQv7Y?version=3&amp;rel=1&amp;fs=1&amp;showsearch=0&amp;showinfo=1&amp;iv_load_policy=1&amp;wmode=transparent" type="text/html" width="586"></iframe>

Sculptor Janet Echelman has received the Smithsonian American Ingenuity Award in Visual Arts. She accepted the award at a gala award ceremony at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. (Watch Janet’s talk, “Taking imagination seriously.” And read about her sculpture at TED2014, “Skies Painted with Unnumbered Sparks.”)

Dave Eggers tells The San Francisco Chronicle that his publishing house, McSweeney’s, is applying to become a nonprofit. “It just seemed that increasingly many of the things that we wanted to do were nonprofit projects and not really things that you could reasonably expect to break even on,” he explains. (Watch Dave’s TED Prize Wish revealed in the talk, “Once upon a school.”)

Majora Carter has big plans for the shuttered juvenile detention center down the road from her childhood home in the Bronx, New York. Once a place known for its brutal conditions, she shares with Next City her plans to transform it into a space of opportunity in the community. (Watch Majora’s talk, “3 stories of local eco-entrepreneurship.”)


Planet DebianLucas Nussbaum: Tentative summary of the amendments of the init system coupling GR

This is an update of my previous attempt at summarizing this discussion. As I proposed one of the amendments, you should not blindly trust me, of course. :-)

First, let’s address two FAQ:

What is the impact on jessie?
On the technical level, none. The current state of jessie already matches what is expected by all proposals. It’s a different story on the social level.

Why are we voting now, then?
Ian Jackson, who submitted the original proposal, explained his motivation in this mail.

We now have four different proposals: (summaries are mine)

  • [iwj] Original proposal (Ian Jackson): Packages may not (in general) require one specific init system (Choice 1 on this page)
  • [lucas] Amendment A (Lucas Nussbaum): support for alternative init systems is desirable but not mandatory (Choice 2 on this page)
  • [dktrkranz] Amendment B (Luca Falavigna): Packages may require a specific init system (Choice 3 on this page)
  • [plessy] Amendment C (Charles Plessy): No GR, please: no GR required (Choice 4 on this page)

[plessy] is the simplest, and does not discuss the questions that the other proposals are answering, given it considers that the normal Debian decision-making processes have not been exhausted.

In order to understand the three other proposals, it’s useful to break them down into several questions.

Q1: support for the default init system on Linux
A1.1: packages MUST work with the default init system on Linux as PID 1.
(That is the case in both [iwj] and [lucas])

A1.2: packages SHOULD work with the default init system on Linux as PID 1.
With [dktrkranz], it would no longer be required to support the default init system, as maintainers could choose to require another init system than the default, if they consider this a prerequisite for its proper operation; and no patches or other derived works exist in order to support other init systems. That would not be a policy violation. (see this mail and its reply for details). Theoretically, it could also create fragmentation among Debian packages requiring different init systems: you would not be able to run pkgA and pkgB at the same time, because they would require different init systems.

Q2: support for alternative init systems as PID 1
A2.1: packages MUST work with one alternative init system (in [iwj])
(Initially, I thought that “one” here should be understood as “sysvinit”, as this mail, Ian detailed why he chose to be unspecific about the target init system. However, in that mail, he later clarified that a package requiring systemd or uselessd would be fine as well, given that in practice there aren’t going to be many packages that would want to couple specifically to systemd _or_ uselessd, but where support for other init systems is hard to provide.)
To the user, that brings the freedom to switch init systems (assuming that the package will not just support two init systems with specific interfaces, but rather a generic interface common to many init systems).
However, it might require the maintainer to do the required work to support additional init systems, possibly without upstream cooperation.
Lack of support is a policy violation (severity >= serious, RC).
Bugs about degraded operation on some init systems follow the normal bug severity rules.

A2.2: packages SHOULD work with alternative init systems as PID 1. (in [lucas])
This is a recommendation. Lack of support is not a policy violation (bug severity < serious, not RC). A2.3: nothing is said about alternative init systems (in [dktrkranz]). Lack of support would likely be a wishlist bug.

Q3: special rule for sysvinit to ease wheezy->jessie upgrades
(this question is implicitly dealt with in [iwj], assuming that one of the supported init systems is sysvinit)

A3.1: continue support for sysvinit (in [lucas])
For the jessie release, all software available in Debian ‘wheezy’ that supports being run under sysvinit should continue to support sysvinit unless there is no technically feasible way to do so.

A3.2: no requirement to support sysvinit (in [dktrkranz])
Theoretically, this could require two-step upgrades: first reboot with systemd, then upgrade other packages

Q4: non-binding recommendation to maintainers
A4.1: recommend that maintainers accept patches that add or improve
support for alternative init systems. (in both [iwj] and [lucas], with a different wording)

A4.2: say nothing (in [dktrkranz])

Q5: support for init systems with are the default on non-Linux ports
A5.1: non-binding recommendation to add/improve support with a high priority (in [lucas])

A5.2: say nothing (in [iwj] and [dktrkranz])

 

Comments are closed: please discuss by replying to that mail.

