IRC Proceedings: January 7th, 2011

Posted in IRC Logs at 7:37 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz




#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

#boycottnovell-social log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 7/1/2011: Linux Foundation Expands, GTK+ 3.0 is Near

Posted in News Roundup at 7:26 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish



  • Rant Mode Equals One: Linux on the Door Stop

    Paul Ferris reviews the state of Linux over the past decade from multiple perspectives: cloud, desktop, tablet and finally infrastructure market. The most pressing question rises to the top: Will 2011 be the year of Linux on the Doorstop?


    So, in some kind of funky way, Linux truly runs on the doorstop (or rather, doorstep), after all.

  • My Switch To FOSS (Debian, QEMU, Mercurial, vi & Python) For My 5th-Gen Framework

    After much soul-searching, painful deliberation, and cursing the technology for not being in a better state, I chose *Nix systems on any hardware as my core foundation, and the Debian distribution of Linux in particular, because it installs easily on such a wide variety of hardware including ARM and MIPS, plus subsequent software installations are so easy, and it’s the underpinnings of Ubuntu, which is the underpinnings of Google’s ChromeOS. Yep, I know Google is a vendor, and this sounds like being beholden to a vendor, but it’s a lesser-of-two-evils compromise, especially when you consider it is actually the basic underpinnings of ChromeOS that I chose, and not ChromeOS itself. There’s a lot of reason to be optimistic about Debian.

  • Audiocasts/Shows

  • Kernel Space

    • Broadcom joins the Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Broadcom Corporation is its newest member.

    • Timesys Joins Linux Foundation

      The Linux Foundation, the nonprofit organization dedicated to accelerating the growth of Linux, today announced that Timesys Corporation is its newest member.

      Timesys has been providing Linux offerings for more than 15 years and was one of the first companies to market with an open source, commercial-grade, embedded Linux development framework (LinuxLink). Timesys is joining The Linux Foundation to collaborate on initiatives that help provide tools and resources designed to ease embedded Linux development.

    • Protecode Joins Linux Foundation
    • [GIT PULL] scheduler changes for v2.6.38

      The biggest user-visible change is the new auto-group scheduling feature – it can be enabled via CONFIG_SCHED_AUTOGROUP=y (disabled by default).

    • New Linux Kernel Strengthens SMP Support

      In regard to the ext4 file system, the file system will no longer use a buffer layer to communicate. “The buffer layer has a lot of performance and SMP scalability issues that will get solved with this port,” the kernel’s changelog noted. In one set of benchmarks, using a 48-core system connected to a 24-unit SAS storage array, the new ext4 implementation was able to speed 192 simultaneous FFSB (Flexible File System Benchmark) threads by 300 percent while reducing the load on the CPUs by a factor of three or four.

    • Why Linux is Alpha and Omega

      I’m sure most people remember DEC – Digital Equipment Corporation – that later rebranded itself as the singularly unmemorable “Digital” before being swallowed up by Compaq in 1998, which was itself digested by HP a few years later. But I wonder how many people remember the DEC Alpha chip.


      I’m sure the ARM Partnership is indeed “excited”: it can’t lose. It already has a healthy share of several new sectors, mostly thanks to Linux-based products; the addition of Windows-based systems can only grow that share. But it’s worth emphasising that these are future Windows systems: Linux has been up and running on ARM for years.

      Once again, this is a clear demonstration of how Windows is technically way behind Linux, for all Microsoft’s boasts about its “innovation”. The fact of the matter is that when it comes to cross-platform support, Linux is – and has been for a decade – the Alpha and Omega of portability.

    • Intel Bumps libva: Android & Sandy Bridge Friendly

      Intel has now bumped the libva (VA-API) library to version 1.0.7. Why this is worth mentioning is that this now makes it possible to utilize GPU-driven VA-API video decoding on Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors.

      The libva 1.0.7 release also has better Google Android support for VA-API, and bug-fixes. The previous libva release (v1.0.6) was christened at the end of October.

    • Graphics Stack

      • NVIDIA Says It Will Deliver ARM CPUs Spanning PCs to SCs

        NVIDIA has announced from the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it’s working to deliver ARM CPUs for a range of devices from PCs to super-computers. NVIDIA plans to build high-performance ARM CPUs for a range of devices, including servers and workstations. Internally this is being worked on at NVIDIA under the Project Denver codename.

      • There Might Be An Open PowerVR Driver In Q3’11

        If the PR representative I just spoke with at CES actually knows what she’s talking about when it comes to Linux, in the third quarter of this year there may be an open-source PowerVR driver for Linux.

      • VIA’s Open Linux Graphics Driver Has Been Defenestrated

        For those that were hoping that VIA Technologies would pull through in providing their open-source graphics driver support like they had promised with kernel mode-setting, a Gallium3D driver, and being Linux friendly, kiss those thoughts goodbye as they’ve been basically thrown out the window. Sadly, it’s not happening. I had a very productive conversation with VIA’s Stewart Haston, who is their international marketing specialist, and their Linux outlook is extremely dark.

      • Intel Bumps libva: Android & Sandy Bridge Friendly

        Intel has now bumped the libva (VA-API) library to version 1.0.7. Why this is worth mentioning is that this now makes it possible to utilize GPU-driven VA-API video decoding on Intel’s new Sandy Bridge processors.

  • Applications

    • Open Source HTPC’s That Don’t Suck

      In our next installment of Distros That Don’t Suck we will be looking at open source HTPC software. Sure you can load up VLC or even use Windows Media player, but having a dedicated solution with a UI that is made for a TV is a lot easier and pleasing. I’ve left the PVR-centric software like MythTV and Freevo off the list since their main purpose is to act as a PVR. I’ll be reviewing open source PVR software by itself at a later date.

    • What is Upstart?

      Originally created for use in Ubuntu, Upstart is suitable for deployment in all Linux distributions as an alternative to the System-V init.

    • 4 Open Source Applications for the Visually Impaired

      Orca – This screen reader is bundled with the GNOME desktop (version 2.16 and newer), and ships with the Open Solaris, Ubuntu, and Fedora operating systems, but it is also available for separate download. It supports the OpenOffice word processing suite and Firefox browser, and the Java platform, making Orca one of the most versatile open source screen readers available. It also works with an ever-growing assortment of stand-alone apps.

    • Instructionals/Technical

    • Wine

      • Best Windows Games and Apps That Run Under Linux

        The following article was created to inform our readers about popular native Windows games and applications which install and run under Linux-based operating systems, with the help of the Wine software.



        · World of Warcraft 4.0.x
        · Warcraft III The Frozen Throne: 1.x
        · Left 4 Dead Full (Steam)
        · Team Fortress 2 (Steam)
        · Half-Life 2 Retail (32-bit)
        · Guild Wars All Versions
        · Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare 1.7
        · The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion 1.2.x
        · Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars 1.x
        · Counter-Strike: Source Retail and Steam
        · Final Fantasy XI Online Windows Client W00
        · Fallout 3 1.x
        · Steam Official Release
        · StarCraft I Retail CD/DVD
        · StarCraft II Retail
        · EVE Online 6.33.x – Incursion
        · Supreme Commander SC 1.x.3xxx
        · Bioshock 1.0
        · Garena 3.0
        · The Sims 3 All
        · Warhammer Online Live
        · Gothic 3 1.x
        · Homeworld 2 1.x
        · Aion: The Tower of Eternity 2.0.x
        · Dragon Age: Origins 1.x

      • CodeWeavers And Linsoft Announce Linsofts 10 Year Anniversary Sale
    • Games

      • M.A.R.S 2D space shooter brings retro pink back into fashion

        M.A.R.S is an open source, free 2D space shooter built on OpenGL which promises crazy neon graphics, multiplayer, artificial intelligence and superb physics.

        The game has some pretty interesting and unique artwork which resembles neo-punk movements from the 80s. I wonder if the developers have ever seen Bladerunner?

      • ‘Angry birds’ may be coming to Ubuntu

        With the words ‘app store’ emblazoned across the Internet today thanks to Apple’s launch of a desktop software store, a familiar band of apps and games have also been in the news – albeit due to their collective selves gaining poll position as ‘apps available on launch’.

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment/KDE SC)

      • The kde-www war: part 2

        Before I begin this (delayed) post, I would like to reemphasize that a sub-agenda for these blog posts is to raise community-awareness about design issues in KDE.

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Devanagari support on GNOME Terminal

        We are Currently working on the Devanagari support on GNOME terminal as our B.Tech. project. Gnome terminal is vital and commonly used application in Linux. There are problems in rendering complex scripts like Devanagari. Our work deals with the improvement in rendering the Devanagari scripts. We have done part of it but facing some problems.

      • GTK+ 3.0 Is Just About Here

        Red Hat’s Matthias Clasen has just announced the release of GTK+ 2.99.0 as the first beta for the forthcoming GTK+ 3.0 tool-kit release in conjunction with the much-anticipated GNOME 3.0 desktop. While the final release is nearing and there’s already been several interesting GTK+ advancements in recent weeks, with GTK+ 2.99.0, there continues to be noteworthy happenings.

      • Tron Legacy GNOME Shell theme is all kinds of cool

        There’s very little to say about the theme that can’t be deduced from its awesome look, as exampled above.

  • Distributions

    • Bodhi, a cool little distro!

      The other day I stumbled upon a new distro called Bodhi. The website claims that Bodhi is a minimalistic OS (based on Ubuntu) using the enlightened desktop. I have never had luck using the Enlightment desktop, but I really wanted to try this distro.

    • Debian Family

      • Canonical/Ubuntu

        • RSS notification Indicator adds new features

          Rss-Aware – a neat indicator applet for monitoring RSS feeds – has been updated to include a refresh button and an easier way to add and edit feeds.

        • Ubuntu Set to Kill Fullscreen Applications?

          With Ubuntu’s new Unity interface maximize becomes the new fullscreen. No, Ubuntu is not removing the ability to go fullscreen but is eliminating the need to do so. Of course for some applications, namely games, maximize is not as effective under the current implementation. To make it more effective in those situations Ubuntu could fully hide the panel and launcher until a specific key/combination is pressed (“super”/windows key)-effectively “fake fullscreen.” This design would help bypass a very large technical issue in Linux with a great design implementation.

        • Flavours and Variants

          • CrunchBang 10 “Statler” r20110105

            New CrunchBang Statler images are available now. The new images were built on Wednesday 5th January 2011 and feature all package updates available at that time from the Debian Squeeze and CrunchBang Statler repositories.

          • Puppy Linux 5.2 Is Based on Ubuntu 10.04

            Barry Kauler, the father of Puppy Linux, announced earlier today, January 6th, the immediate availability of Puppy Linux 5.2, a major version that is based on the Ubuntu 10.04 LTS (Lucid Lynx) operating system.

            Puppy Linux 5.2 features lots of updated and improved applications, the new Quickset dialog to easily setup your system (language/locale and keyboard settings, timezone, video resolution), Browser Installer, Browser-Default, Quickpet, improved Puppy Package Manager, and a lot more for you to discover.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Phones

      • Android

        • Android 3.0 Preview
        • A Sneak Peek of Android 3.0, Honeycomb

          The past few weeks have been exciting ones for the Android team: we recently released Nexus S and Android 2.3, Gingerbread, and we’ve even had some of our most popular team members take a trip to space. But we haven’t stopped buzzing with excitement: today at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, we previewed Android 3.0, Honeycomb.

