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02.24.11

Links 24/2/2011: Mutter 2.91.90 Released Alongside GNOME Shell, Android 3.0 Surfaces

Posted in News Roundup at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

    • Synapse: Anandamide

      Just a quick shout about new release of Synapse – 0.2.4! There aren’t too many user visible changes in this release, besides a few new plugins. Mostly polishing and more polishing.

    • Synapse (Launcher) 0.2.4 Released With New Plugins

      The new version also brings multiple fixes to the Zeitgeist searches, copy to clipboard action, UI fixes and speedups and other bug fixes.

    • Proprietary

      • Buying VMware Fusion

        So, to recap:

        1. I bought a product that I couldn’t use out-of-the-box;
        2. in order to use it, I was sent to a site I had never dealt with before;
        3. the site requires me to enter part of my credit card to use it;
        4. it then takes me to a totally broken page, which, thankfully, has a license key;
        5. that license key is rejected for some indeterminate amount of time by vmware.com;
        6. once it’s finally not rejected, vmware.com still merrily asks me to give it an email that it knows damn well it didn’t give me.

    • Instructionals/Technical

      • Managing Multiple Linux Servers with ClusterSSH

        If you’re a Linux system administrator, chances are you’ve got more than one machine that you’re responsible for on a daily basis. You may even have a bank of machines that you maintain that are similar — a farm of Web servers, for example. If you have a need to type the same command into several machines at once, you can login to each one with SSH and do it serially, or you can save yourself a lot of time and effort and use a tool like ClusterSSH.

  • Desktop Environments

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Last Minute Changes To GNOME Shell, Mutter

        Version 2.91.90 of GNOME Shell and Mutter were released last night and they carry some last minute changes to these major components of the GNOME 3.0 desktop.

        With GNOME Shell 2.91.90, there are workspace handling changes, a PolicyKit authentication agent, visual refreshments, suspend support is now shown from the power-off menu while the power-off button is concealed by default (hold down Alt to see), message tray improvements, Shell Toolkit improvements, memory leak fixes, Telepathy support being ported to a telepathy-glib library, and other work. The visual refresh is improving the appearance and behavior of the overview dash, using larger icons in the application browser, improving the top panel and round corners of the screen, and improving the search entity in the overview. Read more in the release announcement.

      • Mutter 2.91.90 released
      • Window controls for GNOME 3
      • Application categories
      • GNOME t-shirt contest winners
  • Distributions

    • Debian Family

      • Meet Debian at CeBIT 2011

        The Debian Project is happy to announce that it will again be represented at this year’s CeBIT IT fair in Hanover, Germany from the 1st to the 5th of March. Debian will again be a present as “special guest” at the booth of Univention GmbH, whose motto this year is “Open source keeps the promises of the cloud” and which can be found in hall 2 stand D36.

        Members of the project will be available for questions and discussions and demonstrate new features of the recently released Debian 6.0 “Squeeze”, including the new port to the kernel of the FreeBSD project. Visitors will also have the opportunity to bring USB thumb drives or blank CDs in order to get a free copy of Debian 6.0.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • ChromiumOS uses eCryptfs for Home Directories

          This is a very interesting read, about how the good folks at Google are using eCryptfs to secure user data on ChromiumOS devices. I found a few of the design points particularly interesting, such as the hashing of user names and integration with the TPM. I was also pleased to see that eCryptfs was chosen, in part, in accordance with their design needs for both performance and power consumption.

        • Unity Bitesize Bugs Update for 23 February

          Other Unity Tidbits

          * Lots of enhancements in the places speedup (with unfortunatly some crashes in some cases)
          * We can now define static quicklists in .desktop files. This is something we can just add to launchers for things like “Open a new window”, or “Create a new document”, even if the application doesn’t explicitly support quicklists. A proposal has been made on the xdg-list for an OnlyShowIn=unity property. Here’s an example with gnome-screenshot.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Edubuntu 11.04 Gets Package Selection In Ubiquity (So You Can Chose What To Install)

            Edubuntu 11.04 is becoming an amazing Ubuntu flavor. For instance, it seems that Edubuntu will ship with both Unity 2D (according to the latest edubuntu-meta) and Ubuntu Classic desktop by default (but the regular Unity will still be available). Unity 2D will also be used as fall-back for those that try to use the regular Unity but don’t have a capable graphics card. Further more, LibreCAD (formerly CADuntu), a great 2D CAD drawing tool based on the community edition of QCad ported to Qt will also be included by default starting with Edubuntu 11.04.

          • Edubuntu Bug Day – 10 March

            Bugs may sound cute and harmless, but often even small software bugs can have a huge impact on the overall user experience.

            The current development version of Edubuntu, codenamed “Natty Narwhal” which will in time become Edubuntu 11.04 is shaping up quite well. However, quite often attention is focussed on the big issues and sometimes the smaller problems just don’t get the attention they also deserve, which results in feedback like “Hey! Why didn’t you fix this, it would’ve only taken you 15 minutes!”.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Qt implementation for Android introduced
        • Qt Implementation for Android Introduced
        • Nokia: Culture will out

          Executive summary: Despite the omnipresent burden of responsibility, and the inherent risk of failure, there’s an excitement and pleasure in working on one’s own behalf that was for the most part missing entirely from my Nokian experience. The word I keep coming back to, in my head, is “unbound,” and it’s an unbelievably lovely and liberating sensation.

