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11.15.12

Microsoft Boosters Entered as ‘Reporters’ to Cases About Linux Patent Tax

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 3:01 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Android 2.0

Summary: Bill Gates-funded press and Microsoft boosters get a coverage leverage in important Android cases

Recently, Microsoft lobbyist Florian Müller was distorting facts by entering Android cases. He had been paid by Android-hostile companies. They get an unfair advantage in this way.

There is an attempt to paint Google or Motorola as the patent villain and trolls like MPEG-LA are dissociated from their funders to dodge blame. According to a very detailed analysis at Groklaw:

We had two reporters in the courtroom today for day two of the FRAND trial in Judge James L. Robart’s courtroom in the US District Court in Seattle between Microsoft and Motorola.

Guess who was there. Bishop was also there. Expect biased reporting, except from Groklaw. Other coverage comes from Bill Gates-funded papers [1, 2].

Court of Justice of the European Union Tells Public to Keep Out of ACTA Process

Posted in Intellectual Monopoly, Patents at 2:39 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Karel de Gucht

Summary: ACTA, which makes patent law even more draconian than ever before, is aided by systemic corruption in Europe and elsewhere

ACTA is political corruption from start to finish. It’s purchased from politicians by corporations. We covered this many times before. FOSS circles say:

I continue to be mystified by the insistence of courts and legislative bodies, as for international treaties, to hide what they do from the public or otherwise exclude the people affected directly from the processes. But of course I’m not really mystified, just appalled.

It is about this piece of news:

On 13 November 2012 the FFII sent an amicus curiae (friend of the court) brief about the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) to the Court of Justice of the European Union. A few hours later the registry of the court informed the FFII that only the Member States, the European Parliament, the Council and the European Commission may participate in the Opinion procedure and submit written statements. The Court does not accept amicus curiae briefs from third parties.

This is awkward. The court is going to decide on citizens’ rights, but does not want to hear from citizens.

Over in Brazil, people observe similar tactics where legal instruments are used to usher ACTA in against public will:

Just over a year ago Techdirt wrote about Brazil’s Marco Civil — essentially a civil-rights based framework for the Internet. At the time, we dubbed it an “anti-ACTA”, since it seemed to protect many of the things that ACTA sought to attack. It all seemed a little too good to be true, and the post concluded by questioning whether it would survive in its present form.

Here is more information.

Mitchell Medina is a Patent Troll

Posted in Patents at 2:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Troll

Summary: The story of a patent troll who helps show how bad the patent system has become

The site of Mike Masnick loves this story which it says helps illustrate how bad the patent system becomes. It says that “Medina cut out the guy who actually came up with the idea of scanning documents, and set himself up as a patent troll. He sued over 100 companies — and realized that as long as the “license” he asked for was cheaper than fighting him in court, everyone would pay up, and everyone did… except one company, Flagstar Bancorp. Levy goes through details of the seven years spent fighting the case, including two separate district court judges who absolutely slammed the lawsuit (one said the case had “indicia of extortion”) and told Medina he had to pay up for filing such a ridiculous lawsuit (in between all that, the appeals court, ridiculously, disagreed and sent it back). Eventually the appeals court agreed with the lower court, and the Supreme Court refused to hear the case, but it was a massive waste of time and energy. Amazingly, the guy who demanded payment from all those companies (and got it from most), for doing absolutely nothing to actually help with the development of e-commerce, claims he’s a “victim.””

The original provides some background:

The US patent system goes back to the nation’s founding; it is explicitly delineated in the Constitution, which, in the name of “the progress of science and the useful arts,” gives Congress the power to grant inventors “the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries” for a limited time—generally 20 years—during which period competitors are forbidden from selling similar products. Without those assurances, there would arguably be no incentive to innovate; why invest money and effort on a breakthrough that anyone could then take and sell? Patents created a business environment that led to such landmark technologies as the cotton gin, Morse code, the Yale lock, the Xerox machine, the laser, and the Hula Hoop.

But over the years patents became much more than just protection. They were also assets. Inventors who won patents were free to sell them on the open market, giving the buyer the right to their creations. In theory this was another boon for innovation; even if original patent holders couldn’t maximize the potential of their inventions, they could still turn a tidy profit by allowing someone else to build on their ideas. But in practice it meant that even people who never invented anything in their lives—a group of lawyers, for instance—could scoop up a bunch of patents and start suing other inventors for infringing on their intellectual property.

And this is what we have today. It is a broken system that almost everyone wants changed.

Vista 8 Too Much of a Resource Hog for Tablets, Takes Up an Expensive 16 GB of Space

Posted in Mandriva, Microsoft, Vista 8, Windows at 2:19 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Vista 8 and bloat on Surface lead to lawsuits already; Microsoft too focused on disrupting the winner (Linux/Android) and not on fixing its own products

WINDOWS and Surface are two old brands (the latter is being reused), but they cannot on their own guarantee the survival of a monopoly. Vista 8 is missing the boat and the Windows franchise gradually dies. Microsoft is unable to become a hardware company and now come the lawsuits we expected, starting with Sokolowski:

Andrew Sokolowski, a lawyer in Los Angeles, claims that he bought a Surface with 32 gigabytes of storage last week. But he quickly ran out of space after loading it with music and Microsoft Word documents. He discovered that a significant portion of the 32 GB storage space was being used by the operating system and pre-installed apps such as Word and Excel. Only 16 GB was available for him to use.

