Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 28/2/2010: Fedora GNU/Linux at Computer Recycling Center

GNOME bluefish



  • Pendrive Linux to the rescue!
    Since most laptop and desktop computers these days can boot from a USB drive, one of the handiest utilities in my toolbox is an installation of Pendrive Linux.

    Pendrive Linux gives you a bootable, fully-working linux system on a USB stick. I use a 2GB ByteStor flash drive personally, with the default install of the Pendrive Linux system. From what I've read, you can go as far as to install larger systems like Ubuntu on a flash drive, but I've stuck to this slightly more compact system (more out of laziness, to be honest).

  • Space Explorer, a sci-fi digital painting tutorial
    Before I was forced to switch to Linux by the untimely death of my Windows computer i had a working graphics tablet. My graphics tablet was a wonderful thing, very comfortable to use, very responsive and surprisingly cheap. Unfortunately it was also very new to the market and there is still no Linux support for it, although some super nerds have gotten it going on Ubuntu. Anyway back in those days when it was still working I would spend hours sketching away with it in either GIMP or Photoshop as the fancy took me, and this illustration is the result of one of those happy sketching sessions with my ol' Wacom Bamboo - OK actually, as you can read in this series of GIMP tutorial posts, it took two or three sessions to get this complex digital painting to the stage you see it here.


    Now comes the fun part, all that's left to do is keep adding little details, smoothing rough bits and doodling on other interesting bits, like the vegetation at the feet of the spaceman and the monster in the image.

  • Vocational Education in the Netherlands adopts LPI Certification
    The Linux Professional Institute (LPI), the world's premier Linux certification organization, announced that its partner organization LPI-Netherlands has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with ECABO, Netherlands's Center of Expertise on Vocational Education, Training and Labor Market to include LPI certifications in their curriculum. ECABO works for the entire range of vocational training in the Netherlands representing lower and senior secondary vocational education and higher vocational education. For example ECABO supports nearly 90,000 students in the senior secondary vocational education sector alone.

  • SCALE 8x: Review Of My Road Trip To L.A.
    I was going to just cover the 2nd and 3rd days of SCALE 8x but after getting back home and sitting myself down in front of my favorite compy and started thinking about it, I figured I might as well go all out and give you a full recap of my road trip from Phoenix to Los Angeles for SCALE 8x and back.

  • Audiocasts

    • CAOS Theory Podcast 2010.02.19
      Topics for this podcast:

      *Jacobsen v. Katzer and open source impact *Intel, Nokia team up for MeeGo open source OS *Open source continues in embedded space *MongoDB and the advent of the NoSQL databases *Copyrights, complexities, control and conflict

    • Feb 27: #094 - SCaLE 8x
      In this episode, we present the audio from Larry's talk at the 8th Southern California Linux Expo.

      The following resources are mentioned in this episode: Larry's SCaLE 8x Presentation: Linux for Windows Users (Penguins Don't Feel Pain)

  • Desktop

    • Cool Heads (sometimes) Prevail...
      The sometimes live-in boyfriend took it upon himself to wipe out the Linux install we had given them and put a hacked copy of Windows XP on their new machine.

      It didn't go well. Megan called me before the day was over and complained that the machine we had given them was not very good. It was already giving her popups and refused to connect to the Internet. Of course the boyfriend, knowing her computing ignorance, knew he could sell her that story without repercussion.

      That ain't gonna happen.

    • Adventure with Old Hardware
      The English teacher had a couple of old machines kicking around. They were taking up space and she wanted them replaced with something kids could use for writing.

      * 486 * last used 5 years ago * 500 MB hard drive * 8 MB RAM


      Eureka! DSL runs. So far I have the worst display I have ever seen and the hard drive is still chugging after 15 minutes. The resolution is so bad I cannot read the menu items easily. I clicked on “X setup” and a window opened eventually but nothing is visible. Finally, I killed X and configured it manually using to 800×600 and 16 bits. startx then gave a very nice display.

  • Server

    • TACC's Ranger Supercomputer Turns Two
      This month, the Ranger supercomputer at the Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC) celebrates two years of enabling groundbreaking computational science as a leading system for researchers in Texas and across the nation via the National Science Foundation's (NSF) TeraGrid initiative.


      Ranger is a Sun Constellation cluster composed of 15,744 quad-core AMD Opteron processors and runs the Linux operating system. "Ranger has changed people's perceptions of Linux clusters as supercomputers," said Tommy Minyard, a co-principal investigator on the project and director of Advanced Computing Systems at TACC. "They are now widely accepted as a large-scale computing technology."

  • Kernel Space

    • How old is our kernel?
      Answering this question is a simple matter of bashing out some ugly scripts and dedicating many hours of processing time. In essence, the "git blame" command can be used to generate an annotated version of a file which lists the last commit to change each line of code. Those commit IDs can be summed, then associated with major version releases. At the end of the process, one has a simple table showing the percentage of the current kernel code base which was created for each major release since 2.6.12.

    • HEROES: Linus Torvalds
      He is the beloved man behind the penguin. Torvalds, creator of the Linux kernel and operating system, is a hero to proprietary software-hating developers everywhere. The open-source movement, where software code is developed in a collaborative way and shared, has become a driving force in computing. It all started with the modest Torvalds, and he remains open source's ambassador.

    • Linux Kernel Internals Training

    • Graphics Stack

      • Pocketing Police
        An odd bit of news from the xorg foundation. During some discussion on their mailing list about missing funds it became apparent that PayPal had simply taken $5k of their money because PayPal thought xorg foundation were some sort of scam.

