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03.26.12

Apple: When Branding is More important Than Quality

Posted in Apple at 10:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Headphones

Summary: The latest example of Apple ‘quality’

LAST week my best friend purchased an android phone which is technically better than the latest iPhone. I watched it in action, too. At present, those who want what’s best in the market choose Linux, not Apple.

Apple increasingly seems suitable for those who settle for less than the best and tablets too show this trend. It’s not just overheating anymore:

Batterygate? Apple’s iPad “Fibbing” battery charger

Dr. Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate, the world’s leading display and display tuning company, is best known for his graphics expertise, but he also knows his way around electrical engineering and physics. During his extensive testing of the iPad 3’s display Soneira also found “that the batteries do not actually reach full charge when 100% is shown and need up to an extra hour before the charging actually stops. So what’s up with that?

Another product rushed out the door? Lawsuits an embargoes don’t pass muster fast enough?

While Software Patents Are on the Line, Linux and the Public Continue to Suffer

Posted in Google, Oracle, Patents at 10:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Java logo

Summary: Patent news of interest to the FOSS community

AN article in Groklaw reveals that the case which challenges software patents in the United States (albeit indirectly) leads to response from the USPTO. As another site (run by our reader Wayne Borean) puts it:

American Patent law is a mess. When a small section of law ends up being appealed to the United States Supreme Court so often, it is an indication that:

1. The law is badly written
2. Powerful interest groups are trying to bend the law
3. There is a lot of money at stake

This is the seventeenth patent case the court has ruled on since 2005. The Supreme Court has broad powers to choose which cases that it takes. It selects cases that it believes will have a significant impact on the law in the United States. That it has taken so many patent cases implies that the Supreme Court sees problems with the Patent System.

Thus far, the Supreme Court has failed to fix the system and it already harms Android, which relates closely to Linux. Pogson says that:

The issue of patents is similarly embarrasing as the abundance of patents in suit and claims of violation has withered to a couple of items of tiny value if anything. Is it worth 8 weeks of trial to calculate whether zero times a bunch of factors amounts to anything? The Court is thinking ~$100 million tops, with all factors being 1. The result will almost certainly be much less if greater than zero. Oracle might save money by dropping all claims and firing the people who got them into this mess.

Those costs are of course to be passes to buyers. The patent system is a real sham that harms the public and does not stimulate innovation. To strike the problem at the root we must eliminate software patents in the US.

Microsoft Censorship of The Pirate Bay

Posted in Microsoft at 10:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Not just Bing censors information, applications do too

Mussolini says Bing

Summary: Microsoft becomes copyright police by censoring Web sites

THE monopolist from Redmond is no stranger to censorship, as we showed here before.

The latest example of Microsoft censorship was brought up by Ryan from the IRC channels. He writes that Microsoft would make any tyrant dictator proud:

When the user enters a link and it’s to a site that Microsoft doesn’t like, Microsoft’s new approach is to block it at their server and report back to the user that the site is “dangerous”.

So far they seem to do it with The Pirate Bay, which probably hosts and serves less malware and spyware than Microsoft itself (source source source) or sites that aren’t being blocked by them, such as CNET Download.com which delivers crapware bundles with legitimate software.

Since the censorship of links is done at the server level, it means that (not shockingly), Microsoft is monitoring, logging, and spying on everything you say or do while connected to their chat service. It also means that users of alternative messenger software which doesn’t come bundled with the ability to display malicious advertisements like Microsoft’s official client does will not escape the Microsoft server spying on them and kicking back any links that Microsoft doesn’t like. If Microsoft can’t keep their own software and websites from installing malicious software onto Windows PCs, they shouldn’t be blocking anyone else under that excuse.

“You should post that in your links,” Ryan suggested, “the Windows Live Messenger censorship” [original article] and to quote:

Those who try to paste a Pirate Bay link to their friends through Windows Live Messenger will notice that it never reaches its destination.

Instead, Microsoft alerts the sender that The Pirate Bay is unsafe. Apparently, the company is actively monitoring people’s communications to prevent them from linking to sites they deem to be a threat.

Will Microsoft ‘fix’ this ‘bug’ after the backlash? The Pirate Bay helps people download perfectly legitimate GNU/Linux distributions.