Here is commentary from a pro-Linux site:

Microsoft’s Surface tablet allocates almost 50% of the storage for itself thus leaving a user with 16GB on a 32GB tablet. Microsoft said in a statement. “Customers understand the operating system and pre-installed applications reside on the device’s internal storage thereby reducing the total free space.”

That sounds like an extremely poor operating system which has such a huge overhead.

My 16GB Google Nexus 7 tablet offers me more than 13GB of storage allocating less than 2.8 GB for the system, same is the case with other Android devices. The way Microsoft’s mobile OS reserves lion’s share of storage to itself is outrageous and shows how inferior the OS is when compared with Android.

Android can be much smaller. The problem is, Microsoft tried shoehorning a desktop OS into a mobile device.

sinofsky is said to have been thrown out for this strategic blunder and Semiaccurate says that Microsoft has failed:

Microsoft is in deep trouble, their two main product lines are failing, and the blame game is intensifying. Steve Sinofsky gets the blame this time for the failure of Windows 8, but the real problem is the patterns that are so clearly illustrated by these actions.
Microsoft is largely irrelevant to computing of late, the only markets they still play in are evaporating with stunning rapidity. Their long history of circling the wagons tighter and tighter works decently as long as there is not a credible alternative, and that strategy has been the entirety of the Microsoft playbook for so long that there is nothing else now. It works, and as the walls grow higher, customer enmity builds while the value of an alternative grows. This cycle repeats as long as there is no alternative. If there is, everything unravels with frightening rapidity.
A company that plays this game for too long becomes set in their ways, and any chance of real change simply becomes impossible. Microsoft is there, and has been for a long long time. Their product lines have stagnated, creating customer lock in is prioritized over creating customer value, and the supply chain is controlled by an iron fisted monopoly. Any attempt at innovation with a Windows PC has been shut out for over a decade, woe betide anyone who tried to buck that trend. The history books are littered with the corpses of companies that tried to make change the ‘Windows experience’. Microsoft’s displeasure is swift and fatal to those that try. Or at least it was.

A former Microsoft employee tried telling Sinofsky that it is a lost cause:

Congratulations on leaving Microsoft. Unless you have bills to pay, you won’t regret it. I left at the end of 2004, and have since studied a vast and amazing — but still flawed – world of computing out there.

For example, I discovered that we should already have cars that (optionally) drive us around and computers that talk to us. Linux on the desktop is powerful and rich but failing because of several strategic mistakes. Google claims to be a friend of Linux and free software, but most of their interesting AI code is locked up. Programming should be a part of basic math literacy for every child. The biotechnology world is proprietary like Microsoft, which is stunting progress in new medicines.

When Microsoft turns to Linux it often ends up badly. Even Microsoft veterans are a problem, e.g. when they hijack VMware, only to end up as trolls with "big boobs" type of jokes:

Thanks, VMware. In Microsoft’s case it turned out that nothing was using that value and it could be replaced without breaking things.

That’s according to the UEFI guy, who helped legitimise a headache to Linux users. As we explained before, Microsoft is too focused making life miserable for Android distributors (with UEFI requirements and patent litigation), so it loses sight of its own products, Even when Vista 8 is given away cheaply or for free people now choose Linux/Android. What an interesting time it is to be a Linux/FOSS advocate!

“It’s easier for our software to compete with Linux when there’s piracy than when there’s not.”

Bill Gates


Picture sent by a reader

Links 15/11/2012: Enlightenment E17 Alpha 2, m0n0wall 1.34

Posted in News Roundup at 9:15 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux for a business traveller

    Are you a business traveller? Do you need to spend at least some of your nights away from home, somewhere in a hotel? Do you have a company laptop?

  • Fund-seeking PengPod wants to inspire Truly Linux tablet movement
  • Buyers Surprised By Coolness of Linux Powered Refrigerator

    A different way to put it, is: When Linux is in your refrigerator, you have Network Attached Storage.

  • Early XBMC Linux builds ported to Allwinner A10 devices

    We’ve covered a number of PCs-on-a-stick in recent months, all of which have the potential to function as an uber-mini Android-powered media centers.

  • Server

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Enlightenment E17 Alpha 2 Released
    • What is a Desktop?

      A few days ago I started to work on a part of KWin which made me wonder what do we mean with the word “desktop” in the context of a window manager such as KWin. Of course in the sense of a window manager one means “Virtual Desktops” when speaking of “desktop”.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

    • GNOME Desktop

      • 8 GTK 3.6 Compatible Themes Available In PPAs For Ubuntu 12.10

        GTK themes need to be updated to work with each new major GTK version, and because of this, some beautiful themes available for GTK 3.2 or 3.4 like Zukitwo and others, don’t work with the latest GTK 3.6 available in Ubuntu 12.10 and other Linux distributions.