        This has lead to more people boycotting paypal and a general unease about the liberty of financial transactions online.

  • Applications

  • Desktop Environments

    • K Desktop Environment (KDE SC)

      • Podcasts in Amarok 2.3
        Amarok teamster Abhishek has again produced a great video, this time explaining some new Podcast features of the upcoming Amarok 2.3:

    • GNOME Desktop

      • Carbonate Icon Theme
        I spent time looking for a good icon theme to match my Darkish Human GTK theme, I couldn't find one so I made my own.

      • What's Up With PCManFM2?
        PCManFM has been a popular replacement for the Nautilus file manager on the GNOME desktop because its light and fast, though still featureful enough to handle automatic mounting of hotplugged drives and other modern advantages. The file manager is probably best known for its placement in LXDE and, by extension, the new Lubuntu. I've written about and praised LXDE many times before for its ability to revive Win2000-era laptops.

      • Deconstructing Nautilus and rebuilding it better

      • Gnome Subtitles 1.0
        Pedro Castro - The author and maintainer of Gnome Subtitles - has announced the immediate availability of Gnome Subtitles 1.0. Gnome Subtitles is a subtitle editor for the GNOME desktop. It supports the most common text-based subtitle formats and allows for subtitle editing, conversion and synchronization.

      • 5 Amazing Gnome Shell Themes (And How To Install Themes In Gnome Shell)

  • Distributions

    • Shipping PCLinuxOS 2010 Beta 1 to developers. Public beta release to follow shortly. Hope y'all are ready. :D

    • Tried Several, Finally Chosen a Favorite
      Linux gives you all kindsa choices! Not just in what applications you run for whatever task you have in mind, but in desktop environments, window managers, file managers, and so much more! It’s great to have a choice in those matters! But it’s also a pain, because there is so much to choose from! Of course with Linux you can use any application in any desktop environment! But each desktop environment has it’s own set of applications that are “integrated” for that particular environment. They run “natively” in the environment, thus faster, and they share the same libraries. The more mixing-and-matching you do of applications across different desktop environments, the more libraries you have to install to support them. Which is no problem if you have room on your hard disk for all that stuff. Most ‘puters like mine with an 80-gig hard disk can install all of the different desktop environments and choose between them!

    • Tiny Core- A 10 MB Tiny Linux Desktop
      Tiny Core Linux is a very small (10 MB) minimal Linux GUI Desktop. It is based on Linux 2.6 kernel, Busybox, Tiny X, and Fltk. The core runs entirely in ram and boots very quickly . Also offered is Micro Core a 6 MB image that is the console based engine of Tiny Core. CLI versions of Tiny Core's program allows the same functionality of Tiny Core's extensions only starting with a console based system.

    • New Releases

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Helps IBM Pursue Sun Customers
        You already know IBM is pursuing Sun Microsystems’ customer base. But here’s a twist: Red Hat and its channel partners seem to be helping IBM pursue Sun’s customers. It’s all part of a fierce, sometimes emotional battle between Red Hat and the Oracle-Sun camp.


        The Bottom Line

        So where does that leave us? No doubt, IBM and Red Hat continue to pursue Sun’s customer base. But Oracle continues to return the favor by promoting Unbreakable Linux support to Red Hat’s customer base.

      • Fedora

        • Why we Use Fedora and not Microsoft
          In the long run, computer recycling centers like ours may not have a big impact on the spread of Fedora but we feel like we will have been a great help to many family's in need and at least we will have done a small part in helping out on the environmental impact of the toxins from these e-waste from these computers by keeping them out of landfill.

        • Ubuntu Out Fedora In
          Today we put out another computer system for the Share Homestead in Vancouver Wa. The thing that I noticed today was that they have their systems running on Ubuntu. It is a shame that they seemed to have failed to follow up and make sure their systems were still up and running..I think that received their systems from Free Geek when they were located in Vancouver also.

    • Ubuntu

      • 4 Cool New Features in Ubuntu Lucid Lynx Alpha 3
        Just last week, I was complaining about Ubuntu’s lack of built-in support for iPhones and newer iPods. Personally, I think this functionality is important if Ubuntu wants to grow in the consumer market. With the release of Lucid Alpha 3, I saw a couple of reports saying that iPhone and iPod Touch support was included out of the box. So, I plugged in my iPod Touch and was amazed to see it not only show up on my desktop, but also working inside Rhythmbox!

      • Ubuntu Lucid Makes Scanning Simple
        Canonical is aiming to make the task of scanning documents super simple with version 10.04 Lucid Lynx. Canonical developer Robert Ancell is working on Simple Scan, a great little program that does exactly what it claims – it makes scanning documents simple! Simple Scan is now the default scanning software in Lucid.

      • Ubuntu 10.4: My first impressions
        Ubuntu 10.4 is going to be an exciting release. I am only hoping that Canonical will get the music added as well as the stability of the Ubuntu Software Center and the themes straightened out. Other than that, you can finally look forward to that heralded 10 second boot time you have been waiting for!

      • Confirmed: Ubuntu 10.04 Supports iPhone / iPod Touch Out Of The Box
        Yesterday we wrote about a post on ubuntuforums where a user reported that the latest Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid Lynx Alpha 3 supports his iPhone 3GS out of the box.

      • FCM: Issue 34
        This month:

        View recent activity or close this.

