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01.12.11

When Even Paul Thurrott Complains About Windows, Something is Terribly Wrong

Posted in Microsoft, Windows at 11:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-authored with G. Forbes

Internet and future

Summary: Windows phones have serious bugs in them and even Microsoft’s biggest cheerleaders are complaining

“It’s stupid,” says Microsoft’s booster Paul Thurrott about Vista 7 for tablet computing, claims Fab from the Linux Outlaws show. Is this a moment of honesty from this Microsoft marketing dunce? Let us hope so. As we pointed out the other day, even longtime boosters of Microsoft are withdrawing their votes of confidence.

Paul Thurrott has also been complaining about how Vista Phony 7 [sic] has a transmission bug which ends up being very costly for users. His rant has been discussed on Slashdot and is summarised thusly:

Microsoft commentator and Windows Phone 7 Expert Paul Thurrott has reported a serious bug that indicates Windows Phone 7 is uploading up to 50 MB of unidentified data every day. The phone operating system apparently ignores Wi-Fi connections for sending this data, leading some Windows Phone 7 owners hitting their 2 GB plan data limit while doing little more than checking email and social networking sites.

OpenBytes has commented about it as well (Windows Phone 7 gorges on your data limit?) and came to the following conclusion:

Just like the real WP7 sales figures, Microsoft is yet to comment. I’d suggest to Microsoft that if this allegation is true then they better start to find more Android phones to skim some profit from, if the WP7 has this type of issue now, it could be the final nail in the coffin for the phone and with it, Microsoft’s hopes of ever cracking the Smartphone market.

MSBBC has released Microsoft’s response:

Microsoft has told BBC News that it is investigating why some handsets running its Windows Phone 7 software are sending and receiving “phantom data”.

Several net forums detail complaints from people that say their phones are automatically eating into their monthly data plans without their knowledge.

Some have complained that their phone sends “between 30 and 50MB of data” every day; an amount that would eat into a 1GB allowance in 20 days.

It is a rarity to see the MSBBC actually use the word “Windows” in relation to any sort of Windows-related issue. Fortunately, Microsoft doesn’t have any sort of monopoly on smartphones, so they cannot distort the public media with a “a Windows problem is a PC problem”-style routine. They would look rather silly if they actually tried to.

This is a subject which we discussed in Episode 24 of TechBytes as well.

Apple hypePad at Fatigue Point

Posted in Apple, DRM at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-authored with G. Forbes

Paper border

Summary: Apple has failed to save the old (antiquated) newspaper industry, but Murdoch and Jobs to consider other plans

WE HAVE BEEN sceptical of the hypePad since it was first announced in 2010. We argued that die-hard fans of Apple would have shallow interest in the product. This kind of interest frequently dies out after purchase; those who choose accessories over practical value would just get bored with the hypePad.

As expected, the primary function of this DRM-laden gadget is starting to disappoint and hypePad magazine sales are slumping. It turns out that Steve Jobs is “not the saviour of journalism” that some were hoping for him to be, alleges this one report:

It verily could according to this article by WWD.com. Statistics from the Audit Bureau of Circulations reveal that by the end of 2010 – which is just two days away now – magazine sales on the iPad were seriously drooping.

Apple is good at reinventing the wheel and charging more for it, often without the level of quality expected with a higher price. As one article put it, “[e]ditorials began asking if the iPad might be the saviour of an industry in a seemingly terminal decline.” It was “just wishful thinking,” Glyn Moody explained over at Identica.

Perhaps Jobs should reconsider his upcoming liaison with Murdoch. It does not seem to be a very smart PR strategy with all the troubles mentioned above.

Links 12/1/2011: Mageia Joins OIN, Key Developer Leaves Canonical, MeeGo Spreads

Posted in News Roundup at 11:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Kernel Log: Wonder patch merged, improved AMD and Intel graphic support

      For Linux 2.6.38, the kernel developers have integrated the much-discussed patch which considerably improves the response time of Linux desktops in certain situations. The AMD developers have extended their open source graphics drivers to support various Radeon HD 6000 graphics chips. A discussion was sparked by the tricky situation surrounding the graphics drivers for Intel’s new processors.

    • Graphics Stack

      • The VIA Kernel Mode-Setting Code Progresses

        While VIA defenestrated its open-source Linux graphics driver strategy, there has been some recent work under-way on providing a GEM/TTM + KMS driver for VIA’s integrated graphics processors by the community. In particular, this work is being done by James Simmons, the former Google Summer of Code student developer who was working on 3Dfx kernel mode-setting support a few months back.

      • Page-Flipping Is Flipped On In The ATI DDX Driver

        With the Linux 2.6.38 kernel DRM update having been pulled into the mainline tree last night by Linus Torvalds, AMD’s Alex Deucher pushed the page-flipping support from the DDX X.Org driver side into the mainline xf86-video-ati tree.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Windows Team Releases Updated KDE Applications

        Be aware that some of the software may be unstable on Windows, but chances are good that you might find yourself quite comfortable in using some of these applications.

      • 9 reasons why you should switch to KDE 4.5

        There are two kinds of Linux users in the world – those who use Gnome and those who dislike KDE.

        You can’t blame them – to call KDE releases so far a disaster would be something of an understatement – but the tide has now turned.

        Over 16,000 bug fixes and 1,700 new features later, the KDE developer unveiled KDE 4.5. The release has started popping up in many Linux distros, and it looks and feels stunning.

  • Distributions

    • For an Old or Slow PC, Try Puppy Linux 5.2

      Perhaps the best part of all, of course, is that–as with most Linux distributions–there’s no commitment involved in trying it out. Particularly if you have old hardware lying around, it will be worth your while to take Puppy Linux for a tour.

    • Sabayon in Linux Format #141

      I have been waiting for this day for so long! Great to see it finally happen! Thank you to everyone who has donated and may our path to world domination continue.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Alpha 0 Still on Track for January Release, Joins OIN

        Initial release of Mandriva fork Mageia is still on track for release later this month. Numerous preparations continue behind the scenes to facilitate this highly anticipated release.

