Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 21/12/2010: Unigine OilRush on GNU/Linux, WordPress Company Makes ~$10 Million in Revenue

GNOME bluefish



  • Applications

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Games

      • REVIEW: Zero Ballistics – Tank warfare for Linux!
        An observation was made recently that Linux was experiencing a wealth of new (and established titles) being made availabe or updated. This to me is a testament of the rising popularity of the Linux desktop (and subsequent demand for gaming).

        That debate though can wait until another day, as I have downloaded a copy of the latest version of Zero Ballistics, a generic Linux binary which is available now!

      • Here's A Video Of Unigine OilRush On Linux
        Following yesterday's holiday surprise and this morning's exclusive preview of Unigine OilRush, we now have up an in-game video recording we made today of this forthcoming real-time strategy game.

        As said in today's initial review of Unigine's first game (for Linux, Windows, and PlayStation 3 platforms), in the coming weeks Unigine Corp will begin with pre-orders of the game and that will allow the public to gain access to the game's beta. We just happened to get rare access to their latest development build that was used this weekend in Russia for their focus group testing.

      • Linux Gaming: Native vs. Wine vs. Windows 7 Performance
        From this first round of 2010 Wine vs. Ubuntu vs. Windows 7 testing it is tough to draw any conclusions. About the only conclusion to draw would be that you cannot draw any definitive conclusions about the Wine performance compared to the native performance on either Linux or Windows. With some of the least-demanding OpenGL games is where the performance under Wine took the biggest hit compared to Ubuntu 10.10 and Windows 7.


        With Unigine Sanctuary and Unigine Tropics, the results were identical between Ubuntu, Windows 7, and Wine 1.2.1/1.3.9.

      • Warsow 0.6 Released With 6 New Maps, "Capture The Flag" Gametype
        Yet another game got a new version just in time for the holidays: Warsow - a futuristic cartoon-like first-person shooter - 0.6 was released yesterday featuring 6 new maps and a new gametype: the well known "Capture the Flag".

  • Distributions

    • A look at LinuxConsole 1.0.2010
      The LinuxConsole distribution was my dark horse of 2009. It was a small, French Linux distro which managed to be compact, fast and included an interesting approach to software management. Aside from some translation quirks in the distro's text, I found it to be an enjoyable system to use. Fast forward about a year and I received a few e-mails informing me that a new LinuxConsole release was up on their website. This version, labelled 1.0.2010, was made available in mid-November and boasts improved module management and a new desktop in the form of LXDE. The project's website maintains a fairly simple layout with a black & white theme and six translations (Dutch, English, French, German, Italian and Portuguese). There is a small forum for requesting support, reporting bugs and making suggestions. There is a link to frequently asked questions on the menu, but at time of writing it throws up an error saying the page could not be found. The site has links providing access to the project's source code, a download page and a link to additional modules in a section of the site called the Jukebox.


      Having played with LinuxConsole for a week, I find that it's an interesting approach, but it probably isn't a good choice for home users. At least not installed locally. As a light live CD it performs well, but the requirement of downloading Firefox each time the live disc boots puts a speed bump in the road. My biggest issue was with hardware support. It's not often Linux refuses to run properly on both of my test machines leaving me to wonder where the problems lies and, to date, I haven't had time to track down the issue. I think the idea of a small distro with an ISO builder and add-on modules is a good one, but this release just didn't work gracefully for me.

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat reaches for clouds with interesting Eucalyptus deal
        The pairing is also interesting since Eucalyptus Systems has long worked closely with Ubuntu Linux distributor Canonical, which relies on the open source Eucalyptus software for its Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud. While Canonical has not presented much of a threat to Red Hat and its RHEL in the overall enterprise server market, the same cannot be said for cloud computing, where Canonical was first to address cloud computing users and also benefits from the popularity of Ubuntu in both public and private clouds and among developers. So it will be intersting to see whether Eucalyptus Systems’ partnership with Red Hat has any impact on Canonical’s own partnership with Eucalyptus Systems or use of Eucalyptus software.

