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09.06.10

ZDNet’s ‘Open Source and Linux’ Blog Consults With Pro-Microsoft Campaigner

Posted in Apple, IBM, Microsoft, Patents at 7:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Healing field flag

Summary: Microsoft’s agenda gets spread to other areas using a European booster-for-hire who masquerades as a “FOSS” guy

FOR REASONS we can understand — given Dana Blankenhorn’s Windows-oriented background in computing — his blog chooses to be hostile to the very same subject it is covering sometimes. Blankenhorn’s intentions are good and he does not do this deliberately. In recent months, however, he was one among countless journalists who were sprayed by the mass-mailing operation of Microsoft Florian, a .NET developer whose life and philosophy seem to revolve around one company’s doctrines. That’s all fair, but to pretend that he is a FOSS person is where he clearly crosses the line, especially if he mass-mails journalists and gives them this false impression. Microsoft Florian promotes interests that are opposite to those of FOSS, e.g. MPEG-LA and RAND (covered in the previous post).

“H.264 is now free as in beer, as opposed to WebM’s open format aimed at HTML5…”
      –Dana Blankenhorn
MPEG-LA is in dire need of some PR (propaganda and FUD) right now because as Blankenhorn correctly puts it, “MPEG LA tries free as in beer against WebM” (many do not understand the distinctions inherent in the word “free”). We addressed this subject some days ago [1, 2, 3, 4] and Blankenhorn says: “H.264 is now free as in beer, as opposed to WebM’s open format aimed at HTML5…

“It’s not free for everyone. Those who charge for their video, whether it’s a service like Hulu, a Blu-Ray disc company, or Apple’s iTunes, which wants to charge 99 cents to see shows from free TV, will still pay. (If you’re charging for free beer it’s no longer free to you, is the idea.)”

Now watch who shows up in the comments to play ball for MPEG-LA and promote his anti-IBM blog. It’s the same person who ‘injects’ his opinions into many of Blankenhorn’s blog posts. Sadly, Dana Blankenhorn still pays attention to Microsoft Florian and focuses only on Apple when talking about “Global struggle over software patents”, e.g.:

From this it’s clear Apple thinks it has a worldwide monopoly on how the iPhone works, one that could last until late in the next decade. The questions courts must ask are:

1. Does this cover any portable touch screen system, as Apple contends, or just this particular system?
2. Should the patents be considered valid, since Google asserts it was working on its own Android system before the iPhone patents were filed.

There is another important question. Does it respect and reward innovation to give Apple control of all portable touch screen devices, for as long as touch screens may be an interface of choice? Would society have benefited if Microsoft had to wait until the 21st century to deliver Windows, or something like it?

Watch where the focus on Apple came from (it’s there in the text). Blankenhorn is hopefully not becoming a tool of Microsoft Florian, but based on new posts like this one, he is. Why would Blankenhorn want to take his guidance and advice from the Microsoft crowd?
____
* Apple sues Linux just like Microsoft does (Microsoft commends Apple for doing so while they cross-license). Microsoft Florian defends Microsoft’s approach and vilifies the rest, including Apple’s to an extent. While some sites are stalking this company’s patents and publishing examples, it is not Apple which hires lobbyists to spread software patents, making them applicable in the entire world.

Finally, two Apple patents hint at how Apple TV will allow users to browse content and store information.

European Court of Justice Advocates General Says Pan-EU Patent Court Would Violate the Principles of EU Founding Treaties

Posted in Europe, Law, Microsoft, Patents at 7:15 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

European flags

Summary: An expansion on the words of those who deny access of software patents into Europe; an update on barriers to Microsoft’s RAND pushers (also software patents in the EU)

The subject of software patents in Europe is still a hot one because a centralised patent court may in fact enable significant changes to existing laws. Last month we wrote about the Advocates General rejecting an infamous patent court and this fine British site which offers legal analyses has more to say about that:

The European Court of Justice should reject the opinion of its advisors and put pragmatic economics ahead of legal technicalities and approve a pan-EU patent court, the UK patent attorneys’ trade body has said.

Advocates General of the European Court of Justice (ECJ) said in an opinion that the current proposal for a pan-European patent court violate the principles of some of the EU’s founding treaties.

But the Chartered Institute for Patent Attorneys (CIPA) has said that when making its final ruling the ECJ should make its decision in the light of the benefits such a court would bring to business.

This helps ensure that under the current scheme there will be too many barriers and laws may remain unchanged, at least for now. In particular, note-worthy is the interpretation that the current proposal would “violate the principles of some of the EU’s founding treaties.”

“Using lobbyists like Mr. Zuck, Microsoft has been pushing for the central court for several years.”That is exactly what some people/groups have been saying, at times also the FFII. For the Advocates General to suggest this is considerably important as it can be used as ammunition to shoot down future attempts of this kind.

Using lobbyists like Mr. Zuck, Microsoft has been pushing for the central court for several years. So far it has not been successful. Microsoft’s Zuck is also one of the RAND proponents which we mentioned last week (these include Microsoft Florian). Glyn Moody, a Brit, helps explain why RAND is both unreasonable and discriminatory. It works against software freedom.

There are two main options: Royalty Free (RF) and Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND). The former does what it says on the tin: it means that there is nothing to pay, and people are granted a licence so that they can simply use the technology that somebody claims they patented without further ado. FRAND is more subtle.

At first blush, Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory sounds great. After all, how could anyone argue with something that promises to be fair and reasonable? The trouble with a FRAND licence is that it can indeed by eminently reasonable and eminently non-discriminatory, but if it is non-zero – even if it is extremely small – it is useless for free software licences.

The problem is that even a tiny licence fee, if levied on a per-copy basis, is impossible for free software because of the way it is distributed. There is simply no way to know how many copies may be shared, and hence no way to collect all those eminently reasonable and non-discriminatory licence fees.

This means that any standard that adopts FRAND licensing automatically excludes free software; the corollary is that for a standard to be truly open – that is, open for all to use, not just those able to count and pay for copies – it must adopt royalty-free licensing (as the World Wide Web Consortium does).

There is nothing too new in the analysis above, but it’s an up-to-date overview for those who are not familiar with RAND and do not understand that the acronym is deceiving (like PATRIOT) in the sense that it means the very opposite of what it stands for.

IRC Proceedings: September 6th, 2010

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:33 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 6/9/2010: Debian 5.0.6, Many More Android Tablets

Posted in News Roundup at 6:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • How Linux Got To China And The Nordic Open Source Miracle

    China’s and other emerging, or rather growth, countries’ efforts around open source have made a lot of headlines in recent years. But how did, for example, Linux make its way to China? The story that should be told more often is that Helsinki University’s doctoral student Dr. Gong Min upon returning to China in 1996 had 20 diskettes in his luggage containing that moment’s version of Linux. Shortly after that first Linux distro (collection of software) was available in China.

  • Microsoft: Battle the Norm

    But Microsoft windows is normal and using anything else isn’t normal. We have a long way to go before Ubuntu is more recognised as a good technology, well made and not just used by social misfits and people who want to use obscure products to look cool.

    Even if you just think about the technical aspects there is just a barrier from service providers, shops and the media.

    One of the really nice things about Ubuntu is that it’s managed to improve (slightly) this by replacing the Linux brand in a lot of people’s minds1. More people seem to know about Ubuntu and FOSS by extension because of the work we do to be welcoming and accommodating to new users. But are we doing enough? What more could we do to reduce some of the social stigma of using none Microsoft products?

