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Paul Merrell

Google to encrypt Cloud Storage data by default | ITworld - 0 views

  • Google said Thursday it will by default encrypt data warehoused in its Cloud Storage service.

    The server-side encryption is now active for all new data written to Cloud Storage, and older data will be encrypted in the coming months, wrote Dave Barth, a Google product manager, in a blog post.

  • The data and metadata around an object stored in Cloud Storage is encrypted with a unique key using 128-bit Advanced Encryption Standard algorithm, and the "per-object key itself is encrypted with a unique key associated with the object owner," Barth wrote.

    "These keys are additionally encrypted by one of a regularly rotated set of master keys," he wrote. "Of course, if you prefer to manage your own keys then you can still encrypt data yourself prior to writing it to Cloud Storage."

  • A Google spokeswoman said via email the company does not provide encryption keys to any government and provides user data only in accordance with the law.
    Google paints a deceptive picture of security in a new default encryption service for customer data stored on Google Cloud Storage. See Google blog article linked from the bookmarked page. ITWorld goes part way in unmasking the deception but could have been far more blunt. The claimed fact that Google does not turn encryption keys over to the NSA, et ilk, is irrelevant if Google still decrypts the customer data upon NSA/FBI demand, which it very apparently does. But the Google blog article doesn't mention that and paints a picture seemingly intended to deceive customers into not encrypting their own data before parking it on Google Cloud Storage, thus aiding the NSA/FBI, et cet., in their surveillance efforts.  Deceptive advertising is a serious legal no-no. Hopefully, Google Cloud Storage users will be perceptive enough not to be misled by Google's advertising. But it's a sign that Google managers may be getting worried about losing customers to companies operating in nations that have far stronger protection for digital privacy than the U.S.
Gary Edwards

CDF: Computable Document Format for Interactive Content from Wolfram - 0 views

    Introducing the Computable Document Format
    Today's online documents are like yesterday's paper-flat, lifeless, inactive. Instead, the Computable Document Format (CDF) puts easy-to-author interactivity at its core, empowering readers to drive content and generate results live.

    Launched by the Wolfram Group, the CDF standard is a computation-powered knowledge container-as everyday as a document, but as interactive as an app.

    Adopting CDF gives ideas a broad communication pipeline-accelerating research, education, technical development, and progress.
Gary Edwards


    This is the article that shut down the Web on Monday morning, when Rush Limbaugh dedicated a whole show to it.  Also appears in American Spectator!

    As over-leveraged investment houses began to fail in September 2008, the leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties, of major corporations, and opinion leaders stretching from the National Review magazine (and the Wall Street Journal) on the right to the Nation magazine on the left, agreed that spending some $700 billion to buy the investors' "toxic assets" was the only alternative to the U.S. economy's "systemic collapse." In this, President George W. Bush and his would-be Republican successor John McCain agreed with the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama. Many, if not most, people around them also agreed upon the eventual commitment of some 10 trillion nonexistent dollars in ways unprecedented in America. They explained neither the difference between the assets' nominal and real values, nor precisely why letting the market find the latter would collapse America. The public objected immediately, by margins of three or four to one. 
    When this majority discovered that virtually no one in a position of power in either party or with a national voice would take their objections seriously, that decisions about their money were being made in bipartisan backroom deals with interested parties, and that the laws on these matters were being voted by people who had not read them, the term "political class" came into use. Then, after those in power changed their plans from buying toxic assets to buying up equity in banks and major industries but refused to explain why, when they reasserted their right to decide ad hoc on these and so many other matters, supposing them to be beyond the general public's understanding, the American people started referring to those in and around government as the "ruling class." And in fact Republican and Democratic office holders and their retinues show a similar presumption to domin
Graham Perrin

EndNote Support - EndNote X1.0.2 (Windows) and X1.0.3 (Mac) Update - 0 views

  • EndNote X1.0.2 (Windows) and X1.0.3 (Mac)
  • EndNote X1.0.2 (Windows)
  • X1.0.3 (Mac)
  • ...5 more annotations...
  • X1.0.2 (Windows)
  • Formatting support for Open Document Type (ODT)
    • Graham Perrin
      Does this mean support for, or just support for OpenDocument .odt in Microsoft Office Word?
  • Windows

    1. You will need to fully uninstall and reinstall EndNote X1
  • Mac
    1. You will need to fully uninstall and reinstall EndNote X1
  • Click Next until the uninstall process completes
  • Graham Perrin
    The process completes, but the process fails to uninstall the things that it should!
    EndNote installations and uninstallations are too often a PITA. 
Paul Merrell