      • Red Hat reduces cost and complexity of building portal sites with JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform 5.1
        Today Red Hat is announcing the general availability of JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform 5.1 to it’s subscribers and partners via the Red Hat Customer Portal on December 22. With an intuitive, easy to manage user interface and a proven core infrastructure, JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform enables organizations to quickly build dynamic websites in a highly reusable way. Continuing the momentum from the JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform 5.0 release earlier this year, this new release incorporates numerous enhancements based directly upon feedback from customers who have already begun deploying the new JBoss Enterprise Portal Platform architecture. Key among these enhancements is the addition of support for WSRP 2.0 (Web Services for Remote Portlets) standards, improved integration with back-end directories, improved performance and broader certification for web browsers.

    • Debian Family

      • 5 reasons why Debian Unstable does not deserve its name
        1. It contains mainly stable versions of the software

        Yes, you read it right. Unstable is not full of development versions of the various software. It happens on some software but then it’s usually a conscious decision of the maintainer who believes that this specific version is already better than the previous one.

        The packages in sid are supposed to migrate to testing, the place where the next Debian stable release is prepared. So maintainers are advised to only upload stuff that is of release quality, the rest should be uploaded to experimental instead.

      • 5 Reasons why Debian Unstable is Not for End-Users
        Debian unstable is not conceived as a product for end-users, and for very good reasons. There seems to be some misunderstanding and people trying to push end-users to use unstable. This blog post tries to address the claims raised and put them into proper light.

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Software Leaders to Advise Linaro
      Following completion of its first major release in November, Linaro announces the expansion of its ecosystem to include Advisory Partners Canonical, GENIVI, HP, LiMo Foundation and MontaVista Software all of whom are involved in building complex Linux based software. The Advisors will help to guide the Linaro Technical Steering Committee (TSC) on critical industry needs, facilitating the alignment of requirements.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • The perfect distro for the Acer Aspire One?
        During this review, Ive looked at Kuki 2.8 (399mb download) , Jolicloud 1.1 (696mb download), #!CBL 10 (644mb download), Puppy 5.11 (129mb download), Salix 13.1 (670mb download), Peppermint Ice (latest Spin 429mb download). But the first question I had was – I wonder who’s idea it was to think that this machine loaded with XP is viable? If we believe Microsoft hype, Windows 7 is shipping on everything today and allegedly its suitable for “everything” but if XP (which was released around 2001) strains the specs of a piece of hardware released about 6 years later, then I shudder to consider the performance Windows 7 will give on even more recent netbooks.

    • Tablets

      • China-based white-box tablet PCs among Amazon top 20 selling models
        China-based white-box vendors Zenithink's 10-inch tablet PC ePad and Anhub's 7-inch model have ranked among the top 20 selling tablet PCs on Amazon, according to retail channels in Taiwan.

      • Intel's Atom to ship in over 35 tablets next year
        Intel has been trying to cut itself a slice of the mobile market for years, and it seems the company is finally making some headway. During a conference yesterday, Intel CEO Paul Otellini revealed that the company's Atom platform will ship in over 35 tablets starting early next year. The chipmaker has partnered with more than a dozen manufacturers who will launch slates running Windows, Android as well as Intel's own MeeGo operating system.

      • Apple iPad to Lead Android in Tablet Market in 2012
        Google Android tablets will comprise 39 percent of the tablet market by 2012, nearing Apple's 44 percent iPad share. The trend mirrors how Android handsets are catching the iPhone.

Free Software/Open Source


  • Pakistan Shuts the Door on Transparency
    On Sunday, Asian News International quoted Malik in a story accusing TI Pakistan, Transparency International's local affiliate, of acting like a "detective agency." Malik also made a not-so-veiled threat to kick the group out of the country.

  • Drugmaker Lays Off 1,700 Via Conference Call Ahead Of Holidays
    A.R., a Sanofi-Aventis sales representative in California who wished to remain anonymous, as her contract forbids publicly disparaging the company, said she and her coworkers each received one of the two mass emails the company sent out that Tuesday morning. Both emails contained a code, an 800-number and a call time, either 8:00 a.m. or 8:30 a.m. The employees who were instructed to call in at the earlier time were told they could keep their jobs, but the 1,700 employees who called in at 8:30 a.m. weren't so lucky: They were laid off by a voice on the other line that told them to stop working immediately, and had no opportunity for question or comment.

