The Internet - The first Worldwide Tool of Unification ("The End of History")

" ... Now I give you something that few think about: What do you think the Internet is all about, historically? Citizens of all the countries on Earth can talk to one another without electronic borders. The young people of those nations can all see each other, talk to each other, and express opinions. No matter what the country does to suppress it, they're doing it anyway. They are putting together a network of consciousness, of oneness, a multicultural consciousness. It's here to stay. It's part of the new energy. The young people know it and are leading the way.... "

" ... I gave you a prophecy more than 10 years ago. I told you there would come a day when everyone could talk to everyone and, therefore, there could be no conspiracy. For conspiracy depends on separation and secrecy - something hiding in the dark that only a few know about. Seen the news lately? What is happening? Could it be that there is a new paradigm happening that seems to go against history?... " Read More …. "The End of History"- Nov 20, 2010 (Kryon channelled by Lee Carroll)

"Recalibration of Free Choice"– Mar 3, 2012 (Kryon Channelling by Lee Carroll) - (Subjects: (Old) Souls, Midpoint on 21-12-2012, Shift of Human Consciousness, Black & White vs. Color, 1 - Spirituality (Religions) shifting, Loose a Pope “soon”, 2 - Humans will change react to drama, 3 - Civilizations/Population on Earth, 4 - Alternate energy sources (Geothermal, Tidal (Paddle wheels), Wind), 5 – Financials Institutes/concepts will change (Integrity – Ethical) , 6 - News/Media/TV to change, 7 – Big Pharmaceutical company will collapse “soon”, (Keep people sick), (Integrity – Ethical) 8 – Wars will be over on Earth, Global Unity, … etc.) - (Text version)

“…5 - Integrity That May Surprise…

Have you seen innovation and invention in the past decade that required thinking out of the box of an old reality? Indeed, you have. I can't tell you what's coming, because you haven't thought of it yet! But the potentials of it are looming large. Let me give you an example, Let us say that 20 years ago, you predicted that there would be something called the Internet on a device you don't really have yet using technology that you can't imagine. You will have full libraries, buildings filled with books, in your hand - a worldwide encyclopedia of everything knowable, with the ability to look it up instantly! Not only that, but that look-up service isn't going to cost a penny! You can call friends and see them on a video screen, and it won't cost a penny! No matter how long you use this service and to what depth you use it, the service itself will be free.

Now, anyone listening to you back then would perhaps have said, "Even if we can believe the technological part, which we think is impossible, everything costs something. There has to be a charge for it! Otherwise, how would they stay in business?" The answer is this: With new invention comes new paradigms of business. You don't know what you don't know, so don't decide in advance what you think is coming based on an old energy world. ..."
(Subjects: Who/What is Kryon ?, Egypt Uprising, Iran/Persia Uprising, Peace in Middle East without Israel actively involved, Muhammad, "Conceptual" Youth Revolution, "Conceptual" Managed Business, Internet, Social Media, News Media, Google, Bankers, Global Unity,..... etc.)

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls

German anti-hate speech group counters Facebook trolls
Logo No Hate Speech Movement

Bundestag passes law to fine social media companies for not deleting hate speech

Honouring computing’s 1843 visionary, Lady Ada Lovelace. (Design of doodle by Kevin Laughlin)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

One Laptop Per Child reaches Gaza Strip

The laptops are designed for use by children in the developing world

The UN in the Gaza Strip has begun distributing 200,000 laptop computers to children in its schools.

The rugged laptops are made by the non-profit organisation One Laptop Per Child, which aims to give a computer to every child in the developing world.

One Laptop Per Child say computers are a good way of improving the education of children living in poverty.

Humanitarian conditions have deteriorated in the Gaza Strip in the last three years, the UN says.

Israel and Egypt maintain a blockade on Gaza, which was tightened in 2007 after Hamas took control of the Gaza Strip, and all but humanitarian supplies are prevented from entering.


One Laptop Per Child has built the energy efficient XO laptop especially for children in developing countries.

"The XO laptop has a special place in children's education in regions that are disrupted by ongoing violence," said Nicholas Negroponte, founder of the organisation.

"With the XO the children can continue to stay connected and gain the skills and knowledge required to participate fully and thrive in the 21st century - even when getting to school is impossible."

The UN agency which looks after Palestinian refugees, UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) provides housing, health services, education and emergency food supplies to more than four million refugees in five countries.

The computers are to be loaded with textbooks and teaching aids that cover the primary school curriculum, a statement from UNWRA said.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Have a global change project? Start by understanding remote offices

ZDNet, By Patrick Gray, TechRepublic on April 28, 2010

Successfully implementing global change projects, whether they involve a massive worldwide software package or "soft" changes like a new process or policy, involve a unique set of challenges.

Not only are you faced with the usual gauntlets of scope, timeline and budget, but unique additions like language, culture and the "headquarters dynamic" rear their heads, derailing the most well-intentioned efforts if they are ignored. The headquarters dynamic is one of the more interesting of these challenges and represents the relationship between corporate headquarters, which generally initiates a change project, and the field offices, which are usually on the receiving end of these efforts.

