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03.29.10

Links 29/3/2010: More Tablets With GNU/Linux, IETF Codec

Posted in News Roundup at 6:42 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

  • Datalight simplifies data storage for Linux-based devices

    Datalight Inc. announced support for Linux kernel versions up to 2.6.29 with new versions of FlashFX Tera, the file-system independent flash memory manager and Reliance Nitro, its high-performance file system. FlashFX Tera version 1.2 offers out-of-the-box support for over 300 different flash memory parts from various suppliers, expanding the choice for OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) using flash memory.

  • Desktop

  • Server

    • IBM marks 10 years of Linux on SystemZ

      During celebrations at its Poughkeepsie plant of a decade of opening its mainframe to run Linux apps, a Canadian student is recognized as a winner of the 2009 Master the Mainframe Contest. An exec explains why the mainframe is “middle-aged”

    • CloudLinux Issues White Paper on Web Hosting Server Load

      Hosting-oriented Linux operating system developer CloudLinux (www.cloudlinux.com) issued a white paper this week, offering the details of a study conducted by the company on server load issues faced by companies in the shared web hosting space.

    • Rendering ‘Happy Feet 2′ at 30kW a Rack

      In the sequel to “Happy Feet,” the Penguins will be the same size. But the data center will be much smaller. The digital production company Dr. D Studios has packed a large amount of supercomputing power into a smaller package in its new rendering facility in Sydney, Australia.

  • Applications

    • Histwi – A Desktop Twitter Account Management App for Linux
    • 5 ‘Great’ Open-source Desktop Security Applications

      GnuPG & Gpg4winGNU Privacy is a free software encryption application that is a product of the Free Software Foundation’s GNU Software project. GnuPG provides a complete free software implementation of the OpenPGP standard RFC4880, making it interoperable with other OpenPGP complaint systems. Out of the box GnuPG provides a command line interface (CLI) with numerous optional graphical add-ons available for nearly all platforms.

    • Browsers

      • Is Opera 10.50 Really the Fastest?

        The results? Opera was slower than the development version of Google Chrome on Linux. Not by very much, but Opera scored 523.2ms vs Chrome’s 394.8ms and didn’t blow past Chrome as expected. Note that I re-ran the tests several times, but the links are to representative results.

      • Google Chrome Remains The Unhackable Browser

        Two years, and this time around no attempts. For the 2nd year in a row, Google Chrome has gotten through the Pwn2Own competition without being hacked.

        The competition, which focuses on security holes in mainstream software, is in its 4th year. To commemorate the anniversary, total prize money this year was increased to $100,000, with $40,000 being allotted to the hacking of Internet Explorer 8, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome and Apple’s Safari browsers at $10,000 for the first hack on each respective software.

    • Games

      • Nexuiz v2.5.2 Free

        The first version was released May 31st 2005, released entirely GPL and free over the net, a first for a project of its kind. Since then it has been downloaded over 1.5 million times, and the game is still being updated and developed, currently at version 2.5 and new releases being developed.

      • Stop Wine-ing: 15 Games for Linux

        Many believe that Wine and other Windows emulation solutions may be their only recourse for high-quality gaming enjoyment. That, however, it not entirely true. There are plenty of smaller, independent gaming houses developing and releasing premium commercial games for Linux alongside Mac and Windows offerings. Search hard enough and you’ll find games ranging from low-resource puzzle solvers to 3D first-person shooters.

        Let’s have a look at some of the games recently released for Linux and a few up-and-coming prospects for the future. Stop Wine-ing. Start playing.

      • Is it Possible to Play Games When Running Linux?

        Any game that is based on the browser alone will work fine in Linux. For browser based games like Farmville, these will all work in browsers as long as there are the Flash and Java plugins. These work the same in Linux as on any other operating system.

        The second type of gaming is open source games. There are quite a few free games that are made for Linux as well as other operating systems. Since these are open source, it’s easy for programmers to port various versions of the game for the different operating system choices that exist.

  • Distributions

    • Open source DVR MythTV 0.23 RC1 released

      The MythTV developers have announced the availability of the first release candidate (RC1) for version 0.23 of their open source digital video recorder (DVR). The latest development preview of the media centre for Linux includes several changes, updates and new features.

    • JBoss Updates Open Source SOA Platform for BRMS, Cloud

      Red Hat’s JBoss Enterprise SOA Platform is a single open source middleware platform integrated into a single, simple SOA integration and business process automation platform. The architecture is designed to find, integrate and orchestrate SOA business services, enterprise applications, and other IT assets into automated business processes.

    • Ubuntu Linux Gets Social with 10.04 Beta Available Now

      “Lucid Lynx” is the codename given to Canonical’s Ubuntu Linux 10.04, now in beta, which adds social networking features and a new look to the popular Linux distribution. A final release is due April 29, the company said.

