EditorsAbout the SiteComes vs. MicrosoftUsing This Web SiteSite ArchivesCredibility IndexOOXMLOpenDocumentPatentsNovellNews DigestSite NewsRSS

05.02.14

Links 2/5/2014: Graphics/GPU Source Code for Linux, Drones With Linux

Posted in News Roundup at 11:28 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Why American Apples Just Got Banned in Europe

      Back in 2008, European Food Safety Authority began pressing the chemical industry to provide safety information on a substance called diphenylamine, or DPA. Widely applied to apples after harvest, DPA prevents “storage scald”—brown spots that “becomes a concern when fruit is stored for several months,” according to Washington State University, reporting from the heartland of industrial-scale apple production.

    • Antibiotic-resistant superbug arose in northern Manhattan

      Human skin is a garden of microbes that is home to about 1,000 bacterial species. Most are benign, but some invade the skin and cause illness—of these, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are particularly dangerous.

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

  • Finance

    • Organized Labor, Public Banks and the Grassroots: Keys to a Worker-Owned Economy

      Before his death in February, Jackson Mississippi Mayor Chokwe Lumumba was helping his constituents chart an economic plan whose main component was worker-owned cooperatives. In her recent article about Lumumba and cooperatives, Laura Flanders cites Collective Courage author Jessica Gordon Nembhard’s point that African-American leaders from Marcus Garvey to W.E.B. DuBois were proponents of cooperatives. DuBois, Garvey and Lumumba understood that worker democracy was necessary for economic sovereignty and community solidarity.

    • Beyond Piketty’s Capital: Richard Wolff Warns us Not to Band-Aid Capitalism

      Wolff warns that we cannot band-aid capitalism. However laudable and even attainable may be suggestions from economists like Piketty or Dean Baker, to name just two, piecemeal policies designed to stop the system from funneling wealth upwards will not work for long. The elites are fully focused on preserving and expanding their fortunes, and the structure of the contemporary economy puts in the hands of a very few people in large corporate enterprises “both the incentive and the resources to roll back whatever adjustments a movement from below is able to make.”

    • IMF Confirms $17bn Loan to Ukraine with Conditions That Will Devastate the Economy

      The IMF has confirmed a conditional loan of $17bn to Ukraine in what it touts as a rescue package aimed at stabilizing Ukraine as it seeks to maintain independence from a belligerent Russia. Instead, we are witnessing the final stages of the US-EU coup of Ukraine, and by implementing the conditions of the loan, the nation will be left destitute and dependent.

    • Kshama Sawant, Seattle City Councilwoman: McDonald’s Doesn’t Need Time To Phase In $15 Minimum Wage

      Seattle City Councilwoman Kshama Sawant, an outspoken socialist, claimed a victory Thursday after Mayor Ed Murray announced a plan to hike the city’s minimum wage to $15, which Sawant was a driving force behind. But she told HuffPost Live’s Alyona Minkovski that she isn’t totally happy with the plan, which gives big corporations years to phase in the new wage.

    • Demanding ‘Just and Sustainable’ Economy For All, Thousands March on Congress

      In an expression of a “new populist” energy, thousands of demonstrators shut down Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, DC on Monday as they demanded a livable wage and an end to the corporate domination of the national economy and politics.

    • The Big Tip That America’s Servers Never See

      A good many Americans now know the high-finance games that JPMorgan Chase and other big banks like to play — at our expense. And big oil giants like ExxonMobil have been outraging Americans for years.

      But plenty of other corporate giants that inflate our inequality have been flying under the radar screen. Who, for instance, has ever heard of Darden? Or Yum! Brands?

      These little-known outfits just happen to rate as two of the biggest corporate behemoths in the restaurant industry. They’ve been squeezing workers — and soaking taxpayers — as relentlessly as any enterprises in America. Yet they barely have any national profile at all.

      That may be about to change.

      Last week, on the eve of the National Restaurant Association annual meeting, two top think tanks — the Institute for Policy Studies in Washington and Demos in New York— released new studies that detail how America’s food-service giants are growing the gap between the nation’s rich and everyone else.

      This week protesting restaurant workers will be taking that message to the streets. Many of these workers are currently laboring at the $2.13 hourly federal minimum wage for tipped workers, a base that hasn’t budged since 1991.

    • Any talk of economic recovery is pure fiction

      Down is up. Sick is healthy. The RMS Titanic is seaworthy. Topsy-turvy logic is a speciality of the austerity brigade, and here they come dishing up a third helping. First, in 2010-11, they pledged that making historic cuts amid a global slump would definitely, absolutely secure a strong recovery. Then things went predictably belly-up, forcing Cameron and Osborne to dump their deficit-reduction plans and the eurocrats to make more bailouts. Yet these reversals were, naturally, “sticking to the course”. Now things don’t look quite as awful as they did a couple of years ago – and this somehow gets chalked up as a miraculous rebound.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Science Media Centre Spins Pro-GMO Line

      Since consumer campaigning got GMOs labeled and crop restricting implemented in the United Kingdom, Cameron will likely have a hard time convincing UK consumers that all is well. However, Cameron is getting help in that quest from a little known group called the Science Media Centre (SMC), which helped release the report to great fanfare. The Guardian and The Independent published prominent coverage of the report, and it was featured by the BBC. The Independent and BBC coverage were both entirely uncritical, quoting the scientists handpicked by the SMC for its reporters’ briefing. The Guardian report was less glowing, but still quoted the SMC scientists and buried the reactions of critics below the fold. None of them mentioned that the report briefing was held by the SMC.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC’s Wheeler Says That If These Lame Net Neutrality Rules Don’t Work, He’ll Implement The Real Rules Next Time

      Following his weak attempt to diffuse concerns about his bogus “open internet” rules, FCC boss Tom Wheeler has decided to try again, by basically repeating what he said last week with slightly stronger language about how he won’t let broadband providers violate net neutrality. Of course, as many people have explained, the problem is that the new rules clearly aren’t strong enough, and leave open all sorts of ways to kill off basic neutrality online. Of course, the real problem is that the original 2010 “open internet” rules (which were really crafted by the telcos in the first place) didn’t really protect net neutrality in the first place, and the new rules are basically an even weaker version of those rules. But, have no fear, claims Wheeler, if these rules don’t work, he promises he’ll actually pull out the big gun, Title II, and reclassify broadband players as telco services rather than information services, allowing the FCC to put them under common carrier rules.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Dotcom Thanks RIAA and MPAA for Mega’s Massive Growth

        Mega.co.nz, the cloud storage company founded by Kim Dotcom, has seen the number of uploads triple in the past six months. Mega users now upload a total of half a billion files per month. According to Kim Dotcom, the MPAA and RIAA deserve some credit for the unprecedented growth.

      • Lawsuit Against First US Copyright Trolls For Extortion Ends In Victory

        A few years ago, we wrote about how a guy named Dimitry Shirokov, with help from the law firm of Booth Sweet had taken on the “fathers” of copyright trolling in the US, Dunlap, Grubb & Weaver, who had formed an organization called US Copyright Group, which initiated the first round of mass copyright trolling in the US (before the likes of Prenda and others entered the space). Shirokov had tried to make his lawsuit a class action against the lawyers, claiming fraud and extortion. And while the class action part was unfortunately rejected, the case has ended with a victory for Shirokov, with the judge ordering DGW to pay $39,909.95 ($3,179.52 to Shirokov and the rest in attorneys’ fees to Booth Sweet).

      • Books and more are relicensed to Creative Commons

        I began working with the Wikimedia Foundation in January 2012 for program and community support in India. With the Centre for Internet and Society’s Access To Knowledge program, we focus on open access for scholarly publications to help communities enrich Wikipedia entries for Indic languages.

        While I was negotiating with a few authors to relicense their copyrighted books to a Creative Commons license (a license that allows anyone to reuse, modify and use content), I began identifying certain areas of motivation for an author to donate their work as free content.

        We worked closely with Goa University, Manik-Biswanath Smrutinyasa Trust, and the Institute of Odia Studies and Research.

      • Aereo Can’t Be Bound by Secret Interpretations of Copyright Law

        It may seem like a wishy-washy answer, but there’s an alarming point nested within it: the Solicitor General’s office’s position that the interpretation of the law—which the executive branch has worked into our international trade obligations—is the only way for the law to be “properly construed.”

        That in turn suggests that the executive branch believes it is responsible for properly constructing the law. Of course, that position stands in conflict with Marbury v. Madison, the case that established judicial review in 1803: “It is emphatically the province and duty of the judicial department to say what the law is.”

        That has serious implications for the democratic process. Here’s how it seems to work: the executive branch comes up with an interpretation of U.S. copyright law and then negotiates it into international agreements. It conducts these negotiations in secret, insisting that it needs no meaningful oversight because it doesn’t require a change in U.S. law.

      • Ballots 2009 for the Swedish Pirate Party’s election to the European Parliament

        More or less overnight, betting companies slashed their odds of the Swedish Pirate Party’s re-election to the European Parliament. Where a re-election scenario used to give you 8x your money back in a bet with them, it now gives a mere 1.25x. It appears the betting companies know something that Swedish oldmedia haven’t picked up on yet.

      • Kim Dotcom: On the road with Hollywood’s biggest enemy

        Kim Dotcom, the multi-millionaire hacker-turned-entrepreneur, was on the roof of his New Zealand mansion, handcuffed and surrounded.

        One by one, his luxury cars were rolled out of garages and taken away. Dotcom’s accounts, in various different countries, were frozen.

        His website, file storage service Megaupload, was shut down.

        Filings made in a court in Virginia outlined the accusation. Dotcom, US authorities said, was the man behind a “criminal enterprise” which used Megaupload to profit from piracy on a “massive scale”. He faces more than 20 years in prison.

      • Tarantino is Back, Now Claiming Gawker is an Illegal Downloader

        After landing an early victory last week against Quentin Tarantino in their leaked screenplay row, Gawker is facing a new attack. In an amended complaint, Tarantino accuses Gawker of committing not only contributory infringement, but also direct infringement, after it illegally downloaded his script from a file-hosting site.

05.01.14

Links 1/5/2014: Tails in the News, Firefox 29 Reviews

Posted in News Roundup at 11:23 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Ukraine Crisis Accelerating the Restructuring of the World

      The Ukrainian crisis has not radically changed the international situation but it has precipitated ongoing developments. Western propaganda, which has never been stronger, especially hides the reality of Western decline to the populations of NATO, but has no further effect on political reality. Inexorably, Russia and China, assisted by the other BRICS, occupy their rightful place in international relations.

    • Wall Street Journal outlines US military options against Chinac

      The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that the Pentagon’s latest “action plan” is intended to address “concerns” held by Washington’s “closest allies in Asia” over the Obama administration’s willingness to confront Beijing. The newspaper said these allies “have told American counterparts” that the response to Russia’s “aggression” in Crimea “is seen as a possible litmus test of what Washington will do if China attempted a similar power grab.” It also noted that “concerns were raised” by South Korean officials last September after Obama’s last-minute decision to call off plans to bomb Syria—partly to avoid a potential military confrontation with Russia.

