05.11.10

Opinions: What Microsoft Does to Netbooks™ and Smartbooks™

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 5:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Laptop work

Summary: Two new messages from USENET, regarding “Netbooks” and Smartbooks”

Has Microsoft finally managed  Netbook extermination in the USA ?
From: Terry Porter
Date: Sunday 09 May 2010 09:34:58
Groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy

According to this graph (see below), YoY (Year over Year) sales of the Netbook in the USA have slumped from 641% in Jul2009 to 25% in Mar2010 and 5% in Apr2010.

We all know that tens of millions of Linux netbooks were sold before Microsoft strongarmed the netbook manufacturers into providing only Windows7 on Netbooks whose hardware specs were also dictated by Microsoft  to be much reduced compared to a Laptop. i.e. ram was limited.

Retailers were ‘persuaded’ not to offer Linux Netbooks where Windows Netbooks were on display, or to make sure the Linux Netbooks were powered off, or not just available.

This graph, http://mashable.com/2010/05/06/ipad-netbook-market/ shows the sales data I have quoted above, although it attempts to suggest that the Apple Ipad is the reason for the Netbook slump.

As the Apple Ipad was not released into the American market until April 2010, the Ipad may be responsible for some of the April slump, but it  can’t be responsible for the prior decline.

I think the likely suspect for the decline is Microsoft, Windows7, a  maximum of three concurrent apps, and pricing that in some cases, rivals  larger dual core laptops.

Who needs to innovate, … when you can exterminate ?

 

Guess we can’t call them SmartBooks – new term needed!
From: Rex Ballard
Date: Monday 10 May 2010 11:46:39
Groups: comp.os.linux.advocacy

A few months ago, Lenovo, fed up with having the Linux powered NetBook hijacked by Microsoft announced a new device powered by the ARM chipset so that it could ONLY run Linux.  They called this new device a SmartBook.

It seems that the SmartBook term was another trademark and now Microsoft has hijacked that trademark too.

http://www.smartbook.info/?gclid=CKuPvJeux6ECFV195Qod9hR-_A

http://www.smartbook.de/Content/Startseite.aspx

http://www.smartbook.de/Content/produktseiten/default.aspx?kategorie=business

http://www.smartbook.de/Content/produktseiten/default.aspx?kategorie=lifestyle

So what should we call a Linux powered ARM based book – and this time could the Linux Foundation Trademark the term and enforce the trademark as well as the Linux trademark as aggressively as Microsoft does?

Bill Gates and Microsoft Guard Their Interest in Schoolchildren and Colleges

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft, Windows at 5:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Children crossing

Summary: How the Gates Foundation and Microsoft continue to lock down education and ensure they control the agenda young people are exposed to

OUR ongoing research into the Gates Foundation gradually reveals and also demonstrates its deeper motives. GatesKeepers, a dedicated watcher and restrained critic of the Gates Foundation, remarks on the pattern/subject that we are constantly seeing from both Gates and Microsoft, namely the occupation of the schooling systems (whereby Bill Gates is to become the Minister of Education [1, 2, 3, 4] who need not be elected). See this new press release where Microsoft software is treated like a religion that needs to be put in young people’s minds. Both Gates and Microsoft (as a foundation and a company, respectively) are doing exactly that, so concern is by all means justified. In her new book, Ravitch covers the subject in great length [1, 2].

One blogger has published the post: “Why Does Bill Gates Mistreat Poor Children?”

Most people have the perception that The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is a worthy philanthropic organization and maybe it is in some ways, but not in education. I wish Bill Gates would choose another cause for his giving or at least change his approach to include and respect educators

Currently, educators are being told by Gates (and sometimes Microsoft) what to do. We covered this subject before and we are still seeing his foundation putting money in strategic areas (also here) and making a lot of PR out of it. To give brand new examples of the exaggerated PR from local sites:

Gates uses the above PR to acquire himself a status, the use of which we’ll explain later on. Similar news tricks are being used by Microsoft, which has that old PR gig called “Imagine Cup”. To give examples from the past fortnight’s news:

A group of judges from U-M, Microsoft, and Ford reviewed the contributions of the six student teams for both relevancy and usability.

This is a case of free labour for Microsoft's car lock-in (“SYNC”).

Later on, Microsoft uses this PR to get itself deals in education. It’s a lucrative business and it enables the brainwashing of many young people. More fairy tales can’t do much harm, can they?

The effort is funded by a man who was a pretty fair student in his day, though he famously dropped out of Harvard to focus on the new world of computers: Bill Gates.

They forget to mention how he broke many laws. Apparently, journalists are too shy to discuss it these days. But positively portraying an ego trip and violations of the law as something that can be pardoned does have risks. It’s not a victimless act.