  • Innovation Mandate: American Students Score 'C' In Math And Science
    There was widespread agreement among the 45 or 50 people we interviewed for our Innovation Mandate series of coverage that the U.S. needs to pay more attention to technical education and/or training to prepare tomorrow's workforce. That's not to say they all see eye to eye on this issue, however. Some called for more funding; others for a whole new approach to teaching science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) principles and skills; others for getting companies to carry more of the burden through employee training and learning programs.

  • 2010's biggest stories: What's your pick?

  • Fear
    At the conclusion of this message: "Spamhaus continues to warn Wikileaks readers to make sure they are viewing and downloading documents only from an official Wikileaks mirror site. We’re not saying 'don’t go to Wikileaks' we’re saying 'Use the server instead.'" Here is Spamhaus's full warning.

  • Facebook vs Twitter: By The Numbers [Infographic]

  • We can save Delicious, but probably not in the way you think
    I left Yahoo over two years ago, but prior to that I spent three years running product for Delicious. Since then I’ve remained a loyal user and supporter. To this day I keep in touch with former Delicious colleagues and consider many to be friends. And though I’ve felt that Delicious has been frustratingly slow to evolve in recent years, I’ve always wished the best for the product and the remaining team members.

  • Senate panel ban seen as double standard
    Gordon R. England's appointment to a top Pentagon post in 2006 came at a high price. The Senate committee overseeing his confirmation demanded that he give up lucrative stocks and options he held in companies that do business with the military.

    England said he took a big hit on his taxes and lost out on more than $1 million in potential profits that year when he divested himself of interests in companies that included General Dynamics.

    If he had been a senator, he would not have had to sell anything.

  • Science's Breakthrough of the Year: The First Quantum Machine
    Until this year, all human-made objects have moved according to the laws of classical mechanics. Back in March, however, a group of researchers designed a gadget that moves in ways that can only be described by quantum mechanics -- the set of rules that governs the behavior of tiny things like molecules, atoms, and subatomic particles. In recognition of the conceptual ground their experiment breaks, the ingenuity behind it and its many potential applications, Science has called this discovery the most significant scientific advance of 2010.

  • IBM

    • Innovation in an Age of Austerity
      Given the current economic conditions in the UK, the US and a number of other countries, there is increased pressure to develop effective methods to measure the impact of research and innovation investments on the economy. He raised a number of critical questions. How do you best measure such an impact - at an individual project; at a larger group like a lab, department or university; or at the national level? Will such economic measurements lead to an over-emphasis on some disciplines at the expense of others?

    • Open innovation: some initial thoughts

      While it is true that some in the open source community propose that all software be 100% free and unfettered forever, there are others that focus more on the core idea that sharing is good but what people do with the software after that is up to them.

      Therefore if you are in another business that is considering working with people or a community outside your organization, be aware that there are many models for openness. Do the research on which is most appropriate for what you plan to do and how you want to engage.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • All mass arrests during COP15 last year declared illegal by Copenhagen City Court
      The City Court of Copenhagen ruled today that the all the mass arrests during the Copenhagen Climate Summit in 2009 were illigal and the police have to pay 9.000 DKK in damages to the protestors, who have complaint so far. The verdict declares that all the preventive arrests from the 11th to the 16th of december 2009 were illegal, and so the actions of the police during the COP15 is not accepted by the court.

    • G20 conspiracy charges dropped against activist
      While out on bail on G20 conspiracy charges, accused ringleader Jaroslava Avila was allowed to attend university classes, but had to have her class schedule with her just in case police asked.

      House arrest limited almost everything the 23-year-old did.

      She couldn’t use a cellphone and, except for attending school, could only go out when accompanied by someone over 18 — and if she had a note from her mother. And she couldn’t participate in any public demonstrations.

    • Public Money May Fund European Arms: “a hugely misdirected allocation of taxpayers’ money”
      Arms traders are seeking to convince the European Union that publicly-funded scientific research grants should help develop weapons for future wars.

