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07.28.15

MPEG-LA is Preparing New Patent Obstruction (Called DASH) Against Free Software, OIN Grows

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

Summary: A new conspiracy against free multimedia software, set up by the MPEG cartel, is called DASH

THERE ARE many reasons to be concerned about the Apple- and Microsoft-backed patent troll known as MPEG-LA. In the fight against peace and justice, there are various strategies which maximise collateral damage (usually harming the majority of people for the benefit or profit of war-loving monopolies). Some are rooting for DAESH, but MPEG-LA is now rooting for something called “DASH”, only a week after the HEVC Advance press release and news coverage (very similar to MPEG-LA).

Here is the press release, a puff piece titled “MPEG LA issues call for DASH technology patents”, and another early article that says: “Just when Media Source Extensions and Encrypted Media Extensions are making HTML5-based video playback a reality, DASH royalties threaten to derail it.” (the headline says “An Unhappy Surprise: MPEG LA Is Forming a Patent Pool for DASH”)

We are definitely going to hear more about it in days, weeks, months and perhaps years to come. It’s an assault on everyone; it’s a cartel that strives to tax everyone. This is also an assault on Google with WebM, not just Free software codecs such as the Ogg family. Google has had no effective response to it so far (trying to appease MPEG-LA by paying or cooperating, just like Mozilla, makes the problem worse), other than improving prior art search and relying on publicity stunts, claiming to be giving some patents away to fight trolls (MPEG-LA is technically a troll, one that is backed and funded by Apple and Microsoft, among other giants).

We have finally found one good article about Google’s publicity stunt. It is a new article by Jeff John Roberts, published yesterday to say: “The other big reason the Google giveaway won’t mean much for startups is that those patents – or any other patents – won’t stop the trolls. That’s because patent trolls, unlike productive companies, are just shells without real assets or business operations, meaning they’re not vulnerable to counterclaims in a patent case. As it stands, for now, the trolls will continue to plague startups and big companies alike unless Congress musters the will to pass proposed laws to undercut their business model.”

A publicity stunt is all that is, just like IBM et al. with OIN, which cannot combat patent trolls at all. Today we learn that DataCentred joins OIN. The media calls it “open source alliance” even though it is little or nothing to do with Open Source, except perhaps the covered software. The British media says that DataCentred “joins the Open Invention Network to protect Linux users against software patent aggression.

“DataCentred has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN) to leverage the use of open source and protect users of the Linux OS against software patent aggression.”

What has OIN ever done to protect GNU/Linux? There are hardly even any examples of deterrence. OIN may be good for IBM, but what about Free software developers who have no patents and can hardly join the OIN at any meaningful level of capacity?

Big companies like IBM — much like patent trolls — are not vulnerable to patent counterclaims, let alone claims. If you are a small software company, IBM will find something on you and be able to drive you out of business using legal fees. The same goes for Microsoft.

The very idea that patents can help protect the ‘little guy’ (or girl) is ludicrous. Vast software patent troves make everything potentially (and likely) infringing, so everyone is rendered vulnerable. The frantic rush to stop patent trolls rather some particular kinds of patents is due to them being a ‘hack’. When fighting against patent trolls, software giants like IBM or Microsoft cannot make counterclaims. Large patent aggressors (like trolls, but with known brand) such as Apple, IBM, HP and Microsoft hate trolls because they’re essentially a loophole. But they are happy to create or feed their own (loyal) trolls such as MOSAID, CPTN, Intellectual Ventures, and even MPEG-LA. Lobbyists in the US push hard for ‘reform’ only when it comes to patent trolls simply because that’s what mega-corporations want. There is a besieged government, which in turn becomes a government of occupation (against the people), where patents are just a corporate tool.

New Zealand’s Media Gets History Wrong on Software Patents

Posted in Australia, Patents at 11:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Setting the record straight on the fight against software patents in New Zealand

HALF a decade ago we wrote a great deal about the patents debate in New Zealand because there was serious risk of software patents invading another country. Being a Five Eyes country, if it happens in New Zealand, then it can be further expanded to Australia, the United Kingdom, and Canada, just like many oppressive laws, especially in recent years (because “terrorism!” or “ISIS!” or something like that). Colonial/imperialist legacy has plenty to teach us about manufacturing and exploitation of public panic to sway public opinion and thereafter change laws.

A new article from the press in New Zealand points out the relationship between lobbying for software patents and so-called ‘trade’ deals (protectionism for multinationals). Paul Brislen is quoted sparingly and it says the following: “The negotiations had been conducted in secret and the New Zealand IT industry was concerned.”

Yes, same thing happened when it came to software patents. Large corporations such as Microsoft and IBM lobbied in secret.

Another quote: “One of the biggest issues for New Zealand was the country’s patent law and the issues for copyright.”

Copyright is an interesting one. As we now know, based on the Kim Dotcom case in New Zealand, the US Department of Justice and the FBI now apparently reign over New Zealand.

Another quote: “Parliament passed a new law about two years ago because the previous patent legislation did not cover software and IP, Mr Brislen said.”

Plutocrats and their corporations never rest until they get what they want. It can be a constant battle for power.

Another quote: “The legislation was held up for a long time while the Government debated how to respond to lobbying to introduce a law which would devalue patents.”

Patents needn’t be “devalued”, many need to be abolished, especially software patents.

