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Gary Edwards

Gary Edwards's Public Library

  • The argument is between conservatives who say U.S. politics is basically about a condition, liberty, and progressives who say it is about a process, democracy. Progressives, who consider democracy the  source  of liberty, reverse the Founders’ premise, which was: Liberty preexists governments, which, the Declaration says, are legitimate when “instituted” to “secure” natural rights.
  • Progressives consider, for example, the rights to property and free speech as, in Sandefur’s formulation, “spaces of privacy” that government chooses “to carve out and protect” to the extent that these rights serve democracy.
  • Conservatives believe that liberty, understood as a general absence of interference, and individual rights, which cannot be exhaustively listed, are natural and that governmental restrictions on them must be as few as possible and rigorously justified. Merely invoking the right of a majority to have its way is an insufficient justification.

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17 Apr 14

Good story of how a UK Company responded to Microsoft's announcement if XP end of life. After examining many alternatives, they settled on a ChromeBook-ChromeBox - Citrix solution. Most of the existing desktop hardware was repurposed as ChromeTops running Chrome Browser apps and Citrix XenDesktop for legacy data apps.

excerpt/intro:
"There are the XP diehards, and the Windows 7 and 8 migrators. But in a world facing up to the end of Windows XP support, one UK organisation belongs to another significant group — those breaking with Microsoft as their principal OS provider.

Microsoft's end of routine security patching and software updates on 8 April helped push the London borough of Barking and Dagenham to a decision it might otherwise not have taken over the fate of its 3,500 Windows XP desktops and 800 laptops.

"They were beginning to creak but they would have gone on for a while. It's fair to say if XP wasn't going out of life, we probably wouldn't be doing this now," Barking and Dagenham general manager IT Sheyne Lucock said.

Around one-eighth of corporate Windows XP users are moving away from Microsoft, according to recent Tech Pro Research.

Lucock said it had become clear that the local authority was locked into a regular Windows operating system refresh cycle that it could no longer afford.

"If we just replaced all the Windows desktops with newer versions running a newer version of Windows, four years later we would have to do the same again and so on," he said.

"So there was an inclination to try and do something different — especially as we know that with all the budget challenges that local government is going to be faced with, we're going to have to halve the cost of our ICT service over the next five years."

Barking and Dagenham outsourced its IT in December 2010 to Elevate East London, which is a joint-venture between the council and services firm Agilisys.
Lucock and systems architect Rupert Hay-Campbell are responsible for strategy, policy and investment while Elevate looks after delivery."

in list: Cloud Computing

16 Apr 14

TAILS anonymous Operating System-

excerpt:
"When NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden first emailed Glenn Greenwald, he insisted on using email encryption software called PGP for all communications. But this month, we learned that Snowden used another technology to keep his communications out of the NSA’s prying eyes. It’s called Tails. And naturally, nobody knows exactly who created it.

Tails is a kind of computer-in-a-box. You install it on a DVD or USB drive, boot up the computer from the drive and, voila, you’re pretty close to anonymous on the internet. At its heart, Tails is a version of the Linux operating system optimized for anonymity. It comes with several privacy and encryption tools, most notably Tor, an application that anonymizes a user’s internet traffic by routing it through a network of computers run by volunteers around the world.

Snowden, Greenwald and their collaborator, documentary film maker Laura Poitras, used it because, by design, Tails doesn’t store any data locally. This makes it virtually immune to malicious software, and prevents someone from performing effective forensics on the computer after the fact. That protects both the journalists, and often more importantly, their sources.

“The installation and verification has a learning curve to make sure it is installed correctly,” Poitras told WIRED by e-mail. “But once the set up is done, I think it is very easy to use.”

An Operating System for Anonymity
Originally developed as a research project by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory, Tor has been used by a wide range of people who care about online anonymity: everyone from Silk Road drug dealers, to activists, whistleblowers, stalking victims and people who simply like their online privacy.
Tails makes it much easier to use Tor and other privacy tools. Once you boot into Tails — which requires no special setup — Tor runs automatically. When you’re done using it, you can boot back into your PC’s normal operating system, and no history from your Tails session will remain."

