Archive for July, 2009

The Pirate Bay Exits!

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

The people who run the Pirate Bay have decided to exit and hand the site over for money. Good luck to them, and thanks for the lulz.

Now we hear of a company that wants to make money off of TPB, by ‘paying people to share files’:

Cash for Pirate Bay file-sharers

The new owners of file-sharing website The Pirate Bay say users will be paid for sharing files.

Global Gaming Factory (GGF) paid 60m kronor (4.7m) to take over the site.

In an exclusive interview with the BBC, GGF’s Hans Pandeya said that the only way to beat illegal file-sharing was to make something more attractive.

“We are going to set up a system where the file-sharer actually makes money,” he said.

According to Mr Pandeya, GGF’s chief executive, the business model for The Pirate Bay would be that it continued to be a file-sharing site. The only difference – at least in terms of content – would be that the files would be hosted legally, rather than stolen from copyright holders.
“We’re a listed company so everything we do has to be legal; content providers need to be paid and have their wishes and demands met,” he said.

Freebie beater
Mr Pandeya said that one of the biggest hurdles in overcoming illegal file-sharing was that there was zero cost to the users, while legitimate sites required users to pay for content. The only way to make something more attractive than free was to pay users to share files.

“More than half of all internet traffic is file sharing and P2P [peer-to-peer] traffic and buying Pirate Bay gives us one of the biggest sources of traffic.

“We can then use this massive network of file-sharers to help [internet service providers] reduce overload.

“Let’s say a popular song comes out. Rather than a million downloads from a site – which would cause a considerable strain on that ISP – we can take that song and put it out on P2P.

“The copyright holder still gets paid, the users still get their file, the ISP doesn’t have a million people all grabbing a file and – for the users who share that song – a payment for putting that file on the P2P network.”

Mr Pandeya said that while they would be paying content providers and file sharers, there was money to be made from helping ISPs cope with overload.

“We’ve been working with ISPs for over a year and we can cut their costs – when the system becomes overloaded – by 90%.
“All ISPs have this problem and it is one we can fix,” he said.

Computer grid
The company is also looking at harnessing the storage capacity and processing power of the file-sharing community, creating a powerful grid of P2P-linked computers.

“We’re talking about next-gen file sharing so you can create revenue from storage and internet traffic optimisation,” he said.
However, GGF said that the technology to drive this was still in its infancy.

“This technology is new. For now, we’re outlining our intentions and asking users to have faith,” said Mr Pandeya

[…]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8128551.stm

Hmmmmm that sounds very familiar….

Those of you who are old (in internet time) will remember MojoNation. The leet amongst you will have run it.

Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow

Evil Geniuses for a Better Tomorrow was a startup company founded by Jim McCoy et al. to create MojoNation. After several years, the company ran out of money and laid off most of its employees; Bram Cohen went on to create BitTorrent and Zooko created Mnet out of MojoNation’s source code. The company’s name comes from the game Illuminati by Steve Jackson Games.

[…]

Mojo Economy

Mojo was a digital cash currency that aimed to provide attack resistance and load balancing in a fully distributed and incentive-compatible way (see Agoric computing). Every pair of MojoNation nodes maintained a relative credit balance, with every EGTP request transferring some Mojo credit from the sender to the receiver. Once the absolute value of the debt between two nodes exceeded the size of a Mojo token, the side with the negative balance would transfer a token to the other, clearing out the debt. Because transferring a token was a relatively heavyweight event, tokens were worth 20,000 (?) Mojo. A MojoNation component called the token server acted as the mint, allowing MojoNation nodes to securely transfer Mojo.

In early versions of MojoNation, users were required to set prices for any services their node provided. Most users had no idea how to choose prices, so the Mojo layer was rewritten to use a second-price rolling auction. Each node maintained a queue of incoming requests that had not yet been processed, sorted by a bid field contained in each request. Requests were serviced in order, from highest to lowest bids. This shifted the burden of pricing decisions from servers to clients: each user could set a price he was willing to pay for services, and his node would offer that bid in outgoing requests. This scheme was intended to create a simple feedback loop: if the system is responding slowly, increase your bid and if the system is responding quickly, decrease it.

[…]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MojoNation

And there you have it. This has already been tried once.

