Thursday, April 26, 2018

Live fast, die Young ?

For the sake of philosophical conversation, why is it the best of us are always leaving us too soon? 

I feel like the death of a friend or loved one always hits so hard, but there's this fear that we all feel in the back of our psyche that when we realise that everyone loves a person, they're best friends with everyone, they make a group of friends complete like there's something missing and extremely unsatisfying whenever they say, "Sorry man I don't have time tonight, I'll hit you up tomorrow though, tell the guys I'll be there next time." This fear is that one day they'll die sooner than expected, with no warning.

I think you know the type of person I'm talking about. That one kid in high school who is friendly to everyone, is treated like an essential part of the class as a group, everyone enjoys their company even if they aren't exactly selfless or considerate, they just have this light they never let the harsh world make dim. They don't consciously choose to burn so bright with any expectation or notion that they'll die young, they just burn bright because that's just who they are. 

But then one little thing happens, one just ONE very unlikely, unforeseeable anomaly causes their untimely death. Maybe it's an instance or event that you'd think would just be like an egg colliding with the brick wall that is their history of glory and emotional fortitude.

I think one example would be Robin Williams, no explanation needed. And these people don't even need to be celebrities; to their friends, to the people they live amongst they might as well be famous.

Do you share this notion that the good ones are always dying too soon, that those of us who burn bright often die young? Do you think it's destiny, or is it something else?

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Amazon unveils In-Car Delivery

New Bezos scheme opens up vehicles as drop-off points.
The world's largest online retailer is rolling the program out in 37 U.S. cities for customers with newer compatible vehicles and plans to expand the service. All that is required to have packages delivered to a car is downloading an app from Amazon and linking it to the vehicle's so-called connected car service, such as General Motors Co's (GM.N) OnStar system or Volvo AG's (VOLVb.ST) On Call service. (Details:

The in-car delivery effort is part of Amazon's drive to leave packages where they cannot be easily stolen. Since 2011, Amazon has offered secure lockers for urban customers.

The in-car service builds on an effort Amazon launched last fall called Amazon Key. That system uses a $220 combination of an internet-connected door lock and camera to allow Amazon delivery drivers to place packages inside the homes of members of Amazon Prime. By contrast, the in-car delivery service is free for Prime members. It will be offered in San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta, Nashville, Milwaukee, Salt Lake City, Washington, D.C. and other areas.

The in-home delivery option put Amazon in direct competition with so-called smart home security companies such as Alphabet Inc's (GOOGL.O) Nest Labs and presaged Amazon's $1 billion acquisition of connected doorbell maker Ring.

But the new in-car delivery service may have broader reach because it works with many compatible cars from Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, Cadillac and Volvo, with plans to deliver to more makes and models in the future.

In a statement, GM said there are at least 7 million owners of compatible GM models. Amazon has not disclosed how many customers have tried its Amazon Key in-home service.

In-car delivery also gives Amazon an in-between option for customers who might want a more secure delivery location than the front porch but do not want delivery people inside their homes.

The Amazon delivery service taps into the car's built-in unlock feature without ever giving the delivery person a pass code or other permanent access to the car.
"Everything is securely encrypted between the two services," said Rohit Shrivastava, Amazon Key's general manager.
Shrivastava also said that Amazon cannot see or track the customer's car; instead, the customer gives Amazon an address where the car will be parked and publicly accessible, along with the make, model, color and license plate number to help the delivery person find the right car. Customers also get several reminders on their phones before, during and after the packages are delivered.

Source: The Register

Venom: Official Trailer Review

Venom has always been my favourite villain from the Spider-Man universe because he’s the anti Spider-Man. Definitely not hating on this movie yet, but the removal of Spider-Man from his origin hurts me.

On one hand, I really want this movie to be good since the Venom design is sick.On the other hand, I don't want Sony to keep making Spider-Man spin-off movies that have no connection to Spider-Man in them.

Venom himself looks absolutely amazing, but the plot looks terrible. I have a really bad feeling about this.It’s the cliche alien property government/evil company that does experiments on an alien/animal to improve the human body. “Embrace your inner anti-hero” I’m sick of villains becoming anti-heroes. It’s official, Sony can’t do trailers. They either don’t show enough footage or show too much of it.

At one point in the trailer, Brock practically turns to the camera and says "The love interest works for the villain." Not 100% on the direction they're taking with the action either. He looks more accurate to the comics than Spidey 3. Everyone wants to see Venom on screen, myself included. But I'm still not convinced.

I don't want to be the person that goes to watch a movie already soured, and I think that's the worst possible way to watch a movie. I'm just saying that if I were a gambling man, I wouldn't bet on this.

The Official Trailer #1

Apple releases iOS 11.3.1 with 3rd party display & bug fixes

Apple has released a new software update for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. iOS 11.3.1 is likely a bug fix update to the iOS 11.3 software update released last month.

Apple currently shows the iOS 11.3.1 release on its developer portal with build version 15E302, and the release will likely be released over-the-air shortly for all customers.

With iOS 11.3 released in late March and iOS 11.3.1 out today, Apple is also running a developer and public beta version of iOS 11.4, likely due out in late May or early June, which includes AirPlay 2 and Messages on iCloud.

iOS 11.3.1 includes a fix for display issues experienced on iPhone 8 with third-party repairs and security improvements for all iPhones and iPads.

