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Politics

Submission + - Ted Stevens and Sean O'Keefe in plane crash

necro81 writes: The NY Times is reporting that former Senator Ted Stevens was aboard a small plane with eight others that crashed in remote southwest Alaska Monday night. Reuters is reporting that he died, along with at least four others. Meanwhile, the North American CEOof aerospace firm EADS and former NASA administrator Sean O'Keefe was was also reported in the crash. Rescue crews from the Alaska Air National Guard reached the site about ten hours after the initial crash.
Google

Submission + - Are staff "hiding" the new Google OS? (pcpro.co.uk) 3

Barence writes: "Rumours that Google is working on its own operating system have been given fresh momentum: US internet metrics firm Net Applications claims that a third of Google's staff are masking the operating system being used on their computers, sparking speculation that they are using a new Google OS. "We have never seen an OS stripped off the user agent string before, I believe you have to arrange to have that happen, it's not something we've seen before with a proxy server. All I can tell you is there's a good percentage of the people at Google showing up [at web pages] with their OS hidden.""
Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Apple's SproutCore, OSS Javascript-based Web Apps (appleinsider.com)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF writes: AppleInsider published an article about Apple's new SproutCore Web application development framework, utilizing Javascript and some nifty HTML 5 to create a "cocoa-inspired" way to create powerful Web applications. Apparently Apple built upon the OSS SproutIt framework developed for an online e-mail manager called 'Mailroom'.

Apple used this framework to build their new Web application suite (replacing .Mac) called MobileMe. Since SproutCore applications rely upon JavaScript, it seems Apple had good reason to focus on Squirrelfish for faster JavaScript interpretation in Webkit. Apple, reportedly, hosted a session last Friday at WWDC introducing SpoutCore to developers, but obviously NDAs prevent developers from revealing the details of that presentation. Perhaps Apple is getting serious about Web applications and services or perhaps they're just worried about the Web becoming even more proprietary as Silverlight and Flash battle it out to make the Web application market built upon one proprietary format or another. Either way, this is a potential alternative, which should make the OSS crowd happy.

Technology (Apple)

Submission + - Cocoa for Windows + Flash Killer = SproutCore (roughlydrafted.com)

DECS writes: At WWDC, Apple unveiled an update of .Mac renamed Mobile Me and billed as "Exchange for the rest of us," clearly targeted at iPhone users, many of whom are new to the Mac platform. But the big news behind the scenes is that Apple's .Mac group built its new Mobile Me web apps using SproutCore, the company's open source (MIT license) JavaScript framework with a complete application stack based on MVC and making extensive use of Cocoa-style bindings, localization, offline storage, and other features. As RDM describes, that makes SproutCore essentially a free "Cocoa for the Web," allowing developers to deploy sophisticated, cross platform thick client web apps on Safari, Firefox, Internet Explorer 6/7, and Mobile Safari on the iPhone, all without requiring a proprietary plugin runtime such as Flash or Silverlight because everything works in simple HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. Cocoa for Windows + Flash Killer = SproutCore.
Privacy

Submission + - Sweden to pass wiretapping law June

An anonymous reader writes: I live in Sweden in northern Europe. The land of midnight sun, blonde chicks, IKEA and Volvo. We are a modest country with modest people and we usually don't make much fuss about things. But our parliament is deceitfully trying to pass a law that poses a threat to you and me.

If passed, the new law will enable Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets Radioanstalt — FRA) to scan all the outgoing and incoming communication crossing Sweden's borders.

Currently FRA operates the fifth fastest supercomputer on the TOP500-list. According to the draft, FRA will construct a second supercomputer for data mining and signal intelligence.

Sweden is a small country with a population slightly above 9 million, but we live in a globalized world. There are many foreign companies, citizens and interests present in Sweden. This law concerns everyone who is communicating or is going to communicate with people or businesses in Sweden.

The Swedish government is going to listen to communication between private citizens, companies and governments. Every email, phone call or text message crossing Sweden's borders is going to be scanned by the government. Even if a message is encrypted they will analyze the traffic patterns.

