10.04.10

Microsoft Puts Wealth in Hands of Cyber-criminals, Cheapens Real Workers

Posted in Finance, Free/Libre Software, Microsoft, Security, Windows at 10:52 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

"Will eat for food" by Mikael Altermark
“Will eat for food” by Mikael Altermark

Summary: Microsoft has commoditised computer ‘skills’ (Microsoft tools), leading to an environment which hardly rewards professionals for their hard work but does benefit criminals a great deal

IF there is something that’s bad for American jobs, it is companies like Microsoft, for reasons we named about an hour ago (don’t believe the myths and propaganda around “job creation”). Microsoft lowers the value of workers everywhere and those whom the company helps seem to be cybercrooks who exploit poor design of its software (sometimes deliberately not secure). Publications may fail to call out Windows, but more importantly they fail to explain how malicious features in Microsoft software (like remote spying and back doors) are “aiding and abetting theft,” according to Mr. Pogson. Here is his new complaint about it (whether this complaint is legitimate is another matter altogether):

There’s news that police have rounded up a bunch using e-mailed viruses to access bank accounts. Why isn’t M$ in the docket for aiding and abetting? Aren’t the people who made a browser/OS in which clicking on or viewing an e-mail installs a virus just as guilty as the thieves? Remember Napster? Why were they shut down and the trash that M$ distributes as an operating system is allowed to wreck the web?

More nations are still being electronically attacked due to Windows. The “bad guys” have a lot of reasons to like a Windows monoculture because it enables them to take money away from honest people. In this digital age we live in, personal security and financial security are left for software to manage and insecure software may lead to financial and personal disasters (including leaks of sensitive information or easily-preventable deaths in a hospital).

“Microsoft exploits state-funded (taxpayers-funded) schools to sustain its harmful monopoly, early on building an army of people who will support Microsoft software free of charge and make IT Microsoft dependent everywhere.”On a separate topic , Microsoft is trying to further solidify the monopoly it has in schools, aided by the Gates Foundation. Dr. Ravitch, for example, warned about it in her new book [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] and people in Texas whose role is to bring GNU/Linux to as many children as possible are openly complaining about it right now. Microsoft exploits state-funded (taxpayers-funded) schools to sustain its harmful monopoly, early on building an army of people who will support Microsoft software free of charge and make IT Microsoft dependent everywhere. Moreover, as pointed out in the very same post, Microsoft is harming the software industry and makes computer professionals rather worthless and disposable. To quote one bit:

By making the software ubiquitous, MS is also making the certs ubiquitous, which means that the salary you can demand with any given cert is lower (supply vs demand) regardless of how easy or difficult it is to achieve that cert. Experience still matters in the workforce, so the ones who are able to climb a few rungs up the steep cert ladder in a timely manner are the ones who are more likely to stay employed long enough to gain experience in the first place. The rest? Suffice to say I have met quite a few grey-haired MCSEs over the past year who have been forced to expand their career options. Thankfully, for their sake, none of them have yet delivered a pizza to my door, but even so…

As Dr. Richard Stallman occasionally stresses (not exact quote or paraphrasing), when support is a monopoly it’s badly paid for (the employees, not the customers) and the quality is poor because there is no competition and thus no threat of defection.

“The question is, how long before schools get this memo and serve children’s demands for a change?”A society that’s predominantly built around Free software will value computer professionals a lot more, even globally. There is a reason why Google, which is built on top of a lot of Free software, succeeds and performs so well in that regard.

Word is out that the Gates-funded Goldman Sachs has just downgraded MSFT and it is hardly surprising. Other analysts recently downgraded MSFT [1, 2], claiming explicitly that schoolchildren were discovering software other than Microsoft’s. The question is, how long before schools get this memo and serve children’s demands for a change? They too continue to teach children to serve Microsoft, as long as Gates instructs them to. It’s truly an injustice.