Here's the security content of iOS 11.3.1:

Crash Reporter

Available for: iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air and later, and iPod touch 6th generation

Impact: An application may be able to gain elevated privileges

Description: A memory corruption issue was addressed with improved error handling.

CVE-2018-4206: Ian Beer of Google Project Zero


Available for: iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air and later, and iPod touch 6th generation

Impact: Processing a maliciously crafted text message may lead to UI spoofing

Description: A spoofing issue existed in the handling of URLs. This issue was addressed with improved input validation.

CVE-2018-4187: Zhiyang Zeng (@Wester) of Tencent Security Platform Department, Roman Mueller (@faker_)


Available for: iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air and later, and iPod touch 6th generation

Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution

Description: A memory corruption issue was addressed with improved state management.

CVE-2018-4200: Ivan Fratric of Google Project Zero


Available for: iPhone 5s and later, iPad Air and later, and iPod touch 6th generation

Impact: Processing maliciously crafted web content may lead to arbitrary code execution

Description: A memory corruption issue was addressed with improved memory handling.

CVE-2018-4204: Richard Zhu (fluorescence) working with Trend Micro's Zero Day Initiative, found by OSS-Fuzz

Source: Apple Support

Monday, April 23, 2018

Track Migratory Birds Online, In Near Real Time

Cornell's BirdCast site gets an upgrade that bird-watchers will love.

Bird watchers may soon experience an entirely new way to enjoy their hobby Cornell Lab of Ornithology has upgraded their BirdCast site, just in time for the spring migration. 

Cornell scientists have launched a new tool that shows the volume and direction of migratory birds. The new migration forecast maps show the travel of birds throughout the country, in near real-time. BirdCast has been around since 2012, but until now has relied on human data input. The new tools rely on NEXRAD, a U.S.-based radar network, to measure flight activity of migratory birds. 

Scientists translate the information into maps showing the number of birds in the air. The maps are updated every six hours. 
"We’ve always wanted to remove the human element from these predictions, with the hope that we could implement an automated system driven by new and historical data. That capacity has just come online, and we’re very excited to unveil it in time for the arrival of spring migrants." Kyle Horton, Research fellow at the Lab of Ornithology
Source: mnn; Check out the live migration maps here.

An Interesting reply from Amazon to one of its Users on Twitter

The world is full of amazing people and interesting things happening every day. Thanks to social media, we are being fed with a hearty laugh almost every day with something or the other. And here is another very interesting one which many will burst into laughter again.

Hope many of you still remember an occasion when a person approached many e-commerce companies, including Snapdeal, Myntra, Flipkart and Amazon, on Twitter and sought their permission to ask one question, but when the companies expressed their willingness to help him with his query, he trolled them instead by asking, “Why did Kattappa kill Baahubali at the end?” Something similar has happened again on Twitter and this time, the user has targeted Amazon.

A Twitterati, whose name is Aditii and whose official twitter handle is @Sassy_Soul_, has tweeted a complaint to Amazon stating that despite they call themselves the biggest e-commerce site, she is not able to find what she needed.

This is what she has tweeted to the company. As it would, Amazon’s social media team got a little worried and immediately replied to her by tweeting,
However, the Twitterati, instead of going ahead with her genuine complaint, as expected by the company, took a U-turn and trolled the company by demanding something very unique and interesting.

This is what she has demanded from the company:

This is an Interesting response from Amazon's Social Media team. I am sure that the girl herself was not expecting this from you.

Smartphones are great Supplement for PC’s, not Replacements

Am I the only one tiring of how increasingly people seem to think they no longer need a computer because "my phone is enough." No it is NOT.

Try typing a decent spreadsheet on a PC (and anytime you crunch numbers, it's much better doing so on a spreadsheet vs a pen-paper and calculator). Try typing a resume, filling out a job application. Try managing a large photo collection, storing files on a hard drive. And good grief, why would you want to look at a photo on a 5" screen if you can look at them on a 22 or 24 inch one?

I make this observation because of more & more people whose homes I visit not having any computer in sight anywhere, and from people who come into my place of work asking if we're hiring and when I say we are they ask for a paper application. When I tell them it's done online, they act like it's the biggest travesty. I tell them it's not hard to do any computer can handle it they say "I don't have one," when I tell them to borrow one from someone and go to a WiFi hot-spot they say "none of my friends have one," when I say "go to a library and use theirs" they say "I don't know how to use one."

Well you know what? LEARN how to use one. It's the 21st century. Why should a company have to deal with PAPER nonsense when a computer makes it easier?

It blows my mind, I don't understand it. I see a smartphone as a great SUPPLEMENT for a PC for when you're not at home, not a total replacement of one.

At home, using a PC is vastly better. For one, I'm typing this post on a PC, sure I could type it on a phone but it's SO much better having a 22" screen, keyboard and mouse, I can type it MUCH faster. (This whole posting took me 5 minutes, it would take me at least 15 on a phone and be much more of a "peeping through a keyhole" experience.)

It just blows my mind, people acting like computers don't matter and aren't needed. Nonsense.

Introducing Microsoft Azure Sphere

Microsoft just unveiled a mostly open source, embedded Arm SoC design with a custom Linux kernel.

