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03.26.15

Links 26/3/2015: GNOME 3.16 Officially Released

Posted in News Roundup at 1:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Poll: Linux Use by Software Developers & Researchers
  • Yes, Using That Other OS Can Hurt Your Business

    A game was delayed because the computer used to run the scoreboard insisted on updating that other OS instead of getting on with business. Something that would take mere seconds with GNU/Linux took minutes, delaying the game.

  • Desktop

    • Hands-On: Linux UEFI multi-boot, part two

      I’m going to start this post by saying something that a lot of people will find surprising.

      There are a lot of things that I like about UEFI firmware and the UEFI boot process.

      I think it is an improvement over the old MBR boot system in some very useful and practical ways. Unfortunately Microsoft has turned it into yet another way to make things significantly more difficult for those who want to boot any non-Microsoft operating system.

  • Server

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.16 is out!

        What happened since 3.14? Quite a bit, and a number of unfinished projects will hopefully come to fruition in the coming months.

      • GNOME 3.16 Released

        The GNOME Project is proud to announce the release of GNOME 3.16 today, the result of six months work, which includes 33,525 changes by 1043 authors. GNOME 3.16 brings a brand new notification system in response to the feedback of enthusiastic GNOME users. GNOME 3’s visuals have also received a refresh, and its application suite has been updated, with improvements to Files, Music, Photos, Maps and more.

      • GNOME 3.16 released
      • GNOME 3.16 released
      • GNOME 3.16 Has Been Officially Released, Here’s What’s New

        The highly anticipated GNOME 3.16 update has just been announced today, March 25, on the official website of the acclaimed open-source desktop environment used in numerous GNU/Linux operating systems. This is a major release that includes countless new features, updated components, and dozens of bug fixes.

      • Introducing GNOME 3.16, the Best GNOME Release Yet – Video

        http://linux.softpedia.com/blog/Introducing-GNOME-3-16-the-Best-GNOME-Release-Yet-Video-476775.shtml

      • GNOME 3.16 is here — the best Linux desktop environment gets better

        Linux-based operating systems are a staple in my computing life. With that said, as much as I love the kernel and associated distributions, my true love is the GNOME 3 desktop environment. While version 3 has historically been a rather polarizing desktop, its subsequent point releases have greatly improved its reputation.

      • GNOME 3.16 Released With New Notification System, Updated Visuals [Video, Screenshots]

        GNOME 3.16 was released today and it includes some important changes, like a new notification system, updated visuals, 3 new preview applications and much more. Read on to find out what’s new!

  • Distributions

    • Neptune 4.3.1 Linux Distro Released to Fix an Installation Issue with EXT4 Partitions

      Only four days after announcing the release of Neptune 4.3 Linux operating system for computers, its developer published a new ISO image for the distribution, which has been updated to version 4.3.1, as users reported that they were unable to install the distribution on EXT4 partitions.

    • Hands-on learning with “Linux From Scratch”

      Almost ten years ago, I used a computer for the first time. I mean I had heard a lot and seen computers in action in movies but I had never touched, let alone, used one before then. I will never forget that late summer morning when I switched on a computer for the first time. A deep hunger was ignited within me and ever since that day I have had an insatiable hunger to learn more about ICT gadgets.

      A year later when I was introduced to computers one of the first things I Googled, inspired by Angelina Jolie’s Hackers movie, was how to be a hacker.

    • Zorin OS: Can I keep it, please?

      As it happened, I had just been testing Zorin OS 8 on a USB stick, on my own laptop. I loved the way Zorin Look Changer can make your computer look like what you might be used to at work, or on your own machine – XP, 2000, 7 (and even OS X, if you use the Ultimate version). The range of software that is included is amazing, too – games, office stuff, apps that let you edit photographs and even video. There are heaps more, but the list would be too long to include here.

    • An introduction of library operating system for Linux
    • Reviews

      • Deepin 2014.2 review

        Deepin 2014 was a major release of Deepin (formerly Linux Deepin), a desktop distribution developed by some good folks in China. Though based on Ubuntu Desktop, the distribution features a custom desktop environment instead of the Unity Desktop of its parent distribution.

        That desktop environment, which is called Deepin Desktop Environment, is what gives the distribution a very unique look and feel.

        This is a cursory review of Deepin 2014.2, which is a point update to Deepin 2014. for a more detailed review of the 2014 releases, see Deepin 2014 review.

    • Screenshots

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Hewlett-Packard Platinum Sponsor of DebConf15

        With this additional commitment as Platinum Sponsor, HP contributes to make possible our annual conference, and directly supports the progress of Debian and Free Software, helping to strengthen the community who continue to collaborate on their Debian projects throughout the rest of the year.

      • Working towards a child-friendly DebConf

        The Debian Project will celebrate its 22nd birthday during DebConf15 in Heidelberg in August 2015. At this age, it’s unsurprising that children of Debian contributors have attended our developer conference for several years.

