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Links 15/2/2011: OpenShot 1.3.0 Released, Louis Suarez-Potts Left Oracle

Posted in News Roundup at 1:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • ROSE Blog Interviews: Barbara Irwin, Loads of Linux Links Maintainer

    RK: How did you first hear about Linux and why did you start using it at home?

    BI: I first heard about Linux in 1996 from my husband, Alan, who had years of UNIX experience, so it was a natural for him to use Linux on our home computer. I was working at the local public library at the time, primarily using a UNIX-based automated library system, but had to use a Microsoft word processor for my documents. Not a happy experience. So I was delighted that our home was — and still is — a Windows-free

  • LPI develops Academic Program in Malaysia
  • Low-spec computer: Alt Linux vs Windows 7 Ultimate

    Purpose: learn process of installation and work of distributives of operating systems Alt Linux Desktop 5.0 KDE and Window 7 Ultimate in low-spec computer which you can find in school.

  • Server

    • Ottawa to review TSX-London exchange merger

      Industry Minister Tony Clement says the federal government will review the proposed merger of the Toronto Stock Exchange and London Stock Exchange.

      Clement said Monday that the proposed deal falls under the Investment Canada Act and will be approved if it is of net benefit to Canada.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

      • Tinycore3.5 comes with improved system boot time and user interface | A 10Mo LinuxOS

        Tinycore3.5 is released, this new release comes with many updates and some improvements, so boot times has been improved with optimization of startup code. Administration improved with deletes of uninstalled ondemand without reboot. Many user interface improvements and additional supported options in: appsaduit, wbar, services, tce-audit, and fluff, the integrated file manager. Key system programs updated to latest release: busybox and zsync.

    • Debian Family

      • What happened to Debian Live images for PowerPC?

        What happened? I praised Debian Live for taking care of PowerPC users in a way that most other distributions do not. These days you can’t even get an “official” Ubuntu ISO for PowerPC. Fedora dropped PowerPC, too. In my tests, Debian was always the best distribution for older PowerPC machines anyway, and the project still supports the architecture with installers.

      • All quiet on the Debian Squeeze front

        While there is certainly some truth to the open-source OS adage that bugs related to functionality (and not security) at release tend to stay unpatched, the emphasis in Debian on releasing when ready means there are theoretically (and practically) fewer broken pieces in the system and not as much need to push updates for non-security-related issues.

      • Living on the bleeding edge: Debian wheezy/sid

        I’ve decided to start this blog and share my experience with Debian sid/unstable, the development version of Debian GNU/Linux. It’s the leading edge, but sometimes also the bleeding edge of Debian development. The stuff that enters this fast developing repository spends anywhere from 6 months up to 2 years in it before average Linux user sees it in form of a polished stable release (Debian, Ubuntu or some other Debian Pure Blend).

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Win A Dell Mini Netbook: Cult of Ubuntu Writing Contest

          Celebrating the Alpha 2 release of Ubuntu 11.04, Cult of Ubuntu has announced a contest for bloggers and writers. The winning prize is a Dell Mini 1012 Netbook with Ubuntu 11.04 pre-installed.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Alpha 2 live CD — Video works, it’s all downhill from there

          Readers of this blog are no doubt very familiar with my video drama/issues over the ATI Mobility Radeon 4200 HD chip in my Lenovo G555 laptop.

          Things have been blurry and wavy, sometimes fixable with the fglrx/Catalyst proprietary driver (Ubuntu 10.04), sometimes not (Fedora 14).

          In Debian Squeeze, I can run the open-source ati/radeon driver with no problems. And that’s what I’ve been doing.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Qualcomm wows with quad-core 2.5GHz Snapdragon

      Mere days after announcing a new dual-core Snapdragon chip, Qualcomm has wowed the crowds at this year’s Mobile World Congress event with a quad-core design for next-generation tablets that scales to an impressive 2.5GHz.

      Fresh from its announcement of the Snapdragon APQ8060, which can be found powering HP’s upcoming TouchPad webOS tablet, mobile chip specialist Qualcomm has confirmed precisely what we predicted: a quad-core design which it hopes will compete with Nvidia’s upcoming Tegra 3 system-on-chip.

    • Linux-based Wi-Fi device server offers dual-band support

      Lantronix announced a Linux-based wireless device server with IPv6 and extended temperature support. The PremierWave EN is built on a 400MHz Lantronix ARM9 processor, offers 64MB of RAM and 64MB of flash, provides dual-band 802.11a/b/g/n with extensive wireless security features, and includes USB, Ethernet, I2C, SPI, and serial connectivity.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • MeeGo: stalling or stopping?

          Meanwhile, the Handset UX version of MeeGo appears to have lost its only proposed device, the Nokia N9. Reuters reported that development of Nokia’s MeeGo-based smartphone had been stopped, though Nokia’s spokesman declined to comment on the report. Earlier reports had noted the temporary closure of the MeeGo themed branch of Qt. If development on the Notebook and Handset UX’s has been halted, it would leave only the IVI (in-vehicle infotainment) and Connected TV UX in active development.

        • Nokia: The Destruction of a Great Company. Step One
        • Microsoft-Nokia deal is like two fading marathon runners deciding to hold hands

          My cynical side would compare the newly-announced Microsoft-Nokia mobile partnership to an Olympic track race in which two of the tired runners that are fading from the front decided to hold hands until they get across the finish line.

        • An open letter to Nokia shareholders and institutional investors

          If you elect us to a majority in the Nokia Board of Directors we will take the following concrete actions:

          * Immediate discharge of Stephen Elop from his duties as President and CEO of the company. Appointment of a new CEO with an international mobile industry background. The new CEO will be committed to carry on the rest of the actions listed below.
          * Restructure alliance with Microsoft as a tactical exercise focused primarily at the North American market. Release one or two Windows Phone devices under a Nokia sub-brand. Only if carrier acceptance, sales volumes and profit margins are satisfactory, consider releasing more WP devices and make them available in Europe. Windows Phone will not be the primary development platform for Nokia. The Nokia phones with Windows Phone operating system will simply take advantage of the existing developer tools and application ecosystem already put in place by Microsoft.
          * MeeGo will be Nokia’s primary smartphone platform. This is where the bulk of the innovation will happen. If MeeGo does not bring great devices to market on an accelerated pace, this strategy will not work. MeeGo smartphones and tablet devices will offer overwhelmingly superior experiences and applications than iOS and Android based competitor products. To reduce time to market, all MeeGo R&D will be done in-house and in a single geographical location. If necessary, suspend cooperation with Intel and concentrate resources on innovation and releasing new Nokia MeeGo devices to market faster.

      • Android

        • Android Market Gets a Facelift

          For a couple of years now the Android app purchasing experience has been largely on-device as the web based “market” page was little more than a page with a handful of top-selling applications.

          Want to search for an app? Go to the on-device app client.

          Want to purchase one of the top sellers or top downloads? Same answer, go to the on-device app client to make your purchase.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • [Charles-H. Schulz.] Back from FOSDEM, time for links!

      # Louis Suarez-Potts, community manager of the OpenOffice.org project, employee of Sun Microsystems and Oracle, resigns from Oracle. The formal resignation from its position of community manager of the OpenOffice.org project is not known yet, but I am expecting news either of his resignation, or else of the election of a new community manager (Louis should run for these). If that’s not the case then two comments are to be made in the light of the situation inside the OpenOffice.org project: This project is now either deprived of any governance or structure whatsoever, and/or the community manager has no real standing as no charter, text, agreement, structure mandates its existence outside a detailed charter (which has by now probably exploded after the announcement of the Document Foundation). But enough with that for the moment: I have been working with Louis for 10 years and I sincerely wish him good luck for the future.

  • Programming

    • Eclipse Orion heads to the web

      Everything is moving to the Web, including the tools being used to build applications.

      Ask any serious software developer which programming tools they use and the chances are that you will hear the name ‘Eclipse’ more than a few times. Eclipse is one of the most popular programming IDEs, or integrated development environments.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Google open video codec faces second challenger

      The MPEG standards body – not to be confused with the MPEG LA patent-pool organization – has announced plans for its own royalty-free codec. At its annual meeting in March, the organization will begin accepting proposals for a new video-compression technology designed to provide better performance than MPEG-2 under a royalty-free ISO/IEC Type-1 license.


  • Obama Crushes Jeb Bush in 2012 Presidential Poll

    Apparently unsatisfied with the current crop of GOP presidential hopefuls, some big names on the right have been pushing Jeb Bush, former Florida governor and younger brother to George W., to launch a 2012 bid for the White House. But according to a new Fox News poll (PDF), Bush would get crushed by President Barack Obama in a 2012 presidential match-up.

    Fox’s bipartisan pollsters found that Obama would defeat Jeb Bush by a whopping 20-point margin, 54 percent to 34 percent. That’s a healthy gain for Obama since last September, when the same pollsters put Obama ahead 45 percent to 37 percent. The Fox poll results, then, throw some cold water on all the Jeb hype of late, suggesting that Jeb might be smarter to look to 2016 rather than 2012.

  • Guilting parents out of child care

    NDP MP Olivia Chow did too: “Finley insulted all teachers, all early childhood educators, child-care workers, organizers of parents’ resource centres and even babysitters. She is trying to inflict guilt on all working parents — a truly shameful, divisive behaviour.”

    Child care expert Martha Friendly spoke for working parents when she noted Finley’s remarks are out of sync with modern day reality.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Censorship

    • French LOPPSI Bill Adopted: The Internet under Control?

      Over time, such an extra-judiciary set-up will enable a generalized censorship of all Internet content. Consistent with Nicolas Sarkozy projects for a “Civilized Internet”, administrative censorship of the Internet opens the door to dangerous abuse while leaving pedophiles and pedo-pornography to prosper.

  • Civil Rights

    • TSA refusal to release body scanner safety reports has many crying foul

      Two months after lawmakers ordered the U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to release safety reports about the levels of radiation being emitted by baggage X-ray machines, naked body scanners, and other airport security equipment, the agency has yet to make this information public. The reports, which remain in the hands of TSA officials, are allegedly being retained to protect “sensitive security or privacy-protected information.”

    • In Court Today In South Carolina – Holding Officials Accountable For Torture

      We’re in federal court in Charleston to argue that a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials for their role in the unlawful detention and torture of a U.S. citizen go forward. The defendants filed a motion in 2008 to have it thrown out. The ACLU has recently joined the lawsuit on Padilla’s behalf.

      Jose Padilla was seized from a U.S. jail in 2002, declared an “enemy combatant” and secretly transported to a military brig in South Carolina. He was imprisoned for nearly four years, during which he was subjected to extreme abuse and unable to communicate with his lawyers or family for two years. Lawyers for Padilla filed a lawsuit in February 2007 in U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina against Rumsfeld and others for their role in Padilla’s unlawful detention and abuse.

Clip of the Day

Running rm -rf / on Linux

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 14/2/2011: GNU/Linux Education in Valencia, London Stock Exchange Goes Live With GNU/Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 10:25 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • ES: LliureX 10.09 offers free educational material

    The Regional Ministry of Education in Valencia provides more than 200 educational resources with LliureX for Kids version 10.09.

    The Department of Education has created a software package installation for easy download of over 200 educational resources offered by LliureX for Kids version 10.09. LliureX is an initiative which aims to “promote teachers’, families’ and schools’ access to a wide variety of educational materials.”

  • Desktop

    • Headless Chickens Come Home to Roost

      In the face of a 50 million + dollar budget shortfall, The Austin Independent School District Superintendent is recommending the layoff of 1017 teachers and varied staff.


      The magic sword that protected the disclosure of software expenditure costs turned out to be the vendor agreements AISD signed with Microsoft and other various software companies. At least, that was what I was told and to be honest, I had neither the time or resources to pursue it further.

      Filing for this data under the Freedom of Information Act of 1974 was impotent. It seems our laws, the way they are currently written, gives the corporates protection…

      Even if federal law says differently.

      However, a seemingly disconnected event in 2008 was able to dislodge some of this information. Maybe not as much as I wanted, but enough to sharpen the pencil and do a bit of cipherin’.

      Many will remember the row that ensued after an AISD teacher admonished one of our HeliOS kids and myself for him bringing a laptop and Linux disks into her classroom.

      And no…no direct citation is needed. I’m not going to link-bait my own story. However, this not only went viral in hours, many online and dead tree newspapers picked it up as well.

      It is within one of those that we can discern some important figures.

      The AISD IT Director at that time defended their IT structure by saying that 1/3 of their computers ran software other than Windows.

      “…and while the district uses Windows on 24,000 of its 36,000 computers, it uses Linux for many of its servers and open-source applications, such as Open Office, whenever possible.”

      OK, great…Linux is obviously the superior choice for server deployments, but if we were to dig deeper into that statement, how many of the OS choices are Linux? I am guessing that the majority of them run Windows with some Open Source solutions installed therein. The article does mention the use of Mac computers as well. Oh, and those aren’t expensive…

      But Linux desktops?


      Time and time again, Linux and Free Software have provided The Enterprise, Governments and individuals amazing cost savings over the long term.

  • Server

    • Argonne taps IBM for 10 petaflops super

      The US Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory announced on Tuesday that it has inked a deal with IBM to build a monster BlueGene supercomputer that will weigh in at 10 petaflops of peak theoretical performance when it is operational around the middle of next year.

      El Reg caught wind of the Mira BlueGene/Q massively parallel super going into Argonne back in October, when Cray announced that it had been able to sell an 18,000-core, Opteron-based XE6 super into the Argonne facility even though it has been an IBM stronghold in recent years.

    • Engineering Intelligence: Why IBM’s Jeopardy-Playing Computer Is So Important

      Language is arguably what makes us most human. Even the smartest and chattiest of the animal kingdom have nothing on our lingual cognition.

      In computer science, the Holy Grail has long been to build software that understands — and can interact with — natural human language. But dreams of a real-life Johnny 5 or C-3PO have always been dashed on the great gulf between raw processing power and the architecture of the human mind. Computers are great at crunching large sets of numbers. The mind excels at assumption and nuance.

    • Most Reliable Hosting Company Sites in January 2011
    • London Stock Exchange in historic Linux go-live

      The move has been billed as one of the LSE’s most significant technological developments since the increasing prevalence of electronic trading led to the closure of the traditional exchange floor in 1986. LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet has insisted that the exchange, once a monopoly, will deliver record speed and stable trading in order to fight back against the fast erosion of its dominant marketshare by specialist electronic rivals.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast 88 Gentoo Stuff

      In this Podcast general Gentoo talk, FOSDEM Gentoo talks and EAPI4 stuff.

    • Episode 156: Chandra

      This time we are off into space, but still sitting in front of the monitor. I take X-Ray data from the Chandra Satellite and make a false colour image out of them. All I needed to know for that (and much much more) is on their album page.

      The files I have used and the tutorial I was inspired by are also on the Chandra website.

  • Kernel Space

    • Git

      The first maintenance release Git is available at the usual places…

    • Using the noop I/O Scheduler for KVM Virtualization through Puppet and Augeas

      For a virtualization environment, it often makes sense to use a kernel I/O scheduler that does not take into account whether and/or which hardware seek time penalty may or may not be applicable for the disks used. Hence, where in my case I use a storage device over iSCSI, I want to set the noop scheduler for the hypervisors (which use iSCSI), and all guests on it (which use logical volumes). Neither the hypervisors nor the guests will experience a seek time penalty, so I thought, and so scheduling their I/O does not need to be optimized for such. The noop scheduler does exactly that.

    • Linux Kernel Crash Book

      Here you can download the Linux Kernel Crash Book, in PDF format. The book is 182 pages long, contains 113 screenshots and weighs 4.87MB. The book supercedes the previously published LKCD and Kdump PDF files, which will soon be removed.

    • Kernel dev sets out on an uncharted path

      Valerie Aurora has many achievements to her name. In a world where FOSS developers are overwhelmingly men, she has been a Linux kernel developer for the last 10 years. She’s been a consultant, speaker, writer, founder of companies and advocated for women in open source.


      FOSS community’s attitudes towards women are not exactly welcoming.

    • Graphics Stack

      • How Old ATI GPUs Can Be Faster On Open Drivers

        A few days ago when publishing the results of benchmarking a lot of graphics cards on their Gallium3D drivers (about a dozen graphics cards) this left a number of people surprised. A number of these results from the open-source Gallium3D drivers illustrated the older graphics processors as being much faster than the newer hardware, even though the newer hardware is far superior to the vintage products. This shouldn’t have been a surprise if you stay up-to-date with the Linux graphics news on Phoronix, but it comes down to features found in the older Gallium3D drivers not yet implemented in the newer open-source drivers.

      • Reverse Engineering PowerVR Is Now A High Priority

        The Free Software Foundation has now determined that reverse-engineering the PowerVR Linux drivers in order to create a free software driver capable of 3D hardware acceleration is a high priority action item. With an increasing number of mobile devices running Linux bearing these PowerVR graphics chipsets, which currently require the use of binary blobs for graphics acceleration, is not acceptable and that action must be taken to create an open driver for this hardware.

  • Applications

    • Never Miss A NotifyOSD Notification With “Recent Notifications” GNOME Applet

      Don’t you wish you could see the recent NotifyOSD notifications? I know I would – for instance I use a nifty application called Android Notifier that displays NotifyOSD notifications on my computer when I get a new SMS or call on my Phone, but if I’m doing something else when that happens and I miss the notification, there’s no way to see it on my computer. And that’s just an example, there are many other applications which display NotifyOSD notifications that you might like to see later on in case you’ve missed the actual notification (like some Twitter clients, etc.).

    • The geeky details: Clock and weather map

      I promised I would give a rundown of the wall-clock-slash-weather-map setup, once I got to a braggable state. I think I can do that now.

    • Songbird hits version 1.9.3, Linux build available

      Although “official” builds of Songbird for Linux are no longer distributed the Songbird community still provide 32bit Linux versions for the gecko-using media player’s faithful flock.

    • Best Linux blogging software: 8 clients tested

      Everybody has opinions. For some reason, many people feel better about life if everybody’s informed of those opinions in meticulous detail. The act of ‘blogging’ was born in the early 21st century when such folk discovered the internet.

      These days, the place is awash with humans and their odd ideas (and even some good ones). Now’s the time to join the throng.

    • Sharing screenshots
    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • The Source Engine On Postal III Is Still Coming To Linux

        While it was announced previously by the Running With Scissors Game company that Postal III would be released for Linux like had been done with previous Postal games, there has been some speculation in recent months that Postal III would not make it out for Linux. In particular, because this game is now being powered by Valve’s Source Engine, and there still being many in disbelief that it’s coming to Linux. Well, in fact, a native version of Postal III is still coming to Linux and it’s looking like it will be here around May.

        A Linux version of Postal III was confirmed back in 2008, but with the Steam Linux client / Source Engine on Linux not officially being released yet, some have speculated that Postal III would fail to materialize for Linux. Some have failed to believe my reports that Valve is bringing Steam / Source Engine to Linux, even after a beta version of the Steam Linux client was discovered last summer.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Zeitgeist Hackfest Conclusions

        So I didn’t really stick to my original idea of reporting each day of the Zeitgeist hackfest in Aarhus. I guess this must be a classical hackfest syndrome – you give 120% during the day and when night draws near you’re just flat out of batteries. ‘nough with the excuses :-)

  • Distributions

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • FUDCon Tempe: Red Hat Legal Talks

        All lawyers have clients. Red Hat is the client in our case. A lawyer is employed by an organization, and represents that organization. That said, the interests of Red Hat don’t always go hand-to-hand with the Fedora Project. This doesn’t mean that there are conflicts all the time, just that it might happen, and as lawyers we have a duty of confidentiality to our client (Red Hat).

      • Oracle Linux 6 DVDs Now Available

        On Sunday 6 February 2011, Oracle Linux 6 was released on the Unbreakable Linux Network for customers with an Oracle Linux support subscription. Shortly after that, the Oracle Linux 6 RPMs were made available on our public yum server. Today we published the installation DVD images on edelivery.oracle.com/linux. Oracle Linux 6 is free to download, install and use. The full release notes are here, but similar to my recent post about Oracle Linux 5.6, I wanted to highlight a few items about this release.

      • Qatar Exchange rolls out Red Hat

        The Doha-based stock market Qatar Exchange has switched its trading platforms on to Red Hat Linux, for greater operational flexibility, maximal uptime and integration.

        The exchange migrated IBM’s AIX platform to Red Hat Linux, to run its trading platform, as well as adding Red Hat Network Satellite to provide systems updates and Red Hat clustering to maximize uptime.

      • Fedora

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal and the Unity Desktop

          With Ubuntu, I see an excellent choice for the new computer user or someone who is new to Linux. Installation of the system is direct and simple without being simplistic, applications are easy to find and quick and efficient to install. I saw only one instance where an experienced Linux user would be a good idea to have around, and that only because of the regulatory environment that effects the world, not just Linux or Ubuntu.

    • Debian Family

      • The Perfect Desktop – Debian Squeeze

        This tutorial shows how you can set up a Debian Squeeze desktop that is a full-fledged replacement for a Windows desktop, i.e. that has all the software that people need to do the things they do on their Windows desktops. The advantages are clear: you get a secure system without DRM restrictions that works even on old hardware, and the best thing is: all software comes free of charge.

      • Debian 6 Squeeze

        It wasn’t too long ago that I did a very late review of Debian 5. I’m happy to say that it didn’t take me nearly as long to get around to the latest release, Debian 6 Squeeze. If you aren’t familiar with Debian then this release is a great chance to learn about a distro that is the foundation for a lot of other distributions including Ubuntu, Linux Mint and others.

        Debian has three main branches:


      • My GNOME OS is called Debian

        Debian Squeeze was released a few days ago, this makes it a good opportunity to post about that distribution. Nowadays, even if I have more duties in GNOME than in Debian, I still believe Debian may be one step closer to me in terms of core values.

        Free Software. Debian litterally stands for Free Software, the Debian Free Software Guidelines were the actual basis for the Open Source Definition, years ago. This is still going strong and an enormous effort hasa come to fruition with the release of Squeeze with a kernel clean of closed firmwares.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Ubuntu One in Natty gets notification-savvy

          It may not have an Indicator icon on the panel like Dropbox does, but that doesn’t mean that you won’t be notified by Ubuntu One about what it’s up to, with your files.

        • Natty pimps audio call requests

          Audio call requests made via Empathy are to receive some long over due ‘pimping’ in Ubuntu 11.04.

          Incoming calls are no longer alerted to users via the Ubuntu Messaging Menu, instead they are displayed using IDO – ‘Indicator Display Objects’.

        • Ubuntu: 2011 Thoughts and Goals

          Assist in having developers and testers think about accessibility.

        • Natty Wallpaper Illustrations – So far!

          I could not be more delighted with the quality and diversity of the designs submitted. Please view the complete set here as the following examples are just a few of the many excellent submissions.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • Pinguy OS LTS Update: 10.04.2 [Ubuntu Remaster]

            An update for Pinguy OS 10.04 LTS was released today: 10.04.2. For those who are not familiar with Pinguy OS: it’s an Ubuntu remaster with a lot of useful default applications “built to have eye candy (Gloobus Preview, GNOME Do, Docky, Nautilus Elementary) and for every part of it to be user-friendly”. It comes with a lot of applications we’ve featured on WebUpd8 so if you want a ready-to-use Linux distro, you should really try Pinguy OS. I like to call it “Ubuntu after a week of customization” but lately it’s getting way past “a week”.

          • Lubuntu’s new theme ‘ozone’ ready for testing

            Lubuntu 11.04′s proposed new theme, ‘OZone‘, has been made available for testing from the Lubuntu desktop PPA.

            The theme is currently only available for Natty users.

            The theme is based, in part on Xubuntu’s default theme ‘Bluebird‘ with touches of Zuki Blues by Lassekongo.

          • Bodhi Linux 0.1.5 and the Enlightenment Desktop

            Bodhi Linux is clearly following that principle, using the tools of Enlightenment and repositories of Ubuntu. This will be a fun, and pleasant, release to watch.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • HP to Microsoft Sayonara?

      HP made its play for the lucrative mobile market with a number of products that will be powered using its own operating system, sending a message to Microsoft that the clock is ticking for its Windows OS.

    • Phones

      • HP donates a hefty server to homebrew WebOS Internals Group

        There was a piece of news that didn’t happen to get mentioned at last night’s developer event. HP has made a donation to a charity on behalf of the WebOS Internals homebrew group that is valued at over $10,000.

        A few weeks ago, it became clear that future growth in webOS would outpace the server infrastructure that WebOS Internals currently has in place. They were going to need some beefy hardware to keep up with the demands of acting as the a central repository for webOS homebrew apps, patches, and kernels.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Nokia swaps one ‘burning platform’ for another in Microsoft’s silent takeover of the Finnish phone maker

          The deal is a merger without the red tape, without billions paid out or without the whiles and wherefores of nasty, debilitating integration. Microsoft won’t own Nokia, technically, but it’s a takeover in principle. A former top Microsoft executive now runs Nokia and he just cut a sweet deal that’s all white meat and gravy for Microsoft and gristle and bone for Nokia. If I were a Nokia employee or investor, I’d stage a revolt.

        • MSQt™ Developer Guide
        • Nokia to cut thousands of jobs, Google reminds it is hiring
        • MeeGo Limbo

          So I was in for something big and different when a few years later I was named the US factory quality engineer for the Nokia 770. I was blown away by the product alone, but as I became more familiar with what it could do, I was truly impressed with its potential. Suddenly the idea of a computer in my palm was no longer this abstract concept, but something I could see, feel, do. And it ran Linux.

        • Linux Foundation Responds to Nokia Microsoft Partnership

          “The Linux Foundation is disappointed in Nokia’s decision today to choose Microsoft as the primary platform for its mobile phones. Tough times give birth to difficult decisions that we don’t always agree with, but open source is — at its core — about choice. We believe that open source software is more than a sum of its parts, and the market is currently bearing that out. The Linux Foundation is here to enable collaboration among its members and the Linux community, and we invite participation in MeeGo and any of our other many projects and programs. In its 20th anniversary year, Linux is a significant underpinning in every computing segment. Full steam ahead.”

        • Oh Nokia, We Loved You So…

          As many of you know, today Nokia announced that they’ve abandoned Linux, and partnered with Microsoft for their future phones. While current Linux based phones (Like our own Kyle Rankin’s N900) will continue to identify with freedom, any future offerings from Nokia will be all Windowsy. For those of us interested in Linux based handsets, our choices have been seriously decreased. Android is great, but competition within the Linux community is great too. Competition often sparks innovation. Sadly there’s little we can do but weep. Well, that and look for another hardware vendor to love.

        • The End of the (Nokia) Raj

          A long time ago, when World War II ended, two things happened. Two brand-new superpowers emerged, the United States of America and the U.S.S.R., and the world very soon organized itself into two camps. As this power shift happened, Great Britain lost its preeminence as a world superpower.

          Hobbled by the heavy expenses of the war, Great Britain couldn’t muster up the economic heft needed to hang on to its superpower status. Not long after, the dominoes started to fall. It had no option but to give India, once its crown jewel, independence. The British Raj came to an end. And soon after, the British Empire came to an end.

          That little snippet from history is less a political comment, but more as my way of trying to give some context to the mobile industry. All great empires come to an end, and perhaps today, we are seeing the beginning of the final days of Nokia, world’s largest mobile phone maker and the company that, among other things, championed the very idea of a smartphone.

        • Nokia’s Doomsday – the Elopocalypse?

          Nevertheless MeeGo is not only Nokia’s child. It is also powered and driven by Intel. Also Intel announced to continuously work on MeeGo. The main problem is that Nokia was the one vendor who was expected to equip its smart phones with it. Only too well, if another company would fill this gap – or will it run on more or less living OpenMoko?

        • Exclusive: Nokia’s Windows Phone 7 concept revealed!

          Look what we’ve found! This is the first image you’ll see anywhere of the early fruit of Microsoft and Nokia’s budding new partnership. We have it on good authority that the technicolor phones on show are conceptual devices produced by the two companies.

        • What is the Future of Qt now ?

          Following yesterdays news of Nokia replacing MeeGo with Windows Mobile as its primary future SmartPhone platform, there was a lots of confusion if MeeGo would survive this calamity (Of COURSE it will), but the other prominent question was “What is the future of Qt ?”. As Nokia actually own Qt, would they in fact utilise and support it.

        • Nokia new strategic direction. What is the future for Qt?

          Wow, what a day… Nokia outlined its new platform strategy for smartphones, with Windows Phones as it primary smartphone platform in a proposed partnership with Microsoft… and Microsoft’s tools would be used for Nokia Windows Phone application development … and guess what, it has raised a lot of questions in the Qt community.

        • Nokia: MeeNoGo?

          Nokia has been losing marketshare in the last few years and has been trying a few things. In 2010 Q4, They lost the title of being the number 1 smartphone to Android. This was after having this lead for 10 years.

          They tied up with Intel for Meego, which is Linux based OS for smart phones and tablets. Now their first device is cancelled.

        • Mike Elgan: Why Nokia is toast

          Nokia is being killed by complexity. The company’s solution? More complexity.

        • A MeeGo timeline: What led up to today’s Microsoft/Nokia partnership?
        • Microsoft, Nokia, and MeeGo: Are they all doomed?

          It’s true that Windows phones have lost market share – and that Microsoft is starting from zero in terms of market share on Windows Phone 7, an operating system that’s not actually Windows as we know it and not the earlier version of Windows for devices, Windows CE.

        • Fujitsu Announces Their First MeeGo OS Netbook, It’s Really Thin

          Fujitsu LifeBook MH330 black caseThought MeeGo was dead with the recent changes happening over at Nokia? Well it’s not MeeGo for all intents and purposes will be carrying on, however Nokia’s role with the project for the future is cloudy at the moment. MeeGo if you didn’t know is a mobile OS project championed by Intel and Nokia. The MeeGO OS is a Linux based OS that uses a bit from Intel’s Moblin netbook OS and Nokia’s Maemo mobile platform.

        • Fujitsu unveils world’s first MeeGo netbook, world barely notices

          It hasn’t been a terribly good week for MeeGo, but there’s a scant silver lining in the cloud — the first MeeGo netbook has arrived in Singapore, courtesy of Fujitsu. Actually, to be precise, it’s the first netbook to ship with MeeGo preinstalled, as Fujitsu’s simply shoehorned the lightweight operating system onto its existing LifeBook MH330 machine.

        • Palm’s Ari Jaaksi (Who Previously Lead MeeGo At Nokia) On Nokia Ditching MeeGo
        • You CAN make a difference!

          On another note, I worry about my old friends a lot. I’m sad to see they no longer trust they can make a difference. They’ve given up and given away their passion. Sorry, that ain’t gonna work. You must believe in yourself and what you are up to, and you must believe you can change the world. That’s the only way I know. All the best, though.

        • What now for MeeGo? Some proposals
        • Committed to Linux

          As a Nokia employee working on MeeGo, I feel that my career is going to be deeply affected by the recently announced Nokia strategy. I’m not going to comment on the value of the business decisions; of course I have my opinions about that too, but what I feel more important now is the future of MeeGo, and Linux-based platforms in general, inside Nokia.
          The announcement mentions MeeGo only marginally, as a “longer-term market exploration”, and ends the paragraph with “Nokia still plans to ship a MeeGo-related product later this year”. This sounds to me like: we won’t market any MeeGo devices in parallel with Windows Phone ones, not to hinder the latter’s success, but we’ll release the MeeGo product we’re currently working on before downscaling MeeGo back into the R&D division.

        • Tweeting with TwimGo 2.7.0

          I spent last few days testing my recent changes to TwimGo, Qt based Twitter client. Now it uses darker theme which looks awesome on my N8 and N900 and should look magical on your E7′s ClearBlack screens (let me know how it looks :)). I also tweaked the buttons look&feel and I think that they look stunning now. I might release the Button component as separate QML file if you wish.

        • So farewell to the cheesy phone OS

          The not unexpected news that Nokia have finally given up on it’s Symbian mobile phone operating system is still sad news. Symbian owes its existence to the plucky (yes I know a cliche) British firm of Psion, original develops of computer games for Sinclair and developers of the first generation of PDAs. Needing a relatively powerful operating system which allowed multi-taking, could drive a simple graphic user interface with low power consumption, Psion developed EPOC the ”Electronic Piece Of Cheese”.

      • Android

        • [Exclusive] Android Ice Cream Details – Bits of Honey, But Not the Full Comb [Build GRI17]

          Google has been met with the question time and time again: will Honeycomb ever make it to phones? You had to guess that their answer has either always been “no” or “we don’t know” by now – that version of Android is just too fleshed out for phones. That doesn’t mean tastes of Honeycomb won’t affect future phone versions of Android though.

          We’ve just gotten word from a trusted source that Google has begun building a new branch of code – being called GRI17 (Gingerbread post-Honeycomb, aka “Ice Cream”) – that aims to bring some of the new elements found in Honeycomb over to phones.

    • Tablets

      • Android tablets in big demand

        Android-based tablets look set for solid growth as shipments of the mobile product in third quarter jumped to 45 per cent sequentially from the previous quarter to more than 4.8 million units, according to experts.

        The figure is predicted to jump to more than 44.6 million this year and could result in a total of 70.8 million tablets being shipped in 2012, experts said, citing an article on Enterprise Mobility Today.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

      • Chromium browser survey

        If you are using the Chromium browser, please answer the following survey. It’s quick, and would greatly help focus the efforts in the coming releases.

    • Mozilla

      • Don’t Like The New Firefox Button? Then Change It!

        Firefox 3 users who switch to Firefox 4 for the first time need to get used to several interface changes that the developers have made. If you have followed the development from the first beta on you may have noticed that some of the design choices have been removed and replaced with something more Firefox-3 like. The mouse-over url information for instance were initially placed in the Firefox address bar but have been moved back to the bottom of the Firefox interface in the latest beta.

      • Is Mozilla’s 2011 roadmap unrealistically ambitious?

        Mozilla has published an updated roadmap in which it lays out its plans for 2011. The organization hopes to significantly shorten its release cycle and deliver a total of four major releases during 2011, cranking the browser up to version 7 by the end of the year.

        Some of Mozilla’s key technical priorities include improving responsiveness, integrating social sharing, refining the user interface, supporting 64-bit Windows and Android tablet form factors, finally delivering process isolation for tabs, and supporting emerging standards like CSS 3D transforms and WebSockets. In terms of features, Mozilla’s 2011 roadmap is compelling and achievable. There is room for skepticism, however, about the organization’s new release management strategy. Instead of aiming to roll all of this functionality out in a major release next year, Mozilla intends to push it out to users incrementally, using a series of three releases after the upcoming launch of Firefox 4.

      • Paste And Go Firefox Extension
  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice development in 2010
    • Not even included, but already improved!

      You may have noticed that the new LibreOffice icons “missed the boat” for the LibreOffice 3.3 final – as one of the developers said. Fortunately, they will be included in the upcoming minor release (see ReleasePlan).

    • LibreOffice 3.3.1 Release Candidate available

      The Document Foundation is happy to announce the release candidate of LibreOffice 3.3.1. This release candidate is the first in a series of frequent bugfix releases on top of our LibreOffice 3.3 product. Please be aware that LibreOffice 3.3.1 RC1 is not yet ready for production use, you should continue to use LibreOffice for that.

    • LibreOffice: The Future of Office in Linux

      LibreOffice 3.3 was released a few weeks ago and this marks a very important milestone in the Open Source Office environment. In my previous post I talked in detail about OpenOffice.org but completely forgot to mention LibreOffice and all of the exciting things that are happening at The Document Foundation.

  • Government

    • WhiteHouse.gov Releases Second Set of Open Source Code

      Friday morning at the Tech@State event at the State Department, the White House’s New Media Director Macon Phillips announced the White House’s second code release to the open source community that powers the Drupal content management system.
      Last April, we released four modules for the Drupal community, which focused on the scalability, communication, and accessibility of our site.

      Today’s code release constitutes a few modules we developed for ourselves, as well as a recognition of our sponsoring the development of modules widely used in the Drupal community, which improve the administration of our site in a variety of ways: file management, content presentation, and URL shortening are just a few examples.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Khan Academy Education Videos Arrive in the App Studio

      Today we launched a brand-new app in collaboration with Khan Academy, a renowned not-for-profit organization fulfilling the mission of global education through video classes. We are extremely honored to support their vision.

      The Khan Academy exemplifies the type of content creators for whom we built the App Studio – independent artists looking to build relationships with our global community of over 100 million users. With the Khan Academy, we have the added bonus of helping to promote a worthy cause through technology innovation.

    • Harvard Library Joins HathiTrust

      The Harvard Library has joined HathiTrust, a shared digital repository for published materials that is co-owned and co-managed by the academic and public libraries who are the Trust’s 52 partners.

      Helen Shenton, executive director of the Harvard Library, praised HathiTrust’s vision and heralded Harvard’s affiliation with it: “This is a highly significant new collaboration that reflects the changing landscape for research libraries everywhere. HathiTrust mission embodies the spirit and the substance of Harvard’s rapidly evolving library system.”

    • Open Sourcing My Genetic Data

      Today, I published all of my known genetic data as open source and released all my rights to the data. Roughly 1 million of my genetic markers are now in the public domain. I believe that I’m one of the first people in the world to commit my genetic data into a decentralized source control system [ed: orta was the first]. The initial reactions that I received when I told some of my friends that I was going to do this was a combination of shock and skepticism.

      “Why would you do something like that?”
      “Aren’t you afraid that somebody is going to use that against you?
      “What if your healthcare provider got a hold of that? They’d love to look through it in order to deny you for some pre-existing condition!”
      “Ugh, I’d never want to know that sort of stuff about myself!”
      “What if somebody clones you!?”

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Ghent Declaration

        Seizing the Opportunity for Open Access to European Research: The Ghent Declaration initiated by the reviewers of the EC OpenAIRE Project.

        The Ghent Declaration was submitted to the European Commission last January as a follow up to the launch of OpenAIRE on December 2nd.

        SPARC Europe, who led the panel discussion at OpenAIRE, very much welcomes the Declaration and is happy to make it publicly-available via its website as to encourage further debate on the important matters affecting greater than ever access to Europe’s research publications.

  • Programming

    • http://webmink.com/2011/02/06/fosdem-java/

      The Free Java DevRoom at FOSDEM was packed with people all day yesterday. At the beginning, Mark Reinhold (from Sun and now Oracle, the chief Java engineer) hoped to speak briefly about the new OpenJDK governance draft but faced plenty of searching questions about it – you’ll not get to see though, as Mark and Joe were unable to gain permission from Oracle for their talks to be recorded. But that was the last it was mentioned the rest of the day until my talk at 6pm.

    • Updates [Louis Suarez-Potts left Oracle]

      I have some news: I’ve left Oracle. But I have not left OpenOffice.org and so remain deeply involved in the project and in the promotion of the OpenDocument Format, or ODF. In fact, my focus, my efforts are strengthened by my newfound independence.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • MPEG envisages royalty-free MPEG video coding standard

      MPEG has issued a press release describing its intent to move forward on developing a royalty-free MPEG standard.

    • Why You Need Document Freedom

      It seems everything has a special day. While today’s celebration is easy enough to understand, you may not have run into Document Freedom Day, which this year is being celebrated on March 30th. Don’t for a second underestimate the importance of document freedom. It sounds dull – not just mundane, but the forgotten esoterica of the mundane – but it’s a crucial driver in the dominance of major software vendors. If the other elements of our Digital liberty are to be allowed to unfurl in their natural order, we need document freedom.


  • Goodbye office space? The shrinking American cubicle

    If you feel like your cubicle walls are closing in around you, you may be right.

    A combination of the troubled economy and the influx of mobile technology is changing the workplace landscape. Literally.

    Companies across the country are shrinking those boxed-in work areas or scrapping the notion of the once-ubiquitous cubicles altogether.

  • The Apostate

    Haggis was prominent in both Scientology and Hollywood, two communities that often converge. Although he is less famous than certain other Scientologists, such as Tom Cruise and John Travolta, he had been in the organization for nearly thirty-five years.

  • Rob Ford’s hide and no speak: Granatstein

    So our new mayor isn’t a media darling, and would rather hide in the shadows. So what?

  • MCSE cartoon
  • Tell Congress: Don’t pull the plug on NPR and PBS!

    We’re only a few weeks into the 112th Congress, and Republicans are already attempting to pull the plug on public media.

    In a budget proposal made public on Wednesday, House Republicans announced plans to zero out all funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), the nonprofit responsible for funding public media including NPR, PBS, Pacifica and more.

  • UberMedia, Indeed. Bill Gross’ Twitter Ecosystem Empire Just Acquired TweetDeck

    The number of companies in the Twitter ecosystem keeps contracting. But not for a necessarily bad reason, but because they keep getting purchased. And what’s crazy is that it’s largely one person who has been buying them up: Bill Gross. We’ve just learned that his company, now called UberMedia, has just acquired TweetDeck.

    We’re hearing that the deal, which happened recently, was in the $25 – $30 million range. And this is clearly the largest deal they’ve done yet as TweetDeck is the largest Twitter client outside of Twitter’s own properties.

  • The Internet Scores Its Second Victory Of The Day, Borders Nears Bankruptcy

    The WSJ is reporting that Borders is preparing for bankruptcy and might file for Chapter 11 at the beginning of next week — According to our old friends the people familiar with the matter. Apparently its plans to refinance and convert its unpaid debt into $125 million in loans were not convincing enough for publishers. The report also says that it will close 200 of its 674 stores.

  • Billion Year labor contract for Scientologists

    This “Billion Year Contract” is purportedly the document that Scientologists committing themselves to the Sea Org (a part of the organization alleged to practice indentured labor enforced by corporal punishment) are asked to sign.

  • Album Review: PJ Harvey – Let England Shake

    Polly Jean Harvey has to be, and if not should be, one of the most respected artists that England has ever produced.

