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Microsoft Nick and Gaming of Slashdot: The Rise of the Anti-Linux Slashdot

Posted in Deception, FUD, GNU/Linux, Google, Microsoft, Samsung at 4:02 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Mind Control: To control mental output you have to control mental input. Take control of the channels by which developers receive information, then they can only think about the things you tell them. Thus, you control mindshare!”

Microsoft, internal document [PDF]

Nick Kolakowski

Nick Kolakowski, Microsoft’s mole in Slashdot (photo from Brooklyn Arts Council)

Summary: An apparent scandal revolving around traffic management in Slashdot and the role played by Nick Kolakowski, a longtime Microsoft booster who recently joined Slashdot and is now trashing Linux in that site while promoting Microsoft

“Apparently the system is getting gamed heavily,” wrote iophk. “Here is one example [from Slashdot],” he adds, noting what seems like AstroTurfing in comments about Slashdot staff.

Microsoft Nick is in a scandal already, having joined the site as staff to deliver Microsoft talking points. To quote one comment:

On page 2 [slashdot.org] of Velcroman1′s slashdot profile Nerval’s Lobster (nkolakowski@slashdotmedia.com, nkolakowski@geek.net) submissions start to show up. We’ve [slashdot.org] already [slashdot.org] established [slashdot.org] that Nerval’s Lobster is Nick Kolakowski, a slashdot employee submitting paid content as user-submitted stories…

It would be interesting to see what percentage of published slashdot stories are genuinely submitted by people who have no financial interest in the submission.

Nick Kolakowski, aka Microsoft Nick, is up to no good. That’s how Microsoft boosters roll.

One former editor of Slashdot told me quite privately that the site had been infiltrated by PR before he left. This still appears to be the case and it is eating away any credibility the site earned over a decade ago (back when the site had news, not noise).

A few hours ago I found a response to yet more anti-Linux rhetoric, this time titled “Forget Apple: Samsung Could Be Google’s Next Big Rival” (familiar talking point!).

Swapnil Bhartiya, who wrote the response, does not seem to know he is responding to Microsoft Nick, who has years of reputation of spouting out Microsoft talking points, essentially filling the Web with garbage Microsoft would love to pay for (we covered dozens of examples from him).

Bhartiya writes: “Slashdot posted a story “Forget Apple: Samsung Could Be Google’s Next Big Rival”. The story idea has floated for a while and pops up every now and then. Is there really any space for rivalry between Samsung and Google? I looked at each point raised by the author and analyzed it.”

The idea has “floated for a while” because it’s an anti-Android talking point regularly to be found in the pro-Microsoft papers or Microsoft lobbyists. They try to cause division in the leading Linux-based operating system by urging the leader of the pack to fracture and defect, just like Nokia (post-occupation). Bhartiya adds: “In my observation of the industry for a while I see many reasons why it makes no sense for Samsung to ‘compete’ with Google. There are actually more reasons for Samsung to stick to Android as a Google partner than spin its own fork.”

Bhartiya’s closing words are as follows: “I think Samsung will continue to strengthen its Android line of hardware. Let me break news to the author. Samsung recently launched Android powered digital cameras. If Sammy had any desire to drift away from Google the would have put their own OS/ecosystem instead of Google’s. So it clearly shows there is no seeds of rivalry between the two companies. The Microsoft/Apple camp will definitely want to spread the FUD as if there is.”

Slashdot, by allowing this embedding ‘journalism’ in its tech publication (with a known Microsoft booster), is throwing its reputation in the garbage can and letting its community leak down the drain. Will Hill, who used to frequently post in Slashdot, had this to say earlier today about Microsoft “injecting” its FUD into the press:

How to Manage Your Free Community

Microsoft spends billions of dollars every year on propaganda to confuse the public. They especially target the tech press, OEMs and developers. Their training manuals call for “infiltration” and “subversion” though false concern called “schmoozing”. Everyone is considered a “pawn” to be exploited to advance Microsoft. They particularly like name calling and the wasting people’s time by “injecting Microsoft” into forums and conferences. To really understand what you are up against read their training manual, Evangelism is War and associated lecture notes several times. It is so evil and so alien that you won’t be able to grasp it the first or second time you read it.

Fighting with these turkeys is a waste of time. Just be careful to curate your forums and software carefully. PJ of Groklaw has written about how to do that. Roy Schestowitz has another method for Techrights. He leaves all the troll comments up for everyone to see and has accumulated an amazing collection of abusive comments. The approaches are complementary. What matters is to keep doing what you do and not let the trolls waste your life.

Vanity Fair recently did an expose of how damaging this toxic culture was to Microsoft itself. We should not be surprised that the anti-social ethics of non free software and exploitation should destroy those who advocate it. Non free software only served it’s owners and that owner turns out to be one person, Bill Gates, who set everyone else on a Darwinian roller coaster for his own benefit.

