Bonum Certa Men Certa

Links 26/6/2010: 160,000 Linux-based Android Phones Sold Daily, Thunderbird 3.1 Released

GNOME bluefish



  • Put your knowledge where your mouth is.
    So when I write about Linux I write what I personally know or have researched on. When I write about windows I also write what I personally know or have researched on. My opinions on those are the results of that experience. While there have been many comments posted which do not agree with what I say, they are often quite knowledgeable and show me ways of thinking I hadn't considered. Other comments, not so much.

    To end this rambling missive why don't you consider your reasons for liking your preferred operating system and your reasons for hating the other operating system. Is it from years of experience or simply an ignorant reaction from hearsay and peer group pressure? Do you really know your operating system well enough to be able to defend it against slander? Do you know the other operating system to be able to factually put your money where your mouth is?

  • The Stable Triple and Marketing Linux
    The Linux marketplace appears vastly diverse and complicated, but in reality, most of the market is actually very consolidated already in everything but marketing. Red Hat has a very small, intense field around it, mostly encompassing RHEL, Fedora, and CentOS. Oracle Enterprise Linux would also be included, and this will serve as a tidbit for later articles. These systems have a very strong focus on the general business environment: desktops and servers. They are developed with security and reliability in mind. On the other side is the Ubuntu field. This field is vast and diverse. First, there are the Canonical-sponsored Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu, Edubuntu, Ubuntu Netbook Remix, Ubuntu Studio, and Ubuntu Server edition; then there are the redistributions such as Mint, Mythbuntu, gOS, Goobuntu, and more. In some ways, Debian can even be included in the Ubuntu cloud. Ubuntu is community and "free" focused. It is a place to try the latest and greatest. Ubuntu needs to embrace this expansive, innovative family more fully, promoting a wider Ubuntu brand.

  • The Three Big Problems With GNU/Linux: Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt
    GNU/Linux and FOSS make the proprietors of closed-source software very afraid because the psychological relationship between the end-user and the producer of software is entirely different.

  • Linux: We Now Build Mini ITX Systems with Linux Installed
    I am proud to announce that here at ERA Computers & Consulting (ERACC) we have researched the parts needed to build Mini ITX, Tiny PC, systems and are offering a quote option on our sales site. Each of these Tiny PC systems is built to end-user specification. We build these with or without a hard drive and with or without an operating system.

  • It's All in the Execution
    It's a good lesson for anyone who has customers. The first step is figuring out who are your customers? When you're Microsoft it's not end-users, but everyone upstream: corporate buyers, resellers, and OEM shops. Actual users are little more than unavoidable nuisances. Microsoft salespeople and marketers cater strictly to the folks who sign the big checks. Their retail marketing is so awful it can't possibly be effective, but even if it is the folks who sign the checks to Microsoft are not individual retail customers, but the stores they buy from. In any business with this disconnect between purchaser and user, the user goes to the end of the customer service line.

    When you're a FOSS developer your customers are other developers who want to use or contribute to your code, and end users. It can get even more complicated as artists, documentation writers, distributors, bug finders, testers, and corporate contributors all want to get involved with your project. It can be overwhelming, but at least everyone has a direct stake in the health and success of your project.

  • Enregy Use

    • Linux as a Catalyst for a Smarter Planet
      What do you think about when you read or hear the word “smart” when it is applied to computers? How about a supercomputer? If any machine is smart, a supercomputer is, right?. According to a study released by the University of California at Berkeley in May, 2010, 470 of the 500 fastest supercomputers in the world run Linux, the open source operating system. That’s 91%. Evidently the people who decided to use Linux for these computers were pretty smart too.

      As we think about all the ways where we can work together to create a Smarter Planet, Linux has a very natural role. First, Linux runs on more kinds of hardware than any other operating system. So if we are talking about tying together disparate systems to deliver better, more accurate, and more predictive health care, Linux can power the hardware and software to maintain the information repositories, do the data mining, and perform the analytics. That is, Linux can help provide the intelligence we will need and expect in our complex and sophisticated 21st century systems.

    • Open Source Tools for a Smarter Planet Spread Out
      One of the better open source-focused posts I've seen recently was "Linux as a catalyst for a smarter planet," which included Jean Staten Healy and Bob Sutor of IBM discussing social challenges going on around the globe, and how Linux is being applied to solve problems. Filled with interesting data about how social change will make a place for Linux in the future, it reminded me of some of the many posts on open source tools for humanitarian and social causes that we've done. Here, you can find many of these, and some thoughts on Sutor's and Healy's presentation.