        A previous report of an earlier packagers’ meeting outlined some of the procedures and personnel in place and still needed to begin the process of building Mageia software. Hardware and temporary hosting was secured and the build system was being implemented. In a more recent blog posting, Mageia representatives stated that “packaging tasks have been launched.” While the build system isn’t fully operational, the first 40 packages are expected in the coming days as letters describing the SVN upload process, which is ready, have been sent. Mentors are being paired with new developers who did not previously have an account so they can begin their work as well.

    • Red Hat Family

      • U.S. Administration’s ‘Technology Neutrality’ Announcement Welcome News

        On January 7, the Administration issued a succinct, clear message to Executive Branch IT leaders: Don’t discriminate between proprietary and open source solutions when it currently spends almost $80 billion dollars to buy information technology (IT). In fact, in its message on Technology Neutrality, it goes even further, urging agencies to “analyze alternatives that include proprietary, open source, and mixed source technologies. This allows the Government to pursue the best strategy to meet its particular needs.”

      • Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6

        Editors’ rating:

        8.2 out of 10

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Leaving Canonical

          Sadly I never kept that original e-mail, but I tried to replicate it from memory for Canonical’s 5th birthday:

          Dear Friend,

          How are you and your family hope fine?

          I am Mark SHUTTLEWORTH, from the great country of SOUTH AFRICA.

          Due to good fortune mine in business, I have come into money of the sum $575,000,000 (US).

          I would like to with you discuss BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY, and solicit your confidentiality in this transaction.

          Pleased to discuss by phone at your earliest convenience.

        • Ubuntu developers talk Unity – and why it’s going to rock in Natty [Video]

          Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon discuss Unity, the new desktop environment for Ubuntu with David Barth, one of the key developers behind the interface on everyone’s lips.

        • Ubuntu’s Unity Desktop: Tragically Ironic Product Name

          Nor is Unity a complete departure from GNOME. As Ubuntu community manager Jono Bacon emphasizes, “Ubuntu is a GNOME distribution, we ship the GNOME stack, we will continue to ship GNOME apps, and we optimize Ubuntu for GNOME. The only difference is that Unity is a different shell for GNOME.” If anything, Shuttleworth insists, Unity is part of the diversity that “makes GNOME stronger.” Users will even be able to select another GNOME-based interface if they prefer.

        • AskUbuntu reaches 6000 questions – 13000 answers – 8000 users – 60000 votes

          3 months after the successful launch as permanent Q&A site in our new Ubuntu design, we have reached the 6000 question threshold. Those 6000 questions have been asked and answered to 91% almost 14000 answers by 8600 users. 60000 votes have been cast for the questions and answers.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Elementary OS ‘Jupiter’ now available to pre-order

            The first release of elementary OS – a new Ubuntu-based operating from the elementary-project – has been made available for pre-order ahead of its March release date.

          • Linux OEM ZaReason Adds Support for Trisquel OS

            Given that ZaReason already offers a variety of different Linux distributions — including the big names like Fedora and Ubuntu — as OS options, it’s not too surprising to see Trisquel added to the lineup. What is worth noting, however, is that Ubuntu-based Trisquel stands out as a brand of Linux whose main mission is to remain 100 percent free of “binary blobs” and other bits of proprietary software that most mainstream Linux distributions use, often because they’re essential for supporting certain hardware.

          • wattOS R3 Is Based on Ubuntu 10.10

            wattOS R3 has been released. The lightweight Linux distro is now based on the latest Ubuntu 10.10 and also comes with updated packages for most of its core applications.

            Some changes include a new lightweight music player, foobnix, and a new photo editor, Fotoxx. The usual selection of LXDE, OpenBox and PCManFM continues to be the basis of wattOS.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nexus S hacked to run Ubuntu Linux
      • In 2011 Mobile Broadband Will Surpass Wired Broadband

        The world will see one billion mobile broadband subscribers this year, doubling from the 500 million mobile web users in 2010, according to Ericsson, a provider of global telecom equipment. An increasing rate of smartphone adoption is the key driver, although connected laptops, tablets, USB data sticks and mobile hotspots will also add to the mobile subscriber numbers to a lesser extent. By the end of 2011, Ericsson estimates 400 million mobile broadband subscribers will be from the Asia-Pacific region, while Western Europe and North America will follow with 200 million each.

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Hands on: MeeGo netbook review

          While we’ve seen MeeGo running on devices such as the Nokia N900, we haven’t had a play with it on a netbook – until now. Here it’s running on an MSI unit.

        • MaeModder N900 Application created by Dany-69.

          Here is one brilliant application created by Dany-69. You can download it from the Maemo.Org. It’s called MaeModder and basically one can modify a whole bunch of things on your N900 with very little effort. In a way Dany-69 has made modding your N900 a lot less stressful because beforehand one would need to run a lot of scripts via the x-terminal window. There will still be a lot of people who prefer to run scripts (myself included), but this application makes life a lot easier.

        • Intel demos MeeGo/Android dual boot and dual core tablet

          This slate would be the first MeeGo/Android dual boot and dual core tablet and that it can also boot with Winodws 7.

        • The smartphone wars: Verizon gets iPhone

          Other analysts have pointed out that, now that AT&T has lost its exclusive, they’ll certainly be promoting Android phones more.

      • Android

        • New Versions of Android Support Hardware Barometers, the Motorola Xoom has One Inside

          The list of sensors and gizmos and odds and ends inside of mobile devices keeps growing, and the latest addition might have you scratching your head in terms of usefulness. It looks like Android 2.3 and higher supports a hardware barometer, and the Motorola Xoom tablet with Honeycomb (3.0) features one inside. The use isn’t immediately clear, but let’s speculate.

