Tag: spain

Brits lead way on watching less TV

old-school-tvA survey from IHS looked at major European TV viewing habits and found that Brits watch less conventional TV than ever before.

IHS surveyed people in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. The Europeans watch far less TV than the USA, with Americans averaging nearly six hours every day. The data is based in viewing habits in 2014, contrasted with 2013.

In contrast, British people watch less than three hours a day, but have shifted to catch up and recorded programmes.

The French spend 216 minutes watching broadcast TV a day but the speed of online growth is slower than in the UK.

In Germany, traditional broadcasting remains strong, while in Italy people watch more broadcast than before. The Spanish watched an average of 242 minutes of TV every day, but online video viewing has grown by 24 percent.

American people watch 531 minutes of TV a day and IHS believes that while Europeans turn on the radio for background noise, US citizens would rather switch on the telly.

Open source CubeSats satellites go into orbit

From next week it will be possible to run science projects on the world’s first open-source satellites.

ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X were launched to the International Space Station on 3 August aboard a Japanese resupply vehicle which will arrive tomorrow.

New Scientist reports the 10cm volume CubeSats contain an array of devices including cameras, spectrometers and a Geiger counter.

The satellites will then be deployed using a robotic arm and put into orbit around Earth.

Since there will be no need for a dedicated launch vehicle the satellites will be on the cheap.

Chris Wake of NanoSatisfi, which built and will operate the satellites, said that no one has given people access to satellites in the same way before.

The launch was partially funded by a Kickstarter campaign, with backers buying some of the satellites’ time slots to run experiments.

Customers will also be able to program controls on the satellites and run experiments for three days for $125, or for a week for $250.

ArduSat-1 and ArduSat-X run the Arduino open source software which will let anyone write code for an app, game or research project that uses the on-board instruments.

Initial projects includes tracking meteorites and making a 3D model of Earth’s magnetosphere.

The first two satellites will orbit for three to seven months before burning up as they fall to Earth. The plan is to get as many of the cube satellites up as possible and reach half a million students. 

Spanish region saves a fortune by moving to open source

In a victory for the free software movement, the Spanish autonomous region of Extremadura has started to switch more than 40,000 government PCs to open source.

All the computers will be migrated this year. Extremadura estimates that the move to open source will help save 30 million per year.

It is Europe’s second largest governmental desktop migration, after the French Gendarmerie, which is migrating some 90,000 desktops. Europe’s third largest project is the German city of Munich, which has to date switched 13,000 PCs.

Most of the software will be based around a Linux distribution, Sysgobex, which has been tinkered with to meet the majority of requirements of government tasks.

At a press conference, Extremadura’s CIO Theodomir Cayetano announced that the government’s Linux desktop includes an open source corporate email system and office productivity suite.

The system will link the government’s medical record system and can be used in combination with the health card to manage prescriptions. The desktops will be centrally managed and won’t need IT administrators to perform local updates and configurations.

The system has been tested in a roll out of 150 Linux-based computers in pilot programs in departments of the Ministry of Development, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Ministry of Economy and Finance, and the Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development, Environment and Energy, Cayetano said.

The Extremadura region has been a poster child for the open source movement. Under the previous government, 70,000 desktop computers were in use in the secondary schools and 15,000 PCs used in health care, and were fitted with a local GNU/Linux distribution, Linex.

Cayetano noted that since the implementation of incident management using CAUGobex software, the system was able to handle more than 18,000 requests for service or incidents related to the operation and maintenance of computer equipment for public employees. 

Spanish lawyer to defend Assange

Julian Assange, who is hiding in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, is apparenly going to get another defence against extradition led by controversial Spanish jurist Baltasar Garzón.

Assange, whose extradition on sex charges, to Sweden, is all over bar the shouting and the plane ticket out of the UK, has jumped bail and is trying to get protection from the Ecuador.

Garzón is a human rights investigator who indicted Augusto Pinochet. However he was disbarred as a judge in Spain in February after he was caught wiretapping conversations between defence lawyers and their clients in a corruption investigation involving the Spanish prime minister Mariano Rajoy’s People’s party.

He was given an 11-year suspension as supporters claimed he was the victim of a conspiracy to bring down one of the world’s best-known human rights investigators.

Garzón has announced that  he will lend Assange the weight of his knowledge of international human rights and extradition law in a case that he denounced as “arbitrary and baseless”.

Garzón said that Assange was the victim of obscure international political manoeuvring.

He claimed that Assange should be protected by the same rights as those of any other citizen. We assume he did not mean the right to face his accusers in a fair trial.

He claimed that Assange had not rebelled against British law and insists that he “respects it”. But he is seriously worried about what will happen to him because his situation is becoming political as a result of the great work done by his organisation when it comes to denouncing corruption.

Garzón said that it was wrong that a single person should be under such pressure from the governments of Sweden and Britain.