Microsoft offers Office 2010 file format 'ballot' to stop EU antitrust probe - 0 views

    Microsoft's proposed undertaking for resolving the ECIS complaint to the European Commission regarding its office productivity software can be downloaded from this linked web page. I've given it a quick skim. Didn't see anything in it for anyone but competing big vendors. E.g., no profiling of data formats for interop of less and more featureful implementations, no round-tripping provisions. Still, some major concessions offered.
Gary Edwards

Is ODF the new RTF or the new .DOC? Can it be both? Do we need either? - O'Reilly Broad... - 0 views

  • Unless governments and other stakeholders can get beyond the narrow view of documents and interoperability as merely being exchanging data from one similar application to another, and move towards the view that documents and web resources need to be end points on the same interoperable spectrum, we are selling ourselves short.

    It is here that standards bodies should be more help: but I don't know that they can be unless there is a stronger commitment to supporting each others' visions better. W3C's mission statement is concerned with bringing the web to its full potential, and W3C have traditionally used this to justify shying away from old-fashioned compound file-based issues: the lack of standards for the *SP (JSP, ASP, PHP) class of documents is a symptom of this, and it is notable that much of XML's uptake came because it did take care of practical production issues (i.e. issues pertaining to the document as it existed before being made available as a resource —PIs and entities—and after it had been retrieved—character encodings.) The industry consortia such as ECMA and OASIS are organized around interest groups on particular standards, which makes it easy to fob off discussion of interoperability. And even ISO, where the availability are topic-based working groups with very broad interests should provide a more workable home for this kind of effort, have a strong disinclination to seek out work that involves liaison with other standards groups: satisfying two sets of procedures and fitting in with two sets of deadlines and timetables can be impractical and disenfranchising for volunteers and small-business/academic experts.

    Jon Bosak, who founded the XML and ODF efforts among many other achievements, recently wrote an article concerning the position of ODF, Open XML and PDF Jon's public writings are rare, well-considered and always of interest. As with other Sun-affiliated people in recent times, Jon has been exemplary in that even though he has a side, he does not take sides. I think I can agree with much of what he says, though I would note Don't forget about HTML.
Gary Edwards

The better Office alternative: SoftMaker Office bests ( - Soft... - 0 views

shared by Gary Edwards on 30 Jun 09 - Cached
  • Frankly, from Microsoft's perspective, the danger may have been overstated. Though the free open source crowd talks a good fight, the truth is that they keep missing the real target. Instead of investing in new features that nobody will use, the team behind OpenOffice should take a page from the SoftMaker playbook and focus on interoperability first. Until OpenOffice works out its import/export filter issues, it'll never be taken seriously as a Microsoft alternative.

    More troubling (for Microsoft) is the challenge from the SoftMaker camp. These folks have gotten the file-format compatibility issue licked, and this gives them the freedom to focus on building out their product's already respectable feature set. I wouldn't be surprised if SoftMaker got gobbled up by a major enterprise player in the near, thus creating a viable third way for IT shops seeking to kick the Redmond habit.

    • Gary Edwards
      This quote is an excerpt from the article :)
    Finally! Someone who gets it. For an office suite to be considered as an alternative to MSOffice, it must be designed with multiple levels of compatibility. It's not just that the "feature sets" that must be comparable. The guts of the suite must be compatible at both the file format level, and the environment level.

    Randall put's it this way; "It's the ecosystem stupid".

    The reason ODF failed in Massachusetts is that neither OpenOffice nor OpenOffice ODF are designed to be compatible with legacy and existing MSOffice applications, binary formats, and, the MSOffice productivity environment. Instead, OOo and OOo-ODF are designed to be competitively comparable.

    As an alternative to MSOffice, OpenOffice and OpenOffice ODF cannot fit into existing MSOffice workgroups and producitivity environments. Because it s was not designed to be compatible, OOo demands that the environment be replaced, rebuilt and re-engineered. Making OOo and OOo-ODF costly and disruptive to critical day-to-day business processes.

    The lesson of Massachusetts is simple; compatibility matters. Conversion of workgroup/workflow documents from the MSOffice productivity environment to OpenOffice ODF will break those documents at two levels: fidelity and embedded "ecosystem" logic.

    Fidelity is what most end-users point to since that's the aspect of the document conversion they can see. However, it's what they can't see that is the show stopper. The hidden side of workgroup/workflow documents is embedded logic that includes scripts, macros, formulas, OLE, data bindings, security settings, application specific settings, and productivity environment settings. Breaks these aspects of the document, and you stop important business processes bound to the MSOffice productivity environment.

