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Links 15/1/2011: RHEL 5.6 Released, Debian 6.0 is Near

Posted in News Roundup at 4:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Server

    • Extensive Benchmarks Of Amazon’s EC2 Compute Cloud Performance

      Last month we delivered our first benchmarks of the Amazon EC2 Cloud, but those initial tests were limited to just a few of their cloud computing instances due to failures with the Ubuntu EC2 operating system on their other compute instances. Earlier this month we then showed how the Amazon EC2 Micro was comparable to a Nokia N900 and Intel Atom, but now we have a more exhaustive comparison complete of all major Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud types.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 3 Episode 1

      In this episode: Firefox overtakes Internet Explorer in Europe while Android overtakes iPhone in the US, and TransGaming transforms Cedega into the GameTree Developer Program. Discover our new section and hear your own opinions in our Open Ballot.

  • Ballnux

  • Kernel Space

    • ULatencyD Enters The Linux World

      Daniel Poelzleithner has announced to the Linux kernel world his new project named ulatencyd. The focus of ulatencyd is to provide a script-able daemon to dynamically adjust Linux scheduling parameters and other aspects of the Linux kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • GNOME Shell 2.91.5 released

        GNOME Shell provides core user interface functions for the GNOME 3 desktop, like switching to windows and launching applications. GNOME Shell takes advantage of the capabilities of modern graphics hardware and introduces innovative user interface concepts to provide a visually attractive and easy to use experience.

      • GNOME 3.0 Is Getting Very Close

        Vincent Untz has announced the first GNOME release of 2011, which is one of the final development snapshots leading up to the long-awaited release of GNOME 3.0.

        GNOME 2.91.5 is today’s development release after the 2.91.4 release was previously skipped from making it out there due to blocking bugs during a collision with the holidays.

    • Xfce

  • Distributions

    • REMnux: Linux distribution for reverse-engineering malware

      REMnux is a lightweight Linux distribution for assisting malware analysts in reverse-engineering malicious software.

      REMnux is designed for running services that are useful to emulate within an isolated laboratory environment when performing behavioral malware analysis.

    • Reviews

      • Arch Linux is Tops In the Server Room

        For a straightforward, lightweight, command-line based Linux — whether a server, an older desktop or laptop, or if you just want to learn the Linux command-line better — it’s hard to beat Arch Linux.

    • Red Hat Family

      • RHEL 5.6 is released

        Today Red Hat has released RHEL5.6 after a beta period of ~2 months. There is no official announcement (yet), so the release highlights are unknown. Probably they are the same like the beta version.

    • Debian Family

      • Getting closer to the Squeeze release

        The Debian Installer team has announced the Debian Installer 6.0 Release Candidate 1 release. Read about all the changes and improvements at their announcement.

      • Debian Installer 6.0 Release Candidate 1 published

        This release candidate includes the new SpaceFun artwork for Squeeze. You can preview this artwork on the wiki page and watch a video of it in action.

      • Debian Installer 6.0 Release Candidate 1 release
      • Debian 6.0 Is Getting Ready With An RC Installer
      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu rocks up in Google science fair video

          Google recently-announced an online science fair for 13-18 year-olds, tasked with finding the next ‘Sergey Brin’.

        • Canonical Announces Ubuntu Developer Relations Advocate Role

          Canonical underlined its focus on attracting partners and commercial software developers to the Ubuntu platform when it announced the creation of a “developer relations advocate” position. Here’s the scoop, and what it says about Ubuntu and Canonical in the long term.

          The announcement, posted on Canonical’s website by vice president of business development Steve George, describes the role of the developer relations advocate as “evangelizing the platform and assisting developers as they develop software for Ubuntu.”

          George also emphasized third-party commercial code, rather than contributions to Ubuntu itself, as the main point of interest for the new position: “Our focus is on commercial software developers since we believe that it’s important to create a sustainable ecosystem around the platform.”

        • New Ubuntu Translations Videocast tomorrow

          Ladies and gents, I’m pleased to announce the next Ubuntu Translations videocast tomorrow from Dallas, Texas, where this week we are holding the Canonical Platform Rally for the next version of Ubuntu, the Natty Narwhal.

        • Ubuntu developers talk reviews and ratings in the Software Centre

          Ubuntu Software Centre developer Michael Vogt and designer Matthew Paul Thomas tour ratings and reviews in Ubuntu 11.04 in this latest instalment of ‘Ubuntu developer diaries’.

        • Bright, light and beautiful!

          That’s what we want the Ubuntu desktops in Natty to feel like. We’re changing things a little bit for the coming release too. We’ll still feature some fantastic photography sourced from our Flickr group but this time we’re reserving at least 3 places for non photographic wallpapers, so things that are rendered or drawn.

        • Natty to include ’3 non-photographic’ wallpapers

          Ubuntu 11.04 is to ship with ‘at least 3′ non-photographic wallpapers, a move many designers within the community have been longing for.

        • Can We Appropriate Design?

          This is all good. However, the issue is not restricted to our Ubuntu developers. We should not forget that, in the wider opensource community, many developers do not have access to the Canonical, or any other, design team or to anyone with solid design training. They are the developers who work on their own free time and produce amazing software. They have to wing design. Many wish they could access such skills to help beautify and enhance the user experience of their products. These contributors deserve our support.

        • Firefox application menu coming along….
        • Flavours and Variants

          • First Ever Release of Elementary OS “Jupiter” Imminent, Available for Pre Order Now!

            Elementary project refined Linux desktop like no other. And now, the much anticipated Elementary OS codenamed Jupiter is all set to have its first ever official release. The official tagline goes like this – “Its gonna be huge”. Considering the sheer amount of changes and improvements Elementary OS is going to bring with it, the release of “Jupiter” is going to be huge indeed!

  • Devices/Embedded

    • 1 second Linux boot to Qt!

      At the end of last year, to demonstrate my company’s swiftBoot service, I put together a rather impressive demo. Using a Renesas MS7724 development board I was able to achieve a one second cold Linux boot to a Qt application. Here’s the demo…

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo

        • Uninstall Android 2.3 Gingerbread. Install MeeGo OS On Nexus S Device

          The XDA developers are too quick to bring these hacks. Here they wo with another one. Stroughtonsmith named hacker has successfully ported MeeGo operating system on Google Nexus S smartphone. The developer used rootfs images on the internal memory to boot Meego on Nexus S without flashing the phone.

          For those who are unaware of this, MeeGo is an open source Linux based operating system designed to target mobile devices, notebooks, tablets, embedded systems etc. MeeGo was aimed to merge the features and work of Nokia’s Maemo and Intel’s Moblin.

        • My First Android Phone

          Several days ago, I bought my new cellphone, which is an Android device. It is Moto Quench XT502, only available for China Mainland. But you can find out XT5 is the same with XT502. As we know, All the cellphones need to be modified something as Chinese edition. Google Services have to be removed in China and added some localized applications due to the relationship between government and Google.

      • Android

    • Tablets

      • CES 2011 roundup: tablet strategies, chip strategies, 3D TV, smart TV, and MIAs

        What a lot of tablets. Around 80 were launched, almost all of them running Android. Motorola wowed the show by announcing its 10-inch (1280×800) Xoom, which will run Android 3.0 (aka “Honeycomb”). You couldn’t actually see it running Honeycomb, though; all the stand had was a sort of video demonstration running on the device. Battery life? Price? Ship date? “Competitive”, “competitive” and “aiming for Q1″.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Open-sourcing Kafka, LinkedIn’s distributed message queue

    We are pleased to open-source another piece of infrastructure software developed at LinkedIn, Kafka, a persistent, efficient, distributed message queue. Kafka is primarily intended for tracking various activity events generated on LinkedIn’s website, such as pageviews, keywords typed in a search query, ads presented, etc. Those activity events are critical for monitoring user engagement as well as improving relevancy in various other products. Each day, a substantially large number of such events are generated. Therefore, we need a solution that’s scalable and incurs low overhead.

