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04.24.15

Who Kills Yahoo? It’s Microsoft, Not Yahoo!

Posted in Deception, Microsoft, Search at 11:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A quiz

Summary: The media should blame Microsoft, not Marissa Mayer, for what’s going on (and has been going on for 7 years) at Yahoo!

HAVING essentially killed Nokia and Novell by infiltrating them and taking control of them, Microsoft would like to have history rewritten. This is true also when it comes to Yahoo!, which Microsoft systematically killed from the inside and Yahoo! is now trying to push away to regain some independence.

Watch Marissa Mayer receiving heat for laying off a lot of Yahoo! staff. How about blaming those who induced this destruction in the first place? Microsoft has deliberately destroyed a lot of companies over the years, causing many people to become jobless and for their projects/work/code to be abandoned. To Microsoft, this is the strategy, which is why Microsoft layoffs are great news; they provide an opportunity for some other (law-abiding) companies to turn up and provide jobs to the unemployed engineers/programmers.

To repeat what Mayer has done, she made it possible for Yahoo! to altogether terminate the search ‘deal’ with Microsoft in 6 months. As one site put it: “The two companies have amended the terms of the Search and Advertising Sales agreement whereby the agreement could be terminated any time on or after October 1. The term of the deal was 10 years from its commencement date, February 23, 2010.”

Microsoft did to Yahoo! what it had done to Nokia, although the attack on Yahoo’s sovereignty in many ways and by several years predates the latter. The reason Mayer needs to lay off a lot of staff (no matter how she puts it or announces it, there’s no easy way!) is Microsoft’s abusive attacks on the company. As one article put it, “Yahoo! missed Wall Street’s revenue and profit forecasts as slight growth in its online advertising businesses was outweighed by higher payments to websites that send readers to the site. ”

Here is how Wall Street media put it: “Yahoo! Inc. Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer outlined plans to explore options for the company’s stake in its Japanese division, heartening investors dismayed by another report showing disappointing sales and profit.”

As with every ‘partnership’ in which Microsoft is involved, only one party benefits. It’s no wonder Yahoo! is going broke. The sooner it quits Microsoft and restores/bolsters its search teams, the faster it will manage to get out of this hole. Mayer inherited a total mess wherein Yahoo! is contractually committed to carry water (traffic) for Microsoft; it seems like she has been trying her best (since February) to escape this mess by all means necessary.

Appalling revisionism says that Yahoo! was failing before Microsoft attacked it and the same is being said about Nokia. This horrible case of misplaced blame is an insult to history.

EPO Management is Trying Hard to Appease Its Critics While Pushing Forth Unitary Patent Agenda

Posted in Europe, Patents at 11:08 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lives of ordinary Europeans silently compromised

Canal and house

Summary: The European Patent Office and European Commission promote the agenda of large multinational corporations (at the expense or European citizens) and critics are being kept at bay

Ahead of the May 5th Unitary Patent decision we have been hoping for stronger action and a push/effort that puts the underlying issues in European media. Sadly, however, it has been quiet on this front. Secrecy plays a role in this relative calm. If Europeans knew what was going on and what was really at stake, they would be up in arms, marching in the streets everywhere (hundreds of millions of them). Ignorance — induced by silence or passivity — works in favour of the rich looters. Most people are just too lazy or too apathetic to study these issues, which tie into several other issues that do in fact have Europeans marching in the streets (many protests reported last week and this week).

For the uninitiated, the Unitary Patent can lead to software patents (and with them patent trolls) in Europe. The Unitary Patent offers a lot to large corporations and just about nothing to ordinary European citizens. It’s corporations-led and plutocrats-steered globalisation — like that which we find in TPP and similar treaties that have nothing to do with ‘freedom’ or ‘trade’, just passage of wealth from the bottom to the top (trickle-up effect).

Over in the United States, software patents continue getting weaker, but it doesn’t prevent opportunists from making self-promotional noise. Here is press releases celebrating software patents earlier this month and another couple of brags about software patents. As we shall show another day, however, the real trend is the demise of software patents, especially once they reach the court. This is why the vocation of patent courts in Europe matters so much. It’s a hugely important decision, but the public is not contacting European officials.

In the US, even automobile companies (remember where the first software patent came from, granted to Martin Goetz) acquire patents on software. As this month’s report from “Fortune” Magazine put it, “the automaker has also been getting into the software space, according to patenting data, which shows that GM filed 592 software patents over the past five years, accounting for over 15% of their patenting activity.”

Well, Europe has a large automobile industry (engines manufacturing for example) and with it there’s the risk of patents on software creeping in. Some companies sure are working on it and amid USPTO misconduct (glorifying patents by manipulating the process; see this related new propaganda from patent lawyers’ media) we should keep alert. Those who are familiar with controversial ‘trade’ treaties in the EU ought to know by now the role of automobile giants in selling out European citizens.

The EPO, whose current management is dominated by large and greedy corporations, increasingly copies the USPTO for increased private profits, introduced by poor quality patents that include software patents.