        • Honeycomb will not require dual-core CPU as minimum hardware spec

          Oh, never mind then. Google’s ever-informative and ever-knowledgeable Dan Morrill has disabused the world from the bogus belief that Android’s “made for tablets” iteration, aka Honeycomb, will require a dual-core processor as a minimum to run.

        • CES: Motorola Atrix 4G turns smartphone into laptop

          Motorola has released a smartphone which comes with a laptop docking station that provides a full size keyboard and screen.

          The Atrix 4G, unveiled at CES in Las vegas, is a dual-core Tegra 2 handset, each core running at 1GHz, with 1GB of RAM, Wi-Fi, 16GB of storage and microSD support.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • OLPC cuts price of XO 1.75 laptop to $165, power by half

        The XO-1.75, with its 8.9-inch touchscreen, will start shipping in the second quarter of this year to countries around the world trying to bring schoolchildren into the computer age. OLPC was formed by professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to develop a low-cost laptop for kids in poor countries to help make sure nobody is left behind in the computer age.

    • Tablets

      • Motorola Xoom tablet (CES 2011)

        Apart from being the first device runnng the tablet optimised Android 3.0 (Honeycomb)the Xoom will feature a 1 Ghz dual core processor, 10.1 inch widescreen HD display, 2 megapixel forward facing camera and a rear facing 5 megapixel camera that captures video in 720p HD, built in gyroscope, barometer, e-compass, and accelerometer.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Meet The ‘Real’ FOSS Contributors

    He has developed a methodology–the first lab for an institution is free of cost, the others are paid for–and he also arranges Faculty Development Programmes, with the help of local Linux User Groups. Baskar can be reached at baskar@linuxpert.in. At the other end of the country is Narendra Sisodiya from the NCR. When not indulging in his favourite pastime of chiselling off the Windows keys on any keyboard he can get hold of, Narendra is engaged in a plethora of FOSS activities, which are too numerous to mention here. Among other things, he is the promoter of LUG@IITD, which has become the premier Linux Users’ Group in the NCR. He has set up the portal for jobs at http://fossjobs.in, and started a project called eduvid (http://eduvid.techfandu.org), which proposes a whole new architecture of Web content delivery. Project Svg-Edit is a sub project he started, which is now a successful project; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SVG-edit. This has subsequently been taken up by the main SVG community of developers, and they have extended it.Still, his main contribution is undoubtedly http://schoolos.org, a distro for schools around which an active community for promotion of FOSS in schools is built. A feature of SchoolOS is that it is completely without non-free software. He is now launching ELPA, an online shop to purchase pre-installed Linux machines. Narendra can be reached at narendra@narendrasisodiya.com.

  • Are you an expert in building communities? Prove it.

    The deadline for entries is January 20th—only about two weeks away.

    The grand prize winner will get a chance to present their story or hack to a global audience at the HCI Human Capital Summit in Atlanta in March, and there are other interesting prizes as well. So if this sounds compelling to you, get on over to the MIX and submit your entry.

    Make our community of passion here at opensource.com proud and let’s show these future-of-management-types that we open source folks know a thing or two about building community.

  • No Business Like Bad FOSS Business

    In response to Bruce Byfield’s article on how We shouldn’t feel bad when businesses have no morals. I feel compelled to point out the flaw in his logic and hopefully add some sense to why moral outrage is the correct response to unscrupulous behaviour by companies.

    It’s not a surprise when companies are inconsiderate/naughty/evil, but that doesn’t make what they do any less wrong and it doesn’t make a negative reaction any less justified. The most important thing to remember as a consumer is that your aversion to certain behaviours of others directly affects your willingness to engage in business with someone. To put it another way: What we think about a business being bad, effects their profit. Just ask BP or Toyota.

  • Graphics

  • Web Browsers

    • Mozilla

      • Mozilla Website Archive

        David Boswell spoke at the Mozilla Summit in July, 2010 about the issues we faced with the growing collection of over 100 websites under the Mozilla umbrella. One of the issues he mentioned is that some of the websites no longer have product owners, while other sites no longer served the purpose for which they were originally intended. Some sites were created for campaigns that ran 2 to 3 years ago, and while we within the Mozilla organization know that those campaigns are no longer relevant, website visitors won’t necessarily be aware of that fact when they visit the website.

  • Openness/Sharing

    • Clegg pledges to expand freedom of information

      Freedom of information laws are to be dramatically extended as part of a Coalition drive to ‘resettle the relationship between people and government’.

      Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told the Daily Mail it was a ‘fundamental right’ of all citizens to be able to hold their government to account.

      He said hundreds more taxpayer-funded and charitable bodies should be subject to the transparency of the Freedom of Information Act, which currently applies only to most public authorities.

    • Transparency in energy usage

      I’m pretty passionate about renewable energy. After I read Thomas L. Friedman’s “Hot, Flat, and Crowded” I was sold on higher prices for gas and putting solar panels on every roof in America. In fact, I was so eager to contribute, I had 18 solar panels installed on the roof of my home.

      When I was checking out the energy infographic, “Interactive Transparency: America’s Energy, Where It’s From and How It’s Used” over at GOOD, I was re-energized on the topic of renewable and sustainable energy.

    • Open Data

      • Changes to the OS OpenData licence

        From today, anyone who visits the OS OpenData site, where they can download a wide range of Ordnance Survey mapping for free, will notice something a little different.

        That’s because we’ve incorporated the Open Government Licence, the new government wide licence, developed by The National Archives, which enables easy access to public sector information.

    • Open Access/Content

      • Rights Reductio Ad Absurdum

        You can’t blame Elsevier’s Perplexed Permissions Personnel for trying: After all, if researchers — clueless and cowed about copyright — have already lost nearly two decades of research access and impact for no reason at all, making it clear that only if/when they are required (mandated) by their institutions and funders will they dare to do what is manifestly in their own best interests and already fully within their reach, then it’s only natural that those who perceive their own interests to be in conflict with those of research and researchers will attempt to see whether they cannot capitalize on researchers’ guileless gullibility, yet again.

        In three words, the above “restrictions” on the green light to make author’s final drafts OA are (1) arbitrary, (2) incoherent, and (3) unenforceable. They are the rough equivalent of saying: You have “the right to post a revised personal version of the text of the final journal article (to reflect changes made in the peer review process) on your personal or institutional web site or server for scholarly purposes — but not if you are required to do so by your institution or funder.”

  • Standards/Consortia

    • People of HTML5 – Bruce Lawson

      HTML5 needs spokespeople to work. There are a lot of people out there who took on this role, and here at Mozilla we thought it is a good idea to introduce some of them to you with a series of interviews and short videos. The format is simple – we send the experts 10 questions to answer and then do a quick video interview to let them introduce themselves and ask for more detail on some of their answers.


  • LinkedIn plans to go public in 2011: sources

    LinkedIn, the social networking site for professionals, plans to go public in 2011 and has selected its financial underwriters, three sources familiar with the process told Reuters.

    Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and JPMorgan are among the book runners, these sources said. Bankers made their pitches to the privately-held company in November, one of the sources said.

  • First look at Ridley Scott’s YouTube movie

    Last summer, YouTube announced that legendary Hollywood figure Ridley Scott would be producing ‘Life In A Day’, a movie consisting entirely of user-submitted video clips from around the world, capturing snapshots of life around the world on 24 July 2010.

    Now Google’s video service has shared the first in a series of clips of the movie, which will get its premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival on 27 January. In the run up to that, more clips will be posted on the Life In A Day YouTube Channel.

  • Have We Reached A Tipping Point Where Self-Publishing Is Better Than Getting A Book Deal?

    Ross Pruden points us to a recent post by author Joe Konrath (whose musings on why authors shouldn’t fear file sharing, as well as his own experiments with “self-piracy” we’ve discussed before), in which he goes back on his previous views against self-publishing and makes the argument that authors should self-publish. It’s worth reading the whole thing, but the crux of his argument is that if you self-publish at a low price, you’re likely to get more sales and you get them started much, much, much sooner than if you go through the hellish publishing process, which can delay actual publishing by years. There are some other arguments, including the financial viability of the big publishers, as well as the rise in ebook popularity, which makes it such that you can self-publish just in ebook form and solve a lot of the distribution questions (a la the music industry).

    Of course, there are some implicit assumptions that Konrath makes that I’m not really sure apply across the board. He seems to assume that it’s easy to sell 1,000 ebooks per month (which is the basis for his calculations). If you have an audience already, that’s possible, but if you don’t, it’s a lot harder. A publisher can really help an unknown author with marketing, and that’s certainly not something that should be diminished. Now, obviously, that doesn’t mean everyone has to do it that way. There are certainly other ways. Some authors may be naturally good marketers themselves, or they can outsource the function to someone else, at a lower “cost.” Separately, while Konrath notes at the top of his post that in the past he hated self-published books because the quality was almost always low, he doesn’t seem to mention that again. The editing process can be pretty important (though, again, there may be other options there).

  • Guy Kawasaki promotes his latest book by giving away his first one
  • Yammer Proclaims The Death Of Old Media Through Old Media

    Yeah, our officemate Yammer has decided to wedge a billboard-sized nail in the coffin of old media (i.e. “one-way communication”) which conspicuously includes print magazines, newspapers and eh hem, billboards. Says Yammer marketing designer Aria Shen, “Simply put, we wanted to make a statement about the new paradigm of how people and organizations communicate, and figured what better way to do that than to use the oldest mode of paid media.”

  • Putin and Medvedev: a split in the tandem?
  • Romania declares witchcraft a legally-recognized (and taxable) profession, pisses off witches

    The government of Romania has updated labor laws to officially recognize witchcraft as a profession, part of a “drive to crack down on widespread tax evasion in a country that is in recession.”

    But some Romanian witches who will now have to pay taxes on income they earn for spellcrafting are not amused.

  • College Newspaper to Erect Paywall: It’s Academic

    Pray, what is the sound of a college newspaper erecting a paywall?

    We will soon know — or, as that butchered koan might really mean, we never will.

    The Oklahoma State University newspaper, in the belief that it is leaving money on the table, has decided to charge readers who aren’t affiliated with the institution and don’t live in the neighborhood. The move is thought to be a first for a college newspaper.

    In other words, if you didn’t go to OSU, and you live, say, in Alaska, then you’ll have to pay to read articles in the Daily O’Collegian about on-campus goings-on at Stillwater, where news runs deep.

  • The Gollum Effect

    The concrete idea is something I call the Gollum effect. It is a process by which regular humans are Gollumized: transformed into hollow shells of their former selves, defined almost entirely by their patterns of consumption.

  • ‘Huck Finn’ sanitized for your protection

    It’s that awkward classroom moment that I want to zero in on. As the only black kid in class, I know all about those awkward moments. Reading aloud and hearing passages in history books about slavery or in literature about the disparaging views and treatment of blacks the awkwardness for me would range from embarrassing to painful. Each utterance of the N-word or some other derogatory term (say, coon or darkie or Sambo), even in context, was like a kick to the groin that hurt worse than that time in the fifth grade when I got a little too cute on the balance beam after school.

    But I wouldn’t trade that pain for a cleaned-up version of history in order to make me or anyone else feel better. Maybe it’s the journalist in me, but I prefer the unvarnished truth to one sanitized for my protection.

  • Digital Agenda: simple smart phones and remote controls help elderly and disabled to manage their homes

    With €2.7 million of EU funding, researchers from the Czech Republic, Germany, Portugal, Spain and Sweden have developed a solution to give elderly and disabled people easier control over the various electronic appliances and services in their homes using their mobile phone or other devices. The “I2HOME” project has developed a personalised and simplified Universal Remote Console interface based on existing and evolving open standards. This interface can be in a universal remote control, a mobile phone, a computer or other devices and can be used to, for example, switch on and programme washing machines, lighting, heating, air conditioning, TVs, DVD players/recorders and other household devices.