      • Derivatives

        • New SteamOS Beta Arrives with Updated Nvidia Video Drivers, Uses Linux Kernel 3.10.5

          Valve has announced earlier today, March 25, the immediate availability for download and testing of a new Beta version for its awesome SteamOS Linux operating system for gamers. SteamOS Update 157 has been pushed to the Alchemist Beta channel a few hours ago and the ISO images are now available for download.

        • Canonical/Ubuntu

          • New Ubuntu Phone Flash Sale Confirmed for March 26

            Canonical confirmed a few minutes ago on their Twitter and Facebook accounts that a new flash sale of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone will take place tomorrow morning, on March 26, starting 9 AM CET (Central European Time). BQ already started shipping the Ubuntu phones to users from the European Union, so it should arrive quickly this time.

          • Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) Final Beta Freeze Is Now in Effect, Will Be Released on March 26

            Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet) is getting closer and closer to a final release, which will be unveiled by Canonical next month, on April 23, 2015. The Final Beta will arrive tomorrow, March 26, for all editions, including Ubuntu itself, which did not had an Alpha or Beta release until now.

          • Win an Ubuntu Phone, Here Are the Details

            Canonical has announced earlier today, on their website and Twitter account, that they’re giving away an Ubuntu Phone device to the winner of an origami contest related to the Ubuntu 14.10 mascot, the Utopic Unicorn.

          • Ubuntu And Ericsson Partner To Helps Telcos Achieve Flexibility

            Ericsson is a monster in the telecommunications industry. The company, which provides products and services upon which telcos themselves build their businesses, has a network spread that sees 40 percent of the world’s mobile traffic, and some 2.5 billion mobile subscribers globally pass through its equipment. Quite simply, in the telco market, what Ericsson does matter greatly. So in this vein, and given Ericsson’s investments in the cloud space, it is interesting to hear of a partnership between Canonical, the open source company best known for the Ubuntu operating system, and Ericsson.

          • BQ Is Cleaning Up Their Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Kernel

            Last week we relayed the article by Carsten Munk of Jolla about the kernel of the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Phone being a mess. Since then, it looks like BQ and Ubuntu developers have taken to cleaning up the kernel source tree.

          • BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition Unboxing – Video

            We are extremely happy to report that the BQ Aquaris E4.5 Ubuntu Edition smartphone, which will be known forever as the first Ubuntu Phone device made, has just arrived today at our headquarters in the European Union, so we’ve decided to make a short unboxing video to show you guys what’s in the box.

          • Flavours and Variants

            • Blueberry: LinuxMint’s Brand New Bluetooth Configuration Tool

              Clement Lefebvre, the Founder and lead developer of LinuxMint, has introduced the brand new bluetooth setup and configuration tool called “Blueberry”. It is a front-end for Gnome-bluetooth-3.14, and it shows a systray icon in your panel and doesn’t annoy you if you don’t have a Bluetooth adapter. It works on any Desktop environment, including MATE, Cinnamon, GNOME, XFCE, and Unity. And ofcourse, it should work on any distribution as long as gnome-bluetooth 3.14 is installed.

            • Bodacious Bodhi Broadens Linux Desktop

              Bodhi Linux is based on Ubuntu 12.04 and Enlightenment 17.04. It uses a modular structure that provides a high level of customization and selections of themes. Bodhi’s philosophy is built around minimalism and user choice, aiming to strike a balance between providing nothing but a command-line interface, and including everything plus the kitchen sink.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Building a SNES emulator with a Raspberry Pi and a PS3 gamepad

      It’s been a while since I did this, but I got some people asking me lately about how exactly I did it and I thought it could be nice to write a post answering that question. Actually, it would be a nice thing for me to have anyway at least as “documentation”, so here it is.

    • Phones

      • Tizen

      • Android

        • Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Update Rumors Emerge

          Samsung is still rolling out Android 5.0.1 and Android 5.0.2 Lollipop updates and rumors suggest that it hasn’t begun work on Galaxy Android 5.1 updates. That said, a new round of Samsung Galaxy Android 5.1 Lollipop update rumors reveals some potential Galaxy Android 5.1 update details for some of Samsung’s biggest names.

        • Nexus 4 Android 5.1 Release: 10 Things to Expect
        • Run this Installer Hijacking Scanner app to see if your older Android phone is at risk
        • How to enable one of the best security features in Android Lollipop
        • Android 5.0 Lollipop beginning to roll out for the AT&T Galaxy Note 3

          Following in the Galaxy Note 4’s footsteps from earlier today, Android 5.0 Lollipop is now beginning to roll out to the AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 3. The update comes in at a hefty 1.2GB and carries build number N900AUCUEOC1.

        • This is probably the best collection of Material Design apps you’ll ever find

          There is plenty to like in Google’s latest major Android release, Lollipop. It’s faster, lighter and more battery efficient than ever before. The biggest in-your-face change found in Android 5.0 was the new look of the operating system, which Google calls “Material Design.”

        • The four best podcast apps for Android phones

          Podcasts remain a lively and popular forum for online broadcasting, even with a name that calls back to the era of the iPod.