    • Kerry, Obama, Putin: The Fool, the Demagogue, and the Former KGB Colonel

      Of course, it is possible that Kerry really believed he was speaking truths, having internalized the assumptions that flow from U.S. “exceptionalism,” which make words like “invasion,” “aggression” and “international law” inapplicable to us as the world’s police; and what might be a “completely trumped up pretext” if offered by the Russians is only a slight and excusable error or misjudgment when we do it. After all, the New York Times quickly used the word “aggression” in editorializing on the Crimea events (“Russia’s Aggression,” March 2, 2014), whereas it never used the word to describe the invasion-occupation of Iraq, nor did it mention the words “UN Charter” or “international law” in its 70 editorials on Iraq from September 11, 2001 to March 21, 2003 (Howard Friel and Richard Falk, The Record of the Paper).

    • “War is Peace, it Makes Us Rich and Safe”… or So Says the Mainstream Media

      War is Peace. What was known as a famous quote from George Orwell’s fiction 1984 has become a reality. Or maybe it is still fiction if you consider that the mainstream media is making up reality on a daily basis.

      On April 28, 2014, the homepage of The Washington Post web site featured the picture of a nuclear explosion with the following title: “War is brutal. The alternative is worse.”

    • US, Pak relationship has deteriorated: Former Obama NSA

      The relationship between the US and Pakistan has deteriorated “alarmingly” over the course of the Afghan conflict, a former national security advisor to President Barack Obama has said.

      Arguing that the role of Pakistan is crucial for resolving the Afghan crisis, Gen (rtd) James Jones, former National Security Advisor to Obama, said that there is absence of trust between Pakistan and the US now.

    • Israel’s drone dealers

      People and Power investigates how Israeli drone technology came to be used by the US.

    • The Rise of the Drone Master: Pop Culture Recasts Obama

      In Marvel’s latest popcorn thriller, Captain America battles Hydra, a malevolent organization that has infiltrated the highest levels of the United States government. There are missile attacks, screeching car chases, enormous explosions, evil assassins, data-mining supercomputers and giant killer drones ready to obliterate millions of people.

      Its inspiration?

      President Obama, the optimistic candidate of hope and change.

    • Albany drone protester Amidon acquitted

      An Albany man who dressed as the Grim Reaper outside a Syracuse airbase to protest the U.S. drone aircraft program was acquitted this week of criminal charges.

    • Volk Field protester guilty of trespassing

      But Wagner said Block presented “passive resistance” when asked to leave the base property.

      “She just declined to go,” Wagner said.

    • [not real news] Iraqi Judge “brushes off” Bush lawsuit against Iraqis for George’s death

      An Iraqi judge has dismissed a lawsuit brought against certain individuals in the Iraqi government who killed George Bush with a drone strike in 2005—the lawsuit was filed by Bush family members.

      Allowing a lawsuit against individuals “would hinder their ability in the future to act decisively in defense of Iraq interests” said the Iraqi judge.

      I can understand the outrage that people here in America are experiencing right now. That a foreign judge would so easily dismiss something not based on it being right or wrong, but I based on keeping the door open so people from the judge’s country are free to kill more with drone strikes. They seem to carry out justice only when it is convenient for them and in their best interest.

    • Gavin Hood to Direct Colin Firth in ‘Eye in the Sky’ UK Action Thriller
    • Gavin Hood Set For The Drone Warfare Thriller ‘Eye In The Sky’ With Colin Firth [promoting drones on the Big Screen]
    • Grounded, Gate Theatre, review: ‘mesmerising’

      If you wanted proof that virtue is its own reward in theatreland, take a look at Lucy Ellinson’s performance in Grounded. She is nothing short of mesmerising as a Top Gun pilot, who, after having a baby, is reduced to doing shifts in front of a computer screen in an air-conditioned trailer near Las Vegas. Her job is to steer unmanned “drone” aircraft towards their targets in the Middle East. And then to press the button that blows the enemy combatants below to pieces.

    • Mad Men: The Lunatic Fringe That Leads the West

      I had in mind to write about Tony Blair’s remarkable regurgitation of bloodlust and bile last week. The former British PM managed to tear himself away from his consulting work for dictatorships and other lucrative sidelines long enough to make a “major speech” calling for — guess what? — even more military intervention in the endless, global “War on Terror.” The fact that this war on terror — which he did so much to exacerbate during his time in power, not least in his mass-murder partnership with George W. Bush in Iraq — has actually spawned more terror, and left the primary ‘enemy,’ al Qaeda and its related groups, more powerful than ever, has obviously escaped the great global visionary. No doubt his mad, messianic glare — coupled with the dazzling glow of self-love — makes it hard for the poor wretch to see reality.

    • Waterboarding, Sarah Palin and the West’s Image Abroad as the ‘Great Satan’

      Waterboarding, a technique in which water is poured over the angled face of a prisoner — so as to fill his nose, mouth and lungs — terrifyingly creates the feeling of drowning. “When performed on an unsuspecting prisoner, waterboarding is a torture technique — without a doubt,” Malcolm Nance, former master instructor and chief of training at the U.S. Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego states. “There is no way to sugarcoat it,” he writes, referring to the fact that he personally witnessed and supervised the waterboarding of hundreds of U.S. military trainees who were drilling to resist torture.

    • Is Captain America: The Winter Soldier a Post-Snowden Superhero Movie? Not Quite

      All that said, prior to revealing the mass conspiracy against the good guys, there are some moments where Captain America has to face the America we’re all more familiar with. He looks in on a group of veterans working to heal mentally after deployment. He even questions Fury’s assertion that killing terrorists before they commit crimes is really justice. It’s not security, but it’s surprising to see an action blockbuster.

      It’s clear that Marvel didn’t think that governmental and social pressures that led to NSA’s domestic psying program made for superhero-grade entertainment, and maybe they’re right. I was still glad to see that the ideas of government openness were enshrined next to the usual superhero clichés of truth and justice. It was also just a very, very fun movie.

    • The Death Penalty Is as Flawed and Heartless as War

      On Tuesday, Clayton Lockett died of a heart attack more than an hour after his botched lethal injection began. Things went so wrong that the state of Oklahoma’s second scheduled execution for that night was stayed for 14 days.

    • Senate to Obama: Drone, Baby, Drone

      Remember around this time last year when President Obama gave his big ballyhooed Drone Speech, promising more transparency to the citizen-consumers of America about who, when, where and why he obliterates and maims with his flying missiles?

    • US refuses to disclose civilian killings from its drone attacks in AF/PAK Region
    • Why US Intelligence Officials Pressured Senate To Block Public Release Of Drone Strikes

      It appears Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California and her colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee have largely forgiven the U.S. intelligence community for eavesdropping on their phone calls and spying on their email correspondence.

      Acting on the request of James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, Feinstein and her colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee voted on Monday to remove a provision from a major intelligence bill that would have required the U.S. government to disclose information about when drone strikes occur — especially overseas — as well as information about the victims of the drone strikes.

    • Secrets and lies of Obama’s drone war

      Barack Obama promised to install his administration in a glass house lit up like the Super Bowl, with everything visible to the citizenry he serves. So you will not be surprised to learn that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper wants nothing more than to keep the public well informed.

    • Miami Jury: CIA Involved in JFK Assassination

      Not a single major newspaper nor any national news broadcast has ever reported that on Feb. 6, 1985, a jury in Miami concluded that the CIA was involved in the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.

    • CIA keeps a tight grip on its own secrets

      The CIA does not give up its secrets easily. Even under public scrutiny and pressure from a Senate committee to declassify parts of a congressional report on harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists, the CIA remains shadowed by its reluctance to open up about its operations and its past.

    • CIA has Upper Hand in Deciding Public Disclosures

      The White House has directed the CIA to declassify parts of a Senate report criticizing harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists, but history shows that the agency is accomplished at preventing embarrassing or damaging disclosures.

    • Heading up Senate report declassification, CIA has history of tightly guarding its own secrets
    • CIA’s resolve to track weapons complicates push to arm Syria rebels

      After more than three years of civil war in Syria, the Obama administration may soon send shoulder-fired missiles to the rebels fighting the country’s dictator, Bashar Assad. But before the first missiles fly, they’ll have to be outfitted with fingerprint scanners and GPS systems designed to keep the weapons from falling into the wrong hands. There’s only one problem: It’s not clear the relatively high-tech security equipment will be compatible with the decidedly low-tech, twenty-year-old missiles.

    • CIA Denies Blaze Benghazi Report: ‘So Many Problems’

      The CIA denied having any role in arming Libyan rebels before the deadly 2012 Benghazi attacks, despite reporting by TheBlaze that the U.S. was covertly involved in providing rebels with weapons during Libya’s civil war that ultimately ended up in the hands of Al Qaeda militants.

    • Here’s How US Arms Dealers Sell Weapons All Over The World
    • Charles Krauthammer Says Americans Now Have the ‘Smoking Document’ in Benghazi Scandal
    • Inside the Secret World of a U.S. Arms Dealer

      On Sept. 11, 2011, an Armenian carrier from Albania landed in Benghazi, Libya. It was carrying 800,000 rounds of ammunition originating from Albanian surplus stocks. Three of those stocks belonged to armed forces of the United Arab Emirates, according to a 2013 United Nations investigation.

    • Timeline: The shocking events that led to the Benghazi attacks

      This timeline was compiled by TheBlaze and For the Record as part of their investigation into the U.S. government’s actions regarding the diplomatic team in Benghazi — and how Al Qaeda-affiliated militants benefited from the lethal aid provided to rebel forces on the ground in Libya.

    • Time to End Military/CIA Torture Once and For All

      In the face of continued revelations of United States’ torture policies during the Bush administration, Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PsySR), today sent letters to President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel demanding an end to all ongoing practices of torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment of prisoners and detainees. The letter specifically calls for revoking techniques permitted in Appendix ‘M’ of the current Army Field Manual, such as solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, forms of sensory deprivation, and environmental manipulations, which individually and combined have been condemned internationally as forms of torture, cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment, and therefore violate the United States’ obligations under the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture. In addition, PsySR expressed particularly concern that health professionals, including psychologists, have been engaged to support such efforts in violation of their ethical responsibilities.

    • CIA Thinks Syrian Rebels Might Turn The Guns We Give Them Back On Us

      If you have to worry that your proxy militias will turn your own weapons against you, maybe it’s not such a good idea to give them weapons in the first place. Just a thought.

    • What CIA seeks to achieve through Ford Foundation

      James Petras, retired Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University in Binghamton, New York, and adjunct professor at Saint Mary’s University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, wrote a damning article on September 18, 2002, exposing the Ford Foundation’s sinister choice of beneficiaries of its donations. He accused the CIA of using “philanthropic foundations as the most effective conduit to channel large sums of money to Agency projects without alerting the recipients to their source”.