  • NVIDIA Tegra 2: amazing mobile power that hints at the future of client computing
  • Science

    • Deep space objects guide Earth’s GPS system
    • Ancient Timbers Found At Vauxhall

      The oldest wooden structure ever found along the Thames has been uncovered at Vauxhall. Timbers dating from around 4500 BC (two millennia before Stonehenge, for what it’s worth) were found in the foreshore mud last year. The spot is close to where the River Effra once emptied into the Thames, and the yellow Duck boats now potter in and out of the water beside the MI6 building.

    • Journal: Study linking vaccine to autism was fraud

      The first study to link a childhood vaccine to autism was based on doctored information about the children involved, according to a new report on the widely discredited research.

      The conclusions of the 1998 paper by Andrew Wakefield and colleagues was renounced by 10 of its 13 authors and later retracted by the medical journal Lancet, where it was published. Still, the suggestion the MMR shot was connected to autism spooked parents worldwide and immunization rates for measles, mumps and rubella have never fully recovered.

  • Security

    • Critical PHP Bug Security Notice and Patch
    • Security advisories for Thursday
    • Ten Ways to Think About DDoS Attacks and “Legitimate Civil Disobedience”

      Distributed denial of service attacks (a.k.a. DDoS), and whether they form a legitimate expression of civil disobedience in this distributed, often virtual age was one topic that seemed to provoke some passionate reaction at the event that PdF held on Saturday about Wikileaks, broadly written. There was even a bit of intermission yelling that occured amongst a handful of participants.

      Above, activist and current New York State Senate employee Noel Hidalgo frames the question: Are DDoS attacks, where a group of people come together online to overwhelming a particular website or online service by sending a disabling amount of traffic its way, a reasonable evolution of the tactics humans reasonably and productively use to get things to change when it comes to politics or society, akin to sit-ins? Or is DDoS vandalism the suppression of free speech and freedom of assembly dressed up in digital glitz? A little of both? Something else entirely?

  • Defence/Police/Aggression

  • Cablegate

    • Why one U.S. diplomat didn’t cause the Gulf War

      On July 25, 1990, Saddam Hussein summoned April Glaspie, the U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, to discuss Iraq’s brewing dispute with Kuwait. Their discussion would eventually cost Glaspie her promising career as a diplomat.

      One week after the meeting, Saddam’s troops would storm into Kuwait, beginning the chain of events that eventually led to the Gulf War. Now, with WikiLeaks’ release of Glaspie’s cable describing her meeting with Saddam, we have her firsthand perspective on one of the seminal events that preceded the conflict.

      The cable is more interesting for what is not discussed than what is. Glaspie doesn’t show any awareness that war is just around the corner; she mainly offers diplomatic pablum that the United States is interested in “friendship” with Iraq. Due to her failure to warn Saddam that the United States would forcefully retaliate in the event of an invasion of Kuwait, the Washington Post described her as “the face of American incompetence in Iraq.” Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer piled on in a 2003 article for Foreign Policy, arguing that Glaspie’s remarks unwittingly gave Iraq a green light to invade Kuwait.

    • Motion to Dismiss for Lack of Speedy Trial

      If charges are dismissed or a mistrial is granted, the speedy trial clock is reset to begin on; date of dismissal in cases where the accused remains in pretrial restraint; date of mistrial, or; earlier of re-preferral or imposition of restraint for all other cases. R.C.M. 707(b)(3)(A), United States v. Bolado, 34 M.J. 732 (N.M.C.M.R. 1991); aff’d, 36 M.J. 2 (C.M.A. 1992). If there is no re-preferral and the accused remains in pretrial confinement, then the time period starts the date the charges are dismissed or a mistrial is declared. If a rehearing is ordered or authorized by an appellate court, then there is a new 120-day period. See United States v. Becker, 53 M.J. 229 (C.A.A.F. 2000) (applying R.C.M. 707 timing requirements to a sentence rehearing but finding that remedy of dismissal of charges too severe).

      A commander can dismiss charges even if there is an intent to re-institute charges at a later date. Dismissal of charges cannot, however, be a subterfuge to avoid the 120 day speedy trial clock. United States v. Robinson, 47 M.J. 506 (N.M.C.C.A. 1997). Factors courts will consider to decide if a dismissal is a subterfuge are: Convening Authority’s intent, notice and documentation of action, restoration of rights and privileges of accused, prejudice to accused, and whether there were any amended or additional charges. See also United States v. Anderson, 50 M.J. 447 (C.A.A.F. 1999), wherein CAAF finds no subterfuge under the facts of the case and declares, contrary to the Government’s concession, that the speedy trial clock was restarted on the date of dismissal. Withdrawal by a commander under R.C.M. 604, however, does not toll running of speedy trial clock. United States v. Weatherspoon, 39 M.J. 762 (A.C.M.R. 1994); See United States v. Tippit, 65 M.J 69 (C.A.A.F. 2007) (based upon the SJA’s advice, the Special Court-Martial Convening Authority (SPCMCA) signed a withdrawal of charges – C.A.A.F. honored the SPCMCA intent to dismiss the charges despite the misnomer and found no violation of R.C.M. 707).

    • The Man Who Spilled the Secrets

      The collaboration between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Web’s notorious information anarchist, and some of the world’s most respected news organizations began at The Guardian, a nearly 200-year-old British paper. What followed was a clash of civilizations—and ambitions—as Guardian editors and their colleagues at The New York Times and other media outlets struggled to corral a whistle-blowing stampede amid growing distrust and anger. With Assange detained in the U.K., the author reveals the story behind the headlines.


      The Guardian partnership was the first of its kind between a mainstream media organization and WikiLeaks. The future of such collaborations remains very much in doubt. WikiLeaks, torn by staff defections, technical problems, and a crippling shortage of money, has been both battered and rejuvenated by the events of the past several months. A number of companies—PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard—stopped acting as conduits for donations, even as international publicity has attracted high-profile supporters and many new donors. Kristinn Hrafnsson, a close associate of Assange’s and a WikiLeaks spokesman, promises that WikiLeaks will pursue legal action against the companies.

    • Wikileaks: an excuse for Whitehall backlash against Gateway review openness?

      Senior civil servants at a recent function were saying that disclosures by Wikileaks have given permanent secretaries and heads of agencies reasons to resist the coalition’s campaign to brush away the cobwebs of secrecy in government affairs.

      The civil servants said that one casualty of the paranoia could be the coalition’s plans to publish gateway reviews in full and at the time they are completed. IT Gateway reviews are short reports on the progress or otherwise of large and risky projects and programmes.

      Downing Street’s policy is that the coalition should be “the most open and transparent government in the world”. Francis Maude, the Cabinet Office minister who’s in charge of the policy on transparency promised that Gateway reviews would be published by the end of December 2010.

    • Frenchman suspended over Wikileaks-style website

      A French regional council has suspended a computer engineer after he leaked council business onto a Wikileaks-style website.

      Bouches-du-Rhone council, based in the southern city of Marseille, took action after Philip Sion set up a site on 1 January called “Wikileaks 13″.

      He appealed to the public to send him evidence of malpractice in the region.

      Mr Sion was accused of “disloyalty” for uploading audio of a council commission meeting in December.

  • Finance

    • Chinese visit to Spain helps calm markets

      A visit to Spain by a Chinese delegation led by Vice Premier Li Keqiang during which agreements worth 5.7 billion euros were signed yesterday (5 January) helped calm markets and provided some relief for the country’s recession-hit economy. EurActiv Spain reports.

    • Hackers find new way to cheat on Wall Street — to everyone’s peril

      High-frequency trading networks, which complete stock market transactions in microseconds, are vulnerable to manipulation by hackers who can inject tiny amounts of latency into them. By doing so, they can subtly change the course of trading and pocket profits of millions of dollars in just a few seconds, says Rony Kay, a former IBM research fellow and founder of cPacket Networks, a Silicon Valley firm that develops chips and technologies for network monitoring and traffic analysis.

    • Tell Reid and Schumer: Stand strong on filibuster reform in the Senate

      For the past two years, the Senate Republicans have shamelessly abused Senate rules — including the filibuster — for patently political reasons.

      Sadly, the Senate Republicans’ unprecedented obstructionism was met with complacency rather than conviction by most Senate Democrats.

    • More Allegations Of Fraud By Goldman (ACA)

      ACA is suing Goldman over the ABACUS deal that blew up in their face and in which Paulson (John, not Hank) was involved. If you remember, this was the deal over which the SEC sued as well, and “settled.” The argument at the time was that it would be very difficult to prove fraudulent intent, and therefore the settlement (without admission of guilt, of course) was “in the best interest of everyone.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Measuring Tunisian Tor Usage

      Out of interest, I wondered how Tor usage in Tunisia has fared over 2010. I wonder if Facebook, Twitter, and other social network services are seeing an increase of users logging into Tunisian social networks from Tor.

    • Which colleges restrict free speech?

      In its annual report, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education surveyed speech code policies at the top 100 national universities and top 50 liberal arts colleges from U.S. News and World Report, along with 237 colleges the organization labeled as “major public universities.”

    • Default censorship is a poor and ineffective idea

      Yesterday and this morning we heard calls from government ministers and others for Internet Service Providers to block adult sites by default on customers’ accounts.

      Such options were rejected during the Byron Review into child safety. Meanwhile, industry initiatives have created good solutions to protect minors with differing restrictions based on age, religion and other preferences based on actual knowledge of the children involved.

    • Tor fan art [IMG]
    • ‘Laughing stock’ libel laws to be reformed, says Nick Clegg

      Nick Clegg will tomorrow set out the most ambitious plans yet to relax Britain’s libel laws, saying he will back a raft of reforms including a statutory public interest defence.

      He will promise that a bill this spring, likely to reach the statute book in 2013 following hard-fought lobbying, will turn “English libel laws from an international laughing stock to an international blueprint”.

      He will say: “We intend to provide a new statutory defence for those speaking out in the public interest. And to clarify the law around the existing defences of fair comment and justification.”

    • What Everyone Seems to Miss In Facebook’s Private or Public Debate…

      Facebook is the greatest repository of data about people’s intentions, relationships, and utterances that ever has been created. Period. And a company that owns that much private data should be accountable to the public. The public should be able to review its practices, its financials, and question its intentions in a manner backed by our collective and legally codified will. That’s the point of a public company – accountability, transparency, and thorough reporting.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • Dear Premier McGuinty

      The CRTC has approved Bell’s application to assess an additional layer of Usage Based Billing along with Usage caps to the customers of the Independent ISPs. Unfortunately this will artificially increase the cost of Internet access.

    • Detecting net neutrality violations—there’s an app for that!

      The FCC wants you… to help it shame companies into net neutrality.

      It’s notoriously difficult to know how an ISP might be managing, throttling, or degrading Internet traffic. Comcast’s P2P-limiting technology was only caught through a fluke, and it’s certainly possible that many ISPs have been up to similar shenanigans for years without ‘fessing up. Net neutrality rules passed in December are meant to address this, but the strictest ones only apply to wired networks and may well be overturned by judges or Congress in the next year or two. So what’s a toothless regulator to do?

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Intellectual Poverty

      Opponents of the state monopoly privilege grants that the state and supporters propagandistically call “intellectual property” use a variety of alternative terms, in attempt to better describe these “rights” without implying they are valid, as the word “property” seeks to do.