Of course no one has mentioned the human rights of his alleged victims. After all they are just women and must be puppets of the CIA and Assange can do what he likes. 

US bullied Spain into adopting SOPA-esque policy

The US told Spain that unless it brought in a law similar to SOPA it would face a trade blacklist.

The SOPA* law is being pushed through in the US by a bunch of lawmakers who depend on campaign donations from music and film companies.

US “diplomats” have been demanding other countries bring in similar police-state style laws.

According to Torrent Freak, a leaked letter sent to Spain’s outgoing President, the US ambassador to the country warned that as punishment for not passing a SOPA-esque censorship law, Spain risked being put on a United States trade blacklist .

It looks like the treat worked. The new government is now working with the US to hand over its legal system to the music and film industries so they can lock up who they like, when they like. It is a bit like the days of Franco, only in this case there was not a civil war to remove human rights in Spain first.

The US’s heavy handed treatment of an EU member was revealed during a recent Wikileak cable. There, a controversial draft new Spanish copyright legislation was shown to have been written by the US.

Another diplomatic leak has revealed how the US was furious that President Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapaterowas not going to pass the US-drafted Sinde (site blocking) Law before leaving office.

The letter, signed by US ambassador Alan D. Solomont to the Spanish Prime Minister’s office, revealed the US expressed “deep concern” over the failure to implement the SOPA-style censorship law.

In the letter, Solomont said that the government failed to finish the job for “political reasons” to the detriment of the reputation and economy of Spain.

It was not really Solomont’s fault in the last days of the government, he did try.

The incoming Partido Popular (People’s Party) were quickly pressured by the US to bring in the law and bought it in within 10 days of taking office. The country is broke easily succumbed to the threat of trade retaliation from the US.

*EyeSee “Sopa” means “soup” in Spanish and Portugese. ¡Let them eat SOPA!

Portuguese government orders Open Sauce on older computers

The Portuguese Ministry of Education and Science (MEC) has told school boards across the country that it will not be shelling out huge amounts of dosh for Microsoft software this year.

It wants schools to keep their old computers and install free Linux software instead as part of an austerity measure.

According to the Publico magazine the government has decided that it will not renew licences to use Voleware on 50,000 computers which were distributed between 2004 and 2007.

The numbers of computers in Portuguese school rooms which are that old are only a small percentage of the total. The government distributed 111,491 computers in 2009 under the Technological Plan for Education and these will still have software which runs on Microsoft.

But the government can’t be bothered shelling out for the older gear that is left which is 31,558 laptops and 19,358 desktops,

According to a government circular a lot of these devices, given their age, will not be in good working order and do not support the latest versions of Microsoft products.

Many of the computers are no longer in operation so the fact that they are being forced to migrate to Linux is not really a problem.

One headmaster, José Eduardo Lemos, whose school, the Secondary Jane Austen, in Póvoa de Varzim has 300 computers, of which “only 20 to 30 are prior to 2009.”

Cash strapped Portugal has to cut its budgets somewhere, and we guess paying Microsoft for licences on ancient machines which probably are not working is as good a method as any. 

Californian Governor allows warrantless mobile phone searches

California Governer Jerry Brown is in hot water after vetoing legislation requiring police to obtain a court warrant to search the mobile phones of suspects.

As a result of his actions it means that when coppers in the Land of the Free arrest someone they can search a person’s mobile phone to find out everything they want about the suspect.

Brown said that the issue is too complicated for him to make a decision about, particularly as the California Supreme Court decision upheld warrantless searches of people.

According to Wired, Brown said the courts were better suited to resolve the complex and case-specific issues relating to constitutional search-and-seizure protections.

But it was because of the January ruling from the state’s high court that the California lawmakers drafted the legislation and unanimously passed it.

The bill’s sponsor, Senator Mark Leno can’t work out what Brown has been smoking and pundits have pointed out that is not how the US democratic system works.

Cynics say Brown was lobbied by the police unions, including the Peace Officers Research Association of California. The association opposed the legislation and recently wrote a cheque for $38,900 to Brown’s campaign.

Its view is that restricting the authority of Inspecter Knacker to search an arrestee unduly restricts their ability to apply the law, fight crime, discover evidence valuable to an investigation and protect the citizens of California.  

It also makes it harder to get the phone numbers of girls you fancy and find out if they have a boyfriend.

Having the cops on your side will be important if Brown decides to seek a second term. Seven police unions have donated over $12,900 each to Brown. Together they make a significant chunk of his campaign chest.

Looks like that freedom from tyranny thing is working well in the United States. 

Spanish fight to singe Google's beard

A Spanish campaign for the right to be forgotten is gathering momentum.

More than 90 cases of people who want information deleted from the web, now have the backing of their government and it has ordered Google to stop indexing information about 90 citizens who filed formal complaints with its data protection agency.