Sir, yes, sir!

Traditionally, most companies implementing large-scale global projects assume a command-and-control model, with headquarters marshaling resources, setting schedules and essentially dictating orders to field offices.

You don't need an advanced degree in international relations to imagine that this usually breeds discord and resentment; field offices see the initiative as yet another grand scheme cooked up in the "ivory towers" at headquarters, with little regard to local operating, legal and resource constraints.

At best, regional offices begrudgingly comply with headquarters' fiat and promptly look for the best way to modify, work around, or altogether disregard the results of the change effort.

The opposite model is to issue what amounts to "suggestions" to local operating entities and hope that they follow through. Like the hundreds of e-mails we each receive offering advice and mild threats if some new policy or procedure is not obeyed, most of these end up promptly filed in the nearest rubbish bin.

What is needed is a model that takes into account the unique assets of field offices and leverages the operational and administrative powers of the home office as an asset rather than an overbearing administrative headache.

Understanding the remote office

Using the headquarters dynamic as an asset rather than a liability requires some understanding of the conditions in the field office.

Most field offices have less staff than headquarters and are more tightly focused on core operational activities like sales, marketing, manufacturing and logistics. Since these offices are usually established as a beachhead in an attractive market, they are generally lean and mean and focused tightly on getting the maximum results with the minimum amount of resources. As such, creative ways of doing business are often developed, and models that could benefit the company as a whole may be lying about undiscovered.

Many remote offices take pride in the success they have achieved, without the additional perceived overhead that exists at headquarters. Key to leveraging the headquarters dynamic is to acknowledge the good work frequently done in the field and seek out any best practices that can be incorporated into a global model.

In addition, rather than trying to deploy a "one-size-fits-all" solution to every global problem, consider two or three "standard" processes that accommodate a wide variety of statutory requirements, volumes of business, and varying staff levels. Usually what works at headquarters or a major regional hub is vast overkill for a local office that works in dozens of transactions rather than thousands.

The obvious way to ensure regional voices are heard is to incorporate regional personnel on the planning and deployment teams. Not only will their thoughts and field experience prove invaluable, but seeing multinational faces rather than yet another team of "drones from HQ" on the next change project will instantly instill confidence and credibility that local concerns are being aired and accounted for.

Making a friend of HQ

Perhaps the best role of headquarters in a global project is to serve as a global clearinghouse of knowledge, people and dispute resolution. Most failed global projects are rooted in a poor understanding of the headquarters dynamic, usually with the home office underestimating the complexities of field operations or simply turning a blind eye to their requirements and attempting to implement an overly complex solution in the name of "global standardization".

When headquarters is seen as having an open ear and working to transparently resolve disputes that are bound to arise in the course of a global project, the field will eventually see headquarters as a trustworthy asset to the change effort, rather than a monolith bent on implementing ill-conceived projects that get in the way of local operational activities.

For more on the role headquarters should play in a successful global change project and other tips on global projects, please download the free white paper: "Conquering the World--Delivering Globally".

Patrick Gray is the founder and president of Prevoyance Group, and author of Breakthrough IT: Supercharging Organizational Value through Technology. Prevoyance Group provides strategic IT consulting services to Fortune 500 and 1000 companies.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

100-Year-Old Trick Squeezes Fiber-Optic Speeds from Copper Wires

The technology could enable 100-megabit home DSL without an infrastructure upgrade

POPSCI, by Jeremy HsuPosted 04.23.2010 at 1:28 pm6

Copper Wires Is this the future of fiber optic speeds?

Netizens without access to cable broadband speeds might someday get fiber optic speeds over their old copper lines. Alcatel-Lucent combined several old networking tricks to boost DSL speeds over copper telephone lines to 100 megabits per second (Mbps) at distances spanning almost two-thirds of a mile, Technology Review reports.

That could allow telecommunications companies to effectively compete with the 50-Mbps speeds provided by cable companies, but without the need to install new fiber optic lines themselves. It might also give an extra kick to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) plan for providing broadband speeds to 100 million more Americans by 2015.

Such speed boosts rely upon a networking trick invented in 1886 by John J. Carty., an electrical engineer who eventually became a vice president at AT&T. He examined the traditional method of sending digital signals over two wires twisted together (one positive, one negative), and discovered that it was possible to send a third signal on top of four wires arrayed as two separate pairs.

The negative part of the phantom connection goes down one pair, and the positive part travels down the other pair. Analog processors sort out the two real signals and one phantom signal at the wires' final destination.


Any added bandwidth from phantom channels typically gets lost in the increased noise caused by electrical "cross-talk" induction among the bundled wires. But another method known as DSL vectoring was used to cancel out the noise by sending the exact opposite of the cross-talk signal.

A third trick known as bonding also treats multiple copper lines as a single cable, and boosts bandwidth by a multiple almost equal to the number of cables. Both vectoring and bonding have been used in certain urban areas of Europe and Asia, where the economics make sense.