        * Issue 34 is on the horizon! * Full Circle Podcast #1: Stop Wine-ing and Go Native! * Issue 33 is out: creating a media center, education, and sync * A new year, a new decade, and a new issue #32! * We have ads now? * Issue 31 is out and about * We’ve hit thirty! * Issue 29 is here!

      • Ubuntu Lucid Lynx (10.04 LTS) Alpha 3 is here
        I'm not the type to run alpha software. Even beta is too cutting-edge for me. I'm a bit better about release candidates, but I tend to wait for the official release (or preferably a few months after that) before I put something into my production flow.

      • Variants

        • Latest [Mint] news
          Kendall Weaver worked on an LXDE edition of Linux Mint and his latest ISO was approved for a release by Exploder. It’s currently waiting my approval and the team and I are discussing what our strategy should be in regards to “Community Editions”. These editions are tested and released in the exact same way as the main edition and they meet the same quality requirements. According to reviews and the general feedback we’re getting about them they’re quite popular. The label “community” undermines them though, not that “community” is pejorative or anything, but it makes them look “non-official”. The only significant difference between the main edition and the community editions is simply the fact that their maintainers are benevolent volunteers who work on them in their spare time. As a consequence they’re often released late in the release cycle and sometimes they may not be released at all (The Fluxbox edition for instance missed the Linux Mint 7 cycle). There are different things we can do about this, we can introduce money within the team, we can prioritize some editions and define our strategy in terms of how late an edition can and should be… and I’m sure we’ll come with improvements, but the important thing at this stage is that we’re aware of the problem and we’re trying to strip these editions from their “community” label. So a big reflexion about this is ongoing and if we decide to go ahead with an LXDE edition, it should come out pretty quickly.

  • Devices/Embedded

Free Software/Open Source

  • Dropbox - a study in what's right with open source, and wrong with windows.
    There are already several software on the market that allow you to reach your home computer from work, and do NOT require that you install software on your work computer. So, I see dropbox as a "why does this exist?" question.

    In Open Source, this is rarely a problem. Software that isn't necessary does not gain the volunteers to work on it that it would need in order to grow. Software that is needed gets thousands of players involved. Since nobody gets paid to write open source, the driving factor behind it is perception of need or usefulness.

  • Symbian’s Mobile Operating System Now Officially Open Source
    Following their announcement back on the 4th of February, 2010… Symbian has released the first fully open source version of their mobile operating system, the Symbian^3 (S^3) platform.

  • Get smarter about open source
    Open source has come a long way in the past few years, and great stories of open source's success are abound.

    For example, OpenMRS has been utilised in Haiti, addressing the need to rethink medical records. In the mobile industry ‘open’ is a common theme used to help combat a highly tilted competitive landscape. And the desktop space, although not champion, is still brewing with a very large community of enthusiastic users.

  • MS and Oracle's big dev tools - who needs 'em?
    Emacs, Vim, and other editors have basic syntax highlighting and code navigation for an even broader set of formats despite the fact that they lag IDEs in features. Though IDEs offer impressive plug-in capabilities, traditional script, and config files seem easier to learn and use and ultimately more flexible.

  • Solaris/OpenSolaris

    • Oracle Solaris, Linux, and OpenSolaris
      On the complicated side the fact is that IBM has nowhere to go but Linux - and if Oracle can help get OpenSolaris accepted as a valid alternative on IBM’s hardware, it will open up a lot of accounts. Basically, where IBM account penetration is the goal, OpenSolaris is the obvious answer because a lot of IBM shops have somebody who can understand and champion what the technology offers: and once it’s in the door - even if its only on x86 stuff - its value and availability on IBM’s larger scale SMP hardware will create internal conflicts whose net effect will be to eventually break that account wide open.

      So the bottom line on all this is simple: the forces that drove Sun to support Linux and open source Solaris haven’t changed - and we can expect Oracle to sort itself out accordingly with solid support for applications on Lintel and for OpenSolaris and its applications on IBM’s hardware.

    • Bordeaux 2.0.2 for Solaris and OpenSolaris Released

    • OpenSolaris future assured by Oracle
      At the OpenSolaris Annual Meeting, held on IRC, Oracle executive Dan Roberts has assured the community about the future of the open source version of Solaris. The statements, available as a log of the meeting, have led Peter Tribble, who had expressed concerns on the lack of communication, to conclude "rumours of its [OpenSolaris] death have been greatly exaggerated".

    • Public consultation on EIS
      Everyone interested in interoperability within the context of public service delivery is cordially invited to send suggestions aiming at contributing to the implementation of the European Interoperability Strategy.

    • HipHop steals Web serving from Apache at Facebook
      Despite using the venerable LAMP (Linux Apache MySQL PHP) stack to build one of the busiest sites on the Internet, Facebook is moving its main Web serving infrastructure from Apache to HipHop for PHP, which has its own embedded Web server.

  • Models

    • Governance Models - everything you wanted to know but where afraid to ask
      With any project, good leadership or management are vital, and these documents will help you install the basics with little overhead. If your project already has a governance model in place then these documents could help you refine it, perhaps by making it explicit. If you don’t yet have one, then these document will help you decide what model best suits your style, and quickly get it into operation.

    • How to analyse an OSS business model – part one

    • How to analyse an OSS business model – part two
      It is based on the practical workshops that we do for companies, and so it does have a little “practical” feel to it; as for its theoretical background, it is heavily based on the Osterwalder model, that I found to be clear and comprehensible. It could be adapted easily to other conceptualizations and ontologies on how to describe a business model, if someone wants to use it in a teaching context.