Referring to the Unitary Patent, Dr. Glyn Moody now writes that it shows “Why is EU Pushing Itself into Irrelevance” (he frames this as a question).

“Although I haven’t written about the Unitary Patent for a while now,” Moody says, “it hasn’t gone away – alas. Instead, it is still grinding through the ratification process that is necessary before it comes into force. There are many questions about how it will work in practice, and whether it will offer any real benefits to European companies. So it’s strange that the European Commission recently came out with a total puff-piece on the subject, which tries to convince people that it’s all going to be great. As you will see if you click on that link, that puff-piece also seems to have disappeared, which is rather telling (if anyone finds it again, please let me know.)”

Moody refers to text which can still be found here. He concludes as follows: “Assuming the Unitary Patent ever comes into being – and a legal challenge from Spain at the Court of Justice of the European Union is just one reason why it might not – the new Unitary Patent and the Unified Patent Court that will rule on disputes are both essentially outside the control of the European Commission, existing in a bizarre political limbo that is one of the most problematic aspects of the whole idea, as I’ve noted before. Leaving aside the fact that many statements on the vanished page are/were simply wrong, the larger question has to be: why on earth is the European Commission pushing an idea that will not only marginalise its own role, but make it highly likely that European companies will be forced to start paying an exorbitant patent troll tax like their American colleagues? One, moreover, that will be particularly problematic for the open source world which has few resources to fight back.”

It sure looks like the European Commission, which has been defending the EPO (and by extension software patents in Europe), is working hard to make the Unitary Patent a reality. This is really bad. The only thing worse is that SUEPO has been almost silenced and EPO staff has not been so active in fighting back as of late. Based on this April 23rd press release: “At a round table meeting jointly initiated by the Chairman of the Administrative Council, Jesper Kongstad, and EPO President Benoît Battistelli, the SUEPO and FFPE entered into a process which could eventually lead to their formal recognition as trade unions at the Office for the first time in EPO history. The meeting’s aim was to re-launch social dialogue to overcome disputes that have arisen over the inner reform agenda of the EPO.”

This does deal with some rights of staff, but it still does not deal with corruption in the EPO, appointment of criminals, expansion of patent scope, etc. The EPO’s management not only crushes EPO staff (leading many to suicide); it is crushing top people from the Enlarged Board of Appeal and on April 21st we learned from the EPO’s site about bizarre amendments that include: “In proceedings under Article 112 EPC the Board may, on its own initiative or at the written, reasoned request of the President of the European Patent Office, invite him to comment in writing or orally on questions of general interest which arise in the course of proceedings pending before it. The parties shall be entitled to submit their observations on the President’s comments.”

Why is the EPO run like a tyrannical regime where the so-called ‘President’ (with capital P) can exercise total power and intervene even in the processes of peripheral and presumably independent bodies? The EPO is corrupt and to make matters worse, it now seems as though many who are supposed to act as regulating forces are now complicit in making it more powerful — empowered to help the super-rich at the expense of everyone else.

Real Patent Reform Will Not Come From Biggest Backers of GNU/Linux, Not Even Google

Posted in Google, Patents at 10:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

ChromeOS and Android (Linux) cannot coexist with software patents, or patents on mathematics

Mathematics

Summary: A look at the ‘new’ Google, the company which is hoarding patents (2,566 last year alone) instead of fighting for reform

ONE OF IBM’s biggest or most prominent proponents of software patents (and ironically one of the original promoters of GNU/Linux over there) may now be retired, but he (Irving Wladawsky-Berger) is still writing long essays, even for notoriously anti-Google and anti-Free software publications like the News Corp.-owned Wall Street Journal. As we have pointed out before, IBM continues to be one of the biggest lobbyists for software patents. It’s not apathetic towards them. So what about other big proponents of GNU/Linux, such as Google (with ChromeOS and Android)?

According to this recent article from “Fortune” Magazine (another magazine which targets wealth people, just like the Wall Street Journal), Google has really changed a lot in recent years. “Similarly,” it says, “Google (GOOG), a software company, is rapidly moving into manufacturing. Thirty-nine percent of its patents from 2007-2012 have been in hardware — computer hardware, yes, but also power and energy devices, as well as mechanical hardware—many originating from their ambitious autonomous car project.”

Google has hired lawyers and it increasingly turns into a big proponent of these lawyers’ business: patents. We contacted Google executives before they did this, but to no avail. The company which helps make many Android devices, Qualcomm, is itself turning into somewhat of a patent troll. Consider this Wall Street-oriented publication which titled its analysis “Qualcomm: The Enemy Of My Enemy May Not Be My FRAND”. It says that “Jana Partners, one of Qualcomm’s largest investors, has called for the company to spin-off its chip-making business from its patent-licensing business.” It also says that “Qualcomm’s patent-licensing business, which primarily licenses standard-essential patents, drives most of its profits.”

Here is where Google comes into play: “A pending decision from the Ninth Circuit in a case between Microsoft and Motorola is expected to clarify the scope of royalty rates a company can seek when licensing standard-essential.”

