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What is serverless?

2 weeks 3 days ago

EnterprisersProject:Serverless and Functions-as-a-Service (FaaS): how they fit together, and where they do and don't make sense

Cinnamon Mint for Debian Just as Tasty

2 weeks 3 days ago
The official release of version 3 of Linux Mint Debian Edition hit the download servers at summer's end, offering a subtle alternative to the distro's Ubuntu-based counterpart. Codenamed "Cindy," the new version of LMDE is based on Debian 9 Stretch and features the Cinnamon desktop environment. Its release creates an unusual situation in the world of Linux distro competition. Linux Mint developers seem to be in competition with themselves.
Jack M. Germain

Tor Browser 8.0 Released, EU Votes Next Week on Copyright Directive, Indico Launches Open-Source Project Finetune, Linux Mint 19.1 Release to Come Late Fall, KDE's Akademy 2018 Videos Now Available

2 weeks 3 days ago

News briefs for September 7, 2018.

Tor Browser version 8.0 was released this week. This is the first stable release based on Firefox 60 ESR, and it includes "a new user onboarding experience; an updated landing page that follows our styleguide; additional language support; and new behaviors for bridge fetching, displaying a circuit, and visiting .onion sites." You can download it from here.

On September 12, the EU votes on the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. Of particular concern are Article 13 upload filters, "which would scan all content uploaded to online platforms for any copyrighted works and prevent those works from going online if a match is discovered", and Article 11, which would require "anyone using snippets of journalistic content to first get a license or pay a fee to the publisher for its use online". See The Creative Commons for information on the issues. If you're in the EU, make your voice heard.

Indico, "provider of Enterprise AI solutions for intelligent process automation", announced a new open-source project named Finetune this week that enhances "the performance of machine learning for natural language processing". According to the press release, this project "offers users a single, general-purpose language model which can be easily tuned to solve a variety of different tasks involved in text and document-based workflows". See also the Indico blog for more background information.

Linux Mint announces that the 19.1 release, code-named Tessa, is scheduled for November or December 2018. The upcoming version will be supported until 2023.

KDE's Akademy 2018 videos are now all online. You can download them from the repository or view the YouTube Playlist.

News Tor Privacy EU Copyright AI Machine Learning Linux Mint KDE
Jill Franklin

Book Review: Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom) by Adam Fisher

2 weeks 3 days ago
by Petros Koutoupis

I don't know where to begin—and I mean that in a very positive way. I can best describe Valley of Genius: The Uncensored History of Silicon Valley (As Told by the Hackers, Founders, and Freaks Who Made It Boom) as a "literary documentary". The book provides a sort of oral history of the Valley from the legends who built it.

The author, Adam Fisher, grew up in Silicon Valley. He continues to live in the Bay Area, so he's been exposed to many of the early technologies created in the region. He eventually became a computer programmer and writer, writing for Wired magazine and other publications. Valley of Genius is his first book, but he wrote very little of it—and he didn't need to do much more than piece together the many interviews he conducted to form a wonderful and continuous narrative that begins as early as the 1950s.

The story starts off with the very first computer that was more than just a super calculator created by Doug Engelbart. With a small team, he built a prototype: the oN-Line System, or NLS. It even was equipped with a "mouse"! The story continues on to the first video games manufactured by Nolan Bushnell and company in their pre-Atari days.

The book also details how, in parallel, Engelbart's prototype inspired the computers of the future developed at Xerox PARC, while the Spacewar video game would motivate a young Steve Wozniak not only to help Steve Jobs create video games for the later Atari, but also eventually to build the original Apple computer.

The narrative progresses with the birth of Apple, the company, was born and took the world of personal computing by storm—at least initially. What followed was an emotional roller coaster. The Apple II was a success, and up until Jobs looked to Alan Kay's visions preserved in the Xerox Alto, Apple continued to fail, but then later turned it all around with the Macintosh, as the story goes.

The book covers the evolving hardware (and software), and how the culture it nurtured evolved along with it. It explores how the early versions of the internet connected the youngest and brightest, and how ideas were shared—all of them centered around the concept of openness.

It looks at how passionate people started flame wars, and how publications, such as Wired, captured those times and emotions best. The book explores how Wired also rode the internet wave by shifting some of that focus toward its HotWired website. It considers the early days of the internet, at a time when it was all research and bulletin-board systems (or BBSes), and the problem of how to navigate this new World Wide Web. It describes how early web browsers, such as Mosaic and Netscape Navigator (the Mosaic killer or Mozilla), solved this need—and with it, helping to open the internet to more users.

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Petros Koutoupis