    • Expanding Community Participation
      Millions of individual and thousands of organizations are part of the Eclipse community as users, contributors, committers, adopters, researchers, students, etc, etc. Unfortunately, the majority of the Eclipse community is passive. One thing we are trying to do is make it easier for more people and companies to actively participate in the community. For instance, we recently introduced a ‘contribute page‘ to make it easier for individuals to understand how they can get involved.

  • Legal

    • [International Free and Open Source Software Law Review:] Call for papers
      The International Free and Open Source Software Law Review (IFOSS L. Rev. or IFOSSLR) is a collaborative legal publication aiming to increase knowledge and understanding among lawyers about Free and Open Source Software issues. It is the first publication to focus specifically on this field, and its independent Editorial Committee is seeking submissions from qualified authors in a variety of research areas.

      The topics covered by the publication include copyright, licence implementation, licence interpretation, patents applicable to software and business methods, standards applicable to software, case law, statutory changes, license enforcement, competition law applicable to software, economics analysis, business models and due diligence.

      Issue 3 of IFOSS L. Rev. will be released on June 8th 2010. To be considered for inclusion in this issue articles must be submitted by April 1st.

    • NDAs and FOSS
      I recently had to sign a "Non-Disclosure Agreement" (NDA) for the first time in a long while, and I thought I would write about how an NDA might or might not fit in with Free and Open Source Software.

      One of the main ideas of FOSS is to share information, and we encourage both programmers and vendors to share as much information as possible.

      Sometimes a vendor shares some information with developers, and the vendor's words "we think we are going to do this" becomes misconstrued as "we are going to do this". Then people get upset when (perhaps a year later) the "promise" never materializes.

    • Drizzle, Licensing, Having Honest Conversations with your Community
      I pulled this from a quote on yesterday's Slashdot story about MySQL Licensing where the author of the quote mentions Drizzle's licensing terms:

      "you require the code to be under BSD"

      This is actually a myth, we don't.

      If you look through the Drizzle codebase you will note that very few files have BSD headers, and all that do?

  • Databases

    • NoSQL conference coming to Boston
      On March 11 Boston will join several other cities who have host conferences on the movement broadly known as NoSQL. Cassandra, CouchDB, HBase, HypergraphDB, Hypertable, Memcached, MongoDB, Neo4j, Riak, SimpleDB, Voldemort, and probably other projects as well will be represented at the one-day affair.


      The resilience of open source

      One question that intrigues me is why all the offerings in the NoSQL area are open source. Some have commercial add-ons, but the core technology is provided as free software. The few proprietary products and services in the market (such as Citrusleaf) get far less attention.

    • Twitter growth prompts switch from MySQL to 'NoSQL' database
      Ryan King, an engineer at Twitter, today told the blog MyNoSQL that the social networking company plans to move from MySQL to the Cassandra database for what he called its resilience, scalability and large community of open-source developers.

  • Mozilla

    • App Review: Firefox Mobile & Weave
      At the moment the browser situation on the N900 is similar to the one I see on my desktop, and at the same time completely different. Bear with me I haven’t lost my mind. It’s great to have a choice of browsers and competition is always good. On the desktop I use Firefox 80% of the time and Chromium the other 20%. On the mobile though it’s Micro B 80% of the time and Firefox 20%. Once the performance improves and I fix flash support that balance may shift. For now though my verdict on Firefox Mobile 1.0 is nice try, I really like the potential, but come back when it’s a bit more polished.

    • Firefox Mobile Browser Fennec Spotted on Android
      In June 2009, Mozilla executives reconsidered an earlier decision to not develop an Android version of Fennec. The changing factor was the release of Google's Android SDK, which allows code to run natively on Android devices instead of running on the Dalvik virtual machine.

  • BSD

  • Releases

    • Abiquo announces formal release of abiCloud 1.0
      Abiquo announced today that abiCloud 1.0.0 has been formally released under the GNU Lesser General Public License (LGPL) Version 3.

      AbiCloud is a unique open-source Cloud computing platform that manages all aspects of Cloud IT infrastructure. AbiCloud users can manage and create public and private Clouds, provision IT resources, and automatically scale applications on-demand - all through a simple and easy to use graphical user interface. AbiCloud is vendor neutral, providing concurrent support of all major hypervisors, as well industry standards such as the Open Virtualization Format (OVF).

    • Transmission 1.91
      Transmission version 1.91 is released. Transmission is a Linux BitTorrent client and is designed to balance power and usability.

  • Licensing

    • Anarchy in the EULA
      If we contrast this depravity with the GPL and OpenSource definition, we see some glaring issues. Much of the code in a Linux system is OpenSource code. This includes the Linux kernel, the GNU Compiler Collection (GCC), the X Window System, and many other critical components. So, this EULA is BREAKING the GPL. The GPL allows you to use software released under the GPL for any reason, view the source code, redistribute the source code, and adopt the source code. The Igelle EULA forbids this, because you are only allowed to "use the Software."

  • Openness

    • The lie of the land
      It's ambitious and time-consuming work to produce free maps of the whole of South Africa, but that is exactly what the OpenStreetMap (OSM) team is doing. Relying on a team of volunteers willing to hit the highways, streets and tracks of the country with their GPSes in their spare time, the OpenStreetMap SA team has now mapped more than 120,000 km of the country's roads. The resulting maps are licenced under a Creative Commons licence so that anyone can use the information.