Microsoft’s Azure Sphere announcement was surprising on many levels. This crossover Cortex-A/Cortex-M SoC architecture for IoT offers silicon-level security, as well as an Azure Sphere OS based on a secure custom Linux kernel. There’s also a turnkey cloud service for secure device-to-device and device-to-cloud communication.

Azure Sphere is notable for being Microsoft’s first major Arm-based hardware since its failed Windows RT-based Surface tablets. It’s also one of its biggest hardware plays since the Xbox, which contributed some of its silicon security technology to Azure Sphere.

Azure Sphere is not only Microsoft’s first Linux-based product, but also one of the most open source. Precise details await the release of the first Azure Sphere products later this year, but Microsoft stated is offering “royalty-free” licensing of its “silicon security technologies” to silicon partners. These include MediaTek, NXP, Nordic, Qualcomm, Silicon Labs, ST Micro, Toshiba, and Arm, which collaborated with Microsoft on the technology. Microsoft is not likely to build its own SoCs, but it has set itself up as an IP intermediary between Arm and the SoC vendors.

“Microsoft is putting Azure Sphere up against Amazon FreeRTOS, so I assume it will be pretty permissive open source licensing,” said Roy Murdock, an analyst at VDC Research Group’s IoT & Embedded Technology unit. “Microsoft has finally realized it doesn’t make sense to alienate potential embedded engineers. It realizes it can get more from licensing Azure cloud services than from OS revenues. It’s a smart move.”

Despite Microsoft’s embrace of Linux, Microsoft Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith couldn’t resist a backhanded compliment during the announcement. He chose to use the example of a toy from among the many potential targets for Azure Sphere, ranging from industrial gear to consumer appliances to smart city infrastructure.

“Of course, we are a Windows company, but what we’ve recognized is the best solution for a computer of this size in a toy is not a full-blown version of Windows,” said Smith at the Azure Sphere announcement, as quoted by Redmond. “It is what we are creating here. It is a custom Linux kernel, complemented by the kinds of advances that we have created in Windows itself.”

This article is copyright © 2018 and was originally published here. It has been reproduced by this site with the permission of its owner. Please visit for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Freedom of Speech exists for Constructive Criticism

I feel like soap-boxing on this subject since I have been dwelling on it quite a bit and it is evermore relevant in these times.

For me the concept of Free Speech is being misinterpreted and dragged through the mud by trolls. I'm aware these trolls can be of varied political backgrounds but I've noticed the alt-right in particular as conflating the 'rights' of trolls to harass and essentially bully people with freedom of speech. Also this position can and has been used to defend racists, sexists and other bigots and the ideas they propagate which are mostly routed in lies and warped truths.

For me Freedom of Speech is supposed to be the right to constructively criticise governments and systems in order to improve them and the state of society.

In most Western countries we have adequate freedom to criticise and provided we do so constructively and for the common good we can use that freedom to debate new approaches to issues and solve problems. This is a very different application from the destructiveness of the trolling community, especially when politically motivated. I cannot see how hurling racist abuse at someone or any other kind of online bullying is for the common good. It just makes people bitter and depressed.

A possible by-product of a misinterpreted freedom of speech is that it damages genuinely positive discourse by creating an intimidating atmosphere that allows for the domination of bullies. And so it actually threatens our democracy and adequate checks and balances if not properly managed.

I believe Freedom of Speech exists for the sake of constructive criticism and should not be used to excuse destructive trolling and abuse.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Apple sells user information too, just not directly.

Apple claims to protect user privacy unless the law compels them, but I’m going to argue against that. I’m going to argue that Apple’s stance on privacy is just PR – a point of differentiation against its competitors without any real substance.

Now, technically, Apple doesn’t collect as much data as its competitors. That’s true. But it’s also irrelevant, because at the end of the day, your privacy isn’t any more protected if you use Apple products.

Let me explain myself. Apple products don’t exist in a vacuum. They’re highly interconnected platforms and at the centre of a large ecosystem of products. There’s mobile carrier providers (AT&T, Verizon, what have you), service providers (there are millions of little services inside your OS that you don’t know about. For instance, there might be a service that uses data about WiFi networks around you to provide better geo-location), apps, ad networks, and plain-old websites. All of these conspire together to collect the bulk of data about you, and Apple can’t do anything to stop them.

More importantly, I’m going to claim that it isn’t in Apple’s interest to stop them. You see, this data collection is what makes this ecosystem tick. And the ecosystem is why Apple really sells devices – you think people would buy iPhones if they didn’t have the app ecosystem? This is why the argument that "Apple’s business model isn’t to collect data – they make money from devices" is wrong. Why do you think these devices sell? It’s because the devices provide access to a huge ecosystem that is supported by gathering your data. So, people argue that Apple doesn’t collect and sell your phone call log data, or your messaging data, or your browsing data. But guess what? Other people do, and Apple happily provides them the platform to do so.

So yes, Apple should stop grand-standing about privacy. Because although they claim to protect it, they nevertheless build a platform that exists because of data gathering that they enable for other companies. If they truly believed in user privacy, they’d block all this tracking from their devices. But I doubt we’ll see that happen.

How to use Flatpak on Ubuntu

Universal packages are the way of the future. Don't be limited to only snaps on Ubuntu. Flatpak was developed by the Free Desktop Project and offers an outstanding alternative to snaps for the desktop. With these types of universal packages, it becomes incredibly easy to install third-party applications without having to add repositories or deal with dependencies.

