Sonos kills software updates for legacy products and customers aren’t happy – Blog – 10 minute

What just happened? Sonos earlier this week set off a firestorm among its most loyal customers when it announced that some legacy products would no longer be receiving software updates. For transition products like those that came out before software updates were a common occurrence, it is proving to be an issue.
Affected products include the original Zone Players, Connect and Connect: Amp (launched in 2006 and sold through 2015), the Bridge (launched in 2007), the first-gen Play:5 (launched in 2009) and the CR200, also launched in 2009. Updates will stop coming down the pipe in May 2020, the company said.
Sonos said it is proud of the fact that the products they build last a long time, noting that 92 percent of the products they’ve ever shipped are still in use today. Over time, however, technology has advanced at an exponential rate and some of their oldest products have been stretched to their technical limits in terms of processing power and memory.
Without new updates, Sonos said, access to services and overall functionality will eventually be disrupted.
It’s a concern that earlier generations of people and products simply never had to contend with. Back in the day, a new product was expected to perform exactly the same on the day it gets retired as it did on the day it was new. Nowadays, you have to factor software lifespan into the equation as products can be put out to pasture even if their hardware is still perfectly capable.

To help with the transition, Sonos offers a 30 percent discount on the purchase of new equipment when trading in your old gear. Products submitted for trade in will be put into recycle mode which deletes all personally identifiable information and preps them for recycling. Essentially, this irreversible mode bricks the item so it can’t be resold.
If you’d prefer to hang on to your original purchase, that’s perfectly acceptable, too. Just know that, eventually, one day, it will lose functionality and stop working as intended.
Even with the trade in offer, many are miffed. Lots of users have taken to Twitter to voice their displeasure. One user said that nobody spends thousands of dollars on high-end speakers and expects them to be rendered obsolete.
Masthead credit: Sonos dog by Vantage_DS. Plants by Getty.

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We aren’t doing enough to protect young people’s mental health – and girls are suffering especially badly- Tempemail – Blog – 10 minute

It was disturbing to read yesterday’s news that by the time they are 15, more than a third of girls in Scotland report experiencing “very high” emotional problems. Facts such as this shine an uncomfortable spotlight on the mental health and wellbeing of our children and young people.
Even more striking was the disparity in gender. The figures showed such problems are up to three times higher among girls than among boys. A recent report from the Scottish Government also noted that many young girls in Scotland report being “unsatisfied with their physical appearance”, often trying to meet unrealistic standards seen on social media, leading to anxiety and depression.
The need for more research to understand more about the impact of social media on our young people is clear, as is the need to ensure that they are educated on how to use it healthily and on how social media promotes unrealistic expectations.

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While people are now more willing to talk about their mental health, more needs to be done to develop the resilience of our children and young people and to ensure they get the support they need when they need it.
Sadly, too many of our children and young people wait too long to get support. By raising children and young people with good mental wellbeing we can ensure that they are able to reach their full potential. 
The Scottish Children’s Services CoalitionTom McGhee, Chairman, Spark of GeniusDuncan Dunlop, Chief Executive, Who Cares? ScotlandKenny Graham, Falkland House SchoolNiall Kelly, Managing Director, Young FoundationsLynn Bell, CEO, LOVE learning

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AFP via Getty

15/50 27 December 2019
The Panamanian-flag cargo ship “Zelek Star” is pictured after being washed up on a beach in the southern Israeli coastal city of Ashdod during a storm
AFP via Getty

16/50 26 December 2019
Monks wearing solar filter glasses watch the “ring of fire” solar eclipse at the Gaden monastery in a Tibetan colony in Teginkoppa, India
AFP via Getty

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A participant in a Darth Vader costume jumps into the water during the 110th edition of the ‘Copa Nadal’ (Christmas Cup) swimming competition in Barcelona’s Port Vell. The traditional 200-meter Christmas swimming race included more than 300 participants on Barcelona’s old harbour
AFP/Getty

18/50 24 December 2019
Children dressed as Santa Claus during celebrations on Christmas Eve at a school in Amritsar
AFP via Getty

19/50 23 December 2019
Palestinians wearing Christmas costumes distribute gifts to children seated atop the rubble of a house demolished by Israel, reportedly for not being built with official licensing in the village of al-Khader, west of of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank
AFP via Getty

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Why Australia’s burning
In reading James Dyke’s piece “Australia is being burned by the climate crisis – so why does it keep denying it?” I am struck by the mistake everyone is making about this ongoing disaster, which means continued errors will be made amounting to a perversion of the truth.
While it is true to say that the effect of global warming makes the probability of worsening frequencies year on year more likely, it can not be blamed wholly for the severity of the disaster now unfolding in New South Wales and Victoria.

There is ample evidence available online that the severity of this season’s fires has been consequent on forgetting the lessons of history, mainly thanks to direct governmental reduction of spend on fire safety measures and subsequent failures of proven, prudent forest management practices.
To name just a few factors, firefighting staff have been reduced, investment in fire suppression hardware neglected, preventative controlled burning significantly reduced, underbrush clear up neglected and fire control access roads poorly maintained.

Australia has over a century of recorded forest fire tragedies, and there has always been a high risk. Typically Eucalyptus trees are highly susceptible to fire, and an Australian Government Briefing (Current Issues Brief no. 8 2002-03) sets out the management case beautifully. If its recommendations had been adopted subsequently then we may well not be having this particular tragedy to discuss.