      Sutor and Healy also cite the example of Malta, one of the more densely populated places on the planet. The Maltese National Electricity and Water Utilities is using Linux for a nationwide smart grid for electrical and water service. So what other kinds of tools has the open source community served up for these types of applications?

  • Desktop

  • Audiocasts

  • Ballnux

    • Critics' Choice: HTC Evo 4G Smartphone Review Roundup
      For several years now, Sprint has been in next-to-last place among U.S. wireless network providers. But that might eventually change if Sprint continues to offer smartphones like the HTC EVO 4G ($200 with a new contract), a well-reviewed Android 2.1 handset boasting several firsts and currently a Sprint exclusive in the U.S.

    • Ars reviews the HTC EVO 4G
      The HTC EVO 4G is arguably one of the most ambitious smartphones ever to ship with Google's Android mobile operating system. Exclusive to Sprint, the device is one of the first to deliver 4G network connectivity. Its appeal is boosted by impressive hardware specs and a roster of outstanding capabilities, like support for high-definition video capture. It comes loaded with HTC's unique user interface enhancements and custom applications, which round out its feature set nicely.

  • Graphics Stack

    • Ubuntu Nearing X Server Not Running As Root
      Based upon a recent email to the X.Org developers' mailing list, Canonical is nearing the point of one of their goals for Ubuntu 10.10 of a rootless X Server, or being able to run the X.Org Server without root privileges.

  • Applications

  • GNOME Desktop

    • When GNOME Met KDE: Q and A With GNOME Foundation Director Stormy Peters
      Last year, the GNOME Foundation began hosting summits for developers alongside another desktop environment community: KDE. "In our meeting with the KDE conference, we're trying to cooperate in our common goal of providing a free desktop," said Stormy Peters, executive director of the GNOME Foundation. "So wherever we can agree to use common technology or work on the same thing, we want to do that.

  • Distributions

    • More distros at 150Mhz, both good and bad
      Arch Linux isn’t the only thing I have installed or used on the Mebius, since I brought it home a week ago. I did a few trial runs with other distros and OSes, although not all of them were as successful as archlinux-i586.

      * Debian, oddly enough, mentioned memory errors after a network installation, and refused to boot. Unfortunately I didn’t write down the exact error message, so I don’t recall exactly what the problem was. I plan on trying this again sometime in the near future, mostly because Debian is one of the best start-from-scratch, intermediate level distros out there, and it runs on old, old machines like this.

    • PCLinuxOS/Mandrake/Mandriva Family

      • Mandriva pt 2
        Another little thing that Mandriva paid attention to that makes me like it that much more. After reading the comments to the earlier post, I enabled the backports and installed chrome from the backports, checked the flash plugin out of the box and guess what? It just works!

    • Red Hat Family

      • Red Hat Seeking Ways To Avoid Channel Conflict With Service Partners
        Red Hat is developing a services strategy for its North America operations that won’t conflict with services offered by the vendor’s channel partners.

        Red Hat is also shooting to increase its percentage of sales that go through the channel to 70 percent from about 60 percent today, although it will likely take a couple of years to get there.

        Those were among the comments offered by Mark Enzweiler, Red Hat vice president of global channel sales, in an interview this week at the Red Hat Summit and JBoss World conference in Boston.

        Red Hat acquired Amentra, a supplier of system integration, business process management and system development services, in March 2008 in a move the company said complements its JBoss middleware. But that created the potential for conflict with Red Hat’s JBoss channel partners, especially in the services-intensive middleware market.

    • Canonical/Ubuntu

      • Lucid Lynx boot times - 10 seconds, yes or no?
        I started getting mildly interested in boot time performance and benchmarking after I purchased my RD510 laptop and installed four instances of Jaunty on it. Very soon, I learned that the default installation, with no tweaking or modifications, yielded a handsome 18-second boot on the third installed system, located on the slow end of a fairly standard 5,400rpm laptop disk. The results on the first disk were even more encouraging, just 15 seconds. I believed that if my laptop were equipped with a 7,200rpm disk, I would have broken the 10 second barrier.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Nokia/MeeGo

      • 15 Facts You Should Know About MeeGo
        Coming out of Computex, there’s been a lot of momentum for Meego, the Linux-based platform that can power multiple computing devices, including handsets, netbooks, tablets, connected TVs and in-vehicle infotainment systems. Ibrahim Haddad, the Linux Foundation director of technology and alliances, has just published a new article, “An Introduction to the Meego Project.”

