News

Setting A Standard For Digital Public Goods

In June 2020, the Secretary-General of the United Nations published a "Roadmap for Digtal Cooperation." In this report, he expanded on recommendations made a year before, calling on all actors, including the Member States, the United Nations system, the private sector, and others, to promote digital public goods. He says to realize the benefits of increased internet connectivity, open source projects in the form of digital public goods must be at the center. While the term "digital public good" appears as early as April 2017, this report offers the first broadly accepted definition of digital public goods...The Digital Public Goods Alliance (DGPA) translated that definition into a nine-indicator open standard that we hope will serve as a comprehensive, shared definition to promote the discovery, development, use of, and investment in digital public goods for a more equitable world.

Who Controls Your Smartphone? And How to Leverage Open Source to Prevent it from Spying on You

There are many things about today’s world that warrant us asking that question. Do you or the mobile vendor control your smartphones? If you are a consumer, small or medium business (SMB) -- the answer is the vendor...What if you are a large enterprise or a government agency? The answer is still the vendor...How can the user regain control? Not all vendors have locked devices and walled gardens. Google’s line of Pixel hardware, for example, is a mid-market solution whose bootloader allows locking and re-locking. Pixels support two versions of Android. Google Mobile Services (GMS), where free services are tied to data monetization and a UX like Apple and Samsung devices. Secondly, Pixels can run Android Open-Source Project (AOSP) code that shares the same strengths as the GMS build, but the customer controls the code base and updates. There are several companies that are selling AOSP operating system builds for Pixel and other unlockable/lockable mobile phones and tablets...

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A Web-native Approach to Open Source Scientific Publishing

This summer, eLife was pleased to launch Executable Research Articles (ERAs) in partnership with Stencila, allowing authors to post computationally reproducible versions of their published papers in the open-access journal. The open source ERA technology stack delivers a truly web-native format that treats live, interactive code as a first-class asset. It was developed to address current challenges around reproducing and reusing published results-challenges mostly caused by the lack of infrastructure for publishers to showcase the richness and sophistication of the computational methods used by researchers in their work.

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An Android Operating System That Prioritizes Mobile Data Privacy

Android and iOS devices are notorious for uploading your personal data to their cloud services without your permission. If you are concerned about your mobile data privacy, you have another option to consider for your next smartphone: the /e/ operating system, a free and open source, Android-based operating system. The eFoundation community is led by Gaël Duval, a legacy Linux developer and entrepreneur who founded Mandrake Linux in 1998.

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Resilience must be Blind to the Catalyst - Part I

On October 29 William Stemper, Forbes Councils Member put forth a thoughtful piece titled Three Steps To Building Resilience Through Technology.The article goes a long ways towards solidifying why resilience has a more urgent place in our businesses. I commend the article to the readers of this post. While Mr. Stemper focuses primarily on technology at his job at Comcast, he tees up some further, more holistic insights. Read More »

The Ransomware Attacks on Hospitals Are (Cyber) Criminal

One of the redeeming aspects of crises is that, amidst all the confusion, suffering, and loss, there are usually moments of grace, of humans showing their best nature... Unfortunately, crises also tend to bring out the worst of our natures... And then there are the cyberattacks. Last week the federal Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency, the FBI, and HHS issued a joint alert Ransomware Activity Targeting the Healthcare and Public Health Sector, warning that they have "credible information of an increased and imminent cybercrime threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers." I'll spare you the technical details of the expected attack strategies or suggested mitigation efforts, but I will note that they warned: "CISA, FBI, and HHS do not recommend paying ransom." Read More »

Open Source Tools Provide An Economic Advantage For Science

Free and open source software (FOSS) and the distributed digital manufacturing of free and open source hardware (FOSH) have shown great promise for developing custom scientific tools. For some time now, FOSH has provided scientists a high return on investment. In fact, my previous research in the Open Source Labreported substantial economic savings from using these technologies. However, the open source design paradigm has since grown by orders of magnitude; now, there are examples of open source technology for science in the vast majority of disciplines, and several resources, including the Journal of Open Hardware, are dedicated to publishing them.

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How Breaking My Back Led Me To Open Source

Open source gave a voice and a community to someone coping with the aftermath of a major injury, and eventually led to a new career...Breaking my back was a pivotal experience on many fronts. It scared the hell out of me. But the road to recovery helped me become a more resilient, courageous, and patient human being. Interestingly, it was this incident that also led me to the world of open source. Living with chronic pain is lonely, but I found my voice and a community via WordPress. Now, nearly eight years later, I'm working for the number one open source company in the world.

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Data Management for Large-scale COVID-19 Immunization: This is all not as simple as it seems

There is a global race for the development of a vaccine for the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19. Finding a vaccine that works and receives approval is only part of the process. There are a series of other steps that need to be taken so that the vaccine can be delivered. These include the mass production of the vaccine, shipment, administration and record-keeping. This may be even more complex as there may be several vaccines. In this article we review some of these issues with a particular focus on the United States.

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Radiology Initiatives Illustrate Uses for Open Data and Open AI research

Fans of data in health care often speculate about what clinicians and researchers could achieve by reducing friction in data sharing. What if we had easy access to group repositories, expert annotations and labels, robust and consistent metadata, and standards without inconsistencies? Since 2017, the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) has been displaying a model for such data sharing. That year marked RSNA's first AI challenge. RSNA has worked since then to make the AI challenge an increasingly international collaboration. Organizers of each challenge curate and annotate medical imaging studies and ask the research community to come up with models to answer important questions.

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