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Microsoft

+ - Tang Jun Bought PhD from Diploma Mill->

Submitted by MaulerOfEmotards
MaulerOfEmotards (1284566) writes "Strong evidence for that Tang Jun, president of Microsoft China until 2004 and one of China’s Top Ten Most Valuable Professional Manager, has bought his PhD at a diploma mill has been presented and summarised (in Chinese) at scientist and science-fiction writer Fang Shi Min's blog. Fang Shi Min is well known for uncovering and publicising lies (in Chinese) in Chinese academia and politics.

Non Chinese-speakers might enjoy the service of online translation services, as my Chinese friends like to phrase it."

Link to Original Source
Censorship

+ - Fired for writing concerns about anti piracy to MP->

Submitted by neurone333
neurone333 (1550749) writes "France, may, 6th 2009, Libération reported this story, now all over French newspapers : A TV executive has been fired for writing his concerns about anti-piracy law (HADOPI aka 3 strikes and you're out) to his Member of Parliament, the UMP Françoise de Panafieu.

Françoise de Panafieu forwards this email to the UMP Christine Albanel, France's Minister for Culture and Communication, author of the anti-piracy law "HADOPI".

The email was then forwarded to TF1, the largest TV network in Europe. The author of the email, Jérôme Bourreau-Guggenheim.he was called into his boss' office and shown... an exact copy of his e-mail. He was then fired for "strong differences with the strategy"... in a private email sent from a private (gmail) adress.

Irish times has an explanation for "the incestuous relationship between his government and TF1" : TF1's owner, the construction billionaire Martin Bouygues, is godfather to Mr Sarkozy's youngest son, Louis. Mr Bouygues suggested to Mr Sarkozy that he ought to ban advertising on TF1's rival stations in the public sector, which was done in January. Laurent Solly, who was deputy director of Mr Sarkozy's presidential campaign, is now number two at TF1. Last year, TF1 sacked Patrick Poivre d'Arvor, the station's star presenter for the previous 21 years. Poivre had angered Mr Sarkozy by saying he "acted like a little boy" at a G8 summit. He was replaced by Laurence Ferrari. Mr Sarkozy reportedly told Mr Bouygues he wanted to see the young blonde on the news."

Link to Original Source
The Courts

The Circus Widens In Aftermath of Pirate Bay Verdict 319

Posted by kdawson
from the buy-me-some-peanuts-and-crackerjacks dept.
MaulerOfEmotards sends along an in-depth followup, from the Swedish press, of our discussion the other day about the biased trial judge in the Pirate Bay case. "The turmoil concerns Tomas Norström, the presiding judge of The Pirate Bay trial, who is suspected of bias after reports surfaced of affiliation with copyright protection organizations. For this he has been reported to the appeals court (in Swedish; translation here). The circus around the judge is currently focused on three points. First, his personal affiliation with at least four copyright protection organizations, a state the potential bias of which he himself fails to see and refuses to admit. Secondly, Swedish trials use a system of several lay assessors to supervise the presiding judge. One of these, a member of an artists' interest organization, was forced by Mr. Norström to resign from the trial for potential bias. The judge's failure to see the obvious contradiction in this (translation) casts doubts on his suitability and competence. Thirdly, according to professor of judicial sociology Håkan Hydén (translation), the judge has inappropriately 'duped and influenced the lay assessors' during the trial: 'a judge that has decided that "this is something we can't allow" has little problem finding legal arguments that are difficult for assisting lay assessors to counter.'" Click the link below to read further on Professor Hydén's enumeration of "at least three strange things in a strange trial." On a related note, reader Siker adds the factoid that membership in the Pirate Party exploded 150% in the week following the verdict. The Pirate Party now surpasses in size four smaller parties in Sweden, and is closing in on a fifth. Political fallout could ensue as soon as June, when an election for EU parliament will be held.
The Courts

+ - The Pirate Bay Aftermath Circus in Swedish Press

Submitted by MaulerOfEmotards
MaulerOfEmotards (1284566) writes "Reading the Swedish news reports, the turmoil surrounding the aftermath of The Pirate Bay trial continues.

