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Cake day: Jan 20, 2021


Germany burns a lot of their plastic

“Burns” meaning present tense? They were shipping a lot of their plastic waste to Asia. Most countries are guilty of burning waste, but more to the point, is what current initiatives are being put into practice by countries. Which countries are making the real effort - clearly we see from that video that Germany is putting that effort in. Yes, certainly it is not across the whole country, but instead of dwelling on the negative, it is about celebrating the positive change that is being initiated.

No matter what the change, it takes from months to years to happen. The point is if the change has started to show, we should be celebrating that, and encouraging others (and within that same country) to do the same.

“Never” is never the best choice of word to use… It may just mean that many are doing it incorrectly, or in name only.

Germany, for example, seems to be taking it more seriously - see

Zimbabwe generally has some of the most expensive fuel in the southern African region. Right now, the price of petrol is US$1.64 per litre and diesel is US$1.71 per litre. The average daily commute distance in the large urban centres is around 15 kilometres, as cited in Zimbabwe’s Transport Master Plan. Cheaper forms of transport not dependent on these expensive and sometimes hard to find fossil fuels could provide a viable alternative for some commuters with short commutes. Unlike in Asia, where a lot of people use scooters for personal mobility, or closer to home in East Africa where motorcycles are used as taxis, the 2-wheeler market for personal mobility does not exist in Zimbabwe. But with such short commutes (on average 15 km), electric scooters could provide an efficient and affordable option for some. The generally low electricity tariffs in Zimbabwe (usually just under 10 USD cents/kWh) mean that the “fuel” cost of electric scooters will be way cheaper than for the average commuter fare on the Mushika-Shikas or Kombis (when they come back). Assuming these scooters will have a 2kWh battery, one would need just about 20 USD cents to charge them to full for a range of about 40 km depending on the type of scooter. See #environment #EV #escooter #zimbabwe #africa

Small 14- to 35-seater minibus taxis, known as matatus, play a major role in providing transport services for urban commutes in Kenya. Estimates put Kenya’s minibus and bus fleet at just over 100,000 vehicles. Matatu is Swahili for the number three. It is believed the name stuck from the 1970s when the fare was 3p. With emissions from the transport sector accounting for a huge chunk of the pollution in large cities such as Nairobi, the adoption of electric buses is bound to have a significant impact in reducing emission levels. The electric BYD K6 minibus, which has seating capacity of around 20 or so passengers and with a range of about 250 miles in city driving, is a candidate to slot in perfectly into this ecosystem. Kenya’s grid is already very clean, with a whopping 92.3% of the locally generated electricity coming from renewables A lot of this capacity is available during the night. See #environment #EV #Kenya #publictransport #Africa

Actually already fined in the EU - the past practice around exactly browsers is what happened in the EU for Microsoft before…

It should work yes, but their won’t be any follow button once the person arrives at the Lemmy profile. That said if you go to, you see see lost of “posts” so maybe following may show those posts elsewhere?

Their goal is to encourage the adoption of the fediverse by providing an extensive guide and lists of resources for the community. It uses the hashtags found on your profile to establish what your interests are. All you have to do is to add a supplied hasthtag #fedi22 to your profile, and then add the URL or webfinger for your profile. Most ActivityPub projects are supported (eg. Mastodon, Pixelfed, etc), and your profile will automatically be re-crawled after 7 days so that updated hashtags can be linked. See #technology #fediverse #activitypub #fedi22 #discover

After so many years of the Internet being in place, the many Chinese and other languages should also be just as present. I think the issue is maybe that English speakers do English searches in Google (or similar) which return English results mostly. If a searcher lived say in the Far East and did a search in Korean or Chinese, I’ll bet the results look different to what an English searcher sees.

That said, I’m also not too sure how well Google is optimised for returning non-English results. Do French or Italian speakers find search engines up to par for their languages?

I never said i would want it, I actually use wired earbuds. I Post about it because it’s of interest and something different. Firstly as it is open source and secondly because of the first point, I’m hoping it will also be repairable / replaceable batteries. That said my wired earbuds do keep catching on door handles so maybe that is a reason for me to go wireless…

Well the post says it is “on the horizon” which means soon due for release. So probably need to wait two to three months I’d say.

