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08.22.10

Links 22/8/2010: Valve Disappoints, More Tablets With Android

Posted in News Roundup at 5:47 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • A Win-Lin situation: moving a small office over to Linux

    Michael Pope is a pragmatic person by nature – a developer who, before he sets out on a task, takes sufficient care to create a soft-landing in case it is needed.

    Hence, when he was asked by his employer to convert a small accounting firm from Windows to Linux, it is not surprising that his methods embodied his whole approach to things in general, and computing in particular.

    [...]

    He is quick to point out that the cost savings of converting to Linux will be obvious after using it for a year. “The conversion itself will most likely cost money but in the end it will be more stable, faster and more efficient,” he adds.

  • User friendly showdown: Ubuntu 10.04 versus Windows 7

    That is, most certainly, the question. It’s hard to draw any sort of conclusion on such a topic because it’s a very subjective issue. If you have not used any of the more recent releases of a Linux distribution you really have no business making a comparison. So…if you really want to draw a conclusion for yourself you need to break down and install a recently released distribution on a machine, use it for a week or so, and THEN compare it to what you normally use. Once you have done that, you can draw as many conclusions as you want. Until then, don’t try to say you know FOR SURE that Windows is more user friendly than Linux.

  • If the PS3 is Jailbroken, Can We Have Other OS Back?

    With the removal of Other OS, everything changed. A feature was lost, and now it appears that Sony’s previously unhackable machine is defeated through unrelated means. I’m skeptical of OzModChips’ solution, which costs $170, until it’s verified by an independent source, but if it’s legitimate, why should Sony pretend that removing Other OS keeps the Playstation 3′s integrity intact?

  • PS3 Jailbroken, Sony Should Allow Other OS Feature

    That feature was mostly used by Linux users to use the powerful machine as a regular PC as well as wired supercomputers. In the last couple of year while the feature was active there we no security breach or cracking reported on the console.

  • Desktop

    • Thanks for the Memory

      These generous car dealers have asked to remain anonymous and I understand that. Often when I donate to things I believe in, I don’t particularly want any recognition. Just getting the job done is enough for us.

      We will be doing some bulk ordering of laptop and desktop RAM if this works out for us. We will also use the money to purchase decent video cards and hard drives.

  • Kernel Space

    • USB 3.0 works under Linux

      After writing to the drive for an hour straight, the enclosure is warm but not hot, and after removing the drive from the enclosure, the drive itself is warm; this is compared to the Seagate 7200.12s in my RAID 5 array which could burn you at this point.

      Many drives fail in enclosures because they overheat; I don’t think this will happen due to Vantec’s thick aluminum design in the NexStar series enclosures, and the fact that the HW203WI has low power usage.

      After formatting with ext4, the file system uses 29GB out of 1.82TB total. Its kind of funny when I’ve owned drives smaller than the space consumed by an empty file system.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Working with KDE desktop effects

        So you’ve followed the latest series on KDE 4.5 (see Ghacks KDE 4.5 content) and you are now using the spectacular latest release from the KDE team. You want to use Compiz, but quickly realize that it is not necessary as KDE has it’s own built-in compositing effects. What you will find is that the built-in KDE compositing is not like Compiz – but it is comparable and much easier to use. And the fact that it is built-in, ensures you will have less issues with integration.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva’s future?

        Recently it became clear that Mandriva was once again in serious financial trouble. Mandriva 2010.1 was even delayed because of that, although not much explanation was given. In the end the company was saved by a new investor, but how things will involve in the more long-term, remains unclear.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Preparing SonATA software for Open Sourcing

    We announced our Open Source program three weeks ago. Yet our open sourcing process will take another one year. Why the delay, you may wonder. There are a number of reasons – code reorganization, resourcing, documentation, and the biggest one of them all , complying with the various open source and commercial licenses we are using in our codebase as we open source it.

    Our good friends at Palamida scanned our entire code, and came up with a list of 75 instances where SonATA software was using external third party code – parts that warranted further investigation. It was a pleasure to have Jeff Luszcz from Palamida walk the software team through the entire list.

  • What to Look for in Open Source Systems Management Products

    Looking at all of these systems management tools, it can be difficult to parse any real advantage between these companies. Zenoss, perhaps the best known of this group, but their product offerings seem little different from those of, say, Hyperic’s. To add to the confusion, products in this space can even include each other: the GWOS and Hyperic offerings incorporate Nagios for event tracking, and both Zenoss’ and GWOS’ products make use of the Multi Router Traffic Grapher for resource graphing.