  • Standards/Web

    • Italian entrepreneur fights proprietary file formats in Public Administrations
      Open file formats are essential, the Italian State has been promoting them for years and doesn't consider open the formats of Microsoft Office, all the political parties who will participate to the March 2010 regional elections approved in 2008 a law that "considering the positive effects on free and transparent markets... promotes and stimulates the adoption of open digital formats" (art. 1). In spite of all this, fourteen months after the arrival of that law, in a moment when half the small businesses of North Eastern Italy ask for public action to fight the economical crisis, an institution like the Chamber of Commerce, that represents the meeting point between the State and businesses", doesn't just seems like it never heard of that law. The answers that Ezio got look like they didn't even bother to read and understand all he actually wrote: "compatible format" does not mean at all "open format", and "compatible" isn't enough at all! We'll post here at Stop!/Zona-M any news about this case. In the meantime, congratulations to Ezio for demanding open formats, as every citizen is entitled to do: please follow his example, is the only way to start solving this problem.

    • Diving into WebKit
      First of all, I want to thank Haiku, Inc. for giving me the opportunity to concentrate fully for a while on the WebKit port and browser! This is an awesome chance that I intend to make full use of.

      At the moment, I have mixed feelings. Not about writing blogs. Not about working on WebKit. But about using the new WebKit browser to write the blog entry, haha! I've seen it crash, although in the last days, it has become pretty stable. After we upgraded to a newer WebKit version as the basis for the port, the frequent random crashes have almost disappeared and I saw only one crash in three days. Compared to one every few minutes before.


  • US jury convicts Nigerian on wire fraud charges
    A 31-year-old Nigerian man could face up to 20 years in prison after being convicted Tuesday of charges related to running advance free fraud scams for five years, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • Newspaper Paywalls
    To move your content behind a News Corp-style paywall is to be a dinosaur that knows the comet is coming but thinks, "I need thicker armor because I've heard that it has a big tail."

  • Crime

    • Recommendation algorithm wants to show you something new
      Accuracy has long been the most prized measurement in recommending content, like movies, links, or music. However, computer scientists note that this type of system can narrow the field of interest for each user the more it is used. Improved accuracy can result in a strong filtering based on a user's interests, until the system can only recommend a small subset of all the content it has to offer.

    • Wipro Says Employee Charged With Fraud Committed Suicide
      A finance employee of Indian outsourcer Wipro committed suicide shortly after the company caught him in December for embezzling US$4 million from the company, a spokeswoman for the company said on Tuesday.

      Wipro's handling of the issue has come in for criticism from analysts, as the company did not disclose that the person was dead when it discussed the alleged fraud last week. "I wish Wipro had handled this with more transparency than it has done," said Sudin Apte, a principal analyst at Forrester Research.

    • Italian telcos caught up in massive Mafia fraud
      Rome Judge Aldo Morgigni Tuesday issued arrest warrants for 56 people accused of participating in a €2 billion (US $2.7 billion) fraud involving the sale and purchase of non-existent international telephone traffic and evasion of €400 million in VAT (Value Added Tax).

  • Security

    • ID cards: the first year report
      He also said he had written twice to NO2ID and would have welcomed a chance to meet them, he has also discussed his work with shadow Home Secretary Damian Green.

      He also noted that Manchester and London City airports had still to sign formal agreements on data sharing.

      Pilling has also met Sir Peter Gibson, Intelligence Services Commissioner, who oversees use of the National Identity Register by spooks.

    • The steady creep of the Identity Card
      As I forewarned yesterday, The Office of The Identity Commissioner has presented his First Annual Report to Parliament to very mercifully little fanfare.

    • Pentagon Discloses Hundreds of Reports of Possibly Illegal Intelligence Activities
      The Department of Defense has released more than 800 heavily-redacted pages of intelligence oversight reports, detailing activities that its Inspector General has “reason to believe are unlawful.” The reports are the latest in an ongoing document release by more than a half-dozen intelligence agencies in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by EFF in July 2009.

    • Pentagon fesses up to 800 pages' worth of potentially illegal spying, including peace groups and Planned Parenthood
      The Electronic Frontier Foundation has forced the Pentagon to release over 800 pages of classified material documenting "possibly illegal" spying during the Bush administration. The heavily redacted documents include details of a spying program against Planned Parenthood and white supremacist groups in the runup to the Atlanta Olympics, as well as spying on Alaskans for Peace and Justice, an anti-recruiting group, civilian cell phone conversations, and other breaches of spying laws.

    • Military Monitored Planned Parenthood, Supremacists
      The U.S. Joint Forces Command liaison collected and disseminated information on U.S. citizens who were members of Planned Parenthood and the white supremacist group National Alliance regarding their involvement in protests and distributing literature, according to an intelligence-oversight report released by the Pentagon. The documents indicate that the JFC liaison was working with the FBI’s Olympic Intelligence Center at the time.

    • Who Will Watch The Watchmen?
      In his new book, The Watchers: The Rise of the America's Surveillance State (Penguin), reporter Shane Harris chronicles 25 years of intelligence community efforts to "connect the dots" on terrorist threats in the United States. The book reads like a particularly geeky technothriller, with each of Harris' main characters struggling to strike the right balance between privacy and security as increasingly antiquated databases full of crucial information pile up around them. In his day job, Harris covers electronic surveillance, intelligence, and counterterrorism for National Journal.