  • The Bizarre Cathedral – 80
  • Desktop

  • Server

    • A Bolder, Brassier VMware Emerges From The Cloud

      Microsoft, Red Hat and Ubuntu are all operating system vendors heavily invested in some other form of virtualization than VMware’s. And they’re all wary of VMware’s widening ambitions and description of a future operating system for the data center, based on its own virtualization layer. Microsoft prefers to talk about Hyper-V and its management component, Virtual Machine Manager in Systems Center. Red Hat is sticking to its open source guns and going with KVM. Ubuntu also packages up KVM and Xen.

    • Zentyal 2.0 – A major new release of the Linux Small Business Server

      The Development Team of Zentyal, the Linux small business server previously known as eBox Platform, announced today the availability of Zentyal 2.0.
      Zentyal 2.0 is a new major release of this server software and it is based on Ubuntu 10.4 LTS distribution.

  • Kernel Space+MINIX

    • Are microkernels the future of secure OS design?

      MINIX 3 itself is still in development, but it is currently a working OS with many of Tanenbaum’s intended reliability assurance features already implemented. You can download it from the MINIX 3 Website and boot it from a LiveCD though, as Tanenbaum states, you should install it to a partition on the hard drive of a computer if you want to do anything useful with it.

    • Graphics Stack

      • Looking At The OpenCL Performance Of ATI & NVIDIA On Linux

        Recently we provided the first Linux-based review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 graphics card. Overall, this Fermi-based graphics card was a great performer for selling around $200 USD and is complemented by great video playback capabilities with VDPAU acceleration and great proprietary driver support. In that review we primarily looked at the OpenGL performance under Linux, but with NVIDIA’s Fermi architecture bringing great GPGPU advancements for CUDA and OpenCL users too, in this article we are looking more closely at the Open Computing Language performance of this GF104 graphics card as well as other NVIDIA and ATI graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • New MeeGo User Interface Screens Emerge

          We have been keeping up with the progress of Nokia’s and Intel’s collabortaive mobile operating system, bringing you screenshots of its first stable release to developers.

      • Android

        • Toshiba Folio 100 tablet review: first look

          After traipsing around the semi-completed halls of Berlin’s IFA show, it seems like every manufacturer under the sun has decided to release a tablet. Toshiba is no exception, but its Folio 100 tablet has decided to tread a slightly different path to its rivals. The 10.1in form factor and Android 2.2 OS come as no surprise, but Intel and Qualcomm don’t get a look in – instead Nvidia’s Tegra 2 takes centre stage.

        • ViewSonic ViewPad tablets review: first look

          With many of IFA’s halls still resembling something more akin to a building site than a cutting-edge technology show, we were surprised to find that ViewSonic’s stand was already up and running. And, to a chorus of heart-stopping crashes and bangs from the grumpy Germanic workmen nearby, ViewSonic gave us a hands-on look at its latest 7in and 10in ViewPad Tablets.

        • Samsung Galaxy Tab review: first look

          The Galaxy Tab’s beauty is more than skin-deep, however. Before you even lay a finger on the Samsung-skinned Android 2.2 OS, the 7in TFT display [sadly not AMOLED, as we had hoped] beams forth with rich, saturated colours and wide, wide viewing angles. It’s by far the best we’ve seen at the show, and not least as the 1,024 x 600 resolution keep everything looking pin sharp. It’s simply glorious.

        • Android accounts for one-quarter of mobile web traffic, says Quantcast

          It’s terribly difficult to get reliable statistics, as numbers tend to vary drastically depending upon whom you ask, but if you’re inclined to believe that Android is mopping up Apple and RIM’s declining mobile mindshare in the US, you’ll find nothing but corroboration from Quantcast.

        • New Android 2.2 build leaks out for Nexus One, minor improvements noted

          Well, well — what have we here? Word on the street has it that we’re looking at a new, unreleased (officially, anyway) Froyo build for Google’s now-tough-to-locate Nexus One.

    • Sub-notebooks

    • Tablets

      • Elonex releases tablets in the UK

        Elonex has just revealed a plethora of tablet devices that are touted to go on sale in the UK, where they have been priced at affordable levels. We’re talking about £99 to £159, and at those sticker prices, chances are pretty high that interest will be strong. The eTouch line will start from 5-inches in size, going all the way to 10-inches if you need something larger. Powered by the Google Android operating system, they might come across as cheap substitutes for the Apple iPad, but will utilize a widescreen display instead of the iPad’s 4:3 screen. Each purchase will come with keyboard docks to further enhance their functionality when attached.

Free Software/Open Source

  • SparkleShare Shaping Up to be Slick FOSS Alternative to Dropbox

    If you love Dropbox for easy file sharing across computers but are longing for something free and open source, you’re wish is closer to be granted. The team of developers behind the GNU GPLv3-licensed SparkleShare released a beta version of its new app and it’s shaping up to be pretty slick.

  • Open source Plex media center to run on LG TVs

    Plex source code is hosted on GitHub and is licensed under version 2 of the GNU General Public Licence (GPLv2), apart from the Plex Media Server which is currently closed source and connects to the GPL licensed client over the network.

  • [Free Software Magazine] Newsletter, 3 September 2010
  • Web Browsers

    • Chromium Now Prompts You With a Choice of Search Engines Available

      Chromium and Google Chrome had this feature in a more subtle way before. It never blatantly asked the user to choose the search engine of choice. But interestingly, I didn’t saw this feature in the new Google Chrome 6. So is this a feature only for Chromium? Most probably.

    • Mozilla

      • Start of feature cull for Firefox 4

        Mozilla has confirmed that it has started culling features for version 4.0 of its open source Firefox web browser. According to the Mozilla Platform Meeting Minutes from the 31st of August, the first feature that will be removed is the Account Manager, previously only rated as “at risk”.

  • SaaS

    • Free, as in Fear

      There is a reason there are ~150 people in #openstack on IRC. There is a reason people are submitting patches.

      This isn’t because of Rackspace. This is because of how the community has been engaged and the promise of a truly open cloud framework.

      There are two other things worth noting for people who haven’t followed this story and can’t be bothered to get the facts straight. First, there are other entities involved in OpenStack, not the least of which is NASA. Maybe you have heard of NASA? I don’t think NASA is in this beholden to Rackspace. OpenStack will evolve in the direction that is a combination of the collective utility of the community and whoever chooses to actually contribute code. Which brings me to the second point, code wins. If you think something should work a certain way, prove it with code.

  • CMS

    • Diaspora coming

      It’s probably not true to say that everybody hates Facebook. But there are many millions (of the hundreds of millions that use the site) that claim to hate Facebook’s cavalier approach to privacy and founder Mark Zuckerberg’s equally vague approach to the future of our privacy. There are even groups dedicated to encouraging users to leave Facebook (some on Facebook itself, ironically).

      The alternative to Facebook, some are hoping, is a new, distributed social network that builds in strong privacy controls from the outset. It’s called Diaspora and its makers are a group of university students from the US. The group are now getting ready to launch a developer version later this month and go into public beta in October. But can Diaspora offer what users want or is it too late?

  • Semi-Open Source/Servicing

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • P2P Hopping Protocol

      A key question is how do your route over a peer-to-peer network a message from one node to another with only the hash of the source and target nodes. None of the nodes have a general routing table or a full view of the network topology. Still, we can route the message from hop-to-hop by, at each hop, reducing the “distance” between the message and its destination. The distance is measured not is physical or network distance, but in the difference between a node identifier and the target of the message. In any case, it works quite well.