  • Ex Microsoft marketing honcho targets tall apparel

    But Tindall says it really wasn’t a hard choice. “Some of the better products for ecommerce are open source,” he said. “When you work at a company like Microsoft, it’s all about scale and that played into my decision of what software to use – how could I drive scale without a huge infrastructure? And one of the great things is how well these programs work with search engine optimization.

  • Events

    • The Linux Foundation Announces 2011 Event Schedule; Book Early for Special Discounts

      In addition to announcing its event schedule, the Linux Foundation is also opening its Call for Presentations for all of the 2011 events and being offered are special promotions to book their registration for LinuxCon North America and Europe early. Also The Linux Foundation is offering a special promotional discounted registration fee of $200 USD is for the first 50 people who register for each event. The Linux Foundation encourages interested people to register now as those special discounts and promotions will go quickly.

    • Linux Foundation: Events for 2011 include new LinuxCon Europe

      The Linux Foundation has published its 2011 event schedule and confirmed that its premier Linux conference, LinuxCon, is coming to Europe this year. LinuxCon Europe will take place from the 26th to the 28th of October in Prague, Czech Republic. Amanda McPherson, Linux Foundation VP of Marketing and Developer Programs said “As we approach the 20th anniversary of Linux and the operating system experiences increasing adoption throughout Europe, it is only fitting that we host LinuxCon where Linux originally took root”.

      The Foundation has also announced the Call for Presentations for its entire 2011 event line-up – this includes its LinuxCon conferences in North America, Japan, Brazil and Europe, as well as other events focusing on embedded Linux in both North America and Europe. Following the announcement in October of last year that the Linux Foundation and the Consumer Electronics Linux Forum (CELF) would be merged, the Foundation will organise and host the Embedded Linux Conferences (ELC) in North America and Europe.

    • Open Database Camp 2011 in Sardinia: Combining duty and pleasure

      The Europen edition of the Open Database Camp 2011 will take place in Sardinia, hosted by the Sardinia Technology Park, a local scientific and business institution with international links.

    • A flood update from linux.conf.au
  • Web Browsers

    • Can Google and Mozilla dethrone H.264 on the Web?

      Good news today for open Web proponents: Google has announced it be pushing WebM and Theora for the HTML5 video element in Chrome as well as the open source Chromium project. Potentially bad news for the majority of the Web, which is going to have to ride out a years-long standards format war. Again.

      Here’s the scoop so far in a nutshell. Once upon a time, the HTML5 video element was going to specify what format(s) should be supported by the browser, and the leading contender was Theora. Then that changed to a comment that it would be “helpful” if browser vendors could all support the same codecs, but “no known codecs… satisfy all the current players.” Here “players” refers to the vendors participating in the spec.

    • Google and H.264 – Far From Hypocritical

      A large number of commentors on the Google blog said that the move was unjustified “because H.264 is now free”. This is a complex topic that it’s hard to explain concisely. But as I said last August, H.264 is not the kind of Free that matters. The MPEG-LA patent consortium taxes the H.264 standard so that the patent holders don’t have to get their hands dirty or be identified as information highwaymen, and their fee waiver delivers some flexibility to some people.

    • Last Week, IE Was The Top Browser On TechCrunch. Wait, What?

      You might not think that’s a big deal considering that IE is still by a fairly large margin the most-used browser overall. But as long as we’ve been keeping track of stats for TechCrunch, it has never been the top browser here. In fact, it has been number four for quite some time. And it’s normally about five percentage points behind number three: Safari. So for it to surge to number one is a real oddity.

      So what happened?

      One word: AOL.

      We’ve written about this before; being on AOL’s homepage can lead to a massive surge in traffic depending on where you’re featured. And if we’ve learned one thing from our new parent, it’s that its users love IE. I mean, really love IE. Digging further into the data, almost all of them were using IE (with nearly none using Chrome).

      Read into that what you will. The aging giant, etc. But clearly much of the rest of the web is going the other way.

    • Why Google Isn’t Evil (Today, at Least)

      If open source projects like WebM and Mozilla – and the open Web – are the big winners here, the loser is clearly the H.264 codec that Google is no longer supporting in Chrome. Until now, H.264 has been the undisputed standard for video on the Web – and off it: it’s widely used in many video consumer devices.

      In fact, it’s so widely used that Google’s move might seem quixotic. Even though WebM and Theora codecs are freely available, while H.264 requires a licence (free for some but not all uses), surely most content developers and hardware manufacturers will remain locked in to H.264 just by virtue of its overwhelming market share?

      Well, that might have been a persuasive argument a year, or even six months ago, but things are moving rapidly in this area. Chief among the developments are the rise of Firefox and – in particular – Google’s own Chrome. As I noted last week, Firefox now holds a major chunk of the brower market, particularly in Europe, while Chrome is growing very rapidly there and elsewhere. Put their market share together and you have a very strong argument for Web sites to offer content using the WebM technology that both will be favouring.

    • Google kills H.264 in Chrome

      And to conclude, my favorite of the commentary. Simon Phipps tells everyone to relax, calling “this bold move…another step towards an end to the Flash monopoly on rich media” (Google and H.264 – Far From Hypocritical).

    • Mozilla

      • Game On Submissions: Now Closed!

        Thanks to all who entered the Mozilla Labs Game On 2010 competition – submissions are now closed. Come back Wednesday, January 12th to see the entries and vote for the community favorite!

      • Mozilla Open Data Competition – Announcing The Winners!

        Back in November, Mozilla Labs and the Metrics Team together launched the first Mozilla Open Data Visualization Competition. While we set out to discover creative visual answers to the open question, “How do people use Firefox,” we really didn’t know what level of participation to expect from the Mozilla and data analysis communities. In fact, we were overwhelmed by both the number and quality of submissions – so much so that we had to give ourselves an extra few days to thoroughly review them all!

      • Firefox 4 T-shirt Design Challenge

        The goal of this challenge is to create a unique design that captures the essence of Firefox 4. The winning design will be printed as the official Firefox 4 launch t-shirt, a limited edition item featured in the Mozilla store and distributed to thousands of fans and contributors around the world. It will also be highlighted across key web properties like mozilla.com, the Creative Collective homepage, the Mozilla blog, our Facebook page, and more.

      • The why of HTML5 for games development – the introductory talk at #gameon10

        Yesterday I went to London’s Old Street to talk about HTML5 and the web at the Mozilla Labs Gaming Special. Here are the slides, the audio and my extensive notes of what I had to say.

      • IndexedDB in Firefox 4

        Mozilla is pleased to announce support for IndexedDB in the upcoming Firefox 4 Beta 9 and recent trunk nightlies. IndexedDB allows web apps to store large amounts of data on your local system (with your explicit permission, of course) for fast offline retrieval at a later time. We’re hoping that webmail, TV listings, and online purchase history will one day be as convenient to access offline as they are online.

      • Let’s Play Some Games!

        We built the Game On Gallery so that people who use the Web everyday can access and enjoy your games. Starting today, registered users of the Game On website can vote on their choice for the winner of the Community Choice prize category. Over the next couple weeks, our expert judges will be selecting winners for the other prize categories. Winners will be announced the first week of February.