    • School administrator boasts to PBS about his laptop spying
      This is pretty amazing footage -- especially (as Scott notes) the absence of any questions about student privacy from the interviewer. I keep trying to imagine what my education would have been like if all my conversations, reading, doodling, writing, etc, had been monitored, in real time, by my teachers.

    • Patriot Act Extension Passed by Congress, Goes to Obama
      This authorization extends the Patriot Act, which allows roving wiretaps, document seizures, and other abuses of traditional American civil liberties, through February 28, 2011. The Act would expire on Sunday if Obama doesn't sign, but it is expected that he will.

    • Cheney's Huge Blunder
      So Cheney relied on incorrect information when he frequently insisted in the media that U.S. torture is justified, even necessary.

    • Yoo announces himself as gift to Obama administration
      John Yoo, the Bush administration lawyer responsible for justifying 'enhanced interrogation techniques,' launches a counter-attack on the agency that subsequently investigated him.

    • Air travellers to pay for security equipment with fee hikes
      Fees now range from $5 to $16, depending on the length of a flight and its destination.

    • Spy cameras won't make us safer
      On January 19, a team of at least 15 people assassinated Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh. Dubai police released video footage of 11 of them. Although it was obviously a very professional operation, the 27 minutes of video is fascinating in its banality.

      Team members walk through the airport, check into and out of hotels, get into and out of taxis. They make no effort to hide themselves from the cameras, sometimes seeming to stare directly into them. They obviously don't care that they're being recorded, and -- in fact -- the cameras didn't prevent the assassination, nor as far as we know have they helped as yet in identifying the killers.

    • Yet more abuse of police powers - caught on camera
      An officer wrongly demanded the ex-RAF engineer delete the photos. Mr Russell rightly refused - it is not illegal to photograph police in a public place.

      He was then searched using powers under Section 43 of the Terrorism Act,.

    • Dad Branded A Paedophile Over Pic Of Son
      A man who took a picture of his son while they were out shopping was accused of being a paedophile and threatened with arrest.

    • DNA’s Dirty Little Secret
      Such coincidental matches are more than a theoretical possibility, as Chicago police can attest. In 2004, detectives investigating a string of robberies on the city’s North Side found some skin cells that the culprit had left behind at one crime scene, which contained six DNA markers. When they ran this profile against Illinois’s offender database, they found it matched a woman named Diane Myers. There was just one problem: when the burglaries in question were committed, Myers was already in jail, serving time on drug charges.

    • Gary McKinnon extradition review set for May
      He suffers from Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism. His lawyers have argued he is in a "very poor mental state" as a result of the "ongoing pressure of these proceedings".

  • Environment

    • Coffee producers ‘getting hammered’ by global climate change
      Coffee producers say they are getting hammered by global warming, with higher temperatures forcing growers to move to prized higher ground, putting the cash crop at risk.

    • Can e-waste be turned to gold?
      The champions at the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver can stand on the podium proud of their achievements, but the eco-minded among them can be extra proud that their medals are made with traces of precious metals recovered from e-waste.

    • Climate-denier's Bible is a pack of lies
      The Lomborg Deception: Setting the Record Straight About Global Warming a new book by Howard Friel, reveals that Bjørn Lomborg's infamous climate-change-denying book Cool It (a favorite among climate deniers) grievously misreported much of the science it cited. Friel painstakingly investigated the pages and pages of references in Cool It, and found a "pattern of nonexistent footnoted support for assertions in the text."

  • Finance

    • Bernanke Says Fed Reviewing Goldman Sachs-Greece Contracts
      Bernanke was responding to a question from Senator Christopher Dodd, a Connecticut Democrat, who asked if there should be limits on the use of credit default swaps to prevent “runs against governments.” Greek bonds slid yesterday amid concern the country’s credit ratings may be cut.

    • Ben Bernanke Responds To Why Goldman Sachs Needs Fed VaR Exemption, And Other Questions
      Many moons ago, July 15, 2009 to be specific, Zero Hedge asked a rather simple question: why does Goldman need a Fed exemption for VaR calculations even though it is a Bank Holding Company. That question, and some others, prompted several members of congress, among whom Alan Grayson and Ron Paul, to shortly thereafter pass our query on to Ben Bernanke.

    • The Predictable Odor of the Goldman Sachs Seepage
      Basically my friends, the dwindling American middle class had 46.5 billion dollars extorted from their children’s economic futures (never to be paid back or seen again) by our Federal Government, and the NY Federal Reserve on behalf of Goldman Sachs to pay out the bonuses of the world’s most despicable criminals. And that is just the tip of a very large iceberg, from one Too Big to Fail Insurer, their cronies and their counterparties.

    • Goldman Sachs Probed As Significant Player Behind Destruction Of Greece
      Testifying before Congress, Mr Bernanke also responded to concerns that instability in markets for Greek debt and other securities has been heightened by trading in other derivatives, known as credit default swaps, which compensate investors in case of default.

    • Toyota and Goldman Sachs: the financially oriented pirates
      There are important similarities between Toyota’s recalled death missiles and Goldman Sach’s raping of American taxpayers, both of which illustrate what is wrong with the US government.

      The government willfully under-regulated both Toyota and Goldman for the sake of the race to the bottom — the never-ending quest for more profits — regardless of the dangers posed to taxpayers whether those hazards be derivatives or cars that accelerate for no apparent reason.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The Reconciliation Myth
      By writing the health care reform bill as a budget bill, Senate Democrats could advance the measure using a procedure called "reconciliation," which would avoid a Republican attempt to stall the measure by filibustering it. But Republicans are portraying use of reconciliation as scandalously improper for a health reform bill.

