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Links 7/5/2014: OpenELEC 4.0.0, Chromebooks Mainstream





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Contents





GNU/Linux



Free Software/Open Source



  • GitHub’s ‘Atom’ text editor is now public, free, and fully open source
    Now, the company is opening it up to the public after an apparently successful invite-only phase. Atom is now available for Mac users and is open source, naturally. The company plans on releasing Linux and Windows versions very soon.


  • GitHub Unleashes Atom Into Open Source Realm


  • How a hacker slumber party gets girls into code
    When I walked into Carroll Hall, for a moment I felt like I was back in college... and at the World’s Best Slumber Party. There were tables full of salty snacks, stacks of sleeping bags, and the chatter of excited young women. But, unlike the sleepovers of my youth, talk was about Python, HTML, and Ruby. These were young women interested in learning to code.


  • 5 steps for tackling bugs and fixes for an open source project
    I do a lot of work on open source, but my most valuable contributions haven't been code. Writing a patch is the easiest part of open source. The truly hard stuff is all of the rest: bug trackers, mailing lists, documentation, and other management tasks. Here's some things I've learned along the way.


  • Henri Bergius: Flowhub public beta: a better interface for Flow-Based Programming
    Today I'm happy to announce the public beta of the Flowhub interface for Flow-Based Programming. This is the latest step in the adventure that started with some UI sketching early last year, went through our successful Kickstarter — and now — thanks to our 1 205 backers, it is available to the public.


  • Web Browsers



    • Chrome



      • Chrome security increases with changes in security warnings
        Over the past few months, users have seen a change in the way Chrome displays security warnings. Adrienne Porter Felt, one of the people who work on the Chrome security team, did a presentation showing the effect that warnings on Chrome affect people’s browsing experience. In the presentation, she uses data that they have collected to show the CTR (click through rate, or the rate at which users ignore warnings and continue to a webpage). She describes some of the challenges they face, and the solutions they have implemented to prevent users from downloading malicious files, and the effect these solutions have had.




    • Mozilla



      • Easily Fix Firefox 29
        Just as a meaningless addendum, I actually don’t use Firefox itself, but rather Debian Linux’s “Iceweasel”, which is exactly the same, the only difference being the logo. Debian has insanely high standards for what constitutes “free”, which is in fact laudable but leads to things like this renaming because Firefox’s logo isn’t as completely free as it could be. It causes a lot of confusion for Debian neophytes in the help forums, that’s for sure. I kinda like being an Iceweasel user. Cool name. There’s also Icedove (renamed Thunderbird email program) and my favorite, Iceape (renamed SeaMonkey internet suite). Speaking of SeaMonkey, did you know this even existed? Yes, it’s still possible to use a full featured “internet suite” that includes a web browser, email and newsgroups client, and HTML editor all in one package. Pretty cool, and free of course, and maybe even useful for some folks. All of these things are from the aforementioned fine folks at Mozilla, which is what rose out of the ashes of Netscape years ago. I loved Netscape!






  • SaaS/Big Data



    • OpenDaylight Developer Spotlight: David Goldberg
      David Goldberg is ConteXtream's lead software engineer and was the first software developer to join the next generation SDN product team. David is also leading ConteXtream’s contribution to the OpenDaylight project and is one of the top commiters to the LISP Flow Mapping project. Prior to Contextream, David was responsible for the development of network analysis tools during his army service in an elite technological group in the IDF Intelligence Corps. David holds a BA in Computer Science and Management (cum laude).


    • Open-source cloud players prep for Structure debate, and maybe a group hug
      How has the open-source cloud landscape changed in the last two years? There’s certainly been a lot of moving and shaking, but how much traction has there been in terms of corporate deployment?


    • VMware Embraces Pivotal PaaS for Hybrid Cloud
      VMware today announced that it is supporting the Pivotal Cloud Foundry (CF) Platform-as-a-Service (Paas) on the vCloud Hybrid Service (VCHS).