    • Washington subway police to begin random bag checks
      Officers will start random bag inspections on the sprawling Washington subway system, the Washington Metro Transit Police said on Thursday, a week after a man was arrested for making bomb threats to the rail system.

      Metrorail police officers plan to randomly select bags before passengers enter subway stations and they will swab them or have an explosives-sniffing dog check the bags, according to the Metro police.

    • Monitoring America
      Nine years after the terrorist attacks of 2001, the United States is assembling a vast domestic intelligence apparatus to collect information about Americans, using the FBI, local police, state homeland security offices and military criminal investigators.

      The system, by far the largest and most technologically sophisticated in the nation's history, collects, stores and analyzes information about thousands of U.S. citizens and residents, many of whom have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

      The government's goal is to have every state and local law enforcement agency in the country feed information to Washington to buttress the work of the FBI, which is in charge of terrorism investigations in the United States.

  • Cablegate

    • US embassy cables: Wiki witch-hunt
      More insidious than that was the complacent yawn emanating from from sections of the liberal commentariat for which freedom of information is a given. So what's new about the Gulf Arab Sunnis wanting America or Israel to bomb Iran, or Colonel Gaddafi's taste for blonde Ukrainian nurses, or Nicolas Sarkozy being described as mercurial and authoritarian, they sneer. Maybe for them, nothing is new. Would that we all could be so wise. But for large areas of the world which do not have the luxury of being able to criticise their governments, the revelations about the private thoughts of their own leaders are important.

      The yawners from Primrose Hill or inside the Beltway forget that when WikiLeaks exposed high-level corruption in Kenya, toxic waste in Africa and all manner of nefarious deeds in the former Soviet bloc, they applauded it. They hailed the whistleblowers as brave democrats. But when the alleged leaker comes from within their own ranks – in this case a 23-year-old US military intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, who now faces 52 years in prison – then it is a different matter: it is treason, a threat to national security. Close WikiLeaks down, run it off the internet, the cry goes up. All it takes is one call from Joe Lieberman, the chairman of the Senate committee on homeland security, and internet hosting providers buckle at the knees. Yesterday the French joined in. Viewed from China, which has been lectured for censoring the internet, this reaction must seem … very Chinese. Let's face it. In these cold December days, there is nothing more warming than a witch-hunt.

    • WikiLeaks cables: Conservatives promised to run 'pro-American regime'
      Conservative party politicians lined up before the general election to promise that they would run a "pro-American regime" and buy more arms from the US if they came to power this year, the leaked American embassy cables show.

    • Why I Love WikiLeaks

    • WikiLeaks cables reveal how US manipulated climate accord

    • WikiLeaks: The man who kicked the hornet's nest

    • Wikileaks are not terrorists [PDF]

    • Brad Manning Has Rights!
      Charged but not convicted of any crime, American PFC Brad Manning is being held largely incommunicado at Quantico, without bedding or permission to exercise in his cell. He is purposely deprived of human contact. His current treatment – based on unproven charges – is far harsher than the treatment and sentences of four famous and convicted US federal-level spies.

      Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen was arrested in early 2001, and charged with selling secrets to the Soviets during the preceding two decades. Upon arrest, Hanssen confessed and was able to hire as an attorney the extremely competent Plato Cacheris, who negotiated a plea bargain. After an entire career spent profiting from the sale of classified information to the Soviets and later the Russian Federation, he is held at Supermax in isolation. Well, not exactly like Brad Manning – Hanssen has bedding, books, and exercise.

    • China pays Nepal police to catch Tibet refugees: WikiLeaks
      China pays Nepalese police to arrest Tibetan refugees as they cross over the border to escape persecution, according to US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks.

      One cable, sent by an unnamed officer at the New Delhi embassy in February, quoted a source saying that China "rewards (Nepali forces) by providing financial incentives to officers who hand over Tibetans attempting to exit China."

      "Beijing has asked Kathmandu to step up patrols... and make it more difficult for Tibetans to enter Nepal," one of the embassy's sources said in a cable released Sunday.