    Despite her mainstream and commercial success, including the 2001 Mercury Music Prize, seven Brit Award Nominations, five Grammy Award Nominations and two further Mercury prize nominations, she has held her ‘cult status’, never ploughing the same musical furrow, always the risk taker.

  • Our World, Slowed Down 100 Times [VIDEO]

    Come with us into a world where everything is slowed down more than 100 times. Thanks to an expert videographer and editor named Tom Guilmette and a Vision Research Phantom Flex camera, we get a peek into an alternative universe — the same one we inhabit, but where the temporal element has been distorted in a variety of ways.

  • Science

    • A.I. expert Ray Kurzweil picks computer in ‘Jeopardy’ match

      When the IBM computer called “Watson” faces off against past Jeopardy champs on Monday, no one will be watching more intently than inventor Ray Kurzweil, a leading authority on the future of artificial intelligence.

    • Statistics Canada under seige

      If there’s one thing that has prevented me from despairing completely about the débâcle that is and will be the 2011 census, it’s been my faith in the professionalism and expertise of the people who work at Statistics Canada. Their present political masters may be deaf to reason, but this is only a temporary state of affairs. There will eventually be a change of government and when that happens, the expertise of the StatsCan professionals will still be there.

    • CFI Supports U.S. Rep. Pete Stark’s Darwin Day Resolution

      Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA) has introduced H. Res. 81 , asking for the designation of February 12, 2011, as Darwin Day, to honor the anniversary of Charles Darwin’s birthday and the importance of his work.

    • KinderSuperPosition

      “I think I can safely say,” said Richard Feynman, who understood everything, “that nobody understands quantum mechanics.”

      Quantum mechanics just doesn’t gel in the human mind. We can use the mathematical language of quantum mechanics simply enough, but it doesn’t paint a picture in our heads. Language only has meaning, according to Wittgenstein, to the extent that it paints a picture. He later revised this principle (the principle itself has obvious meaning, but paints no picture), but for many physical explanations that picture is still essential.

    • Stephen Wolfram: Can he topple Google?

      The British scientist Stephen Wolfram has a clear vision for the future – a vision that dates back to his childhood in the 1960s and 70s. In those days, we didn’t prophesise that computer technology would bring us convenient ways to shop, or new ways to talk to our friends in short sentences. The dream was much grander – that computers would work out stuff for us, a bit like Hal in 2001: A Space Odyssey (without the murderous intent).

    • Two Huge Holes in the Sun Spotted

      Japanese scientists have spotted two huge holes on the sun’s magnetic field, and it has been observed that the holes look darker than other parts of the sun.

      The holes, called coronal holes, are gateways for solar material and gas to spill out into space, according to space.com. The gaps in the sun’s magnetic field make a hole through its atmosphere, letting gas out, NASA has said.

  • Hardware

    • Sennheiser HD 555 to HD 595 Mod
    • The Bilibot Project is about affordable robots.

      The Bilibot Project is an effort to build an affordable robotics platform for educators, hobbyists and researchers. This project was started in late 2010, shortly after the release of the Microsoft Kinect, and was funded through a Kickstarter project in January 2011. To learn more about the motivations of the Bilibot project, and what it entails, check out our about page.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • House GOP Declares War on Planned Parenthood

      Capitol Hill’s abortion fight was already heating up, with skirmishes over federal funding for abortion, the effect of the tax code on abortion, and a controversial “forcible rape” provision. But on Wednesday, the Republican-led House of Representatives declared war.

    • The anti-abortion lobby’s gotcha tactics

      Lila Rose – an activist who schooled with James O’Keefe in the art of deceptive editing and other dishonest manipulation of undercover footage in service of rightwing aims – has been around a long time. Unlike her colleague O’Keefe, however, Rose has only one target: Planned Parenthood.

    • The UK needs a labelling scheme for GM-free meat products

      Most people don’t like eating foods that have been genetically modified. Where they have a choice – that is, the products are clearly labelled and there are alternatives – they tend to avoid GM offerings. This is one reason why GM crops tend to form animal feeds or staple foods, where consumers either have no choice or no awareness.

      There is every justification for the European Union to be cautious about authorising GM products: concerns about the impact of genetic modification on the environment and human health, and the risk of placing farmers in the hands of monopoly suppliers of GM seeds.

    • Bristol’s biofuels plant must be refused planning permission

      Today, the government will make what should be a very simple decision: whether or not to give planning permission to a power station in Bristol burning biofuels. The answer must be no.

    • The Insurers’ Real Agenda for Change

      The story much of the press missed was the revelation that the CEOs and lobbyists for the five biggest for-profits — UnitedHealth, WellPoint, Aetna, CIGNA and Humana — have been meeting frequently to plot their attack on the law.

  • Security

    • How to crash the Internet

      We know you can take down Web sites with Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks. We know that a country, like Egypt, can knock down a country’s entire Internet infrastructure. And, we thought we knew that you couldn’t take down the entire Internet. It turns out we could be wrong.

      In a report from New Scientist, Max Schuchard a computer science graduate student and his buddies claim they’ve found a way to launch DDoS attacks on Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) network routers that could crash the Internet.

    • Hackers Reveal Offers to Spy on Corporate Rivals
    • HBGary wanted to suppress Stuxnet research

      It is no secret that in recent days, Anonymous Operatives have released a cache of HBGary Federal internal emails to the public. Crowdleaks has discovered that within these communications, Aaron Barr received a copy of Stuxnet (a computer worm that targets the types of industrial control systems (ICS) that are commonly used in infrastructure supporting facilities) from McAfee on July 28, 2010.

    • HBGary: nailed by a 16-year-old

      That was Greg Hoglund (right) the front man for disgraced security company HBGary whose Aaron Barr claimed he’d penetrated the inner circle of Anonymous, the ungroup that’s brought a bright new dawn to a world until now controlled by a small band of vicious, unprincipled corporate gangsters and politicians.

      And people such as Hoglund and Barr who tried to sell the results of Barr’s labours to the FBI, including names of alleged Anonymous ‘leaders’.

      In retribution, Anonymous penetrated HBGary and splashed confidential company emails — 50,000 or more — online.

    • AnonLeaks – How far is too far?

      A new Anonymous site will, possibly as soon as tomorrow, feature another 27,000 emails culled from the server of Greg Hoglund, the red-faced boss of US security firm HBGary.

      He and his company, and spin-off HBGary Federal, were dragged through the mud backwards by Anonymous after one of Hoglund’s Main Men, ‘Federal’ CEO Aarron Barr, claimed to have cracked the people behind ungroup Anonymous.

      How can you crack something which doesn’t exist? But that’s what Barr said he’d done, and his assertion was picked up and headlined by no less a publication than Britain’s Financial Times.

      Having supposedly busted Anonymous, Barr and HBGary were definitely busted — and by an 16-year-old.

      Now that’s, ignomy, particularly for a firm which boasts it provides “classified services to the Department of Defense, the Intelligence Community and other U.S. Government agencies to meet their unique requirement”.

    • HBGary Email Viewer: Portal
    • Wikileaks Wasn’t The Only Operation HBGary Federal, Palantir And Berico Planned To Defraud

      By now the exposed plan of HBGary Federal, Palantir and Berico to attack Wikileaks and its supporters through fraud and deception, in order to help Bank of America, has been discussed widely. However, the leaked HBGary Federal emails suggest that this sort of plan involving these three companies had been used elsewhere. Apparently the US Chamber of Commerce had approached the same three firms to plan a remarkably similar attack on groups that oppose the US Chamber of Commerce.

      That leaked plan (embedded below) includes a similar plan to create fake documents and give them to these groups to publish, with the intent of “exposing” them later, to raise questions about their credibility.

    • Bombshell: Chamber of Commerce lobbyists solicited firm to investigate opponents’ families, children

      Thursday, ThinkProgress published an exclusive report that the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing trade association representing big business, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress. According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Attorneys for the firm solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop a sabotage campaign against progressive groups and labor unions, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com.

    • US Chamber’s Lobbyists Have Firm Investigate Opponents’ Families, Children

      Earlier today, ThinkProgress published an exclusive report that the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing trade association representing big business, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress. According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Attorneys for the firm solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop a sabotage campaign against progressive groups and labor unions, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, US Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com.

    • Stop The Chamber
  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Robed Lawyers Join Protests and March in Egypt, Calling for a Trial of Mubarak

      Thousands of lawyers and doctors joined protests in Egypt’s Tahrir Square on Thursday amid calls for Hosni Mubarak to resign.

    • Egypt’s military to warn against “chaos and disorder”

      Egypt’s new military rulers will issue a warning on Sunday against anyone who creates “chaos and disorder”, an army source said.

    • Systematic rape continues on Congo-Angola border: UN

      Systematic sexual violence continues to be carried out against Congolese women and girls caught up in mass expulsions from Angola to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, a U.N. envoy said on Friday.

      Community leaders recorded 182 reported rapes in seven villages along the border in January alone, while a U.N. assessment mission confirmed 1,357 reported rape cases in one village in a six-to-eight-month period last year, said the official, Margot Wallstrom.

    • King Tut statues, 16 other items missing from Egyptian Museum

      A full inventory of the Egyptian Museum has found that looters escaped with 18 items during the anti-government unrest, including two gilded wooden statues of famed boy king, Tutankhamun, the antiquities chief said Sunday.

      The 18-day uprising that forced out President Hosni Mubarak engulfed the areas around the famed museum, on the edge of Cairo’s Tahrir Square. On Jan. 28, as protesters clashed with police early on in the turmoil and burned down the adjacent headquarters of Mubarak’s ruling party, a handful of looters climbed a fire escape to the museum roof and lowered themselves on ropes from a glass-panelled ceiling onto the museum’s top floor.

    • NRC on Research on “War on Terror” Detainees: “A Contemporary Problem”?

      A National Research Council (NRC) 2008 report on a conference on Emerging Cognitive Neuroscience and Related Technologies examined briefly what it characterized as a “contemporary problem,” the possibility of doing research on “war on terror” detainees, removed by the U.S. government from Geneva protections against experiments done on prisoners of war.

      In a section of the report that looked at the “Cultural and Ethical Underpinnings of Social Neuroscience,” the report’s authors examined the “Ethical Implications” of these new technologies. The section explored the birth of the new field of bioethics, in response to the scandalous revelations of the Tuskegee experiments. The report noted that “On the whole, however, the system of protections for human research subjects is not well designed to capture instances of intentional wrongdoing,” providing “rather… guidance for well-motivated investigators who wish to be in compliance with regulatory requirements and practice standards.”

    • The addled piorities of US drugs policy

      If you still doubt that the war on drugs has completely warped American law enforcement priorities, look at Camden, New Jersey, poorest city in the state and second most dangerous city in the US. Last month, Camden laid off nearly half its police force – and raised taxes by 23% – in a desperate attempt to plug a few budget holes.

    • Criminal checks on people working with children to be eased

      The move – part of the coalition government’s plans to scale back Labour’s “over-intrusive” vetting and barring scheme to “commonsense levels” – is included in the protection of freedoms bill, which is being launched by the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg. It is designed to roll back “unwarranted state intrusion in private lives” through the use of CCTV, local authority surveillance powers and the police DNA database.

    • Rohingyas Flee Burma by Boat

      On a beach dotted with swanky, star-class hotels, a boatload of bedraggled men appeared out of the dark sea one midnight, exhausted from nearly two weeks at sea fleeing Burma’s repressive military.

    • The Domestic War on Protesters

      Recent weeks have seen waves of popular protest sweep through the Middle East in Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan and notably the demonstrations in Egypt, which continue into their third week. The international response has included powerful expressions of support for the people of Egypt and their right to dissent against the regime of Hosni Mubarak. Here in the United States, this support has come largely at the grassroots level with public statements and demonstrations of solidarity, primarily organized by Arab- American communities.

      The response from US government has cautiously paid lip service to some of the issues raised by the protesters. This is inconsistent with their actions, as the US has been a close political ally of Mubarak for years, giving billions of dollars in aid to his regime and had US diplomats supporting him during the protests. However, the unambiguous message we have heard from the political leaders of this country is the oft-repeated mantra that the United States supports universal human rights, particularly the rights to peaceful protest and free speech.

    • Allegations that Mubarak murdered protesters submitted to attorney general

      A number of lawyers have submitted reports to the attorney general that accuse former President Hosni Mubarak of involvement in the shooting of protesters and inciting chaos during the pro-democracy protests that started on 25 January.

      Judicial sources said accusations against Mubarak and former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli requested both men’s arrest and speedy trial. As well as shooting protesters, they are accused of ordering police to withdraw and allowing thugs and prisoners destroy the country.

    • Ron Paul “I’m Sure Our CIA Is Looking Around To See Who’s The Next Guy We Can Support” [Video]
    • You’ve Got Bail! (But No Freedom)

      The men’s shelter doesn’t look like a prison. There are no bars on the windows, no sign announcing the building’s institutional status. The walls are decorated with posters about Indigenous pride and occasionally the air is tinged with the sweet smell of burning sage.

    • War crimes investigation proceeding against Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

      The ICC’s chief prosecutor, Luis Moreno Ocampo, is conducting a “preliminary examination” into human rights abuses committed in Afghanistan by Taliban and ISAF forces alike. And while the ICC has focused in recent years on prosecuting African despots, Mr. Ocampo said he will not back down from prosecuting Western governments that are not holding their officials accountable for their actions.

      “I prosecute whoever is in my jurisdiction. I cannot allow that we are a court just for the Third World. If the First World commits crimes, they have to investigate. If they don’t, I shall investigate,” Mr. Ocampo said. “That’s the rule and we have one rule for everyone.”

    • G20 lawyer wants charges filed against police

      The lawyer for a G20 protester who claims to have been shot with rubber bullets by police at a Toronto rally is calling for a criminal investigation of the officers who he says were involved.

      Clayton Ruby on Friday showed reporters a video that he says shows two officers firing three rubber bullets at Natalie Gray during an east end Toronto protest on June 27.

      Two of those rubber bullets hit Gray, before officers surrounded and then arrested her, he said. Ruby also produced a photograph of an officer he alleges fired one of the shots. He believes that officer is clearly identifiable.

    • SIU passes on probe of Ottawa man’s arrest

      A probe into the treatment of a homeless man in an Ottawa cell block has been sent back to Ottawa police after the province’s Special Investigations Unit ruled it had no jurisdiction over special constables.

      Jeremiah Ivalu, 37, of Ottawa, told CBC News he had two ribs broken while in police custody on Nov. 10 after he took off his shoe and threw it at a police officer in the booking area.

    • Man hit by officer has charges dropped
    • Police open criminal investigation into G20 arrest

      Police are opening a criminal investigation into the arrest of Natalie Gray, a G20 protester who alleges she was seriously harmed after she was shot at close range with two rubber bullets.

      Gray launched a civil lawsuit last September claiming over $1.6 million in damages, naming the Toronto Police Services Board and 10 unknown John and Jane Doe officers who were involved in the incident as defendants.

    • Yemen: Pro-Government Forces Attack Demonstrators

      Hundreds of men armed with knives, sticks, and assault rifles attacked anti-government protesters in Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, as Yemeni security forces stood by, Human Rights Watch said today. Within an hour, the 1,000-plus protesters had been pushed from the square and at least 10 had been detained by security forces, Human Rights Watch said.

      Human Rights Watch witnessed at least 10 army trucks carrying men in civilian clothing to Sanaa’s Tahrir Square, where a crowd of around 1,000 Yemenis had been demonstrating in support of the historic changes in Egypt and against the Yemeni government. Hundreds of men, their arrival coordinated by uniformed security agents, attacked the anti-government protesters with knives and sticks, prompting the majority to flee.

    • Yemen protesters: ‘First Mubarak, now Ali’

      Hundreds of anti-government protesters marched toward a presidential palace in Yemen on Sunday, calling for regime change in the Middle Eastern country.

      Some of them chanted, “First Mubarak, now Ali,” referring to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and Hosni Mubarak, who recently resigned as president of Egypt after nearly 30 years in power.

      Security forces put up a barbed wire barricade and blocked the protesters’ path about two miles from the palace. At that point, the situation intensified as protesters turned away and attempted to reach the palace through side streets.

    • Obama overrules Amnesty International & President of Yemen, Journalist remains imprisoned

      Protesters in south Yemen called for the secession of the once independent south today. Security forces were out early in the day with tanks and police to force protesters back inside. Scores of protesters were moved off of the streets of Aden, but dozens managed to get out in Crater, Khor Maksar, and Al-Mansura, and several hundred people in Zinjibar. Police in Al-Masura, fired warning shots and tear gas. Some reports say thousands of protesters were out in all provinces.

    • Pro-democracy rally begins in Algeria, defying ban

      Thousands of people are holding a pro-democracy rally in Algeria’s capital Algiers, defying a government ban.

      Scuffles broke out between the protesters and riot police and a number of people were reportedly arrested.

    • Jihadist groups watch revolution pass them by

      Jihadist groups across the Middle East have applauded and encouraged the popular movements in Tunisia and Egypt, but their exhortations have made little impact on the course of events. In fact, they’ve hardly been noticed.

      Even so, a survey of postings on jihadist websites and forums suggests Islamist groups see opportunities to exploit what has happened.

      Al Qaeda and associated Islamist groups, long committed to the overthrow of Arab governments, have so far been marginalized spectators rather than drivers of protest, behind the curve of what U.S. President Barack Obama has called the “arc of history.”

    • Algeria shuts down internet and Facebook as protest mounts

      Plastic bullets and tear gas were used to try and disperse large crowds in major cities and towns, with 30,000 riot police taking to the streets in Algiers alone.

      There were also reports of journalists being targeted by state-sponsored thugs to stop reports of the disturbances being broadcast to the outside world.

      But it was the government attack on the internet which was of particular significance to those calling for an end to President Abdelaziz Boutifleka’s repressive regime.

      Protesters mobilising through the internet were largely credited with bringing about revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia.

    • Al Jazeera’s Social Revolution (In Realtime)

      While you can debate about the exact role of social media, specifically Twitter and Facebook, in Egypt’s revolution, there is no question about its role as a new global media channel. Where once people tuned into CNN to watch governments collapse, this time around they tuned into Al Jazeera on the Web (at least in English speaking countries lie the U.S. where Al Jazeera English is not widely carried on cable systems).

    • China activist Chen Guangcheng ‘beaten’

      A prominent Chinese activist and his wife are reported to have been beaten following the release of a video showing their house arrest.

      Chen Guangcheng and his wife, Yuan Weijin, were badly injured by security officials, according to the group Chinese Human Rights Defenders.

      It says the beating came after the release of a secretly shot film showing Mr Chen as a prisoner in his own home.

    • Executions Are Good, Says Iran’s Chief Justice

      According to Mehr news agency, Iran’s chief justice, Ayatollah Mohseni Gorkani, told his students in an ethics class that “our life, tranquility and peace depend on executions”. After reading verses from the Quran, Ayatollah Gorkani further stated executions are dictated by the Holy book and must be done in order to preserve tranquility of life and peace in the society.

      Gorkani went on to describe the role of the judiciary by saying that the critics of the Iranian judiciary “do not understand that the current security in the country is in the hands of the judges of the judiciary.” He furthered echoed the same theme by stating” judges and judiciary staff spent all their efforts to protect rights and institutionalize security in society”.

      The Islamic Republic of Iran is executing prisoners at an alarming rate. According to International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, Iran is executing one person every eight hours.

    • Iranian opposition leader under house arrest after protests call

      Son of Medhi Karroubi says family has been banned from visiting his father’s house amid plans for demonstration

    • This time, the people of Haiti may win

      In 1915, the US Marines invaded Haiti, occupying the country until 1934. US officials rewrote the Haitian constitution, and when the Haitian national assembly refused to ratify it, they dissolved the assembly. They then held a “referendum” in which about 5% of the electorate voted and approved the new constitution – which conveniently changed Haitian law to allow foreigners to own land – with 99.9% voting for approval.

  • Cablegate

    • A disturbing threat against one of our own

      A bizarre plan for an attack on the whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks and journalists construed as sympathetic to it — first reported by the Tech Herald — clearly targets Salon’s Glenn Greenwald, saying that his “level of support” for WikiLeaks “needs to be disrupted.” The report (you can download the purported final draft here) is listed as an “overview by Palantir Technologies, HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies,” and according to a string of e-mails also leaked, was developed following a request from Hunton and Williams, a law firm that represents, among others, Bank of America.

      Bank of America is the presumed next target of WikiLeaks, and has reportedly been bracing for what’s to come.

      The leaked report singles out other journalists, as well, and suggests that “these are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause …” And goes on: “Without the support of people like Glenn wikileaks would fold.”

      For a complete breakdown of what it all means, Glenn has a thorough, illuminating report. But what the authors of the report meant when they plotted how Glenn and the others could be “disrupted” or “pushed” is as unclear as it is ominous — and has us deeply concerned. The report was exposed by Anonymous, the pro-WikiLeaks hackers who went after the companies that dropped services to the whistle-blowing organization last year. Anonymous was apparently acting in retaliation to HBGary, whose head of security services, Aaron Barr, had earlier claimed to have infiltrated the Anonymous network. HBGary has since responded, claiming that “information currently in the public domain” from the leak “is not reliable because the perpetrators of this offense, or people working closely with them, have intentionally falsified certain data.”

    • BofA denies connection to proactive tactics to silence WikiLeaks
    • U.S. Chamber joins BofA in denying ties to disinformation campaigns

      The U.S. Chamber of Commerce — like the Bank of America — is scrambling to distance itself from a cache of stolen e-mails that continue to disgorge stunning details of how high-stakes, corporate-backed disinformation campaigns get birthed.

      The chamber and BofA are embroiled in mirror-image controversies stemming directly from the spontaneous hack last Sunday of HBGary Federal, a digital intelligence firm. The hack was pulled off by the elite global hacking group known as Anonymous.

    • WikiLeaks Secret Swedish Spy Law, US connection exposed.. [Video]
    • Wikileaks Useless Without Greenwald? [Video]
    • Why the U.S. shouldn’t try Julian Assange

      The Obama administration is under pressure to respond to WikiLeaks’ massive disclosures of State Department cables. It cannot stop the continued publication of the cables, which several news organizations around the world possess. It is reportedly leaning toward using criminal law to make an example of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in order to deter future Assanges. The government is conducting “an active, ongoing criminal investigation,” says Attorney General Eric Holder.

      The government should fully investigate how this major breach of national security occurred. But prosecuting Assange would be a mistake.

      The first problem with going after Assange is that the effort is likely to fail. Extraditing Assange from England (where he is now) or Sweden (where he may go to face charges of sexual assault) would not be easy, especially since Assange’s actions might be deemed a “political offense,” for which exceptions are made to extradition obligations.

    • Julian Assange – U.S. International Extradition and Alternatives to Extradition

      Federal Attorney Douglas McNabb addresses U.S. International Extradition, and alternatives to extradition, that Julian Assange may face if indicted by the U.S. Government.

    • Cablegate Coloring Book

      The release of classified US diplomatic cables by Wikileaks has contributed greatly to public discourse about many important issues. Now it’s time to get creative. Find a cable, draw on it, and share your thoughts with us, visually.

    • EXPOSED: Attack on Wikileaks [Video]

      Corporations are working to take Wikileaks out, and the government is approving of it. Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake.com explains.

    • Twitter Wikileaks Court Order

      In January 2011, the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed three motions on behalf of Birgitta Jonsdottir, the Icelandic parliamentarian whose Twitter account records were targeted by the government in connection with its investigation related to WikiLeaks.

    • US Senator from Hawaii confirms ‘Republican placed Anonymous Hold on Whistleblower Protection Act’

      The U.S. Senator from Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, has confirmed that a Republican Senator placed an anonymous hold on The Whistleblower Protection Act.


      I created a list of Senators, who are on Twitter, and who have not yet responded to: “Did you place an anonymous hold on the Whistleblower Protection Act?” Both U.S. Senator Inouye of Hawaii and U.S. Senator Stabenow of Michigan responded to the Twitter campaign directly from their official accounts.

    • Harper gets secret WikiLeaks briefings

      Stephen Harper’s government is saying next to nothing publicly about the deluge of WikiLeaks flooding cyberspace.

      But behind closed doors, it’s a very different story, newly obtained memos show.

      The declassified correspondence reveals the depth of the Conservative government’s concerns about leaked U.S. diplomatic messages that continue to grab headlines in Canada and around the globe.

    • US diplomat calls African dictator a good guy

      A U.S. diplomat called Equatorial Guinea’s dictator of 31 years one of “the good guys” in leaked diplomatic cables urging Washington to engage with its third largest oil supplier or risk endangering energy security.

      In 2009 cables published by WikiLeaks, Anton K. Smith, the ranking U.S. diplomat at the time, described a country beset by foreign and homegrown predators, “sharks … buccaneers and adventurers,” since U.S. wildcatters discovered oil in 1994.

    • WikiLeaks: Charles Taylor may have $400 million out of reach

      US officials were told that if Mr Taylor is found guilty of war crimes, the international court in The Hague might only be able to recover a fraction of his wealth.

      On Friday judges in The Hague adjourned indefinitely the three-year-old trial of Mr Taylor on charges of arming rebels who killed and maimed Sierra Leone citizens.

      Instead of closing it, as scheduled, Mr Taylor’s lawyers were granted leave to appeal an earlier decision refusing the late filing of a defence document.

    • Assange trapped in cozy Sweden-US relationship

      WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to appear in a London court to fight extradition to Sweden over alleged sex crimes. Sweden denies any intention to extradite him to the US, but as RT has found out, Stockholm may be far from impartial in this case.

    • Wikileaks: US Embassy Urged Finland To Join NATO

      Diplomatic cables provided to YLE by the Wikileaks organisation reveal that officials from the American Embassy in Helsinki tried to corral Finnish politicians into supporting NATO membership over the past decade.

      The embassy has also carefully tracked Finnish opinions on the NATO issue. According to the Wikileaks material, politicians from the conservative National Coalition Party (NCP) have claimed that they would lead Finland into NATO if they head the government after elections in April.

    • Cables Show Close US-Finnish Contacts

      The Finnish Broadcasting Company (YLE) has obtained about 1,000 diplomatic cables published by Wikileaks related to contacts between Finnish and American officials over the past decade.

      The documents make it clear that discussions between Finland and the US have been intensive and frank. YLE will begin publishing the content of these cables on Friday.

      The material in YLE’s possession makes it clear that President Tarja Halonen has played a central role in these contacts. The US administration has taken note of Halonen’s critical views, but seen her role as crucial – and clearly held her in respect. YLE’s editorial staff has been studying the material this week.

    • TPB #Cablegate
    • CPAC Audience Cheers Wildly For Coulter Comment, “I Think There Should Be More Jailed Journalists”

      From February 12 coverage of CPAC 2011…

    • Assange Speaks
    • Why Bradley Manning Is a Patriot, Not a Criminal: An Opening Statement for the Defense of Private Manning

      Bradley Manning, a 23-year-old from Crescent, Oklahoma, enlisted in the U.S. military in 2007 to give something back to his country and, he hoped, the world.

      For the past seven months, Army Private First Class Manning has been held in solitary confinement in the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. 25,000 other Americans are also in prolonged solitary confinement, but the conditions of Manning’s pre-trial detention have been sufficiently brutal for the United Nation’s Special Rapporteur on Torture to announce an investigation.

      Pfc. Manning is alleged to have obtained documents, both classified and unclassified, from the Department of Defense and the State Department via the Internet and provided them to WikiLeaks. (That “alleged” is important because the federal informant who fingered Manning, Adrian Lamo, is a felon convicted of computer-hacking crimes. He was also involuntarily committed to a psychiatric institution in the month before he levelled his accusation. All of this makes him a less than reliable witness.) At any rate, the records allegedly downloaded by Manning revealed clear instances of war crimes committed by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, widespread torture committed by the Iraqi authorities with the full knowledge of the U.S. military, previously unknown estimates of the number of Iraqi civilians killed at U.S. military checkpoints, and the massive Iraqi civilian death toll caused by the American invasion.

    • Expelled Guardian journalist back in Moscow

      The Guardian’s Moscow correspondent Luke Harding who was expelled from Russia a week ago, returned to Moscow on Saturday, head of the Foreign Press Association of Moscow Adib Al Sayed said.

      Harding, 42, was refused reentry to Russia at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport on February 5 after being absent from the country for two months. He was put on a plane back to Britain, and his visa, valid until May 31, 2011, was annulled.

      Harding obtained a new visa at the Russian embassy in London, and his new press accreditation is ready, Al Sayed said.

    • Viewing cable 08LIMA480,

      European NGOs, Peruvian social movements, and radical groups have been working since early 2007 to organize “anti-summit” protests against the European Union-Latin American Heads of State summit scheduled for mid-May in Lima. In early 2008, the Venezuelan Embassy allegedly helped craft a cooperation agreement between protest organizers and nationalist opposition leader Ollanta Humala. Bolivian President Evo Morales is so far the only head of state confirmed to address anti-summit protestors. Notwithstanding the recent arrest of seven terrorist suspects and the government’s public claims, we have not seen evidence backing the notion that the Venezuela-backed Bolivarian Continental Coordinator plans to disrupt the summit. The greatest concern among our European Union mission colleagues is the threat that radicals could hijack the protests by aggressively confronting ill-prepared security forces, as occurred in Cusco in February. The GOP is taking these threats seriously.

    • British Consul Closes Office to Duck Assange Letter

      On February 7, 2011, a small group of peace activists organized by the “Tackling Torture at the Top” Committee of Women Against Military Madness (WAMM) tried to meet with the British Honorary Consul at his office on the 26th floor of the US Bancorp Center, 800 Nicollet Mall, in downtown Minneapolis. The purpose of the meeting was to deliver a letter with more than 750 signatures asking the British government to observe their own laws prohibiting political extradition in the case of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange. Various news sources (also here and here) have claimed that the proposed extradition is being pushed by the United States so that, once Assange is in Sweden, the U.S. can grab him for political rendition to stand trial in the U.S. with a possible death penalty.

    • Evgeny Morozov: The Future of WikiLeaks
    • WikiLeaks: Will Australia Help Julian Assange?

      On Feb. 4, a week before Julian Assange’s extradition hearing in London, thousands of people gathered in Melbourne at a free-speech forum. The star of the show was the WikiLeaks founder himself, who delivered a pre-recorded video message to the crowd. “I can’t wait to be back in Melbourne, where I have fond memories of taking a tram up Swanston Street, dropping in at Trades Hall and having my favorite coffee at the New International Bookshop,” he said, playing the crowd like a rock star. After comparing his fight for transparency to the American struggle for civil rights, he ended with an appeal to Australia’s Prime Minister: “Julia Gillard should be taking active steps to bring me home.”

    • Wikileaks founder’s mother says Australia has failed Assange

      Wikileaks founder’s mother angry, speaks to Jon Faine

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Tar sands are a blot on Canadian politics – as well as the landscape

      Here in Canada our prime minister, Stephen Harper, seems hell-bent in exploiting our natural resources for economic gain, regardless of the environmental consequences.

      Having oil or gas reserves, such as Canada’s tar sands, often brings a questionable benefit to the producer nation’s economy or society as a whole (Norway is one notable exception).

      While much of the world seeks to avoid serious climate change, Harper and his tight-knit crew of ideologues and communications experts are instead lauding their Clean Energy Dialogue with the United States, which emphasises just how “clean” Canada’s tar sands oil is.

    • Shark fishing in Japan – a messy, blood-spattered business

      In 2009, Kesennuma landed almost 14,000 tonnes of shark, worth just over ¥2.4bn (£17.9m): a decent-sized tailfin can fetch as much as ¥10,000.

    • Greenhouse emissions to double unless action taken

      Government climate adviser Ross Garnaut’s latest update to his 2008 review found the economic shift towards developing countries was so great they would be responsible for 70 per cent of global emissions by 2030, up from about half today.

      The expansion of China and India was more than offsetting the dip in emissions growth in North America and Europe due to the financial crisis.

    • WikiLeaks: Saudi oil reserves overstated

      Estimates of oil reserves in Saudi Arabia are overstated, meaning crude output could peak within the next decade, leaked U.S. diplomatic cables reveal.

      Washington fears Saudi Arabia overestimated its oil reserves by as much as 40 percent and the kingdom can’t keep enough oil flowing to control prices, U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and published by The Guardian newspaper in London reveal.

  • Finance

    • Bank scorched by stupid Facebook policy

      As a result, according to Australia’s Finance Sector Union, any staff complaint – down to the colour of the coffee-cups – would expose an employee to disciplinary action including dismissal.

    • The Big Society Bail-In brings protest to your local bank

      Look through the newspapers this month and two points will become immediately clear. First, the government is cutting, privatising and changing the very nature of social security and public goods that were won through the 20th century. Every aspect of what was fought for by generations seems under threat – from selling off the forests, privatising health provision, closing the libraries and swimming pools, and scrapping rural bus routes.

      Second, the banks are doing just fine. February is bankers’ bonus month; Barclays announces their gifts to themselves on the 15th, with its chief executive, Bob Diamond, expecting £9m just for him. While RBS is due to transfer its £900m bonus pool into the pockets of high-earning bankers on the 25th. These bonuses should make the disgrace of the MPs’ expenses scandal look like chicken feed and are another demonstration of just how much we really are not all in this together.

    • European debt crisis threatens Portugal

      The European Central Bank (ECB) has stepped in to the financial markets to buy Portuguese bonds on Thursday amid growing fears that the eurozone’s rolling crisis is about to claim its third victim.

      Policymakers in Frankfurt intervened for the first time in three weeks as borrowing costs on Portugal’s debt remained at a level that proved to be unsustainable for both Greece and Ireland.

    • UBS Whistleblower Finds Himself in Federal Prison

      Bradley Birkenfeld once lived the high life as secret Swiss banker at UBS in Geneva. Then he delivered some of the world’s best-kept secrets to the US government, expecting a great reward. And now he sits in federal prison in Pennsylvania.

      How’d that happen? It began in 2007, when the American-born Birkenfeld approached the Department of Justice with surprising evidence that UBS was helping alleged American tax cheats hide assets in Switzerland’s famous secret banking system.


      He says he’s convinced that wealthy Americans are hiding as much as a trillion dollars in wealth outside the US tax system, and that’s putting a huge burden on the rest of the nation’s taxpayers. “The average American is carrying the weight for all these millionaires and billionaires,” he said.

      “That’s the fact. That’s the truth. And until someone does something about it, it’s never gonna be cleaned up.”

    • How The Mubarak Family Made Its Billions

      But over the last 20 years, Mubarak, his family and his close circle of advisers have enriched themselves through partnerships in powerful Egyptian companies, profiting from their political power, according to numerous reports. The 82-year-old leader and his two sons also wield the levers of the government, including the military and the country’s preeminent political party, to reward friends and punish enemies.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • New powers to vet online adverts

      People who use the internet are about to get a new opportunity to complain about company websites.

      From 1 March, consumers are being invited to make official objections about indecent or misleading information on the internet.

      They will be able to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which is taking on new powers to regulate commercial websites.

  • Censorship

    • The real Internet censors: unaccountable ISPs?

      According to a new report, the Internet police are coming… and they’re not wearing badges. Instead, governments are devolving enforcement powers on the ‘Net to ISPs.

      Here at Ars Technica, we regularly report on the uneasy relationship between Internet Service Providers and the national legal systems under which they operate. This tension surfaces most obviously when it comes to suing individual consumers for illegal file sharing.

      Plaintiff lawyers want maximum cooperation from ISPs in tracking down subscribers to be subpoenaed, while providers like Time Warner Cable insist they can only process so many requests at a time. Denounced as permissive on piracy, ISPs and content industry lawyers collide in the courts.

    • A Look At Internet Censorship Around The World

      Shocklee points us to some fantastic infographics about global internet censorship, including this first one highlighting levels of internet censorship around the globe. Frankly, it looks like in some of the areas where there’s “no censorship,” it might just be that there’s not much internet usage. Also, I do wonder how accurate or up-to-date some of it is. For example, it says there’s no internet censorship in Venezuela, but we were just discussing some content regulations there.

    • Cuba welcomes new internet cable link with Venezuela

      Cuba has welcomed the arrival of an undersea fibre-optic cable linking it to Venezuela as a blow to the US economic embargo.

      The cable will transform communications in Cuba, which has among the slowest internet speeds in the world.

    • Cuba’s Internet Capacity To Increase 3,000x
    • Cuba unblocks access to controversial blog

      Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez said on Tuesday the Cuban government apparently has unblocked access to her blog, which had been off limits on the island’s Internet since 2008.

      In a posting on Twitter, she wondered how long Cuban Internet users would be able to view her Generation Y blog, (www.desdecuba.com/generaciony/), but exulted in the opening, however brief.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • Facebook Japan Takes Hard Line, Banning Pseudo Names And Requires ID

      Today February 8, some Japanese web users who are influential in tech communities like Hatena and Twitter, started reporting they were locked out from Facebook. After trying to log in, they were taken to the form, which title is “Complaints against a ban of your account, identity demanded”.

    • Protection of Freedoms Bill: CCTV / ANPR regulation at last, but not for National Security or on Motorways etc.

      An acid test of the Labour party since its election defeat will be how it scrutinises and enhances our freedoms and liberties through its Parliamentary scrutiny of this Bill. If it cannot even identify the weaknesses in this Bill and cannot successfully press the Government for positive changes, or it simply moans about “cuts” or just parrots the authoritarian lines fed to it by the control freaks hiding in the secrecy of Whitehall, then it will continue to be an object of hatred and derision. Given the make up of the Shadow Cabinet, the prospect of anything but dismal failure by the Labour party is slim.

    • Tell Your Representative to Reject the Next PATRIOT Act Sneak Attack!

      Last year, many important PATRIOT reform measures were proposed and debated, and 2010 began with a bill filled with powerful new checks and balances being reported favorably out of the House Judiciary Committee. But, as the bill ran up against the deadline, Congress decided there was not enough time to fully consider those reforms. So, in February 2010, Congress instead extended the “sunsetting” sections of the law until the end of this February, with a promise to fully consider the issues before the next deadline.

    • five minutes to speak

      Circumvention, anonymity, and privacy tools used in a free world can be a minor annoyance, i.e. wikileaks used wikis, ssl, email, and yes, tor, but in the end, it’s an annoyance. We don’t have people in the streets rioting trying to overthrow our govt. Wikipedia uses the same technology in wikis, ssl, and email. Everyone loves Wikipedia and considers it a net positive.

      The same circumvention, anonymity, and privacy tools are deadly to repressive regimes. The free flow of information and education are of great concern to a regime trying to control the horizontal and vertical
      of every day life. The tactics a regime can use are legal, technical, and physical. The regime can switch between tactics, generally depending upon what’s economical and most effective.

  • DRM

    • Judge Illston Alters Some of Her Order; Issues Referred to Magistrate

      The hearing in Sony Computer Entertainment America v. Hotz was held today, and Wired’s David Kravetz reports the judge, the Hon. Susan Illston, acknowledged that some details of the case got away from her a bit, and she apologized. She’s made some changes to her earlier orders.

      Specifically, she realizes that there’s no way to cleanse the Internet, so that part of her order is changed. He does still have to let Sony hunt through his computers, but she will put some limitations in place to make sure that’s all they do.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • The White House Asks: What’s Blocking Innovation in America? – My Answer: IP Laws

      President Obama just set a goal of wireless access for everyone in the US, saying it will spark innovation. But that’s only true if people are allowed to actually do innovative things once they are online.

      You have to choose. You can prop up old business models with overbearing intellectual property laws that hit innovators on the head whenever they stick their heads up from the ground; OR you can have innovation. You can’t have both. And right now, the balance is away from innovation.

      Let’s take some specific examples to show why that is so. When Napster first showed up, it was innovative. Heaven knows it changed the world. And instead of letting this creativity flourish, make money, and create jobs, the law was used to kill it. And kill it it did. The law is still trying to kill or at least marginalize peer-to-peer technology, and so it has never been used to the full.

      To understand why that is a loss to innovation, you might want to watch this 2005 panel discussion on peer to peer software, “P2P: Pirates, Producers, & Purchasers: Toward a New Ecology of Music and Entertainment,” one of the most depressing you can watch if you actually care about innovation. You can view it as a video here. It was at a conference on innovation and IP law that I attended that was sponsored by the University of North Carolina, and I’ll never forget Gene Hoffman, who had been the CEO of eMusic, who talked about how innovation was being restricted and contained by the law and pointed out how much money could have been made with the new technology for enjoying music if fear had not blocked innovation. He and others on the panel also talk about some economic advantages of peer to peer and how it can reduce the costs of bandwidth in distribution, which is a real factor that could help independent startups.

    • Copyrights

      • Pandora’s IPO Filing: Copyright Fees Eat Up Half Its Revenues

        The just-filed IPO documents by Pandora Media show a company on the rise. The popular web radio service served up more than one billion (yes, with a ‘B’) listener-hours in the final quarter of 2010—a five-fold usage increase in two years. But read the S-1 with the term “copyright” highlighted—as I just did—and you’ll also see some big challenges for Pandora and any other web radio services that hope to make it big.

      • Tell the USTR to reject ACTA

        The ACTA drafting process is finished, and countries are beginning to turn an eye toward signing it. Help us stand against it!

        ACTA aims to be an international agreement to establish even more imposing copyright and trademark laws throughout the world, with a minimum of scrutiny. Countries that sign the agreement commit to enacting DMCA-like anti-circumvention legislation, establishing criminal penalties for specific kinds of infringement, and maintaining several overbearing enforcement mechanisms.