  • Programming

    • ActiveState Emphasizes Key Enterprise Programming Issues, Adds Python Modules for GUI Development, Database Connectivity and Cryptography

      ActiveState, the dynamic language experts offering solutions for Perl, Python, and Tcl, is adding key Python open source packages to its ActivePython Business, Enterprise, and OEM Editions specifically to help enterprise developers. Python modules have been added for Graphical User Interface (GUI) development, secure connections with a wider range of proprietary and open source databases and incorporation of core cryptographic capabilities to ensure secure, authenticated connections to databases, servers and web services.

    • Rails 2.3.9 extends bridge to Rails 3

      The release of Rails 2.3.9 by the Ruby on Rails developers will allow Rails coders an easier transition to the recently released Rails 3. The deprecation and renaming of a number of functions now means that, if a Rails application runs on Rail 2.3.9 with no deprecation warnings, then “you’re looking good for an upgrade to Rails 3″ according to the developers.

    • Second alpha for Python 3.2 arrives

      Continuing the efforts to improve and stabilise Python 3.x, the developers have released the second alpha of Python 3.2. Since the moratorium on changing Python 3′s language syntax from last November is still in effect, there are no changes in the language or its built-in types in this release. Alpha 2 builds on August’s initial alpha release which saw improvements in handling the Python Global Interpreter Lock for better multithreading.

Leftovers

  • Pac Rim CAFTA Challenge of Salvadoran Environmental, Mining Safety Policies Given Go-Ahead by Tribunal

    This month, the Obama administration must decide how to proceed with Bush’s leftover Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which contains the same CAFTA special rights for foreign investors and private enforcement of them through “investor-state” tribunals. A CAFTA panel for another mining-related investor challenge brought against El Salvador by Milwaukee-based Commerce Group for $100 million was constituted a few weeks ago.

  • Security/Aggression

    • New government ID cards easily hacked

      The sensitive personal information found on the new German identification cards with data chips scheduled for nationwide introduction this November can be easily hacked, according to testing done by a TV news show.

    • Iraq WMD dossier was ‘reviewed’ to match Labour spin, memo reveals
    • Looking for Tony Blair’s memoir? Try the crime section

      But a Facebook page was today inundated with pictures of the former prime minister’s book in odd places after thousands joined a group entitled “Subversively move Tony Blair’s memoirs to the crime section in bookshops”.

    • America’s real school-safety problem

      Last fall, a Delaware student was suspended from school after bringing a knife into his classroom. Because of his school’s zero-tolerance weapons policy, he was suspended for 45 days and forced to attend an alternative school. Swift justice? Perhaps — except that the student, Zachary Christie, was a first grader at the time and the “weapon” was his Cub Scout-issued fork-spoon-knife tool. When his case received national attention, his punishment and the school’s policy were swiftly revised — part of the growing groundswell of opposition to zero tolerance.

    • Airline CEO: Nix co-pilot, save money

      He’s already suggested installing coin-operated lavatories and selling standing room on flights, so it may not be surprising that the latest idea from the colorful CEO of Ryanair is once again pushing air travelers’ buttons.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • A climate warning from the deep

      Bryozoans make unlikely prophets of doom. Nevertheless, scientists believe these tiny marine creatures, which live glued to the side of boulders, rocks and other surfaces, reveal a disturbing aspect about Antarctica that has critical implications for understanding the impact of climate change.

      British Antarctic Survey researchers have found the dispersal of these minute animals suggests a sea passage once divided Antarctica 125,000 years ago. The discovery was made for the ongoing Census of Antarctic Marine Life project and involved comparing bryozoans from the Ross and Weddell seas. These two seas are separated by the west Antarctic ice sheet, one of the planet’s largest masses of ice. Bryozoans found in the Ross and Weddell seas should have been fairly different in structure if the sheet had been stable and ancient. The two populations would have slowly evolved in different manners, if the sheet was millions of years old.

  • Finance

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Flash Player as a spy system

      If a forged certificate is accepted when accessing the Flash Player’s Settings Manager, which is available exclusively online, attackers can potentially manipulate the player’s website privacy settings. This allows a web page to access a computer’s web cams and microphones and remotely turn the computer into a covert listening device or surveillance camera.

    • Phone-hacking inquiry was abandoned to avoid upsetting police

      The Home Office abandoned plans to establish an independent inquiry into the News of the World phone-hacking scandal last year after a senior official warned that the Metropolitan police would “deeply resent” any interference in their investigation, according to a leaked government document.

      As Alan Johnson came close today to accusing Scotland Yard of having misled him over the scandal, a leaked Home Office memo shows that the last government decided against calling in Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary after intense internal lobbying.

      Stephen Rimmer, the Home Office director general for crime and policing, warned that Scotland Yard would “deeply resent” a review of its investigation by the inspectorate and that it would send a message that “we do not have full confidence” in the Met.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Sending letters to your MP.

        One of the features of this site is an interface to send a letter to your MP. We are in the process of drafting a new letter which focuses on Bill C-32 and TPMs. There is an existing general copyright letter which I’ve updated that may be more what you would like to send.

      • The Economist:: the World Wide Web is fracturing

        In the end, the bleak look is softened by The Economist’s usual on-the-one-hand-and-on-the-other outlook such as, ‘Yet predictions are hazardous, particularly in IT.” I wouldn’t hold my breath unless the consumer is heard and is listened to.

      • ACTA

        • Written Declaration 12/2010 signatories list
        • ACTA: TELL YOUR MEP TO SIGN WRITTEN DECLATION 12
        • Is Your MEP Aware Of ACTA?

          Right now, a new trade agreement is being secretly negotiated that could impose on European businesses draconian rules that could result in new forms of legal action. The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) goes far, far beyond the scope of its name and in fact attempts to “harmonise” (read: impose the worst parts of each region’s policy) the treatment of copyrights, trademarks and patents internationally. It is attempting to achieve by secret treaty what democratically-elected governments globally have declined to do.

        • URGENT: Has Your MEP Signed The ACTA Written Declaration?

          The following had NOT signed at 11pm UK time on Monday:

          * William (The Earl of) DARTMOUTH
          * John Stuart AGNEW
          * Marta ANDREASEN
          * Richard ASHWORTH
          * Gerard BATTEN
          * Godfrey BLOOM
          * Sharon BOWLES
          * Philip BRADBOURN
          * John BUFTON
          * Martin CALLANAN
          * David CAMPBELL BANNERMAN
          * Michael CASHMAN
          * Giles CHICHESTER
          * Derek Roland CLARK
          * Trevor COLMAN
          * Nirj DEVA
          * Diane DODDS
          * James ELLES
          * Nigel FARAGE
          * Vicky FORD
          * Ashley FOX
          * Julie GIRLING
          * Daniel HANNAN
          * Mary HONEYBALL
          * Richard HOWITT
          * Stephen HUGHES
          * Syed KAMALL
          * Sajjad KARIM
          * Timothy KIRKHOPE
          * Elizabeth LYNNE
          * David MARTIN
          * Linda McAVAN
          * Arlene McCARTHY
          * Emma McCLARKIN
          * Claude MORAES
          * Mike NATTRASS
          * James NICHOLSON
          * Paul NUTTALL
          * Brian SIMPSON
          * Peter SKINNER
          * Struan STEVENSON
          * Catherine STIHLER
          * Kay SWINBURNE
          * Charles TANNOCK
          * Geoffrey VAN ORDEN
          * Derek VAUGHAN
          * Glenis WILLMOTT
          * Marina YANNAKOUDAKIS

Clip of the Day

Puppy Linux Lucid Puppy 5.11 Install Tutorial & Screencast Review


Credit: TinyOgg

Microsoft Loses the Web Browsers Competition (Despite Cheating), Loses to Google as Prestigious Brand in Japan

Posted in Antitrust, Asia, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Search at 3:41 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Japanese tea garden

Summary: Despite a lot of attacks on Google, Microsoft carries on losing in search, Web browsers, and public status

IN THE PREVIOUS POST we gathered links to evidence that Microsoft is harassing Google with legal means (yes, again). As Eric Goldman puts it:

Is Microsoft Behind This Investigation? Microsoft has all but admitted that it is harassing Google on the antitrust front. Microsoft also has some indirect ties to Foundem, myTriggers and TradeComet. See this article for more on the Microsoft/Google chess match.