in list: Cloud Computing

16 Apr 14

Great story that is at the center of a new cloud computing platform. I met David Flynn back when he was first demonstrating the Realmsys flash card. Extraordinary stuff. He was using the technology to open a secure Linux computing window on an operating Windows XP system. The card opened up a secure data socket, connecting to any Internet Server or Data Server, and running applications on that data - while running Windows and Windows apps in the background. Incredible mesh of Linux, streaming data, and legacy Windows apps. Everytime I find these tech pieces explaining Fusion-io though, I can't help but think that David Flynn is one of the most decent, kind and truly deserving of success people that I have ever met.
excerpt:
"Apple is spending mountains of money on a new breed of hardware device from a company called Fusion-io. As a public company, Fusion-io is required to disclose information about customers that account for an usually large portion of its revenue, and with its latest annual report, the Salt Lake City outfit reveals that in 2012, at least 25 percent of its revenue — $89.8 million — came from Apple. That’s just one figure, from just one company. But it serves as a sign post, showing you where the modern data center is headed.

‘There’s now a blurring between the storage world and the memory world. People have been enlightened by Fusion-io.’
— Gary Gentry
Inside a data center like the one Apple operates in Maiden, North Carolina, you’ll find thousands of computer servers. Fusion-io makes a slim card that slots inside these machines, and it’s packed with hundreds of gigabytes of flash memory, the same stuff that holds all the software and the data on your smartphone. You can think of this card as a much-needed replacement for the good old-fashioned hard disk that typically sits inside a server. Much like a hard disk, it stores information. But it doesn’t have any moving parts, which means it’s generally more reliable. It consumes less power. And it lets you read and write data far more quickly.

But that’s only one way to think about it. The same card can also act like a beefed-up version of a server’s main memory subsystem — the place where the central processor temporarily caches data it needs quick access to. You see, today’s super-fast processors have outstripped not only the hard disk, but main memory — the hard disk is too slow, the memory too small — and with its flash cards, Fusion-io aims to remove both bottlenecks.

“You can make it look like traditional storage if you want to, but it can also give you the appearance of more memory inside a system,” says Fusion-io CEO David Flynn, the engineer who founded the company in 2006, alongside a serial entrepreneur named Rick White. “We called it Fusion-io because it was a fusion of memory and storage. They weren’t two separate things.”

The end result is that an outfit like Apple can more efficiently handle all the requests streaming into its data center from across the internet. It can deliver data faster, and it can do so with fewer servers — something that’s vitally important when you’re running such an enormous operation. That’s why Apple is spending so much with Fusion-io — and it’s why many others are moving in the same direction. In 2012, Facebook spent even more with the flash outfit than Apple did: $107.79 million. All told, the two internet giants have spent nearly a half billion dollars with Fusion-io over the years, and smaller but growing operations like Salesforce.com are using these cards as well.

Fusion-io has been so successful inside these massive data centers, it has spawned an army of imitators. Just last week, tech giant EMC uncloaked a new set of flash cards along the same lines, as did Silicon Valley startup Violin Memory. Another startup, Virident Systems, is building similar cards, and Seagate will soon start hawking these Virident cards to big-name web operations and other businesses. Yes, Seagate, one of the world’s biggest hard drive makers."

in list: Cloud Computing

  • A Jewish businessman in Brooklyn decided to send his son to Israel to absorb some of the culture of the homeland.
    When the son returned, the father asked him to tell him about his trip.
    The son said, "Pop, I had a great time in Israel. Oh, and by the way, I converted to Christianity."
    "Oh, my," said the father. What have I done?"
    He decided to go ask his old friend Jacob what to do.
    Jake said, "Funny you should ask. I too sent my son to Israel, and he also came back a Christian. Perhaps we should go see the rabbi and ask him what we should do."
    So they went to see the rabbi.
    The rabbi said, "Funny you should ask. I too sent my son to Israel. He also came back a Christian. What is happening to our young people?
    The three of them prayed and explained what had happened to their sons and asked God what to do.
    Suddenly a voice came loud and clear from Heaven.
    The Voice said, "Funny you should ask. I, too, sent my Son to Israel....
07 Apr 14

"The Red Line and the Rat Line:

Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels
excerpt/intro: In 2011 Barack Obama led an allied military intervention in Libya without consulting the US Congress. Last August, after the sarin attack on the Damascus suburb of Ghouta, he was ready to launch an allied air strike, this time to punish the Syrian government for allegedly crossing the ‘red line’ he had set in 2012 on the use of chemical weapons.​* Then with less than two days to go before the planned strike, he announced that he would seek congressional approval for the intervention. The strike was postponed as Congress prepared for hearings, and subsequently cancelled when Obama accepted Assad’s offer to relinquish his chemical arsenal in a deal brokered by Russia. Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya? The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and military leaders who thought that going to war was both unjustified and potentially disastrous.