      • Public Citizen & EFF File For Sanctions Against Anti-P2P Lawyer Evan Stone

        Remember Evan Stone? The anti-P2P lawyer (not the porn actor), who has been filing a ton of mass infringement lawsuits on behalf of porn companies. Like all of these lawsuits, the real intent is to frighten people into paying up prior to any trial. It’s using the judicial system as a business model. In one of the lawsuits Stone filed for Mick Haig Productions, the judge wisely asked Public Citizen and EFF to act as counsel for the John Does who had been sued, to represent their interests before allowing Stone to move forward with the discovery process (which would allow him to subpoena ISPs to get the names associated with various IP addresses). Public Citizen and EFF filed motions concerning some of the problems with the overall case and the judge refused to allow discovery while considering those motions. However, Paul Levy at Public Citizen discovered that Stone had gone ahead and sent out subpoenas anyway, and some ISPs had already started turning over the info.

      • YouTube and the major film studios

        The warning had been changed to Matched third party content, and the ‘Copyright info’ page informed me that though Warner Bros. Entertainment were registered as the owners of the original content (via the video/audio-matching algorithms it supplied to youTube’s Content ID program for The Exorcist), “No action is required on your part. Your video is still available worldwide”.

      • Is The President of Turkey a Movie Pirate?

        Twitter is an excellent medium for world leaders to keep the people informed on their thoughts and actions, but it can also lead to awkward situations. Yesterday evening the Turkish President Abdullah Gül tweeted that he enjoyed watching the Oscar nominated movie ‘The King’s Speech’ at home with his wife. An interesting status update, since the film has not premiered in Turkish theaters yet, nor is it available on DVD anywhere else.

      • Innocents chased to pay for illegal porn downloads

        Thousands of people around the UK were sent letters by a controversial law firm, accusing them of allowing their computers to be used for illegal downloading but a whistle-blower claims not everyone who was sent a letter was guilty.

        When “Sharon” opened her letter from a law firm, which came on bland, official-looking headed paper, she was shocked by its contents.

        Sharon – not her real name – was accused of illegally downloading a pornographic film, and the letter included a demand for £495.

Clip of the Day

Nokia and Microsoft announce partnership

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 13/2/2011: Cuba’s GNU/Linux Migration, New Mageia Interview

Posted in News Roundup at 3:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • Why You Need to Have a Linux LiveCD

      To rescue your infected PC, you first make sure the machine is turned off, and then you turn it on again with the CD, DVD or USB installed. This boots the computer directly into Linux, completely avoiding Windows and its infection.

    • Cuba Announces Migration to Open-Source Software

      More than 8,000 computers at the University of Computer Sciences (UCI) will be migrating to GNU/Linux open-source platforms, according to Abel Firvida, who is heading the open-source software project there.

      The school will be the first in the country to migrate to open-source software for such a large number of computers, Firvida told Prensa Latina, after presenting NOVA 3.0, an operating system compatible with the Ubuntu community, the largest in the world.

  • Server

    • Three little zillas from Taiwan

      Taiwan’s National Centre for High-Performance Computing is one place where a lot of good work allied to Linux goes on – but very little is heard about it.

      Perhaps that’s because the scientists who do the work are good at their work but not terribly good at pushing what they do.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Linux Outlaws 191 – Special: FOSDEM Coverage

      Dan and Fab talk about their experience at FOSDEM and interview Jared Smith (the Fedora Project Leader), Stefano Zacchiroli (the Debian Project Leader) and Ginger Coons from the Libre Graphics Magazine.

  • Ballnux

    • Samsung is backing Linux (SLP)

      While there are not any Samsung devices currently on the market running SLP, you can still support Samsung and FOSS by purchasing one of their many Android devices in the mean time or their Wave S8500 which runs on the Unix based Bada platform. Personally I am hoping that by the time I am ready to trade up my N900 a year or so from now Samsung will have some of their own Linux based handsets on the market.

      What do you think about this? Is SLP useless fragmentation in the Linux Mobile market or is it important that FOSS advocateds have more than just Android to turn to? Personally I believe it is the latter of the two, competition stimulates innovation.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Commit-Digest for 9th January 2011

        In this week’s KDE Commit-Digest:

        * Beginnings of type support for lists in KDevelop’s Python plugin
        * Cantor’s Qalculate backend is improved
        * KStars gains a feature to predict a star hopping route and dynamic switching between OpenGL and native backends
        * Marble sees improvements to the “Postition Marker” configuration dialog, gets “Earthquake” and “Overview Map” configuration dialogs and a planet option for the map creation wizard
        * Bug fixes to Plasma and its applets, KDE PIM, Phonon, and Amarok

      • Microsoft KDE?

        But then I thought about Qt and its acquisition by Nokia…

        Then I remembered the MySQL acquisition by Sun…

        Then I thought about Qt being the framework for KDE…

        Then I asked myself can KDE Free Qt Foundation stand the attack of the top US lawyers?

        Btw, if you think that this blog entry’s title is a joke imagine yourself three years ago using the product called Oracle MySQL.

      • A brief visit with Linux Mint 10 KDE edition RC

        Random Plasma Workspace crashes? Nope. This version has random complete freezes instead. But then again, I’m running from a Live CD, not a hard drive install, so I don’t know what would happen if I had the Nvidia drivers installed.

        Weird font inconsistencies with Firefox? This one’s new, too. All the applications follow the font settings except Firefox, which mysteriously uses the Ubuntu font for its menus and tabs. I imagine there’s probably a fix for this somewhere.

      • Revisited: KDE 4.6

        I recently tried reviewing KDE 4.6, and it didn’t turn out so well due to the combination of my installing KDE 4.6 in a live session and my using Linux Mint to try it out. (Also, I have said this before in previous articles, but again, my primary distribution is Linux Mint with GNOME, so that bias will show in this article somehow or another. Please do keep that in mind when reading this.) One frequent suggestion was to use Arch to test it next time. Although installing Arch may not be so bad, getting it configured to work right post-installation, while ultimately very rewarding, is time-consuming and pretty difficult, and I don’t think I have either the time or skill to do that. Then I had an epiphany (no pun intended): use ArchBang. It comes as a live CD and, after installation, it has a nice Openbox setup with things like sound and network settings configured properly out-of-the-box. It also comes with a whole bunch of GTK+ applications, so it’s ideal to see how well KDE plays with another DE/WM side-by-side.


        Hot on the heels of this announcement, Miguel de Icaza, one of the leading developers of GNOME, has said that he is “psyched” (apparently in a good way) by this. He has been taking a lot of flak from the open-source community for supporting the development of Mono, the open-source implementation of Microsoft’s C# programming language and toolkit; while I am wary of Microsoft’s moves with regard to Mono, I still do use GNOME-Do, which is Mono-based, and I’m OK with this because it is still open-source. However, de Icaza’s support of the Nokia-Microsoft partnership seems to be the last straw, even for me; as a developer of a core technology (GNOME) for Linux systems, how could he possibly support a company that has essentially issued death threats against Linux multiple times?

    • GNOME Desktop

      • The coming of GNOME 3

        It seems there is some strife in the Fedora community over the upcoming GNOME 3 / GNOME Shell in Fedora 15. Some people see it as a dumbing down of the user interface and others don’t. I wrote a fairly long response recently that I thought I’d share here.

  • Distributions

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • First Stable Release Of Mageia In June: Exclusive Interview

        Romain: Confidence is already here and Mageia grows out of it today. From the 17 people that triggered the fork, about 600 people volunteered to contribute, about 50+ of them are very active to this day, more than 150 people and several companies support us upfront with their money and hardware/hosting resources.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Kororaa Beta2 released – new GNOME version, KSplice, LibreOffice

          Kororaa 14 (Nemo) Beta2 has been released for download.

          This release includes several fixes, updates to all your favourite applications, as well as the following major changes:

          * GNOME version – that’s right, now Kororaa comes with GNOME too!
          * GNOME Shell – experience the future of the GNOME desktop (turn on manually, or pass “gnome-shell” to kernel)
          * Elementary icon set and GTK theme for GNOME
          * KDE updated to 4.5.5

    • Debian Family

      • Is Debian Dying?

        Exact figures are hard to come by. However, those that are available suggest that the Debian project is in no immediate danger of being unable to do its self-appointed tasks.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Workspaces come to Unity 2D

          Fans and followers of Unity 2D – the less hardware intensive Qt-using version of Unity currently in development – may be pleased to see that ‘workspaces’ have arrived in the latest builds.

        • Unity meet XChat-GNOME
        • Free and completely Ubuntu (2)

          The other day, I reported here that Tuesday evening (Feb. 8.), the popular tech-review program on danish public television channel DR2 “So Ein Ding…” dedicated an entire episode to Ubuntu.

          A commenter asked for a translation, so here it is, including the program host, Nicolaj Sonne’s evocative sound effects.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Elop is after me

          So I was not happy to see Elop (after graduating from Adobe and Microsoft, which surely increased his business “skills”) took over the role of Nokia CEO. Oh, oh… spider sense ticked off. Luckily, the other shoe dropped almost as quickly, also in a matter of months, as we all know by now.

          There is, however, a significant distinction between both scenarios. Director was never free software. There was no option: some from the community even tried the only possible route, which was to acquire the product, but Adobe did not want to let it go, probably out of fear that it will compete strongly again with Flash. So the “strangling” of the community succeeded. Qt, on the other hand, is free software. And KDE has also secured the FreeQt agreement. So, thanks to the L(GPL) and the efforts of the community, there is a way out.

        • Nokia adopts Windows Phone 7 – an employee’s perspective

          This morning, news broke out that Nokia has decided to partner with Microsoft and adopt Windows Phone 7 as its primary smartphone platform. While this has been speculated for many weeks, I can certainly tell you that it was a surprise for many people in and out of Nokia. Not even employees had any idea of what would be announced February 11. Well, now we do :)

          I will not repeat the press releases say here, so you can go read them if you want more details on what is going to happen with Nokia and Microsoft in the near future. I’ll talk more as an individual who’s been working with third party developers at Nokia for the past five years, and has witnessed the many transformations in our software strategy very closely.

          Today’s announcement spells the death of Symbian, not now but in the near future, when Nokia Windows Phone devices start shipping. I have been reading many blog posts about this decision, and there seems to be a trend (either by Nokia employees or Nokia fanboys – yes they exist) in the comments section of those blogs, that “Symbian is a great OS and Nokia just needed to adjust the UI for it to be competitive”. I beg to disagree, and so do many other people in Nokia. While Symbian was certainly great for smartphones a few years ago, its evolution was slow and it became too bloated and fragmented. The programming environment was arcane (Symbian C++ is hard and non-standard), the security model is too intrusive, and even internally it became harder and harder to ship products and updates quickly with Symbian.

        • ”Nokia, nyt on pakko kertoa!” [Nokia CEO has 261302 Microsoft shares and 0 Nokia shares]
        • Nokia & Microsoft – And what it means for QT and MeeGo.

          So in what manner will MeeGo survive as a niche platform? Well, as an open ‘platform’ of course (even if Nokia are unwilling to term it as such right now), just as RIM makes its money as business platform, and webOS will survive as a vertically integrated HP platform. Likewise will QT survive as a useful (if not strategic) part of Nokia’s future as it will remain the key enabler for development on its niche open platform.

          Events have not turned out as this blogger would choose, and one is far from convinced that Win7 represents a sensible move for Nokia’s long-term future, but regardless, all is not lost on the open-platform front.

        • Qt will not be ported to Windows Phone 7 says Nokia
        • The Latest Details On The State Of Qt & MeeGo

          Yesterday’s announcement of Microsoft and Nokia hooking up over Windows Phone 7 on Nokia’s smart-phone has rattled the free software / Linux communities. There’s more than 100 comments in our forums about this announcement and this isn’t the only tech community where there are outraged customers and other parties disappointed in Nokia’s decision. In particular, many are upset because with Nokia’s decision it basically pushes the MeeGo Linux operating system and the Qt tool-kit to the back-seat.

          In this Nokia Qt blog post by Daniel Kihlberg, the impact on Qt in regards to Nokia’s platform switch is downplayed. Daniel says that Qt will continue to play an important role in Nokia for the existing Symbian base, there’s still going to be one Nokia MeeGo device shipping this year, Qt Quick / Qt SDK 1.1 will still be delivered, Nokia will continue to hire Qt developers, and the director of the Qt Ecosystem adds that Nokia isn’t the only company behind this tool-kit.

        • What Nokia’s Windows move means for Open Source

          Jim Zemlin, head of The Linux Foundation tried to make the best of it, “The Linux Foundation is disappointed in Nokia’s decision today to choose Microsoft as the primary platform for its mobile phones. Tough times give birth to difficult decisions that we don’t always agree with, but open source is–at its core–about choice. We believe that open source software is more than a sum of its parts, and the market is currently bearing that out. The Linux Foundation is here to enable collaboration among its members and the Linux community, and we invite participation in MeeGo [an embedded Linux for smartphones and other devices that was supported by Intel and Nokia] and any of our other many projects and programs.”

Free Software/Open Source

  • Can Free, “Open-Source” Software Bridge the Gender Gap in Technology?

    If girls are taught computer skills in school from an early age, then there will be just as many female computer programmers as male ones … at least, in theory. But when computer classes involve being taught to use products from Apple, Adobe and Microsoft — and include activities like field trips to the Apple Store — who’s benefiting from them? The girls, or the corporations that sponsor their classes?

  • Web Browsers

    • Browser Feature War: IE9 RC1 vs. Firefox 4 vs. Chrome 9

      The Federal Trade Commission has been clamoring for Web browsers to institute do not track features that tell online advertisers you don’t want them to follow you around while you browse the Web. Internet Explorer 9 has answered that call with a new feature called Tracking Protection. IE9′s do not track feature allows you to create lists of sites that you want to block from tracking you. You can created your own list or find some pre-defined lists here on Microsoft’s IE9 Website. To enable Tracking Protection in IE9, click on the settings cog in the upper right corner of IE9 RC1 then select Safety>Tracking Protection.

      Firefox’s answer to tracking is much simpler. The browser has simply instituted a system that puts a message in your browser’s metadata that tells Websites you visit that you don’t want to be tracked. Of course, it’s any body’s guess if the sites you visit will honor your request, but it’s still a simple and elegant approach. To turn on Firefox 4′s do not track feature in Windows 7 go to the Firefox tab in the upper left corner then click Options>Options>Advanced. Then under “Browsing” select “Tell web sites I do not want to be tracked.” ??Chrome also has a do not track feature that you can activate by downloading an add-on called “Keep My Opt-outs.”

    • Mozilla

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • LibreOffice Sees First Update Already

      Today The Document Foundation announced the release candidate to LibreOffice 3.3.1. This is the first in what will undoubtedly become a series of ever-improving code. The Foundation warns that this is indeed a release candidate and not ready for your production environment. However, the list of fixes is extensive when considering version 3.3.0 was just released two and a half weeks ago.

    • Linux, Open Source & Ubuntu: New OpenOffice.org Suite Uninspiring but Adequate

      Aside from the debates over community control, it’s difficult to come up with significant faults in the OpenOffice.org suite. It’s polished and rather user-friendly, runs on a wide range of platforms and is well-suited for any organization that doesn’t want to commit itself to Microsoft’s ecosystem.

  • Government

    • 5 Factors for Open Source Success

      In 2001, Horst Bräuner, the IT director of Schwäbisch Hall, a fairy-tale city in southern Germany, faced a situation familiar to many local U.S. government officials. Germany was in an economic slump — the country’s economy had been flat for several years. The gross domestic product dropped from a 2.5 percent rate of growth in 2001 to an anemic 1.4 percent in 2002. In response, the federal government expanded the number of tax deductions firms could take on as losses. Since local governments in Germany depend heavily on business taxes, the change in the country’s tax law coupled with the broader economic recession led to a sharp decline in local tax revenue. But according to Bräuner, Schwäbisch Hall’s problems were even worse.


      Elected officials are often skeptical of new software, particularly nonproprietary software. Local governments may confront external pressure from software vendors to continue with existing (proprietary) systems.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About The Creative Commons Licenses But Was Afraid To Ask

      A while back my friend Karlisson Bezerra, author of the Brazilian comic (all using open source tools such as Inkscape, etc) Nerdson, created a pretty nifty story explaining how to use the Creative Commons license. The original strip was written in Brazilian Portuguese but someone took the time to do a quick translation into English (as the translator is not a native Brazilian Portuguese speaker, some things got lost in the translation, but the end result is still worth checking). So here is the finished work, enjoy it!

    • Open Hardware


  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • WikiLeaks: Suleiman promised to stop Gaza elections

      Egyptian VP said he will “take care of” Gaza, stop Hamas from gaining control, in meeting with Israeli official.

    • Former Guantanamo Prisoner Kurnaz Reveals Extent of Torture

      Murat Kurnaz, 24, who was released in August because of lack of evidence that he was involved in terrorist activities, said he endured many types of torture.

      “From electric shocks to having one’s head submerged in water, (subjection to) hunger and thirst, or being shackled and suspended,” Kurnaz said, listing the alleged abuses he faced while a detainee at Camp X-Ray in Cuba.

      A burly man with long reddish hair and a thick beard stretching down to his belly, Kurnaz spoke without emotion to CNN Turk television from his home in Bremen, northern Germany.

    • About Inside the Wire

      In an explosive newsbreak that generated headlines all around the world, a document submitted by army Sergeant Erik Saar to the Pentagon for clearance was leaked to the Associated Press in January, 2005. His account of appalling sexual interrogation tactics used on detainees at Guantanamo Bay was shocking, but that was only one small part of the story of what he saw at Guantanamo — and the leak was only one more strange twist in his profoundly disturbing and life-changing trip behind the scenes of America’s war on terror.

    • Maj. Gen. Taguba Accuses Bush Administration of War Crimes

      Retired Major General Antonio Taguba, the Army general who first investigated the abuse at Abu Ghraib, has accused the Bush administration of committing war crimes. “The commander in chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture,” Taguba said.

    • Obama: ‘Egypt will never be the same’
  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • AIG: Corporate Welfare King Mouths Off

      Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. In 2008, AIG was taken over by the federal government, propped up with a $183 billion taxpayer bailout and it remains so weak that the American taxpayer still has a large stake in this firm. If there is a “welfare king” on Wall Street his name is Bob Benmosche.

      It’s time for AIG to shut up and pay up the $31 billion it still owes U.S. taxpayers, with interest. And remember America — red, white and blue — don’t do business with AIG’s mortgage guarantor, United Guaranty, or other subsidiaries like Chartis property-casualty insurer and the SunAmerica Financial Group.

Clip of the Day

Neil Tyson – Human Intelligence?

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 12/2/2011: Intel Backs MeeGo, Java Doing OK

Posted in News Roundup at 6:18 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

    • HP Pretends Linux Voids Netbook Hardware Warranty

      Installing a different operating system on a computer does not change its hardware. This is a simple enough concept…unless you work in technical support for HP. Their phone tech support have joined their Geek Squad colleagues in insisting that a Linux-infested laptop was no longer under warranty.

    • Running PC Pro on Ubuntu: the verdict

      Yesterday, something remarkable happened. Our entire editorial team migrated to Ubuntu overnight and – by and large – it was business as usual. The website ran as normal, magazine copy was still written, we (just about) fulfilled our day jobs.

    • New to Linux? Here’s Your Hitchhiker’s Guide to Linux Forum Galaxy!

      This concludes my Hitchhiker’s Guide to Linux Forum Galaxy. From my personal perspective, Linux is a different world…it’s not perfect, but it is certainly more rewarding intellectually and personally. I am truly satisfied with my Linux experience, so if you are new to Linux, no matter what distro you chose, let me say:


    • Desktop Linux’s Killer Feature: Flexibility.

      Debian has a reputation in the world of Linux distributions as, well, “stodgy”. Debian Stable is pointed to as being out of date, stale, boring.

      Nothing could be further from the truth. The Debian developers have put together a titanic number of software packages, and done the work to make them function together like… “…like an enormous clock.”

      “The finest clocks have jeweled movements. Cogs that fit, and work together by design. I’m being metaphorical, Bob.”

  • Server

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • A Batch Of Graphics Cards On Gallium3D

        Yesterday the results for the Intel Core i5 2500K graphics on Linux were finally published after receiving a new motherboard and CPU from Intel that did not encounter the earlier Sandy Bridge problems. That article included results for several ATI Radeon graphics cards using both the proprietary Catalyst driver as well as AMD’s open-source Gallium3D driver, there was also the testing done from a NVIDIA GPU under the reverse-engineered Nouveau driver that’s also written against the Gallium3D architecture. In this article is an even larger round up of graphics cards being tested under open-source Gallium3D drivers. There are also results from the Gallium3D-based LLVMpipe driver.

      • Nouveau Page-Flipping For NV50/Fermi Is Flipped On

        While we are only half-way into the Linux 2.6.38 kernel development cycle with there still being a number of weeks before its formal release, there is already a reason to look forward to the Linux 2.6.39 kernel if you use — or plan to utilize — the open-source Nouveau graphics driver for NVIDIA graphics cards. What’s there to be excited over is page-flipping being enabled by defaultfor the NVIDIA GeForce 400/500 “Fermi” and GeForce 8/9/100/200/300 “NV50″ graphics cards.

        Hitting the Git repository this week where the Nouveau DRM (Direct Rendering Manager) code for the Linux kernel is developed are two prominent commits alongside several other NV50 and NVC0 “Fermi” commits. This commit enables Nouveau KMS page-flipping for the NV50 class, which covers lots of hardware currently in use out there. This commit that came in shortly thereafter enables page-flipping for the NVC0/Fermi graphics cards.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Zeitgeist Project to go for stable release cycles

        I think the title says it all. With the Zeitgeist deployment progressing, we see more soft & hard – dependencies on the Zeitgeist modules. Currently we plan 2 releases ahead based on the amount of bugs and blueprints we have open.

      • Better Shadows

        I looked into the order in which we are drawing windows and the effect that it is having on shadows today, and after a while it can start to look pretty horrible as the shadows stack up.

  • Distributions

    • Red Hat Family

      • Fedora

        • Beyond FUDCON: Meet Fedora Ambassador Larry Cafiero

          Larry Cafiero: You may want to grab a cup of coffee because these three questions require somewhat long answers.

          As for how and when: I was the Green Party’s candidate for Insurance Commissioner in California in 2006. During the campaign, I was faced with spending a lot of money on software, and the Greens don’t take corporate donations, so I was at a disadvantage there. I bemoaned the fact that I was going to have to spend a couple of thousand dollars on Adobe products — Photoshop, Illustrator, etc. — to Cameron Spitzer, who is the Greens’ IT guy in California and the man who is responsible for me being a FOSS advocate, and he said something to the effect of, “You don’t have to buy anything,” before explaining the philosophy and benefits of Free/Open Source Software. After the campaign, I kind of took a larger interest in FOSS and what it has to offer society.

          My first Linux distribution was Debian, and I still like Debian a lot. I still use it because, in my opinion, it works best on PowerPC architecture — I should mention that I was a Mac guy before converting to GNU/Linux and FOSS. I still have the flavored iMac on which I did my first Linux install in my lab at Redwood Digital Research, which still runs the same Debian install from a little over four years ago.

    • Debian Family

      • Review: Debian 6 “Squeeze”

        Overall, I’m pretty pleased with my time with Debian.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • A Shake-Up In The Ubuntu 11.04 Release Schedule

          Not only did Canonical announce today their relatively uninteresting hardware database, but Kate Stewart, the Ubuntu Release Manager, announced a scheduling change for the Ubuntu 11.04 release candidate. There will be no release candidate for Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal”, but an additional beta is now planned for release.

        • Ubuntu Developer Day a huge success

          We organised the Ubuntu Developer Day in Bangalore and received 350+ attendees. We had people travel all the way from Sri Lanka, Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and elsewhere..

          Most of the people were already Ubuntu users and I was happy to see the laptops people were using, all of them running Ubuntu.

        • Natty Schedule Adjustments (Beta 2 added, Release Candidate dropped)

          After reviewing the plans at the end of this release, it was felt that a release candidate release on April 21st showing up just before the easter holiday would be a bit late.

        • Unity 2D Gets A Workspace Switcher Too

          The default Unity (“Unity 3D”) has a cool workspace switcher that wasn’t available in Unity 2D (Qt) until last night’s updates.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Release Schedule Changed

          Kate Stewart (Ubuntu Release Manager) announced on the Ubuntu-Devel mailing list that there will be no Ubuntu 11.04 Release Candidate and on the date the RC was supposed to be released, a beta 2 will be released instead (but on April 14th instead of 21st). That means there will be no release candidate for Ubuntu 11.04.

        • Robbie Williamson to Host the Ubuntu Weekly Q&A Session Today

          I’ll also add summaries (link above to last weeks session) and links to the logs here (last weeks logs weren’t posted due to the changing of the irc channels) on You-In-Ubuntu in case you missed the meeting. In addition if there is something you would like asked during these sessions let me know and I’ll see if I can get your questions posted so they can be part of the questions and answer session. Just let me know your name so I can attribute the questions to the right person.

        • Ubuntu 11.04 Release Schedule Updated

          Ubuntu 11.04 release schedule has been changed and now there will be no more a release candidate on April 21. Instead of that a new beta 2 will be released on April 14.

        • No release candidate for Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal

          The Ubuntu release team has announced that it is dropping plans to have a release candidate for Ubuntu 11.04, but will have a second beta. A release candidate is a development version which should be, unless flaws are found, ready for distribution as the final version. According to the announcement, the developers decided that the release candidate appearing on 21 April, just before the Easter holiday, “would be a bit late”.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Replacing the File/Print Server

      Overall it was a piece of cake! This is the kind of hardware hacking that anyone can do. Right now the only annoyance I’m having is that even though I setup the hostname to babyluigi, I’m getting the system reporting itself to other systems as Plug.box or something like that. And on Super Mario, my Fedora setup running KDE 4.5, both the CUPS printer and the SAMBA share of that printer show up in my printer list. I had a look at Arch Linux almost exactly a year ago and I had a bit of a hard time getting started, but otherwise found it a good setup. Plugbox Linux is almost infinitely easy to get started as well as setup. Definitely puts Arch in a good light.

    • Phones

      • HP’s tiny Veer debuts with WebOS power

        HP has launched a new round of WebOS devices, including the Veer, a scaled-down version of the Pixi.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Intel Won’t Forget About MeeGo

          MeeGo was a Nokia/Intel joint venture aimed at producing an acceptably good Linux-based mobile platform for devices. Now that Nokia is going WinPho, however, it looks like MeeGo will soon get short shrift. But, if Intel has anything to say about it, things will remain on course as previously ordained.

          In a short note, Intel informs the world that they’ll be sticking by the platform, thankyouverymuch, and nothing will change.

        • Nokia Microsoft is like Yahoo Bing – Nokia’s days as innovator are over

          As I was plugging in to power my iPhone to live stream today’s Nokia press conference, I overheard someone lean over and say “This is the most important day of your life”. It was whispered into the ear of Nokia’s PR spokesman as he took the stage today to introduce Nokia CEO Steven Elop. It certainly was important – but not in a great way. Today his boss effectively ended Nokia’s history as an ecosystem of its own, laid down its guns, and gave in to a Windows Phone future.

        • Nokia Commits Corporate Suicide

          In my opinion the losers are:

          1. Microsoft – WP7 isn’t ready for prime time.
          2. Nokia – Adopting WP7 is like adopting buggy whips…

        • Meanwhile, in the Nokia boardroom…
        • Introducing The Microsoft Puppet

          Step 1: Install Elop.

          Step 2: Get him to make a crazy bold bet to move Nokia phones over to the struggling Windows Phone platform even though embracing Android would seem to be an easier and safer bet.

          Step 3: Install another Microsoft vet, Chris Weber, as head of U.S. operations.

          Step 4: Install other former ‘Softies in positions of power. (It will happen.)

        • In memoriam: Microsoft’s previous strategic mobile partners

          Microsoft’s new “strategic partnership” with Nokia is not its first. For a decade the software company has courted and consummated relationships with a variety of companies in mobile and telecom.

        • Nokia kicks FOSS to the Curb

          If you have been by my blog here before then you might know I really like my Nokia N900. It is one of the most flexible, powerful, open source friendly devices on the market. I bought mine and carry it with pride everyday (because I am an FOSS advocate). When Nokia announced they where merging Maemo into the MeeGo project I openly voiced my support. With a corporate backer like Nokia, Meego was sure to quickly become a forerunner in mobile technology.

        • On Nokia going down Microsoft’s Lane

          1-Where were the Nokia’s shareholders minds, when they brought Elop onboard Nokia.
          2-The man is a bureaucrat, he’s not a techie. I mean, bureaucrats do what bureaucrats do: cut costs and fire people.
          3-Nokia needs a visionary, not a bureaucrat. They need a Jobs, not another Ron Hovsepian. And Hovsepian things is what Elop will do
          4-Oh, no, the guy says they’re standing on a burning platform, and then, he tries to extinguish fire with gasoline… That’s amazing.

        • Microsoft just bought Nokia for $0

          Microsoft played this very clever. Even though I’m assuming that all this is at the request of, and with the blessing of the Nokia board of directors, you have to wonder what the hell they were thinking. Microsoft has yet to make a serious dent in the mobile market, in spite of pumping serious money into it. And even though Nokia has not done the best they could, their brand is still strong enough to have a sizable following.

          Nokia tried too hard to be another Apple, with an ecosystem that they themselves would own, including media offerings and so on. But Apple has all their ducks in a row, seamless integration, they have an awesome desktop OS, and they have – for now – an unmatched UI. Nokia can’t hope to gain parity with that in time for it to matter, they basically got moving (much) too late.

        • “More than a thousand employees” walk out of Nokia offices [Updated]

          There have been reports that “over a thousand” Nokia employees have walked out of the company’s Finnish offices in Oulu and Tampere this afternoon, many worried that they might be about to lose their jobs after Nokia announced it would be partnering with Microsoft to make its Windows Phone platform its primary operating system.

        • Over a Thousand Nokia Employees Reportedly Walk Out in Protest

          While Nokia’s partnership with Microsoft will undoubtedly present some attractive prospects for phone-buyers, there’s one cohort that’s not too happy about the news: the employees in Nokia’s Finnish offices. According to a Finnish newspaper, over a thousand employees left the Nokia offices in Tampere and Oulu this afternoon in protest.

        • Nokia workers walk out in protest after Microsoft news

          Many of the protestors work on the Symbian software so their jobs will be in jeopardy as Nokia begins to implement Windows Phone 7 on its handsets. Their future is not at all clear after today’s news–broad strokes have been painted but much of the logistics have yet to be revealed. Nokia will not work exclusively with the Windows Phone 7 operating system (and they will be customizing it) so jobs will be preserved but Symbian will no longer play the prominent role it once did at the company so job loss is inevitable.

        • Nokia falls into the arms of Microsoft

          IT LOOKS, in a way, like a stealth takeover.

        • Intel: “We’re Not Blinking on MeeGo”

          While we are disappointed with Nokia’s decision, Intel is not blinking on MeeGo. We remain committed and welcome Nokia’s continued contribution to MeeGo open source.

          Our strategy has always been to provide choice when it comes to operating systems, a strategy that includes Windows, Android, and MeeGo. This is not changing.

        • Intel defends MeeGo after Nokia defection

          Nokia may have run off with Microsoft, but Intel remains married to MeeGo.

          “While we are disappointed with Nokia’s decision,” Intel spokeswoman Suzy Ramirez tells The Reg, “Intel remains committed to MeeGo and welcomes Nokia’s continued contribution to MeeGo open source.”

        • Intel Stands behind MeeGo in the Multi-device Ecosystem

          The support from the existing contributors and supporters is still there. Nothing has changed. A bit of Disappointment but then Nokia was a solid partner for MeeGo. As mentioned more to come at Mobile World Congress and we will be there.

        • Microsoft Is Paying Nokia “Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars” To Go With Windows

          Buried in a long Times story about how Nokia, Microsoft and HP are desperately trying to catch up with Google and Apple, they report that both Google and Microsoft offered Nokia “hundreds of millions of dollars” in “engineering assistance and marketing support” to get them to switch.

        • Mixed signals on the future of MeeGo Linux for netbooks

          Nokia announced a partnership with Microsoft this morning to bring Windows Phone 7 to Nokia smartphones. Symbian and MeeGo will continue to ship on devices until WP7 is ready to go, but Symbian isn’t long for this world. So what about MeeGo?

      • Android

        • RIM Said to Plan PlayBook Software to Run Google Apps

          Research In Motion Ltd., looking to score a hit with its PlayBook tablet computer, is working on software to allow the device to run applications for Google Inc.’s Android, three people familiar with the matter said.

        • We all know Android is Linux, but is it the New Linux?

          While Android has emerged as the defacto mobile Linux platform choice, it has only begun to make headway within the broader embedded systems market. Yesterday’s announcement of the first open source port of the platform to the PowerPC (PPC) architecture, however, may accelerate its penetration into other embedded device classes.

        • Free Android encryption comes to Egypt

          Free cellphone encryption is coming to Android users in Egypt courtesy of San Francisco software maker Whisper Systems.

          Until now, Redphone and TextSecure, voice- and text-encryption apps respectively, have generally been available in the US only. Whisper Systems has been working on making the packages available internationally. With cellphone communication playing a vital role in the more than two weeks of protests in Cairo and Alexandria, the company decided to jump-start a version for Egyptians, said principal Moxie Marlinspike.

        • Apple will bring out a budget Iphone to battle Android

          THE ICONIC Iphone has always been expensive, but Apple is reported to be developing cheaper versions of the smartphone in its battle to head off the looming success of Android.

          A version that can be thought of as a poor man’s Iphone is in the works, according to Bloomberg. The device will be cheaper and smaller, potentially broadening the market that the device will be able to reach.

        • Blackberry Playbook rumored to run Android apps

          If there was ever any doubt of just how dominant Android has become in the mobile space, there’s a new rumor circulating that should just about seal the lid on any such debate.

          Research in Motion is apparently working on figuring out a way for its upcoming Blackberry tablet, the Playbook, to download and run apps designed for Android.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Jolicloud – a web standards based OS

        Turns out, the guys doing that are from Jolicloud – a company that strives to offer a OS alternative for old and low-spec computers by only providing basic OS tasks and leaving the day-to-day work tasks to web applications hosted in the cloud. Sounds familiar? Google does the same with their Chrome OS and the Cr48. The main difference is that Jolicloud is based in Europe and a dedicated, affordable Netbook is available even for us across the pond.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Enough with the Apple App Store apathy

    Apple, given its rising share in key markets, is increasingly under US antitrust authorities’ microscope for alleged misuse of its iTunes market power and anticompetitive hiring agreements.

    But authorities are also paying attention to Apple’s grip on developers through its App Store policies. Perhaps they should add the Mac App Store to the list.


    Meanwhile, with Google running rampant with Android but not yet nailing the Android Marketplace experience, Apple’s free rein over the primary discovery mechanism for apps remains unchecked, and costly (30 per cent of every app sale costly).

    So where’s the rage, open sourcerers?

  • Web Browsers

    • What We Need – Part 1
    • Mozilla

      • Firefox 4 knows about:me (and you)

        I’m a big fan of data analytics which is why back in 2009 I was excited about a new potential Firefox feature called about:me.

        The basic idea was that the about:me call would provide users with information about their browsing habits and usage.

        Originally about:me was a feature that was under consideration for direction integration with Firefox 3.6, but that didn’t happen. Instead about.me became an add-on for Firefox 3.6.x.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Is LibreOffice Open-By-Rule?
    • Not Dead Yet: The Rise and Fall and Rise of Java

      In November of last year, Forrester analyst Mike Gualtieri published the provocatively titled “Java Is A Dead-End For Enterprise App Development.” This January, the firm’s John Rymer followed up with a more balanced but similarly pessimistic “The Future of Java.” Collectively, these may be considered representative of the conventional wisdom of the enterprise.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Democratizing fashion

      The website currently has 6.5 million monthly unique visitors, many of whom are dedicated creators: the amateur stylists who put together wardrobe sets for fashion-challenged people like me.

      Polyvore’s mission is to democratize fashion, “To empower people on the street to think about their sense of style and share it with the world.” says Jess Lee, Polyvore’s vice president of product management.

    • CC tools and PSI: Supporting attribution, protecting reputation, and preserving integrity

      In an earlier blog post, we promised to share some useful “things you may not know” about legal and technical aspects of CC tools, especially as they relate to the release of public sector information. Publishers of PSI – which may include governments and their agencies, but also others – have a strong desire to receive the credit they deserve through proper attribution, while simultaneously safeguarding their reputations when information is re-used. They also care about preserving the integrity of the information they provide, so that the original can be differentiated from modified forms, and can be easily located. CC’s legal tools provide sound and tested solutions for each of these needs.

    • CC ePSIplatform topic report published
    • Open Hardware

      • Why the Arduino Won and Why It’s Here to Stay

        Each month, I’ll be posting a couple of new editorial-style columns here on Make: Online. These pieces are meant to get you thinking, to stir up discussion and debate, maybe even freak you out a little. My first column is called “Why the Arduino Won and Why It’s Here to Stay.”

        In about a week, a rep from a large chip company is going to stop by and show me another “Arduino-like platform,” aka The Arduino Killer. This a pretty regular occurrence around here; every month or so there’s a company or person who wants to make the “next Arduino.” They usually contact me because I’ve covered the Arduino for years, helped get it in the maker world, and I use it daily in my work at Adafruit. I think it’s had an amazing impact on electronic hobbyists and artists, perhaps as much as the personal computer in the early days (Homebrew Computer Club, etc). There are more than 100,000+ Arduinos on the market, and by my estimates, a lot more when you add in the derivatives (approximately 150K as of 2/2011). Within the next 5 to 10 years, the Arduino will be used in every school to teach electronics and physical computing — that’s my prediction. There’s no going back.

      • Open Hardware Definition 1.0 RELEASED!

        The definition has undergone a few rounds of feedback, and feedback collection has been done (online, forums, open hardware summit, stakeholder’s websites, email etc) and posted here for review. Gradually, feedback has been converging more and more, and support for the definition growing.


  • Darrell Issa’s office says preventing atrocities cost businesses time and money

    Just how committed is Darrell Issa’s (R-CA) Oversight and Government Reform Committee on doing anything possible to protect business interests over people? A rather prominent clue can be found in an Associated Press article (via Nexis) about the hearing held on Thursday “designed to give a voice to business complaints about government regulations.”

  • The Levers of Power

    As we mark the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birth, his most important legacy has gone largely overlooked. Reagan helped to put a caricature of politics at the center of the national debate and it remains there to this day. In Reagan’s caricature the central divide between progressives and conservatives is that progressives trust the government to make key decisions on production and distribution, while conservatives trust the market.

    This framing of the debate is advantageous for the right since people, especially in the United States, tend to be suspicious of an overly powerful government. They also like the idea of leaving important decisions to the seemingly natural workings of the market.

  • UN Secretary Rice On Facebook And Twitter: “Governments Are Increasingly Cognizant Of Their Power” [Video]

    But Rice is right, there’s no denying that social media has a powerful effect on social movements, but as to its exact magnitude we can only begin to speculate, fittingly, hopefully, on Twitter.

  • I Invented Port Knocking

    Let me tell you about something that’s been bothering me for a while.

    I invented Port Knocking. No, really. In 2002.

    According to portknocking.org, it was invented by Martin Krzywinski in 2003. I’m not here to debate that he didn’t come up with the idea separately, and choose the same names (it’s a pretty good name for the technology). But I do want to make it clear, for the record.

  • Groklaw And The Wall Street Journal

    As a long time reader of Groklaw, who got to hear all of the false accusations made against Groklaw by Darl McBride and others at SCO as they were made, it was delightful to see Groklaw being recognized as an accurate source by the Wall Street Journal.

  • The 5 Weirdest Ways Music Can Mess With the Human Brain
  • A Geek Is Born
  • Canadian Mining Companies Undermining Mexico

    For a great many Mexican nationalists, the United States has traditionally been Public Enemy Numero Uno. Uncle Sam is often depicted as a sort of demon vampire sucking the lifeblood from this distant neighbor’s veins and gobbling up a hundred Mexicans for lunch. But in recent years, the focus of nationalist rage has moved a few degrees north to Washington’s northern-most NAFTA trading partner Canada, land of glaciers and grizzlies and battered baby harp seals, maple leaves and hockey pucks. The behemoth of the frozen north has not been making a lot of friends here lately.

  • Science

    • China looks to leverage strength of domestic market in 12th Five-Year Plan, says new report from Digitimes Research

      To achieve this goal, China has identified seven key strategic industries that together will be allocated a budget of CNY10 trillion (US$1.52 trillion) over the next five years for investment. According to the Digitimes Research Special Report, China aims to have local enterprises leverage the enormous domestic market to increase their global strength and competitiveness in these key emerging industries – namely Energy Savings and Environmental Protection, Next-generation IT, Biotechnology, High-end Assembly and Manufacturing (e.g. aerospace), New Energy Sources, New Materials, and Alternative Energy-powered Automobiles.

    • Measure clears way for teaching of ‘intelligent design’

      Public-school science teachers who want to teach ‘intelligent design” alongside evolution and want to challenge the accepted scientific views about global warming would be protected under a bill introduced in the House.

      Rep. Tom Anderson, R-Albuquerque, said Tuesday that his House Bill 302 is not intended to promote intelligent design or creationism. When a reporter said he wanted to talk about Anderson’s “evolution bill,” the lawmaker replied, “I don’t have an ‘evolution bill.’ ”

    • Awesome discovery of the week: Glass melts when it gets too cold

      Anyone who’s seen enough old Sesame Street episodes or been to enough Renaissance Fairs knows that when glass gets hot enough, it turns to liquid. Applied heat pumps energy into the solid pieces of glass, getting their molecules jiggling. As the heat dissipates, the glass becomes cool and solidifies again.

      Most of the time, not many interesting things happen once a substance gets below the temperature required for solification. Its atoms are bound to one another, and without the indroduction of some kind of energy, they’ll stay that way. Glass, it turns out, is the exception. Once it gets close to absolute zero, it melts again.

