It’s Friday, so it’s Pi day!
Could this be the future of cheap computing devices?
It’s Friday, so it’s Pi day!
Could this be the future of cheap computing devices?
Bath University has published its programme of forthcoming public lectures.
Of these, one in particular caught our eye. Entitled “Drowning in data: who and what can we trust?“, it’s being given by Professor David Rhind from 17:30-18:45 on Wednesday, 2nd April 2014 in the Chancellors’ Building, Lecture Theatre 1.10.
It has been estimated that in the years 2010 to 2012, as much data and information was collected as in the whole of preceding human history. Fuelled by rapid changes in technology, information is used, modified and re-used and abused with fundamental implications for democracy, government institutions and policies, publishers, libraries, media organisations, personal privacy and much else. The devil is often in the detail – how information is collected, classified, organised, analysed and made available influences what we are told. So how do we know what to believe?
Professor Rhind is Chairman of the Nuffield Foundation and of the Government’s Advisory Panel for Public Sector Information, as well as Deputy Chairman of the UK Statistics Authority.
For full details and booking, see Bath University’s dedicated page.
With about an hour to go before the shutters came down on Friday afternoon, Bristol Wireless responded to the Cabinet Office’s consultation on file formats for sharing and collaborating on documents with government.
Our response is reproduced below.
Background: we are a volunteer-run IT co-operative which has been active in the west of England for 12 years. We run our operations using free and open source software exclusively.
We welcome this opportunity to comment on the Cabinet Office’s proposals for sharing and collaborating on documents with government.
We fully support the proposals to move away from the use of proprietary formats for the exchange of documents with government.
In the past we have experienced some difficulties with documents in proprietary formats, such as Microsoft’s OOXML (e.g. .docx) formats, which do not always render correctly in our free and open source software, in addition to which Microsoft has not ported its Office suite to the Linux operating system (which we use exclusively), thus making it difficult for us to interact with government as a good corporate citizen.
The move to the proposed open formats – HTML, TXT, ODF and CSV – will enable us to play a fuller role in civic life and present no problems to either us or the software that we use as they are fully supported by the latter.
We trust the Cabinet Office will stick to its principles as outlined above in the consultation and not bow to corporate pressure from powerful vested interests.
Our friends over the road at Bristol Hackspace are having a beginners’ Arduino session tonight, according to their Twitter feed.
— Bristol Hackspace (@bristolhackspc) February 19, 2014
According to the manufacturers, the Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.
If you’re interested, why not go along?
Free software, we love you!
Don’t know what free software is? Find out here.
Show your love for free software today by using the #ilovefs hashtag.
The site, which is run by the Maltese Local Councils Association, uses Centos Linux as its underlying operating system, the MySQL database management system, the Nginx web server and WordPress as its content management system.
At present the site offers a wide number of tourism datasets open for using and reusing, as well as useful and interesting information concerning open data.
The open data portal has been created as a result of the EU’s HOMER project, harmonising open data in the Mediterranean through better access and reuse of public sector information.
Open Data Malta aims to make available and exploitable Public Sector Information (PSI) related to the tourism sector in order to ensure transparency. By simply opening PSI, citizens can be better informed and participate in the decision making process.
This Friday 14th will be – as it is every year – St Valentine’s Day and the whiff of romance is in the air as restaurants, the greetings cards business and florists gird their loins and reinforce their tills for increased turnover.
On 14th February, the Free Software Foundation Europe (FSFE) is asking all free software users to think about the dedicated hard-working people in the free software community and to show them their appreciation like last year.
“Every day, we use free software and often take it for granted. We write bug reports, tell others how they should improve their software, or ask them for new features. Often we are not shy about criticising. So, to let the people in free software receive positive feedback once a year, there is the ‘I love Free Software day’.” says the FSFE’s vice president Matthias Kirschner, who initiated the #ilovefs campaign in 2010.
The FSFE has several suggestions for how to show your love creatively to the people behind free software on “I love Free Software Day”, including:
“Free Software gains its strengths by the community and the ability to work together and join forces,” says Matthias Kirschner. “We should not underestimate the power of a simple “thank you” for people who are easing our everyday work. So say thank you on 14th February!”
Today is Safer Internet Day, which is organised in February of each year to promote the safe and responsible use of online technology and mobile phones by children and young people.
In conjunction with Safer Internet Day, Avon & Somerset Police are organising an online safety webchat tomorrow, 12th February, from 7.00 pm to 8.30 pm to talk about online safety or concerns about children’s online safety.
The webchat hosts will be Detective Inspector Matt Iddon, along with Alan Earl from the South West Grid for Learning and Jonathan Charlesworth from the charity EACH will be online to answer people’s questions.
French rail passengers at certain mainline stations will soon be enjoying free wireless internet access, according to Le Monde Informatique, which reports that SNCF, the French national railway company, is going to install free and unlimited wifi access in Parisian stations in coming months. Lille-Flandres and Avignon TGV are the two pilot stations which will be equipped with wifi at the end of March 2014. Some forty stations will offer wifi by the end of June 2014. All told, the 128 largest French railway stations out of a total of 3,000 will be connected by the end of February 2015. Passengers will have free and unlimited wifi access after having viewed an advertisement. The connection portal will be identical in all stations and users will need to create a user account to access the service or download the wifi application developed by Métropolis. The signal will cover the areas which the public can access, waiting rooms, the platforms and the cross-Channel areas of Paris-Nord and Lille-Europe stations.
Nomosphere is the French company entrusted with the technical deployment of the wifi infrastructure and its day-to-day management. Management of the wifi portal and its advertising services will be provided by WiFi Metropolis.
Germany’s Chaos Computer Club (CCC) has filed a lawsuit against the German Federal government and other agencies in conjunction with human rights organisation the Liga für Menschenrechte e. V. (League for Human Rights). The government and its agencies are being charged with violating citizens’ personal lives by security services surveillance and toleration of such surveillance, Linux-Magazin reports.
In addition to domestic and foreign agents, the charge filed by the plaintiffs with the Federal Prosecutor General is made against the chairman of the Federal Intelligence Service, the military counter-intelligence service and the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution. The CCC and the Liga are accusing these and the Federal government, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, of aiding and abetting due to toleration of and co-operation with the surveillance activities of the American NSA and UK’s GCHQ.
With the charge the instigators would like to initiate investigations by the Federal Prosecutor General since the secret service organisations and others have broken German law by the surveillance measures. The are charging intelligence service and Federal government officials of having “not only tolerated banned intelligence service activities, but also of having provided assistance to them actively and to a considerable extent”. This is contrary to § 99 of the Criminal Code (prohibited intelligence agency agent activity), §§ 201 et seq. of the Criminal Code (infringements of personal life and privacy) and § 258 of the Criminal Code (aiding and abetting the commission of crime).
Furthermore, the plaintiffs are demanding in the charge that US whistleblower Edward Snowden is called as an expert witness. If called as a witness, he should receive safe conduct and be protected against extradition to the USA.