The Microsoft-funded Florian Müller recently wrote about what he called the “real Google”, having done a lot of Oracle lobbying (anti-Google) in his blog, especially in the month March. He published something titled “The Google that has joined Via Licensing’s LTE pool is the real Google–not the FRAND abuser”.

Well, here is the thing; there’s no doubt Google is no longer much of a resistor of patents. There were changes there several years back, regretful changes no doubt. According to another recent article from from “Fortune” Magazine, “Google even uses analytics to prioritize its patent portfolio”. It gives some numbers too: “Google’s intellectual property portfolio is relatively modest compared with the monster one managed by IBM—just 2,566 added last year compared with the 7,534 added by the older company.”

That’s a lot of patents: 2,566. Google made a lot of headlines (more than a hundred of the press alone, including [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32], about one single patent regarding spoiler prevention) and it is now facing a lawsuit, as we’ve just learned, targeting word recognition (included as standard in many Linux-based Google software such as operating systems). “Google Inc. and Motorola Mobility LLC,” says this report from Law 360, “opened fire Tuesday on two software patents covering word-recognition technology owned by Luxembourg-based Arendi S.A.R.L., telling a Patent Trial and Appeals Board panel that key claims in the patents are obvious in light of prior inventions.”

These are software patents. If Google wants things to shift in its favour, perhaps it’s time to put some effort into battling patents on software, not amassing software patents as it currently does. Since the US increasingly turns against software patents (owing to the Alice case and widely-cited SCOTUS ruling), this is not a futile battle.

Microsoft’s Troll Intellectual Ventures Loses Software Patents

Posted in Patents at 9:58 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Intellectual Ventures is bluffing with software patents, but this time around it doesn’t get its way

Übertroll Intellectual Ventures, a Microsoft-connected patent troll which occasionally attacks Linux and Android (even recently, as early as this month), took another patent parasite to court. That parasite is known to many as Trend Micro and it not only attacked Free software with patent lawsuits, but also with words, as we showed here before.

While we have sympathy for neither party because Intellectual Ventures acts as a Microsoft front and we called for a boycott of Trend Micro several years ago, there is a worthwhile story from Reuters that’s going around the world right now (UK, US/International, and India) and it says that “A U.S. judge has invalidated two patents owned by Intellectual Ventures just weeks before its lawsuit against Japanese security software provider Trend Micro Inc over the same patents was set to go to trial.”

“U.S. District Judge Leonard Stark in Delaware said on Wednesday the two patents were too abstract to deserve legal protection.

“The ruling likely means Intellectual Ventures’ infringement trial with Trend Micro will not proceed.”

This is significance from a legal perspective pertaining to patentability of software in the US.

There is more about this in legal (as in lawyers’) sites. This latter one says: “A Delaware federal judge on Wednesday held that two Intellectual Ventures LLC antivirus patents are invalid for claiming abstract ideas, likely slashing a $17 million infringement verdict against Symantec Corp. and shutting down an upcoming trial against Trend Micro Inc.”

Links 24/4/2015: Ubuntu and Variants in the News, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1

Posted in News Roundup at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • 10 Mini-PCs With Pre-Installed Linux

    As computers shrink in size, the line between mini-PCs and small desktop PCs is getting blurrier every year. As the name suggests, however, mini-PCs, are smaller than usual, usually less than five inches square and a few inches tall, making them easier to carry and hide away on a crowded desktop or behind a signage or kiosk display. They’re also usually fanless, which means they’re quiet and have one less moving part to break, and they tend to be cheaper, with more limited I/O. That usually translates into lower prices.

  • 10 Linux Mini PCs
  • Five Important Steps Linux Job Seekers Should Take

    Linux talent is in high demand, and the evidence is in the numbers. According to the 2015 Linux Jobs Report from the Linux Foundation, 92 percent of IT managers plan to hire Linux pros within the next six months. The 2015 Linux Jobs Report includes data from hiring managers (1,010) and Linux professionals (3,446) and provides an overview of the state of the market for Linux careers and what motivates professionals in this industry. With the rise of open cloud platforms positively affecting this ever-growing market, a new generation of open-source projects like Docker and OpenStack ensure the longevity of developers who can hone the most cutting-edge skills. Yet in the same report, 88 percent of companies stated it is somewhat difficult to find qualified candidates. Organizations are willing to pay big bucks for those with the right qualifications. To glean more perspective from a company that is constantly looking to hire the best open-source talent, eWEEK spoke with Marie Louise van Deutekom, global HR director at SUSE, to uncover tips for Linux job seekers and showcase which skills will help them stand out.

  • Desktop

    • M$’s Client Division Sinks Slowly Into The West

      As expected, M$’s client division is doing poorly.

