Linux Has Domination, Microsoft Has Vapourware

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 6:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bubbles background
Windows Bubble

Summary: Microsoft’s dreams of an operating system return to haunt innocent news readers who instead of being told about innovation in Linux-powered platforms get told about vapourware and shown mere mockups

THE market share of Microsoft in what qualifies as “desktop” keeps falling as new form factors get introduced. Wayne’s “Microsoft Death Watch” is now focused on the “Tablet Wars”, which Linux is expected to win based on some recent analyses (it was the same with phones, even though it took time). “Take the Cell Phone market for example,” writes Wayne, “Microsoft was an early Cell phone OS supplier, but they’ve never managed to supply more than a small fraction of market, and their current phone OS, WP7, appears to be selling slowly. Or consider the game console market. Last night I had to drive to our local big box pharmacy, and was surprised to see that they had the XBox-360 on the shelf. This particular chain is famous for selling overstocks at reduced prices, and guess where they had the XBox-360? Where they keep the overstocks.”

Wayne continues: “Porting Windows to ARM is going to be a nightmare for Microsoft. They are already three to four years behind Apple and Google in operating system development, since it appears that the Windows Phone 7 code base is going become an orphan.”

“As the world embraces smaller and more efficient devices, Microsoft’s margins and Microsoft’s Windows market share will probably continue to fall.”Glyn Moody cites “Microsoft Said to Plan Windows Release for Tablets in 2012″, adding: “truth to tell, tab a tad tardy…”

It is part of that old Vista 8 vapourware tactic, which now involves more mockups and ridiculous bubbles like the ribbon — perhaps change for the sake of giving the illusion of change with added value [1, 2]. Microsoft’s efforts to reduce Windows weight/scale continue after endless delays (2009 is named as a year when Microsoft started planning this) and real progress is nowhere in sight. To quote:

Microsoft won’t release a version of the Windows operating system geared for tablet computers until late 2012, according to a report published Friday.

“Another nail in the WinTablet coffin,” wrote Michael Singer in Twitter regarding this report. As the world embraces smaller and more efficient devices, Microsoft’s margins and Microsoft’s Windows market share will probably continue to fall.

BSA (Microsoft Front), MPEG Cartel (Backed by Microsoft and Apple), and Gates Foundation Under Scrutiny for Patent Play

Posted in Apple, Bill Gates, Microsoft, Patents at 6:49 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Patent aggressors fly too close to the Sun

Chase the sun

Summary: A few items of news showing how patents are used by the “usual suspects” to stifle sharing, redefine open standards, abolish freedom, distort competition, and limit access to health


Andy Updegrove is the latest to respond to the BSA’s lies about royalty-free standards in the UK [1, 2, 3]. He writes:

The BSA position was soon derided as FUD (i.e., an attempt to spread “fear, uncertainty and doubt”) by proponents of openness, including Glyn Moody, who ably assesses the expected impact of the U.K. policy as regards free and open source software vs. proprietary software here.

But what of the BSA’s claim that free and open standards, as compared to free and open source software (FOSS), will “reduce choice, hinder innovation and increase the costs of e-government?”

In fact, such an argument is far harder to make in the case of standards than it is in the case of FOSS. The reasons are several.

First, while there are exceptions, standards generally describe not products, but product elements, functions or characteristics. In the case of information and communications technology (ICT), the most significant group of standards is developed to enable interoperability. Secondly, where standards are more fundamental, they generally exist at a lower level in the stack of technology.

From an antitrust perspective, what this means is that standards typically lock in only so much of a product design, or service characteristics, as is necessary to achieve interoperability. This leaves plenty of room for vendors and service providers to innovate and compete above the layer of standardization by providing value-added functionality, additional services and other differentiating features.


The MPEG cartel is under investigation as we mentioned before and The Register has some more details about that (see the Slashdot discussion as well).

The US Department of Justice is investigating MPEG-LA – the patent pool organization backed by Apple, Microsoft, and others – over the organization’s effort to undermine the royalty-free V8 codec Google introduced last year, according to a report citing people familiar with the matter.

Incidentally, patent aggression may lead to embargo like this new situation:

However the case turns out, the short-term impact of this ban could be serious. Right now, most retailers still have a week or two of PS3 units in stores. If the ban lasts beyond that, however, stock could start to run low. That’s got to hurt.