    • HENTOFF: Military judge orders CIA to list black sites and other torture data

      As first reported by the Miami Herald’s Carol Rosenberg on April 17, during a pretrial hearing of a Guantanamo prisoner previously held at a series of CIA secret prisons, judge Army Col. James Pohl ordered the agency to provide the long-concealed “names of agents, interrogators and medical personnel who worked at the so-called black sites.”

    • CIA under pressure to declassify secret report on harsh interrogations
    • Shock #Benghazi Email Reveals That Obama White House Agreed With CIA Talking Points

      Judicial Watch, the conservative organization that has been FOIAing and FOIAing for an email record of the Obama administration’s talking points from the week of the Benghazi attack, has obtained one that loops White House adviser Ben Rhodes into the conversation with advice about how to massage the story for the White House. Sorry, that was a boring lede—this is the lede you want.

    • The Umpteenth Guide to the Impenetrable Benghazi Outrage

      It’s hard to defend Jay Carney, or the institution of the White House press secretary in general. We’re talking about a taxpayer-funded position that exists to feed spin to reporters who are at the top of their field and could be doing literally anything else. The Benghazi Smoking Gun naturally took up a chunk of today’s Carney briefing, and ABC News’ Jonathan Karl is being celebrated on the right for sticking it to the man and being “vindicated” for previous stories about the White House’s talking points role. Carney’s excuse—that Ben Rhodes’ email about the talking points was not about Benghazi per se, and didn’t need to be released—is his typical sort of ridiculousness.

    • Walter Pincus: Lingering tensions at CIA over Senate probe

      For a government worker, nothing concentrates the mind quicker or makes you at first angry and later perhaps more cautious than the prospect that you might go to jail for doing your job.

      It’s a reminder from the conflict between the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence and the CIA over the panel’s more-than-6,300-page report on the CIA’s coercive interrogations during the administration of President George W. Bush. They included waterboarding and other torture-like methods.

  • Finance

    • IMF gives green light for $17 bn Ukraine aid package

      The International Monetary Fund has approved a two-year $17.1 billion loan package for Ukraine. The immediate disbursement of $3.2 billion will allow Ukraine to avoid a potential debt default.

    • Did The West Become “Them” Only When It Was Cheap Enough?

      I grew up in Western Europe in the 1980s. My teenage years were characterized by the Cold War between the United States and the now-collapsed Soviet Union. We learned that the West was liberty, and that the East was oppression. Presumably, the East learned the reverse in their corresponding teenage years. But when did the West become the enemy they painted?

      It’s hard to communicate how everpresent the threat of nuclear war was. Basically, you could say that us who grew up in the 1980s didn’t expect to grow old. In this time of polarization and belligerence, identifying with your home team was more important than ever. In retrospect, it was a false sense of liberty that we were given – mass surveillance started with ECHELON and similar programs in the mid-1970s – but it was nevertheless a very strong sense of liberty.

    • May Day 2014! Celebrate International Workers’ Day!

      Today in the U.S., we can thank the immigrant rights movement for the rebirth of May Day. On May 1, 2006 over 2 million working people and their allies poured into the streets of America’s big cities. The immigrant rights mega-marches shut down the repressive, anti-immigrant Sensenbrenner bill that criminalized undocumented immigrants and other working people who show solidarity with them. 120 years after Haymarket, another attack from big business and right-wing politicians was beat back by the power of the people.

    • Inequality hurts everyone apart from the super-rich – and here’s why

      The extraordinary success of Thomas Piketty’s best-seller shows that progressive ideas are at last winning

    • Help to Work? Britain’s jobless are being forced into workfare, more like

      If the government genuinely means to help people find work after a long spell of unemployment, they would not have come up with Help to Work, a curious plan that insists on a daily visit to the jobcentre or an enforced period of unpaid labour. If the government means to punish them and save its own face, the plan makes more sense.

    • Is Capitalism Digging Its Own Grave?

      …the top 1% owning 40% of the wealth while the bottom 80% just own 7%.

  • Censorship

    • Twitter’s existential dilemma: Why the super-popular social network is in trouble

      Is Twitter in trouble? The company reported first quarter earnings on Tuesday, and Wall Street immediately reacted with a big thumbs down. In just half an hour, Twitter’s stock price fell 9 percent, nearing its all-time post-IPO low.

      The reasons why aren’t immediately clear. The overall numbers were mostly in line with analyst expectations, so much so that CEO Dick Costolo kicked off the company’s earnings call by declaring that “we had a great first quarter.” Twitter did register a net loss of $132 million for the quarter, which is a hefty chunk of change. But no one was expecting the company to turn a profit this quarter, and overall revenue doubled compared to last year’s first quarter, to $250 million.

    • Reflecting on Northern Ireland’s self-appointed theatre censors

      Newtownabbey council said “yes” when they cancelled what they labelled a blasphemous play, The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged), due to be performed by the Reduced Shakespeare Company (RSC) earlier this year. Members of the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), a political party with roots in the Free Presbyterian Church, called for the show to be axed fearing it would offend and mock Christian beliefs.

    • Filmmaker protests Kickstarter’s ‘censorship’ of abortion film

      In protest of the crowd-funding site’s “censorship” of his TV movie project about convicted abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, McAleer commissioned a bold billboard near Kickstarter’s Brooklyn headquarters.

    • Uganda: Pushing journalists toward self-censorship

      In Uganda, journalists are not only dealing with outright censorship. It seems the government of president Yoweri Museveni is employing a strategy that is aimed at pushing journalists towards self-censorship using a broad range of measures. Although the Ugandan media has a very strong tradition of critical reporting some journalists are probably more prone to self-censor.

  • Privacy

    • Why a Triangle tech CEO just said ‘No’ to CIA investment

      Last week I received the kind of email that would have many startup founders jumping for joy – a cold pitch from a fairly well known VC firm, inquiring if we would like to have a conversation with them about possible funding. In addition to funding, there was hinting about help getting some high-profile customers onboard as well. As a (currently) self-funded startup which is fairly under-capitalized, it’s hard not to find something like that exciting. Surely in any sane universe I should have immediately replied to say “Yes, call me right now”.

    • New NSA chief Michael Rogers: Agency has lost Americans’ trust

      The NSA has lost the trust of the American people as a result of the Edward Snowden leaks, and needs to be more transparent to gain it back, the NSA’s new director said Wednesday in his first public comments since taking control of the embattled spy agency.

      “I tell the [NSA] workforce out there as the new guy, let’s be honest with each other, the nation has lost a measure of trust in us,” Admiral Michael Rogers told a conference of the Women in Aerospace conference in Crystal City, Va.

    • Britain begged to be let into NSA spying scheme

      The Government Communications Headquarters has presented its collaboration with the National Security Agency’s massive electronic spying efforts as proportionate, carefully monitored, and well within the bounds of privacy laws. However, a new document from the Edward Snowden collection shows that GCHQ secretly coveted the NSA’s vast troves of private communications and sought “unsupervised access” to its data as recently as last year.

    • The Strangest Interview Yet With the Outgoing Head of the NSA

      NSA watchers have seen this evasion a million times. Say that the “target” isn’t the American people, knowing most listeners will take that to mean that the NSA is spying on the private communications of foreigners or terrorists, not regular Americans.

    • What’s The NSA Doing Now? Training More Cyberwarriors

      The U.S. needs more cyberwarriors, and it needs them fast, according to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. He plans to more than triple the size of the Pentagon’s Cyber Command over the next two years.

      But where will they come from? These are not the kind of skills you can teach in basic training.

      Enter the embattled National Security Agency. Its new director, Adm. Michael Rogers, also directs the Cyber Command. Ten miles down the road from the NSA, at a defense contractor’s office in Columbia, Md., the NSA recently held a live-fire cyberwarfare exercise aimed at developing more cyberwarriors.

    • NSA spying means Brazil’s $4.5B fighter jets won’t be built by Boeing
    • If the NSA had an art exhibit

      All of these ‘exhibits’ are part of current or past art projects exploring surveillance technology, social media or related issues, which seem to be growing almost as fast as the NSA mission statement and enemies list.

    • Edward Snowden: NSA Spies More on Americans Than Russians

      Snowden also took several shots at the National Security Agency and its top officials, and criticized the agency for wearing two contradictory hats of protecting U.S. data and exploiting security flaws to gather intelligence on foreign threats.

    • Spy court hears first anti-NSA argument

      For the first time, the federal court overseeing the country’s surveillance programs heard a formal argument this month that the National Security Agency’s (NSA) bulk collection of people’s phone records is illegal.

    • UK slips down global press freedom list due to Snowden leaks response

      British government’s draconian response to the Guardian’s reporting sees UK drop five places on Freedom House list

    • The US supreme court needs to keep up with our cellphones – and the NSA

      Tuesday’s US supreme court arguments involved a seemingly basic legal question about the future of the Fourth Amendment: do police officers need a warrant to search the cellphone of a person they arrest? But the two privacy cases pit against each other two very different conceptions of what it means to be a supreme court in the first place – and what it means to do constitutional law in the 21st century.

    • Facebook’s ad tentacles now infiltrate almost any app

      Facebook will now deliver targeted advertisements to practically any smartphone app, after unveiling a mobile ad network at its F8 developer conference in San Francisco.

    • My Experiment Opting Out of Big Data Made Me Look Like a Criminal

      This week, the President is expected to release a report on big data, the result of a 90-day study that brought together experts and the public to weigh in on the opportunities and pitfalls of the collection and use of personal information in government, academia, and industry. Many people say that the solution to this discomforting level of personal data collection is simple: if you don’t like it, just opt out. But as my experience shows, it’s not as simple as that. And it may leave you feeling like a criminal.

    • German gov’t turns down testimony of Snowden

      The German government on Wednesday rejected a testimony of whistleblower Edward Snowden through the German NSA panel, local media reported, citing a conclusion of the draft opinion of the government for the parliamentary committee.

      According to information from the German media, a 27-page paper indicated that an invitation for the former U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) contractor would jeopardize the foreign and security interests of Germany considerably.

    • ​Verizon to monitor wireless devices, computers and share data with advertisers

      Verizon Wireless will monitor customers’ activities on wireless devices as well as wired or Wi-Fi-connected desktop computers and laptops. Collected data on users’ online activity will then be passed to marketers for targeted advertising.

      Verizon customers recently began receiving a notice from the company that it is “enhancing” its Relevant Mobile Advertising operations to glean more information from its customers, the Los Angeles Times reported.

      “In addition to the customer information that’s currently part of the program, we will soon use an anonymous, unique identifier we create when you register on our websites,” Verizon Wireless tells customers.

      “This identifier may allow an advertiser to use information they have about your visits to websites from your desktop computer to deliver marketing messages to mobile devices on our network.”

      The telecom giant will automatically download a “cookie,” or tracking software, onto a user’s computer or device without explicit warning when the customer visits the company’s “My Verizon” website to view a bill or watch television programming online, according to Verizon spokeswoman Debra Lewis.

    • Former NSA contractor Snowden expects to remain in Russia

      Former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, who fled to Moscow last year after revealing details of massive U.S. intelligence-gathering programs, expects his asylum status in Russia to be renewed before it expires this summer, his lawyer said on Wednesday.