Links 25/3/2012: Bodhi Linux 1.4.0, Many Vivaldi Orders

Posted in News Roundup at 3:41 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Exploring the Free world of numerical computation tools

    Numerical computation tools that run on GNU/Linux platform such as Ubuntu, Debian or Fedora are a huge blessing for all mathematical computation ‘freaks’, be it students or researchers. The expensive proprietary utility, Matlab, may be a leader in terms of introducing newer applications, but the Free (as in ‘freedom’) Software alternatives available are not lagging in any way.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Google Chromebook May Get Cheaper, To Run On ARM Chips

        Tweet

        One of the major gripes about Google’s ambitious Chromebooks is its price. It is quite expensive given the limitations it has. If reports are to be believed Chromebook may become extremely cheap.

      • Sony Also Gets On Chromebook Bandwagon, VAIO Chromebook Coming

        One may wonder what future holds for Google’s Gentoo Linux based ChromeOS. The initial sales of Samsung and Acer Chromebook was not impressive. There were many reasons for the slow sales of the Chromebooks, but the future is bright as we move towards cloud-based computing.

        The ChromesOS is gaining popularity among hardware players, after Samsung and Acer now Sony is also joining the elite Chromebook club. Sony has reportedly submitted a filing for its first Chromebook to FCC. FCC E-filing is showing a Sony device which fits the bill of a Chromebook. Any doubt over it being a Chromebook is removed on the ‘manual’ page which specifically points at ChromOS:

      • Chrome OS Makes it Mainstream
      • Sony to launch the first ARM Powered Chromebook?

        According to some FCC leak and rumoring, it looks like Sony is about to release a new Chromebook and the FCC info may point towards it running on an ARM Processor! T25 is the leaked processor info, that sound like the Tegra 250 T25. I think the thinking was T25 is intermediary between T20 and T30, in between Tegra2 and Tegra3. Basically, I think, the hope should be that if it’s a Tegra2, that it has a new faster memory bandwidth and a higher clock speed compared to the “first generation” Tegra2 devices that were released back since the end of 2010!

  • SaaS

    • OpenStack vs. Amazon and Eucalyptus Clouds

      When Amazon and Eucalyptus finally announced plans to partner on cloud computing, the big winners were cloud integrators seeking to move workloads between on-premise IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service) and Amazon Web Services. But ultimately, Talkin’ Cloud believes Amazon and Eucalyptus were reacting to OpenStack — which is available as both an on-premise or public cloud platform.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Project Releases

  • Openness/Sharing

Leftovers

  • Finance

    • The Shadow Bailout: How Big Banks Bilk US Towns and Taxpayers

      The “toxic culture of greed” on Wall Street was highlighted again last week, when Greg Smith went public with his resignation from Goldman Sachs in a scathing oped published in the New York Times. In other recent eyebrow-raisers, LIBOR rates—the benchmark interest rates involved in interest rate swaps—were shown to be manipulated by the banks that would have to pay up; and the objectivity of the ISDA (International Swaps and Derivatives Association) was called into question, when a 50% haircut for creditors was not declared a “default” requiring counterparties to pay on credit default swaps on Greek sovereign debt.

    • TBTF Sheriff Bill Black on MF Global cover-up
    • Food Stamp Use in L.A. Pauses At the Million Mark, Awaiting Oil’s Next Move

      For the first time in several years, the rate of growth in Los Angeles County food stamp use has slowed. That’s little consolation however given that total participation zoomed from just above 600,000 to over 1,000,000 people since the onset of the financial crisis. As longtime readers know, I’ve tracked the series as a backdoor view on rising energy costs–and in the case of LA County–gasoline costs in particular. | see: Los Angeles County SNAP Users vs. Price of Oil 2007-2012.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • CMD Asks Wisconsin Ethics Board to Examine Corporate-Funded Gifts to ALEC Legislators

      The Center for Media and Democracy (CMD) filed a complaint today with the Government Accountability Board (GAB) based on newly discovered documents revealing that numerous Wisconsin legislators have received corporate-funded gifts through their connections to the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Although ALEC describes itself as the largest membership group for legislators, over 98% of its $7 million budget is from corporations and sources other than legislative dues. Documents obtained via Wisconsin open records law and other sources show that ALEC corporations are funding lawmakers’ out-of-state travel expenses to posh resorts for ALEC meetings with corporate lobbyists, in addition to gifts of entertainment and exclusive parties.

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