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Submission Summary: 0 pending, 20 declined, 2 accepted (22 total, 9.09% accepted)

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Submission + - Emerging Fallout from Facebook and Twitter DDoS (

Erris writes: "The emerging Facebook and Twitter DDoS attack story has Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols saying, "It's time to get rid of Windows."

It happened because Windows is an insecure piece of junk. Anyone who knows anything about security knows that this kind of disaster was only a matter of time. Windows botnets are responsible for DDoS attacks and most of e-mail spam. You cannot secure Windows. Microsoft keeps saying that they will, and they always fail. Period.

Twitter and Facebook users are just the kind of people M$ can't afford to lose. They are the decision makers who decided Vista's fate and will soon do the same for Windows 7. They are generally aware of Windows performance problems that 7 is still slower than XP and that Ubuntu is faster than both. Will people finally heed the security warning and walk away from Windows at work?"


Submission + - Senator Says M$ H1B Program Betrays Amerians (

Erris writes: "Republican US Senator Grassley, remembering that Microsoft has lobbied Congress for an expansion of the H-1B program, worries that the company may fire US workers in the big layoff, a violation of the guest worker program. The Senator emailed his concerns to Steve Ballmer:

companies should not be retaining H-1B or other work-visa-program employees over qualified American workers. Our immigration policy is not intended to harm the American work force. ... Microsoft has a moral obligation to protect these American workers by putting them first during these difficult economic times.

The company responded by emotionally defending H1B workers, they have families too and discrimination is wrong. Ture, but arguments by the programmer's guild can be equally emotional and also address the legal issue. The moral issue, that indentured servitude is wrong, is rarely addressed by anyone."


Submission + - Old Bush PCs Frustrate Obama Team at White House. ( 1

Erris writes: The world might be laughing and scared as Obama's web page sends people to gmail, and his Blackberry is all but forbidden, but the team really didn't like what they found in the White House.

one of the first orders of business is getting the computer systems up and running. ... the [mac using] Obama team waltzed into the White House, only to find "computers outfitted with six-year-old versions of Microsoft software." Disappointing? You bet. Furthermore, "Laptops were scarce, assigned to only a few people in the West Wing. The team was left struggling to put closed captions on online videos."

I suppose XP, IIS and Outlook are not the right tool for the job. The older equipment and software are being called a serious issue.


Submission + - Library Group Pulls a CDDB.

Erris writes: "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it. Others are doomed to watch.

The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is a nonprofit, made up of member libraries that basically tries to help facilitate access to information among libraries. That seems like a good thing. One of its offerings is WorldCat — basically a big online catalog of library collections, so that it's easy for anyone to find books that are available at other libraries. This, obviously, seems quite useful, and many libraries agree and are a part of WorldCat. However, a month ago, OCLC announced new policies for WorldCat that effectively allowed OCLC to claim ownership over the records that any library put in its system — and, upon doing so, limiting what libraries could do with that data (such as, say, giving it to competing cataloging services).


Submission + - CSIS to Set Min. Standards for All US Cyberspace (

Erris writes: "Everyone's favorite Cold War survivalists, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), has put out a 96 page report on US Cyberspace, "SECURING CYBERSPACE FOR THE 44TH PRESIDENCY." If the report's frightening recommendations are heeded, private networks and institutions are to be regulated. It looks like they want to freeze the momentum and direction of the Bush administration, which they admit was generated in secret and has not been effective, and apply it to the private sector.

Do not start over. The Bush administration took a major step toward improving federal cybersecurity with its Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative. Although CNCI is not comprehensive and unnecessary secrecy reduced its effect, we believe it is a good place to start.

We recommend that the United States buy only secure products and services; standards and guidelines for secure products should be developed in partnership with industry."

Curiously, the words "free" and "open" are nowhere in the report, which reminds me of this effort to buy "secure" Vista. We will surely hear more about this."


Submission + - Makes Move to Ogg Theora. (

Erris writes: The Internet Archive is moving it's vast public domain movie collection to Ogg Theora.

We will make a new Ogg Theora (with Vorbis audio) opensource/free-based video derivative. This derivative will play natively in Firefox 3.1 release (v3.1 is due around the end of 2008).

Native Firefox support will finally make media cross platform. Other news of interest includes removing older 64kb and 256kb MPEG-4 derivatives, removing older .flv "Flash Video" derivatives, removing older .mpg MPEG-1 derivatives, remaking animated GIFs and Thumbnails spread across the videos better and making them so the user can jump into videos by clicking on the thumbnail image.


