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Links 11/11/2012: Qt On Android, Debian Back To GNOME, Firefox is 8

Posted in News Roundup at 11:06 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Twitter survives election after Ruby-to-Java move

    Micro-blogging site Twitter experienced record traffic as the results of the 2012 US Presidential election were announced on Tuesday night, but the service never faltered despite the increased load – something Twitter engineers credit to the company’s move from Ruby to Java for its backend software.

  • VMware Does Complicated Dance With Open Source
  • VMware updates micro version of open source Cloud Foundry PaaS
  • The Trend Of Open Source And Proprietary Software Business Model

    Open source software has been there for a long time. Its popularity is increasing each and every day and has reached such a level that it’s hard to find a domain which does not have an open source presence. Companies are reluctant to buy proprietary software due to the cost involved. In most cases, open source software seems to be a viable option.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

  • Education

  • Healthcare

    • NIH showcases informatics researchers as new open source ventures launch

      After the National Institutes of Health grew interested in bioinformatics, following breakthroughts in the 1990s, the National Centers for Biomedical Computing were created with the goal of advancing the field by a few leaps and bounds, because IT systems hadn’t quite caught up to molecular biology.

      The nine centers were founded through the 2000s, and with the advent of new data processing and visualization tools, there’s been “an explosion of knowledge” in biomedical research, said Brian Athey, from the University of Michigan Medical School’s National Center for Integrative Bio Informatics (NCIBI).


  • Licensing

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Beer: The open source beverage of choice

      Beer is truly the most democratic, egalitarian, and open source of all beverages. It is for both common folk and connoisseurs. It is for the masses. And, from my experience as a homebrewer and beer geek, you will rarely find a beverage that can be so liberating (in more ways than one).

    • Crowd-sourcing a cure

      On September 10, 2012, the Italian data artist who is passionate about the open-source medium, posted on the website he created, Open Source Cure (artisopensource.net): “I have a brain cancer. Yesterday I went to get my digital medical records: I have to show them to many doctors. Sadly they were in a closed, proprietary format and, thus, I could not open them using my computer, or send them in this format to all the people who could have saved my life… I opened them… so that I could share them with everyone. Just today I have been able to share the data about my health condition with 3 doctors. 2 of them already replied.”

    • Open Hardware

      • Compost your server

        It takes talent, luck and charisma to become a rock star (or money, connections and good looks, depending on how you look at it). It’s much harder to become a rock star of the open-source hardware movement. One way to do it is to create a compostable server chassis. No big deal, right?

      • Build Your Own Arduino Powered MP3 Jukebox
  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia


  • The party game is over. Stand and fight
  • Should Microsoft sell its search engine Bing?

    It was quite expected from the beginning that the Redmond giant Microsoft is not going to earn huge profits from Bing. Unveiled in 2009, Bing is Microsoft’s online search engine, which was launched to compete with the search leader Google.

  • Microsoft Surface is not durable

    The cover surrounding the touch panel of Microsoft’s Surface tablet, appears to be far from durable, as users are reporting that within mere days of receiving their version, it began to split and come away from the frame.

    The problem is being experienced by multiple users, each of them reporting the same thing: where the keyboard magnetically attaches to the main body of the device, the cover seam begins to split. On top of this, many have also reported that the Windows 8 logo hasn’t been etched or embossed into the frame and has already begun to wear.

  • Apple seeks standard to appease angry university net managers

    Under fire from its customers in the higher education market, Apple has proposed creating a new industry standard that would fix problems with its Bonjour zero configuration networking technology that is causing scalability and security problems on campus networks.

  • Microsoft’s Big Hidden Windows 8 Feature: Built-In Advertising

    Despite the fact that I’ve been using Windows 8 for the past three weeks, I somehow managed to overlook a rather stark feature in the OS: ads. No, we’re not talking about ads cluttering up the desktop or login screen (thankfully), but rather ads that can be found inside of some Modern UI apps that Windows ships with. That includes Finance, Weather, Travel, News and so forth. Is it a problem? Let’s tackle this from a couple of different angles.

