All posts by mfeilner

3 things we need to do about Google and Facebok (and GAFA)

5 billion Dollar? Who cares, Facebook earns that in a month and their stock price went up. Here’s John Naughton’s veiw. He is professor of the public understanding of technology at the Open University and wrote in the Guardian: Money’s no object for Facebook, so hit it where it hurts | John Naughton | Opinion | The Guardian

“First, regulators need to focus on these companies’ capacity to hoover up and monetise the data they extract from their users’ online behaviour. Since much of this data has been accumulated in a lawless (or at any rate law-free) environment and it now constitutes their most valuable asset (not to mention the insuperable barrier to entry for potential competitors), Google and Facebook should be obliged to make the data available to other organisations (including in the public sector) under controlled conditions.

Second, given that the entire digital industry runs on data, competition authorities ought to be much more sceptical about the acquisition strategies of digital giants. (…) Facebook ought never to have been allowed to acquire WhatsApp and Instagram. (…)  Nothing comparable in the media industry would have been allowed, or indeed in many other areas of industrial life. Equally, Google should never have been allowed to buy YouTube, and it should now be compelled to hive it off as a separate outfit.

Third, competition authorities should put the opaque, high-speed data-trading marketplaces owned and operated by Google and Facebook under the microscope – as the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority now intends to do. In no other area of industrial life would companies be allowed to be operators of such vast and entirely opaque marketplaces.”

Meanwhile, in France: 

The Debate – France takes on Silicon Valley: Washington threatens tariffs over GAFA tax

It’s not just Trump: the consensus goes beyond party lines in the United States to defend the interests of a Silicon Valley that to a large degree seems to own the internet. What is fair taxation in the era of globalisation? The OECD and G20 nations are working on it and France has said it will scrap the new tax once fresh rules are in place globally.

Jetzt oder nie.

Gutachten zur CO2-Steuer: Es gibt jetzt keine Ausreden mehr – SPIEGEL ONLINE … :

Das ist durchaus Erfolg versprechend: In China “wird mindestens so intensiv über höhere CO2-Preise nachgedacht wie hierzulande”, sagte Klimaökonom Edenhofer dem SPIEGEL. Wenn Angela Merkel nicht am Ende als die Kanzlerin in die Geschichte eingehen will, die die Zukunft verspielte, sollte sie ihren Verzögerungsminister Altmaier weiter nach hinten und SPD-Umweltministerin Svenja Schulze weiter nach vorn stellen. Der richtige Vorschlag liegt schon auf dem Tisch, es gibt keine Ausreden mehr, ihn nicht umzusetzen.

Welsh village abandoned due to climate change.

Reality update: The Welsh village being abandoned to the sea because of climate change – Wales Online … :

The concerns are based on climate change and the speed at which it takes hold. Sea levels continue to rise. It’s estimated that current levels are more than 100 metres higher than during the last ice age, and that they could rise by a further two metres over the next century.  In short, there will be no money spent on defending this community of around 400 homes and 850 people after 2054. The harsh and unforgiving word ‘decommission’ has been banded about – the death of a community facilitated by its inhabitants being forced to move out, its shops closed down, its houses demolished to make way for salt marsh.

Bluetooth Audio Problems Kernel 5.1x [SOLVED]

(Disclaimer: Going to Kernel 5.2 that early may cause undesired behaviour. In my case, up to now only wireguard (VPN) doesn’t work anymore, everything else looks great. Your mileage may vary.)

Since about a week or so I suffered from problems that somehow made the round on all of my desktops. All five of them suddenly refused to connect to Bluetooth audio devices that had been working flawlessly for years. Non-audio devices like smartphones would connect instantly, but headphones and audio receivers would connect and instantly disconnect.

# bluetoothctl
Agent registered
[bluetooth]# paired-devices
Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D PhilipsBT
[bluetooth]# devices
Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D PhilipsBT
[bluetooth]# connect 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D
Attempting to connect to 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D
[CHG] Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D Connected: yes
Failed to connect: org.bluez.Error.Failed
[CHG] Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D Connected: no
[bluetooth]# trust 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D
[CHG] Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D Trusted: yes
Changing 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D trust succeeded
[bluetooth]# connect 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D
Attempting to connect to 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D
[CHG] Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D Connected: yes
Failed to connect: org.bluez.Error.Failed
[CHG] Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D Connected: no
[CHG] Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D Connected: yes
[CHG] Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D Connected: no
[CHG] Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D Connected: yes
[CHG] Device 0C:A6:94:D1:77:5D Connected: no
[bluetooth]# 

Journalctl told me: 

Jul 12 #### bluetoothd[1734]: connect error: Connection refused (111)
Jul 12 #### plasmashell[7493]: org.kde.bluez: PendingCall Error:
“Resource temporarily unavailable”
Jul 12 #### bluetoothd[1734]: connect error: Connection refused (111)
Jul 12 #### kcmshell5[20253]: org.kde.bluez: PendingCall Error:
“Resource temporarily unavailable”

Hcitool returned “Reason: Remote User Terminated Connection” (among a lot of other stuff).