I'm not saying FRA will make use of all the information they gather, according to the draft they are allowed to look only for foreign threats, i.e. terrorism and criminals, but they will have the technology in place to spy on everyone.
I live in Sweden in northern Europe. The land of midnight sun, blonde chicks, IKEA and Volvo. We are a modest country with modest people and we usually don't make much fuss about things. But our parliament is deceitfully trying to pass a law that poses a threat to you and me.

If passed, the new law will enable Sweden's National Defence Radio Establishment (Försvarets Radioanstalt — FRA) to scan all the outgoing and incoming communication crossing Sweden's borders.

Currently FRA operates the fifth fastest supercomputer on the TOP500-list. According to the draft, FRA will construct a second supercomputer for data mining and signal intelligence.

Sweden is a small country with a population slightly above 9 million, but we live in a globalized world. There are many foreign companies, citizens and interests present in Sweden. This law concerns everyone who is communicating or is going to communicate with people or businesses in Sweden.

The Swedish government is going to listen to communication between private citizens, companies and governments. Every email, phone call or text message crossing Sweden's borders is going to be scanned by the government. Even if a message is encrypted they will analyze the traffic patterns.

I'm not saying FRA will make use of all the information they gather, according to the draft they are allowed to look only for foreign threats, i.e. terrorism and criminals, but they will have the technology in place to spy on everyone.

This has to be extremely unsettling for US companies in Sweden. Or the French embassy. Or for you when you email the Swedish exchange student who was at your university last year. And of course everyone living in Sweden and just browsing the web.

Further, if this law is passed other governments might think this is a good idea to implement.

Nobody in Sweden except for the parliament wants this law. All other government bodies slammed the proposal, stating this law goes against multiple human rights, among them the European Convention on Human Rights and the Swedish constitution.

It only takes four more MP:s to vote this law down, but the political parties have put pressure on the MP:s to wote with the party line.

I'm asking for your help. I hope that people overseas are as scared about this law as I am. If we can convince four more MP:s that they are doing the right thing, and that they have our support if the they vote against the law, we can stop this madness. I hope pressure from other countries, citizens and companies might convince the MP:s.

If you are an European Union citizen, please contact your Member of the European Parliament (MEP). The European Parliament can stop this law if it goes against the convention.

If you work for an international company, please make them aware of the serious threat this law may pose to their business. The US and Germany are Sweden's top trading partners. I'm sure foreign companies will go crazy if there business secrets are intercepted by the Swedish government.

Contact the EFF. Tell your friends to be careful when communicating with Sweden.

This has to be extremely unsettling for US companies in Sweden. Or the French embassy. Or for you when you email the Swedish exchange student who was at your university last year. And of course everyone living in Sweden and just browsing the web.

Further, if this law is passed other governments might think this is a good idea to implement.

Nobody in Sweden except for the parliament wants this law. All other government bodies slammed the proposal, stating this law goes against multiple human rights, among them the European Convention on Human Rights and the Swedish constitution.

It only takes four more MP:s to vote this law down, but the political parties have put pressure on the MP:s to wote with the party line.

I'm asking for your help. I hope that people overseas are as scared about this law as I am. If we can convince four more MP:s that they are doing the right thing, and that they have our support if the they vote against the law, we can stop this madness. I hope pressure from other countries, citizens and companies might convince the MP:s.

If you are an European Union citizen, please contact your Member of the European Parliament (MEP). The European Parliament can stop this law if it goes against the convention.

If you work for an international company, please make them aware of the serious threat this law may pose to their business. The US and Germany are Sweden's top trading partners. I'm sure foreign companies will go crazy if there business secrets are intercepted by the Swedish government.

Contact the EFF. Tell your friends to be careful when communicating with Sweden.
Microsoft

Submission + - OOXML stalled in ISO, EU pushes open formats (iso.org)

ozmanjusri writes: "Microsoft's OOXML faces another barrier to acceptance as an ISO standard as appeals by Brazil, India, South Africa and Venezuela stall the software behemoth's efforts.