          As an Android user you’ve probably long broken free of the Apple ecosystem, so there will be no searching through iTunes to sync up podcasts with an iPhone. No, you want your podcasts your way, quickly and conveniently on your Android phone.

        • Open source security tool indicates Android app vulnerability spike
        • Five essential must-have apps for Android Wear

          The whole smartwatch shebang is still a rather confusing mini-mess, where manufacturers are not very certain on how to position their gizmos, while users are not entirely sure that a glorified timepiece with the ability to vibrate when you get an email is worth shelling out $300 for. Well, at least that was the case until the recent few months, when smartdevice makers realised that people wouldn’t mind paying a premium price for a watch, as long as it doesn’t look like a fitness tracker with a glowing screen, but actually resembles a timepiece you wouldn’t mind being seen in public with. Nowadays, we have the Moto 360 (which still doesn’t appeal to many, due to simple looks and the infamous cut-off at the bottom of its circular screen), the Asus ZenWatch, and the upcoming LG Watch Urbane, which will surely attract more eyes to the wearable tech market (and we are not even mentioning the amount of traction the Apple Watch will bring along as well).

        • Pioneer’s NEX Series of Android Auto Head Units are Now Available, Range From $700 to $1400

          Pioneer’s line of in-dash multimedia receivers, which were previewed at this year’s CES in Las Vegas, are now available for all through select retailers and online at Pioneer’s website. These units run Android Auto, Google’s OS for vehicles, but also come with Apple CarPlay compatibility built-in, allowing for complete flexibility for a family that runs multiple platforms.

        • Google Maps for Android just got a great new feature iPhone users will be jealous of

          Google Maps for Android and Google Maps for the iPhone may never have true feature parity. This is due in part to the limitations Apple puts in place on third-party application developers, but Google also seems to reserve some features and design elements solely for users of its own mobile platform.

        • Android Wear smartwatches: The benefits for professionals

          With smartwatches and wearables in general, it can be hard see real usefulness through the current hype. Here’s how professionals can leverage Android Wear devices to make their lives easier.

        • A review of Android for Work: Dual-persona support comes to Android

          If you work in an office environment, you probably know a few people—maybe a lot of people—with two smartphones. One is a personal phone full of pictures of the family, games, social networking, and sports stuff, and the other is a company-issued smartphone full of e-mail, appointments, contacts, and documents. With two phones, your IT department has full control over your work data and can remotely wipe it, and they never get to see your personal pictures or other information. It’s a workable setup, but the downside is all the duplication—you have two phones, two chargers, and almost no free pocket space. The other alternative is BYOD—Bring Your Own Device—in which the IT department takes over and installs a bunch of company software to your personal phone.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Using Spark DataFrames for large scale data science

    When we first open sourced Spark, we aimed to provide a simple API for distributed data processing in general-purpose programming languages (Java, Python, Scala). Spark enabled distributed data processing through functional transformations on distributed collections of data (RDDs). This was an incredibly powerful API—tasks that used to take thousands of lines of code to express could be reduced to dozens.

  • Events

    • Checkpoint/Restart Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Checkpoint/restart technology is the basis for live migration as well as its traditional use to take a snapshot of a long-running job. This microconference will focus on the C/R project called CRIU and will bring together people from Canonical, CloudLinux, Georgia Institute of Technology, Google, Parallels, and Qualcomm to discuss CRIU integration with the various containers projects, its use on Android, performance and testing issues and, of course, to show some live demoes. See the Checkpoint/Restart wiki for more information.

    • Energy-Aware Scheduling and CPU Power Management Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Energy efficiency has received considerable attention, for example, the microconference at last year’s Plumbers. However, despite another year’s worth of vigorous efforts, there is still quite a bit left to be desired in Linux’s power management and in its energy-aware scheduling in particular, hence this year’s microconference.

    • Containers Microconference Accepted into 2015 Linux Plumbers Conference

      Over the past year, the advent of Docker has further increased the level of Containers excitement. Additional points of Containers interest include the LXC 1.1 release (which includes CRUI checkpoint/restore, in-container systemd support, and feature-set compatibility across systemd, sysvinit, and upstart), the recently announced merger of OpenVZ and Cloud server, and progress in the kernel namespace and cgroups infrastructure.

    • Chemnitzer Linux-Tage 2015

      Last weekend there was Chemnitzer Linux-Tage, after the dead of LinuxTag in Berlin, Germany’s largest event around Linux and Open Source. I got to this event since the begin and it was like always a lot of visitors, even it was a little bit lsser this year as the years before. I had this year als only one talk, together with Robert Scheck.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox OS ported to MIPS on Ingenic tablet

        Imagination is hosting a raffle for a 9.7-inch, MIPS-based Ingenic tablet that runs a MIPS port of Firefox OS, which will also support its Creator C120 SBC.