Obama’s change of mind had its origins at Porton Down, the defence laboratory in Wiltshire. British intelligence had obtained a sample of the sarin used in the 21 August attack and analysis demonstrated that the gas used didn’t match the batches known to exist in the Syrian army’s chemical weapons arsenal. The message that the case against Syria wouldn’t hold up was quickly relayed to the US joint chiefs of staff. The British report heightened doubts inside the Pentagon; the joint chiefs were already preparing to warn Obama that his plans for a far-reaching bomb and missile attack on Syria’s infrastructure could lead to a wider war in the Middle East. As a consequence the American officers delivered a last-minute caution to the president, which, in their view, eventually led to his cancelling the attack."

in list: Banksters

05 Apr 14

Published on Feb 11, 2014
http://usawatchdog.com/united-states-... - Can we pull the world out of this economic calamity? Former World Bank Attorney Karen Hudes says, "It may be that we don't, in which case, we end up in what happened just before we went into the dark ages, when gold went into hiding . . . . We can bring this gold that belongs to humanity out of its cloak of secrecy and out of hiding or we can go back into the dark ages. And we can have pestilence and starvation. . . . Civilization breaks down. We cannot pay for our international trade. Either we take back our gold, our legality, and we tell this group that thinks it's above the law that it is not above the law, or we can kiss ourselves goodbye. Humanity will not continue, we will have World War III. Join Greg Hunter as he goes One-on-One with former World Bank Attorney Karen Hudes.

in list: Banksters

05 Apr 14

excerpt/intro:
Last month marked the one-year anniversary of the formation of the Readium Foundation (Readium.org), an independent nonprofit launched in March 2013 with the objective of developing commercial-grade open source publishing technology software. The overall goal of Readium.org is to accelerate adoption of ePub 3, HTML5, and the Open Web Platform by the digital publishing industry to help realize the full potential of open-standards-based interoperability. More specifically, the aim is to raise the bar for ePub 3 support across the industry so that ePub maintains its position as the standard distribution format for e-books and expands its reach to include other types of digital publications.

In its first year, the Readium consortium added 15 organizations to its membership, including Adobe, Google, IBM, Ingram, KERIS (S. Korea Education Ministry), and the New York Public Library. The membership now boasts publishers, retailers, distributors and technology companies from around the world, including organizations based in France, Germany, Norway, U.S., Canada, China, Korea, and Japan. In addition, in February 2014 the first Readium.org board was elected by the membership and the first three projects being developed by members and other contributors are all nearing "1.0" status.

The first project, Readium SDK, is a rendering "engine" enabling native apps to support ePub 3. Readium SDK is available on four platforms-Android, iOS, OS/X, and Windows- and the first product incorporating Readium SDK (by ACCESS Japan) was announced last October. Readium SDK is designed to be DRM-agnostic, and vendors Adobe and Sony have publicized plans to integrate their respective DRM solutions with Readium SDK.

A second effort, Readium JS, is a pure JavaScript ePub 3 implementation, with configurations now available for cloud based deployment of ePub files, as well as Readium for Chrome, the successor to the original Readium Chrome extension developed by IDPF as the first reference implementation of ePub 3. This February, the first results of independent ePub 3 conformance testing were published on epubtest.org (a joint project of BISG, IDPF, and DAISY Consortium), and the recently released Readium for Chrome configuration of Readium JS received the highest score of more than a dozen tested reading systems.

The third project, Readium LCP, is an interoperable vendor-neutral (DRM) technology. LCP stands for "Lightweight Content Protection," a name that captures the spirit of the initiative to create a low-cost consumer-friendly solution to protect content from unauthorized redistribution. The initial spec for Readium LCP is complete, and initial implementations of Readium LCP client and server technology were demonstrated the 2014 Paris Book Fair. Readium LCP is available for use with Readium SDK, as an alternative and complement to commercial DRM solutions.