    • Android

      • 160,000 Android Phones Sold Daily, Market Nears 70,000 Applications
        Speaking earlier today at the droid X launch, Andy Rubin (Google VP of engineering) said that Android phones are being activated at a rate of 160,000 per day. Yes, that's almost two activations for every second of the day, every day. What's even more is impressive is the speed at which the figure grows. Vic Gundotra broke the news at Google I/O last month that the number was at 100,000. Going back a few months to February, we were looking at 60,000 per day.

      • Report: App Developers See More Long-Term Viability in Android, Not iOS
        Take that, along with an average of 160,000 new Android users daily and Google will eclipse iOS as the number one mobile operating system by 2012.

      • Cheap Unlocked Phones
        I have an unlocked Nexus One with a pre-release of Android 2.2 “Froyo”, and I have a T-Mobile mobile data plan from Google; I imagine that, like most big companies, we get a pretty good deal on it. As of now, I’m never paying for Internet in a hotel or airport again.

      • Google’s Android Gaining on Apple via Developers
        Google Inc.’s Android mobile operating system is winning over an important group of allies in its fledgling rivalry with Apple Inc.’s smartphone software: application developers.

        More than half the 2,733 developers surveyed by Appcelerator, a mobile-software tools provider, see Android as having the most long-term potential among operating systems. About 40 percent of respondents said Apple’s iOS would have the best long-term outlook, according to the survey released today.

      • Sprint expects to launch Android 2.2 in near future

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

    • On Having a successful GNOME event
      How about instead you suggest a set of positive guidelines for speakers in accordance with the mission statement of the GNOME Foundation and the goal of the GNOME project: to create a computing platform for use by the general public that is completely free software.

      Is furthering the development of a Free Software platform the mark of a successful GNOME event? Or is “everyone having fun”?

    • Red Hat Summit and JBoss World Return to Boston in 2011

    • Open Source Cloud Computing: Notes from a Conference
      “The future of Cloud services and integration” conference held today in Rome was another opportunity to share ideas about opportunities and threats emerging from cloud computing. Security vendors (Trend Micro), academic researchers, postal police officers and representatives from IT and IT security associations discussed the topic in depth.

  • Web Browsers

    • The Growing Open-vs.-Proprietary Rift Between Google and Mozilla
      Cade Metz at The Register quotes Mozilla's vice president of products, Jay Sullivan, as saying that Mozilla has no intent to bundle Firefox with Adobe Flash, as Google has said it will do with Chrome. Instead, Mozilla will pursue web standards, including HTML5. Sullivan tells The Register:
      "These native apps are just little black boxes in a webpage. That's not something we're pursuing. We really believe in HTML, and this is where we want to focus."

    • Mozilla

      • Thunderbird 3.1 is out
        THE MOZILLA FOUNDATION'S open source email client Thunderbird has been updated to version 3.1.

        Mozzarella claims that Thunderchicken is impressively fast and has new ways to search your e-mail. It includes a migration assistant and a download manager in this latest update as well as some bug fixes.

      • Thunderbird 3.1 arrives with new filter bar
        Mozilla Messaging has announced the release of Thunderbird 3.1, a minor update that brings performance improvements, bug fixes, and some new features.

        The most significant enhancement in 3.1 is the new Quick Filter bar, which makes it easy to filter and search the contents of the current folder. It has several icons that you can click to filter for messages that are unread, starred, sent by a contact, or have an attachment. It also has a search box that will allow you to find messages in the current folder.

      • How To Install Mozilla Thunderbird 3.1 (Final) In Ubuntu

      • Why Tabs are on Top in Firefox 4
        In the Firefox 4 nightly builds, and in Firefox 4 Beta 1, we are changing the default tab position so that tabs are on top. This is a preference that users can change by right clicking on any of their toolbars. Moving the default tab position is obviously a significant and to some extent controversial change to the Firefox UI, which is why we made the video above to help explain our rationale.

      • Mozilla Wins The American Business Awards “Most Innovative Company of the Year”
        We are excited to announce that Mozilla won the American Business Awards Stevie Award for Most Innovative Company of the Year (with less than 2,500 employees) in the software category!

  • Healthcare

    • Astronaut Outlines 2010-2011 VistA Challenges at VCM
      Astronaut, LLC chief Ignacio Valdes, MD, MS at the VistA Community Meeting 2010-2011 VistA Community Challenges. "Setting clear, written, measurable goals is nearly always a key ingredient for achieving success. With that in mind I propose that this community sets its goal on 100 new, functioning with real patients and practitioners clinical VistA instances in the private sector in 2010." He adds that the VistA community its members, entities and vendors is poised to do exactly that.


    • You Say Linux, I Say GNU/Linux
      If I have settled on "GNU/Linux", the reason is not that I agree completely with all that the usage implies and reject all the arguments on the other side. Rather, it indicates that I consider it more accurate than plain "Linux."

  • Project Releases

    • Lightworks Switches the Lights On
      Apparently I missed the announcement back in April this year that EditShare is to release an Open Source version of their award winning non-linear video editor, Lightworks. Let me say that again; a well known, if not quite industry leading, professional non-linear video editor, as used in a number of Hollywood studios, is to move to an open source distribution model.

    • Virage Logic Releases Toolchains For ARC Processor Cores
      The suite contains the ARC Linux 2.6.30 kernel for the ARC 750D processor, and a GCC 4.2.1 based ARC GNU Toolchain for Virage Logic’s complete range of ARC processor cores. Virage Logic is committed to release regular updates of the ARC Open Source Tool Suites to keep the ARC GNU and Linux tools up to date with the current standards. All of the ARC Open Source tools are available for free download at SourceForge.


  • Army finds problems with IT contracts, records system at Arlington Cemetery
    Arlington National Cemetery officials with limited expertise in federal contracting regulations and scant outside supervision improperly paid millions of dollars to companies that failed to create a digital database of the cemetery's records.

  • Government to axe hundreds of 'unnecessary' websites

  • Regwall cuts The Times's online readership in half
    Rupert Murdoch's Times newspaper has instituted a registration wall as a preliminary step toward a full-blown paywall. Readership of the online edition immediately dropped by 50%.

  • Science

  • Security/Aggression

    • ATM security flaws could be a jackpot for hackers
      A security expert has identified flaws in the design of some automated teller machines that make them vulnerable to hackers, who could make the ubiquitous cash dispensers spit out their cash holdings.

    • Fingerprint scans for visitors at day nursery
      Visitors to Bolton Day Nursery will soon find themselves having to undergo fingerprint scanning at the door, while all mobile phones will be banned from the nursery, and no parent will be allowed in without a child collection password.

      Locks and fences will be upgraded, CCTV will be extended and no supplier will be allowed access without identification.

      The €£60,000 “supersafe” initiative is in response to parents’ feedback at the Chorley Street Nursery, inside the David Lloyd Leisure Club, about security being their top concern.

    • 4million volunteers forced to undergo Criminal Records Bureau checks
      As many as 4million volunteers have been forced to undergo Criminal Records Bureau checks over the past decade, according to a new report, but many are giving up on their roles because of the red tape involved and the feeling that they are under suspicion.

    • 'Council must be accountable for covert operations'
      CHANGES to the controversial legislation under which West Berkshire Council carries out covert operations have been introduced.

      At the council’s Executive meeting last Thursday (17) Hilary Cole (Con, Chieveley) outlined a report which covered alterations to the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), which came into force on April 6, and how it would affect the council.

    • The retention of DNA samples from people without criminal convictions
      Our research highlighted the injustice of the current law on this issue. The removal of such samples is in any case already policy in Scotland, leading to the inequitable situation in which people are treated very differently depending on where they live (or are arrested) in the country.

    • 'Anti-gang' noise device ban bid under human rights law
      A device that uses a high pitched irritating noise to disperse teenage gangs should be banned in the UK, according to a report for the Council of Europe.

    • The Curfew: edugame about fighting the surveillance society

    • Now That Booz Allen Scared The Gov't Into Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars In Contracts, It's Time To Cash Out
      Of course, that's good for the firm, but what about its investors? Well, now that it's scared the government and the public into handing over all this cash, it looks like its investors want to cash out. The company has now announced plans for an IPO so they can walk off with the cash, built off of scaring the public over a supposed threat for which they have little actual evidence. What a deal!

  • Environment

    • BP 'Reporters' Give Flowery Accounts of Disaster

    • BP robot accident seriously hampers oil spill containment
      A high-tech effort by BP, to slow the oil gushing from its ruptured wellhead, led to a large accident yesterday that forced the company to remove a vital containment cap for 10 hours.

      Robots, known as remote operated vehicles, were performing multiple operations at the disaster site when one bumped into the ‘top hat’ cap and damaged one of the vents that removes excess fluid, according to the US coastguard.