Alcatel-Lucent and other companies could make 100 Mbps speeds over copper a reality within five to ten years, a researcher told Technology Review. Until that happens, netizens can check out the FCC's interactive tools for understanding the current allocation of the broadband spectrum.

[via Technology Review]

Thursday, April 22, 2010

White House Web site releases custom Drupal code

CNet News, by Steven Musil

Six months after announcing it would employ the open-source software Drupal to manage and publish its content, the White House Web site has contributed some custom code to the project.

Dave Cole, a senior adviser to the CIO of the Executive Office of the President and the man responsible for managing, said Wednesday that the administration is contributing four modules it created for the president's revamped Web site.

"This code is available for anyone to review, use, or modify," Cole wrote in a blog announcing the contribution. "We're excited to see how developers across the world put our work to good use in their own applications."

The four new modules focus on improving scalability, communication, and accessibility, Cole wrote.

A module designed to improve scalability is called "Context HTTP Headers" and allows Web site builders to add new metadata to their content and gives instructions to servers on how to manage specific pages, such as cache scheduling. Another module focused on scalability called "Akamai" allows to integrate with content delivery network Akamai.

A communication module called "GovDelivery" allows for more dynamic emails tailored to users' preferences.

An accessibility module called "Node Embed"--designed to make it easier to manage rich photographs and video content--aims to help the site be in compliance with Section 508, the government's accessibility standard.

The White House's announcement last October that it was transitioning to Drupal was a high-profile endorsement for the open-source software, which allows anyone to see, modify, and redistribute the source code underlying the software that's actually installed on a computer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Google, YouTube Received 10,000 Government Requests for User Data

PCWorld, Jon Brodkin, Network World, Apr 21, 2010 5:10 am

Google and the Google-owned YouTube received more than 10,000 requests for user data from government agencies in the six months ending Dec. 31, 2009, according to newly released data.

"Like other technology and communications companies, we regularly receive requests from government agencies around the world to remove content from our services, or provide information about users of our services and products," Google says on a new site that sheds more light onto government demands for user information and requests to take offensive material off the Web.

Google Buzz's Privacy Tweaks: Good Start, Not Enough

The vast majority of requests for private user data "are valid and the information needed is for legitimate criminal investigations." Likewise, many requests to remove videos and other content are valid, for example requests to nix child pornography, Google notes.

"However, data about these activities historically has not been broadly available," Google said in its blog Tuesday. "We believe that greater transparency will lead to less censorship."

Between July 1 and Dec. 31, Google received 3,580 requests for user data from U.S. government agencies, slightly less than the 3,663 originating from Brazil. The United Kingdom and India sent more than 1,000 requests each, and smaller numbers originated from various other countries.

Brazil also sent the most requests to remove content, at 291. Germany was second with 188 such requests, followed by India with 142 and the United States with 123. Google fully or partially complied with 80% of content removal requests in the United States.

The numbers are imperfect, because a single request could consist of multiple users' data or removal of multiple URLs. There could also be multiple requests for the same data or to remove the same content.

So far, Google is not saying how often it complies with government requests for user data, but said it plans to in the future.

"We would like to be able to share more information, including how many times we disclosed data in response to these requests, but it's not an easy matter," Google says. "The requests we receive for user data come from a variety of government agencies with different legal authorities and different forms of requests. Given all this complexity, we haven't figured out yet how to categorize and quantify these requests in a way that adds meaningful transparency, but we plan to in the future."

In related news on Tuesday, Google was sent an open letter by government regulators from several countries demanding that the company respect national laws on user privacy.

Follow Jon Brodkin on Twitter:

Related Article:

Google highlights government censorship

Microsoft to launch cloud computing centre in Taiwan in June

Antara News, Wednesday, April 21, 2010 14:27 WIB

Taipei (ANTARA News/Asia Pulse) - Software giant Microsoft Corp. is due to launch a cloud computing services research center in collaboration with Taiwan's economic ministry sometime around June, a visiting Microsoft executive said Monday.

"We've been having several meetings with the MOEA (Ministry of Economic Affairs) and I guess what I could announce here is we are well underway with launching something called the Microsoft Software and Services Excellence Center," said John Kalkman, vice president of OEM Engineering and Services at Microsoft.

Microsoft seeks to provide software and service support to Taiwanese companies, which excel at designing and making hardware in the field of cloud computing, the Taiwan branch of the U.S. company said in a press release.

Business in Asia Today - Apr. 21, 2010
published by Asia Pulse

Saturday, April 17, 2010

German prosecutors target nine suspects in HP probe


BERLIN — German prosecutors probing whether officials from US computer giant Hewlett-Packard shelled out millions in bribes to win contracts in Russia said Friday they have nine suspects in their cross hairs.

"Nine people are being targeted in this enquiry, six in Germany and three in Russia," Wolfgang Klein, a spokesman for prosecutors in the eastern city of Dresden, told AFP.