These projects are open source software, with active development communities. More information is available on readium.org; the code is available on github.com/readium.

in list: Cloud Computing

  • NSA performed warrantless searches on Americans' calls and emails – Clapper
    • NSA used 'back door' to search Americans' communications
    • Director of national intelligence confirms use of new legal rule
    • Data collected under 'Prism' and 'Upstream' programs
  • Clapper said: 'These queries were performed pursuant to minimization procedures and consistent with the statute and the fourth amendment.' Photo: Shawn Thew/EPA

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  • Libertarianism is a beautiful and elegant edifice of thought and practice. It begins with and logically builds upon the principle of self-ownership. In the society it calls for, no one may initiate physical force against anyone else. What this says about the libertarian's view of moral enormities ranging from slavery to war should be obvious, but the libertarian commitment to freedom extends well beyond the clear and obvious scourges of mankind.
  • Our position is not merely that the state is a moral evil, but that human liberty is a tremendous moral good. Human beings ought to interact with each other on the basis of reason – their distinguishing characteristic – rather than with hangmen and guns. And when they do so, the results, by a welcome happenstance, are rising living standards, an explosion in creativity and technological advance, and peace. Even in the world's partially capitalist societies, hundreds of millions if not billions of people have been liberated from the miserable, soul-crushing conditions of hand-to-mouth existence in exchange for far more meaningful and fulfilling lives.
  • Libertarianism, in other words, in its pure and undiluted form, is intellectually rigorous, morally consistent, and altogether exciting and thrilling. It need not and should not be fused with any extraneous ideology. This can lead only to confusion, and to watering down the central moral claims, and the overall appeal, of the message of liberty.

  • Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.
      ~ Richard Feynman

     

      The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch   them without doing anything, and ...
    ...We cannot solve our problems   with the same thinking that we used when we created them.

    ~ Albert Einstein

  • Communism is dead. The socialistic agendas that have lined the pockets of government and filled the coffers of banks is over. The national debts are on average composed of 70% interest payments not programs to help the poor as marketed. The debts that keep growing with no intent upon paying anyone back are draining the national productivity and turning the people into economic slaves. The standard of living has declined and it now takes two incomes to survive where one use to be just fine. Women won the right to work and lost the right to stay home.
  • The promises that you save for the future have collapsed into dust as interest rates have been driven lower making savings utterly worthless. There is no such thing as saving and living off your fixed income. The elderly are being driven back into the work force and the whole ideas that a generation believed in are vanishing before their eyes.

     

    So it is no longer communists and dictators that are the targets. All governments are now the targets and when the economy turns down after 2015.75, the threat of civilization will be pulled apart by the self-interest of politicians clinging to power to the detriment of the people.

  • So my only two health insurance options — and yours, too, as soon as the waivers expire, America! — are: (1) a plan that no doctors take; or (2) a plan that no hospitals take. You either pay for all your doctor visits and tests yourself, or you pay for your cancer treatment yourself. And you pay through the nose in either case.

     

    That’s not insurance! It’s a huge transfer of wealth from people who work for a living to those who don’t, accomplished by forcing the workers to buy insurance that’s not insurance. Obamacare has made actual health insurance “illegal.”

  • It’s not “insurance” when what I want to insure against isn’t covered, but paying for other people’s health care needs — defined broadly — is mandatory.
  • Health insurance has been outlawed, replaced with a welfare program that has been renamed “insurance.”
27 Mar 14

Yesterday Google announced dramatic price reductions for their Cloud Computing platform. This announcement was followed immediately by a similar announcement from Amazon. But what about Microsoft?

The truth is that Microsoft doesn't need to reduce prices, and they are forcing both Google and Amazon reductions. My guess is that there are more reductions to come too.

The answer is in this review of SharePoint OnLine and Office 365, where the author points out the fact that Google Drive / Apps totally mangles an MSOffice document. Once Google converts the documents, they are useless.

"I previously wrote about how my company used to juggle two distinct file storage systems. We had Google Drive as our web-based cloud document platform, buts its penetration didn't go much further than its Google Docs functionality. That's because Google has a love-hate relationship with any Office file that's not a Google Doc. Sure, you can upload it and store it on the service, but the bells and whistles end there. Want to edit it with others? It MUST be converted to Google's format.

And so we had to keep a crutch in place for everything else that had to stay in traditional Office formats, either due to customer requirements, complex formatting, or other reasons. That other device for us was a simple QNAP NAS box with 1.5TB of space."

In 2006-2007, when we were in the middle of the great ODF vs OOXML document wars, I had a conversation with Google's Open Source - Opoen Standards guru, Chris DiBona. It was during the Massachusetts crisis, and we were trying to garner Google Corporate support for ODF. Chris listened to my pitch and summarized his position that conversion methods were very advanced, and going forward, file formats really didn't matter. He famously said, "Let a thousand formats bloom".

