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08.13.14

Reader’s Article: Skype Spying Reaches New Levels of Blatant

Posted in Microsoft at 4:10 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Shortly after the CIA got caught remotely taking screenshots of Senate desktops in the process of preparing a report on torture

Senate spying

Summary: Forced ‘upgrades’ of Skype give useds [sic.] of Skype more than they asked for

I have caught Skype in the most egregious example of spying I have seen from any software except stealthily delivered Trojans.

Last evening, I had a c2c conversation with a friend. After we disconnected, she texted me that she could see my computer desktop, and told me what I was doing on my computer.

I did not even realize that Skype had the capability to see my desktop – and the fact that it not only sees, but is shipping it over the Internet…

“The system is overall heavily secured, and while I knew there was a risk to Skype, I had no idea the danger was so great – and many people with whom I correspond use it, so I do too.”This goes beyond any reasonable limits into what can only be described as willfully criminal activity.

This was the new version 4.3 of Skype running on Mageia 4 64 bit. The system is overall heavily secured, and while I knew there was a risk to Skype, I had no idea the danger was so great – and many people with whom I correspond use it, so I do too.

I have uninstalled it. Until such time as I can convince those people with whom I must communicate to use another platform, I must use it. So I have deployed a virtual machine just for Skype. It can spy on that; the machine will be empty but for it.

I am, however, trying to get the word out. It may be that MSFT won’t care, but a good old fashioned shitstorm might be beneficial.

The Problem is Software Patents (and Scope), Not Patent Trolls Who Abuse Them Just Like Large Corporations

Posted in Apple, Microsoft, Patents at 3:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Just as weapons proliferation is an issue, not merely those who may use them

Fallout shelter

Summary: Reminder of the dangers of losing sight of the real patent problem, which is the patents themselves, not necessarily those who use them

Abusive, frivolous lawsuits against Linux by Apple and by Microsoft should make it perfectly clear that not only patent trolls are the problem. TechDirt now focuses on Innovative Display Technologies, noting that it is a troll, but what about Microsoft and Apple? Are they any better just because there are a few products coming out from them? Or because they are not based in Texas only for the purpose of litigation? As TechDirt points out, “Innovative Technologies, LLC of Austin, Texas doesn’t make any products or even have its own website. What it does have, however, is a handful of weaponized patents its parent company, Acacia, acquired from “we’re not a patent troll” Rambus. It’s using a handful of display-related patents to sue anyone who utilizes an integrated LCD screen. Its latest targets are cell phone distributors like Verizon, AT&T and Apple, but other lawsuits have also been filed against auto manufacturers (Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz, Mazda), camera companies (Canon, Nikon) and GPS suppliers (TomTom, Garmin).”

“It is not too shocking to find that lobby groups of corporations would rather divert all the attention to trolls in an effort to distract constructive debates.”But how is this troll different from Apple and Microsoft? All of them abusively sue companies that succeed at selling products, usually in very large numbers. The problem here is the patent themselves, not the person or the entity using them. “Software patents called into question” is the title of this new article that mostly quotes patent lawyers (like asking BP and Shell about green/alternative energy sources) but at least, quite correctly, contends that software patents (the favourite weapon of patent trolls) are now in trouble. To quote from one among 3 pages that largely contain quotes from patent lawyers: “Last month’s Supreme Court decision in the case of Alice Corp. Pty. Ltd. vs. CLS Bank International is one of the more interesting findings applicable to businesspeople among software cases, according to von Simson. It’s yet another decision showing that software patents are being cut back.”

Techrights has consistently opposed the line of reform that goes after trolls rather than the real problem, which is rather clear to see and very simple to resolve (provided corporations, which control the US government, wish to resolve it). It is not too shocking to find that lobby groups of corporations would rather divert all the attention to trolls in an effort to distract constructive debates.

Fraud in the USPTO and CAFC Helped Apple Launch Frivolous Patent Lawsuits Against Linux/Android, Based on New Withdrawals

Posted in Apple, Fraud, Patents, Samsung at 3:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Inherent corruption in the US system has aided Apple’s assault on east Asian electronics giants that use Linux at the core of their products

A COUPLE of months ago we showed that in fighting Linux/Android Apple relied on the corrupt CAFC and the corrupt USPTO (never mind gross overreach by ITC with its xenophobic embargoes). There was no real review of patent applications on the face of it (there was fraud at the USPTO). Upon actual look at the patents in question the “Patent Office Shoots Down Apple Infringement Claims Against Samsung”, but not before a lot of damage (never mind legal fees) was done. As reported by an Apple boosting site:

Apple just hit a stumbling block in its second U.S. patent infringement case against Samsung thanks to a Patent and Trademark Office ruling that rejects some of the iPhone and iPad maker’s claims. The ruling targeted the summary judgement Federal Judge Lucy Koh issued ahead of Apple and Samsung’s trial this spring, and relates to infringement claims for Apple’s autocomplete patent.

These patent attacks are not going to work if enough money is spent by Samsung showing that Apple merely copies the competition (prior art). In fact, Apple already lost its biggest Samsung case and dropped all of its cases outside the US. It’s quite revealing. Can HTC claim compensation from Apple (legal fees and potentially other fees, as well as various damages to reputation and sales)?

Now that Android commands the lion’s share of the key market (85% of all sales, according to one source) all that Apple can do is lie and rely on trolls who claim “Apple’s resurgence” for some hits/clicks bait. Here is a new example:

In recent weeks, a drumbeat has grown among tech analysts that Apple’s iPhone is poised for massive uptake while Android smartphone sales may have peaked in developed nations. Also, Android is threatened in the developing world from a Google creation called AOSP, which strips out Google’s services (where Google makes its money) and lets any device maker avoid paying Google service royalties. This is especially significant in China, the world’s biggest emerging market, where AOSP is the top-selling mobile OS and which accounts for 20 percent or more of global “Android” sales. At the same time, various analysts have noted that Samsung is being squeezed by both Apple and AOSP, and Samsung may have already peaked in mobile, with 2012′s Galaxy S III representing the high point.

This is all speculative mambo-jumbo bearing the headline “Android has good reason to fear Apple’s resurgence”. Thankfully there is already a rebuttal to this, which says:

Partisan holy wars are part of the history of technology, and there have been few as bitter as Android versus Apple. While Android has had an amazing run of success over the last few years, some analysts are beginning to think that an Apple resurgence is at hand that could do serious damage to Android.

[...]

However, I also understand the need for a horse race in the media. Writers are under pressure to deliver traffic and page views, and a platform battle between Google and Apple certainly offers articles with compelling clickability for readers. And many analysts simply seem to go whichever way they think the wind is blowing without looking deeper into what’s actually happening.

Just remember that a lot of these analysts probably predicted Apple’s doom over the last few years, and now they’ve switched to predicting Android’s doom. So take everything they say with a gigantic grain of salt. I’m sure they’ll flip back over to the other side at some point in the future if they think it will get them attention, clicks and traffic.

Apple is not doing well and even people inside Apple (or fans of Apple) know this. The recent revelations about iOS back doors, the China ‘ban’, etc. are just some of the symptoms and contributing factors/causes. Hopefully, as Apple continues to lose market share, its ability to just sue with patents (frivolously) is going to diminish and the same goes for Microsoft, which is doing what Apple did a couple of years ago (suing Samsung with crappy software patents).

Investigation Reveals That USPTO is Corrupt, Time to Abolish It or Annul Nearly a Million Patents

Posted in Law, Patents at 3:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

More fraud and abuse in the monopolies-granting bodies that large corporations are utilising

Kappos in Center for American Progress
Photo credit: Center for American Progress

Summary: Corruption is found at the heart of the USPTO and the USPTO works hard to hide it, despite attempt by whistleblowers to bring this corruption to light

OVER the years we have covered many issues and scandals in the USPTO. Not only the copyright system is rigged (managed by and serving the large copyright monopolies); the USPTO is more or less the same. It is a government body that is run by corporations and their minions (like David Kappos). Some months ago we showed that the USPTO was approving 92% of all applications, which makes it little more than a rubber-stamping establishment.

Well, how can it be that so much prior art and triviality got overlooked by the Kappos-run USPTO?

Perhaps now we know.

“For quite some time now, we’ve discussed how the USPTO had a massive backlog,” says Mike Masnick, “and that former boss David Kappos solved this “problem” by getting examiners to approve more patents faster, mainly by lowering their standards and granting more patents.”

“Whenever we write about this, we hear about overworked patent examiners who are really trying their best. Except, it appears that the system is actually rife with abuse and fraud by patent examiners,” Masnick added, linking to a highly-cited report.

To quote the report: “Prompted by multiple whistleblower complaints, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office began an internal investigation two years ago of an award-winning program that’s been praised in and outside government: Employees are allowed to work from home.

“What the inquiry uncovered was alarming.

“Some of the 8,300 patent examiners, about half of whom work from home full time, repeatedly lied about the hours they were putting in, and many were receiving bonuses for work they didn’t do. And when supervisors had evidence of fraud and asked to have the employee’s computer records pulled, they were rebuffed by top agency officials, ensuring that few cheaters were disciplined, investigators found.”

Here again we see whistleblowers in action and cover-up attempts by the USPTO.

The attempted cover-up attempts show that rather than deal with the abuses the USPTO became very much complicit. Perhaps it’s time to shut down the USPTO in its current form and annul all the patents approved in the past few years, revising and reviewing them as they may never have been reviewed at all, just blindly approved. To quote Masnick: “So, we just wrote about the fact that there was apparently fairly widespread abuse and fraud by patent examiners, mostly those working from home, in lying about the hours they put in and getting paid for work they didn’t do. However, what may be much more concerning was the fact that the USPTO tried to hide this from the Inspector General who was investigating this. As the Washington Post notes, an initial internal report detailed many more examples of fraud and abuse, which disappeared from the final report that was handed over. ”

The whistleblowers at the USPTO deserve some credit and they remind us the importance of whistleblowers, who so often rely on Free software.

The CCIA's Matt Levy now admits in his belated disclosure that “my wife is a patent examiner who teleworks.” Teleworking has been the source of abuse, but Levy keeps chastising “The PTO’s Culture of Poor Quality Patents” rather than corruption.

“The problem,” he says, “is not simply a bunch of crooked people trying to get away with something. There is clearly a cultural problem at the USPTO.”

No, the problem is that the USPTO — just like CCIA — is serving corporations. It does not serve public interests. Patent scope is one of the symptoms.

We currently talk to someone who wishes to blow the whistle on the EPO but it trying to set up encryption. It is clear that the NSA and its partners in Europe have done a lot to deter whistleblowers.