    • Cablegate: The Game

    • SNL: Julian Assange Hacks Into Mark Zuckerberg's 'Person Of The Year' Thank-You Message
      Julian Assange has been maligned in the press, thrown in jail, had his name dragged through the mud, but now he has a real reason to be furious with the United States:

      Time chose Mark Zuckerberg as 'Person of the Year' over him!

    • 'WikiLeaks Is Annoying, But Not a Threat'
      De Maizière: WikiLeaks is irritating and annoying for Germany, but not a threat. From an international perspective, I see their actions as totally irresponsible. One might also ask, however, if a government is acting intelligently when it organizes its entire diplomatic correspondence on a network that can be accessed by 2.5 million people. I have my doubts, though, about total transparency being a basic human right. Governments also have to be able to communicate confidentially. Confidentiality and transparency are not mutually exclusive, but rather two sides of the same coin.

      SPIEGEL: WikiLeaks is ultimately part of the system of checks and balances that exist in a democratic society. What do you see as the difference between it and media players such as SPIEGEL?

      De Maizière: The media do not demand total access and total transparency. They are delighted, of course, when they get hold of classified documents. But journalists would not argue on the basis of political theory that there should be no more government secrets whatsoever. That is not even what SPIEGEL advocates -- but WikiLeaks does, and that is wrong. I think it is disquieting that those who live in a shadowy cyber world, of all people, demand total transparency from others.

    • Secrecy conference: In countries like Romania and Cambodia, illegal leaks can be transparency’s only hope
      While, in the United States, WikiLeaks has caused a furor for its journalism-by-data-dump, similar leaks abroad are a major source of reporting on government operations — occasionally providing the only transparency available, as journalists struggle against secretive governments, corrupt media, and threatened or actual violence. At the first morning panel of the Nieman Foundation’s secrecy and journalism conference, international reporters and editors drew connections and contrasts between the situation here and abroad. When media is part of the problem

      Stefan Candea, a Nieman Fellow and founder of the Romanian Centre for Investigative Journalism, was 11 when communist rule collapsed in his home country, ending 50 years of media as propaganda tool. Today, however, the media is still far from being without fear or favor.

    • WikiLeaks finds friends with Pirate Party of Canada
      Other Canadians have chosen to support the controversial WikiLeaks Web site by providing hosting services and mirror sites, but now Elections Canada will have to decide if a federal political party can host the site. The Canadian government is involved in some of the recent diplomatic cables released in the latest batch of leaks to news organizations and the Internet at large.

    • Feds Seek Computer Firewall to Block WikiLeaks 'Pollution'
      Among the more striking aspects of the still unfolding WikiLeaks controversy are government demands that their workers -- and even federal contractors -- refrain from reading leaked classified documents, even though they are in the public domain.

      Now, according to one network security company, the government wants to install a system that can block unclassified computers from accessing WikiLeaks documents no matter where they originate.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Indonesia's Billion-Dollar Climate Experiment
      His definition of success is simple: lower emissions. But when I asked whether the government would reconsider concessions such as the one near Sungai Tohor, Kuntoro turned vague. "It all depends on where the concession is," he said. "We are going to limit development on peat land; there are a number of factors that we have to consider before making a decision to review or not to review." He would not elaborate.

    • Coral reefs 'could disappear in our children's lifetime'

      Over the past decades, there have dozens of articles in the media describing dire futures for coral reefs. In the 1960s and '70s, we were informed that many reefs were being consumed by a voracious coral predator, the crown-of-thorns starfish. In the 1980s and '90s, although these starfish still reared their thorny heads from time to time, the principal threats had moved on — to sediment runoff, nutrients, overfishing, and general habitat destruction.

    • Cancún: From mangrove paradise to polluted megasprawl
      He fears that climate change and accompanying sea level rises, together with more frequent storm surges, will devastate the reef completely, and lead to more damage on land. This year has seen major coral bleaching along much of the reef as sea tenmperatures rose to some of their highest-ever temperatures. Scientists expect wholesale die-offs in the future.

