Public Service Internet monthly newsletter (April 2020)

After truth

We live in incredible times with such possibilities that is clear. Although its easily dismissed by looking at the amount of infected people with Covid19 or the huge amount of scams cashing in on our Covid19 fears.

To quote Buckminster Fuller “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.

You are seeing aspects of this happening with people rising to the challenge of 3D printing valves and open-sourcing the results.


Your living room has an agenda

Ian thinks: Christopher Wylie covers the natural progress of linked data, surveillance, iot, smart cities, data ethics and echo bubbles in a short diatribe. Taken from ANTIDOTE 2019

Doughnut Economics explained by Kate Raworth

Ian thinks: Kate made the link between human needs and the environmental demands to support life on earth, in such a engaging and simple to understand way. This is the kind of connected thinking which will drive forward much needed changes.

Hacktivists: From Anonymous to Luzsac to Occupy

Ian thinks: Great documentary about hacks, hackers, hacktivists and their political interests. Free to watch in full on youtube

Throwing out data ethics with the bath water in the age of Covid-19?

Ian thinks: Great examples of where data ethics has been squeezed or sidelined during a more immediate threat. Something we should all be aware of.

Summary of Open hardware fighting Covid-19

Ian thinks: There is so much about open hardware hackers doing incredible things to battle Covid-19. This short video sums up so many great projects in one go and gives some great advice for those wanting to help.

The local global revolution which was waiting for its moment

Ian thinks: Helena and Douglas discuss the importance of localism or decentralised, can serve and solve the problems of people. Douglas’s monologue about Covid-19 and how our current media is warping our perception is so apt.

The status-quo is over, the world after Covid-19

Ian thinks: I started to do a similar post but Vice beat me to the punch with this vast (USA focused) post highlighting the opportunities and questions we should have post Covid-19.

Stealing card details in a flash

Ian thinks: As our contact-less cards limits raise to 45 pounds per transaction. Fascinating to see with great convenience comes great opportunity for those who want to prosper quickly.

Nothing spreads faster than disinformation on the internet

Ian thinks: There is a formula for mis/disinformation (fake news if you must) and its been exploited to the max. This documentary highlights the problem stopping on news we all have heard including . Don’t have HBO, here is a Guardian review

Staying safe and staying humanly connected

Ian thinks: I couldn’t help but end this Covid-19 heavy newsletter with a positive video from Vox showing how we are staying safe and connected during this world wide pandemic. Very touching…

If the boot sequence was this cool

Hackers movie

Remember on Hackers when the guys all start up there laptops and your treated to a range of animated startup sequences?

How cool was it to have all those individualised, personalised startup sequences? Certainly beats looking at the Lenovo, Apple, Microsoft, etc logos.

Well someone is thinking along the same lines at least

The History of File-Sharing

Anonymous DDC_1660_1

The Darknet is something I deep into for research purposes and to get an idea of whats emerging… However I keep having to defend the innovation, expertise and pure genius of the darknet. I use darknet in lei of a better word to describe the underground world of hackers. Crazy because theres so many examples out there.

Torrentfreak recently did a history of file-sharing which has plenty of examples of hackers and developers scratching there own itches.

BitTorrent has catapulted into a mainstream filesharing mechanism which is fast, efficient, and difficult to stop. Early versions of BitTorrent required centralized trackers to operate, but have later become able to utilize trackerless “torrents.” Increasingly BitTorrent users have grown concerned with their privacy. Indexes such as YouHaveDownloaded.com have been able to maintain logs of every file downloaded by IP, which has raised significant awareness to whether it is safe to download files through BitTorrent. In addition, many ISPs have been known to cap speeds when detecting BitTorrent downloads. As a result of these privacy concerns millions of BitTorrent users have signed up with Anonymous VPN services to mask their IP-addresses when downloading…

Media ahead of the curve: Welcometothescene

Welcome to the scene series 2 ep 19

Does anyone remember welcometothescene by Jun Group?

I wrote about it a while back here and here.

For me this was way too early for a lot of reasons but in a world where hackers are dominating the headlines and endless war against piracy this series could actually work very well now. The style is also being duplicated by the likes of some recorded google hangouts I’ve seen recently.

The drama slowly unfolds and although I’ve not seen series 2, I expect the risky move to do very slow drama has been reconsidered. It wasn’t gripping but intriguing enough…

The method of distribution at the time was very radical, creative commons licensed and freely shared on bit torrent (and even e-donkey, geez do you remember that?). Even created in sharing friendly formats like Divx, Xvid, etc… Although quite a obvious move now… back in the day this was pretty amazing and people lapped it up as soon as they could get there hands on it.

