Numerous Linux/X11 Display Drivers Can No Longer Even Properly Build

While many Linux enthusiasts like to cite Linux’s stellar support for older hardware platforms, in reality that isn’t always the case. For instance with many old X.Org user-space mode-setting drivers for powering old graphics cards at least for display purposes, they can no longer even build with with modern toolchains / software components. Given the lack of bug reports around such issues, there are very likely few users trying some of these vintage hardware combinations.

Source: LXer – Numerous Linux/X11 Display Drivers Can No Longer Even Properly Build

Academic Journal Claims It Fingerprints PDFs For 'Ransomware,' Not Surveillance

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Motherboard: One of the world’s largest publishers of academic papers said it adds a unique fingerprint to every PDF users download in an attempt to prevent ransomware, not to prevent piracy. Elsevier defended the practice after an independent researcher discovered the existence of the unique fingerprints and shared their findings on Twitter last week. “The identifier in the PDF helps to prevent cybersecurity risks to our systems and to those of our customers — there is no metadata, PII [Personal Identifying Information] or personal data captured by these,” an Elsevier spokesperson said in an email to Motherboard. “Fingerprinting in PDFs allows us to identify potential sources of threats so we can inform our customers for them to act upon. This approach is commonly used across the academic publishing industry.”

When asked what risks he was referring to, the spokesperson sent a list of links to news articles about ransomware. However, Elsevier has a long history of pursuing people who pirate or share its paywalled academic articles. […] It’s unclear exactly how fingerprinting every PDF downloaded could actually prevent ransomware. Jonny Saunders, a neuroscience PhD candidate at University of Oregon, who discovered the practice, said he believes Elsevier is trying to surveil its users and prevent people from sharing research without paying the company. “The subtext there is pretty loud to me,” Saunders told Motherboard in an online chat. “Those breaches/ransoms are really a pretext for saying ‘universities need to lock down accounts so people can’t skim PDFs. When you have stuff that you don’t want other people to give away for free, you want some way of finding out who is giving it away, right?”

“Saying that the unique identifiers *themselves* don’t contain PII is a semantic dodge: the way identifiers like these work is to be able to match them later with other identifying information stored at the time of download like browser fingerprint, institutional credentials, etc,” Saunders added. “Justifying them as a tool to protect against ransomware is a straightforward admission that these codes are intended to identify the downloader: how would they help if not by identifying the compromised account or system?”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Academic Journal Claims It Fingerprints PDFs For ‘Ransomware,’ Not Surveillance

Linux crontab tutorial with Examples

If you already have some experience as a Linux system administrator, chances are you know what cron is and what it does. If you’re just starting working with Linux, it’s essential knowledge that will certainly serve you later. Either way, if you already have the knowledge, this article will refresh it. If not, you will get a guide to start you up. So you’re only expected to have some basic knowledge of Linux systems and, as usual, a desire to learn.

Source: LXer – Linux crontab tutorial with Examples

Activision exec tries to dissuade employees from unionizing in a leaked Slack message

Since a group of 34 quality assurance testers at Raven Software voted to unionize earlier this month, the studio’s parent company, Activision Blizzard, has been making moves that will undermine that support and make it harder for workers to organize. This morning, Activision VP of QA Chris Arends sent the clearest message yet about where executives stand on the unionization effort, and (spoiler) it’s firmly against.

In an internal, locked Slack channel on Monday morning, Arends asked himself six questions about the potential union and provided answers for employees from Activision’s point of view, as shared on Twitter by union organizer Jessica Gonzalez. Employees were unable to respond to the message. Each answer diminished the benefits of unionization, but the fourth prompt offered the most explicit takedown of the organization process. It reads as follows: 

We heard that the union will protect employees and provide employees with job security?

Job security here at ABK rests with our ability to produce epic entertainment for our fans. A union doesn’t do anything to help us produce world-class games, and the bargaining process is not typically quick, often reduces flexibility, and can be adversarial and lead to negative publicity. All of this could hurt our ability to continue creating great games.