If Slashdot does not put an end to its Microsoft AstorTurfing (the above is not the first from Microsoft Nick), then we’ll slam the site time after time, calling it out for being just a cogwheel of Microsoft, essentially a PR vehicle like Microsoft Watch after Microsoft Nick took over (it became strongly and consistently pro-Microsoft).

Bill Gates Becomes Much Richer While Advocating Austerity for Those Whom He Loots

Posted in Bill Gates at 2:16 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Privatising everything!

Chicago protest

Chicago protest which took place this month

Summary: Economic warfare by plutocrats led by Bill Gates, which is taking the public sector private

The Gates Foundation has been getting a lot of flak for bankrolling TFA [1, 2, 3], trying to turn schools into corporations run for private profits (of Gates et al. with their investments). The Fight Ahead is the title of a new post that speaks about TFA:

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you’ve no doubt noticed that the debate about Teach for America has ratcheted up considerably in recent weeks. Here’s the quick and dirty version: urban districts are closing dozens of schools and laying off teachers, even as they’re bringing in new Teach for America recruits. When news began to spread that a popular Chicago teacher had been laid off (the news delivered by his mother, no less), the back-and-forth reached a boiling point. How was it right for the Chicago Public Schools to axe a well-regarded teacher, one of 2000 let go, while expanding the number of TFA corps members, who’ll be entering the city’s schools this fall after just five weeks of training?

The other day we explained the role of Bill Gates in this. He would like to make a killing from a crisis he induces while bribing much of the press that covers the field. Speaking of press being conquered, Will Hill explains the role played by Bill Gates’ business partner:

A New Round of Trust Your Masters Propaganda is Being Spread to foster yet more Austerity

To many people unemployed and homeless? Help them by eliminating minimum wage or getting rid of those pesky soup kitchens, the ultra rich are telling us. Some of the charm offensive is successfully delivered with a slightly different spin to people who would ordinarily reject it That message decries the inefficiency of oligarchy and the waste of mass production whilecalling for the power to decide what people will do,

It’s time for a new operating system. Not a 2.0 or a 3.0, but something built from the ground up. New code. What we have is a crisis of imagination. Albert Einstein said that you cannot solve a problem with the same mind-set that created it. Foundation dollars should be the best “risk capital” out there

If the techno babble sounds like Microsoft, it’s because the speaker is a Buffett and very much influenced by the Gates Foundation. Please see,


If you want to get into the specifics of Peter’s personality, or at least the story that’s told about it, you can see that it’s the product of the exact opposite of austerity,


He was given the time and resources to get a decent education which he could use to start a decent and rewarding career. Real humanism would let everyone follow their dreams like that. The guy flipping burgers deserves as much education as he’s willing to pursue, a decent place to live, a loving community, leisure, pomp, ceremony, and proper health care when sick. The only way to see that is by taxing away hoards of wealth and investing spending the proceeds on education, public works and other things a “free market” does not deliver.

The same people who brought us Microsoft are now bringing us austerity and confiscating taxpayers’ money to enrich themselves. This is a societal issue and people should fight back. Remember who the prime candidate to become the budget chief of the United States currently is, consolidating government occupation by Bill Gates (even in other countries like India).

“The alliance uses Microsoft technologies instead of challenging Gates in his own game. Wipro is just a servant of Microsoft facilitating Indian cyber slavery under the American corporate banners.”

India Daily


Microsoft is Adding Surveillance and Tax to Free/Libre Software

Posted in GNU/Linux, Java, Microsoft at 2:00 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

The venus flytrap of software

Venus flytrap

Summary: Reality check for those who try to characterise Microsoft as ‘playing nice’ with GNU/Linux and Java

Java and Linux found ubiquity of unprecedented scale owing to Android. Microsoft knows that it lost the operating systems battle of this decade, so it responds by trying to extort, blackmail, and sue for patent tax. In addition, it is trying to devour the competition.

The other day we wrote about malicious attempts to absorb Free software in the spying platform called Azure. Well, we missed some references from Microsoft boosters and “useful idiots” like Cynthia Harvey (on “Open Java” in proprietary Microsoft) and Adrian Bridgwater, who promoted this dangerous move as well. The Microsoft “Linux”-flavoured marketing from Mary Jo Foley was equally bad and as noted the other day, they say nothing about patent tax, surveillance, and proprietary trap. Anyone stupid enough to choose Microsoft for GNU/Linux or Java hosting deserves a Darwin Award.

The FSF, in the mean time, warns that Vista 8 is a PRISM Edition, noting:

Microsoft is intercepting your stuff and sending it to the NSA (and the CIA and the FBI).

Everything from Microsoft should be assumed to be embedded with NSA surveillance and no OEM should impose Windows on new PCs for this reason. Of course, as usual, Microsoft will try playing dirty with Intel’s UEFI, making it abundantly difficult to install and run GNU/Linux. Watch how hard it has become for some who experiment with GNU/Linux. To quote a new example:

I have decided to run ArchLinux for the upcoming experiment. As of yet, I’m not sure what my contributions to the community will be, however, there will be more on that later.