A pair of high-end in-ear wireless headphones called PineBuds are on the horizon. These include features most would expect in 2022, like ambient and environment noise cancellation, and a lengthy battery life. The earbuds will also be end-user flashable, opening up a world of possible uses. “There will be a wide variety of things developers and (eventually) end-users will be able to do with the earbuds – flash custom sound signatures, determine touch controls, adjust resonance to fit the user’s ear canal resonance,” Pine64 say. If I can change the batteries, that would be a major winner for me! See #technology #audio #earbuds #pine64 #pinebuds #opensource

Well not “problematic” as it actually works great, and I’ve never had to touch it. But yes, I’m not sure all the mobile app clients have implemented this option, which is why I mainly use the desktop browser. Having such a “watchlist” is essential for me for monitoring topics of interest. I prefer to follow topics, than profiles.

I have a couple of hashtags pinned in a column (desktop browser), so can see any of those topics as they are posted. For me this is actually better than Twitter has?

Lanfrica aims to mitigate the difficulty encountered when seeking African language resources by creating a centralized, language-first catalog. For instance, if you're looking for resources such as linguistic datasets or research papers in a particular African language, Lanfrica will point you to sources on the web with resources in the desired language. If those resources do not exist, we adopt a participatory approach by allowing you to contribute papers or datasets. Lanfrica offers enormous potential for better discoverability and representation of African languages on the web. Lanfrica can provide useful statistics on the progress of African languages. As a simple illustration, the language filter section offers an immediate overview of the number of existing natural language processing (NLP) resources for each African language.

Thinking further though, for those of us outside the USA, DRM is not such an issue in that the “breaking” of DRM for personal use, is not criminalised (unless we were to redistribute and copy it to others which would be a copyright violation). Likewise, we don’t have extension after extension for copyright expiry dates. So for me, it was really not an issue to strip the DRM off my Amazon books I bought, hence it never really worried me too much as I stored them all in epub format.

So legally whether I buy a paper book or an electronic copy, it is both bought on conditional use as I never own the original creation. I can make a backup of my paper book, but can’t make 10 copies and sell them. Yet if I buy an artwork, I am buying the full rights to the original, and can sell it (can I make copies and sell it?). The more I suppose it is unravelled, the more complicated it can get.

Yes, I get your point there, but I’m just saying that was not the point of my post. Whilst I prefer open source over proprietary any day (and I actively promote open source every day), people should have the freedom to choose how they want to market their stuff, just like we have the right choose what we want to buy or not.

It would be interesting though to see how the world turns with zero DRM and zero copyright. I suppose a lot of authors, artists, musicians, actors, etc would have to get real jobs ;-) To a large extent DRM/Copyright has an ecosystem that revolves around similarities with the right of ownership of property (land, cars, clothes, etc). It certainly changes the dynamics somewhat… If you think about it, today many do actually live off what their assets earn for them. For example AC/DC today would have zero income from all their hit songs as they would just be freely available for anyone. Shame they’d have to keep touring and doing live concerts until they die.

I think you’re missing the point here - many already have streaming subscriptions with multiple services, and Plex is helping manage that. That was who the post was for. It has zip to with DRM or not.

For that movie I also see a link to Amazon Prime, but nothing for Hulu, Netflix, etc. I looked up “Servant of the People” TV series that I’m watching on Netflix, and IMDB shows no link to Netflix.

Ah, I see another 2 levels deeper there are some links (All Topics / External Sites). But whilst one attached had links to two sites, a James Bond movie for example showed no external links, and neither did The Godfather.

It does look different now I see. But I only see a watch list functionality, and movie trailers to play. No options to register my external streaming services. Even their Pro service makes no mention of linking to external streaming services to watch full movies.

Yes but judging from screenshots (as neither lists their services fully) Stremio shows 4 services to Plex’s 6 services. But I suppose it will depend on what one actually yes of those services.

IMDB is a database of movies, not an integration with streaming services with a universal watchlist etc…

Rolling out now to the service’s public beta is the new Discover section that helps you search, add, and stream any movie or TV show across multiple services. You can finally maintain a single universal watchlist in the Plex app (which is synced across all your Plex apps, on all popular platforms), and when you choose a title, you’ll see all the available places to stream it. When you choose to watch it on Hulu, it will open the Hulu app, and will directly start the media playback (thanks to some deep-linking magic). There’s another advantage to using Plex’s universal watchlist: Plex will keep track of where a movie or TV show is streaming currently. So even if a TV show leaves HBO Max and moves to Hulu, it won’t suddenly disappear from your watch list. See #technology #streaming #movies #plex