Last quote: “The industry lobbied the Government to say software should not be subject to a patent.”

Well, that’s what companies from New Zealand said, but not foreign companies like Microsoft and IBM, which also used their lawyers in New Zealand to pressure the government,

Don’t let the media (especially in New Zealand) rewrite history. Software developers from New Zealand did a fine job mostly (not entirely because a loophole was left in tact, just like in Europe) defending themselves from patent aggressors and software monopolists from abroad. The article has flaws in it, but at least it recalls a big and important battle over software patents — one that Europe and the US hardly even have anymore. All that the press talks about right now is “trolls”.

Not Only Vista 10 Crashes a Lot, Any .NET Application Does Too

Posted in GPL, Microsoft at 10:45 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

‘We had some painful experiences with C and C++, and when Microsoft came out with .NET, we said, “Yes! That is what we want.”‘

Miguel de Icaza

Summary: Microsoft software is quickly becoming synonymous with crashes as any piece of software developed with Microsoft’s tools, not just the underlying platform, crashes chronically

LESS than an hour ago we noted that the corporate media had finally realised that Vista 10 crashes a lot (we knew about it for quite a while because people from Microsoft told us).

Now that very severe .NET bugs are coming to the surface (as only some of the source code is being revealed) a friend of Microsoft reveals that not only .NET is unstable; any application developed with the “just-released .NET 4.6 runtime” is basically breaking, so badly in fact that there are chronic crashes. To quote Microsoft’s friend, Tim Anderson:

A critical bug in the optimizer in the just-released .NET 4.6 runtime could break and crash production applications, we’re warned.

“The methods you call can get different parameter values than you passed in,” says Nick Craver – software developer and system administrator for Stack Exchange, home of the popular programming support site Stack Overflow – in a post today.

This is what we have come to expect. It’s just Microsoft ‘quality’. With bugs like these, many applications could be compiled to include involuntary back doors. Microsoft now hopes to inject code into BSD/GNU compilers. These projects, in turn, should be principled and strict enough reject Microsoft’s shoddy code. When it comes to compilers, there is an increased security risk too, as our recent articles about Visual Studio explained [1, 2, 3, 4, 5], especially this article. You cannot build secure and robust software on a flaky and insecure (often by design) foundation.

“Our products just aren’t engineered for security.”

Brian Valentine, Microsoft executive

The Government of Bulgaria Sells Out to Microsoft, Again

Posted in Microsoft at 10:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Coat of arms of Bulgaria

Summary: Despite some promises and reassurances that Bulgaria will consider Free/libre software, the Bulgarian government hands out a lot more of taxpayers’ money to the Mafia

ABOUT six years ago in Bulgaria promises were made regarding Free software. Knowing Microsoft’s political influence in Europe, we didn’t have nor did we keep) high hopes. We already know that Microsoft is blackmailing British politicians. We found out about it earlier this year. Well, maybe Microsoft bribed them too. Microsoft is like the Mafia and the criminal activities continue to this date; nobody in Microsoft is being sent to jail over it because Microsoft is based on the US, where Microsoft has firm control over the government (just like in the Indian government and Asia in general, but not quite to the same degree, including all the entryism, courtesy of Microsoft lobbyists and ‘former’ employees).

Anyway, earlier this month we learned that Bulgaria, where officials are generally not so hard (or expensive) to corrupt, signed another deal with Microsoft. Here are some details:

Bulgarian government will pay EUR 30,000,000.00 yes 30 Millons of EURO to Microsoft for licensee fees for using Windows OS and Office packages for the Bulgarian administration in the next three years.

They pay this amount every three years i.e. about EUR 10M per year are spent on something which have completely free and open source alternative which every one could use free of charge.

Seems not very logical?

Not quite, you forget that this is the Bulgarian government. The government administration officers here have one and only target when they get in power – to cash their efforts.

What they could cash if there is no money to spend on free Linux OS?

[...]

What if these 100 Millions were invested in the Bulgarian education instead to fill the pockets of corrupted administration and Microsoft? We never know as this would never happen here.

As the blogger points out, this is a big deal as this is the equivalent of allowing the “UK government to spend 1830 millions of EURO for MS licensees”. Yes, that’s nearly two billion euros! Microsoft has just robbed Bulgaria and few care to notice and fight back. Maybe we need some whistleblowers here…

“You’re going out with a girl, what you really want to do is have a deep, close and intimate relationship, at least for one night. And, you know, you just can’t let her feel like that, because if you do, it ain’t going to happen, right. So you have to talk long term and white picket fence and all these other wonderful things, or else you’re never going to get what you’re really looking for.”

James Plamondon, Lead Microsoft Evangelist

Corporate Media Finally Finds Out That Vista 10 Crashes a Lot

Posted in Microsoft, Vista 10, Windows at 10:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“LH [Longhorn/Vista] is a pig and I don’t see any solution to this problem. If we are to rise to the challenge of Linux…”

Jim Allchin, Windows manager, not long before Vista’s release

Summary: Stability issues of Vista 10 are belatedly reported to be a major catastrophe, leaving it unusable for many early adopters

The other day we noticed some ‘damage control’ (advice) from a Microsoft advocacy site regarding many crashes in Vista 10. People from Microsoft had told me about this quite a while back. Pogson calls Vista 10 “Another heavily advertised consumer-product is looking more like Vista every day. Forced updates of an incredibly complex piece of software from Day One is a recipe for disaster.”

