SoCal Linux Expo Back For 20th Anniversary

Now in its 20th year of supporting and promoting the FOSS community, SCaLE 20x – the Southern California Linux Expo – will be held at the Pasadena Convention Center March 9-12, 2023. This 4-day annual event brings together the vibrant Open Source user community, tech industry leaders, developers, users and many more.

Source: LXer – SoCal Linux Expo Back For 20th Anniversary

Senator asks Apple and Google to ban TikTok from their app stores

TikTok is facing yet another call from a prominent lawmaker for the app’s ban, Colorado Senator Michael Bennet, a Democrat who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, sent a letter to Apple and Google urging the companies to ban TikTok from their respective app stores.

In the letter, Bennet says that “TikTok, in its current form, [is] an unacceptable threat to the national security of the United States.” The letter, addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, repeats many of the same points that have been raised by other lawmakers seeking to ban the app.

Specifically, Bennet raises the possibility that TikTok’s parent company, ByteDance, could be compelled to “use its influence to advance Chinese government interests,” via TikTok. “Like most social media platforms, TikTok collects vast and sophisticated data from its users, including faceprints and voiceprints,” Bennet writes. “Unlike most social media platforms, TikTok poses a unique concern because Chinese law obligates ByteDance, its Beijing-based parent company, to ‘support, assist, and cooperate with state intelligence work.’”

TikTok has long denied that such scenarios could play out, and has attempted to downplay its ties to China. In a statement to CNN the company said Bennet’s letter “relies almost exclusively on misleading reporting about TikTok, the data we collect, and our data security controls.”

Apple and Google didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.

While it seems unlikely either company would take such a drastic step based on a letter from one senator, it highlights the mounting pressure and scrutiny on TkTok. The company has spent the last two years negotiating with the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) in order to secure its ability to continue to operate in the US. But that process is reportedly stalled, and the company has been waging a new charm offensive in an attempt to win over critics.

TikTok has also been sharing more details around its partnership with Oracle to safeguard US user data and comply with US regulators’ concerns. But lawmakers seem to be in no rush to let TikTok off the hook. The app has already been banned from federal devices, and numerous state governments have passed bans of their own. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew is scheduled to testify at his first Congressional hearing next month,



Source: Engadget – Senator asks Apple and Google to ban TikTok from their app stores

Decentralized Social Media Project Nostr's Damus Gets Listed On Apple App Store

Nostr, a startup decentralized social network, got its Twitter-like Damus application listed on Apple’s App Store. CoinDesk reports: Nostr is an open protocol that aims to create a censorship-resistant global social network. Media commentators have described it as a possible alternative to Elon Musk’s Twitter. According to an article in Protos, Nostr is popular with bitcoiners partly because most implementations of it support payments over Bitcoin’s Lightning Network.

Former Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, who last year donated roughly 14 BTC (worth $245,000 at the time) to fund Nostr’s development, hailed the debut of Damus on Apple’s App Store as a “milestone for open protocols,” in a tweet posted late Tuesday. As of press time, the tweet had been viewed 2.1 million times. According to the Nostr website, Damus is one of several Nostr projects, including Anigma, a Telegram-like chat; Nostros, a mobile client; and Jester, a chess application. You can download the iOS app here.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Decentralized Social Media Project Nostr’s Damus Gets Listed On Apple App Store

It’s OK If A Game Wraps Up, They Don’t All Have To Be Fortnite

Earlier today the developer behind co-op shooter Back 4 Blood-released in 2021 on console and PC—announced that, having released multiple updates and three expansions, it was moving on. And the reaction to this was mostly negative, with players calling the game dead and suggesting the team was giving up on it. But…

Read more…



Source: Kotaku – It’s OK If A Game Wraps Up, They Don’t All Have To Be Fortnite

The Pentagon Claims a Chinese Surveillance Balloon Has Been Floating Over the U.S. for Days

Defense officials claim that a Chinese surveillance balloon has been drifting over the northern part of the United States for the past several days. The balloon is thought to have traveled over a number of different states where sensitive defense installations (read: nuclear silos) are located.

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – The Pentagon Claims a Chinese Surveillance Balloon Has Been Floating Over the U.S. for Days

Documents Show Meta Paid For Data Scraping Despite Years of Denouncing It

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Engadget: Meta has routinely fought data scrapers, but it also participated in that practice itself — if not necessarily for the same reasons. Bloomberg has obtained legal documents from a Meta lawsuit against a former contractor, Bright Data, indicating that the Facebook owner paid its partner to scrape other websites. Meta spokesperson Andy Stone confirmed the relationship in a discussion with Bloomberg, but said his company used Bright Data to build brand profiles, spot “harmful” sites and catch phishing campaigns, not to target competitors.