Submission + - Jamaica's Public Broadcasting Corporation Robbed (

Erris writes: "Yet another vault of analog music has been destroyed and the world has lost many irreplaceable recordings. Thousands of records were stolen from Jamaica's Public Broadcasting Corporation.

Created in 1961 ... The radio station was there at the birth of Jamaica's music business when all kinds of music burst forth on the Caribbean island. Artists would go out and make just one vinyl record only for radio, a one-off cut ... [by January of this year] 80% of the collection had been taken, but the true scale of the loss was difficult to calculate as no accurate records were kept. Nearly one year on not a single record has been recovered, but officials are hoping an appeal to music fans will help replace the collection built up over the years by the JBC.

Works that are not duplicated and shared are always lost. This is real the price of copyright and other anti-social laws we have."


Submission + - De Beers Attacks NYT-SE Spoof. (

Erris writes: "Miffed by a mild and constitutionally protected fake advertisement, De Beers joins a long list of companies that attempt to censor by attacking domain name registrars. If they succeed, the whole Yes Men NYT spoof, will be taken down. The EFF have taken up the cause.

On November 12, 2008, a group of artists and activists unveiled a brilliant spoof of the New York Times, widely distributed to readers in New York and Los Angeles. This "July 4, 2009" version of the Times — which the real New York Times described as a "Grade-A caper" — boldly announced the end of the Iraq War, the nationalization of major oil conglomerates, the elimination of tuition at public universities, and the indictment of soon-to-be-former president Bush on charges of high treason. The poignant send-up, also available in an online version at, is a perfect example of parody in the 21st century.

De Beers responded not by confronting the authors (whose parody is protected by the First Amendment) but instead by threatening their Swiss-based domain name registrar, De Beers has demanded that disable the spoof website's domain name or face liability for trademark infringement.

It is highly unlikely that anyone will mistake the ad for an official De Beers position because the people of De Beers have never been so kind or caring. We should not be surprised that a company that cares so little for suppliers lives would try to censor their customers.

Full Disclosure: my wife no longer wears her engagement ring, a sad decision that I respect."


Submission + - Indonesia to RFID Chip Aids Victims. (

Erris writes: Indonesia will be using RFID chips to track and punish "sexually aggressive" AIDS victims. Activists decry the planed pogram as an arbitrary, impractical and stigmatizing invasion of privacy.

"The health situation is extraordinary, so we have to take extraordinary action," said an MP, Weynand Watari.

John Howson, associate director of the International HIV/Aids Alliance, said: "The majority of new infections come from people who don't know they are HIV positive. It is not going to be effective and you are treating people as criminals. It will increase stigma and promote a feeling of complacency."

I wonder what RFID industry spokes people would say about this one, given their opposition to California laws meant to curb prevent involuntary chipping. Wouldn't the money be better spent on prevention, drugs and research? Your personal effects already tag you, do you have your RFID Guardian yet?

The Internet

Submission + - EU Strikes Down French 3 Strikes Law (

Erris writes: Opendotdotdot has good news about laws in the EU:

EU culture ministers yesterday (20 November) rejected French proposals to curb online piracy through compulsory measures against free downloading ... [and instead pushed] for "a fair balance between the various fundamental rights" while fighting online piracy, first listing "the right to personal data protection," then "the freedom of information" and only lastly "the protection of intellectual property".

[This] indicates that the culture ministers and their advisers are beginning to understand the dynamics of the Net, that throttling its use through crude instruments like the "three strikes and you're out" is exactly the wrong thing to do ...

It's a good day when people value freedom more than imaginary property.


Submission + - Debt and Hiring Freeze, M$ is Over. (

Erris writes: Slashdot user twitter pulls together various bad news from the soft to ask, "Is M$ Finally Over?" It's hard to see how this could not be true from a company that's losing about $20 billion per year and has neither product nor plan to turn things around. Their main money makers are clear flops.

Submission + - Cell Phones Don't Cause Cancer

Erris writes: The Register and others are reporting the results of a 400,000 person 21 year study which concludes, "no evidence for an association between tumor risk and cellular telephone use among either short-term or long-term users. Moreover, the narrow confidence intervals provide evidence that any large association of risk of cancer and cellular telephone use can be excluded."

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