        • First Glimpses of Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” [Video]

          Android 3.0 is not just another version of Android like the recently released Android 2.3 “Gingerbread”. Instead, Android 3.0 codenamed “Honeycomb” is built from scratch to suit the needs of devices with bigger screen sizes, tablets to be specific(in the current context). Google officially previewed Android 3.0 “Honeycomb” during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada. And from the initial looks of it, Android 3.0 powered tablets are going to be spectacular. Here is nice little video preview of Android 3.0.

        • Android at CES: strong growth as platform jumps to new devices

          Google didn’t have a booth of its own at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) this year in Las Vegas, but signs of the search giant’s broad reach were apparent throughout the event. It seems as if practically every major consumer electronics company has adopted Google’s Android mobile operating system in some capacity.

        • F4A 1.3 released

          F4A 1.3 is now avaiable for download, with two significant updated (unrEVOked 3.32 and AlphaRev 1.8), plus some other under-the-hood tweaks.

        • Motorola Mobility CES 2011 Press Event
    • Sub-notebooks

Free Software/Open Source

  • The advantages of free software

    People outside the free software movement frequently ask about the practical advantages of free software. It is a curious question.

  • Seven Cool Open Source Projects for Defenders

    These are numbered for reference and not for priority.

    1. Charles Smutz recently announced his Ruminate IDS, whose goal is to “demonstrate the feasibility and value of flexible and scalable analysis of objects transferred through the network.” Charles is also author of the Vortex prohect, a “a near real time IDS and network surveillance engine for TCP stream data.”

    2. Doug Burks just released a new version of SecurityOnion, an Ubuntu-based live CD to facilitate network security monitoring. You’ll find many of the tools on this list in SO and I expect those missing will be included at some point!

    3. Over at Berkeley, development of the Bro IDS project is kicking into high gear with Seth Hall’s new role as a full-time developer. We miss you Seth!

    [...]

  • An open platform for innovation

    During the ‘Integration’ phase, source code and assets from various contributors are integrated into a deployable build which is then tested as a single unit. Issues are logged, fixed, and retested, all in the open source platform. The ‘Implementation and Improvement’ phase closes the loop and provides feedback to the entire lifecycle.

  • Web Browsers

    • HTML Video Codec Support in Chrome

      Specifically, we are supporting the WebM (VP8) and Theora video codecs, and will consider adding support for other high-quality open codecs in the future. Though H.264 plays an important role in video, as our goal is to enable open innovation, support for the codec will be removed and our resources directed towards completely open codec technologies.

    • 10 Web browsers for the Linux operating system

      How I rank ‘em

      From best to worst, this is how I rank the above browsers:

      1. Google Chrome (actually Chromium)
      2. Konqueror
      3. Firefox
      4. Arora
      5. Opera
      6. Lynx
      7. Midori
      8. NetSurf
      9. Dooble
      10. Epiphany

    • Mozilla

  • SaaS

    • Why I’m Having Second Thoughts About The Wisdom Of The Cloud

      More seriously though, I’ve been growing increasingly alarmed by stories like this: the US government subpoenaing Twitter (and reportedly Gmail and Facebook) users over their support of Wikileaks. The casual use of subpoenas, including against foreign citizens is worrying enough – the New York Times says over 50,000 “national security letters” are sent each year – but even more concerning is the fact that often these subpoenas are sealed, preventing the companies from notifying the users they affect.

      It used to be that if the US government wanted access to documents or letters in my possession they’d have to subpoena me directly. As a foreign citizen there are all sorts of ways I could fight the request – and it was at least my choice whether to do so. As someone living in the US I also had the whole weight of the 4th Amendment on my side. Now, with everything in the cloud, the decision whether to hand over my personal information is almost entirely out of my hands. And unless, as happened with Twitter, the company storing my data decides to fight for openness on my behalf, there’s every possibility that I won’t even hear about the request until it’s too late. That’s just not how things should work in a free society.

  • Oracle

    • Hudson’s future

      Since the java.net migration problems, Oracle and representatives from the Hudson community have been involved in talks on the future of the project in a number of areas. The Hudson representatives have been myself, Kohsuke Kawaguchi, and Sacha Labourey (CEO of CloudBees and Kohsuke’s boss), who was brought in to help provide experience with discussions on a corporate/executive level which neither Kohsuke nor I have, with Alan Harder and R. Tyler Croy advising on the side.

      [..]

      First, we rename the project – the choice for a new name is Jenkins, which we think evokes the same sort of English butler feel as Hudson. We’ve already registered domains, Twitter users, etc for the new name, and have done our best to verify that there are no existing trademarks which would conflict with it. Kohsuke will be registering the trademark for Jenkins in his name, with the intent of transferring ownership of the trademark to the umbrella of the Software Freedom Conservancy once the Jenkins project has been admitted to it (which, I should add, is very much our plan, hopefully in their next round of new projects in a few months – we’ve already had preliminary contacts with SFC). We still invite Oracle to remain involved with the project, on equal terms with all other contributors, and hope they’ll take us up on this invitation.

    • All good things (opensolaris) must come to an end

      Over the next few months I saw the community start to grow at a decent pace. The first opensolaris books (OpenSolaris Bible and Pro Opensolaris) were published, Solaris internals was updated to take Solaris 10 and opensolaris into account and every major trade magazine was writing something about opensolaris. Additionally, our local OpenSolaris users group was starting to grow in size, and I was beginning to make a number of good friends in the community. All of these things got me crazy excited about the opensolaris community, and I wanted to jump in and start helping out any way I could.

  • Education

    • Blender for high school kids in Cincinnati

      The Cincinnati Enquirer reports on a workshop by the Virtual Reality Education Pathfinder (VREP) programme. VREP is an educational initiative to teach high school students how to use virtual reality.

  • Business

    • Dimdim Lives up to its Name

      This looks like a really foolish move by Salesforce. If we have learned anything in the last 15 years, it is that having an enthusiastic, vibrant community behind a product brings all kinds of benefits in terms of feedback, bug-fixing, marketing and so on. To throw that away, as Salesforce seems to be doing, is shortsighted and retrogressive – even Microsoft is moving to embrace free software and its communities.

