Archive for the ‘internet’ Category

Blogging shall resume shortly

Wednesday, July 29th, 2015

The local electrical utility company is having issues, which in turn affects internet connections, hence the delay in posting.


Snowden is in Hong Kong?

Monday, June 10th, 2013

NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden headed to Hong Kong after releasing a series of sensitive documents to the Washington Post.

Hong Kong is part of China, a country that has blocked access to my blog at times. Not the most transparent place for internet communications.

Now he’s seeking asylum in Iceland, which means he’s hoping that

  • the Chinese won’t deport him to the USA
  • Iceland will grant him asylum

    Kristín Árnadóttir, Icelandic ambassador to Beijing, told the South China Morning Post that Snowden needs to be in Iceland in order to apply for asylum.

  • the Chinese will grant him safe passage to Iceland.

So far, he’s checked out of his hotel.

Memeorandum is abuzz,

 Barton Gellman / Washington Post:

Code name ‘Verax’: Snowden, in exchanges with Post reporter, made clear he knew risks  —  He called me BRASSBANNER, a code name in the double-barreled style of the National Security Agency, where he worked in the signals intelligence directorate.  —  Verax was the name he chose for himself, “truth teller” in Latin.

 Tom Kludt / Talking Points Memo:

Greenwald Says ‘There’s A Lot More Coming,’ Argues NSA Revelations Don’t Harm Security  —  The Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald on Monday defended the 29-year-old who served as the source of one of the biggest intelligence leaks in history, arguing that the revelations of the National Security …
Discussion: Hot AirGuardian and The Daily Banter

 The Atlantic Online:

Edward Snowden in Hong Kong  —  I’m glad we have this information; I am sorry we are getting it from Hong Kong.  —  Three points:  —  1) I believe what I wrote two days ago: that the United States and the world have gained much more, in democratic accountability, than they have lost …

 New York Times:

Booz Allen Grew Rich on Government Contracts  —  WASHINGTON — Edward J. Snowden’s employer, Booz Allen Hamilton, has become one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the United States almost exclusively by serving a single client: the government of the United States.

 Daniel Ellsberg / Guardian:

Edward Snowden: saving us from the United Stasi of America  —  Snowden’s whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an ‘executive coup’ against the US constitution  —  In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden’s release …

Edward Snowden: the whistleblower behind the NSA surveillance revelations

Discussion: The Raw StoryNew York TimesWashington MonthlyFiredoglake,ThinkProgressUSA TodayWashington PostThe Atlantic OnlineChina Real Time Reportimmi.isPower LinePoliticoWonkblogBBCmsnbc.comDaily MailNews DeskActivist PostCapital New YorkDaily KosYahoo! NewsThe BRAD BLOGThe WeekBusiness InsiderInfowarsAlan Colmes’ Liberaland,Hot AirNew RepublicMediaitekottke.orgWall Street JournalReuters,ViralReadThe SunTechCrunchLe·gal In·sur·rec· tionThe PJ TatlerDoug RossThe AgonistGood Gear GuideThe Daily CallerAlthouseThe Huffington PostTalking Points MemoSecrecy NewsRTInformed CommentTelegraph,Towleroad News #gayPrairie WeatherFP PassportKALWThe Gateway PunditAMERICAblogGawkeramericanthinker.comBoing BoingAMERICAN DIGESTThe HillBalloon JuiceFirst ReadNo More Mister Nice BlogThe ImpoliticPoliticusUSAUrbanGroundsPost PoliticsForbesNO QUARTER USA NETThe DishThe BLTLittle Green FootballsWashington ExaminerFox News InsiderThe Moderate VoiceTaylor MarshOutside the BeltwayLawfare,Hit & RunThe Hinterland GazetteRunnin’ ScaredInstapunditVox Popoli,WiredAmerican PowerCANNONFIREWhiskey FireThe VergeTHE ASTUTE BLOGGERSScared MonkeysU.S. NewsWashington Free Beacon,Liberal Blogemptywheel,Engadget and Mashablemore at Mediagazer »

 Meghashyam Mali / The Hill:
DOJ launches criminal probe of NSA leaker

Discussion: Politico

Cuba: Would you spend a week’s salary for an hour on the internet?

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

This morning’s news: Cuba to increase unrestricted Internet access at new outlets

Cuba will begin offering broader Internet access next month through 118 outlets around the country, according to a decree in the government’s Official Gazette on Tuesday, in a step long awaited by many Cubans.

Just like Starbucks, you say?

Hmm…not quite:

It said Internet would be made available starting June 4 at offices of ETECSA, the state telecommunications monopoly,

where everything you did in their computer goes into their hard drives, instantly available to the thugs that beat you up.

The decree made clear that the new Internet access would be closely monitored, warning users it could not be used to “endanger or prejudice public security, or the integrity and sovereignty of the nation.”

But wait! There’s more!

The access though comes at a hefty price, which is payable only in Convertible Pesos (CUCs), the currency issued by the Castro dictatorship to tourists. Typical Cuban citizens, on the other hand, are paid in regular pesos that are worth a tiny fraction of CUCs. The pricing for access to the internet in one of these new Internet Cafés is so prohibitive, one single hour of access to the internet will cost almost an entire week’s salary.

