Ecuador’s laws restrict freedom of expression, and government officials, including [President] Correa, use these laws against his critics. Those involved in protests marred by violence may be prosecuted on inflated and inappropriate ‘terrorism’ charges.
Impunity for police abuses is widespread and perpetrators of murders often attributed to a “settling of accounts” between criminal gangs are rarely prosecuted and convicted.
Spurious criminal charges were brought against human rights defenders, including Indigenous leaders. Human rights violations committed by security forces remained unresolved. Women living in poverty continued to lack access to good quality and culturally appropriate health services.
The willingness of radicals on both left and right to embrace vile regimes when it suits them continually sickens me.
It touches on a wider issue in the world of sports journalism – what Walsh describes as journalists as “fans with typewriters”.
“There was a time when it wasn’t cool to be a fan with a typewriter. When you went to a stadium you went as a journalist, and you didn’t express any partisanship for one team or another.
“Because the Armstrong story was deemed to be so good, so remarkable, an inspiration to countless millions, who wants to rain on that parade? Who wants to be the one to say, ‘hold on, it may not be what it seems’. Journalists then begin acting like fans with typewriters.
For “sports journalists” read “tech journalists”. Whether they’re following Google or Apple, we have way too many “fans with typewriters”.
It’s okay for anonymous Redditors to post upskirt photo after upskirt photo, but a huge violation of privacy for a journalist to report on the men who post them? How does that make any sense?
Can’t really argue with that one.
There’s been a meme doing the rounds based on the New York Times’ story on “the iEconomy” which claims that in 2011, both Google and Apple spent more on patent protection than R&D. This, on the face of it, looks like a savage indictment of the whole parent system – legal nonsense taking priority over real research.
There was something, though, that didn’t quite add up for me. Call it an old journalist’s nose for something fishy, but… it just didn’t smell right.
The paragraph this claim was made in is this:
In the smartphone industry alone, according to a Stanford University analysis, as much as $20 billion was spent on patent litigation and patent purchases in the last two years — an amount equal to eight Mars rover missions. Last year, for the first time, spending by Apple and Google on patent lawsuits and unusually big-dollar patent purchases exceeded spending on research and development of new products, according to public filings.
Aha. There’s the bit which set off my journo-sense.
As that paragraph notes, there were several unusually large patent portfolio deals in 2011. Apple, for example, contributed $2.6 billion towards the purchase of Nortel’s patent portfolio, in a consortium deal which also included Microsoft, RIM, Sony and EMC. That deal – worth a total of $4.5 billion – was a one-off. Portfolios like that rarely come on the market.
Likewise, Google spent $12.5 billion buying Motorola Mobility, a deal which Larry Page described as being about “strengthening Google’s patent portfolio” (Google actually accounted the patents as $5.5 billion of the purchase). Again, that’s a one-off: there aren’t many Motorola’s around and available for purchase. Likewise, the deal which saw Google buy over 1,000 patents from IBM.
So yes, Google and Apple did spend more on patents in 2011 than R&D. But that’s very likely to be a one-off, simply because 2011 was an unusual year which saw several highly-desirable patent portfolios come on the market. What the NYT didn’t say is that Apple also increased its R&D spending in 2011 by 33%, and that Google’s R&D spending continues to trend upwards massively, with the company spending a whopping 12% of all its revenue in R&D last year.
Read the NYT piece, and you would think that the technology market has shifted from being about research and development of new products to being about acquisition of patents. Given that this is based on a single year, when some very big patent portfolios came on the market in one-off deals that aren’t likely to be repeated in the future, that’s a long way from the truth.
Miguel De Icanza on the Linux desktop and why it failed:
When faced with "this does not work", the community response was usually "you are doing it wrong".
That's been my experience of hanging out on open source forums looking for help and advice, too.
“What the Fire has taught us before and will teach us again this week is that the biggest threat to Android tablets isn’t necessarily the iPad — it’s that the companies which make the devices aren’t totally invested in ensuring the Android platform succeeds.”
I’ve argued before that other companies in the Android eco-system aren’t Android’s best friends – this post makes that point well.
Crapware isn’t just a problem with PCs: increasingly, it’s a problem with just about every piece of of hardware that doesn’t have an Apple logo on it. Take this experience, with a printer:
In a triumph of optimism over experience, I bought a wireless printer this week. In its infinite wisdom, HP decided that the best way to connect it to a wireless network – nothing else, just to get it to find an open Wi-Fi network – was to install software that wasn’t compatible with my system, navigate a hopeless support site to find a version that was compatible, install it, let it set up its own ad-hoc wireless network, break my internet connection, fail to set up the wireless printer properly and ultimately force me into the advanced settings of my router to increase the DHCP lease time.
This is a printer aimed at average punters.
Why do manufacturers do this? Why do they nickel and dime customers by including “added value” software which does nothing except add a couple of dollars to their bottom line, while infuriating customers? Why do they ship software of their own which offers such a shoddy experience as that above? Why? Just… Why?
“Based on that reasoning, it seems like the court will only be soliciting Mr. Harris’s public tweets and not his DMs or private account information. Still, definitely not a good day for Internet privacy advocates.”
On what crazy planet are tweets, willingly and without duress posted by an individual, suddenly anything to do with “privacy”?
“Don’t get me wrong; I would love if it made sense for Twitter to be some hippie utopian open protocol that also happened to support a multi-billion dollar company. That’d be great. But the amount of Kremlinology and hand-wringing over one short blog post from Michael Sippey that I’ve seen in the past few days reveals that people’s concerns are not about what Twitter is doing, but rather the core technical community’s own feelings about the fact they don’t determine what Twitter is anymore.”
This always happens.