One of the best things about working on Raspberry Pi has been the opportunity to meet groups of people who are trying to bring about the same sort of change in the teaching of other subjects that we’re aiming for in computing. One great example is the computer-based math(s) (CBM) movement, which aims to redefine the teaching of mathematics in schools away from mechanical calculation and towards problem solving. From their website:
The importance of math to jobs, society, and thinking has exploded over the last few decades. Meanwhile, math education is in worldwide crisis—diverging more and more from what’s required by countries, industry, further education… and students.
Computers are key to bridging this chasm: only when they do the calculating is math applicable to hard questions across many contexts. Real-life math has been transformed by computer-based calculation; now mainstream math education needs this fundamental change too.
computerbasedmath.org is the project to perform this reset. We’re building a completely new math curriculum with computer-based computation at its heart, while campaigning at all levels to redefine math education away from historical hand-calculating techniques and toward real-life problem-solving situations that drive high-concept math understanding and experience.
Today, at the CBM education summit in New York, we announced a partnership with Wolfram Research to bundle a free copy of Mathematica and the Wolfram Language into future Raspbian images. We believe this will make the Pi a first-class platform for teaching CBM techniques to children of all ages. As Conrad Wolfram said today: “Coders will be able to use the power of Mathematica’s maths out of the box, not only enriching what they can do but also showing off the power and importance of maths.”
Plotting 3d graphs with Mathematica on Pi
Deeply inappropriate use of the Heaviside step function
Future Raspbian images will ship with the Wolfram Language and Mathematica by default; existing users with at least 600MB of free space on their SD card can install them today by typing:
You’ll find Mathematica in the app launcher under the Education menu.
We’d like to thank the team at Wolfram Research for the enormous amount of effort they’ve put to get the Wolfram Language and Mathematica running well on the Pi. Over the next few months we’ll be running a series of blog posts from Wolfram exploring some of the neat tricks you can get up to with them. This is going to be fun!
While there are undoubtedly file-sharing sites in existence operated as individuals’ sole source of income, many sites are run as side-projects by people in full-time employment elsewhere.
It’s common for sites to be run by people employed in the computing industry or by those still in education and hoping to get into that area in the future. However, a case brought to a conclusion yesterday is probably the first in which the accused was a farmer.
The case, brought by Antipiratbyran and the IFPI, dates back to December 2011 and claims that the defendant, a man from Sweden, was responsible for administering the PowerBits private BitTorrent tracker between 2007 and 2009.
As is so often the case, the plaintiffs in the case claimed that PowerBits was a “commercial file-sharing service” and its admin “regularly received and assimilated payments from the users.”
Those payments took the form of donations from PowerBits users but were framed as direct payment for illegal content by the anti-piracy companies. Making matters worse, the tax authorities said the income had been generated in the course of running an Internet business and as such was both undeclared and untaxed.
In June 2012 the Varberg District Court accepted that the then 34-year-old hadn’t uploaded content himself but had indeed assisted in the copyright infringements of PowerBits users. He was also found guilty of tax and accounting offenses relating to the income generated from the site.
The case went to appeal and yesterday the decision was handed down.
A Court of Appeal judge upheld the earlier ruling and found the now 35-year-old guilty of aiding in copyright infringement. He was also found guilty of accounting fraud and was sentenced to one year in jail.
In addition to the custodial sentence the man was told to pay almost $62,000 against an undeclared income of $126,600 generated from the 65,000 member site during 2007 and 2008, some of which was spent converting a pigsty into a datacenter.
David Whale, a STEM ambassador and all-round good egg, mailed me last week to tell me about a project he’d been involved in at Goodwood race course.
The Greenpower Education Trust run an electric car series for schools and businesses, where students and staff build electric race cars, and compete in 4hr mileage marathons around the country.
Essex Goblins 2013
They’ve been doing a lot of work with Raspberry Pis (many of the cars have a Raspberry Pi inside), and asked David if he could use a Raspberry Pi to populate a giant display at the Goodwood course with race information. Ninety six entrants’ information needed to be displayed, so David produced a system whereby the top three cars were always displayed at the top of the board, and everybody else scrolled down the rest of the page on a loop.
One of the things I often get asked in my role as a STEM Ambassador, is ”What’s it like to be an engineer”. I’ve thought about this a lot and honed my elevator pitch quite a lot now, but there is one phrase that always comes out “It’s a huge lot of fun, and hard work”. I certainly had a lot of fun and did a lot of hard work (at the last minute!) putting this one together. The program was finished 11pm Saturday night, I boxed it all up, went to bed, got up at 5.30am Sunday and drove to Goodwood to install and run it. But it all worked in the end!
You can read about the build from the bottom up (and download code; have a think about displays and data processing; and marvel at the fact that there’s anybody in the world still using Delphi) on David’s blog. It’s a really thorough write-up, and one we think you’ll get a lot out of.
Meanwhile, if you’re interested in getting involved with The Greenpower Challenge and building your own electric car (there are categories for everybody over the age of nine), you can learn more at greenpower.co.uk.
We’ve reached a bit a landmark. As you’ll know if you’ve been following us since we started documenting what happens when you decide to make a tiny computer for education back in 2011, the first Raspberry Pis were made in China. Back in September 2012, we started moving manufacture to a plant owned by Sony in South Wales. Gradually, both of our manufacturing partners, RS Components and Premier Farnell, have reshored all the production of Raspberry Pis to that factory, and for the last few months, all the Pis you buy have been made in the UK.
The really big news today is that the Pencoed factory has made its millionth British Raspberry Pi. Add these to the existing Chinese ones, and that makes one and three quarter million Raspberry Pis out there worldwide, the majority of them made right here at home. Sony’s Pencoed factory has just won a slew of trophies at the British Factory Awards: they took home the Best Factory award, Best Electronics Factory, Best Factory for Innovation – and were highly commended for their work on minimising energy use and environmental impact. They’re great to work with, their quality control process and attention to detail is exceptional (as those of you with UK Pis have been happy to tell us), and we can’t think of anyone who deserves those awards more.
What’s happened to the millionth British Raspberry Pi, you ask? Sony have made us a gold-plated case to keep it in, and we’ll be displaying it proudly here at Pi Towers.
Rory Cellan-Jones, the BBC’s Technological Correspondent (and a man without whose blog there might never have been a Raspberry Pi – it was only when some personal footage he’d taken with his phone went viral that we realised that hundreds of thousands of you might actually be interested in buying the thing) dropped into our offices last week to do some filming about the millionth Pi. Keep an eye on BBC news bulletins today, and especially on BBC Breakfast – you might spot us there!
Updated to add: the BBC has a big article by Rory on its news website, along with some video of Gareth talking to Rory at the factory and showing him how the Pi is built, and an interview with Eben. Head over and have a look.
We kicked off the tenth annual Cybersecurity Awareness Month with the official theme of ‘Shared Responsibility’. We all succeed by furthering the education and awareness of the community we live as a whole, not just the technical folks. Adrien talked earlier this week about how we at the Internet Storm Center are all about logs, and the basis for much of our work has always been the Dshield project. The Dshield database of information is provided by everyone who contributes, thus supporting the efforts of the ISC.
The other half of the equation for the ‘Shared Responsibility’ of the Internet Storm Center is the Handlers. The Handlers of the ISC are all volunteers, with day jobs to take up the other half of our brains not committed here. Of course the ISC is not the only volunteer opportunity that we as security professionals can actively engage to bring our expertise and experience together to share amongst ourselves and others. One that comes to mind that is active in many areas across the globe is the Information Systems Security Association.
Where else can we help? Submit your comments to us below, and help spread the word!
Tony d0t Carothers –gmail
(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Sticking to the quality control aspect of the report, professionalization, it says, has the potential to attract workers and establish long-term paths to improving the work force overall, but measures such as standardized education or requirements for certification, have their disadvantages too.