    • Leader-less ants make super efficient networks

      Argentine ants connect three nests in an empty arena via the shortest possible network. The ants have created a difficult Steiner network by adding an extra hub in the centre of the triangle, thus creating the network of absolute shortest trail length. The computer generated Steiner network for three nests is depicted in the square inset. Credit: Tanya Latty

    • Welcome to the information age – 174 newspapers a day

      The growth in the internet, 24-hour television and mobile phones means that we now receive five times as much information every day as we did in 1986.

    • sprout: Reclaiming science as a creative craft
    • Global data storage calculated at 295 exabytes

      Mankind’s capacity to store the colossal amount of information in the world has been measured by scientists.

      The study, published in the journal Science, calculates the amount of data stored in the world by 2007 as 295 exabytes.

    • Incredible journey: Can we reach the stars without breaking the bank?

      Yesterday, we talked about which stars might be the most important ones for the near future of the search for habitable and inhabited planets. All the stars I mentioned are relatively close by and pretty bright, and some of them are already known to have planets. If and when potentially Earth-like worlds are found around these or other nearby stars, astronomers will begin lavishing them with attention in a process of discovery that will span generations. In all likelihood, entire careers and even subdisciplines of astronomy and planetary science will emerge from studying all the data we can remotely gather from a handful of promising worlds scattered among the nearest stars. If we are extremely lucky, and find signs of not only extraterrestrial life but also extraterrestrial intelligence, the consequences will spread beyond our sciences to shape and change our religion, philosophy, literature, and art.

    • World’s total CPU power: one human brain

      How much information can the world transmit, process, and store? Estimating this sort of thing can be a nightmare, but the task can provide valuable information on trends that are changing our computing and broadcast infrastructure. So a pair of researchers have taken the job upon themselves and tracked the changes in 60 different analog and digital technologies, from newsprint to cellular data, for a period of over 20 years.

    • Friday’s security advisories
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Tell President Obama: Stand up for me, not Monsanto

      For months, we’ve been asking the USDA and the Obama Administration to deny Monsanto’s application to market its genetically modified Roundup Ready alfalfa. Unfortunately, on January 27, President Obama’s Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued unrestricted approval for GMO alfalfa, brushing aside very real concerns about its disastrous effects on the organic industry, the environment, and our health.

    • Colorado Springs teen with pot prescription tangled in red-tape nightmare

      Bill Smith has a very rare life-threatening disease. He is 16 years old. He’s missed about a year of school. A few months ago his doctors decided to try Smith on medical marijuana. It worked like a miracle drug. It worked so well that Smith is home from the hospital and ready to resume high school.

      State law (HB 10-1284) and his school district’s strict adherence to the law are conspiring to make going back to school very difficult for Smith (not his real name).

    • A quick lesson from a homeless pot dealer

      Now this may seem like a strange story to post on a political blog. But my point is simple. Our government is the Taco Tico. And therein lies the problem.

      My potheads were able to grasp this simple concept and make it work for them. But will our government? I doubt it…

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Judge stays charges, says officer was ‘cruel’ to man

      An Alberta judge has stayed criminal charges against a one-footed man who was punched and stomped on by a police officer while he was being arrested in July 2009.

      Judge E.D. Reimer says the officer was “cruel” and used excessive force, breaching the accused’s charter rights by entering his property without permission.

    • Chomsky: Why the Mideast Turmoil Is a Direct Threat to the American Empire

      In recent weeks, popular uprisings in the Arab world have led to the ouster of Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the imminent end of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime, a new Jordanian government, and a pledge by Yemen’s longtime dictator to leave office at the end of his term. We speak to MIT Professor Noam Chomsky about what this means for the future of the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy in the region. When asked about President Obama’s remarks last night on Mubarak, Chomsky said: “Obama very carefully didn’t say anything… He’s doing what U.S. leaders regularly do. As I said, there is a playbook: whenever a favored dictator is in trouble, try to sustain him, hold on; if at some point it becomes impossible, switch sides.” We continued the interview with Chomsky for 50 minutes after the live show.

    • Brutal Crackdown in Belarus

      Repressions in Europe’s last dictatorship show no signs of abating despite EU sanctions and international condemnation. International rights watchdogs warn that human rights abuses in Belarus have reached a “new low”, and activists say that no one appears safe from Alexander Lukashenka’s brutal crackdowns in the wake of his controversial re-election as president.

    • Scenes from Cairo: Revolutionary Party
    • Egyptians in Canada celebrate as Mubarak resigns

      Egyptians across Canada, whether in offices, cars, in school or online, celebrated news of Hosni Mubarak’s resignation as Egypt’s president.

      “As a Canadian of Egyptian origin, it’s the proudest I’ve been of my Egyptian heritage,” said Amr Abou-Guendia, 30, of Toronto. “Egyptian people have finally chosen their destiny. Their future is in their hands.”

    • Egyptains in Toronto are celebrating
    • Egypt Trades Torture Supervisor for ‘Mubarak’s Poodle’

      The surprise ouster of long-time Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak today came with an additional shock, that Vice President Omar Suleiman, the unsavory torturemaster of the Mubarak regime who Western officials appeared to have hand-picked as his successor, got brushed aside.

    • February 20 is Morocco’s Day of Rage

      A February 20 protest has been planned to restore “the dignity of the Moroccan people and for democratic and constitutional reform and the dissolution of parliament.” One of Morocco’s leading Islamist movements, Justice and Charity, which has an estimated 200,000 members and is banned from politics but tolerated, has called for “urgent democratic change.” It’s website states “It is unjust that the country’s riches should be monopolised by a minority.”

    • Swiss freeze possible Mubarak assets

      Switzerland has frozen assets possibly belonging to Hosni Mubarak, who stepped down as president of Egypt Friday after 30 years of rule, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said.

      “I can confirm that Switzerland has frozen possible assets of the former Egyptian president with immediate effect,” spokesman Lars Knuchel said, declining to specify how much money was involved.

    • Now See The 11 Countries At Risk Of Becoming The Next Egypt

      Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak just resigned after weeks of dramatic protests in Cairo and across Egypt.

      As the biggest country in the Arab world, Egypt is seen as a trend leader for the broader Middle East.

      So the question on everyone’s mind is: who’s next?

      The Egyptian revolution is a challenge to state led authoritarian capitalism, but it is also a response to rising food costs and soaring unemployment. There is also the social media factor, which has allowed protesters to circumvent traditional state run media sources and organize more efficiently.

    • Egypt: Hosni Mubarak used last 18 days in power to secure his fortune

      The former Egyptian president is accused of amassing a fortune of more than £3 billion – although some suggest it could be as much as £40 billion – during his 30 years in power. It is claimed his wealth was tied up in foreign banks, investments, bullion and properties in London, New York, Paris and Beverly Hills.

    • Saeb Erekat resigns as chief Palestinian negotiator

      Palestinian chief negotiator Saeb Erekat, who led several rounds of peace talks with Israel, has told the BBC he has handed in his resignation.

      Mr Erekat has previously promised to quit if it emerged that secret files recently leaked on the Middle East peace process had come from his office.

      Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has yet to accept; it is not the first time Mr Erekat has offered to stand down.

      Meanwhile, an Abbas aide said elections would be held by September.

    • Toronto Police are out of control

      The issue of Metro Toronto police wearing a tag that displays their name and or badge number on the outside of their uniform has come to the forefront of discussion again.

      Last week a film on you tube by local activist, film maker and radio host Daniel Libby featuring this writer at a rally to support the Egyptian uprising has gone viral on the internet. The film features the infamous officer A. Josephs (A.K.A Officer Bubbles). The reason I choose officer Josephs to approach about being one of the half dozen officers there who were not wearing a tag was because he was the only one I knew by sight and could identify by name who were not wearing name or badge numbers that day.

    • Man hit by officer has charges dropped

      A man who was punched in the face by an Ottawa police officer after he questioned the officer’s use of force was found not guilty of several charges last year when a judge decided she couldn’t trust the sworn testimony of three constables involved in the incident.

      The case involves the same Ottawa police officer, Const. Daniel Levesque, who was chastised by another judge in November for violating a man’s rights by sending him into the Rideau River to recover a used syringe. Drug charges against two men were stayed in that case.

  • Cablegate

    • WikiLeaks crippled by ex-associates, sources say

      WikiLeaks’ ability to receive new leaks has been crippled after a disaffected programmer unplugged a component which guaranteed anonymity to would-be leakers, activists and journalists who have worked with the site say.

      Details of the breakdown are contained in a book by estranged Assange collaborator Daniel Domscheit-Berg which is due to be published on Friday, a source familiar with the contents of the book told Reuters.

      Neither Wikileaks’ embattled Australian founder, Julian Assange, nor members of his entourage responded to an e-mailed request from Reuters for comment but a WikiLeaks spokesman confirmed the website’s submission system was being overhauled.

    • The leaked campaign to attack WikiLeaks and its supporters

      Last week, Aaron Barr, a top executive at computer security firm HB Gary, boasted to the Financial Times that his firm had infiltrated and begun to expose Anonymous, the group of pro-WikiLeaks hackers that had launched cyber attacks on companies terminating services to the whistleblowing site (such as Paypal, MasterCard, Visa, Amazon and others). In retaliation, Anonymous hacked into the email accounts of HB Gary, published 50,000 of their emails online, and also hacked Barr’s Twitter and other online accounts.

      Among the emails that were published was a report prepared by HB Gary — in conjunction with several other top online security firms, including Palantir Technologies — on how to destroy WikiLeaks. The emails indicated the report was part of a proposal to be submitted to Bank of America through its outside law firm, Hunton & Williams. News reports have indicated that WikiLeaks is planning to publish highly incriminating documents showing possible corruption and fraud at that bank, and The New York Times detailed last month how seriously top bank officials are taking that threat. The NYT article described that the bank’s “counterespionage work” against WikiLeaks entailed constant briefings for top executives on the whistle-blower site, along with the hiring of “several top law firms” and Booz Allen (the long-time firm of former Bush DNI Adm. Michael McConnell and numerous other top intelligence and defense officials). The report prepared by these firms was designed to be part of the Bank of America’s highly funded anti-WikiLeaks campaign.

      The leaked report suggested numerous ways to destroy WikiLeaks, some of them likely illegal — including planting fake documents with the group and then attacking them when published; “creat[ing] concern over the security” of the site; “cyber attacks against the infrastructure to get data on document submitters”; and a “media campaign to push the radical and reckless nature of wikileaks activities.” Many of those proposals were also featured prongs of a secret 2008 Pentagon plan to destroy WikiLeaks.

    • Anonymous Ready To Dump More HBGary E-mails, Launch AnonLeaks

      Anonymous used to be all about disrupting the Web sites of companies that helped block WikiLeaks’ funding. Now it’s starting to act like WikiLeaks itself. The group is planning, as early as today, to release 27,000 e-mails from the server of Greg Hoglund, the chief executive of software security firm HBGary, which it says could have permanently damaging consequences for the company.

    • Palantir Apologizes For WikiLeaks Attack Proposal, Cuts Ties With HBGary

      It’s been a long week for security firm HBGary.

      First the loose hacker group Anonymous retaliated against one of the firm’s employees investigating Anonymous by hacking into the corporation’s servers and spilling 50,000 emails onto the Web. Then a string of those stolen emails revealed a proposal by the firm and two others to launch a campaign of illegal cyberattacks and calculated misinformation against WikiLeaks and its supporters.

      Now, just a few days later, one of those firms, Palo Alto-based Palantir, has publicly cut ties with HBGary and apologized for its role in the WikiLeaks response plan, essentially verifying the reality of that plan and isolating HBGary further.

    • The Assassination of Julian Assange
    • WikiLeaks: U.S. Spied on NATO’s Top Official

      Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables appear to show that the United States has been snooping on NATO’s top official using secret sources on his own staff.

      Confidential cables from the U.S. mission to NATO released Friday by WikiLeaks, the site that has published many secret government memos, said American diplomats received information on the private conversations of Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen from “a member of the NATO international staff.”

    • Firm targeting WikiLeaks cuts ties with HBGary – apologizes to reporter

      Dr. Alex Karp, the Co-Founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies, one of three data intelligence firms who worked to develop a systematic plan of attack against WikiLeaks and their supporters, has severed all ties with HBGary Federal and issued an apology to reporter Glenn Greenwald.

    • Tomgram: Chase Madar, The Trials of Bradley Manning, A Defense

      The Obama administration came into office proclaiming “sunshine” policies. When some of the U.S. government’s dirty laundry was laid out in the bright light of day by WikiLeaks, however, its officials responded in a knee-jerk, punitive manner in the case of Bradley Manning, now in extreme isolation in a Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia. The urge of the Obama administration and the U.S. military to break his will, to crush him, is unsettling, to say the least. Whatever happens to Julian Assange or WikiLeaks, Washington is clearly intent on destroying this young Army private and then putting him away until hell freezes over.

    • Goldsmith on Assange, WikiLeaks, the First Amendment & Press Freedoms

      Importantly, Goldsmith correctly notes that, practically speaking, a prosecution of Assange probably wouldn’t do much to put the genie back in the bottle. “A successful prosecution, on the other hand, would not achieve the desired deterrent effect,” Goldsmith says. “WikiLeaks copycats are quickly proliferating around the globe, beyond the U.S. government’s effective reach. A conviction would make a martyr of Assange, embolden copycat efforts and illustrate the limits of American law to stop them.” Again, quite right. It’s a point I’ve stressed in my recent essays about the challenges faced by information control regimes.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Cross-border conservation vital to protect birds in a climate-change world

      Countries need to increase co-operation over conservation to protect birds and other wildlife in an era of climate change, according to a new continental-scale study.

      Experts have established a new conservation index to help policy-makers to deal with the effects of climate change on birds in Africa, and it could assist governments across the world to protect wildlife areas and help species as climate change forces them to move to new areas.

    • Australia’s recent extreme weather isn’t so extreme anymore

      Going by the first six weeks, 2011 has not been a good year to live in Queensland, Australia. In the first fortnight, we experienced heavy downpours, culminating in the south-east floods which killed 22. While we were still mopping up the damage, one of the biggest cyclones in our history hit the north Queensland coast. Cyclone Yasi had grown to a category five by the time it hit landfall. All this and we were barely into February.

    • February 11 National Call-in Day: Pass Oil Spill Legislation

      The oil spill commission that was created after the BP disaster has released its final report, and it contains a long list of actions that must be taken. The report calls for, sweeping reforms that would protect taxpayers and make offshore drilling safer for workers, while also protecting the environment and Gulf Coast businesses from future oil spills that could damage wetlands and hurt the region’s fishing and tourism industries.

    • No ‘tipping point’ for Arctic sea ice – latest science

      OK, so the floating Arctic ice cap appears to be shrinking. Catastrophe if it goes on, right? As white ice reflects heat into space, past a certain point more and more heat will not be reflected, more and more ice will melt. Past such a “tipping point”, the ice cap would never recover – it would vanish completely, taking with it the ice cover of Greenland which would cause huge rises in sea levels and Biblical flooding worldwide.

      Not so much, according to the latest research by German climate scientists. It seems that even in the case of a completely ice-free summer with the sun shining down onto an unprotected Arctic Ocean 24 hours a day (as it does in summer time up there), the heat absorbed by the sea would not be enough to permanently remove the ice cap. It would recover, in fact, within two years: there is no tipping point.

  • Finance

    • Teacher ‘urged pupils to skip class’

      A teacher has been suspended after an allegation that she encouraged her pupils to skip school to take part in protests against education cuts and rising tuition fees.

    • Congress warned over states’ bankruptcies

      US lawmakers were warned yesterday that allowing states to declare bankruptcy would upend the $2.8 trillion (£1.7 trillion) municipal bond market, making it much harder and more expensive to fund local government, and potentially destablising the economic recovery.

      A House of Representatives committee was examining the extent of the financial distress in state and local governments, which has become a major topic of concern on Wall Street and among individual investors, and examining ways to prevent the need for a federal bailout of any of the lower rungs of government.

    • Trade deficit hits $40.6B in Dec.; deficit with China is record

      The trade deficit widened in December, closing out a year in which America’s gap ballooned by the largest amount in a decade.

    • Author: Wall Street got ‘away with murder’

      Financial journalist and author Michael Lewis looks at the financial risks Americans still face.

    • Alan Grayson On Mortgage Fraud (Lack Of) Accountability: “President Obama… Let These Crooks Off The Hook”

      Now that Alan Grayson is no longer in Congress, Fed hearings have certainly lost that certain dose of panache which only a man, wearing a dollar sign tie, and cross examining the Fed’s General Counsel which grinning like a diabolical Tasmanian Devil, would bring to the table. We managed to catch up with Grayson during today’s session of Radio Free Dylan, in which the traditionally opinionated Fed critic had some very choice words about the President. In essence, the former Florida Democrat said that it is none other than the President, who is the reason there have been no prosecutions on banks: ” I am not only blaming the Obama administration, if the Bush administration had its head on straight they would have prevented a lot of these things from happening to start with. But the President Obama administration said at the beginning, we are going to look forward and not back and therefore in the process of making that decision basically let these crooks off the hook.”

    • Alan Grayson: “President Obama…let these crooks off the hook”

      While in Congress, Rep. Grayson served Florida’s 8th Congressional District from 2009-2011. Dylan regards him as one of “the most vocal and aggressive critics of the crony capitalism, corporate communism, and large institutional interests perpetuating their existence at the expense of an increasingly large percentage of the American people.”

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Still standing up for the truth

      The CRTC has closed its too-short comment period on its so-called ‘public consultations’ on proposed changes to Canadian broadcasting regulations that will open the door to misinformation and lies on our airwaves.

      The CRTC has been considering changing the rules that prevent TV and radio broadcasters from saying things they know to be untrue. The proposed amendment to the rules says broadcasters may not present “any news that the licensee knows is false or misleading and that endangers or is likely to endanger the lives, health or safety of the public.” That gives news broadcasters a license to lie. By arguing that a false or misleading news report does not endanger lives, health or safety, a broadcaster could get away with presenting things they know are false.

    • Opponents of CRTC’s false-news proposal bombard website

      Canada’s broadcasting regulator has received more than 3,000 responses from the public about its plan to change a regulation that prohibits the dissemination of false or misleading news, most of them passionately opposing the proposal.

    • EXCLUSIVE: US Chamber’s Lobbyists Solicited Hackers To Sabotage Unions, Smear Chamber’s Political Opponents

      ThinkProgress has learned that a law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the big business trade association representing ExxonMobil, AIG, and other major international corporations, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress, with a surreptitious sabotage campaign.

  • Censorship

    • I don’t need to defend porn to fight the UK net filtering proposals

      Personally I don’t think we should judge what people choose to do in the company of their computer, so long as the curtains are drawn.

      But if you’re ideologically opposed to pornography there are still lots of reasons to oppose any government plans to regulate the internet.

      What is being called for, mostly by the Christian right, is state censorship of communications.

  • Privacy

    • Speier Introduces Consumer Privacy Package

      Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-CA), a longtime consumer advocate, today held a press conference to introduce a package of privacy bills aimed at protecting the personal information of all Americans. The Do Not Track Me Online Act of 2011 (H.R. 654) would give consumers the ability to prevent the collection and use of data on their online activities. The Financial Information Privacy Act of 2011 (H.R. 653) would give consumers control of their own financial information. Consumer Federation of America, Consumers Union, Consumer Action, U.S. PIRG, Consumer Watchdog, World Privacy Forum, the Center for Digital Democracy, and the ACLU all announced their support.

    • ‘Twitter messages not private’ rules PCC

      Material that is published on Twitter should be considered public and can be published, the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) has ruled.

      The decision follows a complaint by a Department of Transport official that the use of her tweets by newspapers constituted an invasion of privacy.

    • California retailers can’t ask patrons for ZIP Codes, court rules

      In a case watched closely by merchants, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously that California retailers may no longer collect ZIP Codes from credit card customers, except in limited cases.

      The high court determined that ZIP Codes were “personal identification information” that merchants can’t demand from customers under a state consumer privacy law. Merchants typically use ZIP Codes to determine where their customers live and for other marketing purposes.

  • Civil Rights

    • At CIA, mistakes by officers are often overlooked

      In December 2003, security forces boarded a bus in Macedonia and snatched a German citizen named Khaled el-Masri. For the next five months, Masri was a ghost. Only a select group of CIA officers knew he had been taken to a secret prison in Afghanistan for interrogation.

      But he was the wrong guy.

      A hard-charging CIA analyst had pushed the agency into one of the biggest diplomatic embarrassments of the U.S. fight against terrorism. Yet despite recommendations, the analyst was never punished. In fact, she has risen within the agency.

    • Congresswoman Bachmann Should Govt Be Able To Hack Into Your Computer Without A Search
    • Group plans to beam free Internet across the globe from space

      The charity group A Human Right said it was planning to purchase a satellite that would provide free basic Internet access to developing countries around the world.

      The group, which was founded by 25-year-old Kosta Grammatis, is currently raising money to buy the TerreStar-1, the largest commercial communications satellite ever built. TerreStar, the company that owns the satellite, filed for chapter-11 bankruptcy protection in October 2010, opening the possibility that the satellite may be up for sale.

    • The repeal bill: what’s left in, what’s left out

      Today’s Repeal Bill is likely to receive an enthusiastic welcome from Big Brother Watch and a lukewarm endorsement from the Lib Dems. But as the proposal is more closely analysed, a fair few of those cheering now may soon be a good deal more gloomy; in respect of what has been left out and the fine detail of how freedoms are to be enacted.

      First the good news: the Bill will go some way to pull the state back out of the lives of millions of ordinary law-abiding people. RIPA will no longer be used for minor snooping; S44 stop and search powers will be scrapped and control orders abolished; detention without trial will be reduced to 14 days; and the DNA of innocent persons will be removed from police databases.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Small-business owners speak out against usage-based Internet billing

      Norm Tomlins’s six-person company in Oshawa, Ont., is like many small businesses: Its disparate parts operate via an Internet connection.

      His company, Voice Network Inc., installs VoIP (voice over Internet protocol) phone lines and custom designs business software, and has employees scattered across Ontario’s Durham Region and as far away as Montreal.

    • The History of Usage Based Billing (UBB) and why it will almost always fail

      The famous Internet iconoclast Dr Andrew Odlyzko who is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Digital Technology Center at the University of Minnesota. has done extensive research in this area. The idea of charging users per usage has always appealed to many corporations from software rentals to shipping of coal. But invariably such plans meet with an uproar from consumers, as we have witnessed most recently in Canada. As Dr Odlyzko explains:

    • Saving the Best for Last: Bell’s Network Congestion Admission

      This raises the question of why not offer the independent ISPs access to the network at the Central Office or at other earlier points in the network so that their users’ traffic never causes congestion for Bell? If the congestion problem occurs during the brief period when wholesale and retail traffic is aggregated (Bell said the same during the Internet traffic management hearings in 2009), why not avoid it by mandating that Bell allow independent ISPs to access their subscribers’ traffic earlier?

    • Fixing Canada’s Uncompetitive Internet

      Last week, public concern with Internet bandwidth caps hit a fever pitch as hundreds of thousands of Canadians signed petitions against Internet provider practices of “metering” Internet use. The government responded with a commitment to order the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to revisit the issue. Hours later, the CRTC announced that it would delay implementation of the decision by 60 days and review it with fresh eyes and an open mind.

      While addressing the CRTC decision is a good start, Canadians will be disappointed — some even surprised — to learn that the Internet caps are unlikely to disappear from their bills anytime soon. The CRTC usage based billing (UBB) case involves the narrow question of whether large providers such as Bell can impose UBB rates on small providers. Even if Bell is blocked from doing so, this would still only address a tiny segment of the marketplace.

    • Why I am happy with my Independent ISP

      We are reinstating the Unlimited package but the 200GB package will be changed… to 300GB! UBB is about Internet Costs, and as a result of lower costs with our providers (Peer1, Lime Light, etc…), costs outside our relationship with companies like Bell, we are extending the savings on to you, the clients… Enjoy!”

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Council of Archives on C-32: Digital Lock Rules Disastrous For Long-Term Access

        It remains difficult to understand how a government can intentionally introduce legislation that will cause clear harm to the preservation of a country’s own digital heritage.

      • SXSW 2011 on BitTorrent: 4.49 GB of Free Music

        The South by Southwest (SXSW) music festival is one of the largest and most popular in the United States. For the seventh year in a row, SXSW is sharing DRM-free, RIAA-safe songs of performing artists, totalling 4,49 GB so far. All the tracks can now be downloaded for free in one go, thanks to BitTorrent.

      • The Daily vanishes into the memory hole

        What I’m wondering now is, what happens to all the cleverness of those cover headlines — and any other content that the Daily updates? How do you access the record of the past as recorded in the present by the Daily’s writers and editors? It’s not clear that the shareable, Web-based content pages have any permanence. On the 1.0 iPad app (I haven’t downloaded the update yet), there’s no apparent way to access past content that you haven’t chosen to save.

      • ACTA


          Mexican IPR officials have been keen to highlight their increasingly active role in the international arena, stressing their willingness to join the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) negotiations and their push-back against Brazilian efforts to undermine IPR in international health organizations. The U.S. Mission, together with Washington-based agencies, recently organized U.S. participation in a judicial event on trademarks and hosted a workshop in Monterrey aimed at encouraging greater federal-local cooperation in IPR protection in northern Mexico. Spring 2008 will be even busier, with a PTO training course on patent issues planned for January, a customs IPR training course scheduled for early February, a State-sponsored voluntary visitor program for Mexican legislators to visit Washington at the invitation of their U.S. congressional counterparts to discuss IPR in mid-February, an international judges forum on IPR issues being hosted by Mexico in late February, and DoJ assistance on computer forensics and writing an IPR handbook for prosecutors to take place sometime in the first half of the year. These exchanges are proving very useful in advancing U.S. interests in Mexico, particularly with regard to raising IPR consciousness among Mexican judges.

        • Support a firm, simple declaration against ACTA

Clip of the Day

SmartQ V5 2 Linux Boot Walk Through

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 11/2/2011: Cuban GNU/Linux Distro, Canonical Publishes Certified Components List

Posted in News Roundup at 12:10 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Desktop

  • Server

    • LSE and Canada’s TMX to merge and share their Linux-based trading systems

      The London Stock Exchange has announced that it is to merge with the TMX Group Inc., its equivalent in Canada. The merger reflects a general global trend toward consolidation of exchanges in search of increased efficiencies. In the case of the LSE, a key component in its efficiency drive is its forthcoming move to the Linux-based trading platform, Millennium Exchange, from MillenniumIT.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

    • Podcast Season 3 Episode 3

      In this episode: We try to bury the news, which includes the release of Debian 6.0 and KDE 4.6, along with some Android rumours. Hear how we faired with our challenge to contribute to an open source project, and share our discoveries from the last two weeks.

    • The Linux Link Tech Show Episode 389
    • FLOSS Weekly 152: FOSDEM

      A look back at the recent Free and Open Source Software Developers European Meeting, FOSDEM.

  • Kernel Space

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE 4.6 Review Follow-Up: A Feature I Forgot to Mention

        Little things like this add the polish that make the difference between good software and great software.

      • Utils, Utils, Utils…

        The Muon Package Management Suite has been getting a lot of attention lately, but this doesn’t mean that cool things aren’t happening elsewhere in the QApt world. Since 1.0, QApt has shipped a utility called QApt Batch, a batch installer used mainly for integrating package installation into KDE applications in Kubuntu. QApt 1.2 will see the inclusion of several more utilities, that have perhaps a bit more… *ahem*… utility than QApt Batch. I will be introducing these new utilities over the next few blog posts as a little blogging miniseries. With that, I’ll start with the first post.

      • Kannasaver 1.2 for KDE 4 Released

        Finally, after only two years of procrastination, I am happy to announce the release of the first KDE 4 version of Kannasaver.

        Kannasaver is a screen saver that shows Japanese syllabic characters (Hiragana and Katakana) with their Rōmaji transcript.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Zeitgeist in Gnome-shell

        A couple of months ago Seif posted about his work to add a Zeitgeist-based journal to gnome-shell. This code unfortunately bitrotted for a while in Seif’s Gitorious repository. As part of the ongoing Zeitgeist Hackfest, I’m taking that old code and rebasing it for the latest gnome-shell.

      • Zeitgeist Hackfest Day 1 – 3

        Sorry for taking so long to blog again. But things at the hackfest are very very tensed in a positive way. The momentum is high. The remote participation is amazing.

      • GTK+ 3 is here

        This marks the end of several years of work. It has been quite a journey, with some interesting turns and a few lessons learned. I may write about that another time. For now, I want to focus on the celebration.

      • GTK+ 3.0.0 Tool-Kit Officially Released!
      • GTK+ 3.0.0 released
      • New GTK+3 is Released

        Today GTK+3 was officially released. After two years of development, the GIMP toolkit for developing graphical interface elements was finally unveiled. GTK is used to develop popular window managers and environments like GNOME, Xfce, and LXDE. Many individual programs use GTK for their interface development as well, such as The GIMP, Evolution, Pidgin, Inkscape, and Abiword. This release means more functionality for your favorite software, and it just may mean better looks too.

      • A Re-Introduction to Zeitgeist

        While the Zeitgeist team has assembled together at Aarhus, Denmark for their 2011 hackfest, I am sitting at home due to shortage of time for Visa application. This hasn’t stopped me from continuing my work and mythbusting is also a very much-needed action.

  • Distributions

    • Why are there so many Linux distros?

      A Linux distribution, for the uninitiated, is the stack of software, configuration tools and desktop environments, all bound to the Linux kernel, that go together to make the entire operating system, which most of us call Linux.

      Everything from the colour scheme, the character set, the update frequency and a contributor’s nationality can be used to differentiate one distribution from another. As a result, there are hundreds. As I write this, there are 317 being followed by www.distrowatch.com, for example, but there’s no real reason why so many exist, and why so many thrive.

    • New Releases

    • Debian Family

      • Best practices when sponsoring Debian packages

        Sponsoring a package in the Debian archive is not a trivial matter. It means that you verified the packaging and that it is of the level of quality that Debian strives to have. Let’s have a look to what you can and should do when you’re sponsoring a package.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Canonical announces a component catalog for Linux

          Canonical has announced the release of a component catalog that lists Linux-compatible devices. “With this database, corporate buyers can specify the design of their Ubuntu desktops or servers from manufacturers much more efficiently. Individuals can be sure that the key components of the machine they are considering will work with their preferred Ubuntu or Linux distribution. The PC and server industry will also have a simple single source to publicize the work that they do in certifying Linux components and making that knowledge freely available.” This looks to be a great resource, but it does not seem to make any distinction between free and binary-only driver support.

        • Canonical launch list of Ubuntu-compatible PC components

          Building your next Ubuntu-based PC is going to be a lot easier from now on.

          Canonical have today launched the largest online list of Linux-compatible PC components, featuring over 1300 certified different components from 161 different manufacturers.

        • Canonical makes certified components list public
        • Canonical Puts Out A Hardware List, But It Falls Short

          - If Canonical wishes for their database to remain release and up-to-date, they must leverage their large community and user-base, otherwise it will continue to lag. Size of OpenBenchmarking.org? As of this morning, OpenBenchmarking.org has data on 444,894 components spanning 311 vendors and 181 recognized product series from these vendors. There’s 35,965 result uploads and 230,468 test completions recorded. Community-provided data must also be trustworthy, but with Ubuntu’s massive user-base there’s lots of duplicates you can check for and compare, etc to get to a point of self-validation. See some screenshots from earlier this week and the last page of the Core i5 2500K for some hints of forthcoming announcements. Community data can also be used for what’s popular or commonly used to reduce the risk of flaky support.

        • Canonical Releases World’s Largest Component Catalog for Linux

          Canonical announced a few minutes ago, February 10th, that it just made publicly available its entire database of certified hardware components for Linux and Ubuntu, for the first time. This will rapidly reduce the time-to-market for ODMs (Original Design Manufacturers) working on Linux or Ubuntu systems.

        • Canonical releases Component Catalog for Ubuntu & Linux
        • ‘Suspended Sentence’ becomes first post-release ARB app to land in Ubuntu

          The game, called ‘Suspended Sentence’ and described as a free “point-and-click adventure game set on a space ship”, was created for ‘PyWeek‘ – a contest in which teams or individuals are challenged to create a whole new game from scratch in one week.

        • Flavours and Variants

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • The Many Brilliant Layers Of Vic Gundotra’s Nokia-Exposing, Microsoft-Bashing Tweet

          The February 11 date that Gundotra references is clearly meant to signify Nokia’s annual Capital Markets Day, which takes place this Friday, the 11th, in London. There, new CEO (and former Microsoft president) Stephen Elop is expected to announce radical changes to the company’s plan and vision. For weeks, rumors have swirled that Nokia may ally with either Microsoft or Google going forward in the smartphone business. Gundotra’s tweet this morning made it very clear who Nokia is going with. The other guys.

        • Getting Started with MeeGo

          The MeeGo project is about to celebrate its first birthday, but there may still be Linux and open source developers who aren’t quite sure how it relates to other Linux-based distributions for tablets, netbooks, or phones — like Android, Chrome OS, or the netbook remixes of popular desktop distros. MeeGo takes a different approach, aiming to be a vendor-neutral Linux platform for a variety of devices. If you’re a developer, that is a key distinction, because it means it is easier to get started writing or porting apps to MeeGo, even digging in to the platform itself.

      • Android

        • Introducing Renderscript

          Renderscript is a key new Honeycomb feature which we haven’t yet discussed in much detail. I will address this in two parts. This post will be a quick overview of Renderscript. A more detailed technical post with a simple example will be provided later.

        • Can cable block the Google TV revolution?

          At present, Google TV is a suite of devices that integrate streaming IP video services like YouTube with various kinds of third-party content, all searchable on a Google TV screen. You can get in on this by buying the Google TV standalone HDTV set, or by hooking your extant screen to a Logitech Revue or Sony Internet TV Blu-ray Disc Player.

        • Sonos Android App Controls Wireless Music Systems [PICS]

          This free Android control software for Sonos wireless multi-room music systems includes unique features that aren’t available on the iPhone version.

          If you’re not familiar with Sonos S5 wireless speakers, you can place them in any room in your house, or pair two of them together. They use Wi-Fi to tap into your network and find all of your digital music for instant playback, and can also play almost any Internet music service.

        • Install The Android 3.0 Music Player On Older Android Versions

          JaJsemMatty user posted the Android 3.0 music player (currently in beta) .apk on the xda-developers forum so you can install it on any Android device (it may not work on any device though, I’m not sure).

        • Can Android become a $10 billion a year platform?

          According to Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster, Google could accrue over $1.3 billion in mobile ads over the next year with it expected that each Android user could generate almost $10 per year in advertising.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Hacker Chat: Pinboard Creator Maciej Ceglowski Talks About Why Boring Architecture is Good, and More

    Pinboard runs entirely on a traditional LAMP stack, and it runs amazingly fast. We talked with Ceglowski about the Pinboard architecture and his development process.


    The other reason I like the approach is that the tried-and-true stuff is extensively debugged and documented. The chances of you finding a bug in MySQL or PHP as the author of a mid-sized website are microscopic. That’s not the case for newer infrastructure like NoSQL or the various web frameworks.

  • AllJoyn Open Source

    One of the sure signs that open source has entered the mainstream is when companies not normally associated with this approach starting getting involved. A case in point is Qualcomm, not someone that I’ve come across in this area before apart from this kind of half-hearted toe-dipping (but maybe I missed earlier work: anyone know of anything previously?)

  • Who Are This Year’s Free Software Heroes?

    Linus Torvalds was the first suggestion of Hyperlogos blogger Martin Espinoza for the Award for the Advancement of Free Software: “It is hard to conceive of a world in which he doesn’t already have one, but we appear to live in it. I can’t imagine anyone who doesn’t have one who deserves one more.” Next in line, “I would nominate Dries Buytaert, the unifying force behind Drupal.

  • Events

    • LCA2011, Harassment, etc

      The conference LCA 2011 had an anti-harassment policy [1] which was violated by a keynote speech. The speaker and the conference organisers apologised, but of course the matter didn’t end there.

    • The Italian Law on Digital Administration and Software Reuse

      The new Italian Law on Digital Administration (codename CAD) has been presented and thoroughly discussed yesterday afternoon at LUSPIO university with Andrea Simi, consultant of the Italian Minister of Innovation, Gianfranco Pontevolpe (DigitPA, formerly known as CNIPA, the National Center for IT in Public Administration) and Fabrizio Bianchi (Assinform, the Italian association of ICT companies).

  • Web Browsers

    • Why Browser ‘Do Not Track’ Features Won’t Work

      Following the call for action from the United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to create some sort of a Web browsing “do not track” list similar to the “do not call” list consumers can use to avoid being harassed by telemarketers, the major browser vendors took some initiative and got to work.

    • Chrome

      • Chromium translations explained: part 2b

        Trunk was the base of the upstream translations, Launchpad received only those. Contributions were merged by Launchpad, and exported. Then for each of the 4 chromium branches, those strings were merged with the branch specific templates and strings. It worked fine for a while, but with a small gap growing with the age of the considered branch. Typically, it was no more than 10%, but that could definitely be improved.

      • Google releases Chrome 9 security update

        Less than one week after Chrome 9 was released into the browser’s stable branch, Google has released version 9.0.597.94 of Chrome for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux, a maintenance and security update. The security update addresses a total of five vulnerabilities in the WebKit-based browser, three of which are rated as “High” priority.

    • Mozilla

      • People of HTML5 – John Foliot

        HTML5 needs spokespeople to work. There are a lot of people out there who took on this role, and here at Mozilla we thought it is a good idea to introduce some of them to you with a series of interviews and short videos. The format is simple – we send the experts 10 questions to answer and then do a quick video interview to let them introduce themselves and ask for more detail on some of their answers.

      • Student Outreach: Eric Reiss & Søren Muus (FatDUX) visit the Bauhaus
      • Add-on Metadata & Start-up Time

        One of the best features of Firefox 4 is the entirely re-designed Add-ons Manager that displays more details than ever before about the add-ons you have installed. Screenshots, ratings, reviews, detailed descriptions, and even support for Contributions are all included. In order to power this feature, Firefox checks the AMO API once a day to ask for any updated information about your add-ons, including add-ons that may not be hosted there.

      • Learning to write JavaScript

        So now that I work at Mozilla, I figured it was time to develop a “web app” just to make sure I understood it all. And since my team is working on educational resources for web developers, I wanted to see what it was like to learn how to use some of them using resources online.

        So I decided to use the resources I could find online and write some JavaScript to do a pet project of mine.

      • internet explorer nine – why microsoft still sucks

        Requiring a $200 OS upgrade to get a decent browser is either evil or terribly irresponsible. There’s just no excuse for a software company with the resources that Microsoft has to abandon hundreds of millions of users like that.

  • Databases

    • Couch merges with Membase in Couchbase NoSQL team-up

      In a move that is all about scalability- memcached vendor Membase is merging with NoSQL vendor CouchOne. The new company will be called Couchbase.

      CouchOne is the commercial entity led by CouchDB founder Damien Katz. I’ve written about CouchDB a few times over the years and I use the database myself (as do millions of Ubuntu users) everyday. CouchOne started off as a company called Couchio, before it changed its name in 201.

      Membase on the other hand started out as memcached vendor NorthScale that grew their own NoSQL/memcached database, called ..Membase.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • A year later: Has Oracle ruined or saved Sun?

      In its first year in charge of the former Sun Microsystems technologies, Oracle stepped on plenty of toes, as the company dueled with both the open source community and Google. But Oracle also has released a plethora of products and advanced numerous projects derived from the Sun acquisition, ranging from Java and NetBeans IDE upgrades to StorageTek storage units, the Solaris OS, and Sparc hardware. Has Oracle ruined Sun or saved it?

      Oracle formally took over Sun in late January 2010. Since then, the company has had to pursue a goal that had escaped Sun in the later years of Sun’s existence: profitability. Oracle CEO Larry Ellison in September 2009 said Sun was losing $100 million a month while waiting for the $7.4 billion Sun acquisition to be completed. Ellison since then has criticized Sun management for bad business practices and noted Sun did not make a lot of money from Java, whereas Oracle did.

    • Google extensions could aid Java security

      Google is developing a set of extensions for Java that should aid in better securing Java programs against buffer overflow attacks.

      Last Friday, Google announced that it open sourced a project that its engineers were working on to add a new functionality into Java called Contracts, or Design-By-Contract (DBC).

    • New OpenOffice.org Suite: Adequate, but Uninspiring

      The OpenOffice.org suite may be in danger of becoming an also-ran among office-productivity suites, but not for any lack of capabilities or features. The 3.3 release of the suite debuted at the end of January, shortly after the release of its fraternal twin, LibreOffice 3.3, and is as polished as one might expect in a set of applications that have been under development in one form or another for roughly 20 years.

  • Education

    • ‘OER university’ to cut cost of degree

      Universities in Australia, Canada and New Zealand are hoping to achieve “a quantum shift” in open educational resources (OERs) by launching an “OER university”.

      A group of universities plans to draw together existing free online learning materials from around the world and develop new OERs to create whole degree programmes that can be studied via the internet for free.

    • Is UK education policy being dictated by publishers?

      The JISC do some great work in relation to open source software. In particular they have funded OSS Watch since 2003, long before I joined the team in 2007. Our remit is to understand how and when open source is applicable to our sector. The goal is to help ensure the sector benefits from open source whenever and wherever appropriate.

      In 2003 open source was not widely respected as a viable software development methodology. It was also thought that open source was somehow the opposite of commercial. Major closed source software companies attacked the open source development model rather than competing with specific open source products, at the same time SCO was trying to kill Linux in the law courts whilst marketing machines portrayed open source developers as long haired, bearded social misfits working out of back bedrooms (usually in their parents house) – they weren’t to be trusted.

    • Open source software gains ground in higher education

      Open source software is becoming a dominant force in the software world and the world in general. Unfortunately, many universities still teach computer science without any mention of this recent advance. In the fall of 2007, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) set out to change this.