Stone added that data scraping could serve “legitimate integrity and commercial purposes” so long as it was done legally and honored sites’ terms of service. Meta terminated its arrangement with Bright Data after the contractor allegedly violated company terms when gathering and selling data from Facebook and Instagram. Neither Bright Data nor Meta is saying which sites they scraped. Bright Data is countersuing Meta in a bid to keep scraping Facebook and Instagram, arguing that it only collects publicly available information and respects both European Union and US regulations.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Documents Show Meta Paid For Data Scraping Despite Years of Denouncing It

The Long History of Mandalore to Know Before The Mandalorian Season 3

Star Wars canon is fascinated with the homeworld of the Mandalorians—ever since The Clone Wars radically overhauled the status quo of its people, the planet has loomed large, casting a shadow of intrigue across the works of Dave Filoni. When The Mandalorian returns March 1 for its third season, we’ll be heading back…

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – The Long History of Mandalore to Know Before The Mandalorian Season 3

The Story Of Nintendo's Favorite Football Team

If you’re a fan of both football and video games you’ll no doubt have all kinds of fond memories of the two coming together on a team’s shirt, from Arsenal’s classic Dreamcast kit to Fiorentina’s shirts in the 90s. As iconic as those kits were, though, they were but blips on the radar compared to Nintendo’s…

Read more…



Source: Kotaku – The Story Of Nintendo’s Favorite Football Team

86% of Stablecoin Issuer Tether Was Controlled By 4 People As of 2018: WSJ

Four men owned 86% of Tether as of 2018, according to investigatory documents viewed by the Wall Street Journal. CoinDesk reports: The documents from 2021 probes of Tether by the New York Attorney General and the federal Commodity Futures Trading Commission reveal the previously unknown ownership structure of the secretive issuer of the world’s largest stablecoin. Tether’s USDT stablecoin is a key piece of infrastructure in the crypto world, easing the movement of money in the industry. Yet, the people behind it have not always been forthcoming about how they operate.

Tether began from separate companies led by ex-plastic surgeon Giancarlo Devasini and former child actor Brock Pierce. Devasini, who helped develop crypto exchange Bitfinex and is now its chief financial officer, owned about 43% of Tether in 2018, according to the documents seen by the Journal. Two other executives of both Bitfinex and Tether, CEO Jean-Louis van Der Velde and Chief Counsel Stuart Hoegner, each owned roughly 15% of Tether in 2018, the documents revealed. The fourth major owner as of 2018 was a businessman with British and Thai citizenship known as Christopher Harborne in the U.K. and Chakrit Sakunkrit in Thailand. He controlled about 13% of Tether. Together, the four men owned approximately 86% of Tether through their own holdings and another related company.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – 86% of Stablecoin Issuer Tether Was Controlled By 4 People As of 2018: WSJ

OneDriveGUI Makes It Easy to Sync OneDrive to a Local Folder

OneDriveGUI is a GUI for OneDrive that includes the ability to configure and manage multiple OneDrive accounts with asynchronous real-time monitoring, selective sync, GUI-based login process, system tray icon, and more. Learn more here.

The post OneDriveGUI Makes It Easy to Sync OneDrive to a Local Folder appeared first on Linux Today.



Source: Linux Today – OneDriveGUI Makes It Easy to Sync OneDrive to a Local Folder

Amazon Reports Its First Unprofitable Year Since 2014

Amazon is reporting its first unprofitable year since 2014. NPR reports: Amazon lost $2.7 billion last year, the company said on Thursday. This was despite holiday-season sales growing 9%. Amazon’s shares fell in after hours trading. By far, the biggest culprit for Amazon’s losses over the year was the company’s hefty investment in the electric automaker Rivian whose value plummeted last year and ate into Amazon’s bottom line.

Amazon had taken a 20% stake in Rivian and has begun rolling out the carmaker’s electric delivery vans. Rivian wanted to replicate Tesla’s success and held one of the largest initial public offerings in U.S. history. But last year, the exuberance faded, the carmaker made pricing missteps and it fell short of growth targets. Its stock price dropped 82%. For Amazon, the loss on its investment comes right when it contends with the need to recalibrate after a pandemic-era upsurge.

During the pandemic, the appetite for online shopping seemed to promise exponential growth, and many believed the habit changes could be permanent. Amazon couldn’t hire and built warehouses fast enough; its profits doubled and kept growing. But then people returned to physical stores, switched from cocooning to travel and outings, and eventually got more hesitant to spend as inflation rose. Last month, Amazon announced it expected to cut 18,000 jobs, or about 5% of the corporate workforce. CEO Andy Jassy, in a blog post, referenced “the uncertain economy” and the company’s pandemic-era hiring spree. At the peak, in late 2021-early 2022, Amazon employed more than 1.6 million part-time and full-time workers globally. Thursday’s financial report shows that number is now down to 1.5 million.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Amazon Reports Its First Unprofitable Year Since 2014

The World's Biggest Airplane, Destroyed In Ukraine, Is Coming To Flight Simulator

For over 30 years the Antonov An-225 Mriya was the world’s biggest airplane, a colossal vehicle that was 84 m (275 feet) long and weighed 190 tonnes, but which could still somehow not just get itself into the air, but carry loads of other stuff inside it while doing it.

