Assume it's really true that the NSA has no idea what documents Snowden took, and that they wouldn't even know he'd taken anything if he hadn't gone public. The fact that abuses of their systems by NSA officers were largely discovered through self-reporting substantiates that belief.

Given that, why should anyone believe that Snowden is the first person to walk out the NSA's door with multiple gigabytes of classified documents? He might be the first to release documents to the public, but it's a reasonable assumption that the previous leakers were working for Russia, or China, or elsewhere.

Via Ben Brooks

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesTechnology

Ben Brooks, commenting on Jay Rosen's article:

This is a fantastic post on Pressthink about how journalism can and should operate in a surveillance state. It’s interesting to think about the implications of silencing the press — but more than that it is sad to think that silencing the press is considered an option by “civilized” governments.

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesMedia

Peter Cohan, Forbes (via John Gruber):

When he worked at telecommunications consulting firm, Adventis, Raj Aggarwal met with Apple’s Steve Jobs twice a week for several months. In an August 15 interview, Aggarwal explained how Steve Jobs persuaded AT&T’s Cingular Wireless to provide service for the iPhone with an unprecedented revenue sharing agreement. […]

Aggarwal was impressed by the way Jobs was willing to take a risk to realize his vision. “In one meeting in the conference room with Jobs, he was annoyed that AT&T was spending too much time worrying about the risks of the deal. So he said, ‘You know what we should do to stop them from complaining? We should write AT&T a check for $1 billion and if the deal doesn’t work out, they can keep the money. Let’s give them the $1 billion [Apple had $5 billion in cash at the time] and shut them the hell up,’” Aggarwal recounted.

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesTechnology

The problem with Apple today is no one is asking “what is this menu is for.” No one is evaluating every command. No one is saying “Fuck the French and German documentation.”

You can be sure as hell Tim Cook is not doing it. And with both software and hardware design on his plate, Jony Ive is too busy being Jony Ive to care. Someone needs to restrict the features. Someone needs to limit the design. Someone needs to set an example so that even though no one is checking every menu and every command, Apple is making the right decisions. Steve Jobs was the restraint that made Apple great.

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesTechnology

Of all the publications that credulously reported the debunked Strategy Analytics claim that Samsung has passed Apple in phone handset profits (and there were many), I thought the most telling was the headline on David Murphy’s piece for PC Mag: “Analyst: Samsung Finally Overtakes Apple for Mobile Operating Profits”.

Finally.

To his credit, Murphy has updated his original piece and published a thorough follow-up bringing attention to Daniel Dilger’s take-down, which is a lot more than most can say, including Juliette Garside of the Guardian UK, Tim Worstall of Forbes, Don Reisinger of CNet, Ryan Knutson of the Wall Street Journal, Kevin C. Tofel of GigaOm, Zach Epstein of Boy Genius Report, Matt Clinch of CNBC,1 and this un-bylined report by BBC News. None of those pieces contain an update showing that Strategy Analytics’s claim is disputed, let alone how decisively so.

Click through for the full article, including links to these scumbags' posts.

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesTechnology

Aaron Souppouris, writing for The Verge:

For the first time ever, Electronic Arts (EA), the world's third-largest gaming company, gained more revenue through Apple than any other single partner. All-told, the company's mobile and tablet revenue hit $90 million last quarter, representing 18 percent of its overall takings. Digital revenue in general grew to $378 million, meaning less than a quarter of EA's $495 total revenue came from traditional sales.
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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesGaming

The National Security Agency (NSA) is a "supercomputing powerhouse" with machines so powerful their speed is measured in thousands of trillions of operations per second. The agency turns its giant machine brains to the task of sifting through unimaginably large troves of data its surveillance programs capture.

But ask the NSA as part of a freedom of information request to do a seemingly simple search of its own employees' e-mail? The agency says it doesn't have the technology.

Assholes.

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesTechnology

Via The Brief:

David Cameron’s infantilizing moral crusade against pornography continues this week, with the announcement of an on-by-default pornography filter to be enacted by the end of the year. This has been Cameron’s eventual goal for a while, but until recently the ISPs tasked with implementing it argued strongly against on-by-default filtering, as their relationship with the government deteriorated. Now Cameron has emerged the victor and 95% of the country’s homes will no longer give perverts material with which to “strategise their crimes” unless they ask for it.

