Librecorps: an organization that connects student free/open source software developers with humanitarian NGOs

Librecorps is a program based at the Rochester Institute for Technology's Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) initiative that works with UNICEF to connect students with NGOs for paid co-op placements where they build and maintain FOSS tools used by nonprofits. Read the rest

Buy a Circuit Playground Express and a second one will be donated to Black Girls CODE

Phil from Adafruit writes, "For a limited time, whenever you buy a Circuit Playground Express the regular price of $24.95 here, on this page, Adafruit will automatically donate one to Black Girls CODE. Black Girls CODE's goal is to empower young women of color ages 7-17 to embrace the current tech marketplace as builders + creators. Read the rest

Hiding secrets in online text with zero-width characters

Unicode includes six "zero-width characters" that are not visibly rendered in browsers (U+FEFF, U+200C, U+200D, U+200E, U+2060, U+180E) -- they're used for some specialized cases in rendering non-Roman alphabets. Read the rest

SQL Murder Mystery: teaching SQL concepts with a mystery game

SQL Murder Mystery is a free/open game from Northwestern University's Knight Lab that teaches the player SQL database query structures and related concepts while they solve imaginary crimes. Read the rest

The Hippocratic License: A new software license that prohibits uses that contravene the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Coraline Ada Ehmke's Hippocratic License is a software license that permits the broad swathe of activities enabled by traditional free/open licenses, with one exception it bars use by: "individuals, corporations, governments, or other groups for systems or activities that actively and knowingly endanger, harm, or otherwise threaten the physical, mental, economic, or general well-being of individuals or groups in violation of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights." Read the rest

Space Nerds in Space: a free/open co-op multiplayer spaceship landing simulator with combat, NPCs and more

Space Nerds in Space is a free/open source team game where players take on the roles of Navigation, Weapons, Engineering, Communications, Damage Control and work their controls to safely land a spaceship on a variety of planets, each with their own challenge -- and once your team is practiced, you can use a multi-team server to compete against other teams, NPCs, and even engage in multi-team, player-to-player combat. Read the rest

This is your smartphone on feminism

Maria Farrell admits that comparing smartphones to abusive men (they try to keep you from friends and family, they make it hard to study or go to work, they constantly follow you and check up on you) might seem to trivialize domestic partner violence, but, as she points out, feminists have long been pointing out both the literal and metaphorical ways in which tech replicates misogyny. Read the rest

Purism starts shipping its Librem 5 open/free phone

Purism (previously) is a company that crowdfunds free/open laptops and phones whose design goal is to have no proprietary software, even at the lowest levels. The company is best known for its Purism laptops, and I'm very fond of mine (it didn't end up replacing my Thinkpad, only because I'm addicted to the trackpoint for mousing, and trackpads give me raging RSI) (that said, getting any GNU/Linux to run on a current-model Thinkpad is so hard and results in such a rotten experience that I'm reconsidering whether to switch back). Read the rest

Google releases a free/open differential privacy library

"Differential privacy" (previously) is a promising, complicated statistical method for analyzing data while preventing reidentification attacks that de-anonymize people in aggregated data-sets. Read the rest

Fridge0: an open source hardware solar fridge with no battery requirement

Joey Hess designed the first Fridge0 a year ago: it uses a standard chest freezer with added thermal mass, a simple controller, and a photovoltaic panel that effectively stores sunshine as coldness, obviating the need for expensive backup batteries. The Fridge0 is an advance on traditional off-grid 12v solar fridges that assume that solar panels are expensive and inefficient; by exploiting modern PV technology, Hess says "A kilowatt of solar panels provides enough power to run a conventional fridge on even most cloudy days, and costs less than a commercial offgrid fridge." (via Kottke) Read the rest

A free/open tool for making XKCD-style "hand-drawn" charts

Tim Qian, a "full stack developer and open source activist," has published chart.xkcd, a free/open tool that lets you create interactive, "hand-drawn" charts in the style of XKCD comics. It's pretty fabulous! (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

Check out these amazing sf movies made by Nigerian teens

The Critics Company is a collective of Nigerian teen afrofuturist filmmakers who make incredible looking, smart science fiction movies with camerawork courtesy of old, busted mobile phones and VFX generated in Blender. Read the rest

The Pegleg: an implanted, meshing, networked mass-storage device that you sew into your skin

New biohacking from the Four Thieves Vinegar Collective (previously): the Pegleg, a stripped-down Piratebox (previously) based on a Raspberry Pi 0 with needless components removed and an extra wifi card soldered on. Read the rest

RIP, Linux Journal

25 years after its founding, eight years after its last print edition, and two years after a near-death experience that was averted at the last minute by a bailout from the VPN company Private Internet Access, Linux Journal has laid off all employees, has no operating funds, and only plans to have its website online for a few weeks, or "hopefully longer for archival purposes if we can make it happen." Read the rest

SAMBA versus SMB: Adversarial interoperability is judo for network effects

Before there was Big Tech, there was "adversarial interoperability": when someone decides to compete with a dominant company by creating a product or service that "interoperates" (works with) its offerings. Read the rest

Pacman in 512 bytes

Pillman is Oscar "Nanochess" Toledo's reimplementation of Pacman ("a game about a yellow man eating pills") in 512 bytes -- small enough to fit in a boot sector -- written in 8088 assembler. (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

US election security: still a dumpster fire

Securing Our Cyber Future, Stanford Cyber Policy Center's new report on election security, depicts a US electoral system whose glaring vulnerabilities are still in place, three years after the chaos of the 2016 elections. Read the rest

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