      It also tends to confirm my suspicion that Salesforce is not actually a modern software company, despite its claim to be in the currently-trendy category of “enterprise cloud computing company”. It’s more of an old-style, closed-source, command-and-control outfit that happens to deliver its wares over the Internet. I’d be interested to know if it supports/contributes to any open source at all – I can’t think of or find anything (anyone else know?)

      I suspect that in the light of the company’s recent indifference towards its community, culminating in this sale and the abandonment of the free software version altogether, Dimdim will become a by-word for how not to build a sustainable business around open source. At least they chose a good name…

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD development in 2011

      As you all know, PC-BSD is a free, open-source operating system based on rock-solid FreeBSD, focusing on ease-of-use and and double-click package installation (PBI). The PC-BSD project is now part of iXsystems, a company that builds storage solutions, pre-configured servers, and customised servers utilizing open source hardware and software.

      Today Kris Moore, the project’s founder, announced PC-BSD 8.2RC1 and with regards to his plans for 2011 he writes:

      “For 8.2, it is mainly a release to include the latest FreeBSD 8.2 / KDE 4.5.4. Also some
      bug fixes are present for advanced partitioning, letting the user select between MBR/GPT,
      and easily toggle between UFS+S/ZFS.

    • Available: PC-BSD 8.2-RC1

      The PC-BSD Team has announced the availability of the first Release Candidate for PC-BSD 8.2.

      Version 8.2-RC1 contains a number of enhancements, improvements, and bug fixes in response to previous 8.2 testing snapshots. Some of the notable changes are:

      * Updated to FreeBSD 8.2-RC1
      * Fixed issue detecting the proper video card driver
      * Fixed some crashes when adding new users / groups
      * Added /sbin/nologin as a shell choice in the user manager
      * Let created users have a homedir of /nonexistant via the GUI
      * Fix customizing desktop languages when using a () in the description

  • Project Releases

    • Run Mule, Run! Mule 3.1 is out

      The Mule team is very pleased to announce the general availability of Mule ESB 3.1. This release packs a lot of new shiny awesomeness.

    • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache Cassandra 0.7

      The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 150 Open Source projects and initiatives, today announced Apache Cassandra v0.7, the highly-scalable, second generation Open Source distributed database.

  • Programming

    • Introducing Orion

      Sometime later today some very exciting new code is going to show up in the e4 git repository at Eclipse. “Orion” is a brand new adventure for Eclipse, and one which we hope will interest and excite a whole new community: web developers.

      Orion is not a set of Java plug-ins which run in the existing Java IDE. It is browser-based open tool integration platform which is entirely focused on developing for the web, in the web. Tools are written in JavaScript and run in the browser. Unlike other attempts at creating browser-based development tools, this is not an IDE running in a single tab. Links work and can be shared. You can open a file in a new tab. Great care has been taken to provide a web experience for development.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • People of HTML5 – Remy Sharp

      HTML5 needs spokespeople to work. There are a lot of people out there who took on this role, and here at Mozilla we thought it is a good idea to introduce some of them to you with a series of interviews and short videos. The format is simple – we send the experts 10 questions to answer and then do a quick video interview to let them introduce themselves and ask for more detail on some of their answers.

    • Will Microsoft Remove DOC Format Support?

      The following chart shows the percentage of documents on the web that are in OOXML format, as a percentage of all MS Office documents. Note carefully the scale of the chart. It is peaking at less than 3%. So 97+% of the Microsoft Office documents on the web today are in the legacy binary formats, even four years after Office 2007 was released.

      [...]

      Of course, for any given organization these numbers may vary. Some are 100% on the XML formats. Some are 0% on them. If you look at just “gov” internet domains, the percentage today is only 0.7%. If you look at only “edu” domains, the number is 4.5%. No doubt, within organizations, non-public work documents might have a different distribution. But clearly the large number of existing legacy binary documents on government web sites alone is sufficient to prove my point. DOC is not going away.

      I call “FUD” on this one.

    • Use and Relevance of Web 2.0 Resources for Researchers

      Funded by the Research Information Network (RIN), the aim of this project is to investigate the extent to which Web 2.0 tools represent useful means of communicating, sharing and disseminating research ideas and outputs for researchers across different disciplines, with a view to exploring implications for the future of scholarly communications.

Leftovers

  • Real Help for your Network’s IPv6 Transition
  • Liberals, Conservatives to sign protocol setting up Centre-Right Alliance on Monday

    Leaders of the opposition National Liberal Party (PNL) and Conservative Party (PC) Crin Antonescu and Daniel Constantin respectively on Monday will sign a protocol by which the two parties set up the Centre-Right Alliance (ACD), which they might register in court that very day.

  • Correct, don’t delete, that erroneous tweet

    Over the weekend many news organizations reported, erroneously, that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was dead. These reports don’t seem to have originated on Twitter. But many spread there — and now they’re occasioning a round of head-scratching over how to handle retractions and corrections in this new communications format.

    [...]

    This might be a useful tactic to curtail the spread of bad info. But it still flattens the record a bit, since the original message’s timestamp (and possibly other contextual data) would vanish.

  • Scraping for Journalism: A Guide for Collecting Data
  • Over 77 Percent of Lifehacker Readers Say Google’s Search Results are Less Useful Lately

    We asked readers last week whether what influential bloggers said was true—that Google was losing the war against search result spam. Your response? More than three quarters found Google prone to spam, with one-third tagging the decline as significant.

  • [Web Marketing] Fungal Marketing: Why Faking Viral Marketing Is A Mistake

    I saw this link pop up on Twitter today. Now, Syed is a great guy, and he works hard to make money and to teach others how to make money, but sometimes, even he is wrong.

    To start with, go to WPBeginner.com and read his article. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

    Did you see it? He’s talking about creating a viral campaign. A viral campaign is not created. It takes off on its own. It is like an infection that hops from person to person. So every article you read about creating viral campaigns is automatically wrong. What they are talking about is a fungal campaign.

