Computing

Mega’s little problem with a pesky thing called the law

Kim Dotcom is blowing hard once again on Twitter.

megachat

He is going on about ‘his’ MegaChat…funny thing is he was crying poverty and said he had given all his shares in Mega to his estranged missus…so quite how it is his is another matter entirely. Perhaps he has misled another court?

In any case his boastfulness ignores a problem.

Chris Keall at NBR explains.

Mega has said it will abide by the laws of every company it operates in. As a registered commercial entity it can barely take any other stance.

And when the FBI so successfully eavesdropped on the Skype chats and instant messages Kim Dotcom and his co-defendants while investigating Megaupload, it did so with a warrant issued by a judge.

What would Mega do if a law enforcement agency in a country its service operates in (that is, anywhere), hands it, or one of its users, a lawful warrant asking for encryption keys? In NZ, it has to live under the Telecommunications (Interception Capability and Security) Act, aka TICS, which gives our government broad-brush powers to demand depcryption keys from a service provider when there is a (very broadly defined) threat to NZ’s national interest. This as-yet-untested legislation gives the ICT Minister discretion over who is defined as a service provider. Network operators like Spark, Vodafone, 2degrees are very clearly service providers. It’s more of a grey area for the likes of Microsoft Skype, Google Hangouts and now MegaChat – but I’m guessing the Crown won’t give MegaChat a free pass.   Read more »

Is Internet Explorer finally dead?

Could it be, the world’s worst internet browser software, Internet Explorer, is about to be killed off by Microsoft?

Microsoft is secretly developing a new web browser to replace Internet Explorer, it has been claimed.

Experts say the new browser, codenamed Spartan, will be unveiled on January 21st when Microsoft shows off Windows 10 for the first time.

It is believed the new browser will look more like Google’s Chrome browser, and be faster than IE.

Faster than IE? ..that won’t be hard….dead squirrels are faster than IE.

‘Microsoft is building a new browser, codenamed Spartan, which is not IE 12 — at least according to a couple of sources of mine,’ said Mary Jo Foley of ZDNET.

Thomas Nigro, a Microsoft Student Partner lead and developer of the modern version of VLC a media playing app, claimed on Twitter earlier this month that he heard Microsoft was building a brand-new browser.     Read more »

A timely tune up for NZ media

This story is a timely tune up for NZ media.

It is not ok to hack phones but journos think it’s ok to reproduce stories off hacks in NZ, and worse still a hack against another journalist.

A former journalist with British tabloid the Sunday Mirror has pleaded guilty to hacking into voicemails in pursuit of an exclusive story.

Graham Johnson admitted guilt Thursday and will be sentenced Nov. 27. The 46-year-old had turned himself in to police after learning of the arrest of colleagues on similar charges.

Johnson said he was taught how to hack into voicemails by a supervisor and had used the technique in 2001 while investigating a possible affair between a soap opera actress and a gangster. He told the court he didn’t know the hacking was illegal when he did it.

District Judge Quentin Purdy praised Johnson for confessing his crime.

Britain’s long-running phone hacking scandal has led to the closure of the News of the World tabloid and numerous arrests.

Read more »

Some advice for the opposition from Rodney Hide

Rodney Hide tells the opposition to find a better cause.

The Opposition is making heavy weather of trying to make Prime Minister John Key responsible for what Cameron Slater writes on his blog and in his personal communications.

I say in a kind and caring way that they should give it up. Because – and I say this even more caringly and kindly – Slater, aka the Whale, is not always responsible for what he writes.

By his own admission, Slater has had his battles with depression. By his own admission he is an embellisher.

Anyone who follows his blog knows him as a force of nature once he starts tapping his keyboard and pushing the upload button.

His blog is one man’s opinion, raw and unedited.

It is politics red and bloody and some of what you read you wonder if you really needed to know.

But back I go like a junkie. I enjoy the Whaleoil blog just like I enjoy the Left’s The Standard and The Daily Blog.

I’m not sure The Standard or the mouth breather at The Daily blog will appreciate that Rodney Hide enjoys their hate fuelled rants.

The blogs, as mad and as bad they are, add richness and diversity to political debate.

It’s true much of it is gossip. The blogs have lifted the lid on what was once confined to Bellamy’s. They have opened it up.

Political gossip always has an angle, juiciness trumps veracity and its effect can prove lethal.

But don’t blame blogs. Gossip has been used as a political weapon for as long as there’s been politics.    Read more »

Len Brown brings spying to Auckland and Fairfax shills for HP

Auckland is about to get super snooping capabilities with a multi-million dollar deal with Hewlett Packard that include Automatic Number Plate Recognition, Facial Recognition and video analytics.

Michael Field has taken a break from writing lies about Fiji and has turned his expert journalistic skills to touting for Hewlett Packard in what can really only be described as a native advertisement for them.

He has regurgitated large amounts of their press release in order to write his “story”.

To cap off the news article that is really an advertisement for Hewlett Packard they have even used HP’s own marketing video from Youtube.

Surveillance technology that uses high definition cameras and software that puts names to faces and owners to cars is coming to Auckland.

Surveillance will also include scanning social media and news websites.

Auckland Transport, the regional transport provider, has yet to announce the multi-million dollar deal, but California’s Hewlett-Packard Development Company said today it has the contract.

No dollar sum is given.   Read more »

How to complain to the Privacy Commissioner

Nicky Hager’s associates hacked my emails. He decided that it was his right to publish my emails.