    • Germany blocks Edward Snowden from testifying in person in NSA inquiry
    • E.U action needed to counter NSA surveillance, says security expert

      Speaking during his keynote talk at Infosecurity Europe on Wednesday, Hypponen delved into whistle-blowing in the modern age and – looking at the revelations from Snowden – said that this was not just a case of the US ‘misbehaving’.

  • Civil Rights

    • This American Refused to Become an FBI Informant. Then the Government Made His Family’s Life Hell.

      It was after 10 p.m. on July 8, 2009, when Sandra Mansour answered her cellphone to the panicked voice of her daughter-in-law, Nasreen. A week earlier, Nasreen and her husband, Naji Mansour, had been detained in the southern Sudanese city of Juba by agents of the country’s internal security bureau. In the days since, Sandra had been desperately trying to find out where the couple was being held. Now Nasreen was calling to say that she’d been released—driven straight to the airport and booked on a flight to her native Kenya—but Naji remained in custody. He was being held in a dark, squalid basement cell, with a bucket for a bathroom and a dense swarm of mosquitoes that attacked his body as he slept. “You have to get him out of there,” Nasreen said. But she was unfamiliar with Juba and could only offer the barest details about where they’d been held. “He’s in a blue building. You’ve seen it. It’s not far from your hotel.”

    • Federal Court Strikes Down WI’s “Discriminatory” Voter ID as Unconstitutional

      In a landmark decision, a federal judge in Milwaukee has struck down Wisconsin’s strict voter ID restrictions as both an unconstitutional burden on the right to vote and, for the first time, a violation of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act based on the law’s “disproportionate racial impact and discriminatory result” of depriving “the right of Black and Latino citizens to vote on account of race or color.”

    • The New Aaron Swartz Documentary Looks Powerful. Here’s the Trailer.

      Swartz committed suicide in January 2013 at age 26, but his reach and impact on the tech and tech-policy worlds were already enormous. A computer-programming prodigy, he worked on projects like RSS and Creative Commons before he was 16. He dove into politics and became an advocate and activist for publicly available content and an open Internet. But by the time of his death, Swartz was being federally prosecuted for downloading a huge quantity of copyrighted material from JSTOR, the online academic library, at MIT. He was facing jail time and fines.

    • Yemen: End Child Marriage

      “The draft minimum age law is a real beacon of hope for the thousands of Yemeni girls vulnerable to being married off while still children,” said Nadim Houry, deputy Middle East and North Africa director. “The government should act quickly on this measure and develop enforcement mechanisms to prevent even more girls from becoming victims of early and forced marriage.”

    • Sri Lanka Phobia an anxiety disorder from which David Cameron, Hugo Swire, David Milliband , Stephen Harper and others suffer.

      The symptom of Sri Lanka phobia which is common among the politicians in the West, is caused through personal political ambitions. It comes from the presence of a large number of expatriates Tamils living in these Western countries. It makes the patients have a distorted view of human rights. They become blind to their own actions of violation of human rights, and war crimes.

    • Supreme Court Rejects Challenge To NDAA’s ‘Indefinite Detention’ Clause

      The nation’s highest court refused to hear a case that is challenging the authority and legality of the National Defense Authorization Act’s “Indefinite Detention” clause. The refusal to hear the case has plaintiffs calling for action.

    • Supreme Court Declines to Hear NDAA Indefinite Detention Appeal

      A group of journalists and activists who filed a lawsuit two years ago challenging a controversial provision in a national defense spending bill that they claimed allows for the indefinite detention of U.S. citizens were dealt a crushing blow Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear their appeal.

    • US Supreme Court Refuses to Uphold the Constitution: Allows Indefinite Detention

      Pulitzer prize winning reporter Chris Hedges – along with journalist Naomi Wolf, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, activist Tangerine Bolen and others – sued the government to join the NDAA’s allowance of the indefinite detention of Americans.

    • Supreme Court Lets Indefinite Detention of Americans Pass

      The Supreme Court declined to hear the case that a group of activists, journalists, and academics including Noam Chomsky, Chris Hedges, and Daniel Ellsberg brought against the indefinite detention provisions of the NDAA.

    • Supreme Court green lights detention of Americans

      A decision by the U.S. Supreme Court means the federal government now has an open door to “detain as a threat to national security anyone viewed as a troublemaker,” according to critics.

    • Hedges v. Obama: The Supreme Court digs its head deeper into the sand
    • In Defence of Jeremy Clarkson

      Which leads me to a further thought. I am pretty sure I had no concept of people’s colour as a small child, and the following I know for certain. My elder children attended a primary school in Gravesend in which a little over half the children were Sikh. By age seven, they had absolutely no conception of any racial difference between themselves and any others in their class. It is a slender piece of evidence, but I am generally fairly convinced that racial difference is a taught construct.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • FCC Chairman: I’d Rather Give In To Verizon’s Definition Of Net Neutrality Than Fight

      “The idea of net neutrality (or the Open Internet) has been discussed for a decade with no lasting results,” writes Wheeler in a lengthy blog post. “Today Internet Openness is being decided on an ad hoc basis by big companies. Further delay will only exacerbate this problem.”

      Once again, Wheeler completely glosses over the fact that the only reason a federal appeals court gutted the previous neutrality rules was because a shortsighted FCC never thought to categorize Internet service providers as vital communications infrastructure. As numerous supporters of a true net neutrality have repeatedly pointed out, reclassifying ISPs would likely mean the FCC could reinstate the old rules (and possibly more stringent ones) and survive a legal challenge.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Accused of Movie Piracy, Senior Citizen Kicked Out of Theater

        While recording a movie strictly for personal use is entirely legal in UK cinemas, the same definitely cannot be said about the United States. Recording or ‘camming’ a movie in the U.S. can result in jail-time, particularly if the activity is connected to subsequent bootlegging or illegal online distribution.

04.30.14

Links 30/4/2014: Android Rising in Tablets, More NSA Leaks

Posted in News Roundup at 7:05 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Desktop

    • Presence of Chromebooks in businesses grows with recent deals

      Google already provided the Chromebook Business Management Console to businesses, but now these businesses can work with familiar companies to use it in their business. In addition, with major manufacturers offering Chromebooks, including Dell, HP, Samsung, Acer, and Lenovo, businesses can stick with a preferred brand and have a wide variety of Chromebooks to manage.

    • Best webcam app for Chromebooks
    • Chromebooks: Not much room for competition

      Major laptop makers are paying attention and are adding Chromebooks to their product lines. They require basically the same production methods as their Windows laptops, so it’s a low-cost effort to build them. The Chromebook doesn’t require big hardware, so the component inventory is not too heavy.

  • Kernel Space

    • Linus Wins Award, Tails 1.0, and Ubuntu Warning

      Linus Torvalds is back in the news, but this time it’s good. Torvalds tops the news tonight for being the recipient of a prestigious award. LibreOffice 4.1.6 was released today with about 90 fixes and squeezably fresh Tails 1.0 is making headlines. And our final story tonight, The Register is reporting that upgrading Ubuntu 13.10 to 14.04 “may knacker your Linux PC.”

    • Linux Training Becomes Embedded Engineer’s Plan B

      When electrical engineer Manjinder Bains learned in January that his employer’s planned restructuring would put his job at risk, he wasn’t sure what to do. There aren’t a lot of companies in his home town of Sacramento, Calif., that employ embedded developers with his skill set, he said, so finding a new job would be tough.

      He decided to broaden his knowledge and his job prospects and signed up to take Linux Kernel Internals and Debugging (LFD320), a training course that teaches how the Linux kernel is built, and the tools used for debugging and monitoring the kernel. It would be the third training course Bains had taken with the Linux Foundation in the past year, but the first one he had paid for on his own – his employer had sponsored the first two.

      “Boosting my Linux skills will make me more employable,” he said via phone last month.

    • Linux Kernel 3.14.2 Officially Released

      The latest version of the stable Linux kernel, 3.14.2, has been announced by Greg Kroah-Hartman, marking yet another update in the most recent stable release.

      The updates and improvements that preceded the launch of the Linux kernel 3.14 branch indicated that this was going to be one of the most interesting releases in quite a while, but the updates for this version have been lagging a little behind.

      In the past, the first updates to the fresh kernel were quite large and featured a multitude of fixes and changes. Either the new kernels are more stable and require less work, or the developers are focusing more on the upcoming 3.15 branch.

      “I’m announcing the release of the 3.14.2 kernel. All users of the 3.14 kernel series must upgrade.”

    • AMD, Mentor Graphics Join Advisory Board for Embedded Linux

      Two major backers — AMD and Mentor Graphics — have revamped their support for embedded Linux development. This week, the companies joined the advisory board of the Yocto Project, an open source initiative for creating custom Linux-based operating systems for embedded devices.

    • SystemTap 2.5 Supports UEFI/SecureBoot & Other Features
    • SystemTap 2.5 release

      The SystemTap team announces release 2.5, “boot loot”!

    • Graphics Stack

    • Benchmarks

      • Intel Ultrabook Benchmarks On The Linux 3.15 Kernel

        You can view more of these early Linux 3.13/3.14/3.15 kernel test results from the ASUS Zenbook Prime UX32VDA via OpenBenchmarking.org, but overall, there isn’t too much to get excited about with the results. When comparing these three kernel series, there wasn’t much in the way of performance changes for disk, graphics, or the computational workloads. The power usage also didn’t appear to change much between these recent versions of the Linux kernel.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

  • Distributions

    • Musix Linux: Sweet Strains Jarred by Sour Notes

      As a general OS, Musix sounds a few sour notes. It has a meager collection of text editors, word processors and Web tools. You can do some real work with the software that is provided, but you might resort to manually installing some of the programs typically available in distro repositories but missing here. Musix also provides a poor user experience with its menus.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mageia/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva and Linux Solutions Brazil, sign partnership

        With the Brazilian arm of Mandriva gaining activity, a new partner to on-board our partner ecosystem recently is Linux Solutions a leading consulting, services and solutions based company using Linux platform and offering a wide range of integrated programs and high technical quality since 15 years.Throughout its existence, Linux Solutions has handled more than 150 projects and assisted over 100 clients. More than 1000 students have also been trained. Linux Solutions specializes in clusters and various demands solutions in TCP / IP networks, such as file services, email, firewall, routing, proxy, among others

    • Red Hat Family

    • Debian Family

  • Devices/Embedded

    • IoT survey offers MinnowBoard Max SBC prize

      An IoT survey targeting attendees of this week’s Embedded Linux Conference offers a MinnowBoard Max SBC giveaway, but anyone interested can participate.

    • Rugged IoT box runs Linux on a pico-ITX core

      Via’s rugged, Linux-ready “AMOS-3003″ industrial computer for IoT builds on Via’s EPIA-P910 pico-ITX board, which features its 1.2GHz Nano E2 processor.