Microsoft Employee Arrested for Groping Breasts of Underage Girl

Posted in Asia, Microsoft at 9:48 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Arnold Schwarznegger and Maria Schriver
Schwarzenegger admitted he “behaved badly sometimes” after he had been repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct

Summary: Microsoft staff ‘pulls an Arnold Schwarzenegger’ in Amagasaki Station (Japan)

SEVERAL weeks ago we argued that Microsoft was dishonestly spreading the “Microsoft loves children” PR (Imagine Cup and all that jazz). Maybe we were too premature by labelling that mere PR because “Microsoft Japan Employee Arrested For Fondling A Schoolgirl,” reports Kotaku:

A forty-year-old Microsoft employee has been arrested for groping a schoolgirl’s breasts on a JR Kobe line train bound for Osaka.

The employee has been identified as Shingo Mihara, an employee of Microsoft Japan’s Kansai branch. He apparently put his hand in an opening of the 16-year-old schoolgirl’s blouse.

The schoolgirl supposedly caught him red handed and then pulled him from the train at Amagasaki Station. A station employee then turned Mihara over to the police.

Even though Mihara apologized to the girl, he later told police, “I might have come in contact with her body, but I did not touch her breasts.”

Add this to recent alleged scandals, such as drugs and orgies at Microsoft [1, 2]. To be fair, Microsoft is a large company and there will always be some oddballs in it; the question is, what proportion?

Microsoft’s Debt is Growing and More Layoffs Likely Imminent Based on Steve Ballmer’s Remarks

Posted in Finance, Microsoft, Steve Ballmer at 9:26 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Benedict Arnold

Summary: Microsoft still surrenders its American troops for people overseas whose work conditions and wages will be relatively atrocious

EXPECT MORE Microsoft layoffs very shortly but also expect Microsoft to conceal those by hiring people (replacements) in places where wages are a lot cheaper. We heard some rumours about it last month [1, 2, 3] and now, based on the company meeting, it sure seems like Microsoft plans to announce more layoffs, then move the jobs to poorer countries. Their PR “damage control” Fried plays along with Ballmer’s spin already:

“‘Layoffs’ is a very specific word,” Ballmer told the paper. “Are we always trimming and remapping? We’re always moving people around. We try something, a project doesn’t quite work, we’ll cut that team, we tell people find a job someplace else in the company. We’re going to continue to do that sort of thing.”

“It sounds to me that the message Ballmer delivered to the troops was false, except for the cuts will keep coming,” Chips B. Malroy (pseudonym) interprets this as saying. “There will not be a lot of jobs for employees to move to if everything is being cut.”

“They have been moving the jobs to poorer countries as they bump up against H1B limits,” the reader “Twitter” replies.

“They have been moving the jobs to poorer countries as they bump up against H1B limits.”
      –”Twitter”
Malroy adds that a new comment on the Mini Microsoft blog (accommodated by anonymous Mirosoft staff) is saying: “Back from the company meeting. This has been be my 5th and never witnessed such a cold reception to Ballmer. Is it me or it this disaster CEO performance coming to a head within the company?”

It seems very possible that Microsoft will conceal the reality of layoffs using spin, euphemisms, and generally avoidance of questions about it. The company keeps running into deeper debts [1, 2, 3], which are currently excused as follows:

Companies like Microsoft are raising billions of dollars by issuing bonds at ultra-low interest rates, but few of them are actually spending the money on new factories, equipment or jobs. Instead, they are stockpiling the cash until the economy improves.

“Microsoft said it was using some of its money to buy back shares, other companies are locking in longer-term borrowing, and some of the new borrowing is financing an increase in mergers and acquisitions,” Malroy quotes the New York Times as arguing. “All of this may enrich the corporations? shareholders and cut company costs in the long run, but it does not necessarily lead to more jobs and it does not represent the big investments in growth that could fuel a sharp economic recovery for everyone.”

“Pretty good spin and cover for companies like Microsoft having to borrow to meet operating costs,” concludes “Twitter”. Malroy opines that one possible reason for all the borrowings is that Mirosoft stashes its money in some tax haven; one other possibility is that it’s bluffing, unless another defensible reason could be given.