But if you're wanting to make use of both Flatpak and snaps on Ubuntu, you'll have to first install Flatpak support. I'm going to show you how to get Flatpak up and running on Ubuntu. I'll be demonstrating on a daily build of Bionic Beaver desktop (Ubuntu 18.04).


The first thing we must do is add the necessary repository. To do this, open up a terminal window and issue the command:

sudo add-apt-repository ppa:alexlarsson/flatpak

You will be prompted to hit Enter on your keyboard. Do that and the repository will be added. Update apt with the command:

sudo apt update

Install flatpak with the command:

sudo apt install flatpak


We want to make this as easy as possible, so we're going to install Flatpak support for GNOME Software. To do this, open up a terminal window and issue the following commands:

sudo apt install gnome-software-plugin-flatpak
flatpak remote-add --if-not-exists flathub

Restart your system and log back in. Once the system restarts, open up your browser and point it to Flathub. Find an application you want to install, click its associated INSTALL button, and when prompted select Software Install (default) from the drop-down.

Once the installation completes, you will find the application launcher in your desktop menu. Fire up the application and enjoy.

China to build new giant panda breeding centre in East China

Technorati Tags: ,

China has announced plans to build a new giant panda research and breeding centre in the eastern city Hangzhou, which is expected to become a home for 20 pandas by 2022.

The agreement was inked on Saturday between China Conservation and Research Centre for the Giant Panda (CCRCGP) and Hangzhou Safari Park, who pledges a 60,000-square-metre area and abundant bamboo, state media Xinhua reports.

It will be equipped with four functional sections, including exhibit hall, breeding area, research centre and educational facilities.

According to Li Dashing, an expert with the CCRCGP, Hangzhou has been chosen because of its citizens' high awareness of protecting wild life, the city's sound economic foundation and its similar climate to Sichuan Province, which is home to most of the endangered bears.

"There are a number of zoos in China that have giant pandas, but breeding research centres are rare", added Li.

Once completed, Hangzhou is expected to have the second highest number of giant pandas after the Sichuan Giant Panda Breeding Base in Chengdu.

The new centre will also conduct preliminary rewilding training for giant pandas, whose population is less than 2,300 and is listed as 'vulnerable' by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Hangzhou, the capital city of Zhejiang Province, is renowned for its beautiful natural scenery and rising status as a technology hub. It hosted the 2016 G20 Summit and was awarded the 2022 Asian Games.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Depression is a Disease

Depression is a disease that should be taken seriously, no doubt. A quick way to shut a criticizer of drug-users up is to bring up the fact that they are depressed. This is where I'm going to sound stone-cold: Turning to drugs to treat depression shows a lack of resourcefulness, critical thinking and self-control. Yes, I'm aware that we get impaired when depressed. I have gone through shit myself, but never thought of reaching to any substance to comfort myself.

Why? Because I think clearly.

As humans (or animals for that sake), we are SUPPOSED to reject any bad personality traits. Any characteristics that go against good results for our species are meant for us to want to eradicate. This is why the most successful people aren't just lucky bastards, they also tend to be interested in personal growth, keep healthy diets, exercise, complete goals for the future, fix their looks in order to get a partner, etc. Not only did they grow up in lucky circumstances, but also reflect upon the importance of these healthy traits. If they never reflected upon it, they would seek out instant gratification too. I'm talking about natural selection here. 

We can obviously see that a lack of clear thinking does great damage to humans and bring out tons of unhealthy traits. The unhealthy traits in people who start doing drugs without a bad background/depressed include: Need for instant gratification, lack of critical thinking, lack of regard for oneself, irrational, unresourceful.

Drug users are humans who simply just lack the correct judgement to make the right decisions.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Open Live Writer Review

open live writer review on

An independent group of volunteers within Microsoft has successfully open sourced and forked Windows Live Writer. The fork is called Open Live Writer (also known as OLW) and it is part of the .NET Foundation and managed by this group of volunteers. Read the fantastic announcement at the .NET Foundation Blog!

Downloading this software is easier than ever. In the past, if downloading Windows Live Writer from the Microsoft website, users had to download a separate software before being given the option to reel in Live Writer. With this new set-up, just visit the new website and download.

The size is just over 5MB, so it is small enough for what it is capable of doing.

The first thing you’ll notice after launching Open Live Writer is the software asking you to add a blog account. Now, this can either be WordPress, Blogger, TypePad, Moveable Type, DasBlog, and others. You’ll see a list so just choose your preferred blogging platform and get things going.

For Blogger, you’ll need to gain access by using the same information used to login to your blog. Once that is done, you’ll be brought to the editing area. For those who have used Windows Live Writer over the years, you’ll be happy to know that Open Live Writer looks the same here.

The great thing about Open Live Writer is the fact that users can use it to write articles or whatever else, and throw it over to their blog. Let’s face it, no one wants to write anything via his or her built-in blog editor. A software such as this is more powerful and gives more options to customize the look and feel of their work.

Users should notice how Open Live Writer looks very similar to Microsoft Word in some instances of the user interface. At the top, users can choose the type of paragraph, heading, and font. It is possible to add images and videos anywhere within a post. Now, bear in mind that anything added from here will be uploaded to your blog once the “Publish” or “Post draft to blog” buttons are pressed.

