I won the GA election

Today, I was notified that I won the general assembly elections. This came quite as a surprise, but I am glad the election worked out that well for me. I would like to thank everyone who voted for me or gave me a high ranking. I also would like to thank the other candidates for their candidacy and for their fair election campaign. Right after I was declared winner, people from inside FSFE contacted me to make travel arrangements to the GA that already meets June 19th-21st. After this was dealt with, I was bombarded with new information. It was … Continue reading

Microsoft denies certain countries access to its messenger

My recent blog entries were about Skype and about how companies might eventually abuse the power they have over some of our technology. Many of my arguments against Skype also apply to Microsoft’s instant messenger. Now Microsoft gave one more example that this abuse actually happens. Ars technica writes: Microsoft this week decided to turn off its Windows Live Messenger service for five countries: Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan, and North Korea. […] The user is not informed as to the actual reason for the block. Currently, it’s not clear how broad the block is or how long it will last. … Continue reading

Brave New Skyping World Revisited

A vigilant reader of my blog challenged my earlier criticism of Skype thoroughly and even though I felt his remarks could have been tempered a bit, here is my thoughtful response. I am very thankful for all of the comments I receive and encourage more people to express their opinions here. It is only when our opinions are constantly challenged, are we forced to rethink them and are less likely to believe in aged and false dogmas. Below I intend to counter the main points of his argument, but only after I have refashioned and strengthened my main argument. The … Continue reading

Ten Reasons Why You Should Boycott Skype

If you want to understand what Skype actually is, it might help to picture an almighty telephone and mail company. This company can not only spy on your private conversations and has total control over them, but it also forces you to use it. It owns the telephone lines and all mail transportation and does not let other companies use them. At the same time, you are bound to only use their telephone and mailboxes. Despite of these facts, more and more people are using Skype and even begin using the word “to skype” as a general term for talking … Continue reading

Facebook’s outragous Terms of Use

Many of us knew already that Facebook’s Terms of Use are unacceptable and that nobody should ever use Facebook, but work on a free (as in free speech) alternative to Facebook. A couple of weeks ago, Facebook changed their Terms of Use again without notifying its users. It basically grants itself an “irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license” to do anything they want with all our data. This license never expires and all your data will never be deleted, not even when you delete your account. The Blogosphere covers this in many places. Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg defended … Continue reading

Ogg Vorbis and Theora on its way to become a video standard?

The Mozilla Foundation just released native support for the free (as in freedom) audio and video codecs Vorbis and Theora in Firefox. These codecs are possibly the best free codecs existing. Encoding (producing) and decoding (consuming) audio and video files using these codecs is unrestricted by EULAs or license fees for patents. Currently, the largest archive of free audio and video material is Wikimedia Commons. They will greatly profit from this move. The Wikimedia Foundation applauded to Mozilla’s announcement. They see great potential in free media codecs: This could never make it into the mainstream without the groups developing and … Continue reading

ICQ Locks Out Users

As of today, users with old or non-official ICQ Clients are no longer able to log into the ICQ Network. They received no prior notice and just get the message that their client is too old. The reason for this is still not known, but it has been speculated that it is due to ICQ wanting all users “upgrade” to the new ICQ6 Client. Many users reported the problem in the official ICQ support forum and the first fixes for the problem already appeared in the net. This incident clearly shows once more that we should not surrender our freedom … Continue reading