Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The following is the fourth edition of a monthly series chronicling the 2020 United States presidential election. It features original material compiled throughout the previous month after an overview of the month’s biggest stories.

This month’s spotlight on the campaign trail: a bat attacks the Libertarian Party’s presidential nominee, the American Independent Party picks a ticket amid controversy, and Birthers resurface to question the eligibility of the Democratic Party’s vice presidential nominee.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=On_the_campaign_trail_in_the_USA,_August_2020&oldid=4590143”
Posted in Uncategorized

Thursday, April 6, 2006

The Frugalware Development Team describes ­­Frugalware as a general purpose Linux distribution, designed for intermediate users who are not afraid of text mode. Frugalware also plans to offer a live CD with desktop options, to be developed by one of its teams. A live CD enables running the Linux software on most compatible Intel and AMD chipset architectures, without having to partition a drive.

A freelance journalist writing for Wikinews interviewed the founder of Frugalware Linux, Miklós Vajna.

Wikinews: Frugalware is a slack distribution at present. Are there plans for developing binary package management platforms of it?

Miklós Vajna: Our package manager is called pacman, and its primary purpose is to install binary packages. If you want to install packages from source, you can use our “repoman” tool.

Wikinews: What are your visions for the future of Frugalware, do you plan to globally distribute it as a product, and would you consider allowing a major corporation to sponsor your efforts?

Miklós Vajna: The second. Frugalware is free, but maintaining it needs hardware, mirrors, money. We got several donations already (build servers), and we continuously need them. If a corporation want to sponsor us, I think that is totally O.K. 🙂

Wikinews: What is Arch Linux in relationship to your project? And how do their efforts fit into your game plan?

Miklós Vajna: The common [thing] in Arch Linux and Frugalware is the package manager. (To be strict: nothing else.) Developing our package manager is a common effort. If anyone [is] interested in its development, he/she can subscribe to the pacman development mailing list.

Wikinews: I’ve successfully installed Frugalware, OpenSUSE, and WinXP on the same box. Do you see a lot of people doing this sort of thing in the future?

Miklós Vajna: We support having more than one operating system on a single machine — though this matters only in case Frugalware is the last installed operating system. We do not have any statistics about what operating systems do other people use besides Frugalware, if they have more than one.

Wikinews: Is it possible that PearPC and Frugalware may have a relationship to distribute the PearPC Emulator with Frugalware in the future?

Miklós Vajna: It is already available [1].

Wikinews: What kinds of software might you include with further editions of Frugalware? Is Muse part of the base package for electronic musicians, or will you have those sorts of things?

Miklós Vajna: No [2]. It is not available at the moment. You can request a package by filing a feature request to our Bug Tracking System, at [3].

Wikinews: Is the autoupdating feature of Frugalware unique to Frugalware and perhaps a keystone to future developments?

Miklós Vajna: I have never tried other autoupdating features. What one can see is that upgrading even from the previous stable release — which means installing 6 months of update at once — requires only a few tricks, and these are documented. So it works as it should, and we always pay attention not to break this great feature.

Wikinews: What can new users of Frugalware do to test and relay infotmation back to the developers through the correct channels?

Miklós Vajna: We have released stable versions two times a year. There are testing releases every two months. If one would like to help us, then download these releases, test them, and if something is broken, then file a bug report to the BTS (mentioned above already).

Frugalware has new X Windows video drivers that provide a major speed improvement over available patches for previous editions of Linux. Alex Smith has been working on them as a developer.

In addition, the PearPC emulator mentioned above, which comes with the package manager, may, with proper tuning and installation of a legal copy of Mac OSX, enable many Intel and AMD Frugalware users to use the Apple OS on their desktops. Alex Smith is also a contact person for the PearPC project, which can also be found in irc://irc.freenode.net and at http://www.pearpc.net.

The official release time of the latest edition frugalware-0.4 was Mar 30 07:42:21. The developers can be reached for comment through IRC at #frugalware in the irc.freenode.net network.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Wikinews_interviews_Frugalware_Linux_founder&oldid=2290360”
Posted in Uncategorized

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Electronic Gaming Monthly is now dead. EGM was one issue away from its 20th anniversary in February 2009. An internal email leaked to industry website Gamasutra on Tuesday revealed that EGM was to be closed following the acquisition of the online element of the 1UP network by competitor Hearst Corporation‘s UGO Entertainment and that the January 2009 issue (with Wolverine on the cover) would be the final printed issue of the iconic magazine. Ziff Davis‘s sale, brokered by GCA Savvian Advisors also includes Mycheats.com, Gametab.com, and GameVideos.com. Hearst Interactive is the owner and operator of UGO Entertainment.

According to CEO Jason Young, the court proceedings help Ziff Davis “pay down debt and shift our full focus to our core PCMag Digital Network Business.” Davis had been focusing on PCMag Digital Network. As a result, around 30 employees of Ziff Davis’ Game Group, including EGM Magazine’s staff, 1UP Network’s web staff, podcast and video producers lost their jobs. A UGO spokesman explained that “the reality is that UGO Entertainment is saving over 25 jobs, the company is retaining a core group of editorial all-star performers.” Ziff Davis Holdings Inc (ZFDH.PK), which publishes EGM and about 15 Web sites, obtained Manhattan, New York Court Judge Burton Lifland’s approval of a reorganization plan under Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code. It was able, therefore, to emerge from its duly filed March bankruptcy protection petition.

