Reality 2.0 Newsletter - December 23, 2020: Happy Holidays!

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A Quick Plug

Episode 52: Fragmentation and Outrage of the Week

Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman talk to Kyle Rankin about fragmentation and software development, the Amazon Halo, and surveilling school children.

Episode 53: The SolarWinds Attack

Doc Searls and Katherine Druckman talk to Kyle Rankin and Petros Koutoupis about the SolarWinds hack, and Facebook's reaction to Apple privacy initiatives.

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See You in January

Thank you to everyone for joining us in 2020. We are grateful for all our guests, subscribers, and everyone who listens, reads, and reaches out via email and social media. We’re especially grateful to our Patreon supporters who help us keep the podcast going. Everyone involved in Reality 2.0 wishes you the happiest holiday and an optimistic new year! This week we leave you with two new episodes to enjoy while we take a holiday break. We’ll be back in January after the new year with new episodes, and in the meantime please keep in touch and send us feedback on any of our social outlets, or via our contact form.

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This Week’s Reading List

  • Preventing Fragmentation with the Librem 5 – Purism — Fragmentation is a massive problem in computer software development that has only gotten worse with mobile computers. By fragmentation I’m referring to incompatible platforms that require a developer to maintain separate forks of their code. Twenty years ago if you wanted to write software for an end user, you had to decide whether to support Windows, Macs or Linux. Each of those platforms required you to build, test, and maintain different forks of your software.

  • Amazon’s Halo Band wearable tracks your voice and body fat, but isn’t helpful - The Washington Post — The Halo Band asks you to strip down and strap on a microphone so that it can make 3-D scans of your body fat and monitor your tone of voice. After all that, it still isn’t very helpful.

  • U.S. Schools Are Buying Cellebrite Phone-Hacking Tech — While companies like Cellebrite have partnered with federal and local police for years, that the controversial equipment is also available for school district employees to search students’ personal devices has gone relatively unnoticed—and serves as a frightening reminder of how technology originally developed for use by the military or intelligence services, ranging from blast-armored trucks designed for use in war zones to invasive surveillance tools, keeps trickling down to domestic police and even the institutions where our kids go to learn.

  • The Pros and Cons of Open-source Tools - THWACK — SolarWinds blog post that didn't age well. "Security becomes a major issue. Anyone can be hacked. However, the risk is far less when it comes to proprietary software. Due to the nature of open-source software allowing anyone to update the code, the risk of downloading malicious code is much higher. One source referred to using open-source software as “eating from a dirty fork.” When you reach in the drawer for a clean fork, you could be pulling out a dirty utensil. That analogy is right on the money."

  • Facebook’s Laughable Campaign Against Apple Is Really Against Users and Small Businesses | Electronic Frontier Foundation — Facebook has recently launched a campaign touting itself as the protector of small businesses. This is a laughable attempt from Facebook to distract you from its poor track record of anticompetitive behavior and privacy issues as it tries to derail pro-privacy changes from Apple that are bad for Facebook’s business.


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