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Archive for August, 2012

Happy Birthday, Rianne

TODAY Rianne celebrates her birthday and next week we start our next vacation. In September we get married and then I will take my longest break from the Internet in years, perhaps in a decade. So although this blog is likely to be quiet in September (the same goes for Techrights), I am still fine, just celebrating two important things with my Other Half.

Although this blog is personal, I rarely open up about my personal life in it. My experience — as well as others’ says that trolls (and sometimes just people with adverse/opposite opinions) tend to distort what’s claimed to attack the messenger.

TechBytes Episode 75: About the Show’s History, Embrace of Ogg

Techbytes 2012

Direct download as Ogg (00:26:03, 10.5 MB)

Summary: The 75th episode of this nearly two year old show

This short episode speaks about the “Ogg only” policy we’ve adopted after suggestions from Richard Stallman (MP3 is a patent problem). I explain that Techrights came into existence/need because of the first software patents deal against GNU/Linux, namely the Microsoft-Novell deal of 2006 (5 years later Microsoft reaffirmed this relationship with SUSE) Ever since, Techrights has been collecting daily links and it regularly remarks on some. Any links needing extensive commentary on them (usually countering disinformation or responding to baseless attacks on Free software) turn into articles which are then researched on. As I explain in this recording, several blogs and even some domain names (with active sites) have been dedicated to just attacking Techrights, the messengers in particular. The reality is, behind the scenes there are transparent discussions with various well-regarded individuals, who, although they may not be publicly associating with the site and stand behind all of its messages, have been actively reading it and sharing links to it for years. Some translated articles and corresponding (manually produced) hard copies that were handed out to readers helped raise the issues and some made banners with the graphics for public protest, at times leaflets too, to raise awareness with.

When it comes to TechBytes, Tim is expected to be back soon. We were surprised by the quickly-gained popularity of thus audio show, which some people say they listen to in the car, at work, etc. We always recorded without scripting and always in one single take, essentially unedited. This one recording is no exception. At the end I added the track “You Do Run” by Cocktail Slippers.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):


Digg Stabs All Users in the Back, Deletes All Their Content, EVERYTHING!

THE site known as “Digg” did something worse than negligence; it’s destruction. The Digg which Kevin Rose had created sold us all out when it sold core assets for half a million dollars, apparently just meaning domain name (and no code that will actually be reused). FSDaily became bigger than Digg overnight. The site was sold to some NYC-based company, which as its first step decided to throw to the garbage can many people’s volunteer work (like over 10,000 submissions from me, over 13,000 comments from me, etc.). So perhaps hundreds of millions of pages are just gone, incinerated. This is a deja vu for me; Netscape/Propeller ended up just throwing away all the content because it doesn’t seem to make a profit for AOL.

The attitude here shows total disregard for the time and effort people have put into various Web site, never mind preservation of valuable public record.

For the disgusting decision made by the new owners of, I honestly hope they quickly go out of business; no, not that they would go bankrupt and end up in the streets, just whatever can bring the old site back. What they do is unethical (they require Facebook for login, which in itself is comical) and they show zero respect for those who helped created, at great cost to themselves and for no profit.

eBay Sucks: Deletes Customer Accounts With Perfect Feedback/Reputation, Offers No Solution

TODAY, for the first time in about 8 years, I wanted to place a bid in eBay UK. I had already bought about 17 items there. To my surprise, my account there no longer exists. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out what’s going on and then struggled to find my way to a real human rep.

Finally, once I found a chat app of eBay, I was passed around between 3 different reps, none of whom could solve a simple problem caused by eBay. I know for a fact that I had a user account and I know its full credentials (I even have old cache pages to prove it). All I could get from eBay is an “account does not exist” response. Oh, really? I know that. This is why I contacted eBay’s reps. Rather than rectify their error they suggested that I create a new account, which defeats the purpose of me contacting them in the first place.

