Any Ruby on Rails security experts looking for a small (side) gig?
In April/May, Freedom of the Press Foundation is looking for contract help (small-ish contract, think 4 digits total USD) auditing the configuration of our Redmine support portal and associated plugins, including the OpenPGP plugin (https://github.com/freedomofpress/redmine_openpgp), and preparing for a release upgrade. (Redmine is built on RoR.)
No formal RfP; if this might be of interest and you have questions, please DM me :).
One of the many reasons I've been a Linux user for most of the last two decades: you (almost) always have options.
Upgraded from Ubuntu 14.04 to 18.04 on my 11-year old desktop and wasn't happy with the performance. Too lazy to debug why it was crawling, apt-get installed Lubuntu, switched to it; not only is it zippy, it's faster than before.
Finished "Paradigm" a few days ago, a fun point and click adventure by Jacob Janerka. An indie title that's also a real labor of love, worth checking out. A bit more in my review:
I wrote about how to read password breach notifications and what the heck hashing and salting mean: https://freedom.press/training/responding-password-breach/
Here's my review of Lutris, the Linux gaming client. Overall I like it a lot and really think it's a promising alternative to the walled garden store-centric approach (i.e. Steam).
It nicely integrates native games from stores alongside emulators and Windows games run under Wine. A few rough edges but definitely worth checking out. Full review:
Was sad to learn that Ben Daglish died back in October last year. One of the great chiptune composers for the C64 (Last Ninja, Krakout, Firelord, Auf Wiedersehen Monty, etc.) and other 8/16 bit era computers. Still heartening to see many tributes on YouTube etc., nice to know the greats won't be forgotten.
Here's a pretty epic symphonic version of the Firelord theme by Glyn R. Brown:
I'm really impressed with what https://lutris.net/ is doing for Linux gaming. Basically an integrated environment for running native Linux games, Windows games (via WINE), assorted emulators, etc., with optimized "runners", hand-picked emulators, custom per-game install scripts, even GOG integration.
The Patreon for Lutris is at https://www.patreon.com/lutris ; if you like Linux gaming, I'd encourage you to 1) give Lutris a try, 2) join me in supporting it. I'll write a more detailed review soon.
Love when I come across stuff like this on some random blogspot site:
Detailed fan review of the game "Champions of Krynn" (1990) as run on an Amiga with a CRT monitor, with lovingly created GIF animations, examples of hand-drawn dungeon maps on graph paper, etc.
I played that game on the Amiga back in the day, and the reviewer is right -- it was by far the best port. :)
Another review from the weekend: "Imperial Twilight" by Stephen Platt, about the period leading up to the First Opium War, fought by Britain against China on behalf of opium smugglers. Full review:
In short, I found the book very captivating and engaging, if a bit limited in its focus. If you're looking for a book to whet your appetite for learning more about the history of Sino-Western relations, I recommend it.
Recently finished Frederick Crews' "Freud: The Making of an Illusion", a highly critical work that describes S. Freud essentially as a quack, cult leader and self-interested con man.
It took me a while to organize my thoughts, but here's an attempt at a review of the book:
tl;dr: Crews collects in one place all the known evidence of fraud, incredulity & malpractice in Freud's career -- and adds a somewhat unhealthy dose of speculation. Important book w/ that caveat.
Lovely animation from the Kurzgesagt folks about Loneliness -- does a good job grounding the importance of thinking about human connection (e.g, in how we build cities, neighborhoods, homes, workplaces) in hard science.
Two reviews from the weekend (see links for full reviews):
"The Lost Words" (Macfarlane/Morris): https://lib.reviews/the-lost-words
Brief poems and large format art, much of it watercolor. Emotionally very powerful, an invitation to love nature. Highly recommended.
"The Zoomable Universe" (Scharf/Miller):
Essentially a planetarium in book form, offering a modernized "Powers of Ten" style journey through all existence. Engaging if a bit inconsistent in presentation quality.
Friend: Are you OK? You haven't posted on Instagram in ages
Me: I quit FB, Instagram, and Twitter.
Friend: Why'd you quit the internet?
Me: Actually I've *rejoined* the Internet.
Next time someone asked me why did I leave the internet, I'm gonna say I'm still very much on the Internet. When are *you* coming back?
Facebook, capitalism Show more
This story by Reveal (nonprofit outlet similar to ProPublica) adds to the pile of dark stories about Facebook from the last few months, but it's very much worth the read.
Facebook exploited minors' access to their parents' accounts (for spending $$$ in addictive games) for financial gain. They rejected internal recommendations long adopted by other platforms (e.g., re-renter password or CC # before a charge is approved) because - profits.
What are y'all #reading these days?
In our hiring I speak to _so many_ folks who are tired of being stuck in unsatisfying for-profit tech jobs, and who are open to salary compromises to do purposeful work.
In a typical year Freedom of the Press Foundation will probably not hire more than 2-3 tech jobs so there's always a lot of "saying no". :/
But it just strikes me how demoralizing the tech industry is for so many people, and how big the gap is for more meaningful work. Let's create as many of those opportunities as we can!
On the work side of things, this result is what my colleagues and I spent a fair bit of time towards over the last few months:
In a nutshell, this is a first important step towards building an integrated secure workstation for journalists, based on Qubes OS (which uses VMs for secure compartmentalization of tasks/processes). Really excited about the long term potential.
First time listening to Jacobin's "The Dig", I was pretty impressed by this interview with Adam Tooze ("Crashed"). Over two hours long - I split this one over a few workouts - but lots of good insights regarding the Great Recession & the Eurozone crisis beyond the basics of the subprime explosion.
Largely ad-free, except for a couple of Verso Books (lefty publisher) ads read by the host. This episode at least was not dogmatic, just good analysis & debate.
Principal Project Manager, https://freedom.press
https://lib.reviews and other free/open projects.
Opinions my own :-)
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