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Individual Rights and the Political Process

Posted 23 Jan 2010 at 15:50 UTC (updated 25 Jan 2010 at 13:37 UTC) by badvogato

"Individual Rights and the Political Process: A Proposed Framework for Democracy Defining Cases" by Walter M. Frank

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Google's China affair

Posted 17 Jan 2010 at 11:34 UTC (updated 19 Jan 2010 at 17:05 UTC) by sye

Google China closes its door after talks with Chinese government officials failed. - News report from Boxun.

Employees are given 6 months pay and are encouraged to apply for opening positions in other branches of Google operations in Asian & in US.

Those cyber-hackers in China, are they wearing black, white or yellow hat ?

That's what I want to know.

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Winter Top

Posted 31 Dec 2009 at 18:51 UTC by badvogato

Happy new decade of this new millennium to galaxy hikers everywhere!

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Feedback from goffice charts

Posted 23 Dec 2009 at 15:01 UTC by jbrefort

It is now possible to get some feedback about data just by moving the mouse over the chart to an appropriate point.

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The Case of Inslaw & PROMIS

Posted 20 Dec 2009 at 23:41 UTC (updated 20 Dec 2009 at 23:59 UTC) by badvogato

So louie, I'm sure you know the case of INSLAW .

What become of PROMIS (prosecutor management information system) after IBM rescued it from the bankruptcy court?

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Why Eiffel is my favorite language

Posted 11 Dec 2009 at 18:27 UTC by audriusa

This year I needed to do a project in a language that is both old and notable but still understood as unusual and exotic: Eiffel. I did not know Eiffel in the past and needed to learn it very quickly to do my task. Hence this article is not about Eiffel itself, it ist about a newcomers impression about Eiffel. I will be writing about the "classic" Eiffel with EiffelStudio, not about SmartEiffel and other interesting clones that surely also deserve a lot of attention.

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Happy 10th Birthday, Advogato

Posted 5 Nov 2009 at 20:18 UTC by robogato

Advogato.org is officially 10 years old. Raph made the first Advogato diary post on Nov 5, 1999 and the first article was posted on Nov 6, 1999. Ten years may not seem like much, but it's a long time in Internet years. Not many blogging or social networking sites can claim to be that old. Happy Birthday!
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Every Engineer's Solemn Duty

Posted 1 Nov 2009 at 10:28 UTC (updated 1 Nov 2009 at 10:35 UTC) by MichaelCrawford

This is the first of a series of essays I will publish here and elsewhere, in an effort to solve what I regard as some fundamental problems that are endemic to the computer industry.

I have felt called to my Duty several times in my career. I have never regretted performing it, but doing so has been a heavy burden, as it always came at great cost. This is one of those times - I will explain in the next essay I publish just why.

November 1, 2005

My father Charless Russell Crawford was an engineer too, an electrical engineer. Once a carpenter, he was inspired to enlist in the Navy one snowy evening while roofing a house, when he struck his thumb real hard with a hammer. The Navy sensed my father's potential for leadership and sent him to study at the University of Idaho, where he met my mother Patricia Ann Speelmon. My sister was born while they were still students. After graduation, he went on to Officer Candidate School and was given his commission. The telegram with news of my birth took two weeks to reach him: he was deep in the Phillipine jungle getting trained in survival, as the Vietnam War was just then heating up: the year was 1964. My father's engineering specialty was antiaircraft missile electronics: guidance and control systems.

The lesson my father taught me, a lesson I only now, as I speak, realize for the first time I was ever taught, is to Do My Duty. You already know my father did his for his country. I want you to know that he did his duty to his family as a husband, father and provider, and he did it well. He did his duty as a teacher too: I learned science and engineering at my father's knee, as we worked on projects together. Once we had a contest to see who could make a working telephone from stuff found lying around the house.

Engineers have other Masters who demand duty of us: our profession, our conscience, those who invest in, purchase or use what we design, our coworkers, and the public.

Listen to me carefully, and never forget what I'm about to say. I want all of you to spend some time thinking it over deeply, then I want you to discuss it among yourselves:

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The Crazed Approach to the Internet: what's driving it?

Posted 30 Oct 2009 at 22:07 UTC by lkcl

The Internet is a tool to connect people, to empower them to share information and knowledge. Through increased communication, one person's contribution becomes everyone's gain. Through the power of collaboration, many minds can achieve what one person alone could not. It sounds like either a recipe for a Utopia or for a nightmare, which starkly reminds us that with great power comes great responsibility. And it's our right to be given the choice, to take advantage of the opportunity that the Internet represents. But there is something happening to the "InterWeb": the tracks are being ripped up. Mandelson in the UK. "3 Strikes" in France. Fascist Censorship in Australia. Phorm. Net Neutrality. The Pirate Bay attacks. The RIAA. The DMCA. There's a recurring and accelerating theme of attacks, which have accelerated over the past ten years, to attempt to control what can and cannot be done with the Internet, that is beginning to blur with Science Fiction predictions from well-renowed authors. The question is: why? What's the driving force, and what motivates these attacks, when, mathematically and statistically, they are simply impossible, leaving an alienated populace feeling threatened by and distrusting their Governments, just like in China, Iran and other "Regimes" which we believe that we are "better than"?

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Any FOSS Java scanner?

