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04.21.13

Links 21/4/2013: GNU/Linux Desktops/Laptops at Dell, Google Glass Runs Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 11:29 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

[Away for a sunny vacation (100 degrees Fahrenheit) until May]

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Linux on the Mini PC

    The recent emergence of the mini PC has opened up new horizons for the Linux user.

    The form factor of the Mini PC is a square having approximately the same dimension as the long side of a DVD box and thin in profile. The mini PC is designed to be very power efficient, typically using a 65 Watt power supply. The CPU is a low-voltage power efficient type, there are no fans, and the power supply is often an external DC adaptor like that of a laptop. Because there are no fans, the computer runs silently.Fanless microserver aims Linux on Core-i7 at harsh environs

  • Desktop

    • It just works: Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition Linux Ultrabook review

      I’ve been terribly curious about the Dell XPS 13 Developer Edition since we first covered it back in November. This is a different beast from the flippy-touchscreen-equipped XPS 12—this Ultrabook contains zero touchscreens. However, it comes preloaded with Ubuntu Linux, and Dell has spent a substantial amount of time and effort in ensuring that it works—and works well.

    • Chromebook’s Files app gets brand new UI and app status

      The Files app of Chrome OS is getting a brand new UI as well as status of a ‘full-fledged’ Chrome packages app status.

      François Beaufort has also shared the instructions if you are interested in testing out the new UI of the file manager.

  • Server

    • IBM reportedly in advanced discussions to sell part of server business to Lenovo

      Revenue dropped five percent over that period as the company missed expectations, with a 13 percent drop in hardware revenues leading a one percent drop in profits in Q1 2013. Year-over-year, System x revenues dropped nine percent compared to a seven percent increase for IBM’s System z mainframe business, which the company is not looking to sell. Lenovo told investors today in a clarification announcement that it “is in preliminary negotiations with a third party in connection with a potential acquisition,” but it has not confirmed talks with IBM specifically.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • Kernel comment: Bad show, NVIDIA!

        NVIDIA’s graphics driver supports hybrid graphics now. As in other areas, NVIDIA took it easy, waiting until other people had done the dirty work building the necessary foundations.

      • The Focus Of Wayland’s Weston Compositor

        Kristian Høgsberg has clarified the scope and goals of Weston, Wayland’s reference compositor. Now that Weston has become somewhat of its own desktop environment, Kristian has clarified its intentions to benefit future patches.

        In hopes of clarifying future development work that could be potentially accepted upstream, Kristian has written on the developer’s mailing list about clarifying the scope and goals for Weston.

      • Shader Optimization Back-End Might Go In For R600g

        For many months there has been a “shader optimization” branch of Mesa/R600g that sought to rather noticeably boost the performance of the AMD R600 Gallium3D driver. While this work by Vadim Girlin didn’t look like it would be merged, after being revived and cleaned-up, it might reach mainline Mesa/Gallium3D as a new performance-boosting option.

        Vadim Girlin had been working on shader optimizations for some time to more efficiently generate shader code and the back-end has evolved quite a bit in recent months. Diminishing prospects for this code has been that it doesn’t use the R600 LLVM GPU back-end, which will eventually become the default for AMD’s Gallium3D driver as it’s needed for OpenCL/GPGPU support. With this custom back-end not using LLVM, it looked like it wouldn’t be merged, but now the story is different.

    • Benchmarks

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Libre Graphics Meeting 2013

        The 2013 Libre Graphics Meeting is over and everyone has returned home and gone back to the drawing board or the keyboard. Krita has been very well represented at this LGM with three artists and a coder, giving three presentations and two awesome workshops!

      • Slick New Artwork and call for testers
      • Semantic Desktop: Akonadi and Nepomuk

        Praised, cursed, often misunderstood, what are KDE’s semantic desktop tools for anyway?

        The idea of taking the myriad kinds of information stored on a computer, and trying to find the relationships between it so it’s more usable, has been around for a long time. “Semantics”, the dictionary tells us, “is the study of meaning”. The goal of a “semantic desktop” is to take all the bits and pieces of information we as users collect over time, and make it more meaningful, and ultimately more useful.

      • Recoll, a great Nepomuk alternative

        Nepomuk is becoming a great tool, but it still has it’s drawbacks.

        A hobby of mine that I’ve done for over twenty-five years now is genealogy. Over the course of that time I’ve acquired a lot of documents and scans of documents, not to mention photos, web snippets, text notes, pdf files and other such things.

        As an ardent KDE user, the natural thing to do for keeping track of all these files – and being able to find them again – is by tagging for Nepomuk. With Dolphin I give them a tag or two, add a comment, and I should have no trouble finding the file in the future. While for many users that would hold true, for my usage (and I suspect many other users) there’s still a problem with relying solely on Nepomuk. It’s tags and comments don’t transfer to the cloud, or another computer. In other words, because Nepomuk’s stores all those tags and comments in it’s database and not in the file itself, the tags and comments don’t transfer elsewhere. With me, I sync all my research files in Dropbox, but when I access them with my laptop out in the field, none of those tags or comments are there. That’s a serious handicap to my research.

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 3rd March 2013
      • KDE’s Future Will be Wayland

        KDE’s Martin Grasslin blogged today that despite what the rest of the industry/community does, KDE’s future will be on Wayland. He said he and his fellow developers decided to travel the road more annoying, if not by choice by process of elimination.