        There are, however, a few cool themes which work with the latest stable GNOME / GTK (3.6). Below you’ll find 8 GTK3.6 compatible themes which are available in PPAs / repositories for Ubuntu 12.10 and work with both GNOME Shell and Unity.

  • Distributions

    • Snowlinux 3 White Review: As usual good, will be interesting to compare with Linux Mint 14

      If you think Ubuntu 12.10 is buggy and painful to use, then you must try out the new Snowlinux 3 “White”. It is based on Ubuntu 12.10 and it simplifies a lot of stuff which Ubuntu complicates! Desktops available along with this edition are: Mate 1.4, Cinnamon 1.6 and Gnome fallback 3.6. Linux kernel is 3.5.

    • What Is The Easiest Version Of Linux To Learn?

      With each day that passes, more and more people are giving Linux a try. It’s free and it can hold its ground against both Windows and Mac, so why not? And maybe you want to give it a try, too–but you keep hearing about how difficult Linux is, how it’s a “geek-only” operating system, etc. Thankfully, there are certain versions of Linux that will help ease you into the process.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Price Target Lowered to $60.00 at BMO Capital Markets (RHT)

        Red Hat (NYSE: RHT) had its target price trimmed by BMO Capital Markets from $65.00 to $60.00 in a report issued on Monday. They currently have an outperform rating on the stock.

      • Red Hat Developer Demands Competitor’s Source Code

        A very serious argument erupted on the Linux kernel mailing list when Andy Grover, a Red Hat SCSI target engineer, requested that Nicholas A. Bellinger, the Linux SCSI target maintainer, provide proof of non-infringment of the GPL. I can think of two reasons why this is disturbing. The Linux kernel mailing list is where most of the business of writing Linux code happens, and the seriousness of violating the GPL, which would be like stealing from Linux.

        [Allow me to call them Nick and Andy] Nick is developer at Rising Tide Systems, a Red Hat competitor, and a maker of advanced SCSI storage systems. Nick’s company recently produced a groundbreaking technology involving advanced SCSI commands which will give Rising Tide Systems a lead in producing SCSI storage systems.

    • Debian Family

      • Descent|OS 4.0 Drops Ubuntu for Debian

        Brian Manderville proudly announced a couple of days ago on Twitter that the development for the upcoming Descent|OS 4.0 Linux operating system has started.

      • Tails 0.14 Screenshots
      • Derivatives

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Necklaces now available! $10 of each purchase supports Ubuntu in schools
          • Ubuntu Weekly Newsletter Issue 291
          • Canonical Releases Ad For Ubuntu For Android

            Back in February Mark Shuttleworth announced Ubuntu for Android as a part of Ubuntu’s multi-device plan. Ubuntu for Android is a side-by-side pairing of the Android and Ubuntu OSes on a single phone. You can dock in and transform your android phone into a fully functional Ubuntu desktop and while you plug the phone out it can be used as normal android phone. Also you will be able to use your Android apps from your desktop using the Ubuntu for Android.

            The OSes are sharing their Data and also the Kernel which means that no hassle of syncing and also very efficiently working OSes. More can be found about the Ubuntu for Android at Ubuntu’s official website.

          • Search Google Play From Unity
          • Flavours and Variants

            • Xubuntu 12.10 – Day 2 – Customise the desktop

              In the first part of my review of Xubuntu I just looked at the default installation.

              The thing with Xubuntu is that the base is very light but it has so much potential that I believe it can be turned into anything you want it to be. As your needs are different from my needs the ability to customise is very important.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Update: CyanogenMod says owner hijacked domain, demanded $10,000

          Android enthusiasts trying to reach CyanogenMod.com, the website for the popular community-maintained firmware of the same name, will find themselves staring at a blank filler site as of today. As has been detailed in a blog post up on the new CyanogenMod.org, the owner of the original domain (one Ahmet Deveci) name shut the site down after he was discovered impersonating CyanogenMod founder Steve “Cyanogen” Kondik for the purpose of cutting referral deals with other sites.

          When confronted and asked to surrender the keys amicably, Deveci responded by demanding $10,000 for the domain, an amount that the team “won’t (and can’t) pay.” CyanogenMod team members were able to reclaim ownership of the project’s Twitter and Facebook accounts, but upon being locked out of the system Deveci promptly deleted the domain’s DNS records, rendering the site unreachable.

        • New Ad for Ubuntu for Android Arrives, But Where’s the Beef?

          If you’ve been waiting for Ubuntu for Android, it still isn’t here yet, but you can take in a promotional video for it, available here. As Mark Shuttleworth has made clear, Canonical is moving quickly ahead with its plans to bring Ubuntu to platforms going well beyond just desktop computers. Smartphones are a key platform that Canonical is targeting with Ubuntu, and the company was very vocal about Ubuntu for Android at Mobile World Congress earlier this year. So why is a video that is essentially an ad for Ubuntu for Android appearing when you still can’t get a smartphone with it running?