Let’s dig into the settings for a bit to see what is inside.

To get to the configuration, click on “File” then “Options.” From here users can change how Open Live Writer works. Users can decide whether or not to view a post before it is published, automatically replace straight quotes with smart quotes among other things.

Users can even go here to add plugins, but there are none available right now.

Overall, Open Live Writer is a solid product. If you’ve used Windows Live Writer, then there’s not a single learning curve. However, we hope the open source developers add their own twist to the software along with updating the design. It looks familiar, but familiar is old and out of touch with what folks want today.

Download Open Live Writer now!

Open Live Writer is now available in the Windows Store as a Trusted app.

Ready Player One Movie Review

Ready Player One - Kanthala Raghu

As I was watching this movie, I couldn't help but think of a number of isekai anime (i.e. KonoSuba, Re: Zero, Overlord, etc.), mainly because many of my praises and gripes with Ready Player One, I can also apply to these shows as well. Inspired by the book, not based on it, which was an excellent choice!

The movie was visually amazing but like everyone says the story was weak. Also there's so many plot holes, inconsistencies and stuff that I wish they would have fleshed out. Problem with the movie was character. In the book Parzival actually has a clear arc. He starts off as a loner who loathes his life in the real world and uses the Oasis as escapism (see modern internet addiction). In the Oasis he has one friend, Aech, who he idolizes because he always has the best/fanciest stuff, and he can escape his dreary trailer park tower life.

Then he finds the first key and his life changes - he gets corrupted by the celebrity and attention and treats old and new friends like Art3mis poorly. In this distraction he loses focus and his friends, then falls behind on the discovering 2nd key. At his lowest point in his arc he accidentally discovers a hidden game where he earns his "extra life" quarter.

He then leaves the Oasis to focus on improving himself in the real world: getting in shape, infiltrating (yea unlikely but w/e) the evil company, and preparing for the last battle. He uses his extra life and deep understanding of Halliday's similar loneliness and difficulty in fitting in to the real world to win the great game... and the book ends with him not wanting to return to the Oasis for the first time but to spend more time with Samantha in the real world.

So, pretty simple and effective story arc.

The movie hits many of the same marks but makes one big, big mistake. Wade meets Samantha in the real world way too soon (literally in the middle of the movie where she has a random thug to "rescue" him) and it just kills all the momentum the film had been building to that point dead. By Wade knowing and accepting Samantha in the real world that early it COMPLETELY kills his arc to that point. He has no where left to grow in the rest of the movie and it's mainly generic action beats of saving the girl and his friends and the world etc.

In addition, the film failed in setting up it's overall theme in other ways. Aech in the book is infamously a good looking white guy as a disguise in Oasis and gay black woman in the real world. It's meant to be the first time it hits Wade that Oasis is a fantastic lie... but real relationships matter anyway. Here Aech is... a black orc in Oasis? And it has zero impact on Wade when it turns out it's a black woman who is maybe gay. Same with the 11 year old Chinese kid. It's played for goofy laughs here and robs those revelations of any real impact.

Ultimately it was fine but missed the chance to really capture the cultural zeitgeist of the moment where we are seriously re-examining the power that the internet and large data companies are having on our lives and is just a thinly plotted summer spectacle released in the spring. My screening ended with a tepid opening audience applause and that about sums it up for me.

Story: 5/10 Meh... We've seen stories like this before, but having the setting mainly be a VR world that's an analogue to the internet was cool.

Characters: 4/10 Boring. Just like many MCs in animes & video games, the main character is nothing more than a self-insert character - a Gary Stu, if you will. The side characters are more interesting though, but not by much.

Visuals: 8/10 Awesome! IMO the barrage of reference were pretty cool. However, I understand if some find it annoying. I personally don't mind eating 'memberberries every once in a while. Also, The Shining scene literally made me gasp! With that said, I wish the Oasis had a little more color to it. Maybe if they visited the world of The Witcher or Warcraft or something.

Sound & Music: 5/10 Serviceable. Just like the visuals, the music and sound effects are a medley 80's soundtracks and classic movie scores (i.e. Back to the Future). Other than that, I can't really say anything else, just that it kept me entertained and focused on the movie.

Enjoyment: 9/10 I had a blast! As an avid consumer of pop culture, movies, video games, & TV shows. I'm in the exact demographic this movie is catering to.

Overall: 7/10

AIB has been an Utter trash off late

AIB used to be a pinnacle of social commentary and pushed the boundaries of political comedy in India. Before AIB very few did what they were doing and they've made commendable progress for themselves and the Indian comedy scene alike.

A whole generation of comedians and channels were inspired to pursue comedy as it became a lot more mainstream in India. I respected AIB for their edgy, self-aware comedy with a social message, but now it's become a hot pile of garbage. The generation they inspired has gone far ahead and left AIB back to bite the dust. Their generic formatted videos with increased political correctness and what can only be described as a drought of comedy has really taken them off the edge and has placed them in the back seat. A lot of this can be attributed to the attention they received after the roast and the toxic political climate with comedians being burnt at the stake for insulting our beloved number one best PM saab Sri Narendra Modi Ji but I really miss their abrasive and impactful style of comedy while managing to remain an absolute treat for one's dopamine levels.

Tip-toeing their way around controversies while conforming to advertisers and political pressure, and just making really bland and un-funny videos by incorporating dead/normie memes significantly dented my respect for them.