    • Hadoop Vendor MapR Announces Record Growth in Big Data Market
      There's no question that Big Data is now a huge market, but what may surprise some observers is just how rapidly it continues to expand. That growth is evident in reports such as the announcement this week from MapR, which delivers Big Data solutions based on the open source Apache Hadoop platform, that first-quarter growth has tripled over last year.


    • Eucalyptus Systems releases Eucalyptus 4.0
      Eucalyptus 4.0 targets the needs of IT and DevOps who are deploying and managing large-scale hybrid AWS-compatible cloud computing environments.




  • Databases



    • Dish Looks to Open Source Software after Database Failure
      Satellite-TV provider Dish Network Corp. turned to open source database software in 2012 when its first foray into Big Data crippled its conventional database. Dish wants to capitalize on data it collects in its interactions with customers to be able to better market new products and services.




  • CMS



  • Funding



  • Openness/Sharing



  • Programming



    • Changes So Far For LLVM 3.5
      LLVM 3.4 was released in January and since then LLVM 3.5 has been under heavy development and will be released this summer.






Leftovers



  • Security



  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression



    • Dysfunction in Nigeria
      The media now have a new cartoon figure of hate in the bearded, bobble-hatted leader of Boko Haram, and in truth he is a very bad person. But armed rebellions of thousands of people do not just happen. It is not a simple and spontaneous outbreak of evil, still less a sign that we must wage Tony Blair’s war on Muslims everywhere.


    • All countries will have drone kill technology in 10 years – report
      Despite a track record that is stained with the blood of innocent victims, drone technology is quickly becoming the weapon of choice for militaries around the globe, and it’s too late for the United States – presently the leader in UAV technologies – to stop the rush, according to Defense One, a site devoted to security issues.


    • Malcolm Fraser's criticism of drone operations 'ridiculous', says ex-Army drone pioneer
      The man who established the Australian Army's first drone unit has hit out at former prime minister Malcolm Fraser's criticism of Australian involvement in US military drone operations.


    • Drones: Obama’s Invisible War
      The story of the CIA-led killer drones which are killing women and children on a daily basis is a tale accorded inexcusably scant attention in media. Indeed it is being ignored.


    • Why you should take Rand Paul's latest stand on drones seriously
      It remains the most memorable moment of Sen. Rand Paul's (R-Ky.) young career in Congress: a 13-hour talking filibuster in 2013 to stall the nomination of John Brennan as director of the CIA. But it was more publicity stunt than a principled stand of much purpose; Paul was merely seeking the answer to a narrowly crafted question about the use of drones in the United States, and Brennan easily won confirmation anyway.


    • Drone Secrets
      Secrecy in a democracy is highly problematic (as is the question of whether the United States remains a democracy). Arguably, there have been a few cases where Washington was right to keep the American public in the dark. The Manhattan Project which built the atomic bomb and the timing and location of the Allied D-Day invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe were the two most closely guarded secrets of World War Two. But more frequently, secrecy’s only purpose is to protect the rulers (Pentagon Papers, anyone?).


    • 'Obama, why did you ruin my paradise?'- US drone victim in Pakistan
      Pakistan is in a perilous, decapitating state, thanks to US drones. A man who lost his family to a US drone attack begs for President Barack Obama to answer his question, "Why did you ruin my paradise?" The Voice of Russia, in joint cooperation with a local Pakistani journalist, interviewed 35-year-old electrician Haji Gul, whose entire family was wiped out from an American drone strike, revealed that his young daughter and wife died due to the US' erratic actions and unjust drone practices.


    • Science fiction may become reality with 'killer robots'
      The US, China, Israel, Russia, South Korea, and the UK are all reported to be pursuing autonomous weapons


    • In ongoing protest: Anti-drone demonstrators continue monthly campaign
      For three years, they've watched the sky turn from black to blue — the sun rising over the Sierra Nevada range — as they denounce drones at Beale Air Force Base.

      The protesters gather monthly, flashing signs at the airmen driving onto base.

      "You can't bomb the world to peace."

      "Kill the drones, not innocent people."

      Janie Kesselman, a peace activist from North San Juan, said the group's goal is to end the "remote-controlled murder of innocent people."


