Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 7/6/2010: More Motorola Linux Phones

GNOME bluefish



  • The gift of a desktop, part one
    Giving someone a desktop is a moving experience. I've done it hundreds of times. It was my job to deploy desktops with Red Hat or Fedora 2000-2006 for Carnegie Mellon School of Computer Science. There, some of the brightest minds would be there to receive it.

  • Google Chrome OS Could Shake Up PC Market

  • Ballnux

  • Games

    • Gaming-II
      FOSS gaming really started coming into its own in the last couple of years. There are many reasons for it. One of the biggest reasons perhaps may be the mainstream grudging acceptance by the general public, publishers and copyright activists of the creative commons/open content production and distribution methodologies.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • ARM chippies cooperate on Linux
      Red Hat's Fedora has an ARM version, but it is not commercialized (yet) as Enterprise Linux, and Maemo, Movial Thundersoft do ARM-based Linuxes too. And there are already a plethora of Linuxes for sundry "liliputers," as someone has cleverly called them, including Android, LiMo, MeeGo, and webOS. And lest we forget, Windows is also trying to muscle its way into here and Apple has iPhone OS, a derivative of its Mac OS (itself a variant of Unix).

    • Phones

      • Linux smartphone to beat entire market in 2010

      • Android

        • Motorola squares up Android phone with enhanced MotoBlur
          Motorola announced a square-shaped, low-end Android phone, featuring a pivot design that exposes a hidden, five-row QWERTY keypad. The "Flipout" is equipped with a 2.8-inch, 320 x 240 touchscreen, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and a three-megapixel camera, and runs Android 2.1 with a new version of Motorola's MotoBlur UI layer.

        • Motorola Announces Android-Based Flipout Phone

        • Android phone features eight-Mpixel camera, analog TV
          Taiwanese mobile development firm Innocomm Mobile Technology and Silicon Valley fabless semiconductor firm Telegent Systems have collaborated on a low-cost Android phone with analog TV reception. The Innocomm Shark is equipped with a 3.2 inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen, eight-megapixel camera, 3.5G connectivity, and WiFi, and incorporates Telegent's analog mobile TV technology.

        • Exclusive: Motorola Droid Xtreme Pics
          So here is what our tipster gave us:

          * Android 2.2 * 9 home screens * No Motoblur * Dedicated camera button * “Very metal” * HDMI out

        • Source: Metro PCS Getting Android 2.1 Motorola Device
          Here's what my guy has to say about the phone - It is running MOTOBLUR with Android 2.1 and has a sliding QWERTY keyboard. The processor is said to be 600MHz and there's a 3-megapixel camera on it. Not much, I know but it doesn't sound like any other Android phone we've seen so far. Perhaps a new form factor and/or a Metro PCS exclusive?

        • Sony Ericsson prepping a 5-inch Android phone with QWERTY keyboard? (updated)
          Well, this is just great timing. What we're looking at here is supposedly a Sony Ericsson smartphone, which seems to sport a five-inch screen and a hinged slide-out keyboard like the HTC Shift and the Eking S515. Even if this prototype turns out to be legit, our tipster -- who has a solid track record -- says it's only running on Android 2.1 and that development is in its infancy while low-level drivers are being tested. Well, we can probably wait, except we're also told that internally SE doesn't appear to have any plans for 2.2 yet. Cue the angry tomatoes and eggs, but bring us a PSP phone any day and we'll call off the rally.

    • Tablets

      • Android Tablets on Show by Foxconn, Hardkernel
        Two 10.1-inch touchscreen tablet designs that run Google's mobile Android software are on display at the Computex electronics show in Taipei, one from Foxconn Technology and the other by Hardkernel.

      • Stunning Viliv X10 Tablet Features 10-Inch 1366×768 Screen
        Another day, another Android tablet. Right? Not exactly. Check out the newly unearthed Viliv X10 and you will see one of the best looking Android-based tablets yet. One of the guys over at Laptop Magazine spent a few minutes with the device and came away using words like "impressive", "gorgeous", and "immersive".

Free Software/Open Source

  • BCS In Crisis Vote Of No Confidence
    I received a mass-mailed letter from one Elizabeth Sparrow today that triggered my open source instincts. She's the current President of the British Computer Society, as well as one of the key people trying to get us all to stop calling it that. She and her colleagues would like us - the current voting members - to agree to rename the BCS as "The Chartered Institute of IT" and there's an expensive marketing campaign in progress to perform the naming and rebranding switch.

    Right now it's in an awkward phase where we're all instructed to treat "BCS" as an abstract string preceding "The Chartered Institute of IT".

    The reason for the letter? A group of members - Elizabeth and her friends would like me to believe it's "a very small number" but that's calculated purely from the number required to call a meeting - are concerned by the changes and have pressed the governance 'panic' button.

