The Australian Panopticon

The Panopticon is a theoretical prison designed by English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century. The shape of the prison places every inmate within view of a watchtower. Although it is physically impossible for the watchman to observe all cells at the same time, the fact that the inmates cannot know when they are being watched means that all inmates must act as though they are watched, effectively changing their behaviour.

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Operating System support lifecycle

Windows 10 and CentOS 7 are good for about 10 years of free updates.

Operating System vendors provide free upgrades and security patches to keep our computers safe and functional during the support lifecycle. Some vendors announce the lifecycle ahead of time (see chart above), while others simply end support for old versions soon after each new release.

Without support your device gradually becomes less secure and less useful unless you can upgrade to a new OS version. Sometimes upgrading is not possible and you’re forced to replace a computer that isn’t broken.

To avoid troublesome upgrades or early obsolescence, always choose an operating system with a long planned support lifecycle. Windows 10 and CentOS Linux 7 will receive free security updates for the next 10 years.

Preventing VPN leaks on Android

If you connect to the internet through a public WiFi hotspot, or at school or at work, the metadata and contents of your online communications can be intercepted and viewed (or altered) by the network operator or another malicious party on the network. If you connect from an Australian residential address or personal mobile device, the Australian Government will be storing your metadata from 13 Oct 2015. One of the ways to protect your privacy is to send all of your internet traffic through a Virtual Private Network.

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R on Hadoop with Tessera RHipe

This tutorial will show you how to perform parallel computation on a Hadoop cluster in R using Rhipe, with CSV files as input and output.

The EVE Online computer game universe consists of 5201 solar systems for players to explore and conquer in virtual spaceships. Each solar system is connected to an average 2.6 other systems by jump gates which allow instantaneous travel between systems.

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Converting HDF5 to CSV

Hierarchical Data Format 5 is a popular file format for storing and managing large amounts of data. It is the format used by NASA for their ACOS and OCO-2 data products, which both contain (among other things) column-averaged CO2 in units of dry-air mole fraction (Xco2). This tutorial demonstrates how to extract the average daily Xco2 value – and total reading count per day – from the HDF5 files into a CSV file for analysis in Excel or Gnumeric.

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What does Metadata look like?

The Australian government will soon be collecting and storing metadata from every mobile phone in the country, along with details about your internet-connected devices and the websites you visit. What does metadata look like?

German Green party politician Malte Spitz gave ZEIT ONLINE six months of his phone metadata collected by his service provider. This was combined with geolocation data, Twitter feeds, blog entries and websites to form a detailed story of his locations and activities.

Read more: Tell-all telephone | Data Protection | Digital | ZEIT ONLINE