  • Oracle

    • The Tap Is Turned Off

      From here on out, Illumos and Oracle Solaris diverge. The funny thing is, based on the calls I’ve had today, I could hardly be more optimistic about the future of illumos and the code base that was formerly called Solaris. Even more talent is getting behind this effort every day.

    • Oracle Takes Aim at VMware

      OracleVM, which is based on open source Xen virtual machine software, can be packaged with templates from Oracle and deployed using Oracle Virtual Assembly Builder software that makes it easier to deploy Oracle applications on top of OracleVM that can run on multiple tiers of Intel or Sparc servers.

    • Oracle v. Google Timeline
  • Healthcare

    • The software behind the VA health care transformation

      It’s a truism that open source software development (and perhaps all software development ) is best driven by the people who will ultimately use it. So we can understand why VistA meets certain essential needs — such as allowing an emergency room doctor enter an order within a few seconds — that are missed by most proprietary software in the health care field. But I find it surprising that the system could work so well when each piece was developed in isolation. Perhaps the software used can provide a clue.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Free Software, Real Profits

      That’s how it works with software. We have a computer to “cook” for us, but we usually don’t write the “recipes” – the software. We get it from various sources, either for free or for cash — ranging from single digits for your cool mobile app and up to millions for high-quality corporate software.

      Either way, we don’t know what the code looks like; we only see the output. That’s why it’s called closed software. We can’t learn from it; we hope it does what we want, but it might have bugs or do something differently than we expected. We’re largely stuck with what we got.

      Free as in beer, free as in freedom
      When software is given away for free, like those free apps, that’s fun — like free beer. However, the software is still closed, and you can’t understand how it does what it does or how to change it. But when you can see the code, and you’re allowed to change it and redistribute it — then it is called free software — free as in freedom.

    • Free Software on the reservations

      Today is a fine day, and while I have shared this elsewhere, I thought I would take the time to share this here. In many ways the struggle of the North American Indian remains to this day one to simply be recognized as and treated with common human dignity, and there remains I think an interesting and potentially important role for free software in this process, especially in overcoming some of the vast deprivations of both past and present faced by the communities in the captive nations. Given that I was asked several years ago to help speak for the people of the Lakota nation, it seemed appropriate to do so presently here once more.

      Well before considering free software as an economic model, some of the captive nations in North America have tried many different things in the past to create self-sustaining economic development, including of course casinos and call centers. Some have tried meat packing for freedom. Yet, unemployment remains high, over 80% for some communities, such as on the Lakotah reservations in North America. Similarly, per capita income often remains below the poverty line. On the Lakotah reservations, per capita income in fact is less than $4,000 annually, and average life expectancy is now under 47 years. These are not statistics from communities in Haiti , but rather from within the United States itself. The exact story is of course different for each of the captive nations, but the overall results of even the best of these efforts have usually been rather bleak.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Is Relying on Open Access Materials “Irresponsible”?

      The fact that I rely on openly accessible materials led Access Copyright supporter John Degen to describe my approach as a “shockingly arbitrary and irresponsible policy that will only place artificial (and highly political) limits on education.” Degen then implies that the choice is based on attempting to find cheap materials or ones that are consistent with my political leanings.

    • Open Governance – How can open communities make good decisions and get stuff done?

      At Peer 2 Peer University, we pride ourselves in being an open education community. I have a fairly good idea what it means for content or software to be open, but I find the complex human dynamics that make up open communities much more intriguing than the arguments over which license is the right one. And so, over the past year, I have enjoyed exploring what it means to be an open community, by helping shape the developments at P2PU. What are the structural differences between open communities and closed ones? What is good leadership in open communities? How can groups of volunteers make decisions efficiently and get stuff done? In a nutshell, how does open governance work? I want to better understand these questions and find answers that help P2PU remain the healthy, vibrant and wonderful community it is today, and enable the next phase of expected growth.

    • Aug. 19, 1839: Photography Goes Open Source
    • Open Access/Content

      • How Science Is Rediscovering “Open” And What It Means For Government

        Pretty much everybody in government should read this fantastic New York Times article Sharing of Data Leads to Progress on Alzheimer’s. On one hand the article is a window into what has gone wrong with science – about how all to frequently a process that used to be competitive but open, and problem focused has become a competitive but closed and intellectual property driven (one need only look at scientific journals to see how slow and challenging the process has become).