Mark Clarke
Welcome to eBay Live Help, my name is Mark Clarke. Please give me a
moment while I check your account details.
Mark Clarke
I have verified your account. How may I assist you?
Mark Clarke
May i have user id of your account?
royss2000 is my account
I have not logged in since around 2004
And ebay US and UK both say it does not exist
which is strange
I have 100% positive feedback on it
so I don’t want to start from scratch
Mark Clarke
What I can do is connect you with our concern department. Keep in mind
there may be a wait time once you get connected with this department. If
this chat disconnects please feel free to come back into eBay Live Chat
by clicking on our link on the eBay homepage.
May I go ahead and connect you now?
Mark Clarke
I’m just checking to see if you’re still with me.
Mark Clarke
Has transferred you to:Diana B.
please connect me with whoever is suitable to restore this account, it
took me time to earn account reputation, I wish to keep that account; I
guess ebay purged accounts not logged into for a long time
hi DIana
Diana B.
Thank you for contacting eBay live help my name is Diana. Please give me
a moment to review what you’ve discussed with the previous representative.
My name is Dr. Roy Schestowitz
I am rather upset that my account is treated as though it never existed
Isabelle Valentez
Welcome to Live Help, my name is Isabelle. How may I be of assistance?
“Chat Session Ended, Goodbye. (5009)”
Not sure what happened there
I suppose Diana didn’t hang up
Isabelle Valentez
Can you please tell me the matter so tha tI can help you?
Isabelle Valentez
the chat might be disconnected due to technical issues.
ok, hang on
Isabelle Valentez
this User Id does not exist.
Isabelle Valentez
I ahev just checked.
Isabelle Valentez
I have web pages saved from many years ago where I can show it that it did exist at the time
Isabelle Valentez
You may register a new account with email address and User ID royss2000
I don’t
wish to
Isabelle Valentez
Any ways the feedback on eBay are now reset every 12 months, so they will be again 0 now.
that’s why I contacted you
I already had an account, but ebay seems to have just deleted accounts with good reputation
ah, okay
That’s a new rule
So I shall registerfor a new account
Thanks very much
This still does not explain why ebay flushes old accounts
without warning to the customer
I will write an article about this
Isabelle Valentez
You are welcome. Is there anything else I can help you with today?
No, but thanks for being patient. I am disappointed that ebay as a whole generally does not value customer accounts

That last point is not even true. As pages like this one show, the reviews go back 12 months, but not the overall ranking, which is aggregated for a lifetime of an account. The reputation in eBay does matter because it assures trust. It makes business easier.

Half an hour later eBay seemed to have realised that it hds a bit of a blunder in its hands and the advice given, again, is that I should start from scratch (beating the purpose). To quote the E-mail sent to me:


This is in response to your Live Help Chat about the status of your account “royss2000″. I understand you’re concerned as you’ve been informed that this account is no longer registered.

I’ve looked through our database but haven’t been able to find an eBay account “royss2000″ linked to this email address “”.

What I suggest you to do now is to register a new eBay account. Here’s how:

1. Go to and click the “Register” link at the very top of the page.

2. Enter your contact & personal information. Click “Register.”

3. Enter your email address.

4. Read and accept the eBay User Agreement and Privacy Policy.

5. Choose a user ID, password, and a secret question and answer.

6. To verify your account, an email will automatically be sent to the address you registered.

7. Check your email. Click the “Activate Your eBay Membership” link in the email.

I trust this information is helpful and wish you all the best on eBay at the future.

Kind regards,

Diana Bell

eBay Trust & Safety

eBay let me down. It’s likely that I won’t use it again and I will never recommend it to anyone. This is unprofessional.

Richard Wolff 3 Years Ago

Debate With Charles-H. Schulz From TDF/LibreOffice

Techbytes 2012

Direct download as Ogg (01:07:21, 14.6 MB)

Summary: Charles-H. Schulz from LibreOffice/TDF and Mandriva joins us for this fun episode which covers important but long-forgotten issues

TECHRIGHTS has been deeply involved in the ODF/OOXML controversy, peaking about 5 years ago. Back then, was powerful and LibreOffice did not exist just yet. In today’s show with Charles-H. Schulz (whom I interviewed before) we learn how and why LibreOffice was conceived. We also speak about the LibreOffice OOXML project which is supported by German and Swiss municipalities.

Charles-H. SchulzOOXML — “whatever pseudo format this really is,” as Charles puts it — is being compared to ODF in terms of progress. We don’t delve deeply into the corruption associated with OOXML so as to keep the show light, polite, and not fury-inspiring. We also speak about the role of IBM, the TDF with its stakeholders, Oracle, and Apache. With over 10 years of involvement in the field Charles helps shed light on many other matters surrounding LibreOffice. This episode should prove informative and wide-ranging, confined to just an hour although Charles and I can speak on those matters for many hours.

In the midst of this episode we play “My Patriotism” by Serengeti and we end with “My Sea” by CALLmeKAT.

We hope you will join us for future shows and consider subscribing to the show via the RSS feed. You can also visit our archives for past shows. If you have an account, consider subscribing to TechBytes in order to keep up to date.

As embedded (HTML5):


Roy and Rianne (2011, 2012)

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