        • Queen gets Galaxy Note 10.1, not iPad, for Royal Collection

          Samsung’s Galaxy Note 10.1 was chosen as the Royal Collection’s tablet by the Royal Commonwealth Society charity, the BBC is reporting today. The organization considered going with the iPad, but instead chose Samsung’s device. It’s not clear why the Galaxy Note 10.1 was picked over the iPad, which, like it or not, essentially defined the tablet era we’re entering.

        • Google: Seriously, we’ve improved Google TV
        • Updated Google TV Gets Voice Search

          Google TV has just got a new update that makes hunting content on your smart telly faster and easier, by the simple method of talking to it.

          It’s ‘Voice Search’ where you can basically say anything you want to the TV and see what results come up. You won’t know how good the gizmo’s hearing is until you’ve tried it. Say “HBO” and you might go right to a shopping channel selling deodorant, or say “Homeland” to see all the live and streaming options to watch the show. You can even say “how to tie a bow tie” and watch a YouTube video showing you how to do it. Which nicely segues into Google TV’s updated YouTube app.

        • Google’s Android finally earns respect with developers

          The mobile video game Kingdoms at War is popular with owners of Apple Inc’s iPhone and Google Inc’s Android smartphones alike. But for the game’s maker, there is a very important difference – it earns more than double the money on iPhones and iPads than it does on Android devices.

        • Pantech Magnus pic leaked, could be sign of upcoming announcement
        • Android 4.2 Hits AOSP, Broadcom Replaces NXP with NCI Stack for NFC
        • Android 4.2 goes AOSP
        • Android 4.2 Jelly Bean arrives
    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Lenovo’s S2110 Android tablet delivers the goods

        Although Samsung’s thin, lightweight Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets have dominated the 10-inch Android tablet market for the past year-and-a-half, they’re going to be facing some serious competition from new devices from Lenovo and Google. I spent the past several weeks getting to know Lenovo’s modestly priced IdeaTab S2110, which optionally morphs into a laptop-like hybrid. How does it compare?

      • Android 4.2 OTA Update Available For Nexus 7

        I went to sleep with the news of Android 4.2 hitting AOSP. When I woke up and checked my Nexus I was greeted with a notification of a system update being available. I instantly hit the install button and my Nexus 7 got the 4.2 update. The new 4.2 Jelly Bean update has the same build number as the previous i.e. JOP40C but there are certain new features in 4.2.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Review: 6 slick open source routers

    Hackers of the world, unite! You have nothing to lose but the lousy stock firmware your routers shipped with.

    Apart from smartphones, routers and wireless base stations are undoubtedly the most widely hacked and user-modded consumer devices. In many cases the benefits are major and concrete: a broader palette of features, better routing functions, tighter security, and the ability to configure details not normally allowed by the stock firmware (such as antenna output power).

  • OmniOS Aims To Fill The OpenSolaris Void
  • Introducing Vagrant

    Vagrant is an open-source (MIT) tool for building and managing virtualized development environments developed by Mitchell Hashimoto and John Bender. Vagrant manages virtual machines hosted in Oracle VirtualBox, a full x86 virtualizer that is also open source (GPLv2).

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla’s Big Comeback

        Mozilla is now something of a venerable institution in the open source world – the first release of browser code by Netscape took place back in 1998. Even Firefox is eight years old, which seems pretty incredible.

        Given that unusual longevity, it’s no wonder that the project has seen its ups and down. I wrote about a particularly dark period a couple of years ago, when people thought that Firefox and Mozilla had peaked in terms of their influence. Six months later, I was reporting on the plans of Mozilla’s new CEO; there was clearly a lot starting to happen, but how would it pan out?

      • Mozilla publicly announces the open-source Flash-renderer Mozilla-sponsored Shumway project
      • Native Flash Support For Firefox On The Way, The Shumway Project

        Earlier this year, Adobe announced its plans to abandon the widely used Flash plugin in Linux and other UNIX-like (excluding Apple’s Mac) operating systems. It meant that there won’t be a new version of Adobe Flash for these systems. Adobe, however, will continue to provide security updates to Flash on these systems for a period of five years. After that, Linux users will be forced to use the out-of-date Flash plugin indefinitely or switch to some alternatives like Gnash, which currently do not work well.

      • Want to take Firefox OS for a spin? Firefox Plugin Makes it Easy

        While Firefox OS isn’t here yet, it is coming soon— sometime in early 2013. If you are interested in the OS and want to give a test drive, you previously could use a nightly build and throw it onto the Raspbery Pi or even flash it to a Galaxy Nexus. These methods were both quite complicated, though. Good news, a new Firefox browser plug-in allows you to emulate FireFox OS on Mac, Linux and Windows.

      • Watch Mozilla show off the Firefox OS Gaia UI, Marketplace and more

        Since first being announced back in July 2011, Mozilla has slowly but steadily revealed new details of its upcoming mobile operating system, Firefox OS (formerly Boot to Gecko).

  • SaaS

    • Nebula Names OpenStack Co-Creator VP of Product Management

      If you’ve followed the short history of the OpenStack cloud computing platform, you probably know that NASA and Rackspace drove the early development of the project. Today, Nebula, headed by former NASA CTO Chris Kemp, is naming Jesse Andrews as VP of product management. Andrews was the founder of ANSO Labs and founding engineer of OpenStack. ANSO Labs was the company that designed and implemented the core OpenStack cloud technologies Nova and Horizon for NASA.