UGO Entertainment CEO J Moses left a note on EGM’s gaming legacy, saying, “since we started UGO 11 years ago, we have served the gamer community and built a world-class online publishing platform.” Ziff Davis Media CEO Jason Young further noted: “We believe this is a smart transaction for Ziff Davis Media that places these market leading assets and teams in a great environment poised for further success. The transaction allows us to pay down debt and shift our full focus to our core PCMag Digital Network business. We thank our 1UP team members for their contributions and wish them the best of success into the future.” In July 2007, Hearst acquired the 11-year-old UGO Networks (Hearst Interactive) for an estimated price of $100 million. Established in 1998 by CEO J Moses, UGO is an online site targeting men aged 18 to 34.

J Moses stated categorically that his company just saved 1UP and UGO never tried to acquire EGM. “Closing EGM has absolutely nothing to do with UGO. We have just hired 24 people and have expanded UGO by 33 percent, because our business is robust and growing. We only wanted to buy 1UP and related sites. That was our interest as a dot-com company and that’s all we’ve ever been for 11 years.” Sam Kennedy, editorial director of 1UP, further explained that Ziff Davis was insolvent and 1UP was not financially healthy. “The reality of the market was that no company, including UGO, was willing to sustain 1UP as it was so the cuts were very painful but necessary to the survival of 1UP,” he added.

Electronic Gaming Monthly, which has been synonymous to video games for generations of gamers, was an American consumer video game magazine mainstay. It was published by Ziff Davis as part of the 1UP Network and released 12 issues a year (and an occasional extra “13th” issue for the Christmas season, also known as the “Smarch” issue, a reference to an episode of The Simpsons). As ZD’s sole print magazine, EGM, a stalwart of the videogame industry and dubbed the New York Times of games journalism, has been losing money. The 20-year-old publication had 236 issues total, since its debut in 1989.

In 2008, the company closed 27-year Games for Windows Magazine, or Computer Gaming World. In late 2006, Ziff-Davis also shuttered its Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine, while its Xbox-focused XBN and Electronics Boutique in-store mag GMR were terminated in 2004. EGM’s February issue, which is completed, will only be available digitally. Print publications have been suffering for years now, due to the global economic meltdown.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Ziff_Davis_sells_1UP_to_UGO_Networks/Hearst,_closes_Electronic_Gaming_Monthly&oldid=1531561”
Posted in Uncategorized

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Encyclopædia Britannica (EB), the authoritative reference book first published in 1768, is planning to let readers edit its entries, Jorge Cauz, its president said Friday, as it battles to keep pace with online Internet encyclopedia projects like Wikipedia.

Starting next week, readers, visitors and contributing experts to EB’s free, online version, Britannica.com, will be allowed to submit proposed changes and contributions to Britannica editors, who will then review the edits and make the necessary alterations. This move is meant to let readers help keep the reference work up-to-date by collaboration.

In expanding and maintaining entries online, users whose editorial suggestions are accepted and published entirely or in part will be credited by name in the section of the article that lists contributors.

The new website features will be available on the site within the next twenty-four hours. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, “Cauz is promising a 20-minute turnover on these edits, but that number could go up dramatically if the company cannot anticipate a large influx of edits at once.”

Britannica, however, explained that it would not allow a Wikipedia form of editing which allows a wide range of users to make contributions. EB’s novel user choice will include enrollment of experts in a reward scheme and invitation of selected readers to contribute. Several readers will also be allowed to use Britannica materials to contribute their own articles that will be featured on the site.

“We are not abdicating our responsibility as publishers or burying it under the now-fashionable ‘wisdom of the crowds’,” wrote Jorge Cauz in his blog. “We believe that the creation and documentation of knowledge is a collaborative process but not a democratic one,” Cauz noted, explaining further that “these experts would sit alongside the encyclopaedia entries and the official material would carry a ‘Britannica Checked’ stamp, to distinguish it from the user-generated content.”

Cauz also announced the unveiling by Britannica of a beta (trial) version of what will become the finished Britannica Online website, which will include a re-design and the addition of web-based tools for readers and users to upload their own reference materials. The new features that Britannica will roll out over the next six months also include an article rating system and a comprehensive list of contributors by subject area.

Articles developed by Britannica’s own editors also appear in the printed volumes, which are published every two years, though material created by what Cauz called their “community of scholars” will only appear online.

“Wikipedia contributes to the spread of information and many people are happy with it as their only source of reference, as are many people happy to eat McDonald’s every day,” said Cauz, who discussed differences between Britannica and Wikipedia features of online editing. “That’s the last thing we want to be. We are a different type of animal, catering to a different type of crowd,” he added.

Cauz said the company will retain its staff of about 100 full-time editors and over 4,000 expert contributors. “I think the future is likely going to be that in every media segment there has to be a symbiotic relationship between editor and reader,” said Cauz, adding that each article will have a detailed history showing changes and who made them, as in Wikipedia. In 1933, Britannica became the first encyclopaedia to introduce a “continuous revision” policy, with continuous reprinting such that every article is updated on a regular schedule.

Unlike Wikipedia, which allows anonymous edits through a user’s IP address being logged, Britannica’s new features strictly require contributors or users to register, revealing their real names and addresses, prior to modifying or creating their own articles. Contributions from non-academic users will sit in a separate section.

A new or changed feature called “Suggest Edit” button will allow readers of a particular article to suggest information clarification, post questions to contributors or add to the existing text, subject to Britannica editors’ approval. “What we are trying to do is shifting … to a much more proactive role for the user and reader where the reader is not only going to learn from reading the article but by modifying the article and – importantly – by maybe creating his own content or her own content,” wrote Cauz.

Cauz faulted Google for setting Wikipedia higher in pagerank than Britannica. He explained that, in EB, new efforts to participate in online collaboration of encyclopedic content are deemed by recognizing experts as a requirement in order to achieve objectivity and high quality. During his tenure, officials from Britannica have become outspoken in their criticism of Wikipedia articles’ contents.