Planet DebianErich Schubert: Avoiding systemd isn't hard

Don't listen to trolls. They lie.
Debian was and continues to be about choice. Previously, you could configure Debian to use other init systems, and you can continue to do so in the future.
In fact, with wheezy, sysvinit was essential. In the words of trolls, Debian "forced" you to install SysV init!
With jessie, it will become easier to choose the init system, because neither init system is essential now. Instead, there is an essential meta-package "init", which requires you to install one of systemd-sysv | sysvinit-core | upstart. In other words, you have more choice than ever before.
Again: don't listen to trolls.
However, notice that there are some programs such as login managers (e.g. gdm3) which have an upstream dependency on systemd. gdm3 links against libsystemd0 and depends on libpam-systemd; and the latter depends on systemd-sysv | systemd-shim so it is in fact a software such as GNOME that is pulling systemd onto your computer.
IMHO you should give systemd a try. There are some broken (SysV-) init scripts that cause problems with systemd; but many of these cases have now been fixed - not in systemd, but in the broken init script.
However, here is a clean way to prevent systemd from being installed when you upgrade to jessie. (No need to "fork" Debian for this, which just demonstrates how uninformed some trolls are ... - apart from Debian being very open to custom debian distributions, which can easily be made without "forking".)
As you should know, apt allows version pinning. This is the proper way to prevent a package from being installed. All you need to do is create a file named e.g. /etc/apt/preferences.d/no-systemd with the contents:
Package: systemd-sysv
Pin: release o=Debian
Pin-Priority: -1
from the documentation, a priority less than 0 disallows the package from being installed. systemd-sysv is the package that would enable systemd as your default init (/sbin/init).
This change will make it much harder for aptitude to solve dependencies. A good way to help it to solve the dependencies is to install the systemd-shim package explicitly first:
aptitude install systemd-shim
After this, I could upgrade a Debian system from wheezy to jessie without being "forced" to use systemd...
In fact, I could also do an aptitude remove systemd systemd-shim. But that would have required the uninstallation of GNOME, gdm3 and network-manager - you may or may not be willing to do this. On a server, there shouldn't be any component actually depending on systemd at all. systemd is mostly a GNOME-desktop thing as of now.
As you can see, the trolls are totally blaming the wrong people, for the wrong reasons... and in fact, the trolls make up false claims (as a fact, systemd-shim was updated on Oct 14). Stop listening to trolls, please.
If you find a bug - a package that needlessly depends on systemd, or a good way to remove some dependency e.g. via dynamic linking, please contribute a patch upstream and file a bug. Solve problems at the package/bug level, instead of wasting time doing hate speeches.

Cory DoctorowI’m coming to Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, SF/Palo Alto!


As the tour with my graphic novel In Real Life draws to a close, my next tour, with my nonfiction book Information Doesn't Want to Be Free kicks off with stops down the west coast.

I've also got stops coming up in Warsaw, London, Stockholm, Ann Arbor, Baltimore, DC, and Denver -- here's the whole list. Here's some of what Kirkus Review had to say about the new book:

In his best-selling novel Ready Player One, Ernest Cline predicted that decades from now, Doctorow (Homeland, 2013, etc.) should share the presidency of the Internet with actor Wil Wheaton. Consider this manifesto to be Doctorow’s qualifications for the job.

The author provides a guide to the operation of the Internet that not only makes sense, but is also written for general readers. Using straightforward language and clear analogies, Doctorow breaks down the complex issues and tangled arguments surrounding technology, commerce, copyright, intellectual property, crowd funding, privacy and value—not to mention the tricky situation of becoming “Internet Famous.” Following a characteristically thoughtful introduction by novelist Neil Gaiman, rock star Amanda Palmer offers a blunt summary of today’s world: “We are a new generation of artists, makers, supporters, and consumers who believe that the old system through which we exchanged content and money is dead. Not dying: dead.” So the primary thesis of the book becomes a question of, where do we go from here? Identifying the Web’s constituents as creators, investors, intermediaries and audiences is just the first smart move. Doctorow also files his forthright, tactically savvy arguments under three “laws,” the most important of which has been well-broadcast: “Any time someone puts a lock on something that belongs to you and won’t give you the key, that lock isn’t there for your benefit.”

Planet Linux AustraliaAndrew Pollock: [life] Day 265: Kindergarten and startup stuff

Zoe yelled out for me at 5:15am for some reason, but went back to sleep after I resettled her, and we had a slow start to the day a bit after 7am. I've got a mild version of whatever cold she's currently got, so I'm not feeling quite as chipper as usual.

We biked to Kindergarten, which was a bit of a slog up Hawthorne Road, given the aforementioned cold, but we got there in the end.

I left the trailer at the Kindergarten and biked home again.

I finally managed to get some more work done on my real estate course, and after a little more obsessing over one unit, got it into the post. I've almost got another unit finished as well. I'll try to get it finished in the evenings or something, because I'm feeling very behind, and I'd like to get it into the mail too. I'm due to get the second half of my course material, and I still have one more unit to do after this one I've almost finished.

I biked back to Kindergarten to pick up Zoe. She wanted to watch Megan's tennis class, but I needed to grab some stuff for dinner, so it took a bit of coaxing to get her to leave. I think she may have been a bit tired from her cold as well.

We biked home, and jumped in the car. I'd heard from Matthew's Dad that FoodWorks in Morningside had a good meat selection, so I wanted to check it out.

They had some good roasting meat, but that was about it. I gave up trying to mince my own pork and bought some pork mince instead.

We had a really nice dinner together, and I tried to get her to bed a little bit early. Every time I try to start the bed time routine early, the spare time manages to disappear anyway.