        It’s been interesting to follow the various desktop camps as they discuss the future of their software in relation to desktop graphical servers. Xorg has been the recipient of some mighty harsh words as far back as when it was still XFree. GNOME already stated their interest in developing for Wayland and Grasslin thinks even the smaller projects will move away from X as well. Basically, Grasslin thinks Wayland is the future.

      • The relationship between Plasma and KWin in Workspaces 2
      • Migrating to kmail2

        Ok, I know, migrating to kmail2 is old news now. But only today I decided to try migrating to kmail2. Gentoo is going to remove kmail1 from their repository in a few months so I did not have much of a choice.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Gentoo Family

      • Another Gentoo Hardened month has passed

        Another month has passed, so time to mention again what we have all been doing lately ;-)

        Toolchain

        Version 4.8 of GCC is available in the tree, but currently masked. The package contains a fix needed to build hardened-sources, and a fix for the asan (address sanitizer). asan support in GCC 4.8 might be seen as an improvement security-wise, but it is yet unclear if it is an integral part of GCC or could be disabled with a configure flag. Apparently, asan “makes building gcc 4.8 crazy”. Seeing that it comes from Google, and building Google Chromium is also crazy, I start seeing a pattern here.

    • Slackware Family

      • Alternative to Slackware Store

        There are a lot of ways to support Slackware Linux Project. One of them is by subscribing to Slackware Linux CD/DVD releases or by using Slackware Store to purchase merchandises or even donate to the project.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Hortonworks, Red Hat and Mirantis to bring easy Hadoop to OpenStack

        Hortonworks, Red Hat and Mirantis have announced that they will be cooperating on Project Savanna which aims to make provisioning Hadoop clusters on OpenStack systems fast and easy. Savanna is being designed as an OpenStack component with a REST API and UI accessible through OpenStack’s Horizon Dashboard.

      • Fedora

        • Rawhide week in review, 2013-04-15 edition

          Another week of rawhide rolling along and only one really interesting bug hit:

        • Pimp Out Your Fedora 18 Xfce Desktop

          So, the other day I wrote the Fedora Got Game story and have been continuing to make my transition from Fuduntu which as you may or may not be aware announced that it would close it doors.

          Initially, I had selected the Fedora 18 KDE 64-bit spin but found that it put a bit of a strain on my Netbook. Then, I opted to simply install the Xfce Desktop group onto the KDE spin. The problem with doing that is that your menu winds up having the combined items from both KDE and Xfce and so I opted to reinstall with the Xfce spin.

        • Fedora 19 Alpha status is Go, release on April 23, 2013
    • Debian Family

      • Debian 7 is Nearly Here

        McGovern said fixes are in the works for most of them. There was no mention of the new installer, but recent reports elsewhere state it is shaping up nicely as well with some new features. Ext4 is the new default filesystem, systemd is an option, and UEFI on 64-bit system is supported. Wheezy features Linux 3.2, GCC 4.7.2, Xorg 1.12.4, KDE 4.8.4, and GNOME 3.4.2.

      • Derivatives

        • Elive 2.1.37 Sneak Peek

          It’s been ages since I last took a look at Elive. A development release has just come out so now is a good time to take a peek at it.

          Elive is a desktop distro based on Debian, and it uses the Enlightenment window manager. Elive is geared toward providing you with a high quality desktop, with minimal hardware requirements.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • Ubuntu Touch betas are ready for testing

            Nicholas Skaggs, a Canonical software engineer and quality assurance community co-ordinator, wrote, “I’m happy to announce the Ubuntu touch images are now available for testing on the isotracker. And further, the images are now Raring based! [That is to say, they're based on the soon to be released Ubuntu 13.04 codebase] As such, the Ubuntu Touch team is asking for folks to try out the new images on their devices and ensure there are no regressions or other issues.”

            Specifically, there are four officially supported devices and images for each of them: Nexus 7, grouper; Galaxy Nexus, maguro; Nexus 4, mako; and Nexus 10, manta. These are all early releases and I recommend that only power Ubuntu and smartphone/tablet users try them at this point.

          • After 9 years, Canonical stops offering Ubuntu on disc

            I’ve already decided that the next PC I build won’t include an internal optical drive. I just don’t need one often enough anymore to warrant the cost or installation. I can instead rely on a USB optical drive I already own. And I think that’s the case for a lot of PC owners now. They either use hardware that has already dumped the optical drive (e.g. Ultrabooks), or won’t consider it a great loss if their next system doesn’t include one.

          • Ubuntu Touch images available for testing

            Ubuntu Touch, Canonical’s mobile aspirations, is getting ready for the market. If the developer preview was nothing more than demo-ware, with place holders, now there are images which you can test of your device with some ‘working’ and functional apps.

          • Ubuntu Community Survey 2013 (By Nathan Heafner)

            Today I got in touch with Nathan Heafner, a community member who is actively participating, and wanted me to leave you with this message:

          • Ubuntu Touch betas are ready for testing

            Ubuntu Touch, the version of the Linux operating system for smartphones and tablets, is now available.

          • 10 Best Ubuntu 13.04 Features – From Social Lens to Window Snapping

            But what can you expect to find in it? Unlike the last few releases Ubuntu 13.04 features few dramatic changes, instead bringing some much need polish and performance-boosts.