Right now (earlier today) even the British media wrote about it. Microsoft insiders told me that too, as they know it’s a huge issue, not just based on personal experiences. Why did the press not mention this until a day or two before the release? Does the press not confidentially speak to Microsoft developers? If so, what does this tell us about the press? Mostly PR these days…

Microsoft is in serious trouble because Vista 10 is a dud with back doors and front doors. Even Microsoft’s hardware business, be it phones or consoles like XBox, is becoming more of a failure (Sony is winning the consoles war). According to this other new reports, the forced automatic updates (can install new back doors at any time, without giving the option to opt out) will discourage gamers from exploring Vista 10. Valve, which is headed by a Mirosoft veteran, already abandoned Windows in favour of Debian GNU/Linux, simply because Vista 8 was so terrible.

Vista 10 is a faulty piece of software and also a back door facility (into one’s physical hardware). No responsible business should even consider adopting it, not even as a ‘free’ (gratis) update. Microsoft is already losing billions of dollars and laying off thousands of staff every month, not to mention abandoned/discontinued products. There is no safety in counting on Microsoft.

Links 28/7/2015: Linux 4.2 RC4, New Logos and Bug ‘Branding’ for FUD

Posted in News Roundup at 5:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Eating our own dog food in open source

    There are no guaranteed solutions, of course, but there are smart things we can do. One of the biggest is “eating our own dog food.” If you’re putting on an open source conference, there’s no reason you can’t use open source software to create the flyers, video promos, banners, T-shirt graphics, and the myriad of other pieces of content to run and promote the show. If you’re working for a company that ostensibly has a commitment to open source, ask if your marketing material is being produced with open source software. If it isn’t, then ask why not. And if you happen to be a creative at one of these companies, why aren’t you?

  • Open Source rising as Cloud Computing, Analytics take off – Study

    Open source software has become a critical driver for innovation at leading companies and public-sector organizations around the world, according to a new research report produced by Oxford Economics in partnership with Wipro Limited.

    The report, The Open Source Era, also shows that open source software is essential to the use of other cutting-edge technologies and that open source methodologies have spread far beyond software development.

  • Check out this open source programming typeface entirely generated by code

    Typefaces designed for programmers aren’t a new idea, but I’m particularly taken with Iosevka, a monospace coding typeface that’s completely generated using Node.js.

    The project – which is inspired by existing coding typefaces Pragmata Pro, M+ and PF DIN Mono – aims to produce characters that “have a narrow shape to be space efficient and compatible to Chinese, Japanese and Korean characters.”

  • Capital One Launches Hygieia Open-Source DevOps Dashboard

    The bank launched its Hygieia DevOps dashboard at the O’Reilly Open Source Convention (OSCON) last week in Portland, Ore. The Capital One Agile development teams all use the technology.

  • New Portal For IBM Open Source Projects

    IBM has just launched developerWorksOpen to enable developers to collaborate using its open sourced technologies. It is poised to provide new tools, in particular with regards to mobile.

  • Open Source IFTTT Collection Introduced

    IFTTT (If This Then That) has this month introduced a new collection of new open source projects as well as updating existing ones.

  • Roadies vs. rock stars: The art of open leadership

    Allen Gunn is a facilitator, open source technologist and Executive Director of Aspiration, where he helps NGOs, activists, and software developers make smarter use of tech for social change. Later this month, Aspiration is partnering with Greenpeace’s Mobilisation Lab to host the first-ever Open Campaigns Camp in Berlin. We recently got together to chat about working open and the leadership required to make it work.

  • How to get designers involved in your software project

    Kravets showed us a report she found. It reviewed 23,493 GitHub projects and found that 75.3% had no gender diversity at all. This brought Kravets to the following quote from Malcolm Gladwell: “The world that we could have is much richer than the world we’ve settled for.”

  • The right way to fail

    In the open source industry, we often hear that we should fail quickly and often, but that doesn’t make failure any less scary. Failure seems like a personal problem, but it’s really a corporate problem. We use the phrase “failure is not an option,” and people are so proud to live by it. The fact of the matter, said Scavarda and Hawthorn, is that this statement should say “failure is not an option; it is a requirement.” The truth is that it’s not a matter of whether we will fail, but when we will fail and what will be our timeline for our recovery.

  • The Dronecode Foundation aims to keep UAVs open

    Unmanned Aerial Vehicles’ (UAV) applications and capabilities are advancing at a phenomenal rate, and the cost of these systems is decreasing at an equally impressive rate largely because of the open source. In many cases, open source projects are outpacing the development of their equivalent closed source systems.

  • phpMyAdmin Bids SourceForge Farewell

    phpMyAdmin, the popular free and open source web based tool for administering MySQL databases, has left the SourceForge building.

    In a blog post on Saturday, the project’s infrastructure coordinator, Michal Čihař, announced that a migration from Sourceforge is all but complete. The few remaining items left on the SourceForge server will be “hopefully handled in upcoming days as well.”

  • Boundless: Commercial open source geospatial software

    Boundless’ global customer base uses the OpenGeo Suite, a complete open source geospatial web services stack, to deploy solutions for web mapping, transportation, telecommunications, open government, and a diverse range of other solutions. The OpenGeo Suite provides a continually updated geo web services platform along with maintenance agreements that include support and training to support the growing functionality of continually enhanced open source geospatial software.