At MojoNation where the creator of Bittorrent worked, a system was built that remunerated users of a P2P network for sharing their bandwidth and storage. The company ran out of money. Could it have worked if they had more users and deeper pockets? Who knows? What we DO know, is that if anyone is writing a system like this from scratch, they are insane, because much of the hard work on the server side has already been done, and the source code open sourced.

Whatever.

This is an interesting idea, interesting enough to be tried twice.

ID Cards proposed for entire Indian population: have they gone MAD?

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

I am not ‘from India’. I have never been there. They have some of the best food on the planet, the best music and beautiful women. Hell, they even have Nuclear Weapons.

India is full of WIN.

But, they have some problems to solve. They have the brains to solve them. How do we know this? They have a huge number of software developers.

Now read this:

March 4 (Bloomberg) — Until May 2007

Meera Devi rose before dawn each day and walked a half mile to a vegetable patch outside the village of Kachpura to find a secluded place.

Dodging leering men and stick-wielding farmers and avoiding spots that her neighbors had soiled, the mother of three pulled up her sari and defecated with the Taj Mahal in plain view.

With that act, she added to the estimated 100,000 tons of human excrement that Indians leave each day in fields of potatoes, carrots and spinach, on banks that line rivers used for drinking and bathing and along roads jammed with scooters, trucks and pedestrians.Devi looks back on her routine with pain and embarrassment.

As a woman, I would have to check where the males were going to the toilet and then go in a different direction, says Devi, 37, standing outside her one-room mud-brick home.We used to avoid the daytimes, but if we were really pressured, we would have to go any time of the day, even if it was raining.During the harvest season, people would have sticks in the fields.If somebody had to go, people would beat them up or chase them.

In the shadow of its new suburbs, torrid growth and 300- million-plus-strong middle class, India is struggling with a sanitation emergency.From the stream in Devis village to the nations holiest river, the Ganges, 75 percent of the countrys surface water is contaminated by human and agricultural waste and industrial effluent.Everyone in Indian cities is at risk of consuming human feces, if theyre not already, the Ministry of Urban Development concluded in September.

Economic Drain
Illness, lost productivity and other consequences of fouled water and inadequate sewage treatment trimmed 1.4-7.2 percent from the gross domestic product of Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Vietnam in 2005, according to a study last year by the World Banks Water and Sanitation Program.

Sanitation and hygiene-related issues may have a similar if not greater impact on Indias $1.2 trillion economy, says Guy Hutton, a senior water and sanitation economist with the program in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.Snarled transportation and unreliable power further damp the nations growth.Companies that locate in India pay hardship wages and ensconce employees in self- sufficient compounds.

The toll on human health is grim.Every day, 1,000 children younger than 5 years old die in India from diarrhea, hepatitis- causing pathogens and other sanitation-related diseases, according to the United Nations Childrens Fund.

Sanitation Crisis
For girls, the crisis is especially acute: Many drop out of school once they reach puberty because of inadequate lavatories, depriving the country of a generation of possible leaders.

India cannot reach its full economic potential unless they do something about this sanitation crisis, says Clarissa Brocklehurst, Unicefs New York-based chief of water, sanitation and hygiene, who worked in New Delhi from 1999 to 2001.
When P.V.Narasimha Rao opened India to outside investment in 1991, the country went on a tear.For most of this decade, India has placed just behind China as the worlds fastest- growing major economy.Revenue from information technology and outsourcing jumped more than 300-fold to $52 billion a year as Tata Consultancy Services Ltd., Infosys Technologies Ltd. and other homegrown giants took on computer-related work for Western corporations.

Annual per-capita income more than doubled to 24,295 rupees ($468) in the seven years ended on March 31, 2008, before the full force of the financial meltdown kicked in.Even during the current global recession, Indias economy will expand 5.1 percent in 2009, the International Monetary Fund projects.

Hygiene Breakdown
Yet Indias gated office parks with swimming pools and food courts and enclaves such as the Aralias in Gurgaon, outside New Delhi, which features 6,000-square-foot (557-square-meter) condominiums, mask a breakdown of the most basic and symbolic human need — hygiene.