For example, formal education or certification could be helpful to employers looking to evaluate the skills and knowledge of a given applicant, but it takes time to develop curriculum and reach a consensus on what core knowledge and skills should be assessed in order to award any such certification. For direct examples of such a quandary, InfoSec needs only to look at the existing certification programs, and the criticisms directed that certifications such as the CISSP and C|EH.
Once a certification is issued, the previously mentioned barriers start to emerge. The standards used to award certifications will run the risk of becoming obsolete. Furthermore, workers may not have incentives to update their skills in order to remain current. Again, this issue is seen in the industry today, as some professionals chose to let their certifications lapse rather than renew them or try and collect the required CPE credits.
But the largest barrier is that some of the most talented individuals in cybersecurity are self-taught. So the requirement of formal education or training may, as mentioned, deter potential employees from entering the field at a time when they are needed the most. So while professionalization may be a useful tool in some circumstances, the report notes, it shouldn’t be used as a proxy for “better.”
Carrie Anne Philbin, an absolutely inspirational CS teacher of the sort I wish had been around when I was a kid, has been doing a lot of work with the Pi in her lessons over the last year or so. She’s creator of the Geek Gurl Diaries YouTube web series, a Computer Science and ICT teacher, recipient of TalkTalk’s London 2013 Digital Heroes award, and somebody that all of us at Raspberry Pi think very, very highly of. Most recently, Carrie Anne has spent much of the summer working with Dr Sam Aaron at the University of Cambridge on a Key Stage 3 scheme of work for schools, tailored for England’s new programme of study, based around a little something of Sam’s called Sonic Pi.
Sonic Pi is a programming environment that allows you to make sounds. Which is a very dull way of saying that it’s a way to build your own synthesiser from scratch. Sonic Pi, and the associated teaching and learning materials, are open and free.
Dr Sam Aaron is a researcher at the University of Cambridge Computer Lab. He’s also a musician, and he’s one of the most interesting people I know, with a breadth of knowledge and enthusiasms that makes for some very late nights of conversation when he visits Pi Towers. Sam’s been working on Sonic Pi since 2012, and we are delighted to see his work being used so successfully in schools. Sam’s (rather brilliant) realisation is that you can engineer a situation whereby kids accidentally learn fundamental concepts of computing, programming and programmatic thinking, by being asked to do something creative: in this case, making music with a tool they’ve built themselves. The set of lessons will take kids from a starting point of no familiarity at all with computing. Sonic Pi, with the lesson plans and materials provided by Carrie Anne, gives teachers with little or no programming background plenty of support; those lesson plans offer a guided route through using Sonic Pi in the classroom.
Sam gives a seminar
Carrie Anne says:
I get asked by teachers all the time: how can Raspberry Pi be used in the classroom? And how can it help us meet the aims of the new Computing programme of study? These were questions I had, until I met Sam and started to develop lessons using his music Pi synthesizer software. For me, gender neutrality, creativity, imagination and tinker time are the basis for learning computer science in my classroom. When Sam suggested teaching computing concepts with music, I knew he was onto a winner, and that it would tick all the boxes.
After a month or so of planning and preparing in Jan 2013, we started to teach our Sonic Pi lessons to my Year 8 classes, and I was astounded. Firstly, by just how engaged they were by this little computer. Getting students away from the ‘internet boxes’ in the room got them thinking about what a computer really is, wherein lies the power of the Pi. Secondly, by the positive reactions of both genders, and of students with learning difficulties, who in the past had been quite negative about the subject. In fact my most memorable occasion was when a member of the senior leadership team came into the room. He spotted my learning objectives on the board and then asked a normally uninterested 13-year-old girl what she was doing. In a few sentences she explained logic, sequencing, iteration and conditionals in a way that made it all sound so matter-of-fact.
With a little structured creativity and freedom, students in both classes progressed massively with a text-based programming language. Their achievement was not only being able to program and make decisions about their code for themselves, but also in the memorable musical masterpieces they made. I’m very excited to roll this scheme of work out across the whole of Year 8 this academic year to see what more fun we can have in class.
This video is an example of work prepared by a pair of girls in Year 8 (kids in Year 8 in the UK are aged 12 and 13) who are part-way through the Sonic Pi set of lessons.
We’ve been so impressed by what we’ve seen so far from Sam and Carrie Anne; we look forward to seeing what comes next. Kids we’ve spoken to have been really excited and enthused by Sonic Pi, and have been hard to drag away from the class Raspberry Pis at the end of sessions. This is a program of lessons that gives kids the freedom of action to take their own Sonic Pi project in any direction they want to, moving away from the sort of lesson where everybody works on the same piece of software, and giving students the agency to develop their work in an individual way, while almost accidentally becoming familiar with an important set of fundamentals. Carrie Anne and Sam are running trials of the project in a number of different schools with very different demographics, and so far, the results look great.
Sonic Pi lesson in progress
If you’d like to use Sonic Pi and the scheme of work Sam and Carrie Anne have created in your own classroom, you can download everything for free at the Sonic Pi website. You’ll find other teachers in the forums here at Raspberry Pi, especially in the education section. Non-teachers are also encouraged to check out the software and the scheme of work for themselves. Please join in, both there and in the comments here – we, and Sam and Carrie Anne, would love to know what you think.
UniversidadGalileo (Galileo University) in Guatemala have launched a free, Spanish language MOOC (Massive Open Online Course**) titled “Introducción a Raspberry Pi“.
The University says (via my rubbish tourist Spanish, sorry):
In this course, students will get to know the Raspberry Pi and learn what it can do; which [Linux] distributions are available; how to develop simple applications using Python; and how to control external devices using the GPIO interface.
The emphasis is on theory first, then demonstrations and ultimately the student is encouraged to reinforce their learning by first replicating and then improving what they’ve been shown.
The course structure looks like this :
Installation, configuration, accessories and other aspects
Installing Wheezy and other distributions
Introduction to Python
Introduction to programming in Python on the Raspberry Pi
A complete example in Python
Raspberry Pi GPIO module for external connections
Hardware basics and using the GPIO
Next steps: projects and community
The content looks excellent and they’ve got a talented and experienced bunch of teachers on board. Interestingly, there are two routes through the course: a ‘light mode’ where you can learn the basics and an ‘advanced mode’ where studetns contribute weekly projects plus a final project. For the light mode you do not even need a Raspberry Pi! This is a stroke of genius: the fewer barriers to learning the better.
We believe that this is the first ever Raspberry Pi specific MOOC and it certainly sets the bar for future courses. If Spanish is your first language and you would like to learn about the Raspberry Pi, what it can do and how to use it then is the ideal route. The course starts October 14th 2013 and registration is now open. Sign up here.
**If you’ve not come across MOOCs before, they are online courses that typically teach discrete topics using a mixture of video, short assessments, quizzes, assignments and exams. Basically, they allow you to access the smarts of world leaders in their fields from the comfort of your home.)
The amount of press that Apples IOS 7 update has gotten today has had an unintended consequence – everyone seems to be pulling it down the instant they see that it's available.
This is triggering IPS Sensors and causing real DOS conditions due to the traffic involved – an unintended "apple – zooka"
<<updated content follows>>
Our readers are reporting up to a doubling of wireless traffic, and similar increases on overall internet bandwidth usage! The chart below shows the impact on a wireless network in a education setting (thanks again to John and Eric for this!). That's more Apple-y goodness than we bargained for today !
Swa, one of our handlers, indicates that this can be easily resolved for a corporate network by enabling the Apple Caching Service and/or Software Update Server on a single OSX Server in the network, which serves as the update "broker" for all clients on the netowrk. (thanks for the screenshot Swa). The Caching Server will serve up all Apple content (including updates), while the Update Server will only server up Updates.
I'm not sure how these services interact with the Service Discovery features in mDNS – if anyone has details on this we'd appreciate your insight in the comments field for this story!