    • Ownership
    • ECJ rules that GUIs can be copyright-protected

      Though a graphical user interface (GUI) cannot be protected under the EU’s Software Directive it can be protected under the Information Society Directive, the EU’s highest court ruled.

      In the Czech Republic, Bezpečnostní softwarová asociace (BSA) applied to the Government for the right to act as the collective administrator for computer program copyrights, but was refused.

    • Copyrights

      • Two Years After The RIAA Suggested ISPs Were Ready To Implement 3 Strikes, Most ISPs Have No Such Plans

        It’s been a little over two years since the RIAA dropped its strategy of suing music fans for sharing files online — a strategy that was an unequivocal disaster for the record labels. Of course, when the news came out, the RIAA suggested that the reason they had done so was because of a backroom deal with various ISPs to implement three strikes plans. And yet, here we are, two years later with no major ISP having put in place such a policy. Greg Sandoval has been following this story closely, and his contacts at most of the major ISPs indicate no interest in putting in place such policies, and a widespread recognition that the ISPs have enough lobbying clout to push back on the RIAA if necessary.

      • How Spotify’s Failure to Launch in the US Could Save the Company

        Here’s my advice: Pivot. Spotify has spent two years, and undoubtedly plenty of money and focus, fighting what was always a Don Quixote like battle to make the US labels listen to reason. This is the same industry who sued their users. It was a valiant effort, but it didn’t work. We can argue why they should back Spotify all day long, but the last two years has proven that they are just not going to listen without Spotify having to make some major concessions.

      • Special Report: Music Industry’s Lavish Lobby Campaign For Digital Rights

        The music industry has spent tens of millions of dollars to lobby government officials worldwide during the past decade, but whether or not the initiative has helped to shape a viable legal and commercial framework is a subject of debate.

        According to a Center for Responsive Politics analysis based on data collected from the United States Secretary of the Senate Office of Public Records (SOPR), the recorded music industry and the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) have spent over $90 million in lobbying efforts in the United States alone since 2000.

      • ACTA

        • Son Of ACTA (But Worse): Meet TPP, The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

          Back in December we noted that the industry lobbyists fighting for increased protectionism via copyright and patent laws never stop trying, and as soon as one thing finishes, they pop up somewhere else. Specifically, we were noting calls from the industry for the USTR to negotiate a hardline in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, which involves a bunch of Pacific Rim countries: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, U.S, and Vietnam — though Japan and Canada may join as well. Apparently, the US government has already indicated that it will not allow any form of weakening of intellectual property law for any reason whatsoever in this agreement. In fact, the USTR has directly said that it will only allow for “harmonizing” intellectual property regulations “strictly upwards,” meaning greater protectionism. Given the mounds of evidence suggesting that over protection via such laws is damaging to the economy, this is immensely troubling, and once again shows how the USTR is making policy by ignoring data. This is scary.

Clip of the Day

Standalone Linux on PS3 Slim (27c3 demo update)

Credit: TinyOgg

Teach for America, Inc. (TFA) a New Gates Euphemism for Indoctrinating American’s Next Generation

Posted in Bill Gates, Microsoft at 8:04 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Alone in the room

Summary: Microsoft plutocrats together with Bill Gates are taking control of schools and this post contains over 50 new references about the subject

THE previous post ought to have shown that people are no longer as gullible as the Gates Foundation requires them to be. Well, older generations may not yet have been ‘charmed’ by Gates-run schools, so they retained some critical skills and could therefore see past the fog.

MSN, which is Microsoft’s means of controlling some news output, expands to more areas while increasingly dominating minds through the media. Techrights wrote so much about the subject of marketing and media control and it is assumed that most people are aware of the problem. Media control is expensive. PR is expensive. Journalists are also expensive, but in later posts we are going to show that Bill Gates is buying many of them. He specifically targets journalists in the areas where he does business, so by being selective he avoids having to buy every single journalist in every area. But, here comes the key point…

Where does one acquire free marketing?

Yes, that’s right. Free (as in very cheap) marketing.

To ask this differently, how does one get taxpayers to fund their own indoctrination?

If information is power, then brainwash is extremely valuable.

“How about using schools and teachers, who are funded by the taxpayers via the state, to teach/preach one’s own agenda?”To be a little less vague, how about taking all those whose characters is being shaped for later in life when they perform repetitive tasks? How about using schools and teachers, who are funded by the taxpayers via the state, to teach/preach one’s own agenda? This is notorious among religious and atheistic circles, which always strive to use compulsory education to further their world views. But what about Gates? How many people bother to question Gates’ hijacking of US education and global education at large (he starts with the States, then expands for scalability reasons)? Sadly, not enough people think about it, let alone write about it to their elected officials or local papers. Gates is not alone in this. There are other rich families like the Broads and they operate via shells with AstroTurfing (fake grassroots). It’s just too easy to come across Teach for America (TFA) in recent months. It seems like a new euphemistic banner for what Gates et al. do to the education system in the States. In our many posts about Diane Ravitch, who was last mentioned the other day for criticising other megalomaniacs who claim to “aid” schools, we did try to give exposure to her writings because she is very influential and almost revered among teachers. She can reach many of them through her books and hopefully stop Gates’ abuse of the school system, which is a multi-billion-dollar PR assault with masqueraded blackmail (“do this of you won’t get the funds”). Diane Ravitch recently won the Moynihan Prize and made Salon’s “Best of 2010″. She won an award and special recognition because she dares to investigate and say what many others are too afraid to utter (for fear of retaliation or deviation from false consensus). Diane Ravitch spoke about Teach for America, Inc. during a recent forum in Seattle. In blog posts such as this (there are several more) it is made abundantly clear that more and more teachers get exposed to facts that Gates paid enormous amounts of money to hide. He even ‘bought’ education-oriented magazines and/or sites by paying them millions in ‘donations’. They just cannot be gagged, can they? Techrights admires Diane Ravitch’s bravery when upon new year’s eve she says: “Insisting on controlling the use of one’s gift of money is another low form of philanthropy. Today’s givers want to control others’ lives.”

She also says (writes actually, but it’s informal) that “[i]nsisting on recognition for philanthropy (cf. Mark Zuckerberg) is the lowest form of philanthropy. It is ego-driven.”

We quoted these tweets some days ago because they capture what we have been saying for years and they come from a figure of high authority and regard in the relevant sector. Mark Zuckerberg’s alleged ‘giveaways’ are just a gimmick and in future posts we’ll provide more references where experts explain why that is the case. Enlightenment rarely comes from passively reading newspapers which only pretend to be independent and historically speaking, the rich have almost always used the press to control the masses. Now they try to distort blogs, too (more on that in an imminent post).

“It’s a classic collusion between the press and the PR industry and this is a taboo subject among both sides.”Here is an example of Microsoft PR for domination of schools in India. Watch it for educational reasons alone. See how journalistic propaganda works*. It’s pretty cheap to grant an award and get so much good press for it, produced in part after pressure from PR agencies that Microsoft assigns to the task. It’s like lobbying because their operation involves prodding journalists and sometimes passing to them some pre-made (ghostwritten) ‘articles’, just like proposed legislation. It’s a classic collusion between the press and the PR industry and this is a taboo subject among both sides. Secrecy harbours mischief.

Techrights has so much more to say about the subject, but owing to my daytime job I cannot sacrifice any more time writing this long post and I apologise for just dumping many links to make up the remainder of this post. I will annotate them (in brackets) for our smart readers to find it easier to see the purpose and relevance. So here it goes:

i. “Microsoft donates $1 million to L.A. school to bridge technology gap (thank you Microsoft! $1 million will be enough to bridge the technology gap)

ii. Microsoft Donates $1M To Local Education Effort

iii. Microsoft Makes Its Largest Technology Donation Ever to a Single Los Angeles School to Help Prepare Students for Their Future (this is the official press release from the greatest, bestest [sic] company in the whole world)

iv. Microsoft donates $3M to refugee children (so that it can carry on with abusive leverage over schools. Thanks, AP, for the very insightful, in-depth, ‘investigative’ reporting)

v. Microsoft donates $2M to help veterans find jobs (we covered this very recently and here it is covered by the Seattle Times, which is known for its shallow, pathetic coverage of Microsoft/Gates Foundation issues)

vi. Microsoft donates $3M for legal services for kids (from the Seattle Times)

vii. Microsoft gives $1.4M total to local schools, libraries (more lousy reporting from a Microsoft blog in Seattle)

viii. Microsoft gives $3.5 million to UW lab (that’s the University of Wisconsin, which will worship Microsoft’s Jim Gray, who called Linux “a cult” [PDF])

On we move to “Teach for America, Inc.”:

ix. Teach for America Testimony

x. Teach for America and “Clinically Based Teacher Preparation”

xi. Seattle School Board rubber-stamps yet another item on its Broad Superintendent’s ed reform agenda: Teach for America, Inc.

xii. Teach for America, Inc. is in Seattle (welcome to home of Microsoft). To quote: “Why was it so important to bring TFA, Inc. to our state? Because there are well paid lobbyists and Broad/Gates backed organizations along with DFER, who just set up shop in our state, who are already lobbying for charter schools.”

“Teach for America” is like “Elevate America”, which we humourously call “American EDGI”. “Teach for America” it a silly euphemism intended to whitewash privatisation of a public system which already works. They curse the system and then use that to take over it, just like Abramoff/Gates did for cheaper labour at Microsoft. On we go:

xiii. Controversial “Teach for America” Back on the Agenda for Seattle’s Schools (this blog increasingly mentions the Dells for obvious reasons — because they too play the rich men’s game)

(Not to worry, though, we’re being told by the district: the Gates Foundation will pay for it. Good old Bill — always ready to foot the bill for his reformite friends, thus avoiding a possibly uncomfortable public discussion about the cost and value of bringing another reformite agenda item to town. What a nuisance is that thing called democracy!)


What does Teach for America, Inc. do with all its money?

Teach for America, Inc. is a multimillion dollar enterprise. It collects tens of millions of dollars from the Gates and Broad foundations and various others (see below). For some reason the Obama administration recently determined that TFA, Inc. needed another infusion of $50 million. So why is TFA, Inc. also demanding another $4,000 per year from cash-strapped school districts like ours? How much can five weeks of training possibly cost?


Why, at a time when the corporate ed reformers have turned the national Klieg lights on the humblest of professional teachers and declared them failures and demanded they perform miracles, are these same enterprises (Broad, Gates, Goodloe-Johnson, Carlyle et al) out of the other side of their mouths pushing for uncredentialed, inexperienced “teachers” to take on our most challenging schools?


I did some research and was surprised to discover that Teach for America, Incorporated is actually a multimillion-dollar enterprise. It is funded by all the usual suspects and then some: Gates, Broad, the (WalMart) Waltons, Dells, (the Gap) Fishers. Its founder sits on the board of directors of the Broad Foundation (alongside Seattle’s Superintendent Goodloe-Johnson), one of the unelected, unqualified but main drivers of education policy in America right now.

xiv. Seattle Schools data guy has resigned – a casualty of 17 Percent-Gate?

Meanwhile, some parents have wondered in the blogosphere whether Bernatek, who came up with the false 17 percent figure was “just following orders” to find a low number that would instill a sense of crisis in SPS that would justify the new’s superintendent’s severe reforms.

If so, is Bernatek merely the latest fall guy for this scheme?