    What is a fungal campaign, you may ask. A fungal campaign is based around trying to create an infection, the way that rubbing your wet athlete’s foot infected toes on my wet feet is your attempt to infect me. Commonly, a fungal campaign will use youth-oriented imagery, fonts, and graphics. It will go to great pains to try to conceal its pushy character, but as you can read in the article, the idea behind it is that friend A will inadvertently help push friend B, who will inadvertently help push friend C. In the article, the topic is the Facebook “like” button and its privacy-invading feature of telling one’s “friends” where you clicked the button.

  • Science

    • 2011 Personal Genomics Preview: It’s Déjà Vu…

      At the same time, as we’ve written previously, the goal is not inexpensive genomics, but personal genomics. What matters is not how much it costs to generate a genome sequence (i.e., raw data), but what you can do with that genome once you have it. Thus, genomics is only personal once both the data and the interpretation are individually tailored.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Machinations of Plastic Surgeons

      Plastic surgery may look pretty good to us who are unbeautiful. Maybe plastic surgery is a conduit to a pleasant, superficial life. But what lies behind the dark doors of that profession?

      There is no undo button on plastic surgery. If you get an operation you might have some scars. If you try to undo the operation you might look the same as you started only with two operations worth of scars.

      That’s looking at it from your perspective. Perhaps there’s an undo button from the surgeon’s perspective. There just might be but it’s macabre. I don’t believe I’m the first to think of this. I believe many surgeons have thought of what I’m going to relay. And the human species being what it is, it’s even probable that some surgeon has acted on the idea.

    • Restricting sale of cold medicine creates lucrative black market

      This is a big win for law enforcement and the prison industry. Look for even more restrictive cold medicine laws in the future.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Man or mouse? Keith Vaz should demand urgent reform of the UK Border Agency

      ‘Much of the delay in concluding asylum and other immigration cases stems from poor quality decision-making when the application is initially considered,’ says Keith Vaz, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee whose latest report on the UK Border Agency’s work is published today.

      Two cheers for Vaz and the HASC! It might be three if only they were clearer and more forceful in their criticism of an agency whose deficiencies are systemic and rooted in a culture characterised by denial and deceit.

      The automatic disbelief that greets asylum seekers from their first moment of arrival, coupled with a shocking disregard for human rights, compounded by the lack of legal services that might check official incompetence have created a Kafkaesque nightmare for vulnerable people who come to these shores seeking sanctuary.

    • MP says she was misquoted over DNA test call

      Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy has rejected reports in the weekend press that she had “led calls” for the DNA testing of the entire 1-million-resident-strong Bristol area.

      A reporter on the Sunday Express, where the story originated, also wrote that McCarthy had said that men should be singled out for testing.
      Click here to find out more!

      This resulted in a barrage of online criticism, with questions raised about the practicality of such a measure, its impact on civil liberties, as well its target. Yesterday, Avon and Somerset police told El Reg that they were not considering such measures at this moment in time.

    • Inexplicable edits on Sarah Palin’s Facebook page; comment justifying 9-year-old victim’s death not deleted

      UPDATE: I just got an email from some fellow Dems I work with who are wondering if this was satire. I have no idea. If it is, then it shows as big a lapse in judgment as the Palin Facebook page comment that I posted here.

      I put this out on Twitter yesterday, but it’s worth a post, too. Please run over and read all of it, but essentially, it’s a remarkable post about the speed with which only certain comments were deleted from Sarah Palin’s Facebook page:

      A commenter posted the following at 18:12:

      “It’s ok. Christina Taylor Green was probably going to end up a left wing bleeding heart liberal anyway. Hey, as ‘they’ say, what would you do if you had the chance to kill Hitler as a kid? Exactly.”

    • Unconventional Wisdom

      Hardly anyone has seriously scrutinized either the priorities or the spending patterns of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and its junior partner, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), since their hurried creation in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Sure, they get criticized plenty. But year in, year out, they continue to grow faster and cost more — presumably because Americans think they are being protected from terrorism by all that spending. Yet there is no evidence whatsoever that the agencies are making Americans any safer.

      [...]

      Terrorists have been stopped since 2001 and plots prevented, but always by other means. After the Nigerian “underwear bomber” of Christmas Day 2009 was foiled, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano claimed “the system worked” — but the bomber was caught by a passenger, not the feds. Richard Reid, the 2001 shoe bomber, was undone by an alert stewardess who smelled something funny. The 2006 Heathrow Airport plot was uncovered by an intelligence tip. Al Qaeda’s recent attempt to explode cargo planes was caught by a human intelligence source, not an X-ray machine. Yet the TSA responds to these events by placing restrictions on shoes, liquids, and now perhaps printer cartridges.

    • Who killed the whistle-blower bill?

      It is ironic that a major anti-secrecy reform was thwarted by a single senator’s secret “hold” just before Congress adjourned in December. Perhaps some good will come of this double-edged attack on the public’s right to know — if it sparks reform.

      The Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act — which would have offered expanded protection for federal employees against retaliation for reporting waste, fraud and abuse — had passed unanimously, first in the Senate and then a week later, on Dec. 22, in the House. The White House had made an unrestrained effort to deliver on this campaign pledge. It was supported by more than 400 organizations of all political stripes, with 80 million members. The National Taxpayers Union announced that support for the act would receive the highest priority on its legislative scorecard. Republicans had just changed the political landscape with election victories based on a mantra of cracking down against deficits, fraud, waste and abuse — the point of whistle-blower laws. Congress was poised to give the taxpayers a major legislative Christmas present.

      So what happened?

    • Which Senator Secretly Sabotaged the Popular Whistleblower Protection Bill?

      After the lame duck session of Congress ended a few days before Christmas, watchdog groups were disappointed to learn that a bill expanding protections for government whistleblowers died in the Senate.