    The letter was to seek my support for the current leadership at an Emergency General Meeting (EGM) on July 1st. While the letter and accompanying leaflet characterises the opposition as Luddism, the concerns expressed have a kernel of reality.


    As a long-time member (at the Fellow grade) I have no doubt that the BCS needs revitalising - my own attempts to engage over open source have gained little traction, for example, and the public policy positions the BCS has taken have often seemed to me over-accommodating to business influences.

  • Oil spill Firefox plugin blacks out BP across the Web
    Creative agency Jess3 has developed a Firefox plugin that aims to black out all mentions of BP (British Petroleum) across the web. As one popular tweet espouses, "Want BP to [blank] up your browser like they've [blank] up the Gulf? Install the Oil Spill Firefox plugin from @jess3."

  • World's tiniest open source violin

  • Books


  • Michael Dell considered taking computer giant private
    DELL chairman and chief executive Michael Dell sent Dell shares higher today when he said he had considered taking private the computer giant he founded with $US1000 in 1984.

  • Should Mainstream Media Be Held to Different Standards Than Bloggers?
    Should mainstream media be held to different standards than bloggers when it comes to crediting sources? Mainstream media agencies have frequently turned their noses up at bloggers, essentially claiming that they steal and repurpose the work of their hard working journalists. While this may be true in some cases, it is hardly fair to say that this is true in general. In fact, this week, we've seen a clear example of the hypocrisy of this notion, because mainstream media publications are clearly just as guilty as blogs when it comes to improper crediting of sources.

  • Security/Aggression

    • Data Breach Puts Kidney Dialysis Patient Info at Risk
      Fortunately, no instances of identity theft have yet been reported as a result of the breach. But no harm doesn't always mean no foul where data breach is concerned, especially since this one could have been prevented with just a password. The university could have saved itself the embarrassment - not to mention the cost of credit monitoring times 700 - by adding password protection.

  • UK

    • Manchester (UK) airport stops searching passengers by hand in trial run
      The UK's Manchester Airport has installed biometric iris detection systems for access to secure areas of the airport; it has tested 3-D baggage screening technology; and now it is installing passenger holding areas that permit travelers to wear coats, jackets and shoes while detectors scan for dangerous items. Glass gates enclose passengers as they are scanned, then either a green door opens to allow cleared passengers to continue or a red lane directs them to a full-body scanner for further screening.

    • "Take pictures on the beach? You'll need a licence..."
      A beach warden – who would only identify himself as “Beach 8” – challenged our photographer as she took snaps on the promenade at Branksome Chine yesterday.

      He demanded to see a licence and told her she shouldn’t be taking pictures without one.

      After years of taking photos on the beaches unchallenged, our snapper Hattie Miles ploughed on regardless.

    • The Coalition has performed a disgraceful u-turn on the Summary Care Record
      Finally, I note that it was "announced" by brief Written Answer, without debate, on the day of the statement made to the House on the Cumbrian shooting, so it didn't get picked up anywhere. A Jo Moore 9/11 situation writ large, but after weeks in power rather than New Labour's years in office by the time of Moore's disgrace. New government, old tricks. No change, and no shame.

    • Labour'S Hated Bin Taxes Are Thrown Out
      A senior source at the Department for Communities and Local Government said pilot schemes underway would be “consigned to the dustbin of history,” making good on a Tory election promise.

    • Government to rule out 'pay as you throw' waste charge

    • ID cards by the backdoor?
      The truth is, the government was only ever following EU law when it made foreign nationals part of the first phase of ID cards' roll-out. It merely seized on the requirements to fit its populist, xenophobic rhetoric, in a sad attempt to wring as much political capital as it could out of what was already an unethical EU regulation.


      Given the money we're paying IBM over the next seven years for the NBIS database one might consider it sensible to scrap it on financial grounds. Indeed it would be, but this isn't just about money, or even civil liberties. This is about taking a rational, compassionate view of immigration - an unpopular view at present.

  • Environment

    • Dell has run out of excuses
      Did you see Greenpeace activists took direct action against Dell at its global headquarters in Texas, U.S., last week?


      Since the action, over 12,500 people have sent protest emails to CEO and company founder Michael Dell. Dell’s public relations arm has responded but the company has not yet made good on its promise to take action.

    • Women’s Role in a Warming World
      Women are likely to be hit harder by climate change than men due their social roles and the simple fact that a majority—as much as 70 percent—of the world’s poor are women.

    • Allen Has Ordered 'Uninhibited Access' to Oil Spill Operations
      Admiral Thad Allen told me he has ordered that oil spill operations be open to the media. The National Incident Commander for the oil spill efforts said in my “This Week” interview, “I put out a written directive and I can provide it for the record that says the media will have uninhibited access anywhere we're doing operations, except for two things, if it's a security or safety problem. That is my policy. I'm the national incident commander.”