    • Senators given access to doc authorizing drone killing of American


    • White House to provide lawmakers access to drone memo authorizing killing of American
      The White House pledged Tuesday to give lawmakers expanded access to memos on the legality of killing American citizens in drone strikes, a concession aimed at heading off Senate opposition to a judicial nominee involved in drafting those secret documents.


    • Drone memo author endorsed call for transparency
      Before he authored legal memos related to the Obama administration’s targeted killing program, David Barron joined a group of left-leaning legal scholars and endorsed a statement of principles urging more transparency from the very office now withholding his work from the public.


    • Post-Nuclear Senate: Rand Paul Can’t Slow Nomination Tied to Drone Policy (Updated)
      If Harvard Law Professor David J. Barron fails to win confirmation as a federal appeals court judge, it won’t be because he was “blocked” by Sen. Rand Paul.

      If Barron doesn’t make it to the bench, it will likely be because Democrats have unease about the legal justifications for drone strikes. In a post-nuclear-option world, Republicans can send letters talking about blocking or delaying nominees but their practical impact is nil.

      White House spokesman Eric Schultz said Tuesday that the Obama administration will allow senators to access classified materials related to the drone program before voting on the Barron nomination.

      “I can confirm that the Administration is working to ensure that any remaining questions members of the Senate have about Barron’s legal work at the Department of Justice are addressed, including making available in a classified setting a copy of the al-Awlaki opinion to any Senator who wishes to review it prior to Barron’s confirmation vote. Last year, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee had access to the memo, and I would note that in his Committee vote, Barron received unanimous Democratic support,” Schultz said in a statement. “We are confident Barron will be confirmed to the First Circuit Court of Appeals and that he will serve with distinction.”


    • What Rand Paul and Drones Have To Do with Juliette Kayyem
      Barron, back when he worked for Obama’s Office of Legal Counsel, apparently helped author one or two of the memos providing authorization for the September 2011 drone strike that killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen working with al-Qaeda in Yemen. Those memos are among several documents that the Obama administration has been ordered to release; it has not done so, claiming that it might still appeal the court ruling.


    • Court seeks reply from police over refuting to file FIR against drone attacks
      Mirza Shahzad Akbar pleaded to the court to lodge case against CIA officials.


    • Protester chooses jail over fine
      A Milwaukee woman Monday became the second of five protesters convicted at trial of trespassing for walking onto the Volk Field military base at Camp Douglas in 2013.

      Joyce E. Ellwanger, 77, told Juneau County Circuit Judge Paul Curran she preferred to serve jail time rather than pay the $232 fine for trespassing during a protest of U.S. drone warfare.

      “I can’t in good conscience pay it, judge,” Ellwanger told the court.

      Curran sentenced Ellwanger to five days in the Juneau County jail on the trespassing violation but found her not guilty of a charge of disorderly conduct.


    • Al Qaeda seems to be resurging in Yemen - Middle East expert
      At least 37 al Qaeda militants have been killed in southern Yemen. The area is one of the country’s most impenetrable ones, and the army has recently intensified an offensive to root out foreign and local Islamist fighters there. The number of attacks against Yemen’s US-backed army and security forces in the south has risen since the launch of an anti al-Qaeda offensive. The Voice of Russia talked to Dr. Lina Khatib, Director of Carnegie Middle East Center.


    • Obama Announces Federal Review After "Deeply Troubling" Botched Execution


    • There's a top secret CIA weapons facility just north of San Antonio


    • Secret CIA Weapons Depot Linked With Two Texas Locations


    • CIA’s secret weapons cache found in Texas


    • Is Texas Home to a Secret CIA Weapons Facility? Camp Stanley Orders Over Two Million Rounds of AK-47 Ammunition


    • What Happened to CIA Torture Report? Senate in the Dark Too
      The Senate’s high-profile summary of a 6,600-page CIA torture report was supposed to be released by now, at least in a redacted form. It hasn’t been, and no one in the Senate seems sure why.


