Social distancing is good news for the drive-in theater

(www.atlasobscura.com)

Watzke, a 63-year-old former projectionist, has heard of at least 11 drive-in theaters in America that are currently operating under strict public health guidelines. While that’s a small fraction of the 305 businesses known to the United Drive-In Theatre Owners Association, the response he’s witnessed has been strong enough to offer a glimmer of hope. “This could actually be an upslope of the industry that we haven’t had in many a year,” Watzke says. Atlas Obscura asked him how he’s nurturing his business and his community during a pandemic.

One of the good benefits of distancing that's for sure. Hope it lasts that even after this is over, the drive-in is capable of making a full recovery.

Several large restaurant groups led by multi-millionaire CEOs had successfully obtained loans meant to aid small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic

(www.buzzfeednews.com)

Along with Potbelly and Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, Shake Shack was one of several large restaurant companies with thousands of workers that successfully applied under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The $350 billion government-backed loan program was created to help small businesses pay staff. The federal law that established the program allowed restaurants and hotels to apply as long as they had no more than 500 employees working at a single location.

Like I said, most small businesses just got fucked over as usual thanks to our incompetent government.

ICANN delays .org sell off after California's attorney general intervenes at last minute, tears non-profit a new one over sale

(www.theregister.co.uk)

"Empowering a for-profit entity that could undermine the accessibility and affordability of the .org domain, which serves nonprofits, should concern all of us," the California AG's office told The Reg.

"We're urging ICANN to deny the request to transfer control of the .org domain to a for-profit private equity firm. In California, we're committed to an Internet that serves everyone and we're simply concerned that this transfer puts profits above the public interest."

Those concerns include the fact that the .org registry, which acts as the online home to hundreds of thousands of non-profit organizations, would be turned into a for-profit organization as part of the sale.

"If, as proposed, Ethos Capital is permitted to purchase PIR, it will no longer have the unique characteristics that ICANN valued at the time that it selected PIR as the nonprofit to be responsible for the .ORG registry," Becerra's letter notes.

"In effect, what is at stake is the transfer of the world's second largest registry to a for-profit private equity firm that, by design, exists to profit from millions of nonprofit and non-commercial organizations."

A small glimmer of hope for the future of .org as ICANN has delayed the review period for a couple of weeks.

San Diego Comic-Con 2020 Is Canceled

(io9.gizmodo.com)

SDCC’s cancelation is one of the longer holdouts of the summer convention season, as rolling postponements and outright cancellations as the spread of the novel coronavirus continued across the world saw convention after convention scramble to adapt what has now become a global crisis. That reluctance to join the chorus of delays and cancelations was, according to Comic-Con International’s statement, driven by a hope that things would’ve relaxed by the summer months—something that is very clearly no longer the case.

“Recognizing that countless attendees save and plan for its conventions each year, and how many exhibitors and stakeholders rely upon its events for a major portion of their livelihood, they had hoped to delay this decision in anticipation that COVID-19 concerns might lessen by summer,” a provided statement read. “Continuous monitoring of health advisories and recent statements by the Governor of California have made it clear that it would not be safe to move forward with plans for this year.”

Welp, it's only a matter of when not if the rest of the summer con season follows suit.

Regulators have given banks the green light to use COVID-19 stimulus funds to pay off debts that individuals owe them.

(prospect.org)

But the money may not make it into the hands of those who need it to pay bills, buy food, or just survive amid mass unemployment and widespread suffering. Individuals might first have to fend off their own bank, which has just been given the power to seize the $1,200 payment and use it to pay off outstanding debt.

Congress did not exempt CARES Act payments from private debt collection, and the Treasury Department has been reluctant to exempt them through its rulemaking authority. This means that individuals could see their payments transferred from their hands into the hands of their creditors, potentially leaving them with nothing.

Banks would be first in line to grab the payments to offset a delinquent loan or past-due fees. Even if the individual thinks their account with that bank is closed, if the payments post there, the bank could conceivably use them to cover old debts.