The interesting part of this, and probably why they did not just go for adopting ActivityPub or SSB (some of these people are actually involved) is because they are trying to also address some shortcomings of these protocols. For example, if a server instance is to disappear from an ActivityPub network, then you have to change your ID (just as when your e-mail provider goes offline) to register elsewhere and this is a portability issue. So the intention seems to be to create a new protocol and services which address existing shortcomings. For the techie crowd these may not seem like major issues, but for ordinary non-tech folks who are used to registering once as a central service, and just discovering their friends easily, eliminating these problems could mean a lot. This would also help accelerate adoption by the masses, especially if they can "migrate" existing Twitter ID's into it. "It could be described as a hybrid federated network with p2p characteristics, but it’s more descriptive to focus on the capabilities – self-authenticating identities and data – than on network topology. Our team has previously built leading decentralized web protocols and blockchain networks, and is working on synthesizing the best of what we’ve seen into something new. For some aspects, we’ll be able to use pieces that already exist, and for others, we’ll have to come up with solutions of our own." See their post at #technology #bluesky #socialnetworks #decentralisation #twitter

Windows has always had a bloatware problem (even if Samsung has recently claimed the crown in that department). Bloatware is an umbrella term for apps, services, and programs you don’t need, and never asked for, and Windows comes preinstalled with a boatload of them. Removing bloatware helps you in two ways: You’ll recover some storage space and speed up your computer. If you’re using a low-end machine or an older PC, or if you just like the idea of running a lighter OS, this guide can help you take care of the problem with one command. See #technology #windows #bloatware #microsoft

** Now in Android and iOS app stores ** No Face, No Name, No Number, No SIM card, No Internet! Berty is a messenger that doesn’t require any of your personal data or network connection (using Bluetooth Low Energy BLE). All conversations are encrypted with end-to-end encryption, in a fully distributed network. It is a peer-to-peer messenger with no servers, no cloud - your data is only stored on the device where Berty is installed and used. No one would be able to access the data or shut the app down, not even the developers. Being P2P, it means the IP address needs to be available to route messaging, but their site explains a bit about how they've tried to mask this. Whilst Briar is an excellent alternative, it is still Android only. The closest alternative is maybe Jami, but it lacks a non-Internet Bluetooth alternative if I recall correctly. Interestingly, Berty also can use Airdrop (iOS to iOS) and Android's Nearby as alternative protocols. You can share your details and add contacts via a QR code, public key, or an invite link. It is currently available on both iOS and Android, with desktop clients to follow. See #technology #messenger #berty #P2P #IPFS #privacy

Andre Broekman, a Civil Engineering PhD candidate at the University of Pretoria, has developed touch-sensitive concrete — a technology that could transform home and business security in South Africa. This could reduce the need for electric fencing, allowing South Africans to protect their properties and businesses with an invisible solution. The technology also has the potential to replace internal alarm systems by implementing it in the flooring of a building. Broekman explained that the technology could also be used to aid the visually impaired. His prototype keyboard has tactile concrete keys engraved with symbols. See #technology #security #southafrica #concrete

Most of us use our hands to interface with computers, but the human body is capable of many types of input other than that of fingers and feet. But what about people who can’t use their extremities and don’t have a voice? For their sake, it’s time to get creative. This works with just an old webcam thanks to the new trans-consciousness messaging protocol, which operates by using facial detection and then interpreting the amount of changed pixels between video frames. See #technology #assistivetechnology #morsecode #webcam #typing

Could the light detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensors in your future smartphone take the place of laboratory equipment in health and food safety applications? It's looking like a possibility. Researchers at the University of Washington reckon handset LiDAR can determine fluid properties, sparing you from having to use expensive lab gear. The amount of liquid needed for a smartphone LiDAR test is significantly less than that for a medical lab, too, they said. One application of LiDAR would be testing blood for coagulation. The researchers also found their method was able to determine the fat properties of milk and whether the liquid had been adulterated, and to identify a particular liquid from among ten samples. The discovery, we're told, let the researchers distinguish between coagulated and uncoagulated blood with only a single finger-lancet-sized drop, differentiate between different types of milk and whether the milk had been adulterated, and distinguish between 10 classes of liquid with 91.5 percent average accuracy. See #technology #health #lidar #foodsafety