  • Hey, Rush Limbaugh: ‘Starting an Abortion Industry’ Won’t Win You Female Voters

    Like a lot of people, I listened to Rush Limbaugh the day after the election. Pure Schadenfreude, I admit it; I just wanted to hear the reaction. I searched the right-wing media landscape far and wide and tried to find even a hint of self-examination, self-criticism, and I didn’t find much. Then again, they didn’t lose the presidential vote by much, so they didn’t take the election result as a total repudiation of their belief system, as they probably shouldn’t have, anyway.

  • Science

    • Further Evidence That IQ Does Not Measure Intelligence

      Every ten years, the average IQ goes up by about 3 points. Psychologist James Flynn has spent decades documenting this odd fact, which was eventually dubbed the Flynn Effect. The question is, does the Flynn Effect mean we’re getting smarter? Not according to Flynn, who argues that the effect simply reveals that IQ measures teachable skills rather than innate ones. As education changed over time, kids got better at standardized tests like the IQ test. And so their score

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Photography Advocate/Journalist Acquitted After Arrest Over Filming Police; Intends To Sue Back

      We’ve linked to the blog, PhotographyIsNotACrime.com (PINAC), a few times in the past (it recently moved locations). Its author, Carlos Miller, not only covered a number of cases involving photographers being arrested or harassed for photographing buildings, police or something else, but was a defendant in just such a case himself. Miller was arrested back in January while videotaping police at an “Occupy Miami” event. Not only was he arrested, but his camera was confiscated and the police deleted footage from the camera — including footage of the encounter that led to his arrest. The police claimed that Miller had disobeyed an order by the police to “clear the area.” However, the videotaped footage — which Miller was able to recover despite the deletion — showed a different story. It showed a clearly-aware-of-his-rights Miller making the case that he was doing nothing wrong. Furthermore, other journalists were allowed to stay in the area, and one of those journalists, Miami Herald reporter Glenn Garvin, testified at the trial about how he was allowed to stay. In fact, he went to the officer who arrested Miller and asked her if he needed to move, and she told him he was “under no threat of getting arrested.”

    • Torture Continues to be Legitimized by U.S. Legal System

      In another blow to human rights, freedom, the law, and morality, the 7th Circuit Court has exonerated Donald Rumsfeld from prosecution for allegations of being a primary architect of U.S. torture policy.

    • Innocents are killed by drones

      THE evidence suggests that innocent bystanders are killed and injured often in US drone attacks – not occasionally.

      The evidence is contained in a report compiled by Shahzad Akbar, the director of the Foundation for Fundamental Rights and the British human rights charity, Reprieve.

    • Navy SEALs punished for revealing secrets to video game maker

      Seven U.S. Navy SEALs have been reprimanded for giving up classified information connected to their tradecraft so a video game could seem more realistic, according to a navy official.

  • Cablegate

    • U.S. WikiLeaks Criminal Probe ‘Ongoing,’ Judge Reveals

      U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady of Alexandria, Virginia, noted the investigation in a legal flap surrounding three WikiLeaks associates who lost their bid to protect their Twitter records from U.S. investigators. The three had asked the court to unseal documents in their case. In May, O’Grady ordered the documents remain under seal for six months. On Wednesday he renewed that order, based on a government filing.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Secret Documents Show Weak Oversight of Key Foreclosure Program
    • Ex-Goldman trader’s fraud caused $118 million loss: U.S. regulator

      U.S. regulators on Thursday accused a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc trader of defrauding the Wall Street bank of $118 million in a scheme of fabricated trades and fake entries.

    • Cisco VP Threatens To Stalk Memo Leaker… Driving More Attention Than Original Memo

      Internal memos from large companies leak all the time. It happens. Companies don’t like it, but most learn to deal with it. Sometimes, they go a bit nuts. For example, you may remember the spying scandal at HP, in which the board tried to stop leaks by spying on phone records and other info, including trying to spy on various journalists. Apparently some companies just go a bit nutty when they think they have someone to track down, where execs suddenly think they can act like they’re in some sort of spy movie. Apparently this is now happening at Cisco as well. A few weeks ago, Network World reported on Cal State’s decision to use Alcatel-Lucent instead of Cisco, claiming that it saved the university $100 million. As is fairly typical at companies when such bad news is in the press, an internal memo was sent around on how to respond to questions about this story. And… as is fairly typical at such companies, the internal memo leaked to bloggers who posted it. The memo itself is fairly tame and about what you’d expect given the situation.