    • Wild chimps make their own 'dolls'
      That's remarkable in itself, but Sonya Kahlenberg of Bates College in Lewiston, Maine, and Richard Wrangham of Harvard University, found that juvenile chimps in this population play with sticks like children play with dolls, cradling them and even making nests for them to sleep in at night – and they found that the behaviour is more common in females.

  • Finance

    • How the Oligarchs Took America
      The right wing won the opening battle. In the 2010 midterm elections, shadowy outside organizations (who didn't have to disclose their donors until well after Election Day, if at all) backing Republican candidates doled out $190 million, outspending their adversaries by a more than two-to-one margin, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. American Action Network, operated by Republican consultant Fred Malek and former Republican Senator Norm Coleman, spent $26 million; the US Chamber of Commerce plunked down $33 million; and Karl Rove's American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS shelled out a combined $38.6 million. Their investments in conservative candidates across the country paid off: the 62 House seats and six Senate seats claimed by Republicans were the most in the postwar era—literally, a historic victory.

    • Iceland exits recession

      Iceland's decision two years ago to force bondholders to pay for the banking system's collapse appeared to pay off after official figures showed the country exited recession in the third quarter.

      The Icelandic economy, which contracted for seven consecutive quarters until the summer, grew by 1.2% in the three months to the end of September.

    • The deficit hawks' scare stories
      First, they got the Fed to bail out Wall Street banks with taxpayer dollars. Now they want us to believe it's time to cut vital spending

    • Spencer Bachus finally gets his chairmanship
      It's taken 18 years of accumulating seniority, backbench toiling on policy issues large and small, generous cam€­paign donations to fellow Republi€­cans and a GOP takeover of the U.S. House, but Rep. Spencer Bachus will finally get the gavel he's always wanted.

    • New Committee Chair Gets Ready to Serve -- the Banks

    • Will Cutting Taxes for the Rich Really Create Jobs?

      The White House and many Congressional Democrats recently caved to Republicans in a deal extending all of the Bush tax cuts for two years in exchange for a 13-month extension of unemployment benefits. The deal reverses stated opposition by many Democrats to an extension of tax cuts for the top income bracket, with 25% of the savings from the deal going to benefit the richest 1% of Americans. While Democrats who supported the bill claimed to do so begrudgingly, the plan has many avid supporters who justify its lopsided benefits by insisting that tax cuts for the rich and for businesses create jobs and benefit the economy. This is a big myth.

    • Regulatory Capture: What the Experts Have Found
      I thought it might be useful to begin constructing a compendium of quotes from various economists and political scientists who have studied the regulatory process throughout history and identified regulatory capture or client politics as a major problem.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Why is a former Greenpeace activist siding with Indonesia's logging industry?
      In 1971 he was a young, idealistic PhD student with an afro and a Sgt Pepper moustache, fiercely opposed to US plans to test H-bombs in the Aleutian islands. He was chosen to join the inaugural voyage of a small group called The Don't Make a Wave Committee. It planned to sail an old halibut boat to the test site. The crew renamed the boat the Greenpeace. When the committee changed its clunky title, it took the same name.

      Moore became one of Greenpeace's most articulate and effective spokespeople, leading campaigns against nuclear warships, whaling and seal clubbing. He became head of the Greenpeace Foundation, which later turned into Greenpeace Canada, and he was a director of Greenpeace International. Then, in the 80s, it all went horribly wrong. Moore claims he fell out with Greenpeace over scientific issues. Greenpeace maintains that he left after his autocratic style lost him the votes he needed to stay on the board. In either case, in 1986 he left Greenpeace and started a fish-farming business on Vancouver Island. In 1991 he wound it up after the price of salmon halved. Moore then made two moves that came to define his later career. He joined the board of the Forest Alliance of British Columbia, a group set up by logging companies to fight the greens trying to prevent the clear-cutting of ancient forests; and he set up the first of his consultancy businesses. In 2001 he founded Greenspirit Strategies with two of the public relations experts he had worked with at the Forest Alliance.

