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The Isoblog. Posts

Höme Improvisåtion

I am the last person on this planet to find Höme Improvisåtion, a sandbox game that is totally not affiliated with IKEA at all.

What you get is an unlimited supply of things in flatpacks, zero instructions, insufficient controls (maybe it’s better in VR), and all things connect to each other, even between unrelated flatpacks.

So basically it’s not Lego and not IKEA, either. You can build whatever the game wants you to build, or get more flatpacks and mix and match. Some of them have motors, muhahaha.

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Qi in Apple, Otterbox makes wireless batteries, and David Foster left Google

So Google fucked the Nexus line, and did the lackluster and overpriced Pixel excursion. The guy who strategically fucked this up, David Foster, apparently goes back to Amazon.

Meanwhile it is an open secret that the iPhone 8 will have the Qi charging that the current Nexus and Pixels don’t have any more. Also, Otterbox and friends are already making contactless battery extensions. It’s not pretty and it’s not efficient, but after the “no ports for nobody” disaster of the current generation of Macbook Pros it’s at least consistent.

This leaves us with the question: Will Google make attractive phones again after Foster is gone now?

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TR069 meets Brickerbot and friends

Bleepingcomputer has a report on the californian ISP Sierra Tel, who apparently has visitors (JPG of letter) over at their customers TR069 interfaces.

TR069 is the config interface of home DSL equipment, and if it is insufficiently secured, can be used to own each and every home DSL router of an ISP.

Which happened to Sierra, twice, simultaneously. Which did not improve the results at all.

“BrickerBot was active on the Sierra Tel network at the time their customers reported issues,” Janit0r told Bleeping Computer in an email, “but their modems had also just been mass-infected with malware, so it’s possible some of the network problems were caused by this concomitant activity.”

Janit0r suggested the other culprit was Mirai, a malware also known to cause similar issues.

Mirai is also the malware that disabled a bunch of German and British Telekom modems earlier this year.

 

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Toybox: Writing a new command line from scratch

Rob Landley, of Busybox/Toybox fame, spoke four years ago about the Toybox project in the context of Android and whatever else was recent back then. The talk contains a brilliant deconstruction of the problems that GPL v3 has, and why it is in decline.

It also shows a lot of vision re containers, and what is needed in this context. If you are deploying Alpine today, with musl and toybox in it, here is why and how it came to be.

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Mastodon (or actually, GNU.social)

This article by rw is a good non-technical introduction to GNU.social, Mastodon, and the protocols and ideologies behind it:

The protocol OStatus is shared by a number of implementations, which are all more or less interoperable. One of the implementations is GNU.social, another is the right now hyped Mastodon. Each of the implementations has many instances, some of them large, many of them very small. They all connect to each other and talk to each other, through federation, and together they form the so called Fediverse.

You can subscribe to one or more of the instances, or start to run your own – it’s up to you.

I signed up as Isotopp@octodon.social, and use it mostly for reading. I won’t start posting there any time soon. So, what is it like?

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Switzerland, post fixed book price agreements

Swiss NZZ has an article about the Buchpreisbindung, fixed book price agreements. These are still a thing in Germany, and have been in Switzerland, in the past.

In Switzerland, fixed book prices was not prolonged in May 2007. In the political followup, it came to  a public referendum in March 2012, and that did not come through, repealing the agreement permanently.

Since then, book prices fell by 20%, and variances in price mostly have been caused by the price of the swiss franc in relation to the Euro. 30% of the book shows also closed, but that is more likely caused by digitization of reading than by the price agreement going away.

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What happened to Google’s book scanning project

The Atlantic has a wonderful article about the Google book scanning project and what became of it.

In 2002, Google began mass scanning every book it could possibly their hands on, OCRing it and making it searchable. Authors and publishers soon began sueing Google from here to the south pole and back, but in the end realized that they did not actually want to win their lawsuits.

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