      • Mozilla Exec: Firefox 4 Will Arrive in February

        Firefox 4 is nearly ready for release, a recent post on Mozilla’s developer mailing list suggests.

      • Firefox beta getting new database standard

        The ninth beta version of Firefox, due imminently, is set to get support for a standard called IndexedDB that provides a database interface useful for offline data storage and other tasks needing information on a browser’s computer.

        “IndexedDB allows Web apps to store large amounts of data on your local system (with your explicit permission, of course) for fast offline retrieval at a later time. We’re hoping that Web mail, TV listings, and online purchase history will one day be as convenient to access offline as they are online,” Ben Turner, who develops IndexedDB for Mozilla’s browser, said yesterday in a blog post.

      • Firefox Four Isn’t Going To Kick Ass – It’s Already Kicking Ass!

        But it’s fast. Very fast. It’s more stable (I’m one of those idiots who likes having a hundred tabs open at once…) It’s nice.

  • Oracle

    • Hudson/Jenkins – some more context and thoughts

      Andrew Bayer just posted a blog post on Hudson-labs.org with a proposal for renaming the Hudson project to “Jenkins”. Since Kohsuke Kawaguchi, founder of and lead contributor to the Hudson project, is part of CloudBees, and I’ve helped Andrew and Kohsuke bounce ideas, I wanted to share some more context and thoughts.

      Each and every Open Source project has its own DNA, its own philosophy that gets established over time. Born in 2004, Hudson has had plenty of time to find its cruising altitude. Yet, after Kohsuke left ORCL, ORCL decided they didn’t necessarily liked the way the project was handled and asked for some changes to take place.

  • Education

    • Remixing Euclid

      When we talk about geometry, the vast majority of us are actually talking about what mathematicians now call, more precisely, Euclidean geometry. And why do they call it Euclidean geometry? Because the Greek mathematician Euclid laid out its foundations in a manuscript about 2400 years ago, and mathematicians have been nodding their heads in agreement ever since.

      Euclid’s Elements made its way from Alexandria to Athens, to Rome, to Baghdad, back to Europe, and around the globe. In days gone by, one could not be considered properly educated without having studied Euclid. Until the 20th Century, Elements was the second most printed book in the world, ahead of Shakespeare and behind only the Bible. It is said that country lawyer Abe Lincoln carried a copy from town to town so that he could study its proofs by candlelight. Einstein called it “the holy little geometry book”.

  • Project Releases

    • LibreOffice 3.3 Release Candidate 3 available

      The Document Foundation is happy to announce the third release candidate of LibreOffice 3.3. This release candidate is not intended for production use! The final release of LibreOffice 3.3, for production use, will be available soon.

  • Government

  • Openness/Sharing

  • Programming

    • Calculating Alcohol By Volume in Python on Android

      Wow, I just managed to combine three of my favourite things in a single title! Recently, I’ve been getting further into home brewing, with a book I received as a Christmas present (Home Brewed Beers and Stouts, by C.J.J. Berry). Since I’d never actually measured the Alcohol By Volume (ABV) of my beer I decided to write some Python code to automate the process. The simple modules I came up with work from the command line and also on Android phones via SL4A, which makes them very useful when doing quick measurements.

    • Too Busy
  • Standards/Consortia

    • The Document Foundation joins OpenDoc Society

      OpenDoc Society, the global association that promotes best practices for office applications, today announced that The Document Foundation has become an organizational member. The Document Foundation joins other companies, Open Source communities, public sector organizations and not-for-profits that are already members organizations of OpenDoc Society, such as Cap Gemini, Google, IBM, CWI and the Netherlands Department of Defense. OpenDoc Society brings together individuals and organizations with a stake or interest in the openness and future of documents, to learn from each other and share knowledge and best practices about core technologies, available tools, policy issues, transition strategies, legal aspects and of course the latest innovations.


  • Witches Use Spells To Protest New Taxes

    Solace for world leaders trying to enforce painful austerity measures: At least you’re not running Romania.

    Angry witches are using cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the president and government who are forcing them to pay taxes. Also in the eye of the taxman are fortune tellers, who should have seen it coming.

  • View SketchUp models in your hand with augmented reality

    Augmented Reality is a concept that has a lot of potential in the coming years. In particular, technologies like Layar could prove to be very useful as the GPS accuracy and the underlying dataset continue to get more accurate.

  • Delusions Aside, the Net’s Potential Is Real

    Evgeny Morozov’s new book, The Net Delusion, is an important contribution; its publication has been widely welcomed as an important correction to cyber-utopianism, and greeted with laudatory reviews. I found myself agreeing with the majority of its arguments.

    But I write here neither to praise nor bury the book, but to engage it critically. Morozov challenges the intellectual laziness that characterizes so many analyses of the Internet’s impact, which do tend to be on the utopian side. That is well, but just as cyber-utopianism is fashionable in some circles, it’s equally fashionable in others to pooh-pooh the fundamentally transformative impact of the Internet, denying it any great world-historical importance. To some intellectuals, the mundanity of human sociality exposed through the Internet deserves to be mocked, and people’s sincere attempts to express their identity and convictions through online methods are derided as meaningless “slactivism.”

  • NYC’s Computer-System Cash-Dump Disaster

    The anonymous author alleged that the project was hopelessly corrupt and out of control and had been for years. The writer, who claimed to have been employed on the project, went on to name three people he alleged were responsible for that corruption.

    The commenter accused a consultant, Mark Mazer, of being “the most crooked person on the team,” and said consultant Scott Berger was building a home in Florida at city expense.

  • World IPv6 Day Is June 8. Should You Care?

    Most web workers have probably heard that “the Internet is running out of addresses.” In response, The Internet Society, together with such major players as Facebook, has announced World IPv6 Day. What will this mean for web workers, businesses and individuals?

  • World IPv6 Day has Facebook, Google & Yahoo Support
  • Court: Medical residents not students

    Settling a 20-year legal battle between teaching hospitals and the federal tax collector and saving the Treasury some $700 million a year in future revenue, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously on Tuesday that medical students who have become doctors in training as residents are not students under federal tax law, and thus are subject to federal taxes to cover Social Security and Medicare (so-called FICA taxes). The decision, however, will mean that the taxes are due only on residents’ stipends paid after April 1, 2005. Earlier payments are being refunded by the Treasury’s own choice (see this news release). Justice Elena Kagan did not take part in the decision.

  • How Physical Media Can Still Have a Future

    It has become common wisdom that retail stores that carry physical media – CDs, books, movies in particular – are, to use the scientific term, “toast”.

  • Publishing industry may be headed for another e-jolt

    A device coming from a Rhode Island company this spring promises to shake the publishing industry in the same way CD burners shook the music industry and forever changed copyright laws in the early 1990s.

    ION Audio’s Book Saver looks like a miniature overhead projector combined with a cradle and can scan a 200-page novel in less than 15 minutes.

  • AOL’s New Problem: Mike Arrington

    When AOL bought TechCrunch last September, the first question on everyone’s lips was, “How long could Mike Arrington possibly last as an AOL employee?”

    Yesterday, four months after the deal, we may have begun to learn the answer to that question. On Tuesday evening, for no apparent reason, Arrington threw public punches at AOL’s crown-jewel technology blog, Engadget, and Engadget’s editor, Joshua Topolsky.

  • Fox Shoots Hunter

    The man said he wounded the fox with a shot by a double-barrel gun and tried to finish off the animal with a blow by the gun’s butt. But the fox, which attempted to fight back, hit the trigger with a paw, causing the gun to fire.

  • Science

    • This robot exoskeleton will let you walk again for $1,500 a month

      And the the elderly and disabled will walk again! Thanks to robots of course, specifically a system called “Hybrid Assistive Limb”, shortened to HAL and created by Japanese company Cyberdyne. The powered robot exoskeleton moves in response to nerve signals in a human’s legs. Users only need to “think” and the robot legs will move for them. Think of the legs like an incredibly advanced Segway that is actually sensing your nervous system. The HAL suit is available to hospitals and clinics in Japan to rent for about $1,500 per month.

    • A Googol of Genomes?

      Earlier this week we took a look back at 2010 and offered our projections for the coming year in personal genomics. Topic #1, just as it was last year: the $1,000 genome.

      In hindsight, it might have been ill-advised to offer predictions about the near-term future of genome sequencing during the same week in which one of the year’s major industry conferences (the JP Morgan annual Healthcare Conference) is taking place.

    • White House commissions report on 3-D printers
    • MIT pioneers ad hoc network-bottleneck breaker

      Two researchers may have found a way to greatly reduce traffic bottlenecks that could take place in ad hoc networks. Such work may be essential for the future development of sensor networks, they say.

      Keren Censor-Hillel, a postdoctoral research student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and Hadas Shachnai, an associate professor of computer science at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology, presented their work last week at the 2011 Symposium on Discrete Algorithms, held by the Association of Computing Machinery and the Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics.

    • Seminal UK computer Edsac to be recreated

      Edsac, the UK’s first fully operational general-purpose computer, is to be recreated at The National Museum of Computing at Bletchley Park.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Promoting Anorexia: An Interview With Kenneth Tong. This Was No Hoax

      Women should “get thin or die trying,” and you can “never start too young.” It is better for a girl to “risk [her] life dieting than be sub-par by being a plus-size.” Remember: “Hunger hurts but starving works.” When an ultra-wealthy but forgotten former British reality show Big Brother contestant called Kenneth Tong started Tweeting these sentiments — and worse — a fortnight ago, a Twitter-storm broke. Everyone from Rihanna to Gordon Ramsay told their followers he was a dangerous fool, but Tong gathered tens of thousands of young girls who followed him. He became the most discussed subject on Twitter in the world for three days. His message? “The words lunch, breakfast, and dinner should now mean nothing to you, you have eaten enough for a lifetime. Stop. You are disgusting.”

      Then Tong claimed it was all a hoax — just an hour after I interviewed him. In our long discussion he passionately defended every word he had said, but when I told him that his arguments could kill young girls and expose him to serious legal liability, he visibly began to panic. When I spoke to him on the phone later in the day, after his ‘revelation’, he said “it was dangerous ground we were treading on, I can see that now” and begged me not to publish his comments. So I don’t believe it was a hoax at all — but that he was finally scared off by the legal implications of what he was saying and doing. You can judge for yourself.

    • Open source returns integrity to science

      Imagine it is 1912, but that the Titanic is fitted with an underwater radar system. Imagine that it senses an iceberg so large that even the captain can understand that by the law of conservation of momentum, the ship will be stopped in its path. Should the captain use the radar information to inform the decision to alter course, or should the captain ignore it because radar is merely an invention of science therefore prone to exaggeration and false findings?

      The New Yorker Magazine has just published an immensely popular article titled “The Truth Wears Off — Is there something wrong with the scientific method?” The article reports several examples of scientific findings that appeared to be significant when first published, but when tested over time, demonstrate weaker and weaker results. Zyprexa is a second-generation anti-depressant that showed great promise in clinical trials in the nineteen-nineties. By 2001, Zyprexa earned more revenue than Prozac, and it remains Eli Lilly’s top-selling drug.

    • Is self-policing enough to stop NHS records being viewed in India?

      It’s remarkable that SBS isn’t even bigger than it is. When the public sector net debt is about £950bn, why don’t most NHS trusts pay their staff through the SBS shared services model? Why don’t many more trusts give SBS their back-office processing work?

      Steria says that SBS will save the NHS £224m over 10 years. It should be more, a point made by John Neilson, SBS’s managing director.


      Media controversy as NHS work is carried out in India

      But the media has raised questions about whether any NHS work that involves medical records or appointments should be handled in India, where legislation covering data protection is not as it is in the UK.

  • Europe

    • Liberal MEPs initiate Hungarian Presidency boycott

      MEPs from the European Parliament’s liberal ALDE group have called for the venue of a meeting to be changed from Budapest to Brussels, as a sign of protest against a controversial media law recently adopted in Hungary, the country holding the rotating EU presidency.

    • Response to Commissioner Barnier on EU’s refusal to support right to read

      We were therefore disappointed to see that the Commission insists that a non-binding, “soft” “WIPO Recommendation” would be the best sort of international legal instrument to provide for the transfer of accessible books between countries.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • N.Y. Republican wants to outlaw guns near officials, judges

      New York Rep. Peter King, chairman of House Homeland Security Committee, will introduce a bill to ban carrying a gun within 1,000 feet of a member of Congress and federal judges. The measure will also apply to carrying weapons near the president or vice president.

      King announced the measure at a press conference today with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who heads a gun control group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and who is backing the bill. King’s move may indicate there may be gaining momentum for some sort of gun-control measures in the wake of the Tucson shooting.

    • Law passed to ban picketing at Tucson funerals
    • Police raid ‘cannabis factory’ and discover it’s home for guinea pigs

      The squad rushed in after a force helicopter picked up a ‘hotspot’ on Pam Hardcastle’s property, thinking it betrayed a lighting system used to grow the drug.

      But all they found was a heater for Simon and Kenny, the pets of Ms Hardcastle’s ten-year-old son, Jack.

      ‘When I opened it up and they saw the guinea pigs, they didn’t say anything,’ said the 42-year-old primary school worker.

    • The Devil Wears Underwear

      We don’t buy this justification easily. We prod and poke until we get to the truth. So why when it comes to our own harassment and humiliating experiences in the name of “security” do we accept it and shut up?

      As female journalists working in this region we constantly find ourselves putting clothes on to please Hamas and taking them off to please the Israelis.

    • Palin: Violent Rhetoric Doesn’t Inspire Violence — But Criticism Of Violent Rhetoric Does

      So, according to Sarah Palin, violent rhetoric plays no role in inspiring violent acts — but criticism of violent acts incites “hatred and violence.”

    • Israel keeps Palestinian ‘Gandhi’ imprisoned

      Amnesty International has condemned an Israeli military appeal court’s decision to extend the prison sentence of a Palestinian non-violent activist, convicted over his involvement in organizing protests in the occupied West Bank.

      Abdallah Abu Rahma, head of the Popular Committee Against the Wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in, had his sentence extended from 12 months to 16 months by the Israeli Military Court of Appeals at Ofer in the West Bank on Tuesday, after the prosecution argued that his initial sentence was too lenient.

    • Latin America: For a solidarity `Marshall Plan’ with the Cuban Revolution!; Un Plan Marshall para Cuba

      Cuba is currently faced with a crucial dilemma: either it updates, revises and reconstructs its economic model or it runs the risk of succumbing to the combined pressures created by its own errors and the aggression of the US embargo. The countries of Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as all of those in Africa and Asia, cannot remain indifferent towards this situation or limit themselves to contemplating how the revolution delivered this decisive battle without any assistance other than their own strength.

    • Former CIA Asset Luis Posada Goes to Trial

      On January 10 one of the most dangerous terrorists in recent history will go on trial in a small courtroom in El Paso, Texas. This is not the venue the Obama administration has finally selected to prosecute the perpetrators of 9/11; it is where the reputed godfather of Cuban exile violence, Luis Posada Carriles, may finally face a modicum of accountability for his many crimes.

    • Kinder Surprise egg seized at U.S. border

      A cross-border kerfuffle over a popular chocolate treat nearly cost a Winnipeg woman a $300 fine and saddled her with a bureaucratic headache.

      Lind Bird was recently stopped at the U.S. border and selected for a random search of her vehicle. She was warned she could have faced a fine after the customs official found — and seized — her $2 Kinder Surprise egg as illegal contraband.

    • The Sun Never Sets on the PATRIOT Act

      A year ago, the protracted wrangling in Congress over the re-authorization of several expiring provisions of the PATRIOT ACT made plenty of headlines. Most observers expected the sunsetting powers to be extended, but civil libertarians hoped serious and sorely needed reforms might be part of the package. The House and Senate Judiciary Committees held multiple hearings on the topic, and an array of competing reform and reauthorization bills (PDF) were proposed, adding extra safeguards (of varying stringency) to the greatly expanded surveillance powers Congress had approved in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

    • So anyway, those guns, Professor Spafford…

      But even with that said, to pretend that guns are somehow “safe” because they kill fewer people than cars only indicates that the debate has ceased to be a debate; instead it’s reached the religious level, where idees fixes have completely taken over the minds of adherents and detractors alike, and cannot be budged without the most enormous effort of will. To ask gun adherents to imagine an America without the Second Amendment is like asking a Christian to imagine a world without their imaginary God. From what I’ve seen, there’s a relatively large overlap there. Which ought to give pause for thought. Dogma is dangerous wherever it’s found.

    • Dad’s arrest in sex case results in $1.8M settlement

      More than three years after police in West Bloomfield arrested a man and accused him of raping his autistic daughter, the township’s insurance carrier has agreed to pay his family and attorney $1.8 million to settle a wrongful-arrest suit.

    • It takes a village to raise a child

      It is an acknowledged trend of modern-day life that young people want to be older, even as it is an undeniable trend that older people want to become younger.

    • Tonight we are all Tunisians

      Over the last few days we have seen some of the bravest people facing down some of the worst.

      Armed with nothing more than a revolutionary heart and hopes of a better future they gathered and protested as government forces aimed their weapons and fired live rounds in to the crowds.

      But the ammunition and the underlying threats of arrest and torture meant absolutely nothing to the masses – for they had simply lost their fear.

  • Cablegate

    • Q&A: Birgitta Jonsdottir on Wikileaks and Twitter

      Birgitta Jonsdottir, an Icelandic MP, writer, artist, activist and former Wikileaks collaborator, spoke to the Globe and Mail’s editorial board on Tuesday. She is in Toronto to kick off the 2011 Samara/Massey journalism seminars. (Samara is a charitable organization that studies citizen engagement with Canadian democracy.)

    • 2 p.m.: Live videostream of Icelandic MP and former WikiLeaks volunteer Birgitta Jonsdottir

      It’s not news that WikiLeaks and some of its supporters often find themselves in the hot seat. The website deals in publishing documents and videos that have embarrassed politicians and countries around the world. Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir was an active volunteer for WikiLeaks, and played a central role in publishing the “Collateral Murder” video. Last week she learned that prosecutors investigating the disclosure of thousands of classified government documents by WikiLeaks were doing a little anti-secrecy lobbying of their own.

    • Assange lawyers fear death sentence

      Julian Assange’s lawyers will argue he faces the threat of the death penalty in the United States if he is handed over to Swedish authorities following next month’s extradition hearing.

      Mr Assange’s legal team released a skeleton report of their case for the February 7-8 extradition hearing in London following Mr Assange’s brief court appearance on Tuesday morning.

      In it, Mr Assange’s legal team said it expected the Swedes to “bow to US pressure and/or rely naively on diplomatic assurances from the USA that Mr Assange would not be mistreated.”

      Swedish prosecutors have issued an arrest warrant for Mr Assange following accusations of sexual offences against two women in Sweden during a trip last August.

    • WikiLeaks Twitter spying may break EU privacy law

      A group of European MPs will today push EU bosses to say if the US government breached European privacy laws by snooping on Twitter users with links to whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks.

      The Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) will today pose an oral question to the European Commission, seeking clarification from the US on a subpoena demanding the micro-blogging site hand over users’ account details.

    • European politicos protest DOJ WikiLeaks-Twitter probe

      An influential group of European politicians is protesting the U.S. government’s attempt to pry WikiLeaks-related information out of Twitter, saying that EU privacy rules may have been violated.

    • Speedy Trial Update

      On 9 January 2011, the defense filed a demand for speedy trial with the Government. PFC Manning has been in pretrial confinement since 29 May 2010. Since 12 July 2010, the case has been on Government requested excludable delay under R.C.M. 707(c). This delay request by the Government was approved by the court-martial convening authority.

    • Assange: WikiLeaks To Speed Release of Leaked Docs

      WikiLeaks will step up its publication schedule of secret documents, founder Julian Assange announced Tuesday, promising more revelations based on the group’s stash of confidential U.S. embassy cables and other leaks.

    • ACNIS launches new research resource project

      In addition, the database also has a separate section devoted entirely to the compilation and classification of all relevant “WikiLeaks” documents, updated and sorted as they are released.

    • WikiLeaks set to turn spotlight on Beijing

      It will publish documents that will embarrass the Chinese government, according to a supporter of the whistle-blowing website.

      Gavin McFadyen, a London-based television producer who has collaborated with WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, said yesterday critics of the website were wrong to say it was obsessed with embarrassing the US government rather than exposing more repressive regimes.

    • Can’t hide love for WikiLeaks

      I recently put the proposition, to a senior frontbencher in Federal Parliament, that the WikiLeaks horse had bolted, and that shutting down Julian Assange could not reverse a fundamental shift in the balance of power towards the citizens and away from the institutions that govern them.

      His response was: ”The Catholic Church shut down Galileo for a hundred years. I think we can shut down Julian Assange.”
      Advertisement: Story continues below

      I now find myself in the uncomfortable position, as a fairly unreconstructed conservative, of being in furious agreement with the Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young. I make no judgment on the merits of the Swedish extradition proceedings that Assange is defending in London. I do regret that this unquestionably gutsy Queenslander is being required to take on the entire global ”establishment” with one hand tied behind his back.

    • How propaganda poisons the mind – and our discourse

      Last week, on January 3, The Guardian published a scathing Op-Ed by James Richardson blaming WikiLeaks for endangering the life of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the democratic opposition in Zimbabwe. Richardson — a GOP operative, contributor to RedState.com, and a for-hire corporate spokesman — pointed to a cable published by WikiLeaks in which American diplomats revealed that Tsvangirai, while publicly opposing American sanctions on his country, had privately urged their continuation as a means of weakening the Mugabe regime: an act likely to be deemed to be treasonous in that country, for obvious reasons. By publishing this cable, “WikiLeaks may have committed its own collateral murder,” Richardson wrote. He added: “WikiLeaks ought to leave international relations to those who understand it – at least to those who understand the value of a life.”

    • Exclusive interview: Julian Assange on Murdoch, Manning and the threat from China

      The contents of these files are unknown, but, according to Assange, “They speak more of the same truth to power.” It is not just government that should be worried about the content of these files, however. “There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp,” he says.