Worse Than FailureCodeSOD: Is It Safer to Use Numbers?

Mac didn't know anything about how the JavaScript on the search page worked, and he wasn't that great at CSS styling, but that didn't matter. He had his orders. As part of the latest round of enhancements, the front-end developer had added another search parameter which would be passed via the regular search URL, and the back end needed to be adjusted to accomodate. (You know... instead of 'http://initrode.com/search?a=xxx&b=yyy' it now was 'http://initrode.com/search?a=xxx&b=yyy&c=zzz'.)

No problem. Mac made his tweak in the code and ran a quick test...which failed instantly in a spectacular way. "WTF? It's a parameter. Must be already used..." he thought, but nope.

Digging deeper, Mac came upon the following:

public enum eQueryParametersCount
{
  New = 2,
  Filtering = 3,
  Navigation = 6,
  SwitchView = 7
}

Odd. And then peppered throughout...

int iCount = Request.QueryString.Count;
if (iCount != (int)eQueryParametersCount.New
      && iCount != (int)eQueryParametersCount.Navigation
      && iCount != (int)eQueryParametersCount.Filtering
      && iCount != (int)eQueryParametersCount.SwitchView
   )
{
  logger.Log("QueryString error: invalid querystring");
  Response.Redirect(PageManager.ErrorPage);
}

...and...

else if ((Request.QueryString.Count == (int)eQueryParametersCount.Filtering) && (!SetConfirmationMessage()))
     {
       if (!GetOverallQuality())
       {
         logger.Log("QueryString error: r not found or invalid value");
         Response.Redirect(PageManager.ErrorPage);
       }
     }

In short, the previous coders figured that it was much better to 'count' the number of parameters to determine what the user wanted instead of actually reading them. It also means you can never have 3 params because that is taken by a different enum.

As Mac set about tearing things apart he found himself considering how tough it would really be to pick up some web design skills.

 

Photo credit: Laineys Repertoire / Foter / CC BY

Planet DebianThomas Goirand: OpenStack Juno is out, Debian (and Ubuntu Trusty ports) packages ready

This is just a quick announce: Debian packages for Juno are out. In fact, they were ready the day of the release, on the 16th of October. I uploaded it all (to Experimental) the same day, literally a few hours after the final released was git tagged. But I had no time to announce it.

This week-end, I took the time to do an Ubuntu Trusty port, which I also publish (it’s just a mater of rebuilding all, and it should work out of the box). Here are the backports repositories. For Wheezy:

deb http://archive.gplhost.com/debian juno-backports main

deb http://archive.gplhost.com/debian juno main

For trusty:

deb http://archive.gplhost.com/debian trusty-juno-backports main

But of course, everything is also available directly in Debian. Since Sid/Jessie contains OpenStack Icehouse (which has more chance to receive long enough security support), and it will be like this until Jessie is released. So I have uploaded all of Juno into Debian Experimental. This shows on the OpenStack qa page (you may also notice that the team is nearly reaching 200 packages… though am planning to off-load some of that to the Python module team, when the migration to Git will be finished). On the QA page, you may also see that I uploaded all of the last Icehouse point release to Sid, and that all packages migrated to Jessie. There’s only a few minor issues with some Python modules which I fixed, that haven’t migrated to Jessie yet.

I can already tell that all packages can be installed without an issue, and that I know Horizon at least works as expected. But I didn’t have time to test it all just yet. I’m currently working on doing even more installation automation at the package level (by providing some OVS bridging init script and such, to make it more easy to run Tempest functional testing). I’ll post more about this when it’s ready.

Kelvin ThomsonDeath of Gough Whitlam

Gough Whitlam was a towering figure in Australian public life. I think he was the greatest man to ever grace the Australian Labor Party, and the most influential Australian Prime Minister of the past fifty years. He did this after enlisting during the Second World War with the RAAF. This was of course a very dangerous thing to do - my father's older brother John, after whom I have my middle name, did this too, but did not return.<o:p></o:p>

I was a year twelve student in 1972, and had a bright orange It's Time sticker on my school bag. I remember that after he won the election one of my schoolmates said to me that while he was keen for Gough to win, Gough would not be able to put an end to Australia's involvement in Vietnam, and to conscription, any time soon. I was crestfallen by this, and delighted when only a day or two later Gough's two-man Cabinet did precisely that.<o:p></o:p>

His leadership and vision for Australia was one of the key things that inspired me to join the Australian Labor Party, which I did in 1974. It was against the run of play, as Gough's government was thrown out comprehensively at the end of the next year. <o:p></o:p>

But his legacy has proved to be so longstanding that I think he can rightly claim to be the most influential Prime Minister of the past 50 years. It was such a monumental body of work that I cannot do justice to it, but there are a number of features of it which I want to single out. The introduction of free tertiary education. It made such a difference to the lives of so many. The more I look at it, the more I think it was a mistake to move away from that.<o:p></o:p>

Medibank, which was of course the predecessor of Medicare. It gave Australia quite possibly the best health care system in the world, where everyone, rich and poor alike, has access to high quality health care.<o:p></o:p>

The protection of the environment. Gough took the National government into the area of environment protection, preventing drilling of the Great Barrier Reef, ratifying the World Heritage Convention, the RAMSAR Convention, and passing the National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act.<o:p></o:p>

Indigenous Affairs. Gough passed legislation to abolish discrimination against aboriginal people, and granted land rights to indigenous people, and returned lands in the Northern Territory to the Gurindji people.<o:p></o:p>