        But strip away the talk about the challenges and opportunities for science. At its core, this is an article is about something more basic and universal. This is an article about open data.

  • Programming

    • Ruby 1.9.2 Boasts ‘Production Ready’ Update as Rails 3.0 Approaches

      The new release, which features performance improvements as well as some fixes and new features, comes at a critical time for the Ruby ecosystem. For one thing, the popular Rails framework for Ruby (Ruby on Rails) is gearing up for its 3.0 release, making Ruby 1.9.2 not just a long-anticipated update, but one that’s been closely watched due to its implications for a wide array of related projects.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Legislative Open Document Format (LODF)

      Data standards are critical components of all enterprise architectures but they are absolutely central to e-Democracy and e-Legislation. Data standards are the primary vehicle through which seamless data interoperability, data interchange and transparency can be achieved whilst at the same time ensuring information longevity and vendor independence.

    • Demo: Attachment viewer supports JAR files and ODF thumbnails!

      A new extension has been added to the attachment viewer to support ODF thumbnails. As I learned from a colleague last week the ODF file format is really just an archive (ZIP to be exact) so the same Java API’s I used for the ZIP provider work equally as well in the ODF file provider.

Leftovers

  • Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. Further Aligns Itself With the GOP

    According to recent filings from the Republican Governors Association, News Corp., parent company of Fox News and the New York Post, donated $1 million to the RGA this June. Politico calls it “a new step toward an open identification between Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and the GOP.”

  • Umashankar I.A.S, a victim of Crony Capitalism.

    C.Umashankar IAS, an honest and efficient officer joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1990. He started his journey as an assistant collector in 1992 in Mayiladuthurai, Nagapattinam district in Tamil Nadu. He questioned irregularities in cyclone relief work taking place in the area and was promptly transferred to Seiyar, Thiruvannamalai district. This is indeed is part of the vicissitudes in the professional life of an honest official.

  • HP hires headhunter to replace Hurd

    The headhunting firm was established in 1956 and is a privately held partnership with expertise in consumer goods that expanded into technology, communications, and media in 1982 and followed up with life sciences, financial services, legal firms and non-profits, among other industries. The company found Louis Gerstner his top job at cookie maker RJR Nabisco, and was one of the two firms picked to find a replacement for flailing IBM CEO and chairman, John Akers, when IBM went aground badly and nearly went bankrupt in the early 1990s.

  • Another Woman Asks Google To Name People Who Were Mean To Her Online

    You may remember last year when model Liskula Cohen went to court to get Google to hand over the name of a blogger who was mean to her, calling her a skank. Of course, in doing so, it brought a lot more attention to the blog which almost no one had read before. In fact, it seems clear that a hell of a lot more people now associate “Liskula Cohen” with “skank” due to her legal actions, than the blog. Eventually a court said Google should unmask the anonymous blogger — which it did.

    [...]

    Either way, it looks like we’re getting something of a repeat — as another woman, this time a former model and actress, and now a consultant named Carla Franklin — has gone to court to get Google to hand over the names of some YouTube users who posted some videos of her, and referred to her as a “whore.”

  • Brainy ex-model Carla Franklin suing Google to expose cyberbully who called her ‘whore’ on YouTube

    Franklin, a 2008 graduate of Columbia Business School who works as a consultant, was alerted to the slurs after her friends checked her out in a series of YouTube videos.

  • Science

    • Real-Time, Detailed Face Tracking On a Nokia N900

      “Researchers at the University of Manchester this week revealed a detailed face tracker that runs in real-time on the Nokia N900 mobile phone. Unlike existing mobile face trackers (video) that give an approximate position and scale of the face, Manchester’s embedded Active Appearance Model accurately tracks a number of landmarks on and around the face such as the eyes, nose, mouth and jawline. The extra level of detail that this provides potentially indicates who the user is, where they are looking and how they are feeling. The face tracker was developed as part of a face- and voice-verification system for controlling access to mobile internet applications such as e-mail, social networking and on-line banking.”