Here is Gates taking stock of his investments in Philadelphia [1, 2, 3, 4]. There is a lot of posing for the cameras, so to speak. It’s simply PR and the local press in Philadelphia worships his feet, perhaps choosing not to realise what comes next.

After all this PR, Gates gets treated by the press like an authority in US schooling. This New York Times piece seems to be quoting Gates et al. regarding education rather than turn to people whose job is education. Now, watch how Gates is managing the schools and telling teachers what to do.

The Measures of Effective Teaching program, sponsored by the Gates Foundation, is now at my school and many others across the city. Teachers were told this study would show what worked and did not work in the classroom.

[...]

One participant said this might be worthy of support, but nonetheless, it was not what the literature and representatives had said the program would be. Perhaps this was not “Measures of Effective Teaching,” but rather “Measures of Measures of Effective Teaching.”

We’re still awaiting a written response from the Gates Foundation. But if what our teacher was told is true, that would represent a clear bait-and-switch. Personally, I doubt the validity of magic formulas. The studies that support them this year will inevitably be supplanted by studies supporting something else next year. Such infallible studies tend to be discarded and replaced on a rapid and predictable basis. Gates thought small schools were the magic bullet, and he was wrong. I doubt his search for a magic formula for teachers will prove any more fruitful.

To elaborate on it:

About 725 teachers and their students in 86 schools are participating in the Measures of Effective Teaching Project, a two-year study funded with $2.3 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

We have already shown fraudulent ‘studies’ from the Gates Foundation. They simply promote the foundation’s own agenda and here we see it coming at the expense of children’s education.

“Several Bellevue School Board candidates have Microsoft roots,” alerts this article (although it probably views it as a positive thing because it’s the Seattle Times, which typically glorifies Microsoft and always glorifies Gates).

A former Microsoft financial officer, a PTA president, an attorney, the head of the Bellevue Schools Foundation and a self-employed legal consultant have all applied for an open seat on the Bellevue School Board.

The candidates’ bios have been posted online, and they have all been invited to speak at the start of the next school board meeting May 5. The board is filling a seat that will be left vacant by retiring board member Judy Bushnell.

This is bad. We have already seen how Rep. Hunter, a former Microsoft manager, helped Microsoft escape state tax. Microsoft’s influence in the government or local authorities is only being increased here.

With education being privatised, there is clearly reason for concern. Who is willing to give them more power at the government’s (taxpayers’) expense? It turns out that not only Gates is doing this. There are other rich people who want a share of children’s minds 1, 2, 3, 4], as we did point out before. Watch how public officials are being replaced by private interest groups. From the New York Times:

Despite Push, Success at Charter Schools Is Mixed

Executives from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, McKinsey consultants and scholars from Stanford and Harvard mingled at an invitation-only meeting of the New Schools Venture Fund at a luxury hotel in Pasadena, Calif. Founded by investors who helped start Google and Amazon, this philanthropy seeks to raise the academic achievement of poor black and Hispanic students, largely through charter schools.

Here they are gathering privately in a hotel to decide on the nation’s schools. Isn’t that the role of one’s government?

To give another new example of rich people taking over public schools, here is the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation (another pet charity perhaps) joining the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in a press release which says:

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation today announced their support to help secure $93 million in a tax-exempt bond issuance that will help Aspire Public Schools, a leading California non-profit public charter school management organization, offer high-quality, permanent facilities to more students. Known as a Program Related Investment (PRI), each foundation has provided $8 million in unfunded guarantees to back bond financing for facilities that will serve more than 4,000 new students in the high-performing Aspire Public Schools system.

There are usually strings attached, as we did show before. As soon as they become funders they also become adopters and they give instructions to those schools. This is also covered in Gates’ fan press, the Seattle Times, which imported an AP article (also in Google). Other coverage comes from pet charity boosters and another single source we were able to identify. In short, coverage and defence of this move comes just from where it’s expected to come from. More profound coverage would at least question the motives, not just repeat the press release.

At the Seattle Times (Microsoft fan press), there are some articles that look like press releases and local press too seems to confirm recent reports that most news sites are simply PR (60% of the articles, especially in local press, are said to be ghostwritten by PR people).

More press releases which at least don’t masquerade as articles:

Get Schooled, the national education initiative co-developed by Viacom and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the New York Stock Exchange co-sponsored the contest as part of Financial Literacy Week and in recognition of President Obama’s pledge to improve American students’ performance in math and science.

Here is how they are changing the way schools are formed and run:

Soon after Hall became superintendent in July 1999, she began reaching out to local organizations and businesses as well as national groups like the Wallace Foundation. She also called the Gates Foundation, making a pitch about funding an effort to break up Atlanta’s high schools into smaller learning communities.

