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Microsoft

+ - Microsoft may be barred from EU public procurement

Submitted by
andyteleco
andyteleco writes "The undeclared war between the Microsoft and the European Union has been relatively quiet for the past few months; we havent heard much from either party since the EU fined Microsoft $1.36 billion. The scarcely settled cauldron between the two organizations, however, is about to receive a good stirring, due to the actions of EU Parliment representative and Green Party member, Heide Rühle. Rühle has filed a question (PDF) with the Parliament, raising the issue of whether the EUs legal findings against the company preclude it from taking part in future public procurement discussions.

href=http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080414-microsoft-may-be-barred-from-eu-public-procurement-procedure.html Rühles complaint rests on the fact that Microsoft was convicted in 2004 of "abusing its dominant position in the software market, causing a huge damage both on competitors and consumers." Redmond appealed that decision, but the Court of First Instance (CFI) rejected the companys appeal in September, 2007. Microsoft chose not to appeal that ruling, which, according to Rühle, gives the courts decision res judicata status. The term refers to a situation in which the validity of the courts findings, and the evidence of Microsofts abuse, is considered settled and is no longer contested.

If the EU Parliament were to decide that the CFIs decision carries the strength of res judicata, Microsoft could be in for a spot of trouble. According to the body of rules that govern EU public procurement procedures, "Candidates or tenderers shall be excluded from participation in a procurement procedure if" they either "(b) they have been convicted of an offence concerning their professional conduct by a judgment which has the force of res judicata" or "(c) they have been guilty of grave professional misconduct proven by any means which the contracting authority can justify."

Rühle doesnt shy away from the question of whether Microsoft has the right to participate in the EUs next round of public procurement considerations. After listing Microsofts various offenses since the corporations initial conviction, she writes: "could we therefore consider that Microsoft does not fulfil the conditions to participate in such public procurement procedure?" Despite the hostile tone, however, her question is best viewed as a tactical manuever rather than a full-fledged assault.

The EU is perfectly capable of finding ways to allow Microsoft to take part in the organizations public procurement procedures, and will most likely do so, if only for practical reasons. The threat of barring Microsoft from taking part in such activities is ultimately more useful than actually taking such an action. The question Rühle raises—which, incidentally, is probably a legitimate one, given the wording of the statute and Microsofts legal transgressions—is also an effective way of reminding Microsoft that the CFIs earlier fine did not mark the end of EU oversight or interest in the companys conduct.

Link"
Censorship

+ - Student's program sends PR chaos in Wiki-scandal

Submitted by andyteleco
andyteleco (1090569) writes "One American student sent major corporations, governments and even the Vatican on the defensive after coming up with Wikipedia Scanner, a software program that reveals who changed Wikipedia entries.

Wikipedia.com is an online encyclopedia edited by general users, who write articles on every imaginable subject. Since it is written by users, anyone can edit, delete and arrange the articles on Wikipedia.
What Virgil Griffith did was come up with a program that reveals who edits these articles, via a system where it scans the I.P address and cross-references it with the I.P. directory.

As soon as the software was launched on the internet, chaos erupted. Among many revelations, Wikipedia Scanner reported that:
— Microsoft tried to cover up the XBOX 360 failure rate
— Apple edit Microsoft entries, adding more negative comments about its rival
— Bill Gates revenge? Microsoft edits Apple entries, adding more negative comments about its rival
— The Vatican edits Irish Catholic politician Gerry Adams page
— In the 9/11 Wikipedia article, the NRA added that "Iraq was involved in 9/11"
— Exxon Mobil edits spillages and eco-system destruction from oil spillages article
— FBI edits Guantanamo Bay, removing numerous pictures
— Oil company ChevronTexaco removes informative biodiesel article and deletes a paragraph regarding fines against the company
— Scientology removes criticism and negatives article from Scientology page
— Al Jazeera TV station adds that the foundation of Iraq was just as bad as the Holocaust
— Amnesty International removes negative comments
— Dell Computers deletes negative comments on customer services and removes a passage how the company outsources work to third world countries
— MySpace removes paragraph when their website was hacked
— EA Games deletes whole paragraphs of criticism about employment practices and business methods
— Dog breeding association deletes whole paragraphs about fatal attacks by dogs on humans
— US Republican Party changes the "Post-Saddam" section of the Baath Party article to a different account of the war, changing the language from "US-led occupation" to "US-led liberation"