    • To infinity and beyond: The struggle to save arithmetic

      IF YOU were forced to learn long division at school, you might have had cause to curse whoever invented arithmetic. A wearisome whirl of divisors and dividends, of bringing the next digit down and multiplying by the number you first thought of, it almost always went wrong somewhere. And all the while you were plagued by that subversive thought- provided you were at school when such things existed- that any sensible person would just use a calculator.

      Well, here’s an even more subversive thought: are the rules of arithmetic, the basic logical premises underlying things like long division, unsound? Implausible, you might think. After all, human error aside, our number system delivers pretty reliable results. Yet the closer mathematicians peer beneath the hood of arithmetic, the more they are becoming convinced that something about numbers doesn’t quite add up. The motor might be still running, but some essential parts seem to be missing- and we’re not sure where to find the spares.

  • Security/Aggression

    • DOD: Our Bad, We DID Talk to WikiLeaks

      The Pentagon is walking back initial denials that it tried to contact WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, in recent days to discuss still-unreleased secret files from the Afghanistan war. And new details divulged by defense officials suggest their middleman for contacting the website was an obscure lawyer based in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

    • U.S. Intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks, 18 Mar 2008

      This document is a classified (SECRET/NOFORN) 32 page U.S. counterintelligence investigation into WikiLeaks. “The possibility that current employees or moles within DoD or elsewhere in the U.S. government are providing sensitive or classified information to WikiLeaks.org cannot be ruled out. It concocts a plan to fatally marginalize the organization. Since WikiLeaks uses “trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers or whistleblowers, the report recommends “The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the WikiLeaks.org Web site. [As two years have passed since the date of the report, with no WikiLeaks' source exposed, it appears that this plan was ineffective]. As an odd justification for the plan, the report claims that “Several foreign countries including China, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe have denounced or blocked access to the WikiLeaks.org website. The report provides further justification by enumerating embarrassing stories broken by WikiLeaks—U.S. equipment expenditure in Iraq, probable U.S. violations of the Chemical Warfare Convention Treaty in Iraq, the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah and human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay.

    • Why WikiLeaks must be protected

      The case of the Afghanistan war logs and the hounding of Julian Assange prove that there’s never been greater need to speak truth to power than today.

    • Julian Assange: WikiLeaks founder hits out at rape smears as Swedish warrant for his arrest is withdrawn

      Julian Assange’s supporters are quick to point the finger at American intelligence agencies and say they were expecting slurs after he posted 77,000 Afghanistan war documents online

      [...]

      According to Expressen, a Swedish newspaper, the 39-year-old Australian had been wanted in connection with two separate incidents. The first involved a woman from Stockholm who reportedly accused him of “molestation”. The second involved a woman from Enköping, about an hour’s drive west from Stockholm, who had apparently accused Assange of rape. The warrant was withdrawn yesterday afternoon.

      Assange claimed he was the victim of a smear campaign. He denied the charges on WikiLeaks’s Twitter page, saying they were “without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing”.

    • Thaileaks

      For unknown reasons the Thai Government has closed access to the Wikileaks website. This means that Thai internauts and webizens are not allowed to take part in the current netbased movement of freedom. This is not acceptable, anywhere in the world. Therefore we make all Thai-related content from the Wikileaks website available for direct download. We will continue doing this for every country that blocks essential internet infrastructure. The internet is an intricate system of tunnels, we will dig a hole in every national firewall.

    • WikiLeaks counters Thai censorship

      Yesterday, “Thailand is blocking domestic access to WikiLeaks under the country’s 2005 emergency powers”, said p2pnet, quoting the Bangkok Post.

      At the end of the story, “It doesn’t say if the censorship means Thai authorities fear documents damaging to them may suddenly show up on WikiLeaks”, we added.

    • Waiting for WikiLeaks: Beijing’s Seven Secrets

      While people in the US and elsewhere have been reacting to the release by WikiLeaks of classified US documents on the Afghan War, Chinese bloggers have been discussing the event in parallel with another in their own country. On July 21 in Beijing, four days before WikiLeaks published its documents, Chinese President Hu Jintao convened a high-level meeting to discuss ways to prevent leaks from the archives of the Communist Party of China.

      Party archives in China exist at local, provincial, and central levels and have always been secret and extremely closely guarded. At local levels, some, in recent years, have been digitized, but at the highest levels the original paper is guarded physically, and rules of access are complex and extremely rigid.