This is fucked up folks. If you have any outstanding balances, the bank you chose might use that check to offset that debt due to a major loophole.

White House rejects bailout for U.S. Postal Service battered by coronavirus

(www.washingtonpost.com)

Without the loan, which awaits approval by the Treasury Department, the Postal Service would be “financially illiquid” by Sept. 30, according to estimates provided to lawmakers. Advocates for the Postal Service worry the agency is in a vulnerable position. As its main funding source dwindles, the Postal Service could be seen as ripe for a makeover; conservatives have long talked about privatizing the mail delivery in the United States.

The Postal Service projects it will lose $2 billion each month through the coronavirus recession while postal workers maintain the nationwide service of delivering essential mail and parcels, such as prescriptions, food and household necessities.

The GOP had dreamed of privatization of the USPS for decades and this is a golden opportunity to end the USPS as we know it. This is fucking serious, and there's a good chance that this will happen which will be a huge blow to our republic.

Not actually Linux distro review deux: GhostBSD

(arstechnica.com)

The good:
GhostBSD's installer is pleasant, efficient, and mostly modern
The MATE environment is well-fleshed out and functional
The environment feels quick and snappy, without lag or sluggishness
Going from zero to desktop is possible even for very new users

The bad:
As polished as GhostBSD is, it still lags behind mainstream Linux counterparts
Support for proprietary user-focused software, like Chrome, is effectively nonexistent
A new user who doesn't already "have BSD friends" will have a tougher time finding support

The ugly:
Crashed MATE top panel on first boot
Incorrect ZFS blocksize, despite checkbox that should have corrected it
Software Station is primitive and difficult to navigate by modern standards

These really ruin on OS and this goes into the "non-recommended"- section.

Apple and Google announce a joint effort to introduce iOS and Android APIs in mid-May for opt-in Bluetooth-based COVID-19 contact tracing

(www.theverge.com)

The new system, which is laid out in a series of documents and white papers, would use short-range Bluetooth communications to establish a voluntary contact-tracing network, keeping extensive data on phones that have been in close proximity with each other. Official apps from public health authorities will get access to this data, and users who download them can report if they’ve been diagnosed with COVID-19. The system will also alert people who download them to whether they were in close contact with an infected person.

Apple and Google will introduce a pair of iOS and Android APIs in mid-May and make sure these health authorities’ apps can implement them. During this phase, users will still have to download an app to participate in contact-tracing, which could limit adoption. But in the months after the API is complete, the companies will work on building tracing functionality into the underlying operating system, as an option immediately available to everyone with an iOS or Android phone.

This will NOT end well for us users sadly, especially it's proven that Bluetooth-based tracking isn't effective plus it will be ripe for abuse by governments.

Webcams have become impossible to find, and prices are skyrocketing

(www.theverge.com)

Third-party resellers have seized upon the scarcity by marking up webcams at ludicrous prices. This basic HD webcam, the Logitech C270, ordinarily costs a reasonable $24.99. If you try to find one on Amazon right now, sellers are asking for $130 and up. You can fare a bit better on eBay, but there’s still a substantial markup.

The webcam shortage and price gouging isn't a total surprise but it's surprising that the media took too long to notice that.

230, or not 230? That is the EARN IT question.

(signal.org)

The EARN IT act turns Section 230 protection into a hypocritical bargaining chip. At a high level, what the bill proposes is a system where companies have to earn Section 230 protection by following a set of designed-by-committee “best practices” that are extraordinarily unlikely to allow end-to-end encryption. Anyone who doesn’t comply with these recommendations will lose their Section 230 protection.

Some large tech behemoths could hypothetically shoulder the enormous financial burden of handling hundreds of new lawsuits if they suddenly became responsible for the random things their users say, but it would not be possible for a small nonprofit like Signal to continue to operate within the United States. Tech companies and organizations may be forced to relocate, and new startups may choose to begin in other countries instead.

Signal is just the latest company to consider relocating under this law should it happen.