          • Ubuntu 13.04 Preview

            A few days ago, I decided to give the Ubuntu 13.04 ‘Raring Ringtail’ Beta version a test. I downloaded the Daily Build and installed it successfully. The first thing I have got to share with you all is there are many things to put in mind whenever you’re using any program/system in beta. Do not set too much expectation or you will be let down or frustrated. I was doing some work related word processing using the new LibreOffice Writer and my first experience was terrible

          • App Ecosystem for Ubuntu Mobile Growing Steadily

            Despite all the technical and commercial hurdles, Canonical is well on its way to transforming Ubuntu for mobile devices into the real deal. For proof, look no further than the rapidly maturing application stack for touch-enabled hardware that both Ubuntu engineers and independent developers are churning out.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Fuduntu 2013.2 Review: As ever – Simple, Effective, fast and now with added Steam!

              This year January, I reviewed the 2013.1 update from Fuduntu and was extremely impressed by it. Since then Fuduntu has been one of my favorite distros and I use it on my netbook, dual boot with Linux Mint 13 XFCE. Fuduntu, though the name has resemblance to Ubuntu in it, is more of Fedora with the advantage of rolling release. However, to me it is truly Fedora + Ubuntu, as it combines the simplicity and professionalism of Fedora with the fun of Ubuntu. It means that once you install it, you need not re-install it again – by just downloading the updates, your system has always the latest release.With the present release, Fuduntu also comes with a Fuduntu Lite version for advanced users and netbooks, which actually provides the basic shell without much pre-installed applications. For this review, I used the Fuduntu “heavy” version only – may be I’ll take Fuduntu Lite next time.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Fanless microserver aims Linux on Core-i7 at harsh environs

      CompuLab has introduced a rugged, fanless, microserver based on 3rd Generation Intel Core Processors, clocked up to 2.5GHz. The Linux-friendly “uSVR” runs from -20 to 60° C, accommodates up to four internal 2.5-inch drives, networks via WiFi and up to six GbE channels, and expands modularly.

    • Guest post: more high altitude ballooning from Dave Akerman

      The payload will carry a model A Raspberry Pi, plus an Arduino Mini Pro, a UBlox GPS receiver, and 2 Radiometrix NTX2 transmitters. The latter will be on nearby frequencies primarily to avoid conflict with some other flights this weekend, but also to allow those with SDR (Software Defined Radio) receivers to listen to and decode the signals from both transmitters.

    • Automotive IVI Linux meets Yocto 1.3, Genevi 3.0

      Mentor Graphics has merged the Linux-based automotive infotainment technology it acquired in February from MontaVista Software into its own in-vehicle infotainment (IVI) platform. Additionally, the new Mentor Embedded Automotive Technology Platform (ATP) complies with Yocto Project 1.3 and GENIVI 3.0 requirements, says Mentor.

      Mentor’s ATP and its Sourcery CodeBench and Sourcery Analyzer development tools are aimed at simplifying the process of tuning the Linux kernel and selecting suitable components for Linux-based IVI systems. In particular, ATP’s support for LLTng (LInux Trace Toolkit, Next Generation), helps developers “more easily visually analyze and debug complex interactions between the Linux OS and automotive application software with the Mentor Embedded Sourcery Analyzer,” states the company.

    • Real-World Raspberry Pi

      The single-circuit-board Raspberry Pi computer, only as big as a credit card, makes it easy to gain experience with embedded Linux systems. We’ll show you some hands-on examples of how to use the Raspberry Pi in an everyday environment.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Samsung to launch Galaxy S4 at end of April in 50 countries

          Samsung Electronics plans to introduce its Galaxy S4 at the end of April in 50 countries and sources from the supply chain predict shipments in the first month will be close to 10 million units. There have been no rumors regarding component shortages.

        • Quick Thoughts on Miscellaneous Smartphone Developments Awaiting Q1 Results

          Samsung’s Galaxy S4 was revealed, all signs point to another hit smartphone and big growth for the Sammy. They keep expanding the Galaxy series as was expected and the juggernaut should continue to roll on. I found it funny that the Galaxy Camera only now arrived to American shores, we’ve had it here in Asia since last year. Samsung’s Q1 financial guidance said massive growth in smartphones, driving up their profits.. yeah, this ‘surprised’ some after the Christmas season, but not our readers, we know China’s gift-giving season is in January for Q1 and as Samsung is China’s top-selling smartphone nowadays (used to be Nokia) that means big good sales for the Samster…

      • Android

Free Software/Open Source

  • Airbnb Open Sources Rendr, A Library For Running Backbone.js Apps On Both Client And Server

    Airbnb today announced that it is open sourcing Rendr, its library for running Backbone.js apps seamlessly on both the client and the server. After launching its Chronos cron replacement a few weeks ago, this marks the company’s second major contribution to the open source ecosystem this year. Airbnb originally developed Rendr for its mobile site.

  • Workshop for university students on free and open source software

    A workshop to promote the use of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) in Open Web Technology was organised successfully at S N Ghosh auditorium, of the J K Institute of Applied Physics and Technology of Allahabad University, on Saturday.

    The workshop was conducted by Mozilla foundation, an open source non-profit organisation working in open web technology.

    The workshop was inaugurated by head of the department of Electronics & Communication R R Tiwari who was also the chief guest of the workshop, aimed to benefit B Tech, MCA and BCA students of AU.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Manifesto Nears 1.0

        Mitchell Baker has blogged that since Mozilla is celebrating its 15 year anniversary, it was time to tweak their Manifesto first published in 2007. Mozilla gathered input for a year and three new proposed changes are suggested.

      • Mozilla Reconsiders, May Support WebP Image Format

        Want your website to load faster? Slim your images. According to the HTTPArchive, images account for roughly 60 percent of total page size. That means the single biggest thing most sites can do to slim down is to shrink their images.