    • Prosecutors Eye WikiLeaks Charges

      Pentagon lawyers believe that online whistleblower group WikiLeaks acted illegally in disclosing thousands of classified Afghanistan war reports and other material, and federal prosecutors are exploring possible criminal charges, officials familiar with the matter said.

      A joint investigation by the Army and the Federal Bureau of Investigation is still in its early stages and it is unclear what course the Department of Justice will decide to take, according to a U.S. law-enforcement official.

    • Pratap Chatterjee: Assassination in Afghanistan and Task Force 373

      Fast forward to 2007, the first time Task Force 373 is mentioned in the Wikileaks documents. We don’t know whether its number means anything, but coincidentally or not, chapter 373 of the U.S. Code 10, the act of Congress that sets out what the U.S. military is legally allowed to do, permits the Secretary of Defense to empower any “civilian employee” of the military “to execute warrants and make arrests without a warrant” in criminal matters. Whether or not this is indeed the basis for that “373” remains a classified matter — as indeed, until the Wikileaks document dump occurred, was the very existence of the group.

      Analysts say that Task Force 373 complements Task Force 121 by using “white forces” like the Rangers and the Green Berets, as opposed to the more secretive Delta Force. Task Force 373 is supposedly run out of three military bases — in Kabul, the Afghan capital; Kandahar, the country’s second largest city; and Khost City near the Pakistani tribal lands. It’s possible that some of its operations also come out of Camp Marmal, a German base in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif. Sources familiar with the program say that the task force has its own helicopters and aircraft, notably AC-130 Spectre gunships, dedicated only to its use.

    • Why won’t the Pentagon help WikiLeaks redact documents?

      After the last release, the Pentagon very flamboyantly accused WikiLeaks of endangering the lives of innocent Afghans, even accusing them of having “blood on their hands” (despite the absence of a single claim that anyone was actually harmed from the release of those documents). If Pentagon officials are truly concerned about the well-being of Afghan sources identified in these documents — rather than exaggerating and exploiting that concern in order to harm WikiLeaks’ credibility — wouldn’t they be eager to help WikiLeaks redact these documents? That would be the behavior one would expect if these concerns were at all genuine.

    • David Kelly’s death was textbook suicide, pathologist says

      The pathologist who performed the autopsy on the government scientist David Kelly said today his death was a textbook case of suicide but he would have “dearly loved” to have found evidence of murder.

      Nicholas Hunt, a Home Office pathologist, told the Sunday Times he had been horrified at the treatment of Kelly by the Labour government.

      He spent eight hours examining the 59-year-old’s body for evidence of murder but found nothing to support that theory.

    • WikiLeaks supporters blame spy agencies for sex claims

      Friends of the secretive founder of WikiLeaks, the website behind the biggest leak of United States military documents in history, claimed yesterday that he was the victim of a smear campaign after prosecutors withdrew a warrant for his arrest in connection with rape and molestation allegations.

      On Saturday a spokeswoman for the Swedish prosecutors office in Stockholm confirmed that an arrest warrant for Julian Assange had been issued and urged him to “contact police so that he can be confronted with the suspicions”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Minnesota Tornadoes 2010: We’re #1!

      Maybe we should update the state slogan to say; “Welcome to the Land of 10,000 Lakes and 100 tornadoes.”

    • War dividend

      OME experiments are hard to conduct. Fisheries biologists are, for example, reasonably confident that creating protected areas in the sea, in which fishing is forbidden, encourages the recovery of those species that stay put in the area. This has worked in several places in the tropics, notably the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, where fish populations in protected zones have doubled in five years. They are less confident, however, that it applies to places where the fish of interest are migratory, as is often the case in temperate-zone fisheries like those of the North Atlantic and its adjacent seas.

    • BP rejects claims it is hiding data on rig explosion

      Energy giant BP has been accused of hiding key data needed to investigate the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.

      Transocean, the company that owned the oil rig, alleged that BP is refusing to hand over information it needs about the explosion.

      The claim is made in a letter from one of Transocean’s lawyers sent to members of President Barack Obama’s cabinet.

  • Finance

    • The cruel bonds cult

      But in America we do have a choice. The markets aren’t demanding we give up on job creation. On the contrary, they seem worried about the lack of action on the fact that, as Bill Gross of the giant bond fund Pimco put it earlier this week, we’re “approaching a cul-de-sac of stimulus” which he warns “will slow to a snail’s pace, incapable of providing sufficient job growth going forward”.