Gates Foundation

While the Gates Foundation keeps promoting more patent monopolies, Bill Gates’ lobbying for patents (for profit) is increasingly seen for what it really is. From an older page we learn that:

Here’s what I’ve found so far :

1. Sure, Bill gives big. But, do you realize that most of those are related to drugs / vaccinations? Here’s one of it. And, do you realize that he has invested quite a lot in medical companies ?
Can we draw a line connecting these ?

* Bill sells MSFT, takes Prozac
* Bill and Big Pharma companies : Bill now own shares on many drug companies.

2. An investigative journalism into Bill’s donations and agendas. Basically, the donations will bring him even more money from drugs, by blocking cheap drugs, therefore potentially killing more than he saved.

3. Just as with Microsoft, Bill staunch support of strict intellectual-property protections for drugs in poor countries. They argued that this is necessary, so they can recoup the R&D costs. However, turned out that Big Pharma’s marketing cost are 2.5 over their R&D cost.

This was found a couple of days ago when someone cited Techrights. Our research into the Gates Foundation is referenced a lot, even in radio shows that we’ve noticed.

Some time later in the year we shall catch up with more recent mischief from Gates’ stunt that exempts him (and Warren) from tax and significantly increases his power over society. Those who lobby for patenting essentially lobby for monopolies.

IRC Proceedings: March 6th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

IRC Proceedings: March 5th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 5:07 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 7/3/2011: Forbes Says Microsoft’s Market Share is Down to 75%, Linux 2.6.38 is Coming, Xoom Reviews Out

Posted in News Roundup at 4:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Ten ways Windows fails but Linux does not

    As an experienced Linux user, I’m obviously at ease with the way Linux and Linux desktops work. But when I use Microsoft Windows, I often feel as if I have run into a brick wall. Although Windows is a functional operating system — and most computer users employ it — it is far from being a trouble-free environment. Of course, Windows users say they run into challenges with Linux, but I find my experience to be at odds with that view. So I thought I would share the frustrations I encounter daily with Windows, which are non-issues with Linux.

  • Upgrading PCs

    Install Debian GNU/Linux on both. On the newer machine do a full desktop installation and open the ports for XDMCP and X. On the older system do a minimal installation plus X. Add the line “X -query ipaddress of newerPC” without the quotes and ipaddress is the network address on your LAN for the newer PC to /etc/rc.local.

    The older machine will boot in about 30s and open a login screen to the new PC. Logging in will take 5s. Once you have opened and closed OpenOffice.org it will take as little as 2s to open it again. So, you get a 5X performance improvement and can use it on two computers for $0 and some time.

  • US Department of the Navy Switching to Thin Client Technology

    Point of sale systems are one strong point for GNU/Linux thin clients. It is interesting to see that GNU/Linux actually declined in POS shipments in Canada/USA for 2010 while having 20% shares and growth in other parts of the world.

  • Did Alexandre Dumas Use Linux?

    Porteus system is relatively new system on the Linux sky.
    It came to light when developer of SLAX, Tomas M. gave up the project. Even before that, there was a fork called “SLAX remix”. Now it is named Porteus.
    The name sends us to two facts.

  • Denver Museum promotes Linux

    But even cooler yet was they explained how they did it and they used “Linux”. Usually when they list an operating system, I assume it’s a paid advertisement, but in this case it just said “Linux”.

  • Desktop

    • 5 Things OS X Does Better than Linux
    • Forbes Estimates M$ Down to 75% Share of PCs

      Forbes bases its stock-price estimates on a steady rise in notebook production. I expect notebooks will take a hit with the rise of smart-thingies which have huge growth. They do see a potential 10% drop in share price if M$ fails to capture significant share of mobile devices. That capture is not going to happen this year, so I see M$ falling in share of OS rapidly. According to the graphical calculator, if M$ slides to 50% share this year and 30% in the next few years, share price could drop 20%. Too bad, eh? Forbes calls it a “danger”.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Looking For Linux Hardware In A Easy Shopping List

      After talking about the first week of OpenBenchmarking.org, which was a great success, news of this open and collaborative testing platform made its way to the front page of Slashdot. This resulted in a huge increase in benchmarks pouring in over last night and they keep coming in today. Thanks to this greater data set, here’s a new feature that will interest many of you: the ability to easily find compatible GPUs / motherboards / CPUs / disks that are ranked upon how they perform with a given driver and operating system.

