TechBytes Episode 23: Failuresfest and 2011 Predictions

Posted in TechBytes at 6:46 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Direct download as Ogg (1:19:35, 23.8 MB) | Direct download as MP3 (36.4 MB)

Summary: First show for 2011 speaks about consoles, sales, Android, software patents, and an outlook for the new year

THE FIRST 2011 audiocast is out. The show is getting a new site very soon and OpenBytes publishes the show notes for everybody. Today’s show concentrates on Microsoft failures, criticism of statistics in the media or the recording industry, and finally some 2011 predications about Android’s success and Steve Ballmer’s departure.

RSS 64x64We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an Identi.ca account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

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Ogg Theora
(There is also an MP3 version)

Our past shows:

November 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 1: Brandon from Fedora TechBytes Episode 1: Apple, Microsoft, Bundling, and Fedora 14 (With Special Guest Brandon Lozza) 1/11/2010
Episode 2: No guests TechBytes Episode 2: Ubuntu’s One Way, Silverlight Goes Dark, and GNU Octave Discovered 7/11/2010
Episode 3: No guests TechBytes Episode 3: Games, Wayland, Xfce, Restrictive Application Stores, and Office Suites 8/11/2010
Episode 4: No guests TechBytes Episode 4: Fedora 14 Impressions, MPAA et al. Payday, and Emma Lee’s Magic 9/11/2010
Episode 5: No guests TechBytes Episode 5: Windows Loses to Linux in Phones, GNU/Linux Desktop Market Share Estimations, and Much More 12/11/2010
Episode 6: No guests TechBytes Episode 6: KINect a Cheapo Gadget, Sharing Perceptually Criminalised, Fedora and Fusion 14 in Review 13/11/2010
Episode 7: No guests TechBytes Episode 7: FUD From The Economist, New Releases, and Linux Eureka Moment at Netflix 14/11/2010
Episode 8: Gordon Sinclair on Linux Mint TechBytes Episode 8: Linux Mint Special With Gordon Sinclair (ThistleWeb) 15/11/2010
Episode 9: Gordon Sinclair returns TechBytes Episode 9: The Potentially Permanent Return of ThistleWeb 17/11/2010
Episode 10: Special show format TechBytes Episode 10: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux 19/11/2010
Episode 11: Part 2 of special show TechBytes Episode 11: Microsoft FUD and Dirty Tactics Against GNU/Linux – Part II 21/11/2010
Episode 12: Novell special TechBytes Episode 12: Novell Sold for Microsoft Gains 23/11/2010
Episode 13: No guests TechBytes Episode 13: Copyfight, Wikileaks, and Other Chat 28/11/2010
Episode 14: Patents special TechBytes Episode 14: Software Patents in Phones, Android, and in General 29/11/2010
Episode 15: No guests TechBytes Episode 15: Google Chrome OS, Windows Refund, and Side Topics Like Wikileaks 30/11/2010

December 2010

Show overview Show title Date recorded
Episode 16: No guests TechBytes Episode 16: Bribes for Reviews, GNU/Linux News, and Wikileaks Opinions 3/12/2010
Episode 17: No guests TechBytes Episode 17: Chrome OS Imminent, Wikileaks Spreads to Mirrors, ‘Open’ Microsoft 5/12/2010
Episode 18: No guests TechBytes Episode 18: Chrome OS, Sharing, Freedom, and Wikileaks 11/12/2010
Episode 19: No guests TechBytes Episode 19: GNU/Linux Market Share on Desktop at 4%, Microsoft Declining, and ChromeOS is Coming 16/12/2010
Episode 20: No guests TechBytes Episode 20: GNU/Linux Gamers Pay More for Games, Other Discussions 18/12/2010
Episode 21: No guests TechBytes Episode 21: Copyright Abuses, Agitators and Trolls, Starting a New Site 20/12/2010
Episode 22: No special guests TechBytes Episode 22: Freedom Debate and Picks of the Year 27/12/2010

Owning Jobs

Posted in Site News at 6:25 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Chairman Jobs