Since a document which is the subject of an appeal cannot be published as an ISO Standard, the decision to publish OOXML cannot be taken until the outcome of the appeals is known. The assessment of the appeals, and the establishment of a conciliation panel to resolve them, is likely to take several months.

In other document format news, EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes has made strong recommendation that open formats be used by governments.

No citizen or company should be forced or encouraged to choose a closed technology over an open one, through a government having made that choice first,"
she said in comments which appeared to target Microsoft who are currently under EU investigation again for possible antitrust abuse related to OOXML."

Software

Submission + - ISO won't publish OOXML 'til appeals are processed

sirwitti writes: According to heise online (german) the ISO will hand over the 4 official appeals against OOXML to the ISO Secretary-General and the IEC General Secretar, which will comment them and give them to the ISO Technical Management Board and the IEC Standardization Management Board.
Those management boards will decide whether or not to proceed the appeals, and while the outcome of this process is unclear, it will not publish ISO/IEC DIS 29500 as an ISO/IEC International Standard.
Microsoft

Submission + - IE 8 Passes Acid2 Test

notamicrosoftlover writes: From Channel9: '...on Wednesday, December 12, Internet Explorer correctly rendered the Acid2 page in IE8 standards mode. While supporting the features tested in Acid2 is important for many reasons, it is just one of several milestones for the interoperability, standards compliance, and backwards compatibility that we're committed to for this release...' You can read the whole blog entry here. There's also a video interview regarding IE8 development on Channel9.
Security

Submission + - US Gov't Bans Mapquest, Google Maps (gpsworld.com)

gpowers writes: "Don Jewell, who served as a Commander at Schriever AFB, says his wife works "on a large military installation and just informed me this week that the U.S. government, in all its wisdom, has decided that programs like MapQuest, Google Maps and Google Street Maps will no longer be authorized on military and government computers. You can log onto the sites but you just can't download any files with map extensions. This essentially makes the sites worthless for maps or directions. Try to download maps or directions on a military computer and you get a warning message informing you that these sites are not authorized. In other words, government IT departments across the board now block access to anything remotely useful on these Internet mapping web sites.""
Google

Submission + - Google Sued By Professor Over DB Architecture (boston.com)

eldavojohn writes: "Google is recently under fire from a Northeastern Professor who has filed suit against the search giant for their use of what he claims is his intellectual property. The patent being disputed is a method to retrieve data from a database in a faster manner. Baclawski and Jarg Corp have a few patents pending and assigned to them. While there may be a number of patents possibly infringed by Google, the most likely candidate's abstract reads, "A distributed computer database system connected to a network, e.g., the Internet or on an intranet, indexes interests of agents that have registered with the system, examines information objects, for example, that reside on the network, and, responsive to a match with the registered agents' interests, specifies to the agents the relevant information objects." For those of you familiar with Google's server farms, their modified Linux kernel & their anticipated contributions to the MySQL source, this sounds very familiar to how their run their grand caching scheme to make their search engine so fast and beat out the competition. Might other search engines face this patent lawsuit by default? What other method is there to distributing your search across databases aside from using massive server farms with 'intelligent' agents on each machine swarming over data?"
GNOME

Submission + - Optimization for Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon

Larry L writes: "I've upgraded my installation of ubuntu to version 7.10 "Gutsy Gibbon". I was awaiting this release with bated breath. I was eager enough that I downloaded & installed the OS when it was still in it's beta version (a first for me).

For me, the new OS version is a mixed bag. I'm pretty pleased with the extra work that went into handling restricted drivers. I run a dual boot system, so the native support for writing to an NTFS partition is awesome.

However, I noticed an immediate performance hit when I installed the new version of the OS. I suspect that the performance is lost due to a larger quantity of software loaded at boot time and a larger number of services enabled by default.

I have mixed feelings about the software development that is going into things like evolution & tracker. I think that the existing software paradigms that ubuntu is trying to emulate (outlook, spotlight, messenger, etc) are bloated crap. However, I also understand the need to make the transition to linux smooth for users that are familliar with other operating systems, or have existing business legacy systems with which we need to integrate. I also understand that solving the linux adoption problem and increasing the linux market share is necessary as a prerequisite for solving other problems that I care about a lot more (like better native linux driver support from hardware manufacturers).