    • Chris Spannos: Greece Between Austerity and Fascism

      The European Union has been awarded a Nobel Peace Prize. But it is today’s Greek anti-fascist movement that deserves an award for doing what European states have so far failed to do — confronting the rise of violent neo-Nazi movements on the continent.

      Although fascism is not new in Greece, it has seen a resurgence in the Golden Dawn party, which won 18 parliamentary seats in the last election. Some polls indicate that approximately half of Greek police support Golden Dawn and that the party enjoys legitimacy in wide social circles. Police sometimes even refer crime victims to Golden Dawn for follow-up on law enforcement and citizen protection.

    • Bitter cold inside a disaster shelter
  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Inside the Secret World of the Data Crunchers Who Helped Obama Win

      In late spring, the backroom number crunchers who powered Barack Obama’s campaign to victory noticed that George Clooney had an almost gravitational tug on West Coast females ages 40 to 49. The women were far and away the single demographic group most likely to hand over cash, for a chance to dine in Hollywood with Clooney — and Obama.

    • Lauren Lyster Interviews Dan Ariely on Financial Fraud, Moral Hazard, and the Psychology of a Cheater

      I would not necessarily compare the deterrent effects of punishments for a capital crime, which is often a crime of passion, with financial fraud. And beyond some point no matter how severe the punishment may become, the deterrence is not commensurately increased.

      The problem is that there is little or no personal penalty these days for even the most egregious forms of financial misbehaviour and fraud. There is a fellowship of mutual corruption at the heart of the money system.

      And as some have warned for years, political capture and moral hazard have broken the Anglo-American financial system with profound implications for the real economy. What I find appalling is when so called progressive economists dismiss this important principle for the sake of their models and expediency.

  • Censorship

    • Australia comes to its senses, abandons Internet filtering regime

      The Australian government has now, after years of testing and preparing, formally abandoned a plan to filter its domestic Internet. Officials now say that it will use Interpol’s “worst of” child abuse site list as a way to shield Ozzies from truly awful content.

    • Google Is Blocked in China as Party Congress Begins

      All Google services, including its search engine, Gmail and Maps, were inaccessible in China on Friday night and into Saturday, the company confirmed. The block comes as the 18th Communist Party Congress, the once-in-a-decade meeting to appoint new government leadership, gets under way.

  • Civil Rights

    • AT&T is glad to expand service, but wants pesky FCC regulations dropped

      On Wednesday, AT&T announced a plan to invest $14 billion in expanding its wireless and U-Verse service around the country. At the same time, the company submitted a petition to the Federal Communications Commission asking for an end to the “conventional public-utility-style regulation.”

    • Voter Suppression Efforts Blunted by Vigilant Advocates and High Turnout in Wisconsin and Nationally

      With most voter ID laws blocked before the 2012 elections and local election officials and civic groups prepared for True the Vote’s intimidation tactics, some of the worst fears about voter disenfranchisement were averted in Tuesday’s vote. But partisan voting laws and continued confusion over election administration led to long lines — prompting President Obama to note “by the way, we have to fix that,” in his acceptance speech.

    • Why was an Indian man held for sending a tweet?

      How can a virtually unknown Indian boost his Twitter following a hundred-fold overnight?

      Ravi Srinivasan did it by becoming the first person in India to be arrested for a tweet. The 46-year-old runs a packaging business in the southern Indian city of Pondicherry.

    • Law Blog Fireside: Chris Hansen, the ACLU’s Longest-Serving Attorney

      Mr. Hansen, 65, joined the group in 1973 and became senior staff counsel 20 years later, a role that allowed him to pick and choose issues to litigate around the country, from gene-patenting to Internet censorship to failing schools. Friday is Mr. Hansen’s last day.

    • Malala day: an inspiring girl reminds us of the power of the Internet

      This week, I’m just back from Azerbaijan – so human rights issues are very much on my mind.

      The European Union is not just a common market; and not just a guardian of peace. It’s a place of fundamental rights. Rights that we treasure, protect and assure for our citizens. And nor is the Internet just a set of technologies, or just a space for business opportunities. It is the new frontier of freedom. And people like the inspiring young Malala Yousafzai are a reminder of that.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Multi-Stakeholder Discussions á la Internet Governance Forum For WIPO?

