The first bit of news is (ahem) hardware. The Pinebook Pro will be available for order from July 25. The original Pinebook had some use — I once resurrected a previous iteration of this blog on a pinebook in a hotel room — but it was painfully slow. It’s shipping with Debian, and (From previous experience) stick with the shipping distro for as long as you can.

Yep, good enough for work.

The Pinebook Pro production has been green-lit and pilot batches have been scheduled for production. With the remaining hardware issues identified and resolved (side-note, huge thanks to the the key devs – ayufan and MrFixit – as well as the community for all the help sorting things out!), we’re now feeling confident that we can to proceed full steam ahead. A countdown for Pinebook Pro is now live and ticking away, so no one PM or email me saying they didn’t know or hear about it – this is plenty of heads-up time. If you follow us on Twitter, Mastodon, are a member of the forum, check the web-page or read the Linux press regularly, then you’re unlikely to miss the moment the pre-order system become accessible.
As we’ve promised from the very start, community members who registered on the forum prior to July 1, 2019 are eligible for a 128GB eMMC upgrade as well as pre-order priority. The eMMC capacity upgrade is a limited-time offer, available only for the first batch of Pinebook Pro laptops. 
I’d also like to include a quick word of caution; pilot batches are aimed at enthusiasts. We do diligent testing of the hardware and create numerous prototype iterations to make sure that we deliver the best possible product on launch day. However, we cannot emulate thousands of people using the device, it is simply not possible, and as a result minor issues (usually fixable with some tinkering) may be present in the pilot batch. If you’re not the sort of person who likes to actively engage in development or issue-solving, or simply is not willing to take the risk, then it may be a good idea to wait for the second or third batch. I am not saying that issues are expected, but it’s the nature of pilot batches that they are effectively a chance for us to get feedback on the hardware from a large sample of users. I thought I’d get this out there are there is a lot of interest in this device.

Let me reiterate very quickly on the state of the Debian build that will ship with the Pinebook Pro. It features an accelerated Mate desktop, allows for 3D applications and you can play back videos locally up-to 4K at 30fps. Youtube as well as Netflix and Amazon playback work well at 1080p resolutions in the Chromium browser. Video out via USB-C works flawlessly too, so you’ll be able to use the Pinebook Pro for presentations, media, etc.,

Lukasz Erecinski

As I said, good enough. If you are a linux person, you should be supporting this. The only reason for more hardware is to photo process using capture one or apeture — and for that you need a hackintosh or mac. But it may be that this can do such work in Darktable. We will see.

From the New Gab.

It appears that the French are being creative. They do not merely want to social media to snitch for them, they want to tax it as well.

France’s lower house of parliament approved Thursday a small, pioneering tax on internet giants like Google, Amazon and Facebook — and the French government hopes other countries will follow suit.
The bill aims to stop multinationals from avoiding taxes by setting up headquarters in low-tax EU countries. Currently, the companies pay nearly no tax in countries where they have large sales like France.
The bill foresees a 3% tax on the French revenues of digital companies with global revenue of more than 750 million euros ($847 million), and French revenue over 25 million euros.

Associated Press.

Facebook is, of course, not merely facebook. It is Instagram and WhatsApp, and they are using AI to curate conversations. Let’s say that I’m off all big media at present.

From Andrew Torba’s Gab Feed,

Mosseri has made combatting online bullying a top priority since he took over the reigns for Instagram in October.
Instagram on Monday announced the launch of a new AI feature that will notify users when a comment they write could be considered offensive before they post it. Instagram said it will also soon begin testing a new feature called “Restrict” that will allow users to hide comments from specific users without notifying those users that they’ve been muted.

Mosseri has stressed this at all-hands meetings and in an emails to his employees, current and former Instagram employees told CNBC in May. Mosseri also announced in April that Instagram would begin experimenting with hiding like counts as a way to make the social network “a less pressurized environment.”
Only bullying “could hurt our reputation and our brand over time. It could make our partnership relationships more difficult. There are all sorts of ways it could strain us,” Mosseri told Time.

NBC news
From NewGab

It is not just the big media. Gab is now based on Mastadon (though Torba and his crew are rewriting code) and half the Mastadon apps out there are blocking the feed. Took two days for Mastadon clients to get out there and working, but they are.

The fediverse should be pretty much what it says on the box: a federated (so – not centralized) online universe of interconnected servers. In other words: a bunch of those publishing social networks, microblogs, websites, or file hosting compatible with the same protocols and open standards. Like those Mastodon is based on.
Gab, for its part, is as of its latest version an open-source fork of Mastodon itself.
However, the fact that the social network has become the refuge of many of those banned and/or demonetized – including prominent US conservatives – from major global giants over the past months and years, has rubbed those with a voice in the Mastodon community the very wrong way.

And they are not nearly prepared to let one of their country’s founding principles, that of free speech, run its course, and differentiate itself on a free and open platform.
Instead, in a post on Mastodon’s blog, this open, decentralized social networking service – that doesn’t even have a central server it could control – stated they were “completely opposed to Gab’s project and philosophy, which seeks to monetize and platform racist content while hiding behind the banner of free speech.”
That’s some heavy words right there – but still well within Mastodon’s right to express its opinion.
But then in addition – instead of sticking to Mastodon’s mission of providing a self-hosted, open-source decentralized social network – the blog post vows to “remain committed to standing up against hate speech (…) our new server covenant means we only list servers on joinmastodon.org that are committed to active moderation against racism, sexism and transphobia.”
In other words – all you open source, open and free internet kids – get ready, because there’s a new covenant in town.

Reclaim the Net.

Well, Gab is going gangbusters. Mastadon is looking like a version of big media: curated, boring, and going broke. It is not a good time to be going broke. Adam gives us the short version of this, Austrian economy style, and I would add one comment: NZ already is in recession. Our reserve bank is lowering interest rates.

If one of the world’s largest banks is in that much trouble then things might be blowing the way of previous troublesome moments. Remember, the world did not recover from the GFC in 2008; it has not been allowed to. Instead trillions of dollars were wasted in propping up moribund companies that should have been allowed to fail. This is what recessions are for, they are the natural clearing away of the flotsam and debris that accumulates in the arteries of the economy.
Without that cleansing effect the problems have built up and are ready to burst once more. Which could well mean a much more destructive depression. FDR tried to manipulate his way out of one of those and it completely failed; the only thing that saved the American economy was WWII.
The American economy has had the artificial breaks removed by the ignorant Federal Reserve and as a result it is going gangbusters. But economic clouds are on the horizon and very plain to see if you care to look. For myself I’m avoiding debt and squirreling away my pennies.

Adam Piggott.

Pay for your disposable assets — cars, computers, cameras, boats, planes, clothes and collectables — with cash. Cut down the expenses now. Budget some luxuries, but do not rely on such. For in the coming recession, some who appear wealthy will become very poor. Do not be them.