The fifth answer argued that union-driven bargaining takes too long to be effective, stating the obvious in the process: “A unionized company cannot act quickly on its own if the union does not agree with its position.” The final answer reminded employees that they don’t have to vote in favor of the union when an election takes place.

On Twitter, Gonzalez called the post “sad.”

This is the latest move from Activision designed to halt momentum on the unionization process at Raven. Just three days after employees announced they had gathered a supermajority of signatures required to unionize under the name Game Workers Alliance, Raven head Brian Raffel revealed a reorganization plan that breaks up the studio’s QA department, moving employees to disparate teams.

Communications Workers of America, which is backing GWA, said on Twitter that the shuffle was “nothing more than a tactic to thwart Raven QA workers who are exercising their right to organize.”

Activision also failed to voluntarily recognize GWA, which means they’ll have to seek a vote through the NLRB, a process that can take years. Additionally, Activision is pushing for the vote to include all employees at Raven, rather than only QA workers, reducing the potential for success.

Arends’ Slack message — trying to convince employees that unions will make their works lives slower and crappier — falls in line with Activision’s previous tactics. 

Activision Blizzard is currently the subject of intense scrutiny from multiple angles. GWA will be the first union at a AAA game development studio in North America, potentially setting the stage for more organization across the industry. Plus, Activision Blizzard is the subject of a lawsuit and multiple investigations into reports of systemic gender discrimination and sexual harassment at the studio, with incidents allegedly dating back decades. 

And finally, Microsoft is in the process of buying Activision Blizzard, Raven Software and all, in a deal worth $69 billion. It’ll be the largest acquisition in video game history and it marks the industry’s era of consolidation. One day after news of the acquisition went live, Activision told the SEC that there were no unionization efforts underway at its studios, though in the months before, executives told Raven employees to “consider the consequences” of signing union cards.

Source: Engadget – Activision exec tries to dissuade employees from unionizing in a leaked Slack message

Esports Gaming Hotel Opened in Akihabara

Akihabara News (Tokyo) — Nohga Hotel Akihabara Tokyo has opened gaming rooms where guests can experience esports from the privacy of their accommodations.

Based on the hotel’s concept of “experiences born from deep connections with the local community,” the hotel seeks to collaborate with the local community in Akihabara, where many famous esports-related stores are located, including electronics retail outlets and gaming PC specialty stores.

In addition, from the perspective of preventing the spread of the coronavirus, the managers suggest that esports are an appropriate activity in the pandemic era.

The hotel is targeting customers of all ages who are interested in playing esports.

The gaming rooms offer the Galleria ZA9C-R39 Z590, a leading Japanese gaming PC that has been adopted and recommended in esports tournaments. The peripherals include many from the gaming brand Logicool G. The room is also equipped with a gaming chair called Herman Miller X Logitech G Embody Gaming Chair, and Monster Energy is offered as an amenity.

In addition, there are cameras and microphones for streaming, so that the rooms can be used for live streaming and similar purposes.

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The post Esports Gaming Hotel Opened in Akihabara appeared first on Akihabara News.

Source: Akihabara News – Esports Gaming Hotel Opened in Akihabara

World's Fastest Gaming Monitor Hits 500 Hz Refresh Rate

According to Chinese news outlet Sina, BOE has made breakthroughs in monitor technology and has built the world’s first 500 Hz gaming monitor. Tom’s Hardware reports: The monitor features a 27-inch, Full HD panel equipped with a high-mobility oxide backplane which is how BOE achieved the blisteringly high refresh rate, with a response time of just 1ms. BOE has ample experience with oxide semiconductor display technology. For example, the company’s 500 Hz monitor is significantly faster than the fastest gaming monitors on the market today, from the likes of Asus, Alienware, and Acer, which “only” top out at 360 Hz. Other attributes include accurate 8-bit output and support for an 8-lane eDP signal. Remember that BOE’s monitor is a prototype designed for demonstration purposes only. BOE has not stated if it will be making a 500 Hz gaming panel for the mass market anytime soon, so we could be waiting a long until an official monitor arrives in the hands of gamers.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – World’s Fastest Gaming Monitor Hits 500 Hz Refresh Rate

Athlete Beds at the Beijing Olympics Have Remote Controls, a Zero Gravity Mode, and No Cardboard

As athletes arrive in China for the Winter Olympics, one burning question has crossed more than a few minds: What will the beds be like this time? Short answer: no cardboard in sight.