New Article Says Nokia Might be Bought by Microsoft After Appointing Microsoft President as CEO

Posted in Europe, Microsoft, Rumour at 5:46 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

From Nokia to Clippy

Summary: A German tabloid publishes a speculative piece about a Microsoft acquisition of Nokia

“From the rumour mill,” writes a reader of ours, “Bild.de, Germany’s largest tabloid, is speculating that Micro-Soft will swallow Nokia.” Our reader translates that as “Nokia: the fall of the Mobile giant – now a takeover by Microsoft is looming” and for context see our recent very posts about Microsoft in Nokia:

This would make little sense as Nokia can get almost nothing out of Microsoft*, which has problems with growing debt and lack of acquisitions — a shocking observation that it struggles to deny.
____
*The same goes for Blackberry (RIM), which now embraces (exploits) some Free/open source software and for the Playbook uses QNX, based someone who reports that “the company announced the BlackBerry Tablet OS, which will power the Playbook. The OS is built on the QNX architecture, which the company touts as one of the most “reliable, secure and robust” architectures.”

Mobbyists Love Mono

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents at 5:16 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Charles Luciano

Summary: A look at those who are instructing people to embrace Mono (guidance on how to cause themselves trouble and give Microsoft API control like in embedded file systems, e.g. FAT)

THE SERIOUS problem known as Mono is promoted by new mobbyists whose career is in .NET. This is not exactly news, but it was not pointed out here before. Beware the anti-GNU/Linux lobbyists who pretend to be against software patents and pro Free software. Having been exposed and discredited (sometimes banned) by the Free software community which rejects them, they now resort to just making friends with their old allies from Microsoft (and Microsoft MVPs).

Not too surprisingly, a fallback to Microsoft typically involves a fair deal of Mono (which Microsoft still loves to promote, just not directly) and some of the accompanying output, which was covered here before, is mostly unwanted (all are negative comments).

“It is not just Mono which Novell, Microsoft and mobbyists try to sell to unsuspecting users.”A lot of Mono promotion also comes from Novell, which owns Mono and sells proprietary derivatives of it (e.g. NoTouch and MonoDroid [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15]). There is a new addition to Planet SUSE, Andrés G. Aragoneses (“MonoTema”), who is also promoting Mono at the moment. Other examples are the two “OMG!” Web sites, one of which for SUSE and the other for Ubuntu — still promoting Novell’s Banshee which falls outside the MCP and thus poses a real litigation risk already.

It is not just Mono which Novell, Microsoft and mobbyists try to sell to unsuspecting users. It is also Moonlight which is marketed under false pretenses, with a deceiving headline which refers to software that does not really exist (“How to Install and Run Silverlight in Linux”). Mono is as dangerous as ever, especially now that Microsoft sues a lot more frequently because it cannot compete (just like SCO).

Links 4/10/2010: DebConf10 Report, ODF is Green

Posted in News Roundup at 4:27 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • FOSS Community Orientation?

    * Yellow: Production Orientation
    * Pink: Marketing Orientation
    * Green: FOSS Community Orientation

  • Wasteful Technology Habits – Think Before You Buy

    OpenOffice meets the needs of easily 95% of home users (and a good deal of those that use office software at work) and most of those people using an, often times illegal, version of Photoshop would be able to accomplish the exact same tasks using the legally free GIMP. Beyond this beginning Linux distros such as Linux Mint or Pinguy OS easily fulfill all the desktop computing needs of your average user.

    With all of this in mind, why don’t you see Linux, OpenOffice, or GIMP on the shelf at your local computer store? Simple:

    There is no money in it for the retailer.

  • Draft of the ANLoc FOSS localisation manual

    Today is international translation day! As part of the African Network for Localisation (ANLoc), I have been writing a book on the localisation of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS).

  • Events

    • IRILL Days 2010: detailed program
    • Free Software and the Playing Field

      In only a few years, Free Software has evolved from being a niche phenomenon into an increasingly mature mainstream movement. Despite the commonplace understanding as Free Software as one of the driving forces of tomorrow’s information technologies, the surrounding political and economic environment has often not yet kept up. As the founder and first president of the Free Software Foundation Europe, as well as CEO of a Free Software enterprise, the speaker has unique insight into political and economic aspects that keep favouring proprietary technologies until the current day despite the assurances to the contrary by some. From his personal experience, Georg Greve will give some real life examples of how Free Software companies work and interact with partners and customers, and how a truly level playing field would be constructed.

  • Web Browsers

    • Desktop dictatorship: Corporate Australia still prefers IE

      That’s a sizable chunk, when you realise that total global average daily users of Firefox at the same time was about 114 million. In short, roughly 1.5 percent of total Firefox users globally are Australian. And the number is growing. As at August 2009, there were 1.6 million average Australian daily users of Firefox. That figure was much smaller — 1.2 million — in August 2008. In other words, although IE is still the dominant force, Firefox is a strong challenger, with Chrome and then Safari coming up behind.

      IBM CIO Godbee compares his company’s adoption of Firefox to the way that the similarly open source Linux operating system gained traction on servers around the world over the past several decades since it was first released.

      “Over a period of time it has been organic,” he says. “And suddenly there is it is, on a wide scale.”

  • Databases

    • Road to MariaDB 5.2: Virtual Columns

      MariaDB 5.2 is almost here. The gamma release (think “RC”) was released on 28 Sep and the stable release will follow just as soon as the developers are happy with it.

  • Project Releases

    • FireBreath 1.2 released

      FireBreath is licensed under a dual license structure; this means you can choose which of two licenses to use it under. FireBreath can be used under the New BSD license or the GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1.

    • ForgeRock Releases OpenDJ
  • Programming

  • Standards/Consortia

    • Is ODF Green?

      Green IT is concerned with approaches to information technology that reduce the environmental impact from the manufacture, use and disposal of computers and peripherals. Occasionally I am asked whether Open Document Format (ODF) has any relationship to “Green IT”. This is an interesting question, and the fact that the question is asked at all suggests that Green IT goals are increasing playing a central role in decision making.

      When an organization migrates from Microsoft Office and their binary file formats (DOC/XSL/PPT) and moves to ODF, they will immediately notice that ODF documents are much smaller than the corresponding Microsoft format documents. This is a benefit of the ZIP compression applied to the contents of ODF documents. It also reflects that fact that Microsoft-format documents, especially ones that have been edited and saved many times, tend to accumulate unused blocks in the file, blocks which are not used, but still bloat the file’s storage.

      [...]

      So in summary, yes, a move to ODF will cause your documents to be far smaller than they were before, and that has advantages in terms of storage and bandwidth consumption. But let’s be honest, when it comes to disk storage and bandwidth documents are not your biggest problem. Graphics and video are far larger.

Leftovers

  • Editor’s Note: Do Boobytrapped Websites Capture Readers?

    Compounding the problem is decreasing quality and quantity of original material and increasing torrents of swill from content farms, recycling the same shallow junk over and over merely to provide a framework to hang yet more ads on, and then SEO-gaming for all they’re worth. Thanks, I so love it when the first page of a Google search is link farms and content farm crapola.

    Consider supporting sites you enjoy, if they accept reader subscriptions or donations. For example, Groklaw and LWN.net serve up some of the best, most in-depth articles anywhere. Groklaw runs no ads, and LWN.net relies on subscriptions to help them keeps the ads to a minimum. As always, it comes down to the Golden Rule– the one with the gold makes the rules. Me, I don’t even want to live in a world controlled by marketers. Though I fear we are already mostly there.

  • Science

    • US Government To Operate Fab Labs?

      They want to establish “at least one Fab Lab per every 700,000 individuals in the United States in the first ten years of its operation”. Um, our simplistic arithmetic shows this would be 438 Fab Labs, based on 307,006,550 residents (from July 2009) divided by 700,000. Many cities would have several Fab Labs, if this scheme works. Oh, and the population is likely to grow a tad by ten year’s time.

    • Anti-antibiotics: Bugs, drugs and bureaucrats

      For certain kinds of bacteria, we have reached the end of the line. No new antibiotics have been developed for decades, and some superbugs are now resistant to all those we have. There is no one solution to the problem of antibiotic resistance, but we desperately need new antibiotics.

      Far from helping, though, drug regulatory agencies are discouraging the development of new antibiotics, say those who met in London last week to discuss solutions to the problem of antibiotic resistance, at a conference organised by the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy. New Scientist finds out what is going on.

      Why are regulators coming under fire?

      They are making it ever harder and more costly to get new antibiotics approved. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) came in for the most criticism.