Devi, who installed her neighborhoods first toilet, a squat-style latrine in a whitewashed outhouse, created a point of pride in a village where some people empty chamber pots into open drains in front of their homes.Like most of Kachpuras residents, more than half of Indias 203 million households lack what Western societies consider a necessity: a toilet.

India has the greatest proportion of people in Asia behind Nepal without access to improved sanitation, according to Unicef.Some 665 million Indians practice open defecation, more than half the global total.In China, the worlds most populous country, 37 million people defecate in the open, according to Unicef.

Its an Embarrassment
Its an embarrassment, says Venkatraman Anantha- Nageswaran, 45, an Indian working in Singapore as chief investment officer for Asia Pacific at Bank Julius Baer & Co., which managed $234 billion at the end of 2008.Its a country that aspires to being an international power and which, according to various projections, will be the third-largest economy in 20-30 years.

India has the highest childhood malnutrition rates in the world: 44 percent of children younger than 5 are underweight, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Malnourished children are more susceptible to diarrheal disease, and with more diarrheal disease they become more malnourished, says Jamie Bartram, head of the World Health Organizations water, sanitation, hygiene and health group.If we collectively could fix the worlds basic water and sanitation problems, we could reduce childhood mortality by nearly a third.

Half of Indias schools dont have separate toilets for males and females, forcing young women to use unisex facilities or nothing at all.Twenty-two percent of girls complete 10 or more years of schooling compared with 35 percent of boys, a national family health survey finished in 2006 found.

Indignity, Infections
Devi says she was concerned that her 14-year-old daughter would suffer the indignity and infections she herself endured due to poor menstrual hygiene.That was a major reason she bought a toilet, taking out a 7,000 rupee, interest-free loan from the U.S.Agency for International Development, which enabled her to pay for her new latrine over 18 months.

The agency also gave her a 3,000 rupee grant and a 2,500 rupee-a-month job with its Cross-Cutting Agra Project, which promotes hygiene and sanitation in her village.Until then, she, like her husband, was unemployed.Her daughters situation has also improved, Devi says.

When she has her period, its especially difficult for her to go out into the fields, she says.Its better to have a toilet at home — as it is for every female.

Girls Education
Barriers that keep girls from equal education compromise the nations future, says Renu Khosla, director of CURE India, a New Delhi group that works to improve water and sanitation for the poor, including in Kachpura.

We will have a less skilled population of youth, she says.Every year of schooling reduces household poverty by bringing down the family size and increasing skill levels.

So far, companies looking to locate in India havent been turned off by the sanitation shortcomings, says Anshuman Magazine, chairman of CB Richard Ellis Group Inc.s South Asian unit, which manages about 62 million square feet of property in the country.India is a completely different planet, he says.

As such, employees know not to drink tap water, and employers provide clean washrooms.

As far as offices are concerned, I have never come across anyone raising these concerns.Businesses run on making money and opportunities.Since 2004, we have seen huge interest from foreign investors and businesses.

[…]

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?sid=aErNiP_V4RLc&pid=20601109

After reading that, do you REALLY believe that India needs….

ID CARDS FOR OVER ONE BILLION PEOPLE?

Astonishingly, in a country with some of the best software developers in the world, Israeli companies are bidding for the contract!

The whole world has gone NUTS.

This article has an idea:

Why The SIM Card Should Be Indias National ID Card
By Guest Author Sanjay Swamy, CEO, mChek

Imagine India as a country where 100% of the population is uniquely identified, has connectivity for telecom services and also has access to structured financial services. Imagine secure, personalized, anytime-anywhere healthcare services, government disbursements, loan disbursements and repayments! Imagine the SIM card can become the government issued voter ID card and one could even vote from the convenience of ones mobile phone.

Which is echoed in this company’s idea. I strongly recommend that you read that last link. Mobile phones are like the biblical thief in the night.

In any case, India DOES NOT NEED ID CARDS, in my humble opinion. Of course, if ‘they’ want them its their business, and not any of mine or anyone else’s. One would have thought that after being a colony for 250 years, you would not want to be the slave of another master. Go figure. Your mileage may vary. Subject to change without notice. Your statutory rights will be affected. Not valid as a part of any other offer.