I went to the always helpful opensuse mailing list “factory”  and asked. Within some minutes I got the hint I had been looking for on Google and all the other Internets for days: “Check a different kernel”. 

So I added the opensuse kernel repo http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/Kernel:/stable/standard/, refreshed, installed kernel 5.2: 

zypper ar http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/Kernel:/stable/standard/ kernel
zypper ref
zypper in kernel-default-5.2.0-9.1.g80522d2

… and the reboot did the trick. So if you are stuck without Bluetooth Audio on your Linux Kernel 5.1 system, check out an older (who would do that?) or newer kernel. I chose the 5.2 because it was tagged as “stable” and it has been working fine here for a few hours. AFAIK Tumbleweed, this won’t change. 


Nein! Doch! Oooh! Office 365 verstößt gegen Europäischen Datenschutz!

Reality update: Datenschützer: Einsatz von Microsoft Office 365 an Schulen ist unzulässig | heise online … :

Microsoft Office 365 darf in der Standardkonfiguration an Schulen wegen Problemen für die Privatsphäre der Nutzer derzeit nicht verwendet werden. Zu diesem Schluss ist der hessische Datenschutzbeauftragter Michael Ronellenfitsch gekommen, weil personenbezogene Daten von Kindern und Lehrern in der Cloud gespeichert würden. Auch wenn die zugehörigen Server in Europa stünden, seien die Informationen “einem möglichen Zugriff US-amerikanischer Behörden ausgesetzt”.

California today: Decommissioned, uninsured and broken containments: Nuclear plants in Diablo Canyon and San Onofre

California Nightmare | Telepolis … :

Hätten sich die Beben von Ridgecrest 250 km weiter im Westen ereignet, schreibt Wasserman, wären zehn Millionen Menschen in Los Angeles möglicherweise von einer Strahlenwolke bedroht worden. Denn die beiden rissigen, versprödeten, nicht gewarteten, nicht versicherten und durch die Atomaufsicht nicht inspizierten Reaktoren von Diablo Canyon hätten ihnen kaum widerstehen können. Wasserman erinnert daran, dass Wartungsdefizite an Gas- und Elektrizitätsleitungen von PG&E bereits zu Bränden und Explosionen in Nordkalifornien geführt haben.

In Washington sieht man das anders. Trump ließ vier Sitze in der NRC mit Lobbyisten der Nuklearindustrie besetzen. Jetzt schlägt die Behörde vor, die Inspektionen von Atomanlagen generell zurückzufahren. Das laufe darauf hinaus, schreibt das Ukiah Daily Journal, dass sich Betreiber wie PG&E oder Edison selbst überwachen. Diese Deregulierung sei in Zeiten großer finanzieller Probleme der Nuklearunternehmen besonders gefährlich und fördere die Tendenz der Betreiber, Probleme gar nicht erst öffentlich werden zu lassen.

For all California Expats, here’s the direct link to a moveon.org petition:

 MoveOn Petitions – Gov. Newsom, Test Diablo Canyon Nuclear Plant for Safety … : 

We, the people of California, ask Governor Newsom and other state leaders to order the controversial Diablo Canyon nuclear plant tested for potential dangers involving seismic vulnerability, pressure vessel damage and nuclear waste leakage before the reactor is allowed to re-open after being shut down for refueling in February.

Oh, and in the meantime… :

The California coast is disappearing under the rising sea. Our choices are grim – Los Angeles Times … : 

This “sea level rise suppression,” as scientists call it, went largely undetected. Blinded from the consequences of a warming planet, Californians kept building right to the water’s edge. But lines in the sand are meant to shift. In the last 100 years, the sea rose less than 9 inches in California. By the end of this century, the surge could be greater than 9 feet. Wildfire and drought dominate the climate change debates in the state. Yet this less-talked-about reality has California cornered. The coastline is eroding with every tide and storm, but everything built before we knew better — Pacific Coast Highway, multimillion-dollar homes in Malibu, the rail line to San Diego — is fixed in place with nowhere to go.

… spot the problem(s)… 

Icelandic Modern Media Initiative ready to start!

IMMI finally at the cusp of implementation … :

The goal of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative in 2010 was for Iceland to take leadership in adopting the best possible laws, at any time, in order to be ahead of the digital tidal wave of disinformation eroding trust towards democratic institutions and traditional media. To be the first digital safe heaven for all the forbidden facts, to act as an inspiration for others to follow suit.