  • Devices/Embedded

    • Wind River in multicore alliance with Cavium

      Wind River, which is owned by Intel, and Cavium will sell versions of Wind River’s VxWorks and Linux multicore software optimised for Cavium’s OCTEON family of multicore processors.

      “Our partnership no doubt sends a strong message to the market about our long-term commitment to support multiple generations of Cavium products,” said Roger Williams, vice president, Alliances and Business Development, Wind River.

      In November, Cavium Networks agreed to acquire MontaVista Software for $50m, in a deal which confirms the growing importance of Linux software support for processor suppliers.

    • Korenix Unveils Compact Programmable Embedded VPN Routing Computer JetBox 5430-w

      Korenix is pleased to release the brand new embedded programmable Layer3 Routing Computer – JetBox 5430-w with Linux computing capabilities and -40 ~80oC wide operating temperature range designed to provide advanced network performance in front-end industrial control applications.

    • Paragon Software Group Teams with Iomega

      With the addition of Paragon NTFS for Linux and HFS+ for Linux, users will be able to attach their Windows and/or Mac-formatted external HDDs to the iConnect Wireless Data Station, thereby turning it into an NAS device.

    • Phones

      • Palm Pre 800MHz Linux kernels unveiled

        Palm Pre overclockers will be thrilled to find out that new custom 720MHz and 800MHz Linux kernels have finally been released by unixpsycho and caj2008, and you can check out the demonstration as well as installation instructions from the video above.

      • Zinio Digital Newsstand Hits Android

        The new e-reader will likely end up working on various Linux platforms, not just Android.

      • ST-Ericsson uses Linux

        ST-Ericsson has developed a Linux-based chip platform that could reduce the wholesale price of smartphones to less than €100.

      • Nokia

        • ‘Symbian and MeeGo are quite separate’

          With MeeGo set to launch on ARM-based and Intel Atom-based devices this month, we grabbed a few minutes with Peter Schneider from Nokia recently to talk about MeeGo, the first fruit from the Nokia-Intel joint venture announced last June.

      • Android

        • ESC helps drive Android beyond cellphone

          Mentor Graphics, which has developed a set of Android software development tools, will host two talks on Android for embedded systems, including one that will describe how Android or Linux can co-exist with a real-time operating system. A third talk will be hosted by Bill Gatliff, an independent consultant.

        • 3 Reasons Why The Nexus One Phone Will Thrive

          2) Android Operating System

          Yes, Android runs on a lot of different phones, but it’s also the operating system for the Nexus One phone. The difference between the Nexus One and all the other phones is that Google owns it and puts its own stamp of approval on it.

          The open source Android operating system on the Nexus One phone means that Google will be employing their own engineers to make the Nexus One more efficient. This “in house” approach of Google will more than likely launch the Nexus One far ahead of their competitors that are equally powered by Android.

        • TheMarker gets up close and personal with Google’s top team

          “Don’t worry,” Schmidt smiles. There’s another kind of Android, which is totally open source. “Other companies do whatever they want, and we don’t even know about it. So when we go to these conferences, all of these random devices show up with Android in them, that we’ve never heard of. Which is the benefit of open source and very, very exciting. So it looks like we have got a huge, huge success with Android.”

        • Android Devices Crave Google’s Attention

          Android’s smartphone army is at least 20 phones strong, plus a ragtag rear guard of e-book readers, tablets and set-top boxes.

    • Sub-notebooks

      • Intel’s AppUp gets Moblin Netbook apps

        Intel has launched a Moblin version of its AppUp Center, offering a storefront for developers looking to sell applications for the Linux-based Netbook operating system.

      • Intel Appup tips up

        The Intel Appup Centre Beta goes live today in the US and Canada and will be coming to 27 European countries at the end of the month.

      • Asus Eee PC 1201T Arrives, T101MT Next Month

        Two Asus Eee PCs are currently circulating the news, the first of which revealing that the AMD-powered Asus Eee PC 1201T has finally reached American shores thanks to Newegg.com. The 12-inch Eee PC seems priced just right, costing penny-pinchers $389.99. The drawback is that the device comes naked, baring no operating system whatsoever but can easily be solved with your favorite Linux distro.

      • Google Chrome includes OS app launcher

        The Google Chrome OS which is a Linux based operating system includes a newly released Chrome OS app launcher which is similar to the Windows start menu.

    • Tablets

      • Will $99 Moby tablet swim or sink?

        In a development that it claims will be a game-changer in education, technology company Marvell has announced the prototype of a $99 tablet computer that students can use to surf the web, interact with electronic textbooks and other digital media, and collaborate with each other around the globe.