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 42 Nightly Is Now Built In GTK+3

        Firefox Nightly for Linux has been compiled with GTK+3 and the stable version of Firefox 42 may be the first one to be released with GTK+3.

      • Mozilla Toys with Crowdsourcing Ideas for its Browser and Tools

        Can your ideas make one of the most popular Internet browsers better? Mozilla is considering the possibility. The company is launching a testing initiative next month that will let Firefox users try out possible changes to the browser. The project is called “Idea Town” and basically seeks to crowdsource ideas for browser- and web-centric new concepts.

      • How is Firefox OS Different from Android, iOS, Windows Phone and Ubuntu Touch

        firefox-os-phone-firefox-os-phone-While choosing a new mobile phone to buy, you must consider all different available options. Earlier I’ve written about the differences between Ubuntu Touch, Android OS, and Windows Phone. Today I’m going to add another contender in the list – the Firefox OS – and I’ll discuss how is Firefox OS different from others.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Seven Key Milestones in OpenStack’s Five-Year History

      On July 19, 2010, Chris Kemp, at the time NASA’s CTO for IT, went on stage at the OSCON open-source conference to announce OpenStack, a new open-source effort along with Rackspace. Five years later, OpenStack has emerged as one of the leading cloud platforms governments and big-name companies around the world use. Best Buy and Walmart are among the major retailers that use OpenStack while major carriers, such as Comcast and AT&T, are also users and contributors. One of the biggest drivers of OpenStack’s growth in the last five years was the formation of the OpenStack Foundation, a vendor-neutral, multi-stakeholder effort to help build and promote the OpenStack platform. While OpenStack in 2010 was made up of two companies, the OpenStack Foundation in 2015 numbers well over 100 members. Another key driver of OpenStack’s growth is continued technical innovation. In 2010, the OpenStack Platform started with just two projects: the Nova Compute Project and the Swift Storage Project. Over the years, multiple additional projects were added, including Glance image, Horizon dashboard, Neutron network and Keystone identity. Here’s a look at key milestones in OpenStack’s five-year history.

    • A new center for innovation, celebrating five years, and more OpenStack news
    • Q&A: Pepperdata’s Chad Carson Discusses Getting Much More Out of Hadoop

      In the data analytics and Hadoop arena, the folks at Pepperdata have an interesting story to tell. Pepperdata’s cofounders ran the web search engineering team at Yahoo during the development of the first production use of Hadoop and created Pepperdata with the mission of providing a simple way of prioritizing Hadoop jobs to give resources to the ones that need them most, while ensuring that a company adheres to its SLAs.

  • Databases

    • The Companies That Support Linux: MariaDB

      MariaDB Corporation is a provider of open source database solutions for SaaS, cloud and on-premise applications that require high availability, scalability, and performance. Built by the founder and core engineering team behind MySQL, MariaDB has more than 2 million users globally and over 500 customers in more than 45 countries — most of whom are running Linux.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • BSD

    • FreeBSD Making Progress With Their Linux Binary Emulation & More
    • Not Learning Unix is a Mistake

      It has occurred to me that not learning Unix is a grave mistake. My relatively early exposure to Unix was important. I may not have appreciated Linux as much or even at all if I hadn’t had that ability to experiment at home with Xenix. Learning about Unix develops new mental muscles like playing a musical instrument or learning a new language. But learning these new processes becomes more difficult with age. To me the exact technical details are less important. It does not really matter if you are a Linux user or if you use one of the BSDs or even something more exotic like Plan 9. The important thing is you can learn new concepts from what I will broadly refer to as the Unix/Internet Community.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

    • cps soup

      In the olden days, Guile had no compiler, just an interpreter written in C. Around 8 years ago now, we ported Guile to compile to bytecode. That bytecode is what is currently deployed as Guile 2.0. For many reasons we wanted to upgrade our compiler and virtual machine for Guile 2.2, and the result of that was a new continuation-passing-style compiler for Guile. Check that link for all the backstory.

  • Project Releases

  • Public Services/Government

    • UK health service nurtures open source communities

      The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is nurturing a growing number of communities of software developers working on open source solutions. NHS’ Code4Health team is now supporting 17 communities that bring together health care providers, developers and supporters.

  • Programming

    • Mmm, what’s that smell, Google+? Yes it’s death: Google unhooks ‘social network’ from YouTube

      Google is no longer forcing Google+ on the world: people will be able to log into YouTube, and other Googley services, without having to create mandatory Google+ profiles.

      From now on, only those who deliberately sign up for Google+ will create profiles on the ghost town of a social network. Previously, Google harassed users of YouTube, Gmail and so on, to convert their accounts into Google+ accounts, a move obviously designed to boost G+’s sad numbers. It didn’t go down very well at all – a lot of folks hated it.

    • Google to block access to unofficial autocomplete API

      Google has decided the autocomplete API it informally offers will no longer be available for “unauthorised” users as of August 10th.

Leftovers

  • ‘Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel Prize for Fifa leadership,’ says Vladimir Putin

    Sepp Blatter deserves a Nobel Prize for his leadership of Fifa, according to Vladimir Putin.

  • Security

    • Unhinged Linux backdoor still poses a nuisance, if not a threat

      If successfully planted, the malware tries to register itself in the system as a daemon (system service). Thereafter it uses LZO compression and the Blowfish encryption algorithm to chat to command and control servers. Every packet contains a checksum, so that the recipient could verify data integrity.

    • Researchers analyze faulty new Linux backdoor
    • Seven things security experts do to keep safe online

      Cybersecurity experts aren’t like you or I, and now we have the evidence to prove it. Researchers at Google interviewed more than 200 experts to find out what security practices they actually carry out online, and then spoke to almost 300 non-experts to find out how they differ.

    • Why Chrysler’s car hack ‘fix’ is staggeringly stupid

      More than a million Chrysler vehicles, including Jeeps, Ram pickups, and Dodge vehicles, are vulnerable to a major vulnerability that could drive them — literally — off the road.

      Last week, the company recalled 1.4 million vehicles at risk of a remote hijack vulnerability, which, as detailed by Wired, can result in a hacker remotely operating the brakes, interfering with the driver’s visibility by switching on the windshield wipers, and even shutting off the engine.

    • The Elderly & the Scam Masters

      Jane answered the phone and a pleasant young man identified himself as an internet technician with Microsoft. He told her they’d received a report that something was extremely wrong with their computers and he was calling to help.

      [...]

      From here it gets crazy. There was a $200 payment made to this “tech expert” and then he calls back and says that payment wasn’t necessary. In fact, an error was made and a draft of $2,000 had been made and not $200. He needed to take his $1,800 back. Of course, the “bank statement” Jane looked at did indeed show $2,000 instead of $200, so Jane was being asked to refund the $1,800.

    • We Can Put An End To Identity Theft
    • Darkode Hacking Forum Taken Down by FBI and Europol

      In a joint operation that included law enforcement agencies from 20 countries, the infamous Darkode hacking forum has been taken down.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • The last thing Labour needs is a leader like Jeremy Corbyn who people want to vote for

      At last sensible Labour politicians are injecting some maturity into the leadership debate. To start with, Tony Blair’s aide John McTernan called anyone who nominated Jeremy Corbyn a “moron”, which is such a refreshing change from the divisive and childish approach of the Left.

    • A Terrorism Case in Britain Ends in Acquittal, but No One Can Say Why

      Ian Cobain, a reporter with The Guardian, is one of very few people who know why a student arrested by armed British police officers in 2013 was finally acquitted this year of terrorism charges.

      Problem is, he cannot report what he knows. He was allowed to observe much of the trial, but only under strict conditions intended to keep classified material secret. His notebooks are being held by Britain’s domestic intelligence agency. And if he writes — or even talks — about the reason that the student, Erol Incedal, 27, was acquitted, Mr. Cobain faces prosecution and possibly jail.

    • WikiLeaks: Saudi Arabia eyes Arabian Sea port

      According to a document recently published on WikiLeaks, authorities in Saudi Arabia are looking for a new access point on the Arabian Sea. This implies either a port in the Sultanate of Oman or in Yemen.

    • Daesh, The Revolutionary Neoliberal Party and the British Falsehood Corporation

      Lord Hall, the director general of the BBC, is to be questioned by MPs over his refusal to refer to Islamic State using the term ‘Daesh’ (an Arabic abbreviation that means ‘one who crushes something underfoot’ and ‘one who sows discord’) because it is pejorative and therefore biased. Controversial British prime minister David Cameron had sent a request to the BBC supported in a letter signed by 120 MPs from across the spectrum – Labour, Tory and SNP.

    • ‘Swiftboating’ J Street to Smear Iran Deal as ‘Anti-Israel’

      No explanation was given of what these goals are, nor was any evidence given that “barely any Israeli” agrees with these goals.

      While New York Times editors didn’t make Shmuel Rosner specify what the alleged goals of the avowedly pro-Israel peace group J Street are that “barely any Israeli” agrees with, context suggests the most obvious explanation: J Street has backed the Obama administration’s diplomacy with Iran and is backing the Iran nuclear deal, and that’s why opponents of the Iran nuclear deal are attacking J Street and saying that J Street’s claim to be “pro-Israel” is dubious.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • Global Derivatives: $1.5 Quadrillion Time Bomb

      Along with credit default swaps and other exotic instruments, the total notional derivatives value is about $1.5 quadrillion – about 20% more than in 2008, beyond what anyone can conceive, let alone control if unexpected turmoil strikes.

      The late Bob Chapman predicted it. So does Paul Craig Roberts. It could “destroy Western civilization,” he believes. Financial deregulation turned Wall Street into a casino with no rules except unrestrained making money. Catastrophic failure awaits. It’s just a matter of time.

      Ellen Brown calls the “derivatives casino…a last-ditch attempt to prop up a private pyramid scheme” – slowly crumbling under its own weight.

      For years, Warren Buffett called derivatives “financial time bombs” – for economies and ordinary people.

    • Going Mainstream

      I pointed out that Nicola Sturgeon’s appearance in the TV leadership debates was the first major airing of an anti-Trident argument on broadcast media in England for a decade. Actually hearing anti-austerity arguments led to a huge surge in support for the SNP in England as well as Scotland.