      The need to bring all stakeholders together to discuss the future of copyright appears to have gotten a push from this year’s UN-led Internet Governance Forum.

      Trevor Clarke, assistant director general for the Culture and Creative Industries Sector of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), said during a workshop on “Rethinking Copyright” today that the multi-stakeholder environment is “the best and and most appropriate” when it comes to the debate on copyright in the digital age. WIPO is preparing for such multi-stakeholder discussions, Clarke told Intellectual Property Watch.

    • UN Wants Multi-Stakeholder Discussions On ‘Rethinking Copyright’ — Ignores That The Only Stakeholder That Matters Is The Public
    • AT&T Admits That The Whole ‘Spectrum Crunch’ Argument It Made For Why It Needed T-Mobile Wasn’t True

      You may recall that back when AT&T was trying to buy T-Mobile, a big part of the argument was a spectrum crunch around its wireless efforts. The company insisted — strenuously — that it would not be able to expand 4G LTE services to more than 80% of the population unless it had T-Mobile. That argument ran into some trouble when a lawyer accidentally posted some documents to the FCC which admitted that the company could fairly easily expand its coverage to 97% of the population of the US without T-Mobile (and, in fact, that it would cost about 10% of what buying T-Mobile would cost). Suddenly, the argument that it absolutely needed T-Mobile rang hollow — even as the company continued to insist exactly that. Still, the FCC suddenly was skeptical and AT&T, seeing the writing on the wall, gave up on the merger.

    • Teen Hacker Banned From The Internet For Six Years

      A teenaged hacker known as Cosmo the God, who was involved in a number of big site takedowns earlier this year, and who is considered a “social engineering mastermind” has been sentenced to probation. The terms include a ban on internet access until his 21st birthday, six years from now, according to a Wired article by Mat Honan. For many years, we’ve questioned whether or not it’s reasonable (or even practical) to ban people from the internet for computer related crimes. It seems not only stupid and counterproductive, but just plain bizarre. The internet is so integrated into our lives these days that taking the internet out of your life is a lot more complicated than some might imagine.

    • Teenage Hacker ‘Cosmo the God’ Sentenced by California Court
  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • GEMA Gets Bailed Out By Germany’s Parliament; Allowed To Proceed With Venue-Killing Rate Hikes

        The threat posed to Germany’s underground club scene by all-around IP thug GEMA is no longer just a threat. Back in July, GEMA decided to “streamline” its convoluted fee structure. Naturally, it decided to smooth things over in a upward motion, raising the fees charged to these clubs by up to 1,400%. This sparked protests against GEMA’s tactics and a petition with 60,000 signatures was brought to the Deutsches Bundestag (Germany’s parliament). Unfortunately, the Deutsches Bundestag punted, suggesting those unhappy with the new fee structure negotiate directly with GEMA. [However you spell "LOL" in German goes here.]

      • Viral Video Of 9-Year-Old Girl Football Star… Taken Down Because Of Music
      • Music Publishers Win $6.6 Million in Song Lyrics Copyright Case

        The copyright infringement lawsuit concerned the online publication of lyrics to works by Van Morrison, Ray Charles and others.

      • $6.6 Million Ruling Against Lyrics Site, Once Again, Shows How Short Sighted Music Industry Is

        For many years now, we’ve covered how music publishers have gone after all sorts of sites that post song lyrics, arguing infringement. As we’ve noted time and time again, this whole thing seems short sighted in the extreme. Lyrics sites don’t take away from interest in a song, they only increase it. And, yes, publishers have different interests than the musicians or labels, but it still seems counterproductive to sue and take down sites that were increasing interest in the actual music, as lyrics sites do. Unfortunately, lots of lyrics sites have been forced offline because the rates the publishers want are insane. A few years ago, a bunch of publishers went after Brad Greenspan’s LiveUniverse for its lyrics offerings. Greenspan — who was associated with MySpace in the early days as its parent company Intermix’s CEO — has, well, a colorful history. He’s spent many years stamping his feet about how Rupert Murdoch should have paid more for MySpace back in the day.

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