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Obama Threatens Veto Against CISPA Unless Changed

Online privacy advocates finally got what they’ve been asking for when President Obama yesterday threatened to veto the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) if congress doesn’t amend it to include more protections of privacy and civil liberties. The administration began signalling displeasure with the bill last Thursday when Caitlin Hayden, of the National Security Council, indicated the President might not support the measure as worded, after it was approved by the U.S. House Intelligence Committee.

While that statement didn’t carry a specific veto threat, Hayden was clear in her message that the President wanted to support some form of CISPA, but that the bill did not yet contain enough privacy and civil liberty protections:

Mr. Zuck’s Magical Algorithmic Censor

Zuck the suck has a lot to learn about being cool and hip.

Last week Mr. Social proved that neither he nor his little Facebook site have an inkling of hippness away from the Starbuck’s universe, when they decided a historical photograph from counter cultural Toronto, taken in the late 60s or early 70s, was nothing but unacceptable nudity, or worse, porno.

Then again, I could be wrong. This could merely be a case of a computer algorithm with penis envy.

Upgrading Bodhi Linux to 2.3.0

Some time after midnight Thursday morning, after getting home from my “day” job, I upgraded my laptop to the latest version of Bodhi Linux, numbered 2.3.0, which was announced on Easter Sunday by the project’s Lead Developer, Jeff Hoogland, on his blog Thoughts on Technology.

This isn’t a major upgrade. I’m sure there are some bug fixes and minor enhancements, but it mainly upgrades some essential software, such as the Linux Kernel, Enlightenment window manager, Midori browser, Terminology terminal emulator and Ubiquity, the Ubuntu default installer used by Bodhi. In addition, this update adds eCcess, a new system tool, and includes a slew of new themes for dressing-up the desktop.

Firefox: To Configure Or Not To Configure

An interesting item came down the pike yesterday by way of Katherine Noyes on PCWorld. It seems that Alex Limi, a project design strategist at Mozilla, has blogged some concerns he has over Firefox being too configurable. It appears he’s become aware that it “…ships with many options that will render the browser unusable to most people, right in the main settings.”

This is absolutely true, but does it really matter?

I remember, many years back, I was clicking away inside Firefox when I managed to make the Menu Bar disappear. This was quite problematic because with the Menu Bar missing there was no place to click to reinstate it. I frantically searched around online, seemingly forever, until I finally found the fix. I’d like to think that I learned something from the experience, other than don’t click away the Menu Bar, but I don’t think I did for I have no memory of what I did to restore the missing item, so if I were to do it again I’d find myself back in the same boat.

Java Remains Unsafe–Not Likely To Be Fixed Soon

Guess what? We’re hearing reports this morning that the black hats are continuing to take advantage of security vulnerabilities in Java. Of course they are. That’s what black hats do. We’re also hearing from security experts that browser side Java isn’t likely to be made secure in the near future.

Oracle’s management of Java since obtaining it from Sun has been nothing short of a joke. It’s about time for them to decide if they want to keep Java or not. If they don’t want it, they need to spin it off or let it die. If they think it’s a valuable part of their software portfolio, they should treat it as such and work overtime to make it safe.

What’s Good For Canonical Is Best For Ubuntu

Mark Shuttleworth can’t leave well enough alone. First it was Unity. Then it was Wayland. Now it’s Mir. Inquiring minds want to know: what does he think he’s trying to do? It’s simple, really. He’s not trying to do anything. All indications are that he’s actually accomplishing what he’s setting out to do. Except for making money and only time will tell if that’s going to work out for him.

Unity was a no-brainer. Practically everybody hated GNOME 3, so he pretty much had to do something. What everyone expected that something to be was along the lines of Cinnamon or MATE, an interface that would offer users the look and feel of GNOME as they knew it, not as it had become. What Shuttleworth offered was, in the words of Monty Python, “something completely different.” Different from both GNOME 2 or 3. Different from KDE. Different from Windoze and OS X. Unique to Ubuntu.

The Robo Cloud Is Coming

I was just getting used to yesterday and suddenly it’s tomorrow.

Am I the only one who worries that we’re going a little too fast in our move to bring robotics into everyday life? Shouldn’t we sit down as a group and ask first, “Is this really something we want to do?” Maybe I’ve read too much science fiction, or maybe it’s those images from The Matrix that I just can’t get out of my mind. Or maybe it’s the memory from 2001 of the mentally ill computer with self awareness, Hal, trying to convince Dave that it was all a misunderstanding and that he promises to be good if only he’s not disconnected from his power source.

Demand Progress Video On Implications Of Kirtsaeng Case

The internet activist group Demand Progress has released a short 2 1/2 minute video on YouTube that explains the implications of the legal wranglings between student Supap Kirtsaeng and textbook publisher John Wiley & Sons in a case that’s already gone before the U.S. Supreme Court and is now awaiting a ruling.

At issue is the reselling of new textbooks purchased cheaply abroad in the United States. Kirtsaeng, a Thai graduate student in the U.S., sold textbooks published by John Wiley & Sons on eBay that had been purchased by relatives in Thailand. The publisher is claiming copyright infringement, and so far has won all rulings in the Federal courts.

Oracle Patches 2 Java Holes–At Least 5 Remain

It would seem that Oracle is getting serious about addressing security issues in Java. Late Monday the company pushed Java 7 Update 17 that fixes two security holes that were already being exploited in the wild.

The vulnerabilities addressed in Monday’s patch had been known since at least February 1 and were originally scheduled to be fixed in a scheduled security update in April, according to a security blog on the Oracle website:

Five, Count ‘Em, Five New Security Holes In Java

Those who thought it was safe to re-up Java on their browsers will need to go back and turn it off again.

If you listen to us, after you do you’ll never turn it back on. Browser side Java has been made pretty much obsolete by newer technologies, which means you don’t need it, especially since it’s proving to be about as easy to keep secure as ActiveX, sandbox or no. Here at FOSS Force, we haven’t had it enabled on our browsers for years, with no noticeable problems when we surf the web.

You may remember that back on January 10th it was announced that Java had a security vulnerability that was already being exploited in the wild. This security hole was serious enough to prompt the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to suggest that browser side Java be turned-off on all computers.

Back to the Future With Apple’s Rumored Smart Watch


For the last couple of decades we’ve watched as our technology has caught up with the world of Star Trek much faster than Gene Roddenberry could ever have imagined back in the 1960s, when Kirk, Spock and the gang first rode into our living rooms, mostly in “non-living” or “dead” black and white, as not many of us had “living” color back then.

Well, here we are, nowhere even close to the 23rd century of the original Enterprise, and we already have our smart phones, which are an awfully lot like the gee-whiz communicators into which Kirk would bark “beam us outta here” whenever a bug-eyed monster got too close for comfort. Indeed, we even have satellite phones, which could presumably communicate with the crew of the Enterprise if they were in orbit around our third rock from the sun. Though we don’t yet have replicators, holodecks or transporters, we can only imagine its only a matter of time before we can pick them up at Best Buy too.

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