  • CMS

    • WordPress Makes a Bid to Bring Open Source CMS To Cities around the World

      Every city in the world needs to have a website. The good people at open source CMS vendor WordPress think that CMS should be free too.

      So WordPress is now offering a WordPress.com/cities setup and account for any city for free. This is the hosted version of the open source WordPress code that powers more blogs than any other software on Earth.

  • Education

    • MOOCs trend towards open enrollment, not licensing

      MOOCs—or Massive Open Online Courses—have been getting a lot of attention lately. Just in the last year or so there’s been immense interest in the potential for large scale online learning, with significant investments being made in companies (Coursera, Udacity, Udemy), similar non-profit initiatives (edX), and learning management systems (Canvas, Blackboard). The renewed interest in MOOCs was ignited after last year’s Introduction to Artificial Intelligence course offered via Stanford University, when over 160,000 people signed up to take the free online course. The idea of large-scale, free online education has been around for quite some time. Some examples include David Wiley’s 2007 Introduction to Open Education; Connectivism and Connective Knowledge, led by George Siemens and Stephen Downes in 2008; Open Content Licensing for Educators; and many others.

  • Healthcare

    • Wentz wows at EHR summit

      Robert Wentz, CEO and president of Oroville Hospital, spoke about the hospital’s success in implementing open-source electronic health records at a summit held outside of Washington, D.C., on Oct. 17 and 18.

  • Business

  • Funding

  • BSD

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 4.8 Has More Optimizations

      GCC 4.8 features improvements to link-time optimizations (LTO) with the LTO partitioning having been re-written for improved reliability and maintainability while fixing some link failures (see our GCC 4.7 LTO benchmarks). Aside from improving LTO, there’s also improved inter-procedural optimizations. The interprocedural optimization improvements come from a new symbol table, improvements to the inline heuristicsm and better inlining decisions.

  • Public Services/Government

    • We the People: Seceding from open government?

      The petitions for Texas and other states to secede from the U.S. on the White House’s “We the People” site have drawn a great deal of attention in the past couple of days. I find it highly ironic that people are protesting following the re-election of the Administration by using the very platform set up by said Administration for grassroots advocacy. That being said, it’s also a testament to the idea that open government works—even for those who believe it doesn’t.

    • ‘Freiburg’s frustration with IT caused anger over free software’

      A halfhearthed implementation of OpenOffice has frustrated the civil servants working for the German city of Freiburg, says Timothy Simms, one of the city’s council members. “I think that in their anger, they’re now making OpenOffice the scapegoat for many other IT problems.”

      One of the problems, according to Simms, is that the city never seriously switched to OpenOffice, a free software office suite. He says that many civil servants are still using a version of a proprietary office suite that is now over a decade old.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • The Belief Genome: an open source technology startup

      Belief Genome™, described as an “open source technology startup”, aims to map all human beliefs. The prototype code is already available to the public on Github, however there’s still a lot of development to be done.

    • Open Hardware

      • Google engineers open source book scanner design

        Engineers from Google’s Books team have released the design plans for a comparatively reasonably priced book scanner under an open source licence on Google Code. The Verge reports that the engineers developed a prototype during the “20 per cent time” that Google allocates to its employees for personal projects. Built using a scanner, a vacuum cleaner and various other components, the Linear Book Scanner can automatically digitise entire books.

      • Google engineers open source book scanner design
  • Programming

    • LLVM 3.2 Release Candidate 1 Is Out There

      The first release candidate of the LLVM 3.2 compiler infrastructure along with the Clang C/C++ front-end compiler is now available.

    • About Advising Bitergia with My SourceForge Hat

      I’m lucky enough to be able to do the job I love.

      As part of my job I dedicate almost 20% of my time to projects related to the SourceForge core business, and this includes advising few open-source-related companies. Among them a special place goes to Bitergia, a company focused in the area of software development analytics.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OASIS adopts AMQPv1: An open standard for smart grid and cloud

      For governments looking for cutting edge, open source messaging solutions, the recent action by the OASIS standards consortium to approve the Advanced Message Queueing Protocol (AMQP) Version 1.0 is a major development.

      The need for cutting edge, mission critical messaging options is arising in a variety of contexts: it is a key component to interoperable ‘smart grid’ frameworks, as well as ‘cloud’ solutions.

Leftovers

  • Twelve-year, $430 million effort fails to get DHS radio users on the same frequency

    The Homeland Security Department spent $430 million on a fruitless plan to enable radio users departmentwide to communicate on the same frequency, according to a new audit released Tuesday by an internal watchdog.

  • How Barack Obama killed John Wayne

    The reason that President Barack Obama won reelection, as most everyone knows by now, is that older white males, on whom the Republican Party has long relied, are declining in numbers, while women and minority voters, key components of Obama’s base, are increasing. In the electoral post-mortems, Obama’s victory has been considered a kind of valedictory to white male supremacy. But his win did something else: Obama killed John Wayne on Nov. 6 — with the complicity of roughly 61 million Americans.