    • GoDaddy is OK with killjulianassange.com
    • Wikileaks volunteer detained and searched (again) by US agents

      Jacob Appelbaum, a security researcher, Tor developer, and volunteer with Wikileaks, reported today on his Twitter feed that he was detained, searched, and questioned by the US Customs and Border Patrol agents at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport on January 10, upon re-entering the US after a vacation in Iceland.


      • It’s very frustrating that I have to put so much consideration into talking about the kind of harassment that I am subjected to in airports.

      • I was detained, searched, and CPB did attempt to question me about the nature of my vacation upon landing in Seattle.

      • The CPB specifically wanted laptops and cell phones and were visibly unhappy when they discovered nothing of the sort.

    • Wikileaks: The first full-scale pitched battle between Government and the Open Web

      The whole Wikileaks saga has revealed both strengths and weaknesses. The most obvious choke point is that governments were able to exert political pressure on domain hosts to force them to find a pretext to throw Wikileaks off their servers and so Assange and his colleagues had to play a game of cat and mouse, relocating Wikileaks on different servers. The countervailing strength was and is that they could do this but there is always the danger that the plots will dry up, so to speak, and this whistle-blowing website will run out of hosting space as the American Government pressurises companies and countries to deny it refuge. However, it is a matter of record that it has over five hundred mirrors and closing them all down would be a big task.


      What the Wikileaks story is really about is a clash of world views, about how we handle and process information and who controls it. The political establishments are like Europe before the Reformation and the invention of printing, like businesses trying to impose an outmoded model on top of technologies which threaten to overwhelm them.

    • Icelandic MP Says It’s Our Duty to Fight For WikiLeaks

      Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a member of the Icelandic parliament and an early supporter of WikiLeaks, said that despite having had a falling out with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over his role in the organization, she is willing to “stand up and stick my neck out for him” and defend the document-leaking entity against attacks by the U.S. government and others, because doing so is her duty. “We must all stand behind WikiLeaks and defend freedom of information and freedom of speech,” Jónsdóttir said in a presentation at the University of Toronto on Tuesday night, in which she also called on media outlets to support the organization. Jónsdóttir also said “even if they chop the head off WikiLeaks, a thousand more heads will come out.”

    • WikiLeaks condemns US embargo move

      WikiLeaks today condemned calls from the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security to “strangle the viability” of WikiLeaks by placing the publisher and its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, on a US “enemies list” normally reserved for terrorists and dictators.

      Placement on the US “Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List” would criminalize US companies who deal with WikiLeaks or its editor. “The U.S. government simply cannot continue its ineffective piecemeal approach of responding in the aftermath of Wikileaks’ damage,” King wrote in a letter to the Secretary of the US Treasury, Geithner. “The U.S. government should be making every effort to strangle the viability of Assange’s organization.”

    • A Whale Of A Cable – Whaling In Norway

      Yet despite a small market and low profits for the meat, the government of Norway has not shown any willingness to let go of whaling.

    • WikiLeaks gives $15,000 to soldier’s defense fund

      A legal defense fund for the US soldier suspected of leaking secret US documents to WikiLeaks said Thursday it has received a 15,000 dollars contribution from the website.

      US Army private Bradley Manning, 23, has been held in a military brig in Virginia since July on suspicion of leaking secret US military documents and State Department cables to WikiLeaks.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • EU economic governance: Commission sets the yearly priorities for EU growth

      Europe has a comprehensive plan to respond to the crisis and to speed up Europe’s economic growth. It now needs to focus its efforts in a coordinated manner and with an eye on priorities. That is what the Commission is presenting today. The Annual Growth Survey charts a clear direction on where Europe should be heading in the next year, with ten pressing actions focussed on macro-economic stability and fiscal consolidation, structural reforms and growth-enhancing measures. The Annual Growth Survey is the start of the first “European Semester” which changes the way governments shape their economic and fiscal policies. Once agreed by the European Council, Member states will reflect these recommendations in both their policies and national budgets. For the first time ever, Member States and Commission will therefore jointly discuss macro-economic stability, structural reforms and boosting growth measures in a comprehensive way.

    • Memorandum of Understanding with China in the IT & C

      Cu această ocazie, cele două părți vor semna un Memorandum de înțelegere care va permite cooperarea consolidată și schimburi de experiență în sectorul TIC, date fiind capacităţile şi oportunităţile României și Chinei în acest domeniu. On this occasion, the two sides will sign a Memorandum of Understanding that will enable closer cooperation and exchanges of experience in the ICT sector, given the capabilities and opportunities for Romania and China in this field.

    • Spinning Unemployment in a Collapsing Empire

      The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported Friday that the economy gained only 103,000 new jobs in December–not enough to keep up with population growth–but the rate of unemployment (U.3) fell from 9.8% to 9.4%. If you are confused by the report, you are among the many.

      In truth, what fell was not the number of unemployed people but the number of unemployed people who are actively looking for work. Those who have become discouraged and have ceased looking for work are not considered to be in the work force and are not counted as unemployed in the U.3 measure. The unemployment rate fell because discouraged workers increased, not because employment rose.

    • The rise (and fall) of the global elite

      In my opinion, the oligarchs and their minions give themselves far too much credit for their success. It may be true that they are clever, industrious, and hard-working, but so too are con men, embezzlers, and a goodly number of thieves and other criminals. Is it clever and industrious to appropriate for oneself (by force, intimidation, bribery, or manipulation), resources that are by nature the birthright of all (“the commons”), or to use one’s “insider” position to abuse a public trust? Far too many fortunes have been made that way.

      The Atlantic article concludes “The lesson of history is that, in the long run, super-elites have two ways to survive: by suppressing dissent or by sharing their wealth. It is obvious which of these would be the better outcome for America, and the world. Let us hope the plutocrats aren’t already too isolated to recognize this.”

  • Murdoch

    • Don’t let Murdoch and Hunt stitch it up

      The BBC have just revealed that Ofcom thinks there are big problems with Murdoch’s BSkyB power grab. Their report says the Competition Commission needs to be involved.

    • MySpace Confirms Sale Rumors

      News Corp. is seriously considering hanging a “For Sale” sign on its MySpace social networking real estate, the beleaguered company’s CEO confirmed on Wednesday.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • BlackBerry maker agrees to Indonesian net filters

      BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion is to implement internet pornography filters in Indonesia after being threatened with a blackout for its 2 million users in the country.

    • UK and EU ISPs Bash European Proposals to Force Blocking of Child Abuse Sites

      The European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA) has called on the European Parliament to consider permanently removing internet based child sexual abuse content at source, which would be instead of forcing EU and UK ISPs into merely filtering out (blocking) such material. The latter would only provide a merely cosmetic appearance of having done something useful and is easily circumvented.

      EuroISPA believes that removing abuse material at source is the “only” effective “technical measure” that can actually work. It proceeds to state that the alternative use of blocking still allows the content to remain online and available for use by those who present a real danger to children.

    • Missing China activist Gao Zhisheng ‘tortured’

      One of China’s most prominent human rights activists, Gao Zhisheng, has told of his torture by police during more than a year in secret detention.

      The lawyer told the Associated Press he was stripped naked, beaten and pistol-whipped until he feared for his life.

    • Web blocking discussions in European Parliament reach critical stage

      The European Parliament is currently at a crucial stage in the discussions on the European Commission’s proposals on web blocking. The MEP in charge, Roberta Angelilli, has presented her draft report, other parliamentarians have until 20 January to propose other amendments and an “orientation vote” which will informally set Parliament policy on issues of general agreement will take place on 3 February.

