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

Private Join and Compute is Google's free/open source tool to allow "mulitparty computation" of encrypted data without decryption

Private Join and Compute is a new free/open Google tool that implements the longstanding cryptographic concept of "commutative encryption," which allows untrusted parties to merge their datasets without revealing their contents to one another, do mathematical work on the data, and learn the outcome of that work without either of them seeing the underlying data. Read the rest

Chrome-derived browsers threaten to fork from Google, refuse to eliminate ad-blocker features

Google's decision to restrict access to the Chrome API needed for full ad-blocking to paid enterprise customers was especially worrisome because Chrome's free/open derivative, Chromium, is the basis for many other browsers, including Microsoft's Edge, as well as Opera and the privacy-focused Brave. Read the rest

How DRM has permitted Google to have an "open source" browser that is still under its exclusive control

A year ago, Benjamin "Mako" Hill gave a groundbreaking lecture explaining how Big Tech companies had managed to monopolize all the benefits of free software licenses, using a combination of dirty tricks to ensure that the tools that were nominally owned by no one and licensed under free and open terms nevertheless remained under their control, so that the contributions that software developers made to "open" projects ended up benefiting big companies without big companies having to return the favor. Read the rest

Rogess: chess with roguelike combat

Roguelike games (previously) are "a subgenre of role-playing video game characterized by a dungeon crawl through procedurally generated levels, turn-based gameplay, tile-based graphics, and permanent death of the player character" (Wikipedia). Read the rest

People with diabetes are scouring the internet for a discontinued insulin pump that can be reprogrammed as an "artificial pancreas"

Since 2014, open source hackers have been perfecting the OpenAPS, an "open artificial pancreas" made by modifying the firmware of discontinued Medtronic insulin pumps, which were discontinued due to the very security flaw that makes them user modifiable (that flaw also leaves them vulnerable to malicious modifications). Read the rest

Platform cooperativism (or, how to turn gig-economy jobs into $22.25/hour jobs)

Frequent Boing Boing contributor Clive Thompson (previously) has a great short piece in this month's Wired about platform cooperativism: replacing parasitical Silicon Valley companies that sit between workers and their customers with worker-owned co-ops that take the smallest commission possible in order to maintain the apps that customers and workers use to find each other. Read the rest

Ecuadorean authorities have unjustly arrested free software developer Ola Bini as part of their Assange dragnet

Ola Bini is a Swedish free/open source software developer who lives in Quito, Ecudaor; as he prepared to depart for a long-planned (and previously publicly announced) vacation in Japan, he was seized by Ecuadorean police, who claimed he was fleeing the country after the arrest of Julian Assange; authorities had a warrant for a "Russian hacker" (Bini is neither Russian, nor a hacker) and they have held him without reading him his rights, offering him a translator, or allowing him to contact his lawyer. Read the rest

Public Sans: a free/open font from the United States Web Design System

Public Sans is a free, open font (available in weights from 100-900, download here) from the federal United States Web Design System with a Github project that you can contribute to: it's billed as "A strong, neutral typeface for text or display." (via Four Short Links) Read the rest

A rapidly proliferating software license bars use by companies with poor labor practices

Katt Gu and Suji Yan's Anti 996 License allows developers to prohibit the use of their code by companies that do not adhere to basic labor practices (996 is a Chinese software industry term for shops where coders work 9AM-9PM, 6 days/week). Read the rest

"Open source" companies are playing games with licensing to sneak in proprietary code, freeze out competitors, fight enclosure

Writing new software licenses is a seemingly irresistible vice in the free and open source world, and the decades since the first GPL have been filled with bitter disputes and splits over licensing, with new licenses proliferating for motives both noble and base. Read the rest

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