    • UK economy accelerates with growth of 0.7%
    • Prostitution and drug dealing add £10billion to the economy under bizarre rules which mean crime boom is good news for Osborne

      Prostitution and drug dealing provide a £10billion boost to the economy, new research revealed today.

      Bizarre new European rules mean that for the first time illegal activities must be included in the official estimates of the size of the economy.

      It means a booming sex trade or an expansion in cannabis factories will provide a boost to George Osborne’s economic outlook.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • A Crucial Realization About Journalism is Learned by Being its Subject

      Journalistic objectivity is a sham, a horribly misleading and self-flattering conceit.

    • Aaronovitch Blusters to a Well of Silence

      But something else struck me about the twitter record. Aaronovitch’ twitter account claims to have 78,000 followers. Yet of the 78,000 people who allegedly received his tweet about my insanity, only 1 retweeted and 2 favourited. That is an astonishingly low proportion – 1 in 26,000 reacted. To give context, Mark Doran has only 582 followers and yet had more retweets and favourites for his riposte. 1 in 146 to be precise, a 200 times greater response rate.

      Please keep reading, I promise you this gets a great deal less boring.

      Eighteen months ago I wrote an article about Aaronovitch’s confession that he solicits fake reviews of his books to boost their score on Amazon. In response a reader emailed me with an analysis of Aaronovitch’s twitter followers. He argued with the aid of graphs that the way they accrued indicated that they were not arising naturally, but being purchased in blocks. He claimed this was common practice in the Murdoch organisation to promote their hacks through false apparent popularity.

    • ‘There Is Effectively No Limit on Money in Politics’ – CounterSpin interview with Brendan Fischer on Wisconsin campaign corruption

      Walker was accused of coordinating with outside groups, namely Wisconsin Club for Growth and Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce. And these are groups that, after the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United, can accept unlimited secret donations, and Walker’s campaign is still bound by campaign finance limits that the US Supreme Court has consistently upheld.

  • Privacy

    • NSA has paid Utah $1 million to police entrance on Redwood Road

      From the start of 2014 through March of this year, the NSA has paid the state $1,033,850 to patrol the perimeter of the data center, according to records provided by UHP.

    • Judges slam UK’s FBI over farcical Wire-style mission: National Crime Agency comes under fire for bugging plot ‘failures’

      Britain’s equivalent of the FBI has been condemned by judges after a sophisticated bugging operation against alleged money-launderers descended into farce and a series of ‘grave failures’.

      The National Crime Agency deployed 100 officers in 30 cars to seize the bosses of a company in West London under investigation.

      While the suspects were being interviewed at a police station, NCA chiefs hid listening devices in their offices.

    • Exclusive: Feds Regularly Monitored Black Lives Matter Since Ferguson

      The Department of Homeland Security has been monitoring the Black Lives Matter movement since anti-police protests erupted in Ferguson, Missouri last summer, according to hundreds of documents obtained by The Intercept through a Freedom of Information Act request.

    • Researchers claim they’ve developed a better, faster Tor

      Tor, the world’s largest and most well-known “onion router” network, offers a degree of anonymity that has made it a popular tool of journalists, dissidents, and everyday Internet users who are trying to avoid government or corporate censorship (as well as Internet drug lords and child pornographers). But one thing that it doesn’t offer is speed—its complex encrypted “circuits” bring Web browsing and other tasks to a crawl. That means that users seeking to move larger amounts of data have had to rely on virtual private networks—which while they are anonymous, are much less protected than Tor (since VPN providers—and anyone who has access to their logs—can see who users are).

  • Civil Rights

    • ISIS Sting…or FBI Catfishing?

      Alex Ciccolo was arrested after weeks of talking to an FBI agent he thought would sell him weapons for a terror attack—and who likely knew he was mentally ill.

    • FBI Overreach? Alexander Ciccolo And The Line Between Imagined And Actual Threat

      The ever-vigilant Federal Bureau of Investigation has once again reminded us of the constant threat of domestic terrorism plots — by inventing one. But the most recent story has a more tragic twist than many other FBI “national security” capers, since it involves as well a betrayal of family values.

    • Podcast: Recent FBI Sting, White Terrorism Threat, Transgender Activist Interrupts Obama & Marriage Equality

      …the threat of white terrorism, which the US government largely ignores; a recent elaborate FBI sting against a poor black felon that shows where the agency is putting its resources; and how the FBI monitored live streams of Ferguson protests.

    • Wesley Clark Calls for Internment Camps for “Radicalized” Americans

      Retired general and former Democratic presidential candidate Wesley Clark on Friday called for World War II-style internment camps to be revived for “disloyal Americans.” In an interview with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts in the wake of the mass shooting in Chatanooga, Tennessee, Clark said that during World War II, “if someone supported Nazi Germany at the expense of the United States, we didn’t say that was freedom of speech, we put him in a camp, they were prisoners of war.”

    • Pat Buchanan Brings His Xenophobia To Meet The Press

      Former MSNBC employee Pat Buchanan used an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press to frame immigration as a “massive invasion” and “conquest of the West” by “third-world … border jumpers.” During the appearance, host Chuck Todd did not mention Buchanan’s past history of racist comments, or that NBC’s cable channel MSNBC parted ways with Buchanan in 2012.