The basics of setting up your Caching Server can be found in the "Mac Management Basics" guide, found here ==> http://training.apple.com/pdf/Mac_Management_Basics_10.8.pdf
Generally, just enabling the Caching Server is enough, but advanced settings for the caching server can be found here ==> http://support.apple.com/kb/HT5590
(c) SANS Internet Storm Center. http://isc.sans.edu Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
Over the years many initiatives to curb online piracy have emerged and in several countries so-called graduated response schemes have been implemented.
Initially copyright lobbyists opted to embed these “x-strikes” initiatives into law, as France did with Hadopi. However, more recently there has been a bigger push for voluntary initiatives.
In the U.S., for example, copyright holders and Internet providers launched the six-strikes Copyright Alert scheme earlier this year, and UK copyright holders want the same to happen across the pond.
The upside for the copyright holders and ISPs is that there’s no interference from the government. However, this also means that there is very little oversight, which can turn out negatively for consumers in the long run.
To safeguard the interests of the public the Internet Society (ISOC) has published a set of principles which all voluntary anti-piracy measures should adhere to. The group, which is one of the leading players in creating Internet related standards, education, and policy, hopes that initiatives such as the Copyright Alert System will adhere to these guidelines.
“We strongly believe that ALL voluntary mechanisms should employ accountable and transparent practices, including the ability of users to have access to information and to receive clear notifications in advance, the existence of clear and proportionate enforcement policies and, the assurance of protecting users’ privacy,” ISOC policy advisor Konstantinos Komaitis tells TorrentFreak.
ISOC believes that voluntary anti-piracy schemes should be in the best interests of consumers, and not merely a convenient anti-piracy tool for copyright holders.
“Ultimately, voluntary based initiatives should serve the public and its interests. They should not be used as a back door for achieving goals not otherwise achieved through other, more traditional regulatory means,” Komaitis says.
The U.S. six strikes Copyright Alert scheme says its main goal is to educate the public, which appears to be in line with ISOC’s principles. However, the Internet Society notes that the educational messages should ideally come from objective and unbiased parties rather than the copyright holders themselves.
“If education is part of such programs, the Internet Society believes that it should be limited to providing unbiased information and empowering users to better understand the scope and rationale of copyright law,” Komaitis tells us.
“Copyright law is complex — it includes rights but those rights are further subject to limitations and exceptions. Messages sent to users should address all these aspects of copyright law.”
While the Internet Society hasn’t carried out any detailed reviews yet, it’s not certain that the educational messages put forward by the U.S. system are truly objective.
“Now, are the current participants in the Copyright Alert System able to provide such information? Perhaps. But, if we truly wish voluntary initiatives, including ones on copyright, to stand the test of time and if we want them to instill trust, then it is important that any such messages derive from trusted third parties, like academia,” Komaitis says.
“Such trusted parties, being not part of the system’s original design, can ensure a certain degree of credibility, impartiality and confidence to the intended outcomes of the system,” he adds.
Whether the Copyright Alert System will adopt ISOC’s principles or not, the critique appears to be partially justified. As we’ve previously pointed out, the educational messages that ISPs send out are far from objective, with some warning about all sorts of doom and gloom users of P2P software are subjecting themselves to.
On the transparency side there is also plenty of room for improvement. Thus far the U.S. system has not published any progress reports or statistics and none of the ISPs has published their educational messages online so they can be reviewed by the public and copyright experts.
To the defense of the Copyright Alert System, the group’s Advisory Board does include public rights advocates including Jerry Berman, the Chairman of the Internet Education Foundation and founder of the Center for Democracy and Technology, and Gigi Sohn, co-founder of Public Knowledge. Unfortunately, the Advisory Board has little control over what the educational notices state, and other the transparency side they can do little more than making recommendations.
Apologies for the late post today—I started playing about with Coder this afternoon and kind of got side tracked for four hours because it’s quite wonderful. (By ‘playing’ of course I mean carrying out an Educational Evaluative Assessment.)
So why use Coder and not some other environment? It’s a brilliantly simple out of the box solution, perfect for people aren’t sure where to start or for schools where setting up servers and IDEs can be a nightmare for teacher and technician alike. Beyond this it’s an instant hacking environment and a web development sandbox. As well as letting you make stuff it’s also a great introduction to the concept of web servers and some of the main languages that underpin the web.
The interface is clean and simple and you can see the code side by side with the result and change it in real time. The section tabs physically and conceptually separate the HTML from the styles from the script, which is just how it should be. I could go on but instead I’ll tell you how to get started.
How to get started
Full instructions are on the Coder site but here’s the gist:
Download the image file and flash a 4Gb SD card
Pop it into your Pi and turn it on. You won’t notice too much difference to a standard installation whilst it’s booting (Raspbian lurks beneath) but you’ll end up at the prompt ‘coder login:‘ (You don’t need to login.)
Open a browser on any computer on the same network as the Pi and type ‘http://coder.local‘ into the address bar**
From booting to playing around with web pages took less than two minutes. The hardest bit was coming up with a strong password (what the hell is wrong with ‘pooface1′? My bank is OK with it).
A Machine of Doom? I’ll take three.
So once you’re in, what can you do? Unlike many educational resources, the tutorial is actually a good place to start. Comments at the top of each page explain what’s going on and it’s easy to start tweaking and hacking the code—just click on the </>. Personally I went for the eyeball and gave it a huge, red sclera because it was looking at me funny. ‘Space Rocks‘ actually has a ‘Hack‘ button that lets you play about with variables, which is always a great way to explore a program (and who can resist giving themselves hundreds of lives? Cheating at its finest.)
Big red & sclerotic — that’s better.
Coder is what all educational resources should be: focused and fun but with loads of potential. It’s a damn fine piece of software. You can also get involved with Coder directly as it’s open source and the Coder Team would love your help.
Download it and have a play—we love it. I’m off to make huge, monkey headed missiles for my spaceship.
**Note: Windows users will have to install Apple’s Bonjour Print Services first. NOTE: When I tried to install BPS in Windows 8 it fell over, refusing to create the shortcut due to some rubbishly random nonsense about privileges. I fixed this by first manually creating a new folder called “Bonjour Print Services” in C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and then installing. Ho hum.
Glossary for beginners
IDE Integrated Development Environment. Software that brings together a bunch of tools and utilities to assist in software development.
CSS Cascading Style Sheets. A language that is used to tell a web page how it should look.
HTML Hypertext Markup Language. The main language that web pages are written in.
Web server A computer that stores web content (text, images, scripts, video, style sheets etc.) and sends it to other computers when they request it. For example, your browser requested this blog page from the server and then displayed it on the screen.
I’ve spoken to the board of the Raspberry Pi Foundation, and I’m very pleased to be able to tell you that donations to the project we posted about yesterday, to bring computing labs to girls in Afghanistan, will be matched up to $10,000 by the Foundation. So there’s an extra incentive to donate – we’ll double your donation for you.
Will Goldie is a Boy Scout in California, working on his Eagle project. It’s an ambitious one: working alongside Trust in Education, a group that organises educational, economic and business development programs in rural Afghanistan, he’s raising funds to equip a computer lab for a girls’ school. The Pi will form the centrepiece of what Will’s doing, and he has an Indiegogo running, starting today, to raise the money.
Will’s been emailing with Eben about his idea for a little while now, and we’re really pleased that he’s been able to start putting it in place. The major cost here is the monitor (display technology remains an aggravatingly expensive part of the equation when you’re buying everything as new); Will’s calculations say that it will cost $190 to set up each computer when peripherals are taken into account. He’s aiming to raise sufficient money for ten, but if he exceeds that goal any extra money will go into providing more computers for the girls. It goes without saying, but we would very much like to see him exceed his goal.