Britannica already has an established reputation for accurate content. Wikipedia is merely a starting point, with research to be taken with a pinch of salt.

In July 2006, Cauz personally entered the fray in an interview in New Yorker Magazine, in which he stated that Wikipedia had “decline(d) into a hulking, mediocre mass of uneven, unreliable, and, many times, unreadable articles” and that “Wikipedia is to Britannica as American Idol is to the Juilliard School.”

The 241-year-old publication, Encyclopædia Britannica, is a general English-language encyclopaedia published by a privately held company, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., and is the oldest English-language encyclopaedia still in print. The Britannica articles are directed at educated adult readers. First published between 1768 and 1771 in Edinburgh, Scotland, it quickly grew in popularity and size, with its third edition in 1801 reaching over 21 volumes.

Britannica’s latest 15th edition has a unique three-part structure: a 12-volume Micropædia of short articles (generally having fewer than 750 words), a 17-volume Macropædia of long articles (having from two to 310 pages) and a single Propædia volume created to give a hierarchical outline of human knowledge. The Micropædia is devised for quick fact-checking and as a door to the Macropædia.

At present, Britannica offers optical disc, online and mobile versions. The Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2006 DVD has over 55 million words and just over 100,000 articles, including 73,645 regular Britannica articles. The Encyclopædia Britannica Online website has more than 120,000 articles and is updated regularly. EB’s virtual space was founded in 1994 and contains articles comprised of over 46 million words.

In February 2007, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. said that it was working with AskMeNow to launch a mobile encyclopedia, to enable users to send questions via text messages. Replies would then be forwarded by AskMenow based on Britannicas’ articles.

As Britannica is a business, the company needed to charge, and Web access to the archives cost $70 a year. In April 2008, “Britannica Webshare,” a version of the online Encyclopaedia Britannica has been available for free, but only for Web publishers. The simple process requires signing up, giving a site URL, a description, and approval by the company. “This program is intended for people who publish with some regularity on the Internet, be they bloggers, webmasters, or writers. We reserve the right to deny participation to anyone who in our judgment doesn’t qualify,” said TechCrunch.

In June 2008, Britannica announced an initiative to facilitate collaboration between online expert and amateur scholarly contributors for Britannica’s on-line content (in the spirit of a wiki), with editorial oversight from Britannica staff. According to its statement titled “Britannica’s New Site: More Participation, Collaboration from Experts and Readers,” approved contributions would be credited, though contributing automatically grants Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. perpetual, irrevocable license to those contributions.

PC World has, however, reported that it became clear how steep of a climb Britannica faces. “Wikipedia received a massive 97 percent share of the online encyclopedia market or visits U.S. Web surfers made to online encyclopedias last week,” Web monitoring company Hitwise said Friday. “MSN Encarta was second with 1.27 percent of visits, followed by Encyclopedia.com (0.76 percent), Fact Monster (0.72 percent) and, in fifth place, Britannica.com (0.57 percent). Britannica.com’s share of U.S. visits dropped 53 percent last month compared with December 2007,” Hitwise added.

While Britannica.com has 1.5 million visitors per day, Wikipedia attracts about six million, The Times reported. Hitwise also said that as of last week, Wikipedia ranked the 13th-most-visited site on the Web overall, while Britannica.com was 2,349th. The essential difference is Wikipedia does not charge any fee, while Britannica.com requires a paid subscription for access of some contents. Britannica, however, is issuing a “Encyclopaedia Britannica 2009 Ultimate Edition” – the £40 2009 DVD edition of its famous print encyclopaedia.

“One of the big questions still on the table is whether Britannica will open its content or maintain its premium membership paid wall. In order to compete with Wikipedia in the Google [search results], Britannica needs to build up inbound links. If content is locked up behind the paid content walls, people will be much more likely to link to other websites with free content — such as that available on Wikipedia,” Hitwise analyst Heather Hopkins noted.

Wikipedia, a not-for-profit collaborative online encyclopedia, in its Wikipedia Foundation’s recent drive for public donations, had aimed to raise $US6 million over the course of six months. On January 1, “it had met the target, from more than 125,000 donors,” said Wikipedia head honcho and co-founder Jimmy Wales. He has invoked Wikipedia’s “free-culture movement”, and its mission “to bring free knowledge to the planet, free of charge and free of advertising”.

“Wikipedia is the new frontier of human knowledge,” wrote Anonymous, donating $US100. American Patrick Culligan left another comment, saying, “Accurate information is what enables society to act in the appropriate way in which we can change the world. History cannot be left for the winners to write.” Another said: “Wikipedia is one of those ‘big ideas’ which will change our world for the better.”

After Encyclopedia Britannica’s announcement that it is introducing a more open editing system, web 2.0 giant Wikipedia has considered attempts to move away from its free and open editing system. Academics, scholars and others have long criticized the writing principles fostered by Wikipedia amid vandals having often changed Wikipedia entries resulting to erroneous reports.

Now, for the first time, the online encyclopedia has considered restricting the edits that users can make. The system known internally as “Flagged Revisions,” has been sparked off by inaccurate changes after a Wikipedia user “Gfdjklsdgiojksdkf” and an anonymous editor respectively edited articles to say that both U.S. Senators Ted Kennedy and Robert Carlyle Byrd had died. The errors were caught and duly corrected after about five minutes, but they were up long enough for the Washington Post, among other media outlets, to notice.

