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software

Ryan Gordon Building a Media Player in New Video Series

Ryan “icculus” Gordon is building what he calls a simple media player with SDL in C over a series of videos, embedded above. It’s fun to watch smart people demonstrate how to solve problems and the description for each video links to a blob of code changes that Gordon makes over the course of the video.

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software

1Password Announces Cryptocurrency and NFT Heel Turn

1Password has been the password manager I’ve recommended to anyone who isn’t using one for years. It is relatively easy to use, seems reasonably secure, and available on most of the platforms you’d want it to be on. I won’t be recommending 1Password for much longer if AgileBits, the company behind 1Password, sticks with the plans that AgileBits’ Matt O’Leary announced support for today:

We’re making it easier for Phantom wallet owners to save their account password, secret recovery phrase, and wallet address in 1Password. Phantom is a digital wallet that lets you manage cryptocurrencies, tokens, and NFTs built on the Solana blockchain.
This is the first of many partnerships that we’ve been working on in the cryptocurrency space. It’s always been our goal to make it easier for everyone, regardless of their technological proficiency, to protect everything that’s important to them. And for an ever-growing group of people, everything includes digital assets.

[…]

Here at 1Password, we want to help secure everything that’s important to you, including your cryptocurrency wallets. We believe your keys and recovery phrases deserve the same level of protection as your credit and debit card numbers, medical records, and everything else you have stored inside 1Password.

Know someone who thinks crypto is too complicated or overwhelming? So do we. Most people don’t know what a recovery phrase is, or what will happen if they lose it. We know that getting started and securing your hard-earned investments should be simpler. That’s where 1Password comes in.

1Password has always been a place to store wallet addresses, private keys, and login credentials for cryptocurrency exchanges. But with the Save in 1Password button, it’s now easier than ever for Phantom wallet owners to gather and protect this information. We’ve also created a new item type for cryptocurrencies in 1Password, with clearly-labeled fields for everything you might want to store.

Let’s be clear: NFT’s and cryptocurrency are a grift that operate like pyramid schemes. They need fresh new buyers so that the people at the top of the pyramid can cash out. Once new users buy in they quickly become evangelists for the scheme because that is also the only way for them to cash out. Like regular capitalism, only accelerated to the point where there isn’t even the illusion of legitimacy and there is no purpose for these grifts except to provide a way to cash out for people higher up in the pyramid. Capitalism theoretically turns work into a roof over your head and food on a table. Cryptocurrencies and NFTs can’t pay rent or buy food, they have to be converted back into actual money which is going to be tough to do when the traded value of many cryptocurrencies have been tanking and will continue to be volatile and unreliable for everyone who is at the bottom and can’t afford to pump the market.

Even the ads during the Super Bowl didn’t help prop up the fraud to stop the slide and now that’s what AgileBits has decided to get behind. AgileBits are sinking their reputation alongside cryptocurrency grifters. There have already been other cuts that AgileBits have foisted upon their users like switching away from native applications to Electron web apps and pushing users towards toward subscriptions & AgileBits’ online password vault service instead of using another cloud file hosting provider. It seems like much of this is driven by the venture capital money that AgileBits took back in 2019 after operating for over a decade without giving up control of their business.

Support for grifts like cryptocurrencies and NFTs will likely be the final straw for my use of 1Password and I am going to stop recommending it if AgileBits don’t change course in response to the backlash they’re receiving.

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software

Raspberry Pi OS Gets 64-bit Support

The Raspberry Pi lineup of single-board computers has had a few improvements lately with a new Raspberry Pi Zero 2 that ended up being similar in performance to the Raspberry Pi 3. Finally, the Debian-based Raspberry Pi OS (previously called Raspbian), is getting official 64-bit support despite the hardware being capable of 64-bit instructions since 2016’s Raspberry Pi 3.

