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Can Any Smartphone Platform Overcome the Android/iOS Duopoly? 404

Nerval's Lobster writes "The company formerly known as Research In Motion—which decided to cut right to the proverbial chase and rename itself 'BlackBerry'—launched its much-anticipated BlackBerry 10 operating system at a high-profile event in New York City Jan. 30. Meanwhile, Microsoft is still dumping tons of money and effort into Windows Phone. But can either smartphone OS — or another player, for that matter — successfully challenge Apple iOS and Google Android, which one research firm estimated as running on 92 percent of smartphones shipped in the fourth quarter of 2012? What would it take for any company to launch that sort of successful effort?"

Can Nokia Save Itself? 317

Nerval's Lobster writes "When ex-Microsoft executive Stephen Elop took the reins of Nokia back in 2011, he memorably compared the Finnish phone-maker to a burning old platform in the North Sea. 'I have learned that we are standing on a burning platform,' he wrote in a widely circulated memo. 'And, we have more than one explosion — we have multiple points of scorching heat that are fueling a blazing fire around us.' Elop suggested competitors such as Apple and Google had 'poured flames on our market share,' with the damage accelerated by Nokia's failure to embrace big trends. His solution: abandon Nokia's homegrown operating systems, including Symbian, in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone. Nokia's Windows Phones managed to attract some significant buzz at this year's Consumer Electronics Show, and early sales seemed solid. But now there are signs the situation could be deteriorating."
The Courts

Do We Want ISPs Penalizing Music Fans? 263

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Noted singer songwriter Billy Bragg has written an excellent column in The Guardian, coming out against the pro-RIAA '3-strikes' legislation the big 4 record labels are trying to push through. In the article, entitled 'Do we want ISPs penalizing our fans?', Bragg writes: 'Having failed miserably in previous attempts to stamp out illicit filesharing, the record industry has now joined forces with other entertainment lobby groups to demand that the government takes action to protect their business model.' He goes on: 'Fearful of the prospect of dragging their customers though the courts, with all the attendant costs and bad publicity, members of the record industry have come up with a simple, cost-free solution to their problem: get the ISPs to do their dirty work for them. They are asking the government to force the ISPs to cut off the broadband connection of customers who persistently download unauthorized material, without any recourse to appeal in the courts.'"

Submission + - In Sweden the feces-man can see you

tiny_hog writes: Swedish reporter Liza Marklund covers in a chronicle the judgement of a man working for the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment, which following a recently passed law, is allowed to listen in on all emails, phone calls and text-messages passing the Swedish border. The man was accused of leading a personal crusade against wrongly parked cars which he would drown in feces, urine and spit. The chronicle is available in Swedish here and here is my translation:

Liza Marklund: Feces-man at FRA sees you

At daytime he worked for the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment (FRA), which deals in signal intelligence against spies and with mapping of threats against the safety of the nation.

At night he mounted a personal crusade against wrongly parked cars.

He walked around spitting at vehicles he thought to be parked in the wrong place. He twisted and crushed the rear view mirrors of the cars and looked up their owners in public registers.

This far everyone agrees.

It is when it comes to the feces that the stories depart.

In a court judgment from the local court of Stockholm, dated February 2007, the peculiar story about the feces unfolds.

A young woman describes in the court proceedings how her neighbour, who works for FRA, began spitting at her car ten years ago — something which made he irritated but did not care to do anything about. She thought that maybe he would grow tired of it, but he did not.

The FRA-man's crusade escalated over the years. The spitting continued and came to be complemented by crushed rear view mirrors and cut up tires. Finally it was like the saliva at the wind shields was not enough.

Instead the man began collecting more substantial bodily fluids.

Every morning at 05.15, the FRA-man appeared by the young woman's car. With him he had a plastic can with a lid on. From her window the you woman could see the man unscrewing the lid and methodically covering her car in feces and urine. In the judgement it is described how the turds froze to the windshield.

From her window the woman made a video recording showing the man, with can and feces and all, not just once but on several occasions. It was dark outside but she could clearly see that the man was in fact her neighbour.

And the feces-attacks continued.

Eventually, the exterior of the car did not suffice as a target of the feces.

The man began pouring the substances into the climate system of the car. It smelled "horribly" in the car, according to the woman's court hearing. The entire vehicle had to be sanitized.

But the man did not give up.

Eventually he poured the turds directly into the fuel tank of the car, mixed with gravel.

Then the engine gave up. The woman scrapped the car and filed a police report against the man. The police investigated, the attorney prosecuted and the local court judged.

In the judgement the court describes the man's acts as "serious and disgusting harassment". The young woman was considered "very trustworthy and reliable". The FRA-man on the other hand, is described as having a "volubility" which "bears the mark of the eloquent lie".

The man was convicted of vandalism. He was to pay a means-related unit fine plus 16.000 SEK in damages to the young woman.

The story could have ended here, but it does not. The FRA-man denied having performed the feces-attacks. Sure, he did lead a crusade against wrongly parked cars, he spitted and tore the mirrors and mapped the owners via public registers, but the feces and cut tires was someone else's doing.

A simple DNA-test could have settled the doubts but a sample was never made. The FRA-man appealed to the court of appeals, which believed more in him than in the young woman.

The video recordings she made were not enough.

One recording she accidentally deleted and in the other recording it could not be established beyond reasonable doubt that it was the FRA-man pouring the feces. Word stands against word, and in that case it is better to acquit than to convict, the court of appeals thought.

The man was freed from charges and the woman got no damages. And so the story ends. At the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment the man, who lead the personal crusade against wrongly pared cars, now has the authority to scour through the emails, text-messages and phone conversations of all Swedish citizens. Thank god I do not have a car in Sweden.

Does not park in the wrong places
Prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt defends the debated FRA-law. He is not going to reverse the law and hopes that the opposition will join him. He said in a press-meeting on Thursday. Let us hope that Fredrik does not park his car in the wrong place over night.

Is not worried
The general manager of FRA, Ingvar Åkesson, does not see any problems what so ever, either, with the new FRA-law. That he said in a chat with the readers of Expressen this week. Just because FRA has the possibility to read the emails, listen in on their phone calls and check the text-messages of all Swedish citizens, they will not do it, he swears. I guess he parks his car in the right place at night.

I had given up
"All personal integrity zealots who were against the police wiretapping serious felons suddenly have nothing against the military listening in on everything we do, all the time". That I wrote in a chronicle in April 2007. I had almost given up hope that there would ever be a thorough debate about the FRA-law. This is why I was so happy when it finally began.

By Liza Marklund
Operating Systems

Is Gentoo in crisis? 199

TheCoop1984 writes "A recent article on distrowatch, and an extended thread on the gentoo forums, have pointed out that gentoo is not what it used to be. Daniel Robbins came back and went again after only a few days, developer turnover is as high as ever, personal attacks on the mailing lists are common, and people are generally not happy about the current state of affairs. Is gentoo rotting from the inside, and can anything be done about it?"

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