One of the interesting things I wanted to try this time around was to get Linux to boot from the Windows 7 bootloader. The basic principle here is to take the first 512-bytes of your /boot partition (with GRUB installed), and place it on your C:\ as linux.bin. From there, you use BCDEdit in Windows to add it to your bootloader. When you boot Windows, you will be prompted to either start Windows 7 or Linux. If you choose Linux, GRUB will be launched.

Before I go into my experience, I just wanted to let you know that I was not able to get it working. It’s not that it isn’t possible, but for the sake of being able to boot into ArchLinux at some point during the experiment, I decided to install GRUB to the MBR and chainload the Windows bootloader.

Guess how this ended. Microsoft is trying to portray itself as a ‘friend’ of GNU/Linux now, despite doing more than ever before to impede its use, especially on desktops. No well-informed person can say that Microsoft is no longer a criminal organisation masquerading as a producing business. The marketing changed (PR and euphemisms, even embedded ‘journalism’), but the reality is much worse. Don’t get devoured by Microsoft.

Apple is Still Trying to Ban Linux Devices Using a Patent on Rounded Corners

Posted in Apple, GNU/Linux, Google, Patents at 1:45 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Rounded corners! Ban all power sockets!

UK power socket

Summary: A noteworthy observation about Apple’s patent strategy and how it affects Android devices with the ‘wrong’ (i.e. not sharp) corners

Patent aggressor Apple is causing some problems for Windows and not just for Android, which is the Linux-based operating system claimed to be on half a billion devices sold in 2012 (hence bigger than Windows).

The patent fight that’s occupying Apple got the attention of patent reformists, who say:

Over at Patent Progress, Matt Levy points out the potentially ridiculous task that might befall U.S. Customs: deciding ‘how round is round?’, should an ITC administrative law judge call upon the agency to prevent Samsung smartphones from entering the country based on infringement of Apple’s “rounded rectangle” smartphone design patent, which I have previously criticized.

The potential dilemma for Customs illustrates how problematic the patent expansion is proving to be. I am reminded of discussions from Stanford Law’s recent conference, Design Patents in the Modern World, perhaps one of the first gatherings focused specifically on this once-sleepy area of the law. The great unanswered question of the April event was: is this all worth the trouble?

Citing Matt Levy, namely his post about Samsung and US Customs, he calls it a “headache”. To quote Levy: “You may know that the ITC is due to issue a final decision on whether Samsung smartphones infringe Apple patents. (As I wrote about a few weeks ago, the ITC recently held that some iPhones do infringe Samsung patents.) One of those Apple patents is the famous “rounded rectangles” design patent.”

We wrote about this patent before. The very fact that Apple is still pursuing device bans using this patent (despite opposition even from some Apple proponents) says a lot about Apple, the ITC, and USPTO. Who would conceivably defend such behaviour?

Links 28/7/2013: Arch Linux Has Linux 3.10

Posted in News Roundup at 10:37 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • OpenDaylight Software-Defined Networking Codebase coming together

    The OpenDaylight Project, the Linux Foundation-led industry-supported open source framework to advance Software-Defined Networking (SDN) is coming together more quickly than many people expected. On July 25, OpenDaylight announced that many new technology contributions are being integrated into the project.

  • The main reason I love Linux: it works. Plain and simple.

    I find that Mint is so much easier to use then any other Distro. Everything works out of the Box. Very little has to be tweak or altered.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linux 3.11 May Lower Intel Power Consumption

      It’s still being investigated, but early indications are that the Linux 3.11 kernel is consuming less power at least for Intel CPUs.

      As part of my usual Linux kernel benchmarking roundabout, I’ve been testing the power consumption on the Linux 3.11 kernel compared to its predecessor. On an ASUS Ultrabook with Intel Core i3 “Ivy Bridge” processor, the power consumption is doing better than with the Linux 3.9 and Linux 3.10 kernels.

    • Graphics Stack

      • 40 Seconds of Linux: The AMD Catalyst 13.6 driver (video)

        My HP Pavilion g6-2210us laptop uses an AMD APU (combination CPU and GPU) that is so new, both the open-source Radeon driver and the closed-source AMD Catalyst (formerly fglrx) driver don’t support it.

      • Wayland Gets A Simple Drawing Library

        A simple drawing library has been created for Wayland in the process of porting a simple terminal and dynamic menu system from X11 to Wayland.

        WLD is the new (and very simple) Wayland drawing library that’s been christened. Michael Forney, an independent developer, was wanting to port ST (a simple terminal emulator for X) and Dmenu (a dynamic menu for X) to Wayland. However, with the current Wayland render back-ends being overkill for such simple/basic programs, he decided to write his own implementation.

      • Crowd-Funding Mesa Driver Development?