Please can we not just jump on the bandwagon, rather treat both issues on their own merits. 
Climate change is an urgent crisis in its own right, but so too is good governance, and these fires have probably been far, far worse than they ever needed to be because the lessons of history have been forgotten – probably for populistic reasons and short-term policy.
Jennifer RorrisonAddress provided

An ironic demise
As Karl Marx observed, “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.”
It was the downing of Flight 655 (an Iranian passenger plane full of pilgrims) by the gung-ho crew of the USS Vincennes which first brought Qasem Soleimani to international attention. 
As a colonel in the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution, he was part of the Iranian delegation that engaged Ahmed Jibril, the Syrian head of the PFLP-GC, to carry out the tit-for-tat destruction of Pan Am 103. The start of a stellar career, Soleimani was to become Iran’s chief terrorist mastermind before he was assassinated on the orders of US President Trump.
It’s beyond irony that his rise was marked by the tragedy of Flight 655 while his fall may have been marked by the farce of an equally nervy and inept Iranian missile crew shooting down a Ukrainian tourist plane as it left Tehran’s international airport.
Dr John CameronSt Andrews

A change of scene
Let Meghan and Harry be Meghan and Harry. The royals don’t need them – unless they get caught in some awful accident, William and Kate’s nuclear family takes the pressure off Harry to be the “spare” to William’s heir.
If I were them I’d find a way to give 90% of my money away to good causes and then spend the last 10% on myself, in Meghan’s case topping it up with on-screen odd jobs. I thought she did a good job on Suits – let’s hope she gets the lead in a Netflix show of her own (with Harry cameo of course).
Gisette HornchurchCowes
Overpaid, overfed, and over here
Since Donald Trump became president, I have started to question the benefit of our special relationship with America, which historically has always tended to benefit the US rather than the UK. Doubts must even be creeping in with the senior members of the Royal family.
First, Wallace Simpson stole the heart of Edward VIII leading to his inevitable abdication. Now another American seems to be causing ructions following Prince Harry’s recent public announcement that the Sussexes will be extricating themselves from the firm and spending more time in America, of all places.
I fear this year could be yet another annus horribilis for the Royal family.
Christopher Learmont-Hughes​Wirral

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Microsoft Will Publish exFAT Spec, but Linux Devs Aren’t Happy


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Microsoft has announced that it will publish the technical implementation details of the exFAT standard and allow support to be integrated into the Linux kernel at a future date. This is a major change for Microsoft, which once weaponized its FAT patents. While Samsung has published a GPL driver for exFAT back in 2013, patent encumbrances have prevented the driver from being distributed as part of Linux.

That can now change, if the driver is included in future versions of the Linux kernel. But as Phoronix noted, discussion on the mailing list has been critical of the pre-existing driver code, which was tagged for inclusion in the kernel following the Microsoft announcement. Christoph Hellwig, a longtime Linux developer, called it “a pile of crap,” saying:

It basically is a reimplementation of fs/fat/ not up to kernel standards with a few indirections thrown in to also support exfat. So no amount of work on this codebase is really going to bring us forward. Instead someone how can spend a couple days on this and actually has file systems to test it just needs to bring the low-level format bits over to our well tested fs/fat codebase instead of duplicating it.

Greg Kroah-Hartman, who maintains the Linux -stable branch, defended the decision to take the code into staging, despite its current condition, writing: “I know the code is horrible, but I will gladly take horrible code into staging. If it bothers you, just please ignore it.”

Stephen J. Vaughan-Nichols writes that the move could be read as a partial answer to a request made by Bradley Kuhn when Microsoft joined the Open Invention Network (OIN)’s patent non-aggression pact last year. After noting that Microsoft had specifically shaken down Linux product vendors for licensing fees related to exFAT in the past, he called on Microsoft to “submit to upstream the exfat code themselves under GPLv2-or-later.” Microsoft has not taken this step. Instead, it is publishing the specification and supports the work to create a Linux driver that will add exFAT support to the kernel at a future time. While Microsoft is supporting this effort, it expects the actual code submission to be performed by others.

As for why Microsoft is taking this step, at this specific point in time, the company may have provided the answer last year, at an Open Source Summit in Europe. SJVN quotes Stephen Walli, the principle program management for Azure, as saying:

Open source changed everything. Customers have changed. Fifteen years ago, a CIO would have said, ‘we have no open source, they would have been wrong, but that’s what they thought.’ Now, CIOs know open source’s essential … Microsoft has always been a company by, of, and for developers. At this point in history, developers love open source.

Opposition to the move or concerns about whether Microsoft intends something surreptitiously skulduggerous seem muted in most of the OSS community. Microsoft has been attempting to prove its open-source bona fides for years, even going so far as to integrate a Bash shell and Linux kernel into Windows 10. In the past, there have been bitter standardization fights between Microsoft and members of the open-source community, including the fight between Office Open XML proponents (Microsoft) and the OpenDocument Format (ODF) over a decade ago.

Today, there’s no sign of such disputes. Since Satya Nadella took over at Microsoft, the company has been markedly more friendly towards open source products. Whether that reflects Microsoft’s willingness to acknowledge the objective popularity of open-source software or a new front in a crafty, long-term war to sabotage those products is likely in the eye of the beholder.

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