      • OpenPeak’s OpenTablet 7 Bets It All On Flash

        Behold: the OpenPeak OpenTablet 7. It is a Linux tablet running on the Intel Moorestown 1.9 GHz chip. For those of you who don’t remember, Moorestown is an Atom-derived CPU for mobile platforms like smartphones.

Free Software/Open Source

  • Give your website some open-source sparkle

    I’m currently in full-on development mode on two projects, a Mac application and a website, and while I’ve been toiling I’ve found some terrific open-source code that has saved me weeks of programming time. So this column is a bit of a goody-bag of assorted open-source utilities that I’ve been using in earnest.

  • How to buy GIS/mapping software

    Also available are a number of “open source” GIS applications. Open source software is usually free, written by a community of users who all have access to the source code. The users constantly refine the software, posting new versions and specialized add-ins to the basic application. Open source products lack the flash of commercial packages, but often work as well or better than the high-priced types. There is an index of open source GIS products at http://opensourcegis.org.

  • Ada Lovelace will have her day after all

    Nowadays her conceptions are commonplace in the world of technology. Sadly, her gender remains drastically under- represented and that imbalance remains particularly bad in the one area of computing that one would expect to be the most open to new ideas and communities – open-source software development.

    Anyone can join an open-source project. Communally run, you need no interviews or prior experience to contribute. All you need is a computer and an internet connection to start work on these free-to-join, free-to- distribute, free-to-use,software and hardware projects.

    In practice, open-source lags behind other disciplines in its gender diversity.

    A 2006 census of the Ubuntu community, one of the more consciously welcoming of open- source projects, showed only 2.4 per cent who were identified as women. This is profoundly worse than the level of involvement by women in technical professions or academic computer science, which has levels of between 10 and 30 per cent.

  • Exadel Fiji: new forum, issue tracker, JavaFX support, open source soon

    Exadel Fiji extends JSF by allowing the use of Flex with JSF components and within a JSF page. It comes with ready-to-use charting components based on Flash as well as universal wrapper which allows to wrap any Flash component as JSF component.

  • A New View: Introducing Doc Viewer 2.0

    This is the version of document viewer we will be releasing as open source software in the very, very near future.

  • WeWebU Turns 10 and Gives out Presents

    Going Open Source is another important step in WeWebU’s growth strategy. They have decided to adopt a Commercial Open Source business model in addition to the traditional license sale. Stefan Waldhauser, co-founder and CEO of WeWebU, is excited: “I think Commercial Open Source is a significant trend in the software industry. Since our foundation ten years ago, WeWebU has always been driven by technology and the power of innovation. A Commercial Open Source strategy fits perfectly to our OpenWorkdesk offering and the objective to deliver the best way to build Composite Content Applications.”

  • WeP Solutions reinforces services focus

    The UTM offering, called Ubiq-Freedom which is available under an open-source licence includes open-source software such as Squid caching proxy for the Web and IP tables for the firewall.

  • Bletchley Park Gets £250,000 Government Funding

    More recently Bletchley Park played host to a national partnership, designed to encourage the UK local authorities to work together to save £60 million a year across their educational ICT budgets, through the use of open source solutions.

    “The 17 Local Authorities comprising the North West Learning Grid will now be looking at the feasibility of implementing open source solutions in all areas of their education services,” said the CEO of the North West Learning Grid, Gary Clawson, in October.

  • Kit attacks Microsoft keyboards (and a whole lot more)

    Security researchers on Friday unveiled an open-source device that captures the traffic of a wide variety of wireless devices, including keyboards, medical devices, and remote controls.

    Keykeriki version 2 captures the entire data stream sent between wireless devices using a popular series of chips made by Norway-based Nordic Semiconductor. That includes the device addresses and the raw payload being sent between them. The open-source package was developed by researchers of Switzerland-based Dreamlab Technologies and includes complete software, firmware, and schematics for building the $100 sniffer.

  • SIGVerse open source simulator

    Users are able to program a virtual robot in C++ and modify the virtual environment to suit a wide range of situations.

  • Magento: Reaching the Tipping Point?

    Magento (formerly known as Varien), the company behind an open source ecommerce platform aptly named Magento, relaunched their Solution Partner Program in April 2009. And in last year’s Open Source 50 report, Magento was listed in the “Best of the Rest” section based on limited information and feedback from solution partners about the partner program. Fast forward to the present, and the company is showing some partner momentum. Magento’s story offers some important lessons for other open source partner programs.

  • Google

    • Google Joins the Web Application Scanning Scene with Ultrafast Skipfish

      There are other tools and services that you can use for web app scanning. Nikto is one and it is open sourced. The formerly open source tool Nessus is another. There are also software as a service providers such as White Hat security who do web app scanning. NTSpyder is another non-open tool for web app testing.