Links 13/8/2014: Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.6 Beta, Tizen in Watches

Posted in News Roundup at 1:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Want a fulfilling IT career? Learn Linux

    How can understanding Linux enhance a career? This question is interesting because there are two drastically different answers. The first is the obvious answer that you can find through websites and studies everywhere, but the second is a little more subtle. And a lot more awesome.

  • How learning Linux can help your IT career
  • Desktop

    • Low Cost Chromebooks Force Microsoft’s Hand in the Portables Market

      Chromebooks, low-cost portable computers that run Google’s Chrome operating system, are quickly becoming market movers as sales are poised to reach almost 15 million units in 2017. That’s the forecast from Gartner researchers, which also reproted that sales will hit 5.2 million units this year, up 70 percent from sales in 2013. Gartner has also reported that the U.S. education sector is playing a big part in this, noting that it accounted for 85 percent of Chromebook sales in 2013.

      There are strong signs that Microsoft is taking this trend seriously, and we may see unprecedented prices on new Windows portables designed to compete with Chromebooks.

    • Acer Chromebook 13 has NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor inside

      Chromebook 13 is the latest Chromebook from Acer. It is powered by the NVIDIA Tegra K1 processor and is the first Tegra K1-powered Chromebook.

      The Tegra K1 is a mobile processor built atop NVIDIA’s Kepler™ architecture that features a 4-Plus-1™ quad-core ARM® Cortex™-A15 CPU. It is the same processor inside the NVIDIA Shield Tablet.

  • Server

    • Supercomputer speed

      It wasn’t always that way. Whizz back to 1998 when Linux was still clawing its way out of the primordial binary ooze and just a single supercomputer ran it. Jump forward six years and that figure had exploded to 291 of the top-500 supercomputers and Linux never looked back. Now, I’m no expert (we could probably stop the sentence there) in supercomputers, but the benefits of a GNU/Linux OS apply as much to your home user as they do to supercomputer manufacturers. There’s no per-core licence to worry about – which becomes a big worry if you have 3.1 million processors to power.

  • Kernel Space

    • Scholarships Help Increase Access to Linux Education

      What does a file system engineer living in Minnesota have in common with a woman from Uganda working on maintaining Linux systems and a research and computing scientist working at a medical university? They were among the five Linux Training Scholarship winners in 2013.

      Now in its fourth year, the Linux training scholarships from The Linux Foundation have become highly-sought honors by many of the most talented up-and-coming Linux pro’s in the world. With nearly 700 submissions received last year we’re very excited to review this year’s applicants in September (the submission deadline is Sept 2).

    • XFS Introduces A Sysfs Interface With Linux 3.17

      The latest noteworthy pull request worth covering for the Linux 3.17 kernel merge window is of the XFS file-system updates.

    • UEFI Forum Officially Announces ACPI 5.1

      While Linux kernel developers have already been working on ACPI 5.1 support since it brings ACPI on ARM, and there’s partial support in the Linux 3.17 kernel, the UEFI Forum today finally announced the official release of the ACPI 5.1 specification.

    • The Linux Plumbers Conference is almost full

      The 2014 Linux Plumbers Conference (October 15-17, Düsseldorf, Germany) has sent out an advisory that the registration limit is about to be reached. “We are very rapidly approaching our attendance limit, this year faster than in any past editions of the conference. We expect that the conference general registration will be sold out soon, possibly even within a few days. If you have a vested interest in participating in the discussions, please register now, to guarantee that you will obtain a ticket for the conference.”

    • Graphics Stack

      • AMD’s Radeon DDX Enables Hawaii Acceleration By Default

        We’ve long been monitoring the AMD Hawaii Linux support situation. AMD did provide same-day Catalyst Linux support for the R9 290 but took a while to get cleaned up. However, on the open-source side, it wasn’t until recently that the R9 290 open-source support got into shape with working 2D/3D hardware acceleration.

      • BPTC Texture Compression Support Lands In Mesa

        Last month we reported on Intel working out patches for BPTC texture compression support with their open-source 3D driver and as of today that support has been mainlined to Mesa.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • Phonon + GStreamer + VLC 4.8 Beta
      • KDE Applications and Development Platform 4.13.3

        Packages for the release of KDE SC 4.13.3 are available for Kubuntu 14.04LTS. You will recieve them from the regular update channel.

      • First Bugfix Update to Plasma 5

        KDE is now getting into the swing of releases numbered 5. Today we add Plasma 5′s first bugfix update. The release features KDE’s flagship desktop project as well as the base software needed to keep your computer running. Plasma will have feature releases every three months and bugfix releases in the months in between.

      • Kig on Frameworks!

        But the port to KDE Frameworks 5 is not the only exciting thing happening in Kig: the Google Summer of Code coding period is almost over and Aniket’s project about Geogebra support is in good shape, so you will soon see this integrated into the code; although we still need to decide about the right strategy to make this available to our user base. Keep tuned for more Kig info!

      • Monday Report: Old Style In New Form

        The basis of this theme is the old oxygen style, so he was able to reuse most of the code. Below are some screenshots of his work (without the Breeze window decoration).

      • KDE Frameworks Book Sprint at the Randa Meeting 2014
    • GNOME Desktop/GTK

      • GTK+ 3.13.6 Updated To Work With Newer Wayland

        The GTK+ tool-kit is out with a new release this week that offers a lot of bug fixes but also several new improvements.

        First up, the new GTK+ 3.13.6 release has been updated to support newer versions of the Wayland protocol. Beyond that as the only Wayland change for this GTK+ 3.14 development release, there’s Adwaita theme improvements, a faster blur implementation for shadows, and a variety of other GTK improvements. There’s a total of 37 known bug-fixes in the GTK+ 3.13.6 release.

      • GTK+ 3.13.6 Arrives with More Adwaita Improvements
      • Teachers explain why they’re ditching iPads for ‘much more useful’ Chromebooks

        As popular as the iPad has been for end consumers, schools have also been a major part of the tablet’s success. Ever since Apple launched the iPad in 2010, schools all over the country have experimented with placing them in classrooms or giving them to students to bring home with them. The Atlantic reports that although many institutions were initially satisfied with the results, many are now beginning to see the potential upshot of affordable laptops over expensive tablets.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

    • NI CompactRIO controller runs Linux RTOS on Intel Atom

      NI’s latest CompactRIO controller is supported by LabVIEW 2014 and NI Linux real-time for applications in harsh, industrial environments.

      This software-design controller provides data processing, custom timing and triggering, and data transfer from modular C Series I/O.

      The controller has an Intel Atom processor and a Kintex-7 FPGA for implementing complex filtering and control algorithms.

    • Media player dev kits run Ubuntu, Android on Cortex-A9

      Toshiba announced wireless-enabled development kits based on its dual-core Cortex-A9 “TZ5000 ApP Lite” SoC, supporting Ubuntu and Android 4.4, respectively.

    • Raspberry Pi based media player offers 1TB hard drive

      FiveNinjas has launched a “Slice” media player on Kickstarter based on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, with a 1TB HDD and a customized version of XBMC.

      UK-based startup FiveNinjas developed the Slice because the developers found it annoying when their media players became useless when carried beyond an Internet connection. Unlike most media players, the Slice ships with a 1TB hard disk drive for storing plenty of video for offine playback.

    • 12 Linux-Based Home Automation Systems for Under $300

      Home automation hubs have emerged as the tech startup product of choice in 2014, and most run on embedded Linux. The category has been re-energized with the dropping costs of wireless radios and embedded processors, as well as the ubiquity of readymade touchscreen interfaces in the form of Android and iOS devices. This slide show presentation covers 10 Linux-based and two Android-based home automation systems starting at under $300.

      Home automation systems have been around for more than a decade, but were usually affordable only to a few. Early Linux-based products include the circa-2002 CorAccess Companion, as well as later tuxified products from Control4, such as the Control4 Home Controller HC-500. While the HC-500′s $1,500 was a price breakthrough back in 2008, Control4′s entry level system is now an HC-250 model selling for under $500 plus licensing. You’ll find most of the systems listed here starting at under $200, with some hubs selling for as little as $49. Of course, you’ll likely spend much more than that on compatible smart devices, and equipping a large home could easily push you over the $1,000 mark.

    • Top 12 Linux-Based Home Automation Systems
    • Phones

      • Ballnux

        • Navigate using your Tizen Samsung Gear 2 / Neo with DMA Navi Watch

          DMA Navi Watch uses Google Navigation notifications from your device and displays them to your wrist. To setup the app you need to enable the notification listener on your Android Smartphone and your good to go, video instructions on how to do this are below. When your not navigating anywhere, the clock face works like a standard Gear 2 clock face. The App is available now to download from Samsung Galaxy Apps (depending on country and network availability).

      • Android

        • Android motorcycle helmet/HUD gains funding

          Skully has achieved Indiegogo funding for an Android 4.4 based motorcycle helmet with a head-up display, GPS navigation, and a 180-degree rearview camera.

        • Project Denver SoC will be the first 64-bit ARM processor for Android

          NVIDIA has revealed architectural details of the 64-bit version of the Tegra K1 System-on-Chip (SoC). Being developed under the Project Denver code name, it will be the first 64-bit ARM SoC for Android.

          The 32-bit version of Tegra K1 already powers several notable mobile devices, including the NVIDIA Shield tablet and the just announced Acer Chromebook 13.

        • Hurry! Aug 17th next closing date for Project Ara development boards

          Yesterday we reported on the upcoming and possible game-changing Project Ara. If you missed the post then follow the link to read our report in full.

          To quickly recap Google’s Project Ara is a completely new take on what a smartphone is. Google next year will launch a Modular phone which consists of small interchangeable modules (MOD’s). Each MOD will have a different purpose i.e. camera, identity, speakers and users will simply be able to change the modules at will and upgrade only the parts they want to upgrade.

Free Software/Open Source

  • How to Overcome Hidden Barriers to Open Source Adoption

    Even when procurement policies don’t rule out open source solutions explicitly in this way, they often still have an unintentional bias towards proprietary software, according to Mark Johnson, development manager at OSS Watch, a body that provides advice on open source software.

    “It may be that the way solutions are investigated by organizations actually favors companies that get license fees and are therefore able to offer presales support. Because the business models work differently, you may have to pay a company to come in and do a demonstration of an open source solution,” Johnson says.

    “What that means is that companies may need to be aware that they have to be more hands on (with open source software),” he adds. “They can’t just expect to sit down and watch a PowerPoint presentation.”

  • CenturyLink releases Panamax open-source Docker management platform

    CenturyLink, Inc. (NYSE: CTL) today announced the contribution of Panamax, a Docker management platform, to the open-source community. Ideal for even the most complex Docker architectures, Panamax gives developers a single management platform to easily create, share and deploy any Docker-containerized application.