    • Dems Angry Over Delay in Releasing CIA Interrogations Report


    • Senate Dems antsy over W.H. release of CIA report


    • Obama administration proves why we need someone to leak CIA Torture Report
      Despite both the White House and CIA promising a quick declassification review, Politico reported this week that the White House and CIA are now refusing to even answer questions as to when the report will be sent back to the Intelligence Committee for release. Senator Dianne Feinstein said, “I would hope that it would be short and quick. That may be a vain [effort].” Senator Dick Durbin said, “I don’t know what the reason is [for the delay].”

      Sadly, it was quite predictable that the White House and CIA would delay the release of a report, which is reportedly devestating in its criticism of the CIA, and will remind the public that the Obama administration refused to hold anyone at the CIA accountable for its crimes. Disturbingly, the CIA itself—the same agency the report accuses of years of prisoner abuse and systematic lying—is in charge of the redaction process for the report, despite the fact that it has already dragged its feet for over a year, has been accused of misleading the Senate Intelligence Committee, and even allegedly spied on its staffers all in an apparent attempt to prevent the report from seeing light.


    • CIA-Backed Militias Disband in Afghanistan
      The CIA has released thousands of Afghan fighters from its payroll, leaving a major security vacuum.


    • CIA financed and trained paramilitaries disbanded in Afghanistan


    • Djibouti call: US leases African drone base, alleged CIA jail for 20 years
      The US has signed a deal with Djibouti, a tiny nation in the Horn of Africa, extending by decades the presence of America’s largest military base in Eastern Africa. The site serves as a hub for drone strikes in Yemen and is a suspected CIA secret prison.


    • Yemeni sues African country for torture at US black site


    • Terrorists, Dictators, and the CIA Are Helping Polio Make a Comeback


      The Taliban portrays vaccination drives as a western plot to sterilize Muslim children or as a cover for spies. The CIA unfortunately lent credence to the latter claim by using a phony vaccination campaign as a ruse to collect DNA evidence from Osama Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad.




  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife



    • Stanford to divest its endowment from coal stocks
      Stanford University has announced that it is pulling its endowment out of investments in any of 100 publicly traded companies that are focused on extracting coal. No future investments will be made in any of those companies, and the university will instruct the managers that run its non-endowment investments to avoid these stocks as well.


    • Salt-Water Fish Extinction Seen By 2048
      That's when the world's oceans will be empty of fish, predicts an international team of ecologists and economists. The cause: the disappearance of species due to overfishing, pollution, habitat loss, and climate change.

      The study by Boris Worm, PhD, of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, -- with colleagues in the U.K., U.S., Sweden, and Panama -- was an effort to understand what this loss of ocean species might mean to the world.

      The researchers analyzed several different kinds of data. Even to these ecology-minded scientists, the results were an unpleasant surprise.


    • Climate Change Is Already Here, Says Massive Government Report
      Climate change is no longer a distant threat, but a real and present danger in the United States, according to a government report issued Tuesday.






  • Finance



    • In Greece, Austerity Kills
      A string of academic reports documenting in detail the impacts of austerity on health care and health outcomes in Greece have recently been released [1]. They show how European authorities, IMF and Greek government policies implemented in response to the economic crisis have led to deaths and attacks on the health of ordinary people. But there was nothing inevitable about those consequences. As the medical journal the Lancet stated: "Experience elsewhere in Europe shows that those countries which prioritise social protection (including health) in the midst of austerity, and favour fiscal stimulation, secure better outcomes for their populations."


    • Time to bail students out of $1 trillion debt
      We may as well call it “edu-pay-tion,” as far as many prospective students are concerned. The cost of a college degree has risen 1,120 percent since 1978, but wages have increased a mere 6 percent during that same period. The national collective college debt is more than $1 trillion! We have college grads mired in $29,000 of debt, on average, while they are looking for jobs that do not exist. Parents and grandparents of those grads are also saddled with much of that debt, which is immune to bankruptcy, and they will have to make the payments until they die.