        An “experimental” version of Firefox OS has been ported to the MIPS architecture in the form of an unnamed Ingenic reference tablet announced by Imagination Technologies. Imagination designs the IP for the MIPS32 cores and PowerVR SGX540 GPU incorporated in the tablet’s Ingenic XBurst SoC. There are five days left to sign up for an Imagination raffle of 15 of the tablets, which are loaded with Firefox OS, but also support Android 4.4

      • Mozilla cares for community with educational resources

        I love the opportunity and inspiration of open source participation—the chance to tinker with and influence new innovation and social change. Seeing my contributions become part of something bigger continues to be both an empowering and humbling experience.

  • Databases

    • A Cautionary Open Source Tale, Apple Buys And Shutters FoundationDB

      So far so good. Except that almost immediately FoundationDB seemingly excised its very existence from GitHub, the repository where the code for open source projects like this is stored. The FoundationDB repository was devoid of any content after the move. This is in contrast to the day before when the repository was a typical bustling ecosystem of contributors and code.

      [...]

      There was no warning for this move and while commercial Apple watchers would expect that from a company not well known for its altruism, it’s a very unusual move in the open source world. As Jack Clark from Bloomberg pointed out, this move looks set to incense many…

    • Apple May Have Just Killed An Open Source Project
    • InfluxDB has taken its open-source business to Silicon Valley

      Paul Dix is holding on to his Williamsburg apartment. The CEO and cofounder of InfluxDB has strong personal ties to Brooklyn and it’s unlikely that he’ll totally vacate the place any time soon. However, his investors wanted his time series database company on the West Coast, where they believed it could find the right talent to grow.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • CMS

    • The benefits of decoupling your CMS

      A common disease of software development is the “not-invented-here” syndrome, a tendency to write new implementations instead of leveraging existing solutions. We then just write it as part of the application we’re currently building, thinking it’s a small thing. Over time, such helper or utility classes grow as new things are added, but usually stay tightly coupled to the application.

      This disease also applies to content management applications. By choosing a CMS, you need to accept not only the language it’s written in, but also its editing and administration interface, templating system, databases it supports, and so on. The decoupled content management movement aims to improve this situation.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • GCC 5 and AutoFDO

      This comes from Google, with some more information at this git repository and the GCC wiki, as far as I can tell. The basic idea is that you can do feedback-directed optimization by low-overhead sampling of your regular binaries instead of a specially instrumented one. It is somewhat less effective (you get approx. half the benefit of full FDO, it seems), but it means you don’t need to write automated, representative benchmarks—you can just sample real use and feed that into the next build.

  • Project Releases

    • glibmm 2.44.0 and gtkmm 3.16.0

      I’ve just done the stable glibmm 2.44.0 and gtkmm 3.16.0 releases with the usual bunch of API additions and deprecations to keep track of the glib and gtkmm API. Thanks to Kjell Ahlstedt in particular for his many well thought-out contributions.

    • Pulp 2.6.0 is available!

      The Pulp team is very happy to announce the release of Pulp 2.6.0!

    • SCAP Workbench 1.1.0

      The new SCAP Workbench is out! This is the biggest release to date. We focused on improving the typical use-case of tailoring and remote scanning. This is also the first release to have Windows and MacOS X support!

    • Keeping up with noisy blog aggregators using PlanetFilter

      I follow a few blog aggregators (or “planets”) and it’s always a struggle to keep up with the amount of posts that some of these get. The best strategy I have found so far to is to filter them so that I remove the blogs I am not interested in, which is why I wrote PlanetFilter.

  • Public Services/Government

    • EP IT department: ‘We should give openness example’

      The European Parliament should give the example for the openness of its software solutions, says Giancarlo Vilella, Director General for DG ITEC, the EP’s IT department, speaking at the Document Freedom Day workshop organised on 25 March by the EP’s Greens and the European Free Alliance. “ICT is a strong tool for democracy”, the Director General says. “We aim to be the avant garde of political institutions.”

    • Centre formulates policy on adoption of open source software

      The IT Ministry has unveiled a ‘Policy on Adoption of Open Source Software for Government of India’ that will encourage the formal adoption and use of Open Source Software (OSS) in government organisations.

      Formulated by the Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY), the policy will enable freedom of use and re-use of ICT assets along with availability of strong OSS community support.

    • European Parliament Leans Towards Free Software

      Of course, there are many more reasons to use FLOSS. “openness” certainly raises the level of confidence one can have in the software but it also increases the reliability and efficiency of the software, things that matter and affect the bottom line. With non-Free software, there are motives to include inefficient code, to do the work of others rather than the users of the software. It also costs less to produce FLOSS since authours can use the works of others to build FLOSS, a great efficiency. Instead of every product needing to re-invent the wheel or pay to use a copy, every product can largely consist of re-used code. This also allows authours to put their full energy into the innovative parts of a product instead of trying to comply with endless restrictive software licences.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Creative Commons for Developer Docs

      Over the last few years, we’ve seen more and more open source projects transition to a Creative Commons license for their documentation. Specifically, most projects tend to use some version of CC-BY-SA. There are some projects that use a permissive code license like Apache or MIT for documentation, and certainly still some that use the GFDL. But for the most part, the trend has been toward CC-BY-SA.