Posted 17 Oct 2009 at 12:58 UTC (updated 18 Oct 2009 at 08:09 UTC) by audriusa

In relation to the Wikipedia applet proposal, I am currently moving through the web in the hopeless search of some FOSS project that would show at least weak interest in scanning of Java source code for bad intents. One of the huge advantages Wikipedia or other public server could provide is that we have the applet sources and can compile on a server side. Among other things this allows to strip the signature easily, maybe we could do more.

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Sci-Fi Masterworks and more

Posted 6 Oct 2009 at 16:59 UTC (updated 7 Oct 2009 at 14:25 UTC) by lkcl

flogger asks on slashdot what sci-fi stories are recommended for reading as part of a teaching class about sci-fi. As I've read over 500 sci-fi and fantasy books, and own over 300, I've written up some of the best. Covering history, politics and the best and worst of human nature, science fiction's freedom opens doors which remain firmly closed to traditional fiction. It just has to be done well enough to be believable.
(updated 7oct2009 with fantasy list)
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The Pyramids and the Bazaar

Posted 18 Sep 2009 at 05:08 UTC by KlausWuestefeld

Eric Raymond's software bazaar is a fantasy.

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New tendentions with C popularity: returning to the roots?

Posted 2 Sep 2009 at 09:05 UTC by audriusa

The look into Tiobe index may give quite a surprising results if we pay attention into that is happening during the latest year. Java seems no longer declining, Python and C# are also kind of stable but we clearly observe the growth of C language popularity. It is even not C++ but a plain C.

I wonder it this is just some transient event or the reliable shift.

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Finding conferences

Posted 31 Aug 2009 at 01:30 UTC by pjf

Want to find more technical conferences? Here's my hotlist.

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Java applets in Wikipedia - that do you think?

Posted 23 Aug 2009 at 17:54 UTC (updated 23 Aug 2009 at 18:32 UTC) by audriusa

Wikipedia recently posted a call for strategic proposals, and one subset of them looks quite interesting for me - it is a bunch of proposals to support some kind of the client side scripting. They have a choice between JavaScript, Flash, Java and Silverlight. After all that at the end happened with FOSS Java implementation, Java applets seem an interesting option so let's propose.

To be heard by needed people, this proposal have been uploaded to Wikipedia Strategic Projects space so it can also be viewed there. It is up to you where to make the comments.

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Open Source Licences Wars

Posted 21 Aug 2009 at 19:39 UTC by shlomif

There's a new article on my homepage titled "FOSS Licences Wars", which explains about the legal aspects, features and differences between various open-source licences and their categories, and then gives some recommendations for which licences to avoid using.

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A smarter CLI - Innovation by Simplicity

Posted 3 Aug 2009 at 06:56 UTC (updated 3 Aug 2009 at 08:35 UTC) by tschwall

Good command line tools are more important than ever and not just a relict of ancient times in comparison to RIA or GUI applications. Experienced system administrators appreciate their power in sophisticated shell scripts and could probably not manage their environments without them. The question is how can we make command line tools smarter and more powerful than today? This article discusses some ideas and potential implementations always keeping in mind "Do not reinvent the wheel" and "keep it simple".

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Python XPCOM and Hulahop: declarative XULrunner programming

Posted 26 Jul 2009 at 13:10 UTC by lkcl

XULrunner, the technology behind projects such as Firefox, is both powerful and obscure. Even getting started with XULrunner is tricky, and even more so from dynamic languages such as python. pyxpcomext addresses these issues, and does so from the perspective where the developer creates a "bundle" which is registered with XULrunner. XULrunner is then started by the user, and the user opens a magic URL which triggers loading of the pyxpcomext-based application.

Thanks to the OLPC Sugar team, there is now another way, starting from the python prompt. "import hulahop" is where it begins. This article will show and explain the voodoo magic incantations necessary to bring up a window where you can begin to gain access to the DOM model of the XULrunner technology. In this way, you can begin to use technology which was designed for web browsers but has become something much much more powerful than originally intended by its designers.

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Microsoft's next operating system may start from BSD

Posted 14 Jul 2009 at 20:32 UTC (updated 18 Jul 2009 at 12:44 UTC) by audriusa

Barelfish. Have anybody heard such a beast?

Not somewhere behind the steel walls - in the academic silence of ETH university Microsoft is building the next generation of its operating system. Maybe this single department is not the only place where it is trying – I am more toward thinking this is happening it at least ten places worldwide.

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Taking a Principled Position on Software Freedom

Posted 14 Jul 2009 at 15:26 UTC by mako

Those of us in the free/libre and open source software (FLOSS) community know the routine by now. Despite the fact that "free software" and "open source" refer to the same software and the same communities, supporters of "free software" like the FSF would have us advocate for FLOSS by talking about users' rights to use, modify, share, and cooperate; open source supporters like the Open Source Initiative would have us advocate for software by talking about how securing these rights produces software with "better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility [and] lower cost."

One reason I tend to stay away from "open source" claims in my own advocacy is that I'm worried by the way that these arguments rely on a set of often dubious empirical claims of superiority. Free software, on the other hand, can be seen as statement of principles. Regardless of whether we say "free software" or "open source," I've found that a focus on principled statements is both more robust against counter-arguments and does a better job of describing the motivations of most contributors.

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