      The bill was a product of a 12-year lobbying effort and had bipartisan support. An earlier form of it had passed the Senate unanimously, and it passed in the House after undergoing some changes. When the bill went back to the Senate for a final vote, a lone senator put an anonymous hold on the bill, effectively killing it. Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project explains how the manuever worked…

  • Cablegate

    • The Misuse of Responsible Disclosure

      The private sector has now jumped on board with respect to using the term “responsible disclosure”. Media and US officials attacked wikkileaks for the lack of “responsible disclosure” when the site started releasing US diplomatic cables.

    • Wikileaks Calls for Sarah Palin’s Arrest

      The official Twitter account for Wikileaks has posted a press release this evening drawing a comparison between the controversial rhetoric from public figures that some believe contributed to the attempted assassination on Saturday of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the even more explicit calls from public officials for violence against Wikileaks spokesperson Julien Assange and others. The organization called for public figures making such calls to violence to be arrested and charged with crimes.

    • Wikileaks Press Release

      “WikiLeaks: treat incitement seriously or expect more Gabrielle Gifford killing sprees.”

      Wikileaks today offered sympathy and condolences to the victims of the Tucson shooting together with best wishes for the recovery of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. Giffords, a democrat from Arizona’s 8th district, was the target of a shooting spree at a Jan 8 political event in which six others were killed.

      Tucson Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, leading the investigation into the Gifford shooting, said that “vitriolic rhetoric” intended to “inflame the public on a daily basis … has [an] impact on people, especially who are unbalanced personalities to begin with.” Dupnik also observed that officials and media personalities engaging in violent rhetoric “have to consider that they have some responsibility when incidents like this occur and may occur in the future.”

    • Soldier’s inhumane imprisonment

      Pfc. Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old Army intelligence analyst suspected of providing documents to WikiLeaks, can’t reasonably complain that the military has him in custody. But the conditions under which he is being held at the Marine detention center at Quantico, Va., are so harsh as to suggest he is being punished for conduct of which he hasn’t been convicted.

      Manning has been charged with unlawfully downloading classified information and transmitting it “with reason to believe that the information could cause injury to the United States.” He has been incarcerated at Quantico for five months and has yet to receive the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing.

      [...]

      Some see Manning as a whistle-blower who deserves leniency for exposing official duplicity; others believe that, like anyone who engages in civil disobedience, Manning, if guilty, should accept punishment for his actions. But regardless of one’s view of his alleged conduct, the conditions under which he is being held are indefensible.

    • Cablegate Coloring Book
    • Julian Assange due in court over extradition case

      Robertson said Assange’s legal team is collecting evidence from further witnesses in Sweden, but the judge said the Swedish authorities are likely to take the view that the extradition warrant will stand nevertheless.

      Media interest in Assange remained as journalists from around the world filled 100 seats in the court and an annex connected by video link. High profile supporters of Assange who turned up today included Bianca Jagger, Jemima Khan and Gavin MacFadyen, director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

    • WikiLeaks volunteer hires lawyers in Twitter fight

      An ex-WikiLeaks volunteer has hired American lawyers to oppose the U.S. government’s efforts to obtain the contents of her Twitter account, CNET has learned.

      Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic parliament who helped with WikiLeaks’ release of a classified U.S. military video, is being represented by the San Francisco-based Electronic Frontier Foundation.

    • Death Threat Domain Names

      The disturbed young woman who registered the julianassangemustdie.com domain name is Melissa Clouthier (@MelissaTweets) acording to her Twitter Profile:

      Frazzled mom, alternative health doc, conservative libertarian blogger, columnist, podcaster, radio host, iPhone & Mac lover, fantasy reading geek, #TCOT”

      As a mother myself, I have difficulty understanding a mind set that would allow a mother to advocate killing anyone. Is this not also a criminal offense?

    • WikiLeaks: Julian Assange ‘faces execution or Guantánamo detention’

      Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, could be at “real risk” of the death penalty or detention in Guantánamo Bay if he is extradited to Sweden on accusations of rape and sexual assault, his lawyers claim.

      In a skeleton summary of their defence against attempts by the Swedish director of public prosecutions to extradite him, released today, Assange’s legal team argue that there is a similar likelihood that the US would subsequently seek his extradition “and/or illegal rendition”, “where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantánamo Bay or elsewhere”.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Hugh’s fish fight takes Tesco to task

      Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is feeling pretty optimistic this afternoon. His Fish Fight campaign has scored a major victory the day before the first TV programme highlighting it is broadcast; Tesco has announced plans to switch to 100% pole and line caught fish for its own brand canned tuna.

    • Boycotting bluefin isn’t enough — time to turn on the siren

      Critics of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas often say that the acronym ICCAT might better stand for the “International Conspiracy to Catch All Tuna.” At its most recent meeting, ICCAT lived up to that derisive nickname by setting 2011 catch levels for Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus) at basically the same levels as 2010 — 12,900 tons, down from 13,500 – despite the pleas of conservation scientists and the bluefin’s place on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s “Red List” of endangered or critically endangered species (Western stock and Eastern stock).

    • Australian Flood Disaster Intensifies with the Worst to Come

      From the Sunshine Coast 150km north of Brisbane, the state capital of Queensland, an extraordinary week of drenching rains refuses to let up. Thunder and lightning buffet me as I write at 4:30pm on Tuesday January 11. It has been like this all day. The unthinkable is happening.

      Unprecedented and fatal flash floods at Toowoomba on the top of the mountain range west of Brisbane is like the first domino for what is unfolding. Then came Grantham and the death toll this morning was officially 9 drowned and 66 missing. But “the missing” is hard statistic to deal with since the weather and the water levels prohibited attempts at discovery all day.

    • Using Google Earth to Monitor Mining in Tibet 3: Example of Gyama

      Go further upstream and you will find this frightening sight. Huge areas covering several mountains have been drilled to prospect minerals here. I hope I am wrong but this is most likely the Qulong Copper Deposit, which was reported by the China Geological Survey in 2009 to contain at least 9 million tonnes of copper, plus molybdenum and silver. The Gyama mine, by comparison, has proven reserves of 2.2 million tonnes of copper. According to the International Mining, February 2010 issue (page 40): “In copper, the most famous deposit is Qulong, according to Chen Renyi and Xue Yingxi of the China Geological Survey. They say “With proved reserves of nearly 9 Mt, Qulong will soon be the largest copper deposit in China, and the perspective reserves are over 14-18 Mt.””