This project presses all my buttons. Teaching computing, reaching girls in environments hostile to their education, enabling young women to access opportunities and options that were previously closed to them: making a big difference with a small device. I’ve put my money where my mouth is on this one, and have funded the project – I really hope you will too.
The high-profile Web site defacement and hacker group known as the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) continues to deny that its own Web server was hacked, even as gigabytes of data apparently seized during the compromise leaked onto the Deep Web this weekend.
Screen shot from SEA site syrian-es.org, listing the nicknames and avatars of top SEA leaders. Image: HP Security Research
Following a string of high profile attacks that compromised the Web sites of The New York Times and The Washington Post among others, many publications have sought to discover and spotlight the identities of core SEA members. On Wednesday, this blog published information from a confidential source who said that the SEA’s Web site was hacked and completely compromised in April 2013. That post referenced just a snippet of name and password data allegedly taken from the SEA’s site, including several credential pairs that appeared tied to a Syrian Web developer who worked with the SEA.
The SEA — through its Twitter accounts — variously denounced claims of the hack as a fraud or as a propaganda stunt by U.S. intelligence agencies aimed at discrediting the hacker group.
“We can guarantee our website has never been hacked, those who claim to have hacked it should publish their evidence. Don’t hold your breath,” members of the group told Mashable in an interview published on Friday. “In any case we do not have any sensitive or personal data on a public server. We are a distributed group, most of what we have and need is on our own machines and we collaborate on IRC.”
In apparent response to that challenge, a huge collection of data purportedly directly taken from the SEA’s server in April 2013 — including all of the the leaked credentials I saw earlier — was leaked today to Deep Web sites on Tor, an anonymity network. Visiting the leak site, known as a “hidden service,” is not possible directly via the regular Internet, but instead requires the use of the Tor Browser.
A leaked screen shot purportedly showing the email address of the owner of SEA site syrian-es.com
News of the archive leak to the Deep Web was first published by the French publication reflects.info (warning: some of the images published at that link may be graphic in nature). As detailed by the French site, the leak archive includes hundreds of working usernames and passwords to various Hotmail, Outlook and Gmail accounts, as well as more than six gigabytes of email messages downloaded from those accounts.
SEA LEADERS IDENTIFIED?
One of the more interesting screen shots in the leak archive is an image showing the email address listed in the “contact email” field of the back-end administration page for syrian-es[dot]com: The email listed — “firstname.lastname@example.org” — appears to dovetail with a name mentioned in multiple recent media reports about the identities of the alleged SEA ringleaders.
On Friday evening, NBC News unearthed a 2011 story published by a Syrian government-run newpaper al-Wenda, which identified and praised the leaders of the SEA. The al-Wenda piece specifically praised Deeb as a teenager, and as a “founding member” of the SEA. Another student, Ali Farha was later mentioned in another Syrian publication as the “manager” of the SEA website. Interestingly, Farha’s purported Facebook page indicates that he and Deeb are roughly the same age and attended the same technical school in western Syria — the University of Kalamoom.
Also reportedly leaked are the entire contents of the SEA web site’s core server, including a file showing a history of all text commands entered by administrators of the site over several months in 2013. A review of those commands suggest that SEA administrators made frequent use of imo.im, a Web-based instant messaging program.
In recent years US colleges and universities have undertaken drastic measures to reduce piracy, but none comes close to the “copyright awareness” campaign one of the top medical schools is currently running.
The University of California (UCSF) is alerting students and staff to the risks of online file-sharing and has lost all touch with reality in the process.
“Downloading content without paying for it is stealing. It’s no different than walking into a store, grabbing a movie and leaving without paying for it. The practice is stealing,” the campaign website reads, pointing people to an informational video and a newly launched poster campaign.
The posters, prominently featured in the UCSF shuttle buses and elsewhere at the university complex, stand out by making a quite unusual claim. Showing a $50,000 box office ticket, it warns that piracy “directly affects the funding for research, education and patient care.”
In other words, when you’re sharing copyrighted material without permission patient care deteriorates, while research and education funding dwindles.
UCSF provides no evidence or rationale for the absurd claim. To the best of our knowledge there is no direct link between piracy and any of the examples given.
The other educational campaign materials do, however, point out that the university is liable for the piracy habits of students and staff. While this isn’t directly true, since UCSF has safe harbor protections, this may be what the campaign is hinting at.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) agrees that the messaging used is inaccurate and misleading, to say the least.
“It’s disappointing to see one of the most respected medical schools in the country is distributing misleading, inaccurate propaganda from the entertainment industry,” EFF staff attorney Mitch Stoltz tells TorrentFreak.
“Saying that copyright infringement ‘directly affects the funding for research,education and patient care’ is an extraordinary claim that requires extraordinary evidence – evidence that UCSF’s IT department does not have,” he adds.
Unfortunately, the misinformation and threats don’t stop there. In an anti-piracy campaign video on the effects of unauthorized file-sharing, several UCSF employees spread more FUD.
Bill Chartier, a UCSF desktop support technician, highlights some disastrous legal consequences and notes that he will completely wipe the computers of pirates who get caught.
“You can get fined, you can get sued by huge record companies, they have a lot of lawyers. You can get put in jail, and the university is also liable for whatever you do on your university computer.”
“If you’re a UC employee using a UC computer to do that I come and take your computer and wipe it completely, and get all the copywritten (sic) stuff off it,” Chartier adds.
Chartier’s threats are accompanied by a comment from the campaign manager, who suggests that using BitTorrent is considered a crime, ignoring the many legal uses.
“If you [...] use BitTorrent and you’re downloading music, you’re downloading movies, you’re downloading software for your personal use and you’re not paying for it, that’s considered pirating and that’s also considered a crime,” Hooman Moayyed, UCSF’s Security Awareness Program Manager says.
The EFF is baffled by this comment and suggests that the people behind the anti-piracy campaign are the ones who need to be educated.
“I guess no one told researchers at the National Institutes of Health, who use BitTorrent to share large biomedical data sets. I suspect students and faculty at UCSF could teach their IT department a few lessons about academic honesty.”
It’s unclear why the university is using these extremely misleading and inaccurate messages in their awareness campaign. While universities in the U.S. are required by law to deter piracy, they also have a moral obligation to do this truthfully.
We did notice that former Paramount Pictures CEO Sherry Lansing is on the UC board of regents. But that must be just a coincidence.
TorrentFreak contacted UCSF for a comment but we received no response.
Our very own Matthew Bennett talks about the last two years with Raspberry Pi and his recent educational workshop on “Excitement in Computer Programming”.
Matthew (if you are forum denizen then you will know him better as ubermoderator ‘abishur’) has been involved in the Raspberry Pi community right from the beginning. He is a tireless moderator: prolifically helpful and unfailingly polite . We’re delighted that Matthew has stuck around and we’re proud to have him on the team.
The Raspberry Pi ethos shines in Matthew’s article: just roll up your sleeves and get involved. All of us can make a difference if we decide to.
N.B. Matthew tells me that there would have been more pictures but there was some excuse involving a baby… —
A lot has changed around here since there were just a handful of us posting comments on a rather small blog and clamoring for a forum so we could properly talk to one another. Back then, we thought that the 10 thousand boards they were making would take year(s?) to sell. We definitely thought that everyone on the blog and soon thereafter on the very modest WordPress forum would definitely get one of the Pi’s from the first batch. Needless to say the response to the Raspberry Pi has been tremendous, far outpacing even our largest expectations.
Unfortunately, one of the side effects of the demand has been the educational side of things hasn’t gotten as much of a spot light as all the incredible things you, the community, have done with the Pi; we asked what you would do with your slice of the Pi and man have y’all ever responded! We are continuing to work hard on the educational aspects of the Pi and like updating you when fun educational things happen.