      • Firefox Mobile OS to launch in five countries this summer

        Mozilla CEO says that the Firefox Mobile OS will be available this summer in Venezuela, Poland, Brazil, Portugal, and Spain.

      • Firefox OS Powered Keon Makes Its Way To The FCC

        We’ve already heard that another mobile operating system will soon be made available courtesy of Mozilla. This summer Firefox OS powered devices will be made available in 5 countries spread over Europe and South America.

      • Firefox OS Powered Keon Makes Its Way To The FCC

        If you’ve wanted to be one of the first people to check out the new OS then Spanish e-retailer Geeksphone has you covered as they will be releasing two Firefox OS powered devices which they say “will be available for dispatch anywhere on earth.”

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Databases

    • MariaDB Foundation on course for community governance

      The MariaDB Foundation has expanded its Board of Directors and has appointed Simon Phipps as its Secretary and interim Chief Executive Officer. Rasmus Johansson has been appointed Chair of the Board, which also includes Andrew Katz, Jeremy Zawodny, and Michael “Monty” Widenius as members. Speaking to The H, Phipps said: “The key change here is the Foundation is now officially under the direction of a diverse Board rather than just one director.” With this change, it is on track to be completely member-led in the second half of the year.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • An Open Letter to Richard Stallman

      A few days ago Guillermo Garron wrote a piece on his website after seeing you speak live. A link to that article was posted at Scot’s Newsletter Forums – Bruno’s All Things Linux, where a discussion ensued. During the course of that conversation, I thought that maybe it was about time that we started using a less bulky nomenclature for the GNU/Linux operating system. I posted a few suggestions, but I think I like GNix the best.

    • Guile-SDL 0.4.3 available
    • Free Software Foundation takes potshot at Windows 8

      The FSF contends that sometimes, proprietary software actually helps its fight for freedom but that Windows 8 is “so bad it’s almost funny” — the group claims that it is “full of spyware and security vulnerabilities” and that it is confusing for users.

      The group sets out its stall as follows:

      “As our society grows more dependent on computers, the software we run is of critical importance to securing the future of a free society. Free software is about having control over the technology we use in our homes, schools and businesses, where computers work for our individual and communal benefit, not for proprietary software companies or governments who might seek to restrict and monitor us.”

      This infographic is linked here, but not shown here in full due its arguably somewhat reactionary nature.

    • Forming a software foundation? Think again

      As an open source project gathers momentum and the possibility of corporate engagement beckons, developers can frequently be heard saying they need to start a foundation for their project.

      But do they? Ask many of the people who have gone down that path, and they’re likely to advise against it. The bureaucracy is daunting, the skills needed to run such an organization are similar to those of any other business, and there’s a very real risk the IRS will refuse to grant tax-exempt status.

  • Public Services/Government

    • FOSS in the Italian public administration: fundamental law principles

      We take a first reading of the recent modification to the fundamental law that governs the digital aspects of the Public Administration in Italy. These modifications require Public Administrations to prefer internally made solutions and FOSS solutions over proprietary ones, mandate an increased degree of interoperability and strengthen the push for open data.


    • FBI Seeks Open Architecture

      As I was skimming through a solicitation document the FBI posted surveying vendors that might provide it with new video monitor technology, one word jumped out at me: open.

      The FBI is looking for a system that will allow it to monitor video from all sorts of devices, including those it owns itself and those owned by other law enforcement agencies. It also wants to be able to plug tools into the system that help it identify faces and license plates.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Bioengineers Build Open Source Language for Programming Cells

      Endy is the co-director of the International Open Facility Advancing Biotechnology — BIOFAB, for short — where he’s part of a team that’s developing a language that will use genetic data to actually program biological cells. That may seem like the stuff of science fiction, but the project is already underway, and the team intends to open source the language, so that other scientists can use it and modify it and perfect it.

      The effort is part of a sweeping movement to grab hold of our genetic data and directly improve the way our bodies behave — a process known as bioengineering. With the Supreme Court exploring whether genes can be patented, the bioengineering world is at crossroads, but scientists like Endy continue to push this technology forward.

    • Open Data

      • Startup strives to build a better symptom search engine using patients own words, open source data

        A patient facing search engine app MedWhat wants to achieve something its co-founder believes is lacking from similar tools — fast, comprehensive responses to patient questions no matter how simple or complex.

        In an interview with MedCity News, entrepreneur and co-founder Arturo Devesa said he believes two ingredients are essential to achieving that: open source data from respected medical institutions and natural language processing — allowing people to ask questions in their own words. He envisions a platform that can transform mobile phones into virtual primary care physicians.

    • Open Access/Content

    • Open Hardware

      • You Built What?!: A Tractor For The Apocalypse

        A modular, open-source workhorse to help rebuild civilization.

      • Open-source hardware: Are you on board?

        Welcome to our 5 Engineers section, part of this blog and our Fun Friday newsletter, where we toss out a question and invite our audience to respond with their wittiest answers.

        This week, on the cusp of DESIGN West and its many open-source hardware and software (OSHS) sessions, we’re thinking specifically about open-source hardware (OSH).

  • Programming

    • Go at Google

      Rob Pike explains how Google designed Go to address major development issues they encounter while using other languages: long build times, poor dependency management, lack of robustness, etc.

    • jQuery 2.0 Released, IE 8 And Less Left to Bite the Cold

      jQuery, arguably the most popular JavaScript library, is out with their much awaited major release v2.0. It comes with a 12% reduced size footprint, API compatibility with v1.9.x, and 45 bug fixes & feature improvements. But the most notable change is dropping of support for Internet Explorer (IE) versions 8 and less.