I wonder if he still thinks that?

in list: Cloud Computing

  • For this article, I wanted to focus on an important aspect of our move to Office 365, and that was our adoption of SharePoint Online as our sole document file server. I know, how passé for me to call it a file server as it represents everything that fixes what plagues traditional file servers and NASes.

     

    Let's face it: file servers have been a necessary evil, not a nicety that have enabled collaboration and seamless access to data. They offer superior security and storage space, but this comes at the price of external access and coauthoring functionality. Corporate IT departments have had a band-aid known as VPN for some time now, but it falls short of being the panacea vendors like Cisco make it out to be.

     

    I know this well -- I support these kinds of VPNs day to day. Their licensing is convoluted, they're drowning in client application bug hell, and most of all, bound by the performance bottlenecks on either the client or server end.

  • I previously wrote about how my company used to juggle two distinct file storage systems. We had Google Drive as our web-based cloud document platform, buts its penetration didn't go much further than its Google Docs functionality. That's because Google has a love-hate relationship with any Office file that's not a Google Doc. Sure, you can upload it and store it on the service, but the bells and whistles end there. Want to edit it with others? It MUST be converted to Google's format.

     

    And so we had to keep a crutch in place for everything else that had to stay in traditional Office formats, either due to customer requirements, complex formatting, or other reasons. That other device for us was a simple QNAP NAS box with 1.5TB of space.

  • I previously wrote about how my company used to juggle two distinct file storage systems. We had Google Drive as our web-based cloud document platform, buts its penetration didn't go much further than its Google Docs functionality. That's because Google has a love-hate relationship with any Office file that's not a Google Doc. Sure, you can upload it and store it on the service, but the bells and whistles end there. Want to edit it with others? It MUST be converted to Google's format.

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  • The advent of Office:  Part of Microsoft’s advantage lay in its savvy decision to offer a bundled version of most of what we know today as Microsoft Office at a very attractive price, compared with à la carte purchases of the stand-alone products of its competitors.  As usual, Microsoft first offered the suite to the Macintosh customers it did not yet have (in 1989), and only made the new software available to its own, existing Windows customers in the following year.  Buying the whole package from the same vendor had advantages beyond price, however:  because Microsoft developed each of the component products, they could work easily and seamlessly together.  As a result, when a customer used Microsoft’s Word as well as its Excel programs, data entered into one could be easily transferred into the other.  In fact, an entire spreadsheet could be embedded in a Word document, providing a great benefit to a harried middle manager rushing to complete a report in time for a meeting with her boss.
  • Moreover, because Microsoft now had useful application products as well as OS software to sell, it could offer OS/application packages with bundled pricing as well, making it easy to practically give away new products it wished to promote while still turning a profit.  As a result, it could make it particularly attractive for both existing as well as new customers to make the transition from their old application software to Microsoft’s competing – and (initially) low priced – offerings.  Once installed, of course Microsoft could sell upgrades of the same software to the same customers – at full price – for many years to come.
  • The dawn of the age of collaboration: 

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in list: Banksters

  • To get a sense of how radical the Bank's new position is, consider the conventional view, which continues to be the basis of all respectable debate on public policy. People put their money in banks. Banks then lend that money out at interest – either to consumers, or to entrepreneurs willing to invest it in some profitable enterprise. True, the fractional reserve system does allow banks to lend out considerably more than they hold in reserve, and true, if savings don't suffice, private banks can seek to borrow more from the central bank.
  • The central bank can print as much money as it wishes. But it is also careful not to print too much. In fact, we are often told this is why independent central banks exist in the first place. If governments could print money themselves, they would surely put out too much of it, and the resulting inflation would throw the economy into chaos. Institutions such as the Bank of England or US Federal Reserve were created to carefully regulate the money supply to prevent inflation. This is why they are forbidden to directly fund the government, say, by buying treasury bonds, but instead fund private economic activity that the government merely taxes.
  • It's this understanding that allows us to continue to talk about money as if it were a limited resource like bauxite or petroleum, to say "there's just not enough money" to fund social programmes, to speak of the immorality of government debt or of public spending "crowding out" the private sector. What the Bank of England admitted this week is that none of this is really true. To quote from its own initial summary: "Rather than banks receiving deposits when households save and then lending them out, bank lending creates deposits" … "In normal times, the central bank does not fix the amount of money in circulation, nor is central bank money 'multiplied up' into more loans and deposits."

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