One such event happened in the middle of July. Since the beginning of May I had been communicating with the Texas Industrial Vocational Association (TIVA). They had me come out to their state-wide continuing education conference, which thankfully was in my neck of the woods, and talk on “Excitement in Computer Programming”.
Sorry about the picture’s quality, I shot it as I was on my way back home with a dying cell phone.
During the first half of the session, I worked with the teachers over why we even wanted programming taught in schools, why using iPads or other tablet devices didn’t work, and defined what we even mean when we talk about computer use vs computing vs programming. The goal was to make sure that every educator attending could have a clear and concise case to bring to a principal or board of educators when it came.
The second half of the session was devoted to actual use of the Pi, we “installed” the OS, went through first boot, and then did the hello world of GPIOs: we lit up an LED!
Here is the outline and PowerPoint presentation I made. I should warn everyone, however, that my outlines are tricky things. They look like they’re written word for word what I plan to say, but they’re not, it’s still just an outline, it gives them a rough feel, but it’s there if you’d like a good base. As way of example, here’s some things we talked about outside the outline:
The lack of a VGA port (no one felt it was a big deal)
Where the name Raspberry Pi came from.
Good programming languages to get kids hooked (I talked pro/cons of C/C++, Scratch, Java, and python)
GPIO expansion through SPI or I2C
Using it as a security system
Encouraging communities and especially the teachers themselves to offer contests for their students with fun prizes (Pi Merchandise, breadboard, etc)
iPads being used in some Texas school districts as teaching tools
Security (malware/network) concerns with Linux on educational networks
The parts I’ve bolded were reminders to advance the slide. Also, I had planned to write the presentation and make the outline during my two week vacation after my son was born. So if you pay attention there’s a spot where the amount of slides I was making suddenly decreases as I ran out of time (who knew babies were so needy?).
All in all, it was a lot of fun and we’re wanting to do this again at their midyear conference and again at their next summer conference along with some advanced classes. One teacher is hoping we can set up a talk with his students during the school year. Everyone who attended was pretty excited about getting Pis in their curriculums.
It’s not a real breadboard if it has never seen a fire.
Here’s a picture of my teaching setup. I use a Raspberry Pi Model A with Wi-Fi setup to connect to my phone as a mobile hot spot. My laptop also connects to the phone and then I can use my laptop to remote into the pi. If a projector is handy I just connect straight to the projector and use a combo keyboard/mouse instead of the wireless dongle.
I use the 8 solid state relays to demonstrate how the Pi can interface with high voltage applications, and the breadboard to demonstrate lighting up a simple multi-color LED using software emulated PWM to control how bright each LED is.
Oh, and there is a transistor array on that breadboard to demonstrate how easy it easy to add a layer of protections into the mix when interfacing with the 3v3 GPIO pins.
Here’s a guest post from our favourite Sheffieldites. For us, one of the most exciting things about Raspberry Pi has been watching the other businesses that have started to thrive as part of the Pi ecosystem. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep repeating it until I’m blue in the face: we believe that entrepreneurship makes the world spin, and seeing Jon Williamson and Paul Beech bring some manufacturing back to Sheffield, a city once famous for making things, has made us very, very proud. Here’s a guest post about the journey they took going from a standing start with no premises, no equipment and nothing but a great idea, to shipping more than 60,000 Pibows to more than 70 countries. Congratulations Pimoroni – we’re looking forward to seeing what you accomplish in year two!
We’re celebrating what feels like a decade of work on Pimoroni and the Pibow, even though it’s only our first birthday.
We did a guest post 10 weeks in. This is the journey 42 weeks later from being a couple of web and design hackers with ideas, to being a Maker business with some help for those looking to develop their own ideas.
The first step was the idea. Ideas are abundant on the Internet (but never cheap), and it’s amazing how many people will have the same basic idea, independently, all around the world. This is why ‘execution is everything’.
Making an idea happen can be hard work and expensive though. There are 2.4 billion people in the world in abject poverty, and during a global recession not many people have cash to spare to try something new and unknown.
Ancestor of Pibow
When it comes to making things and trying things with minimal or no costs, and lots of help and advice, hackspaces are amazing. Every city should have 10 of them. Support your local hackspace.
Our local one is Access Space, running for over a decade now, and it’s where we cut the prototypes of the Pibow and worked out how long it would take to cut a lot of them, should need arise. We spent less than £50 in hard cash getting a Pibow we were happy to ship.
After Jon got tired of me saying “just one more little change!” and put http://pibow.com/ live, things went a little nova. Mainly because Liz featured the Pibow here in one my favourite mash notes ever.
From there, it was all about making as many Pibows in as short a time as possible and shipping them to you lot.
The advice for anyone trying this comes down to ‘just keep doing stuff’. Need a workshop? Ask people you know, walk around the neighbourhood looking for ‘To Let’ signs. Not sure if an idea works? Prototype it as simply and cheaply as possible. Cardboard and spreadsheets are great for this. Google stuff a lot, it’s unlikely you’re the first person to do most of the nuts and bolts stuff.
Our first piece of luck was finding a supportive landlord, through a friend, who had some space to fill for a good deal.
Our second piece of luck was the help we received from Perspex (Lucite in the USA), who were quite happy to give us an account and a stack of quality acrylic sheets in bright colours based on minimal information.
The third thing was not luck. It was the amazing friends and family we have. Without them we wouldn’t have been able to get our first laser cutter, Bert, or cut, pack, stamp and ship so many Pibows from a standing start. I highly recommend having excellent friends.
Early boxing and shipping and the first printer we killed
We’d also like to give a shoutout to our distributors around the globe as well, especially Maplin for their early help getting the Pibow into shops, and Adafruit for being super supportive of the Pibow, especially with awesome videos.
Keep an eye on the stack of wood there, it’s been hanging around the workshop for nigh on a year now for good reason
Oh, and expect Paypal/Amazon to restrict your account at some point if you’re selling well. There are good reasons they do this, and if you’re prepared for it, and have all the documents you need, then you can expect to release enough funds to keep doing business and fulfilling promises, and then wait a few months for them to decide you’re decent folk after all and give you the bulk of the cash.
We found them both fairly helpful, but if we hadn’t be prepared, then there would have been a few months where shipping Pibows 2000 through 4000 would have been delayed by cashflow, the boggart of any new business, rather than us being too tired to run the laser cutters any longer.
From August through to sometime around January I think we had 3 days where no Pibows were cut. Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and the day Everyone Was Ill. We ran the laser cutters 18 plus hours a day. Britain decided to leave the gulf-stream again in 2012, so the workshop was bitterly cold and we wore many layers.
We got through this mainly through the amazing support and buzz from you guys, and the inventive things people were doing with the Pi. We gained another four laser cutters and a nice extraction system, so we could no longer be located by the smell of acrylic, and named them all after Sesame Street characters as well.
Delivery of a stonkin’ laser cutter
We also found time to run the UK’s first official Kickstarter, the Picade, which we’re happy to say is going into official production today, only 4 months late! We’ll talk more at some point about why manufacturing is hard when many other suppliers are involved and some are halfway around the world, but that story is being told to our wonderful backers first.
That’s a recap of old news. So what’s new?
In the course of making and shipping 60,000 Pibows, we got quite good at packing and distribution. Since one box is much like another, we started our shop, shipping to 70+ countries worldwide.
We can confirm that getting stuff into Russia is *hard*. Brazil’s customs are also quite, erm, ‘enthusiastic’, but we’re loving the passion people have for Raspberry Pi in Latin America. We swear Pimoroni was known better in Argentina than Sheffield for a while.
After much badgering, we got to launch the Pi Swag Store, to help support the mission the Foundation is on and spread the word. When you show your love of Pi, 66% of the profits go back to the Foundation and you spread the message of computer education for all.
Mark runs all these shops, shipping and distribution, and is a bona-fide black belt, and gets to play with swords and sticks. He’s also camera shy.