    • Oracle Delays Java 8 To Next Year Over Security

      Oracle has decided to delay the release of Java 8 into 2014 over their engineers tackling various security-related issues with the language as of late.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • The IETF between open innovation and network load limiters

      The German Federal Ministry of Economics advocates an “unpatronising” internet, said Otto. The internet and social networks have become a powerful voice for freedom that mustn’t be jeopardised through control and regimentation, he added. However, Otto noted that citizens must also be able to defend themselves against online violations of their personal rights. The Liberal politician spoke out against giving governments more technical control over the global network through established bodies such as the IETF and the ICANN internet management authority. Otto also noted that genuine internet politics require an understanding of “how the underlying technologies work”.

Leftovers

  • Phone While Driving

    For years, we’ve discussed the problematic nature of “distracted driving” laws that seek to outlaw things like talking on your phone or texting while driving. It is not that we don’t think these behaviors are dangerous. It seems clear that those activities can take one’s attention away from driving and potentially increase the likelihood of an accident by a significant amount. However, the laws are often broad and inconsistent — and, worse, they can have serious unintended consequences. As we’ve noted there are lots and lots of things that can distract a driver which are still considered perfectly legal, such as changing the radio station, talking to passengers, eating, etc. Trying to ban each and every distraction one by one is a ridiculous and impossible task. In fact, studies have suggested that bad distracted drivers will often just find a different distraction to occupy their time. And, thanks to these laws, those drivers are often still texting while driving, but are simply holding their phones even lower, taking their eyes further off the road, so as to avoid detection… actually making the roads more dangerous. The real answer is to focus on stopping bad driving, not trying to call out specific activities.

  • Prenda Law: Let The Other Shoes Hit The Floor
  • Paul Hansmeier Pops Up In Prenda Law Defamation Case, Prenda Tries To Force It Back To State Ct.
  • KEI Works to Make the World a Better Place in Many Ways (Video)

    Knowledge Ecology International (KEI) director Jamie Love — formally James Packard Love — is the brain behind the “$1 a day” HIV drugs that have saved millions of lives in Africa and other poor parts of the world. Basically, he went around asking, “How much would it cost to make this HIV medication if the patent cost was removed?” At first, no one could answer. After a while, the answer came: Less than $1 a day. At that price, the Bush administration set up a massive program to deliver generic anti-HIV drugs to Africa. Jamie also works on copyright issues, boosts free software (he’s a Linux user/evangelist and had more than a little to do with the Microsoft antitrust suit), and generally tries to make the international knowledge ecology more accessible and more useful for everyone, especially those who aren’t rich. Or necessarily even prosperous. He’s a smart guy (read the Wikipedia entry linked above), but more than that he’s bullheaded. Jamie has worked on some of his initiatives for years, even decades. In many cases you can’t say, “He hasn’t succeeded,” without adding “yet” on the end. (You’ll understand that statement better after you watch the video, which we broke into two parts because it is far longer than our typical video interview.)

  • Yahoo China to end email service: media

    Yahoo’s China arm will shut down its email service later this year, state media reported Friday, illustrating the brand’s diminishing profile in the country.
    China Yahoo! announced it will close its email service by August 19, a move the China Daily said will leave it with just its web portal business.

  • Official, Authenticated, Preserved, and Accessible: The Uniform Electronic Legal Material Act

    Digital technology makes documents easy to alter or copy, leading to multiple non-identical versions that can be used in unauthorized or illegitimate ways. Unfortunately, the ease of alteration has introduced doubt in users’ minds about the authenticity of many of the digital documents they encounter.

  • Science

    • Computers Are Not Darwin Machines

      Most people think computers are built by intelligent design. How on earth can you say their development follows Darwin’s mechanism of “survival of the fittest”? Yet an article at Science Daily announces, “‘Survival of the Fittest’ Now Applies to Computers: Surprising Similarities Found Between Genetic and Computer Codes.” (Emphasis added.) Certain similarities between Linux code and bacterial genomes may obtain, but one thing should be clear: they are not Darwinian.

  • Security

    • The Secret Password Is…

      Since retinal scans still mainly are used in the movies to set the scene for gruesome eyeball-stealing, for the foreseeable future (pun intended), we’re stuck with passwords. In this article, I want to take some time to discuss best practices and give some thoughts on cool software designed to help you keep your private affairs private. Before getting into the how-to section, let me openly discuss the how-not-to.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Cablegate

  • Finance

    • Microsoft Excel: The ruiner of global economies?

      A paper used to justify austerity economics appears to contain an Excel error.

    • Saving Detroit: Globalization, the Destruction of Cities and the Rights of African Americans

      Detroit is a city that has been in the national and world news once again. Since March, when Gov. Rick Snyder declared a so-called “financial emergency” in Detroit, therefore setting the stage for the appointment of an “Emergency Manager”, many press reports drew a direct connection between the recent corruption trial of former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and businessman Bobby Ferguson. In fact just prior to Snyder’s declaration, Kilpatrick and Ferguson were found guilty of numerous corruption charges in the months-long federal trial.

      Of course the corporate and government-controlled media has never focused on who are the real culprits in the underdevelopment and consequent destruction of Detroit and other majority African American municipalities in Michigan. These media entities fall back on the same notions that have prevailed inside the United States since the period of Reconstruction, i.e. that African American political leadership is inherently corrupt and inefficient rendering them incapable of managing the affairs of governments locally, statewide and nationally.

    • Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) Beats Expectations

      What’s worrying investors the most appears to be the strange mixture of anemic customer trading revenue and institutional bravado when it comes to Goldman’s own money. Such high-risk/high-reward behavior was rather typical of institutions like Goldman Sachs (and indeed Goldman Sachs itself) prior to the crash, and it was largely seen as having created a toxic financial atmosphere.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Self-Censorship on Chinese TV: An American Comedian’s Experience

      Now, he describes what happened after its wildly popular debut, and what it says about “doing business” in China.

    • Small bloggers good, small newspapers bad

      The latest twist in the Leveson saga is the Government’s proposed amendments to protect ‘small scale bloggers’.

      We previously warned the drafting meant groups like Big Brother Watch could be covered, along with websites like ConHome and Mumsnet.

      The amendment makes clear if you’re a multi-author blog with a turnover below £2m, you won’t be considered a ‘relevant publisher’ for the purposes of exemplary damages and cost protections. This is an important clarification. (Although the bill does still appear to lack a definition of ‘blog’, which could prove interesting – and expensive to argue in court.)

      However, the drafting only protects either ‘incidental’ publishers of news-related material, or multi-author blogs. So someone who is not a blog, who publishes news-related material on a regular basis, remains in scope even if their turnover is £10,000.

    • Fox Censors Cory Doctorow’s “Homeland” Novel From Google

      Copyfighter, journalist, sci-fi writer and Boing-Boing editor Cory Doctorow has fallen victim to the almighty content empire of Rupert Murdoch. In an attempt to remove access to infringing copies of the TV-show Homeland, Fox has ordered Google to take down links to Doctorow’s latest novel of the same title. Adding to the controversy, Doctorow’s own publisher has also sent DMCA notices for the Creative Commons licensed book.

  • Privacy

    • House passes Cispa cybersecurity bill with support of 92 Democrats

      House intelligence committee chairman Mike Rogers, left, with the committee’s ranking Democrat, CA “Dutch” Ruppersberger. Photograph: J Scott Applewhite/AP

    • Former DHS Official Says Boston Bombing Proves ACLU & EFF Are Wrong About Surveillance And CISPA
    • A call to arms for obfuscated bridges
    • WILL FACEBOOK HOME COLLECT EVEN MORE OF YOUR DATA? YOU BET

      Facebook debuted its Android app family Facebook Home today. This means those of you with compatible devices (sorry Windows Phone and iOS users) have a snazzy new product to try out if you’re looking for a tightly-Facebook integrated mobile experience.

    • ACLU accuses the IRS of reading Americans’ private email without a search warrant

      The group believes the tax collection agency has run afoul of the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches.

    • Law professor makes a case for legally recognizing the Dangers of Surveillance

      The Dangers of Surveillance, written by Neil M. Richards, Professor of Law at Washington University in St. Louis, was recently published on the Social Science Research Network. In it, Richards proposed “four principles that should guide the future development of surveillance law.” Yet he said we must first recognize that: “Surveillance transcends the public-private divide;” that “secret surveillance is illegitimate;” that “total surveillance is illegitimate” and that “surveillance is harmful.” The courts may understand that surveillance could be potentially harmful, but “have struggled to clearly understand why.”

    • Apple Finally Reveals How Long Siri Keeps Your Data

      All of those questions, messages, and stern commands that people have been whispering to Siri are stored on Apple servers for up to two years, Wired can now report.
      Yesterday, we raised concerns about some fuzzy disclosures in Siri’s privacy policy. After our story ran, Apple spokeswoman Trudy Muller called to explain Apple’s policy, something privacy advocates have asking for.
      This is the first time that Apple has said how long it’s keeping Siri data, but according to Nicole Ozer, the American Civil Liberties Union lawyer who first brought these Siri privacy questions to our attention, there’s still more that Apple could do.

    • Analysis: NSA Utah Data Center would be world’s biggest iPod

      Plans for a data center in San Antonio were also announced by the agency in 2007. Although the exact size of the San Antonio facility is unknown, it took the place of a 470,000 square foot former Sony microchip plant, reported DataCenterKnowledge.

      President Obama’s Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative calls for “upgraded infrastructure” and “increased bandwidth” as part of enhancing the nation’s cybersecurity capabilities. Yet, the San Antonio data center is only one part of the agency’s capacity.

    • Lawmakers Cite Boston Bombing, WikiLeaks “Hacking” as Reasons to Pass CISPA

      North Korean hackers and the Boston bombings might not appear to have much in common. But not according to some American lawmakers, who are using both to justify passing a controversial cybersecurity bill that civil liberties advocates claim “undermines the privacy of millions of Internet users.”

      Yesterday, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, was approved by the House of Representatives by a vote of 288 to 127. The law was first introduced in 2011 and approved last year by the House, though it died in the Senate after an outpouring of opposition from privacy and civil liberties groups. But it has been resurrected and is heading to the Senate for the second time. Predictably, the storm of criticism has also reappeared. Rights groups have consistently raised concerns over how CISPA would allow corporations to pass unanonymized user data to federal government agencies for vaguely defined “cybersecurity” purposes—and be covered by full legal indemnity when doing so.