      What have we gotten ourselves into? The greed that accompanied those easy-to-obtain, just-sign-here college tuition loans, borders on immoral. Financial institutions were like Black Friday crowds, trampling one another to get in on the act. New lending operations cropped up every day, and new proprietary colleges and universities opened their doors throughout the nation, advertising their degrees and easy to get loans for tuition. What would happen if students and parents just stop paying on that $1 trillion debt? Who would pay then? Bingo! I can see another bailout coming, and this time it will be for student loans.


    • Russia demands $3.8bn security deposit from Visa and Mastercard
      International credit card companies face a "severe impact" on their operations in Russia following a strict new law Moscow has adopted in response to Visa and Mastercard freezing service to banks under US sanctions.




  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying



    • ALEC Struggles in Kansas City
      Hundreds of lobbyists and state legislators gathered in downtown Kansas City last week for ALEC's Spring 2014 task force summit, where a task force led by a tobacco lobbyist discussed education, corporate interests plotted ways to thwart shareholder activism, and legislators took a trip to a coal-fired power plant.


    • MayDay Citizens’ Super PAC Aims to Rewrite the Rules of U.S. Campaign Finance
      At least so believes famed political activist and Harvard ethics and law professor Lawrence Lessig and other co-founders of MayOne.US. The KickStarter fundraising campaign aims to ignite fundamental U.S. campaign finance reform by crowdfunding an initial $1 million to create a super PAC (short for political action committee) to rival those created by public figures, big corporate donors, powerful lobbyist and special interest groups.




  • Privacy



    • Edward Snowden being manipulated by Russian intelligence agencies: Ex-NSA chief


    • Tim Berners-Lee warns Facebook against web takeover
      The inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, warned the web is ‘in the balance’ as technology giants against closing parts of the web to new users.


    • Exclusive: Emails reveal close Google relationship with NSA
      Email exchanges between National Security Agency Director Gen. Keith Alexander and Google executives Sergey Brin and Eric Schmidt suggest a far cozier working relationship between some tech firms and the U.S. government than was implied by Silicon Valley brass after last year’s revelations about NSA spying.


    • Emails shed light on Google's work with NSA
      Exchanges between NSA director and Google execs suggest cooperation on data security


    • Report: Google's NSA dealings not as bad as you thought – THEY WERE WORSE
    • Kicking Trust in the Pants: NSA had Close Relationship with Apple, Google
      The idea that Apple, Google, and other tech companies have always distanced themselves from the NSA may not be accurate thanks to emails that recently surfaced. The emails show communication between Google executives and the NSA, plus they mention other companies, including Apple, Microsoft, and HP, undermining the trust companies have been working so hard to maintain after the NSA's wide spread surveillance tactics were uncovered.
    • Emails suggest that Google was a willing partner with the NSA
      Recently, a NSA lawyer made it clear that Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and others were fully aware of the levels of data collection that were being performed. This flies in the face of the earlier claims that these firms were completely ignorant of what was happening. You might have thought that such mass surveillance would be illegal, but no, this was absolutely fine according to a federal judge.
    • Emails Show Google Secretly Met With The NSA


    • Emails between Google execs, NSA chief show prior relationship


    • Google, Apple and Microsoft worked closely with NSA on spying, says report
      These emails showing a very close relationship between Google and the NSA are internal Google emails, which essentially catches Google red-handed. The emails also mention cooperation from Apple and Microsoft, but there is no direct proof of this. There is simply mention that Google, Apple and Microsoft "came to agreement on a set of core security principles" with the NSA.
    • NSA spy praises Huawei ban
      The recently retired director of the United States National Security Agency says Australia was correct to exclude Chinese telecommunications manufacturer Huawei from helping build the national broadband network because of evidence of Chinese espionage against the nation.
    • Yahoo to Facebook Press Lawmakers as Votes Near on NSA Spy Bills
      A group representing Facebook Inc. (FB:US), Apple Inc. (AAPL:US) and other technology companies is lobbying Congress today as lawmakers prepare to vote on limits to U.S. National Security Agency spying, said a person familiar with the matter.
    • Is the NSA Trying to Frighten Americans Into Dropping Lawsuits Against Dragnet Surveillance?
      The National Security Agency appears to have devised a process to discourage lawsuits challenging NSA surveillance.