      The drop was huge, though, meaning they’ve been diversifying sufficiently rapidly just to keep some growth on the bottom line. One wonders how bad it would have been if not for support from Android/Linux…

      See? There’s a reason this is The Year Of GNU/Linux on the Desktop. That other OS has dropped out.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Calligra @ conf.kde.in
      • Kubuntu 15.04: the first major distro to ship Plasma 5

        Kubuntu is one of the best Plasma distros, along with openSUSE. Jonathan Riddell, the lead developer of the project, just announced the release of Kubuntu 15.04.

        Kubuntu 15.04 is undoubtedly one of the most impressive and important releases due to many reasons. First of all it is the first major distro to ship Plasma 5 as the default desktop environment.

      • Identities, I usually don’t stop being myself

        One of the most interesting developments I’ve seen recently inside KDE is KAccounts (or Web Accounts, as it used to be called). It’s not even a KDE project, but a project Nokia started some years ago, I’m guessing that on MeeGo days.

      • Qt Creator 3.4.0 released

        We are happy to announce the release of Qt Creator 3.4.0 today. I’m highlighting some of the many new features below. Please take a look at our change log for a more complete list of features and fixes.

        The C++ support in Qt Creator now has a new refactoring action that moves all function definitions out of a class declaration. We also added auto-completion for signals and slots in Qt 5 style connects. Just type the “&” and let auto-completion figure out the type of the object. Also new is a locator filter, All Included C/C++ Files, which finds all files that are used in your project by including them, even if they are not explicitly mentioned in your project. The filter is part of the default that is used when you just type in the Locator input field, and shares the shortcut string with Files in Any Project.

    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GNOME 3.17.1 unstable tarballs due

        Tarballs are due on 2015-04-27 before 23:59 UTC for the GNOME 3.17.1 unstable release, which will be delivered on Wednesday. Modules which were proposed for inclusion should try to follow the unstable schedule so everyone can test them. Please make sure that your tarballs will be uploaded before Monday 23:59 UTC: tarballs uploaded later than that will probably be too late to get in 3.17.1. If you are not able to make a tarball before this deadline or if you think you’ll be late, please send a mail to the release team and we’ll find someone to roll the tarball for you!

  • Distributions

    • Build Your Own Linux Distro

      There are hundreds of actively maintained Linux distributions. They come in all shapes, sizes and configurations. Yet there’s none like the one you’re currently running on your computer. That’s because you’ve probably customised it to the hilt – you’ve spent numerous hours adding and removing apps and tweaking aspects of the distro to suit your workflow.

      Wouldn’t it be great if you could convert your perfectly set up system into a live distro? You could carry it with you on a flash drive or even install it on other computers you use.

      Besides satisfying your personal itch, there are several other uses for a custom distro. You can spin one with apps that you use in school and pass it around to everyone in class, stuffed with class notes and other study aids. You can do something similar within a professional organisation as well that uses a defined set of apps.

      There are various tools for creating a custom distro. We’ll start with the ones that are simple to use but offer limited customisation options and move on to more complex ones that enable you to customise every aspect of your distro.

    • New Releases

    • Screenshots/Screencasts

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 is Available Now

        Red Hat has announced its Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1, the company’s selection of some of the latest open source C and C++ compilers and complementary development tools. Available through the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Developer Program and related subscriptions, Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 is targeted at application development for Red Hat Enterprise Linux, but is also potentially useful for all kinds of developers and administrators depending on Red Hat’s cloud tools.

      • ​Red Hat gives developers more programming goodies

        Corporate IT operators love Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) for its stability and support options. Developers, however, want the latest programming tools. To help settle this eternal DevOps battle, Red Hat provides the Red Hat Developer Toolset and the Red Hat Software Collections so that programmers can have up-to-date tools on the operators’ rock-steady RHEL 6 or 7 servers.

      • Red Hat Developer Toolset 3.1 Now Available
      • Red Hat broadens programming language support

        Potentially making work easier for system administrators, Red Hat has updated its development packages to support running multiple versions of the same programming language on its flagship enterprise operating system, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL).

        Red Hat has released updates to two of its packages of third-party open source software for running programs on RHEL, Red Hat Developer Toolset and Red Hat Software Collections. Red Hat Developer Toolset is a package of compliers and related tools for the C and C++ programming languages. Red Hat Software Collections assembles a set of tools, languages and databases for building Web applications.

      • Fedora

        • Redesign of spins.fedoraproject.org; Help make your spin rock!

          We made a decision to split the desktop spins away from the functional spins. Functional spins will be housed at a new site catered specifically for them: labs.fedoraproject.org. ARM builds will also have their own one-page site with references to important documentation and the Fedora ARM community as well.

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Conference explores Linux for high performance embedded systems

      Presented by an industry expert Richard Copeman of Lauterbach, the workshop will explore how to approach a Linux project from the perspective of the development environment and debug tools

    • Undo Software exhibits Linux and Android reversible debugging tools at conference

      Undo Software – which this week announced a successful new funding round – will be available to discuss and explain its Linux and Android reversible debugging tools at the UK Device Developers’ Conference next month.