I was told when discussing this subject two days ago, that in India, births registration of births is not compulsory. My Google-Fu failed to confirm wether this is true or not. India is now one of the most powerful nations on earth, set to become even more powerful. Quite why they want to derail their success is anyone’s guess. And giving out ID Cards to everyone is a backwards step… at least, that is what it looks like from here, which is nowhere as far as they are concerned.

FURTHERMORE

Meau graciously fills in the blanks with his Google-Fu in the comments… registration WAS voluntary and was made compulsory in 1969… there have been problems in getting everyone to respond to compulsion it seems….read below!

Lord Lucas and the new Miscegenation Legislation

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Long time readers of BLOGDIAL know that we use substitution to find out what something really means. Lets find out what happens when we use it on the amendments tabled by Lord Lucas:

LORD LUCAS

311 Insert the following new Clause
“Support for Miscegenation
Support for Miscegenation

  1. The Secretary of State shall establish a body to be known as the Miscegenation Consultative Committee (the “MECC”).
  2. The Secretary of State shall appoint to the MECC such persons as he considers appropriate.
  3. The Secretary of State shall consult the MECC whenever he intends to make proposals that will have an effect on Miscegenated families.
  4. The MECC may undertake investigations into areas of policy or practice in relationships between the government and the Miscegenated community.
  5. The MECC may produce and promote guidelines and examples of good practice in relationships between the government and the Miscegenated community.
  6. The MECC may make proposals to the Secretary of State for changes in practice or policy of Miscegenation.”

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld200809/ldbills/042/amend/ml042-iih.htm

See what just happened?

In case you didn’t know…

Miscegenation (Latin miscere “to mix” + genus “kind”) is the mixing of different racial groups, that is, marrying, cohabiting, having sexual relations and having children with a partner from outside one’s racially or ethnically defined group.

[…]

Usage

The term “miscegenation” has been used since the nineteenth century to refer to interracial marriage and interracial sex, and more generally to the process of racial admixture, which has taken place since ancient history but has become more global through European colonialism since the Age of Discovery. Historically the term has been used in the context of laws banning interracial marriage and sex, so-called anti-miscegenation laws. It is therefore a loaded word and is considered offensive by many.

Today, the word miscegenation is avoided by many scholars, because the term suggests a distinct biological phenomenon, rather than a categorization imposed on certain relationships. The word is considered offensive by many and other terms such as “interracial,” “interethnic” or “cross-cultural” are more common in contemporary usage.[1] However, the term is still used by scholars when referring to past practices concerning multiraciality, such as anti-miscegenation laws that banned interracial marriages[2].

[…]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscegenation

For the record, many entries in Wikipedia are… ‘confused’ about the issue of ‘race’. This article is certainly one of them.

What this substitution does is demonstrate the absurdity of having the Secretary of State establish a body to regulate Home Education. Home Education is not the business of the state, and neither is it the business of the state who you want to marry or live with. Both are as natural as sunshine, or clouds in the sky, and all of these things regulate themselves perfectly well without interference.

I could have just as easily inserted ‘Muslim’ in place of ‘Miscegenation’. Can you imagine ANYONE proposing that there be a ‘Muslim Consultative Committee’ that would, “…make proposals to the Secretary of State for changes in practice or policy controlling Muslims”? The idea would never cross the minds of anyone in the legislature; they are frightened to death of any vocal grouping that has established itself as ‘normal’. Sadly, Home Educators have failed to understand the need for professional and ongoing PR to make just that establishment a reality for themselves, and now, unless something is done immediately, they are going to watch their families be destroyed, forced to leave the country, harassed and hounded like criminals, very much in the same way that ‘mixed race’ couples were harassed in the USA.

The question is, do you, Home Educator, want to wait until the time where there is an equivalent of the current US president to dispel myths about Miscegenation – a time, which is certainly coming, where Home Education is completely accepted as the absolute norm, or are you going to go through twenty years of hell waiting for the rest of the country to wake up? Are you going to take the bull by the horns and use the tools available to you to make the reality change to accept you, or are you going to sit there and cry like a baby?

I must point out also, that Lord Lucas has tabled this amendment after having been told explicitly and overwhelmingly on his blog that this is NOT what is required.

All of you who have faith in politics had better get a grip on reality; these people exist to create new legislation, not to protect you and your family. Seeking your rights from them is what a slave does. Free people TAKE their rights, and do not beg like serfs.

But you know this!