Summary: Apple gets all zealous about the appearance of its CEO while customers of Apple have their human rights totally tarnished

APPLE views itself as a privileged child — the one to whom special rules apply. Outrageously enough it gets away with it a lot of the time and Apple still thinks it owns Steve Jobs, which means censorship of this man’s image. He is all “IP”, isn’t he? Anyway, Techrights hopes that more people begin to see Apple for the malicious entity which it has become in recent years. Humility does not start with an “i” and products like iPad and iPhone are said to be leaking data on their users right now:

Two groups of iPhone and iPad users are suing Apple saying apps for the gadgets leak personally identifiable data.

The groups want to stop personal data being passed around without owners being notified or compensated.

It’s funny that Apple lets users’ data leak whilst it’s shutting down sites which leak information about Apple’s future products and also shutting down Wikileaks apps [1, 2, 3]. Shame on Apple. It’s 1984 on Steroid.

Microsoft Breaks the Law, Then ‘Settles’ by Elbowing Free/Libre Software

Posted in Free/Libre Software, Microsoft at 6:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Santa Clara County schools will need to purchase more software (proprietary) after a settlement that’s hardly a punishment for Microsoft’s illegal activities

IT IS “FUNNY MONEY” season just before the year closes. Yes, a Microsoft victim is once again bragging about some so-called ‘settlement’ which leaves much to be desired. We have found many reports about it, mostly from California where schools were reportedly too slow (if not late) to claim Microsoft’s debt to them.

Most headlines refer to the news as “settlement money” or “technology money” [1, 2, 3] while the headline from the Bill Gates-funded ‘press’ makes it sound like Microsoft does its ‘donation’ thing when it “Pays for School Tech.”

Too much focus is put on the sum of money [1, 2] and too little about how it must be spent. As one report put it:

Funding for the first and second phase is used in the same manner. Half of the Cy Pres awards come in the form of general-purpose vouchers to reimburse school districts for the purchases of eligible computer hardware, information technology support services, professional development services for teachers and a broad array of computer software.

The other half comes in the form of specific category software vouchers that reimburse school districts for the purchase of only particular types of software.

What “particular types of software” would that be? It does not specify. For those in need of some background, here is a portion of another report:

The settlement comes from a 1999 lawsuit in which businesses and consumers charged that Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT) engaged in unfair business practices in selling certain systems.

Microsoft basically broke the law to drive competitors out of the market and then hike the costs. Why is Microsoft even around after obviously engaging in illegal activity? Because the way the law works, if Microsoft can pay “settlement” money to the plaintiff, then the case goes away. It’s just like a bribe, but they call it a “settlement” because it sounds so much more benign (like “licensing” versus “racketeering”). To put the scale of this bribe in perspective, we’re talking about a rate of $5.31 per pupil in one case. What’s the real toll of a kid being grown up to be enslaved by Microsoft software? This is surely disproportional.

Santa Clara County schools will receive nearly $821,000 for technology purchases, and San Mateo County schools will receive nearly $306,000, in the second phase of a settlement of an antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft.

The funds benefit schools that applied for a portion of the settlement. The awards, granted at a rate of $5.31 per pupil, range from less than $100 for small continuation schools to $18,141 for Independence High School in San Jose, which has about 3,400 students.


Schools receive the funding in the form of vouchers they can use for technology purchases — and not just ones sold by Microsoft. Half of the value of the vouchers must be used for particular software.

And there are strings attached to it. As prodigy educator Diane Ravitch put it the other day (we’ll come back to it later), “[i]nsisting on controlling the use of one’s gift of money is another low form of philanthropy. Today’s givers want to control others’ lives.” Ravitch referred specifically to education and added: “Insisting on recognition for philanthropy (cf. Mark Zuckerberg) is the lowest form of philanthropy. It is ego-driven.”