    [...]

    Wayne’s America was hard and unyielding. This emerging America is softer and more sensitive. As opposed to a solitary hero, it embraces the idea of collective heroism.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • When a Palm Reader Knows More Than Your Life Line

      “PLEASE put your hand on the scanner,” a receptionist at a doctor’s office at New York University Langone Medical Center said to me recently, pointing to a small plastic device on the counter between us. “I need to take a palm scan for your file.”

    • Will GOP Governors Really Try “Nullifying” Obamacare?

      Despite Americans overwhelmingly rejecting Mitt Romney and his plans to “repeal Obamacare on day one,” an effort to nonetheless thwart the federal health care law on the state level is underway, led by the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity and Cato Institute, with help from American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) model legislation. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is a key holdout and has not indicated whether he will continue to actively block the health care law.

    • Idiots line up to thank Papa John’s for screwing them out of healthcare
  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • The DHS And FBI Present: You Might Be A Terrorist If… (Hotel Guest Edition)

      When registering, present as many forms of ID as possible. Be sure to mention where you work EVEN if no one asks. Brag if you have to. Hand out business cards to the staff. Let the desk clerk know that your stay here is no secret and that your room number should be given to anyone who asks, including those who don’t ask. When asked if you have a room preference, answer with a bright, but unfrightening, “I’ve never had a ‘preference’ in my life! I’m easy to please and an American citizen!”

      Head directly to your room, carefully avoiding eye contact with doors marked “Employees Only.” Immediately unpack all of your luggage. Make several phones calls using ONLY the in-room phone. Call the front desk several times so as to avoid appearing suspicious. Return to your unattended vehicle and clone yourself using existing, but non-potentially-dangerous technology. Make no sudden movements and keep your ID and passport displayed prominently. Return one of yourselves to your hotel room, again using the front entrance in a non-threatening, flag-waving manner.

      Stay in your room. Use the provided wi-fi. Avoid sites that use any form of encryption. Be careful not to stay in your room too long. When venturing out for something to eat or a non-suspicious conversation with the suspicious staff, avoid stairwells, hallways, exits/entrances, and connecting roads. On second thought, just stay in your room. This will make it easier to avoid being caught up in the middle of a personnel shift change.

      If you must leave your room, smile and wave at each and every security camera. Lift your shirt to display lack of weapons, explosives or identifiable scars and tattoos. If purchasing anything from the hotel, use only credit cards, checks or DNA. Return to your room using the most surveilled route. Use the in-room phone to order room service. Turn down the delivery when it comes, stating that you’re trying to keep visitors and deliveries to a minimum. Apologize for not having any cash to tip with, but explain that this lack of cash directly contributes (not monetarily, of course) to the safety of everyone in the hotel. Repeat this apology to housekeeping when they arrive, being sure to answer the door before they get to the second knock. Try to ignore their just-out-of-earshot griping about having to clean around the scattered contents of four large suitcases. Smile in a non-threatening fashion and shrug as if to say, “LOOK AT HOW MUCH I DON’T HAVE TO HIDE.”

    • Obama signs secret directive to help thwart cyberattacks

      President Obama has signed a secret directive that effectively enables the military to act more aggressively to thwart cyber­attacks on the nation’s web of government and private computer networks.

      Presidential Policy Directive 20 establishes a broad and strict set of standards to guide the operations of federal agencies in confronting threats in cyberspace, according to several U.S. officials who have seen the classified document and are not authorized to speak on the record. The president signed it in mid-October.

    • President Obama Signs ‘Secret Directive’ On Cybersecurity
    • Tony Blair jeered by UCL students

      Tony Blair was jeered by anti-war protesters at University College London on Tuesday.

      Students and campaigners from the Stop the War Coalition repeated their demand that the former prime minister be tried for war crimes.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

  • Censorship

    • Swedish Muhammad Cartoonist Says ‘World’ Created Controversy

      Swedish artist Lars Vilks caused a storm of controversy when his cartoon depicting the Prophet Muhammad’s head on a dog’s body was published in 2007. Large-scale protests ensued around the Muslim world, and Vilks has since lived under what he describes as “house arrest” for his own safety.

    • It’s Scary How Rapidly Government Requests For Info And Censorship Are Increasing

      Google’s latest transparency report is out and the notable bit of info is that governments continue to increase how often they’re seeking info about users. The increase there is a steady growth which is immensely worrisome. There’s also an equally troubling increase in the attempts to censor content via Google, though in that case, it was relatively flat until the first half of this year when it shot way, way up.

      [...]

      This one is concerning. What court ordered a takedown of a YouTube video criticizing local government officials? That seems like it should be public info.

    • Russian Government Kills Russian Wikipedia Clone “To Protect Children”

      This Monday, the Russian Government placed a Russian Wikipedia clone on a censorship blacklist. The Russian Government maintains such a kill switch for “harmful sites” – motivated with protecting children from drug use, child porn, or suicide methods. In reality, as usual, give anybody such a switch and they’ll shut off things they plain don’t like.

    • Revisions to UAE Cybercrime Law Stifle Free Expression

      Recent revisions to the United Arab Emirates’ cybercrime law will not only restrict internet freedom but are in violation of citizens’ rights to freedom of expression and should be immediately repealed. These revisions come amidst a broader crackdown on human rights defenders both online and offline in the UAE. Freedom House renews its calls for authorities to cease efforts to silence opposition through extralegal harassment and intimidation.

  • Privacy

    • The Petraeus Affair: Surveillance State Stopper?

      Lawmakers, now reminded of their own vulnerability, need to strengthen email privacy protections. Companies need to do more to help customers protect content.

      [...]

      The careers of two of the nation’s top military men have unraveled because the FBI started pulling threads from an inbox without any real evidence of a crime. Maybe that’s just the wakeup call the government needs to recognize the value of privacy.

  • Civil Rights

    • Activists Arrested Confronting Dick Durbin About ‘Fiscal Cliff’

      With hundreds of billions of dollars in cuts to desperately needed federal safety-net programs looming and the future of Bush-era tax cuts to the rich up in the air, Chicago activists brought their case to U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) last week.

      In two days of action on Thursday and Friday, a coalition of Chicago grassroots and faith-based groups called Make Wall Street Pay Illinois demanded that Durbin use his leverage as Senate Majority Whip to protect crucial public services and programs such as Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare from the massive cuts ahead.

    • Freedom House Condemns Wave of Arbitrary Arrests in Cuba

      As the world’s eyes were turned on the U.S. election, Cuba’s regime unleashed a wave of arbitrary detentions, arresting 20-25 dissidents on November 8 and 9, as they were on their way to an organizing meeting for a campaign to end human rights abuses in Cuba. These detentions are in addition to another 520 arrests that took place in October, according to the Cuban Commission of Human Rights and National Reconciliation, led by Elizardo Sanchez. Freedom House condemns Cuba’s crackdown and urges the regime to release these activists and heed citizen calls for greater respect for its human rights obligations under UN treaties.

    • Thousands of Kuwaitis protest against voting changes

      Tens of thousands of Kuwaitis packed into a square opposite parliament on Sunday in a peaceful opposition-led rally against new voting rules.

    • The Israeli documentary putting military rule in Palestine on trial

      The Law In These Parts, an Israeli documentary awarded this year’s Sundance World Cinema Grand Jury prize, examines how the country created a military-legal system to control the Palestinians in the lands Israel occupied in 1967. And at some point during the film, it becomes clear that it’s the judges who are on trial. The documentary, which just screened as part of the UK Jewish Film Festival, features forceful archive footage, alongside a line-up of Israeli legal experts, explaining how they made Israel’s occupation laws.

    • China says no to foreign rights monitors for Tibet

      China will not allow foreign observers into restive Tibet to probe human rights abuses, an official said on Friday, dismissing mounting international pressure for an independent investigation in the troubled mountainous region.

    • European Commission takes action on gender equality

      Today the European Commission produces a proposal for clear action to help improve gender equality at senior corporate level.

      I am and have long been politically in favour of quotas to promote gender equality. Part of me wishes we didn’t need affirmative action: but the fact is, without external intervention, it could take hundreds of years to achieve the kind of change we need. Europe has so many talented women who have what it takes to succeed in business: but none of them has eternal life, they can’t wait that long.

    • After More Than a Decade, Congress Finally Sends Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act to President Obama for Signature

      Finally—after more than a decade of advocacy—Congress has enacted better protections for the brave truth-tellers who safeguard taxpayer dollars. Today, the Senate unanimously passed the long-beleaguered Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (WPEA, S. 743, as amended by the House). The WPEA closes many loopholes and upgrades protections for federal workers who blow the whistle on waste, fraud, abuse, and illegality. This opening salvo to the lame duck shows that Congress can put aside partisan posturing and deliver more government accountability to the American public. These hard-fought reforms will substantially improve the status quo for federal whistleblowers and taxpayers.

    • Hurricane Sandy Shows Folly of $150 Million Spy Center for Wall Street

      Over the past five years, more than $150 million of taxpayer money has been dumped into a spy center in Lower Manhattan where employees of Wall Street firms and real estate behemoths sit side by side with municipal police to spy on the comings and goings of pedestrians on the streets around Wall Street. But none of the thousands of spy cameras positioned around the city that feed into this center foresaw the storm surge that put as much as 40 feet of corrosive salt water in the basements of commercial buildings in Lower Manhattan, crippling thousands of businesses along with the lives of area residents.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

  • Intellectual Monopolies

Rotten Patent System Not Just a Bad Apple, CCIA Seeks Change

Posted in Apple, Patents, Samsung at 6:19 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Systemic problem

Summary: Lawsuits that discredit the system, including Apple’s only recent ‘win’ in court (trial misconduct alleged)

Some recent news about a patent troll got the attention of this famed FUD buster who writes:

Ars Technica has the story on yet another patent troll — though this one seems a bit special. TQP Development — a typical patent troll in so many ways — has apparently gone on something of a rampage over the last four years (and increased in the last year) suing hundreds of companies. The list is impressive. Its most recent lawsuit is against Intel and Wind River, but it’s sued pretty much everyone you can think of. Apple, Google, Twitter and eBay? All sued. Target, Hertz and Mattel? Yup. The list goes on and on… and the company is able to get a bunch of companies to settle just to get rid of the lawsuit. Apparently not a single lawsuit has actually gone to trial.