    • Impeach the Oil-Investing Judge Who Declared Deep Sea Drilling Ban Void
      A federal judge sitting in Louisiana struck down the Obama Administration's six-month moratorium on new deep water drilling, despite the unfolding disaster in the Gulf of Mexico caused by BP's Deepwater Horizon drilling operation. Who is the unelected man standing in the way of permitting a six-month review of this inherently dangerous activity?

    • Just the Facts on Judge Martin Feldman's Financial Investments
      Detailed in this article is the recent oil and gas speculation investments, including investments in deep-sea drilling companies, made by the federal judge who blocked the new deep-sea drilling ruling. I recently called for his impeachment in my comments on the financial disclosure reports of Judge Martin Feldman, who struck down the temporary moratorium on new deep-water oil drilling. I based my comments on the financial disclosure reports that had been provided by the Administrative Office ("AO") of the U.S. Courts, from the Financial Disclosure Office (FDO) of the Article III Judges Division (where I previously served as Deputy Chief). And, I stand by my strong rebuke of the judge.

    • Cheap is Nice, But it’s Not Everything: Natural Gas
      A barrel of oil contains 5.8 million BTU and can be purchased today for $77.00. But in natural gas, using today’s price of $4.80 per million BTU, you can obtain the same quantity of energy for $27.85. This price discount started developing as far back as 2005, but did not reach its current levels until after the deflationary crash of 2008. Natural gas, it should be mentioned, had always carried a small discount to oil owing to the latter’s versatility as a liquid and its greater penetration into industrial society. The present day discount is historic however. Especially with respect to its duration.

    • Oil Gushes and Power Rushes
      Last week, after President Obama pressured BP to create a compensation fund for victims of its oil gusher in the Gulf of Mexico, Rep. Joe Barton denounced the arrangement as "a $20 billion shakedown." The Texas Republican said the fund has "no legal standing" and circumvents the "due process system" for assigning blame and ordering compensation.

    • New Ad Slams Ethanol Tax Credit Give Away to Oil Companies
      Everyone who thinks Big Oil should get $31 billion from U.S. taxpayers, please sign on the dotted line. That’s the message of a new ad running today in Congress Daily sponsored by NRDC, the Union of Concerned Scientists, Friends of the Earth and the Clean Air Task Force. The ad highlights the wastefulness and redundancy of the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit (VEETC), which amounts to little more than a massive government bribe to oil companies to get them to buy and blend gallons of corn ethanol they are already required to purchase under the Renewable Fuel Standard.

    • 'Gasland': HBO Gas-Drilling Film Exposes Water Worries
      NPR's Ira Flatow recently talked with Joel Fox, "Gasland's" director who documented his personal investigation of the controversial "fracking" drilling techniques which many homeowners say contaminated their drinking water with dangerous chemicals.

  • Finance

    • Chamber's "Virtual" March on Washington: Only an Avatar Can Love a Big Bank
      The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has launched what it is calling a virtual march on Washington to oppose financial reforms being considered by Congress this week. With relatively few actual Americans willing to take their summer vacation in D.C. to march in favor of the Big Banks whose gambling broke the economy and whose practices have pillaged the financial security of working people, the Chamber has resorted to urging "avatars," or computer representations of people, to march on the virtual capital of the U.S.

    • Values, Trust and Reputation in an Increasingly Complex World
      This financial crisis is likely to be one of the major defining events for the Millennial generation. As we have seen in the past, such as with the Great Depression and the Vietnam War, crises of this magnitude have the power to fundamentally reshape society. In particular, they significantly influence the values of young people in their teens and twenties. Over the next few decades, as these young people assume leadership positions in business, government and academia, it will be very interesting to see how it all plays out.

    • Swap 'Till You Drop
      The goal of the big banks is to kill the Senate derivatives chapte,r and especially the fiduciary responsibility section. "The toxic swaps that are strangling public budgets and forcing drastic cuts to essential services around the country are more painful evidence of why we can't let wall street and the big banks water down derivatives legislation," says SEIU's Steven Lerner.