In just the latest incidents in a long and rich history of vandalism since its 2001 launch, Vernon Kay and Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs, among others, have also been falsely reported as dead on Wikipedia. Wiki means “fast” in Hawaiian and it certainly is, even amid subtle vandalism, since anyone can amend its 2.7m entries. Wikipedia has long struggled with such prankery, and has ever since worked closely with its community to overcome it without adopting harsh protections.

We want people to be able to participate, but we have a tool available now that is consistent with higher quality.

As Wikipedia itself acknowledges, “Allowing anyone to edit Wikipedia means that it is more easily vandalized or susceptible to unchecked information, which requires removal.” In the proposed process, only registered or reliable users could have their material or edits immediately appear to the general public visiting Wikipedia. Other contributors’ edits or changes will first be reviewed, signed off, or “flagged” by reliable users.

“This nonsense would have been 100 percent prevented by Flagged Revisions,” said Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales under the header “Why I Am Asking Flagged Revisions Be Turned On Now,” on his user page. “[Instances of misinformation] could […] have been prevented by protection or semi-protection, but [..] [many are] breaking news [stories] and we want people to be able to participate (so protection is out) and even to participate in good faith for the first time ever (so semi-protection is out),” explained Wales who calls for monitoring to prevent false entries.

Wales said that a poll revealed 60 percent of Wikipedians favored the new proposal and that it would be a “time limited test.” He noted that the delay should be less than the German Wikipedia allowed: “less than 1 week, hopefully a lot less, because we will only be using it on a subset of articles, the boundaries of which can be adjusted over time to manage the backlog.”

Wales issued a statement requesting implementation of the extension: “To the Wikimedia Foundation: per the poll of the English Wikipedia community and upon my personal recommendation, please turn on the flagged revisions feature as approved in the poll.” But the community response was further debate.

As of February 2, his request hasn’t been implemented.

Apparently the Wikipedia German edition has been using a form of the Flagged Revisions system since May as a test case. It has, however, led to a delay of up to three weeks in getting some new articles and edits published, for critics have said that the system is very labor intensive and comments can take weeks to appear. Wales, however, pointed out that the system he was proposing was only for biographies of living people. Wikipedia has provided comprehensive and up-to-minute entries on the Virginia Tech massacre in April 2007 and the Mumbai terrorist attacks this past November as the events were still taking place.

While some participants in the debate have argued that the rule change is unnecessary, some have described it in terms of an ethical imperative. As one administrator wrote: “In the vast majority of cases, a Wikipedia article on an individual will be the very highest-ranking search engine result when a search is conducted on the name of that person. This affects the lives of the people we write about on a daily basis. To suggest that Wikipedia does not have profound obligations to do its best to keep these articles free of defamatory, gossipy and privacy-invading material is to suggest that we are without obligation to consider the real-world impacts of our actions and the work we are doing.”

Anything that makes Wikipedia more accurate can only be advantageous

Others have argued that practical considerations should prevent a change that could result in a large backlog of unreviewed edits. “Flagged revisions will suffocate under its own weight,” claimed administrator DragonflySixtyseven. Still other Wikipedian editors further argue that the current system works just fine.

Some consider the split could ultimately threaten the future of the dominant online encyclopedia. “The big issue is that while we have majority support, we don’t have consensus, and that’s the way we have always made our decisions,” Jake Wartenberg user and member of RC patrol chimed in. “A lot of editors are becoming disenchanted with the project; we are losing them all the time,” he added. By way of reply, amidst the embarrassing debacle, Mr. Wales has reached out to help and offered a compromise, inviting the opposition to submit alternative suggestions until the 29th of January.

“Implementing this functionality is really a volunteer community decision. We know the discussion about flagged revs is still taking place on English Wikipedia, but at this stage, it appears the majority of the community are behind this decision. As that discussion unfolds, we’ll have a better sense of the timing,” Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation, in a rejoinder, wrote in his e-mail message, explaining the status of the proposed restriction.

“Now seems an excellent time for Wikipedia to pause and take stock. It has proved the surprising wisdom of crowds as well as their utter idiocy. Its challenge now is to harness the enthusiasm of those volunteers while becoming a more reliable, better written source. And at some point, surely, its founders might want to turn it into a commercial venture. As Samuel Johnson almost said: “No one but a blockhead ever edited, excepted for money,” said Iain Hollingshead, a British freelance journalist and novelist.

“The suggestion of increased moderation on Wikipedia would divide the community. The site has built its reputation on being ‘the encyclopedia that anyone can edit’. It’s less radical to be ‘the encyclopedia that anyone can edit as long as their edits are approved by a trusted Wikipedian’ but that’s what co-founder Jimmy Wales has suggested. Wikipedia’s openness is its strength,” said Shane Richmond of The Daily Telegraph, asking, “is it most valuable feature its openness or its accuracy?”

Wales’ position is that “I consider our BLP issue to be so important that I think it is actually unethical to not use a tool which holds great promise for helping with the problem, now that it has been successfully tested elsewhere. Anyone who would like to see this tool not go into practice needs to start by convincing people that either (a) it is OK for the BLP vandalism problem to continue or (b) there is a better way to solve it.”

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Encyclopædia_Britannica_fights_back_against_Wikipedia,_soon_to_let_users_edit_contents&oldid=1979348”
Posted in Uncategorized

Tuesday, October 30, 2007File:Nadine Strossen 5 by David Shankbone.jpg

There are few organizations in the United States that elicit a stronger emotional response than the American Civil Liberties Union, whose stated goal is “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States”. Those people include gays, Nazis, women seeking abortion, gun owners, SPAM mailers and drug users. People who are often not popular with various segments of the public. The ACLU’s philosophy is not that it agrees or disagrees with any of these people and the choices that they make, but that they have personal liberties that must not be trampled upon.

