Richard Stallman response to the Facebook scandal

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In an opinion piece in The Guardian, Richards Stallman shares his view on the latest Facebook / Cambridge Analytica scandal. He is definitely in a position to say “I told you so”, and both he and everybody else know, so instead he repeats his message in his usual to-the-point clear-cut language:

The surveillance imposed on us today far exceeds that of the Soviet Union. For freedom and democracy’s sake, we need to eliminate most of it. There are so many ways to use data to hurt people that the only safe database is the one that was never collected. [...] I propose a law to stop systems from collecting personal data.

The “don’t record it – don’t collect it” will be the mantra of the new privacy-conscious tech generation. The publish-everything fad is over. Delete is the new black. Ephemeral is the new gray. Hopefully.

On the state and state security and absolute surveillance vs. its people, he continues:

An unjust state is more dangerous than terrorism, and too much security encourages an unjust state.

A surveillance state is probably more than unjust, it most likely turns absolutist and totalitarian, like we see in Putin’s Russia and Xi’s China. Reverting that trend will take more than changing fashions in social networks.

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Facebook shattered

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The last week has been devastating for Facebook, with revelations about the Cambridge Analytica data abuse, but also uncontrolled access to people’s private information and friend networks by thousands of other developers and apps. There’s now a trending #deletefacebook campaign, with instructions on how to clean up if you still have an account. Even Elon Musk is publicly quiting and removing his company pages.

The current focus of the story is two-fold: One the one side, there is the specific case of Cambridge Analytica which misused people’s data for targeted political advertisement. Apparently, they were involved in both the British EU exit vote and the 2016 US presidential vote. Although this is clearly manipulative political propaganda, the exposure were in these cases limited, with some hundred thousand to a few million people possibly affected. It is doubtful that their meddling affected the final outcome of either election. However, this part of the story is just the tip of the iceberg.

The much larger issue is that the Facebook “Graph API” which was used by Cambridge Analytica was also available to thousands of other Facebook hosted apps. Facebook actually got concerned these third party developers might steal their whole social graph, and start new social network companies, so access was somewhat restricted around 2014. However, up-until then, the information of millions, or more likely hundreds of millions, of people were downloaded by all kinds of companies.

Yet, even with Facebook’s change of policy, the problem persists. Through mobile phone apps, it is still too easy to lure people into granting full access to contact lists and other private data. Once the button is pressed, there is no longer any way to oversee or control what data is sent where. Indeed, once the Facebook part of the story fades away, mobile app privacy and permission settings is likely to be the next fallout. Here Google and Apple will have to answer for their behavior and the lack of user control of their data.

Told you so

It is easy to get up on a high horse and look down on people who are affected by the latest privacy fallout. After all, there have been news, warnings, and even popular fiction about the dangers of loss of privacy and dystopian absolute surveillance since Orewell who published in 1948. Richard Stallman has been writing since the 1980s, and Snowden blew the whistle in 2013. “Told you so”, is on the tip of the tongue of anybody vaguely informed.

Yet, privacy and publicity is not a one-size-fits-all matter. What some people find acceptable or necessary to be public, others want to keep private, and visa-versa. Eric Schmidt, Sasha Grey, and Edward Snowden would want very different privacy settings. Crucially, there is not one correct publicity and privacy strategy. It has to be a personal consideration and choice, without absolute directives on what is legally allowed and morally acceptable.

It is therefore futile to wait for government regulation on the matter. There is simply no law or regulation which will solve all possible requirements. In certain cases, law and eager law enforcement can make the matter significantly worse, as in the cases where teenage “sexting” is brought down with the full force of the law. Some jurisdictions are changing the law, but here short term ephemeral communication like in Snapshat is a better technical solution.

Protect yourself

Given that privacy and publicity preferences are personal, what are some steps you can take to make your online presence fit your preference? It has to start with personal reflection on what you want and require, and be articulated into a consistent personal strategy from there on. Adhering to a coherent strategy makes it easier to follow, and easier to explain to others.

Here are some ideas, some might fit you, while other might not.

  • Use a pseudonym: This has been standard practice for authors and artists for ages, and long before Facebook most user accounts were arbitrary nicknames like “john1970″. Even if you are not a published writer, your social media publications could well benefit from a modified name. How much you want to alter your name is up to you. Facebook will not allow certain made-up names, but a few spelling mistakes will likely go through the filter. For different accounts, e.g. Twitter, consider if you use a different pseudonym, or the same. It will depend on the goal of your publication.
     
  • Hide your face: Computer vision and facial recognition has now become so good at matching faces from images, that it has become just as unique an identifier as your name. That is, there is still likely to be some mismatch because some people look alike (or have the same name), but we must assume Facebook, Goolge, and governments has the capability to identify you based on a picture. Not appearing in any picture can be difficult, but you can at least start with not publishing your own selfies.
     
  • Go ephemeral: Some things are better forgotten, and it is easier to forget if there exists no records. However, till recently, the dogma of the digital information age has been that anything stored can never be deleted. There will always be a copy somewhere. Services which put an expiry date on information is starting to change that. Snapchat has become popular because of that feature, and there is an untapped marked for more expiry features in more services.
    Somewhat ironically, it is standard practice in large cooperations like Facebook and Google to have email and document retention policies with limited duration, usually two to three years, to protect themselves from possible future legal subpoenas.
     
  • Say no: Deleting your Facebook account has already been discussed. Yet, there are many other apps out there, and they are often in just as good a position to harvest data. Not installing, deleting, or not granting certain access should be simple good digital hygiene for everybody.
     
  • Use privacy focused tools: Certain tools and apps are not possible to get around if we want to take advantage of the Internet. By now there are many alternatives to the mainstream devices, applications and mobile apps. In the wake of the Snodwen NSA files, there were many good suggestions, and the advice at PRISM-break, named after one of the NSA mass surveillance programs, is just as relevant today.
     
  • Block ads: Whether it’s freedom from political propaganda or manipulative advertising, browsing the web without advertisement is very refreshing. It also makes many websites load much faster. Adblock Plus is an extension available to most desktop and mobile browsers. My personal preference though, is host blocking on DNS level. With some technical know-how, it’s an easy install-and-forget procure, with no need to upgrade before you get a new computer or device.
     