    • Derivatives Reform Suffers Midnight Mangling
      The lack of progress on separating the taxpayer guarantee from the big bank derivatives trade leaves taxpayers on the hook for a future derivatives crisis. When these crises inevitably occur, they will give new fuel to measures such as that offered by Senators Sherrod Brown(D-Ohio) and Ted Kaufman (D-Delaware) to shrink the size of “too big to fail” institutions so that taxpayers will not have to go down with the Wall Street titans.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Rick Berman's For-Profit Non-Profits Under the Microscope
      Front group king Rick Berman, who has worked in the shadows for years, is starting to draw closer scrutiny from the IRS, the media and the public for the unique, self-dealing business model he developed to champion for big business. Berman, a former lobbyist, set up six nonprofit organizations with innocuous names like the Center for Consumer Freedom, the American Beverage Institute and the Employment Policies Institute. Despite their nonprofit designation, together these groups provide as much as 70 percent of the revenues of his for-profit enterprise, Berman and Company. The Center for Consumer Freedom, for example, took in $1.5 million in revenues in 2008, of which 93 percent went to Berman and his firm. The American Beverage Institute took in $1.7 million, of which 82 percent went to Berman and his firm. None of his non-profit groups have independent offices or staff, and all of them pay Berman's for-profit business for services like accounting, copying, writing, operating Web sites, placing opinion-editorials, and bookkeeping, which is managed by Berman's wife, Dixie Lynn Berman. Rick Berman sits on the boards of his organizations, holds a total of 24 positions within them, and he serves as Executive Director for most of them. Sounds fishy, right?

    • Egg Land's Worst
      The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) has filed a complaint (pdf) with the Federal Trade Commission to stop the country's largest egg producer, Rose Acre Farms -- makers of Eggland's Best eggs -- from making false and misleading statements in its marketing and advertising about how it treats chickens at the company's farms.

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Pakistan scans Google, other sites for blasphemy
      Pakistan will monitor seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, to block anti-Islamic links and content, an official said Friday. Seventeen lesser-known sites are being blocked outright for alleged blasphemous material.

    • LHC orders blocking of Google, Yahoo, 7 other sites
      The Lahore High Court has directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority to immediately block nine websites for publishing and promoting sacrilegious material, and ordered the PTA chairman to appear in the court on June 28, 2010 along with all relevant material.

    • Melbourne man sues Yahoo over search results
      An Australian man is suing search giant Yahoo for defamation, claiming search results on his name made him look like a criminal.

    • Misinformation from the European Parliament press service on SWIFT
      The article is wrong on multiple levels and does not provide a clear track record. I can only recommend to listen to the original LIBE audiovisual records for yourself, in particular to the clear word of Dutch MEP in’t Veld. The press release of the European Parliament is outrageous.

    • The Future of Government Secrecy
      The Wall Street Journal finds that the existence of WikiLeaks and other outlets for classified information is something we must "learn to live with" that will make us "less safe." The Weekly Standard objects to WikiLeaks because informing the public necessarily leads to informing "our mortal adversaries." The Weekly Standard contrasted the present situation and the Supreme Court case of New York Times Co. v. United States, in which the court permitted the publication of the infamous Pentagon Papers, a 7,000-page history of America's involvement in Viet Nam.

    • Hackers Aren't Only Threat to Privacy
      Sophisticated hackers aren't the only ones gaining access to sensitive data on the Internet. A large amount of personal information is being left exposed or poorly protected by companies and governments.

      The number of identity-theft victims in the U.S. jumped 12% to 11.1 million in 2009, according to research company Javelin Strategy & Research. Fraud cases reported to the Internet Crime Complaint Center, which is partly run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, climbed 23% to 336,655 last year.

    • It's Your Data, It's Your Bot: It's Not A Crime
      The amicus brief is a follow-up to one we filed last month in Facebook v. Power Ventures. Facebook claims that Power breaks California criminal law by offering users a tool that aggregates their own information across several social networking sites. For some, it may be a useful way to access various social network information through one interface. The tool also makes it easier for users to export their data out of Facebook. In its suit against Power Ventures, Facebook claims that the tool violates criminal law because Facebook's terms of service ban users from accessing their information through "automated means."

    • Citizen Media Law Project, EFF, and Public Citizen Advocate First Amendment Scrutiny in Hot News Cases
      The Citizen Media Law Project, EFF, and Public Citizen have jointly submitted an amicus curiae brief to the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, urging the court to apply First Amendment scrutiny to the “hot news misappropriation” doctrine in Barclays Capital, Inc. v., Inc. The Harvard Law School Cyberlaw Clinic assisted the coalition in preparing the brief.

    • ACLU Intervenes In Lawsuit To Protect Amazon Users' Personal Information
      Requests by the North Carolina Department of Revenue (NCDOR) for detailed information about customers are unconstitutional because they violate Internet users' rights to free speech, anonymity and privacy, according to a complaint filed today by the American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU of North Carolina Legal Foundation and ACLU of Washington. The ACLU, on behalf of several customers, intervened in an existing lawsuit brought by Amazon to stop NCDOR from collecting personally identifiable information that could be linked to their specific purchases on Amazon.