    There is no such thing as an OpenOffice productivity environment designed to be a compatible alternative to the MSOffice productivity environment.

    Another lesson from Massach
Paul Merrell

Gray Matter : Compatibility Pack for Open XML passes 100 million downloads - 0 views

    Also includes stats in table form indicating that according to Google Search OOXML documents now outnumber ODF documents on the Web, for word processor documents, spreadsheet documents, and presentation documents.
Paul Merrell

Lotus Symphony now reads Office 2007 documents - 0 views

  • IBM today announced the release of Lotus Symphony 1.3, an update to its year-old free productivity suite that for the first time lets users import files saved in Microsoft Office 2007's native Office Open XML (OOXML) document format.
Paul Merrell

untitled - 0 views

  • Most (quality) specifications provide clear instructions using those magic words SHALL, SHALL NOT, and MAY where those words have a defined meaning for an implementor. Paragraphs are clearly identified as either normative or informative. That way an implementor knows what they must and may implement to claim conformance against a specification. This approach has been well established over time as a sensible way for spec writers and implementors to work
  • Most (quality) specifications provide clear instructions using those magic words SHALL, SHALL NOT, and MAY where those words have a defined meaning for an implementor. Paragraphs are clearly identified as either normative or informative. That way an implementor knows what they must and may implement to claim conformance against a specification. This approach has been well established over time as a sensible way for spec writers and implementors to work

    That is the way quality specifications are written. For example, ISO/IEC's JTC 1 Directives (link to PDF) requires that international standards designed for interoperability "specify clearly and unambiguously the conformity requirements that are essential to achieve the interoperability."

    With that clarity, conformance is testable and can provide confidence of interoperability. A suite of tests may be developed and applied to an implementation to determine which tests pass, which fail, and hence arrive at an objective pronouncement on conformance of an implementation against the entirety of the specification.

  • In a quality specification, it should be feasible to select a normative paragraph, identify a conformance test for it, and make a clear statement that this test proves that an implementation meets (or fails to meet) that requirement. Call it a test plan: define the tests (test specification), define the expected set of results, and define what constitutes a "pass" of each test that establishes conformance. The plan then provides the matrix of test spec against requirement. Simple.
  • ...4 more annotations...
  • Rob Weir of IBM chaired (apology for the misuse of that last word) the formation list and then simply announced what the charter would be rather than seeking consensus among the list participants. As part of this process before that charter was produced and while I still naively believed that consensus was a goal, I sat down with ODF 1.1 and did a paragraph-by-paragraph review for testability. The numbers were quite revealing. I completely reviewed only the first four major sections and found very few clear requirements.

    The majority were mere statements with no normative language used to identify what was required or optional. Implementors would have to make their own interpretation.

  • It's ironic that the chair viewed as good news the fact that there were far fewer testable paragraphs than he had predicted. But his prediction of 10,000 test cases is probably far closer to how many testable paragraphs there should be; my counts were actually bad news.
  • All of the above leads to the interesting question of just how the chair expects to accomplish much that is useful in regard to ODF conformance testing before the specification is amended to tighten up the language and add clear requirements. The syntax conformity is already handled by validation against the schema, but the semantics are woefully under-specified.
  • Summary: ODF 1.1 isn't verifiable as a specification. From a fairly cursory review of the latest draft, ODF 1.2 will follow the same path. With OASIS now being more demanding regarding conformance requirements on every specification and with ISO/IEC taking a closer interest in liaison with the ODF TC, I find it hard to see how the ODF TC co-chairs can maintain this view toward verification.
Gary Edwards

Google's Microsoft Fight Starts With Smartphones | BNET Technology Blog | BNET - 0 views

    .... "I recently described how Google's Wave, a collaboration tool based on the new HTML 5 standard, demonstrated the potential for Web applications to unglue Microsoft's hold on customers. My post quoted Gary Edwards, the former president of the Open Document Foundation, a first-hand witness to the failed attempt by Massachusetts to dump Microsoft and as experienced a hand at Microsoft-tilting as anyone I know......"
Jesper Lund Stocholm

Doug Mahugh : Standards-Based Interoperability - 0 views

  • Whether this is something that Microsoft is supposed to fix, as in Jomar Silva's view, is not that obvious to me.
    • Jesper Lund Stocholm
      My point exactly ...
Jesper Lund Stocholm

Balance of interest ~= Broader representation - O'Reilly Broadcast - 0 views

  • But I fully understand and expect that a specification for document formats will be primarily created by those vendors who are most interested, by commercial motivation, in selling products that use that standard. This is a good thing, indeed an essential thing, since that in a single shot brings together the expertise and IP rights needed to create such a standard.
    • Jesper Lund Stocholm
      I totally agree, Rob :o)
Paul Merrell