I sincerely hope AIB takes a look at themselves and goes back to its roots before it strays too far away from home and I hope more people share this sentiment before it's too late.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Ex-ASG Indira Jaising's NGO suspended for 6 months for alleged FCRA violation

Back in 2016 their FCRA license was cancelled because of fishy accounting. Source - FCRA licence of Indira Jaising’s NGO Lawyers Collective cancelled
I was blown away by the amount of money they were getting from abroad. And this is just the clean component that's been declared in front of the govt. Imagine 10-20 times this amount that they must be pocketing illegally. User by2kaafi on Twitter shared this graphic.

If I am putting the commas in the right places, the amount is a staggering 30,53,69,155 ... 30.5 Crores! Of which the unspent amount is 3,32,58,879 ... 3.32 Crores!!

Jaising herself received crores in cash as pay from the NGO while she was Attorney General of India!!! The nature of this affair is mind-boggling! 

Here you have India's AG, who has unfettered access to all documents and decisions of all kinds across all ministries in all of India, not just Centre but all states as well, including sensitive information in Defence and Law and Order, in getting paid foreign funds while the company it's routed through routinely defends terrorists like Yakub Menon, political dogs like Sanjiv Bhatt, and anti-Hindu tards like Priya Pillai.

Congress literally sold India and governance to highest bidders.

Coming from all over the place, from Sweden, Netherlands, Singapore, USA, Malaysia. who was the paymaster of Congress? Indians ko lootane maarne ke liye how many countries are paying Congress?

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Chrome Is Scanning Files on Your Computer

Chrome Is Scanning Files on Your Computer

Last year, Google announced some upgrades to Chrome, by far the world’s most used browser—and the one security pros often recommend. The company promised to make internet surfing on Windows computers even “cleaner” and “safer ” adding what The Verge called “basic antivirus features.” What Google did was improve something called Chrome Cleanup Tool for Windows users, using software from cybersecurity and antivirus company ESET.

Tensions around the issue of digital privacy are understandably high following Facebook's Cambridge Analytica scandal, but as far as we can tell there is no reason to worry here, and what Google is doing is above board.

In practice, Chome on Windows looks through your computer in search of malware that targets the Chrome browser itself using ESET’s antivirus engine. If it finds some suspected malware, it sends metadata of the file where the malware is stored, and some system information, to Google. Then, it asks you to for permission to remove the suspected malicious file. (You can opt-out of sending information to Google by deselecting the “Report details to Google” checkbox.)

As the head of Google Chrome security Justin Schuh explained on Twitter, the tool’s “sole purpose is to detect and remove unwanted software manipulating Chrome.” Moreover, he added, the tool only runs weekly, it only has normal user privileges (meaning it can’t go too deep into the system), is “sandboxed” (meaning its code is isolated from other programs), and users have to explicitly click on that box screenshotted above to remove the files and “cleanup.”

For almost all users, this seems really harmless, and for those who are extremely concerned about Google seeing some metadata, maybe they shouldn't be running Google's browser in the first place. 

How to fix this ?

Go to

C:\Users\ (USER)\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\UserData\SwReporter\27.147.200 

(for updated browsers, otherwise the numbers will reflect the version of the tool you're using)

If you're having a hard time finding the (USER)\AppData\Local folder, go to your Operating Systems search bar, type %appdata% which will take you to the "appdata/roaming" folder, then navigate up one folder (you should see ROAMING, LOCAL, LOCALLOW,) click the LOCAL folder.

Find software_reporter_tool.exe, open it in a text editor of your choice. Delete all the text, save the file, restart your browser. Not only will the program be disabled but it shouldn't come back when you update your browser either.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Holding Facebook Accountable

It’s been a tough year for Facebook. The social networking juggernaut found itself engulfed by controversies over fake news, electoral interference, privacy violations, and a broad backlash to smartphone addiction.
In an Interview Speaking to the news site Vox Zuckerberg maintained that one of Facebook’s problems was that it was “idealistic,” focusing on the positive aspects of connecting people and that “we didn’t spend enough time investing in, or thinking through, some of the downside uses of the tools.” “I think now people are appropriately focused on some of the risks and downsides as well,” he said.
The statement that Zuckerburg is making is to solve 1 problem: the loss of shareholders.

Facebook is a business and their money comes from collecting and selling information. It is in Zuck’s best interest to keep to general public ill-informed of Facebook’s insider work, because more people using Facebook = more money for him, and more good light on Facebook = more users on the site.

But there is no way a social media site that large intends to “fix it’s problems” when the problems are the key activities generating money for the company.

I think we had better times in leaning up against corporations taking influence, despite the uproar against this story, the uproar for safe harbor, etc. It's becomingly increasingly easier to collect and analyze data, and similarly, the fight is gonna get harder.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Social Media has become Politically Extreme

Politics is just about a part of every platform nowadays. I mean every platform. It has even found its way into sports, which I thought was darn near impossible to do.

You’re probably thinking to yourself: “Here we go… Another 20-something-year-old hotshot writing about a country he barely knows.”

You’re wrong.

I want to inform you of how the social media landscape has changed because of how fiery the political world has become. So, don’t stop reading now; regardless of your feelings towards today’s current political agenda, the media’s agenda towards politics, PM Narendra Modi, or any other political revenue.