      The Rensselaer Center for Open Source Software (RCOS) was established with the goal of providing an environment where students can learn about open source software while sharing knowledge, experience, and insight with each other. Students can work on existing open source projects or start their own, honing their technical programming skills in an environment that allows them to work on real-world sized and styled projects while surrounding themselves with other students in many programming disciplines. They can share knowledge, share skills, and learn from others’ strengths and weaknesses.

  • Government

    • ‘UK government committed to open source’

      The government coalition of the United Kingdom wants to increase the use of free and open source software by public administrations. “There is commitment from politicians and ministries and they are looking at implementing it at all levels”, said Laura Czajkowski, marketing manager at Sirius IT, a UK IT firm specialised in free and open source, in a presentation during the Fosdem open source conference that took place in Brussels, Belgium last Saturday.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Creative Commons and The TAACCCT Federal Grant Program

      The TAACCCT is a grant fund cooperatively administered through the U.S. Department of Labor and U.S. Department of Education. The program will make available US $2 billion over the next four years for grants that will “provide community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs.

    • Open Data

      • Open Bibliographic Data Challenge

        Sometimes data is not always as open as we would like, restricting our ability to share and collaborate; but one good way to increase the opportunities to work together is to demonstrate just how much we can do with data that is openly available to us, providing proofs of concept that inspire others.

      • Cabinet Office defers publication of Gateway progress reports on IT projects

        Whitehall has postponed by a year the publication of Gateway review reports and performance details on all ICT projects above £1m, ComputerworldUK.com has learned.

        Although the Government plans to implement many large and risky IT-based schemes, it is, for the time being, following Labour’s strategy of keeping Gateway progress reports on IT projects secret. Gateway reviews comprise a series of independent reports on the progress or otherwise of medium and high-risk IT and building projects.

      • OpenBiblio Principles

        If you’ve got an idea for an app using open bibliographic data (you can enter the idea or a prototype app), you’ve just about got time to enter the OpenBiblio Challenge before it closes on 17 February and win some money. Good luck!

      • Open Knowledge Foundation Open Data Advocate

        My colleagues over at the Open Knowledge Foundation have been thinking about recruiting an Open Data Advocate, someone who can coordinate a number of the activities they are up to in the open data space. I offered to think about what the role should entail and how that person could be effective. Consequently, in the interests of transparency, fleshing out my thinking and seeing if there might be feed back (feel free to comment openly, or email me personally if you wish to keep it private) I’m laying out my thinking below.


        There are some basic things that the role will require including:

        1. Overseeing the Working Group on Open Government Data
        2. Managing opengovernmentdata.org
        3. Helping organize the Open Government Data Camp 2011, 2012 and beyond

      • Government data like crime maps is not enough – there needs to be action

        Turn on the radio, check the papers, listen to the demonstrators: it’s clear that the Tory notion of a smaller, more accountable state lacks credibility. The coalition government is trying to fix this with data, but while data is a necessary precondition for change, it is insufficient on its own. If the government wants a “big society” of motivated watchdogs, volunteers, and waste-cutters, it’s going to have to convince us that it’s responsive as well as transparent.

      • Government transparency doesn’t matter without accountability

        My latest Guardian column is “Government data like crime maps is not enough – there needs to be action,” and it looks at two recent data-crunching apps for UK policing: first, the crime-maps that tell you what the crime’s like in your neighbourhood, and second, Sukey, an app that helps protesters evade police “kettling” — an inhumane form of arbitrary detention practiced by police.

    • Open Hardware

      • Open Source Hardware definition v.1.0 released

        Last year, Massimo, David Mellis, and I attended the Open Hardware Summit in New York, and began working with several others at the summit on a definition and statement of principles for producing open hardware. We’re happy to announce that after several months of discussion, writing, and debate, version 1.0 of the open source hardware definition and statement of principles has been released.

      • First open hardware definition has been released

        After last September’s Open Hardware Summit, today version 1.0 of the Open Source Hardware Definition was released.

        Last summer, people and groups that included Bug Labs, MakerFaire, Creative Commons, The New York Hall of Science, and littleBits gathered to plan the first Open Hardware Summit. The event was held with the goal of creating the Open Source Hardware Definition announced today, similar to the OSI’s Open Source Definition regarding what is and isn’t open. Today’s release marks a big milestone for those efforts.

  • Programming

    • TIOBE Index: Python more popular than PHP

      Python has surpassed PHP in popularity while C# is coming on strongly. At least according to TIOBE, the coding standards specialists, which has published its Programming Community Index for February 2011. Compared to last years index the top two most popular languages remain Java followed by C while C++ has risen from fourth position to third. Python is on the rise from seventh position last year to fourth position this year, while PHP, which was third, has fallen to fifth position in the rankings. This movement is reflected in the popularity share; Python has gained being 2.72% up on last year, while PHP is 3.03% down over the same period. C#, now ranked sixth, gained 1.79% on last year.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Opens Germany and Austria Office at DFKI

      W3C announces today the opening of a new W3C Germany and Austria Office, hosted at the Project Office Berlin of the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), the leading German research institute in the field of innovative software technology based on Artificial Intelligence. W3C and DFKI celebrate today this collaborative effort at an opening event, at Theseus Innovation Center in Berlin.

    • Freedom to Read, Freedom to Write: Celebrating Document Freedom Day 2011

      Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) invites individuals, community groups and institutions to celebrate the Document Freedom Day (DFD) on March 30th. DFD is a global day to celebrate Open Standards and open document formats and its importance. Open Standards ensure the freedom to access your data, and the freedom to build Free Software to write and read data in specific formats.

      You can participate by organizing activities in your home town. Distributing fliers, organizing talks, adding a banner on your blog, donating money: there are many ways you can help spread awareness about Open Standards.

    • HTML5 Is An Oncoming Train, But Native App Development Is An Oncoming Rocket Ship

      HTML5 versus native apps. It’s a debate as old as — well, at least three years ago. And pretty much since the beginning of that debate, there has been a general underlying current among the geek community that HTML5 is good and native is bad. Native is what we have to deal with as we wait for HTML5 to prevail.

    • The Versions of ODF

      It has been a few months now since the OASIS ODF TC has done substantive technical work on ODF 1.2. We had a 60-day public review last summer, a 15-day public review last December and we will start another (hopefully final) 15-day public review starting this week. Every time we make a change to the specification in response to public comments we are required to have another 15-day review of the changes. This is all necessary procedural work, to make sure all stakeholders have the opportunity to comment. But it is not very exciting.

      However, as the ODF 1.2 specification goes through remainder of its review/approval process in OASIS, we’ve increasingly turned our attention to ODF-Next. Tentatively (and we should have a TC vote on this work plan in the next few weeks), we’re looking at a two-year schedule for ODF 1.3, with four intermediate drafts (Committee Specification Drafts or CSDs). The first CSD would appear in September, 2011. We have not yet defined what features will be in ODF 1.3. So this is a great time to join the ODF TC, to “get in on the ground floor” for defining the next release.


  • Babygate or Child Endangerment? Sarah Palin’s Bizarre Pregnancy

    I just don’t know any woman who would take a ten hour plane ride involving a layover from Texas to Alaska hours after they had already broken water, especially not while carrying an at risk baby who was premature. No matter how many times I looked into this story, there was never a satisfactory answer from Palin. She claims she was in labor, then not in labor just broke water. She claims she wasn’t in pain. People who saw her had no idea she was pregnant. But she gave birth hours after landing.

  • Six killed in Cork plane crash

    Two Irish citizens, three British passport holders and a Spaniard have been killed and six others are injured after a commuter flight from Belfast crashed at Cork Airport this morning.

  • Nerd saves entire BBC archive for $3.99, you can help for free

    Interestingly, as you will read when you get there, it cost a massive $3.99 to create this important historical archive, you can download it for free to keep the thing safe, and I strongly recommend you do so now, quickly, before some insightless person at the BBC activates lawyers to shut the site down.

  • AOL-HuffPo: Arianna And The Free Blog Economy

    One set of writers is even demanding a boycott by readers and bloggers on the Left, claiming that Huffington sold it out by taking a fortune at their expense.

  • Tell Clarence Thomas: Recuse yourself

    A case challenging the constitutionality of the health care reform bill passed by Congress is headed to the Supreme Court, and Justice Clarence Thomas has a supreme ethical conflict.

    It’s been widely reported that the Thomas family has financial ties to the conservative organizations leading the campaign to bring down our new health care law — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

  • The European Citizens’ Initiative

    The European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) is the EU’s foremost instrument of direct democracy and the first of its kind in a transnational context. Introduced by the Lisbon Treaty, it is expected to be used from 2012.

  • Sarkozy under pressure as French judges take to the streets

    Thousands of judges and lawyers have taken to the streets in unprecedented protests against Nicolas Sarkozy, paralysing the legal system and shutting down almost all France’s courthouses this week.

    Magistrates’ unions have for days expressed outrage at the president by hearing only urgent cases, after the president used a shocking murder case to attack judges for being too lax.

  • Former super-head is first to have damehood revoked

    One of Labour’s first school “super-heads” has become what is thought to be the first woman to have her damehood revoked.

    Jean Else was made a dame in 2001 for transforming a failing Manchester comprehensive into a flourishing school.

    But eight years later, the General Teaching Council charged Else, a former truancy adviser for Tony Blair’s government, with cronyism for promoting her twin sister from part-time clerical assistant to the post of assistant head.

  • Global CIO: Sam Palmisano Reveals Secret Behind IBM’s Century Of Success

    We all know IBM used to make PCs–but did you know they also used to make clocks?

  • Science

    • Colliding galaxies spawn dazzling black hole ring

      Combining images from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Chandra X-ray Observatory, NASA offers a glimpse into a dazzling ring of black holes 430 million light years from Earth.

    • Can This Journalist Be Replaced by Software and Mechanical Turk?

      An experiment being conducted by an alliance of journalists and computer scientists aims to combine the distributed human brainpower of Amazon’s small-task outsourcing engine, Mechanical Turk, with a software boss pre-programmed with all the logic required to stitch myriad discrete human-accomplished tasks into something resembling the work of a single person.

      The project is called My Boss is a Robot, and the boffins involved include the team of Niki Kittur, a Carnegie Mellon assistant professor of Human Computer Interaction, as well as freelance science and technology writers Jim Giles and MacGregor Campbell.

    • World’s first programmable nanoprocessor unveiled

      Scientists have successfully built and demonstrated what is believed to be the world’s first programmable nanoprocessor.

      The breakthrough, made by scientists and engineers from Harvard University and the MITRE Corporation, is a significant and tangible step forwards in the ability to produce working computer circuits that can be assembled from components made on a minute nano-scale, so they say.

      The processor will be able to perform a number of basic mathematical and logical functions when programmed electronically.

    • Criss-crossed nanowires can compute

      Scientists have stitched together nanowires to create a microchip capable of basic computation.

    • The ‘New’ Kilogram Is Approaching
  • Health/Nutrition

    • Still drinking diet soda? Don’t be a fashion victim!

      In plain English, Diet Pepsi consists of artificially blackened water tarted up with synthetic chemicals. The references to “natural flavor” and (chemical-induced) “freshness” aside, what really gives Diet Pepsi its main flavor — that special jolt of sweetness — is aspartame, the famous calorie-free sugar substitute.

    • Daily diet soda tied to higher risk for stroke, heart attack

      61 percent higher risk of vascular events for those who drank diet soda each day, study finds

    • Earth economist: The food bubble is about to burst

      That’s when food production is inflated through the unsustainable use of water and land. It’s the water bubble we need to worry about now. The World Bank says that 15 per cent of Indians (175 million people) are fed by grain produced through overpumping – when water is pumped out of aquifers faster than they can be replenished. In China, the figure could be 130 million.

      Has this bubble already burst anywhere?

      Saudi Arabia made itself self-sufficient in wheat by using water from a fossil aquifer, which doesn’t refill. It has harvested close to 3 million tonnes a year, but in 2008 the Saudi authorities said the aquifer was largely depleted. Next year could be the last harvest. This is extreme, but about half the world’s people live in countries with falling water tables. India and China will lose grain production capacity through aquifer depletion. We don’t know when or how abruptly the bubble will burst.

    • Welcome to the Age of Dilemma

      Another week, another potentially destabilizing global mini-crisis. This time, it’s (yet another) global food crisis: food prices are set to skyrocket and the FAO’s food price index is already spiking. It’s likely to ignite even more political instability and social turmoil — in layman’s terms, that’s riots, panics, protests, and violence.

      Should we raise interest rates so there’s less hot money sloshing around to fuel the bubble, bringing down food prices? Even at the expense of squelching prosperity in developed countries, turning today’s stagnation into tomorrow’s sheer misery? Starvation or depression — which do you choose?

  • Security

    • Advanced sign-in security for your Google account
    • Security updates for Thursday
    • How one man tracked down Anonymous—and paid a heavy price

      Aaron Barr believed he had penetrated Anonymous. The loose hacker collective had been responsible for everything from anti-Scientology protests to pro-Wikileaks attacks on MasterCard and Visa, and the FBI was now after them. But matching their online identities to real-world names and locations proved daunting. Barr found a way to crack the code.

      In a private e-mail to a colleague at his security firm HBGary Federal, which sells digital tools to the US government, the CEO bragged about his research project.

      “They think I have nothing but a heirarchy based on IRC [Internet Relay Chat] aliases!” he wrote. “As 1337 as these guys are suppsed to be they don’t get it. I have pwned them! :)”

      But had he?

    • ‘eGo’ Turns The Human Body Into Its Own Wireless Network

      In the brave, new world of smart-card authentication, all you have to do is touch a device to authenticate yourself to make payments, phone calls, log into a computer, start your car, or open doors to restricted areas.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Suleiman may have questioned tortured Canadian

      Omar Suleiman – spymaster, CIA ally and heir apparent to Egypt’s throne – has been accused in the interrogation of a Canadian citizen tortured overseas.

      The allegation appears in the federal findings from a former Canadian Supreme Court judge, who faulted Canadian intelligence practices for setting into motion a snowballing series of global investigations in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

    • Egypt’s army ‘involved in detentions and torture’

      The Egyptian military has secretly detained hundreds and possibly thousands of suspected government opponents since mass protests against President Hosni Mubarak began, and at least some of these detainees have been tortured, according to testimony gathered by the Guardian.

    • China says Egypt should decide future on its own

      China said on Thursday foreign powers should stay out of Egypt’s affairs, in an oblique swipe at the United States and some European countries that have put pressure on embattled President Hosni Mubarak to step down.

      “China advocates that Egyptian affairs should be determined by the Egyptian people, and should not face outside interference,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu said at a regular press briefing.

      “We believe Egypt has the wisdom and ability to find the proper solution and get through this difficult time,” he added.

    • Of Tahrir Square and Tiananmen Square

      There are frequent analogies going around these days between events in Cairo and the rise and fall of demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. “We cannot afford a Tiananmen Square in Cairo,” Senator John McCain said on CNN. One of the few who is well qualified to draw a comparison is Nick Kristof, who shared a Pulitzer Prize for his coverage of the 1989 protests and crackdown in Beijing. Arriving in Tahrir Square yesterday, he wrote that the mood “reminds me, painfully, of the equally giddy mood at Tiananmen Square before the shooting started. Some of the regime’s moves—earlier curfew, buzzing protesters with fighter planes, nasty media—don’t seem conciliatory at all.” One of the few to frame the comparison in positive terms is the liberal Chinese activist-lawyer Teng Biao; when he saw the video of a lone Egyptian protester, standing before a truck fitted with a water-cannon, he wrote on Twitter, “‘Must see! Egypt’s Tiananmen movement, a warrior blocks a military vehicle!’”

    • Mexico drug violence not an ‘emergency,’ White House says

      While drug violence continues to spread in Mexico, White House officials have decided the situation doesn’t rank as an “emergency” under federal rules, officials tell NBC News. The decision scuttles — at least for now — a controversial proposal requiring gun stores in four Southwest border states to report multiple sales of semiautomatic assault rifles and other long guns to authorities.

    • Mubarak is Defiant

      Defying the will of the people that have come out in their millions throughout Egypt in premature celebration of President Mubarak’s widely rumored resignation.

    • Bangladesh: Teenage girl who died after punishment prescribed by the Qur’an bled to death

      An update on this story. The tragic and disturbing details of Hena Begum’s last days demand reporting not only because her punishment of lashes for alleged adultery was straight out of the Qur’an (24:2), but because of that verse’s specific injunction to Muslims to suppress any natural aversion to human suffering in carrying out this cruel and unusual punishment.

    • Israel’s whitewash report into the Mavi Marmara massacre
    • ‘Kids main victims of US-led Afghan war’

      A recent report shows that Afghan kids as young as 13 are paid to get killed in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.

      Childhood innocence is soon lost in a country like Afghanistan. However, children have not only been the victims of the war but also its perpetrators on both sides.

    • Egypt protests intensify as Mubarak leaves Cairo

      Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak arrived in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh as hundreds of thousands of protesters packed squares and marched on presidential palaces and the State TV building in Cairo on Friday.

      Mubarak spends a good deal of time in Sharm, about 400 kilometres from Cario, where he has a palace.

    • Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak steps down

      Egypt’s powerful military tried to defuse outrage over President Hosni Mubarak’s refusal to step down, assuring it would guarantee promised reforms. But hundreds of thousands demanding Mubarak go only grew angrier, deluging squares in cities across the country Friday and marching on presidential palaces and the state TV building, key symbols of the authoritarian regime.

  • Cablegate

    • Wikileaks responds to one of the Wikileaks tell all books

      WikiLeaks has been taking legal action against former employee, Daniel Domscheit-Berg who was suspended from the organization in September. The reasons for these actions will gradually become clear, but some are hinted at by extracts from Domscheit-Bergs book.

      In the book Domscheit-Berg confesses to various acts of sabotage against the organization. The former WikiLeaks staffer admits to having damaged the sites primary submission system and stolen material.

      The sabotage and concern over motives led to an overhaul of the entire submission system, an ongoing project that is not being expedited due to its complex nature and the organization´s need to focus its resources on publication and defense.


      Domschiet-Berg was never an architect for the organization, technically, or in matters of policy. He was a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in Germany at various times, but he was never the spokesman for WikiLeaks, nor was he ever WikiLeaks editor, although he subedited some articles. He was also never a computer scientist, or computer security expert, although he was a computer science student many years ago. His accounts of the crucial times in WikiLeaks history since April last year are therefore based upon limited information or malicious falsifications.

    • Foreign Policy: Keep Assange Free, Keep Internet Free

      It is time for the United States to drop the case against WikiLeaks. Pressing forward with efforts to prosecute an Internet publisher at home while standing up for an open Internet in Egypt and the world at large is an increasingly tenuous position. The WikiLeaks case endangers the reputation of the United States as a defender of free speech and an open Internet globally, while forcing the Obama administration to take uncomfortable constitutional positions better suited to the Nixon administration. The importance of this issue is hard to overstate: At a time when the Internet is increasingly recognized as a medium of global resistance to authoritarian rule and when protestors in Tahrir square are holding up signs that say “Thank you, Facebook!”, the Obama administration and the United States must make sure that they stand on the right side.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • The Clean Air Act by the Numbers

      Forty years after the passage of the Clean Air Act, it is extraordinary to look at the numbers.

      Numbers like 200,000 — which is the count of premature deaths the Clean Air Act prevented in its first 20 years. Over the same period, the Act prevented 672,000 cases of chronic bronchitis and 21,000 cases of heart disease. It avoided 843,000 asthma attacks and 18 million child respiratory illnesses.

      1.7 million is the number of tons of toxic emissions removed from our air every year since 1990. In the last two decades, emissions of six common pollutants dropped 41 percent. Lead in our air is down by 92 percent since 1980.

    • Palm oil giant vows to spare most valuable Indonesian rainforest

      The world’s second biggest palm oil company has agreed to halt deforestation in valuable areas of Indonesian forest, bowing to pressure from western food processors and conservationists.

      Golden Agri-Resources Limited has committed itself to protecting forests and peatlands with a high level of biodiversity, or which provide major carbon sinks, as part of an agreement with conservation group the Forest Trust.

  • Finance

    • Forged Comment Letters Sent to U.S. Regulators Writing Derivative Rules

      Forged comment letters purportedly from an H.J. Heinz Co. executive, a Burger King Co. franchise and at least five other Arkansas-based officials or businesses were sent to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

      Some of the letters to the agency, which is writing rules for derivatives trading, contain identical passages criticizing banks for their “cartel-like control” of the $583 trillion swaps market. They include signatures from a circuit court judge, a county sheriff and a mental health counselor. All were forgeries, according to interviews conducted by Bloomberg News.

    • Rajasthan puts its stately homes on sale

      If you ever fancied owning a fort in Rajasthan, now is your chance. The government of the western Indian state is putting thousands of properties on sale. But be warned, the competition for the best of the 100-room palaces and fairytale castles will be steep. Your rival bidder is likely to be the original owner – or at least a descendant.

      Properties include a fort at Madhorajpura near the famous pink city of Jaipur with a starting price of £650,000. For those on a budget, there are merchants’ family houses from the 18th and 19th century for less than £15,000 – though some are a little the worse for wear. For lottery winners, there is the vast fortified palace at Badnore with its double sets of battlemented walls, its elephant-proof gate and its dozens of individually decorated balconies, for £70,000 rental per year. For those unwilling to risk long drives across India’s western desert to their new homes, there is even a palace in the centre of Delhi, which the Rajasthani government recently reclaimed as its own.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • WATCH: “Outfoxed” Director Discusses How Fox News’ Lies Alter Americans’ Perceptions of Reality

      On last night’s The Ed Show on MSNBC, filmmaker Robert Greenwald (the founder of Brave New Films and the director of Outfoxed) joined host Ed Schultz in a discussion of how Fox News’ disinformation and falsehoods damage U.S. political discourse and alter Americans’ perceptions of reality.

    • FOX NEWS INSIDER: “Stuff Is Just Made Up”

      Indeed, a former Fox News employee who recently agreed to talk with Media Matters confirmed what critics have been saying for years about Murdoch’s cable channel. Namely, that Fox News is run as a purely partisan operation, virtually every news story is actively spun by the staff, its primary goal is to prop up Republicans and knock down Democrats, and that staffers at Fox News routinely operate without the slightest regard for fairness or fact checking.

    • Beyond left and right? The Huffington Post’s delicate balancing act

      Arianna Huffington has a knack for navigating competing social worlds, deftly handling decision-makers and activists with divergent views on politics and business. She’s done so in public for decades.

    • Beyond Left And Right: It’s About Reality

      In the wake of the news that The Huffington Post is joining up with AOL, much speculation has ensued about what this means for the future of our journalism. Given the spirit of engagement the HuffPost has fostered in just a few years, there is naturally some concern among the denizens of our Web community about the prospect of change — and what sort of change.

      Much of the conjecture centers on decoding the meaning of a phrase much in vogue here, the idea that we are aiming to lift the conversation above left and right. As an editor who oversees the HuffPost’s business and economic coverage, I thought it might be useful to offer some thoughts on what this means to us and, just as important, what it emphatically does not mean: We are in no way seeking to retreat to the phony version of journalistic objectivity that pretends the truth always lies in the middle, between two generally exaggerated and intellectually-disingenuous extremes.

  • Censorship

    • Dan Snyder Helps Us Demonstrate The Streisand Effect In Numbers

      Having coined the term “The Streisand Effect” a while back, I’m always interested in more examples of it in action. We recently talked about how Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder sued the Washington City Paper over a tongue-in-cheek article criticizing him, and the response may actually give us some Streisand Effect data. Paul Alan Levy sends over a neat blog post from Tech Cocktail that tries to quantify how much more attention was driven to the article Snyder was so upset about. The answer? An awful lot.

    • Mumsnet backtracks support for net filter

      Cuddly, child-loving web forum, mumsnet was last night licking its wounds after a page providing fairly uncritical support for government proposals to censor the web was first mauled by geek attack – and then taken down.

      However, in a swift repositioning, mumsnet have now come out as part of the search for a solution, rather than advocates of any particular approach.

    • Nominet asks what you think of police domain grab

      Nominet is asking for feedback on proposals from the police which would allow them to “switch off” websites used by criminals.

      The UK domain registrar is setting up an issues group to look at the change which would bolster police powers quite dramatically – assuming the pesky crims stick to .uk websites of course.

    • Russian volunteer army to fight ‘dangerous content’ online

      The call is going out in Russia for a new volunteer army to combat the menace of “negative” content on the internet.

      First in its sights is the usual enemy of all right-thinking people – child abuse material – but critics fear that once up and running the newly launched League of Internet Safety will cast its net much more widely.


      Russia has a long history of censorship, commencing with the Tsars in the 19th century. This continued after the revolution, with the establishment in 1922 of the central censorship office, Glavlit, which was attached to the Council of Ministers of the USSR.

      At the time of its abolition, under perestroika (“reconstruction”) in the late 1980s, Glavlit’s collection of banned books contained around 27,000 Russian books, 250,000 foreign books, 572,000 issues of foreign magazines, 8,500 annual sets of foreign newspapers and 8,000 publications.

    • Malmström worried by vote on child porn

      European commissioner fears that European Parliament amendments will curb member states’ ability to block child porn websites.

      Cecilia Malmström, the European commissioner for home affairs, is worried that MEPs’ amendments to a draft directive on the sexual abuse and exploitation of children would make it more difficult for EU member states to block access to websites carrying child pornography.

  • Civil Rights

    • Former FBI Agent Turned ACLU Attorney: Feds Routinely Spy on Citizens

      Too often, we’ve seen U.S. Intelligence agencies whose actions are cloaked in secrecy until someone uncovers governmental abuse that places innocent people under surveillance or on watchlists. It’s truly scary to ponder how much more stays hidden. I’d love to interview an FBI agent with in-depth national security and intelligence experience, but one who would answer truthfully and believes in privacy. It is with delight that I interviewed Mike German, formerly a 16-year veteran as an FBI special agent who became ACLU’s Policy Counsel on National Security, Immigration and Privacy.

    • Minister destroys national identity register

      The immigration minister fed some of the last batch of 500 hard drives, which were used to hold the national identity register, into a giant crushing machine at RDC in Witham, Essex on 10 February.

      “This marks the final end of the identity card scheme: dead, buried and crushed,” he said. “What we are destroying today is the last elements of the national identity register, which was always the most objectionable part of the scheme.”

  • DRM

    • Sony Threatens To Take Legal Action Against Those Who Distribute PS3 Hack; Asks For Names And IPs From Google, Twitter

      Sony is threatening to take legal action against anyone who distributes or posts the key used to hack PS3s. To further their point that they aren’t messing around Sony has also gone after YouTube and are seeking “All information and documents related to the use of your service(s) to host the content associated with and/or comprising the video titled “Jail broken PS3 3.55 with Homebrew”, posted by user “geohot” and located at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U kLSXsCKDkg.” (The video is no longer on YouTube.) Sony is now hoping a federal judge will demand Google to release the names, addresses, IP address logs and any other information of anyone who has commented or even simply seen the video.

    • Neil Gaiman On Internet Piracy: “It’s People Lending Books”

      Anyone who read our piece on Underground sales skyrocketing after the comic was bootlegged on 4chan will not be surprised by Neil Gaiman’s revelation in this interview with Open Rights Group. Everyone else, hang on to your seats, because he thinks piracy may help increase sales.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Open letter demands secret TPPA talks see daylight

      Open source technology and open government advocate Daniel Spector said that setting up a 100 year so-called “trade” agreement was short-sighted and foolhardy.

      “Working under a veil of secrecy to create 100-year agreements with foreign governments is a challenge to our democracy. Decisions made in secret now will affect citizens for literally a century to come, and will damage the options of every future government of our own nation for effecting positive change as their electorates would desire.”

      “It is essential that the text of TPPA be made public as it is developed, for appropriate consideration of the citizenry,” he said.

      Robert Reid, General Secretary of the National Distribution Union said that trade unions and other organisations were sick and tired of agreements such as the TPPA being negotiated in secret.

    • Why Is President Obama Setting Up IP Enforcement Committees Rather Than IP Effectiveness Committees?

      The White House recently announced that President Obama has signed an executive order creating two new, very high level “intellectual property enforcement committees.” The idea is to have high level folks in different federal government agencies coordinating their “enforcement” strategies, when they do things like seizing domains without due process or First Amendment considerations.

      Of course, if President Obama were serious about improving American innovation and creative output (and living up to the Constitution), he would have put together intellectual property effectiveness committees, rather than enforcement committees. By this point, you would have to willfully ignore all of the studies highlighting how today’s intellectual property laws tend to cause plenty of harm to think that the laws are “effective.”

    • Copyrights

      • ACTA

        • Greens/EFA MEPs Engström, Sargentini, Beliér, Albrecht ask question on ACTA and Vienna Convention

          At this point, the US Congress considers ACTA a political agreement, that is not binding on the US. The US has no intention of amending its copyright and trademark laws to be consistent with ACTA, and will consider legislative proposals that are inconsistent, such as to address access to orphaned copyrighted works. The European Commission is aware of this, but prefers to provide misleading communications to the European Parliament, in order to obtain ACTA approval by the Parliament.

      • Digital Economy (UK)/HADOPI

        • UK government acknowledges that Digital Economy Act may keep net access from the poor

          The explosive revelations are contained in a government response by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to an obscure parliamentary body known as the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee.

          The committee met to discuss the Statutory Instrument (SI) that sets out how the cost of running the anti-copyright-infringement measures of the Digital Economy Act will be shared between rights holders and ISPs. I’d already blogged that the European Commission had raised official concerns about this SI.

        • Concerns over the DEA Costs Sharing Order

          If the Digital Economy Act were a celebrity, it would probably be phoning for Max Clifford. In March it faces Judicial Review. Ofcom have been asked to review the web blocking provisions. The Culture, Media and Sport Committee are looking at the framework for the protection of IP.

          And through James Firth’s ‘Slightly Right of Centre’ blog, we learned that the European Commission raised plenty of doubts about the ‘Costs Sharing’ order that decides how much of the costs associated with the Digital Economy Act ISPs and rights holders should pay. Today the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee have advised Parliament of these and other concerns in their 21st Report.

          The report raises a number of problems identified with the order. They range from fears that it will price some people out of broadband access, through to concerns for liability faced by libraries and schools. It also features responses from a range of individuals and organisations from DCMS, Consumer Focus, Francis Davey and the Creative Coalition Campaign.

Clip of the Day

How The Social Network Should Have Ended

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 10/2/2011: WebOS and Android Rise Up

Posted in News Roundup at 2:50 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Bolster Your Exec Tools

    Change at dizzying speed makes leadership tricky, whether you’re a head of state or CEO. “The world is shifting and it’s happening in a pronounced way,” said James Quigley, co-author with Mehrdad Baghai of “As One: Individual Action, Collective Power.”

    Quigley says it’s passe to engage in only a couple of leadership styles, such as commander and collaborator. Combining several characteristics to adapt fast is more effective.

  • Desktop

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • Environmentalists Who Spoofed Koch Industries Did Not Break Law, Should Not Be Identified, Public Citizen Tells Court

      A group of anonymous environmentalists who participated in an elaborate prank to highlight Koch Industries’ controversial role in bankrolling climate change denial did not infringe on Koch’s trademark and should not be identified, Public Citizen lawyers argued in papers filed late Wednesday in federal district court in Salt Lake City.

      Koch’s lawsuit against the anonymous activists does not justify unmasking their identities, Public Citizen said, and doing so would have a chilling effect on free speech.

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • git ‘er done

        Also of note is that the KTextEditor interface, while still in kdelibs, is primarily developed in (and sync’d with) the code in the Kate git repository.

        This is setting the stage for a nice opportunity for us to work on the further modularization of the KDE Platform for app devel while also giving the workspaces a clearer and more separate footing on their own.

    • GNOME Desktop

  • Distributions

    • Reviews

      • GNU/Linux From Turkey, Pardus 2011 Released

        Pardus team has announced the release of Pardus 2011. This is the 5th major installation release that has shipped since the project had begun in 2003 by TÜBİTAK BİLGEM (Center of Research For Advanced Technologies Of Informatics And Information Security) and offers many new features among a more stable experience.

    • New Releases

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mageia Alpha May Arrive February 15

        We were waiting for Mageia’s first iso in January, 2011. But as happens with FOSS projects, stability of the product matters more than the date. ISO was delayed and now new dates are in. According to Mageia blog, the first alpha of the Mandriva fork should be available by February 15, 2011.

        Long time Mandriva users are looking forward to this first alpha to get their hands on Mageia and see if its time to stay with it or to move on.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Qatar Exchange Turns to Red Hat for a Reliable, Scalable and High-Performance Trading Platform

        Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE: RHT), the world’s leading provider of open source solutions, today announced that the Qatar Exchange, the principal stock market of Qatar and one of the leading stock markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council region (GCC region), has migrated from IBM AIX and Microsoft Windows to Red Hat Enterprise Linux to provide a high-performance trading platform for investors in the Qatari market.

      • Red Hat Close to Resistance

        Shares of Red Hat, Inc. (NYSE:RHT) are trading very close to calculated resistance at $44.89 with the current price action closing at just $44.39 placing the stock near levels that make it difficult to buy.

      • Shares Of Ariba Potentially Overvalued In Terms Of Earnings Yield (ARBA, ROVI, VMW, RHT, FTNT)

        Below are the five companies in the Systems Software industry with the lowest Earnings Yields. Earnings yield is useful to compare the relative benefit of owning a stock vs. owning other yield assets such as bonds. If the earnings yield is higher, stocks may be considered undervalued.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • SODIMM-sized module offers 1GHz SoC, 1080p video playback

      Strategic Test announced a SODIMM-sized computer-on-module (COM) based on Freescale’s ARM Cortex A8-based i.MX535 system-on-chip. Clocked at 1GHz, the 2.66 x 1.2-inch TX53 offers extensive I/O, including Ethernet and dual USB 2.0 ports, plus an available “Strategic Development Kit 5″ baseboard, and a Linux BSP, says the company.

    • DreamPlug: A Linux PC That Looks Like a Phone Charger

      Take a look at your power outlet. If you saw a DreamPlug PC there, you could mistake it for nothing more than your mobile phone charger. Yet Globalscale Technologies’ newest Linux PC offers enough zing to make the “plug computing” concept a serious one.

    • Phones

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Qt Goes To School – Free Training Course Material For Teachers

          Nokia’s Qt team has unveiled a new initiative – namely to build awareness about Qt – the library that is the building block of KDE – among students and academia.

          Choosing an appropriate library for your software is a significant first step to developing your product.

      • Android

        • China-based white-box vendors to offer below US$100 Android smartphones for emerging markets

          China-based vendors are poised to offer Android smartphones priced at below US$100 for sale in China and other emerging markets including India, Indonesia and Brazil in 2011, according to Taiwan-based handset and component makers.

        • FLOSS Beats Closed/Proprietary In a Competitive Environment

          Rumour has it that Nokia will switch either to Phoney 7 or Android. Are they crazy enough to jump from a burning platform to a sinking ship? I think they will go with Android so they can instantly offer what the competition offers and add their own expertise with phones. That will offer more than the competition and they will win share on brand recognition and features. The question remains what they will do about price. With Android they can provide a range of products all for similar cost of production but they can also sell some added value for higher prices.

        • Pre-Sale Of Android Powered ATRIX 4G Phone Starts Feb 13

          With the loss of iPhone exclusivity, AT&T has started leaning on Android. The company will be launching dozens of Linux-based Android phones in the coming weeks. Motorola, a company which came back from ashes thanks to Linux, is brining its ATRIX 4G phone with AT&T. The phone will be available for pre-sales on Feb 13.

        • Motorola Xoom Price Leaked, Cheaper Than The High-end iPad

          Some blog sites got hold of a Best Buy flier which reveals the pricing and availability of Motorola Xoom. The leaked price of Motorola Xoom is $799 for Wifi + 3G model. If we compare, the most powerful iPad is priced at $829 and has half of the hardware power that Motorola Xoom has. The same model of the iPad (Wifi+3G & 32GB) is only $70 cheaper. Motorola Xoom has much more powerful hardware — Nvidia Tegra 2: 1 GHz dual-core processor, 5 mega pixel main camera and 2 mega pixel camera for video chat. So, going by hardware, Motorola Xoom beats the iPad manifold.

        • Web-Based Android Market Is Not A Secuirty Risk, Yet

          Google has simplified the installation of apps via web Android Market. It has become extremely easy for users to surf the online web market and click on the ‘intall’ button if they want to install the desired app. The app will automatically install on your device. All you need is to log into the online web store with the same email ID you registered/activated your Android phone with.

        • Play Angry Birds Valentine’s Day Special On Android

          Extremely popular game Angry Birds is back with a new season special after Christmas. This time it is celebrating Valentine’s Day.

    • HP

      • Hewlett-Packard unveils Palm-powered tablets

        Hewlett-Packard (HP), the world’s biggest technology company, is making a major play for the multi-billion dollar mobile market with a slew of products based on its own operating system.

        At an event in San Francisco, the company announced two new phones and a long-awaited tablet computer.

      • HP TouchPad Crushes iPad’s Enterprise Dreams

        HP has marked its entry into the tablet segment. The company has finally released a WebOS powered tablet called HP TouchPad. HP’s tablet will crush Apple’s dreams of taking the ‘entertaining’ iPad to no-nonsense enterprise customers.

        HP has a better understanding, ties with businesses than Apple, as I understand. Additionally, the lifespan of Apple product is very short which increases the cost of ownership. The current iPad is extremely crippled when compared with the latest family of Android powered tablets.

      • HP TouchPad sports dual-core Snapdragon

        HP announced its first tablet PC running WebOS, using a new dual-core 1.2GHz version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor. The HP TouchPad offers a 9.7-inch, XGA multitouch display, up to 32GB of memory, a 1.3-megapixel, front-facing camera, optional 3G and GPS, plus a TouchStone-based technology for exchanging web URLs with select WebOS-based smartphones with a simple tap.

      • HP thinks small with WebOS-based Pre 3 and Veer phones

        HP announced two WebOS-based heirs to its Palm Pre phones, both with slide-out keyboards, Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, and five-megapixel cameras. The 3.6-inch, HP Pre 3 runs on a 1.4GHz processor and adds a front-facing webcam, and the 2.6-inch HP Veer offers an 800MHz processor, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • PLUG East Side Meeting

      The main purpose of the presentation is to demonstrate how a blind person can independently use a computer equipped with open source software and further demonstrate how the assistive technology works. Also, Steve wishes to conclude with a confirmation that blind people can not only use these configurations, but also be productive and that they have a right to use such.

    • POSSCON 2011 – I’m speaking

      I’m slated to speak this year at POSSCON 2011, the Palmetto Open Source Software Conference in Columbia, South Carolina, from March 23 to March 25.

    • Richard M. Stallman en Ciudad Real
  • SaaS

    • Lucas Carlson, Founder of Cloud-focused PHP Fog, Reveals What’s in His Stack

      Lucas Carlson has been a mover and shaker on the open source scene ever since he co-authored Ruby Cookbook, a comprehensive problem-solving guide for Ruby developers, and he also served as lead engineer for music-on-demand service MOG. Now, his startup company PHP Fog is red hot, and–as we’ve noted–Madrona Venture Group, Founder’s Co-op and First Round Capital have committed $1.8 million of Series A funding for the firm, a Portland-based cloud computing outfit focused on scalable Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technology.

    • Open Source Cloud: Bitrock launches Bitnami Cloud Hosting

      Bitnami Cloud hosting – a new service aimed at simplifying the deployment of open source stacks in the hosting open source applications in the cloud (faq) – after few months of private beta-testing just went live today.

    • The Backstory of Yahoo and Hadoop

      Somewhat to my surprise, I was recently asked why Yahoo has put so much into Apache Hadoop. We currently have nearly 100 people working on Apache Hadoop and related projects, such as Pig, ZooKeeper, Hive, Howl, HBase and Oozie. Over the last 5 years, we’ve invested nearly 300 person-years into these projects. The Hadoop team at Yahoo is so passionate about our open source mission, and we’ve been doing this for so long, that we tend to assume that everyone understands our position. The recent evidence to the contrary motivates this post.

      Back in January 2006, when we decided to invest in scaling Hadoop from an interesting prototype to the robust scalable framework it is today, it was obvious that our direct competitors had or were building private implementations of map-reduce and clustered storage. We didn’t believe that this type of infrastructure would bring sustainable advantage to any one competitor: the needs of Web Search at the time were driving everyone in in a similar direction. Thus, instead of building yet another private implementation, we believed that investing in an Open Source solution would bring Yahoo! numerous benefits.

    • Why Yahoo Is Discontinuing Its Hadoop Distribution

      The big data marketplace has contracted a bit, as Yahoo is ceasing development of its Yahoo Distribution of Hadoop and will be folding it back into the Apache Hadoop project. The company announced the decision in a blog post yesterday, citing a goal “to make Apache Hadoop THE open source platform for big data” as a driving force behind its new strategy. It’s probably a wise idea, because having three free competing distributions — Yahoo, Apache and Cloudera — unnecessarily compartmentalized features and development efforts, and possibly left new Hadoop users with a tough decision in terms of which distribution to download and get to working on.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Gettings things done in Java – a chat with Eclipse Foundation director, Mike Milinkovich
    • Google Open Sources Java for Contract Under GNU LGPL

      Google has open source yet another tool — Contracts for Java. Google last week open sourced/freed App Engine for Mac OSX.

      Contracts for Java was inspired by Eiffel, a language invented by Bertrand Meyer, which has built in support for contracts.

    • Google’s Android Forked, Will It Affect Oracle’s Lawsuit?

      A group of developers announced at Fosdem that they have forked the Open Source Android project to create IcedRobot. The project contain two sub-projects – GNUDroid, GNUBishop.

    • New: OOo-DEV 3.x Developer Snapshot (build DEV300m99) available

      Developer Snapshot OOo-Dev DEV300m99 is available for download.

      DEV300 is the development codeline for upcoming OOo 3.x releases.