  • OSI and Conservancy Announce US Tax Exemption Working Group

    Software Freedom Conservancy and the Open Source Initiative are pleased to announce that they are the founding members of a working group focused on tax exemption issues for organizations in the United States.

    Recent activity by the Internal Revenue Service in response to applications for tax exempt status have sparked a lot of interest and discussion amongst free and open source software communities.

  • Events

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • UbuConLA: Firefox OS on show in Cartagena

        If you are attending UbuConLA I would strongly encourage you to check out the talks on Firefox OS and Webmaker. In addition to the talks, there will also be a Firefox OS workshop where attendees can go more hands on.

        When the organizers of UbuConLA reached out to me several months ago, I knew we really had to have a Mozilla presence at this event so that Ubuntu Users who are already using Firefox as their browser of choice could learn about other initiatives like Firefox OS and Webmaker.

  • SaaS/Big Data

    • Eucalyptus CEO Marten Mickos Cozies Up to OpenStack

      All the way back in 2008, before it was a commercial product, OStatic broke the news about an open source project at U.C. Santa Barbara called Eucalyptus, which we described as “for implementing ‘cloud computing’ on clusters.” Of course, fast-forward to today, and Eucalyptus Systems is one of the most discussed companies on the cloud computing scene.

    • New Open-Source Tool Makes it Easy to Tap Into Docker, the Cloud’s Next Big Thing

      Your new app is brilliant; the code you’ve spent six months writing is beautiful. But when you upload it from your laptop to the web server, it just doesn’t work. You know why: your laptop’s is configured slightly differently than the server, and now you’re now going to have to spend hours — maybe days — figuring out what you need to change to make it run properly.

  • Oracle/Java/LibreOffice

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

  • Openness/Sharing

    • How the Open Source Election Technology Foundation is Remaking the Voter Experience

      “The commissioners and others don’t want the recommendations to just sit on the shelf but to get these recommendations into the states to move them along, ” John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project, said in an interview with techPresident last week.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Spain’s Ill-Conceived ‘Google Tax’ Law Likely To Cause Immense Damage To Digital Commons And Open Access

        Techdirt recently wrote about Spain’s imminent and almost unbelievably foolish new copyright law designed to prop up old and failing business models in the publishing sector. Mike mentioned that it was potentially disastrous for things like fair use, Creative Commons and public domain material — so broad is the reach of this new law’s “inalienable right” for publishers to be paid when snippets of works appear elsewhere.

      • Did Spain just declare war on the commons?

        Two weeks ago the lower chamber of the Spanish parliament approved a number of changes to Spain’s Intellectual Property Law that directly threaten the ability of Spanish internet users to contribute to the commons. The law introduces a number of modifications to copyright law that expand the scope of exclusive rights over areas that were previously outside of the exclusive rights of copyright holders at the expense of users rights and the public domain.

  • Standards/Consortia

    • OpenGL 4.5 update brings desktop like graphics on Mobile

      Special Interest Group on GRAPHics and Interactive Techniques or SIGGRAPH is the annual event where graphics industry professional comes together to unveil their tricks that they have been working on for the year. This year at SIGGRAPH 2014, as is customary for them, Khronos Group took the stage to reveal their latest version of OpenGL, OpenGL 4.5. The announcement also included updates on their OpenGL ES as well as WebGL, all offshoots and parts of the OpenGL standard.

    • After OpenGL 4.5, The Mesa OpenGL 4 Support Matrix

      Now that OpenGL 4.5 was released yesterday by the Khronos Group, while NVIDIA already has an OpenGL 4.5 driver, it will be a longtime before the open-source Mesa/Gallium3D drivers are able to claim OpenGL 4.5 compliance.

Leftovers

  • JFK’s Popularity Endures: John F. Kennedy Remains High in Presidential Polls, Surveys

    Todd J. Gillman of The Dallas Morning News observed that “historians rate Kennedy as a middling president. The public puts him on a pedestal with Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. His loving image has survived tawdry revelations and bookshelves of critical reassessments.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Dear Mr Cameron: US and EU politicians had been drumming up the conflict in Ukraine

      The British Prime Minister shows a staggering arrogance and frightening lack of historical perspective in supporting the neo-Nazi regime of the Ukrainian government, and luring the Russian Federation into a conflict with the European Union and the West by blaming it for condoning the shooting down of Flight MH17 on 1 August over the disputed territory of eastern Ukraine.

      Last month, David Cameron published an article in The Sunday Times that, in a series of sweeping accusations, marked a high point in interventions by the West which fuel conflict in Ukraine and, eventually, could drag Russia into a war with the European Union.

      Even before this intervention, US and EU politicians had been drumming up the conflict, first by helping neo-fascists in Ukraine into power, who then committed atrocities against the people of eastern Ukraine.

    • CIA Intervention In Ukraine Has Been Taking Place For Decades

      Of all the aspects of the current crisis over the NATO/Russia standoff in Ukraine, the determined intervention into Ukrainian political affairs by the United States has been the least reported, at least until recently. While new reports have appeared concerning CIA Director John Brennan’s mid-April trip to Kiev, and CIA/FBI sending “dozens” of advisers to the Ukrainian security services, very few reports mention that U.S. intervention in Ukraine affairs goes back to the end of World War II. It has hardly let up since then.

    • Sen. Nelson headed to Ukraine; says U.S. should arm Kiev government

      Sen. Bill Nelson, gearing up for a trip this week that will take him to Ukraine, the Baltic states and Turkey, departed from the Obama administration’s more measured approach and called for providing lethal arms to Ukraine’s military, which is battling Russian-backed rebels and facing down 20,000 Russian troops amassed along the border.

    • How, and maybe why, US contributes to Saudi police state

      On July 6, human rights activist Waleed Abu al-Khair was sentenced to 15 years in prison in the Saudi Specialized Criminal Court. Al-Khair was convicted of making statements to the news media and issuing tweets criticizing human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia. In addition, al-Khair is subject to a 15-year travel ban after his sentence is completed and a fine of 200,000 riyals ($53,327.65 USD).

      The state’s case against al-Khair centered around al-Khair’s establishment of and participation in the “Monitor of Human Rights in Saudi Arabia” — a civil rights advocacy group in Saudi Arabia. Al-Khair spoke out internationally against Saudi Arabia’s history of human rights violations and participated in several human rights defense cases — including the case of Samar Badawi, who was accused of disobeying the Saudi male guardianship system.

    • #IfTheyGunnedMeDown protests portrayal of black youth after Michael Brown’s death

      Many Twitter users posted pictures of themselves with #IfTheyGunnedMeDown to challenge the way the media portrays African-Americans. The hashtag was a response to coverage of Michael Brown’s death in suburban St. Louis over the weekend.

    • Droning On

      A botched drone mission in Afghanistan kills 13 civilians, mostly women and children. Pilot Darwin Cole, controlling the unmanned aircraft from a bunker in Nevada, watches in horror as his anti-terrorist strike becomes a massacre.

      One year later, Cole is a drunken recluse, ejected from the military with a dishonorable discharge, living in a trailer with “broken windows, [and] bottles in the yard.” He has lost his nerve, his wings, his career, and his wife and kids. He has been unmanned.

    • The Fallacious Human Shield and Collateral Damage Arguments

      If we apply our ethics, as Justitia, we would protect our civilians, children, and infirm, in Phoenix, Arizona, just as we should do everything we can to protect the civilians in rural Afghanistan, Iraq, or in Gaza or Israel. At the very least, we should contribute nothing to hurting those children. All civilians deserve the freedom from being treated like expendables by any military anywhere. Anything short of respecting that freedom makes us all terrorists.

    • Death in Gaza: Some Counts More Controversial than Others

      Determining whether deaths are civilian or military is the heart of the matter. “No other number is as contentious as the ratio of civilians to combatants killed,” Rudoren explains. So what is the truth, then?

    • Journalists are complicit in Gaza’s suffering by ignoring context

      Reporters seize upon the list of Gaza’s most recent victims, only to parse their death certificates for proof that they, too, did not deserve to die.

      “Journalism,” wrote the Swedish war correspondent Stig Dagerman, “is the art of coming too late as early as possible.” The dictum resounds in Gaza, where an eight-year Israeli siege – which has left this land all but unlivable – went woefully underreported well before Gaza was is in the throes of war. As Palestinian families again count their dead, that journalistic negligence, say human rights workers, leaves much of the reporting here dangerously devoid of context.

    • War Is Our Most Urgent Problem. Let’s Solve It

      Is there a more urgent problem in the world today than war? And when I say “war” in this post, I mean also militarism, the culture of war, the armies, arms, industries, policies, plans, propaganda, prejudices, rationalizations that make lethal group conflict not only possible but also likely.

    • Report: Obama told lawmakers that Syria criticism was ‘horse ****’

      President Obama recently told lawmakers that their criticism of his policy in Syria is “horse ****,” according to a report published late Monday.

      A member of Congress told The Daily Beast Obama used the expletive during a July 31 meeting at the White House just before the August recess.

    • Report: Obama Uses Expletive to Lash Mideast Policy Critics

      President Barack Obama did not take kindly to lawmakers from both parties saying the United States might not be facing the problems it is with ISIS had he armed the Syrian rebels years ago, calling the suggestion “horses–t,” reports The Daily Beast.

    • McCain Syndrome

      Senator McCain, are you openly advocating the dangerous weapon proliferation to your former deadly enemy?

    • Former CIA Officer: US Should Give Heavy Weapons to Kurds

      Retired United States Air Force intelligence officer and Middle East specialist, Lieutenant Colonel Rick Francona has told BasNews that the US government should send heavy weapons to Iraqi Kurds to fight IS Militants.

    • New PM Candidate for Iraq; 247 Killed in Battles, Airstrikes
    • US sends arms to Iraq – to solve problems Washington helped create

      The US is conducting air strikes and supplies weapons to help outgunned Iraqi Kurds fight off the offensive of Islamist militants. The Kurds are battling against extremists armed with American arms and nurtured thanks to America’s policies.

      The airstrikes aimed at positions of the militants from the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL, in northern Iraq are not expected to seriously undermine their strength, US generals say.

    • History Repeating Itself? U.S. Bombing Iraq While Jockeying to Oust Leader It Once Favored

      As a U.S. bombing campaign in northern Iraq enters its fifth day, Baghdad is in a state of political crisis. Eight years ago, Nouri al-Maliki rose to prime minister with the help of the United States. Now the United States has helped pick his replacement. But al-Maliki is refusing to go — deploying his forces around Baghdad and accusing critics of staging a coup. The political crisis is worsening as U.S. airstrikes continue on Islamic State militants in the north. President Obama authorized the strikes last week in what he called an effort to halt the militants’ advance on Erbil, where the U.S. has a consulate and military personnel, as well as to prevent a massacre of the Yazidi minority. U.S. officials have confirmed the CIA is also secretly sending arms and ammunition directly to Kurdish forces known as the Peshmerga. We are joined by Spencer Ackerman, national security editor at The Guardian.

