Happy 20th birthday, LWN!

Linux Weekly News (aka LWN) is celebrating its 20th birthday.  Wow, that’s quite impressive! Not many web sites can say that.  But even fewer can do so while covering technology news related to Linux and other Open Source Software.

I’ve been a reader of LWN since their early days.  I’ve been subscribed to it also at different times during the years (see 2002, and then 2004).  And I’m glad that they are still around.  I still catch up with the RSS feed on a weekly basis.

Happy birthday, LWN!  And thanks for all the hard work and excellent content.

Zero-Width Characters

This article shows a couple of interesting zero-width characters techniques for the invisible fingeprinting of text.

In early 2016 I realized that it was possible to use zero-width characters, like zero-width non-joiner or other zero-width characters like the zero-width space to fingerprint text. Even with just a single type of zero-width character the presence or non-presence of the non-visible character is enough bits to fingerprint even the shortest text.


I also realized that it is possible to use homoglyph substitution (e.g., replacing the letter “a” with its Cyrillic counterpart, “а”), but I dismissed this as too easy to detect due to the differences in character rendering across fonts and systems. However, differences in dashes (en, em, and hyphens), quotes (straight vs curly), word spelling (color vs colour), and the number of spaces after sentence endings could probably go undetected due to their frequent use in real text.


The reason I’m writing about this now is that it appears both homoglyph substitution and zero-width fingerprintinghave been discovered by others, so journalists should be informed of the existence of these techniques.

Linux Journal Ceases Publication

These are some sad, sad news, folks – Linux Journal is closing down:


It looks like we’re at the end, folks. If all goes according to a plan we’d rather not have, the November issue of Linux Journal was our last.

The simple fact is that we’ve run out of money, and options along with it. We never had a wealthy corporate parent or deep pockets of our own, and that made us an anomaly among publishers, from start to finish. While we got to be good at flying close to the ground for a long time, we lost what little elevation we had in November, when the scale finally tipped irrevocably to the negative.

I’ve been a subscriber of the Linux Journal for many years (just not the most recent ones), and I’ve learned a lot from it.  It’s very sad to see it go, even though it’s been years since I read it last.

Longreads: The best long-form stories on the web

Longreads: The best long-form stories on the web

Longreads, founded in 2009, is dedicated to helping people find and share the best storytelling in the world, including both nonfiction and fiction.

Longreads are defined as anything over 1,500 words. They’re stories that are best enjoyed away from your desk — whether it’s on a daily commute, an airplane, a subway, or your couch.

Longreads features stories from hundreds of the best writers and publishers on the web, as well as exclusive stories never before published online.

Journalists at Sochi are live-tweeting their hilarious and gross hotel experiences

Journalists at Sochi are live-tweeting their hilarious and gross hotel experiences