During the nine years since it’s passing, Iceland has undergone serious political crises with only one government being able to sit full term. Four governments and five Prime Ministers later, we finally have a deadline for IMMI to be fully ratified. In the first months after taking office as Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrin Jakobsdottir, announced she was committed to have all the laws finalized and put forward as governmental bills in Parliament before 2019 ends. The International Modern Media Institute was established in 2011 in order to make sure that the laws based on the IMMI resolution would be finalized no matter what political parties would be in charge. Even if the laws are not all ratified, the IMMI’s unanimous adoption by Parliament put Iceland on the top of the list of Press Freedom by Reporters Without Borders in 2010. Iceland has been sliding down since, but we are hopeful that by greatly improving fundamental laws for press freedom we will move up again. Democracy rests on the foundations of freedom of speech, expression, information and strong independent media.

In 2016, we were happy to meet Birgitta in Person… Awesome vision. Here’s a german article about her and immi: 

Missing Link: Kontrollverlust der liberalen Demokratien – Panik ist angebracht | heise online … : 

“Die Parlamentarier haben am wenigsten Macht”, kritisiert sie. Die Verwaltung, die Ministerialbürokratie seien die Zentren der Macht und trieben die Maschinerie der Gesetzgebung an. Verantwortungsvollen Politikern bliebe regelmäßig zu wenig Zeit, die kurzfristig vorgelegten Entwürfe so zu prüfen, wie sie es ihren Wählerinnen schuldig seien. Das Ergebnis sind nach Ansicht von Jonsdottir nicht nur zu viele, sondern vor allem qualitativ schlechte Gesetze. Jonsdottirs Bilanz ist bitter: Parteien wären Teil einer Religion, die Gesetzgebung sei die neue Bibel. “Das System ist selbsterhaltend”, klagt sie. “Aber es löst nicht die wichtigen Probleme, die wir lösen müssen.”

Giraffes, Docker and Incompetent Design

 Docker protects a programming paradigm that we should get rid of | Smash Company … :

Some biologists refer to this as Incompetent Design. The problem is that nobody ever sat down to full redesign creatures so that they could live on land.

And then Docker came along to help fix some of the problems that eco-systems such as Python faced in this new world of fast changing servers. Certainly, Docker helped a lot with paths and managing environment variables. For this reason, the use of Python tends to lead to the use of Docker, and the use of Docker encourages the use of Kubernetes. And in the end you have the recurrent laryngeal nerve of the giraffe. You ended up with something enormously complex, that arose incrementally, by trying to keep alive some pre-existing system. But if you were to sit down and design something entirely new, knowing all that you know now, you could build something much cleaner and simpler than what Python/Docker/Kubernetes gives you.

In that sense, Docker allows you to take apps developed with a paradigm from the 1990s, and deploy it in 2018.

Lionesses safeguard their investments by mating with multiple males.

What a beautiful cover… Battle of the sexes: a multi-male mating strategy helps lionesses win the gender war of fitness | Behavioral Ecology | Oxford Academic … : 

“By mating with multiple males, lionesses safeguard their investments and outdo the males in the war of fitness.

Battle of the sexes: a multi-male mating strategy helps lionesses win the gender war of fitness”  

Given a land-tenure system where lionesses encounter many males capable of killing unfamiliar cubs, multi-male mating buffers cub infanticide and likely diversifies paternal lineages in litters. Consequently, infanticide was observed only when “new” males invaded a female group’s territory. An age-based mate choice was observed in lionesses: maiden breeders chose males having highest range overlaps, whereas experienced females selected peripheral males. The intergender spacing patterns and resultant sexual strategies of lions differ in Asia and Africa probably because of contrasting resource availability, highlighting behavioral plasticity within species inhabiting diverse eco-regions.”

First step into parallel universes are about to be taken…

Scientists are searching for a mirror universe. It could be sitting right in front of you. … :

She calls it an “oscillation” that would lead her to “mirror matter,” but the idea is fundamentally the same. In a series of experiments she plans to run at Oak Ridge this summer, Broussard will send a beam of subatomic particles down a 50-foot tunnel, past a powerful magnet and into an impenetrable wall. If the setup is just right — and if the universe cooperates — some of those particles will transform into mirror-image versions of themselves, allowing them to tunnel right through the wall. And if that happens, Broussard will have uncovered the first evidence of a mirror world right alongside our own.

Fingerprinting device-tracking methods on the rise

Fingerprinting’ to Track Us Online Is on the Rise. Here’s What to Do. – The New York Times … :

With enough information gathered, fingerprinting can be very reliable. In a study last year in France, researchers found that about one-third of digital fingerprints they collected were unique and therefore identifiable. In a 2017 study, researchers at Lehigh University and Washington University tested a fingerprinting method that identified 99 percent of users.