    • The Intel Compute Stick is the right idea, but not the right execution

      And a $99 Ubuntu Linux version of the Compute Stick will arrive in June, albeit with slightly lower specs: 1GB RAM, 8GB storage.

    • Intel’s Compute Stick: A full PC that’s tiny in size (and performance)

      Our appreciation of mini desktop PCs is well-documented at this point. In the age of the smartphone and the two-pound laptop, the desktop PC is perhaps the least exciting of computing devices, but there are still plenty of hulking desktop towers out there, and many of them can be replaced by something you can hold in the palm of your hand.

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android Wear Updates: Wi-Fi, Always-On Apps and Usability

          This week Google announced the latest update to their smart watch focused operating system, Android Wear. Google did not specify the exact version number, but the previous version was 1.0.5 and each release has bumped the last digit, so best guess is this is version 1.0.6. This update adds three main features: Wi-Fi support, Always-On application support, and several welcome usability upgrades.

        • 4 iOS/Android fighting games that are times better than Mortal Kombat X

          Mortal Kombat X, the latest installment in the classic game series, is now available on both iOS and Android. Don’t pop the champagne yet – it’s nothing like the classic Mortal Kombat games we’ve once played and had fun with. This card-based “fighting” game indeed comes with fancy graphics, but the gameplay is as disappointingly out of sync with the roots of the legendary game series.

        • Mortal Kombat X lands on Android: in-app purchases, gore, swiping and tapping galore!

          A few weeks ago, the latest title in the legendary Mortal Kombat game series – Mortal Kombat X – executed a fatality and landed on iOS. Fortunately for Android fans, the game has just “somersaulted” and soft-released on Android in select regions.

        • Facebook says ‘Hello’ with new dialer app for Android phones
        • This Is Facebook’s Latest Move to Take Over Your Phone
        • Facebook Hello tells you who’s calling before you pick up
        • How to get emoji symbols on your Android phone
        • 13 Nexus Android 5.1.1 Release Date Tips

          With a Nexus Android 5.1.1 Lollipop release now confirmed for Nexus smartphones and tablets, we want to offer up some helpful tips to Nexus users poised to get the Android 5.1.1 Lollipop update from Google. These tips should help make release day go a lot smoother for owners of the Nexus 5, Nexus 9, Nexus 7, Nexus Player and more.

        • LG G Watch, G Watch R and Asus ZenWatch miss big Android Wear update
        • Get the Best Apple Watch Features on Android Wear

          The long wait for the Apple Watch is almost over, but wait one second—you don’t necessarily have to rush out and spend $349 (or more) to get some of its most useful features on your wrist. You can add these tweaks and third-party apps to Android Wear to get a more Apple Watch-like experience from your wearable.

        • Confirmed: An Android 5.0 and Windows 10 dual-boot capable smartphone with 2K display to launch in June

          Chinese smartphone manufacturer Elephone is working on a feature-rich flagship smartphone which will ship in two variants — one running on Android 5.0 Lollipop, and the other one offering dual-boot capability with Windows 10 for phones, the company confirms to BetaNews. The Android counterpart will launch next month while the dual-boot capable phone will launch in June.

        • Samsung Galaxy S5 Said to Have Security Flaw That Leaks Your Fingerprint to Hackers

          The Samsung Galaxy S5 was the first device from the company’s S lineup to boast a fingerprint scanner, and people were pretty excited about it. But as it turns out, the fingerprint scanner inside Samsung’s previous flagship houses a very dangerous flaw.

        • Use Flynx to load websites in the background on Android

          Reading through your social streams probably results in a bit of link-clickage here and there. If you’re on a computer, leaving those links open in other tabs is no big deal. However, if you’re on an Android device, it starts to feel less convenient to open and read links from apps like Twitter or Facebook. Sure, you can use the in-app browser for most social apps these days, but they don’t have the same convenient features you’ll find with Flynx.

        • Android Candy: Intercoms

          Ever since my “tiny $20 tablet” project (see my Open-Source Classroom column in the March 2015 issue), I’ve been looking for more and more cool things to do with cheap Android devices. Although the few obvious ones like XBMC or Plex remotes work well, I’ve recently found that having Android devices around the house means I can gain back an old-school ability that went out of style in the late 1980s—namely, an intercom system.

        • Galaxy Zoo Android app: New Surveys

          The web-based Galaxy Zoo has switched to showing subjects from two new surveys, with new sets of questions for these surveys. So I’ve updated (see in github) the Android app too and the new version is now available in the play store. These new images are less clear, and the questions are a little harder to answer. Apparently some clearer images are on the way.

        • Twitter Launches Highlights For Android To Summarize The Day’s Tweets

          If keeping up with all those tweets is starting to feel a little overwhelming, Twitter just announced a new feature that could help — at least if you own an Android phone.

          Earlier this year, it launched “While You Were Away,” which can put older, popular tweets at the top of your feed. The theme here is helping users find relevant content even if it’s not the most recent thing posted — something that could help the service seem less intimidating to casual users.

        • How to enable Twitter’s new Highlights feature on Android

          Make sure you never miss an important tweet or conversation, by enabling Highlights.