    • Linux 2.6.38 Kernel Multi-Core Scaling
  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • Pastebin Plasma widget

        Being a Linux sysadmin, The need often arises to share debug logs, configuration files or text snippets using services such as pastebin. Usually I use a tool called pastebinit which is a powerful commandline application that makes the process of submitting text snippet to pastebin very easy. Today I found a kde plasma widget which does same. Although not as powerful as pastebinit, I found it to come very handy when the need arises to share text from a GUI based app like Kate text editor or a browser. It also allows for uploading of images to Image upload sites like imagebin, imagineshack, or imgur. This little widget makes process of posting debug codes and config files to pastebin dead easy. (and sexy too :p ) I made a video to Show how it works.

      • KDE Commit Digest for 20 February 2011
      • KDE Hybrid Launcher for Task Manager Plasmoid

        Sup people this be gotbletu, this is my first guest post on here.

        There is this cool feature that KDE 4.6 has with the ‘Task Manager’ Plasmoid.It’s called “Show A Launcher For [Program] When It Is Not Running”. Thats kind of a long ass name, so I personally call it the “Hybrid Launcher” hahah

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Revisited: Pardus 2011

      So what’s the deal? Pardus did great in recognizing my laptop webcam, graphics card capabilities in terms of desktop effects, and wireless card, but for some strange reason packages cannot be installed or managed otherwise during the live session, unless I’m missing something big here. That’s really a shame, because I don’t want to have to install Pardus on my computer just to figure out whether or not I can install and successfully use Skype. And why am I emphasizing Skype so much? It’s really the only application I need to install (aside from maybe a couple games if I feel like it) that’s not included by default in Pardus. So this is my request to the Pardus developers: please make the package manager usable in the live session! It helps to know what works and what doesn’t before installation.

    • Best Lightweight Linux Distro

      You maybe already know that TinyCore is the smallest Linux distro, it takes only 10MB of disk space, however it does not contain any applications. Other well-known small Linux OSes include Puppy Linux, Slax Linux and Damn Small Linux, they are pretty but takes more than 50MB of disk space.


      SliTaz allows to create a bootable live USB stick for itself, it can also be installed to local hard drive.

    • Reviews

      • First Post: Tiny Core 3.5

        Tiny Core Linux. The name immediately hints at the creator’s intentions, but only once I had booted up the LiveCD did I really know how “Tiny” it was. With the .iso file (available here) being about 10 megabytes, one could easily download Tiny Core 3.5 over dialup!

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat corporate timeline

        2004: Red Hat raised $600 million through a bond offering. Red Hat acquired AOL’s Netscape server software for about $25 million in cash in September, and in November, opens its first office in China, in the capital city of Beijing.

    • Debian Family

      • Debian takes security very seriously… but how? 4 mars 2011

        By default, there is no reason to not believe them. But while talking with the administrator of Samba Bugzilla in bug 7121, I realized this was far from being true! What follows is specific to the Bugzilla case, but I guess there are plenty of other similar examples for other Debian packages.

        This security report set the urgency to « High », and despite the corresponding bug report has been reported to Debian more than a month ago asking the maintainer of the Bugzilla package to release new versions, nothing has been done so far. Even Secunia marked this security issue as « moderately critical », which is the third level out of five. And I myself emailed the Bugzilla package maintainer at Debian a few days ago, but got no response so far.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu Security: Holes Found, Holes Fixed

          Oh my God! There are security holes in Ubuntu 10.04! The sky is falling! Bill Gates is the maker of the one true operating system; forgive us Bill for we have worshiped at the feet of false Penguin idols. Oh please, give me a break!

          Linux, like all other operating systems and software, has security holes. Always has, always will. No one ever said Linux was perfect. It’s not. It never will be.

          What makes Ubuntu and Linux better than most of their competitors aren’t that they are flawless. It’s that when bugs are found, they fixed as fast as possible and then the fixes are pushed out to users immediately. There is no monthly Patch Tuesday. If there’s a significant problem, its tracked down and fixed. Period. End of statement.

        • Unity in Natty: is it for me?

          Unity 3.6.0 recently landed in Natty, bringing a lot of long expected goodnesses, along with some unexpected weirdnesses and regressions.

          I thought sharing my experience at this point in time could be useful to some.. If you are looking for an “everything is just perfect” post, you should probably stop reading.

