Technology

Dear Philip Malmberg and Adam Lowry, RE: Ecover and Method’s decision to use ingredients derived from Synthetically Modified Organisms (SMOs) in its products We are writing as representatives of several international environmental, consumer and social justice organisations to formally ask Ecover and Method to reconsider its decision to use ingredients derived from synthetic biology in its products. On April 2nd 2014, Ecover announced that it would replace some of the palm oil used in its laundry detergent with algal oil produced by Solazyme Inc. of California (USA), which is derived from the fermentation of Brazilian sugarcane. As you are aware, Solazyme’s proprietary product is ‘genetically tailored oil’ fermented in vats of bioengineered algae that were created using the...
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Dear Clients and Industry Colleagues, There is an ongoing scandal surrounding Ukrainian forex broker, Forex Trend (“Форекс Тренд”). The company, which operates in the Ukraine, Russia and the CIS, attracts funds from individuals, supposedly for use on financial markets. The company is currently experiencing serious problems with the disbursement of funds to its clients. It is highly likely that we are witnessing the collapse of another pyramid scheme. This situation is aggravated by the fact that Forex Trend was masking its activities by using the popular PAMM Account investment service, and thereby sullying the certified financial instrument’s and the industry’s reputation as a whole. We are deeply concerned by this turn of events and, as such, believe it is our duty to act by way...
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Dear Judge Jacqueline Davies, Having witnessed for myself your dismissal of the half time motion and subsequent questioning of the evidence in the Paul Chambers appeal: what has now become known as the “Twitter Joke Trial”, it is abundantly clear to me that despite your earnest efforts to do so, you have not fully understood the nature of Twitter, its audience, or the underlying technology, and how this applies to the definition of a “public telecommunications network”. I feel that this is in part because you were not furnished with complete information before or during the trial. Furthermore, this ignorance has caused you to come to a conclusion about Paul Chambers' intentions which is fundamentally flawed. In my capacity as an internet professional, web developer and twitter user...
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Dear Data Collectors and Providers, Over the past few weeks, I have worked on a few projects that involve collecting data from various sources. This experience has ranged from immensely time consuming and frustrating, to mildly obnoxious. The open data movement seems to have improved things somewhat over the past few years, but there’s still a lot of room for improvement. This may seem obvious to people who deal with data on a daily basis, but there are so many data providers that still don’t have it right, we should spell it out. By far, the worst offender I’ve encountered in this situation has been the NC Department of Health and Human Services. While working on A Closer Look at NC’s Amendment One with a colleague at UNCC, a viewer suggested to us that HIV/AIDS data might be...
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Dearest Twitter, Firstly, I would like to commend you on a first rate micro-blogging platform and assure you I am very pleased with the service as a means to voice my opinions, and also a means to see others’ opinions and breaking news before mainstream media picks up the thread. Excellent stuff! However, I feel I must now write this open letter in good faith that you will at least look into addressing an ongoing issue that I have approached your support team in private about, but for which no solution has been forthcoming to date. As you are fully aware, I have been using Twitter as my primary means of communication since day one of my conception over 3 years ago. In this time I have somehow gained nearly 50,000 followers, mostly made up of good actors, but the bad guys like to...
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Dear Adobe: As president of the National Association of Photoshop Professionals (NAPP) I represent more than 70,000 Photoshop users around the world. However as I’m writing this open letter to you today, I would say that most of our 70,000 members have no idea about the upgrade policy changes you just announced, or about how these changes will affect them. From the information I’ve gathered, it appears to me that this new upgrade policy for the next version of Adobe Photoshop and the Creative Suite (presumably called CS6) will leave a significant number of your customers with no affordable upgrade path to Photoshop CS6 or the Creative Suite. It’s my understanding that when the next version of Photoshop and the Creative Suite is released, if you do not already own Photoshop...
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Dear WordPress Community, It hasn’t been a full month since we discussed the MailPoet security breach, when just a few days ago another disaster struck. It was discovered that Slider Revolution, the most popular slider plugin used by staggering amount of themes (more than 1,000 themes include it) has a serious security issue allowing hackers to gain control of the affected site. The Problem The major problem is the current mindset and approach to security in the global WordPress community. After the Slider Revolution incident, its developers released a statement that among other things said: The problem was fixed 29 updates back in 4.2 in February. We were told not to make the exploit public by several security companies so that the instructions of how to hack the slider...
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Dear Steve Jobs, I'm writing to you on behalf of millions of people who walk around wired to little tech devices and won't leave thehouse without them. No, I'm not talking about the iPod — and that's the point. While your brilliant product line enhances the lifestyle of (100) millions, I'm talking about the little devices that keep us alive, the people with chronic conditions. Let's talk about diabetes, the disease that affects 20 million Americans, and I'm one of them. Whether blood glucose monitor or insulin pump, thanks to the achievements of medical device companies, we can now live a normal life by constantly monitoring and adjusting our blood sugar levels. But have you seen these things? They make a Philips GoGear Jukebox HDD1630 MP3 Player look pretty! And it's not only...
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Dear Mr Browett, Last year I was looking for a new laptop after my previous notebook, purchased from PC World, had a catastrophic hard drive failure after just 2 years. I decided to go for a much higher spec than the “dead” machine and browsed my local PC World store in Farnborough for a suitable replacement. Of all the models on display in the store, the majority were pretty average consumer models but I spotted a well-specced Hewlett Packard, noted the model number and walked away to do my homework. After careful research and consideration I decided to purchase an HP DV7-3110ea from PC World online. It had all the spec I needed (17″ screen, 4GB RAM, fast quadcore i7 processor etc) and I found a discounted model online, saving me a not unreasonable amount of money. My laptop...
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Dear Jonathan, Long time no see! The same way you enjoy writing open letters to IBM and others in your blog -- I wanted to write an open letter to you and Sun, and see if I can get a little clarity about your open source software strategy. As I am sure you have noticed, there has been quite a bit of momentum around LAMP in the industry, ranging from innovators like Google, Yahoo!, and Amazon, to the "Web 2.0" crowd like Friendster, MySpace, and Flickr. In addition, LAMP has increasing usage in the enterprise. The "P" languages in LAMP -- PHP, Python, and Perl -- are all open source, and each provide their own virtual machine. It would be ideal if the Java JVM was open source so that open source projects like PHP could join up with the Java Virtual Machine. In turn, Java would be...
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