    • It’s now possible to open source your body for medical science

      Medical advancements don’t just happen by themselves. Each new treatment and drug is the result of tireless work by researchers, often working with health data provided by volunteers. However, study participation rates have dropped in recent years, and what data is collected isn’t usually widely available. An initiative called the Open Humans Network hopes to change that by making health data more open and public. It basically offers you a way to donate your body to science without that unpleasant “death” aspect.

    • Open Hardware

      • Leap Motion Faceplate Lets OSVR Head Talk to the Hand

        Open Source Virtual Reality, a platform that aims to unify virtual reality input devices, games and output, and Leap Motion, a company that has established itself in the development of motion-tracking hardware, on Wednesday announced what may be a compelling way to control movements in a virtual reality environment.

      • Leap Motion’s Open Source Virtual Reality support gets real

        Right up front – attached at the faceplate – that’s where you’ll find the Leap Motion tracker on the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit later this year. An announcement has been made by the Open Source Virtual Reality group that suggests Leap Motion is fully onboard – supporting the initiative and preparing their motion tracking equipment to ship with the first developer-aimed hardware later this year. This would make the OSVR Hacker Dev Kit the first VR headset to ship with Leap Motion attached – supposing Oculus VR doesn’t get there first.

      • Razer’s handing open-source VR kits to more than 20 education labs
  • Programming

    • Saving code

      As you probably know by now, Gitorious is shutting down. A lot of history sits on that site, and much of the code is no longer maintained. Browsing around, I ran into the maemo-tools that has not been touched since 2013. There are still some useful stuff there, so I decided to save it. All tool repositories has been cloned to the maemo-tools-old organization on github.

    • PHP 7.0 as Software Collection

      RPM of upcoming major version of PHP 7.0, are available in remi repository for Fedora 20, 21, 22 and Enterprise Linux 6, 7 (RHEL, CentOS, …) in a fresh new Software Collection (php70) allowing its installation beside the system version.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Dump JavaScript for faster Web loading? Let the debate begin

      Can Web pages load faster if they’re not bogged down by slow JavaScript response times? A Web developer in the online publishing space believes this could be the case and has offered a plan for this purpose, but a co-author of the popular Angular.js JavaScript framework has his doubts.

      A proposal entitled “HTML6 proposal for single-page Web apps without JavaScript” has been circulating on a World Wide Web Consortium mailing list and GitHub. “The overall purpose is to reduce response times when loading Web pages,” said Web developer Bobby Mozumder, editor in chief of FutureClaw magazine, who authored the proposal.

    • EC updates overview of standardisation activities

      The European Commission on 24 March published an update to its ‘EU Rolling Plan for ICT Standardisation’, the first update in two years. The document provides an overview of the needs for preliminary or complementary ICT standardisation activities in support of EU policy activities. The report covers policy making across different Directorates-General of the European Commission.

Leftovers

  • Germanwings Pilot Was Locked Out of Cockpit Before Crash in France

    As officials struggled Wednesday to explain why a jet with 150 people on board crashed in relatively clear skies, an investigator said evidence from a cockpit voice recorder indicated one pilot left the cockpit before the plane’s descent and was unable to get back in.

    A senior military official involved in the investigation described “very smooth, very cool” conversation between the pilots during the early part of the flight from Barcelona to Düsseldorf. Then the audio indicated that one of the pilots left the cockpit and could not re-enter.

    “The guy outside is knocking lightly on the door and there is no answer,” the investigator said. “And then he hits the door stronger and no answer. There is never an answer.”

  • French prosecutor says pilot deliberately crashed plane

    The co-pilot of a Germanwings flight that slammed into an Alpine mountainside “intentionally” sent the plane into its doomed descent, a French prosecutor has said.

    Marseille prosecutor Brice Robin said on Thursday that the commander left the cockpit, presumably to go to the lavatory, and then was unable to regain access.

  • Hardware

  • Health/Nutrition

    • We’re treating soil like dirt. It’s a fatal mistake, as our lives depend on it

      The issue hasn’t changed, but we have. Landowners around the world are now engaged in an orgy of soil destruction so intense that, according to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, the world on average has just 60 more years of growing crops. Even in Britain, which is spared the tropical downpours that so quickly strip exposed soil from the land, Farmers Weekly reports, we have “only 100 harvests left”.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Architect of CIA’s drone campaign to leave post in watershed moment

      As the architect of that campaign, the CTC chief came to be regarded as an Ahab-like figure known for dark suits and a darker demeanor. He could be merciless toward subordinates but was also revered for his knowledge of terrorist networks and his ability to run an organization that became almost an agency unto itself. He embodied a killing-centric approach to counter­terrorism that enraged many Muslims, even though he is a convert to Islam.

    • Yemen President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi Flees Home As Rebels Close In

      The departure of the close U.S. ally and the imminent fall of the southern port of Aden pushed Yemen further toward a violent collapse. It also threatened to turn the impoverished but strategic country into another proxy battle between the Middle East’s Sunni powers and Shiite-led Iran.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Journalists Who Hate Whistleblowers

      A disturbing trend in mainstream U.S. media is how many “star” journalists side with the government in its persecution of whistleblowers – and even disdain fellow reporters who expose secret wrongdoing, an attitude that is destroying what’s left of American democracy, as John Hanrahan explains.