People will always draw on the aspects of someone's legacy that are consistent with their own views, and I am no different. In that vein I point out that in 1974 he wrote that traditional forms of democratic government are under challenge, and listed population growth as first among these. Later in that article he said “I do not envisage any dramatic increase in our present population, and indeed I would not wish to see one". I think he was absolutely right in that assessment. And indeed he cut migration numbers during his time as Prime Minister, which is perhaps not widely known.<o:p></o:p>

I had a number of conversations with him, and there are two that stick in my mind. The first is when I rang him as a young Member of Parliament with an interest in fixed-term Parliaments and knowledge that Gough had championed this cause, including a proposal for simultaneous Federal and State elections. I was pleased that my call was put through, and astonished that Gough was able to rattle off, without any forewarning of my call and in the days before the Internet and Google, the electoral arrangements for many of the states of the USA.<o:p></o:p>

Later on I won an afternoon tea with Gough in a Labor Party raffle. This time he did know I was coming, but it was 2002 and he was by then 86. I was again astonished to see that at the ripe old age of 86 he had gone to the trouble of looking me up on the Internet and coming to the afternoon tea extremely well informed about my background and interests.<o:p></o:p>

No doubt Gough made mistakes. But the fact is that anyone in public life makes decisions every day, and it is unreasonable to expect every one of those decisions to be correct. And a Prime Minister makes hundreds, even thousands of decisions. Yes he was defeated decisively after three years, but that should be understood in the context of coming to power after a 23 year absence for Labor, and bumping into a world which had been shaped by and was dominated by his political opponents. After the change of government Malcolm Fraser acknowledged the need to make the Senate more representative and sponsored a referendum to require State Parliaments to fill Senate casual vacancies with the nominee of the Party the Senator had belonged to. And it should also be understood that Gough was newly in power when the OPEC oil shock of 1974 hit - this generated inflation and unemployment, and most Western governments unfortunate enough to be in power at the time did not last for long.<o:p></o:p>

Gough's struggle with Malcolm Fraser was titanic. I remember United States commentators at the time remarking on the ability of the two men, and wondering why American politics was not throwing up leaders of comparable calibre.<o:p></o:p>

The best thing we can do to honour Gough's monumental legacy is to protect it. Whether it is tertiary education, or health, or environment protection, or indigenous affairs, we should honour and protect his legacy. Most of all I hope we remember his commitment to politics as an honourable profession. It is unthinkable to imagine Gough taking on a job as a corporate lobbyist or company director in a post political career. The idea of using a parliamentary career as a stepping stone to a cushy corporate job would have been anathema to him. <o:p></o:p>

I hope his life and example continues to inspire Australians to undertake public service, and to believe in the capacity of the political process to produce good outcomes, to make people’s lives better, for many years to come.<o:p></o:p>

,

Krebs on SecurityBanks: Credit Card Breach at Staples Stores

Multiple banks say they have identified a pattern of credit and debit card fraud suggesting that several Staples Inc. office supply locations in the Northeastern United States are currently dealing with a data breach. Staples says it is investigating “a potential issue” and has contacted law enforcement.

staplesAccording to more than a half-dozen sources at banks operating on the East Coast, it appears likely that fraudsters have succeeded in stealing customer card data from some subset of Staples locations, including seven Staples stores in Pennsylvania, at least three in New York City, and another in New Jersey.

Framingham, Mass.-based Staples has more than 1,800 stores nationwide, but so far the banks contacted by this reporter have traced a pattern of fraudulent transactions on a group of cards that had all previously been used at a small number of Staples locations in the Northeast.

The fraudulent charges occurred at other (non-Staples) businesses, such as supermarkets and other big-box retailers. This suggests that the cash registers in at least some Staples locations may have fallen victim to card-stealing malware that lets thieves create counterfeit copies of cards that customers swipe at compromised payment terminals.

Asked about the banks’ claims, Staples’s Senior Public Relations Manager Mark Cautela confirmed that Staples is in the process of investigating a “potential issue involving credit card data and has contacted law enforcement.”

“We take the protection of customer information very seriously, and are working to resolve the situation,” Cautela said. “If Staples discovers an issue, it is important to note that customers are not responsible for any fraudulent activity on their credit cards that is reported on [in] a timely basis.”  

Planet Linux AustraliaDavid Rowe: SM1000 Part 7 – Over the air in Germany

Michael Wild DL2FW in Germany recently attended a Hamfest where he demonstrated his SM1000. Michael sent me the following email (hint: I used Google translate on the web sites):

Here is the link to the review of our local hamfest.

At the bottom is a video of a short QSO on 40m using the SM-1000 over about 400km. The other station was Hermann (DF2DR). Hermann documented this QSO very well on his homepage also showing a snapshot of the waterfall during this QSO. Big selective fading as you can see, but we were doing well!

He also explains that, when switching to SSB at the same average power level, the voice was almost not understandable!

SM1000 Beta and FreeDV Update

Rick KA8BMA has been working hard on the Beta CAD work, and fighting a few Eagle DRC battles. Thanks to all his hard work we now have an up to date schematic and BOM for the Betas. He is now working on the Beta PCB layout, and we are refining the BOM with Edwin from Dragino in China. Ike, W3IKIE, has kindly been working with Rick to come up with a suitable enclosure. Thanks guys!