          My experience with a project we’re working on, even at this very early stage, might serve as a small illustration of why the entrepreneurial life has already been so rewarding, and incidentally, why I wouldn’t look for innovation from large organizations. At any rate, it’s as good a way as any to comment, hopefully constructively, on Nokia’s recent and ongoing troubles.

        • Former Nokia Designer: Nokia Bosses Have No Taste

          Since Nokia announced it was going to leap off its “burning platform” and into the arms of Microsoft, there have been plenty of arguments about whether the link between the two companies is going to work or not. Even here on GigaOM there’s been some division: I argued that two wrongs don’t make a right, while we also heard that it could be good news for developers.

      • Android

        • How To Improve Your Privacy and Security By Installing Tor On Your Android Smartphone

          Mobile communications can easily be surveilled. One step you can take to prevent tracking is to install Tor on your phone.

          Orbot, developed by the Guardian Project, is an application that implements Tor on Android phones. It allows mobile phone users to access the web, instant messaging, and email without being monitored or blocked by their mobile internet service provider. Learn more about Tor at https://torproject.org or visit our how-to guide for using Tor on your computer.

        • Things overheard on the WiFi from my Android smartphone

          What options do Android users have, today, to protect themselves against eavesdroppers? Android does support several VPN configurations which you could configure before you hit the road. That won’t stop the unnecessary transmission of your fine GPS coordinates, which, to my mind, neither SoundHound nor ShopSaavy have any business knowing. If that’s an issue for you, you could turn off your GPS altogether, but you’d have to turn it on again later when you want to use maps or whatever else. Ideally, I’d like the Market installer to give me the opportunity to revoke GPS privileges for apps like these.

        • Facebook Mobile: All our base are belong to them [OPINION]

          Android users have long been able to merge their Facebook and Google contacts, a genius way to quickly get phone numbers, emails, and photo ID’s when available. But that privilege has been stripped from the latest update to the Nexus S and future lead devices from Google.

          Facebook was previously granted an exception from Google’s requirement that developers use the Android contacts API, but Google has revoked that access in the name of “data portability.” Regardless of the reasons given, this is really about Google’s effort to gain more user data, and this play for power will do nothing to hurt Facebook. Why? Because Facebook is already teflon in the mobile arena.

        • Best Practices for Honeycomb and Tablets

          The first tablets running Android 3.0 (“Honeycomb”) will be hitting the streets on Thursday Feb. 24th, and we’ve just posted the full SDK release. We encourage you to test your applications on the new platform, using a tablet-size AVD.

          Developers who’ve followed the Android Framework’s guidelines and best practices will find their apps work well on Android 3.0. This purpose of this post is to provide reminders of and links to those best practices.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola Xoom has relockable bootloader, activation cost, and gold streak for celebs

        There’s a new tidbit about the Motorola Xoom every 20 minutes, so I decided to combine all of them into one post so you don’t get overloaded with Xoom news Here’s the latest information about the world’s first Honeycomb tablet – or at least the most recent stories that are sure to be old news when a million new things come out next hour.

      • Android 3.0 Platform Highlights

        The Android 3.0 platform introduces many new and exciting features for users and developers. This document provides a glimpse of some of the new features and technologies, as delivered in Android 3.0. For a more detailed look at new developer APIs, see the Android 3.0 Platform document.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Trying To Lure Suckers, Company Resells Open Source Blender

    I love that they promise “Free Updates For Life. All From the Thriving Open Source Community, This Software is Forever Improving.”

  • Please do not care about non-FOSS (Specially M$)

    Ex – Proprietary Technology vendor are much fanatic then us
    * M$ never try to create any product for non-FOSS, we FOSS guys prepare platform-independent code
    * M$ do not recognise grub but we can fix windows and mount them
    * M$ do not recognise ISO standard (odt) and blindly follow its close standards
    * M$ create patent and promote a FOSS-incompatible environment.
    * This list is very long and prove that proprietary and close technology vendors are much fanatic for their technology and ideals.

  • Technology That’s Free Like Speech, Not Like Beer

    Free Technology advocates are used to being misunderstood. Between open source, creative commons, and the plain old law, it’s sometimes hard for the layman to figure out what free tech is for and what it’s against. That’s where the Free Technology Academy comes in.

    The FTA is like no university you’ve ever seen – even though they offer accredited classes – partly because you can’t see it. The project is a collaboration between the Free Knowledge institute and universities in The Netherlands, Spain, and Norway, but has no campus. The courses in the FTA program stretch from the theoretical (“The concepts of Free Software and Open Standards”) to the practical (“Software development”, “Web applications development”), but all are devoted to the propagation and increased use of free technology. Students who wish to enroll in classes taught by professors pay small tuition fee and interact with their teachers through the FTA’s web interface. But what’s so free about that?

    In the coursebook for the FTA “Concepts” class mentioned above, they use Richard Stallman’s (the movement’s grandfather) four-part defintion for what makes free software free

  • The Apache Software Foundation Announces Apache Chemistry as a Top-Level Project

    The Apache Software Foundation (ASF), the all-volunteer developers, stewards, and incubators of nearly 150 Open Source projects and initiatives, today announced that Apache Chemistry has graduated from the Apache Incubator as a Top-Level Project (TLP). This signifies that the Apache Chemistry community and products have been well-governed under the ASF’s meritocratic, consensus-driven process and principles.