    • Top health official calls tobacco companies "Bullies"
      Margaret Chan, the head of the World Health Organization, called tobacco companies “ruthless, devious.” Chan says she is not on speaking terms with the “bullies," the derogatory name she used to refer to the tobacco industry.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • China seeks identity of Web site operators
      The "trial regulations" were issued by China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology under the auspices of an ongoing anti-porn campaign, but they will also help the government create records of all sites in the country and could be used to block other types of online content, the IDG News Service reported Tuesda


      Google and China have been in a showdown since Google announced last month that it was targeted by a hacker attack that appeared to originate in China and which targeted Gmail users who are human rights activists. At the time, Google said it would stop censoring its searches in that domain and might even pull out of the country entirely.

    • China tightens internet controls
      China has tightened controls on internet use, requiring anyone who wants to set up a website to meet regulators and produce ID documents.

      The technology ministry said the measures were designed to tackle online pornography, but internet activists see it as increased government censorship.

    • UPDATE: Victory - YouTube Permits Amy Greenfield Art
      YouTube responded to the letter from EFF and the National Coalition Against Censorship by doing just what we asked. They state: "We have re-reviewed your videos and have reinstated them with an age gate." This is good news, and YouTube is to be commended for correcting its error.

    • Yes, Google Will Even Delete Its Own Employees' Sites From Google Index If They Screw Up
      Now, that certainly doesn't preclude the possibility that Google takes revenge on sites it doesn't like, but it's at least more evidence that the ranking system really is pretty algorithmically focused -- and even Google employees aren't immune to being delisted for screwing up. If your site gets delisted from Google, it's not personal.

    • Google Will Appeal Employee Convictions in Italian Court
      Google plans on appealing the convictions of three of its employees in Italian court, after a judge in Milan ruled that the search-engine giant was responsible for a 2006 video clip, posted to Google Video's Italian site, showing three Turin high school students bullying a teenager with Down syndrome. Google is arguing that the Italian legal system holding a neutral hosting platform liable for user content represents a threat to the fundamental concept of a free and open Internet. All three Google employees received prison sentences of up to six months, although reports indicate that those sentences will likely be suspended.

    • Conviction of Google Execs in Italy Shear Madness

    • When American and European Ideas of Privacy Collide
      And what Italian prosecutors labeled a battle over principle may well have had another goal.

      “Italian media is full of naked women and embarrassing revelations about both celebrities and ordinary people,” Professor Crawford wrote. “Any concern for privacy in this case is a pious cover for an (also naked) assertion of power over online companies.”

    • Conroy's website removes references to filter
      THE minister in charge of the Government's web censorship plan has been caught out censoring his own website.

      The front page of Communications Minister Stephen Conroy's official website displays a list of topics connected to his portfolio, along with links to more information about each one.

      All the usual topics are there – cyber safety, the national broadband network, broadcasters ABC and SBS, digital television and so on.

    • Why Conroy loves porn
      Every time anti-filtering campaigners mention porn, they play right into Senator Conroy's hands.

      Conroy obviously doesn't care what the online community thinks of his mandatory filtering plans. He will only change his mind about filtering if mainstream Australia turns against him, and that's never going to happen while the debate remains focused on porn.

      A recent survey by the ABC's Hungry Beast found 80 per cent of Australians support the idea of "having a mandatory Government Internet filter that would automatically block all access in Australia, to overseas websites containing material that is Refused Classification".

    • Conroy brings forward telecom reform bill
      Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has vowed to bring forward the telecommunications structural reform legislation in the first March sitting week after accusing Coalition senators of blocking debate in the Senate.

    • Rudd says “no apologies” for internet filter
      Prime Minister Kevin Rudd this morning threw more wood on the fiery debate about the Government’s internet filtering plans, saying it wouldn’t apologise for pushing ahead with the initiative.

    • Cashing in on Internet censorship
      A growing number of software companies are capitalizing on an unexpected business opportunity: Internet censorship.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • RIAA CEO Tries To Connect China Google Hack With Google's Attitude Towards Copyright
      The RIAA has made some bizarre and totally nonsensical arguments in its time, but it may have just set a new low. castilho points us to an opinion piece written by RIAA boss Mitch Bainwol that tries to pin the blame for the Chinese hack of Google on Google's opinion towards copyright. Seriously. Of course, the logical leaps and bounds you have to go through to make this sort of statement is a bit crazier than your average roller coaster, and in the process Bainwol seems to be implying both that those who give away anything for free are against content creation and that getting hacked actually has something to do with copyright law.

    • Home Cooking Is Killing The Restaurant Industry!
      For many years, whenever people insisted that the ability to download movies would kill the movie business -- including the box office revenues -- we've made the analogy that just because people can prepare food at home (for much lower cost!) it hasn't changed the fact that sometimes people still go out to dinner. It's an apt analogy.

    • YouTube gives up on original 'Rickroll'
      In what's either the saddest or most fantastic news of the week, the YouTube video for Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up" has been deemed a copyright violation.

      Yes, that means the cheesy '80s pop video with tens of millions of views--the center of the "Rickrolling" Internet phenomenon--is no more.