    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Samsung Galaxy K Zoom packs 20.7 MP camera, 10x optical zoom

          We had anticipated that a special “camera” version of Samsung’s flagship device will be launched soon and here it is finally with the moniker ‘Galaxy K Zoom’. The device boasts of a 20.7-megapixel BSI CMOS sensor and 10X optical Zoom. This is not the first time Samsung has attempted to put zoom lenses on the back of a smartphone. Last year’s Samsung Galaxy S4 Zoom featured similar 10x optical zoom, but it was a bulky mess, while Galaxy K Zoom has managed to keep a much slimmer profile at 0.8 inch thickness.

      • Android

        • Rumor: HP set to introduce a 14-inch Android notebook

          The market for lightweight notebooks may get a lot messier in the coming weeks as Notebook Italia reports that HP is planning to release a 14-inch touchscreen laptop running Android, Google‘s mobile operating system for phones and tablets (and now wearables), rather than its Chrome OS operating system for lightweight notebooks. Notebook Italia claims to have found a demo video and promotional pictures tucked away on HP’s website. The videos have since been removed, but some screen grabs of the video are still up.

        • Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM now available on Infibeam

          Asus Fonepad 7 Dual SIM, the refreshed version of Fonepad 7 voice-calling tablet, is now available for purchase on Infibeam.com for INR 12,875. Powered by Android 4.3 Jelly Bean, the tablet supports dual-SIM functionality and voice-calling. The Fonepad 7 Dual SIM features a 7-inch screen with LED backlight and WXVGA screen IPS panel.

        • Google’s Nexus phones will reportedly be replaced by premium Android Silver handsets

          The Android Silver project, which was rumored earlier this month, has today been corroborated by four fresh sources, all of whom point to a major shift in Google’s mobile strategy. The Information reports that the current scheme of offering Nexus-branded handsets with Google’s unadulterated vision of the best Android user experience will be scrapped, to be replaced by a set of high-end Silver phones that will closely adhere to it. The change is both expansive and expensive, as Google is said to be planning to spend heavily on promoting these devices in wireless carriers’ stores and through advertising, essentially subsidizing the development and marketing costs for its hardware partners.

        • Android signage player supports Apple iBeacon

          Noxel’s Android-based Xtream A700 signage player integrates Apple’s BLE-based iBeacon indoor positioning tech with Noxel’s cloud-based signage service.

          Noxel claims its Xtream A700 is the most powerful Android signage computer around, and considering its quad-core system-on-chip and the relative novelty of Android signage, we imagine they are correct. Aside from the sheer performance, the device is notable for its use of Apple’s iBeacon indoor positioning technology, which can provide precise location information via Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). The device’s iBeacon support enables retailers and brand marketers to provide in-store navigation and location-specific push messaging to smartphones, says the company.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Albania Considers Free/Libre Open Source Software

    “Taking into consideration the current stage of utilization of OSS in the Albanian public administration, the local ICT business experience and capacities and the current education system, it is strongly recommended to the Albanian government to start implementing initially the neutral approach combined with some enabling initiatives, thus recognizing, guaranteeing and ensuring fair and equal competition of OSS with other proprietary software.”

  • 3 tips for localizing open source projects

    Open source software (OSS) has had a huge impact on the development of technology today. From apps and web browsers to content management platforms and operating systems, there’s no doubt that open source projects have influenced the way that we create and access information.

  • Web Browsers

    • Chrome

    • Mozilla

      • Did Mozilla jump the shark with Firefox 29?

        Firefox 29 has been released and it’s causing quite a wave of controversy among Firefox users. Firefox 29 comes with a new interface called Australis that features rounded tabs, along with a menu icon in the top right corner. As you might imagine, some users are having trouble adjusting to the new interface and are making their feelings very clear to the Firefox developers.

      • Firefox 29 Launches With Major Redesign, Firefox Account Integration

        Mozilla is launching its most important release of Firefox in a very long time today. After almost two years of working on its Australis redesign, the company is now finally ready to bring it to its stable release channel.

      • Firefox 30 Beta Finally Supports GStreamer 1.0

        Firefox 30 also has a new Box Model Highlighter, new CSS property support, ECMAScript 6.0 support improvements, and many other changes. While Firefox 30 is now in a beta state, it will be officially released in June.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

    • Updated OpenOffice ‘good news for administrations

      The improved accessibility features included in today’s new version of Apache OpenOffice, an open source suite of office productivity tools, is good news for public administrations, expects Rob Weir, Project Management Committee Member at the Apache Software Foundation. Public administrations favour software solutions with strong accessibility support, he says. “By including Iaccesible2 support, we’ve removed a potential objection against the adoption of OpenOffice.”

    • Oracle Solaris 11.2 Now Available In Beta Form

      Oracle has put out the first public beta of the forthcoming Solaris 11.2 operating system release. The big focus of Solaris 11.2 is on embracing support for cloud computing.

  • CMS

  • Education

    • Yes, The World Can And Does Make Its Own Software Cheaper Than Renting

      The case in the article linked below describes some US colleges that were faced with $millions per annum of payments to a few corporations for permission to have computers the colleges owned compute stuff like finances and enrolments. One university spent $100million installing some software from Oracle and setting it up (Oracle charges ~$10 per employee per function per annum and ~$1000 per user per function per annum. It adds up to $millions per college per annum.). Now they are spending ~$1million per annum instead, contributing to a FLOSS project, Kuali, which will do what they want how they want it done. They share with a bunch of other colleges all with similar motivations. By sharing the load, each college gets what it needs for a lot less than paying some corporation multiple times what software costs to develop. The world does not owe big corporations a living. Make them earn it by competing on price/performance instead of lock-in.

  • Healthcare

    • Helping African hospitals with open source software

      The daily management and operation of a hospital requires enormous effort. These days, most hospitals utilize Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software to centralize facility operations including inventory, budgets, invoicing, and employee management. Any hospital administrator will tell you that ERP software is essential to efficiently managing their hospital as the software lowers inventory costs and improves efficiencies and quality.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Public Services/Government

    • Warsaw to donate PCs to school for Linux labs

      The council of Poland’s capital will this year donate 400 PCs to schools in the city, to be refurbished with Ubuntu Linux and educational applications, in a joint-venture with the Foundation of the Free and Open Source Software (FWIOO). Announcing the project, Warsaw city’s department for education, praised the “beautiful idea of ​​a common, selfless work for others” ingrained in free and open source. “It also brings huge economic and functional merit to schools and students.”

Leftovers

  • High Speed Trains are Killing the European Railway Network
  • Science

    • The man with 42 hours to get home

      In the course of a month, Peter Hodes plans to visit Poland, Israel, Germany and South Africa. Wherever he goes – even Australia – he always makes sure to get home in 42 hours or less. The reason? He’s a volunteer stem cell courier. Here he describes his unusual pastime.

      Since March 2012, I’ve done 89 trips – of those, 51 have been abroad. I have 42 hours to carry stem cells in my little box because I’ve got two ice packs and that’s how long they last.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • How the U.S. Created the Afghan War—Then Lost It

      And so many years later, his followers are still fighting. Even with the U.S. withdrawing the bulk of its troops this year, up to 10,000 Special Operations forces, CIA paramilitaries, and their proxies will likely stay behind to battle the Haqqanis, the Taliban, and similar outfits in a war that seemingly has no end. With such entrenched enemies, the conflict today has an air of inevitability — but it could all have gone so differently.

    • Armed to the milk teeth: America’s gun-toting kids

      Available in bright blues and hot pinks, rifles for kids sell in their thousands in America. They look like toys – but they’re lethal. An-Sofie Kesteleyn travelled to photograph this juvenile army

    • CIA: On Again Off Again Love Affair with Iran

      In case you have been asleep for the past 61 years, the CIA overthrew Mossadegh in 1953. This kept the Shah in power for another 26 years until in 1979 the people mind you, and not Islam, overthrew him, and were then hijacked by Islam, which eventually became the IRHI or the Islamic Republic of Hijacked Iran.

    • Obama and Holder: Making Killing “Legal”

      When President Obama decided sometime during his first term that he wanted to be able to use unmanned aerial drones in foreign lands to kill people — including Americans — he instructed Attorney General Eric Holder to find a way to make it legal — despite the absolute prohibition on governmental extra-judicial killing in federal and state laws and in the Constitution itself.

    • ‘Problem is not interrogation, it’s war itself’

      US investigative journalist Seymour Hersh disclosed the torture scandal of Abu Ghraib 10 years ago. But as he told DW, he is convinced that the US hasn’t learned any lessons from it.

    • Ron Paul: US Drone War Undermines American Values

      Earlier this month, CIA-operated drones killed as many as 55 people in Yemen in several separate strikes. Although it was claimed that those killed were “militants,” according to press reports at least three civilians were killed and at least five others wounded. That makes at least 92 U.S. drone attacks against Yemen during the Obama administration, which have killed nearly 1,000 people including many civilians.

    • Column: Obama’s drone wars undermine American values
    • Who Are the Dead Special Operations Forces Picked Up After Drone & Air Strikes in Yemen?

      One week ago, multiple air strikes, including possible drone strikes, in Yemen were reported. An escalation in counterterrorism operations took place with many alleged “militants” being reported killed but the names of them were not announced. It is unclear if any senior al Qaeda leaders were killed but the governments have claimed success.

    • Pakistan: US drone killed my friend, now ‘I simply hate America’ – drone victim
    • Creating Enemies the American Way

      So many years later, they seem to be repeating the process in Yemen. They are now escalating a “successful” drone and special operations war against a group in that impoverished land that calls itself al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The drones turn out to be pretty good at knocking off various figures in that movement, but they are in another sense like a godsend for it. In what are called “targeted killings,” but might better be termed (as Paul Woodward has) “speculative murders,” they repeatedly wipe out civilians, including women, children, and in one recent case, part of a wedding party. They are Washington’s calling card of death and as such they only ensure that more Yemenis will join or support AQAP.

    • Game of Drones: Author George RR Martin says ‘isolated’ way of killing people by missiles and drones is more brutal than anything he has written
    • Game of Thrones Creator Says Drones Are Worse Than The Dothraki

      Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin has definitely come up with some of the most shocking ways to kill people, from gasp-inducing beheadings to blood-spattered Red Weddings. But in an interview with Rolling Stone, Martin says the way we engage in modern warfare is far more brutal.

    • George R.R. Martin Condemns Drones

      Game of Thrones author George R.R. Martin condemned drone attacks in a recent interview, claiming that the method of killing enemies is not personal enough.

    • How Many Have We Killed?

      The Senate’s decision is particularly troubling in view of how reticent the administration itself continues to be about the drone program. To date, Obama has publicly admitted to the deaths of only four people in targeted killing operations. That came in May 2013, when, in conjunction with a speech at the National Defense University, and, in his words, “to facilitate transparency and debate on the issue,” President Obama acknowledged for the first time that the United States had killed four Americans in drone strikes. But according to credible accounts, Obama has overseen the killing of several thousand people in drone strikes since taking office. Why only admit to the four Americans’ deaths? Is the issue of targeted killings only appropriate for debate when we kill our own citizens? Don’t all human beings have a right to life?