  • Turn off cookies, JavaScript: This one can be a bit extreme, because it makes certain websites less useful, and you’ll have to reconfigure the same settings over and over. A good compromise is to automatically delete cookies on browser exit, and install NoScript where you can white-list your trusted sites. But it does take some work, and is far from perfect.
    Just be aware of websites which require you to enter credit card data. Those are best accessed in an incognito (private) window, but with cookies and JavaScript turned on, lest the transaction fails or get stuck due to missing scripts.
     
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Orange Pi Zero – $20 single-board computer

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The single-board computer space is getting crowded, and Orange Pi is yet another fruit-flavored Raspberry Pi clone, from China based Shenzhen Xunlong Software. The Orange Pi Zero is their smallest model, but still packs a H2 Quad-core Cortex-A7 ARM CPU; Mali 400MP2 GPU; 512 MB RAM; 100Mb/s ethernet RJ45; and 802.11 b/g/n wifi. The basic board also gives you one USB 2.0 port, while the add-on board gives two more, plus audio, IR. It also has additional GPIO pins, similar to the RPi. Both boards, and a case can be had for $20 from DealExtreme. An even smaller case, containing only the main board is also available.

Compared to the RPi, this board is almost half the size, and half the price, but still includes wifi. The only downside is that there is no HDMI, and TV composite video out is complicated. Even with a wide offering, Shenzhen Xunlong Software is far behind the Raspberry Pi Foundation when it comes to mind-share and community support. That shows in details like the OS distribution download page, where none of the links from product page where satisfactory: Most where old, and others didn’t work at all.

Instead, the Armbian based distributions worked well. Both the Ubuntu and Debian images booted without problems. They both connect to the wired network port with SSH enabled. At first login as root, the password is 1234, but you are immediately prompted to change it.

Given it’s very small footprint, and power (micro USB) as the only required cable, it could easily be hidden or even hide in plain-sight among the usual cable clutter under any office desk. It’d make an excellent spy device, and could be used to listen in on conversations or network traffic. Or conversely, watch out for inconspicuous small boxes around the house or office.

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Samsung 30 TB Enterprise SSD

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Samsung recently announced mass production of a 30.72TB SAS SSD, the PM1643. The drive combines “32 of the new 1TB NAND flash packages, each comprised of 16 stacked layers of 512Gb V-NAND chips”.

There’s no word on price yet, but if we go by the street price of the older PM1633a 15.36 TB model, at around 8000 USD, then expect doubling in size to mean at last doubling in price as well. At 16000 USD, thats 53 cents per GB. Currently, spinning HDD is about 3 cents per GB, and the cheapest SSD at around 30 cents. A 75% premium for an enterprise SSD over the consumer options is perhaps not too unreasonable. However, 17 times more expensive than a HDD will not scale in the data center. In comparison, four 8 GB WD Red drives will give higher capacity and cost about 1075 USD.

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Backblaze Hard Drive Stats for 2017

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Backblaze recently published their yearly stats for hard drive failures for 2017. It covers the latest rate of replacement of spinning drives in the last quarter of 2017, plus their overall failure stats since 2013.

Besides the fact that most drives fail, it’s interesting to see their praise for Toshiba and HGST/Hitachi, where certain modules did not fail at all. Although, they readily admit for some the sampling size is low, “The HGST/Hitachi 4 TB models delivered sub 1.0% failure rates for each of the three years”, while some Seagate and WD modules have a failure rate of more than 3%.

For more stats from Backblaze see here. Also note their older article and stats on SMART data metrics used predict HDD failure.

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Decorative LED light bulbs

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In a quest to create a light-arrangement similar to the photo below, I’ve tried out a number of LED filament light bulbs. They are all European socket E27 220 volt, but with variations on imitations of old style Edison incandescent bulbs, using LED filaments. Some give a normal bright light, while others are warm and dim. But first, some specifications.

An alternative to these LED bulbs might be old fashioned actual Edison incandescent bulbs. Although they were banned for sale in Europe a few years ago, they are still offered from AliExpress, at reasonable prices. It might be worth trying out later. The downside is of course the energy use, at about ten times LEDs, and having to order your light bulbs from China by post.


 
 

Brightness

The brightness of a light source is expressed in lumen, or luminous flux, where 1 lumen is equivalent to a single candle, while 100 lumen is 100 candles. However, beyond a few candles, it’s difficult to have an intuition about what the numbers mean. Here’s a rule of thumb for typical light bulb ratings, including those discussed further down:

  • 150 lm: very dim and dark; nice for decoration, but impossible to read in this light.
  • 250 lm: still dark, OK for dim lamps.
  • 400 lm: typical living room light, but would need a handful to light a room.
  • 900 lm: excellent reading light, but typically too bright for decoration.
  • 1400 lm: excellent working light, bright bathroom light.
  • 4000 – 8000 lm: total light in a well lit kitchen or bathroom (depending on size of the room).

Lumen add up linearly from multiple light sources, and a typical kitchen or bathroom would use multiple high-powered bulbs which add up to 4000 – 5000 lumen in a concentrated arrangement. A cosy living-room could have something similar, but typically scattered about over more and lower powered sources.

A dimmer will influence the lumen of a bulb. If it is compatible with a dimmer, it can output less lumens than its normal rating. However, dimming LEDs is not trivial, and will often cause flicker. Even though it might not be visible to the human eye, it will quickly disturb a camera, webcam or mobile phone. The Ikea bulb in this test experienced this issue even without a dimmer involved.


 
 

Colour temperature

The colour of a light source is expressed in kelvin, and often more red colors is referred to as warm, while more blue is said to be cold, with standard white light somewhere in the middle. The chart below gives a brief overview, with further examples here.

Again, it’s not easy to have any intuition about the numbers, so here’s some guidelines based on the bulbs in this article. Also note that different manufactures apply these values differently, so 3000 K might not always give the same colour. In particular, cheaper china-modules will often lower the advertised temperature, to not come off as cheap neon-light products, but will sometimes disappoint when plugged in.

  • 1800 K: Very red, like a candle light; OK for decoration, but uncomfortable to read or focus.
  • 2000 K: Nice and decorative, but not good for reading.
  • 2200 K: Approaching normal living room light.
  • 2700 K: Almost normal white light, good for living room.
  • 3000 K: Typical normal white reading and working light.
  • 5000 K: Typical fluorescent white light, still for household use.
  • 7000 K: Blue hospital light.

