QR Code contains TinyURL of this article.The Trawler: № 1

Polski statek-moloch Saga GDY150Credit: . License: CC BY-ND 2.0

Welcome to a new “thing” on this weblog. The Trawler will be a (probably irregular) series where I will publish lists of interesting things I’ve found within the expansive digital oceans of the Internet.

I often find that I have a dozen or more browser tabs open with things that I intend to blog about. But, due to lethargy or laziness, I never do. In the end, they fade into my bookmarks, to be never seen again. And that’s a shame because, amongst all the cat videos and food photos, there happens to be some really good stuff out there.

We’ll begin this inaugural issue with Marius Masalar’s review of the Fuji X-T1 camera. I love Masalar’s reviews. He writes with such enthusiasm and clarity, his articles are always a joy to read. Whilst I have no plans to upgrade my camera in the near term (I’m still in love with my X100S), I would definitely have the X-T1 on my shortlist should I want to go back to an interchangeable lens system.

Next on my reading list was “The U.S. Navy’s Big Mistake — Building Tons of Supercarriers” where I learned that “the Pentagon behaves as if aircraft carriers will rule forever … they won’t.” I also discovered “How to Sink an Aircraft Carrier,” something I thought was pretty much impossible.

First Look Media introduced First Look Code, a repository for “open source software projects related to privacy, security, data, and journalism.” Their first two utilities are PDF Redact Tools for “securely redacting and stripping metadata from documents before publishing” and Auto Canary, a tool to make “the process of generating machine-readable, digitally signed warrant canary statements simpler.”

The//Intercept, also from First Look Media, told us that a “U.N. Report Asserts Encryption as a Human Right in the Digital Age.” Too bloody right!

Another interesting read was Salon.com’s thought-provoking article, “Communism Saved the American Worker.” I fancy debating this one down the pub.

The inimitable Jeremy Keith asked the world, “Web! What is it good for?” After reading this, I took a little link-following journey that ended on the island of the Indie Web Camp, where I realised that the “own your data” philosophy really resonates with me. By the way, “did I ever mention that I fucking hate the fucking web?

Oskar Pernefeldt’s proposal for an “International Flag of Planet Earth” both impressed and intrigued me. Pernefeldt posits that “current expeditions in outer space use different national flags depending on which country is funding the voyage. The space travelers, however, are more than just representatives of their own countries. They are representatives of planet Earth.” This is, of course, true. I’d also suggest that the world would be a better place if we all lived under one planetary flag rather than a collection of regional ones.

David Walsh showed us how to list git branches sorted by date with a simple:

git for-each-ref --sort=-committerdate refs/heads/

Thank you David, I will be eternally grateful for that tip.

While we’re playing around in the shell, I should also draw your attention to Yaron Naveh’s amazing blessed-contrib. This tool provides for building gorgeous (in shell terms) animated dashboards, or other dynamic displays, using ASCII/ANSI art and JavaScript. I only wish I had something I need a dashboard for!

And, if pretty pictures are your thing, tympanus.net teaches us how to achieve the image tilt effect that seems to be popping up all over the web at the moment.

To finish off this issue, I’ll draw your attention to the news that MenuetOS has finally hit version 1. I first came across this project two or three years ago and had forgotten about it until a Computerworld article dropped into my RSS reader. MenuetOS is a pre-emptive, real-time and multiprocessor operating system written entirely in assembly. I will install this on a spare box at some point.