  • Support Free and Open Source Software Community as a candidate for the Prince of Asturias Awards 2011 in the International Cooperation category

    Prince of Asturias Foundation has invited CENATIC to nominate a candidate for the 2011 Prince of Asturias Award. During the last weeks CENATIC Foundation has been evaluating potential candidates, intending to find the one with the biggest chances of winning the award, which would, at the same time, represent the interests of all the agents of the Free and Open Source Software sector in Spain.

  • Events

    • LibrePlanet 2011

      LibrePlanet 2011 will be a one-day conference on Saturday, March 19th 2011 at Bunker Hill Community College, in Boston, MA. If you’re coming in for the weekend, we have plans for Friday and Sunday as well, although these are informal.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Amping Up Chrome’s Background Feature

        Many users rely on apps to provide timely notifications for things like calendar events and incoming chat messages, but find it cumbersome to always keep a Chrome window open. Extensions and packaged apps can already display notifications and maintain state without any visible windows, using background pages. This functionality is now available to hosted apps – the most common form of apps in the Chrome Web Store – via a new background window mechanism.

      • Enable Instant in Chrome’s Omnibox for Faster Searching and Browsing Experience

        I am not really sure if this is a new feature on Google Chrome. It might had been there for a long time now. But I only noticed it yesterday and I was totally taken aback. Instant-inside-omnibox is a very useful and very innovative feature in my opinion.

    • Mozilla

      • Help Test the Faster, More Stable Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo

        The latest Mozilla Firefox 4 Beta for Android and Maemo is now available from the Android Market and on your Nokia Maemo device. This release was focused on continuing to improve stability and performance.

        Firefox 4 Beta is faster and easier to use. You’ll experience better responsiveness to panning and zooming, faster start up time and with enhanced JavaScript performance you’ll see faster page load times. We also worked to make major stability improvements in this release.

      • Symbian is here to stay, says Nokia

        According to Nokia, there are currently 200 million Symbian users around the world. The Finnish outfit said it expects to sell about 150 million Symbian devices going forward.

      • The Next Million Mozillians (redux)

        A little over two years ago, I did a bunch of posts about the idea of recruiting ‘the next million Mozillians’. My thinking at the time: we need to grow our community dramatically. We need to build even more creativity, reach and resilience into who we are. This is how we build a 100 year organization for the open web.

      • Wiki Wednesday: February 23, 2011
      • Thunderbird Messaging Menu integration ready for testing

        Mike Conley from Mozilla Messaging sends along that he’s ready to have people testing his work on integrating Thunderbird into the messaging menu.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • You are our rockstars!

      In just one week, thousands of donors from all over the world did the unbelievable: You all donated more than 40.000 € for setting up The Document Foundation as legal entity. Honestly, we never ever even dreamed of achieving that in such a short period of time – what happened is just amazing, awesome and beyond imagination. Thank you, thank you, thank you so very much! You all contributed to the dream of a Foundation, and with 10.000 € left until we have the required capital stock, we’re close to making it a reality.

    • LibreOffice 3.3.1 brings new colored icons

      LibreOffice 3.3.1 also brings new colorful icons based on The Document Foundation branding guidelines, and includes updates to several language versions.

  • Education

    • Students in Los Altos delight in using Inkscape drawing program

      One of the fun parts of blogging for PCWorld.com is getting reader response e-mails from all over the world. You never know who is going to read what you write. Sometimes they’ll spot the blog post on the PCWorld Web page, or as a link in a tweet or even as a Google search result several months after the blog post was published.

      I’ve blogged previously about Inkscape, the free vector drawing program for Linux, Macintosh, and Windows, so I was thrilled to receive an e-mail from Sheena Vaidyanathan, who teaches Inkscape to elementary school students in Los Altos, California, in the heart of Silicon Valley. Here is how Sheena explained her teaching to me: “I started adding Inkscape as an art unit, then as an after school program and it was so popular, that the school district asked me to start a program called Digital Design for all 7 elementary schools. I teach 20 classes each week to 4th-6th graders, and each class is an average of 25 students. After one trimester, I get a new set of students, so in one year I teach all 4-6th graders, about 1500 students! It is a lot of work, but I love teaching and sharing my enthusiasm for art and technology with kids. I love using Inkscape and other free open source software (I also teach SketchUp, and Scratch) because the kids can actually install it at home and use it outside the classroom. I am not sure if there are any other public schools that have a program like this, but it is a fantastic way to get kids excited about technology, and learn to use computers to express their creativity.”

  • Business

    • How does open source affect company culture?

      An open source company is naturally a company that produces open source code for others to consume. But how does the notion of producing software code in the open affect company culture?

      I believe that an organization cannot produce open source code if it is not generally open itself. By this I mean having culture of transparency and of openly sharing information and ideas. The same basic environment that is often found in open source development–a sense of open community, where everyone is welcome to share their opinions and ideas–is often present in open source companies as well.

      But a company is different from an open source community in a key way: in every commercial entity, there is information that cannot or should not be shared with everyone. How does an organization hold a balance between being culturally open and maintaining the level of professional discretion required by its customers, its board of directors and others? How do employees know when to act open and when to keep closed?