In Wikinews reporter David Shankbone’s interview with the President of the ACLU, Nadine Strossen, he wanted to cover some basic ground on the ACLU’s beliefs. Perhaps the area where they are most misunderstood or have their beliefs most misrepresented is their feelings about religion in the public sphere. The ACLU categorically does not want to see religion disappear from schools or in the public forum; but they do not want to see government advocacy of any particular religion. Thus, former Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s placement of a ten ton monument to the Ten Commandments outside the courthouse is strenuously opposed; but “Lone Ranger of the Manger” Rita Warren’s placement of nativity scenes in public parks is vigorously defended. In the interview, Strossen talks about how certain politicians and televangelists purposefully misstate the law and the ACLU’s work in order to raise funds for their campaigns.

David Shankbone’s discussion with Strossen touches upon many of the ACLU’s hot button issues: religion, Second Amendment rights, drug liberalization, “partial-birth abortion” and whether or not George W. Bush should be impeached. It may surprise the reader that many ideas people have about the most visible of America’s civil libertarian organizations are not factually correct and that the ACLU often works closely with many of the organizations people think despise its existence.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=ACLU_President_Strossen_on_religion,_drugs,_guns_and_impeaching_George_Bush&oldid=4540341”
Posted in Uncategorized
 Notice — May 19, 2010 This article has been judged, by consensus of the Wikinews community, not to meet Wikinews standards of style and neutrality. Please see the relevant discussion for details. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Internet has already brought great things to the world, but has also brought spam, phishing, scamming, etc. We all have seen them across the Internet. They promise money, weight loss, or other things a person may strive for, but they usually amount to only a lighter pocket. Online advertising has become something that the increasingly Internet-reliant society has become used to, as well as more aware of. As this is true, online ads have become more intricate and deceptive in recent years.

However, a certain type of advertisement has arisen recently, and has become more deceptive than any other Internet ad, and has tricked many users into credit card charges. These sites claim to be news websites that preach a “miracle product”, and they offer a free trial, and then charge the user’s credit card a large amount of money without informing them after the trial ends. These sites appear to be operating under one venture and have caught ad pages of high-traffic websites by storm. In this report, Wikinews’ Tjc6 investigates news advertisement sites.

These Internet ads work in different ways:

Hypothetically speaking, a reader is browsing the web, and then happens to come across something that they believe is too good to be true. A link on one of these high-traffic pages promises white teeth, weight loss, or huge profits from working at home part-time. Out of curiosity, they click on the link.

This is the way that people are attracted to these fake news sites on the internet. The domain owners draw in customers by purchasing advertising on some of the World Wide Web’s most visited pages. Curious users click and are led to what they believe is a news article. From anti-aging to shedding weight, these “articles” from non-existant newspapers and television stations depict a skeptical news reporter trying a product because they were instructed to by a superior.

As the user reads on, they find that the “reporter” miraculously achieves significant weight loss, teeth whitening, or other general health and beauty improvement. The reporter states that the reader can get the same results as they did by using a “free trial” of the product.

Next, the user looks to the bottom of the page, where there seems to be a set of user comments, all of them praising the product or products that are advertised — this is where we first see something suspicious. Across several of these false articles, the comments appear to show the exact same text, sometimes with even the same usernames as other sites.

There is obviously some kind of correlation. Although this appears to be true, most users who purchase these products do not look at multiple versions of these similar pages of what appears to be a fast-growing network of interconnected fake news sites.

Once customers have convinced themselves into buying the product, they are led to a product (or products) website which promises a free trial for a very low price. What they do not know about this, however, is that they are giving their credit card data to a company that will charge it automatically after the trial ends. In about 14 days, the user receives a charge on their credit card for an excessive amount of money, usually from about $80 to $100 (USD). All attempts to contact these companies and cancel their shipments usually prove to be futile.

What these sites have is a large amount of legal copy located at the bottom of each site, stating their right to charge the user. This site, a fake news article claiming to offer teeth-whitening benefits, has several paragraphs of fine print, including this: “…Upon signing up for the 10 day trial membership you will be charged up to $4.97 depending on various shipping and initial offer promotions at that time but not more than $4.97 upon signing. If not cancelled, you will be charged $89.97 upon completion of the 10 day trial period. Monthly thereafter or 30 days from the original order date, the charge will reoccur monthly at a total of $89.97 until cancelled…,” the site says.

Practices like this have alerted the Better Business Bureau, an American organization that studies and reports on the reliability and practices of US businesses. In a press release, a spokesman from the BBB spoke out against sites like this. “Many businesses across the country are using the same selling model for their products: They lure customers in with claimed celebrity endorsements and free trial offers, and then lock them in by making it extremely difficult to cancel the automatic delivery of more products every month…,” said the report that denounced the websites.

When a user looks at several of these sites, they notice that all of them have the same exact structure. Because of this, Wikinews decided to look into where some of the domains were owned, and if they were all in fact part of one company.

However, the results that Wikinews found were ones that were not expected. Out of the three random websites that were found in Internet ads, all using similar designs and methods to attract the customers, came from three different locations in three countries and two separate continents. The first came from Scottsdale, in the United States, while the next two came from Vancouver and Hamburg. There is no location correlation, but surely, there has to be something that connected these sites together. We had to look even further to try to find a connection.

HAVE YOUR SAY
What do you think of these sites? Have you ever fallen for an advertisement similar to this one?
Add or view comments

There is some correlation within the product’s contact information. A large amount of the teeth-whitening products analyzed actually shared the same phone number, which lead to a distribution center located in St. Petersburg, Florida, and several other similar distribution centers located across the Southern United States. But, that explains only one of the categories of products that these websites cover, teeth whitening.