    • One crazy summer of Google code

      Their goal is to cultivate the next generation of open-source software developers in evolutionary biology and promote the open, collaborative development of reusable, interoperable, standards-supporting informatics tools. And for the first time, the Open Bioinformatics Foundation, a umbrella group that guides the development of BioPerl, Biopython, BioJava, BioRuby, and several other open source bioinformatics projects, has also been accepted as a mentoring organization for this year’s GSoC.

  • Events

    • Third International Event on “Open Source Software in the Embedded Systems” in Naples

      Open source software adoption in the embedded systems domain is gaining growing interest within the European industrial and academic communities. Despite it represents the key towards flexibility, cost reduction and increased competitiveness, it is not easy to assess and evaluate Open Source software quality, thus making industries still skeptic about its integration into proprietary solutions.

    • Open World Forum 2010: Openness in the Land of Liberté

      Not familiar with the conference? The Open World Forum is “the leading summit bringing together decision-makers and communities to cross-fertilize free/Open Source technological, economic and social initiatives to build the digital future.” This conference discusses the future of FLOSS (Free/Libre/Open Source Software) projects, presents its Innovation Awards, looks at current trends and examines all of this in terms of the 2020 FLOSS Roadmap (news, site).

    • Why health care is coming to the Open Source convention

      This year for the first time, O’Reilly’s Open Source convention contains a track on health care IT. The call for participation just went up, soliciting proposals on nine broad areas of technology including health data exchange, mobile devices, and patient-centered care.

  • SaaS

    • Start-up Abiquo manages public, private clouds via open source

      Coupling open source software with cloud computing expertise could help Abiquo make a big splash with U.S. customers looking to create and manage virtual resources pools on premise or in public environments. And with support for VMware, Xen, Virtual Box, KVM and now Microsoft Hyper-V, the Spanish start-up promises to deliver vendor-neutral, interoperable management at a reasonable price.

  • Oracle

    • Daily Dose – Solaris 10 License Change

      Sun Solaris 10 was previously available for free without support after submitting a valid email. With the Sun acquisition finalized, Oracle has only given customers a 90-day free trial of Solaris 10, hoping to gain some paying customers from those with existing Solaris 10 systems. This change could lead to a mass migration to Linux vendors. Most of Linux’s new customers come from Unix migrations, and Solaris 10 is the largest Unix platform.

  • Business

    • Alfresco: Microsoft SharePoint Alternative In the Cloud?

      Alfresco’s cloud efforts are part of a broader channel effort at the company, which has shown momentum in the past year or so. Alfresco landed near the top of the 2009 Open Source 50 report, which tracks the most promising open source partner programs (the 2010 research is under way now).

    • Future of Open Source Survey – Results

      The growth of open-source software in the commercial sector was also noted, and the promotion of open-source projects by commercial open-source companies was cited as a factor. (REvolution Computing promoting the R Project was one example given.) The other theme I spotted was innovation: while lowering costs is still the #1 ranked feature of open-source, access to new methods and the rapid pace of innovation in FOSS compared to proprietary software is now being listed as a critical reason to switch.

    • Eucalyptus New CEO Preps For Cloud Explosion

      During his seven year stretch as CEO of MySQL, Mickos turned the open source database market on its ear, growing MySQL from a startup to one of the most prominent open source company in the world. He grew MySQL to the point thatSun Microsystems (NSDQ: JAVA) swooped in and acquired it with a $1 billion offer, an unheard of sum for an open source company.

  • Openness

    • The Cass Sunstein Campaign against Open Source Leaks

      There is no evidence Sunstein’s theories of governmental information control have to do with the apparent increasing persecution of open source leak outlets, but it does seem to stem from the same kind of authoritarian instinct.

    • New Wikipedia Redesign Is Coming Soon

      Wikipedia is close to rolling out a new design that it hopes will make the “user-edited” encyclopedia easier to use and navigate, and thus potentially appeal to new users more than the slightly clunky-looking current site.

    • Collaborative² Futures

      FLOSS Manuals, true to its name, produces manuals for free software applications. The manuals themselves are freely licensed and often written in book sprints. This January, as part of the Transmediale festival in Berlin, FLOSS Manuals attempted its first non-manual booksprint — a considerably harder task, as no structure is implied. Only the book title, Collaborative Futures, was given — a collaborative experiment about the future of collaboration.

    • Time to get the bike out – Kids traffic safety curriculum goes open source

      In the midst of Treena Grevatt’s twitter reminders of the early start of cycling in Ottawa (and her retweets of wise words and links such as this to remind motorists like me!), it was encouraging to read the recent story entitled Kids traffic safety curriculum goes open source.

    • The Battle for Scholarly Publishing’s Soul

      Before Peter Suber became Mr Open Access, he was a philosopher by trade. This is evident in the long, thoughtful essays he writes for the SPARC Open Access Newsletter, which help console us for his absence these days from the world of blogging.