Klein said they were probing whether HP executives paid some eight million euros (10.8 million dollars) in bribes to win a 35-million-euro contract to sell equipment, through a German subsidiary, to Russia's prosecutor general.

Three of the suspects in Germany were HP employees, the three other suspects ran partner companies.

In December, German authorities arrested three of the six suspects in Germany in connection with the investigation but were released on bail.

On Wednesday, authorities in Moscow searched the offices of HP's Russian subsidiary, acting on a request from Germany.

The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is also investigating whether HP committed any civil violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

"This probe is independent to ours. They have not contacted us yet, but I expect that will soon happen," he said.

"We know that eight million euros was paid out, but we do not know to whom," he added.

The money seems to have been moved through a network of shell companies and accounts in Britain, Austria, Switzerland, the British Virgin Islands, Belize, New Zealand, Latvia and Lithuania, the prosecutor said.

On Thursday, an HP spokesperson confirmed to AFP that the company has been in touch with the SEC but declined further comment.

"HP has been in communication with the SEC and will continue to fully cooperate with the authorities investigating this matter," the spokesperson said.

Related Articles:

SEC, DOJ Join Bribery Investigation Involving Hewlett-Packard

China probes HP handling of consumer complaints

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Social networking site looks for organ donors

(Photo by RNW)

The nine million users of Dutch social networking website Hyves are being asked whether or not they want to register as organ donors. Hyves - the Dutch version of Facebook - is cooperating with a new government campaign aimed at raising the number of donors.

Previous campaigns have not been very successful, and waiting lists for organ transplants remain long.

This is mainly due to the system used in the Netherlands, where organs can only be used for transplant if an individual has given clear consent before death.


This system is the opposite of the "opt-out" method used in other European countries, such as Belgium and Germany. In these countries, people must indicate they don't want their organs to be used after death.

While a separate campaign has been initiated to change the Dutch law on this, the Dutch Transplant Foundation (NTS) is now using Hyves in a fresh appeal for new donors.

Hyves friends

“We used to address the people in ordinary adverts or leaflets, but that was in a very formal way. Now they get the question whether they want to be a donor simply through their Hyves friends”, NTS spokesperson Janine van Trierum told Radio Netherlands Worldwide. “We think this makes it more likely that they are at least going to think about it”.

All of the nine million users of Hyves – more than half of the Dutch population – may see an advertising banner on their personal page with a simple yes or no question: Would you save the life of a friend? If you click “Yes” you will be automatically redirected to a special NTS website where you can officially sign up as a donor.

After clicking “No”, you will receive a couple of further questions and extra information on why more organ donors are necessary – all of this in a light hearted, attractive and interactive design.

It is also possible to add your donor status to your profile page to let other people know you’re a donor.

Simple question

“It’s a simple question with a simple answer, really”, says Ms Van Trierum. “A lot of people are already aware that they would like to be a donor, but they haven’t yet registered themselves. This campaign aims to help them realise that they have to register to make it official. It takes less than a minute”.

But isn’t this online campaign making it too easy to sign up as an organ donor – a decision that may have far reaching effects for the donor or for relatives after the donor’s death. “If you’re positive towards the idea of becoming a donor, making it easy to do so will only help. But signing up is not definitive. You can always change your mind and change your registration”, according to Ms Van Trierum.

"Besides, if you don't register, your relatives will have to face that decision after you've died at a very difficult moment. You have to wonder whether you would want that", adds Ms van Trierum.

Way forward

An interactive online campaign may be the way forward for the NTS, whose previous donor campaigns with printed adverts have not been very successful. The number of organ donors has remained steady since the mid-1990s.

“These days, it’s best to try several channels instead of just one”, Ms Van Trierum says. “Hyves is a new and very powerful channel to advertise on. We hope we can reach a wider audience with it”.


A broader acceptance of donorship will also help, Ms Van Trierum adds. “It’s much easier these days to talk about it than ten or twenty years ago. People used to get scared of the thought. That’s all changed and it makes it easier to convince more people to sign up – even if the methods are a little more unorthodox than they used to be”.

Microsoft Outsources IT to Infosys

The deal calls for Infosys to manage all Microsoft’s IT services worldwide, with a caveat: pay is tied to outcomes., by: Beth Bacheldor in News, BLOG: Inside IT Outsourcing

I’m sure the Internet’s tongues are a-wagging. Microsoft is outsourcing all its internal IT support to Infosys. You can read about it here.

Under terms of the three-year deal, Infosys will manage the internal IT services for Microsoft worldwide, including IT help desk, desktop management, and infrastructure and application support, from multiple Infosys centers. The deal covers applications, devices, and databases in 450 Microsoft locations across 104 countries.

That’s a big deal, literally and figuratively. No one’s talking financial terms, but clearly it is a lot. (Anyone out there want to wager a guess?)

Anyway, whether you are for or against Microsoft’s decision, whether you think it’s yet another death knell for American businesses and more dramatically the American economy and way of life, Microsoft did do something right.