    • Mongolia’s wilderness threatened by mining boom

      Tim was almost certainly talking about the Oyu Tolgoi mine, or “Turquoise Hill,” a copper and gold ore deposit in Southern Mongolia that’s larger than the state of Florida. Oyu Tolgoi is the world’s largest mining exploration project, a joint venture between a Canadian company named Ivanhoe and the Mongolian government, with significant financing from Chilean mining giant Rio Tinto. Together, they plan to invest $5 billion into operations in the next few years, making Oyu Tolgoi the largest foreign investment in Mongolian history. Over the forecast 65-year lifespan of the mine, its revenues are expected to become a third of Mongolia’s gross domestic product. It’s a big deal, and the discovery of it and a wealth of untapped deposits of coal, gold, silver, tin, uranium, and “rare earth minerals” used in most of today’s advanced electronics has mining-industry shills proclaiming Mongolia the next “Saudi Arabia of insert-name-of-precious-metal-here.”

      Despite projections that the mining boom is expected to triple or quadruple the size of Mongolia’s economy in the next five years, times are tough for most Mongolians, and the relationship between the country’s great natural resources and the wealth of its people is still to be determined. The United Nations estimates that 27 percent of Mongolia’s urban population lives below the poverty line. In rural areas, nearly fifty percent of people live in poverty. During the past decade, a series of unusually severe zuds – storms that turn winter snow cover into solid ice, causing the mass starvation of livestock – has had a devastating effect on a country where a quarter of the people make their living (or attempt to make their living) raising livestock.

    • Pollutocrat Kochs sue: Claim that Koch Industries believes in global warming damaged our reputation

      Pollution machine Koch Industries is taking to court to defend its reputation as a cesspool of global warming denial. Brad Johnson has the bizarre story.

      The right-wing carbon industry giant, owned by Tea Party billionaires David and Charles Koch, has filed a lawsuit in Utah to punish anonymous pranksters who claimed on the company’s behalf that it was discontinuing funding to climate denial front groups.

  • Finance

    • Vancouver’s Red Army

      The Great Depression hit Vancouver like a hammer. The city already suffered chronic high unemployment owing to the seasonal nature of BC’s resource-based economy, and even in the supposedly prosperous 1920s, Vancouver was known as a “Mecca for the unemployed.” After the economic collapse, people who couldn’t find work at home drifted to Terminal City in unprecedented numbers.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Welcome to the new Fact Checker

      * This is a fact-checking operation, not an opinion-checking operation. We are interested only in verifiable facts, though on occasion we may examine the roots of political rhetoric.

      * · We will focus our attention and resources on the issues that are most important to voters. We cannot nitpick every detail of every speech.

      * · We will stick to the facts of the issue under examination and are unmoved by ad hominem attacks. The identity or political ties of the person or organization making a charge is irrelevant: all that matters is whether their facts are accurate or inaccurate.

      * · We will adopt a “reasonable man” standard for reaching conclusions. We do not demand 100 percent proof.

      * · We will strive to be dispassionate and non-partisan, drawing attention to inaccurate statements on both left and right.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Canada ‘dead last’ in freedom-of-information laws

      When Stephen Harper and his Conservatives first took the reins of government in 2006, it was on an “explicit promise to reform the Access to Information Act dramatically”, says the Canadian Press.

    • Neelie Kroes Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda Hungary’s new media law Open Hearing on Freedom of the Press in Hungary European Parliament, Brussels 11 January 2011

      As I wrote to the Hungarian authorities in my letter of 23 December, the recently adopted Hungarian Media Act raises specific concerns regarding its compliance with the EU Audiovisual and Media Services (AVMS) Directive and, more generally, regarding the respect for the fundamental media freedoms such as freedom of expression and media pluralism.

      Since then, the Commission has been active. I went to Budapest already last Thursday to discuss with the competent minister. The Commission President raised the Media law with Prime Minister Orban the following day.

      A large number of commentators have alleged that the Hungarian Media Law risks jeopardizing fundamental rights in a number of ways:

      * by requiring registration of all media, including online media such as forums, blogs and so on;
      * by requiring all media to engage in balanced coverage of national and European events;
      * by making the Media Authority subject to political control through the appointment process.

    • This is Hungary’s real democratic revolution, says MEP

      Schöpflin believes there was no real overhaul in Hungarian politics after the fall of Communism in 1989, and said Fidesz had a “once-in-a-generation – perhaps once-in-a-century – opportunity to recast the entire system of political, social and economic governance”.

      [...]

      He accused the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP), in power from 1994-1998 and 2002-2010, of governing as though the one-party rule of the communist days still existed.

    • La Quadrature du Net on Censorship

      Internet blocking is a form of unacceptable censorship, and I believe it will do far more harm than good. Censorship inevitably does. But it’s a thorny issue, particularly when it comes done to some heinous perpetrators. It may seem like a good idea, but blocking a domain does not pull the plug, it simply turns out the light.

    • Arizona enacts funeral protest legislation

      Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed emergency legislation Tuesday that bars protests within 300 feet of a funeral and within an hour from its beginning or end.

      Earlier in the day, the state legislature passed the measure, which targets a Kansas church whose members announced they plan to picket the funerals of the victims of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson.

      “Such despicable acts of emotional terrorism will not be tolerated in the State of Arizona,” Brewer said in a statement announcing she had signed the bill. “This legislation will assure that the victims of Saturday’s tragic shooting in Tucson will be laid to rest in peace with the full dignity and respect that they deserve.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Canadian ISP: Overage Fees “Not Meant to Recover Costs”

      Matt Stein, vice-president of network services for Primus, calls overage fees an “economic disincentive for internet use” since the charges levied by Bell Canada are “many, many, many times what it costs to actually deliver it.”