    • Feinstein And Chambliss Let James Clapper Talk Them Out Of Requiring Transparency On The Administration’s Drone Strikes

      Feinstein’s relationship with drones is, of course, somewhat hypocritical. She feels there should be stricter regulations on commercial drone usage (partially prompted by a non-commercial drone appearing outside her house during a Code Pink anti-NSA protest) and seems generally opposed to drone surveillance. However, she does stand strongly behind the nation’s counterterrorism efforts and believes killing people with drones (rather than just watching them) is more acceptable.

    • Intelligence Authorization Act Provision Demanding Disclosure Of Civilians Killed In US Drone Attacks In Other Countries Dropped By US Senators

      The U.S. Senate has dropped a provision from an intelligence bill that would have required President Barack Obama’s administration to disclose the number of people killed or injured in drone attacks conducted by the U.S. in other countries.

    • Senators drop demand for drone death tallies
    • US senators remove requirement for disclosure over drone strike victims
    • Rally calls for end to drone attacks

      Hundreds crowded in to listen to Dr. Cornel West speak about the relationship between racism, poverty and drones in Syracuse.

    • Protest over drones draws big crowd after civil rights activist Cornel West energizes crowd in Syracuse

      But after hearing civil rights activist Cornel West talk about the connections between racism, poverty and drones at Tucker Missionary Baptist Church, Jones said it “riled” her up and she decided to join hundreds of others protesting the United States’ use of drones in military actions.

    • Keep killer autonomous drones off the battlefield, activists say

      Canada is being urged to lead a new international effort to ban so-called “killer robots” — the new generation of deadly high-tech equipment that can select and fire on targets without human help.

    • Canada asked to help keep ‘killer robots’ off battlefields

      Somewhere deep in a lab in China, scientists are working toward building autonomous military machines that could some day end up on a battlefield.

      It’s not just China. Russia and Israel are working on their own deadly hardware.

      The U.K., U.S. and South Korea have even conducted tests on autonomous weapons in military scenarios.

    • Australians were killed by a US drone strike, and we deserve to know why

      The killing of two Australian citizens is not end of the conversation, but the beginning. If these men were threats to national security, then the public deserves to know why

    • Drone victims and anti-drone activists demonstrate outside Parliament

      Parliament voted to prohibit drone strikes in mid-December 2013. Votes from Yemen’s parliament can be struck down by the president and are non-binding.

    • Drone strikes based on work at Pine Gap could see Australians charged, Malcolm Fraser says

      Australian military and intelligence personnel involved in controversial US drone targeting operations could face crimes against humanity charges, according to former prime minister Malcolm Fraser.

    • EDITORIAL: The haunting of a president not spooked by drone killings

      The Almighty answers to no one in exercising the power of life and death over His creatures, and the president of the United States, despite the powerful weapons at his hand, can make no such claim. Barack Obama has some explaining to do for his drone killings of purported terrorists.

      The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York ruled last week that the Obama administration must allow the public to review the internal legal documents that justify the president’s drone killings of those, including American citizens, who are suspected of terrorism. The Justice Department had claimed that White House executive privilege shields its internal records from public scrutiny, but the court said by releasing selected portions of the documents, the administration waived its right to secrecy.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • DOJ Is Still Investigating Wikileaks

      It’s no secret that many in the US government would love to find a way to charge Wikileaks and Julian Assange with criminal activities for reporting on leaks. However, as many have pointed out, doing so would create a firestorm, because it’s difficult to see how what Wikileaks did is any different than what any news publication would do in publishing leaked documents. The attack on press freedom would be a major problem. Still, the Justice Department has spent years trying to come up with any way possible to charge Assange with a crime. They even tortured Chelsea Manning and then offered her a deal if she lied and claimed that she “conspired” with Assange to release the State Department cables. That didn’t work. Even as the DOJ couldn’t produce any evidence that Manning and Assange conspired, the Defense Department insisted it had to be true. Last year, however, there were finally reports that the DOJ was just about ready to admit that it had no legal case against Assange, with officials effectively admitting that it would be tantamount to suing a newspaper.

  • Finance

    • Income Inequality Has Spurred a Boom in Private Security

      Perhaps this is our dystopian, Piketty-esque future: a small class of ultra-wealthy rentiers; a breakdown of public safety because the rich employ their own private security forces and don’t feel like funding anything further; a retainer class of managerial drones; and then everyone else—sullen and resentful, but kept in line by the hard men in dark glasses toting automatic weapons and driving armored limos.

      Actually, probably not. Eventually robots will provide better security services than fragile human beings, so the security forces will be out of jobs too. By then, however, even the ultra-wealthy won’t care if robots produce enough to make life lovely for everyone. Sure, they’ll still want their share of the still-scarce status goods—coastal property, penthouse apartments, original Rembrandts—but beyond that why should they care if everyone lives like kings? They won’t, and we probably will. As long as we don’t all kill ourselves first.

    • Prisons governors ordered to cut costs by £149m a year

      Prison governors have been ordered to cut the cost of holding inmates in England’s bulging jails by £149m a year, as part of a radical programme designed to slash the costs of incarceration by £2,200 a year per prison place.

    • Obama Administration Argues in Favor of Right to Fire Public Employees Who Testify at Corruption Trials

      The Supreme Court heard arguments today over whether public employee who testify under subpoena at public corruption trials should be protected by the First Amendment. The position of President Barack Obama’s administration appears to be that they should not be protected.

      The case is Lane v. Franks and it involves Edward Lane, who according to NPR was “hired in 2006 to head a program for juvenile offenders” at Central Alabama Community College that provided “counseling and education as an alternative to incarceration.” The program “received substantial federal funds.”

    • Chase Bank Slutshames Their Adult Performer Customers

      Porn. It’s what the internet is for, as they say. Also, it’s very hard for some people to avoid. Entire governments, too. But what about the little people with big parts that make all this wonderfully ubiquitous smut possible? It’s easy to forget about the hard (ahem) working individuals that make these small businesses and big industry spurt out their wares like (insert grossest applicable analogy here). And now it’s apparently difficult for those mostly-young laborers to get paid, since some banks seem to have adopted a rather convenient moral code when it comes to who can open accounts with their institutions.

    • Why the Richest Americans Don’t Care about Income Inequality

      Does income inequality matter to the richest Americans? Not very much. Here’s why. And it’s more than just greed-is-good– it’s because the rich will just get richer.
      A study by economists at Washington University in St. Louis tells us stagnant income for the bottom 95 percent of wage earners makes it impossible for them to consume as they did in the years before the downturn. Consumer spending, some say, drives the U.S. economy, and is likely to continue to continue to dominate, as the decomposition of America’s industrial base dilutes old economy sales of appliances, cars, steel and the like. That should be bad news for the super-wealthy, us buying less stuff?
      But that same study shows that while rising inequality reduced income growth for the bottom 95 percent of beginning around 1980, the group’s consumption growth did not fall proportionally at first. Instead, lower savings and hyper-available credit (remember Countrywide mortgages and usurous re-fi’s?) put the middle and bottom portions of our society on an unsustainable financial path which increased spending until it triggered the Great Recession. So, without surprise, consumption fell sharply in the recession, consistent with tighter borrowing constraints. Meanwhile, America’s the top earners’ wealth grew. The recession represented the largest redistribution of wealth in this century.

  • Privacy

    • How One Woman Hid Her Pregnancy From Big Data

      For the past nine months, Janet Vertesi, assistant professor of sociology at Princeton University, tried to hide from the Internet the fact that she’s pregnant — and it wasn’t easy.

    • British Spy Chiefs Secretly Begged to Play in NSA’s Data Pools

      Alexander was told that Lobban might ask about the safeguards in place to prevent any data that GCHQ shared with the NSA from being handed to others, such as Israel, who might use it in “lethal operations.”

      Under the heading “key topic areas,” the document notes that gaining “unsupervised access” to data collected by the NSA under section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act “remains on GCHQ’s wish list and is something its leadership still desires.”

      Section 702 of FISA grants the NSA wide latitude to collect the email and phone communications of “persons reasonably believed to be located outside the United States.” It authorizes PRISM and several other programs – with codenames such as BLARNEY and STORMBREW – that covertly mine communications directly from phone lines and internet cables.

    • Maths spying: The quandary of working for the spooks

      FOR the past 10 months, a major international scandal has engulfed some of the world’s largest employers of mathematicians. These organisations stand accused of law-breaking on an industrial scale and are now the object of widespread outrage. How has the mathematics community responded? Largely by ignoring it.

      Those employers – the US National Security Agency (NSA) and the UK’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) – have been systematically monitoring as much of our lives as they can, including our emails, texts, phone and Skype calls, web browsing, bank transactions and location data. They have tapped internet trunk cables, bugged charities and political leaders, conducted economic espionage, hacked cloud servers and disrupted lawful activist groups, all under the banner of national security. The goal, to quote former NSA director Keith Alexander, is to “collect all the signals, all the time”.

    • Turkey: Spy Agency Law Opens Door to Abuse

      Jail for Journalists Publishing Leaks, Immunity for Intelligence Personnel

    • The NED, the NGOs and the CIA

      William Blum, the author of the book, “Rogue State,” said that while the object of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)-funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED) in the post Cold War era has been relegated to history, many are not inclined to believe that subversion has lost its relevance. Rather, it has only been redirected at overthrowing governments that refuse to tow the line gleaned from the NED’s slogan of “Supporting Freedom Around the World.”

    • ODNI Seeks to Obscure CIA Role in Human Intelligence

      The Office of the Director of National Intelligence is attempting to conceal unclassified information about the structure and function of U.S. intelligence agencies, including the leading role of the Central Intelligence Agency in collecting human intelligence.

      Last month, ODNI issued a heavily redacted version of its Intelligence Community Directive 304 on “Human Intelligence.” The redacted document was produced in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Robert Sesek, and posted on ScribD.

      The new redactions come as a surprise because most of the censored text had already been published by ODNI itself in an earlier iteration of the same unclassified Directive from 2008. That document has since been removed from the ODNI website but it is preserved on the FAS website here.

    • Drone prohibition bill rejected by House committee

      Lawmakers in the House have killed a bill that would have banned drones from flying over areas deemed “critical infrastructure” in Louisiana.

    • Use of drones will heighten privacy issues
    • Report: Snowden hired Espionage Act expert
    • Snowden reportedly retained high-ranked lawyer to negotiate return to the US
    • Meet the lawyer working on a plea deal for NSA leaker Edward Snowden

      National Security Agency-leaker Edward Snowden called on one of the best-known Espionage Act lawyers last year when he entered into plea negotiations with the United States government.

      According to a Tuesday article in the New York Times, Plato Cacheris, a prominent Washington, D.C. lawyer and name-partner at Trout Cacheris, has been working for nearly a year to get Snowden a deal from the United States government. According to the Times, Snowden hired Cacheris, who has previously represented convicted spies Robert Hanssen and Aldrich Ames, and convicted leaker Lawrence Franklin, in the hopes of securing a plea bargain that would spare him significant jail time. Snowden, who fled to Moscow last year after being charged with multiple violations of the Espionage Act stemming from his decision to leak details of N.S.A. eavesdropping programs to The Guardian, is facing 30 years in prison.