They tied the cost of the deal to its outcome. The financing is structured in what Infosys refers to as an “outcome-based pricing model,” meaning Infosys’ fees will be based on how successful the gig is, and how much money it manages to save Microsoft.

And it is definitely more than just a straight outsourcing deal, because it’s got all the flavor of a partnership. According to Infosys, the Indian outsourcer will establish a dedicated Service Excellence Office to help Microsoft implement ISO 20000 and ITSM Processes, and provides Infosys with an opportunity to become experts in the implementation and management of the latest Microsoft technologies. Whatever for? So it can then be more equipped to provide outsourcing services to other customers that are using Microsoft.

As Infosys’ Sanjay Jalona, VP and head of manufacturing North America, says in the press release, “This managed services agreement will further strengthen the Infosys – Microsoft partnership, and is a significant milestone in the multi-faceted relationship."

For Microsoft’s part, the software giant expects the deal “will help us enhance how we deliver end-user computing services to our internal employees and partners while leveraging the innovation and investments we make in developing new technologies,” according to Microsoft’s Jim DuBois, GM of Service Management, who is also quoted in Infosys’ press release.

By the way, Infosys had other positive (at least from its perspective) business news to share… it also reported today that revenue for the quarter ended March 31 was US $1.3 billion, up 15.6 percent from the same quarter a year ago, the company said on Tuesday. Net profit grew by 8.7 percent to $349 million (you can read about that here).

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Google Hosts 400 CIOs, Updates Docs

PC World, By Juan Carlos Perez, IDG News Service

Google's enterprise division is hosting several hundred CIOs on Monday at its headquarters, where it will unveil enhancements to its Docs office suite, including a revamped code base.

Docs, which Google has in the past acknowledged doesn't match the sophistication or the features of Microsoft Office, is now architected in a way that will allow for faster and significant improvements, according to a Google official.

"We have built a brand new technology foundation that lets us innovate more quickly," said Anil Sabharwal, a Google Enterprise product manager.

Docs, a free, Web-hosted office productivity suite, is available as a stand-alone product and also as part of the broader Google Apps collaboration and communications suite.

While Google has all along touted the collaboration capabilities that its software-as-a-service model gives Docs, the office suite has lacked enough features to prevent organizations from using it as a complete replacement for Microsoft Office.

In particular, users have complained about difficulty formatting word processing documents, forcing them to export Docs files to Microsoft Office for things like pagination and setting margins.

So far, the strongest feature in Apps has been its Gmail component, which has proven a viable alternative to messaging platforms like Microsoft Exchange and IBM's Lotus Notes.

Now, Google intends to give Docs a big boost, so that it becomes a stronger competitor to Microsoft Office, not just a Web-hosted complement to it.

Google is announcing improvements in the formatting area for its Docs word processing application, including what it calls better "fidelity" when importing and exporting documents to and from Microsoft Office, improved margins and tab stops, better image layout and an enhanced in-document comments system.

The word processing document editor features what Google calls real-time editing collaboration, meaning people can see others making changes "character by character." Also new is a chat window for collaborators to communicate via instant messaging.

The spreadsheet application now has a formula bar for editing cells, and auto-complete and drag-and-drop capabilities. In addition, the drawing editor now lets users collaborate in real time.

The new word processing, spreadsheet and drawing editors allow up to 50 collaborators to simultaneously edit. Docs in general will now be faster thanks to its new infrastructure.

A downside, which Google promises will be temporary, is the disabling of the Gears offline technology in Docs as of May 3. Google expects to bring back the ability to work when disconnected from the Internet soon, taking advantage of HTML 5. Gmail and Calendar will continue to use Gears.

Nucleus Research analyst Rebecca Wettemann calls the improvement to Docs necessary and incremental, but not earth-shattering. "These are all things users are looking for. Do these enhancements make Docs a replacement for Microsoft Office tomorrow? No," she said.

Nonetheless, the upgrades make Docs a more credible alternative to Microsoft Office, which helps Google in its campaign for adoption of the cloud-based Apps in the enterprise, she said.

"Google's model is to get people to move to the cloud. The more attractive Google makes its tools, the easier it is to convince organizations about this," Wettemann said.

Google hopes that Apps, which has been adopted mostly by small companies, continues gaining momentum among large organizations with its Premier edition, which costs US$50 per user per year and has management, security and compliance features that enterprise IT departments require.

Google maintains that Apps, built from the ground up with a cloud computing architecture, is a better, less expensive alternative to traditional communication and collaboration platforms from vendors like Microsoft, IBM and Novell designed to be installed on customers' premises and servers.

However, Microsoft, IBM, Novell and other collaboration vendors are busy retooling their software to take advantage of the cloud computing model.

A big concern about enterprises remains moving their data out of their on-premise servers and entrusting it to cloud vendors, such as Google, Wettemann said.

Google will likely address that thorny topic on Monday at its Atmosphere cloud computing conference, to which it has invited about 400 CIOs.