Which means, only the very brave who really have something to say will dare use it.

Not Starbucks, no siree…

My cell phone is bigger than yours

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Cell phone de Fausta

Instapundit links to The ever-expanding smartphone screen: how supersized became everyday.

I recently had to replace my old cell phone, and bought a Samsung Galaxy S3 at a really good price at my neighborhood Radio Shack. I also own an iPod Touch, and you can find most of the apps, send email and text with the iPod as long as you have an internet connection.

I had looked at the Samsung Galaxy S3 last summer while visiting the Samsung booth at BlogHer. Once you get over the shock of the size (my old cell phone was tiny), you love the large display. Why so big?

… the primary purposes of smartphones have clearly changed. Early on, they were phones first, and data devices second. The various advents of modern apps, browsing and media shifted the focus enough that voice is almost incidental today. Our smartphones are now pocket computers, and they’re often our cameras and GPS units, too. Until and unless wearable computing replaces the smartphone, a bigger screen helps us process the glut of information we face in a day, and frequently provides a source of entertainment when it’s time to relax. There’s undeniably a threshold at which smartphone builders will have to relent: no one’s about to stuff a Galaxy Tab into their pocket. Likewise, there’s a good chance we’ll still see smaller devices for those who can’t (or won’t) switch to a phone that’s too big for their hands or pockets. Still, the past few years have taught us not to make too many assumptions — through technology and shifting tastes, what’s an extraordinary screen one year often becomes run-of-the-mill fare the next.

The size itself, even with the Otter protective case, is no problem for me since I have long fingers, it fits in coat pockets, and when I go out I carry it in a handbag. I prefer the iPod’s camera, but the Samsung’s cell phone reception indoors is superior to my son’s iPhone’s. The large screen’s great for videos and GPS, too.

Oh, yes, I got the heavy-duty Otter. While I got the Samsung S3 at a really good price, it’s best to not have to replace it.

Diaspora vs Facebook?

Sunday, July 10th, 2011

Puerto Rican daily El Nuevo Dia has an article (in Spanish) about Diaspora’s Yosem Companys, one of the creators of Diaspora.

Diaspora’s website says,

Diaspora lets you sort your connections into groups called aspects. Unique to Diaspora, aspects ensure that your photos, stories and jokes are shared only with the people you intend.

You own your pictures, and you shouldn’t have to give that up just to share them. You maintain ownership of everything you share on Diaspora, giving you full control over how it’s distributed.

Diaspora makes sharing clean and easy – and this goes for privacy too. Inherently private, Diaspora doesn’t make you wade through pages of settings and options just to keep your profile secure.

Companys attended Yale and Harvard and is finishing his PhD at Stanford. He’s not getting paid yet. Will Diaspora gather significant participation to become an alternative to Facebook for people who want to network on line, while maintaining some control over their privacy?

There’s certainly enough of a demand.


Venezuela’s sponsoring terrorism, and Brazil gets hacked

Saturday, June 25th, 2011

In today’s news:

Mack: “Obama Administration Has All the Proof They Need to Make Venezuela a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’”

Chairman Mack Renews Call for Freedom Loving Americans to Boycott CITGO
WASHINGTON, June 24, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — At today’s hearing of the Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, Chairman Connie Mack (FL-14) again called on the Obama Administration to cease their delaying of placing Venezuela on the “State Sponsor of Terrorism List.” The hearing, “Venezuela’s Sanction able Activity,” was held to provide oversight of sanctions available for the State Department and Treasury Department to dissuade illicit activity in our Hemisphere. To date, the Obama Administration has underutilized these tools allowing ruthless dictator Hugo Chavez to profit from the drug trade, sell fuel to the Iranians, and transport terrorists around the world.
Mack stated, “The State Department said they would name Venezuela a state sponsor of terrorism as well as enforce consequential sanctions on their state run oil company if they received proof that Venezuela is demonstrably sanctionable. That proof was again presented to officials of the State and Treasury Department and further delay by the Obama Administration is unacceptable and will only continue to coddle Hugo Chavez.”
Chairman Mack reiterated Venezuela’s repeated support for acts of international terrorism; including the sale of refined fuel to Iran and the actions of Ghazi Nasr al Din, a Venezuelan Diplomat, who was sanctioned by the Treasury Department for facilitating the transfer of funds to Hezbollah and escorted Hezbollah officials to and from Venezuela. Additionally, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) drew sanctions on several Venezuelan senior government officials, Hugo Carvajal Barrios, the Director of Military Intelligence, and Henry de Jesus Rangel Silva, General-in-Chief of the Venezuelan Armed Services, for materially assisting and supporting drug trafficking and terrorism activities by the revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).

Chavez, still in Cuba, twittered yesterday. Daniel ponders Chavez’s condition.


In other, unrelated, news,
Cyberattacks Hit Brazil Government

Key Brazilian government websites have suffered a series of cyberattacks, with the worst occurring early Friday, but there is no evidence of any data loss, the government said.