Another speculation is that Bernatek will land softly in the Gates Foundation, alongside Vicki “Hurricane” Phillips, the former controversial superintendent of Portland’s public schools.

We’ll see.

xv. An analysis of education activities of the Gates Foundation by a reader

Probably the one issue that the Gates Foundation tries to address that stimulates the most critical analysis is US education. No surprise there. Educated American voices can be raised. Uneducated African or Asian farmers have problems being heard. With all the voices being raised, Gates Keepers don’t need to say much.


I just found your website and read the post noted in the subject line. After reading it, I suspect that private investment in public schools are Obama’s bargaining chip with Gates, et al. I really enjoyed reading your other blog articles since very little is published about Gates east of the Mississippi that he has not had some degree of influence. After perusing your blog, I noted you have many articles on Gates Foundation donations to medical and energy interests, but not so much on his education giving. Those of us in the education community are very unnerved by his and the president’s education reform initiatives. Obama and his Sec of Ed Arne Duncan’s (Gate’s secretary of education puppet) Race to the Top Mandates are Bush’s No Child left Behind on steroids.

In the comments, from Dora Taylor of SeattlEducation2010 (excellent blog by the way):

And needless to say, read anything at Seattle Education 2010
to find out what’s going on with Gates and the other billionaire bullies in terms of public education.

In reply, Gates is being called “bully” (it’s that blackmail technique we mentioned earlier, but it’s disguised as generosity). Here is how Murdoch’s press puts it (the implicit rule is that the rich protect the rich, so Murdoch’s bias is expected):

xvi. Gates Foundation forges education partnerships

xvii. Gates Foundation partnership will lead us down slippery slope (very encouraging to see more people coming out, daring to point out the obvious and not shying away because of the PR machine, such as Murdoch’s tabloids/rags)

Rochester City School District (RCSD) Superintendent Jean-Claude Brizard earlier today announced a new charter school partnership project between the city school district and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The partnership proposes to create opportunities for new and existing charter schools and city school buildings to share various resources, including training and data systems. RCSD, like other city school districts that are participating in the program, was able to negotiate its own agreement specifying resources the district will supply to charter schools currently operating in Rochester.

According to early reports, the agreement includes a mentoring program that will serve to bring together successful city school principals with their charter school counterparts. Charter schools, though, do have the option of not partnering with the city school district. Charters are privately operated but publicly funded; they have until now functioned separately from public schools.

This is indeed a blockbuster announcement but creates a whole bunch of questions. For starters, did the school board sign off on this partnership? How long have discussions between the RCSD and Gates Foundation been in the works? Are city residents going to have meaningful opportunities – referendum, community meetings – in which to voice their opinions? Would their opinions even matter? Are those principals who are deemed successful considered as such based on what criteria? Test scores, for instance?

xviii. Bill Gates – out of touch with teachers

Lindquist’s response?

“This appears to be the idea du jour of how to change our schools,” she says. “I honestly appreciate the interest in trying to figure out some way for our schools to address the huge budget shortfalls and the cuts to education. I see this as an attempt, perhaps a misguided one, to try and figure out some way to stretch those dollars.”

She also says now is not the time to be debating teacher pay kinds of issues.

“When your house is on fire, you probably need to focus on putting out the fire and not worry about decorating your living room,” Lindquist says. “We need to be looking at the bigger issues and broader problems facing our schools and not trying to do these interesting, perhaps intriguing ideas. We need to take a step back and really address the bigger issue.”

xix. Consensus or Groupthink? (rhetorical or not?)

The issues have been raised now and then in connection to K-12 education — amid concerns that the Gates Foundation has excessively influenced Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s Race to the Top program — but when discussed at all in postsecondary education, they are raised quietly, since rare is the higher education association or think tank or researcher that is not receiving checks from Gates, Lumina or both.

xx. Weekend Roundup: Big-Girl Pants, Parent Trigger, & the Charterfest Comes to Town (Oh my!)

Which leads us to the LEV/Gates Charter Lovefest (the C-word that dare not speak its name in Seattle)

Though Washington State voters have voted “No” to charters multiple times, and we certainly have good, qualified teachers available, the League of Education Voters and the Gates Foundation brought two charter school franchise operators and a teacher-training operation to town this past Monday under the rubrics of “Voices of the Revolution” and “Leaders of Innovation.” Why do you suppose they did that?

“We’ve put together a powerhouse panel of three innovators in education: Richard Barth, CEO of KIPP Foundation, Timothy Daly, President of The New Teacher Project, and Steve Barr, Founder of Green Dot Public Schools. The discussion will be moderated by Adam Porsch of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation”

Noticeably absent from much of the press material for this gathering was the word “charter,” even though both KIPP and Green Dot are charter school franchises. Hmm… interesting. Why don’t these pro-privatizing ed reformers just come out and say what their agenda is? The reformers have this strange stealthy manner that implies dishonesty.

xxi. How to create a faux grassroots ed reform organization! (as we showed before, for power over schools Gates has resorted to AstroTurfing, funding of propaganda films, etc. [1, 2, 3, 4])


2. Put two or three of those words together in any order (possibly linked by a preposition like “with,” “of,” “for” — or if you want to be really with-it, use “4″ instead of “for”!).

3. Add an exclamation mark at the end!


8. Ask for money. This is the easiest part of all. Just pick up the phone and dial 1-800-BROAD or 1-800-B&MGATES. Operators standing by!

xxii. Lessons To Be Learned

And below is a link to a paper regarding the Gates’ Foundation and their influence in our country. An interesting read. It’s sad to think that so much money has been spent by the Gates Foundation thinking that what they are doing is the right thing and yet it is turning out to be so wrong for our children.

If only they had started with the appropriate “experts”, educators, students and parents. Unfortunately, we have been left out of the picture entirely and in the process what is occurring is chaos and uncertainty within our public school systems.

The Gates’ Foundation and the Future of U.S. Public Education: A Call
for Scholars to Counter Misinformation Campaigns

xxiii. Thank you

There is a Broadie, by the way, in charge of grants who our Broad-trained superintendent hired but we think that the only grants they look for are the ones from Gates and Broad.

xxiv. The Robert Bobb Sad Saga Continues: Part 2

Shanta Driver, the National Chair of BAMN and one of the attorneys on the case, said “This decision rejects the educational program and the political methods that U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and plutocrats like Bill Gates and Eli Broad have used in their attempt to destroy public education.

xxv. Hijacked!: The Battle for Seattle, Part 3

During this time, Don Nielson was on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Education, a foundation that now receives the majority of its’ money from Gates and Broad, The Seattle Foundation, heavily funded by Gates and on the Board of Advisers at the University of Washington’s School of Education. As a side note, earlier this year, just before our superintendent introduced a proposal to bring in Teach for America to the school board, the Dean of the School of Education at UW wrote an Op Ed on how Teach of America was such a great organization and how students can benefit from their presence in the classroom. Coincidence? I think not.

That same year, Raj Manhas issued his district newsletter describing “strong partnerships” with the Gates’ and Broad foundations. This was also the year that Raj Manhas brought in Brad Bernatek, as a Broad resident. This action is described in the Status Report issued in 2006.

In 2007, the Harvard Business School and the Harvard Graduate School in Education hosted the Public Education Leadership conference. The participants included Steve Barth, founder of the KIPP charter franchise who recently as a guest of the Broad/Gates backed League of Education of Voters spoke in a forum on the glories of charter schools in Seattle, Don Nielson, who at that time was Chairman of TeachFirst, a company that later was to become a part of editure, Thomas Payzant, an educator at Harvard who would later become active with the Broad Foundation and was to lead our superintendent’s evaluation with the school board in 2009 as a representative from the Broad Foundation, and, as always, Randi Weingarten who at the time was president of the UFT in New York. Eli Broad later states that his foundation had given money to the two charter schools that Ms. Weingarten had opened in New York. See Eli Broad Describes Close Ties to Klein, Weingarten, Duncan.

This is also the year that our Broad trained superintendent, Dr. Maria Goodloe-Johnson, was appointed by the school board and began to “lead” our district.

Her reign as superintendent and the confluence of the Broad/Gates’ agenda in Seattle will be described in Hijacked!:Part 4.

xxvi. During this season of giving…

Gates & Co. can spend their millions on tests and online learning but that will not have a positive impact on education if the child cannot focus on what is in front of them.

For too long now, the wealthy, including Gates, Broad, the Walton’s and all the wall street milkemaires have ignored their responsibility of paying their share of taxes, of returning some of what they have gained by living in this country, using our resources and taking advantage of tax incentives in making their own fortunes. Because of that, the educational system in this country has been weakened. Along with that, the systems that are in place to support families with the greatest need are faltering due to a lack of financial support. Those very systems that would help any child succeed in school are being chipped away even here in our state as we look at a recession/depression that we never thought we would see again in this country.


It’s ironic that Bill and Melinda Gates can be exhorted for helping the babies in Africa while ignoring the children who need help in the city where they live. And by assistance, I mean help that would really make a difference and is not based on some out-of-touch billionaire’s idea of helping. That would mean ensuring that instead of losing the school counselors that so many families have relied on based on determinations made by our Broad-trained superintendent, that we gain counselors instead. And instead of having students losing library time which for many means tutoring time and time online because of a lack of funding for our public libraries, that they have more time to spend in a quiet place where they are safe and warm and can do their homework.

xxvii. The United States of Gates

Through the sheer power of his dollars, Gates has cast himself as the central figure in the deliberations of American public school policy even though the educational expertise he brings to the table is impressively empty. But then again, “When you’re rich they think you really know.”

Gates’s influence on American public education has become so thoroughly pervasive that Michael Petrilli, vice-president of the conservative Washington, D.C., think tank, the Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a recipient of nearly $3 million dollars in Gates Foundation grants said, “It is not unfair to say that the Gates Foundation’s agenda has become the country’s agenda in education.”

Tom Loveless, an education analyst at the Brookings Institution, believes that Gates’s influence is everywhere “in absolutely every branch of education, whether you’re talking about the federal, state or local levels of government, schools, the press, politicians or think tanks.”

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has a number of Gates Foundation people working for him in highly influential positions at the federal Department of Education and President Obama has openly shared his enthusiasm and support for the Gates campaign to change the culture of American schooling from local public control to authoritarian corporate control.

Gates’s educational largesse is motivated by a new kind of giving called venture philanthropy, which is strikingly different from the more-traditional 20th century philanthropy of foundations such as Carnegie, Rockefeller and Ford, who viewed their giving through the lens of public obligation.

Venture philanthropists (VPs), on the other hand, view their grants through the lens of investments, employing business models to leverage their objectives. VPs have set their sights on turning public schools into private schools and have for-profit educational management organizations run them as corporate entities grabbing as much as they can of the roughly $600 billion the public spends each year on educating their children.

Understanding how useful propaganda is in weakening resistance to one’s efforts, Gates and his cronies, among them The Broad Foundation and the Walton Family Fund, have successfully, with the support of a generally unquestioning and irresponsible mass media, particularly NBC, MSNBC and Tom Friedman of the New York Times, carpet bombed the nation into believing all our public schools are failures. Such claims are beyond absurd! They are lies. If people believed their local public schools were indeed failures, the results from the latest Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll (September 2010) would reflect such feelings.


If Gates and his buddies hold even the slightest degree of sincerity in their pursuit to improve American public education they would cease their claptrap and surgically focus their efforts on mitigating the poverty suffered by 25 percent of America’s school children.