Ravitch is critical of both Gates and Zuckerberg, but that is a subject for another day. The huge damage the Gates Foundation is doing to public education is a massively-underrated subject which is suppressed through actual control of the media (e.g. sponsoring journalists). In the case of the schools above, they can’t use Free/libre software if a software purchase is strictly required. Coincidence? Maybe. This is is not mentioned by anyone and not even the self-serving strings are mentioned a lot of the time, with exceptions:

Schools that serve large numbers of poor children are getting new money to pay for technology as the state releases $25 million through the second phase of a legal settlement with Microsoft, the California Department of Education announced today.


The awards come in the form of vouchers to reimburse school districts for buying computer hardware, information technology support services, professional development services for teachers, and computer software.

As usual, the biggest winners in these cases are the lawyers. Moreover, Microsoft manipulates the settlement so as to make it self-serving (to Microsoft). It does not really pay fines if those fines have to be redeemed in particular ways.

Microsoft Named as Environmental and Privacy Fiend

Posted in Microsoft at 3:27 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Greenpeace berates Microsoft for pollution and Forbes berates Microsoft for privacy disregard

Greenpeace has been telling us for years that Microsoft’s disregard for the environment (production- and consumption-wise) is utterly appalling and perhaps the worst out there. It was even demoted last year. Here’s the latest:

i. Microsoft, Toshiba fail to impress Greenpeace

ii. Nintendo And Microsoft Least Eco-Friendly Electronics Manufacturers

iii. Greenpeace Criticizes Nintendo and Microsoft’s Environmental Records

Nintendo has once again finished dead last in the Guide to Greener Electronics compiled by environmental activist organization Greenpeace, with Microsoft performing only slightly better on the organization’s rating scale.

Greenpeace’s latest report actually praised Nintendo for introducing an Energy Star-rated efficient AC adapter for the Nintendo DSi, and for meeting Europe’s newly approved guidelines for energy-using products on both the Wii and DSi.

Microsoft’s recent privacy misbehaviour/violations [1, 2, 3] is another noteworthy issue. See this article/blog post from Forbes, aptly titled “The FTC Promises an End to History Sniffing (Microsoft, Take Note)”. Microsoft has gotten quite a reputation as it sniffs people’s history also via Internet Explorer and data sharing with Facebook:

After researchers discovered that a number of popular sites were exploiting a Javascript security flaw to see what other websites their visitors had been to, class action lawyers and the government took notice.

In California, two men filed a lawsuit against YouPorn, the most popular site doing the “history sniffing.” Meanwhile, in Washington, D.C. the nation’s primary consumer privacy regulator says it’s snuffing out the sniffing.


Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is the last major browser in which history sniffing can still occur if you don’t change your browser’s default settings… Microsoft has not yet made a public announcement about fixing the flaw, and was cagey with me about it. But Vladeck and the FTC say the company has promised to make protection against “history sniffing” a default feature — thus preventing sites from using Javascript to check on the links a Web surfer has previously clicked on.

Microsoft and people’s rights were never a good mixture.

US Government Helps Microsoft Derail Vietnamese Migration to Free/Libre Software

Posted in Asia, Bill Gates, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft at 3:08 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Ho Chi Minh

Summary: How political power is being harnessed by Microsoft to colonise and remotely control Vietnam with proprietary software

Bill Gates’ foundation was lobbying Vietnam to derail its migration to ODF and to free/libre software. It was rather distasteful. Last year we also showed the special relationship between Clinton and Gates. “Officials with Vietnam’s ministry of Information and Communications attended the signing ceremony with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Malcolm de Silva, country manager for Microsoft Vietnam,” says this new report. So Clinton is playing politics to serve her client, Microsoft. At whose expense? The Vietnamese people and their liberty, which is a sensitive subject following the war in Vietnam. “Under the agreement,” says the article, “Microsoft will help Vietnam develop its information technology workforce, a step toward Vietnam’s goal of expanding the ICT sector so that it accounts for 20 percent of Vietnam’s GDP.”

How appalling. That is why we need Cablegate/Wikileaks. It helps us see how Clinton, for example, works for commerce rather than act as a politician elected to serve the people (yes, as opposed to corporations).