        • Submit Unity Feedback for Ubuntu 11.04

          Ubuntu Project, through Jason Warner, sent an e-mail a couple of days ago, asking people to submit their feedback about the Unity interface of the upcoming Ubuntu 11.04 (Natty Narwhal) operating system, due for release at the end of April, 2011.

        • No More Compiz Desktop Cube Plugin In Unity [Ubuntu 11.04]

          Do you use the Compiz Desktop Cube plugin? I don’t use it so I didn’t notice this but it seems you can’t enable the Desktop Cube in Ubuntu 11.04 if you use Unity

        • Microphone Volume Control Added To Sound Menu Of Ubuntu 11.04

          Consistency across different applications is one of the main focus in Ubuntu 11.04. Ubuntu already has a unified sound menu from which users can manage the volume levels of different music players.

          However, one thing that has always bugged me was the microphone volume control. Usually when a voice call arrives, say in Skype, users have to manually set the microphone volume level from the Sound Preferences.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Google frags fragmentation with Fragments API for older Android versions

          In a post on the Android developer blog, Google has announced the availability of a new static library for Android developers that provides a more portable implementation of the Fragments API. This will allow third-party Android application developers to take advantage of Fragments without having to sacrifice backwards compatibility with existing Android handsets.

          Google recently launched Android 3.0, codenamed Honeycomb, a significant new tablet-optimized version of its Linux-based mobile operating system. Among the major features introduced in the update is an assortment of new APIs that aim to make it easier for third-party application developers to build Android applications that work seamlessly across multiple form factors—such as tablets and smartphones.

        • Ars reviews the Motorola Xoom

          Don’t jump for the Xoom just because it’s the first—they rushed it out prematurely hoping to capitalize on exactly that.

        • Why a Xoom?

          Q: But aren’t there other Google Experience devices coming to market? Like the Samsung 10.1 tablet? A: Indeed there are. And I’m told that not only is the Samsung almost half a pound lighter than the Xoom, its screen is brighter to boot. The problem for me is that it’s incompatible with Verizon’s network, and is likely headed to AT&T. I already have an AT&T WAN connection in my Nexus One, so my preference was for a Verizon compatible device. I think it’s also possible, even likely, that Google will pay slightly closer attention to the Xoom as it’s the flagship launch device. Which can’t hurt.

    • Tablets

      • Android, MeeGo & WebOS need to get going on tablets: Now

        I have a confession to make. I use Linux more than I do any other operating system by a wide margin, but I also use a lot of Apple products. In house at the moment are two Mac Minis; a MacBook Pro, a pair of iPod Touches, and, oh yes, an iPad mark 1. I know I’m not the only Linux or Windows guy who likes his Mac stuff too. In recent months I’ve been to both open-source and Windows tech. shows and I’ve seen MacBooks, iPhones and iPads everywhere. Now, with the iPad2 on the runway, if Android, MeeGo, webOS, and yes Windows too, want to play a sizable share of the tablet market, they need to make moves now or the iPad 2 is going to run them over.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Facebook and open source: ‘we’ve come a long way’

    David Recordon: I really got started working with open source when I was a teenager. I was using YaBB SE (PHP forum software), and started helping others within the community.

    At the time, I knew C++ and a bit of Perl, but really hadn’t done much web programming. PHP was easy to pick up and I loved the immediacy of being able to just hit save and then refresh my browser. Over the next few years, I got more deeply involved in the project, helped launch the rewrite as Simple Machines Forum, and built a forum-hosting business with my friend Joshua Dickerson.

  • Open source or proprietary: Killing creativity or enabling end-users

    Open Source Software has been a huge blessing to the software community and businesses in general.

  • Events

    • FOSDEM 2011 – A Personal Account (with all personal details withheld)

      FOSDEM – a geek trip to Brussels. Going abroad to experience different cultures. Or at least, a chance to eat chips, suffer rain, and watch American TV in a different country.

      If I had to sum up this year, then the theme was Annoyances. Having been every year for the last ten, maybe I’m just too old and crabby for these things now. But it seemed like the zealots, the idiots, the chavs, and the social retards had all teamed up to irk me at a

  • Education

    • Partimus

      By using Free Open Source Software and repurposed hardware, we aim to do our part to help bridge the digital divide.

    • Another Real-life Open-Source Test: An Academic Presentation

      Lately, I haven’t been able to write much. The reason? I was busy finishing up some details for my thesis-advancement presentation that took place last Friday.