Both AdGuard Home and Pi-hole are free and open source, and both do pretty well much the same as far as functionality goes. They can also both be installed natively or as a docker container image, and will run on Raspberry Pi's or larger hardware. The differences really come with AdGuard Home's UI looking a touch more modern and less cluttered, and supposedly AdGuard Home has additional functionality already included, where that must be installed additionally for Pi-hole. So I managed to get up and running quite quickly with AdGuard Home by following DB Tech's video. One thing that tripped me up was that the container would not start, and reported a clash on port 53 (the DNS port). But one of the commenters on the video, Wesley O'Brien, suggested a solution which worked perfectly for me. I set my router's DHCP server to provide the IP of my AdGuard Home server as the DNS, and now all devices throughout the home network are using it. Speed tests and website page loading appears unaffected (not slower, anyway). See #technology #opensource #adguardhome #pihole #trackers

If you regularly use Android Auto in your car, you must be no stranger to frequent connection issues. This problem usually stems from using an out-of-spec or faulty USB Type-C cable, though most people end up blaming Android Auto or their phone. However, in many cases, it can be pretty tricky to figure out if the cable is defective or if something is wrong with the car's USB port. To make this easier to determine, Google has added a new diagnostics tool to the latest version of Android Auto. If you do buy a third-party cable, make sure it adheres to the USB-IF standard. Don't be surprised if the new diagnostics tool in Android Auto finds an issue with the cable you are using. USB Type-C cables can use wildly different specs, even though they all look the same, which can cause a ton of problems. See #technology #androidauto #usbcable #diagnostics

I was looking for an app to alert me to low battery levels across various of my iOS devices. Although coconutBattery looked good, it is macOS only, and I only power my Macbook up occasionally. So I looked at a good four iOS app options, and there is no perfect one that does everything perfectly. I also discarded anything that was updated more than a year ago. I installed across my iPhone, iPad and Watch. You can view the battery levels from any device’s app, for all the devices. PowerToYou covers iPhone, iPad (and iPencil found under Bluetooth devices), Watch, AirPods (added as a Bluetooth device). What I like is that it has a good widget layout, clearly showing the percentages and time last updated for each device. You can set notifications globally for any device falling below, or going above (to prevent full cycle charging), a percentage charged. Adding the AirPods on my iPhone, made them show up on the iPad’s app just fine. The widget expanded to show the AirPods. It also has some choices for Watch complications. The app was last updated Feb 2022, and has an active Discord support community. Download from Cloud Battery covers the same devices as PowerToYou (but says AirPods can no longer be monitored this way, and did not detect them), but it also detected and showed my Apple Pencil battery level. Its widgets fall a bit short though as they are nice but fail to show any percentage level or time last updated. However, a quick press on the widget opens the app, which shows the percentages. Another quick press on an individual device, shows when the charge level was last updated, rename the device, and set a device specific alert fop passing below or above a certain percentage level. Cloud Battery also allows you to customise the colours of widget text and icons. App was last updated Jan 2022. Download from “Charged?” is a small app that allows you to check the charge level of your iOS and macOS devices via iCloud. I did briefly use it, and it shows battery percentages with last updated, for iPhone, iPad and macOS. It does lack some of the extra features the apps above have, and was last updated in March 2021. Battery Status Overview does not work with macOS, but works on iPad, iPhone and Watch. It also has a lot fewer settings and more basic graphics, but does include a charge history log. They only mention alerts for the battery charge level reaching 100%. The app was last updated in Dec 2021, and only has one review rating, though. Apple’s built-in battery widget is great, but it ONLY shows local devices, so no overview of all your other devices. So I am a bit torn between PowerToYou and Cloud Battery. I’m leaning more towards PowerToYou as the widget has everything clearly shown. Cloud Battery’s plus is its ability to set a different minimum and maximum battery percentage for each device separately. I’ll post any updates about this topic at my blog post at

The BBC is resorting to broadcasting news bulletins over shortwave radio in Russia after the country blocked access to BBC websites, The Guardian reports. The BBC announced it was bringing back the WWII-era broadcasting technology in the region just hours before its sites were banned. News of the ban was also reported by Russian state news agency RIA. Shortwave radio uses frequencies that carry over long-distances and are accessible on portable sets. The BBC says its shortwave broadcasts will be available on frequencies of 15735 kHz from 6pm to 8pm and 5875 kHz from midnight to 2am, Ukraine time. News will be read in English, which the BBC says will be available in Kyiv as well as “parts of Russia.” In 2019, the corporation also launched a Tor Onion domain, which is designed to offer a more secure, higher performance, and censorship-resistant way to access its website via Tor browsers compared to a typical .com or URL. Fascinates me that no matter how we move forward with technology, we have to realise how fragile it really is, and how more dependencies are introduced, which can be disrupted. Good old radio still works, though, and can reach right around Earth. More advanced low power digital radio has even better reach, but does require slightly more specialised software (which most radio hams can put in place). See #technology #BBC #war #shortwave #radio #tor

