Electronic devices 'need to use recycled plastic'

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Browse Technology

Plastic accounts for about 20% of the 50 million tonnes of e-waste produced each year, which is expected to more than double to 110m tonnes by 2050.

"Firstly and foremost, we want to raise awareness among consumers on the benefits of recycled plastics in electronics," explained Violeta Nikolova from PolyCE (Post-Consumer High-tech Recycled Polymers for a Circular Economy).

Or, just maybe, people would buy less if the (especially electronic) devices would not suffer from planned obsolescence; but that would lower consumerism and affect the economy, so better keep on buying more, but with some recycled plastic.

Thousands of DOS games have been added to the Internet Archive

Found on Ars Technica on Monday, 14 October 2019
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The Internet Archive has been updated with more than 2,500 DOS games, marking the most significant addition of games to the archive since 2015.

Many of these games were added to the Internet Archive as a result of the eXoDOS game preservation and restoration project.

If you download all those games you probably need less space on your disk than for a single game today; and let's be honest, those old games have more story.

Six times Apple gave in to China

Found on Abacus on Sunday, 13 October 2019
Browse Censorship

Since Apple's latest U-turn came after criticism from state media, it's sparked accusations that the company is capitulating to the Chinese government, which has recently become a hot topic. But if that’s the case, it won’t be the first time Apple has done it. Here are six times Apple has given in to government demands in China.

So in August 2017, Apple publicly said it complied with requests to remove VPN apps from China’s iOS App Store ahead of the Communist Party’s National Congress.

Earlier that year, Apple also removed The New York Times from China’s iOS App Store, citing “violation of local regulations.”

In 2016, Apple shut down its iBooks Store and iTunes Movies services in mainland China, just six months after they entered the market. The reason? As a result of the country’s strict content controls, China’s media censors demanded Apple shut down the services in the country, according to The New York Times.

Just like Blizzard. Let's hope all the fanbois realize that they are supporting a company that does not hesitate to bend over for a communist dictatorship.

After Hearthstone player’s ban, Blizzard is in hot water with lawmakers

Found on The Verge on Saturday, 12 October 2019
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Over the weekend, Blizzard Entertainment banned a Hearthstone player from participating in tournaments after he voiced support for the Hong Kong protesters.

“Recognize what’s happening here. People who don’t live in China must either self censor or face dismissal & suspensions,” Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) said in a tweet on Tuesday.

Blizzard is withholding any prize money Blitzchung would have earned and has banned him from competing in any tournaments for one year, effective on October 5th. The company also terminated contracts with the two casters conducting Sunday’s interview.

It's all about the money. China is just too big for companies to keep up ideals like free speech or moral integrity.

'Collapse OS' Is an Open Source Operating System for the Post-Apocalypse

Found on Vice on Friday, 11 October 2019
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According to Dupras, Collapse OS must “run on minimal and improvised machines, interface through improvised [keyboards, displays, and mice], edit text files, compile assembler source files for a wide range of MCUs and CPUS, read and write from a wide range of storage devices, and replicate itself.”

“Participation requires a very specific set of inclinations (believing in collapse) and skills (electronics and z80 assembly). I think that very few people fitting those requirements exist. But if they do, I'd like to find them.”

In a post-apocalyptic and dystopian world, it might be possible to get your hands on a couple of Z80 microcontrollers, but how are you supposed to download the OS from Github?

Political ads can lie if they want, Facebook confirms

Found on Ars Technica on Thursday, 10 October 2019
Browse Politics

Faced with a stark real-world test, though, Facebook appears once again to be erring on the side of letting misinformation circulate far and wide if a politician promotes it.

"If the claim is made directly by a politician on their Page, in an ad or on their website, it is considered direct speech and ineligible for our third-party fact checking program," the company added.

While the guideline used to say that ads "must not contain deceptive, false, or misleading content," the rule now prohibits ads "that include claims debunked by third-party fact checkers" or, in some circumstances, by third-party organizations "with particular expertise" in the matter.

Politicians lie, Facebook loves money. Naturally those two go along well.

Windows 10 update panic: Older VMware Workstation Pro app broken

Found on The Register on Wednesday, 09 October 2019
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In a thread on Microsoft's site, one affected user complained that upgrading their 100 VMware Workstation licences would cost €11,500.

There are other factors, though. A user trying to run the networking software GNS3 found that after upgrading, the software no longer worked. In addition, newer versions of VMware do not work on some older processors, so an upgrade is not always possible.

This is part of the Application Compatibility Framework which is able to patch applications on the fly as well as informing the user of compatibility issues. Some desperate users (not only in the VMware case) have tried replacing this file with an older version to get blocked applications to run.

Another Windows update, another fallout. Usually the updates are loaded with bugs that cause a wide range of unpleasant errors or even data-loss, but this time the block was intentional. Microsoft could just scan the system before borking it and notify users, giving them the option to decline the update; but in the new world, forced updates are mandatory even if they break your system.

Adobe shuts down Photoshop in Venezuela

Found on BBC News on Tuesday, 08 October 2019
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Users have until 28 October to download content, after which accounts will be deactivated, Adobe said.

On a help page, the firm explained: "The US government issued executive order 13884, the practical effect of which is to prohibit almost all transactions and services between US companies, entities and individuals to Venezuela. To remain compliant with this order, Adobe is deactivating all accounts in Venezuela."

It said it "was unable to issue refunds" because the sanctions included "sales, service, support, refunds, credits, etc".

Adobe has moved to a subscription-only model for the latest versions of its products meaning users will not be able to buy standalone versions.

Welcome to the new world of failures. In the past you bought a software, installed it and could use it forever. Now when someone does not like you anymore, you just get cut off of what you paid for, left with empty hands and unable to continue your work. Think ahead a little next time you buy anything cloud-based.

Stones Gambling Hall pulls plug on livestreamed poker games after cheating allegations

Found on CNBC on Monday, 07 October 2019
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Brill has no specific accusation of what Postle is doing and even admits that she can’t be sure he is cheating. So why does she think he is cheating? His results are too good, according to Brill.

It’s not just that Postle is winning, it’s how he’s winning, that is drawing suspicion. Ingram, Berkey and others have spent hours reviewing hands Postle played and found several times where Postle made a fold or a call that wouldn’t seem “right” but happened to work out in his favor.

In a statement Stones Gambling Hall said: “We temporarily halted all broadcasts from Stones. We have also, as a result, halted the use of RFID playing cards.”

So, they use RFID tagged cards which broadcast their values to everybody and wonder if someone cheats? Just play with a few sets of those old-fashioned, un-smart cards and see how things turn out.

Facebook encryption: Should governments be given keys to access our messages?

Found on BBC News on Sunday, 06 October 2019
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The UK and the US have just signed an historic agreement to give each other a much faster way of getting hold of private conversations - cutting down the process time from months or years, to weeks or days.

"A backdoor is rather like leaving a key under the mat - once someone knows it is there anyone can walk in," said Prof Alan Woodward, a security expert at the University of Surrey and a consultant to Europol.

"Proposals for a 'backdoor' have repeatedly been shown to be unworkable. There is no middle ground: if law enforcement is allowed to circumvent encryption, then anybody can," it said.

As soon as it encryption will get broken by design, those who rely on encryption will move to another client with real encryption. There are enough methods for communication which ensure that messages arrive without anybody being able to look into them.