    • LibreOffice VS Openoffice

      When a group of German coders at OpenOffice (belonging to database major, Oracle) finally forked away on Sept28th 2010 there was much for everybody to talk about while Oracle OpenOffice maintained dignified silence. The tussle between a David and Goliath has always been fascinating to watch and the breaking away and regeneration of the minnow LibreOffice against the giant OpenOffice has all the makings of a great epic!

    • Hudson’s Bright Future

      We believe that Hudson users can look forward to a long, bright future.

      Working with the community, Oracle and Sonatype are each putting a number of full-time engineering resources on Hudson. The Hudson lead, Winston Prakash from Oracle, is highly skilled, very thoughtful, and he cares about the community. He is also the first person to create detailed, comprehensive architectural documentation.

    • Oracle patches decade-old ‘Mark-of-the-Beast’ bug in Java

      Oracle has squashed a decade-old bug in its Java programming framework that allows attackers to bring down sensitive servers by feeding them numerical values with large numbers of decimal places.

      The vulnerability in the latest version of Java was disclosed last month and reported by The Reg on Monday. The bug, which stems from the difficulty of representing some floating-point numbers in the binary format, made it possible to carry out denial-of-service attacks when Java applications process the value 2.2250738585072012e-308.

  • CMS

    • Open Source Takes Over Brussels Airport

      Just before the major open source conference — FOSDEM — kick-starts in Brussels, Pentaho, an open source company announced that Brussels Airport has shut windows on proprietary Oracle and IBM and opened doors to Pentaho’s open source solutions.

      But what was the driving force behind this migration, was it cost effectiveness of Open Source or the closed nature of proprietary technologies?

  • Business

  • Funding

    • Basho raises $7.5M to expand NoSQL database sales
    • EnterpriseDB pushes latest round to $13.6M

      Westford-based EnterpriseDB Corp. has bumped its most recent fundraising round from the initial amount of $7.5 million to $13.6 million. When the software company announced the initial round in July, it anticipated the round to cap at $12 million.

      Investors in the round when it was at $7 million included new investors Translink Capital and KT (Korean Telecom), along with previous backers Valhalla Partners, Charles River Ventures and Volition Partners (formerly Fidelity Ventures). The filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission did not disclose if any new investors had come on board in this latest increase.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Newly Published Edition of United States Standards Strategy Supports U.S. Competitiveness and International Trade

      The American National Standards Institute (ANSI), coordinator of the U.S. voluntary standards and conformity assessment system, is pleased to announce the release of the updated United States Standards Strategy (USSS) – Third Edition. The Strategy articulates the principles and tactics that guide how the United States develops standards and participates in the international standards-setting process.

    • Re-Examining Public and Private Roles under the NTTAA

      For more than 100 years, the United States has been the exemplar of the “bottom up” model of standards development. Under this methodology, society relies on the private sector to identify standards-related needs and opportunities in most sectors, and then develops responsive specifications. Government, for its part, retains ultimate control over domains such as health, safety, and environmental protection, but preferentially uses private sector standards in procurement, and also references private sector standards into law when appropriate (e.g., as building codes).

      Until recently, government agencies in the United States commonly developed their own standards for procurement purposes. This era of separate but equal standards creation officially came to an end with the passage of the National Technology Transfer and Advancement Act of 1995. With this legislation, Congress directed government agencies to use “voluntary consensus standards” (VCSs) and other private sector specifications wherever practical rather than “government unique standards,” and to participate in the development of these standards as well. In 1998, Office of Management and Budget Circular A-119 was amended to provide additional guidance to the Federal agencies on complying with the NTTAA.

    • PDK standards not in sight

      With disagreements over approaches to PDK standards, a solution that will enable and speed up new analogue and mixed-signal designs in a foundry is not expected anytime soon.


  • Berlusconi faces call to trial over claims of underage sex with prostitute

    Silvio Berlusconi is tomorrow facing the biggest threat yet of his tumultuous career, as prosecutors ask for him to stand trial for sex-related offences that carry a combined sentence of up to 15 years. It was also announced today that his trial for allegedly bribing British lawyer David Mills is to resume on 11 March.

  • Breaking the Web with hash-bangs

    Tim Bray has written a much shorter, clearer and less technical explanation of the broken use of hash-bangs URLs. I thoroughly recommend reading and referencing it.

    Lifehacker, along with every other Gawker property, experienced a lengthy site-outage on Monday over a misbehaving piece of JavaScript. Gawker sites were reduced to being an empty homepage layout with zero content, functionality, ads, or even legal disclaimer wording. Every visitor coming through via Google bounced right back out, because all the content was missing.

  • The Church of Scientology’s friends in Washington

    Along with some incredible new details, there are the previously reported stories of rampant physical abuse of underlings by church head David Miscavige, the church’s “Sea Org” full of underage workers signed to “billion-year contracts” performing manual labor for little to no money, and the tales of the church separating families and milking its members for thousands of dollars. The church is even under investigation by the FBI for what could amount to human trafficking.

  • Facebook and Google size up takeover of Twitter: report

    Google Inc and Facebook Inc, plus others, have held low level takeover talks with Twitter that give the Internet sensation a value as high as $10 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported.

  • Don’t deal away our sovereignty

    After months of secret negotiations, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced last week his desire to seek a new security deal with the United States. The content of the proposal and the manner in which it came about raise serious questions about the government’s commitment to defending our sovereignty, our privacy and our rights as Canadian citizens.

  • Science

    • Smartest Machine on Earth

      Can a computer beat the best human minds on Jeopardy!? Live during our broadcast on February 9 at 10pm, follow bloggers below from the IBM Watson team, including David Ferrucci, head of the team; David Gondek, strategy team leader; and Eric Brown, DeepQA architecture specialist. Please note we will not be accepting comments from the general public.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Failure to act on crop shortages fuelling political instability, experts warn

      World leaders are ignoring potentially disastrous shortages of key crops, and their failures are fuelling political instability in key regions, food experts have warned.

      Food prices have hit record levels in recent weeks, according to the United Nations, and soaring prices for staples such as grains over the past few months are thought to have been one of the factors contributing to an explosive mix of popular unrest in Egypt and Tunisia.

    • Amish Smugglers’ Shady Milk Run

      Wearing a black-brimmed country hat, suspenders and an Amish beard, “Samuel” unloaded his contraband from an unmarked white truck on a busy block in Manhattan. He was at the tail end of a long smuggling run that had begun before dawn at his Pennsylvania farm.

      As he wearily stacked brown cardboard boxes on the sidewalk, a few upscale clients in the Chelsea neighborhood lurked nearby, eyeing the new shipment hungrily.

      Clearly, they couldn’t wait to get a taste.

      But he wasn’t selling them anything they planned to smoke, snort or inject. Rather, he was giving them their once-a-month fix of raw milk — an unpasteurized product banned outright in 12 states and denounced by the FDA as a public health hazard, but beloved by a small but growing number of devotees who tout both its health benefits and its flavor.

    • How the war on fake drugs risks harming the poor

      There is a lot of talk about the dangers of counterfeit medicines these days and, indeed, counterfeit drugs are dangerous things. But, says Oxfam in a new report today, the war on fake drugs in the developing world is being waged in a way that may suit the big pharmaceutical companies but poses very grave dangers to the health of the poor.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egypt: 2011-2-9

      Protest in Egypt is approaching the kindling point. Previously youth and intelligentsia seemed to be involved in a major way. Now labour has stepped up. Protests have spread and now involve several large employers like the Suez Canal and the Ministry of Health. Yesterday the vice president of the country declared that the protests could not be allowed to continue much longer. The converse is also true. The dictatorship cannot be allowed to continue much longer.

    • A Villa in the Jungle?

      WE ARE in the middle of a geological event. An earthquake of epoch-making dimensions is changing the landscape of our region. Mountains turn into valleys, islands emerge from the sea, volcanoes cover the land with lava.

      People are afraid of change. When it happens, they tend to deny, ignore, pretend that nothing really important is happening.

    • Kuwaitis mourn the missing in Iraq

      After Iraqi troops occupied Kuwait in August 1990, hundreds of Kuwaitis and nationals of other countries went missing.

      The Iraqis were forced out by an international coalition in February the following year, but as the BBC’s Christian Fraser reports from Kuwait City, many people have still not been found.

    • Offices of outspoken Sri Lanka website burned down

      A group of men broke into the offices of a website critical of Sri Lanka’s government and set fire to it Monday, a journalist from the publication said, adding that he suspected a government role in the attack.

      Bennett Rupasinghe, news editor of LankaeNews.com, said the fire destroyed everything in the offices. He said the attackers could have been sent by the government as punishment for the website’s critical articles.

    • Two detained reporters saw methods of Egyptian secret police

      We had been detained by Egyptian authorities, handed over to the country’s dreaded Mukhabarat, the secret police, and interrogated. They left us all night in a cold room, on hard orange plastic stools, under fluorescent lights.

      But our discomfort paled in comparison to the dull whacks and the screams of pain by Egyptian people that broke the stillness of the night. In one instance, between the cries of suffering, an officer said in Arabic, “You are talking to journalists? You are talking badly about your country?”

    • The truth behind India’s nuclear renaissance

      The global “nuclear renaissance” touted a decade ago has not materialised. The US’s nuclear industry remains starved of new reactor orders since 1973, and western Europe’s first reactor after Chernobyl (1986) is in serious trouble in Finland – 42 months behind schedule, 90% over budget, and in bitter litigation. But India is forging ahead to create an artificial nuclear renaissance by quadrupling its nuclear capacity by 2020 and then tripling it by 2030 by pumping billions into reactor imports from France, Russia and America, and further subsidising the domestic Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL).

    • G4S security firm was warned of lethal risk to refused asylum seekers

      The multinational security company hired by the government to deport refused asylum seekers was warned repeatedly by its own staff that potentially lethal force was being used against deportees, an investigation by the Guardian can reveal.

      Details of how some G4S guards developed a dangerous technique for restraining deportees by bending them in aircraft seats is disclosed in official testimony drawn up by four whistle-blowers from the company.

    • France’s prime minister spent family Christmas break as guest of Mubarak

      The French prime minister, François Fillon, has admitted that he and his family spent their Christmas holiday as a guest of the Egyptian president, Hosni Mubarak.

      The admission came as Egypt’s president was grappling with widespread protests and calls for him to stand down, and as French ministers’ personal links with unpopular regimes in the region came under unprecedented scrutiny.

    • Mubarak’s Billions

      Should Mubarak skip the country, as Corey Pein points out in War Is Business, he might well do it in a business jet provided free of charge by the US taxpayers. “Pentagon contracts show that the US government has spent at least $111,160,328 to purchase and maintain Mubarak’s fleet of nine Gulfstream business jets. (For those keeping score, Gulfstream is a subsidiary of General Dynamics.)” War Is Busines provides copies of the actual contracts.

    • Suleiman: The CIA’s man in Cairo

      On January 29, Omar Suleiman, Egypt’s top spy chief, was anointed vice president by tottering dictator, Hosni Mubarak. By appointing Suleiman, part of a shake-up of the cabinet in an attempt to appease the masses of protesters and retain his own grip on the presidency, Mubarak has once again shown his knack for devilish shrewdness. Suleiman has long been favoured by the US government for his ardent anti-Islamism, his willingness to talk and act tough on Iran – and he has long been the CIA’s main man in Cairo.

      Mubarak knew that Suleiman would command an instant lobby of supporters at Langley and among ‘Iran nexters’ in Washington – not to mention among other authoritarian mukhabarat-dependent regimes in the region. Suleiman is a favourite of Israel too; he held the Israel dossier and directed Egypt’s efforts to crush Hamas by demolishing the tunnels that have functioned as a smuggling conduit for both weapons and foodstuffs into Gaza.

    • Wrongful Execution Reopens Death Penalty Debate

      Revelations that an Air Force private had apparently been wrongfully executed 15 years ago for the rape and murder of a five-year-old girl have reopened the debate over Taiwan’s retention of the death penalty.

      Taipei District and Taichung District prosecutors announced Jan. 28 that after a new investigation into the case, another former Air Force enlisted man had confessed to the crime.

      The announcement prompted President Ma Ying-jeou to apologise to the mother of then 21-year-old Air Force private Chiang Kuo-ching, who was convicted for the crime and executed by gunshot in 1997. Ma also promised “to use the swiftest legal procedure” to clear Chiang’s name and make reparations.

    • Open letter to the UN: Is the Goldstone report dead?

      As Palestinian and Israeli human rights organizations, we welcome your first visit to the region and take this occasion to ask: is the Goldstone report dead? Over two years have passed since the end of the Israeli offensive “Operation Cast Lead” on the Gaza Strip, and justice for victims has yet to be addressed.

    • Acpo chief calls for judicial oversight of undercover police operations

      Undercover policing operations should be authorised in advance by a judge, the head of the Association of Chief Police Officers (Acpo) said today.

      Sir Hugh Orde, the Acpo president, said the change was needed to restore public confidence in the system after concerns about the role played by the ex-Metropolitan police constable Mark Kennedy, who spent seven years posing as an environmental activist.

    • Egyptian opposition says no deal until Hosni Mubarak steps down

      Leading opposition groups in Egypt, including the Muslim Brotherhood, are standing by a demand that President Hosni Mubarak resign before there can be a political agreement to end two weeks of mass protests against his regime.

      Pro-democracy campaigners called another mass demonstration for Tuesday to keep up the pressure on Mubarak to quit in the face of the government’s attempts to marginalise the street protests as no longer relevant because political talks are under way.

    • Abusive Afghan Husbands Want This Woman Dead

      A 22-YEAR-OLD WOMAN lies naked on a tile platform. Ninety percent of her body is burned—her skin mottled brown and in places torn open, exposing the white tissue of seared muscle. Nurses bathe her with saline solution. An IV tube drips fluid into her right foot, one of the few unburned places on her body. The odor of her flesh mixes with lingering traces of the cooking fuel she doused herself with.

    • If You Thought the GOP’s “Rape Redefinition” Bill Was Bad…

      Last week, the GOP backed down from its attempt to limit the definition of rape under federal abortion law. But hold your applause: While the Republican leadership was removing the controversial “forcible rape” provision from the “No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act,” Rep. Joe Pitts (R-Pa.) was busy slipping a provision into a related bill, the “Protect Life Act,” that could prove just as controversial.

    • Boxer Introduces Legislation on Redeployment of U.S. Combat Forces from Afghanistan

      U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) this week introduced the Safe and Responsible Redeployment of United States Combat Forces from Afghanistan Act of 2011, which would express the Senate’s support for President Obama’s plan to begin the withdrawal of combat forces from Afghanistan in July 2011. It would also require the President to submit to Congress a plan for the phased redeployment of U.S. combat forces from Afghanistan, including an end date for the completion of that redeployment.

    • Human Rights Group Notes that Haiti’s Electoral Council Did Not Approve Run-off Elections (IJDH)
    • Evidence of 2002 Taliban Offer Damages Myth of al Qaeda Ties

      The central justification of the U.S.-NATO war against the Afghan Taliban – that the Taliban would allow al Qaeda to return to Afghanistan – has been challenged by new historical evidence of offers by the Taliban leadership to reconcile with the Hamid Karzai government after the fall of the Taliban government in late 2001.

    • Polar bear swam non-stop for nine days

      IN ONE of the most dramatic signs documented of how shrinking Arctic sea ice impacts polar bears, researchers at the US Geological Survey in Alaska have tracked a female bear that swam nine days across the deep, frigid Beaufort Sea before reaching an ice floe 685 kilometres offshore.

      The marathon swim came at a cost: with little food available when she arrived, the bear lost 22 per cent of her body weight and her year-old female cub, who set off on the journey with her, did not survive, the researchers said.

    • Swiss Miss Bush

      Justice for George W’s torture violations jumped much closer this weekend. Ex-President George W Bush was supposed to fly to Switzerland to speak in Geneva February 15. But his speech was cancelled over the weekend because of concerns about protests and efforts by human rights organizations asking Swiss prosecutors to charge Bush with torture and serve him with an arrest warrant.

      Two things made this possible. Switzerland allows the prosecution of human rights violators from other countries if the violator is on Swiss soil and George W admitted he authorized water boarding detainees in his recent memoir. Torture is internationally banned by the Convention Against Torture.

    • Time to follow Fields’ example and quit Afghanistan

      Arnold Fields, the special inspector general for Afghanistan, announced his resignation late on Monday evening – news that has virtually disappeared among all the other headlines from the Arizona shootings to Joe Biden’s surprise trip to Kabul. Yet the departure of the top US official who set up Sigar, the office charged with making sure that the $56bn that has been spent in Afghanistan was not wasted has the potential to be a milestone in the war in that country.

      Fields, a former major general in the US Marines, has been under public attack for over 18 months. Critics from Senator Tom Coburn, a Republican from Oklahoma, to Senator Claire McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, have been calling for his resignation for months, as have watchdog groups like the Project on Government Oversight.

    • Immigration officer fired after putting wife on list of terrorists to stop her flying home

      An immigration officer tried to rid himself of his wife by adding her name to a list of terrorist suspects.

      He used his access to security databases to include his wife on a watch list of people banned from boarding flights into Britain because their presence in the country is ‘not conducive to the public good’.

      As a result the woman was unable for three years to return from Pakistan after travelling to the county to visit family.

    • Egypt Arrests 4 Facebook Activists [Updated]

      Egypt’s crackdown against anti-government protesters has ensnared at least four members of the April 6 Youth, a dissident movement organized largely through Facebook and other social media tools. Danger Room has learned that Amal Sharaf, one of the core members of the April 6 Youth, is among those arrested.

  • Cablegate

    • Leaked Security Firm Documents Show Plans to Discredit WikiLeaks, Glenn Greenwald

      Among those documents, an outline of plans to systematically discredit WikiLeaks, along with Salon journalist (and WikiLeaks supporter) Glenn Greenwald.

      A proposal entitled “The WikiLeaks Threat” was developed by Palantir Technologies, HBGary, Berico Technologies upon request from Hunton and Williams, a law firm whose clients include Bank of America, the bank widely rumored to be the target of WikiLeaks’ next leak.

    • Assange abused my cat: WikiLeaks insider
    • Secret plan to kill Wikileaks with FUD leaked

      Fear, uncertainty and doubt behind divide-and-conquer sabotage.

      Three information security consultancies with links to US spy agencies cooked up a dirty tricks campaign late last year to destroy Wikileaks by exploiting its perceived weaknesses, reads a presentation released by the whistleblowers’ organisation that it claimed to be from the conspirators.

      Around December 3, it was believed consultants at US defence contractors Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and HBGary proposed an alliance to lawyers for a desperate Bank of America to discredit the whistleblowers’ website using a divide and conquer approach.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Projections for 2010 Global Primary Energy Use

      While the BP Statistical Review of World Energy (2011) will not be published until this summer, I keep a notebook of global energy consumption throughout the year and below is my current estimate for 2010 data, by energy source. Once again it’s coal, of course, that is leading the way as coal is currently the only major global energy source that is significantly growing in both production, and consumption.

    • Punk US Oil Demand and Export Confusion

      The US is using spare refining capacity to export millions of barrels of oil products, while US domestic demand remains weak. One of the more common misunderstandings I see in energy circles right now is the idea that US oil demand has rebounded strongly since 2008.

    • Spain’s salad growers are modern-day slaves, say charities

      The exploitation of tens of thousands of migrants used to grow salad vegetables for British supermarkets has been uncovered by a Guardian investigation into the €2bn-a-year (£1.6bn) hothouse industry in southern Spain.

      Charities working with illegal workers during this year’s harvest claim the abuses meet the UN’s official definition of modern-day slavery, with some workers having their pay withheld for complaining. Conditions appear to have deteriorated further as the collapse of the Spanish property boom has driven thousands of migrants from construction to horticulture to look for work.

    • Whaling in Japan is on the verge of collapse

      In 2008, a colleague and I intercepted a box of whale meat intended as “souvenirs” for the Japanese whaling fleet’s crew. Greenpeace investigations of corruption inside the whaling programme funded by Japanese taxes, prompted by whistleblowers inside the industry, revealed that the embezzlement, gifting and eventual sale of prized whale meat cuts on the black market was a common practice.

    • Record Low Sea Ice

      Despite record cold in the US and Europe this winter, the Arctic has experienced unusual warmth. Sea ice has been slow to grow.

      The red line in the image above shows the average January sea ice extent from 1979 through 2000. The white marks the average Arctic sea ice concentration for January 2011—the lowest measured extent since satellite record keeping began.

    • Indians call on Brazil’s President to halt Belo Monte dam

      Hundreds of people, including over 80 Amazonian Indians, gathered yesterday outside the Brazilian Congress and Presidential Palace to protest at the proposed Belo Monte dam in the Amazon rainforest.

      A delegation of Indians entered the Presidential Palace to deliver a petition signed by around half a million people, calling on Brazil’s new President Dilma Rousseff to put a stop to the ‘disastrous’ dam.

    • Crabzilla! At 5 Feet Tall, Biggest Known Crab Heads to UK

      Hail Crabzilla! The Japanese Spider Crab is the biggest arthropod on Earth–their legs are believed to grow up to 12 feet long. But since they live at such great depths (typically 1,000 feet down or so) a full grown spider crab has yet to be caught. So for now, we’ll have to make due with the 5 foot long Crabzilla (that’s what it’s called–I didn’t make it up!), one of the largest known crabs in the planet.

  • Finance

    • Rich Take From Poor as U.S. Subsidy Law Funds Luxury Hotels

      The landmark Blackstone Hotel in downtown Chicago, which has hosted 12 U.S. presidents, opened in 2008 after a two-year, $116 million renovation. Inside the Beaux Arts structure, built in 1910, buffed marble staircases greet guests spending up to $699 a night for rooms with views of Lake Michigan.

      What’s surprising isn’t the opulent makeover: It’s how the project was financed. The work was subsidized by a federal development program intended to help poor communities.

    • Wonkbook: White House throws states a lifeline. But will the GOP let them catch it?

      Next week’s budget will include a complicated, two-pronged proposal to forgive the states some debt and give them access to more tax revenues after 2014. It’s evidence that the White House s pretty worried about both the long and short-term fiscal position of the states. Worried enough to propose a policy that’ll be called a “job-destroying” tax hike on a Hill (actually, it’s already been called that, as you’ll see in a moment). But this won’t necessarily be easy on the Republicans, either. Post-election, the GOP controls a lot of governor’s mansions and statehouses. And they’re looking at budget projection that frankly terrify them. A bit of help from the Feds may be ideologically unwelcome, but it also might be a lifesaver.

    • Banks in Britain Reach Deal on Pay and Lending

      The British government on Wednesday announced an agreement with the leading banks in the country to increase their lending to businesses to help the economic recovery, while reducing bonuses and increasing transparency in pay practices.

    • Cuts to SEC would imperil the market, says finance sector

      A rift is emerging between congressional Republicans and the financial-services industry over the funding of Wall Street’s watchdog: the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

      Republicans, riding campaign promises to cut spending, have had tough talk for the agency and its failings since before the financial crisis. But the financial industry worries that scarce funds are hampering the SEC’s work and could actually increase the burdens created by the Dodd-Frank financial reform law as stretched-thin regulators have to do more with less.

    • AIG expects 4Q charge of $4.1B for loss reserves

      American International Group Inc. said Wednesday that it expects a fourth-quarter charge of $4.1 billion to build up loss reserves for its Chartis property and casualty insurance units.

    • Plans Near for Freddie and Fannie

      The Obama administration and House Republicans are settling into a game of chicken over Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, with each side daring the other to advance a plan for replacing the two housing finance companies.

    • I.R.S. Offers a Tougher Amnesty Deal for Offshore Accounts

      Under the initiative, Americans with hidden offshore accounts have until Aug. 31 to come forward voluntarily and report the accounts to the I.R.S. in exchange for penalties that, while below what they would ordinarily pay, are still higher than those offered in an earlier amnesty program.

      The additional carrot in the new program is a continued promise by the I.R.S. not to prosecute those who come forward for tax evasion.

    • Fed Casts A Wide Net In Defining Systemic Risk

      The Fed says at least 35 companies, all of them big banks, may pose systemic risks, but that number could grow to include nonbanks like large hedge funds, insurers, asset managers and consumer finance companies. Even payment companies like Visa and MasterCard could face greater oversight under the Fed’s proposed guidelines.

    • Bernanke to face sharp questions from Republicans

      Bernanke is a Republican who served as President George W. Bush’s chief economist. Bush chose him to run the Fed in 2006.

      President Barack Obama ran into initial resistance in his effort to get Bernanke confirmed for a second term as chairman in late 2009. Republicans led the opposition, upset over the Fed’s role in bailing out Wall Street firms during the financial crisis. In January 2010, the Senate confirmed Bernanke for a second term, though by the narrowest margin for any Fed chairman.

    • Insider Inquiry Steps Up Its Focus on Hedge Funds

      The government has taken its strongest action against hedge funds as part of a vast investigation into insider trading on Wall Street.

      Federal prosecutors on Tuesday announced charges against three hedge fund managers, depicting a “triangle of trust” in which the three shared tipsters and illegally pooled confidential information about publicly traded technology companies. The complaint also details a brazen cover-up that involved destroying computer hard drives with pliers and tossing them into random Manhattan garbage trucks in the dead of night.

    • The optimists of Davos past now face a world whose script has gone awry

      Three Davos summits on from the west’s Great Crash, we begin to see where we are. This is not the total collapse of liberal democratic capitalism which some feared at the dramatic meeting here in early 2009, but nor is it the great reform of western capitalism, then the devout hope of Davos.

      Western capitalism survives, but limping, wounded, carrying a heavy load of debt, inequality, demography, neglected infrastructure, social discontent and unrealistic expectations. Meanwhile, other variants of capitalism – Chinese, Indian, Russian, Brazilian – are surging ahead, exploiting the advantages of backwardness, and their economic dynamism is rapidly being translated into political power. The result? Not a unipolar world, converging on a single model of liberal democratic capitalism, but a no-polar world, diverging towards many different national versions of often illiberal capitalism. Not a new world order, but a new world disorder. An unstable kaleidoscope world – fractured, overheated, germinating future conflicts.

    • Obama’s Onslaught on Community Action

      Having left the Wall Street Journal to interview National Community Action Foundation’s Director David Bradley after President Obama’s State of the Union sneak attack on the country’s community action programs, the New York Times has gone a step further in its neglect of a serious social issue. On Sunday Feb. 6 the newspaper published an editorial by White House Budget Director Jacob Lew, which called for a 50 per cent cut in financing for the Community Services Block Grant. Here was an unprecedented slash to a successful liberal program—one which has received scant review either by the Times or the President himself The famously noisy editorial staff offered no comment.

      In his State of the Union President Obama said he has “proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs.” Since the President mentioned only this one program for proposed cuts, he could have at least forewarned Executive Director David Bradley who was seated in the gallery. He didn’t.

      When I interviewed Director Bradley he said, “I think this is a sea change, not a fiscal year change. What we are seeing is numerous agencies—good ones—all competing for the same federal dollars. What this proposed cut has done to our network has sent us a chilling message. It says that our leaders have seen the goodwill expressed towards our work in communities and the successful work of our agencies—especially in the downturn—but are telling us, ‘No thanks.’ That is a hard bitter message to swallow.”

    • IMF loan policies ‘hampering aid efforts’

      A study has tested whether aid to tackle disease and improve healthcare actually translates into a better health system for the countries that receive it.

      The Oxford-led study found that aid that went to some of the poorest countries was not used to supplement existing spending on public health projects, but instead aid often displaced state spending. Countries that relied on loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) were found to channel the least aid towards its intended purpose.

    • Corporate America’s Public Enemy No. 1: The EPA

      On Monday, House oversight committee chair Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released more than 100 letters he has received from corporations, trade groups, and associations outlining the regulations they’d like to see changed. The letters make clear that the Environmental Protection Agency is corporate America’s top target.

  • Censorship

    • Thai webmaster on trial in free speech test case

      The head of a popular Thai political website went on trial today, charged with violating the country’s tough internet laws in a case seen as a bellwether for freedom of expression in the politically troubled nation.

      Chiranuch Premchaiporn, manager of the Prachatai website, faces up to 20 years in jail on 10 separate charges of failing to promptly remove offending comments posted on the website by readers.

    • 11 Muslim students face charges in UCI protest

      Eleven students were charged Friday with conspiring to disrupt a speech last year by the Israeli ambassador to the United States at UC Irvine.

      The incident occurred Feb. 8, 2010, when Ambassador Michael Oren was the featured speaker on campus at a meeting co-sponsored by several organizations. Eleven Muslim students were arrested in the incident.

  • Civil Rights

    • The Constitutional Liberty We Lost

      David N. Mayer: We are facing a vast expansion of the 20th century regulatory and welfare state, and in debates over the welfare state it’s important that people understand that the regulatory state has been built on a number of important myths: myths about economics, myths about history, and myths about constitutional law.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • In telecom competition, it’s all about culture

      Political reluctance to open Canada’s $40-billion telecommunications industry to foreign competition boils down to one thing: culture.

    • The Usage Based Billing Consultations: What the CRTC and the Government Should Do Next

      The controversy over usage based billing has shifted from public frustration and demands for change to several public consultations. Yesterday, the CRTC posted its consultation notice, which gives Canadians until April 28, 2011, to provide their views. Since the CRTC asks whether oral hearings are needed, it seems likely the issue will not be resolved until the summer or early fall at the earliest. In addition to the CRTC consultation, the Standing Committee on Industry continues its investigation into the issue with hearings this week (independent ISPs appeared yesterday, Open Media, Bell, and Shaw are up Thursday) and Shaw Communications announced that it is freezing the implementation of usage based billing pending a customer consultation on the issue.

    • Paying so much for bandwidth, getting so little

      The great Canadian billing brouhaha has begun to attract attention in the United States. It’s not every day that one sees national leaders weigh in on something seemingly as obscure as “bandwidth caps.”

      It’s also odd, as the Internet gets faster, to hear Bell Canada complain about “congestion” as if it were 1999. I suppose there are strange things done under the midnight sun, and the instinct of Stephen Harper and his cabinet to pay some attention to the issue righteous. For hidden in the complexity of billing policy is part of a larger movement to change some of what we take for granted about the Internet. And it’s starting in Canada.

    • BCE profit up 25%

      BCE Inc.’s profit is up sharply, with the telecom and media company’s net income in the fourth quarter rising by 25.4 per cent to $439 million. That’s a rise from $350 million in the comparable period of 2009.

    • New digital divide? Internet caps far higher in Western Canada

      Internet customers in Western Canada are being spared from the stringent pricing regimes their counterparts on the other side of the country have become unwitting victims of, at least for now.

    • Software glitch triggers inflated data usage for some Bell customers

      The Bell Canada software that helps customers calculate how much bandwidth they’ve used each month has gone offline in the middle of a national debate over Internet pricing.

      As the furor grows over so-called usage-based billing — a regulatory change by the CRTC that would allow larger providers to charge per-byte prices to small Internet providers that lease space on their networks — the tool that allows Bell’s own customers to calculate their usage has been taken down.

  • DRM at SCOny

    • Hearing on TRO in SCEA (Sony) v. Hotz Tomorrow at 10 AM – At Hotz’s Request

      This is last-minute-y, but there’s going to be oral argument tomorrow morning at 10 AM in Sony Computer Entertainment America v. Hotz regarding the temporary restraining order. It’s at Hotz’s request, by the way, because tomorrow is the day he’s supposed to turn over his computers to Sony, and he’d like to have a chance to speak, to present to the judge his concerns. It seems there never was a hearing on the merits of the TRO, so tomorrow is his opportunity to explain why he feels it’s too broad, at a minimum.

    • Fake Sony PS3 VP Tricked Into Tweeting PS3 Security Key

      As Sony continues its quixotically backwards attempt to delete the PS3 jailbreak code from the world, it appears that they might want to start by informing their own ad firm not to tweet the code. As a whole bunch of you sent in, apparently a guy named Travis La Marr tweeted the PS3 security key at the Twitter account of “Kevin Butler,” who describes himself as a VP at PlayStation. Of course, if you’ve seen any PS3 commercials, you would know that “Kevin Butler” is actually a made up person — a character played by actor Jerry Lambert.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Canadian Bar Association Speaks Out On Bill C-32

        The Canadian Bar Association, which represents 37,000 lawyers, law professors, and students from across the country, has released an important submission on Bill C-32. The submission, which was approved as a public statement by both the National Intellectual Property and the Privacy and Access Law Sections of the CBA, does a nice job setting out the debate over Bill C-32 (I was once a member of the CBA’s Copyright Policy section but was not involved in the drafting of the Bill C-32 document).

      • Canadian Council of Archives on C-32: Digital Lock Rules Disastrous For Long-Term Access

        The Canadian Council of Archives, a national non-profit organization dedicated to nurturing and sustaining the nationwide efforts of over 800 archives across Canada, has submitted a brief to the C-32 legislative committee and requested an opportunity to appear.

      • Canada’s wild digital frontier needs policing

        Bill C-32: the Copyright Modernization Act sounds so boring you’re in danger of falling asleep halfway through its title. Yet U.S. President Barack Obama raised this apparently innocuous piece of legislation when he met Prime Minister Stephen Harper last week and urged Canada to take steps to strengthen its intellectual-property rights.

        The reason is that Hollywood is a powerful lobby in Washington and it is fed up having its expensive motion pictures and TV shows ripped off by Canadian peer-to-peer file -sharing pirates.

      • Makers of ‘The Expendables’ Sue 6,500 BitTorrent Users

        With worldwide box-office grosses totalling $274 million since its premiere in August of last year, The Expendables can be classified as a modest blockbuster. The film also did well on file-sharing networks such as BitTorrent, but thus far without any direct revenues. In an attempt to cash in on these unauthorized downloads, the makers of the film stood by an earlier warning and sued 6,500 BitTorrent users in the United States.

      • MPAA threatens to disconnect Google from the Internet

        Over the last few months, Google has received more than 100 copyright infringement warnings from MPAA-affiliated movies studios: most are directed at users of Google’s public Wi-Fi service but others are meant for Google employees. The MPAA is thus warning the search giant that it might get disconnected from the Internet.

Clip of the Day

Fosdem 2011 Keynote Eben Moglen Part 1 of 3

Fosdem 2011 Keynote Eben Moglen Part 2 of 3

Credit: TinyOgg

Links 10/2/2011: PC Pro Covers and Uses GNU/Linux, Linux-powered WebOS Advances

Posted in News Roundup at 8:43 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Once Upon A Time, There Was A USB Vulnerability In Linux

    But can a cracker do it?

    Everything boils down to the level of security. From the ‘level of security’ point of view, GNU/Linux systems are secure by design so the vulnerability rate is million times lower than that of insecure by design systems like Windows. When it comes to core system, fixes don’t wait for Tuesdays, they come immediately.

    After this background, I restate GNU/Linux systems are ‘almost’ immune to attacks. If Windows is like a bicycle, GNU/Linux is like an armored tank.

    A Demo Of USB Vulnerability
    IBM’s expert Jon Larimer recently gave a demo about a *previous* vulnerability in Evince, the document viewer for GNU/Linux systems, which could be used to compromize a system.

    According to an Ubuntu vulnerability report published on January 5, 2011, “Jon Larimer discovered that Evince’s font parsers incorrectly handled certain buffer lengths when rendering a DVI file. By tricking a user into opening or previewing a DVI file that uses a specially crafted font file, an attacker could crash evince or execute arbitrary code with the user’s privileges. In the default installation of Ubuntu 9.10 and later, attackers would be isolated by the Evince AppArmor profile.”

  • Desktop

    • PCPro to run on Ubuntu – for one day only

      PCPro – a website and magazine purposed primarily around Windows – are to switch operations to Ubuntu for one day.

    • Can we run PC Pro on Ubuntu?

      Tomorrow PC Pro is going to put its money where its mouth is. To coincide with the release of the new edition of PC Pro – which features our Ultimate Guide to Ubuntu on the front cover – we’re going to attempt to run the magazine and website exclusively on Ubuntu-based PCs*.

  • Server

    • Stock exchange Linux system at forefront of proposed merger

      The London Stock Exchange’s Linux-based trading system is at the forefront of a proposed merger between the venue and Toronto Stock Exchange parent TMX, announced late last night.

      The LSE immediately put its money where its mouth is, proposing 40 million of technology investment to put the two companies onto a common technology setup, led from London. Exact details of technology plans are expected to be announced shortly.

    • Linux Servers Are the Smart Business Choice

      Linux servers are the smart business choice; Windows servers are not. In this series we’ll look at how server and network admins can get started learning Linux, and in future installments learn about excellent Linux/FOSS servers and software for all business tasks.


      FOSS does not punish you for sharing ideas and implementations; quite the opposite.

  • HP

    • HP to Put Linux in Printers and PC’s: It’s the End of an Era for Windows

      I attended HP’s press conference this morning and Linux again took center stage as a major technology leader revealed the details of its mobile device strategy. HP announced two new WebOS phones and more importantly an impressive new tablet that is a clear contender against the iPad. While I don’t for one second underestimate Apple, that was not the most interesting part of the event for me.

      The most interesting part of the event came near the end when HP announced that it is going to ship WebOS not only in phones, tablets and printers, but in PC’s as well. In doing so, the worlds largest PC supplier is indicating that they are going to ship PC’s without Windows. For Microsoft – who was nowhere at this event – that has got to hurt. Perhaps this really IS the year of the Linux desktop.

    • WebOS could be a Contender

      What I found most interesting though was that HP is planning on taking webOS 3.0 to laptops and desktops as well. What’s this!? HP wants to get into the Linux-based desktop operating system business!? As my buddy from the Washington Post, Rob Pegoraro put it, “‘We’re going to bring webOS to PCs’” almost two hours into a keynote raises the bar on burying the lede.”

  • Kernel Space

    • Ralink in-kernel drivers

      Instead of the old boring “here’s what drivers are being merged and deleted” and the like as I’ve posted in the past, I thought I’d just write about one specific project that has recently gone public that I think is a great indicator of how far the Linux Driver Project has come these days.

    • Ralink Adds RT5390 Support To Open WiFi Driver

      Back in September there was the major victory for the open-source and Linux hardware support communities when Broadcom open-sourced an 802.11n Linux driver after years of their WiFi chipsets being notorious under Linux. There’s another wireless chipset vendor now getting more serious about open-source driver support too and that’s Ralink. They’ve now contributed patches to the rt2x00 driver project that enables their new RT5390 chipset family to be used by this open-source Linux wireless driver.

    • Kernel Log: updated Radeon drivers, mdadm and ALSA

      A new version of the AMD driver from X.org improves support for modern Radeon graphics chips. An updated mdadm, initially only designed for developers, allows the RAID functions of modern Intel motherboard chip-sets to be used. After nine months, the ALSA project has published a new version.

    • Samsung Laptops and Linux
    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA’s Looking To Expand Its Linux Team

        NVIDIA’s Andy Ritger updated the thread their forum seeking a new Linux software engineer. Candidates for this position must have three or more years developing software for Linux/UNIX, be very strong in programming C, have three or more years experience in writing low-level software, have experience with OpenGL and be familiar with 3D concepts, experience in working on large/complex software components, be experienced in debugging, knowledge of the x86 architecture, graphics driver experience, and carry a BS degree or equivalent.

      • Wayland Looks To Do Multi-Monitor The Right Way

        Two weeks ago the hot discussion item being talked about by those interested in the Wayland Display Server was how to handle input with Wayland (e.g. using X Input, create a separate “Inland” input project, or designing something entirely different). The new subject now brought up on the Wayland mailing list is how to handle multiple monitor support. Fortunately, it looks like Kristian plans to implement multiple monitor/display support in a different — and better — way than how it’s dealt with by the X.Org Server.

        The multi-monitor topic was brought up by Marty Jack after he wrote a patch that allocates the CRTCs to avoid black screens on multiple monitors. Up to this point, Kristian Høgsberg, the creator of Wayland, hasn’t really said how he would like support for multiple monitors to be implemented. That changed though this afternoon. In Marty’s email, he mentions, “I don’t know what Kristian’s ultimate vision of this is. Do we allow windows to move like they do now on a virtual desktop where you can slide one to a RightOf monitor by dragging it and it appears part on one and part on the other? A lot of the data structure and processing change for multiple monitors would depend on whether it is possible to have one pair of big FBs added to both CRTCs at the same time, with different (x,y,w,h) if it is tiled and the same (x,y) if it is cloned or how he would want to handle this case [moving the rbo, fb_id, image up to drm_compositor]. With some philosophical guidance I could get the underpinnings in place.”

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • KDE Has Many Web Services

        KDE has quite the array of web services, and the sysops team has done some pretty neat things in the last months. Recently Tom’s post on geoaware anongit DNS caught my eye. It made me wonder — what kinds of goodies in general is KDE hosting?

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Gnome Shell Gets Automatic Workspaces [Video]

        Remember the Gnome Shell automatic workspaces mockup we’ve talked about a while back? It has just been added to the main Gnome Shell branch today.

        However, the automatic workspace Gnome Shell implementation seems to have more in common with this Unity mockup than the initial Shell mockup: the Unity mockup proposed to always have an empty workspace so the user doesn’t have to create it while the Gnome Shell mockup proposed to never have an empty workspace. Either way, the idea seems very good so it doesn’t matter where it came from. Too bad this won’t be in Unity too – unfortunately Mark Shuttleworth turned it down.

  • Distributions

    • AriOS 2.0 – Looking good, babe, looking good

      AriOS is a pleasant and unexpected surprise, showing a lot of careful attention to details and hard dedication. Well executed, on all levels, including a surprising touch for aesthetics, which typical geeks are not graced with. We can only hope the project will flourish.

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

      • Upgrade from lenny to squeeze – first impressions

        Otherwise I am quite satisfied with the result of the upgrade. A huge “thank you” to all people involved in the development of squeeze.