In addition to announcing the Docs enhancements at the event, Google will trot out some high-ranking officials to address the CIOs, including Bradley Horowitz, enterprise vice president of product management, Mario Queiroz, Android vice president of product management, Marissa Mayer, vice president of Search Products & User Experience and Dave Girouard, president of Google Enterprise.

Also speaking will be Senior Vice President of Engineering and Research Alan Eustace, Senior Vice President of Engineering Jeff Huber and Vint Cerf, chief Internet evangelist. In addition to a CIO panel, Chairman and CEO Marc Benioff and CTO Werner Vogels will also take the stage.

It is the second time Google is holding Atmosphere, but the first time in the U.S. The first edition was held in London last year.

Friday, April 9, 2010

British politician sacked over abusive tweets

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 9 April 2010 - 4:30pm

A British Labour politician who used offensive language on social network Twitter has been banned from standing in next moth's elections.

Stuart MacLennan, a member of Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Labour Party, had abused opposition politicians, Labour rivals and minorities on Twitter.

He branded elderly voters "coffin dodgers" and older Labour rivals a "bastard" and an "idiot," preceded by a strong expletive.

Labour has dropped Mr MacLennan as its parliamentary candidate for Moray, in northeastern Scotland, over "the totally unacceptable language which he has expressed online".

The 24-year-old politician apologised for his messages after a newspaper reported he had referred to opposition Conservative leader David Cameron as a "twat". "I am very sorry. I have been stupid and rightly paid a high price", MacLennan said.

His Twitter feed has since been taken down and his Labour party membership suspended.

Cloud Computing Shakes Up Traditional IT Outsourcing

From:, Stephanie Overby, CIO, April 08, 2010

For all the vagaries of IT services, traditional IT outsourcing has always been quite tangible—servers, data centers, networks, specifications, man-hours, lines of code. The rise of cloud computing, however, is changing all of that with flexible, asset-free IT services available on an as-needed basis for more aspects of enterprise technology.

Cloud services are a boon for many IT departments willing to forego customization: They help IT organizations chip away at hefty capital expenditures from back-end infrastructure to customer-facing software and everything in between. Consequently, the cloud is turning the traditional IT services industry on its head.

"Cloud computing represents a fundamental shift in how companies pay for and access IT services," says Susan Tan, IT services and sourcing research director for Gartner.

In fact, Gartner predicts that by 2012, 20 percent of businesses will own virtually no IT assets. That will be a game changer—for better or worse—for outsourcing vendors of all stripes, from traditional onshore and offshore IT service providers and consultants to system integrators and new, niche vendors.

"If [the] cloud was only about gutting the clunky, expensive and environmentally-unfriendly infrastructure, and having Amazon and company deliver the computing power, then it's really just an infrastructure utility offering," says Phil Fersht, founder of outsourcing consultancy Horses for Sources. "However, if you're going to have your data and applications hosted externally in the cloud, do you really need to manage them yourself anymore? Do you really gain a competitive edge with the way you process your insurance claims, or isn't it time to find a services vendor that will host the app, the associated infrastructure and even process the transactions for you?"

Fersht calls cloud services the foundation for next-generation enterprise sourcing solutions. He believes cloud services will make traditional delivery of IT services more efficient and cost-effective. "They also help create a delivery mechanism for true business process services," he adds. "This new class of [outsourcing] has the potential to unlock tremendous value for customers."

Cloud Computing's Threat to Traditional IT Outsourcing

Traditional, asset-heavy IT outsourcing deals won't go extinct overnight. (Remember the predicted death of the mainframe? Big iron is still humming along.) But the clock is ticking.

"While adoption of cloud services is still low, outsourcers need to adapt to this change. The days of dedicated data centers are probably limited," says Tan. "A lot of outsourcing hinges on having external providers manage assets—both infrastructure and applications—owned by IT departments. This part of the market will decrease. Outsourcers need to invest in cloud services and cloud-based offerings or risk being marginalized."

IT services customers have been looking for something better, faster, cheaper since the first outsourcing contract was signed. Today, they're even more demanding of a new model. "...the pull from clients for new levels of value is getting stronger by the week," says Fersht. "Enterprise decision makers are rightfully fed up with old-school, black-box, ten-year handcuff deals."

Many traditional IT service providers and offshore vendors are beginning to work cloud service into their portfolio—or at least give the appearance of doing so. "Whether cloud computing emerges as a bona fide model or not, service providers must react to it to give the image of currency with the market," says Doug Plotkin, head of U.S. sourcing for PA Consulting Group.

Outsourcers also need to build cloud-based, multi-client data centers to lower their own costs and increase their service provisioning speed.

IBM Global Services and HP are serving up more and more 'x-as-a-service' items on their menus, from infrastructure to storage. Infosys is offering end-to-end IT and business processes—Source-to-Pay for procurement, Hire-to-Retire for HR—on a pay-per-use basis built on a cloud backbone. Wipro Technologies is piloting a central computing cloud to study the potential of the trend. Patni Computing Systems is selling a "cloud acceleration service" to help developers migrate their processes to a cloud-based model the way it did internally and is experimenting with testing-as-a-service.

