(stupid white old) man on a parking lot

Reports have become rare in which drivers were misled by their car’s navigation system and accidentally slipped into a river, expecting a not yet build bridge or desperately ended up on a steep mountain trail, non-suited for anything wider than a goat. In sum you would feel save to assume that nowadays route-based guidance has improved significantly and at the same time humans have learned to not always trust the machines. Most not all.

But let’s start from the beginning. Of course the elections have stolen Donnie the presidency and there must be yet another public statement to clarify again. And where else than at a posh hotel yard within the largest city of one of the “battlegrounds”:

Four Seasons, of course! Oh wait … not that one?

But it also has an atmospheric parking lot and is situated between a crematorium and an adult book store: Four Seasons Total Landscaping “… servicing your commercial landscape and snow removal needs.”

via Twitter (c) 2020 John Minchillo

Looks like they chose their venues as carefully as they ruled the country. What a sad and somehow still beautiful end. Hopefully.

More details: “I Can’t Stop Thinking About Four Seasons Total Landscaping” by Claire Lampen

Apollo in Sync

The Apollo space flight program is long history, even the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 was already celebrated more than a year ago. Todays headlines in spaceflight are either written by a psychologically conspicuous president building a Space Force or a pot smoking business magnate launching electric cars in space and polluting the night sky (and earth orbit) with his up to 42,000 Internet satellites.

In contrast Ben Feist (Homepage | Twitter) has done phenomenal work in reviving the Apollo fever. Or how else can you call it when you are able to replay some of the original missions in real time – second by second from start to end – whilst having the ability to switch interactively between all mission control audio channels, public commentaries, and various video streams. In addition the multimedia content has been enriched with photographs, transcripts, and many more details. All available sources have been carefully restored, synchronized, and packed into an intuitive and original user interface.

Its seems that all of this fabulous work has taken years. Ben Feist’s first blog post describing the idea is of 2012. The first public release was announced three years later, adding additional features in 2016. Oh and that was only about Apollo 17, not to mention Apollo 11 and Apollo 13. In the end it seems to have brought him a job with NASA and collaborators like Stephen Slater, David Charney, Chris Bennett, Arnfinn Holderer, and Robin Wheeler.

Reading the statistics of the included real-time elements for e.g. Apollo 11 is just stunning: All mission control film footage, all TV transmissions and onboard film footage, 2,000 photographs, 11,000 hours of Mission Control audio, 240 hours of space-to-ground audio, all onboard recorder audio, 15,000 searchable utterances, …

Pro tip: Make sure that you do not have any further plans for the day, before you click on https://apolloinrealtime.org/.

Aquanaute extraordinaire

Wer kennt nicht Jacques-Yves Cousteau und zumindest einen seiner legendären Film wie “Die schweigende Welt”? Der tauchende Biologe und Naturphotograph Laurent Ballesta, Jahrgang 1974 aus Montpellier, war mir dagegen bisher unbekannt. Vor einiger Zeit hatte ich bereits, aber unbewusst, einen Film von ihm gesehen, der mich bleibend fasziniert hat: “Antarktis – Die Reise der Pinguine”. Seine weiteren Expeditionen in die Unterwasserwelt stehen diesem Werk in nichts nach und es würde schwer fallen, sich für eines als das Beste zu entscheiden. Allesamt zeigen atemberaubende Bilder, schildern fesselnde Erlebnisse und liefern detaillierte Einblicke in die besuchten Lebensräume und Ökosysteme. Am Ende jeden Abenteuers hat man das Gefühl, als müsste man selbst erst den ein oder anderen Deko-Stopp einlegen, um überhaupt wieder in die reale Welt zurück zu finden. Mit anderen Worten – nicht nur in der aktuellen Zeit – Prädikat besonders wertvoll und schwerstens zu empfehlen!