    • ForgeRock Signs Consulting, Training and Reseller Partnership with First Point Global to deliver Open Source Identity and Access Management Software Solutions
  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • Fellowship interview with Massimo Babieri

      Massimo Babieri is an IT manager at the Earth Science Department, of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia. As well as holding a Ph.D in Geology, Massimo leads the band The Radiostars, releasing their music under a Free license. As well as being a member of the LUG Scandiano, he has been very active in the ongoing success of the PDFreaders campaign in Italy.

    • Igalia reinforces its support for the Free Software community.

      The Free Software Foundation (FSF) is a nonprofit organization with a worldwide mission to promote computer user freedom and to defend the rights of all Free Software users. Igalia deeply appreciates their hard work driving the Free Software movement since its beginning and goes a step further by providing financial support for this organization.

  • Licensing

    • The Problem With Bilateral Agreements
    • ECJ asked to rule on re-sale of software licences

      A German court has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to clarify whether or not a company can sell second-hand versions of downloaded business software in a case involving software company Oracle.

      Oracle took action against usedSoft, arguing that that its sale of used licences for software is illegal. Customers who buy second-hand licences from usedSoft then download software from Oracle for their own use.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • free culture

      As I find them, I will list resources, information and discussion about the mind bending free culture concept.
      A lot of people think the idea of “free culture” means that nobody gets paid. And in fact, no one is compelled to pay. The way that it really works, is that people pay what they can when they can, because we know supporting the artists/musicians/fimmakers/designers/developers/writers allows more of the creations we want to be created. This means consumers only pay for what they like.

    • World Book Night to open with huge public reading in London

      What organisers believe will be the biggest single literary event in history is to raise the curtain on next month’s World Book Night, itself billed as “the biggest book give-away ever”. On 4 March London’s Trafalgar Square will be given over to a “glittering celebration of the written word”, with 10,000 people expected to attend.

      The free event will feature appearances from numerous celebrated authors, ranging from Alan Bennett to Nick Cave, reading from their favourite books.

    • Open Data

      • A first look at the council spending data: £10bn, 1.5m payments, 60,000 companies

        Like buses, you wait ages for local councils to publish their spending data, then a whole load come at once… and consequently OpenlyLocal has been importing the data pretty much non-stop for the past month or so.

        We’ve now imported spending data for over 140 councils with more being added each day, and now have over a million and a half payments to suppliers, totalling over £10 billion. I think it’s worth repeating that figure: Ten Billion Pounds, as it’s a decent chunk of change, by anybody’s measure (although it’s still only a fraction of all spending by councils in the country).

      • Bill documents — Protection of Freedoms Bill 2010-11
  • Standards/Consortia

    • What’s Still Missing in the HTML5 Spec

      The multimedia holes in the HTML5 spec The primary aspect of multimedia capability to be resolved this spring is multitracking for audio and video, though the W3C isn’t committing to having this capability in the final HTML5 spec. Multitracking would, for example, enable a choice of spoken languages to accompany a video, allow the presentation of a video within another video, and permit applications like chat rooms to display simultaneous audio from multiple people.

Leftovers

  • In the beginning, there was a dream

    My friends have always entertained my unconventional musings. A favourite being my desire to live a life of “freedom” on a sailboat in some remote sea passages of the Canadian West Coast. This didn’t seem to compute in my favour as a 28yr old single female. Hence, meeting another outdoor enthusiast with a handy streak and possessing the same desire struck me as … trouble! Having a small prior stint in living aboard a sailboat, I was fully aware that it’s not as romantic as it sounds, nor does it allow for much more storage than a suitcase of clothing. I was skeptical my well-dressed, large-dog-owning loved one understood the gravity of this.

  • SFU DNA lab seeks to solve the mystery of Amelia Earhart’s disappearance

    SFU health sciences student Justin Long of Vancouver has supplied the university with four letters, believed to have been hand-written and sealed by Earhart. The envelopes were opened at the end leaving the gummy seal – and hopefully Earhart’s saliva – intact. Long acquired the letters froma collection of 400 pieces of the aviator’s correspondence collected by his grandfather Elgin Long, a lifelong Earhart biographer.

  • Nowcasts: Predicting the Present

    Nowcasting is a term used by the folks at Google to represent an analysis of large volumes of data that can be used to “forecast” current events for which official analysis has not been released. For instance, using these techniques one can “nowcast” what the current unemployment rate is before the official unemployment rate is determined. Google also calls this “predicting the present.”

    Another example is the way Google was able to pinpoint the emergence of flu outbreaks by monitoring outbreaks of search terms for flu-related words, as a proxy for the flu itself. As they put it: “web searches may not only be useful as a reliable indicator of the health-seeking behavior when facing the influenza pandemic but also they may contain a useful information for predicting the present stance of economic activity some time ahead of the official release of relevant data.”

  • Amazon Kindle goes social with Public Notes, Twitter and Facebook integration

    A free firmware update for Amazon’s Kindle ebook reader adds several new features, including an element of social networking.

  • Google Calendar Users Suffering Missing Data [Updated]

    We’re getting reports of many Google Calendar users suffering missing data right now. It appears that the when users load their accounts, all calendars and entries are missing.

  • Harry Reid’s prostitution lecture bombs

    What prompted Reid to call for abolishing prostitution wasn’t clear. In the speech, he framed it as a matter of economic development — but also a matter of shame.