    • Play BP Offshore Oil Strike
      In the 1970s, an obscure board games publisher called Printabox collaborated with BP to design a game called BP Offshore Oil Strike.

    • A different climate perspective: A view on the UN negotiations from the Arctic
      It has been so obvious that the oil, coal and timber industries have actively lobbied behind the scenes before, and in Copenhagen to stall a global climate deal. They fear they will lose profits if the planet is steered towards an energy revolution and zero deforestation. A few weeks ago a Greenpeace investigation reported that the fossil fuel industry have provided 30 million dollars of backing to the Koch Institutes to damage the credibility of climate science.

    • Leroy Stick – the man behind @BPGlobalPR

    • BP Oil Spill: Who's Your Daddy?
      BP will pay dearly for its apparent negligence, ending up poorer and smaller as a result of the spill. Not so with the federal government: disasters are the health of the state.

      That dynamic won't change as long as pundits, pols and the public embrace the poisonous notion that the president is America's daddy.

  • Finance

    • Hungary Warns of Greek-Style Crisis
      Fears that the debt crisis could migrate to central Europe were stirred Friday after a senior Hungarian government official said the previous government had manipulated budget figures and lied about the state of the economy, but most financial experts dismissed the remarks as a ham-handed negotiating ploy.

    • Goldman Sachs May Explain PPT’s Vanishing Act: Caroline Baum
      Where are they? What’s keeping them? Stock markets across the globe are getting hammered, and there’s no sign of the Plunge Protection Team.

      Sure, there were some sightings of the bond vigilantes in places like Greece over the past month. But a worldwide equity meltdown is a job for real men, for the PPT.

    • Financial industry hired 1,400 former government staffers as lobbyists in 2009
      Firms hired 2.7 former government staffers for every member of Congress -- in one year

      Want to know why Congress tends to tread lightly when it comes to regulating major US banks and financial services firms?

    • Banks Say No. Too Bad Taxpayers Can’t.
      As profits rebound at many of these institutions, however, artful dodging becomes more disturbing. And when disguising problems winds up harming the taxpayer — the same folks who rode to the rescue of banks with billions of dollars — the denial is downright exasperating.

    • Consumers stand to gain the most from financial overhaul
      Though the Wall Street and banking features of the giant financial industry overhaul bill taking shape on Capitol Hill have drawn most of the attention, home buyers and mortgage applicants should be major winners when the legislation is finally signed into law, probably early next month.

    • Lost Decade, Here We Come
      The deficit hawks have taken over the G20:
      “Those countries with serious fiscal challenges need to accelerate the pace of consolidation,” it added. “We welcome the recent announcements by some countries to reduce their deficits in 2010 and strengthen their fiscal frameworks and institutions”.

      These words were in marked contrast to the G20’s previous communiqué from late April, which called for fiscal support to “be maintained until the recovery is firmly driven by the private sector and becomes more entrenched”.
      It’s basically incredible that this is happening with unemployment in the euro area still rising, and only slight labor market progress in the US.

      But don’t we need to worry about government debt? Yes — but slashing spending while the economy is still deeply depressed is both an extremely costly and quite ineffective way to reduce future debt. Costly, because it depresses the economy further; ineffective, because by depressing the economy, fiscal contraction now reduces tax receipts. A rough estimate right now is that cutting spending by 1 percent of GDP raises the unemployment rate by .75 percent compared with what it would otherwise be, yet reduces future debt by less than 0.5 percent of GDP.

    • Financial overhaul's likely impact on Wall Street

    • A Dubious Way to Prevent Fiscal Crisis
      Will the bill that emerges from this conference do what it is intended to do? Will it prevent another crisis? Will it put an end to government bailouts? The painful answer is: probably not.

      In the first place, there is nothing even remotely radical about anything in these bills. Nobody is suggesting setting up a new Securities and Exchange Commission, which reshaped Wall Street regulation when it was formed in 1934. Nobody is talking about breaking up banks the way they did in the 1930s with the passage of the Glass-Steagall Act. Nobody is even talking about a wholesale revamping of a regulatory system that so clearly failed in this crisis. “They are trying to attack the symptoms, instead of the basic issues,” said Christopher Whalen, managing director of the Institutional Risk Analyst. There is something oh-so-reasonable about these bills, as if Congress was worried that they might do something that would — heaven forbid! — upset the banking industry.

    • Is it military spending that's blowing in the wind?
      Take a look at the top ten military expenditure offenders and think what could be done with a fraction of the cash, and the wasted human potential squandered on designing more sophisticated ways to bomb the world to pieces.