    • Hate crimes against the homeless

      If you’re curious to know what’s giving more than 6 million viewers on YouTube a thrill, you should go to the site and enter the key words “bum fight”, which will produce in excess of 5,000 videos showing homeless individuals in the US, mostly older men, being plied with lethal alcohol and goaded into performing ridiculous acts such as punching walls with their bare hands, diving from heights into dumpsters, fighting each other and generally being humiliated, mostly by younger men who have a home.

    • SEC Now Offering Big Payoffs To Whistle-Blowers

      Under the program, which is already live, anyone who provides a tip that leads to a successful Securities and Exchange Commission action will be able to collect between 10% and 30% of the amount recovered — as long as the total amount exceeds $1 million. This means the minimum payout is $100,000. The whistle-blower could be a company insider or a private investor, if they’re able to offer information or analysis that leads to an action. And with potential payoffs netting millions — or even tens of millions — of dollars, experts are bracing for a surge in tipoffs.

    • Settlement in Tribune bankruptcy case collapses

      The contentious Tribune Co. bankruptcy case lurched into a new state of uncertainty Friday as a settlement at the heart of the company’s proposed reorganization plan fell apart and big creditors said they would attempt to negotiate a deal without Tribune’s participation.

    • What the Double-Dip Recession Will Look Like

      “Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe the economy has yet to hit bottom, a sharply higher percentage than the 53% who felt that way in January,” according to a recent Wall Street Journal poll.

      A growing and vocal minority of economists believes that there will be a double-dip recession primarily because of the intransigence of high unemployment and the rapidly faltering housing market. The notion of a “jobless recovery” has been around since the recessions of the 1950s and 1960s. It is a concept built on a relatively simple idea: employment lags during a recession but it is always part of a recovery cycle. Production rises as businesses see the end of a downturn and anticipate improving sales. They are reluctant to hire new workers until the recovery is confirmed, but once it has been, hiring picks up.

    • Michael Moore vs Goldman Sachs ( with bill maher) video
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Wikipedia editing courses launched by Zionist groups

      Now two Israeli groups seeking to gain the upper hand in the online debate have launched a course in “Zionist editing” for Wikipedia, the online reference site.

    • ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ Imam Was A Bush-Era Partner For Mideast Peace

      Tuesday, Reps. Peter King (R-NY) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) called Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf — best known for his work with multicultural Cordoba Initiative to build a mosque and community center in Lower Manhattan — a “radical” and criticized the Obama Administration for including him on a Middle East speaking tour. That tour, which includes stops in Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, is designed by the public diplomacy office to explain to Muslims abroad what it’s like to be a Muslim in America.

      Outside of how getting constantly called a radical by American politicians busy flacking the proposed “Ground Zero mosque” for political purposes might affect Rauf’s view of what it’s like to be a Muslim in America, there’s one other big problem with King’s and Ros-Lehtinen’s accusation: Rauf already represented America in this way, under the Bush Administration.

    • Why oil billionaire David Koch is secretly funding Astroturf to repeal CA clean energy laws

      Much has been reported about how Texan oil companies Valero and Tesoro have been fighting to repeal the landmark clean energy climate change law, AB 32. The Wonk Room recently obtained a PowerPoint from Tesoro showing that the company made a pitch to oil companies, including BP, to join their effort known as Proposition 23.

      But there is another powerful out-of-state fossil fuel interest trying to eviscerate California’s pioneering climate change law: Koch Industries. The Wonk Room has learned that Koch Industries is funding the lead “grassroots” group organizing support for Proposition 23, and is also funding the Pacific Research Institute, the main think-tank producing junk studies smearing AB 32.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • The Audacity of Warner Brothers and Re-Spawning Zombie Cookies

      A lawsuit in federal court alleges that several companies like Warner Bros. Records, Disney, Ustream and others “hacked the computers” of millions of consumers “to covertly, without consent, and in an unauthorized, deceptive, invasive, and fraudulent manner” implanted “rogue” Flash tracking cookies. The group referred to collectively as “Clearspring Flash Cookie Affiliates” are accused of spying on users, including kids, by intercepting online transmissions with tracking code, that even if the user deleted, would be used to “re-spawn” Flash cookies.

