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Archive for February, 2007

Digg Deleted Comments?

I suspect that for the first time in about a year, a comment on mine in Digg was deleted. I can still see a link to that comment my the feeds reader, but the comment is not there. I can also see the item on which I commented in my profile, but the comment itself is invisible by all means. I have left over 3,000 comments in Digg, but never once did I find that a comment of mine got deleted.

All I posted was a factural statement, a link to a news site. The comment was neither overly long nor obscene. Given the context, it could have been interpreted as inflammatory to some, but I very much doubt it because it is nothing on par with trolling that goes on in that site. What’s more, there is at least one more comment that I can recall which also vanished. Maybe even more got deleted, but I cannot say for sure. The one which I replied to disappeared as well.

A database glitch seems unlikely given the outcome, so I suspect there was clear human intervention there. The same type of thing rare (if ever) happens in Netscape, unless there is racism or a personal attack with strong words.

Little update:

I notice that the address in question is http://digg.com/tech_news/Microsoft_to_deliver_patches_by_the_dozen_2

There is a two at the end, which indicates a duplicate.

http://digg.com/tech_news/Microsoft_to_deliver_patches_by_the_dozen points to an error page, so maybe there was some form of relocation. This would also explain the missing comments from other people, but then again, why would the comments list point to the newer item, which also excludes comments? It is more likely to just be a duplicate. So, at the end of that day, I am not entirely sure what happened. It clearly was an irregular event.

Time to Ignore the Myths and Escape Evil

Consider this item a minddump and please treat it accordingly.

Here is an article which you may find valuable if you ever make an operating platform choice. You ought to know that there will be many lies whose purpose is to limit your choice.

FUD Plays a Role

The study suggests that Linux’s market acceptance may be hampered by the use of fear, uncertainty, and doubt (FUD) tactics directed at it by Microsoft.

For example, notes the paper:

“Such emotions were stirred in the Linux community by, among others, SCO, a small ‘vulture’ firm that had bought up the intellectual property rights to a particular version of Unix and was threatening Linux users with lawsuits over infringement of those rights unless they agreed to pay it substantial licensing fees. IBM, which was one of the prime corporate sponsors of Linux as well as the target of a lawsuit by SCO…alleged in mid 2003 that SCO was in cahoots with Microsoft.”

The study also quotes an interview with Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer, who used FUD in an effort to denigrate the reliability of OSS:

“Customers will never know what to expect from this product [Linux]. If the lead developer for this component chooses to do something else with his life, who will carry on the mantle for that?”

Yet, the study states, FUD has its limits. “Microsoft’s efforts to instill fear are to some extent offset by the users’ and developers’ concern that Microsoft may decide to raise prices in the future if it succeeds in derailing the progression of Linux.”

It is rather disturbing to see the extent to which fraud and disinformation play a role. But they do. And they make a difference.

I never liked any of these dirty tactics from Steve “Baboon Dance” Bullmer (sic) and co., who are both bullish and bullyish. They even pay people to spread the false word, without any disclosure. Astroturfers, Microshafter, and Microshatners are—and always will be—pants. They help create and defend the Big Lie. Slander is part of the daily corruption in newsgroups that attract those vermins. It becomes a storm in a teacup as they harp about it. Newbies or people who just ‘land’ on the archive would not see precedence justifying distrust.

To be a little poetic here, let’s address the personality of the people behind this dirty game. I woke up last night (quite immediately as a matter of fact). I thought I heard a chair flying. Steve Ballmer is on the other side of the globe, yet his chair is roaming and piercing through the curtains with that sound. It was quite thought provoking! If only it were real. But it isn’t quite so fictional. Just have a look.

Lucovsky said Ballmer threw a chair across the room and shouted: “Fucking Eric Schmidt is a fucking pussy. I’m going to fucking bury that guy, I have done it before, and I will do it again. I’m going to fucking kill Google.” Shortly after, he resumed trying to persuade Lucovsky to stay at Microsoft.