    • Tea Party Nation President Says It ‘Makes A Lot Of Sense’ To Restrict Voting Only To Property Owners
      Every week, the Tea Party Nation hosts a weekly radio program, calling itself a “home for conservatives.” Two weeks ago, Tea Party Nation President Judson Phillips hosted the program and discussed changes that he felt should be made to voting rights in the United States. He explained that the founders of the country originally put “certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote.” He continued, “One of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you’re a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community. If you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners”...

    • Poll Finds Fox News Viewers Significantly Misinformed
      A poll conducted by has found that the higher amounts of money flowing to the 2010 elections led to a more poorly informed public. The poll, titled "Misinformation and the 2010 Election: A Study of the U.S. Electorate," was the first conducted after a national election since the Supreme Court handed down its decision in Citizens United v. the Federal Elections Commission, which freed corporations and unions to spend unlimited money to influence U.S. elections.

    • Honduras' PR Coup
      Wikileaks has recently published documents suggesting that PR spin helped determine the final outcome of the June 2009 Honduran coup. At the same time that a July 2009 diplomatic cable from the U.S. Ambassador in Honduras to top government officials confirmed that the Honduran president’s removal was illegal, professional lobbyists and political communicators were beginning a PR blitz, eventually managing to manipulate America into believing the coup was a constitutional act.

  • UK

    • Cabinet Office claims major savings on ICT
      The Cabinet Office has said that freezes on ICT and other spending have saved €£500m since May.

      The department said it saved altogether €£1bn through "efficiency and reform measures", with half the sum saved through moratoria on ICT, consulting, recruitment, marketing and property spending.

      There is a certain familiarity to the words used by Bob Ainsworth, the former Labour Home Office and latterly Defence Minister, who has announced his conversion to the belief that possession of all drugs should be decriminalised.

    • Lord Chief Justice allows Twitter in court

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Mark Zuckerberg is TIME Magazine's Person of the Year? Where's the "dislike" button?
      Unfortunately, the terms under which he claims to have done this set a terrible precedent for our future — for our control over the software we use to interact with each other, for control over our data, and for our privacy. The damage is not limited to Facebook users. Because so many sites — including TIME — use Facebook's user-tracking "Like" button, Zuckerberg is able to collect information about people who aren't even users of his site. These are precedents which hurt our ability to freely connect with each other.

    • Web filtering: Why a Great British Firewall will be useless
      Ed Vaizey, the Communications Minister, said yesterday that he wants UK internet service providers to filter sexually explicit content. By default, your internet connection would be restricted to only allow appropriate sites – unless you call your ISP and ask them to turn the filter off.

      There are many reasons why this is a bad idea.

      First, how do you define "explicit content"? Private web filtering companies have been struggling with that problem for years. Should advice pages for teenagers that have frank discussions about sex and sexual health be filtered?

      Then there's the issue of free speech – sooner or later, someone will try to use this filter to block politically sensitive sites. Claire Perry, MP for Devizes, gave the most telling quote: "We just want to make sure our children aren't stumbling across things we don't want them to see."

    • Is a UN Internet takeover looming? Not quite
      Perhaps you saw or heard the headlines last Friday or over the weekend: the United Nations could take over the Internet! (Or, as the Drudge Report put it, "UN PLANS INTERNET REGULATION.") This, you may not be surprised to learn, isn't quite accurate. A UN working group is currently talking about what, if anything, it could do to improve the operation of its Internet Governance Forum (IGF), a group devoted to dialogue but possessing no decision-making powers. But some are making plans to give the UN far more power.

    • Censorship – Won’t someone think of the adults?
      The Government, doubtless with the most honourable of intentions – for they are, all of them, honourable men – has decided that pressure should be put upon the UK’s internet suppliers to filter out pornography, to protect the children of the nation, amidst concern that British children are becoming too sexualised, too young.

      It’s, frankly, hard to know where to start with this absolutely insane, illiberal and impractical proposal. Let’s first start with the idea. Filtering of child porn works so well (in terms of stopping people seeing it; I doubt it does anything at all to stop actual child abuse), the theory goes. Some children see porn on the internet, and children seeing porn is a bad thing, so the filtering should be extended to all pornography, and anyone who wants to see porn should have to ‘opt in’ if they wish to have an uncensored (I’m sure the government would prefer the word “unfiltered”) internet connection.