Part of the news are occupied with Tomas Norström, the presiding judge of The Pirate Bay trial. Mr. Nordström is suspected of bias after reports of affiliation with copyright protection organisations, for which he has been charged reported to the appeals court, is rapidly gaining a certain notoriety. The circus around him is currently focused on three points. First, his personal affiliation with at least four copyright protection organisations, a state the potential bias of which he himself fails to see and refuse to admit. Secondly, Swedish trials use a system of several lay assessors to supervise the presiding judge, one of which, a member of an artists' interest organisation, which is far fewer than Mr. Norström himself, was by Mr. Norström made to resign from the trial for potential bias, and his failing to see the obvious contradiction in this casts doubts on his suitability and competence. Thirdly, according to professor of judicial sociology Håkan Hydén the judge has inappropriately "duped and influenced the lay assessors" during the trial: "a judge that has decided that 'this is something we can't allow' has little problem finding legal arguments that are difficult for assisting lay assessors to counter".

The apparent grave legal problems if the trial itself is also of medial interest. Professor Hydén continues with enumerating "at least three strange things" with "a strange trial": Firstly that someone can be sentenced for being accessory to a crime for which there is no main culprit: "this assumes someone else having committed the crime, and no such individual exists here ... the system cannot charge the real culprits or it would collapse in its entirety". It is unprecedented in Swedish judicial history to sentence only an accessory. Secondly, that the accessories should pay the fine for a crime committed by the main culprits "which causes the law to contradict itself". And thirdly that accessories cannot be sentenced to harsher than the main culprit, which means that every downloader must be sentenced to a year's confinement. In closing Me. Hydén sums up by saying that to allow this kind of judgement the Swedish Parliament must first pass a bill making this kind of services illegal, which hasn't been done."

Comment: Summary of current debate (Score 5, Interesting) 415

by MaulerOfEmotards (#27686249) Attached to: Judge In Pirate Bay Trial Biased

Lawyer Peter Althin, representing the Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde calls for retrial

There have been a series of interesting events surrounding the extended Pirate Bay process. It started with PRQ (the web hotel hosting TPB) being illegally raided, and to add the icing on that cake, the minister in charge acting in violation of the Swedish constitution by directly ordering law enforcement (see New Technology's "Was the Raid a Judicial Scandal?" [in Swedish]). Then the FRA and IPRED bills passed in direct defiance of election promises and popular opinion folding to foreign pressure, as was the trial itself. It is hardly surprising that it turned out that the judge was cherry picked. The judge, Thomas NorstrÃm, argued that "My view has been that these activities do not constitute a conflict of interest," and he was not swayed in his judgement by involvement with copyright protection groups.

There was great surprise over the April 17th ruling. Even the legal experts that expected a conviction were taken aback by the prison sentence and the size of the compensatory fine.

The current debate on Swedish technical boards is one of conspiracy theories. Swedes are generally relatively hesitant of suggesting conspiracies, but this one reeks of collusion.

The former Chief Prosecutor Sven-Erik Alhem says (in Swedish) that this will hurt the international renown of Swedish courts as well as damage domestic belief in judicial neutrality and safety.

Also interesting is the public statement from the Pirate Party which calls this "Corruption and miscarriage of justice" and "The copyright lobby has really managed to bring corruption to Sweden".

This may turn out to be a huge inconvenience for the copyright organisations and for the ruling coalition.

The Courts

+ - Pirate Bay ruling invalid? Call for retrial

Submitted by MaulerOfEmotards
MaulerOfEmotards (1284566) writes "Lawyer Peter Althin, representing the Pirate Bay spokesperson Peter Sunde, called for retrial after Swedens's public service radio reported that that the presiding judge was a member of the same copyright protection organisations as several of the industry representatives. In Sweden, judges are expected to be strictly unbiased. The judge, Thomas Norström, argued that "My view has been that these activities do not constitute a conflict of interest," and he was not swayed in his judgement by involvement with copyright protection groups. Many observers, even legal experts that expected a conviction, were surprised over the severity of the April 17th ruling. In a statement, Sweden's Pirate Party chairman Rickard Falkvinge said that "The copyright lobby has really managed to bring corruption to Sweden.""