        Crowd-funding Mesa has been brought up time and again, but among existing contributors, money really isn’t the limiting factor. Sans Nouveau where it’s a community-based reverse-engineering project, the Radeon Gallium3D stack is financed by AMD and the Intel driver (along with core Mesa) is financed obviously through Intel’s growing OTC team, plus there’s VMware with more core Mesa contributions.

      • An Effort Making An Open-Source Radeon Video BIOS

        OpenRadeonBIOS is a new open-source project seeking to create an open-source video BIOS for AMD/ATI Radeon graphics cards.

        While AMD has their open-source Linux driver stack, their GPU’s BIOS hasn’t been open-source though in years prior there was talk of reverse-engineering the ATI BIOS. That project didn’t pan out but now there’s a new developer claiming to have an open-source video BIOS for Radeon hardware.

    • Benchmarks

      • VMware Player vs. VirtualBox: performance comparison

        If you are using a virtualization hypervisor, one of your main concerns will be its performance, or in another word, its virtualization overhead. How much overhead is introduced by the virtualization layer will determine the raw performance of guest virtual machines (VMs) running on a hypervisor.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KMix Mission Statement 2013 and KDE 4.11

        “I am now happy. Happy with the KMix version shipping with KDE4.11. Happy that I can now declare Media Play control as stable.”

      • The new google://drive/ URL!

        The very short story: libferris can now mount Google Drive as a filesystem. I’ve placed that in google://drive and will likely make an alias from gdrive:// to that same location so either will work.

        The new OAuth 2.0 standard is so much easier to use than the old 1.0 version. In short, after being identified and given the nod once by the user, in 2.0 you have to supply a single secret, in 1.x you have to use per message nonce, create hashes, send the key and token, etc. The main drawback of 2.0 is that you have to use TLS/SSL for each request to protect that single auth token. A small price to pay, as you might well want to protect the entire conversation if you are doing things that require authentication anyway.

      • Translations and Better Auto-Completion

        This blog post presents several small steps that made the new Nepomuk query parser closer to be useful for every user. The most important one is that its localization features work, the other is that the auto-completion now is more clean and elegant.

      • Happy to have had been at Akademy 2013
      • KDE’s KStars Working On OpenCL Support

        As part of this year’s Google Summer of Code, the KStars program is gaining support for OpenCL acceleration.

      • KStars GSoC: OpenCL and a first performance report

        These past two weeks or so, I’ve been working on a nice interface for KStars to use OpenCL with. The problem is that OpenCL support is still pretty flaky in terms of support – at the moment, there are three complete implementations that support Linux, by Intel, AMD, and nVidia respectively, and they’re all proprietary. There’s some promising work for the future with OpenCL in Mesa and also with pocl (an LLVM-based CPU-only implementation), but it’s not ready yet.

      • Calligra Plan – an awesome tool for project managers

        Through the years I’ve used several tools to manage projects. From proper project management applications like MS Project 98 or ProjectLibre to spreadsheets with a list of tasks.

        I’d usually create a project gantt during the planning phase, but then it was usually very hard to track the project progress when it was ongoing. I’d end up resorting to a spreadsheet with the list of tasks at hand.

      • Switching to Calligra Plan – the backstage

        As I told, I took over as team lead of a development team. The previous team lead used ProjectLibre, and for the next stage I decided to try Calligra Plan.

        The set of features for the new release of the project was laid out in a spreadsheet, and the former team lead wrote a Python script to convert the features into tasks and then into a MS Project xml file. He would then import that into ProjectLibre.

  • Distributions

    • What Linux Distribution Should Be Benchmarked The Most?

      Several Phoronix readers have brought up an important topic recently on Twitter and within our forums: what Linux distribution should really be be benchmarked the most? Ubuntu has traditionally been the most tested Linux platform here, but times may be changing.

      As Ubuntu deviates more and more from the “conventional desktop Linux” stack with the continued evolution of Unity, the adoption of Mir over X.Org or Wayland, and other changes to distinguish Ubuntu from the hundreds of other Linux distributions, more readers are calling for Ubuntu not to be our default testing platform.

    • Vote On The Linux Distro To Be Benchmarked

      Yesterday I opened the discussion about what Linux distribution should be benchmarked the most at Phoronix given that many Linux enthusiasts and readers are not fond of the direction of Ubuntu. To not much surprise given the very opinionated Phoronix readers, there’s been about 200 comments and counting.

    • Peppermint Four Review: The distro in the clouds!