Making the Picade has involved designing a custom PCB and learning a lot about fixtures and fittings and cabinetry, so that’s a new string to our (Pi)bow.
As a result Jon’s kinda got addicted to designing excellent PCBs, and we’ve started a new Robot Lab at Pimoroni dedicated to assembling them here in Sheffield, UK.
Simple and angular
The whole thing is just amazingly geeky and involves the best toys. We’d like you to welcome Gee to the Pimoroni fold as PCB production honcho. You might know him from Maker Faires as the wrangler of JunkBot and other Maker projects.
This is Mallet’s Reflow Oven, the solder association game…
Our first fun little PCB product (after the Picade board) is a nice test card of our abilities, made with love in Sheffield, the PiGlow.
Rory has not been idle as Jefé of Operations, he’s been creating and cutting his own designs and we’re happy to say we’ve finally got around to doing the thing we’ve wanted to do since week one of production, make a beautiful wooden case.
Rory doing his ‘Works in Waste Management’ pose
We’ve always been a massive fan of Jeffrey Stephenson’s designs, so this is our little nod. Say hello to the Pibow Timber.
We’ve also had chance to work on education and spreading the message about what’s possible with the Pi, thorough events like Raspberry Jams, Games Britannia, the Deer Shed Festival, many Maker Faires and a special event hosted by the Guardian. We hope to expand on what we’ve learned by going into schools, and producing excellent educational resources in the Pimoroni style.
The Guardian Workshop at Google Campus in London
In short, we’ve learned how to do hundreds of amazing things that we just plain didn’t know a year ago and thought were impossible for the little guy to do.
We’ve also helped and inspired a lot of people locally to do something with their ideas by providing access to our workshop, and sharing the knowledge we’ve picked up.
Our spread at Maker Faire UK in Newcastle
We’re working our socks off to move forward now. We want year two to be equally special. We’re looking forward to shipping 500 Picades really soon now.
Beyond that, there are two things we’re focusing on this year.
The first is add-ons for the Pi so everyone can make new things and learn with the Pi. We think companies like Adafruit, Seeed and Sparkfun have done great service to the Maker community, and we want to replicate that experience in Pimoroni style in the UK.
The second is education. We want to work with the best and brightest in the Pi community to create online, visual and classroom teaching resources, because there are some very smart cookies out there, and we love what you all do. Education should be fun, inspiring and feel a little bit dangerous. The Raspberry Pi is a great, affordable, universal tool for this.
Thanks for supporting us and what we do, keeping us motivated, berating us when we mess up, then being happy when we fix things, and being patient with us when we’re slow because our brains are noodle soup sometimes
Group hug everyone. Keep talking and sharing and doing and being excellent.
On the road back from Wales this weekend, we listened to Liz’s Playlist for Driving Long Distances. Gary Numan’s Cars came on. (I am nothing if not literal-minded.) We started talking about the incredible depth and complexity of a lot of 80s music; and how the discipline of only having a limited amount of polyphony and a limited number of tracks brought about music that was, when at its best, so tightly and elegantly arranged that it keeps all of its impact today.
Cars was recorded using only four synth tracks (three monophonic and a Polymoog, I think, having just listened again – but I’m ready and willing to be corrected!) and a real live drummer. Held up against your high-falutin’ Reactables with billion-note polyphony (note: I have no idea how much polyphony is available on a Reactable, I’m just guessing) and clever-clogs plastic brick interfaces, Gary Numan knocks it out of the park every time. I spent the 1980s listening to the Pet Shop Boys – actually, I seem to be spending the 2010s listening to the Pet Shop Boys too – Erasure, New Order, Soft Cell and Depeche Mode, all of them engineering their music within technical boundaries that’d make some of today’s musicians run away and hide under the piano in horror.
Turns out, of course, that I’m not the only person with a Pi and a terrible and burning nostalgia for old synthesisers. Some of you, though, have actually done some work on this stuff rather than, like me, sitting around and thinking idly about it. There’s far, far more functionality available to you with a Pi than there was with an 80s synth, but the fundamental feel of the thing can remain the same with some considerate engineering. First up, here’s Marc Girard’s TronPi.
The TronPi is a Mellontron Emulator based on the 35$ Raspberry Pi computer. It has the 4 classic Tron sounds: Choir, Strings, Brass and Flute. The TronPi is controlled with a standard USB/MIDI Keyboard and doesn’t have any perceptible latency.
All the audio in this video was taken straight from the Raspberry PI’s audio output, no further processing was added to the source. It’s straight out of the computer. The reverb ambience you hear on the recordings is built in the sampler and adjustable.
The computer boots in 30 seconds or so. It supports MIDI program changes and once loaded, program changes are instant, no lag.
Back in Blighty, Phil Atkin has been working on Piana for about a year now. We featured it here last summer, and Piana has made some appearances at Raspberry Jams. Since then, Phil’s done more work on the project, and has produced this video to show off how far it’s come.
And earlier this week, I was sent some more video by Servando Barreiro, who has made a Pi-based Looper: a sort of polyphonic Korg monotron. He’s using Satellite CCRMA, a platform designed at Stanford University for embedded musical instruments and art installations – check out their homepage for a download, examples and ideas for getting started on your own project.
Here’s the Looper in action. Feel the depth and warmth!
You can find out much more about the Looper and see (and hear) more video at createdigitalmusic.com – CDM is a great resource if you’re interested in this stuff, and you’ll find lots of inspiration and ideas there.
There’s enormous education potential in electronic music too. The Raspberry Pi Foundation is currently working with Dr Sam Aaron, a researcher at the University of Cambridge, on Sonic Pi, an experimental school curriculum for teaching Computing through digital music. Kids use the Pi to build synthesisers and create music – acquiring a range of fundamental computer science concepts and basic programming skills while they’re not looking. We’ll have much more on that project at a later date; it’s a prime example of our concept of Computing as a creative subject which appeals to the kids who prefer to hang out in the music department and the art block just as much as it appeals to the kids we tend to treat as the usual suspects.
If you’re working on a musical project with a Raspberry Pi, give me a shout at email@example.com. We’d love to hear about what you’re doing.
Thus far the number of alerts being sent out under the program appears to be minimal. We previously received a copy of a warning email sent out by Comcast, but today we can add time Time Warner Cable to the list.
The Copyright Alert System’s main goal is to educate the public. People should be informed that their connection is being used to share copyrighted material without permission, and told where they can find legal alternatives. Interestingly, Time Warner Cable is focusing on a different form of education in their copyright alert email.
Before even mentioning legal alternatives, the Internet provider confronts the recipient with the supposed dangers of P2P. Their answer to the question of whether P2P software imposes risks is an unequivocal ‘yes’.
“Yes, P2P programs can pose dangers to your computer and our network,” the email starts.
“A computer can become accessible to a P2P network for an unlimited period of time after a P2P program is downloaded. You may not even be aware that such a program is on your computer as a child or visitor to your home could have downloaded it. Therefore, it is important that you inspect your computer for P2P programs and ensure that you are not either intentionally or inadvertently making copyrighted works available for uploading by others.”
The first part above is not that problematic. File-sharing software can indeed run automatically with each start-up and people may want to disable that functionality when they’re not aware of it. But after this intro (we’ll ignore the fact that “uploading by others” should actually be “downloading by others”) the apparent dangers of P2P get a lot worse.
“These programs allow any anonymous person on the Internet to look at your computer files and copy them for themselves. This could lead to unwelcome activity, such as identity theft. Also, the programs, which use large amounts of memory, can interfere with the functioning of your computer by destabilizing your operating system, leading to general sluggishness at boot up and during operation. Also, P2P programs can contain spyware, adware, malware, viruses and pornography.”
In just three sentences the email dumps a pile of doom and gloom on the recipient that’s misleading to say the least. The Copyright Alert System pretty much exclusively targets BitTorrent transfers, while the above applied to applications that use shared folders such as the now defunct LimeWire.