  • Business

    • Semi-Open Source

      • The Slur “Open Core”: Toward More Diligent Analysis

        Later — shortly after I pointed out Mark Shuttleworth’s fascination with and leanings towards this practice — I realized that it was better to use the preexisting, tried-and-true term for the practice: “proprietary relicensing”. I’ve been pretty consistent in avoiding the term “Open Core” since then. I called on Shuttleworth to adopt the FSF’s recommendations to show Canonical, Ltd. isn’t seeking proprietary relicensing and left the whole thing at that. (Shuttleworth, of course, has refused to even respond, BTW.)

        Sadly, it was too late: I’d help create a monster. A few weeks later, Alexandre Oliva (whose positions on the issue of proprietary software inside the kernel named Linux I definitely agree with) took it a step too far and called the kernel named Linux an “Open Core” project. Obviously, Linux developers don’t and can’t engage in proprietary relicensing; some just engage in a “look the other way” mentality with regard to proprietary components inside Linux. At the time, I said that the term “Open Core” was clearly just too confusing to analyze a real-world licensing situation.

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD needs fresh Blood!

      As for FreeBSD Gnome Team, well I can’t say much about gnome but whenever I see the cvs commits in marcuscome tree, it seems like most work for the upcoming gnome3 is done by kwm@, and supported by marcus@, mezz@ and avl@. Gnome includes not only Gnome things but it also include gtk and cairo, the one that always cause problems in a major update. I think the team would love to have some fresh blood in the team.


  • Daley: Obama doesn’t sweat 2012 politics
  • PMO: The Govt of Canada now renamed ‘Harper Government’
  • Science

    • 11 Epic Technology Disasters

      Nature and politics kill far more people than technological accidents but failures of machines still take a toll on both a personal and social level. Separating machine failures and negligent maintenance from unforeseeable circumstances isn’t easy and no doubt there are some accidents worthy of mention that we’ve missed. In any event, these are the eleven worst tech-related disasters where mechanical or engineering failure played a significant role. And by “worst,” we’re considering death toll but not using it as the exclusive metric. Some disasters like the destruction of the space shuttle Challenger resulted in only a few deaths but nonetheless had a worldwide impact.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • US congressman claims there is no Israeli occupation

      Brooklyn congressman, Max Weiner, recently debated former congressman, Brian Baird, on the Israel/Palestine issue. Weiner is loved by many progressives but is unfortunately a PEP (progressive except Palestine) and has drawn the wrath of the leftist Israel/Palestine blogosphere over his comments at the debate held at the New School in New York, NY. Watch the whole debate here.

    • Children in East Jerusalem Get Short Stick of the Occupation

      Over the past six months, if you were following Palestinian and Israeli news, hardly a day would go by without reading a report that more children were detained in East Jerusalem. Now, various reports are coming out that confirm these impressions: children of East Jerusalem are being injured and arrested at an alarmingly high rate.

    • David Hicks on Guantanamo: Torture ‘an everyday experience’

      David Hicks was one of the first “war on terror” detainees to be sent to the US military prison at Guantanamo the day it opened in January 2002.

      In a February 16 article, Truth-out.org’s Jason Leopold introduced Hicks as “the Australian drifter who converted to Islam, changed his name to Muhammed Dawood and ended up at training camps in Afghanistan the US government said were linked to al-Qaeda, one of which was visited by Osama bin Laden several times.

    • Anti-terrorism and uprisings

      The string of uprisings in North Africa have laid bare Western governments’ relationships with regimes in the region, which pro-democracy activists argue have long been fixated on anti-terrorism, immigration and oil.

      Muammar Gaddafi, the Libyan leader, appears to be on the brink of joining Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak – both ousted by their own people. In Algeria, meanwhile, Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s government is holding firm, clamping down on protests and carrying out limited reforms in a bid to lull anti-regime rage.

    • John McCain: Gadhafi Is ‘Insane’

      Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., reiterated his call for a U.S.-backed no-fly zone over Libya this morning and called Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi “insane.”

    • The People Vs. Jason Kenney: Why this Racist should be Deported

      I received the following ad for a protest rally in an email from Dave Diewert, my prof of the two-week class i just took at Regent called Solidarity, Resistance, and Liberation: the Way of God in the World. Didn’t make it to the rally today, (I had to write a paper), but that doesn’t mean we can’t still talk about how horrible this man’s policies are!