Hello, Thomas Friedman. Which invasion does he want to evangelise today? For much of his other pro-Microsoft propaganda see this post, which had us produce this:

Thomas Friedman in 1990
Thomas Friedman, 1990

Watch what a Microsoft employee does in the Huff & Puff. Does Arianna and her husband the oil plutocrat know that they promote harm to US schools? Is this the notion of “third-world America” Arianna promotes in her new book? An America which needs to be run by Gates, whom she has dinners with?

Here is similar PR that’s tied to Microsoft’s annual Imagine Cup. It shows the difference between large sites and small sites, which hopefully get the word out to antagonise the PR. This is all fine, but many of the above items come from blogs (people, not corporations) while the Gates Foundation reaches the masses by ‘buying’ TV channels (shows like Oprah), newspapers, etc. We’ll write about that later. That’s a true danger to society — accentuated when people lose their voice to plutocrats and corporations.

“That’s a true danger to society — accentuated when people lose their voice to plutocrats and corporations.”As another new example of corporate press playing ball for Gates, watch Newsweek, which has ties with MSN. Gates’ school agenda/propaganda was there in a couple of articles towards the end of the year [1, 2] and there is so much more that we’ve missed over the past 2.5 months while not watching the Gates Foundation.

Finally, there are also more bribed-for ‘studies’ from the Gates Foundation — ones that promote its agenda by insulting schools and teachers, thereby justifying intervention by Gates. For example:

xxviii. New(ish) Stanford-AP-Gates survey asks white, Christian, rural and suburban non-parents about education. Huh?

A relatively new Stanford University- Associated Press survey is published in today’s Seattle Times in which the main spin presented by the AP is the statistic that 78 percent of respondents say they think bad public school teachers should be easier to fire.

(Not surprisingly, this survey was funded by the Gates Foundation, which is currently obsessed with public school teachers.)

xxix. Gates Foundation Teacher Study Reaches Halfway Point (and thank AP for its spineless ‘reporting’ of paid-for propaganda disguised as ‘studies’)

xxx. New lawmaker knows of student debt (more fake ‘studies’ that are agenda-setting)

To quote: ‘The Project on Student Debt, a nonprofit research group funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Ford Foundation, says it’s not uncommon for Americans, particularly those with professional degrees, to still be paying off their student loans into their 40s. “It’s taking longer and longer as people borrow more,” said Edie Irons, the project’s communications director. “We’re definitely troubled by it.”’

Remember why Melinda Gates is no longer in the Washington Post. All that lobbying can anger quite a few people because the Gates family tries to gain power at their expense.

xxxi. Canadians want jobs they don’t have to relocate for (Microsoft probably tries to influence Canadian lawmakers already, using another ‘study’)

The survey, done by Ipsos-Reid and commissioned by Microsoft Canada, showed that three-quarters of those asked believe employers limit their hiring options by not offering the choice of working off-site — possibly in a different city.

xxxii. Canadian firms too limiting on technology: Survey (like the above, but headlines still omit Microsoft)

xxxiii. Over half of 16s to 18s think they know more about tech (Microsoft-funded version/perception of reality, the headline says nothing about Microsoft’s role in it)

Going back to education:

xxxiv. Oops, I Did It Again!

Brad was brought on board to be the interim manager for research, evaluation and student assessment and was paid by the Broad Foundation. He was a History major in college and received an MBA from Indiana U but has no experience in education. But education, schmeducation as far as Eli Broad, Bill Gates or Wendy Kopp with Teach for America, Inc. are concerned.

xxxv. The Doublespeak of Ed Reform

The biggest players in ed reform — President Obama, Ed Secretary Arne Duncan, billionaires Bill Gates and Eli Broad: the “Superman” crowd, let’s call them — keep pushing privately run charter schools as the answer to all that ails our public schools (the central theme of ‘Superman’). One of the main winning traits of charters, they say, is their freedom to “innovate.” Indeed, free of public and school district oversight and mandates, privately run charter schools are granted the right to create their own curricula and empower their teachers to, allegedly, “innovate.” (They’ve also been allowed to exclude and expel students who don’t perform to their liking, a serious flaw of charters that even Secretary Duncan has acknowledged.)


Unfortunately this is just one of many conflicting messages coming from this latest breed of ed reformers. Those who are driving the national dialogue about the direction of our kids’ public education — from President Obama, Secretary Duncan, and lurking in the shadows with their open checkbooks, Bill Gates, Eli Broad, the Waltons, the Fishers and the Dells — are saying one thing out of one side of their mouths and another thing out of the other.

xxxvi. “A liberal Republican can win in 2012″ — if s/he ditches ed reform

Obama’s teacher-bashing policies as pushed by Ed Secretary Arne Duncan and his Broad-trained and Gates-funded minions and cheered on by the odious L.A. Times have damaged Democratic Party-teacher relations beyond repair. Yet another segment of the Democratic Party’s base that’s been betrayed by this presidency. This one is more serious than just the mere loss of individual votes because unions have traditionally provided foot soldiers and funding for political campaigns.)

xxxvii. Hijacked! (Previously Titled “The Battle for Seattle”)

The moderators included Tom Vander Ark, Executive Director of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dan Katzir, Director of Program Development at the Broad Foundation along with Wendy Kopp, Founder and President of Teach for America and an assortment of representatives from KIPP and Aspire charter schools.


In 2005, according to a Seattle school district publication titled An Overview of Accomplishments, Seattle Public Schools received an $800,000 Gates Foundation Grant to fund the strategic implementation team, work on the first round of school closures, something that Manhas had not been “successful” at doing, and “implement additional recommendations from the Community Advisory Committee on Investing in Educational Excellence”.

It was also stated in the handout that “A grant-funded Broad Foundation resident is working on strengthening strategic planning capacity in the district”.

Gates was also busy in 2005 on another front, electing Michael DeBell, the now president of the Seattle School Board, to his first term as school board director. Gates, along with nine board directors for the Alliance for Education, including Hanauer, Don Nielsen, Anne Farrell, Peter Maier, who himself is now a school board member, and John Warner, a retired Boeing executive, funded the campaign to elect DeBell and two other candidates through a PAC named Strong Seattle Schools. According to an article in the Seattle Times, a PAC had not been formed “in recent memory” to support the election of a school board director.

As you will see in the next installment, The Alliance for Education will figure prominently in this race to “education reform” as dictated by Eli Broad and Bill Gates.


When a district is run by Broad and Gates, no one outside their realm of associates has a voice in the decision-making process. You will not have a voice in the vision and goals of the schools in your communities. You will not have any say in the nature of individual schools, the curriculum or the caliber of teachers, principals or superintendents who are a part of those schools. You will have no control over how your children are taught and who teaches them. Capiche?

Stay tuned for what might be the last installment in this series. Looking at my notes though, I see at least two more posts on the horizon. A lot has gone on in the last few years that needs to be described.

xxxviii. Gates Foundation commissions Ghanaian artist – El Anatsui work will be centrepiece of new campus in Seattle (an artwork ‘gift’ is assured to inspire a lot of studying, right?)

MIAMI. Microsoft’s Bill Gates and his wife Melinda have commissioned a major new work by African artist El Anatsui to be the centrepiece of their foundation’s new campus, due to open in spring 2011.

xxxix. Bill Gates Is At It Again In Seattle (see previous item and put those two together)

For anyone out there who still doesn’t believe that Bill Gates is not pulling the strings in Seattle to get his way with charter schools, check out his latest donations.

Amount: $40,000 given to the League of Education Voters “to support a series of education-related speakers in Seattle”.

And who were those speakers? Kevin Johnson who spoke about how wonderful charter schools are, Richard Barth with KIPP Schools, a charter franchise, Steve Barr, founder of Green Dot Charter Schools and of course, Adam Porsch from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation who moderated the discussion. Was that rigged or what?

Amount: $105,000 given to the League of Education Voters in October, 2010 “to support raising awareness of educational attainment issues in King County”.

Like…Teach for America and charter schools.

Check out their blog. It is an advertisement for all things ed reform and all things that Bill Gates thinks is best for the rest of us.

And now for the icing on the cake.
Amount: $235,000 given to Center for Strengthening the Teaching Profession in October, 2010 “to develop a network of teachers in Seattle Public Schools who are informed about and actively supportive of district education reform”.
…like Teach for America, good luck with that, and charter schools that do not hire unionized teachers.
So now he is trying to buy the teachers on something that for them is self-destructive, de-professionalizing the field of teaching.

Of course now the League of Education Voters (LEV) is touting Teach for America but I’ll get back to that in another post. The irony of this is that part of the “community engagement” that Teach for America did was to meet with the League of Education Voters! Teach for America, by the way, received $1,000,000 from the Gates Foundation in 2009. So much for “community engagement” that’s required.


For now, just know that Bill Gates is trying to buy us. He wants charter schools in our state, he wants to pull the strings and control how our children are educated. It doesn’t matter if we agree with his vision or not, he doesn’t care. He is bound and determined to get his way and will pay any price to get it.

xxxx. To all of you TFAer’s, Don Nielson’s, Broadies and Gates’ backers and Wannabes

And one more from Gates. Videotaping teachers while they work. 1984 anyone?

xxxxi. Teacher Ratings Get New Look, Pushed by a Rich Watcher

Now Bill Gates, who in recent years has turned his attention and considerable fortune to improving American education, is investing $335 million through his foundation to overhaul the personnel departments of several big school systems. A big chunk of that money is financing research by dozens of social scientists and thousands of teachers to develop a better system for evaluating classroom instruction.


Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, which has several affiliates participating in the research, also expressed reservations. “Videotaped observations have their role but shouldn’t be used to substitute for in-person observations to evaluate teachers,” Ms. Weingarten said. “It would be hard to justify ratings by outsiders watching videotapes at a remote location who never visited the classroom and couldn’t see for themselves a teacher’s interaction and relationship with students.”

xxxxii. The Battle for Seattle

xxxxiii. The Battle for Seattle: Part One

That retreat, as well as others, had been funded by the Alliance for Education which receives the majority of its’ funding from the Broad and Gates’ Foundations. See The Lines of Influence in Education Reform.


Both the Alliance for Education and the Seattle Foundation receive most of their funding from the Gates’ and Broad Foundations and the Alliance for Education was instrumental in ensuring the election of our now school board president, Michael DeBell.

xxxxiiv.Plummeting teacher morale in Seattle’s Public Schools — a serious issue (thank you, Mr. Gates, for making teachers feel like incompetent unwanted idiots)

Please take a look at this article in today’s New York Times in which Bill Gates speaks out against advanced degrees for teachers and against smaller class sizes.

Quite frankly, this is nuts. Research shows that children most definitely do benefit from more one-on-one teacher time, and professional development for teachers is indeed valuable.

Gates has zero expertise in education, yet he is a driving force behind ed reform. He supports the deprofessionalization of the teaching profession, and along the way, is aiding and abetting the current, ugly national trend of teacher-bashing. (Local observers fully expect his foundation, or perhaps the Seattle Foundation with funding from Gates, to pay the TFA annual fees, thus enabling an agenda item Gates supports but which most Seattle Public Schools parents don’t even know about.)

Finally, here is a “Testimony Regarding Teach for America”. Teachers don’t want it, do you?