      * USA $661bn * China $100bn (Sipri estimate) * France $64bn * UK $58bn * Russia $53bn * Japan $52bn * Germany $46bn * Saudi Arabia $41bn * India $36bn * Italy $36bn

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Guardian says dating site rivals violated database rights
      The Guardian newspaper has sued two online dating sites in the High Court, claiming that the companies have violated its database rights by using profiles taken from its own dating service.

    • Australia orders Google 'privacy breach' investigation
      The Australian police have been ordered to investigate Google for possible breach of privacy while taking pictures for its Street View service.

    • Canada probes Google on wireless data collection

    • Lawsuits Mount Over Google Wi-Fi Sniffing

    • Google blames Wi-Fi snooping on rogue engineer
      The male Googler in question is now subject to disciplinary proceedings, he told the FT.

      That's in spite of the news overnight that the firm applied for a patent on the technology in January.

    • WikiLeaks Was Launched With Documents Intercepted From Tor
      WikiLeaks, the controversial whistleblowing site that exposes secrets of governments and corporations, bootstrapped itself with a cache of documents obtained through an internet eavesdropping operation by one of its activists, according to a new profile of the organization’s founder.

    • Wikileaks denies Tor hacker eavesdropping gave site its start
      WikiLeaks has denied that eavesdropping on Chinese hackers played a key part in the early days of the whistle-blowing site.

      Wired reports that early WikiLeaks documents were siphoned off from Chinese hackers' activities via a node on the Tor anonymiser network, as an extensive interview with WikiLeaks' founder Julian Paul Assange by the New Yorker explains in greater depth.
      One of the WikiLeaks activists owned a server that was being used as a node for the Tor network. Millions of secret transmissions passed through it. The activist noticed that hackers from China were using the network to gather foreign governments’ information, and began to record this traffic. Only a small fraction has ever been posted on WikiLeaks, but the initial tranche served as the site’s foundation, and Assange was able to say, “We have received over one million documents from thirteen countries.”

    • Bangladesh cuts off Facebook
      Bangladesh blocked Facebook over the weekend, leaving the social networking site marooned from another tranche of Muslim users even as Pakistan largely restored access to the site.

    • Facebook Admits Censoring Content in Pakistan
      Facebook said on Tuesday that it has blocked users in Pakistan from accessing the 'Everybody Draw Mohammed Day !' page on its site out of respect for local standards and customs.

    • China bans Foursquare over Tiananmen Square visits
      According to various reports and tweets, authorities in the Communist country have banned the service after linking it to the 21st anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

    • iiNet says Sen. Conroy lied
      iiNet CEO Michael Malone has reasserted the company's total opposition to the Internet filter, despite claims to the contrary by Sen. Conroy.

    • ACLU fires an anti-snooping volley
      The group, along with the New York Civil Liberties Union, announced that it is suing the US federal government for the release of documents relating to a controversial spying law, the FISA Amendments Act of 2008 (FAA).

      The ACLU said that the act was unconstitutional and "gives the executive branch virtually unchecked power to collect Americans' international e-mails and telephone calls in dragnet fashion, without a warrant and without suspicion of wrongdoing."

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • DRM explained

    • Dear AT&T: Soon We'll All Be Data Hogs
      OK, laugh--but just a little. Because it's true, even on wired broadband networks, that a tiny portion of subscribers gobble up most of the bandwidth. But with the expected surge in video applications for wireless devices, we'll all be data hogs soon enough.

    • Is this what they mean by analog hole?
      Having trouble with DRM on your ebooks? Try this site. The problem with DRM is it encourages piracy. It can always be removed - but it can be a hassle. So: if you are going to distribute it widely it is worth the effort - and if you take the trouble to do it yourself you are so pissed off that you feel a strong temptation to share it.

    • GameLoft Changes DRM Policy on HD Android Games
      Last week, many of you may have read of GameLoft's outrageous DRM policy regarding HD Android games sold through their site. Fortunately, due to many complaints and the negative response from the Android community, GameLoft has changed their stance. They listened to the concerns of many of their potential customers and have taken significant action. For starters, they’ve completely reversed their stance on re-downloading games that aren’t in the Android market.

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Keep your MEPs on their toes!
      During the weeks leading up to the UK General Election — and during the exciting aftermath — our focus has very much been on UK parliamentary politics, and since the election, we've been dealing with our internal elections and getting our paperwork done. But what's been going on at the European Parliament in Strasbourg in that time? Yesterday morning, my attention was drawn to our fraternal Pirate colleague Christian Engström's blog, and in particular two issues that need your action as soon as possible.

    • Copyrights

      • World War 0
        Eckhard goes on to analyze how authors fared with and without copyright. The bottom line: the journeyman author - those who produce most of the books - did better without copyright. The big guys at the top? They did better with copyright.

      • "Piracy has increased my e-book sales 700%"

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