      Despite the fact that the original proposal was made by the Commission in March 2009, the level of debate has not developed to any great extent after almost two years of discussion. The fact that the Commission failed to provide any evidence from countries that already block websites has not had any positive impact whatsoever. The fact that blocking is increasingly irrelevant due to the use of P2P and hacked servers instead of static “blockable” websites or the fact that blocking will give criminals immediate warning that they have been detected are of no particular importance in the debate. Indeed, even the actual purpose of blocking – accidental access, deliberate access or something else – is not an issue which has been discussed in any detail.

    • EFF urges US tech companies to aid Tunisian protests

      Civil unrest in Tunisia prompted by government censorship of internet access and freedom of expression continues to spiral out of control this week as the nation’s officials find even more ways to stifle citizens’ pleas for support. Now, the Electronic Freedom Foundation (EFF) has begun rallying support from American technology companies to aid Tunisian residents in making their voices heard.

    • Accuracy, nuance big casualties in latest War on Piracy salvo

      Another day, another antipiracy study (or “study”) from a self-interested party. What’s new? This time, one of the named targets is fighting back, alleging “defamation” and reserving the right to sue the study’s authors.

      The study comes from MarkMonitor, a company in the business of selling its brand protection services to companies concerned about intellectual property theft and counterfeiting online. The study is tough to take seriously, since it really just amounts to assembling a list of 100 websites and then grabbing traffic data on them from Alexa.

    • Use of Derogatory Word for Gays in a Song Breaches Broadcast Codes, Says Canadian Broadcast Standards Council

      The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC) today released its decision concerning the broadcast of the unedited version of the song “Money for Nothing” by Dire Straits on CHOZ-FM (OZ FM, Newfoundland). The CBSC concluded that the presence of the word “faggot” in the song contravened the Human Rights Clauses of the Canadian Association of Broadcasters’ (CAB) Code of Ethics and Equitable Portrayal Code.

    • France wants to put Internet regulation on the G8 agenda

      A senior French official has called for a new report on online terrorism and pedophilia. French Internet advocates dismissed renewed demands for regulation, pointing to critiques of controversial anti-piracy law.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • T-Mobile: how massive do you like your fail?

      I don’t know whether the company really holds its customers in that sort of disdain, even though I’ve seen plenty of evidence over the years that it can do. It could just be industry-defining massive stupidity, matched with rancid greed. But I know how it feels – and I know that T-Mobile has done itself a great deal of damage. Could I recommend anyone move to T-Mobile? I could at the beginning of the week. I can’t now.

    • MetroPCS: Net Neutrality Violator

      A terrible new service plan from MetroPCS — the fifth-largest mobile phone carrier — is the latest round in the phone industry’s war against Net Neutrality.

    • T-Mobile UK Does A U-Turn On Its New Data Caps: Now For New Subs Only

      Some major back-pedalling over at T-Mobile in the UK this afternoon, and a major win for its customers. The company has said that its new policy, reducing all fair usage data caps to 500 megabytes, will now only apply to new and upgrading customers, not existing subscribers. When T-Mobile had originally announced the changes on Monday, it said it “affects everyone.” But over the last few days, that policy resulted in an avalanche of angry comments on sites like Twitter and threats of a mass exodus of users.

    • New group formed for Net Neutrality!

      The giant Internet Service Providers such as Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon seek to:

      1. Abolish the flat service fee. This means that you will pay for the amount of time you spend on the Net and the amount of data you download. For example, you will be charged for downloading a video from You Tube. If you don’t have much money to spend, you will have less access to information than a person who has more money.

      2. Make website operators pay for bandwidth. This means that companies with deep pockets like Fox and MSNBC will connect quickly whereas small website operators who can’t afford the high costs will operate “in the slow lane.” The Net result will be an Internet that will become much like cable TV. You will get only the information that the big media companies (and their governmental affiliates) want you to get. You will get a lot less, and you will pay a lot more for less.

    • Sony goes after George Hotz

      That’s from George Hotz, aka Geohot, here.He’s been hit by corporate MAFIAA mobster Sony.

    • Sony Sues Geohot Over PS3 Jailbreak

      Geohot has updated his site again telling people that Sony has filed lawsuits against both him and the fail0verflow german team for jailbreaking PS 3 and allowing packages to be installed.

    • Dodgy salesmen?

      Think again! You’re not actually buying something. You’re licensing the use of an ebook. You can’t buy a licence. You pay a fee, they share some of their rights with you. This is a massive, massive difference between the physical books sold today, and ebooks. An ebook is not your property, it remains, at all times, Amazon’s property.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jeff Koons claims to own all balloon dogs

      Lawyers representing Jeff Koons, the pop artist known for remixing common objects and other peoples’ art, have demanded that San Francisco’s Park Life stop selling book-ends that look like balloon dogs. Koons’s lawyers argue that since Koons once produced a set of iconic statues of balloon dogs, all representations of balloon dogs are henceforth Koons’s exclusive purview, and anyone who makes or sells a balloon dog infringes on Koons’s copyright.

    • Microsoft seeks to block Apple ‘App Store’ trademark

      Microsoft has said that it has asked US officials to block Apple’s attempt to trademark the words “App Store”.

      Apple submitted an application for the phrase – used for its iPhone, iPad and Macintosh download services – in 2008.

    • Copyrights

      • Cyberlockers Take Over File-Sharing Lead From BitTorrent Sites

        In terms of visitor traffic Cyberlockers have taken over the file-sharing lead from BitTorrent sites. This trend has been developing over the last few years and has accelerated in recent months to a position where the number of one-click hosting sites that are larger than The Pirate Bay in terms of traffic has grown to five. All signs indicate that file-storage services are becoming the new sharing standard.

      • Band Discovers Leaked Song… And Its Response Is To Release A Better Version For Free

        We’ve talked in the past about how there are all sorts of ways that bands and musicians can react to the fact that their music has leaked out into the world (and, yes, it will leak out). There’s a range of strategies from calling your fans “thieves” and getting angry, all the way to a much more fan-friendly approach. Time and and time again it appears that taking the fan-friendly approach seems work much better. The latest example of a band taking a much more fan friendly approach is Eisley, who had one of their new songs debut on a podcast, and people got so into it that they cut it out of the podcast recording and even started playing it on the radio. Rather than freak out about it, the band was happy about it.

      • Chinese Crackdown On Piracy Enters The Digital Domain

        Since late last year there have been rumblings that China would soon carry out another crackdown on piracy. During the last week reports suggested that the country’s actions were mainly in the physical domain but now, alongside reports that 4,000 people have been arrested, it seems China is conducting both a music and video piracy purge. More than 200 sites are under orders to remove music and some of the country’s leading video sites are deleting illicit content and cuddling up to Hollywood.

      • It Begins: Content Execs Prepare To Lobby Again

        Didn’t we predict that the government’s new intellectual property review would see a replay of all the entrenched dogma that was flung in Digital Britain’s direction?

        The UK music industry was on Wednesday due to discuss what view it should submit to the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills’ (BIS) review of “how the intellectual property system can better drive growth and innovation”, commissioned from Professor Ian Hargreaves in November, MusicWeek reports…

      • Israeli Court Enforces for the First Time a Creative Commons License

        A court in Israel found that taking CC-licensed pictures from Flickr and publishing them in a book violated the copyright in each and every picture separately. (Source: www.law.co.il, including a link to the decision in Hebrew).