Smartphone-oriented websites tend to focus only on the latest devices, but a large chunk of users choose not to upgrade their phones for one reason or another. Barring hardware failure, many of these devices may still have years of use ahead of them because, to their owners, they still work just fine. While custom ROMs can keep legacy smartphones alive for ages, it can be a nightmare for the modders to keep things like the camera and graphics drivers up to date without official manufacturer support. Unlike the smartphone ecosystem, updating the graphics driver on your PC is something you can always think about. This is possible because of the modular architecture of PC hardware drivers, which allows power users to tinker with closed source driver packages, or even opt for open source drivers instead of OEM-provided binaries. In the case of Android, however, driver updates generally only come to your phone alongside larger OS updates. Updatable GPU drivers can come in handy for fixing bugs, improving graphics performance, or adding new features from OpenGL or Vulkan APIs. Nowadays, smartphones are bigger and faster than ever, making them the perfect vehicle for gaming, hence porting the PC-esque driver design to them does make sense. Thanks to XDA Senior Member bylaws, we now have a genius solution named Adreno Tools that allows on-the-fly GPU driver modifications or replacements on Android — that too without root! Fellow Skyline developer Mark “Pixelylon” pitched the idea of runtime drive replacement to bylaws, which eventually materialized into Adreno Tools. Being a rootless library, Adreno Tools can help any regular app to load custom GPU drivers, deal with BCn textures, and redirect file operations for further complex modifications. It does so by hooking into system libraries and seamlessly swapping in the new driver. See #technology #android #gaming #adrenotools #graphics

So my Manjaro KDE rolling distro has been running for just under 5 years now, just continuously updating. Looking at that date, I see it was a public holiday and a long weekend, so I probably had my migration to Manjaro Linux penned in as a project to do. The linked post explains a few ways to try to determine this date from your system, but the general one using 'stat -c %w /' worked for me. On an aside, I remember at work, one of our support guys saying they had a Linux server that had been running non-stop for quite a few years. On one day that it had to be moved from one server room to another one, they kept it connected with along extension power lead. See #technology #linux #opensource

There are a handful of cloud services available for Linux users that provide native applications. Dropbox is one of the oldest and most popular. Then there is Mega and pCloud. Google has shamelessly decided to not create a Google Drive client for Linux. You may also self-host Nextcloud or Seafile, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Internxt is based out of Spain. Like several other EU-based companies, encryption and privacy are at its core. With Internxt Drive, they focus on user-friendly encrypted storage with military-grade encryption and file sharding, so only you have control over your files and data. Internxt uses your password to encrypt and decrypt your files. That means they do not know your password, and if you forget it, your files will be gone (the way security should be). There are desktop clients for all three major OSes, as well as a web based client, and a client for iOS. I don't see an Android client. Each user gets a free 10GB forever, and 20GB is €10.68 annually, or 200GB for €41.88 annually. They also have monthly plans, and very interestingly, also lifetime plans. I'm currently using SpiderOak, which has a Linux client too, and it is costs US$14 pm for 2TB (Internxt €9.99 or $11.34 monthly). One downside many will notice though, is the desktop client appears to be Electron based, which is never ideal from a resource perspective. See #technology #backup #cloudstorage #opensource #internxt

The ZimaBoard is a small, fanless computer powered by a 6-watt Intel Apollo Lake processor with support for hard drives and SSDs. Apart from having an Intel CPU (vs an ARM processor) this computer also has 2x SATA III, 1x PCIe 2.0 and 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports to set it apart from a Raspberry Pi. So it is more readily usable with expanded storage capabilities and dual networking. It is also a lot cheaper than buying an Intel NUC with a single network port. It can be used as a media server, software router, personal cloud, VPN and Firewall, smart home monitoring, file sharing and collaboration applications, embedded projects, or personal server applications. Yes it will cost more than a Pi, and it is a Kickstarter project (with 20% off the final retail price), but I see DBTech has just received one to review on YouTube, so it does actually exist. See #technology #server #zimaboard #raspberrypi #hardware