      Remember Bespin, the city in the clouds in Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back? Bespin was the place Han Solo, Luke Skywalker, and Princess Leia flew to in hopes of temporarily escaping the wrath of the Empire. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out very well for them since Darth Vader nabbed all of them.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva: 2013:199: squid
      • Mandriva: 2013:200: ruby

        Mandrake Multiple vulnerabilities has been discovered and corrected in ruby: The safe-level feature in Ruby 1.8.7 allows context-dependent attackers to modify strings via the NameError#to_s method when operating on Ruby objects. NOTE: this issue is due to an incomplete fix for

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • This week in fedora infrastructure

          Early this week I switched one of our backup servers over to ansible from puppet and added some rdiff-backup setup on it. Still need a lot of tweaking before the rdiff-backups are useful, but it’s well under way. This should give us some more on-line type backups for things and still leave us with tape for long term needs.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Happy 5th birthday, BeagleBoard.org!

      This guest column by Alejandro Erives, brand manager for Sitara processors at Texas Instruments, celebrates BeagleBone.org’s fifth birthday. In a lighthearted and entertaining missive, Erives highlights the history of BeagleBoard.org, the benefits of open source hardware and software to embedded development, and the advantages of open development platforms for students, makers, entrepreneurs, and even silicon vendors.

    • Phones

      • Jolla T-Shirts are shipping!

        Jolla T-shirts are finally shipping! Likes are that if you pre-ordered and happen to be a Finn, you can walk the streets proud wearing the all so exclusive Jolla T-shirt before the end of this week. As bonus it seems like people who pre-ordered will be taking part of some Jolla events later on.

      • Android

        • Google’s Chromecast and the new Nexus 7

          A new day brings two new hardware from Google. I am referring to the Chromecast and a refreshed Nexus 7 Android tablet computer.

          Chromecast is Google’s entry into a field where major and minor technology companies have been throwing their hat in to. It’s a USB flash drive-sized device you plug into any high-definition (HD) TV. Once the wireless connection has been configured, you may then stream or cast online content from any device to the HDTV via the Chromecast.

        • Google’s new Chromecast dongle plays hard to get

          Google’s new $35 streaming hardware is now listed only as “coming soon” on the company’s online store. But there will be other places to buy the device.

        • Are OEM Android interfaces bloated and filled with junk?

          Today in Open Source: Stock Android or an OEM version with bloatware? Plus: Top Android 4.3 features, and Ubuntu versus Xubuntu

        • BOINC seeks to occupy your Android device

          With half a billion Android smartphones shipping worldwide in 2012 alone, it’s hardly a stretch to imagine that the global population of Android devices is nearing one billion. What if their idle CPU cycles could be harnessed for the good of humanity? With that in mind, the BOINC (Berkeley Open Infrastructure for Network Computing) project has just launched its first official Android app.

    • Sub-notebooks/Tablets

      • Schools ask parents to stump up £200 for iPads

        Many families are being forced to buy or rent tablets for classroom use


        Now, ahead of the new school year in September, many schools are asking parents to stump up between £200 and £300 for an iPad or other tablet for their child, or pay for a device in instalments that can vary from £12 to £30 a month, as they rush to keep at the head of the information revolution.

      • One Laptop Per Child launches $150 tablet

        After much anticipation, non-profit organization One Laptop Per Child finally launched their affordable, child-friendly slate on Walmart’s website. OLPC teamed up with multimedia equipment maker Vivitar to produce the $150 XO Tablet, which features a 7-inch 1,024-by-600 touchscreen with a 1.6GHz dual-core processor running Android Jelly Bean. It also comes with front and rear cameras and Wi-Fi connectivity and is available for pre-order. It will be available in stores in August.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Why Do You Use Open Source?

    It is time to open a comment thread here on OStatic to ask: why do you use open source software? Before jumping the gun and firing off your default answer about freedom, I’d like to ask a few questions to help you analyze your response a little deeper. I’m not looking for regurgitated rhetoric, not unless you truly believe it anyway. I’m asking you to take a good solid look at the role technology plays in your life, and why you choose open source.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • UP with People

        The Mozilla Labs team recently posted about a new personalization initiative for Firefox, which fits into the larger “Personalization with Respect” aspiration that Jay Sullivan articulated in May. We want to give individuals more participation in their Web interactions so they can more easily get what they want, in a clearly defined way. This idea is gaining traction with leading publishers and marketers who see their craft as providing valuable, engaging and content-rich experiences to their audiences.

  • SaaS/Big Data

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice 4.1 out now!

      A day after saying it’s drawing near, the Document Foundation launches LibreOffice 4.1, the latest and greatest in the office suites line

  • Education

    • The MOOC That Roared

      How Georgia Tech’s new, super-cheap online master’s degree could radically change American higher education.


      Georgia Institute of Technology is about to take a step that could set off a broad disruption in higher education: It’s offering a new master’s degree in computer science, delivered through a series of massive open online courses, or MOOCs, for $6,600.


