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If Big Tech had their way, we'd be out of business already
April 01, 2024
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The work of The Lunduke Journal brings me a tremendous amount of joy -- I absolutely love what I do.  The shows, the articles, the comics... all of it.

But I would be lying if I said the challenges were not, at times, more than a little daunting.

When every other prominent Tech News outlet is already struggling to stay in business... I decide to make it even harder by swimming upstream.  I turn down every penny of advertising and sponsorship offered so that The Lunduke Journal can always report the truth.  The traditional, most used avenue for funding a publication... gone.

That, alone, would be enough of a challenge.  But it doesn't end there.

Big Tech doesn't like Lunduke

Big Tech outlets fear my reporting -- and for obvious reasons.  Many Tech firms now have a hard "No talking to Lunduke" policy for their PR, Marketing, and Executive teams.  Shoot.  I know of several companies that have had meetings just to strategize about how to "deal with Lunduke".

While I have a loyal network of internal sources at most of these companies, not being able to talk directly (and openly) with their PR teams presents significant challenges.

Along those same lines, many companies have exerted pressure on other organizations... "encouraging" them to not work with me.

Conferences, YouTubers, and Podcasters have all been leaned on, by multiple tech companies, to not publicly interact with me and the stories I report at The Lunduke Journal.  They are all at risk of losing valuable (and much needed) sponsorship dollars if they were to, say, book me on their shows.  Or give me a keynote slot at their conference (something which would otherwise be a noteworthy boost to attendance for them and, hence, a no-brainer).

Open Source, Censorship, and Politics.

Leadership of Open Source projects are under heavy pressure, by political extremists, to not interact with The Lunduke Journal in any way.  Interviews, and even answering simple questions, are met with threats (of multiple kinds) from these extremists.  And, not wanting to risk the success and stability of their projects, many Open Source leaders simply capitulate -- they give in to the extremists demands.

Again... if it stopped there... woof.  That would be more enough problems.  But it continues.

Those same political extremists, along with representatives from many Tech Firms, are dedicated to silencing me in as many ways as they can.

Often this means simple censorship of Lunduke Journal stories -- almost always deleted and banned across forums, Hacker News, Reddit, and many other sites.

In other cases, there are groups who scour the Web for posts which mention or link to Lunduke Journal articles or videos.  And, when found, these groups will contact the author who mentioned the word "Lunduke" and heavily encourage (read: bully) them into removing that reference.  (Shoot.  I can't even sneeze without getting banned or censored on YouTube nowadays.)

Sometimes it's for politlcal reasons, sometimes business reasons... regardless the number of people, organizations, and companies who adamantly want to silence The Lunduke Journal grows by the day.

They want to not only silence the facts that I report... by my opinions as well.  They view my words as "dangerous"... as an existential threat.

I do it gladly

In all honesty, I'm not looking for any sort of pity here.  These are significant challenges, to be sure.  But I tackle them willingly.

In fact, in a way... it is gratifying.  Because it means I'm doing something right.

Just the same, the challenges are significant.  And I absolutely cannot do this alone.

In order to succeed -- to be able to continue getting these stories to the public -- I need all of you.  Specifically for two critical things:

  1. Funding.  That one is obvious.  Without ad revenue or Big Tech funding, I am reliant entirely on subscriptions and contributions.  If you have a few extra coins jangling around, I can put them to good use.
  2. Spreading the word.  That might be less obvious... but it is no less important.  If you see an article or show that you like... tell people.  Post it to social media.  Put it on forums.  Submit it to any website you frequent.  If they want to silence The Lunduke Journal... we simply can't let them.

So, if you haven't subscribed yet, now's the time.  The more people that subscribe (or simply do one-time donations), the more Lunduke Journal articles and shows I can afford to release for free (without being subscriber exclusives).  And -- along the same lines -- the less time I need to spend thinking about funding, the more time I can spend writing articles, investigating new stories, and recording shows.

To those of you who are already subscribers: Thank you!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again... this truly would not be possible without you.

 

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Mozilla Firefox blocks anti-Censorship and pro-Privacy extensions in Russia:
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It's a fascinatingly annoying cycle. And there's only one viable way out of it.

Looking for the Podcast RSS feed or other links? Check here:
https://lunduke.locals.com/post/4619051/lunduke-journal-link-central-tm

Give the gift of The Lunduke Journal:
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The futility of Ad-Blockers
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openSUSE says "No Lunduke allowed!"