        The facts are trivial: Plaintiffs, amateur photographers, uploaded their pictures to Flickr under a CC attribution, non-commercial, no-derivative license. Defendant, a commercial publisher, published the pictures both in a physical format (a book) and some of them also on its website.

      • California Continues Protecting Hollywood: Imposes Greater Fines On Infringement Based On Faulty Reasoning

        The BSA’s numbers are even more ridiculous than the IPI’s and have been debunked over and over again. Even the company that put together the numbers for the BSA had admitted that the BSA clearly exaggerates what they mean. For example, the BSA still insists on using a 1:1 unauthorized copy = lost sale argument, which anyone with an ounce of common sense knows is laughable.

      • The Unacceptable Face of Copyright

        Open access is about making copies of publicly-funded research available freely online. This stems from the belief that (a) having paid for it, the public has a right to see it and (b) a general view that access to knowledge should not be restricted to those that can pay for it (not least because it is precisely those that *cannot* pay who need it most).

        Against that background, and of the growing success of open access in bringing knowledge to the developing countries, this is disgusting:
        From 4 January Elsevier Journals withdrew access in Bangladesh to 1610 of its publications, including the Lancet stable of journals, which had been available through the World Health Organization’s Health Inter-Network for Access to Research Initiative (HINARI) programme. HINARI was set up in 2002 to enable not for profit institutions in developing countries to gain access online to more than 7000 biomedical and health titles either free or at very low cost.

        Springer has withdrawn 588 of its journals from the programme in Bangladesh and Lippincott Williams and Wilkins 299 journals. The American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Society for Animal Science have withdrawn access to, respectively, two and three of their journals.


        I do wonder how the well-paid fat-cats running these huge publishing conglomerates (disclosure: I once worked for part of Reed-Elsevier, so I have some experience of these things) look at themselves in the mirror after making decisions like this.

      • Highly Flawed ‘Piracy’ Report Used To Support Positions That Are Unrelated

        Last year, we pointed out that Steven Tepp, who worked at the US Copyright Office at the time, and was heavily involved in pushing for ACTA (and downplaying the legitimate concerns of ACTA critics), jumped ship to the private US Chamber of Commerce, which has been one of the stronger supporters of such bad laws. The Chamber of Commerce, which is basically a lobbying organization for some of the world’s biggest businesses, has a history of making up absolutely ridiculous claims about intellectual property, so it’s really not a surprise that it would hire Tepp, who did the same thing from within the government.


        As for the actual report that Tepp was commenting on, it doesn’t actually say what Tepp says it says. You can read the details of the report (pdf) here. It’s almost laughably weak in its methodology. Nowhere does it support any of Tepp’s claims — and you would think that a journalist wouldn’t quote a biased commenter making claims that have nothing to do with the report in question. Specifically, the MarkMonitor report simply looked at some sites that are used for infringement, then assumed that they were used entirely for infringing purposes, and then used Alexa ratings (perhaps the least credible measuring system out there) and simply added up all visits, and seemed to suggest that this was all for infringement. When it came to pharmaceuticals, the researchers did not appear to make much of an attempt to determine which offerings were really gray market importers of generic drugs, as opposed to counterfeits. Instead, it just made some assumptions based on the sites themselves.

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  2. The Corporate Cabal (and Spy Agencies-Enabled Monopolies) Engages in Raiding of the Free Software Community and Hacker Culture

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  3. EPO's Web Site Constantly Spammed by Lies About Privacy While EPO Breaks the Law and Outsources Data to the United States

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  4. Links 16/1/2022: Tsunami and Patents

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  5. IRC Proceedings: Saturday, January 15, 2022

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  6. Links 16/1/2022: Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop and Catch-up With Patent Misinformation

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  7. Patrick Breyer, Unlike Most German Politicians, Highlights the Fact That Unified Patent Court (UPC) and Unitary Patent Are Incompatible With EU Law

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  9. Blogging and Microblogging in Geminispace With Gemini Protocol

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  11. IRC Proceedings: Friday, January 14, 2022

    IRC logs for Friday, January 14, 2022

  12. Gemini Clients: Comparing Moonlander, Telescope, Amfora, Kristall, and Lagrange (Newer and Older)

    There are many independent implementations of clients (similar to Web browsers) that deal with Gemini protocol and today we compare them visually, using Techrights as a test case/capsule

  13. 2022 Starts With Censorship of Christmas and Other Greetings at the EPO

    The nihilists who run the EPO want a monopoly on holiday greetings; to make matters worse, they’re censoring staff representatives in their intranet whilst inconsistently applying said policies

  14. Links 14/1/2022: FFmpeg 5.0 and Wine 7.0 RC6

    Links for the day

  15. White House Asking Proprietary Software Companies That Add NSA Back Doors About Their Views on 'Open Source' Security

    The US government wants us to think that in order to tackle security issues we need to reach out to the collective 'wisdom' of the very culprits who created the security mess in the first place (even by intention, for imperialistic objectives)

  16. Links 14/1/2022: EasyOS 3.2.1 and Qt 6.3 Alpha

    Links for the day

  17. Scientific Excellence and the Debian Social Contract

    The Debian Project turns 30 next year; in spite of it being so ubiquitous (most of the important distros of GNU/Linux are based on Debian) it is suffering growing pains and some of that boils down to corporate cash and toxic, deeply divisive politics

  18. Links 14/1/2022: openSUSE Leap 15.2 EoL, VFX Designers Are Using GNU/Linux

    Links for the day

  19. IRC Proceedings: Thursday, January 13, 2022

    IRC logs for Thursday, January 13, 2022

  20. 2022 Commences With Microsoft-Themed (and Microsoft-Connected) FUD Against GNU/Linux

    A psychopathic Microsoft, aided by operatives inside the mainstream and so-called 'tech' media, keeps spreading old and invalid stigma about "Linux" and Free software; few people still bother responding to these fact-free FUD campaigns, which boil down to ‘perception management’ PR/propaganda

  21. Between January 2021 and January 2022 the Number of Active Gemini Capsules Nearly Quadrupled Based on Publicly-Available Catalogue of Capsules

    Geminispace has grown to about 2,000 known capsules and 1,600 of them are active, permanently online, fully accessible; in January last year these numbers were about 4 times smaller

  22. Links 13/1/2022: NetworkManager 1.34 and Everett 3.0.0

    Links for the day

  23. Links 13/1/2022: Sparky 5.16, Fwupd 1.7.4, and KDE Plasma 5.24 Beta Released

    Links for the day

  24. Call a Spade a Spade (Microsoft 'Contributions' to Linux)

    Call a spade a spade; Microsoft does not love Linux and doesn’t try to help Linux, as it’s still all about Windows and proprietary software with surveillance, back doors, and worse things

  25. No Excuses for Using GitHub Anymore

    Software developers become living witnesses to more and more reasons to abandon Microsoft for good

  26. Links 13/1/2022: Slackware Linux 15.0 RC3 and More Microsoft Aggression Against Linux

    Links for the day

  27. IRC Proceedings: Wednesday, January 12, 2022

    IRC logs for Wednesday, January 12, 2022

  28. Links 12/1/2022: IPython 8.0, Iranian Attacks on Microsoft Windows

    Links for the day

  29. Non-Fungible Membership in OSI

    The OSI tells us that it got over a thousand members, but that boils down to just people clicking a URL or a button

  30. Computing Security is Being Redefined as 'Controlled by NSA' (and Microsoft)

    The ascent of fake security or the concept that outsourcing trust to Pentagon-connected monopolies is the same as "security" is a real problem because the mindset creeps into new legislation, in effect cementing monopolies and centralisation

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