My current estimate is that the Beta SM1000s will be assembled in November. Once I’ve tested a few I’ll put them up on my store and start taking orders.

In the mean time I’ve thrown myself into modem simulations – playing with a 450 bit/s version of Codec 2, LPDC FEC codes, diversity schemes and coherent QPSK demodulation. I’m pushing towards a new FreeDV mode that works on fading channels at negative SNRs. More on that in later posts. The SM1000 and a new FreeDV mode are part of my goals for 2014. The SM1000 will make FreeDV easy to use, the new mode(s) will make it competitive with SSB on HF radio.

Everything is open source, both hardware and software. No vendor lock in, no software licenses and you are free to experiment and innovate.

Planet Linux AustraliaChris Samuel: IBM Pays GlobalFoundries to take Microprocessor Business

Interesting times for IBM, having already divested themselves of the x86 business by selling it on to Lenovo they’ve now announced that they’re paying GlobalFoundries $1.5bn to take pretty much that entire side of the business!

IBM (NYSE: IBM) and GLOBALFOUNDRIES today announced that they have signed a Definitive Agreement under which GLOBALFOUNDRIES plans to acquire IBM’s global commercial semiconductor technology business, including intellectual property, world-class technologists and technologies related to IBM Microelectronics, subject to completion of applicable regulatory reviews. GLOBALFOUNDRIES will also become IBM’s exclusive server processor semiconductor technology provider for 22 nanometer (nm), 14nm and 10nm semiconductors for the next 10 years.

It includes IBM’s IP and patents, though IBM will continue to do research for 5 years and GlobalFoundries will get access to that. Now what happens to those researchers (one of whom happens to be a friend of mine) after that isn’t clear.

When I heard the rumours yesterday I was wondering if IBM was aiming to do an ARM and become a fab-less CPU designer but this is much more like exiting the whole processor business altogether. The fact that they seem to be paying Global Foundries to take this off their hands also makes it sound pretty bad.

What this all means for their Power CPU is uncertain, and if I was nVidia and Mellanox in the OpenPOWER alliance I would be hoping I’d know about this before joining up!

This item originally posted here:

IBM Pays GlobalFoundries to take Microprocessor Business

TEDHow do we stop the spread of Ebola? A Q&A at TEDGlobal 2014

Chikwe Ihekweazu speaks at TEDGlobal 2014. Photo: Ryan Lash/Ryan

Chikwe Ihekweazu speaks at TEDGlobal 2014. Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

Ten years ago, epidemiologist Chikwe Ihekweazu helped fight an outbreak in South Sudan. This TED Fellow now runs the health consultancy EpiAFRIC, writes about public health issues in his native Nigeria, and is soon to start a four-week rotation on the ground fighting the Ebola epidemic. So as the outbreak continues, he sat down for a Q&A with Chris Anderson in Session 11 to give insights into what is happening and how concerned we all should be.

The first question: Can we get the scientific overview of what Ebola is and how it makes people sick?

Ihekweazu gives the disconcerting answer that, unlike some other viruses, we don’t know what the natural host is for Ebola. We do, however, know that in humans it is passed through contact with bodily fluids. We know that the disease has an incubation period of 2 to 21 days and that, unlike many other viruses, you can’t actually transmit the virus unless you are ill. “Most outbreaks are relatively small,” says Ihekweazu. In the South Sudan outbreak he helped fight a decade ago, there were less than 30 cases.

This time around, things are much worse. As of this moment, there have been close to 8,000 cases and 4,000 deaths. “This is really the worst outbreak we’ve ever dealt with — there’s really been nothing close,” says Ihekweazu. Public health advocates have one main tactic from here: to stop the chain of transmission from one sick person to another. Those most at risk for infection are family members of those already infected, health care workers and people involved in funeral rites.

The difficulty of fighting the Ebola epidemic in Africa connects to larger currents on the global stage. To illustrate this, Ihekweazu shows us two highly distorted maps of the world. The first illustrates the global deaths from infectious diseases— in this map, Africa and India are severely bloated, while the Americas appear as just a sliver. The next map shows public health spending in the world—here, the United States and Europe appear gigantic, while Africa becomes a thin line. Ihekweazu drops the shocking fact that there is one doctor to every 100,000 people in Liberia. “For Ebola to cause an outbreak, it probably picked the best two or three countries to happen in,” he says.

Ihekweazu says that he learned some important lessons in South Sudan that will be helpful this time around. For example, that the stark remoteness of isolation wards is a problem. “If you come to a place like this, it’s likely that you’re going to die there,” says Ihekweazu. “The cycle of anxiety keeps people away and keeps the outbreak spreading, because people stay home and infect their loved ones.” A big challenge now is convincing people to trust local hospitals in which they have “little confidence.”

But there is a success story: the containment of Ebola in Lagos, Nigeria. When the first case of Ebola cropped up there, it spread to 13 people quickly. But then the spread stopped. An Ebola response center was quickly spun up.

Thousand of people who’d had contact with patients were contacted and monitored carefully. It worked — there have only been 8 cases since.

Anderson’s next question for Ihekweazu: At this late stage, can the world get this under control?

“It can go either way. We could see a plateau in the next few months — which we hope for — or we could see a radical escalation,” says Ihekweazu. “It really depends on what we do in the next few weeks.”

