Amazon Patents Social Networking in 2008 ?

Does this sound familiar to you ?

A networked computer system provides various services for assisting users in locating, and establishing contact relationships with, other users. For example, in one embodiment, users can identify other users based on their affiliations with particular schools or other organizations. The system also provides a mechanism for a user to selectively establish contact relationships or connections with other users, and to grant permissions for such other users to view personal information of the user. The system may also include features for enabling users to identify contacts of their respective contacts. In addition, the system may automatically notify users of personal information updates made by their respective contacts.

It’s the introduction to a patent by Amazon for their obviously unique idea of a “Social Networking System” which includes such strikingly novel ideas such as:

wherein the service maintains relationship data representing contact relationships between users, and the method further comprises using the relationship data to detect, and to cause the first user to be notified that, a third user is a contact of a contact of the first user via the second user.


wherein the personal data of the first user comprises an identification of a school attended by the first user and an associated date range of attendance, and the computer system is additionally programmed to use said personal data to identify, and to inform the first user of, other users of the service who attended said school in said date range.

None of which existed before the patent was filed in 2008, honest guv…

Hello USPTO ? Anyone in there ?

Protect Your Family with the Kogan Portector!

If you’re worried about spam and scams coming through the Internet Portal (thanks to Stephen Conroy for pointing that threat out) then get yourself a Kogan Portector! Here’s their advert for it on YouTube..

Of course you must be sure to read the disclaimer..

DISCLAIMER: The Kogan “Portector” Internet Filter is not a real product. This product is in no way affiliated with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, The Australian Labor Party, or the Australian Government. Incorrect use may result in uncensored Internet content, freedom of speech, freedom of choice, freedom of thought, and protection of your civil liberties.

Phew, thanks Kogan for saving us!

Bugs in KDE 4.5.0 beta 2

If you’re running KDE 4.5.0 beta 2 from the Kubuntu PPA and are wondering why your widgets disappear every time you login, it’s because beta 2 has a bug where it gets really confused about which activity you are using – use meta-tab (windows-tab) to switch between them and you should eventually find what you’re looking for..

Also if you’re wondering why the “Printer Settings” option isn’t working any more and giving a strange error message, it’s because it’s now looking for a Python module which isn’t packaged in Ubuntu (kubuntu-ppa bug 591980), it’s complaining that:

systemsettings(22750)/python (plugin): Failed to import module
 Traceback (most recent call last):
   File "/usr/share/kde4/apps/system-config-printer-kde/", line 64, in 
     import cupsutils.ppds
 ImportError: No module named cupsutils.ppds
 systemsettings(22750)/python (plugin): Failed to import module

In Debian the module it’s looking for is in the “python-cupsutils” package, but that’s not in Ubuntu.

VLSCI: Systems Administrator – High Performance Computing, Storage & Infrastructure

Please note: enquiry and application information at the URL below, no agencies please!

Executive summary

Want to work with hundreds of TB of storage, HPC clusters and a Blue Gene supercomputer and have an aptitude for storage and data ?


To give you an idea of what this job relates to, VLSCI currently has in production:

  • 136 node, 1088 core SGI cluster (Intel Nehalem CPUs)
  • ~110TB usable of Panasas storage

Shortly arriving (< 1 month away):

  • 2048 node, 8192 core IBM Blue Gene/P supercomputer
  • 80 node, 640 core IBM iDataplex cluster (Intel Nehalem CPUs)
  • ~300TB usable of IBM GPFS storage plus tape libraries
  • 2012 – more! πŸ˜‰

    Both Intel clusters are CentOS 5, the front end and service nodes for the Blue Gene are SuSE SLES 10. The GPFS servers are RHEL5. Panasas runs FreeBSD under the covers.
    Continue reading

Filter Senator Conroy (.org)

There’s a website now up called to persuade people in Victoria to vote below the line at the next federal election to sack Senator Conroy if he does not abandon his wrong-headed plans for mandatory ISP level censorship and waste valuable taxpayers funds (which could go to the police to fight paedophiles if the government really wanted to achieve something). I strongly commend this site to my fellow Victorian voters.