BitTorrent clients only share files that people have downloaded or added themselves, so there is no possibility for anonymous persons to copy other files on people’s computers. We’re also not aware of any mainstream BitTorrent software that destabilizes the operating system, or contains spyware, viruses and pornography.
While we have to assume that Time Warner Cable included the note with the best intentions, most of the language that’s used clearly doesn’t apply to BitTorrent. But perhaps one of the goals is to make file-sharing look more dangerous than it is in reality? That talking point certainly is trending at various anti-piracy groups.
Further down in the “copyright alert” Time Warner Cable lists the name of the file that was allegedly shared without permission, together with other data including an IP-address. The email also lists places where people can download movies and music legally, and informs them that after several of these notices their Internet browsing may be temporarily restricted.
The full email is shown below. If you have received one yourself from Time Warner Cable or any other Internet provider, please let us know at the usual address.
We have been notified that copyrighted content may have been shared using your internet connection without permission of the copyright owner.
What does that mean?
Content owners (artists, moviemakers, authors) and their representatives routinely monitor peer-2-peer networks to see if their content (like music, movies, and TV shows) is shared without their permission (without it being paid for). If they notice somebody sharing their content without their permission through a Time Warner Cable account they let us know.
As the primary account holder, you are responsible for making sure your account is not used for copyright infringement. Please note that we don’t know which computer or device may be the one to have triggered the notification; it could be any device using your account.
Are there dangers associated with using peer-to-peer (“P2P”) networks?
Yes, P2P program can pose dangers to your computer and our network. A computer can become accessible to a P2P network for an unlimited period of time after a P2P program is downloaded. You may not even be aware that such a program is on your computer as a child or visitor to your home could have downloaded it. Therefore, it is important that you inspect your computer for P2P programs and ensure that you are not either intentionally or inadvertently making copyrighted works available for uploading by others. These programs allow any anonymous person on the Internet to look at your computer files and copy them for themselves. This could lead to unwelcome activity, such as identity theft. Also, the programs, which use large amounts of memory, can interfere with the functioning of your computer by destabilizing your operating system, leading to general sluggishness at boot up and during operation. Also, P2P programs can contain spyware, adware, malware, viruses and pornography. Click here for more information about the various risks: http://onguardonline.gov/p2p
What was shared and when?
File Name: Justin Bieber – As Long As You Love Me (Feat. Big Sean) [Single] - Sebastian[Ub3r]
Shared: Jun 12 2013 4:51PM
IP Address: xx.xx.xxx.xx
Did you give them my personal information?
We have not shared any of your personal information with the content owner to help them find the files. The content owner simply provides us with an IP address and we contact you directly on their behalf.
Alright, so what do I need to do?
·If you have been downloading or sharing content illegally please stop doing so immediately.
Hopefully this is the last time we contact you. If a content owner does not identify further instances of alleged copyright infringement then this will be your last notice.
And what if this continues to happen?
Sharing content without the owner’s permission is a violation of U.S. copyright laws, and our acceptable use policy. Under the Copyright Alert System (for more on CAS click here: http://www.copyrightinformation.org/alerts, further instances of infringement using your account may result in our undertaking measures that will temporarily affect your internet experience. The range of actions may include redirection to a landing page for a period or until you contact Time Warner Cable.
We will, of course, provide you with advance notice prior to taking any such steps. We will also offer you the ability to challenge the content owner’s notices through an independent party prior to any service alterations. You may wish to preserve records or information that could be used to demonstrate that the activity in question was non-infringing.
I still have questions about this notice, where can I go?
For additional information about this notice, learn how you can prevent further notices, and understand more about the Copyright Alert System, please visit the Center for Copyright Information – Copyright Alert System website at http://www.copyrightinformation.org/alerts.
Thank you for subscribing to Time Warner Cable’s high speed data service. We look forward to having you as a customer for years to come.
The most logical explanation for this finding is that “pirates” are more engaged than those who don’t share, and that they complement their legal purchases with unauthorized downloads.
However, new research from Australia suggests that there’s another factor that should be taken into account. Pirates simply have more money to spend.
An extensive survey commissioned by the Australasian Performing Right Association (APRA) and several other copyright groups shows that those who download illegally earn more money than those who don’t. The study asked 1,000 adults about their downloading habits, and 21 percent admitted to being a pirate.
Looking at the demographic trends the research found that 30 percent of the people who live in households that earn more than 100,000 Australian dollars per year are self-confessed pirates. This is well above the country average, and also a much higher percentage than lower incomes.
Only 14 percent of people earning $40,000 are classified as pirates, and this increases to 27 percent for the $60,000-$100,000 bracket.
In general, the higher a person’s income the more likely it is that he or she engages in unauthorized file-sharing.
Related to the income trends, the survey also found that file-sharers are better educated. People who enjoyed higher education are over-represented and 25 percent of all pirates had a university education, again, well above the country average.
The survey further showed that pirates tend to live in metropolitan rather than rural areas, and that they are relatively young. Of all adult file-sharers 44 percent are under 30, while only 11 percent fall into the 50-69 age group.
Unexpectedly, TV-shows and series are among the content most downloaded down under. This confirms what we’ve shown before, that Australia can be considered the piracy capital of the world, especially for TV content.
While the results are interesting, especially with regard to income distribution, people can draw different conclusions from the data.
The entertainment industry will probably make the case that pirates are so rich because they’re not paying for a lot of their media. The pirates on the other hand, might argue that pirating makes people smarter. Whatever the case, there will be no consensus between the two camps.
Liz: This post comes from Heather and Trevor Grant, who work with a student-led charity called The Best of Both, based at the British School of Brussels. Thanks both!
For the past five years The Best of Both initiative has worked with state-sector rural schools around Bolgatanga in the Upper East of Ghana to help improve access to water, food – through school gardens – and educational resources (books and access to ICT). Last year, computer labs based on NComputing technology were installed at two schools. This year a Raspberry Pi solution has been installed at Dachio Primary and JHS Schools.
Three weeks ago the intended computer room looked like this:
After meeting with the headmasters, parents association and Regional Assembly representatives, the room was rapidly transformed with electricity being installed, walls plastered and painted, and desks and chairs promised for the computer lab. Before the new computer desks arrived the teachers gave up their desks so that an initial installation of the system could take place.
The initial feedback from both teachers and pupils on the RACHEL material has been great. They can see that they have access (on the Raspberry Pis, on Android tablets and even on the headmaster’s smart phone!) to a huge amount of content without having to rely on poor and expensive internet connectivity. Also attached to the switch is a Windows 7 desktop which will be used eventually as a gateway to 3G internet access as performance improves. The Raspberry Pi clients are using DVI monitors purchased in Accra together with HDMI to DVI cables, keyboards and mice. The monitors were not easy to find and further additions will probably be based on HDMI to VGA converters so that locally sourced cheap screens can be used.
All the Cat5 cable crimping, keyboard configuration and user security set-up was done by Genesis Abaa, a young guy from Bolgatanga who spent every Sunday with me learning together about Raspberry Pis. Genesis is now looking for more projects where he can help install Raspberry Pis, RACHEL servers, and network with the Raspberry Pi community.
The new ICT lab is all about access in a practical way that will work at this rural state school. Children can experience use of the computers whilst others watch until it is their turn. Parental support to help fund ongoing maintenance (electricity, light bulbs etc) is important and being able to get a group of parents in the room is important.
The parents were amazed at the handover ceremony when they were shown the Raspberry Pi.
A RACHEL Pi server has also been installed at the Bolgatanga Ghana Education Service so that other teachers can see what is possible and make use of RACHEL as a resource. A further RACHEL Pi server has been installed at TRAX, a local NGO that provides local support to the British School of Brussels. Trax is focused on rural community development, and it will be interesting to see how the healthcare material included with RACHEL can be used.