    • Is Islam the Problem?

      A wise visitor from outer space who dropped in on Earth a millennium ago might have assumed that the Americas would eventually be colonized not by primitive Europeans but by the more advanced Arab civilization — and that as a result we Americans would all be speaking Arabic today.

      Yet after about 1200, the Middle East took a long break: it stagnated economically, and today it is marked by high levels of illiteracy and autocracy. So as the region erupts in protests seeking democracy, a basic question arises: What took so long? And, a politically incorrect question: Could the reason for the Middle East’s backwardness be Islam?

      The sociologist Max Weber and other scholars have argued that Islam is inherently a poor foundation for capitalism, and some have pointed in particular to Islamic qualms about paying interest on loans.

    • USA: Twittersphere Debates Kristof Column on Islam
    • Afghan president rejects U.S. apology over killings

      Afghanistan’s president on Sunday rejected a U.S. apology for the mistaken killing of nine Afghan boys in a NATO air attack and said civilian casualties are no longer acceptable.

      According to a statement from his office, Hamid Karzai told Gen. David Petraeus, the top commander of coalition forces in Afghanistan, that expressing regret was not sufficient in last week’s killing of the boys, ages 12 and under, by coalition helicopters.

    • Gaddafi and rebel forces in heavy clashes in town of Zawiya

      Forces loyal to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi launched a second attack on the western Libyan town of Zawiya on Saturday, after rebels drove back a heavy morning offensive in the most intense clashes of the uprising.

    • Libya Live Blog – March 5
    • Things grow worse in Libya and the Internet is switched off

      Which, all things considered, might have been exactly what happened. You see Libya’s Internet is owned and controlled by the government through a telecommunication company Libya Telecom & Technology. Even its site is down now.

    • Games in the Desert of Libya

      It is written that 8 British men were picked up at Suluq on Friday after a helicopter was spotted there. A story was floated that one had a diplomatic passport and was trying to contact the new regime…

    • Libya Live Blog – March 6
  • Cablegate

    • The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog—Special Weekend Edition!

      10:50 Interesting comparison: Bradley Manning gets one hour outside his cell every day, allegedly. A death row prisoner in the U.S., who has written an op-ed in NYT today, says he gets two hours outside. And he admits he killed his wife and three kids.

      10:40 Just announced: Assange to speak at the Cambridge Union on March 15, his first public speech in four months.

      8:10 Great background piece on the Bush administration’s use of forced nudity to punish or get prisoners to talk. “In 2004, the CIA told President George W. Bush’s lawyers how useful forced nudity was for instilling ‘learned helplessness’ in prisoners, though the repeated emphasis on nudity took on a lewd and sadistic quality.”

      7:50 A reader points out that in the Wash Post story on Manning that I mentioned last night (at 7:40) there’s mention of progress in Juan Mendez’s UN investigation which I don’t think I’ve seen elsewhere: “The conditions of Manning’s confinement have become controversial, with the United Nations special rapporteur on torture saying he submitted a formal inquiry to the State Department about Manning’s treatment. The State Department confirmed Saturday that U.S. officials ‘have met with the special rapporteur and are preparing a formal response.’”

    • WikiLeaks cables recount how U.S. pressured allies

      They have received little attention in the United States, but a set of WikiLeaks disclosures of confidential documents has caused an uproar in Europe by showing that U.S. officials pressured Germany and Spain to derail criminal investigations of Americans.


      A Spanish judge announced a criminal investigation in January 2009 into whether six lawyers in President George W. Bush’s administration had approved torture. They included former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and John Yoo, the UC Berkeley law professor whose memos as a Justice Department attorney authorized the near-drowning technique called waterboarding.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Researchers find more plastic in the guts of Arctic seabirds

      When biologist Jennifer Provencher headed to the Arctic, she signed on to help assess how seabird diets are changing as temperatures climb in the North.

      She never expected to find plastics on the menu. But she and her colleagues at the Canadian Wildlife Service are pulling remarkable amounts of trash from birds in some of the remotest spots on Earth.

      Fulmars are strong flyers that skim the surface swallowing tasty tidbits, and 84 per cent of the ones the researchers examined from two Arctic colonies had plastics in their guts.