  • BookRenter Raises $40 Million To Take On Chegg In Textbook Rentals

    College textbook rental startup BookRenter has raised $40 million in funding from Adams Capital Management, Comerica Bank, Focus Ventures, Lighthouse Capital Partners, Norwest Venture Partners, and Storm Ventures. This brings BookRenter’s total funding to $60 million.

  • Reports of marginalia’s demise have been exaggerated

    As with most things, it’s easier to lament a loss than come up with a solution. Joe Wikert took The New York Times article mourning the death of marginalia in digital books head-on, choosing the more difficult path of coming up with a solution.

  • Investing in news innovation in Europe

    Journalism is changing fast. And as news businesses experiment with new ways of creating and delivering journalism in the digital age, Google is keen to play its part on the technology side. Over the last year, we’ve been partnering with publishers around the world to develop technological solutions—including, most recently, One Pass—to find new and engaging ways of presenting stories online and to generate greater revenues.

    As well as our focus on technological experimentation, we’re also investing at the grassroots level. Last October we announced that we would be giving $5 million in grants to non-profit organisations working on developing new approaches to journalism. At that time, we allocated around 40% of the total fund to the Knight Foundation in the U.S.

  • Nicolas Sarkozy’s foreign policies denounced by rebel diplomats

    Nicolas Sarkozy is facing an unprecedented revolt by French diplomats who warn that his foreign policy gaffes have left France pathetically diminished on the world stage.

    After weeks of embarrassing French slip-ups – including Paris blindly standing by the Tunisian and Egyptian dictatorships until the last minute – a group of diplomats have published a scathing attack on the president in Le Monde.

  • Science

    • Plastics can now conduct electricity

      The discovery of a new technique will make it possible to create a whole new collection of plastics with metallic and/or superconducting properties.

      According to the University of New South Wales, plastics normally conduct electricity very poorly and they are used to insulate electric cables but, by placing a thin sheet of metal onto a plastic film and mixing it into the polymer surface with an ion beam, Australian researchers have displayed that the system can be used to make inexpensive, durable, flexible and conductive plastics.

    • Rolls-Royce develops all-electric Phantom prototype

      Rolls-Royce cars have never been known for their fuel efficiency – after all, if you can afford to buy one, you’re probably not that concerned about the price of gas.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Wednesday’s security updates
    • Verizon Asked to Probe ‘Alarming’ Dropped 911 Calls

      Reports indicate Verizon’s network failed to connect 10,000 calls to 911 numbers in Washington’s suburbs during the Jan. 26 storm, the Federal Communications Commission said in a letter to the carrier today that was released by e-mail.

    • Anonymous: the amorphous ungroup

      As the revolt started by Anonymous in Tunisia slowly spreads across North Africa, moving inexorably towards Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, with all that implies for the oil-dependent world, the lamescream media and ‘intelligence’ agencies try to pin down the amorphous ungroup.

      Anonymous is now what must be the most powerful universal force for change the world has ever seen. And that terrifies the Powers That Used To Be as they watch the control they once exercised over the Great Unwashed, disintegrate.

      HBGary’s Aaron Barr came unstuck when he claimed to have penetrated Anonymous. And you can be sure he still thinks there’s some kind of Anonymous Central where all the Operation Paybacks and other anon activities are planned and plotted.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The Power of Nonviolent Resistance

      And the stories of resistance in Tunisia, Algeria, Yemen, Jordan, Bahrain, Iran, and Libya are also fundamentally local ones.

    • Ordered to Attack Own People, Libyan Pilots Crash Their Jets

      On Wednesday, the Gadhafi regime ordered two of its pilots to attack the opposition stronghold of Benghazi – part of the Libyan government’s ongoing attempt to bomb activists into submission. But rather than make that attack run, Abdessalam Attiyah al-Abdali and his co-pilot Ali Omar al-Kadhafi bailed. They parachuted out of their Russian-made Sukhoi 22, and let the jet crash about 100 miles west of Benghazi.

    • Security Council Press Statement on Libya

      The following Security Council press statement was issued today by Council President Maria Luiza Ribeiro Viotti ( Brazil):

      The members of the Security Council were briefed on the situation in Libya by B. Lynn Pascoe, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, and the Permanent Representative of the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, whose Mission had requested a meeting of the Security Council.

    • Libya: Stop the Crackdown
    • As U.S. Rebuilt Ties With Libya, Human Rights Concerns Took a Back Seat

      The brutality in Libya has prompted the State Department to issue several statements in recent days strongly condemning the Libyan government and calling the bloodshed “completely unacceptable”—though it stopped short of threatening sanctions.

      The country’s dictator, Col. Muammar Qaddafi, said on Tuesday that the protesters who have been killed “deserved to die,” and he vowed to fight “until the last drop of my blood.”

    • Caller Personally Confirmed: 1500 young men buried alive in an Underground room in Benghazi

      1500 young men, buried alive, buried alive.

    • Libyan forces turn on Gadaffhi, declare “Free Benghazi,” capture foreign mercenaries

      Soldiers and police in Beghazi, Libya’s second city, have thrown in with protesters on the ground and declared the city to be “Free Benghazi.” The Guardian is carrying eyewitness reports of more than 4,000 foreign mercenaries being brought to the country to fight for Gadaffhi, some of whom are in custody of the revolutionary army.