    • Bush didn’t know anything about Maliki, but put him in charge of Iraq anyway
    • Barack Obama And George Bush: Flashback On Iraq

      “MISSION (NOT) ACCOMPLISHED …”

    • America’s past foreign policy blunders still haunt us: Letter

      It’s sad to report that “American exceptionalism” is a myth. The CIA sponsored a 1953 coup in Iran against a democratically elected prime minister that led to the Shah of Iran and finally to today’s Islamic government.

      How well did that work out for us?

      The George W. Bush war in Iraq against a secular strongman for the oil companies, Saddam Hussein, which led to a Shia-majority “democracy” there aligned with Iran now has tea-party types quaking in their boots over a possible Iraqi “caliphate” led by a radical Islamic group known as ISIS.

      How well has this “democracy at the point of a gun” worked out for us?

    • Former Chief historian of the CIA explains why he nixed a secret history of the Bay of Pigs

      In late 1984, not long before he retired from the CIA, Jack Pfeiffer filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for the CIA to release the classified five-volume draft history of the 1961 Bay of Pigs operation that he had begun as a CIA History Staff monograph in 1973. In late 1987 and early 1988, after Pfeiffer had appealed the CIA’s denial of this request, the CIA’s Office of General Counsel asked me, as chief historian, to prepare a declaration and later a supplement concerning Pfeiffer’s appeal for declassification and release of this top secret draft history. A few years later, I recall hearing that the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit had rejected Pfeiffer’s FOIA appeal and his entire five-volume draft history remained classified.

      I heard nothing more about the fate of Pfeiffer’s draft history until May of this year, when I read a copy of the recent US Court of Appeals denial of the National Security Archive’s FOIA appeal for the declassification and release of Volume V of this Bay of Pigs draft history. Although Judge Rogers’s dissenting opinion in this case quotes excerpts from my 1980s declarations, I have nothing useful to say now about the continued denial of Volume V. I can, however, provide some explanation for how it was that Jack Pfeiffer produced this massive draft history in the years 1973-1981 and how I came to review that draft in December 1981. I must rely on memory for this account of matters that took place in the 1970s and 1980s, since I am now retired and no longer have access to CIA records concerning Jack Pfeiffer, his history, or my work at the CIA.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Media Ignore Reports Debunking The Keystone XL Talking Point They Trumpeted

      President Obama has stated that he would not approve construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, which would transport tar sands crude from Canada through the United States, if it “significantly exacerbate[s] the problem of carbon pollution.” So when the U.S. State Department released its environmental impact statement concluding that the Keystone XL would not have a significant impact on climate change, the media touted State’s findings as justification for the contentious pipeline’s approval.

  • Finance

    • The Changing Map of Latin America

      Latin America is currently experiencing a brand of neocolonialism based on opening new possibilities for extraction. “Capital needs a reordering of territory – considering this as a type of historical-social construction – in order to continue reproducing itself, as much in terms of materials as in power relations, of accumulation of capital and profits. The ordering enables access on a large scale to certain types of material from the earth,” added Ceceña.

    • Is It A Shakedown When The Gov’t Does It? SEC Much Less Likely To Prosecute You If You’re A Big Campaign Funder

      In the past, we’ve highlighted some questionable activities by the SEC, which is supposed to be stopping financial fraud, but often seems to be both arbitrary and capricious in its activities. However, reporter David Sirota is highlighting how the SEC is much less likely to prosecute a company if that company happens to be a big political contributor, because, well, duh. This is based on some recent research by Maria Correira at the London Business School on Political Connections and SEC Enforcement, which found that there’s a pretty clear correlation.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • U.S. Government Tried to Alter Transcript in NSA Surveillance Case

      The federal government in June asked to secretly remove information from a high-profile NSA spying case, prompting outrage from privacy experts and attorneys, according to unsealed court documents.

      The documents recently released by the Electronic Frontier Foundation detail a government request to remove information from the transcript of a June 6 hearing in Jewel v. NSA, a case fighting the NSA’s surveillance of U.S. Internet and phone records.

    • What are the odds for Europe-v-Facebook’s latest challenge over personal data?

      The Austria-based Europe-v-Facebook has begun a class action suit seeking damages from Facebook’s European operation. It alleges multiple breaches of European privacy and data protection laws.

    • EU Lawyers Confirm ‘General And Blanket Data Retention Is No Longer Possible’ In European Union

      As we commented back in June, one of the key questions posed by the important ruling of Europe’s highest court that the EU’s current data retention requirements were “invalid” is: so what will the EU’s Member States do now? Will they simply repeal their national legislation that was passed to implement the EU Directive, or will they claim that broad-based data retention is nonetheless still possible, as the UK has done?

    • Cell Phones Need A Warrant, But Cell Site Location Info Doesn’t? Appellants Challenge Government’s Assertions

      The Supreme Court’s recent finding that warrantless cell phone searches are unconstitutional is already generating some pretty interesting arguments in ongoing cases. The government obviously wishes to mitigate the “damage” done by this decision by still doggedly pursuing data through warrantless methods.

    • Judge Gives DOJ Until The End Of The Month To Submit Declassified Opinion Containing FISA Court’s Justifications For The Section 215 Program
    • Did UK Gov’t Already Effectively Outlaw Anonymity Online With Its New Defamation Law?

      We just recently wrote about a report by the UK House of Lords that recommends ending anonymity online by requiring that any web services collect real names and information at signup, while then allowing users to use a pseudonym. The thinking, then, is that if there is a criminal act or other violation of the law, it’s easier to track down who’s responsible. As we noted, there are all sorts of problems with this kind of logic, including both massive chilling effects against free speech, and the simple fact that it’s not nearly as hard as some technologically clueless people believe to track down online users, even if they’re “anonymous.” Either way, this proposal is a big problem, and EFF spoke out against the plan.

    • DEA Paid Amtrak Secretary $850,000 To Hand Over Confidential Passenger Lists For No Reason

      We’ve already written about the DEA’s deep involvement with the intelligence community, including them being trained to lie about getting info from the intelligence community when it uses it to bust drug dealers — a system known as parallel construction, which is encouraged throughout the agency. We also know that AT&T (and possibly others) have employees embedded at the DEA to provide it with even faster access to any information that the DEA wants. We’ve also covered how the DEA often gets unchecked access to private information and has been caught circumventing laws to get medical records without a warrant. The DEA is also the force behind the NSA’s recording of every phone call in the Bahamas.

    • Hacker finds suspicious programs in Apple’s iOS

      Essentially, Zdziarski is accusing Apple of intentionally adding some services to the iOS firmware that bypass backup encryption and copy personal data that should not come off users’ phones. The hacker stated that to the company’s credit, Apple has made the iPhone 5 and iOS 7 more secure against everyone — except the government and Apple itself.

    • Hackers learn some new tricks at Def Con on avoiding surveillance

      Are you being spied on? That worry is a top focus of discussion at the Def Con 22 hackers conference. High-tech surveillance is a top interest for hackers given the past 18 months of news regarding illegal national surveillance reports tied to the National Security Agency’s PRISM surveillance program.

    • VIDEO: Surveillance impact ‘severe’: Jillian York

      Crikey politics editor Bernard Keane and Jillian York, Director for International Freedom of Expression at Electronic Freedom Foundation, discuss data retention and privacy.

    • Federal judge rules that U.S. can keep surveillance court orders secret
    • U.S. Can Keep Secret Phone Companies Helping NSA Spying
    • Judge won’t force U.S. to release spying program documents

      Despite public revelations about surveillance of U.S. citizens, a federal judge in Oakland said Monday that she will not force the government to release more documents about its spying program, including court rulings and the names of cooperating telecommunications companies.

    • Snowden critic resigns Naval War College after online penis photo flap

      John Schindler, the former National Security Agency analyst and an outspoken critic of Edward Snowden, resigned Monday from his position as a professor at the US Naval War College months after a picture of his alleged penis surfaced online. The professor of national security affairs announced via Twitter his resignation from the Rhode Island institution, effective August 29.

    • Are Google and Facebook Doing the NSA’s Dirty Work?

      Your Consent to Corporate Spying May Be All the Loophole the State Needs

    • Facebook Messenger App Creates Massive Controversy

      The new Facebook messenger app is creating massive controversy among Facebook users, with people practically coming to virtual blows over the new requirement. The main fight is between people who feel that the new app is a huge privacy violation and those who say the app is no different from those that most people already have loaded onto their phones. Facebook is demanding that users download the new app if they want to be able to read and respond to messages sent through Facebook on mobile devices such as smart phones. Facebook users are still able to get their messages the “old fashioned” way directly through Facebook on a computer.

    • Facebook is Facing Class Action Suit by Max Schrems

      Schrems will claim damage of around $670 per user who files for his support. It may affect 1.1 billion active Facebook users which is more than 84 per cent of its entire users base. So far, 5686 people are verified to join the campaign.

    • NSA Partners With Universities, ‘Model’ Legislation To Block Cooperation Fails

      The National Security Agency, now defined largely by Edward Snowden’s revelations about its pervasive reach into every sphere of digital life, is aiming to put a positive light on its work by growing its educational presence in universities nationwide.

      Five new universities were added to the NSA’s National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations Program. New York University, Towson University, West Point, University of Cincinnati and University of New Orleans qualified to receive the designation for the 2014-2019 academic years, the NSA said last month.

    • US can keep court orders, phone cos secret in NSA spy case

      The US government need not turn over a secret surveillance court’s orders or the names of phone companies helping it collect call records, because it might reveal methods needed to protect national security, a federal judge decided on Monday.

      US District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers in Oakland, California, rejected the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s argument that the US Department of Justice should turn over the materials, in the wake of unauthorised disclosures last year by a former National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden.

    • Did the NSA ‘create’ Satoshi Nakamoto?

      But do the CIA Project’s claims have any merit?

      As it stands, their argument is not very compelling. The meaning of Satoshi Nakamoto can be loosely interpreted as something that pertains to a highly organized and intelligent agency, but the name could also have chosen simply because it has a nice ring to it. And would the NSA really have given the creator of its ‘secret project’ such an obvious name? If the NSA really is behind Bitcoin, naming it “Central Intelligence” would not be a very intelligent move.

      Claims that the NSA created Bitcoin have actually been flung around for years. People have questioned why it uses the SHA-256 hash function, which was designed by the NSA and published by the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). The fact that the NSA is tied to SHA-256 leads some to assume it’s created a backdoor to the hash function that no one has ever identified, which allows it to spy on Bitcoin users.

    • Op-Ed: No, Bitcoin Was Not Created By The CIA
    • Partial hack of Blackphone unveiled at Def Con

      The privacy-focussed Blackphone has been cracked by a security researcher at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, though the exploits require physical access.

      The privacy-focussed Blackphone has been cracked by a security researcher at the Def Con hacking conference in Las Vegas, though the exploits require physical access.

    • Backbytes: Unhackable Blackphone, err, hacked
    • Blackphone rooted in just five minutes at DEF CON. NSA-proof? Forget it.
  • Civil Rights

    • An Even Worse Constitutional Scandal Than Iran-Contra and Watergate

      The latest break in actually may be more serious if the Obama White House didn’t know about it, which is probably the likely scenario. Although Obama declined to investigate the CIA and hold it responsible for its illegal rendition, detention, and torture program during the Bush administration, the Senate Committee report – which has concluded that the CIA’s harsh detention and interrogation techniques yielded little information that couldn’t have been gained by means of legal interrogation methods and that the CIA consistently misled the White House and Congress about the effectiveness of those methods – is more damning to the Bush administration than itself. The Obama administration would probably have little incentive to authorize obstruction and a risky break in of a committee controlled by Democrats to protect material that would mainly be embarrassing to a former Republican administration. In contrast, the CIA would have an institutional incentive to protect the secret history of its illegal and unconstitutional actions. Unlike the CIA’s harsh rendition, detention, and torture programs and the NSA’s phone monitoring program, which had authorization by the White House and/or Congress, an unauthorized CIA break in may mean the CIA is bold enough to go rogue in order to protect itself.

    • World class liars

      The Director of America’s Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, is a liar. He was recently found out in a mega-lie in denying the CIA’s illegal actions in “improperly penetrating a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing its report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation programme,” which he had rebutted with his hand lying on the area of his chest that would in most people indicate a heart beneath. But he has no heart beneath his lying hand. And no conscience, either. Which is why he was chosen to head the CIA.

    • The Rear-Guard Defense of Torture

      John Rizzo, the CIA’s former Acting Counsel General, is feeling the heat for his role in blessing what President Barack Obama has now admitted was “torture” during the Bush/Cheney administration. Rizzo went on friendly Fox News to charge that the (still withheld) Senate Intelligence Committee investigation report on torture reflects a “Star Chamber proceeding” and accused some lawmakers of “craven backtracking,” claiming that they had been briefed on the interrogation program years ago.

    • The United States and Torture

      Two of the things that governments tend to cover-up or lie about the most are assassinations and torture, both of which are widely looked upon as exceedingly immoral and unlawful, even uncivilized. Since the end of the Second World War the United States has attempted to assassinate more than 50 foreign leaders and has led the world in torture; not only the torture performed directly by Americans upon foreigners, but providing torture equipment, torture manuals, lists of people to be tortured, and in-person guidance and encouragement by American instructors, particularly in Latin America.

    • Guantánamo prisoner to publish ‘harrowing’ memoirs

      Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a Mauritanian who has been detained in Guantánamo since 2002 despite never having been charged with a crime by the US, is to publish an account of his experiences next year, detailing the multiple forms of torture to which he has been subjected and “shatter[ing]” the secrecy that surrounds the Cuban prison.

    • Mikulski Statement on Delaying the Release of Senate Intelligence Committee Study on CIA Interrogati

      “I strongly support delaying the release of the executive summary of the committee’s study examining the CIA’s detention and interrogation program until issues over CIA redactions can be properly resolved. The redaction process can be done in a way to protect national security without hiding the fundamental findings and conclusions of the report. To do otherwise is unacceptable. Given that this is such an historic report and oversight effort, I urge the White House to act swiftly to resolve these issues so we can finally share the report with the American people.”

    • Liz Cheney’s defense of dad is getting weaker
    • CIA shouldn’t get away with redacting torture report
    • Editorial: The full truth must come out on torture

      President Barack Obama has promised that a long-awaited report on torture during the war on terror will be made public. He has yet to keep that pledge, and the latest signs are discouraging.

    • CIA attempts to censor report into its use, abuse of torture

      The whole Intelligence Committee investigation would never have happened if it was not for the destruction of key evidence. In one key incident that has been revealed, a CIA official destroyed more than 100 video recordings of the interrogations at the centre of the controversy. That agent, Jose Rodriguez, was but one of several to openly defy investigations. The agency’s reluctance to hand over evidence to investigators has been the subject of some controversy. The report may detail exactly how recalcitrant the secretive organisation has been towards its own oversight committee.

    • Editorial: CIA spying on Senate crossed line

      The upcoming release of a Senate report on the CIA’s interrogation techniques in the wake 9/11 will not settle the debate over the agency’s techniques. Some will say that agency’s interrogation techniques, which have been called torturous, saved lives. Others will say the treatment of prisoners gained the United States nothing.

    • Obama Wants to Put Torture Behind Us, But It Still Haunts Guantanamo Every Single Day

      It’s taken over a decade, but the U.S. government is starting to acknowledge the moral and strategic failure of the CIA’s detention and interrogation program. In a press conference earlier this month, President Barack Obama conceded that “we tortured some folks”—a deliberate departure from the government’s well-worn euphemism, “enhanced interrogation.” “We crossed a line,” he said. “And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that.”

    • NYPD Officer Chokes Man To Death; Cops Blame Cellphone Recordings And People ‘Feeling They Have More Rights’

      In the wake of Eric Garner’s death via cop chokehold, the NYPD is coming under all sorts of additional scrutiny. This is in addition to the appointed oversight ordered by Judge Scheindlin after finding that elements of its infamous stop-and-frisk program were unconstitutional. Scott Greenfield has a very stark recounting of the incident, as well as a recording of Eric Garner’s last moments. (Here’s additional footage, which includes the officer who applied the lethal chokehold waving at the camera, as well as several officers gamely pretending Garner is simply passed out.)

    • NYPD Denies Request For Open-Source Counterterrorism Reports

      Chalk another one up for secrecy at the New York City Police Department. The NYPD has rejected a HuffPost request to give the public a look at open-source counterterrorism reports the department regularly shares with thousands of private security honchos.

      The department denied HuffPost’s public records request for open-source assessments produced by the NYPD Counterterrorism Bureau’s Terrorism Threat Analysis Group on the grounds that they could “reveal non-routine techniques and procedures.”

    • Outflanking The Murder of Eric Garner

      Those who are inclined to believe police will embrace the narrative that Orta had a gun and, inexplicably, decided to put it into the waistband of a 17-year-old female teenager while the cops were watching. Those who are not so inclined will see this as a set up, payback to Orta, and refuse to credit anything about this bust. In the absence of information, both views are speculative at this point, and reflect only the bias of their holders rather than the facts of what happened.

      But when time comes to introduce the videotape of Eric Garner in court, and Ramsey Orta is called as a witness, you can bet there will be questions aplenty about his being a criminal bent on demonizing the police, as if anything Orta could have done shooting the video had anything whatsoever to do with Pantaleo’s chokehold or Garner’s death.

    • DOJ Report Details The Massive Amount Of Violence Committed By Rikers Island Staff Against Adolescent Inmates

      Late in 2012, two mentally-ill minors were taken from their cells at Rikers and beaten by a shift captain and multiple guards, who took turns punching the two inmates while they were restrained. A jail clinician reported seeing one of them being punched in the head while handcuffed to a gurney. Another clinician said she saw staff striking the other while he screamed for them to stop hurting him. One of the two told consultants he was still spitting up blood “more than a month after the incident.”

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • A magic place of literary memory

      When tim Berners-Lee invented the world wide web in 1999, his proposal – presented the year before – was that “a global hypertext space be created in which any network-accessible information could be referred to by a single ‘universal Document Identifier’”.

      The idea was beautifully simple. On the server side, there were webpages written in a hypertext markup language (HTML) that followed simple conventions and rules. On the client side, there was a browser that was able to translate the HTML code into a readable format. The web of browsable pages was knitted together by hypertext links, which became known as URLs.

      Berners-Lee had an unfashionable vision of “the Web’s potential to foster a global village, not its potential to earn him a villa and a fleet of cars”, but he was not the first to have that vision. He credits his inspiration for the Web to Professor Ted Nelson, the man who coined the term ‘hyperlink’ back in the Sixties and described the whole messy concept in Dream Machines, published in 1974.

    • Andrew Cuomo Trying To Bankrupt Upstart Campaign Against Him From Zephyr Teachout And Tim Wu

      There’s been some attention (especially in tech circles) to the upstart primary challenge in NY against Governor Andrew Cuomo (and his preferred Lt. Governor Kathy Hochul), coming from law professors Zephyr Teachout and Tim Wu. Both Teachout and Wu have been in and around a variety of tech and internet issues for years, and are pretty well-known in the community.

    • Behind The Veil Part 3: Comcast Rep Confirms That You Should Always Record Customer Service Calls

      As you probably know by now, Comcast has been in the news quite a bit lately for all the wrong reasons. It started with a recorded call of one Comcast customer attempting to cancel his service before being passed over to a “customer retention” representative who had watched entirely too much Boiler Room. Comcast made a great deal of noise about how this wasn’t how they told their reps to conduct their business, which, thanks to the Verge’s call for input from past and current Comcast employees, was shown pretty conclusively to a complete lie.

    • Comcast, Time Warner Cable Spend Big To ‘Honor’ FCC Commissioner Overseeing Their Merger Review

      We’ve written in the past about the idea of “soft corruption,” in which the direct exchange of money isn’t necessarily obvious, but the very clear appearance of conflicts of interest certainly erode the trust of the public in the policy makers. Even when everything is technically above-board, these actions attack the credibility of the policy process. Witness the latest example. Comcast and Time Warner Cable are each shelling out significant cash to “sponsor” an event which is honoring FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn who, of course, is in the midst of a review over the merger proposal between the two companies. As Politico reports:

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • The Copyright Folly: Making A Living As A Creator Has Always Been Difficult, Stronger Copyright Doesn’t Fix It

        Dan Hunter and Nicolas Suzor (two Australian academics) have a great article for The Conversation, which officially is looking at the latest copyright reform proposals in Australia, but makes a much bigger point: Making a living as a content creator has always been massively difficult, and it’s foolish to think that stronger copyright will change that. Unfortunately, in a campaign driven by the legacy gatekeepers (who often do benefit from stronger copyrights), many artists (especially independent ones) have been misled into thinking that the internet is the problem and stronger copyright laws will fix things. What’s left out is that it’s always been difficult, and the internet has actually made it easier to build a successful independent career. That doesn’t mean it’s easy and many will still fail, but it’s not the problem of the internet and copyright laws being too weak.

