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Report: US Tech Titans Making Bank From Offshore US Treasury Securities
March 13, 2014
Apple, Microsoft, Google and Cisco have accumulated enormous amounts of money via interest payments from the U.S. government, according to a report from the UK's Bureau of Investigative Journalism. The companies together hold $163 billion in U.S. government debt. Of that $163 billion, $124 billion is in U.S. Treasury securities, much of which is held offshore.
Judge Freezes Assets of Mt. Gox Honcho
March 12, 2014
A federal judge in Chicago froze the U.S. assets of Mark Karpeles, the chief of the now-defunct Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox, and allowed possible victims to demand evidence surrounding what some believe is massive fraud. Tokyo-based Mt. Gox, once the largest Bitcoin exchange in the world, last month went belly up because of what Karpeles has claimed was a massive hacking theft.
Lenovo: IBM Strike's Not Our Problem
March 11, 2014
Chinese PC maker Lenovo is washing its hands of a wildcat strike at an IBM factory in Shenzhen, China. In January, Lenovo purchased one of IBM's server businesses, and the striking workers -- more than 1,000 of them -- are among those who will be absorbed by Lenovo. The $2.3 billion deal is not yet final, and Lenovo doesn't want to get stuck with any of IBM's headaches until the ink is dry.
Linux Bugs, Bugs Everywhere
March 10, 2014
Well it was a wild week here in Linux land, and not just because of the asteroid that came hurtling by Earth at heart-lurching proximity. Pay no attention to the 100-foot-wide ball of rock you might notice streaking through the sky closer than the Moon! *Cough*. Thank goodness for tequila. Linux fans, however, had bigger -- or rather, smaller -- things to focus on last week. Namely? Bugs.
Turkey PM, Prez Go Round and Round About Social Media
March 10, 2014
Turkey's prime minister and president are spewing conflicting talking points on the nation's stance toward social media. It turns out the one who's getting nailed on social media is the one who wants more restrictions. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week vowed to restrict social media after this month's local elections, but President Abdullah Gul said that was "out of the question."
When Friends Tell Friends to Use Linux
March 03, 2014
It's a natural human tendency to want to share a good thing with the people you care about, and Linux is certainly no exception. It can be downright painful, in fact, for FOSS fans to sit by and watch their friends and loved ones suffer in the clutches of other OSes. Even so, is it always a good idea to recommend Linux? One longtime Linux aficionado and blogger isn't so sure.
College Student's Facebook Folly Could Cost $80K
March 03, 2014
A student at Boston College may have cost her family $80,000 -- and herself a trip to Europe. The student, Dana Snay, posted a Facebook status update boasting of her father's victory in an age discrimination case. The father, 69, was the headmaster of a school for years, but his contract was not renewed in 2010. This prompted a lawsuit, which was settled for $80,000 in late 2011.
News Flash from Redmond: FOSS Causes Dissatisfaction!
February 24, 2014
Here in the Linux community, we're all familiar with the many benefits that come with using open source software -- customizability, interoperability, and freedom from vendor lock-in, to name just a few examples. Well, Linux Girl has shocking news to report. It turns out there's also a BIG PROBLEM associated with open source software that we've all apparently overlooked: dissatisfaction!
China Calls Kerry's Internet Comments 'Na´ve'
February 18, 2014
Maybe they aren't fighting words, but they sure aren't friendly. China's Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, said that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's remarks about Chinese Internet freedom were, shall we say, a bit base. Kerry had a half-hour-plus chat with bloggers Saturday in Beijing, during which time he expressed support for more online freedom in China.
Recognizing and Defending Against Creeping Violence
February 17, 2014
I spoke last week with a woman who built a house in Belize. Apparently it was burglarized several times. After she moved away, her husband mysteriously died there -- he had stayed to protect the house before they sold it. Then I got a visit from a friend who'd retired to Brazil but badly wants to come home. He recently had his gold chain ripped from his neck while he was on a private beach.
Microsoft Accidentally Applies Chinese Censoring Outside of China
February 13, 2014
Microsoft cited an "error in our system" for quirky results given to users making searches in Chinese on the company's Bing search engine. Chinese-language searches outside of mainland China were yielding results that mirrored those inside mainland China, where Bing filters in accordance with the whims of Beijing. This resulted in wildly different results for English vs. Chinese language searches.
US, France Team Up for Mars Mission
February 12, 2014
While the U.S. and France haven't exactly been chums when it comes to tech, the two countries are teaming up for a new mission to Mars. The plan is to send an unmanned lander to Mars to study the interior of the planet. The mission will launch in 2016, with the lander touching down six months later. At least that's the plan. France and the U.S. have had plenty of digital disagreements of late.
Mass Surveillance: The Day We Fight Back
February 10, 2014
Well it's been roughly eight months since the first major leaks about the NSA's PRISM surveillance program began to appear, and at last a coordinated global protest is imminent. Scheduled to take place on Tuesday, Feb. 11, The Day We Fight Back involves thousands of participating websites as well as protests, speaking events, street theater performances and more.
US Diplomat Caught Red-Tongued Dissing EU
February 07, 2014
The United States' top diplomat for Europe was caught saying, "F*ck the EU," in a now-viral recording. The diplomat, Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland, made the comment in a thought-to-be private telephone call that later was leaked online. She has apologized to EU officials, but her remarks figure to live in infamy online.
Strong Man Snowden Rings the Bell in Geekland
February 03, 2014
Openness is changing the world, as a very wise writer pointed out not so very long ago, and what better example than the parade of government-spying revelations we've seen in recent months? It's clearly a different world since Edward Snowden appeared on the scene -- though not everyone agrees on whether it's a better one or not. In the eyes of some, he deserves a peace prize.
Aussie Prime Minister's YouTube Video Blocked as 'Spam'
February 03, 2014
A YouTube video posted by Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was blocked after what national media described as "mischievous" spam reports. The video, "Delivering on our Promises," was replaced with a boilerplate YouTube message saying that the video had been removed because of "a violation of YouTube's policy against spam, scams and commercially deceptive content."
Departures, Arrivals, Surveillance: Canada Used Airport WiFi Snooparound
January 31, 2014
Canadian authorities used information culled from a free Internet service at a major national airport to track the wireless devices of scores of travelers. The Communications Security Establishment Canada, or CESC, received information from the unnamed airport's free WiFi system and then used that data to track travelers whose devices later popped up at WiFi locations in other parts of the country.
US, British Intelligence Scoop Data From Smartphone Apps
January 28, 2014
Don't get angry, but... U.S. and British intelligence agencies have long been mining data from smartphone apps such as the wildly popular Angry Birds. The National Security Agency and its British brethren at the Government Communications Headquarters reportedly have targeted the swell of data moving to and fro on mobile apps, based on previously secret documents leaked by Edward Snowden.
Twitter Cards Users Get to Play With a Full Analytics Deck
January 27, 2014
Twitter has launched analytics for Twitter Cards to help users determine how well their media-rich tweets are performing on the network. Twitter Cards allow developers, brands and publishers to add photos, videos, deep links, content previews, and other rich media to their tweets. The analytics service is intended to help Cards users gain deeper insights into how their content is spreading.
The Case of the Missing OS, or Did Apple Eat Pear?
January 27, 2014
Here in the Linux community, it's no secret that there are more flavors of our favorite operating system than most of us can keep track of. That doesn't mean, however, that one can just up and disappear without anyone noticing. Case in point: Pear OS. One day it's freely available for download, offering a remarkably Mac-like experience that's nevertheless based on Linux.

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