Zur Zeit hat ARTE in der Sendereihe “Die Tiefen der Ozeane” einige Filme von bzw. mit Laurent Ballesta im Angebot, die bis zu ihrer Depublikation nachfolgend verlinkt sind:

aus “Planète Méditerranée” (c) Laurent Ballesta

Homepage: https://laurentballesta.com/
See also:

Schwedischer AVL-Baum

Textuelle Beschreibungen von Algorithmen sind berüchtigt dafür, eher trocken und schwer verständlich zu sein. Aufbauanleitungen eines schwedischen Möbelhauses erfreuen dagegen – zumeist – durch wortlose und illustrative Benutzerführung. Warum also nicht auch mal eine Verfahrensanweisung in dieser intuitiven Form aufbereiten?

Das haben sich zwei Informatiker der TU Braunschweig gedacht und dies gleich mal für die gängigsten Berechnungsvorschriften in die Tat umgesetzt. Zum Beispiel der AVL-Baum:

“Bälänce Tree” von Sándor P. Fekete und Sebastian Morr (CC by-nc-sa 4.0)

Weitere Anleitungen und Details: https://idea-instructions.com/

Open Source Legal Notes

In his post “Is it time to revise the Open Source Definition?” the legal council of Red Hat Richard Fontana argues that the Open Source Definition (OSD) might need some review and improvement:

  • Aiming at OSD #7: Patents should be addressed to prevent recent (mis)interpretations that Open Source licenses are “Copyright only”.
  • Aiming at OSD #9: Unwanted licensing effects on non-related software should be excluded upfront to prevent any future disputes like about the SSPL.
  • Freedom 0 of the Free Software Definition – “to run the program as you wish” – should be included in the OSD for reasons of clarity.

The Software Freedom Conservancy received a $100,000 grant by the Amateur Radio Digital Communications (ARDC) for GPL enforcement.

A few days ago the oral hearing of the lawsuit between Oracle and Google were held at the U.S. Supreme Court, after it had been delayed by COVID-19. McCoy Smith shares his observations and interpretation in a detailed post “Oracle/Google” at Lex Pan Law. The litigation is over the copyrightability and if so infringement of certain parts of Java (mainly APIs) that were used within Android. If Oracle wins it will have significant impact on the whole software world and especially Open Source. Ultimately any API (use) would become subject to copyright.

Switching from Lightroom to Darktable on macOS

I started my digital photography life with a Nikon D80 and Lightroom 1.0 quite a while ago (2007). When Adobe stopped selling copies and only provided subscription options was one of the moments it became very clear that an alternative is needed. Let’s not talk about Lightroom CC, its unstable desktop app, and a recent user nightmare.

To be independent from the business needs of a company, the only option is to go for an alternative that is licensed under an Open Source license. With that preference in mind and if it is about RAW processing, you have the choice between digiKam, RawTherapee, and darktable.

I was following darktable since a few years. The 2.x versions have not really been working for me. In contrast the releases of 3.0 and 3.2 have been milestones in growing darktable into a serious and easy to use – not to say even more mature – alternative to Lightroom and it is time to do the final switch. Now or never.

To share it upfront: I did not get disappointed nor frustrated by this decision. I am just wondering, why the hell did I not switch earlier?

Continue reading Switching from Lightroom to Darktable on macOS

Yet another Open Source Organization?

Google just made some news – and controversy – with their ‘independent’ corporation The Open Usage Commons Foundation. Possibly some kind of 501(c) non-profit organization, we don’t know yet.

It has been instantiated for the sole purpose of trademark management (and enforcement?) for Open Source projects, who are said to be not well positioned to care by themselves. For a start Google assimilated their own projects: Angular, Istio, and GerritCode Review. Own Projects? Oh well, at least for Istio – that was co-developed with IBM – they now clarified who has ownership of its trademark.

In their introduction statement they claim: “[…] Accordingly, a trademark, while managed separately from the code, actually helps project owners ensure their work is used in ways that follow the Open Source Definition by being a clear signal to users that, “This is open source.” […]”

Josh Simmons, the president of the Open Source Initiative (OSI) maintaining the referenced definition has a diplomatic statement to that, which also serves well as a summary: “Of course, OSI is always glad when folks explicitly work to maintain compatibility with the Open Source Definition. What that means here is something we’re still figuring out, so OSI is taking a wait-and-see approach.[1]

Or is this yet another project for the Google Cemetery because the Open Source community is not that into trademarks as cooperations are?

There are more detailed summaries and discussions: