EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

04.18.10

Microsoft Malaysia and Malaysian Apologists Lobby Against Malaysia’s Independence

Posted in Asia, Microsoft, OLPC, Open XML, OpenDocument at 11:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“That particular meeting was followed by an anonymous smear campaign against one of the TC members. A letter was faxed to the organization of the TC member in question, accusing the TC member in question of helping politicize the issue (which is, of course, untrue). I too had the dubious pleasure of hearing first hand how Microsoft attempted to remove me from the TC (they did not succeed, thanks to integrity and cojones of the organization I am affiliated with).”

“If this unethical behaviour by Microsoft was not sufficiently despicable, they did the unthinkable by involving politics in what should have been a technical evaluation of the standard by writing to the head of the Malaysian standards organization and getting its business partners to engage in a negative letter writing campaign to indicate lack of support of ODF in the Malaysian market. Every single negative letter on ODF received by the Malaysian standards organization was written either by Microsoft, or a Microsoft business partner or a Microsoft affiliated organization (Initiative for Software Choice and IASA).

Open Malaysia

Summary: Microsoft’s attempt to conquer Malaysia, one of the countries where Free software and ODF adoption is incredibly high, takes a new route

Despite Malaysia choosing OpenDocument Format (ODF), Microsoft fought people who promote Free software and continues to do so. Moreover, based on three news reports that are written in English [1, 2, 3], Microsoft Malaysia is fighting back by recruiting developers (maybe incentivising or bribing them, as usual). From the Daily Express we have:

Software maker, Microsoft (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, is optimistic 50 per cent of the estimated 60,000 technology developers in the country will become its customers in two years.

And also:

General Manager for Local Software Innovation Azli Jamil said here Monday that Microsoft Malaysia was confident of doubling the penetration rate as the company was aggressively promoting its activities.

Promoting “aggressively”, eh? Given what Microsoft Malaysia has done so far (see quote at the top), there is hardly an ethical boundary stopping this company from attaining the goal of infinite control and wealth.

Watch what Microsoft is doing in Limkokwing University, based on this new article.

STUDENTS at Limkokwing University of Creative Technology (LUCT) now have the chance to download Microsoft Windows 7 for free, in an attempt by the software giant to combat piracy among students.

“Combat piracy,” eh? Were there any casualties?

Microsoft is doing this in many universities (maybe in all of them, to a greater or lesser degree) so that the students serve Microsoft and make the company stronger. Microsoft executives even brag about this strategy and admit the crocodile tears.

We have just found a rather disturbing piece of an apologist from Malaysia, describing a company that committed crimes as “successful and productive”.

This latest clash between Microsoft and the EU represents a continuation of the saga of persecution and injustice against one of the most spectacularly successful and productive companies in the history of business.

Already, there are signs that the harassment will go on…

The judges who attempt to penalise a criminal are engaging in “harassment” now, eh? This whole article seems to have come from a parallel universe or from the Kool-Aid fountains at Redmond. At the bottom it states: “The views expressed here are the personal opinion of the columnist.” It’s a good thing that The Malaysian Insider distances itself from such a rubbish article that recommends pardoning criminals and punishing or at least mocking the law enforcers. This whole piece is just noise, but why can this material percolate into the press? It even contains the obligatory, utterly blind Bill Gates worship and praise of “free markets”, which obviously did not work in Microsoft’s case (they worked well for Microsoft, which did not obey any market rules and felt “free” to behave as it pleased, even by sabotaging competitors’ products). The author is belittling the issues that are well recorded and documented (e.g. in Comes vs Microsoft). There is no excuse for that. He also writes: “The common theme running through all these cases is that Microsoft is too large; that by dominating the market, it has “abused” its “monopoly” power to compete in an “unfair” manner.”

“Those who believe that Microsoft is “micro” and “soft” needn’t look further than how OLPC was sabotaged by Microsoft and Intel.”Well, obviously the author has not done his homework. The quotes around “abused” and “monopoly” (apparently intended to be scare quotes, depending on one’s conventions) really give away the bias, don’t they? It is not as though Microsoft apologists never roam the press [1, 2], selling the illusion that Microsoft is a lovable, huggable company that’s being run over by those “ugly”, “vicious” truly “horrible” regulators (who are just doing their important job).

Those who believe that Microsoft is “micro” and “soft” needn’t look further than how OLPC was sabotaged by Microsoft and Intel. Yes, they even attacked a charity, as revealed by internal E-mails (from Comes vs Microsoft for example). Here is part of a new article from the New York Times:

Among the infrastructure problems that the Microsoft research team saw in rural India was unreliable electrical power. It spurred another Microsoft research project that provided farmers in one district with cellphones that supplied the same information via text messaging that the farmers had obtained from PC centers.