    • The CIA Paid This Contractor $40 Million to Review Torture Documents

      But VICE News has exclusively obtained more than 100 pages of contracting documents [pdf below] that show it was CIA officials who insisted on outsourcing work related to the Senate’s review — and that it was the CIA that paid more than $40 million to one of its longtime contractors for administrative support and other tasks related to the report. Those tasks included compiling, reviewing, redacting, and posting to a server the more than 6 million pages of highly classified CIA cables and other documents Senate Intelligence Committee staffers pored through during the course of their probe.

    • Torture Is Bad. So Psychologists Helped the US Redefine It

      The Hoffman report (so named because the principal investigator is a lawyer named David Hoffman) was commissioned by the American Psychological Association to examine a 2005 APA publication called the Psychology Ethics in National Security document (PENS). This document, voted into policy by APA leadership at the time, outlined the conditions in which a psychologist could ethically work alongside military and intelligence interrogators. Critics from within and without the APA had—since the document’s inception—suspected foul play. The Hoffman report lays those accusations bare, by showing that the APA’s head of ethics had been directly working with the military to create a back-scratching policy.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

07.27.15

Patents Roundup: Technicolor, Alice, Voip-Pal, Fitbit, Marijuana Patents, and JDate

Posted in Patents at 4:51 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: A look at some of last week’s patent news, with imperative responses that criticise corporate exploitation of patents for protectionism (excluding and/or driving away the competition using legal threats)

AFTER many years of bitterness (over loss of focus in the media) we may finally write more about patents and will occasionally return to our old “Patents Roundup” series. The goal is to debate not “trolls” but the real issues with the patent system — issues that are much broader than patent trolls.

Technicolor

“​Cisco sheds its set-top box business to Technicolor for $600m,” according to this new article. “Additionally,” wrote the author, “the pair have signed a long-term patent cross-licensing agreement though neither company has said which patents are involved.”

This is what’s known as a “thicket” and it helps remove competition from the market unless it is very well funded. By buying this business (Technicolor will have it all) and having just got these patents, Technicolor can now exercise yet more control, using patents, over its competition.

Alice/Section 101

Patent lawyers who persistently and openly promote software patents are clearly nervous about Alice/Section 101 because it kills software patents almost all the time (in high-profile cases). Watch this latest ‘damage control’ from IP Watchdog. It’s quite funny to watch actually.

After the ruling in the Alice case, what kind of software developer still tries to patent software? The billionaires’ fan press, Forbes, presents this story titled “The Nuts And Bolts Of Scaling A Company”. In it there’s propaganda: “Of course, now that the software is developed, she has filed patents.”

Yes. “Of course”. That’s what everyone should do, based on billionaires’ media. She decided to waste time and money because lawyers bamboozled her. Maybe the likes of Forbes (personification of people like Donald Trump) also bamboozled her. See [1] below. The Rupert Murdoch-owned WSJ is now comparing “Government-Enforced Monopolies” (patents) to ‘Free Market’. These super-rich people have no sense of shame, have they? To them, class war (looting by the oligarchs/plutocrats) is ‘Free Market’.

Anyone who still tries to patent software in the US clearly paid no attention to Alice and the subsequent rulings. Patent valuation for such patents sank, as even proponents of software patents (patent lawyers) care to admit. The only people to profit from such nonsense are lawyers.

Voip-Pal Patenting VOIP

According to this news, Voip-Pal.com Inc. is now busy patenting software, even where software is not patentable. “They controlled nodes in Canada, London and Denmark,” says the article, “used to prove the validity of their concept which was later patented.”

Why patent it? What’s the point? Is it even legal to patent software where they operate?

Fitbit

We recently wrote about Fitbit coming under a barrage of lawsuits. Well, Fitbit itself is hoarding a growing number of so-called ‘wearable’ patents. An article about this, which uses the “intellectual property rights” propaganda term in the headline, was published the other day. “But not everything “clever” can be patented,” it noted. Well it can, in the US, even when it’s not clever. Ask Sun’s engineers. They openly mocked the system for accepting just about every patent application and granting patents for about 92% of them, according to more recent statistics.

Another new article about Fitbit says: “According to Park, the secret to its success has been the combination of hardware and software, as well as distribution” (not patents).

If that is the case, then how come Fitbit continues to hoard patents? It arguably needs these for defence from sharks and aggressors such as Jawbone. In a perfect world, no such patents would be granted in the first place.

Scott Walker and Patent Lies

Scott Walker is a horrible — if not corrupt — politician. He gained notoriety in recent years (we have mentioned him almost a hundred times in our daily links) and this new article about him says:

Green Box said it held seven patents, but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office lists no patents granted or assigned to Van Den Heuvel or the company.

As is often the case when it comes to Scott Walker, lies are the ‘norm’.

Marijuana Patents

Medical-marijuana patents may soon be granted because, according to this report, a company “filed two provisional U.S. patent applications for cannabis extracts” (so basically patents on banned drugs).

Nasty JDate

JDate, based on [2-5], is now misusing software patents to attack the competition, hoping to drive it out of business. Remind us again how software patents supposedly promote innovation? There is also some bizarre trademark bullying, with JDate claiming ownership of the letter “J” (which stands for Jewish in this case). See the articles below for the gory details.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. At Wall Street Journal, Government-Enforced Monopolies = ‘Free Market’

    Those folks at the Wall Street Journal are really turning reality on its head. Today it ran a column by Robert Ingram, a former CEO of Glaxo Wellcome, complaining about efforts to pass “transparency” legislation in Massachusetts, New York and a number of other states.