    • Germany to roll out ID cards with embedded RFID

      The production of the RFID chips, an integral element of the new generation of German identity cards, has started after the government gave a 10 year contract to the chipmaker NXP in the Netherlands. Citizens will receive the mandatory new ID cards from the first of November.
      German RFID identity card

      Various German authorities will be able to identify persons fast and reliable by scanning the RFID citizen card. These will be the police, customs and tax authorities and of course the local registration and passport granting authorities.

      The new ID card will contain all personal data on the security chip that can be accessed over a wireless connection.

    • Court OKs Covert iPhone Audio Recording
  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • ‘Alice in Wonderland’ Suit: Off With Their Heads!

      Mkrtchyan claims the “Alice” chairs are a dead ringer for his design … in fact, he claims he has a chair for every suit in the deck — including spades, clubs and diamonds.

    • Safeguarding the BBC’s archive

      The BBC’s legacy Radio and Television programme collections have resided at the Windmill Road Archive in Brentford, West London, for 42 years. There are almost five million items held on a wide variety formats including film, dating back to 1936, videotape, first introduced into the BBC in the late sixties and numerous audio tape and disc including a small collection of wax cylinders which date back to the early 1900s.

    • ‘Pizza Pizza Pizza’ Menu Under Fire

      Little Caesar’s is claiming that a Royal Oak restaurant is infringing on the copyright of the slogan “Pizza -Pizza.”

    • Copyrights

      • Piracy Is Promotion, Says CEO of Porn Multinational

        Adult entertainment and piracy go hand in hand, so to speak. While some players in the industry use legal tools to bring piracy to a halt, others are not bothered about unauthorized sharing. In a recent video interview the CEO of one of the largest porn distributors said that the more people pirate his company’s work, the better.

      • Porn Company Embracing ‘Pirates,’ Planning To Monetize Experiences
      • The Real Reason for Germany’s Industrial Expansion?

        Did Germany experience rapid industrial expansion in the 19th century due to an absence of copyright law? A German historian argues that the massive proliferation of books, and thus knowledge, laid the foundation for the country’s industrial might.

      • Could The Legality Of Google’s Cache Kill Righthaven’s Copyright Claims?

        As Righthaven continues to file lawsuits, it seems that various lawyers who are concerned about copyright, free speech and chilling effects online have been rushing to help defend some of those sued. I can’t recall a situation (even with US Copyright Group) where lawyers have been so eager to take on a company filing copyright infringement claims. Of course, the really interesting part is how some of the lawyers are testing out a variety of defenses to the lawsuits, some which seem to have a much better chance of passing judicial muster than others.

      • RIAA Wants Piracy on the Table in Net Neutrality Talks

        A group of 13 trade organizations representing all corners of the music industry is calling on Google to incorporate mechanisms for cracking down on piracy as it attempts to broker a deal on net neutrality.

        “The music community we represent believes it is vital that any Internet policy initiative permit and encourage ISPs and other intermediaries to take measures to deter unlawful activity such as copyright infringement and child pornography,” the groups wrote in a letter to Google (NASDAQ: GOOG) CEO Eric Schmidt.

      • ACTA

        • Lunch with the ACTA negotiators, August 17, 2010

          At the lunch meeting the U.S. negotiators explained the reason for this — they said it was obvious that regardless of what the ACTA provisions say, the U.S. can ignore the provisions in cases where there are statutory exceptions. “It is not necessary to say that in the ACTA text” I was told. “It’s obvious.”

        • ACTA Negotiators Don’t Seem To Know Or Care About What They’re Negotiating

          Yes, it appears we’re negotiating an agreement where the US isn’t too concerned with the fact that it goes against key points in US law because we’ll just ignore the parts we don’t like. But, you can bet that we’ll put massive pressure on any other country that tries to do the same. And, when there’s any discussion of improving US law, we’ll be told we can’t, because of our “international obligations” under ACTA.

        • US-EU food fight dogs anti-counterfeiting talks

          A long-running battle over the right to use European place names, like Parma or Roquefort, for some of the world’s most popular foods and beverages looks to be the toughest remaining issue in international trade talks aimed at reducing copyright and trademark theft.

          The 27-nations of the European Union want the proposed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to cover “geographical indicators”, which are names for food and alcoholic products drawn from a particular location, such Champagne or Cognac, both in France.

Clip of the Day

Richard M. Stallman Speech Patents Calgary Canada 2005


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