Different colours from different light sources mix very poorly. One of the lamps will quickly feel out of place: Think for example of a cool bright fluorescent light suddenly being turned on at a cosy cafe; next you’ll expect to be thrown out. Or a red lamp in an otherwise bright office-lit room; is somebody growing weed in that corner? Worse than these scenarios yet, is putting cool and warm coloured bulbs next to each other in the same lamp. It simply looks as if somebody didn’t stock up on the right bulbs and had to take what was available, or maybe bought the wrong kind from AliExpress. Speaking from experience.
 
 

 
 

Shapes

There are lots of different types of bulbs, sizes and shapes. Courtesy of mapawatt, here’s an overview of different kinds. The A (normal) and G (globe) annotation you sometimes see used on products. The sizes in America are in 1/8 inches, while millimeters is used in Europe. E.g. an A19 is an A shape bulb which is 2.375 inches in diameter (19/8). The A19 size happens to be the standard light bulb size, for example as seen in the GO/ON and Osram 11 W bulbs below. 2.375 inches is 60 mm, which is the diameter of the those bulbs at its widest point, thus the European marking will be A60. Another common size is the G30, a globe of of 25 / 8 inches or 95 mm, which is the shape of the two large bulbs at the end of this test. Finally, the “oblong pear” is common, as ST64 (mm) or ST20 (1/8 inches).

Be ware, sometimes the size annotation is mixed up or combined; like in this offering, which is marked as both as G30 and G95, or this, where it’s called G40, but is in fact a small 40 mm or 1.5 inches bulb. Here is a really large G40, at 5 inches or 125 mm, also known as G125.

Different sizes and shapes go well together, as seen in the photos below.
 
 

 
 

Arrangement, wire and fixtures

When it comes to the arrangement of such a setup, there are many ways of creating an interesting look. Some go for an orderly symmetric shape, which makes it look like a chandelier, while others are intentionally disorganized and scattered at different heights and positions. In between, there’s the “plank” instillation below, which uses a dark wooden board as the mounting-point, but still has many different sizes and heights.

To go with the bulbs, the wire and fixtures also become very visible parts. The textilkabel-shop in Germany sells every kind of fabric coated lamp wire imaginable, in colours types, and by the meter. Then there’s fixtures, and these classic styled sets look nice, also pictured below.


 
 
 
 

Ikea Lunnom LED, 400 lm, 4.2W, 2200K

Price: €8.50
Watts: 4.2 W
Brightness: 400 lm; good light
Color: 2200 kelvin; yellow
Socket: E27
Size: 60mm x 118 mm
Shape: A; standard. A60 / A19
LED filaments: 4 x 4cm
Dimmable: yes
Camera flicker: yes
Cosy light: no
Reading light: yes, but dim
Working light: no

Ikea’s standard filament LED bulb an A60, but slightly longer than a normal sized light-bulb, however will still fit in most lamps. It gives good light, but too warm and yellow for reading more than a page. The glass is light yellow-tinted. Still, it is also too bright to look at directly, so as decoration it would have to be high in the ceiling to avoid accidental stares.
It is rated as dimmable, however, through the camera view-finder, it was the only bulb in this test which flickered even without any dimming socket.

  

GO ON!, 2x LED bulbs, 470 lm, 4.4W, 2700K

Price: €3 (2-pack for €6)
Watts: 4.4 W
Brightness: 470 lm; good light
Color: 2700 kelvin; normal
Socket: E27
Size: 60mm x 104 mm
Shape: A; standard. A60 / A19
LED filaments: 2 x 6cm
Dimmable: no
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: no
Reading light: OK
Working light: no

A normal sized light-bulb for drop-in replacement in most lamps. The light is close to standard white, with a hint of yellow. At 470 lumen, it is bright enough for light reading. However, it is also too bright for decorative use, and its two filaments and standard shape is not too inspiring.
At €6 for a 2-pack, or only €3 each, it’s the cheapest bulb in this test. If it lives up to its 15.000 hours rating, it could be an excellent bulb to stock up on for living-room use, any maybe dim outdoor light.

  

Osram, pear, 470 lm, 4W, 2700K

Price: €10
Watts: 4 W
Brightness: 470 lm; good light
Color: 2700 kelvin; normal
Socket: E27
Size: 64mm x 143 mm
Shape: ST; oblong pear. ST64 / ST20
LED filaments: 4 x 4cm
Dimmable: no
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: no
Reading light: OK
Working light: no

An oblong pear shaped large bulb ST64, so potentially decorative. However, the light is close to standard white, and at 470 lumen, it is bright enough for light reading. However, might also be too bright for decorative use. Maybe it could be nice inside a tinted glass enclosure, like a large bottle or vase.

  

Osram, bright, 1420 lm, 11W, 2700K

Price: €13
Watts: 11 W
Brightness: 1420 lm; very bright
Color: 2700 kelvin; normal
Socket: E27
Size: 60mm x 105 mm
Shape: A, normal. A60 / A19
LED filaments: 8 x 6cm
Dimmable: no
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: no
Reading light: yes
Working light: maybe

At 1420 lumen, this bulb is extremely bright, and the packing claims the equivalent of a 94 W old style incandescent bulb, while this LED bulb uses only 11 W. It is so bright that looking directly at it for only a second will give black spots, so it has to be used with a lamp screen. It is not rated as compatible with dimmers. It is normal A60 sized, so will fit in any standard E27 socket lamp.
What’s odd, is that it’s only 2700 kelvin, which means it gives a warm light like the others. Thus, it will make pages of a book somewhat yellow, and is not well suited for a working light. (In comparison, the Osram Classic A Eco Pro 57 W halogen bulb is around 3000 kelvin, and gives excellent reading light). Maybe it could work as normal light in a large room, where it’s located high up in the ceiling. Alternatively, in a decorative screen, like the Arab perforated brass lamps.

  

Micasa Lines & Curves, decorative pear, 140 lm, 4W, 2000K

Price: €21
Watts: 4 W
Brightness: 140 lm; dim
Color: 2000 kelvin; warm
Socket: E27
Size: 64mm x 138 mm
Shape: ST; oblong pear. ST64 / ST20
LED filaments: 2 x 10cm curved
Dimmable: yes
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: yes
Reading light: no
Working light: no

Moving on to the cosy and decorative bulbs, this is an oblong pear shaped large bulb, with a warm dim light. Its two long filaments are shaped in curves, and creates a nice pattern. The smaller “threads” in the center of the bulb in the picture to the right are reflections of the filaments. With its tinted glass, it looks interesting also when turned off.
At only 140 lumen, it is the darkest bulb in this test, and is far to dark for reading. However, it is slightly cooler than the Star Trading bulbs below, so could work well in a living-room or bedroom setting. It is dimmable, if an even fainter light is required, but will probably induce camera flicker (not tested).