There is also this in the news today:

Chicago options market goes nuclear, files $525 million patent suit

There was a time, not long ago, when the titans of the US financial world ran away from patents. During the Bilski case, big banks filed an amicus brief (PDF) on the same side as Google, asking the Supreme Court to disallow so-called “business method” patents to no avail.

However, a few key financial institutions have embraced patents enthusiastically. This week, the Chicago Board Options Exchange has taken finance-patent wars to a new level. CBOE filed a lawsuit against a competing options exchange, International Securities Exchange (ISE), demanding $525 million for the infringement of three patents: US Patent Nos. 7,356,498, 7,980,457 and 8,266,044. The board asked for the first patent in 1999, at the height of the patent-everything craze, and the patents were issued between 2008 and 2011.

This will be a good case for abolishing the patent system and the legal framework around it. It is not so far-fetched a concept. We already saw misconduct helping Apple in court [1, 2], but Samsung fights back against it:

Samsung Replies to Apple’s Defense of Jury Foreman’s “Deliberate Dishonesty” ~pj

[...]

It’s serious. And it happened, according to his own bragging to the media. I’m not surprised there will be a hearing.

Here is more:

Did Jury Foreman Hogan Influence The Apple vs Samsung Verdict?

Samsung has been on the winning side against Apple’s legal attacks around the globe – including the UK, Germany and The Netherlands. It’s only the US, Apple’s home turf, where it is facing some challenges. The biggest and the most infamous billion dollar verdict might have had a different outcome if Velvin Hogan was not part of that jury, believes Samsung and many others due to his perceived bias against Samsung.

Both Samsung and Apple have been arguing about when the opposing party learned about Hogan’s Seagate court case. Samsung seeks a new trial due to Hogan’s failure to disclose about other court cases, his ‘presumed’ bias against Samsung the way he ignored the court’s instructions and influenced the jury using his own technical expertise.

While Apple wanted Samsung to disclose when they learned bout jury foreman Hogan’s other court cases (and Samsung disclosed), Apple itself refused to entertain Samsung’s similar request.

Samsung wouldn’t settle. Why would it? It has a lot to gain now that it is leading. It is Apple that might want to retreat and prevent further retribution from Samsung. Here is what Samsung is doing:

Samsung Raises Prices To Apple: I Wonder Why?

Now this is an interesting little tale: Samsung has raised the price it charges Apple for the main applications processors in the iPhone and iPad. The interesting question is why have they done this? I have a suspicion that I know the answer why: no proof, just a suspicion.

[...]

So, what might encourage Samsung to go for the short term greed rather than the long term type? My suspicion is that Samsung is realising that there’s no long term relationship available with Apple any more. There is of course the multi-continental fight going on over Android and the design of phones and tablets. But more than that, Apple has been disengaging from Samsung as a flash memory supplier, even as a screens supplier. To the point that there are rumours that Apple has been bailing out a Sharp plant in order to ensure that supply from some, any other than Samsung, company.

There have also been stories around that Apple is looking to either bring inhouse the chip fabrication itself, or to look for another fab house to bake them. Apple already does the detailed design of the chips with ARM providing the basics of the core. In the medium term, over the next generation or two of chips, it wouldn’t be all that difficult for Apple to farm it out to someone else, the physical construction of the chips.

Apple has failed in its litigation against Samsung. Apple likes to accuse Samsung of ‘stealing’ like it accuses — in vain — China of ‘piracy’. All in all, we are dealing with a broken system that even Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) is trying to tackle:

The U.S. patent system is supposed to foster innovation and reward inventors. But in recent years it has devolved into an epidemic of licensed blackmail with shell companies using flimsy patents to shake down productive companies — especially in the tech sector.

Today, technology firms launched a new website called Patent Progress to call attention to the patent problem, and to share solutions from legal and policy experts. The site is run by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, an advocacy group that counts Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Facebook among its members. Its contributors include leading intellectual property and antitrust lawyers and scholars.

They sometimes lobby for Microsoft. CCIA helps corporations, not people, so Patent Progress is probably not the best way to go. Still, it’s a sign that even corporations are getting fed up.

Ed Black from CCIA writes today that “RPX estimates that there are 250,000 active U.S. patents applicable to the smartphone. Assuming an average of 20 claims each, that is 5,000,000 restrictions on smartphone innovation.

“CCIA’s DisCo project did some further calculations and found smart phone patents account for 16 percent of active patents in the U.S, using RPX estimates.

“As for software patents, researchers say it would take roughly 2,000,000 patent attorneys working full-time to compare every software-producing firm’s products with every software patent issued in a given year. Moreover, any such search would be incomplete, because it cannot reveal applications that are not yet published (18 months from filing in most cases), let alone those that have not yet been filed.”

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