Thanks to Norberto Mujica and Jeremy Schwartz for their help with RACHEL. Thanks to the Raspberry Pi Forum. Through this amazing support resource I made contact with Luis Jose Marmisa Gazo. Without the help and guidance from Luis we would probably have never found a way to get the Raspberry Pis onto the internet in Ghana using an XP laptop and 3g dongle. Thanks to Geert Maertens for sharing the learning from his team working with St Marcellin Comprehensive College in the Cameroon. Thanks to our friend Ben Laryea who showed us most of the ICT shops in Accra as we went in search of monitors. Thanks to Genesis Abaa for his help in setting up the system – building local capability to install, support and train is even more important than the physical provision of the computers. Thanks to Vincent Subbey from TRAX for allowing us to turn part of his house into a test lab before we installed at the school. Thanks to Nick Lavender and the students and staff from the British School of Brussels for their support throughout the project.
Not so long ago there was a massive effort in the United States to introduce legislation that would force companies to take responsibility for online piracy.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), a bill introduced by U.S. Representative Lamar S. Smith, would have bolstered the powers of law enforcement while compelling ISPs, search engines, advertisers and payment processors to stop doing business with and cease providing access to allegedly infringing websites.
In January 2012 the backlash was huge, with a coordinated blackout receiving support from sites such as Google, Wikipedia and Reddit. Eventually, key supporters of the legislation such as the RIAA and MPAA had to concede the battle had been lost.
With the train wreck of SOPA providing valuable lessons, some pro-copyright advocates in the U.S. are beginning to realize that legislation is only part of the solution. Virginian Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, recently said that copyright protection can also be achieved by other routes, such as through voluntary agreements with the private sector.
This theme was maintained yesterday by United States Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator for the White House, Victoria Espinel. Delivering a keynote speech at the World Creators Summit in Washington D.C, the ‘copyright czar’ spoke of the importance of employing a multi-directional approach to dealing with the issue of online infringement.
“We believe that if we target infringement using a variety of approaches and tools at the same time we can make some headway and reduce infringement online and protect the creativity that our artists and artists around the world create while supporting the benefits the Internet creates,” she said.
Espinel noted that “there is no silver bullet” to ending online piracy but that a combination of tools will yield results.
“We, the Obama Administration, believe that a combination of law enforcement, voluntary private sector initiatives, engagement with other countries and consumer education is effective and appropriate.”
Perhaps the most public of the private sector agreements is the one between several of the largest ISPs in the United States and the content industries represented by the RIAA and MPAA. The so-called “six strikes” initiative got underway in February.
“The goal of this agreement and under the terms of the agreement, they will notify subscribers through a series of educational alerts when their Internet service accounts appear to be misused for infringement on P2P networks,” Espinel said.
The copyright czar also noted other voluntary initiatives underway involving advertisers, credit card companies, payment processors and domain name registrars. These will continue, she said, with a view to developing “voluntary effective ways to take action to avoid supporting infringement activity.”
As previously reported, the ISPs involved in the so-called “six strikes” scheme have been keen to emphasize that any voluntary agreements with other private sector companies will not infringe on consumer rights. Espinel said that the Obama Administration supports initiatives that “respect privacy, due process, free speech and competition.”
Solutions must also be practical, she said, and “truly work to protect legitimate uses of the Internet. The U.S. Government should also “look for ways that we can help facilitate smooth and efficient access to creative content.”
While voluntary agreements do have some benefits, such as avoiding tough legislation that could cause collateral damage, so far there have been few signs of the kind of transparency that can promote consumer confidence in the activities currently taking place behind closed doors.
While the online sharing of music has been widespread for close to a decade and a half, the sharing of books has only gathered real traction in the past few years.
When it came to legal action to prevent sharing the music industry led the way but even now, book publishers – Wiley aside – seem generally unwilling to follow the example. However, there are companies prepared to make uploaders suffer, even those with no malicious or commercial intent.
Pāvels Jurs is a teacher in Latvia who operates a website where children can research history topics, see presentations and find other learning aids. Jurs created the site so that children from poor families can still have access to education. According to Latvian media, Jurs even received recognition from the Ministry of Education for his efforts.
Last Thursday, however, Jurs was leaving home to go to school and found himself confronted by four police officers from the Economic Crime Bureau. They proceeded to search Jurs’ home and confiscate the computer he uses in his teaching job. He was arrested and subjected to two hours of interrogation during which he learned he had committed a serious offense that could result in a two year jail sentence.
Jurs’ crime was to upload a scanned copy of the high school history book “Vēsture Vidusskolai” to his website, an act which drew the ire of publisher Zvaigzne ABC and an official complaint earlier this year.
The publisher currently sells the book for the princely sum of $4.00 and it appears that Jurs had previously held discussions with its author but there was a misunderstandings over what content should have been removed from his site.
Nevertheless, the episode has left Jurs questioning why such heavy handed tactics were needed when a civil action would have sufficed. The police have taken down Jurs’ website and since exams are currently underway, students no longer have access to its resources.
“Is there really such a need for punitive action against these methods of teaching, such as the maintenance of a websites from which I did not receive any benefit, but, on the contrary, cost most of my salary payments for maintenance? I understand that I have violated copyright laws, but is it really necessary to act this way?” Jurs said.
Since the raid a meeting has taken place during which some kind of a settlement was discussed. Further meetings will take place this week but it’s now believed that the publisher will not raise any “substantive claims” against the teacher.
MAKE held a Raspberry Pi Design competition with MCM Electronics for US-based Pi owners, and have just released the results. I’m not sure what’s more impressive: the outstanding quality of the entries, or the fact that even though we spend much of the day furiously googling for new Pi projects, many of the submissions were new to us here at the Foundation. It’s great for us to watch other organisations running contests like this: not least because it’s a real relief not to have to judge them ourselves!
The Grand Prize went to Intonarumori, a collection of magic sound boxes made by a hacker/art collective called urbanSTEW. The STEW-folk say:
Intonarumori is a series of interactive sound boxes created by an art/tech collective, urbanSTEW. The project is based on a century-old futurist movement in which noise-generating machines were created. Inspired by this, urbanSTEW built six new noise machines, each equipped with a Raspberry Pi and various sensors/controls. The boxes are self contained and only need to be plugged in. Intonarumori was presented at a creativity festival where they were played by over 2,000 children/adults.
The Sunlight Foundation’s Lobbyist Meter won the Artistic category: we tweeted about this a while back (and it’s been in my “things to blog” folder for a while) because we thought it was a clever, snarky, funny way to bring attention to a very serious issue. You can read more about the Lobbyist Meter on the Sunlight Foundation’s website. Here it is, doing its transparent, democratic thing.
The Education category award went to a project you’ll all have seen before, if you’re regular readers: Emma Bennett’s beautiful school State Board project (which we have been using in talks as a demonstration of some of the very cool stuff we see kids doing with the Pi) won the prize. Read more about it in the post we wrote when we first saw Emma’s work, and see some video of the board in action below.
Everybody in our offices secretly wants a wooden case for their Pi, because we are all impractical, and we have all read Idoru. The Enclosures category was won by Chris Crumpacker for this beautiful piece of hand-tooled walnut. Chris, if you’re reading, please get in touch. We absolutely, positively need one of these to hold one of the Pis at Raspberry Towers.
Chris told MAKE:
Some times all you need is a bit of scrap wood for inspiration. I had some walnut left over from a previous project. I just love the look of walnut. I had seen other wood cases but they where always 6 pieces of wood glued or nailed together to make a box. I wanted it to be one hunk of wood and my intentions were to carve out a home for the Raspberry Pi.
The final category, Utility, was won by another project we’ve featured here: David Bryan’s cat feeder, which I enjoyed blogging about because it gave me the opportunity to use the phrase “liver-flavoured kibbles”.