"The shrewd outsourcers will take advantage of this opportunity to embed cloud services within their broader outsourcing offerings and become cloud services providers themselves," says Tan. "Such innovative offerings can potentially open up segments of markets, such as the small and mid-size businesses."

Those outsourcing vendors that don't develop cloud options will have to align with partners that do, says Fersht. Otherwise, he adds, they risk falling behind the way those providers slow to embrace the globalization trend did.

Some of the alliances between cloud providers and outsourcing vendors could become permanent. "Customers care about where their confidential information is housed, and many will prefer it to be within the confines of a trusted service vendor," rather than that vendor's alliance partner, says Fersht. "Don't be surprised to see mergers between strong infrastructure services and BPO vendors in the coming months as the move to cloud services picks up more steam. "

In the years ahead, cloud services will separate the basic IT and business process body shops from the innovators. "Vendors pushing standard labor arbitrage services under a thin veneer of 'cloud marketing' will quickly get cast aside," Fersht says. "The emergence of next-generation solutions requires a high degree of provider flexibility and management will to embrace new ways of [working]. It's likely that this trend will further segment the provider topography."

But traditional providers should temper their cloud transformations, says PA Consulting's Plotkin. "Large established firms should research the market for the areas they can participate in without going overboard on the idea that they should completely re-architect their solutions and delivery mechanisms," Plotkin says. "Much of their business for the next few years will, in any event, still be comprised of unique solutions for large customers with complex environments to support."

Short-Term Winners: New Firms, Consultants

The biggest cloud-based opportunities could exist for the newer members of the outsourcing industry, like, Rackspace's Jungle Disk (encrypted cloud storage and automated file backup using Amazon S3) and Dropbox (cloud-based file sharing).

"Smaller, less established firms [should] use the cloud as a disruptive technology to supplant the established firms," says Plotkin.

Consultants and systems integrators will benefit from the emergence of enterprise cloud-computing in the short term while the market is characterized by confusion. Medium term, they'll see net new revenue generated from cloud strategy and planning, private and public cloud building, and helping independent software vendors retool for the cloud, according to Tan.

"Equally important, but often overlooked, is the indirect impact of pulled-through work that will likely be generated as a result of the cloud model, such as application consolidation and portfolio rationalization, and helping CIOs figure out the cost of providing [cloud] services internally," says Tan. "Although there are some insidious threats, they will only become impactful in the longer term."

The question is whether players in the cloud services market—traditional IT service providers, offshore outsourcers, consultants and systems integrators, new vendors—will figure out their place in the new outsourcing world order before then.

"We knew back in 1995 that e-commerce was the future of retail, but it really took a decade for it to become widely adopted," says Fersht. "Cloud will likely take three to five years to become fully formed as a business utility offering, but we can be sure its seeds have been sewn and its roots are already taking shape."

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Internet censorship Brussels style

Radio Netherlands Worldwide, 6 April 2010 - 2:36pm, by Perro de Jong

Internet activists are worried that the EU is following in China's footsteps by adopting a 'Eurofilter' designed to block child pornography. They fear the door to censorship is also being left ajar by a treaty to combat illegal downloading. Their concerns are far from unfounded.

What do Tony the Tiger from the Frosties breakfast cereal ad, the late Thai princess Galyani Vadhana and a Finnish hearing-aid manufacturer have in common? All three have fallen foul of internet censorship. Not in China or North Korea, but right here in Europe.

A condolence page for the princess and an advert for hearing aids ended up on a Finnish list of 1000 supposed child pornography websites. And a British man found himself in court last year for downloading a saucy clip of Tony the Tiger sent to him as a joke.

Blacklist criteria?

Finland and the UK have been imposing a limited form of internet censorship for some time, as have other countries such as Belgium and Poland. And if EU Home Affairs Commissioner Cecilia Malmström (pictured above) has anything to do with it, filtering will soon be compulsory in the rest of the EU as well.

Her proposal for a European directive makes little mention of monitoring or the criteria that an internet blacklist would have to meet. As things stand, some countries have set up an independent commission to keeps tabs on who is on the list, while other countries leave this task to the police. And that's the way it will stay.

Organisations such as the Dutch-based Bits of Freedom are therefore concerned that Brussels simply plans to adopt the existing lists without further scrutiny, complete with errors. And without giving any victims of mistaken identity the right to defend themselves, since most of the lists are shrouded in secrecy.

Long arm of the law

Internet activists argue that this is not the only danger. In almost all countries that have used a filter to date, censorship was not limited to child pornography alone. Yet, without exception, combating such pornography was given as the reason for imposing the filter.

"Once the infrastructure is in place, you can filter anything you want," warns security officer Alex de Joode of Leaseweb, which manages over two million websites in the Netherlands and abroad. "The long arm of the law can become very long indeed."