    • Snoopers’ laws could be used to ‘oppress us’, says David Cameron technology adviser
  • Civil Rights

    • In Which NY Times Reporter Jenna Wortham Accidentally Reveals How She Violated Both The CFAA & The DMCA

      Over the past few months and weeks there’s been much greater attention paid to both the CFAA and the anti-circumvention provisions of the DMCA, and how both are in need of serious reform. The attention to anti-circumvention was galvanized around the fact that unlocking your mobile phone became illegal again, after the Library of Congress allowed an exemption to expire, making many people realize that the anti-circumvention clause of the DMCA, also known as section 1201, meant that they often don’t really own the products they thought they owned. The attention to CFAA reform came in response to Aaron’s Swartz’s untimely death, and the light it shed on the parts of the CFAA that he was charged under. Of course, many of us have been fighting back against both laws for years, but the public attention on both has been key over the past few months.

    • Hacking the Law: Fights Over Cyber-Security and a Silicon Valley Divide

      To some, hacker Andrew “Weev” Auernheimer is a cause celebré. To others, he’s a famous douchebag. To many, he’s a polarizing figure in a debate that’s roiled Silicon Valley, pitting established tech companies against rogue innovators. When Auernheimer was sentenced to 41 months in prison for collecting and publicizing the names of 114,000 AT&T iPad users, reporters grappled over the right words to characterize him. A headline in Venture Beat reflected their ambivalence: “Terrorist, hacker, freedom fighter: Andrew Auernheimer parties tonight in expectation of jail tomorrow.”

    • Increasing CFAA Penalties Won’t Deter Foreign “Cybersecurity” Threats

      In the last three months alone, the House has released three different cybersecurity bills and has held over seven hearings on the issue. In addition, the House Judiciary Committee floated changes to the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA)—the draconian anti-hacking statute that came to public prominence after the death of activist and Internet pioneer Aaron Swartz. Politicians tout this legislation as necessary to protect against foreign threats every single time they introduce a bill with “cyber” somewhere in the text. And it comes as no surprise that every hearing has opened up with a recap of computer security attacks faced by the US from China, Iran, and other foreign countries.

    • Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process When Everything is a Crime

      Though extensive due process protections apply to the investigation of crimes, and to criminal trials, perhaps the most important part of the criminal process — the decision whether to charge a defendant, and with what — is almost entirely discretionary. Given the plethora of criminal laws and regulations in today’s society, this due process gap allows prosecutors to charge almost anyone they take a deep interest in. This Essay discusses the problem in the context of recent prosecutorial controversies involving the cases of Aaron Swartz and David Gregory, and offers some suggested remedies, along with a call for further discussion.

    • CFAA: Internet Activists Win First-Round Victory In Fight Over Anti-Hacking Law
    • IBM executives head to Washington to press lawmakers on cybersecurity bill

      Nearly 200 senior IBM executives are flying into Washington to press for the passage of a controversial cybersecurity bill that will come up for a vote in the House this week.
      The IBM executives will pound the pavement on Capitol Hill Monday and Tuesday, holding nearly 300 meetings with lawmakers and staff. Over the course of those two days, their mission is to convince lawmakers to back a bill that’s intended to make it easier for industry and government to share information about cyber threats with each other in real time.

    • Reddit co-founder calls out Google, Twitter, Facebook over CISPA
    • 34 Civil Liberties Organizations Oppose CISPA After Amendments

      Today, thirty-four civil liberties organizations sent a joint letter to Congressional Representatives urging them to continue to oppose the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). CISPA is a misguided “cybersecurity” bill that would provide a gaping new exception to privacy law. The House of Representatives is likely to vote on it on Wednesday or Thursday of this week. This means that there’s little time remaining to speak out against this bill.

    • Hacktivists as Gadflies

      Mr. Brown came under the scrutiny of the authorities when he began poring over documents that had been released in the hack of two private security companies, HBGary Federal and Stratfor. Mr. Brown did not take part in the hacks, but he did become obsessed with the contents that emerged from them — in particular the extracted documents showed that private security contractors were being hired by the United States government to develop strategies for undermining protesters and journalists, including Glenn Greenwald, a columnist for Salon. Since the cache was enormous, Mr. Brown thought he might crowdsource the effort and copied and pasted the URL from an Anonymous chat server to a Web site called Project PM, which was under his control.

    • GRAHAM: Boston proves “homeland battlefield,” Constitution obsolete

      The always patriotic U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham says the Boston bombing “is Exhibit A of why the homeland is the battlefield.” In an interview with the Washington Post:

      “It’s a battlefield because the terrorists think it is.” Referring to Boston, he observed, “Here is what we’re up against,” and added, “It sure would be nice to have a drone up there [to track the suspect.]” He also slammed the president’s policy of “leading from behind and criminalizing war.”

    • America cannot assert moral authority while Guantánamo remains open

      In 2009, defending the promise he made to close Guantánamo Bay, President Barack Obama insisted: “The existence of Guantánamo likely created more terrorists around the world than it ever detained.”

      This weekend, the case for the closure of Guantánamo Bay, promised by Obama on his second day in office, has never been more compelling. A hunger strike by the camp’s inmates, half of whom had been cleared for release, has underlined the growing desperation of those 166 still detained. Of that number, some 86 had been approved for transfer (while the rest had been earmarked for trial) but have become stuck in a political and legal limbo that has seen such transfers almost completely halted in the last two-and-a-half years. A recent report by a bipartisan panel of experts has condemned both the conditions there and the use of abusive interrogation techniques.

    • Michigan House Unanimously Passes NDAA Nullification Bill

      Local and state lawmakers opposing the tyranny of the NDAA and indefinite detention stand on very sound constitutional ground in their battle against federal overreaching. Any unconstitutional act of the federal government is prima facie void and must not be given the respect or force of law. In fact, such measures are not law at all.

