BBC AI News, Nginx raided, Linux pwns ALL Competitors, Is QuadrigaCX Founder Really Dead?

  • Episode 637
  • December 18, 2019
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Here are the stories we're following for the week of Wednesday December 18, 2019

HP is fighting a very real environmental problem by building their laptops out of ocean-bound plastics.

HP is fighting a very real environmental problem by building their laptops out of ocean-bound plastics.

In September, HP introduced their Elite Dragonfly notebook – the world's lightest compact business convertible and--get this--the world's first notebook made with ocean-bound plastic.

HP also announced a commitment to include ocean-bound plastic material in all new HP Elite and HP Pro desktop and notebook computers launching in 2020.

This move reflects HP's commitment to address the growing challenge of ocean plastics. To date, HP has sourced more than 1 million pounds of ocean-bound plastics. That's the equivalent of more than 35 million plastic bottles. They've been using it in their ink cartridges, HP EliteDisplay E273d monitors, and now the HP Elite Dragonfly.


Sent to us by: Bret Austen

For the first time, BBC News published a news story for every constituency that declared election results overnight - all written by a computer.

In what the BBC says is their biggest test of machine-generated journalism so far, BBC News published a news story for every constituency that declared election results overnight - all written by a computer.

Each of nearly 700 articles - most in English but 40 of them in Welsh - was checked by a human editor before publication.

The head of the project said the tech was designed to enhance the service provided, not to replace human reporters.

Robert McKenzie, editor of BBC News Labs says "This is about doing journalism that we cannot do with human beings at the moment."

Using machine assistance, they were able to generate a story for every single constituency that declared during last week's general election, which they say would not have been possible with human reporters.

Several news organisations are testing automated journalism as a way of covering data-driven stories more efficiently.

The technology can quickly produce stories focused on numbers, such as football scores, company financial reports - and general election results.

Mr McKenzie said the articles reflected a "BBC style" because the choice of phrases could be programmed in advance by BBC writers.

He said, "As a journalist, you try to think of every conceivable permutation of a story in advance. Then you write a template. The machine selects particular phrases or particular words in response to precise pieces of data. So you can write everything if you want to, in 'house style'."

He clarifies, "This clearly only works on stories that are grounded in data. It is not a technology that allows you to do any kind of analysis."


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

A Russian police raid on Nginx's Moscow office last Thursday has raised concerns among users of the popular web and proxy server software.

A Russian police raid on Nginx's Moscow office last Thursday has raised concerns among users of the popular web and proxy server software.

Several employees, including chief developer Igor Sysoev and co-founder Maxim Konovalov, were interviewed by police over a criminal copyright infringement complaint.

The raid arrived a week after Russian search engine and internet firm Rambler, Sysoev's former employer, claimed full ownership of the Nginx code. In addition, Rambler Internet Holding is requesting the equivalent of about $810,000 USD.

Nginx, a firm created in 2011 to provide support for users of the open source web server software of the same name, was bought by US firm F5 Networks for $670 million back in March. Nginx was first released in 2004.

Around a third of web servers in the world use Nginx, often as a load balancer.

Even if Rambler can prove their case against Nginx, F5 wants to calm fears about future support and product development by reminding users that master software builds of its open source software are stored outside of Russia.


Sent to us by: Johnny A. Solbu

Linux has destroyed every competing OS in the supercomputer market, taking a 100% share of the top 500.

It's clear that Linux is ruling the world of supercomputers as the latest from Top500 reports that Linux is now the operating system of choice on all of the fastest 500 supercomputers in the world.

Top500 is an independent project that was launched in 1993 to benchmark supercomputers. It publishes the details about the top 500 fastest supercomputers known to them, twice a year. On their website you can filter the list based on various criteria such as country, operating system, vendor, and so-on.

20 years back, most of the supercomputers ran the closed source Unix operating system. But eventually, Linux took the lead and become the preferred choice.

Supercomputers are specific devices built for specific purposes. This requires a custom operating system optimized for those specific needs. So the fact that Linux is open source and easily modified to suit the individual supercomputer needs is likely why it's the only choice.

Out of the top 10 fastest supercomputers, USA has 5, China has 2 while Japan, Germany and Switzerland have 1 each.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

Remember when the owner of cryptocurrency exchange QuadrigaCX passed away, taking hundreds of millions in customer crypto to the grave with him? Now, investors are beginning to wonder if he actually died, or if he just took the money and ran.

In late January, the wife of a cryptocurrency-exchange founder testified that her husband inadvertently took at least $137 million of customer assets to the grave when he died without giving anyone the password to his encrypted laptop. Now, outraged investors want to exhume the founder's body to make sure he's really dead.

Back in February 2019, the wife of Gerry Cotten, founder the QuadrigaCX cryptocurrency exchange, submitted an affidavit stating he died suddenly while vacationing in India, at the age of 30. The cause: complications of Crohn's disease, a bowel condition that is rarely fatal. At the time, QuadrigaCX lost control of at least $137 million in customer assets because it was stored on a laptop that—according to the widow's affidavit—only Cotten knew the password to.

His widow, Jennifer Robertson said the Laptop stored his cold wallet—that is, a digital wallet not connected to the Internet—that contained the digital currency belonging to customers of the exchange.

According to Robertson, after attempts to guess his password, she went on to hire experts to attempt to decrypt the laptop, but they too failed. One expert profiled Cotten in an attempt to hack the computer, but that attempt also came to nothing.

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported that the amount exchange clients were unable to access is now calculated to be $250 million. Meanwhile, law enforcement officials in both Canada—where QuadrigaCX is located—and in the United States are investigating potential wrongdoing, and investors are clamoring for proof Cotten is actually dead.

Lawyers representing exchange clients on Friday asked Canadian law enforcement officials to exhume his body and conduct an autopsy to confirm both its identity and the cause of death.

According to a report from an auditing firm hired by the Supreme Court of Nova Scotia, QuadrigaCX had transferred "significant volumes of cryptocurrency" into personal accounts held by Cotten on other exchanges. The report also documented the transfer of "substantial funds" to Cotten personally that had no clear business justification.

An autopsy is unlikely to lead to the recovery of the missing cryptocurrency. But it would go a long way to confirming or debunking the claims that Cotten died at the time and in the manner disclosed to QuadrigaCX customers.


Sent to us by: Roy W. Nash

A new Linux laptop has launched that blows the Macbook Pro out of the water.

A new high-end Linux laptop has launched that is more powerful than a Macbook Pro, and could even give System76's Oryx Pro a run for its money.

It’s called the Kubuntu Focus and is a joint effort between The Kubuntu Council, Tuxedo Computers and Mindshare Management.

The target audience for the Kubuntu Focus is users who find the MacBook Pro too limited in power and compatibility with Linux. But looking at the specs, it looks like a dreamy system for Linux power-users, gamers, content creators and developers.

This isn’t a laptop designed from the ground up, however. The Kubuntu Focus takes roughly the same approach as System76 does by taking a stock Clevo unit and adapting it for Linux. This one is specifically tuned for battery life and an optimal Nvidia / KDE experience out of the box.

Quick specs look like a Core i7-9750H 4.5GHz Turbo processor, a GTX-2060 GPU with 6GB RAM, 32GB system RAM, 1TB NVMe storage and a 16.1" 1080p IPS display with a matte finish.

All this will come in for less than the price of a Macbook Pro, with the estimated sale price at about $2,400.


Sent to us by: Robbie Ferguson


Technology TV is On Summer Break

Episode 660 will be live August 12! See you then.

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