Google is going from strength to strength in search and even on the Web browsers front it is doing quite well.

Internet Explorer has lost market share for quite a while now. Even Microsoft-funded numbers show a decline for Microsoft, despite new versions of Internet Explorer coming out:

Microsoft’s aging Internet Explorer 6 Web browser has plummeted to a 5 percent market share, according to preliminary Redmond numbers.

Facebook finally abandons Internet Explorer 6: “Key changes depend on technology present on modern browsers, so Chat will no longer work on Microsoft’s Internet Explorer 6 after Sept. 15 of this year, he wrote.”

This is also covered in [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6].

Bill Thompson says that Internet Explorer was a very bad name to choose for this Web browser and in a new BBC column he explains why.

It is surely one of the reasons why so many users still confuse the internet, a global network of connected computers, and the world wide web, an application that generally uses the internet to move data around.

Making millions of ordinary computer users think that pressing the blue ‘e’ would connect them to ‘the internet’ rather than let them view web pages was one of Microsoft’s biggest mistakes, and it still annoys me fifteen years later.

Bill Thompson is an independent journalist and regular commentator on the BBC World Service programme Digital Planet. He is currently working with the BBC on its archive project.

In order to battle against Google, Microsoft recently snitched/complained to the 'Japanese FTC' and if daemonising Google was part of the intended accomplishment, then it’s not quite working out. “Google overtakes Microsoft in Japan brand ranking,” says Reuters.

Google has overtaken Microsoft to secure the top spot in a major Japanese survey of corporate brand perception.

The company has been growing in Japan and easily attracts more traffic each month than competing Microsoft Web sites, but Microsoft’s long history in Japan and deep ties with Japanese IT vendors had given it an advantage until this year.

This is also covered in [1, 2, 3]. Microsoft’s erosion on the Web seems unstoppable for reasons we named this morning.

“Google’s not a real company. It’s a house of cards.”

Steve Ballmer, Microsoft CEO

Chocolate coins

Microsoft Hypocrisy: Google Accuses Microsoft of Giving Google Legal Trouble Over Search Impartiality and Privacy

Posted in FUD, Google, Marketing, Microsoft, Search at 2:56 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“But rather than a search engine or even a “decision engine”, Bing also appears to be a spin engine, in that it provides partisan answers to controversial topics, such as Steve Ballmer’s propensity to throw chairs to blow off stress.”

Christian Einfeldt

Summary: ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ (AstroTurfing) and action from Texas Attorney General is linked to Microsoft, which is trying to fight against Google in nefarious new ways

GOOGLE is under fire right now. Does Google deserve scrutiny? Sure. But to what extent is this overplayed by Google’s competitors, notably Microsoft?

Well, Microsoft is trying to characterise Google as the “evil empire” because no other tactic has worked for Microsoft against Google, which not only succeeds in search but also threatens Windows and Office (with Linux and Apps/SaaS, respectively).

The news about Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott is not so new anymore. There’s no news to “break” here, but an analysis will hopefully prove useful. We will try to put things within context. There are already many discussions about it and a lot of articles too, e.g. [1, 2, 3, 4].

First of all, Microsoft Florian takes Microsoft’s side in this matter which has nothing to do with patents. For those who don’t know, Microsoft Florian basically resorted to just attacking any large competitor of Microsoft. It’s not about “FOSS patents” and all that malarkey. A short while ago this Microsoft campaigner/booster wrote: “It’s weak that #Google just blames the Texas antitrust investigation on #Microsoft – that’s #IBM style diversion, not a substantive defense.”

“Microsoft Florian has in general joined the other Microsoft AstroTurfers…”It is worth noting that Microsoft MVP Miguel de Icaza has sort of joined forces with Florian and that small clique. They are trolling the FFII right now (that’s right, they do! They are making fun of the FFII and suggesting conflicts of interests, just as Dan Lyons did to Groklaw without any basis). Microsoft proponents think alike. Microsoft Florian has in general joined the other Microsoft AstroTurfers (out in the open even!) and right now he trolls the FFII, Groklaw (yesterday he wrote “Groklie” again), the FSF, the OIN, and just about any group whose interests are opposite to Microsoft’s, including Techrights. Be aware of so-called, self-appointed “watchdogs”, who happen to include Microsoft Florian. Those so-called ‘watchdogs’ give Google more bad publicity, which is not entirely unprecedented. It’s an amazing case of lobbying and grouping of Microsoft allies. Google was recently attacked by proxy in the EU. That’s one where Microsoft even admitted its role as satellites’ centre of gravity/master, using its partners to file antitrust complaints against Google.

The latest case from Texas has been analysed reasonably well by the press this time. Journalists at least bothered to mention Microsoft’s hand, crediting the accusations to Google:

“We recognize that as Google grows, we’re going to face more questions about how our business works,” Deputy General Counsel Don Harrison said in a blog post.

Google pointed out in its statement that attorneys who also work with Microsoft Corp represent two of the companies.

Well, the one manipulating search results is Microsoft (last covered in the previous post), so they should go after Microsoft. Privacy issues apply equally well to Microsoft and we explained this point many times before. Microsoft also spies at operating systems/applications level.

Microsoft denies its role to the press, but it cannot quite deny evidence. It’s rather revealing:

In a related Web site posting, Microsoft said Friday that it was not involved in a campaign to attack Google in the courtroom, but that it was a member of Competitive Online Marketplace, an organization that includes Foundem.

Microsoft also said attorneys who have worked with the company have also represented myTriggers and TradeComet.

More here:

The cases cover those brought by shopping comparison Websites Foundem and myTriggers, and search directory SourceTools, all three of whom have ties to Microsoft.

Here is a full, direct quote:

Google’s suggest Microsoft’s involvement

The most interesting part in this whole story is the fact that Google said the party’s involved are all financially backed by Microsoft suggesting that the Software maker is somehow behind the whole thing. Amir Efrati of the WSJ:

“Google said Foundem is backed by ICOMP, an organization funded largely by Microsoft and added that TradeComet and myTriggers are represented by the same antitrust attorneys Microsoft uses.

Microsoft did admit to helping small company’s that felt Google unfairly targeted them by suggesting they file a complaint to antitrust authorities or by pointing them in the right direction, but said that’s as far as it went the company denied any direct involvement. All company’s involved denied any Microsoft connection.

It’s just like TurboHercules and T3, isn’t it?

Groklaw has the best analysis we’ve found so far and it obviates the need to make another. It’s a very detailed breakdown of the situation, including the many players at hand. From the opening (more here):

I guess you heard that the Texas attorney general has opened an investigation into antitrust complaints against Google, complaints lodged by Foundem, SourceTool, and myTriggers.com. Them again? Their complaints are not new. Here’s Google’s blog post about it.

And likely you heard about that utterly tasteless ad in Times Square from Consumer Watchdog, a cartoon of a creepy looking Eric Schmidt handing ice cream to children and asking for their secrets.