The No. 4 Reason to Move to Open Source is the Reduced Cost - 0 views

  • Open source enterprise products are ready to support your mission critical applications, in the operating system area there's Solaris, Linux, in the middleware area there's Glassfish, JBoss, in the database area there's MySQL, PostgreSQL and even in the desktop area...which has been lagging behind in open source, but is starting to gain some ground with over 220 Million OpenOffice users.
    Sun claims there are 220 million users.
Graham Perrin

ODF Alliance Weblog: Microsoft's ODF Support Falls Short - 0 views

  • Microsoft’s ODF Support Falls Short
  • some of the so-called ‘plug-ins’ were revealed to provide better support for ODF than the recently released Microsoft Office 2007 SP2
  • plug-ins for Microsoft Office written by third parties were revealed to provide better support for ODF than the recently released Microsoft Office 2007 SP2
  • ...3 more annotations...
  • SourceForge “OpenXML/ODF Translator Add-in for Office
  • Sun Plug-In 3.0
  • fail when using the “built-in” support provided by Office 2007 SP2
Paul Merrell

Sun Microsystems Snookers UNESCO - 0 views

  • The agreement is part of UNESCO’s ongoing effort to improve digital inclusion globally by partnering with the private sector. Under its terms, Sun Microsystems and UNESCO will promote the use of open source technologies, including and OpenDocument Format (ODF) standard, as a low-cost way to improve education with universal access to information and knowledge. They will also support the development of open and inclusive knowledge societies in developing and emerging economies.
    Now it's "universal access to information and knowledge" via the OpenDocument Format? Is there no one at UNESCO who has the brains to check out vendor claims before buying into them? ODF is a standard in name only, without any specification of the conformity requirements essential to achieve interoperability. How a specification may be described as "open" when the information needed to implement it is missing has to rank up there in the top 10 of appeals to ignorance.
Paul Merrell

Rob Weir is caught in a deceit - 0 views

  • But at all relevant times you knew that you could not respond on the merits if Alex took the time to write the same analysis I did. I call foul.

    Foul 1: You accused Alex of ignorance and deceit.
    Foul 2: You had no informed basis for those insults.
    Foul 3: You knew you had no informed basis for your insults.
    Foul 4: You have put me to the work of repeating the conversation we already had.

    Shame on you, Rob Weir. The position you took was unprincipled. You are the one who has intentionally misled Alex's readers. You are caught.

    If you are a principled person, you will immediately retract your insults and apologize to Alex Brown for your deceit in as public a manner as you inflicted your deceit. If you do not do so, the undeniable record lies here of a man who is not man enough to take responsibility for his wrongs and apologize.
  • Ah, Marbux, what circus is complete without the clowns?
  • It seems you like to ignore requirements in order to defend Microsoft
  • ...2 more annotations...

  • Do you get paid to spread FUD like this, or is it merely a dilettantish pursuit?
  • I am unable to even imagine that you would be ignorant of basic standards terminology. So why do you persist in intentionally misleading your readers?
Graham Perrin

Orcmid's Lair: Microsoft ODF Interoperability Workshop - 0 views

  • 2008-08
  • Microsoft's first built-in support
  • approach to adding Open Document Format support directly into Office 2007
  • ...20 more annotations...
  • the balancing act that Office-ODF interoperability requires
  • absence of non-disclosure agreements
  • I saw no down side
  • all ODF TC members who desired to come had a place
  • interaction with the ODF community
  • balancing of different interests: standards groups, corporations, institutions, government agencies, regulatory bodies, and general users
  • five guiding principles that govern ODF support in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • priorities that apply in making trade-offs
  • a serious, open conversation is beginning
  • Balancing of competing considerations is not trivial
  • current implementations fail to check whether a formula conforms to its own extension
  • the central feature of typical document processing software is the internal, in-memory representation of the software's document model
  • features may be lost on output
  • features may be lost on input
  • rely on features that succeed with the internal representation
  • degraded or lost entirely in the chosen external representation
  • losing some of them when saving
  • Florian Reuter argued an interesting gracefully-failing extension technique that, on reflection, I believe could avoid breaking changes against earlier ODF specifications of namespaces, their elements and their attributes too
    • Graham Perrin
      I'd like to learn more about this.
  • an application being quite friendly with its own ODF but not with that of other significant implementations
  • discussions did not arrive at conclusions
    I read this more than a year after the event but still, it's interesting.
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