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Source: Gizmodo – Athlete Beds at the Beijing Olympics Have Remote Controls, a Zero Gravity Mode, and No Cardboard

Review: MNT Reform laptop has fully open hardware and software—for better or worse

If you’re a Linux fan or open source advocate looking for a decent laptop, you actually have some solid options right now—much better, at least, than buying a Windows laptop, installing Linux on it, and hoping for the best.

Source: LXer – Review: MNT Reform laptop has fully open hardware and software—for better or worse

Physicists discover that clouds of ultracold atoms can form “quantum tornadoes”

An image of quantum stuff looks like twisty fiery lines.

Enlarge / (l-r) A quantum gas appears first as an elongated rod. As it rotates, it becomes helical, then it breaks up into blobs, each a swirling mass. Between the blobs tiny vortices appear in a regularly repeating series. (credit: MIT/Nature)

Physicists at MIT have succeeded in getting “quantum tornadoes” to form in clouds of utlracold atoms, according to a recent paper published in the journal Nature. This is the first direct, in situ documentation of how a rapidly rotating quantum gas evolves, and per the authors, the process resembles how the rotational effects of the Earth can give rise to large-scale weather patterns.

The MIT scientists were interested in studying so-called quantum Hall fluids. First discovered in the 1980s, quantum Hall fluids are composed of clouds of electrons floating in magnetic fields. In a classical system, the electrons would repel each other and form a crystal. But in quantum Hall fluids, the electrons mimic the behavior of their neighbors—evidence of quantum correlation.

“People discovered all kinds of amazing properties, and the reason was, in a magnetic field, electrons are (classically) frozen in place—all their kinetic energy is switched off, and what’s left is purely interactions,” said co-author Richard Fletcher, a physicist at MIT. “So, this whole world emerged. But it was extremely hard to observe and understand.”

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Source: Ars Technica – Physicists discover that clouds of ultracold atoms can form “quantum tornadoes”

Website Fined By German Court For Leaking Visitor's IP Address Via Google Fonts

Earlier this month, a German court fined an unidentified website $110 for violating EU privacy law by importing a Google-hosted web font. The Register reports: The decision, by Landgericht Munchen’s third civil chamber in Munich, found that the website, by including Google-Fonts-hosted font on its pages, passed the unidentified plaintiff’s IP address to Google without authorization and without a legitimate reason for doing so. And that violates Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). That is to say, when the plaintiff visited the website, the page made the user’s browser fetch a font from Google Fonts to use for some text, and this disclosed the netizen’s IP address to the US internet giant. This kind of hot-linking is normal with Google Fonts; the issue here is that the visitor apparently didn’t give permission for their IP address to be shared. The website could have avoided this drama by self-hosting the font, if possible.

The decision says IP addresses represent personal data because it’s theoretically possible to identify the person associated with an IP address, and that it’s irrelevant whether the website or Google has actually done so. The ruling directs the website to stop providing IP addresses to Google and threatens the site operator with a fine of 250,000 euros for each violation, or up to six months in prison, for continued improper use of Google Fonts. Google Fonts is widely deployed — the Google Fonts API is used by about 50m websites. The API allows websites to style text with Google Fonts stored on remote servers — Google’s or a CDN’s — that get fetched as the page loads. Google Fonts can be self-hosted to avoid running afoul of EU rules and the ruling explicitly cites this possibility to assert that relying on Google-hosted Google Fonts is not defensible under the law.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Website Fined By German Court For Leaking Visitor’s IP Address Via Google Fonts

Ads Will Soon Target You Based on Your Music and Podcast Taste

Thanks to Google’s ongoing quest to kill off browser cookies and Apple’s ongoing quest to vanquish its mobile identifiers, folks in the multibillion dollar business of tracking a user’s every move online have been doing their best to well, keep tracking a user’s every move online. While most smaller places in the…