[...]

“We jokingly call it ‘One Mouse Per Child,’ ” said Kentaro Toyama, who led the project while he spent five years in the Technology for Emerging Markets group at Microsoft Research India.

Microsoft has been trying to replace rather than embrace OLPC, which insisted on giving children Free software that they can control. But to Microsoft, children are customers. There’s no money to be made from giving them real education and control.

Xbox 360 Still Failing for Half of Microsoft’s Customers as Company Sails Abroad for Savings

Posted in Apple, Boycott Novell, Hardware, Law, Microsoft at 9:52 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Microsoft mice
Prisoners Youth in China is manufacturing
Microsoft hardware for as little as 52 cents per hour

Summary: Xbox 360 consoles continue to fail, Xbox Live for the original Xbox shuts down, and Microsoft sends jobs to China and India to reduce expenses (Xbox is made under prison-like conditions in China)

MICROSOFT’S Xbox and Xbox 360 are poor-quality products that continue to disappoint. Based on this new survey, almost half of Xbox 360 owners continue to experience failure/s. Here is what we learn from GameSpy:

It’s a sight Xbox 360 gamers dread: the power button glowing with three red rings. According to the largest survey of its kind, we now know how prevalent the RROD and other hardware problems are: 42% of all 360 owners have had their consoles repaired or replaced.

Microsoft has also just messed up the Gears Of War 3 launch, which it was planning to hype up using old and dishonest tricks. As ITWire puts it:

We all knew it was coming, and we all knew that a clarification announcement was imminent, but a slip on the Xbox 360 dashboard by Microsoft’s PR department has let the Gears of War 3 cat out of the bag.

As we mentioned the other day, Xbox Live is dead for many users (this post also refers to Microsoft's exploitative practices in China) and this is now confirmed [1, 2]. Those two subjects are connected to one another because of the gruesome sweatshops where all Xbox 360s are typically manufactured. Low-cost production breeds low-quality products and Xbox 360 is one such product (there are many more).

“The legal team too — not just operations — is being shipped to India.”Speaking of offshoring, the other day we wrote about Microsoft's new deal with Infosys, which acts like a Microsoft department in India [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16]. One of our sources from India confirmed this allegation earlier today by saying that Infosys “has lot of mutual understanding with Microsoft”; Infosys is notorious among Free software proponents in India. Here are some more articles about that deal which was mentioned the other day [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This contract gabbed a lot of mainstream media attention, so a heaps of publications did not pay attention to yet more offshoring, courtesy of Microsoft in India. The legal team too — not just operations — is being shipped to India. Based on this new article from Law.com, “Microsoft Signs Outsourcing Deal With Integreon,” which will handle the legal work in India after Microsoft fired a lot of its legal workforce in the West [1, 2].

Microsoft Corporation has signed a new deal with Integreon that will see the legal process outsourcing (LPO) company carry out further legal support services for the software giant.

The new agreement, which confirms Integreon as Microsoft’s exclusive provider of offshore managed document review, will see a team of lawyers in India provide contract review and offshore document review for Microsoft.

Microsoft is trying to save money. It tries to pay employees as little as it can get away with. If the quality of products from Microsoft declines, people ought to know why. Prison-esque conditions like those exposed in China do not accommodate high-quality production, but as long as Microsoft expenses (on wages) decrease, why would this monopoly complain?

“Gates has created a huge blood-buying operation that only cares about money, not about people.”

Chinese AIDS organisation manager, December 2009 (New York Times)

Samsung to Make Microsoft DRM Stronger, Just as It Made Microsoft’s Linux Racket Stronger

Posted in DRM, GNU/Linux, Kernel, LG, Microsoft, Patents at 9:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Samsung logo

Summary: Samsung Electronics signs a DRM deal with Microsoft, on top of the Linux patent deal

Samsung’s patent deal with Microsoft has been damaging to Linux and we have a special page about the subject. The latest development teaches us that Samsung not only helps Microsoft by enabling Microsoft ‘tax’ on Linux based on some software patents that were never revealed or proven to be legitimately applicable; Samsung will also exclude Free (as in freedom) platforms from “entertainment” by promoting Microsoft lock-in with DRM.

Here is the press release which says that “Samsung Electronics and Microsoft Announce Plans to Expand Access to Digital Entertainment”

Samsung adopts PlayReady technology in its consumer devices to enable easy access and transfer of content among TVs, mobile phones, set-top boxes and other devices.

We’ve only found this one article about it:

Samsung to use Microsoft’s DRM on handhelds, TVs

[...]

The first PlayReady-compatible Samsung devices will ship later in 2010, and Samsung expects to change all of its electronics devices from Windows Media DRM to PlayReady by 2012.

Microsoft and Samsung have been close partners for quite a few years, primarily because Microsoft is claimed to have helped Samsung sell hardware like memory chips. At Techrights we consider companies like Samsung and its Korean neighbour LG to be a danger to Linux, not friends. They change how Linux is treated by the market by making the statement that Microsoft should be paid for each Linux instance sold [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7].

Microsoft Takes the Arab World to the Back Room, Then to Court

Posted in Asia, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 8:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How Microsoft uses heads of states to dictate what software citizens should be taught and use, but then hunts down those who distribute the software at affordable prices that Microsoft used to accept or at least tolerate

FOR quite a few months now we have shown how Microsoft travels to the middle east and arranges for colleges/schools to indoctrinate the young for the One Microsoft Way. We typically see Live@Edu being used in this region. The following little announcement is hardly the exception when it comes to Microsoft’s focus on ‘education’ (assuming that it is the role of schools to train children to become docile Windows and Office users).

Microsoft to turn Semblio educational application into a service

[...]

“We have communicated these changes to our partner community at large and continue to work with them to create education services around SharePoint, BPOS, Live@edu, and Office,” the spokesperson added.

Now, watch how Microsoft and the Kuwaiti Government go ahead and arrange deals behind closed doors. We last wrote about Microsoft at Kuwait way back in January. Generally, in the Arab world Microsoft has been signing quite a few exclusionary deals over the past year or so. We covered many of them, but we certainty missed a few. Under those deals (typically memoranda of understanding), the executives are not permitting non-Microsoft software to become widespread or even considered. It’s anti-competitive, but here is what Microsoft does with the government of Kuwait:

Furthering its commitment to promote good government practices through the use of technology, Microsoft Kuwait today announced that it has completed a workshop for senior technology executives from the Kuwaiti government that took place at Movenpick Hotel Al Bida’a. A series of presentations was made by Microsoft that demonstrated how technology can help improve performance within the Kuwait eGovernment framework thereby leading to improved governance practices. The event was attended in cooperation with the Central Agency for Information Technology…

It’s quite predictable what happens next.

Basically, Microsoft criminalises the population by making it dependent on expensive proprietary software that stifles choice. We have explained this point several times before. Later on, when those who cannot afford Microsoft products desperately need to open an old Office document or run a Windows-only program, they run over to the black/grey market, then break copyright law. Microsoft leads them to this, but they did have another way with Free software, though their schools and government (general environment) did not expose them to it.

Here is what Microsoft is doing in Dubai, UAE [1, 2]. Reports from the past week include:

i. Microsoft settles out of court with Dubai ‘pirate’ retailer

Microsoft Gulf has reached an out-of-court settlement with a Dubai retailer caught selling pirated copies of its software.

Illegal copies of Microsoft Windows and Office were seized by authorities in a recent raid on a store in the Al Khaleej Centre in Bur Dubai, Microsoft said in a statement.

ii. Computer Reseller In Dubai Reaches Out-Of-Court Settlement With Microsoft

Microsoft Gulf today announced that it has reached an out-of-court settlement with a reseller who was selling illegal software from his store in Al Khaleej Centre in Bur Dubai. The settlement was reached after authorities seized pirated software from the store during a recent raid. The raid resulted in the confiscation of pirated Microsoft Windows and Office software.

iii. Computer Reseller in Dubai Reaches Out-of-Court Settlement with Microsoft

This is not a happy ending. This is a case of Microsoft punishing the very same distributors whom it used to encourage, passively.

“As long as they are going to steal it, we want them to steal ours.”

Bill Gates

Marketing Executive and Microsoft Vice President Both Leave Microsoft

Posted in Boycott Novell, Microsoft at 8:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Departure sign

Summary: Scott Howe and David Gosen quit the company, having gotten replacements

Departures carry on at Microsoft. A top Microsoft executive called Scott Howe is officially leaving.

Microsoft said today that Scott Howe, the top executive in charge of its Advertiser & Publisher Solutions group, is leaving the company. Howe is replaced by Rik van der Kooi, CFO of Microsoft’s Online Services Division.

Indeed, there is already a replacement, but it does lead one to wondering if Howe is giving up. More importantly, a vice president from Microsoft’s marketing department is also leaving [1, 2, 3] (printer-friendly). He seems to have had enough.

Chris Lewis, the VP of interactive entertainment who will now oversee the European marketing team, suggests that Gosen has fulfilled his objective while at Microsoft.

Microsoft has many divisions that just lose money (over $2 billion in loses per year in the failed online business, for instance). The departures above are therefore not entirely surprising.

IRC Proceedings: April 18th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:31 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

Read the log

Enter the IRC channel now

Links 18/4/2010: Shorts and Leftovers

Posted in News Roundup at 6:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNU/Linux

  • Wolvix 2.0.0 beta Build 56

    The latest build comes in at 665.39mb which is small when you consider the wealth of functionality it provides.

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • The Archivist Enters the Blogosphere

    That’s Archivist with a capital A, as in the person who heads up the National Archives and Records Administration. The latest person to hold that position is David S. Ferriero, who became AOTUS (Archivist of the United States) in November 2009. Mr. Ferriero used to be the director of the New York Public Libraries, and it looks like he has brought some of that public-outreach sensibility to his new role.

  • Consumer 10.0: Once-blocked user urges net neutrality

    Use the Internet much? If you’re like most Americans, the answer is probably: more and more every day.

    You rely on programs and Web sites – maybe even one where you’re reading this column – to work as promised. If they don’t, you’re likely to be momentarily frustrated, and then move on. On the Internet, there’s always someplace else to go. Unless you’re a geek or wonk, there’s little reason to dwell on what went wrong.

  • The Dangers of Copyrighting Fashion

    Every business owner dreams of enjoying a legally enforced monopoly. Fashion designers are no different. Although the brands and logos that appear on clothes are protected by trademark law, the designs of fabrics themselves are protected by copyright, and functional innovations in clothing are protectable by patent law, fashion designs themselves are legally, um, naked. For decades, designers have complained that, like painters, filmmakers, architects and authors, they are entitled to intellectual property protection to protect their creative efforts against unauthorized copying. So far, they have been unsuccessful. That hasn’t stopped Senator Charles Schumer from teaming up with Harvard law professor Jeannie Suk to try, yet again, to make fashion designers’ monopoly dreams come true.
    vvvv

Links 18/4/2010: Questions About MySQL Under Oracle

Posted in News Roundup at 7:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Server

    • IBM sharpens Power7 blades

      The Power7-based blade servers can also run Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.5, which was just tweaked two weeks ago to support the Power7 chips as well as all the new x64 processors from Intel and AMD. Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP3 will support the new Power7 blades, but you’re going to have to wait until SP1 to get SLES 11 for these machines.

    • Big Blue juices OS formerly known as 400

      In conjunction with the launch of Power7-based blade servers this week, IBM is also delivered a long-awaited upgrade to its proprietary i For Business operating system (formerly known as OS/400), with i 7.1 bringing native XML and encryption capabilities to the integrated database management system embedded in the OS. IBM is also adding features to i 7.1′s compiler tools that allow them to create applications without using the legacy green-screen protocols that have defined IBM midrange systems for more than 40 years.

  • Applications

  • GNOME Desktop

    • A Look at Gnome Activity Journal

      As for whether the Activity Journal on its own can serve as a true replacement for traditional file browsers, I’m not sure. Currently, it’s only really useful for finding files that have been accessed in the recent past, and in that sense, it’s not necessarily more helpful than Nautilus. Finding the files you worked with yesterday is always easy enough; the real challenge is to come up with a way to organize data so that it’s as accessible three years from now as it was ten minutes ago.

      Features that might help in this regard are searching and tagging, which are also in progress. Again, this functionality is already abundantly provided by other utilities, but combining it with a heavily chronological approach to data organization could prove to be very useful.

  • Distributions

    • SalixOS 13.0 “Live” Screenshots

      Salix OS 13.0 “Live” is a Slackware-based distribution that runs the XFCE desktop environment. This distro offers a complete desktop running as a live CD and it also offers users the Persistence Wizard, a tool designed to help you save data and modifications between live CD sessions. In addition to using the live CD features, you can use the brand new graphical installer to install Saltix on to your hard drive. Make sure you create a partition first using the Gparted icon on the Salix desktop.

    • Ubuntu

      • Full Circle Podcast #4: It’s Everyone Else’s Fault

        The podcast is in MP3 and OGG formats. You can either play the podcast in-browser if you have Flash and/or Java, or you can download the podcast with the link underneath the player.

      • Ubuntu Shipit is Open, Request Your Free Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx CD Now

        Ubuntu has a system of sending live CDs to enthusiastic users who order it online. This time as well, we have Ubuntu 10.04 live CDs shipping for free through Ubuntu Shipit. To order your free copy of the Ubuntu live CD, visit the Shipit homepage.

      • Install Nautilus Elementary (2.30) In Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx

        Nautilus Elementary 2.30 for Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx also comes with all the tweaks that were in Karmic such as RGBA, “F8″ to toggle the menu bar and so on. The one thing missing for now is the ClutterFlow view.

      • Variants

        • Ubuntu vs. Linux Mint

          I recently heard the comparison that Mint today is a lot like Simply Mepis was years ago, and I feel its accurate. Barring my personal lack of hardware support (this included fan control which is vital on a metal Macbook), I’ve heard great things including more extensive printer support, and after using it for a little bit I felt that aside from the menu, that I think might in fact be harder for a new user, Mint is a good distribution.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Android

      • Enhanced WeFi Launches on Android

        WeFi Inc. (www.wefi.com), creator of the world’s largest community-based global Wi-Fi network, launched today an enhanced version of its free software for PC and Android mobile devices.

      • Apple iPhone vs. Android Multitasking: A Comparison

        So, you can read the whole thing but he starts with Android: applications that are no longer visible to the user are suspended — remaining in memory but without event handling or processing.

        [...]

        Quintana concludes by noting that if Apple introduced Android-like unrestricted multitasking, “all current [iPhone] applications that might take advantage of background processing would require a redesign to use a client/service architecture. Developers would have to maintain a completely different app for pre-iPhone OS 4 devices or iPhone OS 4 devices with no multitasking. In addition, the backend server infrastructure required for PNS would only be used for pre-iPhone OS 4 devices and non-multitasking iPhone OS 4. This would fragment development severely.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Free Software is not about deception, Free Software is about caring for others..

    And now this makes me wonder, what if Pidgin was proprietary software? Would its makers still give a damn about whether the users are guaranteed their full privacy and security while using it? Or will it be just another piece of software that’s full of deceptive eye-candy from the outside, while the inside (i.e. the under-the-hood stuff) can be as far from security and privacy as east is from the west? The difference between proprietary and free open source software is in the fact that in FOSS, the source code is open and visible to everyone, meaning that if there’s anything wrong with the source code, it can be easily detected and fixed. On the other hand, proprietary software keeps the source code visible only to its owners, which means that the owners/developers of a proprietary software can write all the code they want (be it good for the user or not) and nobody will ever know for sure what they wrote because their code is only visible to them, which simply means that they can be spying at every single action done on their software while the user is unaware of anything because A) He can’t see the source code.

  • If they’re going to do it anyway…

    We free software advocates surely know that, no matter what we say or how we say it, some people have to or (if you prefer) simply want to use proprietary software for one reason or another – and that’s even when they’ve heard and understood everything we have to say on the matter. Many free software advocates, though, only preach abstinence from – and a zero tolerance policy towards – proprietary software. I have to disagree with this approach. Let me explain…

    While many would disagree, I think educating abstinence and taking a zero tolerance policy on just about anything – while often laudable – just doesn’t work well enough and in many cases can be naive and downright negligent. Take educating children to abstain from sex and/or drugs as an example.

  • Forking TangoGPS (was: tangoGPS community development, patches)

    Marcus: if you would like to talk about why I feel the need to fork your project and am proceeding despite my afore-mentioned reluctance–and what, if anything, it means to you–we can talk about that privately.

  • The 14 Key Events that led to a Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) Revolution

    The last quartile of the 20th century was marked by a rise in software development by companies, individuals and hobbyist groups. Key among software development methodologies was a controversial yet innovative idea about giving away your software code for others to use and improve upon it.

    Those new to the free and open source community may not appreciate how radical and dangerous the idea of giving away your source code for free was for people. Those that did subscribe to the ideology sacrificed tremendous profits and fame yet helped create what we now call FOSS today.

  • Nominations Open For O’Reilly Open Source Awards 2010

    The O’Reilly Open Source Awards will be hosted this July at OSCON 2010 in Portland, OR. The awards recognize individual contributors who have demonstrated exceptional leadership, creativity, and collaboration in the development of Open Source Software.

  • Top 7 Open Source Applications for Enterprise

    Sourceforge.net estimated that there are 230,000 open source projects on its site till Feb last year.

  • Databases

    • MySQL under Oracle: No changes, except to what we say

      His presentation followed those of MySQL daddy Monty Widenius and leading MySQL architect Brian Aker who’d spoke against a single company running MySQL. They’d also pitched their MySQL forks, MariaDB and Drizzle, as alternative projects and products to MySQL for developers and DBAs.

    • YourSQL, MySQL, and NoSQL: The MySQL Conference Report

      A: Let’s consider the plausible outcomes:

      1. Oracle intends to keep developing MySQL as a weapon against, among other products, Microsoft’s SQL Server
      2. Oracle intends to kill the project, and will do so explicitly by limiting or narrowly focusing development.
      3. Oracle intends to kill the project, and will do so implicitly by deliberate indifference.

      Personally, I still believe the first outcome is the most likely. I’m also on record as arguing that the second is much less of a problem than people believe, because if Oracle acts publicly in bad faith, this would create – immediately – massive commercial opportunity for a second player or players. The last scenario is clearly the most problematic, as an Oracle that didn’t do anything bad but simply failed to do anything good could leave the community paralyzed and unable to muster a suitable response. Still, I consider this the least likely of the three potential outcomes.

      Is Oracle’s handling of the MySQL project important? Quite obviously the answer is yes. Whether you agreed with Sun’s valuation of the project at one billion, MySQL is clearly a valuable asset.

  • Education

    • Can you Moodle me now?

      In its 10 year history, Moodle has been confined to computer screens around the world; with countless fields, description areas and scrolling filling the screen. There have been attempts at mobilizing Moodle in the past, but as a user you either didn’t have the time to use it or it simply wasn’t worth using. With the proliferation and widespread availability of web-capable phones, however, mobile customers worldwide now have in hand a versatile portal into the web and to Moodle.

  • Programming

    • Python 2.7 beta 1 released

      Due to arrive in June 2010, Python 2.7 has now reached its first beta. Python 2.7 is planned to be the last major edition of the Python 2.x series before it goes into “bug fix mode”. Python 2.7 is focussed on back porting a number of features which were included in Python 3.1, such as a C based I/O library for higher performance, the addition of an ordered dictionary type and the new syntax for nested with statements. Full details of what is in Python 2.7 are available on the What’s New in Python 2.7 page.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • HTML5 vs. Flash / Open Letter To Adobe

      There are only a few problems web browser developers and users have with Adobe Flash.

      1. Performance.

      2. Stability. Due to poor implementation in the browser.

      3. Need for a Plugin. Having to download and update a plugin.

      4. Platform Compatibility. There are long standing bugs in the GNU/Linux version.

      5. Need for Expensive Proprietary Software. To develop Flash content.

Leftovers

  • Are you a geek? Take the test and find out!
  • Apple shafts Nvidia using ex-AMD employees

    FLOGGER OF SHINY TOYS Apple has managed to shaft Nvidia, implementing its own graphics core switching technology by hiring former AMD employees.

  • Library of Congress archives every Twitter tweet

    Billions of Twitter tweets, everything from urgent messages about the Haitian earthquake to Justin Bieber fans professing their love, are headed to the world’s largest archive, the Library of Congress.

  • Google to index your embarrassing Twitter trail

    Billions of Twitter posts will no longer fade into obscurity now that Google is indexing them all in a massive, searchable database.

    Google announced a new search feature that lets users look at an entire history of tweets on any subject, in any time frame. The feature will roll out over the next couple of days, but you can see it in action now through a special link (ironically, it didn’t work for me in Chrome, but Firefox was fine).

  • Law

    • Milan judge: The Internet is not a lawless prairie

      A Milan judge Monday explained the reasoning behind his decision to convict three Google executives of violating Italy’s privacy law by allowing the posting of a controversial bullying video, saying the Internet is not a lawless prairie and the executives are criminally responsible because their company benefitted financially from the offense.

    • eBayer sued for leaving negative feedback

      A Florida man faces a $15,000 defamation lawsuit for leaving negative feedback on an eBay seller.

    • Tagged.com Hit With $650,000 Fine

      San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has announced, social network Tagged, has agreed to pay a fine of $650,000 for sending millions of deceptive emails in a 2009 campaign to boost its membership.

  • Science

    • Obama wants manned mission to Mars by 2030s

      President Barack Obama Thursday set a bold new course for the future of US space travel, planning to send American astronauts into Mars orbit within the next three decades.

    • Apollo astronauts decry Obama space plans

      The Obama administration’s vision for the future of manned space flight will bump the United States to “second or even third-rate” status as a space-faring nation, the commanders of three U.S. moon missions warned Wednesday.

    • Obama outlines new NASA strategy for deep space exploration

      President Obama pledged his full commitment to the space program Thursday, outlining a new strategy that ends current programs while funding new initiatives intended to propel humankind farther into the solar system.

    • Pluto looks like molasses brew to Hubble

      Researchers at Southwest Research Institute have used the Hubble Space Telescope to take images of the dwarf planet Pluto. Because of its tilt to the Sun, its atmosphere actually freezes and falls to the ground, forming large molasses-colored patches. Why? Don’t know yet. But, New help is just over the Horizon!

  • Security/Aggression

  • Environment

    • Conservation Agriculture: Keeping People and Wildlife Safe

      One of the first things you notice about grocery stores in Zambia is the plethora of processed foods from around the world, from crackers made in Argentina and soy milk from China to popular U.S. breakfast cereals. Complementing these foreign foods, however, are a variety of locally made and processed products, including indigenous varieties of organic rice, all-natural peanut butter, and honey from the It’s Wild brand.

    • PROTECTED: Biggest chunk of ocean yet!

      The UK has created the world’s largest marine reserve, covering some quarter of a million square miles of ocean around the Chagos Archipelago — one of the most pristine and biologically diverse coral ecosystems on the planet. But as much as we’d like to break open the champagne and tell our oceans campaigners to go home – we’re a long way off reaching our goal for defending our oceans.

    • The complete guide to modern day climate change
    • The deflowering of the EU’s green logo

      The EU’s Ecolabel is used to certify a product partly made from Indonesian rainforest timber. What a shame

      [...]

      The news of this gross deflowering of the EU’s green logo is contained in a new report, EU Ecolabel Allows Forest Destruction, from the Forest and European Union Resources Network (FERN), an NGO set up by the World Rainforest Movement to track European policies on the world’s forests.

    • Antarctic boffins obtain prehistoric deep ice core sample

      One theory is that the Larsen breakup results from human-driven global warming, but there are other explanations. German and Russian scientists, for instance, have suggested lately that interglacial periods like the present Holocene – which is probably ending – may finish with one or more brief warming periods before the glaciers return.

    • Scientists cleared of malpractice in UEA’s hacked emails inquiry

      The climate scientists at the centre of a media storm over emails released on the internet were disorganised but did not fudge their results, an independent inquiry into the affair reported today.

    • Activists ‘drop’ in to Nestlé shareholder meeting

      Thirty activist ‘orang-utans’ greeted shareholders as they arrived for Nestle’s Annual General Meeting today asking them to give Indonesia’s rainforests a break and stop profiting from destroying rainforest, threatening biodiversity and accelerating climate change.

    • Icelandic ash cloud to keep UK skies closed ’til Saturday

      According to the London VAAC graphic above, ash danger will still exist over all of England and much of central and northern Europe from the surface up to Flight Level 200 (that is 20,000 feet with altimeter on the standardised 1013 millibar setting) through midnight GMT tonight (0100 British local time). Parts of the area, bounded by the green dotted line, are considered dangerous up to 35,000 feet.

    • Volcanic Eyjafjallajökull dirt-splurt space snap
    • Satellites Keep Aircraft Away from Iceland Volcano
  • Finance

    • Obama: Fresh crisis without new financial rules

      The U.S. is destined to endure a new economic crisis that sticks taxpayers with the bill unless Congress tightens oversight of the financial industry, President Barack Obama said Saturday.

    • Geithner ‘very confident’ US finance reform will pass

      A White House plan to reform regulation of the financial sector has already attracted Republican opposition, but US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is “very confident” the overhaul will pass.

    • Goldman CDO case could be tip of iceberg

      The case against Goldman Sachs Group Inc (GS.N) over a 2007 mortgage derivatives deal it set up for a hedge fund manager could be just the start of Wall Street’s legal troubles stemming from the subprime meltdown.

      The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission charged Goldman (GS.N) with fraud for failing to disclose to buyers of a collateralized debt obligation known as ABACUS that hedge fund manager John Paulson helped select mortgage derivatives he was betting against for the deal. Goldman denied any wrongdoing.

    • Goldman fraud charges trigger fears of wider market crackdown

      A civil suit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission Friday accused Goldman of “defrauding investors by misstating and omitting key facts” about a financial product based on subprime mortgage-backed securities.

      The securities were a key contributor to the financial crisis that peaked in 2008 because many contained risky mortgages.

    • It’s About Power, Not “Reform”

      When it comes to Wall Street, “reform” is not the issue.

      We know this, because everyone supports reform.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • School secretly snapped 1000s of students at home

      A suburban Philadelphia school district secretly captured thousands of images of students in their homes, sometimes as they slept or were partially undressed, according to documents filed in federal court.

      Using a system to track lost or stolen laptops, officials from the Lower Merion School District also covertly surveilled students as they used their school-issued Macs, logging online chats and taking screenshots of websites they visited, according to the documents.

    • EFF Proudly Presents the First Annual Defcon Getaway Fundraising Contest!
    • Online Privacy: It’s What You Make It

      Privacy advocates say it shouldn’t be and that we need to be more careful about what we share and don’t share online. Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt and others in similar positions say no one wants privacy anymore. If they did, they wouldn’t be posting everything from how many miles they’ve run today to what they had for a midnight snack on these sites. And then there are those who stand to make a buck by convincing us that privacy is teetering on the edge of extinction, but their software or their service can help us keep our privacy alive.

    • Where’s Google on net neutrality, FCC role?

      In the past week, Google has been noticeably absent from a growing debate about the future of a net neutrality policy being proposed by the Federal Communications Commission and the agency’s role over broadband services.

    • Federal court upholds border search of laptop in Texas

      The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas has become the latest federal court to uphold the right of U.S. customs agents to conduct warrantless searches of laptop computers at U.S. borders.

    • South Korean children face gaming curfew

      The South Korean government is introducing policies aimed at curbing the amount of time children spend playing online games.

    • Simon Singh libel case dropped

      The case had become a cause celebre, with scientists, celebrities and freedom of speech campaigners lining up to condemn the British libel laws and argue that Singh had a right to express his opinion in print.

      The sudden end to the case will strengthen the campaign for reform of the libel laws, which Jack Straw, the justice secretary, is considering. It is also a specific pledge in the Liberal Democrat manifesto.

      [...]

      Robert Dougans of Bryan Cave LLP, who represented Singh, confirmed that the BCA’s case was at an end. “All that now remains to be settled is how much of Simon’s legal costs he can recover from the BCA, and how much he will have to bear himself,” he said.

      “However well this process goes, Simon is likely to be out of pocket by about £20,000. This – and two years of lost earnings, which he can never recover, is the price he has paid for writing an article criticising the BCA for making claims the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled can no longer be made. In the game of libel, even winning is costly and stressful.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Journalism Dosn’t Need Saving, Maybe Delivery Just Needs Tweaking

      This week, Google CEO Eric Schmidt addressed the American Society of News Editors. This came shortly after Rupert Murdoch started going on about blocking search engines, yet again. Schmidt hinted at new ways of making money around online news content being developed (and Google working on this itself). If you’ve got 45 minutes to kill, you can check out Schmidt’s keynote below.

    • Coca Colla: the new ‘real thing’ in Bolivia

      The familiar-sounding name and packaging may rile the Atlanta-based soft drinks manufacturer, but Coca Colla could also cause groans in Washington.

    • Copyrights

      • ✍ Accommodating Innovators

        This crucial observation is the missing element to every argument I hear from those fighting to lock down copyright-as-it-is now, instead of seeking to devise a new copyright-as-it-should-be. In the Digitial Economy Bill debate in the House of Commons, the lone SNP politician Pete Wishart argued constantly from the perspective that criminals were stealing his birthright. There is indeed be an aspect of that in the way music is treated on the internet. But equally, there is a dimension in which a new generation is innovating – creating works, devising uses for information and enjoying both – in ways that should rationally be beyond the need for constant, nitpicking copyright clearance.

        So in future discussions on the topic of copyright in the digital age – assuming Lessig is correct in the article that radical reform is impossible – I’ll be asking why we are criminalizing innovators rather than accommodating them.

    • ACTA

      • New Zealand hosts ACTA talks

        At the session, the potential signatories agreed to make details of the divisive treaty public for the first time.

      • ACTA Participants Agree To Release Draft Text Next Week
      • Release of ACTA text is good, but many battles remain

        In other words: an ISP is free to do as he wants, but if he does not have ”three strikes” (or something similar) in the contracts, the ISP will risk facing unlimited damages if any of his clients does anything illegal.

        So even if it is technically true that the government does not mandate it, the net effect will be the same. Three strikes will have been introduced in practice, because no ISP can run his business without introducing a three stikes clause in his terms of service.

      • Will Europe let dogmatists write the future of copyright?

        The draft Gallo report on “Enforcement of intellectual property rights in the internal market” contains the entertainment industry’s wishlist for the future of copyright policy: extra-judicial sanctions turning internet service providers into a private copyright police, harsher criminal sanctions paving the way for the revival of the IPRED2 directive, etc. These proposals are very similar to the provisions found in leaked ACTA drafts.

    • Digital Economy Bill

      • Ofcom is in charge of Digital Economy scrutiny

        Ofcom will ask Internet service providers (ISPs) to notify web users if they suspect that the users’ accounts have been used for filesharing, and will insist that they retain a list of those customers that have had ‘multiple unchallenged notifications’. It explained that broadband subscribers should be given information on what they were being accused of, insisting that this should let them dispute their cases through a ‘robust and effective’ appeals mechanism, once the copyright lawyers come knocking.

      • Law firm defends attacking pensioners

        Apparently all the firm was doing was “just protecting its rights-holders”, according to an interview with the BBC. The firm, which is based in Germany, wasn’t willing to divulge quite who those ‘rights-holders’ were, but simply said they were “musicians and producers”.

      • Top 10 technology blunders in politics

        10. Stephen Timms, minister for Digital Britain, mistakes IP address for ‘Intellectual Property’
        In a leaked letter written to an MP in February, Timms showed that he is unworthy of his title by saying that the ‘IP’ in IP address stood for ‘Intellectual Property’ and not Internet Protocol.

        “They can then seek to download a copy of that material and in doing so capture information about the source including the Intellectual Property (IP) address along with a data and time stamp,” said Timms.

        “However, at present they do not have the ability to match this information to the broadband subscriber to whom that IP address was allocated at that precise time.”

        Timms was one of the chief voices behind the Digital Economy Bill, which crops up later in our top 10.

Clip of the Day

SourceCode Season 2 – Episode 6: New Orleans/Sacrificial Zone (2005)


« Previous entries Next Page » Next Page »

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts