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01.16.14

Microsoft Vice President Blair Westlake Quits Microsoft

Posted in Microsoft at 11:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Another day, another departing vice president at the company that made a pact with NSA after antitrust investigations over crimes

Microsoft has been losing a lot of top-level executives in recent years (we mostly kept track in 2009-2010) and here is the latest [1].

Citing this article from December, iophk (who gave the above link) asks, “is this an attempt to whitewash it of the association with Surface?

“Several tons of MS Surfaces are in the dump too, according to popular conception along side the ET cartridges.”

As we pointed out a few days ago, Xbox is losing in a very major way (to Sony) and Xbox (as a whole) has lost/cost billions of dollars to the monopolist (currently it seems like Xbox has a business model of spying on users in their houses through cameras and more [1, 2]). A lot of the Xbox management quit the company in droves years ago, leaving the product in disarray. Blair Westlake is just the latest to depart.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Blair Westlake Resigns from Microsoft

    Blair Westlake has abruptly resigned from Microsoft, Variety has confirmed.

    The former Universal television chairman joined Microsoft in 2004, to head media partnerships and oversaw the licensing of TV shows and movies for the company’s Xbox platforms. He was corporate VP of Microsoft’s Media and Entertainment Group.

KDE Needs to Tell Apple to Take a Hike

Posted in Apple, KDE at 10:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

“Why join the navy if you can be a pirate?”

Steve Jobs

Apple headquarters

Summary: One of the companies most hostile towards Free/Open Source software (FOSS) is trying to approach those whose work it exploited and harmed

Apple is a liar that has done nothing for Free/Open Source software except take it and then sue its original developers (and/or their clients). Anyone who still believes the fiction of Apple as an “Open Source” supporter (as their Web site and PR agents/fans try to tell us) is just not keeping a grip on reality and may therefore fall for this schmoozing campaign from last week [1]. Yes, Apple is trying to approach KDE developers now. FOSS developers should send Apple’s E-mails where the sun does not shine. Apple does many other bad things, but we need not look further than just Apple’s betrayal and exploitation of FOSS in this context.

There is a new article right now [2] about Apple’s abuse of patents and lawyers, showing quite clearly that the company has nothing to do with innovation. Right now Apple is just suing Linux backers and trying to stop antitrust regulators from doing their job. KDE should take this as a hint; Apple is a crude, dishonest, manipulative company, just like its mean-spirited spiritual leader.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Greetings from the Safari team at Apple Computer
  2. Apple Meets Its Worst Nightmare: Federally Appointed Antitrust Lawyer Hell-Bent on Doing His Job

    As detailed in a recent article in the New York Times, Apple is flipping out over an outside monitor nosing around in its business. The technology giant has spent the last several months pulling out all the stops to keep one Michael R. Bromwich, a Washington lawyer appointed by a federal judge to ensure Apple’s compliance with antitrust laws, from doing his job.

    [...]

    Most absurd, Apple claims that if Bromwich is not stopped, the company will no longer be able to innovate and create new products. What a hoot! If Apple was really eager to innovate and create new products, perhaps it would stop doing stock buybacks to enrich executives and devote some of the Mt. Fuji of cash it is sitting on to R&D.

    The judge who appointed the monitor is not amused by Apple’s antics. The NYT reports that at a Jan. 13 hearing in Manhattan, Judge Denise Cote “told Apple and its lawyers to stop wasting time and start cooperating with the monitor.” Apple’s lawyer retorted that the company planned to continue its fight to unseat Bromwich with an appellate court. This is getting quite nasty. The Wall Street Journal huffed that the judge was mean and bad, too. If only these people would go back to doing nothing and leave big business in peace.

Cable/Media Companies’ Conflict in Reporting (and Rupert Murdoch Really Hates Net Neutrality!)

Posted in America at 10:22 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: How the large cable companies, which also control the corporate (mainstream) media in many cases (or receive funds from the same sources), deceive the public on net neutrality

COVERAGE THAT we have found about net neutrality in the corporate media (media which is also in the business of cable, e.g. Comcast/CBS) has been superficial and deceiving, but almost nobody was as biased as Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, as we already noted yesterday. Propagators of “trickle-down” and “free market” nonsense are truly happy this week, but they try to at least appear as though they’re sympathetic with the public and they cannot just ignore the news (it would harm their perceived legitimacy). A lot of good coverage from bloggers and online rights groups is virtually being drowned out by disinformation from the corporate media. This is very bad. It may also affect a similar crossroad in Europe [1], which also debates net neutrality these days.

Consider decent coverage like [2-7] and then consider the corporate media doing its coverup [8-11] (ranging in strategy from defeatism to misinformation). The whole episode shows that by moving from the analogue world to digital we are actually losing our freedom [12] because corporations take over (e.g. MPAA in W3C).

The most disgusting coverage continues to come from Murdoch’s biggest publications. He continues his assault net neutrality with biased coverage [13], having recently acquired yet more news sources [14], and even used his propaganda channel, Fox ‘news’, to beam out endorsement of Obama assassination [15]. How can anyone get away with this? It seems like nothing, even crime like cracking a dead girl’s phone, can put such oligarchs in jail, ever.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. EU Parliament Committee on “Civil Liberties” Must Address Free Expression in Anti-Net Neutrality Proposal

    A few weeks before a crucial vote on the future European Regulation on the Single Market of telecommunication in Civil Liberties (LIBE) committee, La Quadrature du Net just sent the following email to all the members of this committee, inviting them to propose strong amendments in favour of fundamental rights to the lead committee on this dossier, the Industry (ITRE) committee.

  2. Will Net Neutrality Ruling Doom Education to Second-Class Status?

    The ruling this week by a federal court on the Open Internet (Net Neutrality) Order may turn out to be, as one commenter called it, “a terrible idea,” or, as another observer put it, a source of “a lot of overheated rhetoric.” Education, for its part, could well see major changes to how it’s able to deliver learning content to students online while at the same time positioning itself to become a major alternative supplier of broadband in this country.

  3. Net neutrality: We need a hero, from the unlikeliest of places
  4. As Expected, Court Strikes Down FCC’s Net Neutrality Rules: Now What?

    Almost everyone I’ve spoken to (on both sides of the net neutrality debate) more or less expected the ruling that came down this morning in the DC circuit, in which the appeals court struck down the FCC’s net neutrality rules because the the FCC had no mandate under the rules it used to issue that ruling. Basically, this is exactly what lots of us said at the start of this whole process. I’ve seen a bunch of reports overreacting to this today, from people saying that it’s “the death of the internet.” It’s not. There are problems on both sides here. The telcos absolutely do want to abuse things to effectively double charge both sides. And that could clearly create significant issues with the basic end-to-end nature of the internet.

  5. Net neutrality is half-dead: Court strikes down FCC’s anti-blocking rules
  6. US kills net neutrality, will it curb innovation?
  7. Wolverton: Say goodbye to the Internet we’ve known
  8. The Internet As We Know It Is In Peril. The FCC Can (And Must) Save It

    When the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit struck down the Federal Communications Commission’s Open Internet Order Tuesday—dealing what is being broadly interpreted as a fatal blow to net neutrality— it highlighted the urgent need for the FCC to develop a smarter and more assertive approach to protecting citizens and consumers in the digital age.

  9. Net neutrality is dead. Bow to Comcast and Verizon, your overlords

    The court did leave it up to the FCC or Congress to refashion a net neutrality regime. The new FCC chairman, Tom Wheeler, has made noises favoring net neutrality, but he also sounds like someone who’s not so committed to the principle.

  10. Why you should care about Net neutrality (FAQ)
  11. Net Neutrality Quashed: New Pricing Schemes, Throttling, and Business Models to Follow

    A court loss for “net neutrality” could mean either a new era of innovation or preferential treatment and higher costs.

  12. Study: Internet erodes democratic protections

    Claims that the internet will “democratize” the global village are not supported by research published in the International Journal of Electronic Governance. Instead, non-democratic governments simply exploit the networks to spy on and control their citizens more effectively and efficiently than they did before.

  13. A Victory for an Unfettered Internet
  14. Storyful social media firm bought by Rupert Murdoch

    Rupert Murdoch’s media company NewsCorp has bought Storyful, an Irish “social media news agency”.

    The Dublin-based firm has been acquired for $25 million (£15.3m).

    Storyful specialises in licensing and distributing social media content to major news organisations such as the Wall Street Journal and BBC.

  15. Fox’s Benghazi Expert Endorsed Assassinating Obama Last Week

    Days after he wrote a column endorsing the assassination of President Obama, Fox hosted Michael Scheuer to accuse Hillary Clinton of effectively murdering the Americans who died during the 2012 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya.

Interventions Watch: January 2014

Posted in Action, Africa, Asia at 10:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Stories about military interventions (analysis of the present)

Syria and Libya (Weapons)

  • Whose sarin?

    The absence of immediate alarm inside the American intelligence community demonstrates that there was no intelligence about Syrian intentions in the days before the attack. And there are at least two ways the US could have known about it in advance: both were touched on in one of the top secret American intelligence documents that have been made public in recent months by Edward Snowden, the former NSA contractor.

    On 29 August, the Washington Post published excerpts from the annual budget for all national intelligence programmes, agency by agency, provided by Snowden. In consultation with the Obama administration, the newspaper chose to publish only a slim portion of the 178-page document, which has a classification higher than top secret, but it summarised and published a section dealing with problem areas. One problem area was the gap in coverage targeting Assad’s office. The document said that the NSA’s worldwide electronic eavesdropping facilities had been ‘able to monitor unencrypted communications among senior military officials at the outset of the civil war there’. But it was ‘a vulnerability that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces apparently later recognised’. In other words, the NSA no longer had access to the conversations of the top military leadership in Syria, which would have included crucial communications from Assad, such as orders for a nerve gas attack. (In its public statements since 21 August, the Obama administration has never claimed to have specific information connecting Assad himself to the attack.)

  • Pentagon labeled Benghazi a terrorist attack as Obama administration wavered: newly declassified testimony
  • New York Times Report: CIA-Backed Militias Linked to Benghazi, Libya Attack

    The Times article, based on dozens of interviews in Benghazi, asserts that the attack that killed four Americans, including US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, was carried out by Libyans who had previously been allied with the US government in the 2011 war that overthrew and murdered Gaddafi. Times correspondent David D. Kirkpatrick writes that the attack was not organized by Al Qaeda or any other group from outside Libya, but “by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi.”

Ed: Reports from last year, which are based on leaks, indicated that Benghazi had been used to funnel weapons to Syria. The leak’s coverage started in CNN and as the British press put it, “The television network said that a CIA team was working in an annex near the consulate on a project to supply missiles from Libyan armouries to Syrian rebels.”

PJ Harvey Brings Guests to BBC

  • Julian Assange rails against surveillance on Today programme
  • John Pilger: ‘We Have Been Misled’

    January 05, 2014 “Information Clearing House – When I travelled in Iraq in the 1990s, the two principal Moslem groups, the Shia and Sunni, had their differences but they lived side by side, even intermarried and regarded themselves with pride as Iraqis. There was no Al Qaida, there were no jihadists. We blew all that to bits in 2003 with ‘shock and awe’. And today Sunni and Shia are fighting each other right across the Middle East.

Iraq

Africa

Eastern Tensions

  • China and Philippines: The reasons why a battle for Zhongye (Pag-asa) Island seems unavoidable

    Zhongye (Pag-asa) Island, the second largest in the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands, has an area of 0.33 square km, and is of great strategic significance for China if it wants to control a vast part of the South China Sea that it claims to be its territorial waters.

    As the Island is located roughly in the middle of the area, if China builds an air force and naval base there, it will more easily control the sky and sea in the claimed area.

The “Nazi” Smears and WW2 Recalled

  • Russian Human Rights Report Casts Europe as Land of Nazis and Gay Propaganda
  • Schools Have Become A Playground For Food And Beverage Marketing

    The vast majority of students are exposed to marketing campaigns by food and beverage companies at their schools, usually for unhealthy products, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Pediatrics.

  • ‘Hitler furious’ at Swedish minister’s satire mishap

    Sweden’s Justice Minister Beatrice Ask has been criticized for sharing a satirical article about legalized marijuana killing scores of people in the US and tying it to her anti-narcotics stand as a youth politician. Her critics did not hold back.

  • From Hollywood to the Headlines: Art Looted by the Nazis Comes to Light

    It is a story with deep roots: The chaos and destruction of World War II left a horribly fragmented cultural world: art lost forever in the confusion or destroyed in battle; art declared “degenerate” and destroyed by Hitler (whose opinions on racial purity were mirrored in his opinions on purity in art); art seized throughout the continent and carted back to Germany; and art stolen from or sold under duress by Jewish collectors. It’s now almost 70 years since the war’s end, but European authorities and the descendants of the original owners of looted art are still attempting to put the pieces back where they belong.

    Close to 1,400 of these missing pieces were found in the home of 80-year-old Cornelius Gurlitt, a recluse who has been painted by the media as tragic, bizarre and potentially culpable. He inherited the art from his father, one of only four art dealers licensed by Hitler’s propaganda chief, Joseph Goebbels, to purchase and sell “degenerate” art during the war.

  • Digging for their lives: Russia’s volunteer body hunters

    “There are so many unburied soldiers, it will take decades to find them. There will definitely be work for our grandchildren,” says Marina. “But nature is working against us. The remains are decomposing and it is getting harder to find the bones, ID tags and army kit.” The more years that go by. The less information there is.

  • Unseen Alfred Hitchcock Holocaust documentary ‘Memory of the Camps’ to be released

    An Alfred Hitchcock documentary about the Holocaust which was suppressed for political reasons is to be screened for the first time in the form its director intended after being restored by the Imperial War Museum, reports the Independent.

Links 16/1/2014: Games

Posted in News Roundup at 8:12 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 16/1/2014: Instructionals

Posted in News Roundup at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Links 16/1/2014: Applications

Posted in News Roundup at 8:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

  • Media Streaming with Top UPnP Servers

    A music streamer lets you share your music, photos and videos with your network. If you have a Network-attached storage (NAS) device, it is likely that you already have the technology built-in to share your media. Using a NAS is a neat solution as it can be left on all the time, consuming very little power. However, this is only one method of sharing your multimedia around a home network.

  • Group Video Conferencing for Linux Users From TrueConf
  • Janam Adds Linux Operating System to XG Series
  • Best Email clients for Linux

    In the age of mobile computing and browser based mails like Gmail and Outlook.com, most users won’t bother about opening up a desktop mail client to check emails. However, there are certain situations where desktop email clients are much better than browser based clients and help gain productivity at workplace. Linux desktop has a number of desktop email clients. Although, they are not spoilt for choices like Mac and Windows users but there are mail clients are as good as Apple Mail or MS Outlook. Below is a list of email clients for Linux desktop which are the best in business.

  • Persistence of Vision Raytracer (POV-Ray)

    Back in the mid-1990s, a college friend (hi Russ!) and I would put our old 8088 computers to work rendering ray-traced images for days—literally. The end result would be, by today’s standards, incredibly low resolution and not terribly interesting. Still, the thought of a computer system creating realistic photos from nothing more than math equations was fascinating. As you probably already guessed, Russ and I weren’t terribly popular.

CESG (UK Government): GNU/Linux the Most Secure Operating System; New Backdoors Released for Windows

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 7:55 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Summary: Entity associated with British spies says that for real security it is best to use GNU/Linux

YESTERDAY we posted some links about Ubuntu, including important news about CESG endorsing Ubuntu for security. There are not many reports about it, but there are some [1]. This is particularly important because although it’s unlikely that CESG and GCHQ don’t know about Windows being in bed with the NSA, it does in some way acknowledge GNU/Linux as the operating system of choice.

Just days ago it turned out that Microsoft reported serious flaws again [2] and the last batch of patches for Windows XP might be the last [3]. All that Windows XP will do from now on is phone home [4], potentially with very personal details. The latest patches themselves can contain new, specially-crafted (easy-to-exploit) back doors; nobody knows for sure, but it’s likely. Now is a good time for every nation to move to GNU/Linux, especially in the public sector.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. UK Govt report says Ubuntu 12.04 LTS is the most secure OS

    CESG, the Information Security Arm of GCHQ (Govt. of UK), conducted a series of tests in the last few months to review a set of 11 operating systems which currently run on various devices such as desktops, laptops, servers, mobile phones and tablets. The security assessment included the following categories:

  2. Critical Microsoft, Adobe, and Oracle updates: Like dental floss for your PC

    Fed up with productivity-killing patches? Welcome to the club. Now install them.

  3. Microsoft Patches Windows XP for Possibly Last Time
  4. Windows XP Will Still Require Activation After Retirement

    Windows XP will be officially retired on April 8, but even though Microsoft is planning to stop releasing updates and security patches for the operating system, it doesn’t mean that you can use it free of charge.

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