      Here’s the latest of them, entitled “Open access, markets, and missions”. It asks some deep questions about what kind of scholarly publishing we should strive for: market oriented or mission oriented?

    • Free: Why Authors are Giving Books Away on the Internet
    • Sales Impact of Free eBooks Dissertation Published

      Dr. John Hilton, who until just recently was a doctoral student of mine, has written a great dissertation on the impact giving away free ebooks has on sales of printed books. The findings may surprise you.

    • Apple’s iPad to launch with 30,000-volume free library

      Apple’s e-book reader application, iBooks, may be more widely available than anticipated, thanks to the inclusion of more than 30,000 free e-books from Project Gutenberg.

  • Standards/Consortia

Leftovers

  • Reputation Is Dead: It’s Time To Overlook Our Indiscretions

    Today we have quick fire and semi or completely anonymous attacks on people, brands, businesses and just about everything else. And it is becoming increasingly findable on the search engines. Twitter, Yelp, Facebook, etc. are the new printing presses, and absolutely everyone, even the random wingnuts, have access.

  • Special relationship between UK and US is over, MPs say

    The UK government needs to be “less deferential” towards the US and more willing to say no to Washington, a group of MPs have said.

  • Walk Like a Geek? Talk Like a Geek? Vote Geek
  • Security Watch: Beware the NSA’s Geek-Spy Complex

    Illustration: Markus Hofko

    Early this year, the big brains at Google admitted that they had been outsmarted. Along with 33 other companies, the search giant had been the victim of a major hack — an infiltration of international computer networks that even Google couldn’t do a thing about. So the company has reportedly turned to the only place on Earth with a deeper team of geeks than the Googleplex: the National Security Agency.

  • Security

    • Brown’s costly propaganda assault

      Do this, do that, sit up, shut up and obey, we’re in charge.

      [...]

      “Anyone who has turned on a commercial radio station recently will have worked out his latest trick: a mass propaganda splurge before an election campaign. Get on a bus, and it can be 100 percent state adverts – advising how Big Brother will help you get a job, buy a car, see off door-to-door salesmen, give you a job in the prison services – anything you want.”

    • My Police

      You may have read about the ‘confusion’ caused when Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary crashed like an elephant from a great height on the small social innovation project already known as MyPolice.

      That the good Inspectorate a) failed to spot the existence of the MyPolice incumbents, b) demonstrated a complete inability to change anything when it was noticed, and c) thought that two entirely different propositions having exactly the same name wouldn’t confuse people are all pretty damning in their own ways.

    • Intercepting mail is worthy of the Stasi

      Labour’s plan to allow tax inspectors to open private mail before it is delivered is unacceptable in a democracy

    • Wikileaks Asks CIA to Stop Spying on It

      Wikileaks, the crusading non-profit web site that publishes documents companies and governments don’t want released, is alleging that the U.S. State Department and possibly the CIA have been spying on the group and its volunteers, following them on airplanes and even monitoring their production meetings in an Icelandic fish-and-chip restaurant. In a blog post on the Wikileaks site, the group’s co-founder, Julian Assange, asserts that the spying “includes attempted covert following, photographing, filming and the overt detention & questioning of a WikiLeaks’ volunteer in Iceland.”

    • Hostile Reconnaissance: pre-election rally on Terror Laws, Civil Liberties and Press Freedom – 7pm, Tuesday 13th of April, Friends House, Euston, London
    • Rewired Culture

      If it could further ram home the point that violent crime is very rare – and its prevalence is something that’s continually hyped-up by those with a vested interest in accentuating negativity for the furtherance of their own agendas – it would be perfect.

    • Indonesia adopts biometrics for border control

      Indonesia has launched a new biometric system to improve security at its airports and seaports.

      The system captures facial images and fingerprints of arriving passengers and are checked against the immigration database for clearance.

    • Eric Cantor fires blanks on gunshot

      Following reports of multiple attacks on the offices of Democrats who voted for healthcare reform over the weekend, Republican House whip Eric Cantor held an angry press conference on Thursday claiming that his office had been attacked by gunshot and accusing Democrats of “dangerously fanning the flames”. But on closer examination the “attack” on Cantor’s office turns out to be ambiguous at the least.

    • Blair Strikes Oil in Iraq

      Of concern to British politicians, too, is that a former prime minister has been stone cold silent about being on the payroll of an immense multinational oil corporation, specializing in oil exploration in Iraq, and one that coincidentally happens to find itself in another challenging part of the globe.

  • Science

    • No ‘Simple Theory of Everything’ Inside the Enigmatic E8, Researcher Says

      Garibaldi, a rock climber in his spare time, did the math to disprove the theory, which involves a mysterious structure known as E8. The resulting paper, co-authored by physicist Jacques Distler of the University of Texas, will appear in an upcoming issue of Communications in Mathematical Physics.

