New Permission System Could Make Android Much Less Secure
I've done a lot of custom ROM installations, and many of them to support AppOps to expose these granular permissions. Cyanogen has actually expanded upon this functionality.
Google have chosen to remove user access to AppOps from recent Android releases and while CM's Privacy Guard is a slightly improved and much easier to use approach on those system calls it requires a custom ROM and even those are still limited to a minority of devices. (Hint: consider only buying devices that will be supported by custom ROMs!)
There is something that is more comprehensive and granular, although more complicated to use as a result. XPrivacy is built upon the well-known Xposed framework (requires root) and it lets the user to control essentially all permissions individually.
Here's a brief and useful recap by xda-developers about the main options.
China Bans Government Purchases of Windows 8
In the 80s, Deng Xiaoping finally got people to listen to the fact that science & technology isn't just a "western" idea - that it's decidedly Chinese - and that it was time that the Chinese were no longer dependent on western interests.
The red-tinted glasses...
What, apart from the maoist revision of Soviet Thought and its current national-corporatist followup (another foreign revision), is inherently Chinese? Even their nationalism and even ethnic supremacism harks back to the worst of western ideas.
Their system leaves little room for human characteristics other than hard work, the benefit of immediate family and whatever the State sloganeers at the time. There are some liberal jewels, but most only rebel - violently - for immediate self-benefit. (witness some 100,000 "mass incidents" annually)
Would the Chinese Communist Party's economic "miracle" have been possible without full access to western ideas, sciencific development and unlimited funding? And who invented the "selling the capitalists the rope" idea? The ultra-rich politburo members must really love that one.
China's policies stem from the 1800s (the period of late western imperialism when race theories and nationalism were all the rage). Effective, but brutal.
However I can't see them replicating the liberties that were integral part of that (social and scientific) development.
If you want to see the past repeated, but this time without certain crucial moderating factors, you just may get your wish.
China Bans Government Purchases of Windows 8
Why should the US give a single shit about any other country? It's not like any of them are doing anything besides bitching and moaning about how the evil US has ruined the world. The hatred hurled at the US over the past decade has eroded any chance of the average American really caring about what foreigners think.
Yet there was a time in that distant past before the 1990s when most of the free world, and even many outside it, looked up to the USA as the defender of great values such as freedom.
After that exhilarating period when the Iron Curtain came down there was great hope and expectation, but something had changed... and only a few years later both the PRC and the post-USSR Russia realized they were free to act whatever way they wanted while the USA was busy waging various pointless religious oil wars against proxies. Those explosive shows were greatly enjoyed by audiences in China and Russia (to the great benefit of the regimes!) but no quite so much in democracies having the benefit of a free press.
There's even a certain leftover TLA in the title of this very thread. Do you reckon the peoples in free democracies (in fact everywhere) should just ignore that all-encompassing shit?
From where I look, already since both Clinton and GWB the USA has stood less for all the respectable and moral things and more for the arrogant total surveillance and business-before-rights realpolitik than any time in the history of world democracy. The way I feel about american democracy activists is increasingly similar to what I feel towards actual freedom fighters elsewhere, although the latter are still more likely to lose their life or be incarcerated and/or tortured in the process. So far America only tends to afford that treatment to non-americans.
I realize that American leaders will always continue to make grand speeches for domestic consumption (it's now part of the "culture") claiming to not just hold dear all the fine moral values but be the very torch-bearers of those values for the rest of the world, and for the foreseeable future enough people there will just lap it up. Well God bless you!
Elsewhere you are judged by your actions however. And that "elsewhere" is pretty big and some day it will suck to just have a massive and aging military, small ruling elite and lots of religious rightwing fervour but no real friends. Pax Americana is soon entering the post-free-for-all.
China Bans Government Purchases of Windows 8
And nothing better to do that than to basically have the rest of the world boycott your fucking products and stop cooperating with you.
When Americans finally realize their own jobs are on the line, they'll make their own politicians do something.
As long as the rank and file American is oblivious to this ... well, then they're part of the fucking problem, and deserve to be caught up in it.
If the overwhelming response in the US is "who cares what happens in some foreign country", then it's too fucking bad, and it's time to bring it home to them.
Americans like to hide behind the fact that most of your populace is ignorant ill informed. It's time that became your problem, and not ours. If your populace is stupid and allows your politicians to do shit like this, then your populace should be the ones who pay the consequences.