The post on the official site breaks the update down in a little bit more detail, but as someone who uses Raspberry Pi devices for a ton of odd jobs, it is nice to know they’re finally a little bit more up-to-date and applications will be able to address more than 4 gigs of RAM with this update. I’ve run into a few pieces of software that I want to run on a Raspberry Pi 4 that require a 64-bit ARM operating system, and compatibility workarounds aren’t always available unless you’re willing to spend hours of time recompiling things like this is Slackware in 1998 so this should be a welcome change for anyone else who has run into these corner cases and wants one less barrier to doing all the weird crap you can do with a Raspberry Pi, though it ultimately may not help emulated or native games on the Pi that much.

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software

“The entire crypto fantasy…” according to Jon von Tetzchner

The Co-Founder and CEO of the company behind the Vivaldi browser, Jon von Tetzchner, in a post on the Vivaldi blog:

The entire crypto fantasy is designed to lure you into a system that is extremely inefficient, consumes vast amounts of energy, uses large amounts of hardware that could better be spent doing something else and will quite often result in the average person losing any money they might put into it.

When you strip away the hype, these virtual currencies have very real repercussions for people, society, and the environment.  By creating our own cryptocurrency or supporting cryptocurrency-related features in the browser, we would be helping our users to participate in what is at best a gamble and at worst a scam. It would be unethical, plain and simple. 

We refuse to dress these scams up as opportunities. Instead, we encourage you to treat them with the skepticism they deserve. This may be a game for some curious crypto-investors and wealthy speculators, but for those unlucky enough to get caught out by the pyramid scheme, it could be devastating. 

You should read the full post for additional context, but there is a lot behind this blog post about Tetzchner and the Opera browser that Tetzchner also founded.

Tetzchner left Opera in 2011, the company behind Opera went on to not only fully embraced the crypto grift for years, including a crypto wallet in their browser they also got into, and I’m not joking, payday lending.

Opera subsidiary Opay has an usurious loan service called OKash that is for some reason still available in the Google Play store despite being banned from filing certain credit reports in Kenya for spamming the contact lists of borrowers who were unable to pay:

In recent months, for instance, consumers of mobile app Okash who delayed or defaulted on their loan repayments have had the unpleasant experience of having the service provider reach out to people in their contacts list in a bid to recover the funds.

“Hello, kindly inform XX to pay the Okash loan of Sh2,560 TODAY before we proceed and take legal action to retrieve the debt,” says a sample text message the service provider sends to people in one’s contact list. “We have tried calling in vain. This is the last reminder. Many thanks, Okash team.”

Opera’s disgustingly usurious subsidiary also used to have interest rates in the astronomical hundreds of percentages and short repayment periods, but they were forced to stop that by Google, supposedly.

There’s never been a better time to try out the Vivaldi browser. They probably won’t get involved in usury.

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software

Google Play Music App Getting Podcasts

Elias Roman:

To that end, today we’re launching a portal for podcasters to start uploading their shows to Google Play Music before we open up the service to listeners.

Translated from Google-speak: The Google Play Music app for Android (and iOS) is going to download podcasts to Google servers and rehost them on their own servers. Podcast publishers will only have access to listener metrics for Google Play Music listeners through Google’s interface. Google will also insert extra ads around the podcasts that aren’t from, and won’t benefit, the podcast publisher:

Google reserves the right to show display (image) ads alongside podcast content. Google will not insert any pre-roll ads before podcast content starts or mid-roll ads during a given podcast episode. Google reserves the right to serve post-roll video or audio ads after podcast content. Google Play Music does not provide direct payment or revenue share for podcast content.

Today, podcast publishers put up an RSS feed that anyone can use. It’s an open standard that any client can download one of these RSS feeds, get a list of episodes, and download them. Publishers interpret the one metric that matters, downloads, and use that in addition to occasional surveys of their listening audience to sell ads to advertisers if they choose to run advertising. If Google Play Music becomes the way that most people listen to podcasts it will destroy the open standard and increase the number of advertisements that people are forced to listen to. This is not good.