What about the other products? The other products such as weight loss and work-at-home kits all trace back to similar distribution centers in similar places. So, what do we make of all of this?

There is obviously some company that promotes these products through the fake news advertisements, but that company is nowhere to be found on the websites. All contact information is given on the product pages, and websites are copyrighted under the name of the domain, not a company. Whatever company has been the setup for these pages has been very good at hiding themselves from the Internet, as there is no information across the web about that mysterious large advertiser.

As a result of customers buying the products and having unauthorized charges on their credit cards, a large volume of complaints are currently present on awareness sites, complaint sites, and even the Better Business Bureau. Several customers point out that they were not informed of the steep charges and the company made it extremely difficult to cancel their subscription, usually resulting in the loss of several hundred dollars.

  • The trial offer was to pay for $3.95 for the cost of the shipping for one bottle. I noticed shortly after placing the order I had a charge on my credit card for $149.95. Unknown to myself the company charges for a membership if you don’t cancel within 14 days, I cancelled within 18 days…When I called the customer service number they told me the decision has been made and my refund request was denied. When I questioned the person on the other line about what I was getting for my $149.95 she told me I was not getting anything because I cancelled the membership.
?“Tamara”, in a post to the Ripoff Report
  • This is a “free sample” scam: Pay only postage and handling and get a free sample of a tooth whitening system, they say. I looked for the “catch,” something that would indicate that there’d be hidden or recurring charges, but didn’t see anything, and ordered. Sure enough, a couple of weeks later, I see a charge for $88.97 on my bank statement…When I called, the guy answering the phone had obviously answered the same angry question many, many times: “Why has your company charged $88.97 to my card?” “Because you didn’t cancel your subscription in time,” he said tiredly.
?“Elenor”, in a post to the Ripoff Report

One notable lawsuit has occurred as a result of these articles. Some of the articles about work at home kits specifically advertise things like “work for Google”, or “job openings at Google”. However, Google asserts these claims as false and has taken the case to court, as it is a copyright violation. “Thousands of people have been tricked into sending payment information and being charged hidden fees by questionable operations,” said Google in a statement.

The BBB has received over 3,000 complaints about products such as the ones that Google took offense to. The lawsuit has yet to begin in court, and no date has been set.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Wikinews_investigates:_Advertisements_disguised_as_news_articles_trick_unknowing_users_out_of_money,_credit_card_information&oldid=4510983”
Posted in Uncategorized
Thursday, October 4, 2007 20:15(UTC+1)
Copenhagen 2 – 1 (AET)3 – 2 agg. Lens Parken Stadium, Copenhagen Attendance: 23,861 Referee: Duarte Nuno Pereira Gomes, Portugal
Marcus Allbäck 76′Michael Gravgaard  95′Jesper Grønkjær 112′ (pen.) Report Eric Carrière 14′
Copenhagen Lens
Starting lineup
Jesper Christiansen (GK) Vedran Runje (GK) 28′
Brede Hangeland 80′ Adama Coulibali
Michael Gravgaard  95′ Lucien Aubey
Niclas Jensen Milan Biševac
William Kvist Yohan Demont
Atiba Hutchinson Eric Carrière 14′
Hjalte Bo Nørregaard 60′ Jonathan Lacourt
Jesper Grønkjær 112′ (pen.) Julien Sablé
Libor Sionko Sidi Yaya Keita 75′ 81′
Michael Silberbauer 72′ Kanga Akalé 74′
Marcus Allbäck 76′ 101′ Luigi Pieroni 91′
Players substituted on
Morten Nordstrand 60′ Aruna Dindane 74′
Rasmus Würtz 72′ Nenad Kovacevic 81′ 111′
Mathias “Zanka” Jørgensen 101′ Olivier Monterrubio 91′

Thursday, Danish football champions FC Copenhagen upset France’s 5th place finishers RC Lens, beating them 2-1 on home turf after extra time. Lens started the scoring in the 14th minute, when Eric Carrière put Lens one up. Marcus Allbäck struck back in the 76th minute, closing the gap. At 90 minutes, the game was tied at 1-1, and with an aggregate score of 2-2, with one away goal a piece, the game went to extra time. Five minutes into the first extra time-period, Michael Gravgaard was sent off following a professional free kick on Aruna Dindane. But even one man down, Copenhagen fought their way to a penalty kick as Czech national Libor Sionko was fouled in the penalty area with just 8 minutes to play. Jesper Grønkjær scored the match-winner, converting the 12-yarder.

The club of the Danish capital is through to the group phase of the 2007-08 UEFA Cup, clinching at least another five matches in the tournament.

Other Danish clubs in the draw: AaB Aalborg held Italian U.C. Sampdoria to 0-0, qualifying for the group phase as well, after 2-2 in Italy, on the away goals rule. Meanwhile OB Odense was beaten 4-3 on penalties by Sparta Prague after neither team being able to break the deadlock for the 210 minutes of the two ties including extra time in the second leg, and FC Midtjylland failed to overturn their 1-3 deficit in Russia against Lokomotiv Moscow, losing 0-2, making it a 1-5 aggregate defeat.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=2007/08_UEFA_Cup:_Copenhagen_vs._Lens&oldid=4535376”
Posted in Uncategorized

By Sean Goudeloc

In order to win and gain awards and recognition at different virtual games requiring mental skills and basic online knowledge, a person playing these online games should take the time to read and learn the skill games rules and regulations offered at particular gaming sites. As such, it pays to stay informed before playing the various online games available.