      • SimplyMEPIS 11.0 Starting to Look Good

        So, all in all, SimplyMEPIS 11.0 is shaping up quite nicely. It appears it is going to be the familiar SimplyMEPIS we all know and love for its loyal users with nice appeal for new users.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • Project Bossanova To Set A New Trend in Ubuntopia.

          Project Bossanova, launched by Ohso wants to deliver the first ever 3D game that runs exclusively on Ubuntu/Linux to Ubuntu fans all over the world.

          Ohso is no stranger to Ubuntu fans as they bring out trending news, opinions and tips for Ubuntu lovers through their websites like the all too famous OMG! Ubuntu, Ubuntu Gamer and OMG! SuSE! Ohso’s contributions to the Ubuntu world do not end here. Their new mobile applications for Ubuntu are in the production phase and the download links are expected to hit websites soon.

        • Documentation Updates Reflect Appeal to Developers by Ubuntu

          With these difficulties in mind, Ubuntu developers and community members long ago developed the Ubuntu Packaging Guide to help software developers navigate the various intricacies of Debian packaging, so they can distribute their work more easily to Ubuntu users.

        • Unity

          • Random small bling

            And lastly, Jason’s made it so that when you drag a certain file type into the launcher the application that launches it stays lit, but the rest “shut off”. So assuming you have say, GIMP and Shotwell in your launcher dragging a .png close to the launcher will keep those lit and the ones that don’t support .png will not be lit. Small, but slick.

          • Unity Bitesize Report for 8 Feb

            Cando’s been working on two fixes (which are under review). The first is being able to middle click on a maximized window title in the panel and have that be pushed to the background.

            In case you didn’t know, you can middle click on window titlebars and they get pushed behind other windows. This can be a very handy window management technique, but now that we’ve welded the title bar with the top panel when a window is maximized this was missing. So thanks to Cando for preserving this bit of “UNIX Law that this feature must exist” on our desktops.

          • Progress Meters, quicklists, and number count for the Unity Launcher

            We now have an API for applications to leave a progress meter and/or a number on their launcher. The wiki page is a bit sparse so expect more detail there over the coming week.

          • Unity Launcher API: ready when you are

            A while back we mentioned that the Unity Launcher in Natty was to add support for badges/counts, transfer/progress bars and ‘quick lists’ on launcher icons, similar to that seen in use on Docky.

          • Unity Launcher API
  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Putting Android Apps on Non-Android Phones

        How could a non-Android device run software made specifically for Google’s Android platform? It sounds like a stretch. In reality, all apps that run on Android phones or tablets run in a virtual machine (VM), which Google calls Dalvik. The solution is much like the Java Virtual Machine on a desktop: it’s a constrained software implementation of a computer via software code. It brings greater security because apps in a VM are essentially walled off from other applications and from the device’s operating system. When the app in a VM crashes, it has no effect on other applications or on the operating system, ensuring stability. This video demo of Myriad’s solution on a Nokia N900 running MeeGo shows that it performs on a level equal to that of the same app running on a comparable Android device.

      • Smartphone Shipments Surpass PCs for First Time. What’s Next?

        Vendors shipped 100.9 million smartphones during the fourth quarter, according to Monday data, while IDC logged 92.1 million PC shipments during the same time period, according to IDC numbers from January.

        The milestone was first noted by Fortune, which said that smartphones surpassed PC shipments much faster than expected. A Morgan Stanley analyst predicted it might happen in 2012.

      • Nokia/MeeGo/Maemo

        • Three Qt Web Runtime games for the N900

          Jusso Kosonen has written three puzzle games for the N900 using the Qt Web Runtime:

          * Block Drop is a Tetris clone
          * In RectBlock you should create rectangle shapes with four corner blocks
          * In Color Line you reate lines with three same colored blocks in horizontal or vertical direction.

        • MeeGo roadmap updated

          The MeeGo project has updated its roadmap. The project will now release Meego 1.2 in April 2011 and plans to release MeeGo 1.3 in October, moving to a biannual release schedule. The six-monthly release schedule has been a target for the MeeGo developers as they establish their open development and release process.

      • Android

        • Android Update Latest – Edition 456

          Teleca, maker of software solutions for the automotive and mobile industries is announcing today that they have created an Android platform for SiriusXM. This will allow manufacturers to embed SiriusXM on top of an Android build into say, vehicles, boomboxes and other things. (This is all assuming that people are going to want to still pay for satellite radio service).

        • Google’s Android: A Billion-Dollar Ad Business In 2012?

          Munster notes that former CEO Eric Schmidt last summer said he though Android could be a $10 billion business if there were 1 billion users each generating $10 a year – and the analyst contends the company is well on the way to hitting the $10 per user level. Pointing out that Google has said it is on a $1 billion annual run-rate in mobile advertising, he estimates that the company had $850 million total mobile revenue in 2010, with Android generating about 16% of the total, or around $130 million, which would translate to $5.90 per Android user. (That implies about 22 million Android users for 2010.)

        • 1.6 billion phones sold as Android grows 888.8%
        • Tech-savvy volunteers create Android application to help fight child trafficking

          As the movement becomes more structured and organised, people have stepped forward to volunteer their skills in various ways. One of the more exciting announcements yesterday was the launch of an Android app for the campaign called 乞讨儿童数据库, or the Beggar Children Database.

    • Tablets

      • Say Hello To The Palm Touchpad

        It’s official: HP/Palm is releasing a new tablet called the Touchpad. Precentral has some hot news about this new 10-inch Palm slate. It is a touchscreen device running WebOS. It weighs 1.5 pounds and 13mm thick and has a front webcam as well as up to 64GB of storage.

Free Software/Open Source

  • A Darwinian theory of open source development strategies

    In the Origin of Species, Charles Darwin explains his theory of natural selection, and compares with man’s selection – or artificial selection – in the breeding process to produce a desired characteristic. Compare this with the single vendor model in which the vendor drives the development of a project to meet its commercial needs.

    If we think about development models and processes then it is possible to the various potentially competing players in collaborative communities as having a similar impact on the development of a particular project as various potentially competing factors – climate, habitat, existence or dearth of predators etc – do in the evolutionary process.

  • 27 Inspiring Blender Animations That Will Make Your Jaw Drop

    Well, I’ve been hanging out in the Blender community for the last 8 years and so I’ve encountered quite a lot of blender animatons. You’d be surprised at the quality of blender animations out there.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Firefox roadmap, Do-not-track update, New beta, Summer of Code and much more…

        In this issue…

        * Firefox in 2011
        * Meet Mike Hommey
        * Help teach girls the power of the Web!
        * What’s up with Socorro?
        * Results of the Firefox 4 FIXED Bugday
        * Introducing Perf-O-Matic 2.0
        * Mozilla and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation partner
        * More on Do-not-track!
        * Mozilla in Summer of Code 2011
        * An Overview of the AMO Review Process
        * Design Jam London #2
        * It’s a wrap: FOSDEM
        * Software updates
        * Upcoming events
        * Developer calendar
        * About about:mozilla

      • Do Not Track arrives in Firefox beta, ad industry not on board yet

        Mozilla has rolled out an eleventh beta release of Firefox 4, the next major version of the browser. In addition to the usual assortment of bugfixes and performance improvements, the new beta also adds support for a “Do Not Track” setting.

        The implications of behavioral advertising are a growing source of concern among privacy advocates. In an effort to appease regulators, the most prominent Internet advertising companies voluntarily offer a cookie-based opt-out service that allows users to indicate to advertisers that they don’t want to be tracked. It’s a good start, but Mozilla sees a lot of room for improvement.

      • Wiki Wednesday: February 9, 2011
      • Firefox Takes Unusual Approach In Unveiling ‘Do Not Track’ Option

        For all the talk among among policymakers and the press about online privacy, it still isn’t clear how much average consumers are even aware of online ad tracking. Firefox, the browser of choice for a third of all internet users, is apparently looking to change that. The beta of the latest version of Firefox trumpets the new “Do Not Track” feature prominently—listing it, in large font, as the very first item on the “What’s New in Firefox 4” page. The move could increase the pressure on other browser companies as well as advertisers to beef up their own privacy options.

      • Time to Stop Managing Tabs

        There have been many add-ons to Firefox that help users organize their tabs to hide unwanted tabs. One approach is to automatically place newly opened tabs as children of a parent tab, and another is to let the user manually group tabs by dragging them over each other. Now with a group of tabs, the user can collapse the group to appear as a single item to give more space to the remaining tabs.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Contracts for Java

      If you’ve ever spent hours debugging your Java code, today’s blog post is for you.

      Often bugs that are frustratingly elusive and hard to track down appear simple or even trivial once you have found their cause (the fault). Why are those bugs hard to track down? One possibility is that the fault is in a completely different part of the program than its symptom (the failure).

    • LibreOffice 3.3: First Impressions

      LibreOffice is a cross-platform (Windows, Macintosh, Linux) OO.org derivative productivity suite that includes the six original OO.org applications: Writer, Calc, Base, Impress, Calc, and Draw. The LibreOffice project has also merged code, patches, and other resources from the now discontinued Go-oo project.


      Sure, LibreOffice 3.3 is basically a recolored OO.o, at this point.

  • CMS

  • Project Releases

    • MuseScore 1.0 is released

      We are proud to present MuseScore 1.0, our best and most stable release to date. MuseScore 1.0 is free software available for Windows, Mac and Linux and translated in 35 languages. It is the ideal solution for creating beautiful sheet music.

    • Shutter 0.87

      New version of Shutter, a somewhat underestimated screenshooting tool for Linux, is out with both internal and user visible changes.

  • Government

    • IdealGov evidence to Public Admin Select Cttee enquiry into government IT

      4. It’s true that Government expenditure on IT has been excessive in the last decade. It’s the highest per capita spend of any major European economy, approaching the very high per capita spend of Nordic countries which offer higher and far more e-enabled levels of social care. Reasons include large, unmanageable centralised systems, excessive supplier margins, inflexible contracts which exact punitive charges for essential changes. But above all the problem is a deeper and wider failure to ensure government IT is based on the right intentions.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Designing assessment and credit pathways for open education learners

      Getting students formal credit for their free and open education is a challenge, but groups and institutions are working around the world to come up with alternative pathways to recognition. The Peer 2 Peer University (P2PU) is one such group that explored the topic in an assessment workshop last September and then co-designed virtual “badges” for recognition in real time at the Mozilla Drumbeat Festival in Barcelona. P2PU and Mozilla are piloting these badges via the P2PU School of Webcraft, and have solicited would-be developers for the skills and competencies that would best be reflected by a badge system. In collaboration with the MacArthur Foundation, they have drafted An Open Badge System Framework: A foundational piece on assessment and badges (Google doc).

    • Community

    • Open Access/Content

      • The Open Knowledge Foundation will soon help to run ePSIplatform

        We’re proud to announce that the Open Knowledge Foundation is part of a new team which will take on the maintenance of ePSIplatform project for the next two years. As many of you will know ePSIplatform is a key resource for people interested in laws, policies and practices related to the reuse of European Public Sector Information (PSI).

      • Thoughts on the HEFCE Review of JISC

        Finally the thing I felt most uncomfortable was the seeming dismissal of JISCs support of the ‘open’ agenda as being ‘controversial’. This smacked of publisher influence and made me a little sad.


        So many of my beliefs about the (open) web were founded during my time at JISC thanks to the opportunities I was given and the amount of doors that were opened up to me just by being a member of JISC that I’ll always be supportive of the organisation no matter what direction it goes in but I think my support would wane considerably if ‘open’ was off the table.

  • Programming

    • SourceForge.net Gets a Shiny New Look

      Today we are proud to unveil a brand new look, which will lay a clean, simple foundation for the rebirth of the entire SourceForge.net site.

    • Eclipse takes on content management

      The Eclipse Foundation is making a move into content management, with Nuxeo donating Java-based content management repository services to the open source tools organization.

      The Eclipse Enterprise Content Repository project is being unveiled Wednesday. It features such services as versioning, authentication, and document content management from the Nuxeo Enterprise Platform. The project, if it gains its expected approval, will build on the initial contribution to deliver a modular content repository leveraging the CMIS (OASIS Content Management Interoperability Services) standard, Nuxeo said. The company said it is spinning off the project in an effort to spur innovation in the content management space.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • W3C Priorities and Milestones in 2011

      Last year I published several posts about our efforts to establish a new vision for the W3C organization. I wanted to update you on how we have turned the results of the organizational vision task forces into specific plans and actions.


  • Obama Creates World’s First Superstate With US-Canada Merger
  • Harper scorns Commons call to reverse corporate tax cuts; opposition wins vote

    Opposition parties have joined forces to demand that the Harper government reverse tax cuts for the largest, most profitable corporations.

    A Liberal motion calling on the government to roll back the corporate tax rate to 18 per cent has passed by a vote of 149-134, with the support of the NDP and Bloc Quebecois.

  • Mayor of Detroit rejects RoboCop statue suggestion

    Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop was a classic of 80s action cinema. So why won’t the mayor of Detroit erect a statue in the law enforcer’s honour…?

  • The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind
  • High-ranking Scientologist’s defection, in detail

    I’ve casually followed scandals regarding the C of S for decades, mostly out of curiousity about the “free personality tests” I’d see as a kid, and later, because of high-profile anti-anonymity/dirty tricks involving the Internet, starting with the outing of the users of the anon.penet.fi remailer. There wasn’t an enormous amount of new material in here, though Wright does a good job of spinning out Haggis’s remarkable life in Scientology and in the entertainment industry, and, towards the end, some damning material about physical abuse and financial malfeasance from the Church’s highest leaders.

  • Are Federal Courts Biased in Favor of Big Business?

    A panel discussion today at the New York University School of Law explored the touchy subject of whether business interests hold too much sway over federal judges.

    Moderated by NYU’s Arthur Miller, a/k/a Mr. Federal Court and organized by the American Constitution Society, the discussion was a veritable who’s who of high-wattage thinkers from the worlds of academia (George Washington’s Jeffrey Rosen), public policy (Monica Youn of the Brennan Center for Justice) private practice (Latham & Watkins’s Maureen Mahoney and trial lawyer Stephen Susman), along with many, many more.

  • Cisco Linksys routers still don’t support IPv6

    It’s hard to fathom why Cisco hasn’t added IPv6 to its Linksys consumer routers yet, but the company has promised support will come this spring.

  • The 10 types of crappy interview questions
  • Huffington Should Pay the Bloggers Something Now

    We already know that Arianna Huffington is smart. She and her small team have built a media company from nothing in just a few years, and now they’re flipping it to AOL, where she’ll be content editor in chief. The price sounds bizarrely high to me at $315 million, but so do lots of prices these days in what looks like a new Internet bubble.

    Others have commented at length on the synergy of the deal. If AOL is going after a link-driven community, the blend could work in the long run. The Huffington Post has been evolving from its origins, as the left-wing op-ed page of the Internet, into a blend of aggregation, curation, pandering — all of which have been done with some genuinely intriguing if not innovative technology initiatives — and some home-grown content. The first three of those are likely to be, in the end, much more important for the business than the original content.

  • Huffington Post and AOL: the end of Web 2.0

    It’s because we write for HuffPo for free, and – because it’s Arianna – we do it without resentment. There’s value being extracted from our labour, for sure, by advertisers or whoever, but the sense was always that we were writing for Arianna – contributing to an empire that spent its winnings bussing people to watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert do their thing in Washington.

  • Bloomsbury eyes worldwide rights

    As digital platforms grow and morph, it’s getting harder to understand who owns what rights. In the Publisher’s Weekly piece, Bloomsbury’s Richard Charkin said “Bloomsbury won’t do a deal that doesn’t include digital rights.” This concept of including digital rights will become even more important as publishers such as Harper Collins start packaging digital rights with audio rights.

  • Cameron’s approach to “British values” is outdated and divisive

    David Cameron’s speech in Munich on the failure of multiculturalism showed that the Prime Minister has not yet learnt to master nailing jelly to the wall either. There was little new in a speech, which emphasised the muddled thinking within the coalition on this sensitive issue.

  • My Life as an EIR

    While there are as many variations on the EIR position as there are venture firms, there are two flavors, generally speaking: Entrepreneur-in-Residence and Executive-in-Residence. Most firms have some experience with Entrepreneur-in-Residence programs. Essentially, they give office space, coffee and food to a proven entrepreneur so he or she can spend a few months researching or prototyping a new product or service.

  • Science

    • Our misunderstanding of evolution is distressing

      This Saturday, Feb. 12, would have been Charles Darwin’s 202nd birthday. While his place in history is assured, the theory he popularized is misunderstood or disbelieved by a great number of Americans.

      Recent polls have found that out of the world’s democracies, the United States ranks second to last (Turkey is last) in acceptance of evolution. This is disturbing, as it contributes to the decline of American power in the 21st century.

    • House Republicans push energy and science cuts

      But with Obama pushing for targeted increases in scientific research and other areas, consensus will not come easily.

    • Google’s Eric Schmidt predicts the future of computing – and he plans to be involved

      In the days when Eric Schmidt first starting getting excited by computers, the only way he could find directions to the next town would be by looking at a map. Printed on paper. In a book.

      The only way he could find out what his friends thought of a restaurant in New York would be by ringing them, each individually, and asking them.

    • Without language, numbers make no sense

      People need language to fully understand numbers. This discovery – long suspected, and now backed by strong evidence – may shed light on the way children acquire their number sense.

      Previous studies of Amazon tribes who lack words for numbers greater than three – or, in the case of the Pirahã, for any numbers at all – had shown that they struggle to understand precise quantities, when numbers are relatively large.

    • NASA Invents New Technique For Finding Alien Life

      Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have come up with an idea to improve on an old standby of space exploration instruments and improve the odds of finding life, if any, on Mars.

    • Kepler Data Visualized

      Last week the Kepler satellite released results indicating that the mission had discovered over 1200 planetary candidates (most of which are expected to be actual planets) orbiting stars in our neighborhood of the galaxy. In technical terms, that’s a “buttload.” A back-of-the-envelope calculation implies that there might be a million or so “Earth-like” planets in our Milky Way galaxy. A tiny fraction of the hundred billion stars we have, but still a healthy number.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Tories team with Liberals to kill genetically modified food legislation

      Liberal MPs teamed up with the Conservatives on Wednesday to kill legislation that would have required the government to take into account a Canadian farmer’s access to overseas markets when considering approval of new genetically modified seeds.

      The private member’s bill, authored by the NDP’s agriculture critic, was voted down in the House of Commons 178 to 98, following an aggressive lobby campaign by the biotechnology industry’s group, BIOTECanada.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Israel bombs medical aid warehouse in Gaza

      Israeli aircraft carried out a number of air raids on the Gaza Strip early on Wednesday 9 February, destroying a medical aid warehouse in Gaza City. The raids began shortly after midnight, hitting several places across the Strip, from Jabaliya in the north to the Rafah border with Egypt in the south.

    • Just How Rich Is Hosni Mubarak?

      While a fifth of Egyptians live on less than $2 a day, Mubarak is worth somewhere between $40 billion and $75 billion, CNN’s Tom Foreman estimates. Egyptian law fixes the president’s income, and forbids any outside sources of money. Foreman reports that Mubarak’s wealth likely comes from his time in the military–he probably had a hand in military contracts and kept up his contacts over the years. That said, peruse at these photos, and you might also give credence to some of the other theories as to how Mubarak got quite so rich–contracts don’t really seem to explain this kind of opulence.

    • 28 hours in the dark heart of Egypt’s torture machine

      The sickening, rapid click-click-clicking of the electrocuting device sounded like an angry rattlesnake as it passed within inches of my face. Then came a scream of agony, followed by a pitiful whimpering from the handcuffed, blindfolded victim as the force of the shock propelled him across the floor.

      A hail of vicious punches and kicks rained down on the prone bodies next to me, creating loud thumps. The torturers screamed abuse all around me. Only later were their chilling words translated to me by an Arabic-speaking colleague: “In this hotel, there are only two items on the menu for those who don’t behave – electrocution and rape.”

    • Reagan Revisionism And Reagan Mythology

      Before I wade into this, I should summarize my view of Reagan. I don’t think he was a great president. The main accomplishment which he’s credited, winning the Cold War, is one in which his policies contributed a very small amount. The most important cause of the fall of the Soviet Union by far was its failed, unsustainable political and economic system, which would have eventually collapsed regardless of American policy. (It’s interesting that conservatives’ mania for crediting Reagan with the fall of the USSR has required them to downplay the inherent faults of communism, which you’d think they’d naturally emphasize.) The second factor, a distant second, is the postwar containment architecture, created by Harry Truman and maintained by every president through George H.W. Bush, which including a military commitment to defend Western Europe, a series of anti-Soviet alliances, military support for governments threatened with communist invasion and occasional diplomatic or military support for anti-communist guerillas. A third factor, far less significant than the second, was Reagan’s incremental ratcheting up of the bipartisan containment policy, which may have slightly hastened the Soviet crackup.

    • Omar Suleiman, “Egypt’s Torturer-in-Chief,” Tied to False Iraq WMD Tortured “Intel”

      Mayer added to her piece: “Katherine Hawkins, a sharp-eyed human-rights lawyer who did legal research for my book, points out that, according to [author Ron] Suskind, Suleiman was the CIA’s liaison for the rendition of an Al Qaeda suspect known as Ibn Sheikh al-Libi. The Libi case is particularly controversial, in large part because it played a role in the building of the case for the American invasion of Iraq.”

    • Since D.C.’s handgun ban ended, well-heeled residents have become well armed

      Since the landmark court ruling in June 2008, records show, more than 1,400 firearms have been registered with D.C. police, most in the western half of the District. Among those guns, nearly 300 are in the high-income, low-crime Georgetown, Palisades and Chevy Chase areas of Northwest.

      In all of the neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River – a broad swath of the city with more than 52,000 households, many of them in areas beset by poverty and drug-related violence – about 240 guns have been registered.

    • An expert view on the Police.uk crime map

      Ultimately, any information-sharing initiative like this should have, at its core, a set of outcomes that the initiative hopes to achieve. What do we want people to do with this information? Then, with these outcomes in mind, we must ask whether the initiative provides enough information, or the right type of information, to achieve them.

      For instance, advocates of these measures usually say that they want the public to be able to see where the hot spots are and take steps to prevent their own victimization. So what information would a typical citizen need to prevent victimization?

    • Businesses still waiting for G20 compensation

      Business owners in Toronto have asked for more than $10-million in compensation in lost profits following last summer’s G20 Summit that shut down portions of the downtown core, the federal government has revealed.

      There have been 371 applications for ex-gratia payments to the Summit Management Office that total $10,656,869.

      As of Jan. 5, 44 claims had been rejected, according to documents tabled last week in response to written questions from NDP MP Olivia Chow.

    • Shooting the Messenger: Egyptian Journalist Shot Dead by Sniper While Covering Cairo Protests

      The only journalist known to have been killed during the Egyptian uprising was honored Monday in Cairo. Ahmed Mohamed Mahmoud was a reporter for the state-owned newspaper Al Ta’awun. He was shot on January 28 when he tried to use his phone to film riot police as they fired tear gas canisters at protesters.

    • Ghonim and Suleiman: The Two Sides of Egypt

      One man is an emotional 30-year-old protest leader and regional manager for the world’s largest Internet company who has become the reluctant face of a revolutionary movement.

      The other man is a reserved 74-year-old former longtime head of the feared Egyptian General Intelligence Services who was appointed as a dictator’s first vice president in the midst of a national crisis.

      Together, Wael Ghonim and Omar Suleiman have come to represent the two sides of the revolutionary unrest in Egypt. Each personify the struggle not just in their current statements and behavior, but also in their backgrounds and the manner in which were thrust from the shadows into the limelight as the protest movement took shape.

      Suleiman could be described as not just a member of the establishment in Egypt – it’s also probably fair to give him a good bit of credit for having helped prop up Mubarak’s regime for nearly two decades. Often described as suave and collected, Suleiman has used his fluency in English and powerful position in the intelligence services to become an important go-between for Washington and Cairo.

    • U.K. Police Will Use Twitter to React to Protestors

      While some countries aim to stop revolution by cutting off access to services like Twitter and Facebook, others try to turn social media use on its ear and use these services to monitor its population. Late last month, the Egypt erupted in revolution and the government quickly shut off all social media, before shutting down the Internet entirely. China has taken a similar stance, banning sites like Twitter and Facebook for long periods of time, as an attempt to prevent protests, among other things.

  • Cablegate

    • Lawyer: Julian Assange Was in Hiding — from Sarah Palin

      Julian Assange could not be reached by the Swedish authorities who are investigating sex-crimes allegations against him because the WikiLeaks founder had become spooked by “death threats” issued by American politicians, including Sarah Palin, Assange’s Swedish lawyer told a British court on Tuesday.

    • Britain, France, and U.S. considered suspending war crimes investigation into Sudanese president

      During the summer of 2008, Britain, France, and the United States discussed the possibility of delaying the Internatoinal Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into Sudanese President Omar Hussein al-Bashir — if Bashir’s government played ball in Darfur and Southern Sudan. According to a series of cables released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday, the three powers considered enticing Sudan’s president with an Article 16 deferral of his indictment — a U.N. Security Council resolution that could suspend the investigation for up to 12 months. According to an August 2008 cable, “If ‘played right,’ the UK [United Kingdom] assessed the leverage of an Article 16 deferral could provide an opportunity to ameliorate conditions in Darfur and possibly the [implementation of the] Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) [that ended conflict between northern and southern Sudan].”

    • Details on the strange death of a former Chilean president

      The death of former Chilean President Eduardo Frei Montalva is that country’s equivalent of the John F. Kennedy assassaination: a national mystery around which so much speculation circulates that no truth will probably ever be known. On a January day in 1982, Frei checked into the hospital in the capital, Santiago, for what should have been a routine operation. Hours later, he was dead. His family and supporters believe he was poisoned. A December 2009 cable released by WikiLeaks on Tuesday offers odd details about what happened next — including an in-hospital autopsy — that will only further stoke the conspiracy theories.


      So in short, no resolution and lots more intrigue. As the December 2009 cable puts it: “the death of this emblematic president seems destined to be yet one more area [from the Pinochet years] in which the full truth may never be known.”

    • Air Force Abandons WikiLeaks Threats Against Servicemembers’ Families

      The US Air Force has backed off of its puzzling threat to prosecute members of servicemembers’ families for “espionage” if they read WikiLeaks today, insisting that the “guidance” they released was actually not sanctions by headquarters and was not in keeping with official policy.

    • WikiLeaks hearing set in dispute over Twitter data

      Share 99

      A federal judge in Virginia has set a hearing for next week in a high-profile case that will decide whether the U.S. Justice Department can obtain records about the Twitter accounts used by WikiLeaks activists.

      The hearing, scheduled for February 15 in Alexandra, Va., is expected to focus on whether the Justice Department has the legal justification for its request for the account details, and whether the almost-entirely-secret court records in this case should be made available for public viewing.

    • Americans for Assange
    • Crowdsigliere: Plouffe Asks for a Little Public Guidance

      The Obama White House’s latest effort to use this here Internet to connect members of the public with folks working inside the executive branch is a little project they’re calling “Advise the Advisor,” where-in an administration official frames what’s happening on the presidential front and then asks for feedback from anyone who cares to give it. Think of it as “Your Direct Line to the White House,” said the White House at the program’s launch yesterday, and in the first installment, David Plouffe, the Obama campaign manager who joined the administration in a formal capacity last month, asks for takes from the masses on what they’re seeing in the world of innovation, and in particular what seems to be stymieing it in the United States at the moment.

    • Please explain uranium move, Greens demand

      The Australian Greens are demanding the Gillard government explain whether it privately supports uranium sales to India.

      Leaked WikiLeaks cables reveal Resources Minister Martin Ferguson told US officials in 2009 a deal to supply India with nuclear fuel could be reached within years.

      The stance contradicts the government’s public position of insisting that India sign up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty before being allowed to import Australian uranium.

    • WikiLeaks exposes Oz double speak on uranium sale to India

      Ferguson also said that former prime minister and serving foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd had been “careful to leave the door open” for uranium sales to India.

    • EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT: Wikileaks, Assange, And Why There’s No Turning Back

      Half a year later, Assange was no longer a relatively obscure Australian transparency activist. “CollateralMurder.com”–WikiLeaks’ publication at of a decrypted American military video showing two U.S. Apache helicopter gunships firing on and killing about a dozen Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists–had vaulted him onto the global stage. And with our annual New York PdF conference around the corner in June, Andrew and I thought we had pulled off a coup: the first-ever face-to-face appearance of Assange with his hero Ellsberg, on stage together to talk about how the Internet was changing the power of whistleblowers.

    • WikiLeaks: oil deal executive ‘was paid £46,000 a month’

      Mark Rollins, vice-president of BG Group in Kazakhstan, was overseeing negotiations about selling a stake in an oil field to Kazmunaigaz, the state-owned oil company.

      In January the US ambassador in Kazakhstan had dinner with Maksat Idenov, former vice-president of Kazmunaigaz. As he arrived at the restaurant in Astana, the capital, Mr Idenov was apparently finishing a call to Mr Rollins.

      According to the ambassador, he was angry because Mr Rollins had failed to deliver a letter about arbitration of the oil field to the energy minister.

      The cable states: “When the Ambassador arrived, Idenov was barking into his cell phone, ‘Mark, Mark, stop the excuses! Mark, listen to me! Mark, shut up right now and do as I say! Bring the letter to my office at 10pm’.”

    • Data intelligence firms proposed a systematic attack against WikiLeaks

      After a tip from Crowdleaks.org, The Tech Herald has learned that HBGary Federal, as well as two other data intelligence firms, worked to develop a strategic plan of attack against WikiLeaks. The plan included pressing a journalist in order to disrupt his support of the organization, cyber attacks, disinformation, and other potential proactive tactics.

    • Did Security Firms Pitch Bank Of America On Sabotaging WikiLeaks?

      According to a report at the tech news site Tech Herald, data intelligence firms including Palantir, Berico and HBGary were all recruited by the law firm Hunton & Williams to propose ways of subverting or sabotaging WikiLeaks on behalf of Bank of America. Those plans were found in the hacked email account of HBGary executive Aaron Barr, after he was targeted by the loose hacker group Anonymous in retaliation for what the group believed was an attempt to infiltrate its ranks and identify members to the FBI. (Forbes reporter Parmy Olson interviewed Barr about the ongoing incident Tuesday.)

      Among the files pulled from those 50,000 stolen emails are what appear to be suggestions by the firm and its collaborators about how WikiLeaks could be weakened, sabotaged or shut down. The emails suggest the three security firms were pulled together at the request of the law firm Hunton & Williams. One month into the talks, Booz Allen Hamilton was also brought in as a consultant, as the New York Times reported in January.

    • Wikileaks: No 10 urged commander to play down Afghanistan failures

      A senior adviser to Gordon Brown put pressure on the commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan to play down the “bleak and deteriorating” situation to reduce criticism of his government, leaked documents disclose.

    • WikiLeaks: Mohamed ElBaradei was ‘too soft on Tehran’

      The United States and Israel warned that Mohamed ElBaradei, a key leader of the Egyptian opposition, was soft on Iran and was becoming “part of the problem” in the Middle East, according to leaked diplomatic cables.

    • Why Kim Jong-il wished Egypt’s Mubarak a Happy New Year

      In this Jan. 23 photo, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Il talks with Naguib Sawiris, executive chairman of Cairo-based Orascom Telecom, at an undisclosed place in North Korea. Kim held talks with the Egyptian telecoms magnate whose company set up and operates an advanced mobile phone network in the impoverished communist nation.

    • WikiLeaks: Hosni Mubarak told US not to topple Saddam Hussein

      By ignoring his advice and invading Iraq, Mr Mubarak warned that the Americans had managed to increase the threat posed by Iran.

      Mr Mubarak made the comments during a breakfast meeting with US congressmen at the presidential palace in Cairo in December, 2008.

      He told one of the delegation, Sen Byron Dorgan, that the US needed to ”listen to its friends” in the region.


      “’I told (Vice President) Cheney three or four times’ that Iraq needed a strong leader and that it would be unwise to remove Saddam Hussein; doing so would only ‘open the gate to Iran.’ Unfortunately, he said, the vice-president did not listen to his advice.”

    • WikiLeaks fights to keep Twitter data from U.S. government

      An Icelandic lawmaker and two other people associated with the website WikiLeaks are asking a federal judge not to force the social networking site Twitter to turn over data about whom they communicate with online.

      The dispute cuts to the core of the question of whether WikiLeaks allies are part of a criminal conspiracy or a political discussion. It also challenges the Obama administration’s argument that it can demand to see computer data and read months’ worth of private messages, even if they have nothing to do with WikiLeaks.

    • Greg Mitchell: WikiLeaks vs. Donald Rumsfeld’s Lies: An Eyewitness Account

      WikiLeaks’ massive “war logs” release on Iraq last October exposed Rumsfeld in this regard over and over, but were quickly forgotten by mainstream journalists — even though the material was not “political” or even from the media but rather from U.S. soldiers on the ground.

    • Air Force: Reading WikiLeaks is espionage

      This is something of an interesting twist in the larger WikiLeaks espionage debate, which is proceeding apace. Today in Alexandra, Virginia, WikiLeaks supporters are in court to try to prevent the U.S. government’s request to Twitter to reveal their private information. Ostensibly, tweeters who helped disseminate the leaked cables could be implicated in any eventual espionage case against the whistle-blower organization.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • WikiLeaks May Have Just Confirmed That Peak Oil Is Imminent

      It’s getting more and more difficult to deny that an oil supply crunch is just a few years down the road, especially now that WikiLeaks has released cables revealing that Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves have been exaggerated by as much as 40%, or 300 billion barrels. Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest oil exporter.

    • Attack Of The Anti-Green Mutant Right Wing Computer Geek

      So let’s get this straight. There’s some huge conspiracy that exists to claim Climate Change is real, and it exists because there’s some huge economic benefit to scientists and certain companies.

      And this benefit is so huge that it’s killing small businesses like Exxon, BP, etc. that are in the oil and coal businesses. It’s going to kill thousands of U.S. jobs, even though most of the jobs in the oil business are actually overseas, where the oil is actually pumped! Which doesn’t mention the thousands of workers required to build, install and maintain wind turbines, solar cells, etc.

      When things don’t add up, you have to look carefully at the numbers. First let’s look at those small businesses which are under threat by the powerful Climate Change Lobby:

      Exxon Mobil – Sales of $269 Billion for 3/4 year – from Jan. 2010 to Sept. 2010

      BP – Sales of $239 Billion for 2009 – 2010 report not finished yet

      OK, let’s take a step back. The rich Climate Change Bullies were pushing around a bunch of small businesses. At least that’s the impression we were given. But the numbers don’t make those look like small businesses. Not small at all. Hell, Microsoft often considered one of the most successful companies on the planet only managed sales of $62 Billion in fiscal year 2010.

      These companies are big enough to look out for themselves. Why is everyone concerned about the Climate Change Bullies hurting them? Could the Climate Change Bullies even have any effect on them? Rather it would seem like the classical mouse-elephant confrontation.

  • Finance

    • The Myth of Obama’s Big Spending

      Does the president really suffer from what House Speaker John Boehner calls a “spending illness”? Not according to an exclusive Newsweek-Daily Beast estimate of his outlays on new legislation since taking office.

      Nothing unites Republicans quite like the unshakable belief that Barack Obama has become the Carrie Bradshaw of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, unable to stop himself from frittering away ridiculous sums of money on frivolous things. But what Republicans never mention when railing against Obama’s alleged fiscal recklessness is how much money he has spent, and what exactly he’s spent it on.

    • Organized Crime: The World’s Largest Social Network
    • Banks agree Project Merlin lending and bonus deal

      A long-awaited agreement with the largest UK banks on lending, pay and bonuses has been announced.

      Under Project Merlin, banks will lend about £190bn to businesses this year – including £76bn to small firms – curb bonuses and reveal some salary details of their top earners.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Glenn Beck: Should Fox Toss Him Out of the Coop?

      Glenn Beck is walking toward a cliff — or running, or skipping. The question is, will Fox News go flying over the edge with him, or give him a push?

      For years, Beck has pitched various conspiracy theories with a rather predictable thrust: The left is out to take over and/or destroy the United States. (The relationship between assuming control of the country and scheming its decimation has always been a bit fuzzy.) And his targets have been sinister lefty outfits that are not household names: the Tides Foundation, ACORN, and others. As long as Beck stuck to this classic tale — secret commies undermining this great land of ours — he wasn’t much of a problem to most conservatives and his patrons at Fox. Sure, some conservative commentators (such as David Frum) derided Beck. But Beck was more like the crazy uncle in the attic who could be ignored. And Fox News could bank the revenue Beck generated without worry. Good ratings forgive much.

    • Olbermann Said to Be Going to Current TV

      Keith Olbermann, the former MSNBC anchor, will host a prime time program for Current TV, the low-rated cable channel co-founded by Al Gore. The one-hour program will begin sometime in the spring.

      Mr. Olbermann will also become the chief news officer for Current, the company said in a news release Tuesday.

      “We are delighted to provide Keith with the independent platform and freedom that Current can, and does uniquely offer,” Mr. Gore said in a statement.

    • Fox News Brings Video Game Violence Debate To a New Low
  • Censorship

    • French LOPPSI Bill Adopted: The Internet under Control?

      Yesterday afternoon, the French Parliament voted the LOPPSI bill whose 4th article enables administrative censorship of the Internet, using child protection as a Trojan horse. Over time, such an extra-judiciary set-up will enable a generalized censorship of all Internet content. Consistent with Nicolas Sarkozy projects for a “Civilized Internet”, administrative censorship of the Internet opens the door to dangerous abuse while leaving pedophiles and pedo-pornography to prosper.

    • Egypt’s Internet Blackout Highlights Danger of Weak Links, Usefulness of Quick Links

      In response to ongoing protests, Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak ordered a shutdown of all Internet access for five whole days, from January 28 to February 2, but social media and news continued to flow in and out of the country thanks to a group of protagonists dedicated to supporting the flow of information.

      EFF board member and co-founder John Gilmore once described the technical robustness of the Internet against censorship by saying: “The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” Egypt’s Internet blackout demonstrated an additional dimension to this adage: that the Internet’s anti-censorship features are enhanced by, and to some extent may depend upon, the willingness of individuals and companies to stand up for free expression.

    • Stop the Switch!

      Inspired by Egypt’s ability to cut off internet access to almost all of its people, governments around the world are racing to develop the same kind of “internet kill switch.” As we saw in Egypt, information blackouts created by shutting off the internet, fundamentally deny people their freedom of speech, prevent them from doing business online, and stop them from communicating with their friends and family. The spectre of an internet kill switch is now facing people living in democracies and dictatorships alike — there is even an “internet kill switch” bill before the U.S. Congress!

  • Civil Rights

    • Rank-and-file reject Patriot Act

      House Republicans Tuesday night got a harsh introduction to the majority, as more than two dozen rank-and-file GOP lawmakers voted against reauthorizing the Patriot Act.

      And just hours before the vote on the Bush-era homeland security measure, GOP leaders yanked a trade bill from consideration as the Ways and Means Committee is “working through issues.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • Shaw backs away from usage-based Internet billing

      Shaw Communications is suspending plans to charge customers for going over their Internet usage limits.

      Company president Peter Bissonnette said one option that could be considered is a no-cap, unlimited Internet service.

      Shaw made the move in response to consumer outrage that was fuelled by a crackdown on customers who exceed the bandwidth caps on their Internet plans — a crackdown that coincided with a CRTC decision that effectively put an end to unlimited Internet plans in Canada. “We’re putting everything on hold,” Bissonnette said.

    • French Government Wants to Sacrifice Net Neutrality

      By giving telecom operators the possibility to sell prioritized access to the network, the government would put an end to equality among Internet users. Time after time, Nicolas Sarkozy’s vision of the “Civilized Internet” that he’s promoting at the G8/G20 level is coming to light: an Internet controlled by the State and by telecommunications and entertainment industries, while fundamental liberties are shunted to the side.

    • Why the US should be very worried about Canada’s debate on Usage based billing

      Canada and the US have many similarities with respect to the makeup of the Internet market. Both countries’ Internet markets are largely controlled by a duopoly of cable and telephone companies. This ersatz competition between telephone and cable companies has given regulators and policy makers on both sides of the border the excuse that this supposed competitive market will solve all problems. More importantly both countries are also allowing major concentration of ownership between pipe and content providers. In the US it is the marriage of Comcast and NBC. In Canada it is Bell and CTV as well as Shaw and Global TV.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Whiners, mercenaries and alternatives

      Large telecommunications companies, copyright stock owners and some content producers complain that large centralized content sites now concentrate a large share of Internet usage, creating unbalance in the traffic. These centralized sites are accused of free riding without contributing to financing infrastructures nor remunerating artists (read producers and distributors).

    • Copyrights

      • Spanish author mocks Latin pop star copyright troll to benefit hungry kids in Africa

        Via the BB Submitterator, reader GuidoDavid says, “Juan Gómez-Jurado, who wrote a great piece against criminalizing of downloads in Spain, was challenged by copyright troll, tax dodger and singer Alejandro Sanz to offer his novel for free. He did, and donated the resulting 4000 euros to the charity Save The Children.”

      • Judge rules ACS:Law cases to continue

        ACS:Law and its client MediaCAT have failed to see 27 cases of alleged illegal filesharing discontinued, the London Patents Count Court heard today.

        Judge Birss QC confirmed the cases have been stayed, saying the notices of discontinuance were an abuse of the court’s processes.

        Earlier this month, it emerged both MediaCAT and ACS:Law had shut down and wanted the proceedings, which they initiated, to come to a close.

      • Your tweets aren’t private and can be quoted in the UK press

        The decision by the Press Complaints Commission follows a complaint from a government official whose tweets about being hungover at work were published in the Daily Mail and Independent on Sunday newspapers. The BBC reports that Sarah Baskerville claimed that she had a reasonable right to expect privacy on Twitter.