I agree with that sentiment in general and while the United States of America continues down a very slippery slope they can still be talked out of it. Their crippled institutions still have a large, albeit disparate civil society interested in change of direction.
But since the issue here was initially about the Chinese "Communist" Party (aka self-declared government of China with more tentacles than most outsiders realize) banning a significant american export from that market, I can't but see the irony here.
It was the USA in 1970s (as proudly represented by Kissinger and Nixon) who rehabilitated the most murderous regime in history just to flip the USSR the finger, and Clinton completed the task 20 years later by granting that regime the Most Favored Nation status and trade priviledges. Most. Favored. Nation.
Next the US let the PRC become full-fledged member of the WTO and again without any concrete concessions. The US however gladly dropped their earlier post-WWII human rights objectives (like freedom for Tibetans whose country was invaded and annexed by China in 1950), being happy to continue with a less trade-disruptive and brief annual criticism facade.
This was the final call for certain types of wealthy europeans to join the "party" and join forces with the CCP's upcoming 5-year plans.
In the last twenty years the PRC has been busy massively building up all their military forces, acquiring nearly all available western manufacturing knowledge (fairly or not) and vacuuming foreign currency reserves with the help of globalization and the wealthiest class of westerners keen on maximizing their "ROI" without bothersome welfare taxes.
Now that the second twenty-year cycle is complete we suddenly find a People's Republic of China that is aggressively claiming maritime territories very far from its shores (but very near most of its Asia-Pacific neighbours!) and increasingly willing to attack anyone willing criticize it in any way.
See where this is going?
Czar Putin already did. He engineered a significant gas/trade-dependency for major European economies and that completed he knew he could repeat China's anachronistic land grab of neighbour's territories without any noticeable repercussions.
Point being that when trade was stopped to be harnessed towards achieving positive political and human rights development, the new unfiltered free trade was turned into a tool against those very objectives.
So here we are. With a political hierarchy in the western world having the business class dictating that economic sanctions are not acceptable. Interestingly it is very much simpler under CCP and Putin, both of which are accomplished in punitive boycotts. And now, "Yes they can!"
ESA's Cryosat Mission Sees Antarctic Ice Losses Double
So it has predictably come to this for some people:
"Think local, act... wait, let's first see if my neighbourhood might benefit at others' expense before deciding."
Intentional Backdoor In Consumer Routers Found
We could really use some standards-based open-source broadband modems and modem/routers to cover this unaccountable section of the land link, both in the free world and elsewhere.
Of course there's no panacea against the morbidly interested parties who see encryption and tunnelling as a red flag. Some wireless-centric projects are trying to skip the land line hurdles altogether.
NSA Confirms It Has Been Searching US Citizens' Data Without a Warrant
"Basically, if you communicated with someone that is 'reasonably believed' to be a terrorist, you've lost constitutional protection against searches without a warrant"
Fair game. Really. And I speak here as the pacifist humanitarian that I am.
But how do you make distinction between a terrorist and a freedom figher whose people are trying to survive genonide under your friendly ("preferred") trading partners? Tibet (unique in every way; language, culture, ethnicity, script etc.)? Ukraine (unique and close to Europe)? Or perhaps just a member of some rural middle-eastern belief system from the 6th century?
What value system are you basing this "terrorist" label upon? Believing in freedom? Self-determination? Or something else? Saying unpleasant things about the militaristic occupying nation? (you'd disappear in China)
It's the 21st century so please make up your mind and finally make more than a pretend stand on this issue: who are the terrorists (who you may actually trade with) and who are the actual victims of terrorism (often state-sponsored)?
The whole democratic majority of the world (as long as it exists) has a last chance to decide what they consider acceptable, at a state level. Are your real opponents mere misguided goat herders or something state-sponsored and fundamentally game-changing?
Russia Blocks Internet Sites of Putin Critics
Sadly, Russia is turning more and more to Soviet ways. Putin was even rehabilitating Stalin.
Well the West, thanks to the upstanding duo of Nixon & Kissinger, "rehabilitated" Mao's empire already in the mid-seventies and helped the fine western industrialists relocate their ("means of") production over to the PRC while helping their own profit margins in the process, at least for a while.
Mao Zedong, despite having achieved double the body count of Stalin, doesn't even need rehabilitation as his "Communist" Party's princelings have continued to rule the empire, albeit now under new and improved nationalist-corporatist style policies. Nothing wrong with that in the 21st century, right?