        • Samsung begins updating Galaxy A3 with Android Lollipop

          Samsung is now seeding yet another Android Lollipop firmware update – this time around the Galaxy A3 is the lucky smartphone. Samsung previously announced the entire Galaxy A series will be treated to Lollipop, so we expect the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 to follow suit soon.

        • This free Android app is packed with more than 3,000 Material Design wallpapers

          Some people are perfectly happy to use one of the few stock wallpapers that came preinstalled on their smartphones. But you’re not “some people.” You’re a savvy Android user and you’ve gone to great lengths to personalize your device with the right apps, widgets and even launchers, in order to ensure that your device is set up exactly how you want it.

        • All Android Wear watches have Wi-Fi chips, but some won’t get Wi-Fi support

          Android Wear is getting a big update that enables a top-level app list, always-on apps, a hands-free scrolling gesture, and it’s also enabling Wi-Fi support. Wi-Fi is coming not just in the software; a lot of existing devices will have their Wi-Fi functionality enabled—but not all of them.

        • Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 gets updated to Android Lollipop 5.0.2

          When it comes to updating to new versions of Android, Samsung generally isn’t the quickest OEM on the block. Thankfully, this situation has changed some with Lollipop, at least as far as many of their flagship handsets are concerned. Unfortunately, tablets have been a completely different matter, with Samsung being much slower to push out Lollipop, and has only recently started introducing 5.1 to its tablet range. With that in mind, the Samsung Galaxy Tab S 8.4 (Wi-Fi) is the latest tablet to get Google’s sweet treat, moving from KitKat over to Android 5.0.2.

        • Samsung Galaxy Note 2, A3, A5, A7 Confirmed For Android 5.0 Lollipop Update
        • 7 Things to Expect from the Nexus 7 Android 5.1.1 Release

          Earlier this month, an Android 5.1.1 update mysteriously appeared alongside an update to Google’s Android SDK. Earlier this week, Google finally confirmed the Nexus Android 5.1.1 release with an update for the Nexus Player. With an Android 5.1.1 update now on the minds of Nexus users, particularly Nexus 7 users dealing with Android 5.0 Lollipop problems, we want to take a look at what we expect from the Nexus 7 Android 5.1 release going forward.

        • Acer’s building an Android gaming tablet to go with its Predator PCs

          It’s safe to say that Acer’s gone a little batty this morning – the company crammed announcement after announcement into a press conference overlooking the New York City skyline, but some of the most interesting stuff didn’t get much detail. Case in point: The company’s working on an Android-powered Predator tablet to go along with its series of angular, red and black gaming PCs and it’s going to launch by the end of 2015.

        • NVIDIA’s SHIELD Console Becomes SHIELD Android TV

          NVIDIA updated their SHIELD website today with a bit more information on the SHIELD Console. And while an earlier $299 device listing ended up being erroneous – NVIDIA accidentally listed the developer edition console for a time – there is one other minor update that is true and bears mentioning.

          With today’s site update, NVIDIA has updated the name of the SHIELD Console. All of their branding now refers to the device as the SHIELD Android TV, doing away with the “Console” branding. The original SHIELD Console name has been somewhat inconsistent on NVIDIA’s part – the company would call it the Console at times, and other times simply the NVIDIA SHIELD – so this slight rebranding is presumably NVIDIA settling on what should be the device’s final name for next month’s launch.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • Sci-fi meets open source at annual Penguicon nerdfest

      This weekend over 1,400 nerds will convene at the Southfield Westin Hotel for the 12th annual Penguicon, a technical conference and social convention that marries sci-fi fandom with collaborative, nonprofit software development.

  • Web Browsers

    • Top 4 Browsers For Linux With Good And Bad

      Selecting a good browser for you Linux machine depends on your needs but nowadays most of us require to use browsers for surfing Internet without some special work like development or so on. Most of us use browsers to do social networking, watching lectures for hours and playing games in browser. So here I’m reviewing Top 4 Browsers for Linux with mentioning some good and bad that I’ve faced.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • What’s Next for Apache’s Open Source Office Suite, OpenOffice?

      Still, as one of the longest-standing open source productivity apps, and one that played a major role in making desktop Linux viable, OpenOffice is a venerable project. Indeed, its history stretches all the way back to 1985 (when I was still merely an idea!), and it has been open source since 2000. If it folds, it will be one of the first big-name open source apps to do so—even if few people notice as they continue happily chugging along on LibreOffice.

    • OpenOffice development is looking grim as developers flock to LibreOffice
    • Is OpenOffice on its way out?

      A recent report prepared on the state of Apache OpenOffice shows that the organization is having a difficult time. While mailing list activity remains robust, there are few mentor for would-be developers and there’s currently no release manager. We won’t quote directly from the document, as its currently listed as a work-in-progress, but interested readers can find it here.

  • Business

  • BSD

    • No Linux, no Docker, no cloud OS? Think again

      Operating systems like CoreOS and Joyent’s SmartOS/Triton have worked to redefine, in radically different ways, what an OS needs to be to run applications at scale in the cloud.

      Now another OS is set to join the ranks of those trying to do the cloud-OS thing in a maverick way: OSv, an open source, hypervisor-optimized OS “designed to run an application stack without getting in the way.”

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • 6th Dev Mumble – April 27th, 9pm CEST @ gnunet.org

      On the 27th we get to officially announce the results from the GSoC application process to the students, so we should probably use this opportunity to also have a first discussion with those that have been selected. So, let’s have the 6th develper Mumble on Monday, April 27th, 9pm CEST, as usual using the Mumble server on gnunet.org.

  • Public Services/Government

    • Spanish regions grappling with eInvoicing

      The open source tool is provided for three computer operating systems, two proprietary ones and Linux. According to Seres marketing manager Alberto Redondo Correas, the software is hindered by its dependency on Java, and has to deal with different versions and inconsistent updates per platform. “A web service would perhaps be better”, he says.

    • European Union Should Finance Key Open Source Projects, Says “Mass Surveillance” Study

      According to a new study that was discussed today, April 23, in a committee meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels, a group of IT security experts think that the European Union should finance key open source projects that strengthen privacy and security, and configure certification schemes for fundamental open source tools.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Building Lenses: An open-source tool for mobile data viz

      The growth of mobile traffic to news sites raises the challenge of packing large amounts of information onto a small screen, a challenge even more present in stories with data visualisations.

    • Announcing CIR’s open-source Impact Tracker

      We’re excited to announce the upcoming launch of the CIR Impact Tracker, an open-source software platform for media organizations and content producers to keep track of outcomes and impact. We’ll be looking to have this new product live in early fall. Here’s a bit more about it and how it can help your newsroom.

    • Governance

      • New Bulgarian agency to focus on eGovernment

        The Bulgarian government wants to increase its eGovernment efforts. It is starting a new agency in the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, by splitting the current Information Technology and eGovernment department in two. The eGovernment agency “will focus on one of the main priorities of the government”, it announced on Wednesday.

      • All communes of Brussels use FixMyStreet app
    • Open Hardware

      • How to get involved with the Open Source Hardware Association

        Back in October of 2014, I was lucky enough to be elected to the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) board. Because the association received its nonprofit status, the board is finally able to begin increasing its reach in the community. Many new initiatives are being discussed, and we’ve been collecting a lot of community input on what is needed in the open source hardware world. One of the main objectives the board has in mind for the next year is to continue building up the community interaction and awareness of the association.

      • Conceptualization and validation of an open-source closed-loop deep brain stimulation system in rat

        We used an Arduino open-source microcontroller between input and output sources. This allowed us to use hippocampal local field potentials (LFPs) to steer electrical stimulation in the mRt. Our results showed that closed-loop DBS significantly suppressed locomotion compared to no stimulation, and required on average only 56% of the stimulation used in open-loop DBS to reach similar effects. The main advantages of open-source hardware include wide selection and availability, high customizability, and affordability. Our open-source closed-loop DBS system is effective, and warrants further research using open-source hardware for closed-loop neuromodulation.

Leftovers

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • WikiLeaks shows Sony concerned by IDF’s use of its cameras in Gaza bombings

      Sony Pictures Entertainment executives were concerned about a news report that showed one of its cameras being used to guide Israeli rockets bombing Gaza, company correspondance.

      Correspondence about the situation from last August was part of the release by WikiLeaks last week of more than 173,000 emails and more than 30,000 company documents. The story was first reported by the Electronic Intifada.

      The correspondence among Michael Lynton, the company’s CEO; Stevan Bernard, its head of corporate security; and David Diamond, executive assistant to the company chairman, included a link to an Iranian Press TV report in which the reporter held up a part of a bomb fired by Israel on Gaza during last summer’s conflict and said it contained a camera marked Sony.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

    • Lancet medical journal under attack for ‘extremist hate propaganda’ over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

      One of the world’s oldest and most venerable medical journals is under attack from an international group of more than 500 doctors over its coverage of the humanitarian disaster caused by the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      The Lancet and its editor, Richard Horton, have been targeted over what the group claims is the “grossly irresponsible misuse of [the journal] for political purposes”. The controversy was sparked by an article deemed to be critical of Israel’s conduct in Gaza.

      The protesting doctors, including five Nobel laureates as well as Lord Winston, the broadcaster and IVF pioneer, style themselves “concerned academics”, and accuse the journal of publishing “stereotypical extremist hate propaganda”. They also accuse the journal’s owner, the publishing firm Reed Elsevier, of “profiting from the publication of dishonest and malicious material that incites hatred and violence”.