There's an increasing amount of prejudice of "the other side", that anyone to the left or right of you is an extremist and a mortal enemy who cannot be debated constructively unless they give up their political views.

This inability to debate rationally with someone on the other side of the aisle, without insults or even threats of violence, I think is is what is harming democracy the most. Both sides seem to have this war-like mentality, where negotiation is over and the only option is to fight for their team.

I also think the political sphere is becoming increasingly hostile to moderates. I personally consider myself center, I'm pro-development, equal right & wages, universal healthcare, legalization of some recreational drugs, and tackling blatant racism and sexism where it exists. But I increasingly feel alienated from those further to the left because I realist I strongly disagree with some of their views, as much as I strongly disagree with those on the right.

If I voice my disagreement I get the impression they think I'm some kind of right wing shill in there to disrupt their consensus, and the right think I'm a left wing extremist. Nobody is your political friend, and there's a lot of pressure sometimes to "pick a side".

But, social media is unavoidable. Every person can be reached at any time of the day. Everyone can see your message. Everyone chooses who they want to follow. Everyone chooses the social voice they want to hear.

Politicians have always been clever, but social media has changed the rules. Instead of everyone listening to the whole story, we are stuck listening to one-sided messages that make our individual biases grow.

Sunday, April 1, 2018

In the wake of #deletefacebook, the grand movement towards FOSS

In the wake of #DeleteFacebook, it's become clear that a grand movement towards FLOSS (Free/Libre and Open Source Software) is a necessity.As Anarchists, we should be heading the drive away from Proprietary theft of Intellectual-Property. 

So I thought I'd make a quick and easy guide for all you Anarchist Thugs to move yourself towards both open and secure methods of online communication. With the exception of Wikipedia, the US' top 10 Alexa ranked websites can be replaced. 

For more info, check Prism-Break. Android users can find most of these on F-Droid, but can use the YALP store frontend for anything on the Play Store. 

Desktop Operating Systems:

  • Debian - The Debian Project is an association of individuals who have made common cause to create a free operating system. This operating system that we have created is called Debian. Debian comes with over 51000 packages, a package manager (APT), and other utilities that make it possible to manage thousands of packages on thousands of computers as easily as installing a single application. All of it free. 
  • Fedora - The Fedora Project is a community of people working together to build a free and open source software platform and to collaborate on and share user-focused solutions built on that platform. The Fedora community includes thousands of individuals with different views and approaches, but together we share some common values. We call these the “Four Foundations”: Freedom, Friends, Features, and First. 
  • FreeBSD - FreeBSD is an operating system used to power modern servers, desktops, and embedded platforms. A large community has continually developed it for more than thirty years. Its advanced networking, security, and storage features have made FreeBSD the platform of choice for many of the busiest web sites and most pervasive embedded networking and storage devices. 
  • OpenBSD - The OpenBSD project produces a free, multi-platform 4.4BSD-based UNIX-like operating system. Our efforts emphasize portability, standardization, correctness, proactive security and integrated cryptography.
Mobile Operating Systems: Replicant - Replicant is a fully free Android distribution running on several devices, a free software mobile operating system putting the emphasis on freedom and privacy/security. It is based on LineageOS and replaces or avoids every proprietary component of the system, such as user-space programs and libraries as well as firmwares. Replicant aims to be an ethical system: it does not ship nor recommend the use of non-free software.

Email and VPN Accounts: 
Autistici/Inventati - A/I was born to provide internet support to activists and collectives coming from the world of grassroot and social movements. Our principles are fairly straightforward: the world should not be run on money, but it should be rooted in solidarity, community, mutual help, equal rights and freedoms, and social justice. We support individuals, collectives, communities, groups and so on whose political and social activities fit within this worldview and who share with us some fundamental principles: anti-fascism, anti-racism, anti-sexism and anti-militarism.

Riseup - The Riseup Collective is an autonomous body based in Seattle with collective members world wide. Our purpose is to aid in the creation of a free society, a world with freedom from want and freedom of expression, a world without oppression or hierarchy, where power is shared equally. We do this by providing communication and computer resources to allies engaged in struggles against capitalism and other forms of oppression.

Web Browsers: 
Firefox - A free and open-source web browser developed by Mozilla. Firefox uses the Gecko layout engine to render web pages, which implements current and anticipated web standards. To avoid interface bloat and ship a relatively smaller core customizable to meet individual users' needs, and allow for corporate or institutional extensions to meet their varying policies, Firefox relies on a robust extension system to allow users to modify the browser according to their requirements instead of providing all features in the standard distribution. Install the following add-ons to ensure your privacy: CookieAutoDelete, Decentraleyes, Disconnect, HTTPS Everywhere, Mailvelope, NoScript, Privacy Badger and uBlock Origin.

TOR - The Tor network is a group of volunteer-operated servers that allows people to improve their privacy and security on the Internet. Tor's users employ this network by connecting through a series of virtual tunnels rather than making a direct connection, thus allowing both organizations and individuals to share information over public networks without compromising their privacy. Along the same line, Tor is an effective censorship circumvention tool, allowing its users to reach otherwise blocked destinations or content. Tor can also be used as a building block for software developers to create new communication tools with built-in privacy features.

