Robert Pogson

One man, closing all the windows.

Monthly Archives / December 2012

  • Dec 30 / 2012
  • 54

Piers Morgan’s “pinko-liberal” Illogic

“The ‘more guns, less crime’ argument is utter nonsense. Britain, after Dunblane, introduced some of the toughest gun laws in Europe, and we average just 35 gun murders a year.

Japan, which has the toughest gun control in the world, had just TWO in 2006 and averages fewer than 20 a year. In Australia, they’ve not had a mass shooting since stringent new laws were brought in after 35 people were murdered in the country’s worst-ever mass shooting in Tasmania in 1996. Fewer guns equals less gun murder. This is not a ‘pinko liberal’ hypothesis. It’s a simple fact.”
see Piers Morgan: Deport me? If America won't change its crazy gun laws I may deport myself.

Piers Morgan seems not to understand the difference between a fact and an irrelevant fact. Does it matter that a murder is committed with a firearm or some other means? Ask the victims.

UN Statistics on Intentional Homicide

Country Rate
Japan 2009 – 0.4 per 100K
Australia 2010 – 1.0 per 100K
UK 2009 – 1.2 per 100K
USA 2010 – 4.8 per 100K

So, Piers Morgan is thinking of moving from USA to UK to reduce his chances of being murdered by a factor of 4. Does that small difference have anything to do with 100-round magazines or semi-auto rifles available at Wal-mart? Nope. “about 30-60 people are struck by lightning each year in Britain of whom, on average, three may be killed. This compares with about 75 deaths in the much larger USA” Population of UK is ~63million and population of USA is ~314million so he is 5 times more likely to be killed by lightning in USA than UK but he does not want to leave USA because of lightning. Does that make any sense? The USA has “tornado alleys” and hurricanes, a much more dangerous situation than UK. It’s the people who expose themselves to lightning. Laws have nothing to do with murder-rates. It’s people who commit such crimes, not laws. It’s people who play golf in lightning storms, not laws.

If Piers Morgan’s logic held, the murder rate in USA would be thousands of times larger than in UK but it is not. Does it matter that the murder rate by firearms is hundreds of times larger if the murder rate is only a few times larger? Nope. Ask the victims. The murder rate in UK may fluctuate a few times from one year to the next. The rate is of little significance. Neither is the rate in USA. Much of that is about the “drug wars”, not firearms nor laws. If drugs were legalized, drug dealers would have no reason to kill anyone. “Mass shootings” are almost irrelevant to the statistics of murders being perhaps 1%.

Conversely, the fact that the murder rate in USA is so low even with the availability of numerous and powerful firearms is a testament to the good sense of USAians. BTW, you cannot casually walk into Wal-mart and buy an armful of AR-15s. Wal-mart does not sell AR-15s. Bushmaster sells an imitation of an AR-15, a firearm exclusive to Colt, and you need a background check and a waiting period at Wal-mart …

So, Piers Morgan claims to love USA all the while being willing to lie to USAians and mislead them about the reality of firearms.

  • Dec 30 / 2012
  • 0

Information Technology is a Dog-fight

Ever seen dogs fight? After the barking and snarling has proven ineffective, they go all out manoeuvring for position to get their fangs into the throat of the opponent. Information Technology is like that. M$ knows no limits legal or moral in its attempt to enslave all IT. FLOSS and GNU/Linux have moral limits but their standards permit much greater flexibility and speed for the fight.

For years now GNU/Linux has been winning against M$ with huge roll-outs, avoiding waves of malware and lock-in. Extremely rapid development not only of software but new ways of using the latest hardware allow GNU/Linux to rapidly adapt to changes in the market for IT and to counter M$’s machinations. M$ just cannot compete with that. No single corporation can. M$ enlists all kinds of “partners” to increase its weight but M$ being the bottleneck that it is prevents them from winning ultimately. GNU/Linux is like a modern jet-fighter slicing through a flock of bats. Night or day, GNU/Linux wins the day.

  • Dec 30 / 2012
  • 2

IBM on The Wrong Side of Software-Patents Issue

A company as productive of real inventions as IBM should be ashamed to support software-patents but that’s what they do in a recent amicus brief:
“That the vast majority of computer-implemented inventions are patent eligible is beyond debate. Computer-implemented inventions are the lifeblood of the innovations that created the Information Age and are on par with the most ingenious inventive acts that mankind has ever known.

if that invention’s functionality requires computer implementation, this would counsel in favor of patent eligibility”

see Groklaw – CLS Bank v. Alice – Some Amicus Briefs ~pj.

They proceed from begging the question to blatant error in logic. I hope this is just the vomit of one of their lawyers and not the philosophy of the corporation… otherwise, IBM is doomed to sue and be sued forever.

Certainly software is an important part of most modern technology but it is not an invention any more than a poem is an invention. Any sequence of characters that fits the syntax of a programming language is software but it is not patentable. It is a copyright-protected work. Just as one cannot patent a novel. One cannot or should not be able to patent software. That is an error which has cost the world’s economy many $billions for no increase in productivity whatsoever. One can neither patent the abstract ideas of a novel nor the particular text used to express those ideas.