  

Star Trading, red dark pear, 240 lm, 3.8W, 1800K

Price: €21
Watts: 3.8 W
Brightness: 240 lm; dim
Color: 1800 kelvin; red
Socket: E27
Size: 64mm x 142 mm
Shape: ST; oblong pear. ST64 / ST20
LED filaments: 6 x 6cm
Dimmable: yes
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: yes
Reading light: no
Working light: no

At only 1800 kelvin, the Star Trading bulbs are the warmest of this test. In fact, it is so red, it is almost uncomfortable to try to focus on anything in this light. Reading is almost impossible. It should work well as in a cosy setting, as bar light, windows light. And it is dimmable if an even dark setting is required. With its tinted glass and oblong pear shape, it is decorative also when turned off.
However, at €21 it’s a very expensive bulb, so you’d probably only get a few. Then again, it claims a 15.000 hours service life, and if used at home for a couple of hours each day, that would mean at least 13 years of use. In a bar or cafe setting, or as a decorative window light, with some 10 hours daily use, it would go down to about four years.
It is also available in a 140 lumen version, with the same 1800 kelvin, and similar price.

  

Star Trading, red dark globe, 240 lm, 3.8W, 1800K

Price: €21
Watts: 3.8 W
Brightness: 240 lm; dim
Color: 1800 kelvin; red
Socket: E27
Size: 95mm x 137 mm
Shape: G, globe. G95 / G30
LED filaments: 6 x 6cm
Dimmable: yes
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: yes
Reading light: no
Working light: no

This is bulb has the same technical specs as the pear above, and in fact the only difference is the large globe shape of its outer tinted glass. It is as dark and red, and would work in a similar cosy setting. The price is the same and the service life is the same.
What really sets it apart is the large globe. It looks fun when lit, and interesting when off. Like the pear above, it is meant to be used without a lamp or cover, unless it’s a clear glass lamp, maybe. It is the right design for its purpose. The only problem I could see, is that with its large upper surface, it will get dusty, so might need to be cleaned regularly.
This one is also available in a 140 lumen version, with the same 1800 kelvin, and similar price. In addition, there’s an even larger version, G125 I believe, with otherwise similar specification. However, it’s almost €30.

  

YWXLight, LED string globe, 200 lm, 2W, 3000K

Price: €6
Watts: 2 W
Brightness: 200 lm; dim
Color: 3000 kelvin; somewhat cool
Socket: E27
Size: 95mm x 137 mm
Shape: G, globe. G95 / G30
LEDs: string of 15 – 20 small LEDs
Dimmable: no
Camera flicker: no
Cosy light: decorative
Reading light: no
Working light: no

This bulb stands out in that it does not use LED filaments, but instead has packed a string of about 15 LEDs inside a globe bulb, of the same size as the Trading Star above, to create a Christmas-like decoration. It’s an innovative “China” LED decoration from DealExtreme, and even comes in a colored version for even more party atmosphere.
At 3000 kelvin, it is slightly cool, but the decorative presentation makes up for it. It does not make for any good reading light, but as a window lamp it would be fun. At only 2W it can run all night. The LEDs are likely to work for years; often it’s the electronic of the driver board which wears out first.

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Desktop build – an expensive attempt

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Planning my next desktop build, here’s an attempt at putting together a modern machine that will last. Only problem is, at more then €2000, it’s a bit too expensive. Maybe the SSD and RAM prices will go back down to reasonable levels towards the end of the day. And maybe some of the wishes will have be be compromised on.

Details

At €1783 in new parts, and about €2085 in total, it’s a bit too expensive for a “normal” desktop machine, and can probably not be justified by what it will be used for. Some thoughts on the parts.

CPU: AMD’s new Ryzen CPU is interesting, however, the top of the line is expensive. Going for a slower clocked Ryzen 7 would save a bit, while going down to Ryzen 5 would be about half the price.

GPU: It would be fun to play with some machine learning and Tensorflow, but at the same time have a quiet passively cooled card. At €160, the Palit GeForce 1050 is already cheap, however, 4 GB RAM is maybe on the low side.

RAM: More is better, and 32 GB seems about right these days for a high-end developer machine. However, with current RAM prices, it’s too much. If they go down to about half within the year, it’s fine.

Motherboard: Asus has always been a personal favorite, and in the AM4 socket and top X370 chipset range there’s only so much to choose from. However, there might be other cheaper options besides the Crosshair VI Hero, which is an arbitrary choice at the moment. Besides the obvious component compatibility, requirements include 8 SATA ports; NVMe M.2; excellent audio I/O.

SSD: At 3500 read and 2100 write MB/s speeds, a NVMe based drive is very tempting. However, this Tom’s Hardware review points out that to get the full benefit, you’ll have to look upwards in size, and price. Again, SSD might come down towards the end of the year, but speed is always going to come at a premium.
Using my existing, but old, 2.5″ SSD is also an option, and would reduce the price further.

HDD: These will be transfered from my existing machine, so do not incur extra cost. When time comes, and the oldest 3 TB version fails, replacing with a 8+ TB drive is probably reasonable.

Case: I’ve done one previous build with the Fractal Define case, and it really gave a taste for more. At about €100, the R5 a fairly standard price for a midi-tower.

PSU: Again going fanless for no-noise, but I hope 520W is enough for the parts listed above.

CPU cooler: Even though the Ryzen packages come with a cooler, I assume it will not be cool / quiet enough. Noctua CPU coolers are the best around, and with two 14 cm fans, they only have to run at around 300 – 400 RPM to keep the CPU cool under normal load. That is almost not audible, and will then be the only fans strictly needed. (The case also comes with two fans, but through bios tuning, they can be set to trigger only when it gets to hot).

Parts

Main

Storage

The rest

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Hello World with Docker

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Docker is a nice and easy way to isolate and precisely define and execution environment, both for production and testing. The following includes basic setup and start-up steps for few basic Docker Container instances. For details on all the commands, see the official Docker documentation.