I think I can explain both events, because they are part of one campaign. Or as American Lawyer describes [PDF] the lawyers behind this, they are on a crusade against Google. The article is titled “The Google-Slayers”. Guess who the lawyers on this crusade have as a client? Microsoft. They handle Microsoft’s antitrust work. Guess who sent the first complainant to these lawyers, which led to this crusade? Microsoft. The jumping off point.

So. A crusade to destroy Google. By folks who count Microsoft as an important client, with new clients, at least one of them directly referred to the “crusaders” by Microsoft and the rest now under their umbrella. My stars, gentlemen. Where is your subtlety?

As we’ve shown before, ‘Consumer’ ‘Watchdog’ is an AstroTurfing group, probably paid for by Microsoft. “Wired did a write up of the weekly “screw Google” meetings a year or two ago,” said to us a reader yesterday. “These new lawsuits are the fruit of those efforts.”

Interestingly enough, ThistleWeb pointed out that the MSBBC keeps acting as a cogwheel, thanks to Microsoft sympathiser Maggie Shiels. “I’d love to say it was nice to see a journo investigate the funding behind a group,” he explained, “but I don’t expect much of the #BBC” (the BBC gives a platform to the AstroTurfing group which ushers or supports the lawsuits, putting public opinion/consent behind them).

Microsoft Can’t Afford to Buy Search Market Share Anymore, Kills What’s Left of Yahoo!

Posted in Finance, Google, Microsoft, Search at 12:53 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Dollar sign

Summary: An increasingly-feeble yet ruthless Microsoft keeps distorting the search market and removing options from this market

LAST WEEK we learned that AOL escaped Microsoft following its pursuits [1, 2, 3, 4, 5]. AOL stayed with Google instead. We have explained why Google’s monoculture in search is probably better than Microsoft propaganda and in the next post we will show that Microsoft tries to reverse truths and claim that Google, not Microsoft, is censoring/adding bias to the results which appear in pages.

One of Microsoft’s boosters, Mr. Bishop, says that Microsoft lost in a bidding process wherein it could not outspend Google or afford to buy a contract (Microsoft has debt). AOL’s story is a tad different because it claims that familiarity or expectation is why Google was chosen over Microsoft’s Bong [sic] ‘search’. Maybe they learned a lesson from that Verizon deal (now confirmed, even the numbers that were once rumoured), which forced all customers to use the Bong [1, 2]. Microsoft is running low(er) on cash and it shows:

A Change In Approach? Microsoft Chooses Not To Buy Search Share

[...]

That’s a change from how Microsoft has acted in the past when it is competing with Google for search advertising deals; a year-and-a-half ago, for instance, the company outbid Google, offering more than $500 million—twice what Google was willing to pay—to become the default search engine on Verizon phones. It has spent millions too to get its search bar pre-installed on Dell, HP (NYSE: HPQ) and Lenovo PCs.

That seems like a worthwhile investment for Microsoft. They are pushing self-serving propaganda in ‘search’ results. One need only search for “Linux” or “Ubuntu” to see how it’s done. The Bong [sic] homepage is now being used to wage war on rival Web browsers [1, 2]. “Microsoft Uses Bing Home Page to Push IE8″ says the former headline. “Microsoft Corporation Pushing Users” says an article from the financial press:

Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) has found a stick-and-carrot way to get people using its Bing search engine.

The Microsoft boosterama (Motley Fool) in the financial press is bemoaning this and another site says: “Microsoft has updated Bing for Windows Mobile, in a way that many Windows Phone owners won’t be happy about.

“Microsoft has updated Bing for Windows Mobile, in a way that many Windows Phone owners won’t be happy about.”
      –PhoneNews.com
“The latest version of Bing for Windows Mobile prohibits devices with QVGA or lower resolution screens… even for users that already have the application installed. Previously devices below QVGA (320×240 pixels) were permitted to install in an “unsupported” mode. This new change not only removes unsupported mode, but also blocks QVGA devices as well. QVGA was the resolution that Microsoft suggested for devices for nearly a decade.”

Microsoft has had a fallback to exploit and it’s called Yahoo!

Yahoo is being hurt by Microsoft and it carries on losing ground.

NHN is the second major Asian internet company to break up with Yahoo, which is in the process of outsourcing its own search technology to Microsoft’s Bing.

NHN is in OIN. Here’s more from the same story:

Yahoo’s biggest search affiliate, Korea’s NHN, is taking search in house.

The Yahoo! hijack took about 2 agonising years and its history is already being forgotten or distorted. The Seattle Times with AP offers just a watered-down version which excludes an attack on the company’s management and ousting of people. It’s an oversimplification that trivialises/omits Microsoft abuse.

Microsoft is now taking control of Yahoo’s advertising business, not just search [1, 2] (ad integration too means more spying by Microsoft). How long before Yahoo! is formally just an extended department or subsidiary of Microsoft then? That has been a case of sheer abuse. It has not been beneficial to Yahoo (not as much as joining the winning team which even Microsoft Nick can recognise, but Microsoft hired AstroTurfers to prevent it):

A delay in shifting control of Yahoo Inc.’s (YHOO) paid Internet search results to Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) as part of the companies’ partnership until after the holidays could be a financial positive for Yahoo, according to a research report published Monday.

Google still emerges as victorious, but the sad thing is that Microsoft successfully killed the #2 player, which was Yahoo!

Microsoft is good at annihilating stuff, not creating anything of value. That’s why the industry generally distrusts Microsoft.

Links 6/9/2010: AUSTRUMI Reviewed, Linux Mint 9 Fluxbox Released

Posted in News Roundup at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • The Many Faces of Linux

    When talking about Linux, it helps to distinguish what kind of Linux you are referring to. The core Linux kernel is amazingly capable and flexible, and has made its way into as many devices as there are CPUs to power them. It’s important to take note that Linux on the server is a world of difference away from Linux on the desktop, in both purpose, use, and functionality.

  • Desktop

    • Myth: Linux only has 1% market share

      What this means is that at this point in time, the statistics that have been made available regarding the market share that Linux currently holds cannot possibly be accurate. You cannot measure how many users have wiped their Windows systems off their computers to install Linux. You cannot know how many individuals have began using Linux as a result of a friend giving them a disk or coming to their home and installing Linux, which by the way is how I first got introduced to Linux, when a friend gave me a disk and helped me to install Linux.

      What the statistics do tell us is that a 1% market share margin for Linux can be confirmed. The numbers cannot account for all the undocumented installs and uses of Linux. Also the numbers do not account for all the computers that came pre-installed with Windows and were later formated and replaced with Linux.

    • A prickly questionnaire

      One thing is sure: when my Linux computer finally stops working, at least I will know that my OS did everything possible to keep it alive. Windows, on the other hand, just tells you that your computer is not “good enough” to run the OS. But I learned that, for Microsoft, no currently available computer is good enough to run the latest version of Windows anyway. Mark my words: your nice computer running 7 today will be “obsolete” by the time Microsoft releases Windows 8. However, we know that, although some of the hardware might have become “older”, what is actually obsolete for the Redmond software company is their OS, not the computer itself. And they have no regrets about spending any amount of money to fool you into believing that your hardware is to be blamed!

    • Screenshots from 120Mhz

      I have a few moments this morning, and I’ve been stacking up screenshots just for kicks. Here are a few from the slowest machine in the house — a 120Mhz Pentium Classic running Crux Linux on 80Mb at 800×600.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Happy 3rd Birthday To AMD’s Open-Source Strategy

        It was three years ago on this day that we were the first to detail AMD’s open-source strategy. Yep, it’s only been three years since AMD became public with pushing out NDA-free GPU documentation and register specifications, open-source code for the xf86-video-ati and Mesa drivers, and employed a small set of developers to contribute towards their open-source Linux stack. It was also three years ago from this month that the now deceased RadeonHD driver was launched.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Add desktop icons to KDE and GNOME

      Although I am one to prefer a clutter-free, minimalist desktop, I know the majority of users prefer a much more standard, fast-access type of desktop. This means icons. Not the kind of icons you see on many users desktops (you know the ones, where there are so many icons it’s impossible to make sense of what is there), but icons that allow you to launch the applications you use most often.