    • Merkel pressed to confront Obama over NSA scandal prior to talks

      Angela Merkel should ask Barack Obama to destroy her NSA file when she meets the American president in Washington later this week, a leading German opposition politician has told the Guardian.

    • NSA will sit on security vulnerabilities because of terrorism

      THE UNITED STATES National Security Agency (NSA) has advised the American people that although it knows that telling them about security issues is in the public interest, it will not always do that.

      Following the exposure of the Heartbleed vulnerability in OpenSSL, the NSA explained its stance via the White House blog, sort of, and revealed that each security vulnerability that comes its way is assessed on a range of merits and will only be disclosed depending on its risk assessment.

    • NSA launches ‘lablets’ tech initiative with major U.S. universities

      The agency has launched an initiative to strengthen contacts between tech-heavy U.S. American colleges and universities. The project will coordinate academic collaboration to best protect Internet infrastructure. Already, the NSA has awarded funds and resources to Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, the University of Maryland, and the University of North Carolina to set up so-called “lablets” on their campuses.

    • New water records show NSA Utah Data Center likely behind schedule
    • Utah Republican Congressmen Want to Stop NSA from Collecting Citizen Data
    • Ukraine overshadows NSA rift ahead of Obama-Merkel talks

      German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets US President Barack Obama this week with shared fears over the mounting Ukraine crisis helping to mend ties ruptured by the NSA eavesdropping scandal.

    • Campaign fosters discussion about NSA

      Students and faculty are trying to raise awareness about surveillance in the United States.

    • Mathematicians: refuse to work for the NSA!

      In a stirring editorial in the New Scientist, University of Edinburgh mathematician Tom Leinster calls on the world’s mathematicians to boycott working for the NSA, which describes itself as the “largest employer of mathematicians in the US” and which may the world’s number one employer of mathematicians.

    • Comedian Outdoes ‘60 Minutes’ In Interview With Former NSA Official
    • John Oliver Shows ’60 Minutes’ How To Do An Interview With The NSA
    • Alexander: NSA’s brand has been damaged
    • Can cops legally fire “GPS bullets” at fleeing cars to track suspects?
    • Tired? Angry? Your car knows how you feel
    • 4 Proposals to Reform NSA Human Rights Violations: Feinstein=Worst; Leahy-Sensenbrenner=Best

      Several proposals have been put forward that would address the National Security Agency (NSA) spying abuses of privacy and human rights as documented in the Edward Snowden revelations. Four legislative pathways to curbing privacy abuses stand out, yet none comply fully with the 13 International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance. However, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the proposals is a worthy starting point, while another of the bills would make the situation worse than it already is.

    • Guardian wins three Webby awards

      The Guardian has picked up three Webby awards for work including interactive coverage of the NSA files and a video report on the exploitation of migrant workers in Qatar.

    • Feds Beg Supreme Court to Let Them Search Phones Without a Warrant

      American law enforcement has long advocated for universal “kill switches” in cellphones to cut down on mobile device thefts. Now the Department of Justice argues that the same remote locking and data-wiping technology represents a threat to police investigations–one that means they should be free to search phones without a warrant.

    • Error from license plate scanner leads to police stop that startles PV-based attorney

      A false reading by a license-plate scanner mounted on a Prairie Village police car led officers to stop an innocent motorist on 75th Street Monday — an incident that has the PV-based attorney questioning the department’s protocol for officers unholstering their weapons.

  • Civil Rights

    • Study suggests that 4% of the people we put on death row are innocent

      The vast majority of felony cases don’t end in decisions regarding guilt or innocence. Instead, 93 percent are subject to plea bargains. Of the remainder, most convictions aren’t reexamined carefully—appeals tend to focus on technicalities of the case rather than matters of guilt or innocence.

    • The Morality Police in Your Checking Account: Chase Bank Shuts Down Accounts of Adult Entertainers

      In the latest example of a troubling trend in which companies play the role of law enforcement and moral police, Chase Bank has shut down the personal bank accounts of hundreds of adult entertainers.

      We’ve written before about the dire consequences to online speech when service providers start acting like content police. These same consequences are applicable when financial services make decisions about to whom they provide services.

      Just as ISPs and search engines can become weak links for digital speech, too often financial service providers are pressured by the government to shut down speech or punish speakers who would otherwise be protected by the First Amendment. It’s unclear whether this is an example of government pressure, an internal corporate decision, or some combination.

    • No evidence Finns knew of secret prisoner transfers

      Parliamentary Ombudsman Petri Jääskeläinen says there is no evidence that Finnish officials had any knowledge of the alleged use of Finnish airspace or airports for prisoner rendition flights by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) between 2001 and 2006.

    • Finland: CIA rendition probe findings ‘disappointing’

      The failure of an official investigation to uncover hard evidence of Finland’s alleged role in the US-led programmes of rendition and secret detention a decade ago is deeply disappointing, said Amnesty International today.

    • Walter Pincus: Lingering tensions at CIA over Senate probe

      Today, staffers on the Senate intelligence panel as well as CIA officers and perhaps contractors could be potential subjects of a preliminary DOJ criminal inquiry into the handling of the “Panetta Review,” a set of controversial classified documents that fell into the hands of Senate investigators working on the panel’s probe.

    • Release the CIA’s torture report

      How much should the American public be allowed to know about the use of torture and other forms of cruelty practiced by U.S. interrogators against captives of the war on terror? Everything.

    • Abu Ghraib: A Torture Story Without a Hero or an Ending

      Despite all evidence to the contrary, many Americans continue to believe that brutality, torture and rank illegality is the road to national safety.

    • Mystery surrounds move of Afghan ‘torturer in chief’ to U.S. amid allegations of spy agency abuse

      Because of his reputation for brutality, Gulalai was someone both sides of the war wanted gone. The Taliban tried at least twice to kill him. Despite Gulalai’s ties to the CIA and Afghan President Hamid Karzai, United Nations officials and U.S. coalition partners sought to rein him in or have him removed.

      Today, Gulalai lives in a pink two-story house in Southern California, on a street of stucco homes on the outskirts of Los Angeles.

      How he managed to land in the United States remains murky. Afghan officials and former Gulalai colleagues said that his U.S. connections — and mounting concern about his safety — account for his extraordinary accommodation.

    • The Torturer Next Door
    • ‘They went through some form of hell’: Psychiatrist for Gitmo detainee testifies

      An Army psychiatrist said the accused USS Cole bomber was given adequate access to treatment for his mental health problems, although he admitted he had no access the secret CIA files documenting the suspect’s extensive torture, the Miami Herald reports.

    • “The US Is The World’s Worst Human Rights Violator”

      The US government has always been the first to call out other nations with poor track records on human rights abuses. Invariably they are the two nations viewed most threatening to America’s global hegemony and power – rivals Russia and China.

    • Execution Drugs Harm Breathing and Heart Function

      Oklahoma changed its execution protocols twice this year. State officials have five options for lethal injections, including a new three-drug mixture that was used for the first time Tuesday.

    • Cops BUSTED Planting Drugs and Guns Inside Marijuana Dispensary (Video)

      We often hear about the police planting drugs or guns on people, but how about buildings? Something needed to be done to make marijuana dispensaries in California appear dangerous, and two officers of the law had an idea: “Why don’t we just plant some illegal stuff in there?

    • The Apartheid Israel Poison Is Out
  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • The Internet Is About to Become Worse Than Television

      Last week, an obscure but potentially internet-transforming document was leaked from the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. It revealed that government regulators are considering rules that would give big companies a chance to make their online services run faster than smaller ones.

      The proposed rules were revealed in the New York Times, and they would overturn the principle of “network neutrality” on the internet. Put simply, network neutrality allows you to use services from rich companies like Google and small startups with equal speed through your ISP. You can read a blog hosted on somebody’s home server, and it loads just as quickly as a blog on Tumblr.

    • Why you’ll hate the Internet ‘fast lane’

      Recently, Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, came under fire for reportedly proposing exceedingly weak “open Internet rules.” If the reports are correct, the FCC will allow broadband providers like Comcast to make special deals that give some companies preferential treatment, as long as those deals are “commercially reasonable.”

      In other words, rather then requiring broadband providers to treat all Internet traffic more or less equally, the FCC will permit them to create an Internet “fast lane” and shake down content providers like Netflix, Google and Amazon for the right to travel in it.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Accused Movie Pirate Wins Extortion Case Against Copyright Trolls

        Law firm Dunlap, Grubb and Weaver, pioneers of the BitTorrent copyright troll cases in the United States, have thrown in the towel. The law firm conceded defeat in a fraud and abuse case that was brought against them by an alleged pirate, and were ordered to pay nearly $40,000.

      • Kim Dotcom Faces Appeal in Seized Property Battle

        Earlier this month the New Zealand High Court said that police could no longer hold onto property seized from Kim Dotcom during the 2012 raid on his mansion. Today and at the eleventh hour, the Crown indicated that it intends to fight by filing an appeal to keep control of Dotcom’s property.

Newer Approach for Advocating Free Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software at 6:36 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

PRISM
Credit: Will Hill

Summary: How awareness of mass surveillance can propel Free software to dominance in more areas of computing

FOR a number of decades people such as Richard Stallman have been trying to persuade the public that Free software should be favoured, not because of nationalism, branding, or even cost but because only with Free software can the user (person or business) be in control. Techrights has covered the NSA’s abuses for a number of years (even well before the leaks) and recently observed great public concern when it comes to mass surveillance. Where apathy used to prevail there are now strong sentiments and people are eager to make informed choices that protect their rights.

When advocating Free software to people (not just GNU/Linux but even browsers like Firefox) it is worth using the privacy card. It really seems to help a lot.

04.29.14

Links 29/4/2014: New Debian, New Award for Torvalds

Posted in News Roundup at 4:03 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • BirdCam, Round Two

    If you like fun projects like these involving Linux, please read on and join in my birdy obsession!

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Exclusive: Kerry Warns Israel Could Become ‘An Apartheid State’

      The secretary of state said that if Israel doesn’t make peace soon, it could become ‘an apartheid state,’ like the old South Africa. Jewish leaders are fuming over the comparison.

    • Israel risks becoming apartheid state if peace talks fail, says John Kerry

      The US secretary of state, John Kerry, has warned in a closed-door meeting in Washington that Israel risks becoming an “apartheid state” if US-sponsored efforts to reach an Israeli-Palestinian peace settlement fail.

      In an apparent sign of Kerry’s deep frustration over the almost certain collapse of the current nine-month round of peace talks – due to conclude on Tuesday – he blamed both sides for the lack of progress and said failure could lead to a resumption of Palestinian violence against Israeli citizens.