Presidential spokesman Murilo Gabrielli said the denial-of-service attacks—in which access to a website is disrupted—are being investigated by the government’s Federal Data Processing Service, or Serpro. A Serpro spokesman said the service has established an internal task force to stop the attacks, guarantee security of the sites and restore website access.

The worst attack occurred early Friday, taking down the website of Brazil’s main government statistical institution, the IBGE. The site includes a vast archive of demographic and economic data.

Hackers were able to briefly post their own message on the IBGE’s site early Friday: “This month, the Brazilian government will suffer the highest number of virtual attacks in its history. These attacks are a protest by a nationalist group that desires to transform Brazil into a better country.” The group called itself Fail Shell.

A government cybersecurity expert said the hackers apparently took down the government sites through use of robotic computers. Under this technique, the computers bombard a site with billions of access requests until the site shuts down.

More blogging later.


It’s good being Zsa-Zsa

Friday, April 1st, 2011

Further proof that life isn’t fair:

For this she gets paid $100 million.

The April Fool’s joke is on AOL’s stockholders.


Where did AOL come up with $315 million?

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Betting on News, AOL Is Buying The Huffington Post (emphasis added)

The Huffington Post, which began in 2005 with a meager $1 million investment and has grown into one of the most heavily visited news Web sites in the country, is being acquired by AOL in a deal that creates an unlikely pairing of two online media giants.

The two companies completed the sale Sunday evening and announced the deal just after midnight on Monday. AOL will pay $315 million, $300 million of it in cash and the rest in stock. It will be the company’s largest acquisition since it was separated from Time Warner in 2009.

AOL is not the most solid company around; it’s laid off thousands of employees, shows no profit and pays no dividends. It has 106 million shares outstanding, currently trading at $21.39 (down since the announcement of the purchase) in the NASDAQ, and this deal will cost $3 per share outstanding.

HuffPo is not publicly traded.

So, my question is, Where did AOL come up with $315 million?


Good-bye, stability

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011

Ann Marlowe thinks that the US should abandon its “stability” fetish since,

We’ve forgotten that extremist ideology mainly emerges from forced “stability,” not from free societies. As Elliott Abrams wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Sunday, “regimes that make moderate politics impossible make extremism far more likely. Rule by emergency decree long enough, and you end up creating a genuine emergency.”

That is not untrue, but that’s not the reason “stability” has become a thing of the past.

The reason is that technology has caught up with repressive regimes. Daniel Henninger, in his article Stability’s End, encapsulates in a sentence this fact,

Technologies with goofy names like Twitter and Facebook are replacing political stability with a state of permanent instability.

Mubarak unleashed the camels after trying to shut down the internet, the Iranian mullahs carry out executions by the thousands. The Medieval measures won’t work, any more than the Jimmy Carter 1979 approach to foreign policy would.


This new, exponentially expanding world of information technologies is now creating permanent instability inside formerly stable political arrangements.

This stuff disrupts everything it touches. It overturned the entire music industry, and now it is doing the same to established political systems.

Adding to the instability is the increasing food inflation. Larry Kudlow points out that

In addition to Egypt, the people have taken to the streets to varying degrees in Algeria, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, and Yemen. Local food riots have even broken out in rural China and other Asian locales.

The CRB food index is up an incredible 36 percent over the past year, including 8 percent year-to-date. Raw materials are up 23 percent in the past year. Inflation breakouts have occurred in China, among various Asian Tigers, and in India, Brazil, and other Latin American countries. Even Britain and Germany are registering higher inflation readings.

In dollar terms, the price of wheat has soared 114 percent over the past year. Corn has surged 88 percent. These are incredible numbers.

And let’s not forget that the world’s poor are the hardest hit by food-price inflation. They literally can’t afford to buy bread. It brings to mind the French Revolution in the 18th century. When you see this kind of mass protest in the streets, spreading from country to country, you see a pattern that cannot be explained by local conditions alone.

In our hemisphere, Venezuela has the highest inflation – 28%, as the economy contracts while the government takes over private property and food production and distribution. Chavez is ruling by emergency decree: if “Rule by emergency decree long enough, and you end up creating a genuine emergency” is the case, for how long will Hugo Chavez’s regime stand, considering these numbers?

“Instability is the new status quo”, states Henninger, and I agree.

The question remains, how will political systems and societies adapt to it? How will the US, when its own administration is passing thousands of pages-long laws that haven’t even been read?


Tweet your way to jail in China

Thursday, November 18th, 2010

Chinese woman jailed over Twitter post
A woman in China has been sentenced to a year in a labour camp after posting a message on the social networking website Twitter.

The fiance of human rights activist Cheng Jianping told the BBC she had been accused of disrupting social order, but her message had been a joke.

She had repeated a Twitter comment urging nationalist protesters to smash Japan’s pavilion at the Shanghai Expo, adding the words “Charge, angry youth”.

Twitter is banned in China.

However, many people use it by circumventing internet controls.

So, Tom, what if we could just be China for a day?