    • Domino's Pizza deliverators demand your SSN when you pay with a credit card

  • Intellectual Monopolies

    • Smirnoff's Copyright and Trademark Bullying
      Well apparently Smirnoff didn't think so, so they threatened the site with a copyright and trademark lawsuit, so it was taken down. The case by Smirnoff is taken apart in Bros Icing Bros - A Case for Copyright Bullying by Overreacting Smirnoff Lawyers by legal non-profit called NewMediaRights, which heroically provides "free legal assistance to bloggers, journalists, and filmmakers getting bullied by companies into taking down their websites."

    • The Oscars vs. GoDaddy
      The Motion Picture Academy is somewhat infamous for its over-aggressive IP claims around the "Oscar" awards. It's even sued a blog that was helping to promote the event. Apparently, just suing one website wasn't enough, so back in May it sued domain registrar GoDaddy for allowing a bunch of domains to be registered.

    • Copyright And The First Amendment: Lack Of Satire Coverage Leads To Stifling Of Speech
      As has been discussed many times in the past, the courts have dealt with the inherent conflict between copyright law and the First Amendment by saying that the two "safety valves" of "fair use" and "the idea/expression dichotomy" helped make sure that speech was not really stifled under copyright law. Of course, there are tons of examples where these "valves" don't work -- and one clear one is the bizarre and still not clearly explained distinction between "parody" and "satire." Parody is considered a valid fair use defense, while satire is not. The distinction is mostly about whether or not the work in question is "commenting on" the work that it is using (parody) or using the work to comment on something else (satire).

    • Bucky Fuller indicts patents
      I recently saw a play about Buckminster Fuller, an inventor, inveterate writer of mixed obscure and enlightening but wordy prose, and a teacher of considerable renown among his students and the colleges where he taught. That led me to his book Critical Path where he discusses invention and innovation. A quote: "Ideas are easy to come by; reductions to practice is an arduous but inspirationally rewarding matter."

    • Pork Board Admits It Knows Unicorns Don't Exist, But Claims It Doesn't Matter
      We, along with a bunch of other sites, recently discussed the hilarious situation where the National Pork Board sent a 12 page cease-and-desist letter to ThinkGeek for its April Fool's joke about "unicorn meat," which it jokingly called "the new white meat" (not even "the other white meat" -- which is the National Pork Board's soon to be changed trademarked slogan). Se7ensamurai writes in to point out the National Pork Board is now defending its decision to send the letter, saying:
      "We certainly understand that unicorns don't exist," said Ceci Snyder, vice president of marketing for the National Pork Board. "Yes, it's funny. But if you don't respond, you are opening your trademark up to challenges."

    • ASCAP Declares War on Free Culture
      The free culture movement is abuzz today over news that ASCAP has requested their members to fight organizations like Creative Commons, Public Knowledge and the Electronic Frontier Foundation over what it claims as an effort to undermine copyright.

    • Copyrights

      • Hollywood faces new piracy threat
        Consumers downloading free pirated movies are no longer Hollywood's worst nightmare, but that's only because of a new, more dreaded menace: cheap, and equally illegal, subscription services.

        Foreign, often mob-run, businesses aggregate illegally obtained movies into "cyberlockers" similar to Internet storage sites used by individual consumers to squirrel away pirated video. But the for-profit version of this phenom has spawned an array of sophisticated and seemingly reputable sites selling unlimited digital movie files for as little as $5 a month.

      • A Timeline Of How The Entertainment Industry Made The File Sharing Issue Much Worse For Itself
        Along those lines, points us to a German publication's coverage of the same Huntsberry talk, and it's interesting that The Hollywood Reporter version of the story appears to have conveniently left out the part where Huntsberry blames Google for all of this (that's a Google translation of the original). In that one, he calls Google the "biggest leech." Of course, the courts recently shot down that claim, but it looks like Viacom and its subsidiaries are sticking to the claim.

      • Appeals Court: Public Domain Only Exists At The Whim Of Congress Which Can Take It Away Anytime It Wishes
        A disappointing decision today from a Federal Appeals Court which held that Congress has the power to take works out of the public domain in order to satisfy international treaties.