      In November of 2007, physicist Garret Lisi published an online paper entitled “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything.” Lisi spent much of his time surfing in Hawaii, adding an alluring bit of color to the story surrounding the theory. Although his paper was not peer-reviewed, and Lisi himself told the Daily Telegraph that the theory was still in development and he gave a “low” likelihood to the prediction, the idea was widely reported in the media, under attention-grabbing headlines like “Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything.”

  • Environment

    • Madagascar bans rainforest timber exports following global outcry

      Under mounting pressure over illegal logging of its national parks, Madagascar’s transitional government on Wednesday reinstated a ban on rosewood logging and exports.

      The decree (no. 2010-141), which prohibits all exports of rosewood and precious timber for two to five years, was announced during a council meeting held yesterday at Ambohitsorohitra Palace in Antananarivo, Madagascar’s capital city. Madagascar’s Minister of Environment has already proposed a plan to address the illegal timber trade, according to the Madagascar Tribune.

    • Films drive trend for keeping pet monkeys

      Hollywood movies and popular television shows featuring cute monkeys and other primates are driving demand for them as exotic pets, only to leave the animals psychologically damaged.

    • How Japanese sushi offensive sank move to protect sharks and bluefin tuna

      To conservationists it was a gratuitous act of provocation; but to the Japanese officials whose embassy served bluefin tuna sushi to guests hours before last week’s UN vote on a trade ban on the fish, it was a show of confidence that their diplomatic offensive had worked.

    • Watch: Yao Ming says no to shark’s fin soup

      Earlier this month, we told you about a WildAid public service announcement starring Chinese basketballer Yao Ming that discouraged people from eating shark’s fin soup.

    • Forest Scientist Simon Lewis Files Formal Complaint Against UK Sunday Times Over Dishonest Reporting On “Amazongate”

      Simon Lewis, an expert on tropical forests at the University of Leeds in the UK, says the Sunday Times’ “inaccurate, misleading and distorted” story by Jonathan Leake in January left readers under the wrong impression that the 2007 IPCC AR4 report made a false claim by stating that reduced rainfall could wipe out up to 40% of the Amazon rainforest. Lewis filed a formal complaint this week with the UK Press Complaints Commission.

    • Copenhagen what? China spends nearly twice as much on clean energy as US in ’09

      If investment is, in fact, directly proportionate to results, then you might one day be able to wave goodbye to the lingering cloud of pollution that keeps your skin ghostly white year-round. According to a new report called Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race? China outspent every country in the world, clean energy-wise, in 2009, beating the $18.6 billion spent by the US nearly two-to-one.

    • Rajendra Pachauri: Climate scientists face ‘new form of persecution’

      The head of the UN’s climate change panel has accused politicians and prominent climate sceptics of “a new form of persecution” against scientists who work on global warming.

      In a strongly worded article published on the Guardian website, Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), hit out at those in “positions of power and responsibility” who try to portray “dedicated scientists as climate criminals”.

    • Heathrow protesters win third runway court victory

      High court rules that decision to expand Heathrow airport must be reconsidered in respect to UK climate change policy

  • Finance

    • Fired From the ‘Mommy Track’

      Charlotte Hanna did. The former vice president of Goldman Sachs Group filed a lawsuit in the Federal District Court in Manhattan this week, claiming that the bank demoted her because she elected to take advantage of its part-time track after her first maternity leave, then fired her while she was on her second.

    • U.S. take if it sells its Citi stake to settle cost of bailout: $8 billion

      Among the banks that rule Wall Street, Citigroup got a bailout that was bigger than the rest. Now the company is about to pay a king’s ransom for its federal rescue.

    • What happened to the global economy and what we can do about it

      Against all the odds, a glimmer of hope for real financial reform begins to shine through. It’s not that anything definite has happened – in fact most of the recent Senate details are not encouraging – but rather that the broader political calculus has shifted in the right direction.

    • Richard (RJ) Eskow: Meg Whitman’s Shady Goldman Sachs Past — Is It California’s Future?

      Just when you thought you’d had enough of Goldman Sachs running things — and running them into the ground — along comes Meg Whitman. Most Californians know she’s using her fortune to run for governor. They probably don’t know that she was once on the board of Goldman Sachs, and most likely still would be if she hadn’t been cited for a practice one law firm describes as “essentially … an illegal bribe … to corporate leaders.” Then came the Congressional investigation, and the investor lawsuit, and … well, it was probably best to just leave the board.

    • Why Goldman Wants a Branch in Warsaw

      Goldman Sachs is looking to open a branch office in Warsaw, in a move to take advantage the Polish government’s plans to sell $10 billion worth of assets in share offerings this year, Bloomberg News reported.

