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    This is scary and immoral as shit.

    I’ve used and heard only good things about F-Secure’s Freedome. The advantages include a simple-ish UI, corporate branding from a security company and that it stems from Finland, which isn’t exactly Switzerland but has a history of trying to remain neutral.

    Some other VPNs, especially cheap ones, feel creepy sometimes, so it’s of paramount importance you can trust your VPN provider!

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      I find “That One Privacy Site” to be a good starting point when evaluating the trustworthiness of VPN or email providers:


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        PIA was great in terms of reliability and speed, but I felt like I didn’t know who they were or why I should trust them. I’m now using ProtonMail’s VPN service, which seems noticeably slower, but I feel like they’re more trustworthy. (Maybe I’ve just been pwned by their advertising.)

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        Nice Sagan reference there: “…picture of a small, pale blue dot.”

        Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pale_Blue_Dot

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          Can someone please explain the mechanism behind how this single atom is appearing as emitting pale blue light?

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            The original photographer pointed to this comment as a good explanation: https://www.reddit.com/r/interestingasfuck/comments/7x4o27/picture_of_a_single_atom_wins_science_photo/du5pn7t/

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          The most frustrating aspect of this photograph competition is that the only images published on the official site are low resolution. Downscales like this just don’t give appropriate credit to the photographer: https://www.epsrc.ac.uk/epsrc/cache/file/504AC1E7-3623-4C88-AB2D3FF808A296C1.png

          Has anyone located the originals online?

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            The largest version of the linked photo I could find on Tineye is at The Guardian’s page here (direct link here - 1920x1440).

            The other contest winners are on that page, likely in similar dimensions.

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              I’ve not been able to find higher res versions of that photo, but I did find this one: http://content.assets.pressassociation.io/2018/02/11175054/f7f7c86b-dc52-4355-a622-9e3cb9a876fc.jpg

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              It’s possible they only post low res to give the photographer a chance to sell higher quality versions. I would easily pay for a high quality poster.

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              Since NetBSD gets less credit, I’ll add that the things that make it portable also made it get a lot of use in embedded and CompSci. Basically, spots where customization happens at the kernel code level in a lot of places. The folks crazy enough to try to rewrite a UNIX in a new language also always started with NetBSD since it’s easiest to rewrite. None are easy, mind you, but they didn’t think they’d have a chance with FreeBSD or OpenBSD for different reasons.

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                How portable is NetBSD, compared to the other BSDs?

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                  I have no idea haha. I’ve just read up on a lot of work by people building on various OS’s. In UNIX land, those building on NetBSD seemed to have an easier time. Here’s three things many said:

                  1. It wasn’t huge like FreeBSD or Linux.

                  2. Its focus on portability made it easier to change.

                  3. Its community was welcoming or helpful to those trying to rewrite it for various reasons.

                  I’m not sure how true these are in general or currently since I don’t code BSD/Linux kernels or userlands. I just kept seeing a lot of people doing BSD mods say those things about NetBSD specifically. Probably better for developers of various BSD’s to chime in at this point since we have at least three represented in Lobsters community.

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                    The NetBSD rump kernel concept is one real-world demonstration that the abstraction layers are at least fairly good. It’s not clear you couldn’t do something similar with another OS, but NetBSD seems to have managed it with quite little actual porting needed (drivers run completely unmodified).

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                    They used to joke that it even runs on your toaster. Obviously, most toasters don’t have an embedded OS, but, I think the joke implies something about how portable they desire it to be.

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                        Ha! I hadn’t seen this, but I’m certainly not surprised!

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                        Obviously, most toasters don’t have an embedded OS


                        The obvious use case for such a device is cryptocurrency mining.

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                          The obvious use case for such a device is cryptocurrency mining.

                          Yep, This should generate enough heat to burn a few toast :+)

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                    Pretty slick.

                    I wrote a very simple tool to generate a provincial holiday calendar for the next 15-20 years from the government’s description of holidays (“Second Monday in October”). We might eventually need to switch to something like this since time zones are definitely one of the things I didn’t need to consider on the first quick implementation.

                    It was a fun project, and I found out that calculating Easter is actually surprisingly complex.

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                      My goodness, you weren’t kidding about Easter. From Wikipedia:

                      Easter and the holidays that are related to it are moveable feasts which do not fall on a fixed date in the Gregorian or Julian calendars which follow only the cycle of the sun; rather, its date is determined on a lunisolar calendar similar to the Hebrew calendar. The First Council of Nicaea (325) established two rules, independence of the Jewish calendar and worldwide uniformity, which were the only rules for Easter explicitly laid down by the council. No details for the computation were specified; these were worked out in practice, a process that took centuries and generated a number of controversies. It has come to be the first Sunday after the ecclesiastical full moon that occurs on or soonest after 21 March, but calculations vary.

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                        I did this years ago when I was tasked to enter holidays into our homegrown activity tracker.

                        Calculating Easter has been a problem for literally thousands of years: the Latin term computus refers to it.

                        Luckily this means it’s a “solved problem”, for me the Perl module Date::Calc was the solution with its Easter_Sunday function. From the documentation is uses the Gauss algorithm from 1800.

                        Ugly hacky code derived from that work here.

                        Edit Swedish public holidays are pretty simple compared to other countries.

                        1. There are holidays on fixed dates (Christmas, May day, National day)
                        2. There are holidays that depend on Easter
                        3. There are holidays that fall on certain date ranges (Midsummer’s day, All Saint’s day)

                        There are no compensatory bank holidays if a date-based holiday falls on a weekend.

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                          The whole “public holidays” problem is an interesting one. I’d love for there to be a public dataset of holidays which could be imported or queried via API. Unfortunately, it seems like quite a difficult problem!


                          The closest I’ve come to is using the Google Calendar listings, although I wouldn’t want to use it for anything other than personal use (see stackexchange thread above).

                          https://github.com/novafloss/workalendar also looks interesting, albeit incomplete.

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                            A database like that would be akin to the TZ database, but even harder to maintain.

                            Edit I now see that’s essentially what the SO discussion says…

                            In the end I believe having an open calendar standard so various people (like, for example, government agencies) can simply craft their own and distribute as they see fit.

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                        If you’ve run out of BOFH stories to read, and want to take it to the next level…!