Mao also successfully (re-)incorporated the vast western territories of Tibet, South Mongolia and East Turkestan (chin. "Xinjiang") to the Han Chinese empire; Tibet actually well after WWII in 1950-51. Nice grab of Lebensraum, natural resources and new geo-political/military influence over South and Central Asia... and they're still militarily claiming control of massive maritime territories extending deep into South-East Asia and of course large areas belonging to both north-western and north-eastern provinces of India.
China's national (and increasingly international) media is naturally still totally harnessed to spreading CCP's nationalist propaganda.
I have zero sympathy for Putin or his policies to rebuild the Soviet/Russian Empire through threats and military aggression, but hey, the West (USA, EU et al) have okayed and are of course currently perfectly fine with the People's Republic of China doing all these things. The key lesson learned has been that business always wins in the end over morality or international law. We often reap what we sow.
Should we be surprised if a Soviet-groomed KGB agent turned Russian authoritarian strongman feels that his regime deserves the same imperial carte blanche priviledges both domestically and over their smaller/weaker/more peaceful neighbours as China has been afforded (essentially with zero concessions)?
My old signature below may seem totally pointless to many, but the West set their tone already some forty years ago and the only reason the western democracies are now even considering diplomatic and economic sanctions seems to be that Ukraine happens to be located in eastern Europe, unlike those inconsequential (former) neighbours of China.
Multivitamin Researchers Say 'Case Is Closed' As Studies Find No Health Benefits
Vitamin supplements are generic and thus have relatively low profit margins. On the other hand the various ailments and even chronic diseases that can result from vitamin deficiencies are likely to be much more lucrative businesses. Just saying.
Employee Morale Is Suffering At the NSA
Want to quit your job? Yeah right. The job market is tough enough right now..
What else can you do other than stay quiet and hope that the people in positions of power fix things?
You're anynomous and the NSA isn't monitoring this, right?
Let's suppose you are a reasonably intelligent and resourceful individual.
How much are you making as an NSA contractor and how much would be enough to keep your family from "starving"? (Before Snowden's revelations, contractors were openly boasting about their awesome pay packages, fwiw)
And the fear of the Agency coming after you if you were to leave? For real?
Yeah it's all too damn inconvenient so why rock the boat? After all, you're just a cog in the machine and "just following orders". All of you.
All the rationalizing and self-justifying notwithstanding, you must realize that there are reasons why your employers are somewhat less than well-liked by people in your own country, not to mention by the billions of "targets" living outside your borders?
Basically every institutionalized injustice in the history of mankind has *depended* on men like yourself to remain quiet and do nothing except complete the tasks assigned to them. Some just file papers while others have more hands-on tasks to undertake. And how is all of this funded? Well the machine also controls the taxes of course.
And here you are, the land of the free, the land of opportunity, fearful of your own government agency whom you work for and fearful of starving if you were to leave that current secure and comfortable position you've landed yourself in.
In China. In Russia. In North Korea. Under all the other control-obsessed regimes embracing the possibilities of this new era of limitless surveillance of subjects and now in the USA as well, the machine depends on a convenient status quo.
But why bother with the fears and vain rationalizing at all? Just wrap it all under the banner of heroic patriotism and all is truly well. For you and your family at least.
Extreme Microbe Brewing: the Curse of Auto-Brewery Syndrome
Just imagine if the World Congress of Mullahs somehow managed to weaponize (read: aerosolize) this beelzebubian yeast and it got loose during a demo at their Annual General Meeting...
The Stanford Prisoner Experiment - 40 Years On
I'm not sure if everyone should go though the experiment per se, but certainly societies would benefit if everyone was taught about it, and human behaviour and moral in general.
Germany in the 1930s and 1940s after the Nazional Sozialists had grabbed control of the government (and the media) is a very good case study of what happens when sections of population are labelled "enemies", "unfit" and eventually even sub-human. There the perpetrators had been brainwashed with a sense of injustice and anger over post-WWI suffering and the domestic "unfits" (based on propaganda definitions) were made scapegoats.
Yet repression and murder in even larger scale took place after the Nazi "experiment" - in the gulags and laogai under Stalin's and Mao's communist party dictatorships.
Arguably the Chinese were the most brutal in the treatment of their enemies (something to do with the traditional art of torture and the domestic imperial history there?). Under the territories invaded by Mao's red army the foreign enemies (like Tibetans, Mongolians and Uighurs) were easy to identify as they didn't share any of the sinized Han-people's charasteristics - they were also commonly treated as sub-humans for that very reason (Tibetans as devout buddhists were targeted for particularly brutal punishment), but after the initial phase of Chinese military expansion and consolidation something unique happened: Mao's "Cultural Revolution".