    • Goldman Sachs’ controversial ‘mommy-track’

      Former Goldman Sachs vice president Charlotte Hanna has filed a lawsuit against the financial giant, claiming she suffered discrimination and then termination for bearing children. Following the birth of her first child in 2005, Hanna returned to work part-time.

    • Goldman Sachs thinks unwashed construction workers capping RWS casino takings

      It’s simply excellent how Goldman has managed to dress up xenophobia AND racism as “shareholder value maximization”. Amazing what you can get out of a Harvard MBA.

    • Could Goldman Sachs do to California what it did to Greece?

      In February, major news organizations reported that the Federal Reserve Board is investigating the role that Goldman – a major recipient of federal bailout funds during our own financial meltdown – played in the Greek debt crisis. The firm used complex financial instruments called “derivatives” to help the Greek government hide the fact that it was in debt up to its eyeballs and getting in deeper.

      That, in turn, allowed Greece’s participation in the Euro, Europe’s common currency, under what may have been false pretenses. “One deal created by Goldman Sachs helped obscure billions in debt from budget overseers in Brussels,” the New York Times reported. The deal, “hidden from public view … helped Athens to meet Europe’s deficit rules while continuing to spend beyond its means.”

  • Censorship/Privacy/Civil Rights

    • Surprise: Phorm Resurfaces In Brazil With Five Deals

      With its roots in software that some classed “spyware”, Phorm proposed helping ISPs make more money and advertisers more relevant audiences. Installed on ISPs’ networks, its technology would monitor consenting customers’ every web visit to build an anonymised profile of their browsing habits against which to target ads.

    • Is Russia Google’s next weak spot?

      Big news from Russia today: RBK Daily, a respected Russian news agency, reports (in Russian) that the Russian government might soon be launching a “national search engine”. According to RBK’s anonymous sources inside Kremlin, it would aim at satisfying “state-oriented” needs such as “facilitating access to safe information” and “filtering web-sites that feature banned content.” It’s going to be an ambitious project: the government is prepared to invest $100 million in this new venture, does not want to allow any foreign funding, and intends to build it in cooperation with the private sector.

    • A Bill of Rights in Cyberspace

      In my Media Guardian column this Monday, I will suggest that we need a Bill of Rights in Cyberspace as a set of amendments to John Perry Barlow’s 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace. Note that I do not suggest the establishment a Constitution of the Internet; I think that would violate the tenets Barlow so eloquently if grandiosely sets forth. We don’t need government in cyberspace; we need freedom.

    • Navigating China’s web of censors

      Google’s face-off with Beijing over censorship may have struck a philosophical blow for free speech and encouraged some Chinese Netizens by its sheer chutzpah, but it doesn’t do a thing for Internet users in China. It merely hands the job of blocking objectionable content back to Beijing.

    • Child-abuse survivors oppose EU censorwall

      A recently leaked European Council proposal seeks to create a “Great Firewall of Europe,” instituted to block sites that depict the abuse of children. As with other censorwalls, it’s unlikely that this will performed as intended, since paedophiles will circumvent it with proxies, or by using P2P or email or private websites to trade illegal material. But the creation of a continent-wide network censorship scheme is likely to cause new problems, inviting authorities to shoehorn ever-greater slices of the net into the “illegal” category — this has already happened in Australia and other countries that have built Chinese-style censorship regimes.

    • How Internet censorship harms schools

      The Canadian National History Society was forced to change the name of its magazine, The Beaver, founded in 1920, because the name of the magazine caused it to be blocked by Internet filters.

      One teacher wanted to show students some pictures that would illustrate the effects of atomic testing. “However when I went to bring the wikipedia page up at school during class, it was blocked by our internet filter, BESS. The name of the islands? ‘Bikini Atoll,’” said Doug Johnson, quoting the teacher. Johnson, a director of media and technology at a Minnesota school district, put out a call in July for stories about how Internet filtering hobbles education, and got an earful. (“Censorship by Omission”)

  • Internet/Net Neutrality/DRM

    • BBC Activates DRM For Its iPlayer Content

      “The BBC has quietly added DRM to its iPlayer content. This breaks support for things like the XBMC plugin as well as other non-approved third-party players. The get-iplayer download page has a good summary of what happened, including links to The Reg articles and the BBC’s response to users’ complaints.”

  • Intellectual Monopolies/Copyrights

    • Real Copyright Reform

      I suggest, is to reallocate copyright’s benefits to give more rights to creators, greater liberty to readers, and less control to copyright intermediaries.

    • The Politics of Intellectual Property

      This talk, delivered at the 2006 AALS mid-year meeting, briefly addresses the politics of copyright legislation before segueing into the politics of intellectual property scholarship. I urge that the metaphor of a “copyright war,” used by both copyright owners and copyright reformers, is uncomfortably apt. It reflects a polarization of the copyright community that has affected copyright scholarship in unhealthy ways, encouraging scholars to choose sides in the copyright wars and to tailor their scholarship to fit.