    • Supreme court clears way for release of secret Prince Charles letters

      The UK supreme court has cleared the way for the publication of secret letters written by Prince Charles to British government ministers, declaring that an attempt by the state to keep them concealed was unlawful.

    • Accidentally Revealed FTC Document Details Some Questionable Google Practices, But Not The Ones Most People Focused On

      Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an article detailing how one part of the FTC, the competition bureau, wanted to go after Google for antitrust violations, claiming it was eventually “overruled” by the FTC’s commissioners who sided with the economic bureau that felt there was no real antitrust violations in Google’s practices. The WSJ got its hands on part of the internal report by accident — saying that the FTC inadvertently handed it over as a response to a different FOIA request, but that it was only part of the internal report. Late yesterday, the WSJ released the document it received (which you can see here in PDF form). Somewhat bizarrely, it’s every other page of the report, suggesting some sort of weird screwup inside the FTC.

  • Finance

    • The Case Against Raising Interest Rates Is Simple, Despite WaPo’s Efforts to Confuse It

      We yelled as loudly as we possibly could that there was a huge housing bubble that would sink the economy when it burst. Of course, papers like the Washington Post did not pay attention to us, because it did not fit their story that the Fed was an economic superman. Such nonsense was the conventional wisdom at the time, and the paper did not want to give those who challenged the claim a voice. Now it wants to pretend that people who understood the basic economics of the housing bubble, and the stock bubble before it, did not exist.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Manipulating Wikipedia to Promote a Bogus Business School

      No idea what “ArbCom” is? You’re not the only one. It’s the Wikipedia Arbitration Committee, the highest court in Wikipedia land. And Wifione was a Wikipedia “administrator” account, run by persons unknown, that was accused of manipulating the Wikipedia site of an unaccredited business school in India by deleting links to numerous media reports alleging it scammed students into paying hefty sums for worthless degrees.

    • New York Times Turns Ads Off On ‘Sensitive’ Stories

      There are no Google results for the tag, so it looks like it hasn’t been documented, but it seems like a pretty low-tech way to keep possibly insensitive ads off a very sensitive story—an admirable effort. It’s interesting in part because it’s almost an acknowledgement that ads are invasive and uncomfortable. They cross over into the intolerable range when we’re emotionally vulnerable from a tragic story. Advertisers know this too, and the New York Times might stipulate in contracts they’ll try to keep ads off sensitive pages.

    • Fox Claims That FBI Report That Doesn’t Cover Mass Shootings Falsified Mass Shooting Data

      Fox News relied on claims from discredited gun researcher John Lott to falsely suggest that an FBI report inflated the occurrence of mass shootings, possibly for political reasons. In fact, the report in question covered only “active shooter situations” and explicitly noted in its introduction, “This is not a study of mass killings or mass shootings.”

  • Censorship

    • UK Blocking More Than 100 Pirate Sites After New Court Order

      Major UK Internet providers must now block more than 100 piracy related websites after a new High Court order. The latest blocking round was issued on behalf of the major record labels and targets several MP3 download sites such as stafaband.info, rnbxclusive.se and plixid.com, as well as a search engine for the cloud hosting service Mega.co.nz.

    • How The Copyright Industry Wants To Undermine Anonymity & Free Speech: ‘True Origin’ Bills

      The way they work is pretty simple: they outlaw anonymity on the internet if your website distributes any kind of audiovisual work. The point of this is twofold: one, for those who “register” and reveal their name and address, it makes it easier for the RIAAs and MPAAs of the world to sue a site for copyright infringement. And, for those who don’t reveal their names, the RIAA and MPAA can ask the states to prosecute the site owners for failing to reveal their names.

    • Palestinian Journalists Under Fire

      Bashar Nazzal, a 36-year-old Palestine TV cameraman from Qalqiliya, had covered the Kafr Qaddum village demonstrations for the past four years. The demonstrations, held every Friday, protest the closure of the main road between the village and its closest neighbor, Nablus, as a result of Israeli expansion of the Kedumim settlement. The shooting occurred only minutes into the demonstration when Nazzal, who noted that he was easily identified as a member of the press, was filming a group of five armed Israeli soldiers. Despite an operation on his shattered shin, the injury has interfered with his ability to work. “Palestinian journalists claim there has been an increase in direct military assaults against them in the last year,” and many journalists interpret these assaults as a message from the IDF to stop covering Palestinian demonstrations.

    • Colombian Report on US Military’s Child Rapes Not Newsworthy to US News Outlets

      An 800-page independent report commissioned by the US-friendly Colombian government and the radical left rebel group FARC found that US military soldiers and contractors had sexually abused at least 54 children in Colombia between 2003 and 2007 and, in all cases, the rapists were never punished–either in Colombia or stateside–due to American military personnel being immune from prosecution under diplomatic immunity agreements between the two countries.