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Source: Gizmodo – Ads Will Soon Target You Based on Your Music and Podcast Taste

WoW's Cross-Faction Evolution Is Finally a Chance to Make Love, Not Warcraft

The story of Warcraft is a story of, well, war. Orcs against humans, Horde against Alliance, time and time again the story of Blizzard’s fantasy saga—told across the classic strategy games and, for the past 18 years, groundbreaking MMORPG World of Warcraft—has turned back to stoking conflict between its two biggest…

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Source: Gizmodo – WoW’s Cross-Faction Evolution Is Finally a Chance to Make Love, Not Warcraft

Amazon Warehouse Manager Pleads Guilty To Stealing $273K of Computer Parts

A Charlotte, North Carolina man has pleaded guilty to charges of mail fraud after stealing and reselling merchandise from an Amazon warehouse, the Department of Justice said in a news release. The Verge reports: Between June 2020 and September 2021, Douglas Wright, Jr., an operations manager at Amazon’s Charlotte warehouse, allegedly stole products with a total value of more than $273,000, using his access to get computer parts like internal hard drives and processors, according to the DOJ. Wright said in court on Friday that he shipped the products to his home, then sold them to a computer wholesale company in California. He faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A sentencing date has not been set.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Source: Slashdot – Amazon Warehouse Manager Pleads Guilty To Stealing 3K of Computer Parts

Facebook-backed Diem Association confirms it's 'winding down'

Diem, the ambitious crypto project funded by Facebook has collapsed. The Diem Association confirmed that it’s selling its assets to Silvergate, the bank that had previously partnered with the group, and that it would “begin the process of winding down.” Bloomberg had reported talks of a sale last week. A Diem Association spokesperson alleged at the time that the report had unspecified “factual errors.”

Now that the sale is official, it marks the end of a more than two year effort to launch the stablecoin championed by Mark Zuckerberg. Though the Diem Association was a separate organization from Facebook and parent company Meta, much of its funding came from Facebook. “I believe that this is something that needs to get built, but I get that I’m not the ideal messenger for this right now,” Zuckerberg told Congress in a 2019 hearing about his cryptocurrency ambitions.

The group previously known as the Libra Association had reportedly hoped to launch its stablecoin last January. But it ran into repeated roadblocks from lawmakers and regulators around the world, and the project was delayed and scaled back numerous times. Among officials’ top concerns was that Diem could be used for money laundering and other illicit purposes.

In a statement, Diem CEO Stuart Levey blamed US regulators for Diem’s demise, and defended the organization’s work to minimize risk with “industry-leading controls to protect consumers and combat financial crime.”

“Despite giving us positive substantive feedback on the design of the network, it nevertheless became clear from our dialogue with federal regulators that the project could not move ahead,” Levey. “As a result, the best path forward was to sell the Diem Group’s assets, as we have done today to Silvergate.”

It’s unclear what this means for Facebook’s cryptocurrency wallet Novi, which launched a “small pilot” last year with the Pax Dollar stablecoin. At the time, Facebook’s former crypto chief David Marcus said the company remained committed to launching Diem. Marcus left the company a month later. Facebook didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Source: Engadget – Facebook-backed Diem Association confirms it’s ‘winding down’

A Dungeons & Dragons TV Show Is Coming From Red Notice Director

Just when you thought having TV shows based on Star Wars, Marvel, DC, The Lord of the Rings, Halo, and about 50 other major franchises wasn’t enough, one of the biggest and baddest is finally rolling its way into the mix. eOne just announced that Rawson Marshall Thurber, the writer and director behind Netflix’s smash…

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Source: Gizmodo – A Dungeons & Dragons TV Show Is Coming From Red Notice Director

Activision VP Posts Anti-Union Message In Company Slack

Raven’s QA workers winning the right to unionize was a short-lived victory; in the days since returning from their strike Activision has announced plans to split everyone up, and then reveal a larger strategy that’s aimed at crushing this movement before it’s allowed to take hold.

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Source: Kotaku – Activision VP Posts Anti-Union Message In Company Slack