    • Internet porn block 'not possible' say ISPs
      Government plans to block pornography "at source" are unlikely to prove effective, say ISPs.

      The proposal to cut off access to pornographic material was floated by Culture Minister Ed Vaizey in an interview with the Sunday Times.

      The government is talking to ISPs to set up a meeting at which the proposal will be discussed.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • State Department Spending Millions To 'Train' Foreign Judges About 'Intellectual Property'
      The State Department has put out a press release announcing that it has approved spending $3.36 million next year to "train" foreign judges and other law enforcement officials about "intellectual property." There are 15 different projects, which all come down to various training programs for judges, police, law enforcement in how to kowtow to American industry in dealing with infringement of copyrights, trademarks and patents.

    • Copyrights

      • Another Big Win Against Mass Copyright Lawsuits
        If you follow Slyck with any consistency, you've no doubt followed the extensive John and Jane Doe lawsuits clawing their ways through US court. These campaigns were designed similarly to the old way the RIAA used to do business; obtain thousands of suspected file-sharer's IP addresses and send pre-litigation letters demanding monetary settlement. More often than not, people complied. The RIAA stopped doing business this way, but others took up the mantle.

      • How do you solve a problem like copyright?
        A few weeks ago Cooks Source, a small for-profit magazine, published a piece on medieval apple pie recipes by Monica Gaudio. They had picked up the piece from a website Gaudio had published it on and neglected to inform her that they were using her writing, or to compensate her. When the writer complained, the Cook’s Source editor responded with the claim that everything published on the Internet is in the public domain.

        The story caused what seemed the entire Internet to descend on Cooks Source and pretty much put them out of business. Of course, the editor's assertion, that content published on the Internet is in the public domain, is manifestly untrue - it displays a profound lack of understanding of copyright law. And yet, chances are at least some of the people who were so outraged by the editor's behaviour and comments are perhaps not quite so observant of copyright law when it comes to other matters, say the downloading of music and movies. The story illustrates some complex questions on the thorny relationship between copyright and digital content.

      • Major File-Sharing Sites Go Dark To Protest Anti-Download Law
        A coalition of file-sharing sites are voluntarily taking themselves offline to protest against the likely passing of new legislation tomorrow. The sites, which together are believed to generate up to 70% of Spain’s Internet traffic, will display a black page warning that if the so-called Sinde Act is approved, their sites could disappear forever. Earlier this month, cables leaked by Wikileaks showed that Spain had bowed to US pressure to introduce the law.

      • is for sale!

      • On cookbooks, orphans, and out-of-print books

      • Homeland Security's 'Evidence' For Domain Seizures Also Included Songs Sent By Labels
        We've already covered some of the serious problems with the "affidavit" filed by Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) unit, highlighting confusion about both how the internet works and the law itself. The affidavit was written by a recent college grad who appears to have little experience in the subject matter. What we had seen so far was only a partial version of the affidavit, covering the reasons for seizing Torrent Finder's domain

      • DHS Seized Domains Based On Bad Evidence
        Four of them involved hiphop-related blogs — including ones that hiphop stars like Kanye West and others used to promote their own works, and the last one was a meta search engine that simply aggregated other search engines. Weeks went by without the owners of those sites even being told why their domains were seized, but the affidavit for the seizure of those five sites has recently come out, and it's full of all sorts of problems. Not only was it put together by a recent college graduate, who claimed that merely linking to news and blog posts about file sharing constituted evidence of copyright infringement, it listed as evidence of infringement songs that labels specifically sent these blogs to promote. Also, what becomes clear is that the MPAA was instrumental in 'guiding' ICE's rookie agent in going after these sites, as that appeared to be the only outside expertise relied on in determining if these sites should be seized.

      • ACTA

        • ACTA: Original Expectations and Future Implications
          On 15 November, a group of forty mostly industrialised countries released the text of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). This article looks at the treaty’s possible implications for the global intellectual property system, as well as its backers and the developing countries hostile to it.

          One way to determine the significance of ACTA is to assess whether it has lived up to the expectations expressed by the parties in 2007-2008 when it came first under consideration.

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