      • Performance Rights Organizations Again ‘Protecting’ Artists By Killing Off Revenue Streams

        While attempting to do nothing more “infringing” than listen to (fully licensed) music, I ran into the sort of bizarre, pointless restrictions I thought only German citizens had to deal with.

08.12.14

Links 12/8/2014: Chromebooks Surge, OpenGL in the Headlines

Posted in News Roundup at 8:57 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Hidden Linux Benefits, Clear Linux Challenges

    I have tried and enjoyed a number of great Linux distributions over the years. Some were more popular than others. But the one thing they all have in common is each provides the end user with hidden benefits and unexpected disadvantages over proprietary desktop operating systems.

    In this article, I’ll explore what make the Linux desktop a superb fit for some users while providing thoughts on overcoming the challenges had by others.

  • Is Linux More Secure than Windows?

    When it comes to control systems, a common question has long been: Is Linux inherently more secure than Windows? Being a fan of Linux/Unix systems, I desperately want to answer “yes” to this question. During the 1980s and 1990s, so much of the work I was involved in ran under Unix. These days I run Linux on my home computer, and once a year I boot up a Windows XP virtual machine running under Virtual Box, to run my tax software. In the office, I rant about the lousy Windows operating system (OS) and ask why the world doesn’t switch to Linux. And as much as I hate to admit it, as a system integrator I am mostly locked into dealing with Microsoft’s flavor of the month operating system because of customer standards and the tools available.

    From the appearance of “Brain,” which is recognized as the first computer virus, in 1986, to Stuxnet to the Zotob worm (the virus that knocked 13 of DaimlerChrysler’s U.S. automobile manufacturing plants offline), one thing all these viruses have in common is that they were directed at Microsoft’s operating systems. However, according to Zone-H (an archive of defaced websites), in a statistics report for the period 2005-2007: “In the past the most attacked operating system was Windows, but many servers were migrated from Windows to Linux… Therefore the attacks migrated as well, as Linux is now the most attacked operating system with 1, 485,280 defacements against 815,119 in Windows systems (numbers calculated since 2000).”

  • TrackingPoint offers amazing AR15 rifles powered by Linux
  • The Linux Rifle, Benefits, and Netflix

    Our top story tonight on this Monday August 11, 2014 is Arstechnica.com’s hands-on review of a Linux-powered AR-15. Elsewhere, Matt Hartley discusses the pros and cons of running Linux; David Anderson attempts to answer the is Linux more secure than Windows question; and Bryan Lunduke posts his opinion of KDE Plasma. And that’s not all.

  • Desktop

    • Chromebook sales to nearly triple by 2017

      Google’s Chromebook might not be setting the consumer world on fire yet but its stocks are set to rise, with new research predicting sales of Chromebooks will reach 5.2 million units in 2014, a 79% increase from 2013,

      By 2017, sales of Chromebooks are set to nearly triple to reach 14.4 million units, with the main driver being the US education market, which currently accounts for nearly 85% of all sales.

    • Google Chromebooks eating into US education market, says Gartner
    • Acer’s New Chromebook Goes Where Windows PCs Won’t
    • School system CIOs are sold on Chromebooks

      David Andrade, the CIO of Bridgeport Public Schools in Connecticut, has deployed 11,000 Chromebooks over the past year and plans to add another 5,000 in the next 12 months. It’s a major deployment, but not unusual.

    • Acer’s Latest Chromebook Should Be Quite Powerful & Attractive

      The Chromebook 13 is Acer’s newest venture with Google for a Chrome OS laptop. Making this Chromebook attractive to us is its NVIDIA Tegra K1 SoC, which features four 2.1GHz processing cores plus its fifth companion core. I’ve been using the Tegra K1 extensively with the Jetson TK1 ARM development board and the performance is terrific out of the quad-core Cortex-A15 chip with Kepler-grade graphics.

    • Acer’s new Chromebook 13 offers a high-resolution screen and all-day battery life

      Nvidia is touting the graphical performance of its K1 processor, which outperforms the Intel and Samsung-equipped Chromebooks in Nvidia’s multitasking and benchmark tests. The company points to the quad-core processor design (most Chromebooks have only dual-core processors) and more powerful graphics processing unit as differentiators in the Chromebook world. Demos of the 3D rendering capabilities were impressive in person, and Nvidia’s multitasking demo (which comprised of four open windows, streaming music, and running a script in a Google Sheet) did show the Chromebook 13 to be faster than an Intel-equipped model. Despite these impressive performance feats, Nvidia is confident that the Chromebook 13 will last longer away from a wall outlet than any other Chromebook on the market. It is also Google Hangouts Optimized, which allows for high definition Hangouts and multitasking at the same time.

    • New Acer Chromebook 13 looks to be the best yet

      Acer officially pulled the wraps off their latest Chromebook, which features none other than a Nvidia Tegra K1 processor, and boasts a battery life that blows away any other model on the current line-up of Chromebooks. There are three model options for the new Acer Chromebook 13, starting with the $279 model which has a 13.3 inch 1366 x 768 display.

    • The 5 easiest to use modern Linux distributions

      These are the 5 Linux distributions that I would recommend to new Linux users and to people who just want to use their computer as a computer and who aren’t that interested in getting too deep and dirty with their operating system.

      This list could easily have been the 10 easiest to use Linux distributions but 5 is a good number because it shows new users just where to begin yet still provides a limited amount of choice.

  • Server

    • Linux mainframe faces off against the server farm

      Should you deploy Linux on the mainframe?

      There are plenty of positives and negatives that make it clear that a Linux mainframe isn’t right for all IT shops. Two experts go head to head on how to decide what’s right for your data center: Linux workloads on a mainframe or running them in a distributed server environment.

  • Kernel Space

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Already Publishes An OpenGL 4.5 Linux Driver

        While the OpenGL 4.5 specification is fresh off the press and we haven’t even seen the Khronos SIGGRAPH announcement yet, NVIDIA has already made public their OpenGL 4.5 beta drivers for Linux and Windows.

      • NVIDIA Performance Counters In Nouveau Hoped For With Linux 3.19

        Samuel Pitoiset continues making steady, great progress on his Google Summer of Code project as a student developer reverse-engineering and implementing NVIDIA hardware performance counters within the open-source Nouveau driver.

        For months now he’s had a solid understanding of how NVIDIA’s performance counters operate and has been working towards exposing them in a NVPerfKit-like open-source manner and exposing them to OpenGL developers. Samuel’s latest update revealed his MP counter work was up to a prototype stage while today he has a new blog post concerning the approaches to exposing the performance counters in Nouveau.

      • AMD Kaveri: Catalyst vs. RadeonSI Gallium3D On Linux

        With the recently released AMD A10-7800 Kaveri APU I carried out some new benchmarks comparing the open and closed-source Linux GPU driver performance for AMD with their Catalyst and RadeonSI Gallium3D solutions. When running the open-source Ubuntu driver tests, multiple versions of Mesa and the Linux kernel were used.

      • Intel Adds Support For ARB_copy_image

        While OpenGL 4.5 was announced today, Mesa developers are still battling for OpenGL 4.0 compliance but at least they are now able to scratch off another GL4 feature.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments/WMs

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC/Qt

      • KDE(PIM) Ain’t Dead.

        Certainly not for any sensible definition of a project “dying” that I can think of. Now when we go back and look at my previous posts on this subject it is all too easy to think “something is wrong with the way we are now”.

      • KDE Sprint 2014

        Currently a KDE Sprint is taking place – which means 43 people meet in Randa (Switzerland) and dedicate 7 days in a row solely to KDE. Some topics are KDE Frameworks 5, gluon and many multimedia related topics like Amarok, kdenlive and KMix. I am attending to work on three main matters.

      • Volume

        Volume controls. Based on PulseAudio. For Plasma 5.

      • Randa Meetings sprint: KDE Frameworks Cookbook progress

        I’m so happy with what we have so far! The texts are just great, and the code examples will be updated as they are updated in their repositories. So if people planning a booth at a Qt Contributor Conference, for instance, wanted to print up some copies of the book, it will be completely up-to-date. Our goal is committing every part of the book so that it can be auto-fetched for reading as an epub, pdf, text file or printed as a book.

      • The Linux Desktop-a-week Review: KDE Plasma

        Some of it was… bigger things, such as the toolbars in KDE’s office suite, Calligra. Specifically, Calligra Words. The toolbars, by default, are on the right hand side. No biggy, they’re movable (and collapsible) after all. But they’re also really…wide, with lots of empty space.

  • Distributions

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Security

    • Security updates for Monday
    • Mobile chips face lockdown to prevent hacks

      Chip makers are adding more security layers to protect mobile device users from malicious attacks and code injection

    • How to Hack Nearly Any Wireless Device

      Nearly a century ago, the advent of commercial radio broadcasts gave birth to the first generation of hackers.

      [...]

      Silvio Cesare, whose day job is at information-security firm Qualys, showed that anyone with a laptop, a device such as a USB TV tuner and software such as GNU Radio can “capture” transmissions between a wireless key fob that disables a home alarm system as the homeowner arrives.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Iraq and the War Cabal in Washington

      With a series of air strikes beginning Friday and continuing through the weekend, the United States has gone to war again in Iraq. This new imperialist military adventure has been launched in defiance of overwhelming popular opposition and without a shred of legal or constitutional authority.

      The decision to launch a new war was made by a handful of strategists of US imperialist policy within the military/intelligence apparatus, in league with the corporate and financial elite. It was made behind the backs of the American people, who have absolutely no say in the policies, including going to war, that impact their lives.

    • Oil and Erbil
    • Yemen wedding party goof up: US had nothing much to lose; just $80,000 and a few rifles

      Yemen, Aug 11: The wedding party goof up by USA drones in Yemen last year continues to chart the top headlines of news channels even now, especially when the secrets of the airstrike are out. It was a goof-up for sure and that was re-instated when the US government did not retract on its statement that they hit the right convoy and killed the right person, including a terrorist Shawqi al-Badani. If the wedding attire of the members of the ill-fated convoy is not wnough, US top officials should have seen the Yemeni tribes (to which the dead belonged to) ravage the local municipalty office.

    • Back in Iraq, Jack!

      President Obama may want us to sympathize with patriotic torturers, he may turn on whistleblowers like a flesh-eating zombie, he may have lost all ability to think an authentic thought, but I will say this for him: He knows how to mark the 50th anniversary of the Gulf of Tonkin fraud like a champion.