  • Finance

    • Providence RI Fires All Of Its Public School Teachers. Union Leader: ‘This Is A Back-Door Wisconsin’

      The union leader’s assessment is right on target: This is, indeed, a “back-door Wisconsin.” The Providence school board just eviscerated the union contract so they can fire the most experienced (and most expensive) teachers at the end of the school year — instead of laying them off.

    • Subject: Senior moment – A 98 year old woman in the UK wrote this to her bank.

      The bank manager thought it amusing enough to have it published in the Times.
      Dear Sir,

      I am writing to thank you for bouncing my cheque with which I endeavoured to pay my plumber last month. By my calculations, three nanoseconds must have elapsed between his presenting the cheque and the arrival in my account of the funds needed to honour it. I refer, of course, to the automatic monthly deposit of my Pension, an arrangement, which, I admit, has been in place for only thirty eight years. You are to be commended for seizing that brief window of opportunity, and also for debiting my account £30 by way of penalty for the inconvenience caused to your bank.

    • How Goldman Sachs Influences the Economy in Ever Widening Circles

      A Goldman Sachs guy is on the hot seat again. Here, in all its glory, is the accusation from the SEC. We wonder whether the people who work at Goldman Sachs learn how to use the system to their advantage and carry their efforts far and wide or whether Goldman Sachs’s mantra that money is all makes ethics passe.

    • Jon Stewart Calls Out Fox News’ Hypocrisy Comparing Teachers, Wall Street (VIDEO)

      Thursday night’s “Daily Show” featured Jon Stewart doing what he does best: calling out hypocrisy in the media. After a segment on the intensified battle between Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin unions, Stewart took a look at how Fox News was reporting on the story, specifically compared to how they covered similar threats to the Bush tax cuts and bailed-out bank CEOs’ salaries.

      Stewart showed plenty of pundits saying that when it comes to taxing those who make $250,000 a year, you’re taxing people who are “not rich” and even “close to poverty” if they have a family of four with kids in college. But when it comes to teachers in Wisconsin, the same pundits say they, as government employees, should expect to see cuts in their ample $50,000 a year salary plus benefits.

    • Goldman Sachs’s Gary Gensler and the CFTC

      Gary Gensler, alumnus of Goldman Sachs, has already been discussed elsewhere on this blog where we presented his previous incarnation as one who wished to exempt CDSs and other derivatives from regulation.

      The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which was signed into law on July 21, 2010, gives both the CFTC under Gensler and the SEC regulatory powers over derivatives known as swaps. The Act repeals the exemption from regulation for security-based swaps. Regulators have to consult with each other before implementing rules or issuing orders. Both CFTC and SEC consult with the Federal Reserve about defining swap related terms.

  • Civil Rights

    • Wanted: Native JS Encryption

      I’d like to challenge all browser vendors to put together a comprehensive JS API for encryption. I’ll use this blog post to prove why it’s necessary and would be a great move to do so.

    • Sony to obtain IP details of all visitors to Geohot’s site

      Lets consider this for a minute – Every visitor. There would be many who would have visited just out of curiosity and many of them who wouldn’t even own a PS3, there would be news outlets looking for further information in order to make a more comprehensive report and there would be those who maybe even just clicked on a link by accident. As a result of Sony’s court success, it will have all those people’s IP details that visited geohot over the last 26 months.

  • DRM

    • The EFF Letter: Sony’s subpoenas “impact the free speech interests of myriad third parties”

      Wired’s David Kravetz has published the EFF letter [PDF] it sent to the judge in SCEA v. Hotz, and I have it for you as text.

      George Hotz’s lawyers agreed to the subpoenas issuing, so long as the information gleaned is kept attorneys’ eyes only, according to the letter [PDF] Sony sent the Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero, and the judge merely signed off on it. I don’t see Hotz’s lawyer signing the letter too, which I’d normally expect. Why he’d agree to such a broad reach is disturbing. EFF noticed, telling the judge that the subpoenas implicate free speech interests of third parties not involved in the litigation, but nobody else seems to care. EFF is most concerned about the subpoena to YouTube, but the one I find overbroad is the subpoena to the company that hosts his web site, as I’ll show you. No one else is looking out for the third parties in this picture, so if I were one of the third parties and I knew it, I’d be on the phone to my lawyer or EFF super pronto, asking him if I could block.

Clip of the Day

Ubuntu on CR-48! Windows 7 Launcher on Android, and Copyright Infringement Sucks [3/6/11 Vlog]

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