      NSA Signals Intelligence Directorate (SID) director Theresa M. Shea submitted a “top secret” declaration to the court in two lawsuits brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The declaration was in response to concerns that the NSA was about to destroy evidence relevant to their cases.

      NSA data is supposed to “age off” and no longer remain in the agency’s system after five years, but that data being “aged off” could help the EFF win its cases, which is what led attorneys to file a motion to prevent destruction of evidence in March.
    • House Committee to Study USA Freedom Act to End NSA Surveillance
      House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (shown, R-Va.) announced May 5 that on May 7 the committee will mark up the USA Freedom Act (H.R. 3361). The legislation was introduced last October 29 by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.), chairman of Judiciary’s Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations Subcommittee, to reform the federal government’s intelligence-gathering programs — especially those conducted by the National Security Agency, or NSA — operated under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).


    • USA Freedom Act Moves Forward, but Don't Get Excited About This NSA Reform


    • CIR raises funds for investigation into ‘neighborhood NSA’
      The Center for Investigative Reporting hopes to raise $25,000 to report on surveillance by local authorities, a practice speeded by technological improvements and federal money. Subscribers get benefits on a sliding scale — from a tote bag and a tour of CIR’s newsroom if you donate $350 to email alerts when new stories go up if you pledge $5 per month.


    • Released Emails Show the Cozy Relationship Between Google and the NSA


    • “Reset the Net” to fight NSA spies, says rights group
    • Groups want to 'reset the 'Net' to resist NSA surveillance
      Web users and developers should take new steps to avoid surveillance by the U.S. National Security Agency and other spy organizations, a group of privacy and digital rights advocates said Monday.

      The 30-plus groups, including Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, Reddit, Free Press and the Libertarian Party, have set June 5 as the day to "reset the 'Net" by deploying new privacy tools. June 5 is the anniversary of the first news stories about NSA surveillance based on leaks by former agency contractor Edward Snowden.
    • NSA and British counterpart GCHQ seek ways of monitoring airplane passenger communication: Greenwald
      The NSA’s “collect it all” ethos has led the agency to try to fill in gaps in its vast surveillance dragnet, including e-mails, texts and phone calls made on commercial airplanes. Because the the communications are routed through independent satellite systems, they are hard to track, Glenn Greenwald reveals in “No Place To Hide.”


    • oRouter Linux box offers secure Wi-Fi via Tor network
      Privacy and security are on everybody's minds these days, given the NSA spying scandal. Many people are looking for quick and easy ways to secure their online activities. Enter the oRouter, a tiny computer powered by Linux that protects your privacy and secures your Internet connection by connecting via the Tor network.


    • ProPublica On Privacy Tools: Encrypt What You Can
      “Encryption does work,” Snowden said, via a remote connection at the SXSW tech conference. “It is a defense against the dark arts for the digital realm.”

      ProPublica has written about the NSA’s attempts to break encryption, but we don’t know for sure how successful the spy agency has been, and security experts still recommend using these techniques.

      And besides, who doesn’t want to defend against the dark arts? But getting started with encryption can be daunting. Here are a few techniques that most people can use.

      Encrypt the data you store. This protects your data from being read by people with access to your computer.


    • Privacy Tools: Encrypt What You Can




  • Civil Rights



  • Internet/Net Neutrality



    • Internet 'close to three billion users', says UN
      The internet is closing in on three billion users, according to the United Nations International Telecommunications Union


    • Interconnection: Or How Big Broadband Kills Net Neutrality Without Violating 'Net Neutrality'
      For years now, every time the net neutrality debate starts getting really confusing, Tim Lee comes along and puts it all into useful perspective. Six years ago, there was his exceptionally useful position paper on net neutrality for the Cato Institute. A couple years ago, he wrote another great piece for National Affairs magazine that deftly explained why the internet wasn't competitive and why that's a problem. Now working for Vox, he's put together a great piece that explains the technical difference between the interconnection fights and the net neutrality battle -- but also explains how the end result is basically the same.




  • Intellectual Monopolies





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