      It’s back in Iraq, Jack! Yackety yack! Obama says the United States has fired missiles and dropped food in Iraq — enough food to feed 8,000, enough missiles to kill an unknown number (presumably 7,500 or fewer keeps this a “humanitarian” effort). The White House told reporters on a phone call following the President’s Thursday night speech that it is expediting weapons to Iraq, producing Hellfire missiles and ammunition around the clock, and shipping those off to a nation where Obama swears there is no military solution and only reconciliation can help. Hellfire missiles are famous for helping people reconcile.

    • Boys to men– ‘New York Times’ tally of Gaza dead says 15- to 17-year-old’s aren’t children

      On August 5, The New York Times published a highly problematic article “Civilian or Not? New Fight in Tallying the Dead from Gaza Conflict”, that presented information supporting dubious Israeli government claims that 900 Palestinians killed by Israel in Gaza, or around half of all Palestinian killed in Gaza in Israel’s current offensive, were “terrorists.” This assertion flies in the face of consensus reporting over the last month indicating much higher Palestinian civilian casualty figures.

    • Obama’s Pentagon Covered Up War Crimes in Afghanistan, Says Amnesty International

      The human-rights group reports the U.S. military systematically ignored evidence of torture and unlawful killings in Afghanistan as recently as last year.

    • AI: US military ignored evidence of war crimes in Afghanistan

      [JURIST] The US military systematically covered up or disregarded “abundant and compelling evidence” of war crimes in Afghanistan, Amnesty International (AI) [advocay website] reported [PDF] Monday. The report, entitled “Afghanistan: Left in the dark: Failures of accountability for civilian casualties caused by international military operations in Afghanistan,” examines the record of accountability for civilian deaths caused by international military operations in the five-year period from 2009 to 2013. The report focuses, in particular, on the poor performance of the US government in investigating possible war crimes and in prosecuting those suspected of criminal responsibility for such crimes.

    • Amnesty International Report Details Crimes by US/NATO Forces in Afghanistan

      Thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed by United States and NATO military forces since 2001, but, according to Amnesty International, there have been only six cases in which the US military has “criminally prosecuted” officers for “unlawfully killing civilians.”

    • Amnesty slams US’ ‘poor record’ of probing civilian killings in Afghanistan

      Amnesty International has accused the US military of a lack of accountability for Afghan civilian deaths. A newly released report finds that thousands of civilians have been left without justice. DW examines the issue.

    • AI: US military justice system in ‘urgent need of reform’

      The US military fails to hold its soldiers accountable for unlawful killings and other abuses in Afghanistan, an Amnesty International report finds. The rights group’s Horia Mosadiq discusses the issue with DW.

      [...]

      In a DW interview, Horia Mosadiq, Amnesty International’s Afghanistan Researcher, explains why she believes the US military justice system – which mainly relies on soldiers or commanders to report possible human rights violations – is flawed.

    • US sending arms to Kurds in Iraq

      The Obama administration has begun directly providing weapons to Kurdish forces who have started to make gains against Islamic militants in northern Iraq, senior U.S. officials said Monday, but the aid has so far been limited to automatic rifles and ammunition.

      Previously, the U.S. sold arms in Iraq only to the government in Baghdad, some of which would be transferred to the Kurdish forces in the north. The Kurdish peshmerga fighters had been losing ground to Islamic State militants in recent weeks, however.

    • Swedish dad takes gamer kids to warzone

      “We were sitting at the dinner table last autumn, and my kids started telling me about this game they wanted to play, the latest Call of Duty game, and told me about the guns and missions,” Helgegren told The Local on Friday.

    • First Take: When foreign friends become foes

      The U.S. government lends its support and trust to the political leader of a strategic ally only to see that friend turn foe.

    • US directly arming Kurds

      The U.S. government began directly arming Kurdish forces in Iraq who are battling the militant group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), sometimes called ISIL, according to The Associated Press.

    • Beware the World’s Leading War-Monger and Terrorist Organization

      The countries of Europe that are still part of the anachronistic, Cold War-era North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should listen to the growing voices of anger and alarm among their citizens who recognize that the United States, far from providing them with security, is stirring up conflict all around the globe (not to mention spying on, and probably extorting, their compromised leaders). Particularly in Ukraine, along Russia’s southern border, and in Palestine, these actions pose threats that could ultimately drag Europe into violent conflagrations that have not been seen since the end of World War II, nearly 70 years ago.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • NCAA Found To Violate Antitrust Laws In Preventing Schools From Sharing Licensing Revenue With Student Athletes

      It’s long been recognized that the NCAA sports setup is a bit of a scam, in which “student” athletes make various colleges a ridiculous amount of money — none of which actually makes it to the athletes themselves. In many cases, these are barely actually “students” at all. And while some of the athletes may later cash in by going pro, many do not. A few years ago, we wrote about a class action lawsuit brought by basketball player Ed O’Bannon over the fact that his likeness was appearing in an EA video game, and that the NCAA had basically violated antitrust laws in effectively forcing him (and all NCAA athletes) to sign away all such rights for no compensation. The case has gone back and forth over the years, but on Friday Judge Claudia Wilken sided strongly with the players, finding the NCAA had clearly violated antitrust laws.

  • Privacy

  • Civil Rights

    • European Court Finds CIA Interrogation Techniques “Amounted to Torture”

      While in Poland, the ECHR concludes, the CIA’s treatment of Zubayah “amounted to torture.” In other words, the precise techniques analyzed and approved by John Yoo and Jay Bybee and used by the CIA in Poland on Zubaydah, amounted to torture.

    • Torture report still incomplete

      California’s U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein is right to pressure the Obama administration over its heavy-handed redactions of a report examining “enhanced interrogation” techniques used by the CIA after 9/11.

    • The C.I.A. and Torture

      Worse, the C.I.A. has delayed release of the report with unreasonable redactions of important and relevant parts that could provide critical details on illegal torture techniques and agency mismanagement of an ill-conceived interrogation program.

    • How we lost our way
    • Holiday From Hell? Atlantic City Vacationers Describe Being Roughed Up by Harrah’s Security

      They are calling it the vacation from hell — a trip to Atlantic City that was supposed to include pool-side fun, boardwalk entertainment, and maybe some poker winnings, instead the Binns family from Florida said they were left battered and bruised at the hands of Harrah’s Resort hotel security officers.

    • Los Angeles woman punched by CHP officer speaks (w/video)

      The woman whose videotaped beating by a California Highway Patrol officer sparked outrage says she believes the officer was trying to kill her.

    • How a Squad of Ex-Cops Fights Police Abuses

      Allen E. Smith and I are sitting in his black Chevy Avalanche with tinted windows, staring out at a small deli in northwest Fort Lauderdale. It was 1976, Smith tells me. He was 28, an officer in the Fort Lauderdale Police Department working a detail that involved watching certain vulnerable stores for robberies. Sure enough, one night while he was crouching under a tree across the way, a robber overpowered the elderly clerk. Smith caught him coming out the door. The guy had a gun in his waistband. Smith had a shotgun. He pumped it and said, “Freeze!” The guy made like he was reaching for his gun. “So I shot him.”

    • Missouri crowd after shooting: ‘Kill the police’

      The fatal shooting of a black teenager by police sent hundreds of angry residents out of their apartments Saturday in a St. Louis suburb, igniting shouts of “kill the police” during a confrontation that lasted several hours.

      A St. Louis County chapter of the NAACP called for the FBI to look into the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, a predominantly black suburb a few miles north of downtown St. Louis.

    • Multiple investigations underway in Ferguson shooting

      Tensions are high in Ferguson, Missouri and a large police presence is on hand after a teenager was shot to death by a police officer.

    • NYPD Puts Terrorism On The Run By Ordering Twitter To Turn Over Parody Account User Data ‘Linked’ To Brooklyn Bridge Flag-Switching

      Apparently, the NYPD can’t take a joke.

    • DOJ: Due to 9/11 Moms and Kids are National Security Threat

      Migrant mothers and their young children detained at the border are being denied an opportunity to be released on bond, because of 9/11.

      Department of Justice prosectors are citing a 2003 ruling from former Attorney General John Ashcroft to deny bond to undocumented immigrant mothers and children — many of whom have valid asylum claims — held at a remote detention facility in Artesia, New Mexico that advocates say is ill-equipped to care for children.

    • Thousands of US Citizens Demand Dismissal of CIA Chief Brennan

      More than 42,000 people signed a petition of the progressive group CREDO addressed to President Barack Obama, asking the Department of Justice to press charges against people involved in spying on Congress.

      The CIA’s admission that a bunch of officials spied on Senate staffers is a prove that the White House has lost control over intelligence agencies, said the critics as quoted by The Hill on-line newspaper.

    • “We Tortured Some Folks”

      President can’t use the lame excuse that fear drove some people to violate the law and torture “folks.” The Geneva Convention Against Torture, to which the Untied States is a signatory, is absolutely clear on this matter. Article Two, Section One reads: “No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability of any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification for torture.” It seems crystal clear, and one might think a Harvard Law School graduate would get that right. Those who accept the President’s argument that fear made people torture others, should then be expected to understand the fear that drove North Vietnamese to torture American pilots – including Senator John McCain – as a result of years of trauma from relentless and criminal U.S. bombing over years that killed hundreds of thousands of people, and left millions refugees.

    • Could the ‘Torture Report’ help spare the Guantanamo defendants?
    • Impending ‘torture’ report fires up Obama, McCain, Feinstein and other politicos: Spy Games Update
    • Will We Ever Know the Truth About Torture?
    • Intelligence Community Warns That Releasing CIA Torture Report Details Might ‘Inflame Anti-US Passions’ In Middle East

      Of course, the response to McLaughlin ought to be “It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if you release a report like this, it might embarrass folks like John McLaughlin for his role in the torture program. It’s blindingly obvious.” And, really, if McLaughlin is so concerned about how folks might react to this program, perhaps he should have, you know, stopped it.

    • Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalists Show Solidarity with James Risen in Fight Against Justice Department
    • Pulitzer Winners Call for End of DOJ Pursuit of Journalist’s Testimony, Not That the Feds Will Care

      Given the way the Obama administration has treated journalists, they might be better off getting celebrities to speak out. Nevertheless, the Freedom of the Press Foundation has gotten 14 Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists to speak out against the administration’s terrible treatment of New York Times reporter and author James Risen. The Department of Justice has been trying to force Risen to give the name of a leaker who provided information to him that detailed the government’s effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program for a book. The government believes the source to be Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA official, and he’s one of the guys the administration has targeted under the Espionage Act.