Those in power with openSUSE make it clear they will not allow me anywhere near anything related to the openSUSE project. Ever. For any reason.

Well, that settles that, then! Guess I won't be contributing to openSUSE! 🤣

Looking for the Podcast RSS feed or other links?
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openSUSE says "No Lunduke allowed!"
September 13, 2023
"Andreas Kling creator of Serenity OS & Ladybird Web Browser" - Lunduke’s Big Tech Show - September 13th, 2023 - Ep 044

This episode is free for all to enjoy and share.

Be sure to subscribe here at Lunduke.Locals.com to get all shows & articles (including interviews with other amazing nerds).

"Andreas Kling creator of Serenity OS & Ladybird Web Browser" - Lunduke’s Big Tech Show - September 13th, 2023 - Ep 044
Off to a fantastic start!

A huge high-five is in order for everyone who pitched in and grabbed a subscription (or otherwise donated) today!

I do believe we've put enough funds in the "This is For The Linux Distro" account to cover all of the obvious expenses (servers, hardware, domains, etc.) for at least the next half year or so. Most outstanding!

I'll be honest... I wasn't expecting this level of response!

I'll leave the sale running until midnight tonight if anyone else wants to jump in, but this is truly amazing. All of you rule.

Next up: Getting servers, domain, source repository, and forum set up.

9 hours ago

#Commodore #Wikipedia

Here's a demo of an in-development Wikipedia-specific online browser running on C64 OS, which is a commercial OS now available for Commodore 64s. Data speeds are hobbled a bit by a 2400 baud modem, but seems very functional with neat features like multiple-language support and flexible screen usage under user control. This offers a much richer experience compared to Minitel or early online services like GEnie back in the day.

A question for the group:

Does Microsoft 365 run under Wine? Back when MS Office was a stand alone product it installed and worked well in wine but does it still? The need/desire to use this product has stopped some people from moving away from Windows and to Linux.

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Last week at The Lunduke Journal (June 9 - June 15, 2024)
Firefox! Russia! WWDC! Open Source A.I.!

My-oh-my.  Another wild week at The Lunduke Journal!  It all kicked off with a live video commentary of Apple's WWDC keynote (which was banned by YouTube, but still available at the links below), then quickly moves to Mozilla and Open Source AI.

The Videos

The Articles

Previous Few Weeks

Reminder: Check out The Lunduke Journal Link Central page for all the handy URLS.  Podcast RSS feeds, contact info, direct links to some of the big shows and articles and a bunch of other goodies.  And be sure to subscribe to The Lunduke Journal to help support the work... and make sure you don't miss out on anything.

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The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go

Back in July of 2016, I wrote a short article for Network World entitled “The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go."

While the title was certainly viewed as a bit “over the top” and “conspiracy theorist-y”, it was really just a collection of (in my opinion, rather bizarre) facts that – even without any sinister connection – were worth documenting. I am republishing it here, with some additional (increasingly odd) details added at the end (including radio and TV appearances related to this article).

Some of the details relating to the exact permissions and capabilities of the Pokémon application have changed over the last few years… but everything else remains correct, factual, and up to date.

 


 

The CIA, NSA, and Pokémon Go

With Pokémon Go currently enjoying, what I would call, a wee-bit-o-success, now seems like a good time to talk about a few things people may not know about the world's favorite new smartphone game.

This is not an opinion piece. I am not going to tell you Pokémon Go is bad or that it invades your privacy. I’m merely presenting verifiable facts about the biggest, most talked about game out there.

Let’s start with a little history

Way back in 2001, Keyhole, Inc. was founded by John Hanke (who previously worked in a “foreign affairs” position within the U.S. government). The company was named after the old “eye-in-the-sky” military satellites. One of the key, early backers of Keyhole was a firm called In-Q-Tel.

In-Q-Tel is the venture capital firm of the CIA. Yes, the Central Intelligence Agency. Much of the funding purportedly came from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA). The NGA handles combat support for the U.S. Department of Defense and provides intelligence to the NSA and CIA, among others.

Keyhole’s noteworthy public product was “Earth.” Renamed to “Google Earth” after Google acquired Keyhole in 2004.

In 2010, Niantic Labs was founded (inside Google) by Keyhole’s founder, John Hanke.