— Fox News removes all controversial topics against the network from the Fox News page
— News of the World deletes a number of criticism against the paper
— Nestle removes negative comments on its business practices from its page
— UN address calls journalist Oriana Fallaci a racist 'prostitute'
— Portuguese government removes entries about Prime Minister's scandals
— DieBold, the company that controversially supplied computerised polling stations in the US elections, removes numerous paragraphs with negative comments
— Walmart removes criticism of outsourcing work. The retailer also changes negative paragraphs of underpaid workforce
— Sony removes harmful paragraphs against blu-ray systems
— Someone at Reuters calls Bush "a mass murderer"
— Coca Cola removes negative content about its effects
— British Conservative Party removes negative references of its MPs and deletes paragraph of the party's old policies
— US University adds the "prestigious" adjective to its page
— Boeing edits from "Boeing is a leading American aircraft and aerospace manufacturer" to "Boeing is the leading American aircraft and aerospace manufacturer"
— MSN Search is "a major competitor to Google". That's what MSN added to their page
— BBC changes Blair's drink from coffee to vodka and his workout from the gym to the bedroom. Someone from the BBC also changes Bush's page, changing the name from "George Walker Bush" to "George Wan*** Bush"
— Someone from The Guardian edits the Wikipedia page of rival newspaper The Times. Originally in the article it is said that The Times sells more than The Guardian. After the edit, The Guardian sells more.
Full article "
Google

+ - Google Checkout Party Canceled Due to eBay Pressur

Submitted by andyteleco
andyteleco (1090569) writes "Here's a little episode from the money-makes-the-world-go-round department. Google on Monday announced an alternative Google Checkout party with free food & massages at the side of an eBay event — likely to lure away sellers (Checkout is a competitor to eBay-owned PayPal): Are you an online seller attending eBay Live! in Boston this week? If so, join us for a celebration of user choice at the Google Checkout Freedom Party on Thursday night This didn't bode so well with eBay, who, according to Valleywag, reacted by withdrawing AdWords ads on Google. And now, in a new blog post Google says that after "speaking with officials at eBay, we ... agreed that it was better for us not to feature this event." (The post doesn't elaborate on the reasons, except that Google "did not want to detract from" the eBay Live event — as often with official company blogs, they hide more than they reveal when it comes to sensitive issues.) From: http://blog.outer-court.com/archive/2007-06-13.htm l#n11"
Sci-Fi

+ - Myth of jumping chinese busted

Submitted by andyteleco
andyteleco (1090569) writes "What would happen if all 1.3 billion Chinese jumped in unison?

Umm...nothing, really.

That's the deduction from an experiment carried out with tens of thousands of human lab rats who attended the German music festival Rock at the Ring. The idea of enlisting rock-crazed youths to advance geological science got started when the creators of a science program on German television asked themselves what would happen if the entire Chinese population engaged in synchronized hopping.

They saw Rock at the Ring as an opportunity to provide an answer to that question on a microcosmic scale. At the concert, the band We Are Heroes cued the thousands of rock fan/hoppers (total attendance 50,000) with drumbeats to go airborne, while the program's crew recorded the event on videotape and the Potsdam Geological Research Center recorded it on seismometers.

A producer of the science program, Quarks & Co., characterized the "gang boing" as a "mini-mini earthquake," according to a news report from Deutsche Welle." A seismometer measured four oscillations per second, while the earth moved only one-twentieth of a millimeter. "We showed that people cannot start a (real) earthquake by hopping," remarks Ulrich Gruenwald, producer of the program, who emphasized the difficulty of getting tens of thousands of people to synchronize their jumps.

http://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=rock_festiva l_as_human_experiment_hip_ho&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1& ref=rss"
Announcements

+ - European Parliament rules sharing isn't illegal

Submitted by andyteleco
andyteleco (1090569) writes "Yesterday, 25/04/2007, the European Parliament voted in favour of a proposal to modify the EU Parliament and Congress directive regarding penal measures destined to enforce Intellectual Property rights. the directive finally establishes in Article 3 that the member states will be responsible of considering as a criminal infraction all intentional IP offences committed at a commercial scale, as well as complicity and/or incitement to these offences. According to Amendment 13, Article 2 of the directive excludes culpability of the acts performed by private users for personal non-profit usage. Read the entire text"
Republicans

+ - U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Federal Abortion Ban

Submitted by
andyteleco
andyteleco writes "Law Threatens Women's Health; Criminalizes Safe, Early Abortions WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the federal abortion ban in the cases Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood and Gonzales v. Carhart. The ban, passed by Congress and signed by President Bush in 2003, criminalizes abortions in the second trimester of pregnancy that doctors say are safe and the best to protect women's health. Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) denounced the ruling. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/news-articles-pre ss/politics-policy-issues/supreme-court-14047.htm"

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