No invention can require implementation in software. Anything that can be done in software could be done with human thought or pencil and paper given enough time. It is not patentable to claim use of computers to make processes faster because that is obvious to say the least. Neither is an “invention” using an IBM mainframe patentable because it uses a mainframe instead of a pocket calculator. That’s just silly. There’s no innovation in time. It’s just an abstract quantity. Nature does not worry about time. A billion years is the same as a nanosecond to Nature. A muscular axeman is not an innovation over a frail axeman, just an obvious choice to increase production.

It is doubtful that the present en banc hearing will accomplish much except to take the issue one step closer to serious examination by SCOTUS. I await the happy day when SCOTUS announces the emperor of software patents has no clothes, something children have known for years because children are not confused by layers of abstraction as are some lawyers considering technology. Adding layers of abstraction does not make a new process patentable. It’s still an abstract idea, explicitly excluded from patentability. Computers and software do not make new machines. That’s an old idea. We’ve been there and done that for decades.

The Internet Retailers’ amicus brief says it all:
“The mere presence in a claim-whether directed to a method, system, or storage medium-of a “computer” or “the Internet” does nothing to concretize an abstract idea. The idea of displaying photographs of products for sale adjacent to text describing those products (a/k/a a catalog) is not made less abstract by reference to implementation “on a computer” any more than it would be rendered less abstract by reference to it being implemented “on paper.” Computer implementation must add something more, and more specific, before it can be considered relevant to resolving the patent-eligibility question. In this regard, computer-implementation is neither a different nor special mode of implementation entided to greater judicial deference than others….”

  • Dec 28 / 2012
  • 1

Finishing the Egyptian Revolution – IT

Egyptians have died for their revolution and many find the recently adopted/foisted constitution horrific. So, too, do FLOSSies view the plan to “upgrade” IT in Egypt by throwing more money at M$.
“At a cost of more than 43 million dollars, activists such as Abdel Rahman Mansour from the We are all Khaled Sayeed and human rights’ organisations such as the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights say it is a waste of money, considering the availability of Free Open Source Software (FOSS) and Egypt’s current economic state.”

see Open Source movement to protest Microsoft deal – Daily News Egypt.

It’s time Egypt come to a consensus on their constitution and, if they want freedom, kick M$ out of the country.

  • Dec 26 / 2012
  • 0

Bombing Bakeries

“An air assault in Homs province killed at least 15 people Monday, a day after more than 100 were killed at a bakery in Hama province, opposition activists said.”

see A Christian prayer for peace in Syria –

The Syrian government seems to have no moral compass at all. The more their grip on territory loosens the more brutal they become. Bakeries are easy targets. They are hot and show up well on infrared sighting systems and people tend to queue up for scarce supplies. The baking cannot be distributed because of shortages of power and fuel and flour.

It’s time the world intervened and bombed the cities with bread at least. How many lives could be saved just by such air-drops? The world should also prevent Assad’s military planes from flying. They must be fairly concentrated on the ground and cratering runways 24×7 would do a lot.

I recommend the world give up on the idea of trying to keep a lid on Syria by letting Assad kill wantonly. It’s past the time the rebels should be armed to push Assad out ASAP (As Soon As Possible). They need small arms and light anti-tank weapons. They should be provided target identifiers for the world to get reliable aiming points to punish Assad’s troops. Communications equipment could be used to identify the presence of Assad’s air power too. The rate of defection is increasing. A little push might go a long way. A welcome mat in a neighbouring country for Assad’s planes to defect might be helpful. Perhaps a landing strip can be secured elsewhere in Syria. Destroy the planes or recruit the pilots. It’s all good.

The status quo does no one any good. It just prolongs the misery of the innocent and will no doubt make the rebels even more bitter.

  • Dec 26 / 2012
  • 19

Why Firearms-Control Laws Are Despised

Proponents of “gun-control” laws frequently ask why anyone would oppose laws that “save children” etc. Well, here’s another example of what can go wrong with firearms licensing. A newspaper requested and received information on firearms licencees under “Freedom of Information” in USA and published the data about handgun licencees:“hundreds of residents were shocked to see their information posted without their being notified. Some said the map would prompt burglaries because thieves are now aware of where weapons might be found.”

see Newspaper sparks outrage for publishing names, addresses of gun permit holders –

Idiots! With idiots making such poor decisions is it any wonder I and many others take a dim view of firearms licensing? Need/want a handgun? Here’s a list of homes you can burgle/invade… Twits! That such a result can pass three layers of idiots shows it’s not paranoia. One layer of idiots passed the licensing regime. Another layer of idiots released the information about licensees and a third made it public. The idiots are out to get firearms owners. It’s not about saving children but putting firearms owners at risk/trouble.

Why on Earth does firearms licencees’ personal information become subject to Freedom of Information? Whatever happened to privacy? Stories like this will encourage the black market in firearms, the opposite of what the “gun-controllers” seek.