      • Is Downloading And Converting A YouTube Video To An MP3 Infringement?

        The reality is that this is yet another case of the law not being able to keep up with technology. There simply is no intellectually honest rationale that says recording songs off the radio is legal, but recording songs off your computer is illegal. It’s a weak attempt by an industry that doesn’t want to deal with changing technology to put in place laws that prevent what the technology allows. Those never work.

      • R.E.M. Stands For R.E.M.I.X. (The SoundCloud Singles)

        R.E.M.’s upcoming album Collapse Into Now is coming in March, but the band is already getting the buzz going with a little crowdsourcing experiment. A couple days ago, the album’s producer released some tracks from the song “It Happened Today” in files that can easily be imported into Garageband, the music mixing software that comes on new Macs. Fans are invited to remix the song and upload their new versions under Creative Commons license to SoundCloud.

      • Your chance to re-make the UK’s IP laws in the image of a startup

        Back in November last year the UK’s Prime Minister said he was announcing a number of initiatives aimed at technology companies. Since then there have been a few periphery announcements from the various large tech companies (Google, Facebook et al) about what they would do to help. But one thing that was on the agenda was a review of the Intellectual Property rules. PM David Cameron confirmed a six month review into IP law that he hopes will help attract technology companies to the UK.

        The US position on IP leans towards a ‘fair use’ environment, whereby IP can be used to a certain level without owner consent. This is very close the to Creative Commons licenses which aided the growth of startups like Flickr. In the UK copyrighted material is more highly restricted in use. Generally in Europe we rely too much on copyright and not enough on innovation. Witness Nokia’s suing of Apple for instance.

      • Anti-transparency

        IMPORTANT NOTICE: None of the information contained in this legal notice is to be transmitted and/or released to any third party, including but not limited to Chilling Effects (chillingeffects.org), without the express written permission of the the copyright owner and or his agent. As stated in Section 512 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and in the normal course of processing and notifying the infringing counter party, recipient must only include information specific to that counter party’s infringement and must not include this entire notice. Any re-transmission in whole or in part of this legal notice by the intended recipient will be a direct violation of U.S. and International Copyright Law and will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law by the copyright owner.

      • MPAA sues Hotfile file sharing service

        On behalf of U.S. movie studios, the MPAA filed the civil lawsuit against Hotfile and its operator, Anton Titov, in U.S. District Court in the Southern District of Florida, for damages and injunctive relief for violations under the United States Copyright Act of 1976. Hotfile is based in Panama City, Panama.

      • Filesharing prosecutions will face serious problems, says judge

        A senior court judge has pointed to severe problems with the way the Digital Economy Act enables copyright owners to prosecute people accused of illegal filesharing.

        Judge Birss QC said on Tuesday that the process of connecting copyright infringement to a named individual based on their use of an internet address is fraught with difficulties because internet connections, or IP addresses, are often used by more than one person.

      • Is It Copyright Infringement To Pass A DMCA Notice On To ChillingEffects?

        Yes, that’s right. The company is claiming that the DMCA takedown notice itself is copyrighted and that passing it along will constitute infringement. Of course, this raises some questions. Assuming that such a notice is copyrightable (and I’d argue that, depending on the text, it might not be), who owns the copyright. The paragraph above appears to imply that it’s the copyright holder of the original content that the takedown notice is about, but that wouldn’t be true. It seems that the copyright, if there is one, would be held by whoever wrote the letter, which is the third party firm hired by the original copyright holder. Also, did whoever write this letter actually register it with the Copyright Office?

      • Recording Industry Persecution Complex: Claiming EMI’s Plight Is Due To File Sharing

        Can someone — anyone — explain how getting people to stop downloading creates a profit anywhere? Getting people to stop downloading doesn’t magically make them start buying. And it’s not like EMI hasn’t been among the efforts by all the major record labels to get legislation changed for years, and all of that has done absolutely nothing to stop file sharing. It’s pure folly to suggest that there’s some sort of magical legislative move that will stop unauthorized file sharing and create “profits” at the same time.

      • Usenet Portal Loses Landmark Court Case Against BREIN

        FTD, one of the largest Usenet communities on the Internet, has lost the legal proceedings it started against Dutch anti-piracy outfit BREIN. The case, through which FTD hoped to have its operations declared legal, today resulted in a verdict which prohibits community members from talking about ‘locations’ where copyright infringing material can be downloaded.

        Founded in 2001, FTD is The Netherlands’ largest Usenet community with around 500,000 members. FTD and its associated software allows its members to ‘spot’ the location of material they find on Usenet, which could include the locations of copyrighted movies, music and TV shows.

      • Will the MPAA Target RapidShare, Megaupload or Dropbox?

        Hollywood opened up a new front in its war against piracy Tuesday by taking the Florida-based file host Hotfile.com to court. Hotfile facilitates copyright infringement “on a staggering scale,” the Motion Picture Association of America alleged, and “profits handsomely” from distributing unlicensed copies of major motion pictures and TV shows.

        This is the first time the movie studios have taken a so-called one-click file host to court, and the legal arguments used in the lawsuit could spell trouble for sites like Megaupload and RapidShare, or even backup services like Dropbox.

      • ACTA

        • EU: ACTA Is A Binding Treaty; US: ACTA Is Neither Binding, Nor A Treaty

          We’ve noted in the past how the US government (mainly via the USTR) has worked hard to try to play down the importance of ACTA to its critics (while, simultaneously, playing up how important it is to various lobbyists). For example, after years of promising that ACTA wouldn’t change any US laws, the fact that the US does not actually comply with everything in ACTA represents a problem. The USTR gets around this by saying that we can just ignore the parts that don’t match up with US law. Also, there’s the whole lie about how ACTA is not a treaty. Oh no no no. According to US officials, ACTA is merely an “executive agreement.” Of course, if you talk to legal experts, they’ll point out that the only real difference between a treaty and an executive agreement is whether or not the Senate has any say in approving it. Making it an executive agreement is just a ploy to avoid Senate hearings. It also raises serious constitutional questions, since the Executive branch of the US government has no mandate to approve such things.

        • ‘War’ On Fake Drugs Really An Excuse To Boost Big Pharma; Putting The Poor At Risk

          We’ve pointed out similar things before, but Oxfam has come out with a new report, claiming that the claims from developed nations about the need to fight “fake drugs,” is quite frequently really just an excuse to protect big pharma firms from generic competition. No one is denying that actual fake drugs can potentially be harmful. But, the problem is that the various efforts, including ACTA, to deal with the issue often lump together actual dangerous fake pharmaceuticals with drugs that are simply cheaper but perfectly safe. Oxfam would like to see a legitimate strategy for getting the real fake drugs out of the market, but says the current strategies are all about boosting patent protections, increasing prices for the poor and developing nations and better protecting big pharma against upstart competitors.

Clip of the Day

Chernobyl The Lost Film

Credit: TinyOgg


Links 9/2/2011: Android 2.4 to Ship, IBM/Oracle in Java Leadership

Posted in News Roundup at 5:38 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



Free Software/Open Source

  • Did Open Source Companies Miss Their Channel Opportunity?

    First, what went wrong? Let’s rewind to 2009, when Synnex and Red Hat launched the Open Source Channel Alliance (OSCA) and Tech Data launched the Open Tech effort. The situation looked so darn promising, especially as open source ERP, CRM and groupware companies worked to promote their wares through the OSCA and Open Tech.

  • Events

    • LCA: IP address exhaustion and the end of the open net

      Geoff Huston is the Chief Scientist at the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre. His frank linux.conf.au 2011 keynote took a rather different tack than Vint Cerf’s talk did the day before. According to Geoff, Vint is “a professional optimist.” Geoff was not even slightly optimistic; he sees a difficult period coming for the net; unless things happen impossibly quickly, the open net that we often take for granted may be gone forevermore.

    • Introduction to Forensics – A Report from Southwest Drupal Summit

      Kyle argued that the best first step is to immediately pull the plug on the box. Do not diagnose the situation and do not shut the machine down gracefully. We use journaling file systems for a reason and the machine will probably be rebuilt from scratch, so the danger of corrupted data from killing the power is small. Once the machine is off, you should image the compromised drive with something like ‘dd’ and make a copy of the image to do your work on to protect you from accidentally contaminating the evidence.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • IBM/Oracle To Share Java Leadership: More Bylaws to Read

      I know bylaws are boring, but let me show you just a couple of highlights that, to me, show that while Oracle and IBM will be sharing leadership, albeit not equally weighted, the community isn’t inside the real loop, not yet anyway. This is draft 7 of the bylaws, so it’s not carved in stone. That doesn’t happen until March 3, after which it gets voted on by “OpenJDK Community members for ratification via an appropriate democratic process”, according to Mark Reinhold, the OpenJDK Lead. So please allow me to point out some bugs.

    • Oracle Opposes Google’s Motion to Compel

      I’m thinking what Oracle will argue at the hearing is that all Androids of necessity do infringe and that Google is guilty of “active and willful” inducement, and so for that reason it doesn’t have to point to a specific instance of direct infringement. In any case, this is what it looks like the hearing will be about on the topic of requirements for Oracle to disclose specific acts. Everything will depend, I would say, on whether Google can demonstrate that some Android products are so different from the others that they can’t possibly infringe or that if they do infringe, they do so in such a variety of different ways that they can’t prepare a defense unless Oracle gives them a map with at least some X’s on it, or that the patents represent an insignificant part of the products even if they are infringing and Androids have lots of noninfringing uses, that Oracle is, in effect, trying to shut down the wheels of commerce. And the one weakness that really could matter is whether Gingerbread doesn’t turn out to be like the others. If that is what Oracle determines, then its entire argument falls, I think. Then the 7 Android products are representative of nothing except Oracle’s need to get specific about all seven, distinguished from Gingerbread. All means all, and if Gingerbread doesn’t infringe, there is no ‘all’ in this picture.

    • Oracle and IBM to share open-source Java leadership

      Oracle has agreed to share governance of the OpenJDK Java community with IBM, in a move that demonstrates considerable good will, according to one analyst.

      The company has created a series of bylaws outlining the way the governance will be structured, with Oracle appointing itself chairman and the OpenJDK lead, and IBM taking the role of vice chairman.

    • Oracle and Java: Mobile dev FAIL dooms Ellison’s future

      Nor is Java helped any by the political infighting that has plagued its development over the last few years. Sun had its share of detractors for its (mis)management of Java, but the ire reserved for Oracle’s manhandling of Java and its Java Community Process takes the criticism to a new level.

  • Government

    • European Patent: FSFE urges European Parliament to wait for legal advice

      Free Software Foundation Europe is asking the Members of the European Parliament to wait for legal advice before voting on a unitary patent for Europe. While a proposal is on the Parliament’s agenda for the coming week, a legal opinion by the European Court of Justice is expected later this month.

      “Software patents hurt innovation and are an unnecessary burden on European software developers,” says Karsten Gerloff, President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. “Legislators need to take charge and make sure the patent system contributes to the public good. As the European Patent Organisation has acknowledged, this is a decision that cannot be left to bureaucrats and the judiciary.”

  • Openness/Sharing


  • Ghana- Of Port Corruption and the Use of Technology

    There’s a lot of talk in Ghana about the latest release by the nation’s most famous underground investigative reporter about massive corruption at the state port in Tema. Personally, I am not so much interested in the story as I am about why we allow such things to happen easily in this day and age.

    A cursory look at procedures at the harbor, and indeed in almost all spheres of our public institutions, one thing that stands out is how lagging behind we are in terms of automation. Shuffling papers about, moving from office to office, signature after signature, all means one thing- more human involvement.

  • Fiat Has Big Hopes for its Tiny Car

    Fifty-four years ago, Italy’s Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino produced a car the size of a large coffee table. It was three meters long, powered by a 479-cc engine and about as quick off the line as a riding lawnmower. It produced 13 horsepower, or roughly as much as a modern portable electric generator. America laughed — you could cram a 500 into the trunk of a ‘57 Cadillac, and crashing one was certain death — but the rest of the world just went ahead and bought the silly thing. Three-and-a-half million times.

  • Silvio Berlusconi threatens constitutional war over sex trial moves

    Silvio Berlusconi has raised the spectre of a full-scale constitutional showdown in Italy after prosecutors in Milan asked for him to be put on trial immediately, charged with sex-related offences.

    Italy’s prime minister accused them of breaking the law and going against parliament. Soon afterwards his chief ally, Umberto Bossi of the Northern League, said the indictment request marked the start of a “total war” between Italy’s judiciary and its legislature.

  • Open Letter To PC Makers: Ditch The Bloatware, Now!

    This is the final straw. This is the line in the sand. This is the year that companies have to wise up and realize that they’re destroying the experience of the very machines that they try to market so vigorously over their competitor’s products. We’re talking about bloatware, and it’s an issue that we simply cannot remain silent on any longer. It’s a very, very real problem, and it has been for years. But we always assumed that things would improve as the “fad” faded. Sadly, we assumed wrong. The fad hasn’t faded, and dare we say, things have become even less bearable over time.

  • Colorado Springs school bans kid who takes THC lozenges for neuro condition from attending because of “internal possession”
  • Will Governments Get To Veto New Web Domains Like .Gay?

    The non-profit organization that assigns IP addresses and related internet names, ICANN, will be rolling out a system offering new “top-level domains” over the course of 2011 and 2012. That means web sites could end in almost anything—from brand names like .coke or .ford to place names like .chicago or .nyc. And the Obama administration is pushing for giving the world’s governments veto powers over those new top-level domains which could create flash points over new domain names such as .gay. The proposal by the U.S. government, which comes as the Egyptian government was able to essentially shut off internet access for several days, has gotten some negative reaction.

  • Science

    • Now George W. Bush Wants to “Miseducate” Public School Principals

      The Bush/Obama plan of blaming teachers and principals for economic injustice will not improve education.

      As BuzzFlash has noted before, certainly there are public schoolteachers and principals who probably are not up to snuff. But we’ve also criticized the notion that public schools in poor urban and rural areas should miraculously be able to compensate for chronic conditions of communities with poverty and violence – and very few jobs.

      Because, as we’ve observed, there is not a national educational crisis. There is a problem with schools that are located in areas of limited economic means.

      Blaming principals and teachers in a war on public education in poor areas is a diversionary tactic from addressing the real problem: economic injustice and inequality.

    • Shuttle operator may propose commercial flights

      Starting as soon as 2013, after construction of a new external tank, the lead operator of NASA’s shuttle fleet proposes to fly twice a year with Atlantis and Endeavour at a cost of under $1.5 billion a year.

    • NASA’s Ares 1 to Be Reborn as the Liberty Commercial Launcher

      When President Barack Obama canceled the Constellation space exploration program, it was thought the Ares 1, the much-maligned planned rocket that would have launched the Orion into low Earth orbit, was dead and gone.

      However, it looks like ATK, the aerospace firm that manufactures solid rocket boosters for NASA, has entered into a joint venture with Astrium, the European firm that builds the Ariane V to build a commercial version of the Ares 1.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • The Environmental Causes of Cancer

      idea that most cancer is caused by environmental factors is becoming mainstream.

      A report by the President’s Cancer Panel, Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now was published in April 2010 This latest annual report, for 2008–2009, was written by Suzanne H. Reuben for the cancer panel and published by the National Cancer Institute.

      The facts about cancer are dismal. As the report says, about 41 percent of Americans will be diagnosed with cancer at some time in their lives, and some 21 percent will die of it. In 2009 approximately 1.5 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed, and about 562,000 died of it.

    • China’s poor treated to fake rice made from plastic: report

      China’s history with food safety is a rocky one, but even in the annals of robbery and abuse, this will go down in infamy.

      Various reports in Singapore media have said that Chinese companies are mass producing fake rice made, in part, out of plastic, according to one online publication Very Vietnam.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Egyptian Protests Expose Fraudulent U.S. “Spreading Democracy” Meme

      The Egyptian people have exposed the great myth that prevails in the sphere of United States’ foreign policy, namely that U.S. foreign policy elites are concerned with “spreading democracy.”

      That is because, as Hampshire College’s Michael Klare has written, since 1945, the United States has maintained a foreign policy that is centered around “blood and oil.” The foreign policy establishment often uses “democracy spreading” as a public relations platitude because it sounds much better than saying, “We went to war for oil.” But caring about democracy goes out the window when one truly scrutinizes U.S. foreign policy through a critical lens. Sourcewatch calls this phenomenon Big Oil, Big Lies.

    • Rumsfeld’s Memoir: Known and Unknown and Untrue

      In his new book, deftly titled Known and Unknown, former Defense Secreatry Donald Rumsfeld insists that he and the Bush-Cheney crew did not purposefully misrepresent the WMD case for the Iraq war: “The President did not lie. The Vice President did not lie. Tenet did not lie. Rice did not lie. I did not lie. The Congress did not lie. The far less dramatic truth is that we were wrong.” He does acknowledge that he made a “few misstatements,” referring specifically only to one: when he declared early in the war, “We know where they [the WMDs] are. They’re in the area around Tikrit and Baghdad and east, west, south and north somewhat.”

    • Nixon and Bob Haldeman on Donald Rumsfeld

      President Nixon and Bob Haldeman∇ discuss Donald Rumsfeld, observing admiringly that he’s “tough enough” and a “ruthless little bastard.”

    • Feds investigating Church of Scientology for human trafficking: report

      The FBI has reportedly launched a sweeping probe into the controversial Church of Scientology for allegedly being involved in human trafficking.

      The investigation includes the cult’s mysterious leader David Miscavige, a close friend of actor Tom Cruise who was also best man at his wedding.

      The allegations are that Miscavige allegedly doled out regular beatings to members, The New Yorker reported in its current issue, which hit newsstands this morning.

    • The Reagan Myth Continues to Grow

      Many people forget that Reagan was divisive for the country and won almost no support among African-Americans. Conservatives also fail to acknowledge that Reagan raised taxes throughout his presidency, including one tax hike that at the time was the biggest in American history. Reagan’s legacy is one of unprecedented federal budget deficits fueled by tax cuts made at the same time the federal budget grew due to massive increases in military spending.

    • Funny How None Of The Bills About Extending The Patriot Act Seem To Kill Off The Pieces So Regularly Abused

      We’ve already discussed how it appears that Congress is set to extend the Patriot Act with little debate yet again, despite the growing evidence of rather massive abuses of the law by law enforcement officials, with little to no evidence that the law has actually helped. As it stands now, in the Senate there are apparently three competing versions of the extension, and not a single proposal that would actually cut off the highly controversial sections that allow for spying on Americans with little to no oversight.

      The three Senate bills kick off with one from Senator Patrick Leahy, which would extend the various provisions until the end of 2013, but would also include a tiny bit more oversight.

    • Robot X-47B stealth bomber test flight
    • Surprise: House Did NOT Automatically Extend The Patriot Act

      Turns out the conventional wisdom was wrong. The House could not conjure up enough votes to pass the extension. While a majority did vote for it, the rules required a 2/3 vote to pass and supporters of the extension fell 13 votes short — getting 277 in favor and 148 against. You can check out the roll call for the 148 Reps who didn’t just roll over.

    • Trial begins in shooting that started as trash-talking

      “He was struggling,” DeLuca testified. “He kept saying, ‘I have a permit to carry.’ “

  • Cablegate

    • Brit Perspectives on the Way Forward in Afghanistan

      In October 1 and 2 meetings with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mullen, Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) Admiral Stavridis, and ISAF Commander General McChrystal, Prime Minister Brown, Foreign Secretary Miliband and other senior UK officials underscored HMG’s commitment to the allied mission in Afghanistan. They are eager for U.S. leadership to chart a clear course of future strategy in Afghanistan, including a desired end state, as soon as possible. In the British view, U.S. leadership is essential to keeping the coalition in place. Empowering the Afghan security forces to play a greater role is a top British priority. The British interlocutors stressed that continued willingness of the UK public to tolerate casualties depends upon the perception that the coalition has a strategy for success Afghanistan. They agreed that the fight against extremism in Pakistan is closely linked to the outcome in Afghanistan. In his meeting with McChrystal, Conservative Party leader David Cameron similarly stressed the importance of U.S. leadership and expressed support for continued, sustained effort.

    • U.S. Chamber Attacks FCIC as “Job-Killing” Wikileakers

      This is what the Chamber fears most of all, the FCIC’s planned release of those reckless, imprudent and downright ugly emails from the masters of the universe crowing about how well they do their jobs — fleecing America.

    • Times Editor Alarmed By Prospect of WikiLeaks Prosecution

      New York Times executive editor Bill Keller may not regard Julian Assange as a journalistic peer, but he made clear Thursday that he doesn’t think the WikiLeaks founder should face criminal prosecution in the United States.

      Keller joined his counterpart from Britain’s Guardian newspaper and a prominent Harvard Law School professor on a panel at Columbia University to discuss WikiLeaks, the secret-spilling website that has been publishing U.S. diplomatic cables and battlefield reports from Iraq and Afghanistan.

      “It’s very hard to conceive of a prosecution of Julian Assange that wouldn’t stretch the law in a way that would be applicable to us,” said Keller. “Whatever one thinks of Julian Assange, certainly American journalists, and other journalists, should feel a sense of alarm at any legal action that tends to punish Assange for doing essentially what journalists do. That is to say, any use of the law to criminalize the publication of secrets.”

    • WikiLeaks: Suleiman told Israel he would ‘cleanse’ Sinai of arms runners to Gaza

      The news is more evidence of the close ties between Israel, the United States and Mr Suleiman, who is tipped to replace Hosni Mubarak as Egypt’s president.

      The close relationship has emerged from American diplomatic cables leaked to the WikiLeaks website and passed to The Daily Telegraph.

    • WikiLeaks: Egyptian ‘torturers’ trained by FBI

      The US provided officers from the Egyptian secret police with training at the FBI, despite allegations that they routinely tortured detainees and suppressed political opposition.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • EU Parliament wants stricter rules for recycling electro-waste

      The European Parliament announced Thursday a proposal for stricter rules on regulating electronic waste, as it grapples with the problems its reliance on imported commodities presents to member economies.

      Millions of tons of electronic devices are discarded each year, and many contain one or more of the 14 elements the European Union has said are in critical supply. Those elements include magnesium, graphite, cobalt, gallium and germanium.

    • Scientists Found Chemical Dispersants Lingering in Gulf Long After Oil Flow Stopped

      Chemical compounds from the oil dispersants applied to the Gulf of Mexico didn’t break down as expected, according to a study released this week. Scientists found the compounds lingering for months in the deep waters of the Gulf, long after BP’s oil had stopped spewing.

      “The results indicate that an important component of the chemical dispersant injected into the oil in the deep ocean remained there, and resisted rapid biodegradation,” said scientist David Valentine of U.C. Santa Barbara, one of the investigators in the study.

    • Fracking Companies Injected 32M Gallons of Diesel, House Probe Finds

      Drilling service companies have injected at least 32 million gallons of diesel fuel underground as part of a controversial drilling technique, a Democratic congressional investigation has found.

    • New drilling method opens vast oil fields in US

      A new drilling technique is opening up vast fields of previously out-of-reach oil in the western United States, helping reverse a two-decade decline in domestic production of crude.

      Companies are investing billions of dollars to get at oil deposits scattered across North Dakota, Colorado, Texas and California. By 2015, oil executives and analysts say, the new fields could yield as much as 2 million barrels of oil a day – more than the entire Gulf of Mexico produces now.

    • The Kochs’ Climate Change Denial Media Machine

      A network of bloggers, pundits, think tanks and foundations get funding from the Kochs, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has received over $700,000, and the libertarian Cato Institute, which has received $13 million from the Kochs since 1998. The Manhattan Institute received $1.5 million, Americans for Prosperity has gotten $5.5 million, the Pacific Research Institute has gotten $1.2 million and the Federalist Society $2 million.

    • 7.5 million ha of Indonesian forest slated for clearing

      7.5 million hectares of natural forest will escape Indonesia’s planned moratorium on new forestry concessions, according to a new report from Greenomics Indonesia, an activist group.

      Under its billion dollar forest conservation partnership with Norway, Indonesia committed to establish a moratorium on new concessions in forest areas and peatlands beginning January 1, 2011. But Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono has yet to sign the decree due to debate over the details of what types of forest will be exempted. Presently two versions of the decree are circulating. The one drafted by the country’s REDD+ Taskforce, chaired by Kuntoro Mangkusubroto, is considerably stronger than one prepared by the Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Hatta Rajasa.

    • WikiLeaks cable: Saudi oil estimates may have been exaggerated

      Saudi Arabia’s oil reserves may have been grossly overestimated and its capacity to continue pumping at current capacity exaggerated, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable sent from the kingdom in 2007.

      The cable, obtained by WikiLeaks and published in the British newspaper The Guardian, cited the views of Sadad al-Husseini, who had been in charge of exploration and production at the Saudi state-owned company Aramco for 12 years until 2004.

    • Activist Communique: Save the Beaver Pond Forest

      With the rising of the morning sun on February 8, 2011, activists held what could be described as a ceremony of protection for the Beaver Pond Forest as they encircled the cutting machines that have been tearing into the South Marsh Highlands to protect the land from developers; and in turn, protecting we two-legged (humans) from having to commit such destruction.

    • Young Activist Faces 10 Years in Prison After Trying to Save Public Lands From Oil and Gas Companies

      On Friday, December 19, 2008, Tim DeChristopher participated in a public auction. As the Bush administration moved to auction off 77 parcels of federal land totaling 150,000 acres for oil and gas drilling, DeChristopher, a student at the University of Utah at the time, bid $1.7 million for 14 parcels totaling 22,000 acres of land, although he did not have the funds to pay for it.

  • Finance

    • Effort Afoot in Vermont to Abolish Corporate Personhood

      One year after the Supreme Court ruled in the Citizens United case that corporations have the same rights as people, movements are underway around the U.S. to reverse the new protections granted by the country’s highest court. Vermont State Senator Virginia Lyons has introduced the country’s first anti-corporate personhood resolution which proposes amending the U.S. Constitution to specify that “corporations are not persons under the laws of the United States.”

    • Crack Down On Fraudclosure!
    • Fraudclosure: Will State AGs Step Up to Their Moment in History?

      Rumor has it that the 50-state attorneys general investigation into the Fraudclosure scandal is wrapping up. It’s time for a backbone check. Will the state attorneys general just ask the big banks and service providers to turn over a chunk of change from seemingly bottomless pockets? (This strategy was pursued by the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) with little impact). Or will Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller take the lead in wrestling a real settlement out of the banks, so that families hammered by unemployment and underemployment can stay in their homes?

    • Elizabeth Warren 2.0
    • Banksters Back in the Black: JPMorgan Chase

      Earnings and bonus reports are rolling in and the big, bailed-out banks are back in the black. In 2010, total compensation and benefits at publicly traded Wall Street banks and securities firms hit a record of $135 billion — up almost six percent from 2009 according to the Wall Street Journal. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon may take home the biggest bonus check, an eye-popping $17 million.

    • Revealed: Banks to profit from Big Society

      In the latest attempt to save the floundering Big Society, David Cameron announced today that “the big society bank will be taking £200m from Britain’s banks to put into the voluntary sector.”

    • Biggest Scam in World History Exposed

      The greatest scam in history has been exposed — and has largely been ignored by the media. In fact, it’s still going on.

      The specifics of a secret taxpayer funded “backdoor bailout” organized by unelected bankers have been revealed. The data release revealed “emergency lending programs” that doled out $12.3 trillion in taxpayer money ($16 trillion according to Dr. Ron Paul) — and Congress didn’t know any of the details.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • India’s Biggest Press Scandal Censored by India’s Press Barons

      The year 2010 saw Indian journalists, their associations and unions hold more conferences and seminars on one professional issue than any other. And it wasn’t the Wage Board or the Radia tapes. Hundreds of journalists across the country attended these meetings. Dozens stood up and spoke of their own experiences of the subject. Of how it demoralized them and ruined their profession. Yet, the main topic of their discussion found no mention the next day in the very newspapers, magazines or channels they work for.

      Sometimes, the fact of the meeting being held, perhaps as an event attended by a High Court judge, was reported. But the subject discussed was not. In newspapers and channels choking with stories on corruption, this is the one you’re least likely to see. The media are their own worst censors when it comes to reporting on ‘Paid News.’

    • Taco Bell fights beef charges with ‘truth’ ads, may countersue

      Back in 2006, an E.coli outbreak at Taco Bells sickened dozens of people in six states. Then, in early 2007, a videotape of rats running rampant at a Taco Bell/KFC in New York City went viral. It took Taco Bell months to recover from this one-two image punch.

    • Anti-Abortion Groups Step Up Campaign Against Planned Parenthood

      “We were profoundly shocked when we viewed the videotape,” Phyllis Kinsler, chief executive of the agency’s central New Jersey branch, said in a statement. Ms. Kinsler said the tape “depicted an employee of one of our health centers behaving in a repugnant manner that is inconsistent with our standards of care and is completely unacceptable.”

      Stuart Schear, vice president for communications of the national federation, said in an interview on Wednesday that Planned Parenthood had “zero tolerance” for unethical behavior and that the behavior filmed in the video was “very isolated.”

    • Ad Change Underlines Influence of N.F.L.

      Unveiled by Toyota in November, the television commercial highlighted the carmaker’s decision to share crash research with scientists studying football concussions, and was an explicit reminder of football’s recent controversies regarding concussions.

      So explicit, it turns out, that the N.F.L. demanded that Toyota alter the 30 second commercial, and Toyota promptly did.

  • Censorship

    • Judge’s order bans jury pamphlets, sparking free-speech debate


      A court order signed this week prohibits the distribution of pamphlets or leaflets meant to influence jurors outside the Orange and Osceola courthouses.

      The administrative order, signed by Chief Judge Belvin Perry on Monday, has sparked a fresh free-speech debate that could lead to legal challenges, questioning whether the order amounts to a “prior restraint” or a form of censorship.

    • ‘The King’s Speech’ Threatened With Legal Action Over ‘No Animals Harmed’ Claim (Updated)

      The King’s Speech may have a new speech impediment on its path to the Academy Awards.

      The American Humane Association has contacted producers of the film and is threatening legal action over the use of phrase, “No animals were harmed,” in the end credits.

      The public advocacy group has a trademark on this phrase and over the years, has leveraged its rights so as to be involved in film productions and certify that no “animal actors” get harmed or killed in studio films. The organization typically demands advanced copies of scripts and daily call sheets to review and also requires on-set access whenever animals are used.

      The AHA says it was never invited to monitor The King’s Speech, however, and so it demands that The Weinstein Co., which is distributing the highly-praised film, remove the assurance to movie-goers that no animals were harmed during the production.

  • Privacy

    • In Europe, a Right to Be Forgotten Trumps the Memory of the Internet

      A quarter-century after coming to the United States, Franz Werro still thinks like a European. The 54-year-old Georgetown law professor, born and raised in Switzerland, is troubled when ads in French automatically pop up on his American laptop. The computer assumes that’s what he wants. We live naked on the Internet, Werro knows, in a brave new world where our data lives forever. Google your name, and you’ll stumble onto drunken photos from college, a misguided quote given to a reporter five years ago, court records, ancient 1 a.m. blog comments, that outdated Friendster profile … the list goes on, a river of data creating a profile of who you are for anyone searching online: friend, merchant, or potential future employer. Werro’s American students rarely mind.

    • Facebook Faces Privacy Questions From Congressmen

      Two Congressmen have sent a letter to Facebook requesting information about plans to share users’ mobile phone and address information with developers.

  • Civil Rights

    • EFF, ACLU Challenge Feds’ WikiLeaks Twitter Probe

      Two civil liberties groups representing a former WikiLeaks associate have filed a motion challenging the government’s attempt to obtain her Twitter records, as well as the records of two others associated with the secret-spilling website. The groups also filed motions to unseal records in the case.

      The case involves Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament, as well as WikiLeaks’ U.S. representative Jacob Appelbaum, and Dutch businessman and activist Rop Gonggrijp. Jonsdottir and Gonggrijp helped WikiLeaks prepare a classified U.S. Army video that the site published last April.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/UBB

    • FCC Net Neutrality is a Regulatory ‘Trojan Horse,’ EFF Says

      The Federal Communications Commission’s net-neutrality decision opens the FCC to “boundless authority to regulate the internet for whatever it sees fit,” the Electronic Frontier Foundation is warning.

      The civil rights group says the FCC’s action in December, which was based on shaky legal authority, creates a paradox of epic proportions. The EFF favors net neutrality but worries whether the means justify the ends.

      “We’re wholly in favor of net neutrality in practice, but a finding of ancillary jurisdiction here would give the FCC pretty much boundless authority to regulate the internet for whatever it sees fit. And that kind of unrestrained authority makes us nervous about follow-on initiatives like broadcast flags and indecency campaigns,” Abigail Phillips, an EFF staff attorney, wrote on the group’s blog Thursday.

      And the paradox grows.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Jeff Koons’ Balloon Dog Copyright Claim: A Dog That Wouldn’t Hunt

      Today, balloon dogs everywhere can breathe a sigh of relief: SF’s Park Life store/gallery announced that artist Jeff Koons has dropped legal action against the sale of its balloon dog-shaped bookends.

      In a story that migrated from The Bay Citizen to the New York Times, eventually reaching the San Francisco Chronicle, the NY-based artist, famous for his appropriation of pop culture, was roundly mocked for sending a cease-and-desist to the Richmond District store and the Toronto manufacturer of the bookends.

    • The Justice Department and the RIAA/MPAA
    • Sarah Palin, daughter Bristol seek to register trademarks on their names
    • Copyrights

      • MPAA threatens to disconnect Google from the Internet

        Over the last few months, Google has received more than 100 copyright infringement warnings from MPAA-affiliated movies studios: most are directed at users of Google’s public Wi-Fi service but others are meant for Google employees. The MPAA is thus warning the search giant that it might get disconnected from the Internet.

        “Copyright infringement also violates your ISP’s terms of service and could lead to limitation or suspension of your Internet service. You should take immediate action to prevent your Internet account from being used for illegal activities,” the movie companies write in various letters, according to TorrentFreak. Although the copyright holders use strong language, these notices are nothing simply warnings, and typically do not lead to legal action.

      • Lessons from the Texas Downloading Dismissal – Why Due Process Matters

        Apparently out of the blue, a copyright lawsuit filed in federal court in Dallas by a German pornographer against 670 anonymous Internet users, who were charged with infringing the copyright in the film by making it available for download, has been dismissed. The back story holds lessons for judges confronted with demands to discover the identify of anonymous Internet users.

      • Music Publisher Discovers A Song In Its Catalog Has Been Heavily Sampled For Decades… Sues Everyone

        Rather than just suing those behind the Heavy’s song, Drive In has basically gone on a legal rampage. It sued pretty much everyone even loosely connected with the song. So, it sued the label… but also the ad agency that put together the ad, the NFL for having the commercial during the Super Bowl and CBS for airing the ad. Apparently that lawsuit was settled, which is too bad, as it seems like many of those parties could push back on the claims.

      • Homeland Security Tries And Fails To Explain Why Seized Domains Are Different From Google

        Moe then asks Hayes if he links to a site that has infringing content from his Public Radio blog, will ICE shut down the site. And Hayes makes a really weird remark that makes no sense, sayings that if Moe “gets advertising funds from a site that provides unauthorized content” then he might have to shut them down. But that’s something new. We’ve seen no assertions or evidence that the sites that have been take down received ads from the other sites that were hosting the content. Is Hayes totally making stuff up now? It sounds like Hayes doesn’t even understand what he’s talking about.

        Finally, Moe asks: if a site links and embeds to all the same content, but does not profit from it (i.e., does not have advertising), is it criminal? Hayes totally punts and says he’d have to check the law. Yes, really. So the guy is not an expert on the technology and admits he’s not an expert on the law in question. So what is he an expert in and why is he leading these questionable seizures?

        On a separate note, it’s nice to see that Homeland Security is willing to chat with the press again after telling us that it will not speak about these issues because it’s an “ongoing investigation before court.” Apparently, Homeland Security was also lying to me (though, we knew that already).

      • Star Wars Is A Remix
      • Meet Evan Stone, P2P pirate hunter

        Evan Stone is not the devil; indeed, the antipiracy lawyer sees himself on the side of the angels. But his crusade against the Satanic forces of BitTorrent has been, by his own admission, a pitched battle in which he is vastly outnumbered. He describes his work as “charging hell with a bucket of water.”

      • Righthaven Goes After Pajamas Media, Despite DMCA Agent & Strong Fair Use Case

        It’s been a little while since we covered what newspaper copyright troll Righthaven was up to, but Eric Goldman alerts us to one recent legal filing from the operation that raises some questions. Historically, Righthaven has been careful to avoid websites that have registered a DMCA agent, knowing that under the DMCA it’s supposed to issue a takedown notice before suing. However, this case, in going after the successful blog network Pajamas Media, appears to ignore the fact that Pajamas Media has registered.

      • In Praise Of Piracy

        Although it pains me to say this, it’s the pirates who are on the right side of history. Empires built on barbed wire inevitably collapse, and the sooner the better; while this one reigns, it perpetuates yesterday’s regimes, and squelches innovation and progress. Is piracy wrong? Yes, but that’s the wrong question. The right question is, which is worse: widespread piracy, or the endless and futile attempt to preserve DRM everywhere? So long live the pirates. Those jerks. Please don’t make me say it again.

      • MPAA sues Hotfile, battle for cloud begins

        File-hosting service Hotfile has made a business out of offering a stash box for people to store their pirated movies, the Motion Picture Association of America claims in its suit against Hotfile.

      • MPAA Files Surprisingly Weak Billion Dollar Lawsuit Against Hotfile

        Hotfile, one of a number of cyberlockers out there, has been in the news increasingly lately, as various entertainment industry firms have been attacking it as one of the more popular cyberlockers. It appears that the MPAA and its whole content protection staff finally decided to go beyond complaining and actually sue Hotfile, asking (of course) for the maximum $150,000 in statutory damages for each infringing file it found on Hotfile.

      • IP Czar Report Hits On All The Lobbyist Talking Points; Warns Of More Draconian Copyright Laws To Come

        We had serious questions from the beginning about Senator Patrick Leahy’s “ProIP” bill, which was pushed very strongly by the lobbying group, the US Chamber of Commerce, using widely debunked stats to claim that there needed to be an “IP Enforcement Coordinator” in the White House. Yet, as we explained, such a position makes absolutely no sense. Even “pro intellectual property” folks noted that the law was anything but “pro intellectual property.” Instead it was pro-legacy business structure. So giving a role in the White House to someone whose sole job is to protect legacy business models is the very definition of regulatory capture. And while the IP Enforcement Coordinator, Victoria Espinel, has been kind enough to personally reach out to us multiple times since taking on the job, in the end she still sees her role to be protecting legacy industry jobs, rather than (as the Constitution requires) making sure that intellectual property promotes the progress.

      • Russian media combats false piracy prosecutions

        Some good news out of Samara. As we’ve reported previously, trumped-up piracy accusations have been frequently used in Russia to intimidate independent media. Sergei Kurt-Adzhiyev, a Russian editor, has spent years fighting piracy prosecutions against himself and his publications in the region. This week, he was declared not guilty. Russia’s Finance Ministry was ordered to pay him 450,000 rubles or $15,200 for the false charge of using pirated software.

      • Copyright in a Free (gratis) World

        The big idea: I’m spending 628% more time on copyrighted content that is being given away than content I’m paying for. Much of it is ad-supported, but much of that ad money never ends up in the pocket of the artist: most content creators on youtube, reddit, 9gag, devour, or blogs never profit off of their creations.

      • Digital Economy (UK)/ACS:OutLaw

        • ACS:Law Judgment Has Serious Implications for Digital Economy Act

          Yesterday, Judge Birss QC at the Patents County Court delivered his judgment in the copyright infringement hearing which featured ACS:Law, copyright troll client MediaCAT and 27 alleged file-sharers. While Birss was damning of the process from start to finish, some of key issues he raised could have serious implications for the UK’s Digital Economy Act.

          The battle against ACS:Law, MediaCAT and other companies previously involved in developing the so-called Speculative Invoicing model in the UK, has been fought on many fronts. A key group that has championed the rights of the innocent caught in the dragnet, and indeed introduced the term ‘Speculative Invoicing’ to the legal landscape, is BeingThreatened.com. This compact and highly resourceful team have worked tirelessly to protect innocent members of the public from the predatory tactics we have read so much about lately.

        • With ACS:Law And MediaCAT Shutting Down, What Does It Mean For US Copyright Group?

          It certainly looks like DGW has been a bit more careful with its strategy than ACS:Law (where it really seemed like Andrew Crossley got in way over his head), but it certainly should be a warning sign to all those law firms who think this sort of shakedown play is easy money.

        • ACS:Law and overstated proof

          Yesterday afternoon saw the latest twist in the protracted story of ACS:Law. They have been engaged in a campaign to intimidate and extort money from thousands of people with little evidence and even less proper due process. Last week, with their flimsy cases facing scrutiny in court, ACS:Law wound themselves up, disappearing in a puff of smoke like cartoon villains. But Judge Birss, of the Patents County Court, insisted that the cases must continue.

          And so the case drags on. But aside from one law firm’s nefarious practice, it offers us important lessons for the way copyright enforcement works. In particular there are implications for that flagship but very flawed legislation aimed at reducing file-sharing in the UK, the Digital Economy Act. It is important to say that these lessons have nothing to do with the rights and wrongs of copyright infringement. They have everything to do with basic principles of justice and due process. If you are accused of doing something wrong, you are presumed innocent until proven otherwise by sufficient evidence. You would expect there to be reasonable ways to defend yourself. Punishments should follow this kind of process.

        • ACS:Law told file-sharing case must continue by court

          Now a judge had criticised the firm for its methods.

          “I cannot imagine a system better designed to create disincentives to test the issues in court,” said Judge Colin Birss at the Patents County Court in London.

Clip of the Day

Debian 6 “Squeeze” First Look, Impressions and History Lesson

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