      • IFPI DMCA (Copyright) Complaint to Google

      • The US Copyright Group To Reveal Their Technology
        Although the US Copyright Group do not need the information supplied as the technology is being used to collect information on anonymous IP addresses, the requests are also not unreasonable. The contract information however, is unreasonable and will not be forwarded as the private nature of any agreements we have are bound by privacy laws, something the US Copyright Group should already be aware of. We know a number of our clients do not wish to disclose their personal information any further than it has already been disclosed. However, we hope that at least one client agrees or new clients approach us providing the information required by the US Copyright Group and thus allowing us to fully test the technology used by them.

      • As The RIAA Lobbies For More Royalties For Itself, It's Fighting (And Losing) Over Having To Pay Royalties To Songwriters
        The RIAA is in the middle of a big fight for new royalties (i.e., a performance rights tax) on songs played on the radio, going on and on about how anyone against those fees are "stealing" from them. Yet, when it comes to the royalties that RIAA members have to pay to others, suddenly those are worth fighting against. As you hopefully know, there are a few different copyrights related to music. There's the copyright on the recording itself, which is usually held by the record label. But there is also the copyright on the song or composition, which can be held by a music publisher or the songwriter.

      • US goes after movie pirates in Estonia, counterfeiters in Tanzania
        All this got us wondering, though: what's the government already doing about this stuff? Turns out the US was all over the world in the last year, spending tax dollars on IP enforcement in all sorts of ways.

      • Viacom In Denial Over Court Smackdown In YouTube Case
        It's also frustrating that some reporters covering this story also seem to be taking the same position, saying that this ruling is "a big blow for traditional copyright laws." It is not. Not even close. This ruling does not change traditional copyright laws in the slightest, and is entirely consistent with numerous previous rulings (all cited in the case). All this ruling concerns is who is liable for infringement: the user who uploads infringing material, or the platform provider who hosts it. The folks who crafted the DMCA made it clear that liability belonged squarely on the shoulders of those who did the uploading, and the court agreed.

      • Mick Jagger: Artists Really Only Made Money Selling Music For About 25 Years
        Now, I don't think that's entirely accurate on a few points. He's right that labels didn't pay artists, or often found creative accounting ways not to pay artists. But he's also wrong that "everyone made money" during those 25 years. Only a small percentage of artists actually made money during those years. There were a few that were heavily promoted by the labels and became rock stars, like Jagger. Other artists never made much at all.

      • Will Viacom/YouTube Ruling Lead To More Takedowns And Fewer Fair Use Reviews?
        The THREsq story does make one point at the end that's a little more interesting. It suggests that those of us cheering on this ruling may now be disappointed because this ruling might lead to more bogus takedowns. Basically, the judge pointed out that Google's quick response in taking down content as soon as it received takedown notices helped give it safe harbor protections.

    • ACTA

      • ACTA: International ‘three strikes’, surveillance and worse
        Tensions over ACTA are rising as the next round of negotiations are about to take place, in Switzerland next week.

      • Leaked ACTA document reveals push for criminal sanctions
        A leaked document published by French advocacy group La Quadrature du Net shows that European Union member states are pushing for criminal sanctions to be added to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) on copyright infringement.

      • EU secretly pushing to put kids in jail for sharing music: ACTA leak
        More leaks from behind the scenes at the secretive Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement negotiations: the EU is pushing for criminal sanctions for non-commercial copyright infringement. That means putting kids in jail for trading music with one another.

      • The ACTA treaty is an evil thing
        IF THE WORLD adopts the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) treaty it will become a deeply unpleasant place to live, a bunch of top academics have warned.

        Politicians are pushing for the ACTA treaty, which was negotiated in secret, to be widely adopted across the world, handing over control of law enforcement to the entertainment industry. America in particular is pushing the adoption of the treaty as US politicians pander to Big Content.

      • ACTION ALERT: Tell the Obama Administration What You Think of ACTA
        The Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement continues to roll along, with negotiations taking place in Switzerland in the coming weeks. Rumor has it that these negotiations might be bringing us to a finalized ACTA soon, despite protests from public interest groups, technology companies, and legislators around the world that its ham-fisted approach to enforcement can do grave harm to consumers, innovation, communication, and can even make it harder for lifesaving medications to reach populations in need.

      • Digital legislation a threat to creative industry
        Doctoral research into media education and media literacy at the University of Leicester has highlighted how increased legislative control on use of digital content could stifle future creativity.

        The Digital Economy Act 2010 alongside further domestic and global legislation, not least the ongoing ‘Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)’, combines to constitute a very hard line against any form of perceived copyright infringement.

      • ACTA: Sign for your Rights

Clip of the Day

CLUG Talk 09 July 2009 - Puppet (2009)

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