    This legislation would require drug companies to report their profits on certain expensive drugs, as well as government funding that contributed to their development.

    [...]

    This would eliminate all the distortions associated with patent monopolies, such as patent-protected prices that can be more than 100 times as much as the free-market price. This would eliminate all the ethical dilemmas about whether the government or private insurers should pay for expensive drugs like Sovaldi, since the drugs would be cheap. It would also eliminate the incentive to mislead doctors and the public about the safety and effectiveness of drugs in order to benefit from monopoly profits.

  2. JDate Is Suing JSwipe Over The Letter ‘J’, Here’s What My Bubbie Would Have Said

    Today, Forbes unearthed a lawsuit from late last year that Jewish dating site JDate’s parent company filed against an app called JSwipe (also aimed at Jewish folk). It’s over the use of the letter J. The case is set to pick up again next month.

  3. Jdate Sues Competitor Jewish Dating App For Using The Letter “J”

    Jdate, the popular dating service responsible for more Jewish hookups than a bottle of Manischewitz, is playing hardball in the dog-eat-dog world of nice Jewish match-making.

    Jdate’s parent company, Spark Networks, discreetly filed a lawsuit late last year against Jswipe, the ‘Tinder for Jews’ dating app, claiming intellectual property over the letter “J” within the Jewish dating scene (the company refers to the branding as the “J-family”).

  4. Members Of The ‘Tribe’ Swipe For A Shidduch

    Over the sounds of the packed crowd at the lower level of Noho hotspot “Acme,” on Tuesday evening, one phrase could consistently be heard: “I work in real estate.”

  5. Jdate Sues Competitor Jewish Dating App For Using The Letter “J”

    Additionally, Jdate claims it owns the patent on software that “confidentially determines matches and notifies users of mutual matches in feelings and interests.” Jswipe, like Tinder, notifies users when their romantic interest ‘swipes right’ on their picture, violating Jdate’s patent.

Corporate Lobbyists Including Koch-Connected Front Groups Attack Real and Perceived Patent Reform in the United States

Posted in America, Deception, Patents at 3:59 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Koch logo

Summary: Looking at some of the latest propaganda for and against a bill which is already too watered-down to actually fix the US patent system

TECHRIGHTS has spent a lot of time explaining why the US patent system is dysfunctional beyond repair (Europe’s system, by contrast, can still be salvaged) and why so-called ‘reform’ in a political atmosphere that is dominated by large corporations is just a mirage [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]. The so-called Innovation Act or PATENT Act have already been derailed by lobbyists, employed by large corporations and very rich people who want protectionism in the form of patents (monopoly or “market exclusivity”, to use a euphemism).

All that ‘reforms’ speak about these days are “trolls”, even though patent trolls are far from the only issue. They are arguably just a symptom of a broken system and fixing a problem by redefining that problem won’t help solve the real problem. Joe Mullin, who has been focusing on patent trolls for nearly a decade, continues to focus on patent trolls and says that a “patent was invented [patents are being invented?] by Warren Sandvick, president of a Texas company called HasSex, which has an extremely trollish website and licensed the patent several times. Filed in 1998, and granted in 2002, the patent lays broad claim to a remotely controlled sexual “stimulation system,” one version of which involved a “second user interface” located remotely from the first.”

“This is clearly lobbying that exploits women to mask corporations and billionaires, but then again, we we noted many times before, that’s what The Hill is for.”The article focuses on sex (sex sells!) and trolls rather than matters pertaining to patent scope. Another site which obsesses over patent trolls because it is funded by large corporations including Microsoft weighs in, calling for the bogus ‘reform’ (dealing only with trolls) to go ahead. In it, Matt Levy responds to a nonsensical piece we mentioned the other day, from lobbyists’ favourite media (The Hill). Bill Watson took note of the propaganda from The Hill, paraphrasing as: “Patent reform will enable sneaky “foreign entities” to harm “the American family unit”” [the exact headline is “New patent bill would undermine economic growth, hurt families” and it does refer to “foreign entities” at the end].

Who wrote the article? By the description of oneself, “Nance is CEO and president of Concerned Women for America (CWA), the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization.”

Wait, we already know this. Like several other such groups, it is a front for lobbyists, exploiting women’s rights for corporate agenda. We covered such examples almost a decade ago. It’s not a new trick.

CMD wrote about this front group last year. Quoting the relevant parts: “This includes right-wing religious groups that oppose gay marriage and abortion rights, like Concerned Women for America, which has received at least $11.4 million from the Koch network since 2010, and Focus on the Family spinoff Citizen Link, which has received at least $10 million, including at least $885,000 this election cycle.”

There is also “Concerned Women for American Legislative Action Committee,” with a budget of $8,150,000, according to this “New List of the Dark Money Shell Game Groups Connected to the Kochs”.

So who opposes patent reform in this case? CMD’s SourceWatch has some good, well-organised background about “Concerned Women for America” and “Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee”. This is clearly lobbying that exploits women to mask corporations and billionaires, but then again, we we noted many times before, that’s what The Hill is for. That’s coming from the same billionaires who use sockpuppets to airbrush Wikipedia.

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