  • Health/Nutrition

    • Conversation With Frederick Kaufman

      Could Del Monte, Heinz, Unilever and Walmart become the deciders on stainability? In “What’s New for Dinner,” Frederick Kaufman writes about the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, an attempt by large companies to measure the environmental impact of the seed-to-shelf life cycle of any produce-based product.

    • Say hello to mechanically separated chicken!

      Basically, the entire chicken is smashed and pressed through a sieve–bones, eyes, guts, and all. it comes out looking like this.

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

    • Miliband retains Labour line on DNA and CCTV

      Ed Miliband, giving his first speech to the Labour party conference on 28 September 2010, said of civil liberties, “too often we seemed casual about them”.

      “I won’t let the Tories or the Liberals take ownership of the British tradition of liberty,” he said. “I want our party to reclaim that tradition.”

    • We would be better off without the vetting and barring scheme

      As a report published yesterday by the Civitas think tank makes clear, this is a dangerous approach. The idea behind the Vetting and Barring Scheme is flawed and remodelling it will make no difference. The scheme was introduced to make children safer after the murders of Jessica Chapman and Holly Wells in Soham in 2002 exposed the flaws in vetting their killer Ian Huntley. Yet it is more likely to put our children in greater jeopardy, while at the same time poisoning their relationship with adults.

    • Police to trial while-you-wait DNA tests

      Police will soon have the means to grab someone’s genetic sample and run it through the national DNA database while waiting in the street, if early trials by military industrial giant Lockheed Martin are successful.

    • Supermarket tells Norwich toddler – take your hood off

      A Norwich two-year-old was asked to take down the hood of his anorak when entering a city convenience store – for security reasons.

    • £470,00 Norfolk speed camera may never be used

      Yesterday Norfolk County Council confirmed that the camera has never been used and as a result no tickets have been issued.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • 10:10′s Boom video: you can’t control the debate any more

      10:10’s climate change murder video has caused much offence, but one thing nobody is questioning is their inability to control the material, or the debate.

      The instant negative reaction from most of the climate change campaign community after its release yesterday morning, prompted the video to be quickly pulled from 10:10’s own website, but it was even more quickly reposted by people wishing to continue to comment.

      Wisely, in their apology statement yesterday evening 10:10 said they are not going to try to control how people use the video now it is in the wild, for instance via copyright take-downs.

  • Finance

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Social Mores At Work: Sigur Ros Calls Out Commercials With ‘Similar’ Music
    • Well then; All’s right with the world
    • Copyrights

      • Sintel Open Movie Released and It’s Absolutely Beautiful!

        This 15 minute film has been realized in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute, by an international team of artists and developers. Also, several crucial technical and creative targets have been realized online, by developers and artists and teams all over the world.

      • Ministry of Sound Silenced By Huge DDoS Attack

        Today, lawyers Gallant Macmillan will attend the High Court in London in an attempt to persuade a senior judge to order the handover of hundreds more identities of people accused of file-sharing. To mark this occasion, Operation Payback decided to hit the London law firm but after they tried to nullify the planned DDoS attack, Anonymous hit their client instead. Many hours later, Ministry of Sound is still out of business online.

      • Historic audio at risk, thanks to bad copyright laws

        The Library of Congress has released a sobering new report on the state of digital audio preservation in the United States. The Library’s National Recording Preservation Board concludes that most of the nation’s audio libraries are ill-equipped to handle the complex array of streams and digital formats by which music and other recorded sounds are released today.

        “It is relatively easy to recognize the importance of recorded sound from decades ago,” the survey notes. “What is not so evident is that older recordings actually have better prospects to survive another 150 years than recordings made last week using digital technologies.”

      • ACTA

        • ACTA is No Done Deal!

          The spokesperson for the Trade European Commissioner has announced Saturday October 2nd, that all parties have reached an agreement on ACTA. This is one more example of how the secrecy of this negotiation permits all manoeuvres to deceive citizens and Members of Parliaments. La Quadrature du Net calls all European citizens to alert their MEPs and National MPs about the need to monitor closely the rest of this negotiation and prepare to reject its by-product.

      • Digital Economy (UK)

Clip of the Day

Neal Walfield – “GNU Hurd”


Credit: TinyOgg

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