    • What does Murdoch have in mind?
    • Times and Sunday Times websites to start charging from June

      The Times and the Sunday Times are to start charging for content online in June.

      Users will be charged £1 for a day’s access and £2 for a week’s subscription for access to both papers’ websites, publisher News International has announced.

    • News Corp’s UK Titles To Pull Out Of Nexis

      An exact date hasn’t been confirmed, but it was made clear that there will be no access to the content of these papers on Nexis from around the time the paywall goes up. LexisNexis hasn’t commented yet.

    • Does The Times’s New Paywall Add Up?

      So here we go. After much speculation, we now know that News Corporation’s two flagship titles in the UK, The Times and The Sunday Times, will charge users to access online content starting in June. No freebies, no tiered access models, just a paywall. And the price, at £1 per day, is the same as the cover price of the print edition.

    • Quarter of eight-to-12-year-olds on Facebook, MySpace or Bebo

      Ofcom’s annual Children’s Media Literacy Audit for 2009 also had bad news for the music industry, finding that 44% of children between 12 and 15 thought downloading shared copies of films and music for free should not be illegal.

    • Copyright Problems
    • World War II Veterans Must Pay To Sing War Songs

      Veterans of World War II who sang war songs at a free concert last year have now been told that they must pay fees to copyright holders. A collections society says they are owed money since the veterans sang the songs in public. The controversy has prompted an announcement in Russia’s parliament.

    • Economists Urge Government to Stop War on Piracy

      In an advisory report two economy professors are urging a government to rethink new anti-piracy legislation currently being drafted. The professors argue that harsher anti-piracy measures will only benefit the large media companies and prominent artists, at the expense of users and upcoming artists.

      The Spanish Government has recently proposed new legislation under which BitTorrent sites could be taken offline without a judicial order. The new Sustainable Economy Law, sponsored by Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, further includes a wide range of measures that are aimed at protecting copyright holders from online piracy.

    • ACTA/Digital Economy Bill

      • New ACTA leak: 01/18 version of consolidated text
      • Toward an ACTA Super-Structure: How ACTA May Replace WIPO

        For the past two years, most of the ACTA discussion has centered on two issues: (1) substantive concerns such as the possibility of three strikes and a renegotiation of the WIPO Internet treaties; and (2) transparency issues. The leak of the comprehensive ACTA text highlights the fact that a third issue should be part of the conversation. The text reveals that ACTA is far more than a simple trade agreement. Rather, it envisions the establishment of a super-structure that replicates many of the responsibilities currently assumed by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Given the public acknowledgement by negotiating countries that ACTA is a direct response to perceived gridlock at WIPO, some might wonder whether ACTA is ultimately designed to replace WIPO as the primary source of international IP law and policy making.

      • The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

        The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a plurilateral agreement negotiated outside of the WTO’s processes and protections, is the biggest set of new laws to hit international Intellectual Property. Many organizations have had serious concerns about the potential civil liberty and economic impact of ACTA. A draft text of ACTA has been leaked here.

        [...]

        6) Seizure of goods at the border: a potentially injured party may apply for the suspension of the release of potentially infringing goods- and that one application is valid for ONE YEAR from the date of application. This places the work burden on the government as opposed to the private companies who fear infringement (regulatory capture). Singapore proposes an alternative that applies to specific shipments and lasts for 60 days only.

      • Digital Economy: The Mandelson letters

        Last September, as debate raged about the government’s plans to crack down on illegal file-sharing – and the extent to which they might have been influenced by lobbying – the BBC put in a freedom-of-information request to the Department for Business. We requested information about any correspondence relating to online piracy or illegal file-sharing.

        Now, after a long wait, we’ve been supplied with a stack of letters to and from Lord Mandelson and other ministers relating to this issue. Those looking for a smoking gun – perhaps a despatch from a Hollywood tycoon warning “Cut ‘em off or else!” – may be disappointed.

        But the letters do show a sustained campaign of lobbying in favour of the Digital Economy Bill by music-industry trade bodies – and by opponents trying to persuade Lord Mandelson that some of its measures will be damaging to civil liberties, as well as being costly and ineffective.

      • LibDem MPs won’t fight for debate on Digital Economy Bill

        Rather than calling for a full debate on the bill’s provision allowing the record industry to take away your family’s internet access if they believe (but can’t prove) you’ve infringed on copyright, the LibDems have joined the other parties in supporting a short, 45-minute half-day second reading.

        After that, the Digital Economy Bill will disappear into “wash up,” a fast-track, no-debate way of passing bills, usually reserved for bills that everyone agrees on and that need to get pushed through before an election.

Digital Tipping Point: Clip of the Day

Will Norris introduces CitizenSpace (2009)


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