    • The Korean War Memorial Postage Stamp Photo Case: I was way wrong! But I still think I was right, and I think the case is bad for art.
      Consider me dumbfounded, or just plain dumb. I thought the copyright infringement case brought by the sculptor of the Korean War War Veterans Memorial (above, left) against the U.S. Postal Service for the use of the memorial’s image in a postage stamp (above, right) was an “easy case” — that the stamp constituted fair use of the image of the memorial because, among other things, I thought the image was sufficiently “transformative” of the memorial itself to constitute a creative work in its own right.

    • Stretching The FCC's Mandate: FCC Should Not Be Involved In Copyright Enforcement
      We were a bit concerned last year when the FCC held hearings which were technically about the national broadband policy, but instead focused on copyright, something that is clearly well outside the FCC's mandate -- something the FCC already got in trouble for a few years back with its attempt to mandate a "broadcast flag."

    • Former Teen Cheerleader Dinged $27,750 for File Sharing 37 Songs
      A federal appeals court is ordering a university student to pay the Recording Industry Association of America $27,750 — $750 a track — for file sharing 37 songs when she was a high school cheerleader.

      The decision Thursday by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reverses a Texas federal judge who had ordered defendant Whitney Harper to pay $7,400, or $200 per song. The lower court had granted her an “innocent infringer’s” exemption to the Copyright Act’s minimum of $750 per track because she said she didn’t know she was violating copyrights and thought file sharing was akin to internet radio streaming.

    • $15,000 penalty for web downloads
      Anyone caught breaching copyright by downloading films and music from the internet will face large penalties and could even be disconnected by their internet service under new legislation.

    • Universal May Have to Pay the Piper Over Takedown of Dancing Baby
      U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled late Thursday that Stephanie Lenz can get some limited recompense from the music label for ordering YouTube to drop a 29-second video of her son dancing to the music of Universal artist Prince.

      Lenz still must prove her case before collecting anything. But it appears to be the first answer to the question of how an apparently ill-brought takedown notice should be punished under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

    • isoHunt to Appeal in MPAA Lawsuit, Sees The Lite
      Last year the BitTorrent search engine isoHunt lost in court against the MPAA. A Californian court ruled that isoHunt was guilty of inducing copyright infringement and granted summary judgment. IsoHunt, however, does not intend to crack so easily as it sets course towards an appeal and launches a ‘Lite’ version of the site.

    • RapidShare Ordered To Proactively Filter Book Titles
      Six book publishers have gained an injunction against file-hosting company, RapidShare. The Swiss-based ‘cyberlocker’ service must monitor user uploads to ensure that around 148 titles, many of them textbooks, are never made available to its users. Failure to do so could result in $339,000 fines, or even jail time for company bosses.

    • “Bribed” Pirate Bay Cop Now Heads Anti-Piracy Unit
      Jim Keyzer, a police IT forensics specialist who was leading the Pirate Bay investigation while he was also working for Warner Bros. is back in action. Despite all the controversy he is now leading the IT Crime Unit which is tasked with various anti-piracy efforts.

    • The Hunt For The Big Dope
      Ah, but are they making it, do you ask? Well… given the fact that the costs of creation cannot be denied and that they believe that the audience and the users shouldn’t be paying for content, I do not see any other possibility. Someone has to pay, if I choose not to. A personal example, for perspective: I am a fan of a number of musical artists and as such I would like them to make more recordings. Simple enough? Most music fans could say the same, I should think. I know (all too well) that recordings cost the artists time, effort and money to produce. However, let us say – for the sake of argument – that I do not wish to pay for the recordings. I want them and I want them free. The artists’ costs won’t diminish by virtue of my unwillingness to pay, so someone else has to come up with the money.

      Let’s look at some of the potential Dopes that have been “volunteered” to take the burden of supporting the creative sector from our shoulders:

      1. Advertisers 2. Other users of the net – through collective licensing schemes rolled into ISP subscription plans 3. Tax payers – through “nationalization” of the creative sector 4. Charitable organizations 5. Other fans of the artist – the ones who’ll spend the hundreds or thousands of dollars on premium items, merchandise, concerts, physical sales, theatre screenings etc. 6. The creators themselves – when we convince them that they should view their creativity as a gift that they should indiscriminately share with the world, without a thought to being compensated for the enrichement of the audience’s lives

    • ACTA

      • ACTA in Europarl INTA committee
        A now very self-confident Trade Committee INTA of the European Parliament cratered the European top ACTA negotiator Luc Devigne from the Commission DG Trade (Wed 24 Feb 2010). Devigne took the interesting legal position that only their “EU negotiation position” has to reflect the acquis, not the scope of the ACTA negotiations as a whole.

      • Written Declaration presented today in Brussels
        "ACTA is legislation laundering on an international scale, trying to covertly push through what could never be passed in most national parliaments" declared the socialist Member of the European Parliament Lambrinidis in his presentation of a written declaration that aims at establishing the official oppositon to ACTA of Europe€´s elected representatives. He also criticized ACTA€´s intention of "systematic monitoring of citizens in the hands of internet service providers, giving them more power than police have in anti-terror operations".

      • MEPS opposition to secretive Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement grows
        Four MEPs are spearheading a campaign to force the European Commission to release documents relating to the ACTA negotiations that have been kept from lawmakers. Led by Françoise Castex (S&D) they complain that they heard about the negotiations from reading the press and are concerned that the Commission is not informing Parliament and claim it has no mandate to negotiate a multinational treaty.

      • Growing Concern From European Officials Over ACTA

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Microsoft Certified Engineer Evan Littman (2005)

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Digital Tipping Point is a Free software-like project where the raw videos are code. You can assist by participating.

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