    • Berlusconi’s Cut

      A very senior diplomatic source told me yesterday that Berlusconi is frantic lest Gadaffi falls and the channels are revealed by which Berlusconi gets a cut on the huge amounts of Libyan oil and gas lifted to Italy. Just at the moment that would be too much even for Berlusconi to survive.

    • Petraeus’s comments on coalition attack reportedly offend Karzai government

      To the shock of President Hamid Karzai’s aides, Gen. David H. Petraeus suggested Sunday at the presidential palace that Afghans caught up in a coalition attack in northeastern Afghanistan might have burned their own children to exaggerate claims of civilian casualties, according to two participants at the meeting.

      The exact language Petraeus used in the closed-door session is not known, and neither is the precise message he meant to convey. But his remarks about the deadly U.S. military operation in Konar province were deemed deeply offensive by some in the room. They spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe the private discussions.

    • Torture inquiry is legally flawed, say rights groups as NGOs ponder boycott

      An inquiry set up by David Cameron to examine Britain’s involvement in torture and rendition since 9/11 is running into trouble even before it has begun hearing evidence, with human rights organisations warning that it will fail to meet the UK’s obligations under international and domestic law.

      Such is the level of concern that some NGOs (non-governmental organisations) are considering whether they should boycott the inquiry due to be headed by Sir Peter Gibson, because they fear it will not be sufficiently independent, impartial or open to public scrutiny.

  • Cablegate

    • 09CARACAS1284,

      Venezuela played host to 28 heads of state and representatives from 33 other countries at the Second Africa-South America (ASA) Summit on September 26-27 on the island of Margarita. Portrayed by President Chavez before and afterwards as an historic display of unity between long-oppressed continents, the Summit appears to have instead highlighted differences among participants over both substance and style. Despite efforts by Venezuela and Libya, the Summit declaration itself contained few unexpected provisions. Following the Summit, President Chavez signed a series of bilateral energy and mining agreements, and joined six other South American Presidents in signing a “constituting agreement” for his proposed regional development bank, Banco del Sur. Some Summit participants reported that their most lasting memory may well be the preparatory and logistical mess that the delegates encountered.

    • The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Tuesday, Day 87

      5:05 Academics debate whether students, or anyone, even reading WikiLeaks are breaking the Espionage Law. The absurdity burns. But a good read, from Philly Inquirer.

      3:05 The Bradley Manniing Advocacy Fund launched today, with this endorsement from Dan Ellsberg: “There has been a concerted effort to paint Bradley Manning as a terrorist and traitor. He is neither. He is a patriotic American who deserves better than to be tried in the media – as is happening day after day on the basis of misinformation – before he has had any opportunity to speak publicly for himself or to present his own case in court. I hope others will join me in supporting the Bradley Manning Advocacy Fund to ensure a free-flow of information on PFC Manning and give him a fair shot at due process and humane treatment.”:

      2:05 More major fallout from WikiLeaks usually overlooked: Why do we currently have no U.S. ambassador in Libya? Because he (Gene Cretz) was recently recalled after uproar over his cables critiquing Gaddafi. “Certainly doesn’t help in current crisis. (h/t Kevin Gosztola)

      12:30 Lengthy new piece on Wikileaks finances, past and present, and call for “transparency.”

    • How to Write a Cable

      Contrary to what Julian Assange might tell you, most ambassadors do not worry that the wrong people will read their cables, but that the right people won’t. The U.S. State Department receives several million cables a year, and while most deal with mundane administrative matters, several hundred thousand report on political and economic developments. The secretary of state reads just a handful of these, and assistant secretaries read a small portion of the cables from their geographic regions. Even the desk officer might only have time to scan the post’s voluminous cable traffic.

    • Whom do The New York Times and The Guardian work for?

      Bill Keller, an editor with The New York Times, has recently published an article titled “Dealing With Assange and the WikiLeaks Secrets.” In the article, the author wrote how the newspaper was working with secret cables. From what the article says, it seems that Russia appears to be a real stronghold of freedom of speech.

      Keller wrote: “Because of the range of the material and the very nature of diplomacy, the embassy cables were bound to be more explosive than the War Logs. Dean Baquet, our Washington bureau chief, gave the White House an early warning on Nov. 19. The following Tuesday, two days before Thanksgiving, Baquet and two colleagues were invited to a windowless room at the State Department, where they encountered an unsmiling crowd. Representatives from the White House, the State Department, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the C.I.A., the Defense Intelligence Agency, the F.B.I. and the Pentagon gathered around a conference table. Others, who never identified themselves, lined the walls. A solitary note-taker tapped away on a computer.”

      The next meetings would take place in the form of daily conference calls. “Before each discussion, our Washington bureau sent over a batch of specific cables that we intended to use in the coming days. They were circulated to regional specialists, who funneled their reactions to a small group at State, who came to our daily conversations with a list of priorities and arguments to back them up. We relayed the government’s concerns, and our own decisions regarding them, to the other news outlets.”

    • Assange set to lose extradition case, then appeal

      Julian Assange is expected to lose his battle against extradition to Sweden today.

      Legal sources in London believe that the magistrate, Howard Riddle, will grant the European arrest warrant forcing the WikiLeaks founder to face accusations of sex crimes in Stockholm.