 

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesPolitics

Like all of the greatest banking schemes, this is entirely legal (paraphrased from The New York Times):

The process adds only about one tenth of a cent to a typical purchase of a can of soda, but according to analysts and consultants, the scheme has made Goldman Sachs and other players close to $5 billion (U.S.) over the last three years. Similar maneuvering has been employed by investment banks in a variety of industries, thanks to looser federal oversight. J.P. Morgan is currently negotiating a settlement over the rigging of electricity prices that could cost it $500 million.

Metro International blames the increased delays on logistical issues, and nothing that they nor Golden Sachs have done is illegal. The London Metal Exchange (LME), which oversees the industry, is beginning to address the issue of such delays and their impact on the market, but such change is slow coming. Existing LME regulations require storage facilities to move a minimum of 3,000 tons of aluminum each day. Metro gets around this by simply moving those assets back-and-forth, amongst its own warehouses. The Exchange is attempting to tighten regulations and close such loopholes.

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesEconomics

Elizabeth Dias, writing for Time:

Aldrin silently read a passage from the book of John that he had written out on a 3×5 card: “I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me.” Then he took out the miniature chalice and bread and wine from his personal allowance pouch. “I poured the wine into the chalice our church had given me,” he told Guideposts magazine in 1970. “In the one-sixth gravity of the moon the wine curled slowly and gracefully up the side of the cup. It was interesting to think that the very first liquid ever poured on the moon, and the first food eaten there, were communion elements.” Neil Armstrong, the other astronaut onboard, did not participate. 

Asked later, Aldrin regretted his decision:

“Perhaps if I had it to do over again, I would not choose to celebrate communion,” he wrote in his memoir. “Although it was a deeply meaningful experience for me, it was a Christian sacrament, and we had come to the moon in the name of all mankind—be they Christians, Jews, Muslims, animists, agnostics, or atheists. But at the time I could think of no better way to acknowledge the enormity of the Apollo 11 experience than by giving thanks to God.”

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesReligion

The Atlantic, via The Brief:

The National Security Agency’s deputy director Chris Inglis quietly revealed today that the government’s surveillance targets many, many more Americans than previously thought. What we knew to date suggested the surveillance only extended “two hops” — meaning one hop from the target to the people they’ve been talking to, and one more to the people those people have been talking to — but in testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee today, Inglis revealed that the NSA actually takes three hops. That’s much more significant than it might appear at first blush, as Julian Sanchez described on Twitter this morning: “Do the math: Your whole contact list. All their contact lists. All THOSE people’s contact lists.” The hearing also answered the question of whether collected phone metadata includes location data: it doesn’t.

This shouldn't surprise anyone.

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesTechnology

Nilay Patel, writing for The Verge:

There simply isn't a scenario in which paying for Next is better than just buying an unlocked phone at retail — AT&T is fundamentally taking advantage of consumers trained to think new phones are a magical gift bestowed on them by greedy, controlling wireless carriers. And as a response to T-Mobile's Jump plans, it's as cynical as it gets: Jump may not be the best deal, but at least T-Mobile CEO John Legere is outspoken in his desire to transparently decouple the cost of wireless service from the cost of phones themselves. AT&T's reaction is apparently to be more deceptive than ever.

AT&T is one of the scummiest corporations operating in the U.S., and they're thriving. 

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesTechnology

Via Daily Kos:

“Listen,” he said. “America’s been a country of second choices.” Did he mean second choices or second chances? “Both,” he said. “Second choices and second chances. . . . If one performance or a series of performances pretty much blackballs you, then it does. But I don’t think that’s what this country’s all about.”

It's reassuring to know that he hasn't changed much since his last run.

 

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesPolitics

Igor Volsky, writing for Think Progress

A top conservative leader endorsed a government-run health care program similar to single-payer during an appearance on CSPAN’s Washington Journal on Sunday morning, telling a caller that TRICARE — the Department of Defense’s health care program for more than 9 million active duty uniformed personnel and their dependents — works even better than the Affordable Care Act.

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesHealthcare
Shauna Theel at Media Matters reports that Fox News is equating severe weather with climate change as "power disruptions that were caused by Superstorm Sandy" will become more frequent across the country as a result of climate change, according to a new report from the Department of Energy.

Check out the video on Daily Kos

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesEnvironment

Very interesting read, click the title for a link to the full article:

  1. Bin Laden Immediately Recognized the Incoming Helicopters As American
  2. Search of Bodyguard’s Wife Turned Violent
  3. Americans Left with Bin Laden’s Will, Leaving Its Contents Unknown
  4. Osama In a Cowboy Hat
  5. A Compound Divided
  6. The Skinny On OBL, KSM
  7. Close Call
  8. Failures Abound

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AuthorA.J. Ross
CategoriesMilitary