Installing

Initial installation of the Docker service is documented here. On a newer Debian (8 and up) system, it boils down to:

apt-get install apt-transport-https ca-certificates curl gnupg2 software-properties-common
curl -fsSL https://download.docker.com/linux/debian/gpg | sudo apt-key add -
apt-key fingerprint 0EBFCD88
add-apt-repository "deb [arch=amd64] https://download.docker.com/linux/debian $(lsb_release -cs) stable"
apt-get update
apt-get install docker-ce

Hello World

Once installed, predefined images can be downloaded and executed easily. As a normal user, either use sudo in front of every docker command, or add yourself to the docker group. Be aware that the latter has security implications in a shared environment.

sudo groupadd docker

Now download and execute the official hello-world image.

docker run hello-world

It will search for the image locally first, and download it if necessary. The image itself merely prints a welcome message and exits.

A clean image

Docker Hub contains thousands of predefined images, including very small installations of the most common Linux distributions. The following downloads, starts the latest Ubuntu image (16.04 at the time of writing), and executes bash. The -i and -t arguments leave an interactive shell into the running Docker Container.

docker run -it ubuntu bash
 
cat /etc/issue
exit

For detailed documentation about the various docker commands, see here.

A custom image

It is easy to built on top-of existing images; it is after all what Docker is designed for. Each line in a Dockerfile defines another layer upon the previous. It means, that if the previous layer is already downloaded or built, Docker will simply pick up from the step it needs to alter first. For this reason, it can be useful to think through the combination of alterations which will be applied. Even though it is possible to do a lot on a single line, it might be useful to break unstable commands up. Conversely, it might make sense to combine multiple install commands if they are dependent or belong together.

The following minimal image definition takes the latests ubuntu image and installs some useful utilities. See here for the detailed Dockerfile reference.

FROM ubuntu
 
RUN apt-get update && \
    apt-get install -y htop tree 

To build this Docker image, enter into the directory where the Dockerfile exists, and execute the following, where the -t option gives a name to the new image.

docker build -t my_ubuntu .

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DealExtreme orders

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Products ordered from DealExtreme over the years.











































































































































































































































































































































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Review: “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”, Yuval Noah Harari

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In “Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind”, Yuval Noah Harari sets out to tell the story of Sapiens’ early beginnings, the revolutions that shaped us (cognitive, 70000 years ago; agricultural, 11000 years ago; scientific, 500 years ago; industrial, 250 years ago; and finally information 50 years ago), and our possible future from the coming “biotechnological revolution”. The potential for an interesting and insightful book was there, however, Harari squanders it on poorly researched, poorly referenced, or usually no referenced at all, and opinionated misleading sensationalism.

Harari is a professor, yet, this book has very little to do with academy, or history for that matter. Instead, it’s an iteration over anecdotes which he uses to create fridge-magnet poetry. The more one knows about the topic he covers, the more painful and frustrating it becomes to read. The section on genetic programming and computer virus (chapter 20; “Another life”) is case in point, where it seems the talking points are taken from a Dan Brown or Michael Crichton novel.

There is little else to say about the facts or history covered in the book. None of it can be trusted, and untangling Harari’s poetic babbling from actual facts will take hours of research for each chapter. As a list of discussion topics, it can work, as long as the problem with the facts and references are clear.

Unfortunate and potentially harmful

If Harari and his work had stayed fringe and unknown, it would have been a case of “nothing to see here, move along”. However, through TED talks and clever marketing, he has gained a world-wide following; the book is translated to some thirty languages and is popular everywhere. That is very unfortunate, and potentially harmful.

In today’s political climate, dealing with facts have become a fluid process, where anybody can declare something they disagree with as “fake news”, and then present “alternative facts”. US president Trump has made this type of political rhetoric mainstream, and it’s already leaking across to Europe: When boots crushed skulls in the Catalonian attempt at an election, PM Mariano Rajoy simply declared the pictures of blood as fake news. When an election does not produce the desired result, we can simply blame it on Russian meddling (see Brexit), and so on.

In politics, lies have always been part of the game, while in science the standard have been facts and evidence. Although, there are exceptions, like Ron Hubbard’s book “Dianetics” which is the basis for Scientology. Its rhetorical style is similar to Harari’s, where the former tends to conclude “this can be scientifically proven”, while the latter usually prefers “scholars agree”. Neither support their claims with facts, evidence or references.

Popularizing this kind of pseudoscience is dangerous, and should not be taken lightly. Scientology has caused a lot of harm to many people, even if their organization is by now known to be predatory. By creating a following of more pseudoscience, Harari risks legitimizing both political and scientific opinion based “evidence”. Throughout the “Sapiens” book, he declares his skepticisms towards almost any invention, discovery or change after the scientific revolution. In fact, in discussing happiness, Harari suggests that the hunter-gatherer or medieval farmer was happier than today’s city dweller. We risk regressing back to a pre-Renaissance pre-science forum, where anybody can claim anything and get a following, no matter how ludicrous.

To some extent, that has already been going on for a while. Discussing the science and politics of global warming is already problematic, starting with agreeing on observable scientific facts. Fascists have used pseudoscience in an attempt to prove the Aryan race superior. Creationists, whom Harari unwittingly lends a bone, promote Intelligent Design to be taught alongside evolution and science. Yet all of the nonsense from these groups have not been a great problem because their voices have stayed fringe, and have easily been sidelined by hard facts and science.

Harari might not have intended to support these kind of fringe groups, but by legitimizing and popularizing pseudoscience and biased opinionated facts, he unintentionally gives credibility to those whom should not be given any. That is potentially harmful.

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Historical Cost of Computer Memory and Storage

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Following up on the last post, here is the long view of cost of computer storage. In the categories magnetic disks; RAM; and flash / SSD, it plots the cheapest USD-per-byte option over time. It confirms the stagnation of price improvements previously discussed. RAM is going through its cyclic volatility, and is now at a local peak (due to supply shortage; see below), while prices for magnetic drives are flatting out. Finally, SSD have gotten more expensive over the last year, also due to supply issue. Crossing the HDD trajectory is far of, and according to Western Digital’s projections in the chart below, it will not happen in the next ten years.

The first three charts below (in white) zoom in on these developments in recent years, linear scale, at USD / GB. That way, it becomes a bit easier to examine current trends, without having to deal with the prices from 60 years ago which were twelve magnitudes higher. The following two charts use logarithmic USB / MB scale to visualize the full history, which makes the very consistent longterm trends clear.

Detailed analysis continues below the charts.