He claims this is an honourable journalistic enterprise.

He is wrong.

He has written a book, he is making money from that book and has stated he wanted to attack me and the National party.

A book is not a journalistic enterprise, David Fisher has already paved the way in this respect with his High Court loss. Nicky Hager should have remembered that along with his lefty lawyer Steven Price. That case has not be appealed and stands as an important precedent.

Secondly in writing a book for money, and stating the reasons he wrote the book, he has established that there is malice involved. Any pretence of attempting to use journalists privileged has fallen by the wayside.

Worse still, since we are talking about journalists ethics, is that Nicky Hager failed to contact a single person he has written about in his book. Not one. He wrote the book and he published personal and private email conversations without so much as asking permission from other parties, or indeed the owner of the emails. Even I had the courtesy of speaking to Matthew Blomfield and offering him a right of reply, I even posted his right of reply unaltered, I recorded those conversations as well so they cannot be denied. I even rang Len Brown before we published.

Nicky Hager didn’t do any of those things.

Here is the thing though…he is threatening to dump more emails. You have to wonder why? Surely he put the best ones in the rather thin 140 page book?

Nicky Hager has brought News of the World style hacking to New Zealand, rather ironic don’t you think?

Hacking emails, breaching people’s privacy all for profit.

And he dares to claim it is the National party involved in dirty politics.    Read more »

Labour should’ve looked overseas before launching their loans for ipads policy

Ever since Labour launched their free…what?…It’s not free?…oh ok…loans for iPads policy the evidence has been pouring out that the policy is hopelessly flawed from the get go.

They lauded it as something innovative…except of course it has been done to death around the world and mostly to death, as schools are finding out.

For an entire school year Hillsborough, New Jersey, educators undertook an experiment, asking: Is the iPad really the best device for interactive learning?

It’s a question that has been on many minds since 2010, when Apple released the iPad and schools began experimenting with it. The devices came along at a time when many school reformers were advocating to replace textbooks with online curricula and add creative apps to lessons. Some teachers welcomed the shift, which allowed their students to replace old poster-board presentations with narrated screencasts and review teacher-produced video lessons at any time.

Four years later, however, it’s still unclear whether the iPad is the device best suited to the classroom. The market for educational technology is huge and competitive: During 2014, American K-12 schools will spend an estimated $9.94 billion on educational technology, an increase of 2.5 percent over last year, according to Joseph Morris, director of market intelligence at the Center for Digital Education. On average, he said, schools spend about a third of their technology budgets on computer hardware.  Read more »

iPads in schools cost Los Angeles schools over a $1billion and now they are ditching the project

Labour launched their schools policy and one of the key planks was their free loan scheme for iPads.

Sounds good right?

I mean nowhere else in the world has ever tried doing this have they?

Labour really cracked out an innovative policy this time didn’t they?

Nope on all three counts.

The Los Angeles Unified School District’s plan to give every child an iPad—at a cost of $1 billion to taxpayers—drew universal criticism after numerous problems arose. For one thing, when the devices were broken, lost, or stolen, it wasn’t clear whether parents, the schools, or the kids themselves were responsible. Tech-savvy students easily broke through the firewalls administrators had installed to keep them from using the devices to visit social media websites. This prompted some schools to prohibit the use of the iPads at home, when students are away from teacher supervision, even though one of the major intended functions of the iPad program was to give kids a homework aid.

The entire thing was an unmitigated disaster—a clear example of real life trumping the good intentions of bureaucrats

But LAUSD has clearly learned its lesson, right? Wrong:

Read more »

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Death by E-mail

We have all experienced it. That moment when you read an e-mail and react emotionally to it. Some of us immediately send off a reply while still in the throes of anger. Others sit on it a while and carefully craft a reply. Very few of us pick up the phone or go to the person directly and ask them if our interpretation of what they were implying in the e-mail was correct.

Upsetting e-mail

Upsetting e-mail

The problem is tone, as we have no way of telling what it actually is from the words on the screen. It is left to us to add the tone and depending on our mood at the time and many other factors we can easily get it wrong. In my personal experience when that happens it is all down hill from there. People feel free to say things in an e-mail when they are angry that they would never ever have the balls to say to your face.

In the past I had a relationship seriously damaged because the only way the person would communicate with me was by e-mail. Once the flame war started there seemed to be no way to put it out. No matter how carefully I crafted my replies I was perceived as being hostile and to be fair I felt that the replies to me were incredibly hostile and nasty as well. Eventually I decided that I would only make matters worse by continuing so I just stopped.

Read more »

Unsurprising really, I haven’t used Microsoft products for years

I haven’t used Microsoft Office products in years.

I mostly live in the cloud and where possible use Google Apps and in the past have used OpenOffice as a viable alternative to Office.

Office applications became more and more bloated and the days of massive installations on hard drives to do basic things like simple spreadsheets and documents is long gone.

The advent of tablet and mobile computing has pretty much killed off applications like Office.

It may be one of Microsoft’s biggest squandered opportunities.

Tired of waiting for Office to be optimised for their mobile gadgets, a growing contingent of younger companies is turning to cheaper, simpler and touch-friendly apps that can perform word processing and other tasks in the cloud.

Take Artivest Holdings, a New York-based financial services startup that sells alternative investment products. The New York-based company uses an app called Quip, which combines word processing and messaging, to handle all but the most sensitive legal and financial files.  Read more »