  • Project Releases

    • PSPP 0.8.0 has been released

      PSPP 0.8.0 is now available at ftp://ftp.gnu.org/pub/gnu/pspp/pspp-0.8.0a.tar.gz. Compared to 0.6.2, the latest official release, it contains many new features and bug fixes. The complete list of changes is posted at http://git.savannah.gnu.org/cgit/pspp.git/tree/NEWS?id=v0.8.0.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Attorney Jim Hazard is Working to Open-Source Law (Video)

      Jim Hazard is a lawyer who leans geek; since he got his law degree in 1979, he’s been the guy in the office who could make sense of things technical more often than others could, and dates his interest in regularizing complex legal documents (and making them a bit *less* complex) back to the era where Wang word processors were being replaced with personal computers.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Open Access/Content

      • Open access to meteorological data to increase accuracy of weather forecasts

        Humans have always wanted to know what the weather has in store for them, and have come up with a whole load of ways to predict what’s coming; some better than others.

      • Justice Dept. Told Not to Delay Aaron Swartz FOIA

        A federal trial judge in Washington today urged the government to continue reviewing thousands of pages of documents that could be released in a public records lawsuit seeking information from the Secret Service about the Internet activist Aaron Swartz.

        The high-profile suit hit a snag this month when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the digital library JSTOR filed requests to intervene to have a say in the scope of any information that is released to the public.

  • Programming


  • City of perpetual displacement: 100 years since the destruction of the Kitsilano Reserve

    This year marks 100 years since the dispossession of the Kitsilano Reserve. Today also marks the renewed displacement and dislocation of diverse communities in East Vancouver, with the intensification of land struggles in Grandview-Woodlands and the Downtown Eastside, two areas of the city with diverse indigenous communities. This article argues that the 1913 destruction of the Kitsilano reserve is connected to the present through a past that has, in fact, never been resolved.

  • The Google Giveth

    And the Google taketh away. So it is with Google Reader. A while back, Google discontinued its Google Wave product, because it never gained traction as a social-media platform. This surprised approximately zero people. More recently, Google announced it would be closing Google Reader on July 1, 2013. Far more people were surprised, myself included. In this article, I want to explore some options for those left in the lurch.

  • The History of CTRL + ALT + DELETE

    In the spring of 1981, David Bradley was part of a select team working from a nondescript office building in Boca Raton, Fla. His task: to help build IBM’s new personal computer. Because Apple and RadioShack were already selling small stand-alone computers, the project (code name: Acorn) was a rush job. Instead of the typical three- to five-year turnaround, Acorn had to be completed in a single year.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Fukushima trench water crisis returns

      Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Saturday that the trench problem at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has cropped up again and is sending highly radioactive water into the sea.

      The water in the underground passage, which runs under the turbine building of reactor 2, contains 2.35 billion becquerels of cesium per liter, roughly the same as that measured right after the crisis began in spring 2011.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Tunisia: Police Fire Tear Gas At Protesters

      Tunisian police have fired tear gas to disperse violent protests in the southern town of Sidi Bouzid, the hometown of slain secular opposition figure Mohamed Brahmi.

    • Pentagon: Who We’re At War With Is Classified

      In a major national security speech this spring, President Obama said again and again that the U.S. is at war with “Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and their associated forces.”

      So who exactly are those associated forces? It’s a secret.

      At a hearing in May, Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., asked the Defense Department to provide him with a current list of Al Qaeda affiliates.

      The Pentagon responded – but Levin’s office told ProPublica they aren’t allowed to share it. Kathleen Long, a spokeswoman for Levin, would say only that the department’s “answer included the information requested.”

      A Pentagon spokesman told ProPublica that revealing such a list could cause “serious damage to national security.”

    • Pittsburgh SWAT sued for ‘terrorizing’ young family at gunpoint

      A Pennsylvania family has filed a lawsuit against the Pittsburgh police department, claiming that two dozen SWAT team members raided their home and terrorized their two children in retaliation for a prior incident involving an officer outside a local bar.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Moving Dirty Crudes, Another Threat Posed by Dirty Fossil Fuels

      Earlier this month, fire and a series of horrific explosions swept through Lac-Mégantic, a small town in Québec just miles from the Maine border, after an unmanned 72-car train derailed. The train was transporting Earlier this month, fire and a series of horrific explosions swept through Lac-Mégantic, a small town in Québec just miles from the Maine border, after an unmanned 72-car train derailed. The train was transporting 27,000 gallons of crude oil from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a refinery in New Brunswick on the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA). The death toll has climbed to more than 50 people. This is but one of the latest tragedies resulting from the rapid expansion of risky oil and gas drilling and fracking across North America. from the Bakken Shale in North Dakota to a refinery in New Brunswick on the Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway (MMA). The death toll has climbed to more than 50 people. This is but one of the latest tragedies resulting from the rapid expansion of risky oil and gas drilling and fracking across North America.

    • Alberta oil leak into week 10 – can it be stopped?

      Nine weeks ago, oil near a tar sands extraction site in Cold Lake, Alberta, Canada, began to leak and ooze from the ground. It is currently wending its way through a nearby swampy forest, blackening vegetation and killing wildlife. It shows no signs of stopping. Even worse, scientists have no idea where it’s coming from or what to do about it.

