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05.19.13

IRC Proceedings: May 12th, 2013-May 18th, 2013

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: May 12th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: May 13th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: May 14th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: May 15th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: May 16th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: May 17th, 2013

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IRC Proceedings: May 18th, 2013

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Enter the IRC channels now

Microsoft Spin Regarding Skype Spying Does Not Withstand Scrutiny

Posted in Microsoft at 12:23 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Skype is Stalin’s dream

Barbed wire

Summary: Microsoft’s response to allegations that Skype is spying on all users is full of holes

Sometimes, albeit not always, silence is better than anything else. For Microsoft, keeping quiet amid the latest controversy would probably have worked out better.

Jürgen Schmidt, writing for the German technology press, contributes to a London-based branch to defend allegations against Microsoft Skype — allegations we wrote about before. He writes: “The next question is: how does Microsoft intend to rate a page without knowing its content? Potential explanations referring to a reputation database are not valid if no reference data is available for the pages – as was the case with the URLs that were specially generated for our test. Neither are we convinced by the suggestion that the only purpose of the HEAD request is to discover potential redirections to known malicious pages. Firstly, such a redirection could also be triggered in the HTML code that has not been retrieved (meta http-equiv=”refresh”), and secondly, many web pages embed the actual malware code via iFrame tags – which is not included in the HEAD data either.

“Microsoft should at least document the use of these surveillance techniques…”
      –Jürgen Schmidt
“Finally, the use of the SmartScreen Filter technique is documented, for example in Internet Explorer, and users can choose to disable it. Not so in Skype. There is no concrete information to suggest that SmartScreen filters are being used in Skype chats, and Skype users have no way of declining the use of this surveillance technique.

“Despite all this, it is likely that the observed access activity is connected to some form of security feature. However, if this is the case, the feature has been poorly implemented. It has very few potential benefits – especially in view of the rather substantial invasion of users’ privacy. After all, Microsoft purposefully accesses even personal information that is not intended for third parties – such as the URL to a private photo album of a family trip that is sent to mum – and then stores this information on its systems. Microsoft should at least document the use of these surveillance techniques and provide users with the option to decline the well-intended security measure.”

Do not believe for a moment that Skype facilitates security and privacy. This is not even software, it is malware and spyware.

MPEG-LA Ruined the Licence of WebM, Made it Less Freedom-Respecting

Posted in Google, Patents at 12:11 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The only problem is the licence

Licence plates

Summary: The Microsoft-, Nokia-, and Apple-backed patent troll appears to have ruined the freedom assured by Google’s multimedia format, which was previously made free only after public pressure

Google is promoting VP9 and calling for fast adoption of VP9 as completion is imminent now, based on numerous Linux sites. As one put it: “Google has finally started talking publicly about the upcoming VP9 video codec that will be integrated into the FLOSS and patent unencumbered webm video container format. I’m a big webm fan and I have found the existing VP8 codec to be pretty darn good. webm with VP8 is way better than Ogg Theora (which is pretty good) but not quite as good as H.264. Google plans on changing that with VP9. Supposedly VP9 will be able to be 1/2 to 1/3 smaller than H.264 and provide as good or better quality. That is exciting.”

“This time too Google can hopefully listen and apply the necessary amendments to licence.”The problem is, the licence got worse. As one notable man, Simon Phipps, recently put it: “Google have released a draft agreement designed to help VP8 adoption by licensing a number of relevant patents on a royalty free basis. It sounds good, but the details of the license still need some work. Hopefully we’ll see some changes to this draft before the final license is released.”

So MPEG-LA, joined by Nokia‘s aggression, made things worse. Phipps says there is a per-user licence that Google should try to modify before finalisation,

Previously, the WebM licence was fixed due to (or contrariwise owing to) public pressure on Google. This time too Google can hopefully listen and apply the necessary amendments to licence.

Microsoft-controlled Nokia is Lobbying to Enable Bans on Android Imports (Linux Phones as a Whole in Danger)

Posted in GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Patents at 11:54 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Torvalds on Nokia
Source: MemeGenerator

Summary: Nokia is shown lobbying for embargoes while it is also suing — with limited success — Android handsets makers

The Microsoft mobile patents ‘subsidiary’ known as Nokia just can’t help attacking Linux. Not too long ago it attacked Android and free codecs [1, 2, 3, 4]. HTC tries to make deterrence and it “seems to have found a way to get over a courtroom loss to Nokia in Holland by scoring a legal victory against the Finns in Germany.

“Nokia wants bans on Android, so it is said to be lobbying right now.”“HTC said that on Tuesday the District Court of Mannheim, Germany dismissed a Nokia patent claim, ruling the complaint was “too poor.”"

Nokia was said to have gotten an injunction and Pamela Jones wrote: “Talk to the DOJ and FTC about it, and let them know you care about the attacks on Android from the non-Android vendors, using patents as the attack mechanism. The losers are you and me, the consumers.”

Here is a correction showing that Nokia did not get an injunction and a reminder that shareholders are getting tired of Elop, reminding him that Microsoft ideology does not come before profit.

Nokia wants bans on Android, so it is said to be lobbying right now. To quote: “They are lobbying on unspecified policy matters concerning intellectual property rights cases before the ITC. The federal agency can order U.S. Customs and Border Protection to block infringing products from entering the United States.”

Regarding the news that Microsoft signed patent deal with Chinese phone maker ZTE (Nokia was big in China) Pamela Jones wrote: “That’s what SCO Group said. Exactly. IP bullies must all attend the same prep schools. I have the same suggestion I offered SCO Group: Microsoft should reveal its allegedly wonderful patents and precisely how Android allegedly infringes, so we can all show proper respect. As I recall, when Barnes & Noble was targetted, they noticed the IP claimed was worthless and not something they wanted or needed. Unless Microsoft reveals such matters publicly, we’ll probably just continue to believe that the smartphone wars are designed to cow Android into submission, so Microsoft can make money inappropriately, which was, I believe, SCO’s dream too, to make money without earning it, off of someone’s else’s hard work.”

So Microsoft is working to tax while Nokia, the proxy, is working to ban.

Courtroom and New Book Recognise That Software Patents Correspond to Mathematics and Mathematics Abused in Court

Posted in Courtroom, Patents at 11:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Important observations about the nature of computer-implemented ‘inventions’, or software patents

Thanks to a recent decision against the patent troll called Uniloc we now know that “Even An East Texas Court Has Told Uniloc That It Can’t Patent Math”. The significance of this lies in the fact that software patents are characterised correctly for a change, even in the most patents-friendly places. There is a new “Math on Trial” book. It is not about patents but it’s about cases in the courtroom that are built solely on mathematics, or specifically mathematical errors. Let us hope that more literature and even courts will reinforce the position that mathematics have no place in the courtroom and software patents essentially correspond to monopoly on higher-level mathematics. Unless the judges are prepared to handle a whiteboard/blackboard, pick up a marker/chalk, and then analyse legal case in terms of equations and such, mathematics have no place on trial. Richard Stallman made the suggestion that software patents should be made unenforceable in the courts.

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