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Archive for the ‘Internet’ Category

The latest EU Copyright Directive has reached a final state before going to the EU Council and the EU Parliament. Unfortunately, some of its articles are still unpalatable for anyone wanting to keep the Internet a place where censorship, be it by official authorities or by commercial entities, has no place. I refer you again to the words of Cory Doctorow of the EFF in one of his many explanations about the current proposal, and to the detailed analysis written by MEP Julia Reda. For details on the latest version of the proposal, you should read Reda’s “The text of Article 13 and the EU Copyright Directive has just been finalised“.

I fully understand the desire of artists and authors to be rewarded for their creative efforts if they so desire. Any copyright law must take that into consideration. But I’m not so sure that the current proposal will help them: the only winner will be big, rich companies… not the authors! The proposal, through Article 13 for example (which does not even mention the creators of content, only “rightholders”!), will reinforce monopolies and reduce competition. Unreliable automated filtering of content, without any means of contesting the results of those filters – is that what we really want?

Keep up the pressure, contact your MEP and tell her/him that this Directive in general, and certainly Articles 11 and 13, is not what Europe needs! And vote smartly in May, when the European Parliament needs to be reconstituted.

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The list proposed isn’t perfect, but multiple items on the list are a good start: “Security Checklist: Be safe on the internet“. It’s an “open source checklist of resources designed to improve your online privacy and security“, and it does cover the basics: a password manager, strong passwords, two-factor authentication where possible, device encryption, etc. As a Belgian citizen, I don’t know what a “credit freeze” is, so I ignore that suggestion.

I’m not certain if I should classify it as a minor or a major flaw, but I feel that Keepass (and its variants/derivatives) should have been mentioned explicitly. I have written about Keepass in the past, and in my mind it’s still the best password management solution. Yes, it requires a bit of tinkering, but you really don’t need any advanced computer skills to build a strong, working solution for multiple devices that works online and offline. I prefer that to a paying solution which at the same time stores your precious data in a place that you just have to trust…

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Like I said a few days ago: the fight isn’t over yet. And Change.org confirms that: “The Internet is saved? Unfortunately it isn’t!“:

There is currently mainly disagreement as to whether or not SMEs (= small and medium-sized enterprises) should be excluded from the reform. Germany is in favour, France against! This disagreement was the reason for the cancellation of the deadline. The actual problems, i.e. the upload filters or the ancillary copyright, are still advocated by too many countries.

If you care about the Internet, you should sign the petition as well!

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I do have a Facebook account, but I don’t use it – not even to spy on my children. So I wonder: is this just an interesting experiment, or the start of something big?

At Basecamp, we’ve decided to go Facebook Free from today. If you’d like to join, either today, tomorrow or next year, just comment on this post, and we’ll highlight credible pledges for all to see. You’re also free to use the 100% Facebook Free badge that we’ve released under Creative Commons (CA BY-SA 4.0) and have it link back to this page.


Anyway, since I don not use FB (or Instagram, for that matter) in a professional context, you could say I’m “Facebook Free” as well. Hi there, DHH!

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A month ago, I linked to a BoingBoing post about the puzzles of Tim Klein. Nothing fancy, just my way of remembering some of the wonderful creations that reach my computer over the Web.

As it turns out, that BoingBoing post was the start of a “viral infection”: Tim Klein’s puzzles went all around the world. Even more interesting: Rusty Blazenhof, author of the original post, has tracked the chronology of “going viral” for this post – spreading out via blogs, but mostly through Facebook and Twitter (of course!).

Click the image to go to Tim Klein’s portfolio

If you haven’t seen Tim’s work, don’t hesitate to click the image above. You may want to exercise patience if you’re thinking about acquiring one of them: you’re not alone, thanks to the Internet!

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As an amateur photographer, I care much about the image quality of my camera. That’s one of the reasons I switched cameras so often once they replaced film with chips: starting with Nikon Coolpix E885 and CP5400 over a series of Nikon D’s (70, 80 90, 7000, 5500, 5600) up to my current Panasonic Lumix G80 and GX9. Naturally, I also wanted a decent camera in my smartphone, although my phone was never meant to replace my camera. Even when just going to work, I always carry what I call a real but “general purpose” camera with me, be it the Fujifilm X20 or the GX9: you never know what you’ll see while traveling ;-)

There’s been a lot of talk about the quality of the latest smartphone cameras: is two cameras better than one? Is three better than two? Do you need more pixels or would it better to have bigger sensors and separate lenses? Is the Google Pixel 3 a better camera than the latest iPhones? And so on…

What is the best smartphone camera of 2018? Well, the answer is simple, if you believe Youtuber & Video Producer Marques Brownlee. He ran a competition on Twitter; he called it “The Blind Smartphone Camera Test“. Conclusion: forget about the “best” smartphone camera (technically speaking), social media consumers just care about pictures that are bright enough. For the full report, head over to Youtube:

This much is clear to me: if you’re just posting images to Instagram, you don’t need to have the best smartphone. Personally, I’ll stick to real cameras, thank you.

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TorrentFreak explains why and how a “Swedish ISP Protests ‘Site Blocking’ by Blocking Rightsholders Website Too“.

“Bahnhof has repeatedly demonstrated how copyright law is being abused and exploited by greedy opportunists [like Elsevier], and in the end it is always ordinary people who have to pay,” Bahnhof notes.

Thank you, Bahnhof, for speaking out against the abuse.

This is what you’ll see when surfing to Elsevier’s site as a Bahnhof customer. Don’t you love that modem sound?

The fight against copyright abuse: that’s exactly what Aaron Schwartz was a part of, and the case in Sweden, like others (check Australian law, for example), proves that the battles aren’t over. In fact, that is why the EU really needs to get rid of the current proposal for a Copyright Directive, and come up with something much better.

In the mean time, let Cory Doctorow explain why it is good that “Europe’s massive plan to require open access for all science gets two new backers: Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation“:

Now, Europe’s two largest science funders have joined the consortium: The Wellcome Trust and the Gates Foundation, and with these 15 funders backing Plan S, nearly all science research in Europe will be open access.

“Open Access” to scientific publications, that’s what this is all about.

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