Our message to heroic US-based teachers who fight back: there is nothing wrong with you, just with the surrounding environment which is dominated by the wealthy, greedy few. The same ploy used to belittle you was previously used by Gates to bemoan US programmers, in order to raise quotas for visas of foreign workers, thus improving the bottom line of corporations such as Microsoft. Gates is not a pedagogue, he is not even a programmer by trade (he is a law school dropout with exceptionally affluent parents). These pretexts are used by corporations in many walks of life to turn public services into private franchises. So please fight back by informing people, for the betterment of all nations that sooner or later fall prey to the same hooligans (who use ‘free’ trade agreements and other internationalised instruments of expansion). Teachers help raise tomorrow’s adults while today’s adults are too busy at work, battling for survival as wages stagnate and work hours expand. Don’t allow Gates and his buddies to turn teachers into his taxpayers-funded docile PR agents. Teachers are fantastic at informing people and we are grateful to bloggers from SeattlEducation2010, whose site is underrated and criminally under-subscribed.
* As a fun exercise, sometimes I like to pick up the daily newspaper, raise it in front of people, then deconstruct its components (cover page, centrefold, etc.) and explain how the classic structure works and how each is designed by the editor/s to tell people how to feel and think, with headlines that are written or modified by the chief editor to shape the overall message so as to evoke panic, fear, hatred, jealousy, artificial craves etc. (usually a combination of these) whilst also providing something to appeal to the less sophisticated readers (e.g. references to celebrities and the sport section at the side parts). People find this exercise entertaining because they rarely or never thought about it that way, but that’s just how it works. Advertisers too are factored in by the publishers who manage the budgeting.

Education Scandal Leaves Melinda Gates Out of the Washington Post

Posted in Bill Gates at 5:09 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Melinda Gates, Davos 2009
Copyright by World Economic Forum, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license

Summary: The board of the Washington Post drops Melinda Gates “shortly after the release of a highly critical report, funded partly by her foundation, which likened for-profit colleges to subprime-mortgage lenders, targeting low-income and traditionally underrepresented students.”

TECHRIGHTS still has a huge backlog of posts (drafts), which need editing, fact-checking, and additional research/references before they can be reliably published. Many are about Gates’ abuses. Any help that readers can offer will speed things up and ensure we can deliver more output. We recently got a lot of help with translations and with the Wiki.

One story we have not had the time to cover in a while is about Melinda Gates. Just before we publish a megapost about Gates in education we must deliver this post on which it is dependent.

Some weeks ago the Washington Post published the article “How billionaire donors harm public education”. The author had previously criticised Gates’ scheme (for schools deform) in this section of the paper and we commend her for it. To quote some of the latest:

Today the foundation set up by billionaires Eli and Edythe Broad is giving away $2 million to urban school districts that have pursued education reform that they like. On Friday a Florida teacher is running 50 miles to raise money so that he and his fellow teachers don’t have to spend their own money to buy paper and pencils, binders (1- and 2-inch), spiral notebooks, composition books and printer ink.

Together the two events show the perverted way schools are funded in 2010.

Very wealthy people are donating big private money to their own pet projects: charter schools, charter school management companies, teacher assessment systems. (The latest example is Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million donation to the Newark public schools, given with the provision that Zuckerberg, apparently an education reform expert, play a big role in determining success.)

What this means is that these philanthropists — and not local communities — are determining the course of the country’s school reform efforts and which education research projects get funded. As Buffalo Public Schools Superintendent James A. Williams said in an interview: “They should come out and tell the truth. If they want to privatize public education, they should say so.”


Coincidentally, it is the same amount of money that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation gave away earlier this year to a company simply to market the education film “Waiting for Superman,” which portrays a distorted idea of the root causes of the problems facing urban school districts as well as the solutions. [Disclosure: Melinda French Gates is a member of the Board of Directors of The Washington Post Co.]

Gates Keepers linked to this article and said the author was very brave for voicing such opinions in the Washington Post, which mostly treats the Gates family like Gods by giving PR and constant worship (it still does that).

It was just shortly afterwards that it was revealed that Melinda is not in the Washington Post. Well, not anymore anyway. But why? It doesn’t really say, but at least one report claims that she resigned and was not fired [1, 2, 3, 4]. She “filed papers from the board” and left “the Board of The Washington Post Company” after 6 years there. We got very curious. What is it that motivated her to resign? Was it encouraged by the Washington Post Company? Did they have a fight? Well, the corporate-backed Washington Post (yes, different large companies are in the board) had no reason given/specified initially, so apparently it had to ‘leak’. Greenberg asked, “Was Melinda Gates’ WaPo Resignation a Coincidence?”

On November 12, the Washington Post announced that Melinda Gates had resigned as a director of the Washington Post, which gets the lion’s share of its operating income from Kaplan University, a for-profit university.

There was no formal explanation.

Then on November 23: The Education Trust, which is partially funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, issued a report headlined, “Subprime Opportunity: The Unfulfilled Promise of For-Profit Colleges and Universities.”

Sounding somewhat similar to earlier criticism by hedge fund manager Steve Eisman, the report takes aim at the for-profit education industry.

The obvious question: Was there a link between Gates’ departure from the Washington Post board and the report? In response to my question, the Washington Post said, “No.”

A little later on it turned out that she was abusing her position to push her agenda:

Melinda French Gates, philanthropist and wife of Microsoft Corp. Chairman Bill Gates, has resigned from The Washington Post Co.’s board of directors.

Her resignation comes shortly after the release of a highly critical report, funded partly by her foundation, which likened for-profit colleges to subprime-mortgage lenders, targeting low-income and traditionally underrepresented students. The Washington Post Co. gets more than half of its revenues from its for-profit higher-education unit, Kaplan.

Neither Gates nor The Washington Post gave a reason for her departure.

Gates, who runs the multibillion-dollar Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation with her husband, joined The Washington Post Co.’s board in 2004.

Here is what Gates Keepers wrote:

The plot thickens around Melinda leaving her board position at the Washington Post. “former Kaplan employees allege they are instructed to invoke the name of its parent company, The Washington Post, as well as the names of board members such as Gates, to persuade students to take classes at the company.”

Now she can write op eds for the WaPo without being accused of using her influence there to get them published.

Just because Melinda is out does not mean that the Washington Post will cease acting like a mouthpiece of the Gates Foundation. Here is the head of the Gates Foundation in the very same paper around the same time. They advertise themselves and Gates Keepers labels this: “Jeff Raikes interviewed by the Gates Foundation newspaper of record”

Jeff Raikes was interviewed by the Gates Foundation newspaper of record last month days before Melina resigned from the board. He gives little away.

Some time later we are going to explain why Melinda and her husband’s tax-exempt bank account are behind much bigger scandals. At least she is no longer in the Washington Post. There are similar stories almost just like this, e.g. where the Gates Foundation was forced to withdraw its support of tobacco.

Always assume nothing and look up the facts, which PR is by definition intended to hide or to blur.

The Relationship Between Microsoft and Twitter (Possibly Takeover) Keeps Identi.ca Strong

Posted in Microsoft at 3:56 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Steve Ballmer as a bird

Summary: Rumours of a Microsoft acquisition of Twitter are the result of meeting/s between their respective CEOs; Microsoft already pays Twitter for promotion

FOR THOSE who do not know this yet, Twitter monetises the platform with a(n anti-)feature called “Promoted”. In simple terms, it means that companies/people/accounts can pay Twitter to have their output ‘promoted’ in more pages, which violates the natural synthesis of the site/platform.

Microsoft is of course one of those companies which pay Twitter to have its account promoted. Several of us Free software enthusiasts have reported in recent weeks that Microsoft is being ‘promoted’ to us. It is not pleasant, especially if this is something which Microsoft pays Twitter to do and Twitter also accepts. It disregards the users. And speaking of Twitter, Microsoft has a real crisis in the platform’s natural content. “Research In Motion Beats out Microsoft on Twitter” says this report.

Top 10 Companies on Twitter for 2010:

1. Apple
2. Google
3. Twitter
4. Uniqlo
5. Research In Motion
6. Microsoft
7. Facebook
8. Nintendo
9. Sony
10. BBC

As we explained before, Microsoft had begun AstroTurfing in Twitter. To recap, here are some posts on the subject:

Users of Twitter may wish to watch out because Microsoft and Twitter CEOs are allegedly having breakfast: “Microsoft and Twitter CEOs, Steve Ballmer and Dick Costolo are said to have been seen taking breakfast together and this sparked rumors that a possible takeover of Twitter by Microsoft or another deal would be imminent. There are no clues about the nature of that discussion, but both companies have refused to comment, hinting to business and not personal discussion. It is also unknown how frequently the two CEOs have met.”

This is not some isolated rumour. In the previous post we showed how Microsoft tried to buy Facebook and new articles about the possibility that Microsoft would like to buy Twitter are aplenty [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6]. It was the same when Adobe’s CEO met Ballmer. People hastily jumped to the conclusion that takeover was negotiated (or at least a partnership) but in this case, an acquisition is not likely because Twitter previously expressed desire to be dissociated from Microsoft and its bad behaviour (in a leaked document/E-mail we covered here). Microsoft’s Twitter Astroturf will probably be sufficient for now. That, dear readers, is why at the very least as a safety net we recommend opening and using an Identi.ca account. More and more of us in Techrights and TechBytes are opening accounts there and mashing them up with IRC (the best of both worlds). Identi.ca is not dominated by companies and celebrities; in Identi.ca, ‘celebrities’ are users like Tim Berners-Lee and Free software is the main theme.

Microsoft Rebrands and Leans on Facebook While Goldman Sachs Enters the Scene

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Office Suites, Open XML, OpenDocument at 3:14 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lloyd Blankfein

Summary: Microsoft’s #1 cash cow still suffers on/from the Web, so Microsoft rebrands and also uses help from Facebook, which it partly owns

“Microsoft [is] trademarking ‘Be What’s Next’ slogan,” which comes as no surprise as the company craves an image makeover (there is a new Web site coming). A lot of people associate Microsoft with being “uncool” and the monopolist is aware of this. Even BPOS (which has the acronym “POS” in it) may be in the process of phase-out following many downtimes and failures that we covered here last year. “Microsoft Office 365″ is a new identity Microsoft introduces as part of a rename that’s necessary for competing with Google in online office suites. As the previous post showed, Microsoft uses many other methods against Google. It’s just abusive. Boys will be boys and Microsoft will be… well, Microsoft.

“Microsoft recently lost its Office president (he became the CEO of Nokia) and its ‘Web’ president left around the same time.”Even Goldman Sachs recognises Microsoft's imminent demise and the slow decline of cash cows is indicative of it. This whole B-POS business is not something which Microsoft can monetise like it’s used to and just slapping a different label on it (insinuating a 365-day uptime despite the many downtimes B-POS has had) is a case of evading bad reputation, not innovating anything. Microsoft is playing catch-up here, even in the office suites space. Who would have thought this could happen by transitioning from the operating system to the server room (SaaS) for workloads. Microsoft recently lost its Office president (he became the CEO of Nokia) and its ‘Web’ president left around the same time. Yes, that would be Ozzie, who expressed deep concerns after he had left and then started blogging atop GNU/Linux with Free software (WordPress).

Let’s put this more briefly again: for Microsoft to rebrand Office “Office 365″ amid shifts to the Web (Fog Computing or SaaS) is to imply uptime that cannot really be delivered using Windows and the rest of Microsoft’s underlying stack (ask Microsoft’s poster child the LSE about this stack). This is not going to work and the exodus of presidents indicates that they too are giving up. Before anyone yells, “but hey! There’s still Microsoft Office 2010,” well… read this new report which says that “Microsoft Office 2010 Migrations [Are] Delayed”:

Concerns around the complexity of migrating to the new productivity software in Microsoft Office 2010 will delay broad deployment until 2011, according to a global survey of 953 IT professionals conducted by market research firm Dimensional Research and sponsored by Dell’s Kace division.