  • Privacy

    • All Austrian Parties in Parliament Back Measures Against NSA, GCHQ Spying

      At least that’s the case in Austria, where every single political party in the Austrian parliament – and there are six – signed on to a motion against illegal surveillance, citing their concerns about the US and others using their spy agencies such as the super-secret National Security Agency to eavesdrop on people abroad.

      There in fact was an uproar not too long when documents leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden showed that the US had been listening in to German chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone calls.

    • Netanyahu’s Spying Denials Contradicted by Secret NSA Documents

      Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu yesterday vehemently denied a Wall Street Journal report, leaked by the Obama White House, that Israel spied on U.S. negotiations with Iran and then fed the intelligence to Congressional Republicans. His office’s denial was categorical and absolute, extending beyond this specific story to U.S.-targeted spying generally, claiming: “The state of Israel does not conduct espionage against the United States or Israel’s other allies.”

    • Apple Patent Tips Real-Time Route Tracking

      We’ve all received text messages from friends that say they are “almost there” or “five minutes away.” Apple, however, is working on technology that might help you track your tardy friend’s journey.

    • Music Group Wants ISPs to Spy on Customers to Stop Piracy

      In a response to the draft code tabled to deal with the Australian online-piracy problem, some of the world’s largest music publishers have presented a set of draconian measures. ISPs should not only use technology to spy on their own customers, but also to proactively block access to infringing content and websites.

    • We know where you’ve been: Ars acquires 4.6M license plate scans from the cops

      If you have driven in Oakland any time in the last few years, chances are good that the cops know where you’ve been, thanks to their 33 automated license plate readers (LPRs).

      Now Ars knows too.

      In response to a public records request, we obtained the entire LPR dataset of the Oakland Police Department (OPD), including more than 4.6 million reads of over 1.1 million unique plates between December 23, 2010 and May 31, 2014. The dataset is likely one of the largest ever publicly released in the United States—perhaps in the world.

    • Despite privacy policy, RadioShack customer data up for sale in auction

      RadioShack is trying to auction off its customer data on some 117 million customers as part of its court-supervised bankruptcy.

      The data in question, according to a legal challenge (PDF) launched by Texas regulators on Friday and joined by the state of Tennessee on Monday, includes “consumer names, phone numbers, mailing addresses, e-mail addresses, and, where allowed, activity data.”

      The states say the sale breaches the 94-year-old chain’s promises to its in-store and online customers that it would not sell their personal identifying information (PII) data.

    • Google’s New CFO Underscores Deep Ties Between Silicon Valley and Wall Street

      Google’s recruitment of Ruth Porat from Morgan Stanley to be chief financial officer is the latest example of Wall Street executives being lured to Silicon Valley to join the technology boom.

    • Facebook May Host News Sites’ Content
    • EU: Don’t use Facebook if you want to keep the NSA away from your data

      In a key case before the European Union’s highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU), the European Commission admitted yesterday that the US-EU Safe Harbor framework for transatlantic data transfers does not adequately protect EU citizens’ data from US spying. The European Commission’s attorney Bernhard Schima told the CJEU’s attorney general: “You might consider closing your Facebook account if you have one,” euobserver reports.

    • French Intelligence Bill: Everyone Under Surveillance

      While presenting the Intelligence bill adopted during the 19 March 2015 Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister proudly asserted that it contained “legal means of action but neither exceptional means nor the generalised surveillance of citizens”!

  • Civil Rights

    • Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) – Investment Chapter

      WikiLeaks releases today the “Investment Chapter” from the secret negotiations of the TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) agreement. The document adds to the previous WikiLeaks publications of the chapters for Intellectual Property Rights (November 2013) and the Environment (January 2014).

      The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations.

    • More MPs criticise TTIP on transparency and ISDS

      Many people are concerned that Governments could be discouraged from passing new legislation due to ISDS.

    • Whistleblowers and the Press Heavyweights

      Sterling, who has never admitted leaking any classified information, nevertheless with his conviction joined the ranks of those whistleblowers and conduits for whistleblowers who have come under fire from prominent journalists for disclosing classified information to the press – e.g., Wikileaks, Julian Assange, Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning, Edward Snowden, John Kiriakou, and others.

    • Council of Europe (COE) Committee Calls for U.S. to Allow Snowden to Return Without Fear of Criminal Prosecution Under Certain Conditions

      The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights called for COE and European Union member states to enact whistleblower protection laws that also cover national security and intelligence community employees. In a particularly significant development, the Committee’s draft resolution urged member states to grant asylum to whistleblowers threatened by retaliation.

      The resolution is based on a detailed report by the Committee that draws significantly on the experience of GAP client and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. Indeed, the resolution calls for the U.S. to allow Snowden to return without fear of criminal prosecution under laws that prevent a public interest defense, like the Espionage Act. This marks the first time that any inter-governmental body has called on the U.S. not to prosecute Snowden unless he is afforded the opportunity to raise a public interest defense, according to Sandra Coliver of the Open Society Foundation.