      With KDE and GNOME there are different ways to add icons. With one desktop, the process is very obvious. With the others? Not so much. In this article I am going to show you the process for adding desktop icons (aka launchers) to two of the most popular Linux desktops: KDE and GNOME.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Activity Journal gets major performance improvements

        First Siegfried managed to fix the startup time by creating an extension for Zeitgeist that populates the histogram in the bottom. Querying events for 90 in days in one query per day makes itself noticeable, so his approach of a dedicated API from zeitgeist was the best solution. However it did not improve the navigation time.

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • Peering timidly at AUSTRUMI (2.1.6)

        Unfortunately, the GUI and speed aren’t enough to make me recommend this distro, at least not for regular use. The auto-login problem and unusual installer lead me to believe this isn’t so much a distribution for day-to-day work as it is a strong demo. It can show people unfamiliar with open source how fast and flexible Linux can be. That in itself, I feel, is enough to suggest a look at this distribution.

      • Lightweight Distro Roundup: Day 11 – PCLinuxOS LXDE

        After a lazy weekend where I tended to my aquariums and spent time with the kids I really enjoyed taking some time with Elzje and PCLOS LXDE.

        The fact that it was so surprisingly likeable rounds off this series nicely for me. It is good to end a project like this on a high note, and PCLOS LXDE did that.

      • Lightweight Distro Roundup – The verdict

        We have taken much longer than the original envisioned seven days. In this entry we decide on the best distro in each of the following categories: Grandma Distro, Elzje’s Favorite, Quintins Favorite, Best Utility Distro/Best USB Boot Disk, Best Ultra lightweight Distro.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

Free Software/Open Source

  • Teaching Blender at India School for 4-8th grade

    Uriel Deveaud posted this story on BlenderArtists, it’s telling his experience of teaching Blender & Gimp to 4-8th grade kids from the villages in India.

  • Web Browsers

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Eben Moglen on the Commons of the digital economy

      To orchestrate change you need someone who can balance vision with pragmatism. In Eben Moglen the proponents choreographing the software patents debate have such a leader. A keynote speaker at the recent seminar on “Software Patents and the Commons” in New Delhi, India, Moglen, the chairman of the Software Freedom Law Center, looked at the patents issue engulfing the free software world from a different perspective.

      Side stepping software patents, Moglen instead talked about the rise of Commons (umbrella term for all resources that are collectively owned) in the new digital economy, and the impending death of ownership.

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Bringing open government to courts

      We worked with the Internet Archive and with Carl Malamud at public.resource.org. We built a system where users could download the RECAP plug-in and install it. While they used PACER, any time they purchased a docket or a PDF, whether it was a brief, an opinion or any motion, it automatically gets uploaded into our central repository in the background.

      The quid pro quo in that, as you’re using the RECAP plug-in, if we already have a document that has been uploaded by another user, that gets shown to you in PACER to say, “Hey, we already have a copy. Instead of purchasing another copy for $.08 or whatever it’ll cost you, just get it from us for free.”

      We now have about 2.2 million PACER documents in our system, which is actually a small fraction of the total number of documents in the PACER system. The PACER administrative office claims that there are about 500 million documents in PACER, with 5 million being added every month. So 2.2 million is actually a pretty small number of documents, by percentage.

Leftovers

  • Journo Writes 1,000+ Word Story on Twitter After Media Missed Major Breaking News

    There were no reporters present in Laurel, Miss. when a jury handed down a $131 million verdict against Ford after an Explorer rolled over, killing a young man who was on track to play baseball for the New York Mets. Hours after the verdict, there was no coverage of a case that involved a high profile victim, a major corporation, and the possibility that more than four million Ford Explorers are dangerously unstable.

    Adam Penenberg heard about the verdict immediately from the defense lawyer. Hours later, he was amazed to see there had been no major media coverage at all. So he turned to Twitter.

  • 4chan Decides to Do Something Nice For a Change

    From 4chan — which has given birth to most of the Internet “memes” that many users are likely familiar with, including LOLcats and the RickRoll — the idea spread to other social networking sites such as Reddit, as well as Tumblr and even Facebook. A recent check showed that the account someone set up for Mr. Lashua’s birthday had 3,956 “likes” and over 500 comments, most of which were wishing him a happy birthday and thanking him for his military service. Someone on Reddit noted that in contrast to their usual behavior, 4chan members “were giving him nice phone calls and sending him nice notes” and discouraging those who wanted to do something stupid or mean. “They were all being.. well, shucks… awful nice.”

  • Science

    • Transition metal catalysts could be key to origin of life, scientists report

      One of the big, unsolved problems in explaining how life arose on Earth is a chicken-and-egg paradox: How could the basic biochemicals—such as amino acids and nucleotides—have arisen before the biological catalysts (proteins or ribozymes) existed to carry out their formation?

      In a paper appearing in the current issue of The Biological Bulletin, scientists propose that a third type of catalyst could have jumpstarted metabolism and life itself, deep in hydrothermal ocean vents.

    • Ye cannae change the laws of physics
  • Security/Aggression

    • End of combat yields surge of contractors

      EVEN AS President Obama claimed this week that the end of combat operations in Iraq “completes’’ a transition in which Iraqis have taken responsibility for their own security, he knows that the US pullout is not as thorough as he let on. The American presence takes the form not just of uniformed personnel — tens of thousands of whom will remain — but also of largely unaccountable private security contractors, whose numbers are likely to grow.

      The number of US troops in Iraq peaked at 169,000 in 2007, and by following through on a planned withdrawal Obama has at least signficantly lowered America’s official exposure. This is no small step in a war that President Bush began under false pretenses and that has cost the lives of more than 4,400 American soldiers, 10,000 members of Iraq’s security forces, and at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians.

    • Tony Blair pelted with eggs and shoes at book signing
    • Four police officers chase down WWII veteran for cycling on pavement

      An 84 year-old WWII veteran was riding his bike along the pavement in Sale, Greater Manchester when two Police Community Support Officers spotted him and promptly chased after him.

    • Stolen and sold: Private details of thousands of World Cup fans

      The personal details of thousands of football fans who bought World Cup tickets from official FIFA outlets have been stolen and sold for up to £500,000.

      Investigators are now trying to establish who purchased the information, which includes the passport details and dates of birth of up to 250,000 supporters, amid concerns it could have fallen into the hands of criminal gangs or even terrorist groups.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Greenpeace ‘Tokyo Two’ anti-whaling activists found guilty

      Two anti-whaling activists were today found guilty of theft and trespass while attempting to expose embezzlement in Japan’s heavily subsidised whaling industry.

      Greenpeace members Junichi Sato and Toru Suzuki were each sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for three years. Prosecutors had sought 18-month terms for the “Tokyo Two”.

  • Finance

    • Welcome Mr. President, but Laverne and Shirley Don’t Work Here Anymore

      Two years after the financial crisis began, foreclosures and personal bankruptcies are on an uptick. Milwaukee is seeing a steady rate of about 500 foreclosures a month, while in Wisconsin as a whole, August filings jumped 14% from this time last year. These are not families taking a loss on pricey investment homes; these are families that are being forced out of their modest homes and communities in a daily tragedy that is spreading well into the middleclass outer-ring suburbs.