Comment: Even lovlier, and a bigger but (Score 4, Interesting) 79

by MaulerOfEmotards (#26257297) Attached to: Early Praise For <em>Empire: Total War</em>

You reply in good faith and for good intentions but you are somewhat mistaken,

First, Romans did NOT field regiments of archers. However, following Gaius Marius' reforms, in legions a cohort (8-10 centuries of 60 men) could have archers attached. These were generally placed as an archery shield in front of the front maniples and retracted when enemies approached. More usual, however, was simply the legionaries throwing their pilum javelin before equipping their gladius short sword.

Secondly, Romans did NOT field any cavalry units. Cavalry fight from horseback, and cohesive military cavalry usage requires stirrups. Romans DID use mounted infantry though, and this could also perhaps harass enemy skirmish flankers. Stirrups wasn't invented until approximately the 7th or 8th Century. Thus, cavalry does not mean "mounted soldier". Also, the Roman social hierarchy included a "knight" class. This is not to be interpreted anachronistically as of a kind with the medieval knights, it simply means a social status above Plebeian but beneath the Patrician strata eligible for election to Senate.

Comment: Campaign Against Free Speech - Not a New Thing (Score 1) 377

by MaulerOfEmotards (#26242459) Attached to: UK Culture Secretary Wants Website Ratings, Censorship

This is really the same debate that's been going on since the Greeks, only now in a much more uninformed way. It reminds me of CNN's 1986 Crossfire show where the lyrics of a rock song was accused of promoting incest and Frank Zappa was invited as a representative musician. Zappa is not defending the Prince's "Incest is a good thing" statement in the lyrics in question, but he is defending the right of the artist to say it.

Some telling and relevant in context quotes from the exchange are:

Robert Novak: "Mr Zappa, let me see if I can get your position straight. Are you saying there is no filth, no pornography, no obscenity, that should not be permitted to be sold and distributed freely in this country in the form of music videos and rock videos? ... Is there no filth, no obscenity you consider qualified to be suppressed?"

John Lofton (of the Washington Times): "I agree with you that the first line of responsibility is the family [Zappa has not mentioned neither "responsibility" of "family"] to stop the kind of garbage we're talking about here today; but good grief, can't we call upon our government to help us in this fight, Frank? Are you an Anarchist, is it the government's role to do nothing in this? ... Incest in America didn't use to be this kind of problem, it has come about in the last 20 years or so [implicating "pop music"] ... You should get out more! ... Would you look in the camera and tell them that the trash you sing and write was when the Founding Fathers had in mind when they drafted the First Amendment?! ... to defend songs that glorify Satanism, and incest, and suicide?!"

Zappa: "Absolutely!"

Chorus: "You're an idiot, then!"

Tom Braden: "What would you suggest, Mr Lofton, as a means of censorship? ... What government censor is going to decide for you?"

Lefton, to Zappa: "What is the government's role, Mr Zappa?" ... ("national defence") ... "Well, I consider this national defence, pal! Our families are under attack from people like you"

Zappa: "The biggest threat today is not communism, it is moving America toward a fascist theocracy, and everything that's happened during the Reagan administration is steering us down that pipe."

Panel laughs, "oh really, Mr Zappa" etc etc

It is really an extremely interesting (not to say entertaining!) episode, and I recommend it if you haven't laready seen it. The full video is available here:

http://www.spike.com/video/zappa-on-crossfire/2658805

Comment: Re:Bullshit^2 (Score 5, Informative) 504

by MaulerOfEmotards (#26186727) Attached to: An In-Depth Look At Game Piracy
Agree with the above poster. The article is a classic example of tendentious writing. It wouldn't stand even the most basic requirements for an entry level university essay.