    • Pulitzer Prize Winners Ask Obama Administration Not to Jail Reporter
    • Pulitzer Prize winners back James Risen

      Fourteen Pulitzer Prize winners released statements on Monday in support of New York Times reporter James Risen, who is refusing to testify in the prosecution of a CIA officer accused of leaking classified information about U.S. efforts to undermine Iran’s nuclear program.

    • More Than a Dozen Pulitzer Winners Call on the Justice Dept to End its Pursuit of James Risen

      Today, fourteen Pulitzer Prize winners have issued statements in support of journalist James Risen and in protest of the Justice Department’s attempt to force Risen to testify against his sources. Risen has vowed to go to jail rather than give up his source, but the Justice Department has steadfastly refused to drop its pursuit. On Thursday, many of the major US press freedom organizations will hold a press conference in Washington DC and deliver a petition with over 100,000 signatures to the Justice Department, calling on them to do the same.

    • Maine’s Colby College to honor James Risen

      A New York Times reporter who could go to jail for not revealing the source of classified information is being honored by a Maine college for courageous journalism.

    • U.S. government adding biometric files to terrorism database

      The U.S. government, with help from the CIA, is currently looking to obtain biometric data of some 1.1 million known or suspected terrorists, according to secret U.S. government documents obtained by online magazine The Intercept.

    • Awkward: This Democratic Judicial Candidate’s Husband Is a White Supremacist

      On his blog, he writes how he wants to establish whites-only towns, employing individuals from other cultures and races as spies in an agenda to shape America in his image.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Why Is The FCC Only Holding Net Neutrality Meetings In DC?

      On Friday, the FCC announced plans to host a bunch of “open internet roundtable discussions” as it continues to explore the rules that it will put in place. That’s a good idea… until you realize that all of the meetings will be held in Washington DC. And, of course, by doing that, it more or less guarantees that the space will be filled by lobbyists and friends, rather than the actual public. EFF is asking the FCC to get out of Washington DC and to talk to real people, rather than just telco insiders — pointing out that it’s done so before and can easily do so again.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Copyrights

      • Understanding copyright and its use today

        The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is regularly used to remove copyright infringing content from the Internet. In some cases the take-down is legitimate, but in other cases the DMCA is misused and things that are legitimately protected by “fair use” are taken down. Content creators can fight a take down, but doing so is usually a laborious process. Conversely, some content creators and consumers attempt to redefine or expand “fair use” to include any use they wish so they can use source materials without getting permission or complying with the law. But were things always the way they are now?

08.11.14

Bill Gates is Profiting By Diverting Public Money to His Own Pocket and Reducing Wages

Posted in Bill Gates at 1:35 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Bill Gates
Credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images, via the Financial Post

Summary: Gates’ lobbying for companies he is an investor of and for lower salaries inside companies he is investing in (and managing) comes as no surprise

BILL GATES is not a dumb person. He sure knows how to turn public money into his own, usually by playing political games. We covered many examples over the years. He invests his money in companies to which he later funnels taxpayers’ money. It’s an old trick. Just use euphemisms like “charity”, pay people to say so, and if the majority of people are lazy enough to accept such statements, then opposition is paralyzed. The Rockefeller family did this well before the Gates family. Gates spends so much money bribing media outlets, ‘sponsoring’ people in positions of power, stuffing panels, etc. that it’s hard to stop him. Some people are afraid to even try because they so often get labeled “jealous”. Sometimes they get stopped by editors and/or publishers who are simply paid by Gates (self-censorship and praise in exchange for future ‘contributions’), so voices explaining Gates’ deeds are generally suppressed.

Recently, as the corporate/business media serves to show (actually an advocate of the fossil fuel industry), people dare to criticise Gates’ practices. Here is one example:

Peter Foster: Bill Gates’ energy views are a turn-off

There are signs that Bill Gates — multi-billionaire do-gooder, Giving Pledge arm twister, and “leverager” of your tax dollars — is at last catching on to the nature and benefits of capitalism, although he still has some way to go.

[...]

As for Mr. Gates, it might seem strange that one of the world’s most successful capitalists might not comprehend the system that enabled him to become so fabulously rich, but it’s not unusual at all. You don’t need to grasp the Invisible Hand to thrive under its guidance any more than you need to read Gray’s Anatomy to stay alive. Also, successful entrepreneurs almost invariably have a sense of personal exceptionalism that encourages them to see themselves as different from their competitors (whom they regard as grubby and greedy). Finally, businessmen often imagine that the economy is like a gigantic business, thus what it needs is a strategic master plan.

This should mention how Gates profits from all this ‘energy’ lobbying. He is poised to make billions of dollars (public money or African debt) if his plan succeeds. When it comes to GMO, this has already succeeded. It has not much to do with ethics and philanthropy; it’s opportunism. Gates has already bribed some of Africa’s biggest media outlets (we gave examples), so a lot of Africans might not comprehend what’s happening here. Thankfully, some do break through the screen of propaganda, but they’re not in the majority.

Other corporate media Web sites, not some random blogs with some rants, have slammed Gates’ over his fantasy of cheaper labour and devaluation of technologists (Gates himself is not a technologist but a pseudo-technologist who studied law and did not even graduate). To quote USA Today:

Bill Gates’ tech worker fantasy

Business executives and politicians endlessly complain that there is a “shortage” of qualified Americans and that the U.S. must admit more high-skilled guest workers to fill jobs in STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and math. This claim is echoed by everyone from President Obama and Rupert Murdoch to Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.

This relates to lobbying that we alluded to earlier this month (the New York Times did the usual lobbying for its Uncle Bill):

Three of America’s richest men are fed up with gridlock in Congress and are urging lawmakers to get moving on an immigration bill.

Warren Buffett, Bill Gates and Sheldon Adelson wrote in a New York Timesop-ed column that it s time for the House to pass a bill that reflects both our country s humanity and its self-interest for the good of U.S. economy.

Perhaps more people need to realise that the pseudo-technologist and his super-affluent buddies merely pursue more profit for themselves in a highly abusive and systemic way.

Microsoft is Still Attacking Open Standards, So Khronos Does Not Need the Microsoft Moles

Posted in Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument, Standard at 12:57 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Khronos

Summary: Having attacked the industry’s document standard OpenDocument Format (ODF) while pretending to have ‘embraced’ ODF Microsoft is now pretending that it is eager to support OpenGL

MICROSOFT just won’t leave anything alone, not even its rivals (or especially its rivals). Microsoft is a maestro of “embrace and extend” strategies. In the case of ODF, Microsoft insists on openwashing so as to stop Free software and open standards. When Microsoft pretended to ‘embrace’ ODF it actually attacked it, and it continues to attack ODF to this day (2014). It tries to do it secretly, via proxies like the BSA. It is very hard to find out who is doing what because the whole affair is shrouded in secrecy. This secrecy is part of the design.

Dr. Glyn Moody tried using the law to impose transparency on Microsoft’s actions. He failed, but in the process he did manage to reveal that Microsoft was up to no good. Here's the latest:

This is really one of the most ridiculous get-out clauses, because it is so wide. The whole point of the FOI system is so that we can see precisely what is being said in these discussions, and to find out what companies are saying behind closed doors – and what ministers are replying. Although it’s laudable that the Department for Business Innovation and Skills got in touch to correct its response to me, it’s rather rich to do so and then simply refuse point-blank to release any of the information it has just found.

The only consolation is that whatever Microsoft whispered in the corridors of power to de-rail the move to ODF – since I hardly imagine it was a fervent supporter of the idea – it didn’t work. However, there are doubtless many other occasions when it did, but we will never know. That’s just unacceptable in a modern democracy.

What we have here is a clear reminder that Microsoft is attacking open standards in the UK. Microsoft bribed people to rig balloting processes all around the world and it tried hard to confuse the public by calling a proprietary format “Open XML”, using a lot of abuses to also put some stamps on it. Microsoft is basically diluting the brand of Open Source, just as with Nokia at the moment Microsoft is naming Windows “Debian”. To quote a mystifying new report: “When Linux users hear about Debian they know instantly that it’s one of the best and most popular operating systems out there. Nobody thinks that it might be a new firmware for a Windows-powered Nokia phone.”

Is that not a trademark infringement? Debbie and Ian would almost certainly not approve.

Going back to standards, what Microsoft has been trying with ODF, as we have demonstrated repeatedly, is an “embrace and extend” manoeuvre. It’s like “the ‘other’ Java” from Microsoft, to name just one example where Microsoft destroys rivals by ‘embracing’ them and then distorting them.

After Microsoft’s many attacks on OpenGL (there is no “Microsoft OpenGL”, but Microsoft did contribute to harming of OpenGL as a standard and even derailed gaming under GNU/Linux this way) we learn about this disturbing (but rather predictable) move:

Neil Trevett, the VP of the Mobile Developer Ecosystem at NVIDIA and also serves as the President of the Khronos Group, confirmed that Microsoft has joined the Khronos Group’s WebGL working group. Microsoft in past years has generally distanced itself from “GL” in favor of their own Direct3D API. Microsoft was originally a member of the OpenGL Architecture Review Board, but they’ve been out of that position for more than one decade with just pushing DirectX on Windows and leaving Windows OpenGL support as a bastard child.

Microsoft is hoping to dip its fingers in OpenGL so that it can better control it. Khronos oughtn’t allow the Microsoft moles in, assuming it remembers the history of what Microsoft did to OpenGL. There are promising new features in the latest OpenGL and OpenCL [1,2,3], so to let a dying platform like Windows show the way would be rather unwise. Microsoft wants to do to OpenGL (OGL) what it did to Open Document Format (ODF). Microsoft wants and needs lock-in in order to survive. Since it’s WebGL we are dealing with here, just recall all the damage Microsoft caused to and brought upon the Web.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. The Khronos Group Is Developing A New Graphics API From The Ground-Up

    Khronos announced a call for participation in a next-generation OpenGL initiative. The announcement reads, “Khronos announced a call for participation today in a project to define a future open standard for high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs. Key directions for the new ground-up design include explicit application control over GPU and CPU workloads for performance and predictability, a multithreading-friendly API with greatly reduced overhead, a common shader program intermediate language, and a strengthened ecosystem focus that includes rigorous conformance testing. Fast-paced work on detailed proposals and designs are already underway, and any company interested to participate is strongly encouraged to join Khronos for a voice and a vote in the development process.”

  2. OpenGL 4.5 Released With New Features

    Well, the next-gen OpenGL didn’t end up being OpenGL 5.0 but is being billed as OpenGL 4.5. Regardless, the OpenGL 4.5 specification is out now.

  3. SPIR 2.0 Is Out In Provisional Form For OpenCL 2.0

    Besides OpenGL 4.5, the Khronos Group announced from SIGGRAPH 2014 in Vancouver today the release of the provisional specification for SPIR 2.0.

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