    • Ukraine mayor Gennady Kernes fighting for life after being shot

      Kharkiv mayor, who was key figure in ex-president Yanukovych’s party, shot in the back while on his way for morning swim

    • Pulitzer Prize – winner Chris Hedges: Using fake evidence is usual Washington tactic

      The crisis in Ukraine and the steadily dropping temperature in relations between Moscow and Washington made many talk about a new Cold War; and many others are worried it may turn ‘hot’. But there’s another war going on right now: the information war. US Secretary of State Kerry has already attacked RT, calling it “Putin’s propaganda machine.” But Washington itself uses dubious evidence and fake facts. What is the information war? What methods is America using? Sophie talks to Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and veteran correspondent Chris Hedges.

    • Obama Plays With Fire in Ukraine

      Since Ukraine is not (yet) a member of NATO, the U.S. government would not have the same formal obligation to intervene should a shooting war break out between Ukraine and Russia. But what if something happens between Russia and Poland or one of the Baltic states? Under Article 5 of the NATO treaty, an attack on one member is regarded as an attack on all. But it also says,

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • This cash for grouse scandal shows how Britain has become a plutocrats’ paradise

      So now you might have to buy your own crutches, but you’ll get your shotgun subsidised by the state. A few days after it was revealed that an NHS group is considering charging patients for the crutches, walking sticks and neck braces it issues, we discovered that David Cameron has intervened to keep the cost of gun licences frozen at £50: a price that hasn’t changed since 2001.

      The police are furious: it costs them £196 to conduct the background checks required to ensure shotguns are issued only to the kind of dangerous lunatics who use them for mowing down pheasants, rather than to the common or garden variety. As a result they – sorry, we – lose £17m a year, by subsidising the pursuits of the exceedingly rich.

  • Censorship

    • Parents call cops on teen for giving away banned book; it backfires predictably

      Parents in Idaho called the cops last week on junior-high student Brady Kissel when she had the nerve to help distribute a book they’d succeeded in banning from the school curriculum.

    • YouTube deletes Stefan Molyneux´s liberty minded channel

      It appears as though Google run YouTube is targeting popular channels that promote freedom and liberty by deleting them and all their content off it´s servers.

      [...]

      In the past we have seen this happen to Russia Today a very popular english speaking news channel having their youtube channel cancelled twice and a Ron Paul promoting channel also deleted.

  • Privacy

    • New surveillance techniques raise privacy concerns

      A report from the Center for Investigative Reporting and KQED delves into a wide-scale surveillance system being developed for police forces. How can the trade off between safety and privacy be negotiated as technology gets more and more sophisticated?

  • Civil Rights

    • How to Disappear a Mentally Ill Grandmother: Throw Her in Solitary

      Her cell was so dirty that a sock rotted into an open wound on her foot. For two and a half years, she didn’t have a bed. She slept on a mat on the floor. She bled on herself, because the jail denied her sanitary napkins.

      Jan Green, a 51-year-old grandmother, never even stood trial. Because of the dramatic mood swings and psychosis associated with her bipolar disorder, Green was found unfit to stand trial – which meant that she should’ve been hospitalized to get the intensive mental health care she needed.

    • Egyptian judge sentences 720 men to death

      In a similar but separate case, the same judge then upheld the death sentences of 37 of 529 men he notoriously ordered to hang last month, bringing the total number of death sentences to 720. The remaining 492 had their sentences commuted to 25-year jail terms. All cases are subject to further appeals.

    • NYT to SCOTUS: Cops should get warrant before searching your cellphone after arrest
    • Smartphones and the 4th Amendment

      More than 90 percent of American adults own a mobile phone, and more than half of the devices are smartphones. But “smartphone” is a misnomer. They are personal computers that happen to include a phone function, and like any computer they can store or wirelessly retrieve enormous amounts of personal information: emails, photos and videos; document files; financial and medical records; and virtually everywhere a person has been.

Microsoft Killed Nokia, Turned It Into a Pile of Android-hostile Patents

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 2:58 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Surely a ‘new’ Microsoft

Satya Ballmer
Satya Ballmer

Summary: Stacking patents with patent trolls and Apple (including Nokia patents) the strategy Microsoft currently has against Linux/Android

MICROSOFT keeps on killing companies, having left a long line of carcasses at the entrance of its cave. People who haven’t been paying attention might carry on observing, not participating, keeping apathetic towards the destructive force which is Microsoft. “I was expecting them to go under more than 10 years ago,” writes iophk, “but they seem to keep getting government contracts and finding ways to block competitors.”

“Nokia is currently being buried with yet “more revisionism”, as iophk calls it.”Microsoft’s latest big victim is Nokia, which was killed after a Microsoft mole had been put in charge of it. According to this, Microsoft now uses Nokia to spread its spyware and surveillance platforms. As Jim Lynch put it the other day: “I can’t help but wonder about the wisdom of blending elements from Windows Phone into Android. The two mobile operating systems are so different that it might come across as a franken-os that just doesn’t fit together properly. If somebody really wants the Windows Phone user interface then doesn’t it make more sense for them to just buy a Windows Phone and skip Microsoft’s Android phones altogether?”

Nokia is currently being buried with yet “more revisionism”, as iophk calls it. Writers at CNET (part of CBS) are not blaming Microsoft and Windows, only blaming or accusing in hindsight what was actually working out much better (Linux). Since Android (Linux) is now victorious we know that Nokia had much better options, but CNET reports give Elop (the Microsoft Trojan horse) a platform and one article is titled “Microsoft’s Elop: Nokia brand soon to vanish from smartphones” (so much for loyalty to Nokia).

Nokia is soon going to be just a pile of patents for trolls to tax phones with, especially Android phones (Nokia and Apple have patent peace and Nokia is becoming part of Microsoft). Microsoft has already fed some of these patents to trolls.

It is easy to see what Apple and Microsoft are trying to achieve here. Microsoft has hidden its financial problems for a number of years and Apple too is going down the same route. Android is eating Apple’s lunch and Microsoft is not even a contender, so Microsoft is passing prohibitive costs to Linux-powered phones, through trolls and partners such as Apple. It’s a strategy known as patent-stacking and it should be treated as a antitrust violation.

Patent litigation has cost as much as a trillion dollars in a quarter century based on some new research from James Bessen. As Glyn Moody put it:

Techdirt recently wrote about the ever-growing flood of patents being granted by the USPTO. As we’ve emphasized, more patents do not mean more innovation; nor do they necessarily lead to greater overall benefits for business. That’s clear in an important new paper from a team including James Bessen, whose work has been mentioned here several times before. It builds on the approach described in the 2008 book “Patent Failure” by James Bessen and Michael Meurer, and seeks to estimate both the private costs and private benefits accruing from patents in the US during the years 1984 to 2009.

In the coming years watch how Microsoft uses Nokia not just to interfere with Android markets but also with the price of Android, using patents that it is passing to patent trolls. Nokia is the newer Novell.

Novell Receives One Last Punch From Microsoft After Microsoft Took Novell’s Patents

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, Patents at 2:34 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Legacy of Novell’s worst CEO, Ron Hovsepian

Ron Hovsepian confused

Summary: The WordPerfect case gets trashed decades after Microsoft’s abuses and 8 years after Microsoft paid Novell to become its puppy

SEVERAL years ago we wrote a lot about CPTN. As we explained CPTN at the time, it was the passage of Novell patents to Microsoft after Microsoft had bribed Novell to stop competing against Microsoft and instead damage everything GNU/Linux by casting the shadow of Microsoft patents. There are many other things that Microsoft’s bribery had achieved, such as OOXML promotion, Silverlight promotion, .NET promotion, Hyper-V promotion, etc. Novell basically became an extension of Microsoft, whereupon we called for a boycott of Novell.

According to this new report, the corporations-leaning “U.S. Supreme Court ended a lawsuit that accused Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) of illegally protecting its Windows computer operating system from competition 20 years ago by undercutting a rival word-processing program.”

WordPerfect was acquired by Novell and this case does the software a great disservice and injustice. It shows, once again, that Microsoft is able to get away with crimes as long as it can drag its accusers through the mud, driving them to bankruptcy or simply bribing them (Microsoft bribed numerous companies in recent years to not challenge Microsoft’s criminal racketeering strategy).

There is a timely article in the open source column this week. It says that “Microsoft may still have an ability to slap its name on a box and sell things better than most, but to say ‘we are the only ones’ flies in the face of collaboration, more logical ways of working, and – without wishing to get too po-faced – the greater good.”

Let’s face it. Microsoft has not changed. It only changed its marketing a slight bit. Microsoft deserves to be eradicated from this world. The sooner, the better. Microsoft is a destructive force.

Boosters of Development for Microsoft

Posted in Bill Gates, Deception, Microsoft at 2:13 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Controlling information by controlling tools of dissemination

Rupert Murdoch with Bill Gates

Summary: Indoctrination and control, as well as the habitual revisionism, help ensure that Microsoft just won’t go away very soon

Development for Microsoft is silly at best and irresponsible by most assessments that take into account Microsoft’s criminal track record and role in espionage. Harry McCracken, a Microsoft-bribed booster who has worked with Microsoft development tools, is currently propping up the idea that BASIC is what “Made Computers Personal” (published in widely-distributed corporate press). This is revisionism — the kind of revisionism that helps Microsoft portray itself as the ‘inventor’ of PCs. We should reject such Gates-led revisionism. The truth is, Microsoft and Gates stole, sabotaged, and subverted personal computing. In the public sector, Gates and Microsoft still turn computers into surveillance devices (used against their so-called ‘users’) and based on these new announcements from Microsoft, lobbying by Bill Gates (pressuring politicians and pulling strings) leads to yet more government subsidies for Microsoft, including the use of teachers as agents of indoctrination for Microsoft (or salespeople of Microsoft). This isn’t only outrageous; it should be treated as corrupt and even criminal. As many politicians are badly informed about the true role of Bill Gates in computing, the lobbying works.

“…lobbying by Bill Gates (pressuring politicians and pulling strings) leads to yet more government subsidies for Microsoft, including the use of teachers as agents of indoctrination for Microsoft (or salespeople of Microsoft).”It is truly sad that Microsoft training and development indoctrination is making its way into the obligatory public sector (schools), and owing to Microsoft-tied subsidies to Xamarin and turncoats like Miguel de Icaza, it is also making its way into Microsoft competitors, notably UNIX and GNU/Linux. Microsoft must be very proud of de Icaza for saying yesterday that:

As promised, we are now tracking the Unix-friendly Roslyn port on Mono’s GitHub Organization.

What the world needs to do it move away from Microsoft APIs, not spread them to more platforms. Boosters of .NET, BASIC etc. are ensuring that we stay locked in and enslaved to Microsoft. To them, this is evidently a goal.

« Previous Page« Previous entries « Previous Page · Next Page » Next entries »Next Page »

Further Recent Posts

RSS 64x64RSS Feed: subscribe to the RSS feed for regular updates

Home iconSite Wiki: You can improve this site by helping the extension of the site's content

Home iconSite Home: Background about the site and some key features in the front page

Chat iconIRC Channels: Come and chat with us in real time

New to This Site? Here Are Some Introductory Resources

No

Mono

ODF

Samba logo






We support

End software patents

GPLv3

GNU project

BLAG

EFF bloggers

Comcast is Blocktastic? SavetheInternet.com



Recent Posts