While the skill games rules for online games differ from one gaming portal to another, there are certain flexible tournament skill games rules that may be similar at most sites so that gamers would have the chance to win some monetary prizes and other awards. However, it is not recommended that an interested gaming participant would merely assume these things. That is why a quick read through these rules is absolutely necessary.

Basically, similar rules that may be included may tackle the way to playing different virtual games that are being offered to gamers. Since there are often a number of games available, the rules in playing would be dependent on what type of skill it would require.

Some games offering an enticing package of monetary prizes and awards would include different types of sports where the participant is exposed to the basic rules of playing basketball. Other sites would include other sports like golf, tennis and more. The rules that govern these types of games are usually the same rules applied to the actual games.

YouTube Preview Image

Basic skill games rules would also inform an interested individual of the manner of participation required in playing certain virtual games. Tips involving the participation with daily gaming challenges (that are often offered for free) are included.

Often, crucial rules on fees and such are flexible. It may include pertinent information like, for example, entry fees for certain games that would amount from as low as $1 to as high as $10.

These entry fees are needed for daily challenges on where the participant can earn cash and other prizes. Free games are often non-cash games but recognition is mostly given to winners of such.

The earnings in cash and awards would depend on whether the participant opted to play for a fee or not. Once the entry fees have been chosen by the gamer, it remains as such until the challenge ends.

Prizes given by various gaming sites also differ. One has to understand that there may be two different types that would be offered to the interested individual – the cash or non-cash awards. For cash, it is often a combination of the sponsored website and a certain percentage of the entry fees that other gaming participants have shelled out for. Non-cash awards, on the other hand are often artifacts online that the participant can choose to use for themselves or trade to other gamers for cash.

The number of the gaming participants who would win prizes from the online games is often set by the gaming site. These are often calculated from the total number of those who join these games and tournaments on the Internet.

Rules may change or these things may be flexible. Keeping abreast on the basic skill games rules for these virtual game tournaments may lessen one’s problems in knowing what to do in order to join, play and win at these gaming sites.

About the Author: Are you looking for more information regarding

skill games rules

? Visit

flashgp.com/

today!

Source:

isnare.com

Permanent Link:

isnare.com/?aid=1600537&ca=Computers+and+Technology

Posted in It Services
This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Monday, October 26, 2020

On Friday, code hosting and sharing website GitHub blocked the public access to youtube-dl, a software which can download videos from the internet via the command-line. The blockade came after GitHub received a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) take-down notice from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). After stripping the metadata from the notice, GitHub published the take-down notice on their site.

Initially started in July 2008 by Ricardo Garcia, youtube-dl is a script written in Python which can download videos from multiple websites including YouTube, LiveLeak and Vimeo. youtube-dl is a FLOSS software and is under public domain. Currently, the repository on GitHub is locked for viewers other than maintainers of the project.

RIAA’s DMCA notice alleged the script’s purpose of existence was to “circumvent the technological protection measures used by authorized streaming services such as YouTube” and “reproduce and distribute music videos and sound recordings owned by our member companies without authorization for such use”.

youtube-dl has multiple unit tests in its source code, which test whether the software works in different circumstances or not. Some of the tests include checking if the script can download Creative Commons licensed videos, videos which did not have square pixels, videos with no age restriction, “offensive to some audiences” per YouTube community and age-restricted videos. One of the tests included the URL of some copyrighted songs. Citing this test, RIAA’s take-down notice claimed “comments in the youtube-dl source code make clear that the source code was designed and is marketed for the purpose of circumventing YouTube’s technological measures”.

RIAA’s notice published by GitHub alleged violation of 17 U.S. Code § 1201 Circumvention of copyright protection systems which says “No person shall circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls access to a work protected under this title”. RIAA listed a number of forks of youtube-dl and requested GitHub via the notice they all be made inaccessible.

The notice did not list any incident of anyone using youtube-dl to download or share copyrighted material, nor mention any damages that actually occurred. Unremarked by the notice, YouTube allows videos to be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license. When a copyright holder chooses to release their work, be it a photograph, a video, or audio, under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, they allow everyone to freely own, share or modify the work as long as the reusers properly attribute the author of the work. YouTube also hosts many audio and video recordings in the public domain which can be used for any purpose without any restrictions.

youtube-dl is used by thousands of people around the world. Multiple Creative Commons-licensed and public domain videos on Wikimedia Commons are uploaded via a tool called video2commons, which relies on youtube-dl to download media. youtube-dl also lets users download videos from LiveLeak — a video-sharing platform for citizen journalism. Videos downloaded using youtube-dl are also used for the purpose of fair use, or for evidence.

youtube-dl comes with a small JavaScript interpreter where it acts as a web-browser would behave while receiving video data from the server. The script has “extractors” for various websites to handle videos from different sources. Whenever something is displayed on the user’s screen, the device has a copy of that content. Web browsers “download” data while surfing the web, though most of it is not persistent on the device. It is possible to download copyrighted photos by using a web-browser. The way the world wide web works, there are no technological prevention measures to prevent recording and sharing of content such as RIAA talks about in the notice. Photos and texts can be downloaded by taking screenshots, videos by screen recording tools, and audio by recording on a tape if not an audio recording software.

Multiple users expressed their disappointment on Twitter and Internet Relay Chat. One of the users said “this is yet another example of why we should use git as it was intended, as a distributed network, rather than rely on one single proprietary server”. Git is decentralised version-tracking software which is used by a large number of software companies and projects. It is possible to host one’s own git server for software development. While Microsoft’s GitHub is a centralised git server, development of software using git does not require a GitHub account.