      Last May, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) gave Bell Canada, Canada’s largest telephone and telecommunications company, the green light to proceed with the “economic Internet traffic management practice (ITMP),” i.e. consumption-based billing, and there’s a growing consensus that the plan has nothing to do with recovering costs from excessive usage, and rather everything to do with disincentivizing Internet usage.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Supreme Court: Record Labels Must Face Digital Music Antitrust Suit

        Record labels finally will have to face an antitrust lawsuit that dates back to the early days of digital music, thanks to a Supreme Court order today. The high court declined to hear an appeal from the four major recorded music labels, asking the high court to throw out a lawsuit that claims the labels broke antitrust laws when they set a “wholesale price floor” of about 70 cents per track for two digital music stores that they created almost a decade ago, Pressplay and MusicNet.

      • Why Filesharing Companies Are Starting to Lobby Washington [INTERVIEW]

        RapidShare, the file-hosting giant, recently hired a Washington lobbying firm to combat legislative attempts to place penalties on companies that don’t adequately protect domestic copyright. This is its first attempt at adding U.S. legislative muscle to its ongoing copyright fights – which most recently included Atari’s failed bid to combat RapidShare in a German court.

      • “Exploit now, pay later”: music labels finally pay artists

        The dispute concerns something called “pending lists” maintained privately by the major labels. Since 1988, it has become increasingly common for the labels to simply issue CDs (often compilation albums) without actually locking down the copyright permission and pay arrangements with the music’s creators. Instead, the music is offered for sale, the labels collect the money, and they put the songwriters on the “pending list” to clear up the details later.

        But in many cases, there was no “later.” The pending lists have climbed to around CAN$50 million in money that was due to artists but never paid out, something that the musicians describe as a “systematic ‘exploit now, pay later, if at all’ approach.”

      • Privacy and intellectual property: how far should the law reach to protect copyright

        Those interested might also be interested these blogs about studies on online copyright enforcement vs data protection/privacy in UK, Netherlands and Poland and in Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Sweden.

Clip of the Day

Bill O’Reilly Enraged Over Giffords & Right Wing Rhetoric Ties


Credit: TinyOgg

IRC Proceedings: January 11th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 2:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

ES: Blue State Digital (ahora parte de WPP) Contratado Para Hacer Publicidad y Llevar el agua a la Fundación Gates

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception at 1:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

WPP Group

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: Otro brazo de la Fundación Gates es revelado tras una adquisición.

La Fundación Gates [http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/Gates_Foundation_Critique] se anuncia a sí misma mediante la contratación de otras compañías de marketing. Esto incluye empujones artículos de interés en las publicaciones pertinentes. Hemos escritó sobre esto muchas veces antes y les he dado ejemplos.

No hace mucho tiempo, WPP (que hemos criticado antes [http://techrights.org/2010/04/19/controlling-thought-at-microsoft/]) había adquirido Blue State Digital [http://www.ft.com/cms/s/670257aa-138b-11e0-a367-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html]. Se ha hecho evidente que la Fundación Gates ha sido y es uno de los muchos clientes fuertes de Blue State Digital. Para citar: “Entre sus clientes figuran el Comité Nacional Demócrata, Bill y Melinda Gates”. Este informe de Ad Week [http://www.adweek.com/aw/content_display/news/agency/e3i39fdd694c2f59dc00b54888019f55a27?imw=Y] dan mayores detalles:

Además de la campaña de Obama, Blue State Digital ha trabajado para una amplia gama de empresas de medios de comunicación, organizaciones culturales y de beneficencia, incluyendo HBO, Hearst, Bill y Melinda Gates, la Cruz Roja Americana y el Carnegie Hall. Según Sky News, la agencia, con sede en Washington, DC (con oficinas en Nueva York, Boston, Londres y Los Ángeles), también ha trabajado para el ex primer ministro británico, Tony Blair.

Téngan en cuenta -esten ALERTAS- cuando se lee algo acerca de la Fundación Gates. Hay una gran cantidad de músculo de Relaciones Públicas PR detrás de las escena.

Many thanks to Eduardo Landaveri of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

ES: El Legado de BECTA

Posted in Microsoft, Security, Windows at 1:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Co-autor con G. Forbes

Graduation

(ODF | PDF | English/original)

Resumen: Las escuelas en el Reino Unido están pagando el precio de la mono-cultura Microsoft.

BECTA es una de las razones principales para la dependencia del Reino Unido en Microsoft en las escuelas[http://techrights.org/wiki/index.php/BECTA]. Esta mono reiterada cultura que tiene un pasado notorio cuando se trata de seguridad, por lo que produce ninguna sorpresa el que “las escuelas del Reino Unido [son] extremadamente vulnerables a los hackers [http://www.scmagazineuk.com/uk-schools-extremely-vulnerable-to-hackers-warn-security-experts-at-ngs-secure/article/193672/]“, según expertos en seguridad, recientemente observaron:

Muchas escuelas primarias y secundarias en el Reino Unido son altamente vulnerable a los ataques cibernéticos como consecuencia de la auditoría confidencial de dos escuelas.

NGS recientemente ha auditado una seleccionada escuela secundaria del Reino Unido y una escuela primaria para determinar cúan asegurar eran.

En la escuela secundaria, 338 equipos fueron escaneados, desenterrando más de 9.000 casos de desaparecidos parches críticos de software y varias instancias de software anti-virus obsoletos o desaparecidos. Según los auditores estos defectos permitiría a un atacante o un virus para explotar los sistemas sin ningún conocimiento de los afectados.

Glyn Moody comenta: “bueno, que todo utiliza # Windows, ¿qué esperas?”

En este sentido, para las escuelas del Reino Unido sería prudente adoptar gradualmente GNU/Linux. No sólo proporciona una experiencia más educativa y SEGURA, sino que también permite la oportunidad para que todos los estudiantes usen el mismo sistema en sus hogares asequiblemente.

Many thanks to Eduardo Landaveri of the Spanish portal of Techrights.

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