He feels encouraged as he sees the international community rallying to support the countries most affected by Ebola. “This is a challenge for our common global community — not just a problem for Liberia and Sierra Leone,” he says. “Whether it’s influenza in Mexico, or SARS in Hong Kong, or Ebola in Liberia, the boundaries we hold so dear are not respected by infectious diseases.”

In Africa especially, governments need to step up. Ihekweazu points out that many hospitals and schools operate without running water, something he says is unacceptable. “How do we mobilize resources to deal with health, education, justice systems, to keep pace with development we’re seeing driven by the private sector across Africa?” he says. “We have a large economy, but it’s all private sector. Our public sector needs to step up.”

The final question: What can people do to help?

Ihekweazu stresses two things. First, that people support governments that are giving resources to fight this epidemic. And second, that they give money directly to Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors without Borders. “They know what to do — they’ve done it for years,” he says.


Racialicious#GIA14: Racial Conversation as Performance Art

Originally published at Grantmakers in the Arts

The rules of the Long Table.

The rules of the Long Table.

Can a conversation about race be a performance? What does that simple framework shift do to the conversation? The answer: everything.

The long table conversation is a fascinating thing to watch unfold. Participants come in and out as they please. There is snacking and scribbling, mostly on topic. Some people were determined watchers, setting up camp on the chairs on the far edge of the perimeter. And others eagerly queued up in the seats closest to the table, waiting for the moment they could tap someone on the shoulder, sending that performer out and putting themselves into the conversation.

The Long Table - The Beginning

The Long Table – The Beginning

The conversation starts off immediately. There aren’t really any awkward pauses. The presence of the table as a speaking space created a flow that participants respected. I wondered if an art project gave people license to break the rules and conventions of conversation. I felt inspired to draw a circle around an errant blueberry on the table. And at times, I felt the urge to run around, to lean over someone and circle their scribble, to interact out of order and out of place. After all, isn’t that art? Responding to stimuli?

But that will have to wait for another long table. People needed this space – stories flowed alongside tears and while this may have been intended as an art project the space morphed to accommodate mass catharsis.

Defining racial equity.

Defining racial equity.

Race Scrawl.

Race Scrawl.

Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 11.01.58 AM

(TRA is an abbreviation for transracial adoptee.)

Racial Scrawl 2

Racial Scrawl 2

The session draws to a close. Many are in tears. Some feel a profound shift. Others looked at the way inequality replicated itself at the table. There is no solution. But in art, does there need to be a neat resolution?

The post #GIA14: Racial Conversation as Performance Art appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

Geek FeminismQuick hit: Simply Secure, a new nonprofit promoting usable security, is hiring a research director and an operations manager

Simply Secure is a new non-profit that focuses on helping the open source community do a better job at security. Their focus is on adding usable security technology on top of existing, already-widely-adopted platforms and services, and their advisory board includes Wendy Seltzer, Cory Doctorow, and Angela Sasse, among others. (Full disclosure: I went to college with the executive director and founder, Sara “Scout” Sinclair Brody.)

They are hiring for two full-time positions right now: a research director/associate director with some mix of practical experience and formal education in security and UX design (sufficient experience compensates for a lesser degree of formal education), and an operations manager who will write grants and manage finances. Simply Secure strongly encourages applications from populations under-represented in the technology industry. For both positions, experience with and/or enthusiasm for open source is desirable but not required. Simply Secure is located in the US in Philadelphia and is actively recruiting candidates who work remotely.

To apply, visit their jobs page!

Sociological ImagesApple’s Health App: Where’s the Power?

In truth, I didn’t pay a tremendous amount of attention to iOS8 until a post scrolled by on my Tumblr feed, which disturbed me a good deal: The new iteration of Apple’s OS included “Health”, an app that – among many other things – contains a weight tracker and a calorie counter.

And can’t be deleted.

1 (3) - Copy

Okay, so why is this a big deal? Pretty much all “health” apps include those features. I have one (third-party). A lot of people have one. They can be very useful. Apple sticking non-removable apps into its OS is annoying, but why would it be something worth getting up in arms over? This is where it becomes a bit difficult to explain, and where you’re likely to encounter two kinds of people (somewhat oversimplified, but go with me here). One group will react with mild bafflement. The other will immediately understand what’s at stake.

The Health app is literally dangerous, specifically to people dealing with/in recovery from eating disorders and related obsessive-compulsive behaviors. Obsessive weight tracking and calorie counting are classic symptoms. These disorders literally kill people. A lot of people. Apple’s Health app is an enabler of this behavior, a temptation to fall back into self-destructive habits. The fact that it can’t be deleted makes it worse by orders of magnitude.

So why can’t people just not use it? Why not just hide it? That’s not how obsessive-compulsive behavior works. One of the nastiest things about OCD symptoms – and one of the most difficult to understand for people who haven’t experienced them – is the fact that a brain with this kind of chemical imbalance can and will make you do things you don’t want to do. That’s what “compulsive” means. Things you know you shouldn’t do, that will hurt you. When it’s at its worst it’s almost impossible to fight, and it’s painful and frightening. I don’t deal with disordered eating, but my messed-up neurochemistry has forced me to do things I desperately didn’t want to do, things that damaged me. The very presence of this app on a device is a very real threat (from post linked above):

Whilst of course the app cannot force you to use it, it cannot be deleted, so will be present within your apps and can be a source of feelings of temptation to record numbers and of guilt and judgement for not using the app.

Apple doesn’t hate people with eating disorders. They probably weren’t thinking about people with eating disorders at all. That’s the problem.