For quite a while Vietnam made it official that its government would get off Microsoft, but the United States government, Gates Foundation, and Microsoft just cannot leave Vietnam alone. The same tactics are being used in south America and Russia. Microsoft tries to impose the use of Office (main cash cow, but it depends on Windows monoculture) and politics is the tactic. As one recent article puts it:

Most people live under the misconception that Windows is the flagship product of Microsoft. It is not. Microsoft’s flagship product, in reality, is Microsoft Office; their ubiquitous productivity suite which can be found on over 90 per cent of all computers on the planet. This includes the Mac platform whose fiercely loyal users grudgingly make use of Microsoft Office for Mac while Apple’s native office suite, iWork, gathers a lot of dust.

Part of the reason for Microsoft monoculture is not at all technical. Microsoft acts like a political movement, so while the ‘Microsoft press’ concentrates on technical aspects, Techrights will not ignore the role of politics. Those who shy away from it overlook the explanation for many decisions.

Microsoft is Still Bribing Customers to Defect

Posted in Microsoft, Servers at 1:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Vector graphics

Summary: Microsoft is “paying customers” to dump Salesforce.com and come to Microsoft lock-in

MICROSOFT is struggling to grow businesses outside the circle of cash cows. In 2010 we gave several examples of Microsoft offering money for businesses to abandon the competition, which is a dubious tactic going years back. Microsoft is competing with pockets ("money power") and not merit, but the latest incident got covered by four longtime Microsoft boosters [1, 2, 3, 4] and hardly anyone impartial, except perhaps this writer. Microsoft boosters do not use the word “bribe” — part of a systematic strategy against smaller rivals, which usually cannot buy market share. Microsoft keeps thinking it can just strangle smaller rivals by starving them of income and in this case it doesn’t quite use the strategy against a small rival. This time it’s Salesforce, against which Microsoft used patent extortion last year. Salesforce responds.

There are certain competition rules and fairness can only be assured if companies stick to these rules, which ought to be enforced.

“They [Microsoft] have the deepest of pockets, unlimited ambition, and they are willing to lose money for years and years just to make sure that you don’t make any money, either. And they are mean, REALLY mean.”

Robert X. Cringely

Microsoft Federal Chief Decided to Quit, Microsoft Hires New Lobbyists

Posted in Microsoft at 12:44 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

State Capitol

Summary: New figures and new reports about Microsoft lobbying in the United States

MICROSOFT’S influence in the US government is nothing to sneeze at and in the coming days we’ll show some shocking examples where Microsoft uses government connections to compete, as opposed to using better products to compete. Last night we wrote about several Microsoft managers who had left and Microsoft’s federal chief is also leaving, as covered in several Web sites [1, 2] including a Microsoft-tilted one (yes, Microsoft has connections also with news sites that cover government issues):

Teresa Carlson, who has led Microsoft Corp.’s federal division, is resigning to direct the cloud computing efforts at Amazon.com.

Despite Microsoft’s influence inside the government, retaining workers has been proving hard as of late. On the other hand, Microsoft did manage to attract the former Voodoo chief [1, 2] and at the end of October we all found out about Steve Jobs having a fury episode over Microsoft-Bungie [1, 2, 3, 4]. Microsoft relies on games, so it has also just hired Rahul Sood for this purpose, as covered in a lot of sites, e.g. [1, 2].

“It gives the illusion that corporations play only a modest role in running a country.”Microsoft is meanwhile hiring more lobbyists, too: “Microsoft said Monday it has hired Capitol Hill veteran Charles Salem as managing director of public policy.”

A new report reveals only the known and disclosed part of Microsoft lobbying whilst excluding the rest, as usual. It says that “Microsoft Corp. spent $1.63 million in the third quarter to lobby the federal government on a broad range of issues from software piracy to competition in online advertising, according to a disclosure report.”

Watch Microsoft throwing $1 million just influencing government policy. This is not how the government is supposed to be run. Clearly the figure above is fictional because it is highly incomplete. It gives the illusion that corporations play only a modest role in running a country.

IRC Proceedings: January 1st, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 12:21 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




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