      However, it could take nine months to a year before a verdict, as both sides have already signalled their intention to appeal against today’s decision should it go against them, taking the extradition request to the High Court and the Supreme Court.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • BP Says Spill Settlement Terms Are Too Generous

      In the eight months since Kenneth R. Feinberg took over the $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, he has been attacked by many of those filing claims and by coastal state politicians who argue that the process is opaque, arbitrary and slow. Many of them have also argued that Mr. Feinberg’s recently published estimates of future damage to those in the gulf are too optimistic, and thus his offer of compensation in a final settlement is too low.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Politics of Mother’s Milk

      You may have heard the old adage that “money is the mother’s milk of politics,” but money also has a lot to do with the politics of mother’s milk.

      Last week Rep. Michele Bachmann, R., Minn., criticized Michelle Obama for announcing that she would work to encourage breastfeeding as part of her campaign against childhood obesity, accusing the First Lady of encouraging a “new definition” of a “nanny state.”

      What was missing from the stories that followed, however, was that the powerful infant formula industry has tremendous influence in Washington, with PACs, employees and their family members of the three biggest producers donating $1 million to federal candidates and party committees in the 2010 election cycle and the companies themselves disclosing lobbying spending of $9 million, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

  • Privacy

    • Passenger data and the UK Government

      As simple background, the U.S. started the policy of requiring airlines to submit the detailed biographical and behavioural information on all travellers to the U.S. In fact, the U.S. first required that all data on all passengers’ travel (not limited to the U.S.) be transferred to the U.S. authorities for any use under the sun.

      After years of debate and deliberation between the EU and the U.S., the EU agreed to the transfer of the information to the U.S. (with some limitations), and the EU began to seek its own passenger surveillance scheme. The Bush Administration clearly has left its mark on EU policy. This is the practice of ‘policy laundering’ that for years we have worked on: one country adopting the surveillance policies of other countries.

  • Civil Rights

    • What Does the “Track” in “Do Not Track” Mean?

      There is a lot of discussion about Do Not Track at the moment. The FTC has announced support for the idea; Mozilla has added a Do Not Track header option into Firefox betas, and Congresswoman Jackie Speier has introduced a Do Not Track bill. Other proposed privacy legislation, such as Rep. Bobby Rush’s bill, could also achieve similar objectives. And yesterday, EFF submitted comments urging the Federal Trade Commission to defend online privacy by supporting the header-based Do Not Track feature.

      Do Not Track is important because it creates a policy mechanism to augment the privacy enhancing technologies that we currently have. There is an arms race between practical privacy tools and ubiquitous online tracking, and we fear that the trackers have powerful techniques that will almost always allow them to win the arms race against ordinary people.

    • Egyptian orders a pizza for the Wisconsin demonstrators

      Ian’s, a pizzeria near the Wisconsin state capitol that is sympathetic to the demonstrators, has been facilitating the process of supporters around the world who want to send pizza to the protest. They’ve fielded an order from Egypt — now that’s solidarity.

    • Exodus: Dems trigger Statehouse showdown

      Seats on one side of the Indiana House were nearly empty today as House Democrats departed the the state rather than vote on anti-union legislation.

      A source tells The Indianapolis Star that Democrats are headed to Illinois, though it was possible some also might go to Kentucky. They need to go to a state with a Democratic governor to avoid being taken into police custody and returned to Indiana.

      The House came into session twice this morning, with only three of the 40 Democrats present. Those were needed to make a motion, and a seconding motion, for any procedural steps Democrats would want to take to ensure Republicans don’t do anything official without quorum.

    • Discretion please, not rulebooks

      I’m writing this on a plane, having just passed through Security at Heathrow airport. An obviously nice young mother was distraught because she wasn’t allowed to take on board a tub of ointment for her little girl’s eczema. The security man was polite but firm. She wasn’t even permitted to spoon a reduced quantity into a smaller jar. I couldn’t quite grasp what was wrong with that helpful suggestion, but the rule book was implacable. All the official could do was offer to fetch his supervisor. The supervisor came and, equally polite but firm, she too was regretfully bound by the rulebook’s hoops of steel.

      [...]

      How often does a dangerous criminal walk free, not because evidence has been examined but simply because of a ‘technicality’? Perhaps the arresting officer fluffed his lines when delivering the official ‘caution’. Decisions that will gravely affect a person’s whole life can turn on the powerlessness of a judge to exercise discretion and reach a simple conclusion which every single person in the court, including the lawyers on both ‘sides’, knows is just.

    • Fake “Koch brother” calls up Wisconsin governor

      Ian Murphy, editor of the Buffalo Beast, just did something wonderful. Murphy, pretending to be billionaire industrialist and secretive conservative political activist David Koch, called Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, currently in the midst of attempting to crush the public employees’ unions. “Koch” got through to Walker (who hasn’t been taking calls from the Democratic state Senate minority leader). He taped the call and put it online.

      So Walker will happily take a call from a Koch brother. He says that he considered “planting some troublemakers” among the protesters. He is convinced that everyone is on his side. Like most people who only watch Fox, he has a skewed impression of the popularity of his union-crushing proposals. (His plan is, nationally, roundly unpopular. Except on Fox.)