While the title sounds deceptively docile, the reality was anything but. Here, in mid-60s, Mao decided that "old thinking" had to go. All of it. A horde of young, maoism-indoctrinated youth were given the authority / order to challenge anything that could somehow be perceived to contradict the infamous Mao's red book. For about a decade _everyone_ was an enemy unless he or she could prove the Red Guards - often by committing acts of brutality against "other enemies" - his or her blind loyalty to the "cause" of New China. One of the saddest representations of this was the widespread turning of children against their own parents who had until then loved and cared for them! The loyalty towards one's family had to be destroyed as it threatened the absolute power of the Party.
After the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 that Party held an emergency meeting in Beijing and after coming to the conclusion that communism as a political doctrine or economic model simply wasn't effective any longer, they decided - internally - to switch de facto doctrines to Confucianism (as nationalistic philosophy) and... national socialism (adapted to globalist markets), with capitalist/corporatist carrots for the Party's inner core (the leading families of "PRC" are now fabulously wealthy!). Old communist propaganda is still being played out as a justification for the Party's "legitimacy" though, and such propaganda is still key part of everyday control in poorer inland parts of China and especially in the occupied territories annexed through military force. Foreigners are still depicted as criminals who haven't paid for their sins over the "humiliation of China", although various "domestic movements" there (not forgetting the bloody war by communists themselves against the Republic of China) account for the vast majority of human cost and every other once wholly western-ruled nation (incl. the multi-cultural India) has gotten over their past "humiliation". What does needing artificial external enemies say about China's ruling dictatorship itself?
Blind obedience, often in order to benefit oneself or to save one's own life, and the accompanying willingness to inflict suffering on others... it tends to go together with ignorance (then redefining) of morality (right vs wrong, perceived or imaginary injustice), absolute propaganda to shape the population's value models and numbing violence and abuse.
I believe we have enough examples of abuse of authority by now. What we need is to actually make learning about them, and morality and philosophy in general, a truly intergral part of education so that most people would recognize the warning signs early enough to stop such abuses from taking place in the first place. I don't recommend we should go about re-enacting cases of injustice and abuse, but a more thorough engagement and debate than mere voluntary reading of a boring chapter in a study book is probably required. In the presence of totalitarian propaganda it will be hard, but elsewhere ignorance should be no excuse.
Microsoft Buying Skype for $8.5B
Basically skype seems to have a *whole* lot of traction/brand recognition. MS wants to control that to prop up their struggling mobile phone play (read: screw over iOS/Android/etc users). Torpedoing Linux support will probably be just side-effect.
The "side effects" of Microsoft's wheeling and dealing seem strongly aligned with their absolute main objectives.
Remember Microsoft's recent financing (and IP/patent grab) of Attachmate's takeover of Novell (their new anti-competition modus operandi appears to be using the money and third parties to do the kneecapping)? Shortly after the completion Attachmate fired Novell's Mono team which was working on libraries that allowed .NET developers to rather easily port their apps to... iOS/Android/etc...
See what just happened there? I'm no fan of Mono always chasing the potentially IP pithole riddled MS.NET but in that instance Mono provided a way for otherwise MS-dependent developers to easily enter non-MS mobile platforms while Microsoft's own mobile platforms remain immature and severely lacking in marketshare.
Was it in Attachmate's strategic interests to kill that potentially popular porting platform? Or was killing it only in Microsoft's interests?
With both the Windows and Office platforms' strengths as the dominant technology strangle points and providers of MS-only network effects on the wane, MS suddenly find themselves in a desperate scramble for something to keep their unloved mobile platforms alive. Buying Skype and killing ex-MS porting via Mono are clearly part of their mobile strategy.
MS Removes HTTPS From Hotmail For Troubled Nations
Cryptography is banned in China and territories under their control without a permit by the "communist" party regime. They will have keys for the crypto they allow their subjects to use.
Big and compliant foreign firms may apply for an exception but obviously that doesn't mean their operations haven't been breached from within.
Wikileaks To Name Swiss Bank Tax Evaders
Wouldn't it also be interesting if the neo-McCartyists who're screaming for Wikileaks personnel to be hunted down and thrown in the "offshore" Guantanamo camp or even assassinated were found to be hiding their loot in secret offshore accounts?