    • Retiring Fed Official Considers More Bank Action

      The former vice chairman of the Federal Reserve, who retired last week after 40 years at the central bank, says that the economy is in “a slow slog out of a very deep hole,” and that the Fed should consider additional stimulus unless the recovery shows signs of “decent progress.”

    • WTO chief wants G20 push on global trade deal

      Group of 20 leaders should use their November summit to make a serious push for the conclusion of stalled global trade negotiations, the head of the WTO said Monday.

      World Trade Organization talks aimed at a new global commerce pact – the so-called Doha round named after Qatar’s capital where the negotiations were launched in 2001 – have been unable to secure a final deal amid disagreement between developed and emerging economies over trade rules applying to agricultural and industrial goods.

    • Obama to call for $100 billion business tax credit

      Under mounting pressure to intensify his focus on the economy ahead of the midterm elections, President Obama will call for a $100 billion business tax credit this week, using a speech in Cleveland on Wednesday to launch what administration officials said was a new policy push.

    • China vows to boost imports, help world recovery

      A Chinese official defended the country’s trade record Monday as a top economic adviser to President Barack Obama visited Beijing amid renewed pressure by American lawmakers over Chinese currency controls.

      China’s deputy trade envoy, Chong Quan, rejected complaints that Beijing intentionally boosts its trade surplus by promoting exports while holding down imports. Speaking at a trade forum, Chong repeated promises to boost imports of resources and high-tech equipment and to ease costs for importers but announced no new initiatives.

    • Future hiring will mainly benefit the high-skilled

      Whenever companies start hiring freely again, job-seekers with specialized skills and education will have plenty of good opportunities. Others will face a choice: Take a job with low pay – or none at all.

    • Official: Obama backing research tax credits

      Seeking ways to spur economic growth ahead of the November elections, President Barack Obama will ask Congress to increase and permanently extend research and development tax credits for businesses, a White House official said Sunday.

      Obama will outline the $100 billion proposal during a speech on the economy Wednesday in Cleveland, the official said. The announcement is expected to be the first in a series of new measures Obama will propose this fall as the administration looks to jump-start an economy that the president himself has said isn’t growing fast enough.

    • Making Social Security less generous isn’t the answer

      There are a lot of things Congress doesn’t know right now. What to do about jobs, for instance. Who’ll be running the House come January. How to balance the budget. But there is one thing that both parties increasingly seem to agree on: You should work longer.

    • Dems’ prospects threatened by economic woes

      Republicans are hoping to capitalize on voters’ economic disillusionment, frustration with Obama and tea party-generated enthusiasm.

      Democrats are relying on a financial advantage, a robust get-out-the-vote operation and, mostly, the ghost of George W. Bush to curb an expected Nov. 2 shellacking.

    • World markets rise as double-dip fears ease

      World stock markets advanced modestly Monday as investors rode momentum from Friday, when an upbeat U.S. jobs report eased fears that the global economy could slip back into recession.

      With Wall Street closed for a holiday, however, trading was expected to remain light.

    • Blind Item: Which Goldman Sachs VP Is About to Be Thoroughly Humiliated by His Colleagues?

      The one described in the following reality-TV-show pitch sent to Gawker, about a “female player” who is dating four guys at once, including a Maserati-owning “34 year old Asian American VP at Goldman Sachs,” who is probably going to be identified and Atomic- wedgied by his colleagues … oh, right around now.

    • Why Are Goldman’s Women Invisible? (Asks A Former Goldman Sachs Partner)

      Please, before you even consider getting your fingers all warmed up and to send a response saying, “Who the heck cares about anyone at Goldman Sachs at the moment? I lost half the value of my retirement fund and they are all the cause of it,” hear TWO points.

      First, the point of this piece is NOT to seek acknowledgment for these women, but for women in general. Bloomberg Markets took the time to write a COVER article on Goldman Alumni and did not do their homework. The media in general, and this article in particular, had the opportunity to make women leaders VISIBLE and they chose not to. Worse yet it was written by two women who one might think would be sensitive to the lack of women’s faces in articles such as these. I am taking the time by writing this to hold them accountable and to tell them they let us down.

    • Wall Street Roundup: Lingering Lehman lessons. Cramer turns on Goldman.

      Lingering Lehman lessons. Dick Fuld, former chief executive of the bankrupt investment bank Lehman Brothers, testified Wednesday morning that the government wrongly discriminated against his firm in forcing it to go bankrupt. Meanwhile, Lehman’s estate is investigating hedge fund operators that it suspects of encouraging Lehman’s demise.

    • Lawyers for Lehman Are Seeking Records From Hedge Funds and Goldman

      Nearly two years after the collapse of Lehman Brothers, some on Wall Street still wonder whether a handful of the nation’s most powerful hedge funds conspired to push the 158-year-old financial giant into bankruptcy while making big profits for themselves.

      Now, in search of a smoking gun, a law firm hired by the estate of Lehman Brothers Holdings has demanded trading records, e-mail and other correspondence for all of 2008 from a collection of prominent hedge funds and the venerable Goldman Sachs.

    • Goldman Sachs Spends $1.58M on Lobbying in 2nd Qtr

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc. spend $1.58 million in the second quarter to lobby the federal government on issues related to the financial regulatory overhaul that President Obama signed in July.

    • Huge Lobbying Bill For Goldman Sachs Group (NYSE:GS)

      The amount is more than double the company spent during the same quarter last year, $630,000.

    • Jim Cramer Bailing On Goldman Sachs; Says Brand Is Tarnished (GS)

      Jim Cramer posted an article on RealMoney, which is a part of theStreet.com (NASDAQ: TSCM), this afternoon entitled “Goldman’s Looking Tarnished.” This seems important. First, Cramer has previously been a believer in the stock and is also a former employee of Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS). It was Goldman who gave Cramer his shot on Wall Street, and where he says he “learned the ropes” of the securities business. Now he is bailing on the firm.

    • Axa holdings in Goldman Sachs halved during last quarter

      Axa, the French insurance and wealth management group, more than halved its stake in Goldman Sachs during the last quarter.

    • Wall Street Roundup: Early bonuses, getting rid of Goldman Sachs

      Getting rid of Goldman. What had been Goldman Sachs’ biggest shareholder, the French insurer AXA, dumped half of its shares as the Wall Street firm dealt with a government lawsuit and public scrutiny.

    • Goldman shutting principal strategies unit: report
    • Goldman shutting prop trading desk: report

      Goldman Sachs Group Inc is closing its principal strategies desk as U.S. regulators try to limit trading risk that major banks take with their money, Bloomberg News reported on Friday.

    • Hard Times for Wall Street’s “Sell Night” Recruits

      In the post-TARP era, “sell night,” the Street’s annual August ritual of hosting steak dinners and strip-club expeditions, is over

    • What’s it really like working as a top quant at Goldman Sachs?

      Antonio Garcia-Martinez was a PhD physics student at Berkeley when Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) got its hooks in him. He ended up signing on as a pricing quant on Goldman’s credit and equity trading floors, modeling credit-default swaps and other various weapons of financial destruction (I’m kidding). He left after a few years and now is trying to get a startup running. Fortunately for us, he’s written an eye-opening post about what’s it’s really like to work as a quant–burger eating contests and all–at Goldman Sachs.

      Some excerpts:

      “Giving sophisticated models and fast computers to traders is like giving handguns and tequila to teenage boys. Only complete mayhem can result (and as we saw recently, complete mayhem did result).”