Read more…



Source: Kotaku – The World’s Biggest Airplane, Destroyed In Ukraine, Is Coming To Flight Simulator

Paizo Partners With Humble Bundle to Tempt New Players

Paizo, the company heading up the establishment of the Open RPG Creative License (ORC) in the wake of Wizards of the Coasts’ mishandling of its attempted OGL update, is now offering nearly $4oo worth of product for only $25 through Humble Bundle. All proceeds will go to the charity Code for America, “which helps…

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Paizo Partners With Humble Bundle to Tempt New Players

Exploring Rust for Vulkan drivers, part 1

Over the course of the last decade, Rust has emerged as a new programming language for writing safe low-level code. How practical would it be to write a Vulkan driver mostly in Rust? Would doing so bring enough benefit to be worth the effort? In the first of a series, Faith Ekstrand explores the area of using Rust to write Mesa Vulkan drivers.

Source: LXer – Exploring Rust for Vulkan drivers, part 1

Back At Google Again, Cofounder Sergey Brin Just Filed His First Code Request In Years

After years of day-to-day absence, Google cofounder Sergey Brin filed a request for access to code related to the company’s natural language chatbot, LaMDA. Forbes reports: Two sources said the request was related to LaMDA, Google’s natural language chatbot — a project initially announced in 2021, but which has recently garnered increased attention as Google tries to fend off rival OpenAI, which released the popular ChatGPT bot in November. Brin filed a “CL,” short for “changelist,” to gain access to the data that trains LaMDA, one person who saw the request said. It was a two line change to a configuration file to add his username to the code, that person said. Several dozen engineers gave the request LGTM approval, short for “looks good to me.” Some of the approvals came from workers outside of that team, seemingly just eager to be able to say they gave code review approval to the company cofounder, that person added.

The move was a small technical change, but underscores how seriously the company is taking the looming threat from OpenAI and other competitors. Brin and cofounder Larry Page have been largely absent from the company since 2019, when Page handed the reins over to Sundar Pichai to become CEO of Google parent Alphabet. But Pichai has recently called in the company founders to review the company’s AI strategy and help form a response to ChatGPT, according to the New York Times. Brin’s tinkering highlights the level of involvement the cofounders have taken.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.



Source: Slashdot – Back At Google Again, Cofounder Sergey Brin Just Filed His First Code Request In Years

7 Common Messes From Beauty Products (and How to Clean Them)

Nothing beats self-care—except saving money on self-care. Heading to the spa or salon for pampering is special and relaxing, but pampering yourself at home is fulfilling in its own way. You’re saving money, feeling accomplished, and looking great. But you know why going to the pros is as relaxing as it is? You don’t…

Read more…



Source: LifeHacker – 7 Common Messes From Beauty Products (and How to Clean Them)

Joe Manchin and Ted Cruz Are Trying to Ban Gas Stove Bans

Senators Joe Manchin and Ted Cruz have teamed up across the aisle to introduce a new bill that would stop the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) from restricting gas stoves. The legislation, titled the “Gas Stove Protection and Freedom Act,” was introduced during a Thursday committee meeting and would ban any…

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Joe Manchin and Ted Cruz Are Trying to Ban Gas Stove Bans

Pope Francis Briefly Gave the Middle Finger His Blessing in Since Deleted Tweet

Pope Francis caused a bit of ruckus on the internet Thursday after he seemed to support the use of the middle finger in a Twitter post. The post, which has since been removed, highlighted the middle finger, saying it was a symbol of honesty.

Read more…



Source: Gizmodo – Pope Francis Briefly Gave the Middle Finger His Blessing in Since Deleted Tweet

AI Is Streaming An Endlessly Generated Seinfeld TV Show On Twitch And Yes It's Bizarre

AI Is Streaming An Endlessly Generated Seinfeld TV Show On Twitch And Yes It's Bizarre
Have you ever wished that there was more Seinfeld, except visualized as a 1990s PC point-and-click game, and with completely nonsensical AI-generated everything? No? Well, that’s too bad, because that’s exactly what you get with “Nothing, Forever,” an endless Twitch stream of exactly what we just described.

To be clear, when we say “everything”

Source: Hot Hardware – AI Is Streaming An Endlessly Generated Seinfeld TV Show On Twitch And Yes It’s Bizarre