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Kerry, Wyden, Cantwell, Franken Fight to Protect Network Neutrality

      Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.), chairman of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, along with Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) today fought to protect the network neutrality rules issued by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) last December. In a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senators opposed any efforts to use the appropriations process or the Congressional Review Act to keep the FCC from doing its job and implementing these network neutrality rules.

    • In flight broadband cheaper than bell

      Lufthansa’s IN FLIGHT BROADBAND IS CHEAPER THAN OUR WIRELINE!!!

    • Ottawa to force change in Internet fee ruling, Clement says

      Industry Minister Tony Clement is determined to promote Canada’s digital economy, and if that means overturning the CRTC on Internet usage-based billing for small providers, so be it.

      “We asked (the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission) to review their decision, and if they come back with the same decision the cabinet would overrule it because it wouldn’t be consistent with government policy … promoting competition and choice,” he said Wednesday after a forum with University of Alberta students.

      “You can’t have competition and choice if you allow a major carrier to force its business model onto an independent service provider.”

    • Towards a Distributed Internet

      In preparation for the Contact conference that I am helping to organize this October in NYC, I’ve been in discussion with many different communities about the types of initiatives they would like to bring to the table. The purpose of the event is to ‘realize the true potential of social media,’ and determine what infrastructures need to be in place to enable peer-to-peer commerce, culture, and governance.

  • DRM

    • Rumor: Sony developing a “hack-proof” PS3

      Well, this is certainly an amusing rumor. Apparently, the folks at Sony are attempting to build a “hack-proof” PS3. Although definitely an admirable initiative from a corporate perspective, we all know that any system is (eventually) crackable.

    • Sony to remotely clamp down on Piracy? & Other OS – Class action status looks unlikely

      I’ve covered my views on this before, so I won’t go over old ground, but suffice to say in the face of a vibrant pre-owned market, coupled with services like Lovefilm, I do have to wonder how many sales are actually lost through sharing software, look at how many isp offer “unlimited usage” with one hand and then sucker punching you with “fair use” with the other. For me, my unlimited data seems to stretch as far as 25gig a month, then it appears it’s no longer unlimited and out rolls the “fair use”. Consider how much gaming could be downloaded with even 25gig, not much I’d wager and then adding a few streamed HD movies on Lovefilm and its quickly eaten away. As far as I can gather, fair use applies to most if not all UK ISP’s, so that’s a very large group of users who just don’t have the facility to go on a downloading free for all….infringing or not.

    • Donations Pour In for PS3 Hacker

      George Hotz is in the middle of what could be a long, punishing legal battle with Sony, and his money is running out. “Media, I need your help. This is the first time I have ever asked. Please, if you support this cause, help me out and spread the word,” he wrote on his newest blog entry. “I want, by the time this goes to trial, to have Sony facing some of the hardest-hitting lawyers in the business. Together, we can help fix the system.”

      Ars Technica contacted Hotz’s lawyer to make sure this plea for cash was legitimate, and attorney Stewart Kellar confirmed that yes, the money raised goes to Hotz’s legal fund to fight Sony. It also appears Hotz has friends with deep pockets: The first round of fundraising is already over, and more lawyers will be hired for Hotz’s defense.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Truck Maker Discovers Chinese Knockoff Company; Helps It Come Up With Its Own Design

      We’ve seen different companies respond in different and creative ways to companies making knockoffs in the past. One of my favorites was the South African clothing firm that created an entire (secret) knockoff line of clothes to “compete” with unauthorized knockoffs.

    • Copyrights

      • International Music Score Library Project: humanity’s musical treasures freely available

        The International Music Score Library Project, a Web site founded five years ago by a conservatory student, then 19 years old, has made a vast expanse of musical treasures available for free. This public domain repertory of classical music includes Beethoven piano sonatas, Schubert songs, Mozart symphonies, and much more: by simply following the example of Google Books and Project Gutenberg it has grown to be one of the largest sources of scores anywhere.

      • Why Is The MPAA’s Top Priority ‘Fighting Piracy’ Rather Than Helping The Film Industry Thrive?

        We’ve already written about the news that ex-Senator Chris Dodd has gone back on his promises and his principles to take the top lobbying job at the MPAA, but this recent article in Hillicon Valley, talking with interim MPAA boss Bob Pisano, is bizarre in that it shows how incredibly misguided the MPAA’s entire strategy is. We’ve seen that the MPAA has an entire “content protection” staff, but doesn’t appear to have a staff of folks dedicated to actually helping filmmakers to adapt and to succeed in the modern era. But it strikes me as ridiculously short-sighted that the MPAA admits that its number one priority is getting the government to “fight piracy.”

      • Incentive to Create II
      • Irish Govt pushing through ‘illegal downloads’ changes to copyright law

        In its final days, the Government is believed to be rushing through a statutory instrument that will amend the existing Copyright Act and which will give judges the power to grant injunctions against ISPs in relation to copyright infringement cases.

        The move is believed to stem from October’s court case between the music industry (Warner, Sony, Universal and EMI) and UPC in which the judge pointed to a key gap in Irish copyright laws.

        Siliconrepublic.com has learned that the Department of Enterprise Trade and Innovation and the Department of Communications have tabled the legislation which is currently in the hands of the parliamentary draftsman with a view to passing it by Friday.

Clip of the Day

HTC Desire HD vs Samsung Galaxy S


Credit: TinyOgg

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