See here for the updated data and charts, and detailed information.

 
 

HDD: Recent history 2005 – present; Linear scale; USD / GB

 

 
 

SSD: Recent history 2005 – present; Linear scale; USD / GB

 

 
 

RAM: Recent history 2005 – present; Linear scale; USD / GB


 
 

Recent history 2005 – present; Logarithmic scale; USD / MB

 

 
 

Full history 1957 – present; Logarithmic scale; USD / MB

 

(Click image for larger version)
 
 

HDD

Despite sobering movements in price, there are interesting news on the horizon: Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR) is now not too far away. Seagate talked about their plans for 2018 already at the beginning of this year, mentioning a 16 TB HAMR option. And this autumn, Western Digital demonstrated their first helium Microwave-Assisted Magnetic Recording (MAMR) drive. The principle of energized assistance in dealing with smaller magnetized areas is the same as HAMR, but MAMR uses a microwave while HAMR uses a laser. Western Digital talked about MAMR technology enabling growth to 40 TB by 2025.

Meanwhile, Toshiba announced a 9 platter PMR drive at 14 TB. This is probably closer to market than MAMR technology, and should see shelves in 2018. Even though nine platters is a very impressive feat, that direction will eventually stagnate, and so will PMR. That’s way WD’s chart below shows PMR flattening out, while in their opinion, MAMR will produce a drive double the size by 2025. Most likely, this will be realized combining all these technologies: helium filled drives; nine platters and MAMR.

It’s interesting to note that with these developments, WD believes the 10x margin from SSD will continue for at least another ten years. However, with the sizes of the HDD options now available, we might also be at a point where it has saturated the “average” consumer demand. Except for special interests like photo, video or hoarding, a 1 or 2 TB SSD is still plenty of space in a laptop, everything else is “in the cloud” anyway. Therefore, the demand for large HDD will come from data centers and other corporate systems. They can afford higher prices, so the large drives might not see the same exponential decrease in price as the smaller consumer options.

SSD

The prices of SSDs still suffer from a supply shortage of NAND chips since autumn 2016. This has caused prices to increase during 2017. Furthermore, transition from 2D planer to 3D based technology has caused problems and delays for some manufacturers.

Future developments in SSD is now more focused on IO speed, and size, than reduction in price. Samsung’s massive 15 TB PM1633a became available last year, but at $10.000, that’s for special interest only. Micron is following, and recently announced a 11 TB NVMe based drive, and interestingly designing its own rack solution for SSDs in “shared storage” configuration for the data centre.

Even for the home user, it looks like SATA based SSD storage will soon be over, with newer solutions connecting to the PCIe bus over NVMe using the M.2 or U.2 connectors, or directly through PCIe HHHL (half-height half-length) cards. This gives extreme bandwidth potential, and Kingston’s DCP1000 1.6TB has reached 7 GB/s (in RAID configuration). It’s amusing to see that the PCIe the card merely a container for four M.2 drives.

It seems SATA will be left behind in the SSD market, as most high-end products now connect to the faster PCIe bus, either over M.2 or U.2 connectors, or directly with a HHHL (half-length half-height) PCIe slot card.

RAM

Finally, memory prices have also been increasing over the last year, again due to supply shortage. Some blame Apple’s latest iPhone, and expect the supply shortage to last into 2018, when “Samsung and SK Hynix [are] expected to begin production at additional factories”.

Technology wise, DDR4 is now well established, and Corsair just released a 32 GB kit at 4 GHz, while G.Skill announced a 16 GB 4.6 GHz kit. Meanwhile, Rambus is planning the next generation: DDR5 and HBM3 (High Bandwidth Memory for GPUs). They plan to move to a 7 nm process (down from 28 nm in DDR4), and expect 4.8 – 6.4 Gb/s bandwidth. However, products will not show up before 2019, the earliest.

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Storage prices – end of 2017

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HDD

Since last year’s update, there are a few interesting newcomers in the very large HDD section, including 10 TB and 12 TB offerings from Western Digital and Seagate. WD has also just released a 14TB helium SMR (shingled magnetic recording) drive, and we can expect it to be available soon. However, these drives are still expensive, and the most byte-for-buck is still in the 8 TB SMR Seagate, even though it has almost kept its price-point since a year ago.

In documenting the newer drives, it has become increasingly difficult to find information on what technology they use. Product listing often don’t mention numbers of platters, helium (or not) or SMR vs. PMR (perpendicular magnetic recording), and not even WD’s own technical specification sheets go into detail. Thus, some of it has become guess-work. I’m assuming that all drives at 8 TB and above have to use helium to be able to include more platters. Furthermore, it seems anything beyond 14 TB will need to combine helium and SMR. This is more or less in line with this prediction from 2014, where the next technology stage for the next fives years is Heat Assisted Magnetic Recording (HAMR).

SSD

SSDs continue to grow in size, however, have moved only a little in price. The 1 TB Samsung EVO basic was €316 last year, and is now €238, or a 25% reduction. Most offerings are at least 10x more expensive per byte than HDD, which has always been the case.

More interestingly, NVM-M.2 based SSDs are becoming more common, and faster. The Samsung EVO 960 is now at 3500 MB/s read and 2100 MB/s write, and the 512 GB version costs €281, or a 2x premium from 2.5″ SSDs. Whether they will make a noticeable difference in day-to-day applications is up for discussion.

Flash

Finally, flash cards and drives of all types are also increasing in size, and decreasing somewhat in price. Furthermore, several modules from SanDisk have significantly increased IO speeds, with the Extreme Pro micro SDXC range at 275 MB/s read and 100 MB/s write. And the Extreme Pro CFast series, using the newer CFast standard reaches 525 MB/s read and 450 MB/s write. (However, it is not compatible with the old CF standard).