Samsung Set To Introduce Android-Based iPod Touch Competitor
I only counted a few peripheral mentions of Nokia phones in the ~200 messages so far. Zero references to Nokia's then-revolutionary Internet (and media) Tablets that the company hesitantly slipped out between 2005-2008 and promptly abandoned.
Paraphrasing Brando on Nokia exec's behalf: "I don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it."
The N800 internet tablet came out four years ago, and while it wasn't absolute cutting edge even then, it was affordable to manufacture, potentially symbiotic to Nokia's phone division (as a tethered companion device) and a wonderful starting point for further development.
Except that Nokia's wise managers decided to can the project. Its sister model N810, with its slide-out keyboard and crappy GPS, did manage to escape Nokia a year later, but even a slightest charade of support was already wrapped in.
Along with the pioneering tablet mindshare and respect Nokia lost most of the community of developers and early adopters. Nokia had it and chose to throw it all away. (Google Trends)
So Nokia's now got Qt and there's this Intel joint-op Meego too, seemingly aimed at x86-based "mobile devices" of some sort. Yet Nokia has no actual cutting edge phones (the last being the bulky non-multi-touch N900 of late 2009, supported only by the unsupported Maemo OS), let alone media and/or internet-oriented non-phone tablets.
Meego may be more-or-less a proper Linux environment designed for touch, but having Nokia and Intel as sugar daddies does sound a tad ominous as neither of those wants 3rd-party ARM-based devices to become successful.
Be it "openMeego" or anything, I'd love to see affordable media/internet tablets running a secure, multi-user-capable OS (i.e Linux). Make it easily shareable between family members, friends, classmates or workmates, either using local accounts (incl. "guest") or the cloud. Support the devices with software/security updates. People will buy it.
Abandon Earth Or Die, Warns Hawking
The start of the credit crisis was either 10 or 30 years ago? Not when the US and soon afterwards European industrialists chose to grant the People's republic MFN and free ticket to WTO while relocating their factories there? Wasn't that the beginning of the end of the West? Soon after the fall of the Warsaw Pact?
Stanford's New Solar Tech Harnesses Heat, Light
"Solar water heating or solar hot water is water heated by the use of solar energy. Solar water heating systems are generally composed of solar thermal collectors, a water storage tank or another point of usage, interconnecting pipes and a fluid system to move the heat from the collector to the tank. This thermodynamic approach is distinct from semiconductor photovoltaic (PV) cells that generate electricity from light; solar water heating deals with the direct heating of liquids by the sun where no electricity is directly generated."
Basic glass-covered box + copper pipes (flattened inside the black-painted floor of the box) + water collection barrel combo has long been an important alternative technology feature in the developing world.
So soon one could tack one of these new-fangled Stanford solar/heat panels at the bottom of the box and besides photon conversion also harness the high temperatures for increased electricity generation.
I truly hope that this tech doesn't become a patent pissing contest but it is made available and even manufactured around the world without licensing impediments. Maybe the world's governments could step in, enumerate the inventors appropriately and make sure these crucial technology alternatives to fossil fuels become widely available and in massive quantities.
New Russian Weapon Hides In Shipping Container
While the US and Soviet-Russia agreed not to develop ASBMs (remember MAD?), the Chinese "communist" regime has been at for over a decade and recently they've been confident enough in their long-range supersonic "carrier-killer" that it's been showcased in the regime's jingoistic TV programming as destroying an Aegis-equipped enemy.
Wired has a feature on this game-changing Chinese ASBM titled China Testing Ballistic Missile 'Carrier-Killer'. There's a link to a delightful youtube cartoon featuring these new Chinese ASBMs wiping out unsuspecting big-noses' aircraft carrier...
To those claiming that the CCP regime doesn't harbour imperialistic ambitions, just ask Tibetans, Uighurs, Mongols, the Zhuang, the countless already-assimilated peoples and pretty much all neighbours of this current "greater China" who've made acquintance with advancing PLA troops...
Massive Number of GoDaddy WordPress Blogs Hacked
China is still punishing Google huh?
If by China you're referring to the ruling Communist Party dictatorship, then sure they are.
Incidentally "GoDaddy also withdrew from China" around the same time, mainly due to the new (now more and better) draconian registration rules for individuals wishing to operate their own domains.
My hat's off for both of them for not collaborating with that regime's repressive policies.