It is written arrogantly and from an pro-industry perspective. Point by point, it consistently takes sides but continuously claims it is not doing so. There is no underlying theory or methodology other than "examine every aspect of game piracy". :rolleyes:

1) The article starts with the author claiming neutrality and utter non-bias
2) The article seems to have been laid out beforehand, written as intended and fleshed out with quotes and references where found as supporting his theses
3) Sources are quotes selectively to further his preconceived conclusions
4) Alternative interpretations are ignored or dismissed
5) There is no source criticism
6) Frequent hand waving and usage of weasel words 7) Interjected unsubstantiated strong conclusions, as "The evidence is overwhelmingly clear: DRM does not cause piracy, piracy results in DRM."

Also, you gotta love an author who writes a long article, POS as it is, proves a "printable" link, which takes you to a page which says "if you want to print it, print each page, schmuck".

Comment: Clever marketing stunt by UBISoft (Score 1) 254

by MaulerOfEmotards (#26101629) Attached to: Ubisoft Testing PC <em>Prince of Persia</em> Without DRM
USISoft has been surrounded by a slew of PR mistakes the last years and have accrued one of the worst reputations and word-of-mouth of any games publisher, second only to EA. Their DRM implementations have generally been horribly executed leading to widespread usability issues. Meanwhile DRM has become a hot topic.

Corporations are not really about providing good service and quality to the consumers, they're about making money. DRM now is bad PR.

At the same time the relatively small studio Stardock, that for a long time has produiced DRM-free games, have been riding the wave of topical recognition and have gained much consumer credit.

Of course UBISoft sees this. They are not bad marketers. UBISoft sees this as one way of mending their abysmal reputation. There's nothing intrinsically good or ethical about this, it is just marketing: leverageing the current medial discourse and try to appear as the pioneer of a new movement, and so to usurp the percieved leader position. This is simply what is known as "positioning" and "differentiation" in marketing lingo, something that has been practiced throughout modern business history.

In sum, this is a cynical ploy by a company that has a track record of hating and alienating its customers. It might lead to something better, but it is still not a change from the goodness of their black hearts.
Sci-Fi

New Star Trek Trailer 591

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the please-jj-don't-hurt-em dept.
roelbj writes "The full trailer to the next Star Trek movie is now available at the movie's official web site. The upcoming J.J. Abrams-helmed installment represents a changing of the guard, a reboot of the franchise, and a return to the original-series crew. It should prove interesting to see how Abrams' writing staff (Cloverfield, Lost, Alias) tackles the Star Trek universe and all the continuity and baggage that comes with it."
KDE

+ - KDE4 Reveals New Composition of FOSS User Base?

Submitted by MaulerOfEmotards
MaulerOfEmotards (1284566) writes "Related to what was discussed a few days ago Linux.com's Bruce Byfield asks if the storm over KDE4 is the result of the FOSS demographics is changing from being dominated by geeks to more mainstream population, and what that may entail:

In many circles, KDE 4 was greeted by an outpouring of emotions that you can deduce by the number of exclamation marks in the postings. Somebody, it seems, dislikes just about everything about KDE 4, from the icons to the menu to the use of Dolphin as the file manager. Some of these complaints, of course, are justified, but the complaints gallop off so quickly, in so many contrary directions, that the only way to reconcile them is to look for an underlying cause.

The reasons for the user revolt against KDE 4 ... appear to be a complex mixture that includes the assumptions that KDE used in its planning, the rush by distributions to include a release that was not ready for general use, and sensationalism in free software blogs and journalism. One reason that has yet to be discussed is one of the potentially most significant — the apparent shift in the FOSS user base. Judging from the quickness and thoroughness with which KDE 4 was rejected, the audience for free software seems to have shifted from a small group of knowledgeable users that treasures innovation to a larger one that values convention and familiarity and is actively suspicious of change.

If this is true, what does that hold for the future of Linux? Will an incursion of the mainstream drive a migration of techheads to BSD or other "untainted" OS:s?"

Stinginess with privileges is kindness in disguise. -- Guide to VAX/VMS Security, Sep. 1984

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