Friday, April 29, 2011

50 Facebook Pages Deleted. Was it politically motivated? Malicious?

I just received the following email from Demand Progress concerning a
breaking story that Facebook might be acting in concert with
government, intelligence, and private agencies to censor unpopular
speech on the site. while the exact details are still unknown, I'm
just passing this information along.


---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: "David Segal, DemandProgress.org" <info@demandprogress.org>
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2011 17:19:25 +0000
Subject: 50 pages deleted
To: Anthony Papillion <papillion@gmail.com>

Anthony,

BREAKING NEWS: A range of Facebook users, from political dissidents to
technology bloggers, are reporting the sudden blocking of their pages.
Facebook provided no prior warning, nor was there a clear process
established to restore access to the blocked pages.

Will you fight back? The best way to get Facebook's attention is to make
the story go viral on their own site:

[1][fb]If you're already on Facebook, [2]click here to share with your
friends.

More than 50 blocked pages were political in nature, and several users
have had their pages maliciously blocked through fraudulent claims of
intellectual property violations. This news follows Facebook's disturbing
assertions that it's willing to work with government censors in places
like China, and that the company is worried that it sometimes provides
"too much" free speech.

[3]Will you click here to demand that Facebook stop censoring political
speech?

Astounding. And this disregard for civil liberties is nothing new:
Facebook has consistently dodged hard questions about free speech. Last
year they refused to attend a U.S. Senate hearing on "global Internet
freedom" and the company won't join the tech industry's Global Network
Initiative, which promotes human rights and free speech.

[4]Will you demand that Facebook start respecting civil liberties and end
the censorship? Just click here.

Thanks for fighting for free speech.

-- The Demand Progress team

P.S. Please help this go viral so we get Facebook's attention. You can
forward this email, or use these links:

[5][fb] If you're already on Facebook, [6]click here to share with your
friends.
[7][fb] If you're already on Twitter, click here to tweet about the
campaign: [8]Tweet

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--
Anthony Papillion
Lead Developer / Owner
Get real about your software/web development and IT Services
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

A fully open source company

As many of you know, I've used Microsoft products most of my professional life. Beginning way back in DOS days and carrying right on through to Windows XP and Vista, I was a Microsoft man through and through. I even became a partner in an effort to deepen my relationship with the company. But, even in my most "go go Microsoft" days, I've always loved freedom and I've never seen Microsoft as a path to freedom. A path to enormous boatloads of cash, yes, freedom no.

So over the years I started using open source tools whenever I could. I liked the idea that I didn't have to worry about infringing on patents or sharing the tools I used with others. I liked the camaraderie open source provided. Not to mention I loved the free price tag that came with it all too. But still, year after year and release after release I kept pumping money into the Microsoft Machine: I'd buy the latest version of Office, Visual Studio, Windows, and I'd diligently encourage my customers to do the same.

Then, I started to notice how Microsoft dealt with competitors and, specifically, Linux. They didn't compete, the attempted to destroy through a combination of patents, lies, and other trickery. On a landscape where they weren't *technically* better, they worked to silence their competitors legally. Being a freedom lover, I was disgusted and, last year, I moved my entire consulting company away from Microsoft products (including Windows) and on to Linux and other open source software. For the last year, everything my company has done has been Linux focused and, I have to say, I feel *really* good about it.

Today, I'm happy to announce a huge next step: we're going to release our first major software package written for Linux on Linux in July. The software will be an electronic medical records package similar to the OpenEMR product we sell now. But out goal and focus with the project is to release an aesthetically pleasing, user friendly, piece of software for Linux. Eventually, the software will be cross platform with a Mac version being released in September and a Windows version by the beginning of the year. Right now, we are totally focused on the Linux release right now.

I feel good about this step for a number of reasons. First, it takes my small consultancy fully into a deeper commitment to Linux. Second, it allows us to make a significant and real contribution to the Linux software ecosystem. Third, it allows us to demonstrate in a real way that Microsoft is wrong; that Linux *is* ready for real business desktop use. That is perhaps the best part...at least in my mind.

I'm betting my future success on Linux and open source. I believe in freedom and I reject the lie that only a "tightly integrated stack of Microsoft software" can do well in the general marketplace. Good software will thrive - wherever it lives.

Now, all I have to do is hang on for the ride.


Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Testing posting audio content

Hey everyone! If all goes well, there *should* be an audio file attached to this post that you can listen to. If you can't listen to the file without downloading it, please post to the comments section below and let me know.

Thanks!

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Canonical takes another step against the Community

In a posting to the Sounder mailing list earlier today, Ubuntu Linux maker Canonical announced that the long running mailing list would be shuttered. The decision followed a recent heated political discussion on the list and a proposal to close the list the Community Council by Alan Pope.