Soon after the public access to the repository was locked, multiple users started sharing the source code via self-hosted git servers, Tor sites and via the Torrent protocol leading to a Streisand effect. Streisand effect is when a measure to censor information causes further spread of that information. The binary files of the software are still available on its website for users to download. Some people came up with esoteric ways to share the source code, by converting the compressed code into photographs and providing shell commands to convert to the source code.

GitHub’s DMCA repository, where the takedown notice was published for public viewing, was subject to contant vandalism from multiple GitHub users. One user submitted a pull request, merging the source code of youtube-dl along with the dmca repository. This enabled users to view youtube-dl’s source code from within the dmca repository, provided they know the commit id.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation said on Twitter “Youtube-dl is a legitimate tool with a world of a lawful uses. Demanding its removal from Github is a disappointing and counterproductive move by the RIAA.” Richard Stallman, the founder of Free Software Foundation, has been highly critical of DRM (digital rights management, the subject of the DMCA) for many years now.

Wikinews reached out to Sergey M?, one of the maintainers of youtube-dl script, however Sergey said he “won’t give any comments at this time”. Later, he shared an update on the IRC channel. Sergey said, “they require complete removal of so called YouTube’s rolling cipher implementation […] GitHub requires in order to reinstate the repo […] under this conditions I could reinstate it in Saturday/Sunday already but this is an unsatisfactory outcome”. He also said, “I can’t guarantee whether [or] not we will bend over them considering the situation with @phihag [Philipp Hagemeister] but we’ll see soon what we can do in order to keep the max we have and mitigate potential legal issues at the same time”.

EFF is yet to respond to Wikinews queries. Wikinews also reached out to Philipp Hagemeister, a former maintainer and contributor of the youtube-dl project to discuss this takedown.

When did you get to know about the takedown notice and what were your initial reactions?

((Philipp Hagemeister)) I saw the takedown notice along with anyone else, on reddit. Since I am no longer involved with the youtube-dl project (except for occasional contributions, my maintainership ended in 2016), I don’t know any details.

((RS)) Does YouTube implement DRM for videos not under Creative Commons license, and if so, how does youtube-dl bypass it? Could you please elaborate the procedure?

((Philipp Hagemeister)) YouTube implements DRM for YouTube Movies. youtube-dl does not support those.

YouTube has multiple non-DRM video delivery protocols. I’m not up to date about specifics; my last dabbling in this was in 2015.

One of these protocols is described here. YouTube uses JavaScript to compute parts of the URLs. youtube-dl executes this JavaScript, just like a web browser.

((WN)) Could you also explain in brief how youtube-dl functions, and how the maintainers had intended it to be used?

((Philipp Hagemeister)) youtube-dl downloads and plays videos and music, just like any other web browser, from over 1000 different services. Its uses are varied: It enables video playback on many devices (e.g. Raspberry Pi) where the video services don’t work properly, it makes high-quality video playable for people with a bad or no Internet connection, it enables disabled users to use tools to play videos, and it is used for archival and research.

((WN)) What do you think of the DMCA notice?

((Philipp Hagemeister)) I think it is not warranted because youtube-dl is entirely legal. As the DMCA notice has no effect for me personally, I’m not really the right person to address it.

((WN)) Why were the copyrighted tests in the source code? Could they be replaced?

((Philipp Hagemeister)) I’m not sure why, but my guess is that users requested support for these videos and thus they were added as test cases. They can be removed trivially, without losing any function of youtube-dl.

((WN)) Are you aware Electronic Frontier Foundation said it was a “disappointing and counterproductive move”? What do you think should be the next steps?

((Philipp Hagemeister)) Yes, and I concur. I’m no longer involved in the project. If I were, I would probably just remove the test cases, block these music videos (RIAA is not worth the trouble for me, that can be done by other projects), and get the project back online.I understand people who think differently.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=GitHub_blocks_public_access_to_youtube-dl_after_RIAA_issues_DMCA_notice&oldid=4590301”
Posted in Uncategorized

Wednesday, March 30, 2005UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has been cleared of wrongdoing in an investigation of charges that he influenced the UN to award aid-screening contracts in Iraq to Swiss company Cotecna Inspection Services, which employed his son Kojo Annan. The investigation was led by former US Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker, who said that the investigation initiated by Kofi Annan should instead have been referred to UN’s independent watchdog agency. The report issued was called by the secretary general a “second interim report” in his statement reported in the New Zealand Herald. The commission will issue its final report in the northern hemisphere summer of 2005.

While Kofi Annan was exonerated, two of his staff members, Iqbal Riza and Dileep Nair, were criticized by the report. Riza allegedly shredded documents related to the contracts under investigation after the secretary general ordered that they be retained. The New York Times said that Nair was “faulted for appointing a person to a high-level post with oil-for-food responsibilities who did almost no work on the program”.

According to the New York Times, the Secretary General said “I am deeply saddened by the evidence to the contrary that has emerged, and particularly by the fact that my son had failed to cooperate fully with the inquiry”. The Guardian reports that Annan’s son concealed from his father the fact that Cotecna continued to pay him for 6 years after “he left Cotecna in 1998”. It was not clear from the Guardian report why Cotecna was paying Kojo Annan if he had indeed left the company.

Asked whether he planned to step down as Secretary General, as called for by US Republican Senator Norm Coleman, among others, Kofi Annan responded, “Hell, no!” according to Ewen MacAskill of the Guardian, as well as an unattributed Sydney Morning Herald article. Senator Coleman continued to press forward with his criticism of Annan and calls for his resignation despite the report’s findings.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=UN_Secretary_General_Annan_cleared_of_influencing_oil-for-food_contracts_by_Volcker_report&oldid=4531943”
Posted in Uncategorized
TO TOP