Search Engines:

DuckDuckGo - An Internet search engine that emphasizes protecting searchers' privacy and avoiding the filter bubble of personalized search results. DuckDuckGo distinguishes itself from other search engines by not profiling its users and by deliberately showing all users the same search results for a given search term, and emphasizes returning the best results, rather than the most results, generating those results from over 400 individual sources, including crowdsourced sites such as Wikipedia, and other search engines like Bing, Yahoo!, and Yandex.

Startpage/Ixquick - A metasearch engine, which highlights privacy as its distinguishing feature. Ixquick (and its sister-project, Starpage) also provides the stand-alone proxy service, Ixquick Proxy, which has also been incorporated into both search engines, allowing users the option to open all search results via proxy.

YaCy - A free search engine that anyone can use to build a search portal for their intranet or to help search the public internet. When contributing to the world-wide peer network, the scale of YaCy is limited only by the number of users in the world and can index billions of web pages. It is fully decentralized, all users of the search engine network are equal, the network does not store user search requests and it is not possible for anyone to censor the content of the shared index. We want to achieve freedom of information through a free, distributed web search which is powered by the world's users.

Social Media: 
Diaspora* - Diaspora is a nonprofit, user-owned, distributed social network that is based upon the free Diaspora software. Diaspora consists of a group of independently owned nodes (called pods) which interoperate to form the network. The social network is not owned by any one person or entity, keeping it from being subject to corporate take-overs or advertising. In September 2011 the developers stated, "...our distributed design means no big corporation will ever control Diaspora. Diaspora* will never sell your social life to advertisers, and you won’t have to conform to someone’s arbitrary rules or look over your shoulder before you speak." Facebook Alternative

Mastodon - Mastodon is a distributed and federated social network, with microblogging features similar to Twitter but administered as a decentralized federation of independently operated servers running free software. Each user is member of a specific Mastodon server, known as an "instance", but can connect and communicate with users on other instances as well. Users post short messages, called toots for others to read, or view, subject to the completely adjustable privacy settings of the user and their particular instance. Twitter Alternative

Raddle - Raddle's software is free & open source, released under a permissive license. This is in contrast to Reddit, which just closed the curtains on its source code. Our software has no dependencies on paid web services from Amazon and few dependencies otherwise, making it easy for hobbyists to set up their own sites with the software. Our belief is that freedom from harm trumps freedom of speech. Contrary to what some people believe, Raddle isn't exclusively a site for anarchists, although they are the largest demographic. Socialists of all stripes, social democrats, liberals, conservatives and anyone else who wants to partake in a community where bigotry isn't tolerated in the name of "free speech" is welcome to join. The one condition is that bigotry stays out of the picture. Reddit Alternative

Signal - An encrypted communications app for all platforms. It uses the Internet to send one-to-one and group messages, which can include files, voice notes, images and videos, and make one-to-one voice and video calls. Signal uses standard cellular mobile numbers as identifiers, and uses end-to-end encryption to secure all communications to other Signal users. The applications include mechanisms by which users can independently verify the identity of their messaging correspondents and the integrity of the data channel. It has a counterpart in Silence, which forked from Signal to provide encryption for SMS/MMS.

Jabber/XMPP - A communications protocol for message-oriented middleware based on XML (Extensible Markup Language). It enables the near-real-time exchange of structured yet extensible data between any two or more network entities. The protocol was developed for near real-time instant messaging (IM), presence information, and contact list maintenance. Designed to be extensible, the protocol has been used also for publish-subscribe systems, signalling for VoIP, video, file transfer, gaming, the Internet of Things (IoT) applications such as the smart grid, and social networking services. Server/Account list, Conversations (Android App), Jitsi (Desktop App).

Linphone - Linphone is a free voice over IP softphone, SIP client and service. It may be used for audio and video direct calls and calls through any VoIP softswitch or IP-PBX. Also Linphone provides the possibility to exchange instant messages. It has a simple multilanguage interface based on GTK+ for GUI and can also be run as a console-mode application on Linux. It supports ZRTP for end-to-end encrypted voice and video communication.

DNS: OpenNIC - A user-owned and -controlled top-level Network Information Center that offers a non-national alternative to traditional Top-Level Domain (TLD) registries such as ICANN. OpenNIC recognizes and peers all existing ICANN TLDs, for compatibility reasons. However, OpenNIC has not yet evaluated and does not hold a formal position on future ICANN TLDs. Like all alternative root DNS systems, OpenNIC-hosted domains are unreachable to the vast majority of Internet users, because they require a non-default configuration in one's DNS resolver.

Mapping Service: OpenStreetMap - Collaborative project to create a free editable map of the world. The creation and growth of OSM has been motivated by restrictions on use or availability of map information across much of the world, and the advent of inexpensive portable satellite navigation devices. OSM is considered a prominent example of volunteered geographic information. It has an unofficial mobile app, OsmAnd.

File Storage and Sync: Nextcloud - Suite of client-server software for creating and using file hosting services. It is free and open-source, allowing anyone to install and operate it on a private server. The open architecture allows adding additional functionality to the server in form of applications and enables the user to have full control of their data.

VPN Client and Server: OpenVPN - An open-source software application that implements virtual private network (VPN) techniques for creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities. It uses a custom security protocol that utilizes SSL/TLS for key exchange. It is capable of traversing network address translators (NATs) and firewalls.

Remember to use Strong Passwords, encrypt your disks and steer clear of the proprietors!