Even though the Sounder list might seem like an insignificant (and out of place) part of the community, I see this as yet another step that Canonical is taking against the very community that's made Ubuntu so successful. With the debacle that is Ubuntu's switch to Unity already polarizing users and driving many away and now the closing of a social list, it's slowly becoming obvious that Canonical is taking a step away from the happy community project that could take over the desktop and taking one towards corporatism. The community, unless it tows the corporate line, doesn't really matter to them anymore and that's truly sad since it's that very community that helped put the company where it is today.

Personally, I'm feeling more and more torn within the Ubuntu ecosystem. As a developer, I'm thrilled to see the company focus more on growing the business and making Ubuntu more suitable for business (though I'm convinced Unity will derail this effort). But as a user, I'm saddened to see that my voice is no more heard by Canonical than it is by Microsoft or Apple. I am, to them, just a user. They know what's best for us.

I fear Ubuntu is about to meet a fate worse than death: abandonment. By ignoring the community the company is risking losing the community. There are other options out there and some of them are pretty damn good. So users leaving Ubuntu to a more community focused distro (read: Debian) don't need to sacrifice anything to stay cutting edge and relevant. Gone or the days where it was Ubuntu or you might as well go back to Mac or Windows. We have choices now and I'm afraid Canonical is about to see their users start to explore those choices. The company, once the darling of the Linux world, is quickly losing the community's good will and, once that's gone, there's no turning back.

So, while the final chapter in this story is yet to be written, I fear that chapter may be nothing more than a eulogy of what could have been.

Fare thee well, Ubuntu. You will be missed.
Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

OMG! OMG! OMG! iFans Unite! Steve Jobs has a biography coming out!

This won't be a surprise to any of the Apple or Steve Jobs fans out there (aren't the one in the same?) but it looks like there's finally going to be a biography of Apple leader Steve Jobs. The book, appropriately called "iSteve: The Book of Jobs", is due out sometimes in early 2012 will be written by Walter Issacson and published by Simon & Schuster. Issacson is noted for writing biographies on Albert Einstein and Ben Franklin.

It's reported that the biography is being written with the full cooperation of Jobs who is currently battling a resurgence of pancreatic cancer and is currently on leave from his job as CEO of Apple.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Bitcoin: A step towards a new anonymous currency

For the last week and a half, I've been playing around with an exciting new form of digital currency called Bitcoin. The idea of Bitcoin is very simple: to create a distributed, peer to peer based, digital currency that cannot be controlled by a government and is completely anonymous and untracable. So far, Bitcoin has acheived this goal in spades.

While you might think that working in anonymous digital currency would be incredibly complex, Bitcoin makes it very easy. When you want to receive a payment via Bitcoin, you generate a unique Bitcoint address. The address isn't tied to you in any real way and is completely anonymous to the person paying you. For example, for this post, I generated a new Bitcoin address in case anyone wants to make a donation to me (yeah, I know, selfish pandering). That address is 17NLM4KhYpiTjTjwhWQ9TbmyQ8d12knYSu. As you can see, nothing in this address provides any personally identifiable information and, likewise, whoever pays me will use a similarly anonymous address thereby abstracting us from each other and making our transactions completely untraceable - even by the people doing business with each other!

Bitcoins can be paid to anyone who accepts them and that includes many businesses and service people around the world. But you can also transfer your Bitcoins into whatever real world currency you use in the non-digital world and buy things from anyone even if they don't accept Bitcoin. You can even pay Bitcoins to your Paypal or bank account and have access to the cash almost immediately (except with bank account which take a few days processing time).

All that sounds pretty incredible, doesn't it? It is! But one of the most interesting things about Bitcoin is that it allows users to perform financial transactions in an untracable and anonymous way. Additionally, since it's not linked to any 'real world' fiat currencies (think the US dollar, controlled by the Federal Reserve as an example), it can't be easily manipulated, controlled, or seized. Additionally, Bitcoin transactions and funds are protected using strong encryption so it's pretty much immune to being hacked and stolen, unlike their counterparts held in banks.

Lastly, and perhaps most interesting of all, Bitcoin is a commodity and there are several exchanges that actively buy, sell, and track Bitcoin. In much the same way a stock might ebb and flow in value, Bitcoin value flucuates from day to day as well. For example, today a Bitcoin is worth $0.77 USD which may go up or go down tomorrow. Many people purchase Bitcoins as investments, betting that they will go up in value at which time they can sell them and make a profit, similar to the way a stock trader holds and monitors their favorite stocks hoping to make money when they sell.

I'm quite excited about the opportunity Bitcoin offers for those of us who want to explore alternative currencies or distance ourselves from state control of our monetary system. Without control, it can't be manipulated and arbitratily contracted or expanded. Without control, it provides a way for citizens and not the government to control their currency in any way they choose to.

Without control, there is true freedom.

To find out more about Bitcoin, visit the Bitcoin website at www.bitcoin.org. If you do not want to download the software to your PC, use the online Bitcoin wallet at www.mybitcoin.org