    • Natural Gas Rig Blowout Highlights Dangers Of Drilling In The Gulf

      Flames erupted from an offshore drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico Tuesday night, torching a natural gas plume that had been leaking since a blowout earlier in the day. All 44 rig workers were evacuated before the fire began, according to the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement, but the rig continued spewing gas until Thursday morning, when its scorched frame finally collapsed enough to cut off the leak.

  • Finance

    • Modern Ruins of Abandoned Detroit (PHOTOS)

      Symbolizing the dramatic decline of Motor City, many buildings and structures in the former manufacturing mecca of Detroit, Mich. lay in crumbling and weather-beaten ruins. In his bestselling book, “The World Without Us,” Alan Weisman (who has reported from abandoned cities such as Chernobyl, Ukraine and Varosha, Cyprus) wrote that structures crumble as weather does unrepaired damage and other life forms create new habitats. A common structure would begin to fall apart as water eventually leaks into the roof, erodes the wood and rusts the nail, he wrote. Without intervention, many of Detroit’s abandoned structures would eventually succumb to nature’s elements.

  • Censorship

    • Kentucky: we can ban an advice columnist

      Update from the Kentucky AG’s office: don’t blame us, we let our lawyers lend themselves out for state agency work and it was by inadvertence that our letterhead was used on what went to Rosemond. As Caleb Brown notes, this opens up new questions even if it answers some others.

    • UK Internet censorship plan no less stupid than it was last year

      UK Prime Minister David Cameron has promised to make pornography filters standard on British Internet connections. This is a remarkably stupid policy, and despite that, it is a recurring silliness in British (and global) politics. Back in 2012, the House of Lords was considering the same question, and I wrote a long, comprehensive article for the Guardian explaining why this won’t work and why it will be worse than doing nothing. Nothing I asserted in that essay has changed in the interim.

    • Ban on Internet Cafes Struck Down

      Like the provision of newspaper racks in a city, the provision of access to the Internet and computers is conduct that might not carry a message itself but is nevertheless closely related to expression. The Supreme Court has affirmed that the Internet is subject to the same First Amendment scrutiny as print media, suggesting that providing access to the Internet would be associated with expression….

    • State AGs Ask Congress to Gut Critical CDA 230 Online Speech Protections

      Earlier today, 47 state attorneys general asked Congress to severely undermine the most important law protecting free speech on the Internet. In a letter to Congressional leaders, the AGs asked Congress to amend Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act — which protects online service providers from liability for the vast majority of what their users do — to carve all state criminal laws from the statute’s protection. The letter highlights long-cited concerns about the use of the Internet by child sex traffickers, legitimate concerns shared by law enforcement officials and advocates who dedicate significant time and resources towards fighting this practice.

    • Jane Bambauer on whether data is speech

      Jane Yakowitz Bambauer, associate professor of law at the University of Arizona, discusses her forthcoming paper in the Stanford Law Review titled Is Data Speech?

  • Privacy

    • Dr. Joseph Bonneau Wins NSA Award, Criticizes NSA

      On July 18th, Dr. Joseph Bonneau, a software engineer at Google, received the National Security Agency’s award for the best scientific cybersecurity paper. According to its stated mission, the competition was created to help broaden the scientific foundations of cybersecurity needed in the development of systems that are resilient to cyber attacks. But Bonneau was deeply conflicted about receiving the award, noting on his blog that even though he was flattered to receive the award he didn’t condone the mass surveillance programs run by the NSA: “Simply put, I don’t think a free society is compatible with an organisation like the NSA in its current form.”

    • NSA Metadata Surveillance: Anti-Obama Undertones In Bipartisan Debate Over Government Spy Programs
    • NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden better off in Russia than US, says father

      Lon Snowden said that Edward has been so vilified by the Obama administration and members of Congress that it is better for him to stay in Russia.

    • NSA surveillance critics to testify before Congress

      Congress will hear testimony from critics of the National Security Agency’s surveillance practices for the first time since the whistleblower Edward Snowden’s explosive leaks were made public.

    • You Won’t Believe What the NSA is Asking Internet Companies For Now

      According to CNET, two inside sources claim the NSA has asked companies such as AOL, Facebook, Yahoo!, and Verizon to hand over their users’ passwords. One of the sources assured CNET that these companies have “pushed back” against the NSA’s demands, and an anonymous spokesperson from Microsoft has gone as far as to say they “can’t see a circumstance” in which they would divulge users’ passwords.

    • U.S. officials warn Russia against giving refuge to Edward Snowden

      Fugitive secrets-spiller Edward Snowden isn’t yet out of his monthlong Moscow airport limbo, but U.S. officials have warned that Russia is provoking a diplomatic crisis with its reported granting of refuge to the American charged with espionage and theft.

    • Edward Snowden turned back at Moscow passport control, official says

      The latest bid by fugitive National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden to leave a Moscow airport has run into bureaucratic hurdles, his Russian lawyer said Wednesday.