Over the next few years, Niantic created two location-based apps/games. The first was Field Trip, a smartphone application where users walk around and find things. The second was Ingress, a sci-fi-themed game where players walk around and between locations in the real world.

In 2015, Niantic was spun off from Google and became its own company. Then Pokémon Go was developed and launched by Niantic. It’s a game where you walk around in the real world (between locations suggested by the service) while holding your smartphone.

Data the game can access

Let’s move on to what information Pokémon Go has access to, bearing the history of the company in mind as we do.

When you install Pokémon Go on an Android phone, you grant it the following access (not including the ability to make in-app purchases):

Identity

  • Find accounts on the device

Contacts

  • Find accounts on the device

Location

  • Precise location (GPS and network-based)

  • Approximate location (network-based)

Photos/Media/Files

  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage

  • Read the contents of your USB storage

Storage

  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage

  • Read the contents of your USB storage

Camera

  • Take pictures and videos

Other

  • Receive data from the internet

  • Control vibration

  • Pair with Bluetooth devices

  • Access Bluetooth settings

  • Full network access

  • Use accounts on the device

  • View network connections

  • Prevent the device from sleeping

Based on the access to your device (and your information), coupled with the design of Pokémon Go, the game should have no problem discerning and storing the following information (just for a start):

  • Where you are

  • Where you were

  • What route you took between those locations

  • When you were at each location

  • How long it took you to get between them

  • What you are looking at right now

  • What you were looking at in the past

  • What you look like

  • What files you have on your device and the entire contents of those files

I’m not going to tell people what they should think of all this.

I’m merely presenting the information. I recommend looking over the list of what data the game has access to, then going back to the beginning of this article and re-reading the history of the company.

Update: April 14th, 2020

In March of 2017, a little less than a year after this article was originally published, WikiLeaks released what they called “Vault 7." A series of documents that was purported to be a large leak of CIA related documents focused heavily on hacking and electronic surveillance.

Among those documents was a list of code names, descriptions, and various details around Android specific exploits.

Of the code names listed… almost a third of them were Pokémon names. Between that and the CIA investment (via In-Q-Tel) in Niantic (the company behind Pokémon Go)… I mean, that's just a heck of a lot more Pokémon than one would expect from the CIA.

One other little tidbit:

The original CEO of In-Q-Tel was a man named Gilman Louie. Louie received multiple awards for his work with In-Q-Tel - including CIA Agency Seal Medallions, Director's Award by the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, and Director of National Intelligence Medallion – which included investing in Keyhole.

Louie now sits on the board of directors of Niantic.

In 2019 alone, Pokémon Go earned $1.4 Billion (USD). As of February 2019, the game had been downloaded over One Billion times.

Update: June 15th, 2024

After this article was originally published, back in 2016, I made a few radio guest appearances to talk about it -- my favorites being for Coast to Coast AM and Fade to Black.  Both of which remain available online.

This was followed by an episode of a TV show, for The History Channel, called "Breaking Mysterious".  That show only received a limited run in the USA, but it remains available via streaming in many other countries in case you want to look it up.

Here's a few snapshots from that episode (Season 1, Episode 1 - "The Watchers") just for good measure.

The show was originally titled "The Unexplained".  But the name was changed to "Breaking Mysterious"... and, later, "The Unexplained" title was used for an entirely different show, hosted by William Shatner.

 

Yup.  The video editors for the History Channel spelled my name wrong.  (It's with a Y!  A Y, I say!)

 

Sitting in a park.  Dropping truth bombs about surveillance on the show host, Jimmy Church.

 

Giving the show's host "The Look".
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Funny Programming Pictures Part XLIV
Father's Day Weekend Edition

I hit Ctrl-C 187,000 times while creating this article.

 

... or simply don't know what we did, but it works.  It's "the algorithm".

 

Remember when Windows Vista was the "Best Advertisement for Linux"?  Good times.

 

We're all doomed.

 

This is the correct answer for every topic for an experienced dev: I hate everything, for different reasons.

 

Correct.

 

This is a tough conversation for any dad to have.

 

The other 1% is giving up and just using a Center tag inside of a Table.

 

The more times you hit Ctrl-C, the better it copies.

 

GLAAARRGGHHH!

 

"Backend Developer"

 

WE ARE LINUX. YOU WILL BE ASSIMILATED. YOUR LINE BREAK TYPE WILL BE LF. RESISTANCE IS FUTILE.

 

Don't look behind you.  Copilot is catching up.
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