GatesKeepers writes about “a Bahia boarding school and the suffering of the head of the Gates Foundation”:

At first the idea of the head of the Gates Foundation answering questions from young people at a Bahia boarding school for farmers made the Gates Keepers nauseous. But we can learn a lot about the arrogance of the Gates Foundation from this Q and A. Here is a privileged rich white heterosexual American man who happened to be in the right place at the right time answering naive questions from ‘others’. The worst thing that ever happened to Bill was a legal situation of his own making. He has little experience of suffering like most of the inhabitants of the planet. It is no wonder he is the way he is.

This article goes beyond the issue of schooling and more into colonisation of areas like Africa. That subject will be covered in a later post.

There is nothing wrong with feeding people and helping education, but the way this is done here is self-enriching and self-serving. In older posts we showed this using far more compelling evidence. Without reading those prior posts, this current post can easily be misinterpreted.

Microsoft as Threat to National Sovereignty

Posted in Asia, Australia, Finance, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Windows at 3:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Gates looks at everything as something that should be his. He acts in any way he can to make it his. It can be an idea, market share, or a contract. There is not an ounce of conscientiousness or compassion in him. The notion of fairness means nothing to him. The only thing he understands is leverage.”

Philippe Kahn, Founder and former CEO of Borland

Summary: Microsoft wants to conquer the world and it tries to embed itself in federal elements of the system, the latest examples being banking, politics, and healthcare

THE previous post showed how Panama and Argentina risked becoming more enslaved to the monopolist from the north. But this problem is not unique to America of course. Earlier this month we’ve scooped up some other examples we wish to share here.

Microsoft in Jordan’s Monetary System

PBS Columnist ‘Robert X. Cringely’ (pseudonym) once said that “Microsoft’s goal is domination of the global information business, which is to say all business. Phone companies, cable television companies, post offices, stock exchanges, banks, treasury departments — all of these are viewed by Microsoft as future competitors.”

Microsoft’s recent moves in Jordan give reasons for concern. Apparently, those who manage ICT in the country don’t mind just letting Microsoft control everything, including banks.

Under a memorandum of understanding, Microsoft Jordan will provide the necessary resources to Jordan Ahli Bank to build IT capacity and develop areas of competencies, which, in return, will drive increased user productivity and customer-satisfaction, as well as maximise profits and reduce costs.

This is also covered in:

We have already seen many situations where banks’ reliance on Microsoft ends up with major disasters [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. This leads us to suspecting that Jordan Ahli Bank’s decision was not at all based on logic. What else might it be? Deception and bribed officials (Microsoft acknowledges bribery as an acceptable business practice) are not out of the question.

Also on a related subject, this month’s news included:

Equinix Inc., the data-center operator for companies including Microsoft Corp., expects to sign a $200 million loan to expand in Asia, after commitments from five more banks, according to two people familiar with the matter.

Microsoft Goes Directly to Politicians

Two weeks ago we showed that Microsoft was targeting politicians rather than people whose work involved technology. That’s just typical Microsoft. It acts more like a political movement and less like a technology company. Windows is a mindset, not a product. And Microsoft is trying to get around technical people and get the gullible officials to tactlessly sign deals.

Just watch what Microsoft is doing these days:

Microsoft Introduces Social Media Directory for State and Local Government

[...]

How many states’ motor vehicle departments have a Facebook page or a Twitter account? In order to find out, you might have to browse a search engine and visit the DMV websites one by one.

But someday soon, that answer could be only one click away on a new website launched by Microsoft State & Local Government (SLG) that aims to aggregate and make searchable the social media platforms and projects coming from state and local governments.

More here:

Designed for political campaigns, the suite works by letting candidates connect with constituents via TownHall, while Microsoft’s online collaboration and advertising tools help campaign workers communicate with each other and spread their messages.

Calling this “TownHall” seems to imply that Microsoft is now running town halls. Does Microsoft really deserve such power? That’s what it wants. Politicians become more dependent on Microsoft that way; they even get influenced by Microsoft’s tools (advertising and such artifacts).

Microsoft Insists It’s Good for Your Health

In the United states, Microsoft has been hiring top lobbyists in order to take over the healthcare system. Microsoft is now planning something similar in Australia.

Software giant Microsoft hopes to pilot its Health Vault system in Australia within the next year to 18 months and is seeking partners to launch the service locally– and in turn hand the Government a get-out-of jail-free card as far as big bang spending on e-health systems is concerned.

This is a colossal mistake — giving control of people’s lives to a foreign company with secret, user-hostile code and a criminal past/present. In India, Microsoft is even trying to manage the ID system.