Yes Welcome to the scene deserves a place in my ahead of the curve series.

Connected Studio, what a good idea…

News recently has been talking about Ralph Rivera’s Connected Studio.

Mr Rivera is set to announce the creation of a £3m “Connected Studio” project which aims to connect BBC developers and producers with their commercial counterparts, and establish a new technical platform for outsiders to build digital services around BBC content.

Speaking about the plans at the conference today Rivera said “the studio is that space where technology and the creative storyteller come together” and that it “made sense” to “create a connected studio”.

He told the audience this could see the creation of a virtual space and possibly a physical one also.

What a excellent idea…

Just the kind of thing which cuts the gap between, narrative and interactivity. painters and hackers? storytellers and architects? Something which has been crumbling for as long as I can remember.

The HTC, slowly feeling their way around

All my current phones

HTC you got to love them

From obscurity they rose via Microsoft’s Windows Mobile platform. I’ve always been a fan because frankly they packed in a ton of technology into their devices and then sold them at a reasonable price. Mainly because they signed exclusive deals to the likes of Orange in the UK.

When they started producing Android devices, things really picked up and HTC started making a real name for themselves with the general public. Hackers also enjoyed Android HTC devices because they were more like a PC than anything else. HTC must have understood this when they jumped on the Social media bandwagon…

However they may not have expected the 2 way nature of the early adopters. Here’s their backtracking in action

First caseHTC decides to lock all there bootloaders on future devices

Then… HTC changes its mind after all the comments on its own Facebook page

Second caseHTC says the Desire won’t get Gingerbread

Then… HTC backtracks, says the Desire will get Gingerbread after all‎

Verifone throws its weight behind FUD

If you’ve not seen the video from Verifone about Jack Dorsey’s Square startup, its well worth watching if you can find it. There is a Parody which sums up everything we’re all thinking.

VeriFone’s business model has been side-swiped (pun intended), so they decided to use Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt (FUD) to counter this, and hope to drive their competition out of business. Remember, VeriFone is the one who makes, and gives away, the app to skim Credit Cards — and they’re talking about trust? VeriFone, go fuck yourself with a cactus. I’m sticking with Square, who won’t rip me off.

The weird part of this whole thing is Verifone creating a proof of concept application at sq-skim.com. Which raises the whole question about hacker ethics.

Verifone putting out a proof of concept app before telling square about the flaw… And making it available for anyone to download and mess with. This is bad form, and if they were not in the business of pushing there own solution (which is much bulker and no where near as elegant) they might have told Square about the flaw and pursued them to fix it.

Verifone are certainly running scared…

Kinect the fast growing, all down to the hackers

Sony’s War on Makers, Hackers, and Innovators

Microsoft announced today that it has sold 10 million Kinect sensors since the Xbox 360 accessory launched in November. In addition, Microsoft reported that over 10 million Kinect games have been sold. The global sales figures, according to a company spokeswoman, were tallied through the end of February.

Since its launch, Kinect–which allows gamers to control on-screen action with only the movement of their bodies rather than a controller–has surpassed expectations. Microsoft initially expected to sell 5 million Kinect units through 2010. At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, however, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer revealed that the company actually sold 8 million units through the end of the year.

Read more: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13506_3-20041213-17.html

Although I’m really happy the Microsoft Kinect has outsold even the Apple iPad, The Nintendo Wiimote, Halo, etc. One thing no one seems to be mentioning is the fact Microsoft made that massive U Turn on people hacking the Kinect.

There is no doubt in my mind that being hacker friendly made all the difference. In actual fact if there was a graph of sales, I bet after the first rush to get a kinect, things were steady before sales went a little crazy once someone hacked the kinect. After Microsoft did the whole U turn, sales must have gone through the roof.

I look forward to seeing the increase sales once the SDK comes out. Microsoft are on a roll, now if only Sony, Apple, etc would see the benefits of working with the hacker community.

Hacked Kinect, welcome to the future

Hacked kinect brings futuristic user interface Found via Tdobson on twitter,

Microsoft’s Kinect is a marvelous piece of technology. However with Microsoft trying to lock it with only the Xbox while there could be several amazing uses for it, Adafruit announced a bounty for anyone who develop an opensource driver for it.

Hector Martin developed the driver and won the bounty. He also released the driver as libfreenect. Now we have the first application which use libfreenect to use Kinect as an input device.

Interesting stuffs await!

Amazing!!! Kudos to the hackers, I can’t wait to hear what’s next…