Microsoft’s booster Preston Gralla says that he finds Microsoft Office 365 beta “occasionally frustrating” [1, 2] and these rants are being noticed. Yet again we see Microsoft’s biggest cheerleaders ranting about Microsoft’s offerings.

Earlier this year we showed that the malicious site Facebook (partly owned by Microsoft) came to Microsoft Office’s rescue, promoting OOXML in the process. “Microsoft May Be Using Facebook as a Trojan Horse for Office” says one new headline:

The answer may have more to do with Microsoft’s priorities than Facebook’s. Outside of its Facebook collaboration, Microsoft has been experimenting with Docs.com, which has been a kind of proving grounds for its cloud-based Office suite, Office365. Docs.com is now piloting its own Facebook integration, but only with Facebook Groups. The idea is that a group of friends can collaborate upon a single cloud-based document, just as on Google Docs. (The Docs.com/Facebook Groups collaboration is a separate but parallel project to the Facebook Messages/Office365 support. Confusing, yes.)

Also see the very recent reports titled “Microsoft enhances Facebook partnership”; “Facebook opens up your data to Microsoft”; “Microsoft infuses Facebook data in Bing search”; “Docs.com Now Supports Facebook Groups”; Microsoft bolsters online document-sharing for Facebook” and “Microsoft’s Docs Now Supports Facebook Groups”.

“Facebook already shares its data with Microsoft.”Watch out as Facebook is not much different from Microsoft. A Microsoft executive recently confirmed that Microsoft tried to buy Facebook for $15 billion and some people still think that Microsoft should buy Facebook, which in some sense means acquiring many profiles of very many people. It would essentially make Microsoft more of a Big Brother than it already is. In reality, Microsoft doesn’t need to buy companies; it only needs to tilt them into Microsoft’s agenda (e.g. .NET, OOXML); see Yahoo!/Novell for recent examples. Older examples include Corel. Facebook already shares its data with Microsoft.

Over at Forbes, Microsoft’s agenda has been promoted quite a lot recently. One post said that “Facebook And Bing Threaten To Throttle Google’s Growth” and Quentin Hardy — a shameless Microsoft booster and Wikileaks basher on the face of it — promotes Bong [sic], advances/welcomes Microsoft’s case against Google, and bashes Chrome OS. It’s a consistent Microsoft booster on the face of it, but Forbes blogs are a fairly new addition, so the sample size is too small for judgment at this stage.

For those who argue there is legitimacy in Microsoft’s case for Google antitrust, bear in mind that “Microsoft has been funding anti-Google group since 2007″ while Google responds by arguing exactly that. IBM too says that Microsoft's “satellite proxies” are the cause of antitrust actions (yes, IBM used those exact words). Mind the sensationalism in “Google’s monopolisation of the internet” and the article posted by Google Watch in a couple of eWEEK sites (US and Europe):

Europe’s Antitrust Hunt of Google Smells Like Microsoft

Search engine experts are exasperated by the European Commission’s pending witchhunt of Google for alleged anticompetitive behavior.

As Microsoft might put it, why compete when one can cheat and use lawyers instead? Appalling.

“It’s very bad when people’s social platform is subjected to censorship by unknown people. It limits people thoughts and expressions among peers (or ‘friends’).”Back we go to Facebook, which is said to have just “remove[d] Gmail from “Friend Find” List”. That’s quite telling, isn’t it? Facebook is picking sides. It’s not as though Gmail can be ignored. Many people use it. Is Facebook engaging in a form of censorship to please its owner (in part), Microsoft? More and more people also use Google’s Web browser, which capitalises on the fact that Microsoft is asleep at the wheel and too incompetent to keep up (it insists on developing a rendering engine alone, the proprietary way).

Why is Facebook censoring Google? Some sites say that Facebook plays hard to get in order to rub Microsoft and Google off against each other and thus retrieve the best deal available on the table. There is this recent article titled “Should Amazon Censor? Should Apple? Facebook? Microsoft?”

Everybody censors these days, as it seems to have become worryingly fashionable. All large companies do this. Then again, Facebook censorship is a standard and frequent practice (Apple censorship, new Microsoft censorship, and Amazon censorship aside). It’s very bad when people’s social platform is subjected to censorship by unknown people. It limits people thoughts and expressions among peers (or ‘friends’). The whole idea behind Facebook is revolting and we wrote many posts to warn about the dangers.

For those who have not heard yet, the deeply corrupt and Bill Gates-funded Goldman Sachs comes under US probe after investment in Facebook. Here is an article that provides background:

Far from turning up the heat for Facebook to go public, Goldman Sachs’ $450 million investment, along with Digital Sky’s $50 million more, may actually delay the social-networking giant’s IPO, says David Kirkpatrick.

Francine McKenna from Forbes says that “Goldman Sachs Wants You To Invest In Facebook” (headline is almost instructive):

Facebook wants the public’s money – and their trust – with none of the disclosure and none of the regulatory scrutiny of a public company. Goldman Sachs strategy to raise $1.5 billion for Facebook from “sophisticated investors” and invest another $450 million of their own money is an example of wanton disregard for accountability to the securities markets.

P2PNet’s headline is “Facebook, Goldman, Sucks”:

Fa$ebook has “raised $500m from Goldman Sachs and Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian investment firm, in a deal that values the social networking site at $50bn, according to people familiar with the deal”, said p2pnet in the January 3 headline roundup, quoting the Financial Times.

p2pnet hasn’t raised a dime but it, too, is worth $50 billion, according to me. And my valuation has as much validity as that of the Goldman Sachs / Digital Sky Technologies Facebook.

If you’re Goldman Sachs, come up with a figure – any figure — and it’s quoted just as though it’s really real.

Fortune/CNN has published “Five reasons why I’m not buying Facebook” and The New York Times asks, “Why Are Taxpayers Subsidizing Facebook, and the Next Bubble?”

Remember that Goldman Sachs is now a bank-holding company – a status it received in September 2008, at the height of the financial crisis, in order to avoid collapse (see Andrew Ross Sorkin’s blow-by-blow account in “Too Big to Fail” for the details.)

This means that it has essentially unfettered access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window – that is, it can borrow against all kinds of assets in its portfolio, effectively ensuring it has government-provided liquidity at any time.

Any financial institution with such access to such government support is likely to take on excessive risk – this is the heart of what is commonly referred to as the problem of “moral hazard.” If you are fully insured against adverse events, you will be less careful.

Goldman Sachs is undoubtedly too big to fail – in the sense that if it were on the brink of failure now or in the near future, it would receive extraordinary government support and its creditors (at the very least) would be fully protected.

Techrights covers several companies that disregard people and Facebook increasingly becomes one of these. It’s not because of its scale but because of its practices and their rather far-reaching effects.

Blankfein developers

Microsoft Proxy Entities Continue to Harass Google, Spread Misinformation While Microsoft Distorts the Market

Posted in Google, Microsoft, Search at 1:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz


Summary: Google is still under pressure from Microsoft’s firing line of existing and former employees, as well as existing business partners

MICROSOFT cannot compete anymore. To be fair, it never could compete, not fairly at least, but this time it is ever more evident. In Japan, for example, Microsoft filed a formal complaint against Google, but it was all in vain, obviously.

“Japan’s FTC Approves Yahoo Japan/Google Search Partnership, Despite Microsoft’s Objections” says one headline that we found (there are more [1, 2], along with suspicious case of possible entryism), so Microsoft’s attempts to interfere with a rare Google-Yahoo! tie — having done this with hired AstroTurfers a couple of years ago — were just a waste of valuable time.

ficial….! Yahoo Japan (TYO:4689 | ETR:YOJ) has received clearance from Japan’s FTC to use Google’s (NASDAQ: GOOG) search technology. Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) had protested the move to the Fair Trade Commission, but the ruling was made public yesterday. Yahoo is just a minority shareholder and could not block the move, despite its own competitive deal with Bing in the U.S.

Microsoft’s major losses in this area are still being noted by the press. The company loses around $3 billion per year on its Web efforts alone. It must run after Google on the Web because Google runs after Microsoft in the operating systems and office suites space. Microsoft’s plan is basically — to use Steve Ballmer’s words as quoted from memory and published in the Sydney Morning Herald — to “f—ing bury that guy [Google's CEO], I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to f—ing kill Google.”

Microsoft uses a variety of other companies to incite regulators against Google. As TechDirt puts it, “Expedia Against ‘Search Discrimination’… Unless It Gets To Do The Discriminating”. To quote further: “That’s because Expedia is a leading member of a lobbying group called FairSearch, which was set up mainly to protest Google’s planned acquisition of ITA.”

For those who don’t know, Expedia is derived from Microsoft. To quote an old article (from 1999), “Microsoft Spins Off Expedia With IPO” (headline) and “Microsoft (NSDQ:MSFT) Corp. is busy reorganizing itself in a major way without the government’s intervention.”

Why can’t Microsoft compete fairly? It’s far from the only alleged complaint by proxy. Jeff Atwood, who used to work at Microsoft and now runs a popular blog, is trying to give Google antitrust trouble too on the face of it.

“Why can’t Microsoft compete fairly? It’s far from the only alleged complaint by proxy.”The former leadership of Yahoo! is mostly gone as Microsoft’s hijack of Yahoo continues to deepen and many projects die as a result. The revamp is overdue, it’s hard to believe it will fix Yahoo, and there are more layoffs as “Yahoo Prepares To Cut Up To 5% Of Work Force, Say Sources” (more in [1, 2, 3]). What an utter failure of ‘free’ markets if one company can shatter its competitor in this nefarious way, leading to a sort of advertising/search cartel at competition’s expense [1, 2, 3], which benefits nobody but Microsoft. Ask too is collapsing and “Former Yahooligan Fiorentini joins Microsoft Australia” says one report among several from Australia [1, 2]. “Ex-Yahoo exec Ku joins Microsoft” says the Microsoft booster from Seattle, so it becoming like the same company with high-level staff swaps, which carry on at a steady pace. It sure seems like foul play.

Microsoft’s business partner comScore [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10] meanwhile spreads the dubious claim that “Microsoft’s Bing [is] growing faster than Google” (undisclosed conflict of interest here) and it is widely reported without scepticism [1, 2], despite comScore at one point admitting that its numbers are bunk. This same firm which has clients whose situation wrt the competition it charts without disclosure is also quoted on other meters [1, 2, 3], yet almost nobody — if anyone at all — bothers to look critically at the science behind those numbers. What ever happened to investigative journalism? That’s why people increasingly turn to outlets like Wikileaks, which prides itself in what it calls “scientific journalism” (citing original, raw sources).

Now It’s Official: Banshee Included in Ubuntu by Default

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Mono, Novell, Patents, Ubuntu at 12:47 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Tabletop soccer close-up action

Summary: Mono trap from Novell entrenched deep inside a ubiquitously-used distribution of GNU/Linux

OMG!UBUNTU! not only promoted Banshee but it also jumped the gun when it claimed that the program had been added to the next Ubuntu. Well, only now is it official:

he day we’ve all be waiting for has finally arrived. After much hard work by the Banshee Project and Ubuntu, Banshee has finally been made the default music player in Natty.

As I am informed currently the switch will hit the next daily image build.

Canonical is putting a Microsoft/Novell Trojan inside everyone’s default install. Since lawsuits can ensue, all we can say is, how utterly irresponsible. Banshee-Ubuntu posts go a long way back, e.g.:

This subject was discussed with Jono Bacon (Ubuntu community manager) last night.

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