Interesting Things #46 — Steam Deck


This is Beng Tan and welcome to Interesting Things, a curation of interesting stories and links from tech, work, biz, science and society.

Happy reading!


For Linux Enthusiasts Especially, The Steam Deck Is An Incredible & Fun Device — A developer mode effectively turns it into a general Linux handheld able to load your Linux distribution of choice. (hn)

A brief tour of the Steam Deck’s Linux implementation — Use the Deck’s built-in KDE desktop to unlock system’s full potential. (hn)

10 HTML tags you have never used before — Learn when and how to use these tags in your project. Some of the tags are really handy. (hn)

Cryptographers Achieve Perfect Secrecy With Imperfect Devices — Experiments demonstrate the possibility of sharing secrets with perfect privacy even when the devices used to share them cannot be trusted. (hn)

Why you can’t update Android’s GPU drivers like on your PC — Updating your PC’s GPU drivers is easy, so why is it so complicated on Android? (hn)

Transit Panel — I built a web app that runs on a tablet by my front door. It tells me when to leave my apartment to catch the next train. (hn)

We need to talk about RFCs — I think the Rust RFC process needs serious reform. Let me explain some of the problems with the current process. (hn)

Don’t track bugs, fix them — A bug tracking system is a symptom of a deeper problem: Insufficient focus on quality. (hn)

Chinese Cybersecurity Company Doxes Apparent NSA Hacking Operation — A detailed report about malware created by Equation Group. (hn)

How to keep using old and cheap hardware — Or how I bricked my QNAP and moved on to Debian. (hn)

Here We Go Again: Why Is It Difficult for Developers to Learn Another Programming Language? — Interference forces programmers to adopt suboptimal, opportunistic learning strategies. (hn)

More notes on writing web scrapers — The months since then have produced a ton more work, and a ton more learning about web scraping. (hn)


IBM cannot kill this age-discrimination lawsuit linked to CEO — Scientist’s claim that the director of IBM research unfairly axed him was found to be plausible enough for trial hearing. (hn)


Is Math the Key to Quantum Entanglement Protection? — A new experiment reveals how powerfully topology can shelter delicate photonic quantum-computer states. (hn)

New fast radio burst found in area that shouldn’t have any sources — Source narrowed down to a cluster where the stars are too old for bursts. (hn)

Do Birds Have Language? — In the cheeps, trills and tweets of birdsong, scientists find some parallels with human speech. (hn)

Scientists Have Discovered an Exotic Magnetic State of Matter — This long-sought magnetic state was predicted nearly 60 years ago. (hn)


I’ve been waiting 15 years for Facebook to die. I’m more hopeful than ever — Facebook is struggling to retain users, fending off regulation, trying to pivot to VR, and paying a massive wage premium.

My Experience Working and Living in China: Part I — I’ll go over some of the lessons I learned living and doing business in China’s tech industry. (hn)

When will Russia attack GPS? Interview with former CIA analyst George Beebe — It is clear that Russia can destroy all, or at least most, GPS satellites in one go. What is less clear, is whether Russia would really do that. (hn)

Russia deploys mobile crematoriums to follow its troops into battle — The vehicle-mounted incinerators can be used to hide evidence of battlefield casualties. (hn)

What happens when Americans stay in the same house forever? — Americans used to move a lot; now they don’t. It could be causing a social crisis. (hn)

Medical student surgically implants Bluetooth device into own ear to cheat in final exam — It was the student’s final attempt to clear the exam after repeatedly failing. (hn)

A Fraudster Who Just Can’t Seem to Stop … Selling Eyeglasses — “Something is just not right inside my brain,” he wrote. (hn)


Volcanoes, plague, famine and endless winter — Welcome to 536, what historians and scientists believe was the worst year to be alive. (hn)


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Enjoy your reading and have a good day, Beng