So, I guess that the bloatware serves its purpose as part of the base install. But not on my box. I like the basic foundation that Ubuntu provides — now I'm looking for ways to strip it down & tune it up for better performance. I could use some advice and assistance on doing this. Off the top of my head, I think that I can stand to lose evolution, ekiga, pidgin, tracker and probably elements of open office. How resolve package dependancies to get rid of them without nuking the gnome desktop? Can anyone recommend more fat to trim?"
Privacy

Submission + - How bad is OSX when it comes to DRM and spying? 1

whirred writes: I'm a long time Windows, Linux, and *nix user. I've seen Microsoft's operating systems change over the years from being a mediocre hodge podge of borderline functionality into the steaming pile that is Vista. Over this time frame, I've seen the Mac OS change from a cute, decent interface into what I believe is the best Unix operating system ever created. I also feel that my philosophy has changed over the years, and whereas I used to be able to tolerate Microsoft with a good software firewall and a lot of patching, I have seen their vision of the future and I simply do not like it. Intrusive DRM, "trusted computing", draconian activation schemes... I just don't want any part of it. I can't switch to Linux 100% because I still have to use Photoshop and other production tools that just aren't there yet. So my question is this: As bad as Windows with it's random snooping around (why are random processes always trying to connect to the internet?), how is OSX? I want zero DRM, zero "trusted computing", etc. I also want to make sure that before my computer contacts the internet (aside from browsing) that it asks me permission. Any thoughts?
Music

Submission + - Trent Reznor Says "Steal My Music" (youtube.com)

THX-1138 writes: A few months ago, Trent Reznor (frontman of the band Nine Inch Nails), was in Australia doing an interview when he commented on the outrageous prices of CDs there. Apparently now his label, Universal Media Group is angry at him for having said that. During a concert last night , he told this to fans, "...Has anyone seen the price come down? Okay, well, you know what that means — STEAL IT. Steal away. Steal and steal and steal some more and give it to all your friends and keep on stealin'. Because one way or another these mother**** will get it through their head that they're ripping people off and that that's not right."

The YouTube link contains a video recorded by a fan that shows his full speech during the concert.

Privacy

Submission + - All Danish citizens under surveillance (information.dk)

Snaller writes: Unfortunately I can find no English news sites reporting this, so i guess it may never go beyond your eyes (or ours), but at least one American (I'm assuming) will have read it then:

During this weekend the real big brother put his foot down on the country of Denmark, in Europe, in the name of fighting terrorism the government has ordered all Internet providers and telcos to log: who you call on your phone, who calls you, the addresses of the calling parties and for cell phones where you are when you make/receive the call. Times of messages you send and receive on your phone. Internet providers must log who a user connects to via his computer, this includes the users IP address, the destination IP address, what port numbers are used on the sending end, and port numbers used at the receiving end, and the duration of the communication. They must log the identity of the user initiating the communication and the precise geographic location of the user. In addition to this they must log the email address of people the user sends email to, and the email address used to send from, and the time of the email transmission. By law these loggings must be carried out for every single citizen who uses the Internet or the phone system, and these logs must be kept for one year, to be made available to the police if it is found relevant for an investigation. A judge needs sign of on it, however apparently the secret Danish police does not need that — they can simply demand to see it.

Some Danes are pragmatically pointing out that there is a bit of a hole in the law since libraries are currently not included, hotels are confused since they are included but not sure if they need to write down the names of all of their guests who try to use the Internet or just that the hotel computer was used, while others are outraged at what they consider a gross violation of their privacy, but apparently, and unfortunately, many seem to accept it when the blonde minister of justice opinions that only people who plan on doing crime could object to these measures.

This is the full text of the law (in Danish) http://147.29.40.91/DELFIN/HTML/B2006/0098805.htm

And a couple of articles about the subject (alas, in Danish)

Newspaper Information
News paper Arbejderen
Newspaper Politiken and here
Newspaper Jyllands Posten
And The Danish Library Agency

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