    • Think Tank: Is Goldman Sachs trying to destroy China?
    • Goldman Sachs invests to get its image right in China

      Outwardly Goldman Sachs might like to portray an image of nonchalance and disdain for the world at large. But inwardly, it is just as concerned with how it is viewed as the rest of us.

    • Arthur Levitt, Policy Advisor, Goldman Sachs
    • Goldman Sachs Documents Subpoenaed by U.S. Financial-Crisis Investigators

      The U.S. panel investigating the causes of the financial crisis issued a subpoena to Goldman Sachs Group Inc. after the Wall Street firm failed to hand over documents in a “timely manner.” The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission “has made it clear that it is committed to using its subpoena power” if firms under review don’t comply with information requests, the panel said in a statement today.

    • Another Reason to Break up Big Wall Street Banks

      The new Wall Street reform has gone a long way to prevent the kind of recklessness and financial sector meltdown that collapsed the economy and cost eight million Americans their jobs. Democrats passed that bill over virtually unanimous Republican opposition, on the strength of massive public support. There is plenty of political support among the voters to take the next step and break up the monopoly power of the big Wall Street Banks.

      After all, the only way to completely guarantee that no financial institution is ever again “too big to fail” is to invoke the yardstick that if it’s too big to fail, it’s simply too big.

      For a long time a group of sharp guys and gals on Wall Street have run one hell of a game on everyday Americans. We’ve been played for chumps. Isn’t it time for us to wake up and end a system where a few Wall Street Bankers have a license to siphon money out of the pockets of the middle class?

    • Afghan officials resist clean-up of Kabul Bank as scandal engulfs elite

      Officials in Afghanistan are resisting US pressure for a wide-ranging clean-up of Kabul Bank, which is mired in allegations of corruption that have engulfed some of the wealthiest and most powerful people in the country.

    • Have a bribe
    • The Best Of The Worst Jokes About Goldman Sachs

      Many of the jokes at Wall Street’s expense this past year have been aimed directly at Goldman Sachs.

      They’ve been delightful, but we think the bubble has burst.

    • Banking on a Lighter Note

      Wouldn’t you like to be a fly on the wall when she meets with Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein: “so Lloyd, are you still selling securities that are designed to fail?” Or with Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf: “have you stopped juggling customer late fees to maximize the pain for consumers?” These are just some of the big bank tricks featured in our last column.

  • PR

    • Keeping up appearances

      Everyone likes to imagine they are rational, fair, and free from prejudice. But how easily are we misled by appearances? Noola Griffiths studies the psychology of music, and she’s published a cracking paper on how what women wear affects your judgment of their performance. The results are predictable but the context is interesting.

    • Which Millionaire Fat Cats Are Backing the American Action Network’s Ads Attacking Sen. Feingold?

      A new right-wing group, “American Action Network,” has entered the 2010 election with ads attacking Senator Russell Feingold of Wisconsin. The American Action Network (AAN) was created by right-wing politicians and their funders around the time the Supreme Court issued the Citizens United decision that expanded corporate rights to spend more money than ever influencing elections. AAN does not disclose its funding sources for the $25 million it plans to spend this fall, but its board is filled with politicians and millionaire businessmen on the right.

    • Lauria Quit Cigarettes, But Now He’s on the Bottle

      Old tobacco industry PR flacks don’t go away, they just defend different products for money. So it is for former Tobacco Institute spokesman Thomas Lauria, who is now defending bottled water.

      Seems benign enough. After all, fighting for water — even in an over-commercialized, overpriced and polluting form — instead of cigarettes would seem to be an improvement for Lauria. But just as he battled efforts to educate people about the health hazards of secondhand smoke, Lauria is now battling efforts to educate people about the hoax that is bottled water.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Regulating sex and speech

      These days, Craig and the company he founded are being demonized in courts of political and media power as sex peddlers. The service — which Craig is quick to point out, he does not run; he means it when he says he is its customer-service representative — just took down its adult ads in the U.S., replacing the link with the word “censored.”

      The argument has been that craigslist ads are used to serve human sex trafficking. Except craigslist has been openly and consistently helping police in their efforts to arrest traffickers. The adult ads were paid and more trackable than free personals on craigslist or ads in many other places online and in print. Now the trade, whatever its scale, is only more distributed. Gawker has a guide to post-craigslist paid sex and craigslist has pointed out that even eBay has sold party favors of another sort.

    • Efforts Afoot to Oust Assange as WikiLeaks Leader

      Two people familiar with the site’s internal politics, who asked for anonymity to discuss them, say that moves are already afoot to restrict Assange’s role. One of them says some activists, concerned that Assange had misused WikiLeaks’ Twitter feed to suggest the Swedish investigation was the product of “dirty tricks,” are discussing whether to limit his access to the service. Since the sex probe was originally opened on Aug. 20, the Web site has been down for “scheduled maintenance” on multiple occasions.

    • Fidel Castro, Internet junkie

      Fidel Castro is back from the dead (his words) and has been reincarnated as an Internet junkie. Not only is he a prolific blogger on Cuba’s online Granma newspaper but, it turns out, the 84-year-old greybeard consumes 200 to 300 news items a day on the Web and is fascinated by the WikiLeaks site, with its trove of 90,000 formerly secret U.S. documents on military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    • Met Police to re-examine News of the World hacking case

      The Metropolitan Police is to examine new evidence about the extent of phone hacking involving journalists on the News of the World.

      Assistant Commissioner John Yates told the BBC new information had emerged that would be considered by the police.

      Former reporter Sean Hoare has claimed the paper’s former editor, Andy Coulson, asked him to hack into phones.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Nevada GOP candidate faces copyright lawsuit

        A company has sued Republican U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle, claiming she reprinted two Las Vegas Review-Journal articles on her campaign website without permission.

      • ACTA

        • August 25 Washington DC ACTA Text

          The negotiating text emerging from 10th round ACTA negotiations in Washington DC (August 16-20, 2010) was not shared with the public because the United States successfully opposed its release. The US was the only negotiating party to have taken this position on transparency.

        • EU wants punitive measures against patent infringements in ACTA

          Knowledge Ecology International has posted the latest leaked version of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) text, the Washington DC August 2010 text. The following statement can be attributed to the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII):

          “We are disappointed the EU still wants punitive measures against patent infringements in ACTA. The FFII analysis shows punitive measures do not work in fields where infringement is often unavoidable.

          The software field is plagued by patents. Holders of huge patent portfolios may decide to eliminate competition from startups, small and medium sized enterprises and open source projects, on their own, or by using a proxy, a patent troll. Patent trolls acquire excessive power. This is bad for the European small and medium sized enterprises, which provide for most of Europe’s employment.

        • ACTA Text Leaks: U.S. Concedes on Secondary Liability, Wants To Go Beyond DMCA on Digital Locks

          Perhaps the most important story of the latest draft is how the countries are close to agreement on the Internet enforcement chapter. The Internet enforcement chapter has been among the most contentious since the U.S. first proposed draft language that would have globalized the DMCA and raised the prospect of three strikes and you’re out. In the face of opposition, the U.S. has dropped its demands on secondary liability but is still holding out hope of establishing digital lock rules that go beyond the WIPO Internet treaties and were even rejected by its own courts.

        • ACTA – Washington DC aug 25
      • Digital Economy (UK)

        • UK music calls for truce with technology

          The music industry scored a controversial success in April when the last government passed the Digital Economy Act, which would sanction the removal of people’s internet connections if they were suspected of sharing copyrighted music online.

Clip of the Day

Blender Tutorial Bridge Building Lesson 1


Credit: TinyOgg

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