Media Type Product Capacity Price CHF Price Euros Euros / GB GBs / Euro
HDD-SMR Seagate ARCHIVE HDD 8TB 8000 GB 233.00 199.15 0.02 40.17
HDD Western Digital Blue, 5400 RPM 4TB 4000 GB 120.00 102.56 0.03 39.00
External 3.5 Western Digital My Book 8TB, USB3 8000 GB 249.00 212.82 0.03 37.59
HDD Western Digital Blue, 5400 RPM 6TB 6000 GB 199.00 170.09 0.03 35.28
External 3.5 Western Digital My Book 6TB, USB3 6000 GB 205.00 175.21 0.03 34.24
External 3.5 Western Digital My Book 4TB, USB3 4000 GB 139.00 118.80 0.03 33.67
HDD-He Western Digital Red 8TB 8000 GB 279.00 238.46 0.03 33.55
HDD Western Digital Blue, 5400 RPM 3TB 3000 GB 105.00 89.74 0.03 33.43
HDD Western Digital Red 6TB 6000 GB 215.00 183.76 0.03 32.65
HDD Western Digital Red 4TB 4000 GB 145.00 123.93 0.03 32.28
HDD-He Seagate Enterprise Capacity 12TB 12000 GB 448.00 382.91 0.03 31.34
HDD Western Digital Blue, 5400 RPM 2TB 2000 GB 75.00 64.10 0.03 31.20
HDD Western Digital Red 3TB 3000 GB 115.00 98.29 0.03 30.52
HDD-He Western Digital Red 10TB 10000 GB 385.00 329.06 0.03 30.39
HDD-He Seagate Enterprise Capacity 8TB 8000 GB 320.00 273.50 0.03 29.25
HDD Western Digital Blue, 5400 RPM 5TB 5000 GB 204.00 174.36 0.03 28.68
HDD-He Seagate Barracuda Pro 10TB 10000 GB 410.00 350.43 0.04 28.54
HDD-He Seagate Enterprise Capacity 10TB 10000 GB 411.00 351.28 0.04 28.47
External 2.5 Western Digital Elements Portable 3TB, USB3 3000 GB 125.00 106.84 0.04 28.08
External 2.5 Western Digital Elements Portable 2TB, USB3 2000 GB 85.00 72.65 0.04 27.53
HDD-He Seagate IronWolf Pro 10TB 10000 GB 425.00 363.25 0.04 27.53
External 2.5 Western Digital My Passport Ultra 4TB, USB3 4000 GB 175.00 149.57 0.04 26.74
Blu-ray Verbatim BD-R SL 50 @ 25GB 1250 GB 55.00 47.01 0.04 26.59
HDD-He Seagate IronWolf Pro 12TB 12000 GB 529.00 452.14 0.04 26.54
HDD-He Hitachi Ultrastar He8 8TB 8000 GB 362.00 309.40 0.04 25.86
HDD-He Seagate Barracuda Pro 12TB 12000 GB 557.00 476.07 0.04 25.21
HDD Western Digital Red 2TB 2000 GB 94.00 80.34 0.04 24.89
External 2.5 Western Digital My Passport Ultra 3TB, USB3 3000 GB 155.00 132.48 0.04 22.65
HDD Western Digital Blue, 5400 RPM 1TB 1000 GB 55.00 47.01 0.05 21.27
External 2.5 Western Digital Elements Portable 1TB, USB3 1000 GB 65.00 55.56 0.06 18.00
External 2.5 Western Digital My Passport Ultra 1TB, USB3 1000 GB 89.00 76.07 0.08 13.15
Blu-ray Verbatim BD-R SL 10 @ 25GB 250 GB 23.10 19.74 0.08 12.66
Blu-ray Verbatim BD-R DL 10 @ 50GB 500 GB 47.70 40.77 0.08 12.26
DVD-R Verbatim 16x DVD-R 100 @ 4,7GB 470 GB 46.00 39.32 0.08 11.95
DVD+R DL Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL 50 @ 8,5GB 425 GB 81.50 69.66 0.16 6.10
DVD+R DL Verbatim 8x DVD+R DL 25 @ 8,5GB 213 GB 41.00 35.04 0.16 6.06
SSD Samsung SSD 850 EVO Basic, TLC, 1TB 1000 GB 279.00 238.46 0.24 4.19
SSD Crucial MX300 SSD, 3D, 2000GB 2000 GB 579.00 494.87 0.25 4.04
SSD Crucial MX300 SSD, 3D, 1050GB 1050 GB 309.00 264.10 0.25 3.98
SSD Crucial MX300 SSD, 3D, 525GB 525 GB 165.00 141.03 0.27 3.72
USB Flash SanDisk Ultra, USB 3.0, 256GB 256 GB 84.90 72.56 0.28 3.53
SSD Samsung SSD 850 EVO Basic, TLC, 2TB 2000 GB 699.00 597.44 0.30 3.35
SSD Samsung SSD 850 EVO Basic, TLC, 500GB 500 GB 175.00 149.57 0.30 3.34
SSD Crucial MX300 SSD, 3D, 275GB 275 GB 99.00 84.62 0.31 3.25
SSD Samsung SSD 850 EVO Basic, TLC, 4TB 4000 GB 1475.00 1260.68 0.32 3.17
USB Flash SanDisk Ultra, USB 3.0, 64GB 64 GB 24.40 20.85 0.33 3.07
SSD Samsung SSD 850 EVO Basic, TLC, 250GB 250 GB 103.00 88.03 0.35 2.84
USB Flash SanDisk Ultra, USB 3.0, 32B 32 GB 14.60 12.48 0.39 2.56
SSD Samsung SSD 850 Pro, MLC, 1024GB 1024 GB 479.00 409.40 0.40 2.50
SSD Samsung SSD 850 Pro, MLC, 2048GB 2048 GB 969.00 828.21 0.40 2.47
SSD Samsung SSD 850 Pro, MLC, 512GB 512 GB 255.00 217.95 0.43 2.35
CD-R Verbatim CD-R 100 @ 700MB 70 GB 35.70 30.51 0.44 2.29
SSD Samsung SSD 850 Pro, MLC, 256GB 256 GB 145.00 123.93 0.48 2.07
SDXC SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC U3, Class 10/UHS 3 95/90MB/s, 128GB 128 GB 79.60 68.03 0.53 1.88
SDXC SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC U3, Class 10/UHS 3 95/90MB/s, 256GB 256 GB 160.00 136.75 0.53 1.87
SSD-NVM-M.2 Samsung SSD 960 Pro, M.2 2280, MLC, 3500/2100MB/s, 1000GB 1000 GB 629.00 537.61 0.54 1.86
SSD-NVM-M.2 Samsung SSD 960 Pro, M.2 2280, MLC, 3500/2100MB/s, 2000GB 2000 GB 1279.00 1093.16 0.55 1.83
SSD-NVM-M.2 Samsung SSD 960 Pro, M.2 2280, MLC, 3500/2100MB/s, 512GB 512 GB 329.00 281.20 0.55 1.82
SDXC SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC U3, Class 10/UHS 3 95/90MB/s, 64GB 64 GB 47.90 40.94 0.64 1.56
SDXC SanDisk Extreme Pro SDXC U3, Class 10/UHS 3 95/90MB/s, 512GB 512 GB 389.00 332.48 0.65 1.54
microSDXC SanDisk Extreme Pro microSDXC, Class 10, 100/90MB/s, 64GB 64 GB 50.10 42.82 0.67 1.49
Compact Flash SanDisk Extreme 120MB/s, UDMA 7, 64GB 64 GB 75.00 64.10 1.00 1.00
Compact Flash SanDisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s, UDMA 7, 256GB 256 GB 326.00 278.63 1.09 0.92
Compact Flash SanDisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s, UDMA 7, 128GB 128 GB 168.00 143.59 1.12 0.89
Compact Flash SanDisk Extreme 120MB/s, UDMA 7, 32GB 32 GB 44.00 37.61 1.18 0.85
Compact Flash SanDisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s, UDMA 7, 64GB 64 GB 92.70 79.23 1.24 0.81
microSDXC SanDisk Extreme Pro microSDXC, Class 10, 100/275MB/s, 128GB 128 GB 220.00 188.03 1.47 0.68
Compact Flash SanDisk Extreme Pro 160MB/s, UDMA 7, 32GB 32 GB 57.20 48.89 1.53 0.65
microSDXC SanDisk Extreme Pro microSDXC, Class 10, 100/275MB/s, 64GB 64 GB 125.00 106.84 1.67 0.60
Compact Flash SanDisk Extreme 120MB/s, UDMA 7, 16GB 16 GB 37.00 31.62 1.98 0.51
Compact Flash SanDisk Extreme Pro 450MB/s, CFast 2.0, 128GB 128 GB 389.00 332.48 2.60 0.38
Compact Flash SanDisk Extreme Pro 450MB/s, CFast 2.0, 64GB 64 GB 236.00 201.71 3.15 0.32