Other issues that trouble firearms-owners about “gun-control”:

  • it’s really “people-control” not gun-control,
  • it hobbles law-abiding people while criminals can ignore the law trivially,
  • it does not save any children, and
  • the cost is horrendous causing waste and expense for consumers, businesses and manufacturers, harming the economy.

The problem with criminal use of firearms is not firearms but criminals. Making good people into criminals by restricting ownership/use of firearms to the point where it is easier to violate the law than to obey it is irrational. Aren’t the prisons full enough with the wars in Afghanistan, on terror and on drugs? Why will another war make the world a better place? Please, stop this war on firearms-owners.

Let’s publish lists of people and addresses where other valuables are likely to be found:

  • diamonds,
  • gold,
  • art,
  • luxury cars, and
  • our children.

After all, if it saves one child, it’s worth the hassle. Right? Doesn’t everyone have the right to know what we’ve got?

  • Dec 26 / 2012
  • 18

The Future of LibreOffice and Other Office-Suites

“it is a dilemma for both TDF and Apache as to whether to divert resources into an open source web version of the software or plough on competing with MSO for a desktop space that looks like becoming a paradigm of the past.”

Mail Thread Index – The Document Foundation Mailing List Archives starting at message 06698.

While this is definitely a matter on the horizon there will be years of relevance still for hundreds of millions of XP machines looking for a home. If XP becomes no longer an option in 2014, many millions will go to GNU/Linux whereupon MSO is not an option except from a terminal server. I expect we are only a year or two away from useful LibreOffice versions for the web. Already there are demonstration projects.

MSO, OTOH, is handicapped by legacy installed base and features not portable to the web. M$ cannot respond to these issues rapidly without cutting their revenue-streams. They have to shift gradually and in the process will lose customers to Google and LibreOffice. It’s all good. LibreOffice should continue good growth.

“As of today, LibreOffice is being used by close to 60 million people. It is the standard free office suite on all major platforms, available in over 100 languages. Large cities and organizations are deploying it very successfully, more and more schools and universities are rolling it out, and there’s not a single month where it is not covered by major media around the globe – because we always have good news to share. The Document Foundation has become a member of leading organizations for free software and open standards, and at the very same time, is widely seen as a the leader in its area, built on strong reputation and credibility. Last but not least, the ecosystem is growing rapidly, as more and more enterprises discover the business benefit of truly free software.”

see recent conference announcement

  • Dec 26 / 2012
  • 0

New Horizon in IT, Ultra-Low-Voltage IC Technology

“the ultra-low-voltage SoC technology is able to utilize innovations facilitating power generation via ambient energy sources, Wu pointed out. For example, thermo-electric generator SoCs can convert heat emitted from human bodies into electricity

via ITRI debuts ultra-low-voltage IC technology.

The demonstration was at 65nm. If this can be done at 14nm, the future is now. CPUs will be able to run on trivial amounts of energy available from photo-voltaic, shaking or thermo-electricity. This will allow more throughput on mobile devices or much less use of battery-power. Pick whatever combination you want. Clients will become thinner and servers much more efficient.

  • Dec 25 / 2012
  • 0

Government of India Generates Hundreds of FLOSS Promotional Videos

“Do you know that the Government is planning to provide the next generation Aakash devices at a cost not exceeding Rs. 1,138 to the students?  The details of this proposal are summarised in this letter.  This letter has been sent to all Heads of Educational Institutions in India. Please ask the Head of your Institution to respond to this letter.”

see Home |

Wow! Indians can play videos on many FLOSS topics in their own languages. India is bridging the Digital Divide, promoting Free Software and providing low cost IT to Indians all at once. Amazing. World, WAKE UP!

  • Dec 25 / 2012
  • 3

China market: November mobile phone users grow to 1.104 billion, says MIIT

“There were 1.104 billion subscribers to mobile communication services in China as of the end of November 2012″

see China market: November mobile phone users grow to 1.104 billion, says MIIT.

That’s 80% of the population, folks. No longer is China a follower in IT. They are a trend-setter. The desktop/notebook/server universes are changing too. China is the single largest potential market for all of these and the whole world is seeking to supply the need for IT in China. With so many having experienced the joy of FLOSS on mobile devices, there is a huge potential for FLOSS on desktops and notebooks to grow in China. That’s where the new OEMs will go when the smartphone and tablet markets flatten out. Expect 2013 to be the year of the GNU/Linux desktop in China.

I recommend Debian GNU/Linux but Red Flag and Linpus already have a good hold in China. It’s all good.

  • Dec 25 / 2012
  • 1

Sharks Circle Low Priced Tablet Market

“Asustek’s new 7-inch tablet will focus on emerging markets including India and China, while Lenovo and Samsung Electronics are also preparing products with similar specifications and price levels, but will first observe Acer and Asustek’s competition before releasing their products.”

see Acer, Asustek to start up low price tablet competition.

Isn’t competition grand? Instead of a few monopolists charging what the market will bear, many OEMs, working for a living, provide the lowest cost solutions to many millions of consumers globally using FLOSS and ARM as means of cutting the costs of the product. The whole world benefits. FLOSS is the right way to do IT.