I cannot understand why people continue to buy software from billionaires who are so vain and malovalent. Nothing is perceived as too evil to this company. It works for the investors, so ethics are secondary. Microsoft could afford to open a Redmond datacentres whose sole purpose is merely to collect all available information from Windows and Internet Explorer 7 users. Everything can be logged (much like Google does). People get profiled by companies who can use it in any way that is desired. There’s a real danger here, as AOL’s leaked search logs have proven.

Yesterday Microsoft said that it liked DRM, rather than just accept it bitterly. It intends to use more of it. Escape Microsoft while you can. Vista has “high impact issues”, according to Microsoft.

Vista error message

Mood and Health — Body and Soul

Childhood photos with family
Bottom-right, from left to right: Me, my father and my sister in our younger days (click for full-sized version but beware: 1.3 MB JPEG)

LIKE most people, my mood is elevated and de-elevated on different days, for a variety of reasons. While not all of them are work- or personal issues-related, most of them are. The more interesting ingredients of mood, however, relate to the ties between physical well-being and one’s mood. Here’s an article that I caught some time ago. Working in reverse, it actually talks about the effect of one’s mood on one’s health, which makes the relationship reciprocal. Cyclic relationships such as this can lead to spirals. I see some negative such spirals affecting friends. Fortunately, I am not a victim, yet.

School Children Will Face an Inconvenient Truth

While the British government makes technological and political decisions which I disagree with, its stance on environmental issues is an encouraging one. It doesn’t seek to deny the truth. Moreover, it seeks to spread the truth.

Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s global warming documentary will be sent to every secondary school in England as part of a campaign to tackle climate change, the government said Friday.

Here is the film’s trailer.

Scientist Bribed to Deny Global Warming

HydrantSome recent revelations confirm what many of us have already known. There is a lot of money exchanging hands amid efforts to deny man-made climate changes.

This comes around the same time that a United Nations panel took a stance which does confirm that global warming is real. How long can companies manipulate the world though?

Yesterday, in another site, I wrote about the possible Intel-Dell kickbacks affair, which has pretty much been exposed. And only a week ago, Microsoft offered money for changes to Wikipedia. It is sad to see the extent of fraud, but encouraging to see that it gets exposed.

Open Source Journalism — Cheaper and Better

I have just got a short new article over at newassignment.net. Dave’s improvements, made gradually as we corresponded, are muchly appreciated (as always!) . It is pleasant to work with a good editor, but I would still like to present the original text below.

REPEATEDLY we speak about the merits of an Open Source paradigm, which puts control in the hands of more people. This can either be a case of handing over control from the vendor to the customer or — more aptly in this context — from the author/journalist to the reader/critic.

At the end of last week, results from a highly-anticipated study on software were finally published. The study was backed by European Commission and it was authority- and vendor-independent. The results indicated that Europe would get significant competitive advantage owing to the economical superiority of Open Source software. This study, which involved rigorous trials and long-term observations, shows that there is a great economic incentive to use Open Source software in a company.

Let us use this as a lesson while we study how Open source practices can move beyond software onto things such as design or authoring, journalism included. Open Source journalism is beginning to prove its economic viability. It offers greater flexibility, which is obtained for low costs. Journalism in an Open, collaborative and unmoderated context is argued to raise maintainability costs, but experience suggests that a voluntarily effort of a group not only reduces production pace and costs, but it also improves quality.

The Daily NewsThere is still great resistance among the traditional world, which attempts to disrupt this emerging trend, by discrediting its practicality. Facts on the ground suggest otherwise. Only by studying alternative paradigms to the handling of information and associated tasks can one truly appreciate its value and establish confidence in it. And such is the case of Open Source intellect, whether its expressed in code or in natural language.

The study shows that costs are brought down with Open Source software. It also reports on quality going up, either because people involved in the project are more affordable (lower licensing expenses translate to an open door and increased staffing). In the same vein, it is easy to assume that costs will go down in Open Source journalism — journalism based on volunteers. Big media’s big response is about quality and quality is most easily attained by involving large groups, basing factual information on many opinions, formed by a greater pool of knowledge. Wisdom of the crowds not only raises accuracy, but it also benefits from a crowd, whose reward is involvement with real impact; the compensation for the efforts needn’t be monetary.

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