      Russian media reported that Snowden would be allowed to leave the transit zone where he has been holed up for more than a month following a government decision to consider his request for temporary asylum. But he was turned back at passport control because he did not have all the paperwork he needed, a Russian immigration official told The Times.

    • What Happens When We Actually Catch Edward Snowden?
    • Wyden warns data collection under Patriot Act is ‘limitless’

      Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) on Tuesday urged the United States to revamp its surveillance laws and practices, warning that the country will “live to regret it” if it fails to do so.

      “If we do not seize this unique moment in our constitutional history to reform our surveillance laws and practices, we will all live to regret it,” Wyden said during a keynote address on the National Security Agency’s data collection programs hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

    • Cory Doctorow at Comic-Con: Why You Should Care About NSA Overreach
    • Mass protest in Germany against US intelligence surveillance

      Thousands of Germans on Saturday took part in demonstrations against US intelligence surveillance abroad that extends to private individuals in Europe.
      Read more: http://english.ruvr.ru/news/2013_07_27/Mass-protest-in-Germany-against-US-intelligence-surveillance-5818/

  • Civil Rights

    • Edward Snowden’s not the story. The fate of the internet is

      Repeat after me: Edward Snowden is not the story. The story is what he has revealed about the hidden wiring of our networked world. This insight seems to have escaped most of the world’s mainstream media, for reasons that escape me but would not have surprised Evelyn Waugh, whose contempt for journalists was one of his few endearing characteristics. The obvious explanations are: incorrigible ignorance; the imperative to personalise stories; or gullibility in swallowing US government spin, which brands Snowden as a spy rather than a whistleblower.

    • FBI announces review of 2,000 cases featuring hair samples

      The FBI will review thousands of old cases, including some involving the death penalty, in which hair samples helped secure convictions, under an ambitious plan made public Thursday.

      More than 2,000 cases the FBI processed from 1985 to 2000 will be re-examined, including some in which execution dates have been set and others in which the defendants already have died in prison. In a key concession, Justice Department officials will waive usual deadlines and procedural hurdles that often block inmates from challenging their convictions.

    • Reporter May Be Bound for Jail Over Subpoena

      James Risen may need to start packing a toothbrush and overnight bag because the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter and author is headed to jail barring an unlikely change of heart by either the government or the federal judiciary.

    • Congress and the Justice Dept’s Dangerous Attempts to Define “Journalist” Threaten to Exclude Bloggers

      On July 12, the Justice Department released its new guidelines on investigations involving the news media in the wake of the fallout from the leak scandals involving the monitoring of AP and Fox News reporters. While the guidelines certainly provide much-needed protections for establishment journalists, as independent journalist Marcy Wheeler explained, the DOJ’s interpretation of who is a “member[] of the news media” is dramatically narrower than the definition provided in the Privacy Protection Act and effectively excludes bloggers and freelancers from protection. This limiting definition is causing alarm among bloggers like Glenn Reynolds on the right as well.

  • DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • TTIP’s “Science-based” Assault on Democracy Begins

      Last month I predicted that one of the main tropes that would be used in the TAFTA/TTIP negotiations would by that of “science-based” policy. As I pointed out then, this is a trick, since the “science” actually consists of work by scientists working for big companies that want to push their products with minimal health and safety oversight by independent laboratories.

    • Copyrights

      • Victory for Fair Use and Consumer Choice: Ninth Circuit Rejects Networks’ Appeal in Fox v. Dish.

        In a crucial ruling today, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that a major TV network can’t use copyright to limit consumer choice.


        Happily, this effort has been unsuccessful. In November 2012, the district refused to enjoin Dish’s operation. The court found that (1) Dish can’t be held directly liable for the conduct of its customers (according to the volitional conduct doctrine, the person who causes the copy to be made is the direct infringer, not the service that merely facilitates it); and (2) Dish can’t be held indirectly either because time-shifting is a protected fair use and the networks can’t challenge commercial skipping because they don’t have a copyright interest in the commercials.

      • SF court orders Prenda to pay $22,531 in attorney’s fees

        A third costly loss for the embattled porn trolls at Prenda Law has been made official. On Thursday, the judge in a San Francisco case called AF Holdings v. Navasca held a hearing regarding whether or not Prenda, which had already given up on the case itself, should be required to pay attorneys’ fees. US District Judge Edward Chen spoke with Prenda lawyer Paul Duffy by telephone. He asked why he shouldn’t award attorney’s fees to defense lawyer Nicholas Ranallo.

IRC Proceedings: July 21st-July 27th, 2013

Posted in IRC Logs at 6:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: July 21st, 2013



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IRC Proceedings: July 22nd, 2013



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IRC Proceedings: July 23rd, 2013



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IRC Proceedings: July 24th, 2013



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IRC Proceedings: July 27th, 2013



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