Exchange rate: 1 Euro = 1.170000 CHF.

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Getting started with Jenkins plugin development

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Getting started with Jenkins plugin development is surprisingly easy. There is neat integration with Maven for building and testing a debug instance, and the build artifact can quickly be installed to an existing Jenkins instance.

Dev dependencies

Setting up the developer environment on a new system can be done through the following apt-get. However, on an older Debian (e.g. 8) or Ubuntu (~16 or older), you’d want to download Java JDK; Eclipse and Maven from their respective homes.

apt-get install openjdk-8-jdk eclipse-jdt maven

Starting from an existing plugin

Starting from an existing plugin is probably most straight forward, since a lot of the details are usually already in place. The “Test Results Analyzer Plugin” serves as a nice stand-alone example.

git clone https://github.com/jenkinsci/test-results-analyzer-plugin.git
cd test-results-analyzer-plugin

To create an Eclipse workspace which later can be opened as an existing project in Eclipse:

mvn -DdownloadSources=true -DoutputDirectory=target/eclipse-classes -Declipse.workspace=~/test-results-analyzer-plugin eclipse:eclipse eclipse:configure-workspace

To build the .hpi file which can be installed through Jenkins:

mvn hpi:hpi

For development and debugging, to create and launch a new Jenkins instance, which will have the new plugin installed.

mvn hpi:run

New plugin

Or, if you’d rather start from a clean plate, the following will create the skeleton structure.

mkdir foobar; cd foobar
mvn -U org.jenkins-ci.tools:maven-hpi-plugin:create

Once created, the commands above also apply, but you probably want to dive into the pom.xml file first, and define project information, dependencies.

Resources

For further details, see:

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Spain: Political censorship

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First they came for the …

The slippery slope of censorship, surveillance and oppression expressed through variations of Martin Niemöller’s speech have become cliché by now. Over the last 16 years, authoritarian regimes have chipped away at basic freedoms, piece by piece and law by law. Still, many believed that the countries of the Western world, or at least western Europe, or at least the country where “I” live, would remain free, democratic and with legitimate governments. At the very least, the authorities would not bother me if “I had nothing to hide”, or did nothing wrong.

That fantasy bubble has now popped, as the true faces of our rulers reveal themselves more and more. In the case of Spain, perhaps it should come as little surprise, where Francisco Franco ruled as a dictator up until 1975. Ironically, making jokes about that dark past is considered “glorifying terrorism”, as one Spanish woman learnt her lesson this year, and got a one-year jail sentence for a Twitter message. In Amnesty International’s report from the beginning of this year, they urge Spain and other European countries to respect Human Rights, specifically freedom of speech and right to political expression. In February 2016, Spanish children’s puppeteers were arrested for including an ETA banner in their show. (See page 41 of the report).

Yet, even all of these events have been considered anecdotes, and the warnings have been heard as fringe voices from the sideline. In Spain, that is now changing. In the dispute between Catalonian separatists and the central government, the silk gloves are off, with thousands of police deployed. The prime minister Mariano Rajoy commands people to “stop the disobedience”.

In an unprecedented move for a European country in the last decades, the offices of the central Internet name registrar for the Catalonian .cat top level domain were raided. It is shocking, because it is such a blatant attempt at control and censorship of political speech. However, it is also concerning because it strikes at the center of the Internet infrastructure, and risks indiscriminately affecting all websites with .cat domains. Catalan leaders compare the move to Turkey, China and North Korea. In a follow up, Google was instructed by the High Court to remove an app related to the 1 October vote.

Regardless of which side of that particular conflict one stands, there is no denying that the blocking, suppression and censorship Spain’s regime is now carrying out is of political nature. It is trying to win the political argument through censorship and authoritarian control of information and communication tools normal citizens rely on. Spain’s government is using the court and police to force its political agenda, when the opposition is talking about a democratic vote.

The government which was voted in to uphold and protect a free democratic state has now failed at that task. As such, it can no longer be considered a legitimate government. If Spaniards know what’s good for them and their country, the will vote Mariano Rajoy and the Partido Popular out of office, while they still have the chance to do so.

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Wired: Mother Earth Mother Board

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In a blast from the past, this 1996 Wired article about the intrigues of the underwater optical fiber cable business resurfaced. It’s a real long-read about the construction of the 28000 km long FLAG cable, connecting UK to Japan, and various countries and obstacles along the way. Still, it’s well worth the journey. Enjoy!

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