For example, Sweden used the child porn filter to block access to download website The Pirate Bay. German politicians are toying with the idea of using the filter to combat extreme-right propaganda, and a number of countries - including the Netherlands - are looking at the possibility of blocking foreign casino websites.

Leaseweb has meanwhile developed its own filter. As security officer Alex de Joode explains, "Among two million sites there are bound to be things that have to be weeded out." Before he joined Leaseweb, Alex was one of the founders of a hotline to report cases of child pornography in the Netherlands.

Illegal downloads

The next battleground is already being determined by ACTA, the Anti-counterfeiting Trade Agreement that the European Union is negotiating with other countries, most notably the United States. The agreement is aimed at halting the replication and illegal downloading of films, music and other products.

But, as a journalist remarked at a meeting on ACTA in Brussels, so far the only estimates of the damage caused by such practices come from the entertainment industry itself. And the industry operates on the unlikely premise that if a 12-year-old boy downloads 1000 films, the income lost equals the price of 1000 DVDs that he would otherwise have purchased.

In this regard too, there is a risk that Brussels will be too hasty in giving the nod to a solution it is barely able to monitor. The fear that internet censorship is knocking at the door is understandable to say the least.

Related Articles:

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Google row: China's army of censors battles to defeat the internet

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34 people detained in Romania for internet fraud

The Jakarta Post, Associated Press, Bucharest, Romania | Wed, 04/07/2010 4:54 PM

Romanian prosecutors say 34 people have been detained on accusations of internet fraud worth euro800,000.

Organized crime prosecutors say the suspects posted notices on the internet claiming to sell various products, although the merchandise did not exist. Prosecutors say more than 800 people were cheated in several countries, including the US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Spain.

Prosecutors say 10 house searches were also conducted simultaneously in the Czech Republic and 10 people were detained there, as well.

Romanian authorities said that they had received help from FBI and US Secret Service officers.

A court is expected to rule Wednesday on whether the detainees will be arrested for 29 days pending trial.

Shadow cyber spy network revealed

BBC News

A "complex cyber-espionage" network that penetrated various organisations including the Office of the Dalai Lama, has been uncovered by researchers.

The shadow network targeted government, business, and academic computers at the United Nations and the Embassy of Pakistan in the US, among others.

It was used to steal at least 1,500 emails from the Office of the Dalai Lama, the researchers said.

The attacks were thought to originate in the city of Chengdu in China.

Specifically, the researchers, from the Information Warfare Monitor and the Shadowserver Foundation, said they had evidence of "links between the Shadow network and two individuals living in Chengdu".

Information Warfare Monitor comprises researchers from Ottawa-based think tank SecDev Group and the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies.

The individuals were identified by e-mail addresses and are thought to be part of China's "underground hacking community".

The network was outlined in a report called Shadows in the Cloud.

"The social media clouds of cyberspace we rely upon today have a dark, hidden core," said Professor Ron Diebert, director of the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto's Munk Centre, launching the report.

"There is a vast, subterranean ecosystem to cyberspace within which criminal and espionage networks thrive."

He said the network had reached into the "upper echelons of the Indian security establishment" and should act as a "wake up call" to governments to co-operate on cybersecurity.

Social exploits

The team said its eight-month investigation showed no "hard evidence" of the involvement of the government of the People's Republic of China,

"An important question to be entertained is whether the PRC will take action to shut the Shadow network down," the report said.

China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu told a press conference that the country was "firmly opposed" to hacking

"We have from time to time heard this kind of news. I don't know the purpose of stirring up these issues," she said.

She added the researchers have not formally contacted China, although the researchers said they had contacted the country's Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert).

"We would expect that kind of statement," said Professor Diebert.

"Have a look at that report and make up your mind whether you think it is groundless."

The researchers said that the network - known as a botnet - exploited social networking and cloud computing platforms, "including Google, Baidu, Yahoo, and Twitter" to infect computers with malicious software, or malware.

This allowed hackers to take control of the PCs of several foreign ministries and embassies across the world.

A more complex network of "command and control" computers was used to control the infect computers.

'Secret contents'

In 2009, the team previously exposed GhostNet, a massive network that was found to have infiltrated 1,295 computers in 103 countries. That investigation had started at the request of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's spiritual leader.

The new investigation showed that his office had been targeted again, with more than 1,500 letters sent from the Dalai Lama's office between January and November 2009 recovered by the team.

The researchers said that they had also recovered a number of documents that were in the possession of the Indian government, including two documents marked "secret", six as "restricted", and five as "confidential".

Recovered documents included Canadian visa applications.

The team said they had no direct evidence that they had been stolen form Indian Government computers. Instead, they said, the documents may have been stolen after being copied onto personal computers.

In addition, the researchers found evidence that the hackers had targeted the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacifc (UNESCAP).

However the team said the hackers had been largely "indiscriminate in what they took".

"The attackers disproportionately took sensitive information but also took financial and personal information," the team said at launch.

The team said the investigation is ongoing.