  • Civil Rights

    • Aaron’s Law Reintroduced To Try To Reform Dangerous, Broken Anti-Hacking Law

      We’ve written in the past how Rep. Zoe Lofgren and Senator Ron Wyden had introduced “Aaron’s Law” (named after Aaron Swartz) as a way to fix the very broken CFAA law, which was used to throw the book at Swartz for downloading too many JSTOR journal articles on MIT’s campus (where anyone on the network is allowed to download whatever they want from JSTOR). Swartz later committed suicide, which many blame on the aggressive prosecution against him (I hesitate to join those who do so, as you never know all the factors that went into the decision). Still, the CFAA has long needed a massive overhaul, as the law is frequently abused by law enforcement to threaten massive penalties for rather routine activities on a computer network.

    • New Jersey Cop Demands Camera From Eyewitness After Police Dog Allowed To Maul Prone Suspect

      If you’ve done nothing wrong, you’ve got nothing to hide, right? That’s what the government tells us when it wants to erect cameras and fund domestic surveillance efforts. So, what do you tell a police officer who demands a citizen hand over their phone? Even if the officer has done something wrong, he still can at least attempt to hide it. And even if the effort fails, he still likely has nothing to fear. That’s the imbalance of power at work and it leads directly to this sort of thing.

    • WATCH: New Jersey officer takes video from witness after filming arrest of man who later died in police custody

      New Jersey police may have gone too far when they took the cell phone from an onlooker who recorded their encounter with a suspect who was mauled by a police dog and later died.

      The man, Phillip White, had dog bites all over his body last week, his lawyer said, and a jarring video shows cops struggling to pull the dog away.

    • Cops are the terrorists in our neighborhood: On Freddie Gray, another victim of police brutality

      “Freddie Black” is what GD and some of his other friends called him. His real name was Freddie Gray. Gray, 25, was minding his business near Gilmore homes when the cops tried to stop him for no apparent reason.

      He ran, like a lot of black men do when we see cops, because for our generation, police officers have been the most consistent terrorists in our neighborhoods. Plus we are currently in a culture where a cop can shoot you if you put hands up, or if you follow their directions, or if you lie down, or if you are asleep. I swear they see black skin and think bull’s-eye.

      A pack of BCPD officers pursued Gray in traditional bully fashion, caught him, found a legal pocketknife and arrested him for no reason. Who knew that running with a pocketknife is against the law in Baltimore? Once they got Gray into the van, he seems to have been taken on what we call a Nickel Ride, which is basically when cops throw you in a vehicle, drive crazy and beat you until you reach the police station.

      The cops who arrested Gray apparently took it to another level, severing his spinal chord and smashing his voice box. Police officers are responsible for following the rules provided by the Red Cross or National Institute of Health: Do not bend, twist or lift the person’s head or body, do not attempt to move the person before medical help arrives unless it is absolutely necessary and do not remove any clothing if a spinal injury is suspected. Instead these officers beat and dragged his lifeless limbs across the pavement that probably caused further damage to his spinal column.

    • Corporate Sovereignty Trumps National Laws; Here’s How The US Thinks It Can Get Around That

      For a while now, Techdirt has been writing about the extraordinary corporate sovereignty chapters in trade agreements that grant foreign companies far-reaching powers to sue a government simply for issuing regulations that impact their investments. Recently, there has been a textbook example of how the investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals that adjudicate corporate sovereignty cases are literally a law unto themselves.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Cable’s Top Lobbyist Just Can’t Understand Why People Like Google Better

      Trying to justify the cable industry’s latest lawsuit over net neutrality, former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Michael Powell has offered up an incredibly entertaining interview in which he struggles to understand why Google tends to see higher customer satisfaction ratings than the cable industry, and tries to brush away anti-competitive concerns as the ramblings of the uninformed masses who just don’t understand what a sweetheart the cable industry truly is.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Trademarks

      • When three is company: trilogue happy with proposed EU trade mark reforms

        The European family of trade mark owners, practitioners, consumers, judges and administrators has been waiting patiently to find out what might be the fate of the European Commission’s proposals for trade mark reform. Today we have found out: both the EU Council and the European Parliament are, at least in theory, supportive. This Kat reproduces today’s media release below, with a few comments inserted in bold red print. This is how it reads:

      • Dogged pursuit of a trade mark parody: PUMA v PUDEL in the Bundesgerichtshof

        The claimant was the leading sports article manufacturer Puma, who owns the well-known German word-device trade mark for the word element “PUMA” combined with the outline of a jumping puma. The sign is used on sports wear. The defendant was the owner of the younger German word device trade mark registration for the word element “PUDEL” (English: poodle) and the outline of a jumping poodle, which had been registered since early 2006 for clothing and t-shirts, among other goods.

    • Copyrights

      • Dice Loaded Against Public in Canada’s Copyright Term Extension

        The announcement of the Canadian Government’s plan to extend copyright terms for sound recordings came as a surprise when it was released in Canada’s federal budget yesterday. The smooth stage management of the announcement has to be admired, accompanied as it was by pre-prepared soundbites from Canada’s music A-list extolling the benefits of this handout. In fact, with all the drama and glamor of the announcement, all that was missing was any prior public consultation or debate that could give the government an actual mandate to make this sweeping change to Canadian law.

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