Then this weekend another post caught my attention: The Health app doesn’t include the ability to track menstrual cycles, something that’s actually kind of important for the health of people who menstruate. Again: so? Apple thinks a number of other forms of incredibly specific tracking were important enough to include:

In case you’re wondering whether Health is only concerned with a few basics: Apple has predicted the need to input data about blood oxygen saturation, your daily molybdenum or pathogenic acid intake, cycling distance, number of times fallen and your electrodermal activity, but nothing to do with recording information about your menstrual cycle.

Again: Apple almost certainly doesn’t actively hate cisgender women, or anyone else who menstruates. They didn’t consider including a cycle tracker and then went “PFFT SCREW WOMEN.” They probably weren’t thinking about women at all.

During the design phase of this OS, half the world’s population was probably invisible. The specific needs of this half of the population were folded into an unspecified default. Which doesn’t – generally – menstruate.

I should note that – of course – third-party menstrual cycle tracking apps exist. But people have problems with these (problems I share), and it would have been nice if Apple had provided an escape from them:

There are already many apps designed for tracking periods, although many of my survey respondents mentioned that they’re too gendered (there were many complaints about colour schemes, needless ornamentation and twee language), difficult to use, too focused on conceiving, or not taking into account things that the respondents wanted to track.

Both of these problems are part of a larger design issue, and it’s one we’ve talked about before, more than once. The design of things – pretty much all things – reflects assumptions about what kind of people are going to be using the things, and how those people are going to use them. That means that design isn’t neutral. Design is a picture of inequality, of systems of power and domination both subtle and not. Apple didn’t consider what people with eating disorders might be dealing with; that’s ableism. Apple didn’t consider what menstruating women might need to do with a health app; that’s sexism.

The fact that the app cannot be removed is a further problem. For all intents and purposes, updating to a new OS is almost mandatory for users of Apple devices, at least eventually. Apple already has a kind of control over a device that’s a bit worrying, blurring the line between owner and user and threatening to replace one with the other. The Health app is a glimpse of a kind of well-meaning but ultimately harmful paternalist approach to design: We know what you need, what you want; we know what’s best. We don’t need to give you control over this. We know what we’re doing.

This isn’t just about failure of the imagination. This is about social power. And it’s troubling.

Sarah Wanenchak is a PhD student at the University of Maryland, College Park. Her current research focuses on contentious politics and communications technology in a global context, particularly the role of emotion mediated by technology as a mobilizing force. She blogs at Cyborgology, where this post originally appearedand you can follow her at @dynamicsymmetry.

(View original at http://thesocietypages.org/socimages)

Mark ShuttleworthV is for Vivid

Release week! Already! I wouldn’t call Trusty ‘vintage’ just yet, but Utopic is poised to leap into the torrent stream. We’ve all managed to land our final touches to *buntu and are excited to bring the next wave of newness to users around the world. Glad to see the unicorn theme went down well, judging from the various desktops I see on G+.

And so it’s time to open the vatic floodgates and invite your thoughts and contributions to our soon-to-be-opened iteration next. Our ventrous quest to put GNU as you love it on phones is bearing fruit, with final touches to the first image in a new era of convergence in computing. From tiny devices to personal computers of all shapes and sizes to the ventose vistas of cloud computing, our goal is to make a platform that is useful, versal and widely used.

Who would have thought – a phone! Each year in Ubuntu brings something new. It is a privilege to celebrate our tenth anniversary milestone with such vernal efforts. New ecosystems are born all the time, and it’s vital that we refresh and renew our thinking and our product in vibrant ways. That we have the chance to do so is testament to the role Linux at large is playing in modern computing, and the breadth of vision in our virtual team.

To our fledgling phone developer community, for all your votive contributions and vocal participation, thank you! Let’s not be vaunty: we have a lot to do yet, but my oh my what we’ve made together feels fantastic. You are the vigorous vanguard, the verecund visionaries and our venerable mates in this adventure. Thank you again.

This verbose tract is a venial vanity, a chance to vector verbal vibes, a map of verdant hills to be climbed in months ahead. Amongst those peaks I expect we’ll find new ways to bring secure, free and fabulous opportunities for both developers and users. This is a time when every electronic thing can be an Internet thing, and that’s a chance for us to bring our platform, with its security and its long term support, to a vast and important field. In a world where almost any device can be smart, and also subverted, our shared efforts to make trusted and trustworthy systems might find fertile ground. So our goal this next cycle is to show the way past a simple Internet of things, to a world of Internet things-you-can-trust.

In my favourite places, the smartest thing around is a particular kind of monkey. Vexatious at times, volant and vogie at others, a vervet gets in anywhere and delights in teasing cats and dogs alike. As the upstart monkey in this business I can think of no better mascot. And so let’s launch our vicenary cycle, our verist varlet, the Vivid Vervet!

RacialiciousLive From San Diego Comic Fest: The Afrofuturism Panel

By Arturo R. García

The final day of the Comic Fest opened with one of the most far-ranging topics in speculative fiction in Afrofuturism. And true to form, the speakers reached into the past and toward the future in discussing not only their interpretation of the concept, but how it has influenced their fandom and their work.

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<noscript>[View the story "San Diego Comic Fest: Afrofuturism" on Storify]</noscript>

Top image: A still from the trailer for “The Crypto-Historians,” which can be seen below.

<iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" frameborder="0" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/NTmoPJDi10s" width="560"></iframe>

The post Live From San Diego Comic Fest: The Afrofuturism Panel appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

Planet DebianMichal Čihař: Hosted Weblate has new UI

The biggest part of this HackWeek will be spent on Weblate. The major task is to complete new UI for it. There have been already some blog posts about that here, so regular readers of my blog already know it is using Twitter Bootstrap.

Today it has reached point where I think it's good enough for wider testing and I've deployed it at Hosted Weblate (see Weblate website for conditions for getting hosting there).

I expect there will be some rough edges, so don't hesitate to report any issues, so that I can quickly fix them.

Filed under: English phpMyAdmin SUSE Weblate | 0 comments | Flattr this!

RacialiciousLive From San Diego Comic Fest: Latino Comics

By Arturo R. García

Over the weekend I went to the third annual San Diego Comic Fest, which has pointedly positioned itself as the anti-Comic Con.

Specifically, the size of the event is kept manageable for vendors, presenters and attendees alike; no conference room holds more than 40 or 50 people at one time, allowing for a more relaxed atmosphere and easier conversations between panelists and their audiences.

One end result is, panels focusing on diversity don’t feel as lost in the shuffle. And the Latino Comics panel covered not only industry trends within Latin America, but the rapidly-evolving effects of Latinidad on the U.S.’ identity.

<iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="http://storify.com/aboynamedart/live-from-san-diego-comics-fest-latino-comics/embed?border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="http://storify.com/aboynamedart/live-from-san-diego-comics-fest-latino-comics.js?border=false"></script>
<noscript>[View the story "San Diego Comic Fest: Latino Comics" on Storify]</noscript>

[Top image via "The Condor and The Eagle: A Pilgrimage to Machu Picchu" official Facebook page]

The post Live From San Diego Comic Fest: Latino Comics appeared first on Racialicious - the intersection of race and pop culture.

Planet Linux AustraliaAndrew Pollock: [life] Day 264: Pupil Free Day means lots of park play

Today was a Kindergarten (and it seemed most of the schools in Brisbane) Pupil Free Day.

Grace, the head honcho of Thermomix in Australia, was supposed to be in town for a meet and greet, and a picnic in New Farm Park had been organised, but at the last minute she wasn't able to make it due to needing to be in Perth for a meeting. The plan changed and we had a Branch-level picnic meeting at the Colmslie Beach Reserve.

So after Sarah dropped Zoe off, I whipped up some red velvet cheesecake brownie, which seems to be my go to baked good when required to bring a plate (it's certainly popular) and I had some leftover sundried tomatoes, so I whipped up some sundried tomato dip as well.

The meet up in the park was great. My group leader's daughters were there, as were plenty of other consultant's kids due to the Pupile Free Day, and Zoe was happy to hang out and have a play. There was lots of yummy food, and we were able to graze and socialise a bit. We called it lunch.

After we got home, we had a bit of a clean up of the balcony, which had quite a lot of detritus from various play dates and craft activities. Once that was done, we had some nice down time in the hammock.

We then biked over to a park to catch up with Zoe's friend Mackensie for a play date. The girls had a really nice time, and I discovered that the missing link in the riverside bike path has been completed, which is rather nice for both cycling and running. (It goes to show how long it's been since I've gone for a run, I really need to fix that).

After that, we biked home, and I made dinner. We got through dinner pretty quickly, and so Zoe and I made a batch of ginger beer after dinner, since there was a Thermomix recipe for it. It was cloudy though, and Zoe was more used to the Bunderberg ginger beer, which is probably a bit better filtered, so she wasn't so keen on it.

All in all, it was a really lovely way to spend a Pupil Free Day.

Worse Than FailureCodeSOD: Parallel SQL Queries

Daniele worked at a pharmaceutical firm that had an old web application that allowed commercial customers to look up information. Since the data was quite complicated, there were numerous fields that needed to be queried in order to populate the form.

Unfortunately, as the amount of data in the system grew, the time to load the form grew as well. And grew. And grew.

Fortunately, the DBA in charge of setting up the underlying tables was actually quite capable at setting up tables with the proper relationships. For example, an address consists of street, city, zip, province and country. A country can contain multiple provinces which can contain multiple cities which can contain multiple zip codes, and so forth. As it was well organized, the database was not the problem; the source of the slowness was likely in the code.

And what code it was. The programmer that engineered this had to have revered this piece of brillance as well. They decided that they would support substantial data growth by querying the data in parallel. Yes, there would be a separate query for each field - run in a separate thread - in parallel. In other words, all of the queries had essentially the same where-clause (except for the joins); only the fields that were selected were different. For cases where one field depended upon another, the dependency was handled like this in the corresponding query classes, which all followed the same pattern:

   class StreetQuery implements Thread {
      // Street names can be duplicated. We need to know in which 
      // city this street resides in order to query for it.
      private CityQuery city;
	  
      private boolean finished = false;
	  
      public StreetQuery(CityQuery city) {
        this.city = city;
      }
	  
      public boolean isRunning() {
        return !finished;
      }
	  
      public void run() {
        // Wait until query on which we depend finishes
        while (city.isRunning());
		
        // do query here, using any results from dependent queries as needed
        finished = true;
      }
    }

Daniele replaced all of that with a single stored procedure and the delays were gone.

One can't help but wonder if the author of the original code might have been helping themselves to a few too many sample products...