    • Rebranding McCain and Romney as Moderates to Facilitate a Sharp Right Turn

      Republicans have a similar media trope, but theirs works a little differently: GOP candidates run as rightists and lose as centrists.

    • It’s OK to leak government secrets – as long as it benefits politicians

      When it comes to classified information, some leaks are more equal than others. If you are a whistleblower like Edward Snowden, who tells the press about illegal, immoral or embarrassing government actions, you will face jail time. But it’s often another story for US government officials leaking information for their own political benefit.

    • After years in Guantanamo, ex-detainees find little solace in Uruguay

      Dhiab is a Syrian, and he spent 12 years in Guantanamo. Now he lives in Montevideo with three other Syrians, a Palestinian and a Tunisian, all former prisoners at the U.S. detention facility in Cuba. In a week’s worth of long and candid conversations, he acknowledged that the transition to life in a Latin American capital has not been easy.

    • “Help! My boys were stopped three times by police for being outside unsupervised”

      Another mom grows incensed by a parenting culture gone mad, but we have to turn frustration into connection

    • Federal court rejects Third Amendment claim against police officers

      Back in 2013, a lot of attention focused on a Third Amendment claim against Henderson, Nevada police officers. I wrote about the case here. The Third Amendment, which forbids the “quartering” of “soldiers” in private homes without the owner’s consent, is often the butt of jokes because it is so rarely litigated. But in this case, a Nevada family claimed that local police had violated the Amendment by forcibly occupying their home in order to gain a “tactical advantage” against suspected criminals in the neighboring house.

    • Senator Wants To Know Why The US Marshals Asset Forfeiture Division Is Blowing Money On $10,000 Tables

      Asset forfeiture — both at state and national levels — is receiving some intense scrutiny, thanks to unflattering coverage in major news outlets like the New York Times and Washington Post. Attorney General Eric Holder made some minor cuts to the DOJ’s participation in states’ forfeiture programs. Meanwhile, at the state level, legislators have introduced bills targeting these programs’ perverted incentives — namely, that the agency performing the asset seizure usually benefits directly from the “forfeited” wealth.

    • Speaker election: Tearful Charles Walker clapped by MPs

      An MP has claimed he has been “played like a fool” by government ministers over a bid to change the way the Speaker is elected to the House of Commons after the general election.

    • Suicide Rates Among US Adults Rise Dramatically

      A study published in the American Journal of Preventative Medicine has found that the rate of suicide for adults between 40 and 64 years of age has risen by close to 40% since 1999. Since 2007 the increase has been especially striking. Analysis factoring in potential motivation for the act suggests a linkage to the 2007-2009 economic crisis and its impact on the financial wherewithal of millions around the world.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Latest Assault on Net Neutrality Launched at Telecom Industry-Funded Think Tank

      Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., last week addressed the Free State Foundation to announce his new plan to undermine recently enacted net neutrality rules by going after the funding of the Federal Communications Commission, the agency behind the decision.

      The FCC’s approach to net neutrality represents “potential untenable rules and regulatory overreach that will hurt consumers,” said Walden, the chair of the House Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, speaking at the foundation’s annual Telecom Policy Conference. Walden outlined a plan to limit FCC appropriations, cap its other revenue sources, and change the hiring process for the FCC’s inspector general.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • IOC Forces School To Remove Rings From Crest For Some Reason

        Have you thought about the Olympics lately? No? Then I guess you didn’t drive past any of the tiny little schools in this itty bitty school district in the Poconos in Pennsylvania that serves a population of almost twenty-five thousand whole people, because, if you had, the International Olympic Committee is quite certain you would have been all, “Oh, look, that must be a school run by the Olympics for some reason.” Otherwise, the IOC’s pressuring the district to re-draw this district crest would make no sense.

    • Copyrights

      • Netflix Wants to Make VPN Piracy Obsolete

        In recent months Hollywood has pushed Netflix to ensure that VPN users can’t access their services. Netflix honors these requests, but according to CEO Reed Hastings there’s a better way to deal with the issue. The company would like to get rid of Hollywood’s geographical restrictions entirely and render ‘VPN piracy’ obsolete.

      • Open Letter To Key EU Copyright Working Group Calls For ‘Balanced Representation Of Views’

        Back in January, we wrote about the report from the Pirate Party MEP Julia Reda, which made a number of bold but sensible proposals for reforming the EU’s 2001 copyright directive. Not surprisingly, the lobbyists have been hard at work, and no less than 556 amendments to the report have been proposed (pdf), many of them clearly aiming to undermine some of Reda’s ideas completely — for example, those seeking to rein in DRM.

      • U.S. Government Wins Dozens of Millions From Kim Dotcom

        The U.S. Government has won its civil forfeiture case against Megaupload and Kim Dotcom. As a result, the U.S. now owns Kim Dotcom’s bank accounts, cars, art and other property worth dozens of millions of dollars. Megaupload’s founder describes the ruling as unjust and says his team will file an appeal at a higher court.

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