The case is in court now, and apparently is being closely watched by the EU which is keen to see how much control its citizens will have over information they posted, or which was posted about them, on the web.

The European Union’s justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, said she wanted to give privacy authorities greater power to tell Google to sling its hook.

She said that it was wrong that individuals have no say over their data once it has been launched into cyberspace.

But the privacy thing is set to cause a spat between the US and the EU. The US has its belief that you have the right to publish the truth, whereas the EU believes that people have the right to privacy.

European law balances the freedom of speech and the right to know against a person’s right to privacy or dignity. It is all based on the way that information was collected and used against individuals under dictators like Franco and Hitler.

The US has yet to tell its government to sling its hook when it comes to the ability of people and governments to attack other people and beliefs using the “free press”.

Google said that if the Spanish succeed in their beard singeing, it would have a have a profound, chilling effect on free expression without protecting people’s privacy.

Spain’s Data Protection Agency, created in the 1990s to protect individual rights, believes that search engines have altered the process by which most data ends up forgotten.

Deputy director of the agency, Jesus Rubi, told Associated Press  that the Spanish government gazette, which used to publish every weekday, including bankruptcy auctions, official pardons, and who passed the civil service exams went online, making it possible for embarrassing information to be obtained easily.

If Google never deletes the data it could be with the person for the rest of their lives. 

US cops steal Spanish domain for Big Content

The US is doing to Spanish sovereignty something which has not been attempted since Sir Francis Drake famously floated a fire ship into the Armada.

Apparently the US thinks that it owns the internet and that foreigners will have to hire the nation’s overpriced lawyers to defend themselves in one of its kangaroo courts, if the movie industry says so.

Federal prosecutors have asked a judge not to return the domain names of one of Spain’s most popular websites because the movie industry claims that it is a source of piracy.

Last year, US. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has seized as many as 208 domains the authorities claim are linked to intellectual-property fraud. Basically this was a tax-payer funded legal action to ensure that Hollywood moguls could buy extra swimming pools.

Amongst Big Content’s hit list was the Rojadirecta.com and .org domains, and these were seized in January along with eight others connected to broadcasting pirated streams of professional sports.

The US government said that returning the Rojadirecta domain names at this time would provide Puerto 80 with the very tools it used to commit the crimes the government has alleged it engaged in prior to the seizure.

Puerto 80, the Rojadirecta site owner, claims the Rojadirecta site had 865,000 registered users and did not commit any copyright infringement. However it had a discussion board where members can talks sports, politics and other topics, and it additionally links to sports streams.

It said that the government had not shown and cannot show that the site ever was used to commit a criminal act. Hosting discussion forums and linking to existing material on the internet, Puerto 80 is not committing copyright infringement, let alone criminal copyright infringement.

What is alarming is that Puerto 80 has to show up in court at all. It is a Spanish company and not subject to US copyright laws, and has seen its entire business brought down on the accusation of Big Content with no actual evidence presented in a Spanish court.

The way things are structured at the moment it is possible for anyone in the world to have their business taken down by US interests. They are not even allowed many of the defences offered to US citizens.

So far there is no hearing date set and the Judge has to rule on Rojadirecta. The government spooks have asked that Mozilla pull an add on to its browser that redirects seized domains. Mozilla has told it to go forth and multiply. 

Spanish men fly off the handle at women having affairs

Spanish men took time out from their busy wooing of British housewives and trache girls to moan about a site which enables their wives to have affairs.

According to the Guardian, Spanish men are furious at an advert for a website which is supposed to hook women up with affairs with men from all over the world.

Although victoriamilan.es is pretty much the same as any adult dating site, what appears to have got Spanish men’s calzoncillos in a twist is that the advert is targeted at women.

It seems that the idea is that it is perfectly normal for men to have an image of being as sleazy as a John Major cabinet, but women are supposed to stay at home and look after the bebé while Pepe picks up Tracy from North London.

The site has a Facebook page and it has come under extreme conservative criticism.

“You should be ashamed of promoting infidelity,” one angry contributor, Diego Gascón, penned.

Loles Falkner Falgueras complained that the site made him sick, so he must have been on it all night.

“What kind of morality are you trying to promote?” Falgueras asked the site. He hoped this sort of business did not prosper wants it to close down.  

“There are people who do believe in family, in their partners, in love and it is already hard enough work to keep a family together,” he hissed.

The website promises that you can meet people who will make their life as spicy as Pulpo a la Gallega.

“We offer an atmosphere in which you can have fun, flirt, get to know someone and have an affair either close to home or far away,” claims the website.

The site appears to be based in Norway, and the implication is that there are dragon boats full of Scandinavian muscle men hoping to find someone a bit warmer than they are. No wonder the Spanish men are upset.