    • Speakers on the National Defense Authorization Act in Belfast

      For many constitutional watchers, the Bill of Rights are in danger. That will be the message of speakers Debra Sweet and Michael Figura, who will be on a tour of Maine from April 19-21. After speaking in Bangor on April 19, Sweet and Figura will travel to Belfast to speak at the Belfast Free Library on Saturday, April 20 at 2:30 p.m. On April 21, they will wrap up their Maine tour in Portland.

    • Four Reasons Sens. Graham and McCain are Wrong about Military Detention for Dzhokar Tsarnaev
    • The Bill of Rights was written for Dzhokar Tsarnaev

      19-year-old Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokar Tsarnaev is in custody. Assuming that Tsarnaev is indeed guilty of these crimes, a very real threat to public safety has been taken off the streets. That’s the good news.

      The bad news is that the Tsarnaev brothers have taken the last vestiges of a free society in America down with them.

      The Bill of Rights was already on life support before this tragedy. Before the dust settled after 9/11, the 4th Amendment had been nullified by the Patriot Act. The 5th and 6th Amendments were similarly abolished with the Military Commission Act of 2006 and the 2012 NDAA resolution, which contained a clause allowing the president to arrest and indefinitely detain American citizens on American soil without due process of law.

    • America At Its Best … And Worst
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Google moves to end EU antitrust probe without fine

      Google has formally submitted a package of concessions to European Union competition regulators in a strong signal that the world’s No. 1 search engine may be able to settle a two-year antitrust investigation without a fine.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Hitachi Loses Royalty Bid on TPV High-Definition TV Sales

      Hitachi Ltd. (6501) lost a U.S. patent- infringement trial in which it sought as much as four years of royalty payments from TPV Technology Ltd. (903) on sales of high- definition televisions.
      A federal jury in Marshall, Texas, last week said TPV, the world’s fourth-largest maker of LCD televisions, didn’t infringe four Hitachi patents and that two of them were invalid.

      The dispute is over inventions related to an industrywide standard for a process to transmit digital audio and visual signals, as well as program data, over the airwaves. Hitachi claimed that televisions made by TPV and its units infringed the company’s patents.

    • Trademarks

      • USPTO retracts objections to Apple’s ‘iPad mini’ trademark application

        In an Office action filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office last week, the attorney examining Apple’s “iPad mini” trademark withdrew their primary objections to the application, saying only a disclaimer clarifying the mark’s use of the term “mini” is needed in order to move forward.

      • Attorney Fee Award Against Charles Carreon for Abusive Trademark Litigation

        In a brief opinion issued today, Judge Richard Seeborg of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California awarded Christopher Recouvreur more than $46,000 in attorney fees and expenses for having had to defend himself against a series of wild and baseless threats of suit for trademark infringement by Charles Carreon. After we were finally able to get service on Carreon and moved for an award of the costs of service, Carreon served a Rule 68 judgment granting the declaratory relief for which we had sued. We then sought to have fees awarded on the grounds that Carreon had bought threatened trademark claims that had no reasonable basis, thus forcing Recouvreur to seek a declaratory judgment to protect himself against damages claims; that Carreon ducked service and then refused to pay the costs of such service but rather forced us to move to collect those costs; particularly after Carreon demanded the opportunity to conduct discovery over the fee claims, we also argued that his litigation conduct made the case exceptional.

    • Copyrights

      • Judge Won’t Allow ‘Mass-Suing’ of Movie Pirates

        Hundreds of thousands of people have been sued for copyright infringement in the past three years using a controversial litigation strategy.

      • The Empire acquires the rebel alliance: Mendeley users revolt against Elsevier takeover

        Mendeley, an open collaboration platform for scientific research, has promised that it won’t become less open after being acquired by journal publisher Elsevier, but some prominent users aren’t waiting around.

      • EFF On IsoHunt: Bad Facts Make Bad Law

        As Gary Fung is seeking a rehearing of the IsoHunt case in the 9th Circuit, two amicus briefs were filed yesterday. The first from the EFF and the second from Google. Neither brief suggests that Fung should get off as innocent, or that he did nothing wrong. Rather, both are worried about how the broad ruling by the court for the specific situation regarding Fung and IsoHunt will lead to further abuse by copyright holders and massive chilling effects on service providers. The EFF notes that while Fung/IsoHunt may have been bad actors, it appears that the court used this to go way overboard in creating new and dangerous standards for copyright

      • YouTube prevails in huge copyright suit with Viacom

        In an epic clash between old and new media, Google Inc.’s video website YouTube has scored another huge victory in the long-running skirmish over copyright infringement brought by television giant Viacom Inc.
        A federal judge in New York on Thursday ruled that YouTube had not violated Viacom’s copyright even though users of the popular online site were allowed to post unauthorized video clips from some of Viacom’s most popular shows, including Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and Nickelodeon’s “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

      • How Google Beat Viacom in the Landmark YouTube Copyright Case — Again

        Media giant Viacom just can’t win — at least when it comes to the company’s long-running, landmark copyright infringement lawsuit against Google‘s YouTube video service. A federal judge handed a major victory to YouTube on Thursday, one year after a federal appeals court breathed new life into Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit. Viacom had accused YouTube of illegally hosting videos that infringe on the company’s intellectual property, including popular content like MTV videos and TV shows like Comedy Central’s “South Park.”

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