The world needs Free software to prevent such an abuse of power, instead empowering the users that include independent nations.

Microsoft Tries to Purge Software Freedom in America (Panama and Argentina)

Posted in America, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 3:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ricardo Martinelli

Summary: Panama gives away its digital sovereignty and Argentina faces new propaganda and investment offence from Microsoft

The nation/republic of Panama is promoting Free software and having some Free software events this year. To quote a testimonial that’s just a few days old:

Universidad Interamericana de Panamá on March 25, 2010 was the scenario for an opensource and Linux party. Several Linux Distros like Ubuntu, CAELinux, Fedora, Gentoo, Debian, openSUSE and organizations like CIDETYS and business like ELCONIX did make presence and their users and members gave a Talk for students, academics, users and professionals.

According to another post, Panama “is on the road to Microsoft hell” because Microsoft has just overcome the population’s demand through officials who sold out:

If South Korea is an example of what Panama is attempting to do by following the Microsoft guide on how a country can jump into technological advancement, then things sound like it’s going to be a bumpy road to get there.

Apparently Panama’s President has signed a treaty with Microsoft to push technological development in the centralamerican country.

That would be President Ricardo Martinelli.

Won’t Panama learn from past mistakes? A couple of years ago — to give just one example — Panama’s National Assembly Web site got hijacked. Of course it ran Windows Server 2003 with Microsoft-IIS/6.0 at the time, but after the incident it moved to/behind GNU/Linux (see “OS” field).

What Microsoft is trying to do here is take Panama back and away from software freedom.

Going further south in America, Microsoft has problems in Argentina [1, 2] (a 150,000,000 pesos lawsuit), so watch how Microsoft unleashes new propaganda and made up figures (using tricks) to pretend that it helps Argentina:

Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) has investment plans for Argentina which are set to create 45,000 new jobs over the next five years…

Jobs are not being created by Microsoft; they are being taken away. In order to create Argentinian jobs, more local programmers ought to be encouraged. Only Free software can do that, not import of binaries.

Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN) Slams Microsoft for Abuse

Posted in Africa, Microsoft at 2:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Loose lips - might sink ships
World War 2 propaganda poster

Summary: Nigeria has had enough of Microsoft’s “piracy” propaganda and it is fighting back against it

MICROSOFT has on many occasions admitted that counterfeiting (Microsoft calls this “piracy”) is helping it rather than harming it. We have just created a new Wiki page to summarise some of the proof. Regardless of the truth, Microsoft sheds crocodile tears and unleashes more propaganda which BusinessWeek gave coverage to without question.

Microsoft Must ‘Raise Game’ on Piracy, Enforcement Chief Says

[...]

Microsoft Corp. is finding some software pirates remain “one step ahead” of its efforts to clamp down on fake or corrupted programs, the company’s anti- piracy enforcement chief said.

That’s just the same old story. Microsoft facilitates illegal copying of its software and then whines (lies) about it.

It just works so much better for Microsoft when an abuser like itself is portraying itself as a victim and sometimes receives sympathy.

The chief behind such deception quit the company not so long ago and there seems to be someone else to substitute him when it comes to propaganda. InformationWeek publishes:

Microsoft: Cloud Boosts Piracy

[...]

Microsoft’s head of anti-piracy efforts says the bad guys are still “one step ahead” of the company’s efforts to stifle the $50 billion global software-piracy problem and believes that the rise of cloud computing will make it even tougher to clamp down on the copy-crazy crooks.

They are ‘dressing up’ the propaganda with buzzwords like “cloud”.

Well, Nigerians are apparently fed up with these daemonisations and lies. According to this report, they are fighting back against the monopolist.

Enough of harassment, CAPDAN tells NCC, Microsoft

Dealers in computer and its allied materials including software, acting under the aegis of Computer and Allied Products Dealers Association of Nigeria (CAPDAN), have chided world’s software

manufacturing giant, Microsoft and the body responsible for waging war against the theft of intellectual properties, the Nigerian Copyrights Commission (NCC), over their harassment of innocent Nigerians under the guise of prosecuting war against piracy in the country.

John Oboro who is the general secretary of the body said instead of harrassing the “small rats” on the streets who hawk the supposedly pirated items, Microsoft and NCC should channel their energies towards locating the cartels that were behind the illicit trade in the country.

Oboro who told the Nigerian Compass that the two organisations merely paid lip service to the war aginst piracy, lamenting that all the recommendations made in respect of the way forward to Microsoft were gathering dust in the archives of the firm.

Let’s remember how Microsoft is hijacking the Nigerian system [1, 2] and corrupting it [1, 2, 3].

IRC Proceedings: May 10th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:31 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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