Interview with recent Wikimedia Foundation board appointee Domas Mituzas

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

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

Domas Mituzas is a Lithuanian software developer recently given a temporary position on the Wikimedia Foundation‘s board. The position lasts until June this year, after which he has stated he will decide whether he will run for a full term of two years. As well as working for the Wikimedia Foundation, he is employed by MySQL AB.

In light of his recent appointment to the board, Wikinews conducted the following interview with Domas Mituzas.

((WN)) Congratulations on your new board position! Can you tell us a bit about your background – previous work with the Foundation, what you do with MySQL AB etc?

Domas Mituzas: Thanks! Though my first edits to Wikipedia were in 2003, I became actively involved in site technology back in 2004. Then I was working for a major IT company in the Baltic States, and was leading the systems group there. Back then I could apply quite a bit of practice I had from my job to maintain Wikipedia in its technology infancy. It became increasingly involving, and eventually the things we started doing became far more complex, especially when the exploding growth hit us. Managing the growth and sustaining the site up was quite stressful at that time, and we started both lots of optimization and resource expansion work. Eventually I got involved in the MySQL community, and was suggested to apply for a job in MySQL AB. There I work in services division, assisting our customers with their problems, helping to grow their operations. Now as part of company acquisition I’m joining Sun Microsystems, and I’m eager to see what possibilities can that provide.

Back in my childhood I was deep into encyclopedias, first dead tree ones, later CDs and online version of Britannica. I had a dream, that once I get my own home, I’ll get full dead-tree version of Britannica on my bookshelves. It didn’t happen, as I got into Wikipedia the same year I bought my apartment. Life is full of ironyย ๐Ÿ™‚

Actually, back in 2000 I approached university professor and tried to explain him a concept of dynamically edited news repository, where every concept could be explained deeper and deeper into elemental knowledge particles, and later that can be assembled in many dynamic ways. His first question was “Is that some kind of website?”, and I was angry at him for not getting the generic concept of knowledge at all. Year or two afterwards I was discussing same concepts with a colleague, and he provided with far more practical visions of all that. Seeing Wikipedia for the very first time was a dejavu, so it was easy to get into the project. That is different from what I imagined, but far more useful.

((WN)) Why do you think you were chosen for this position, and what do you think you can contribute?

DM: One of reasons was both my long-term presence in site operations and communicating about our work, spreading our ideology, providing opinions. I try to be able to explain difficult topics in human language, and that is quite well appreciated. Additionally, I was being a bit of outsider – more of a reader than writer, so I feel that my views are slightly less community centric, more of value centric. My experience in a technology team is quite similar to what I expect to see in the board – wide array of issues to work on, and maintaining consensus is incredibly important to keep the productivity high. So even though I have deep roots in the project, I feel that I can bring in lots of fresh ways to the board. Of course, I will try to provide best possible technology advise, if the board needs it.

((WN)) Will you continue doing your previous technical work at the same time? If you do, how will you find a balance?

DM: I would really avoid to do all previous work – but it is not needed any more. Years ago we were monitoring the site 24/7, shortage of resources was causing all sorts of difficult problems. Now everything is way more steady and reliable, so I have way much more free time. I used to do lots of other activities too, so I think I can scale my time just fine. And still, of course, I’ll provide as much work to technical part as needed, it just isn’t as demanding as it used to be, and we’re really happy about that.

((WN)) What major actions do you expect to come your way during your term in office?

DM: Though my term is quite short for now (until June elections), the biggest work will be done in understanding how the foundation should function to establish a really long-term presence, to support the projects far into the future. It may need changes in how we get external experience, how we interact with other organizations, how we do interact with office staff and each other. Foundation did lots of work to get to stable and reliable state, now it is time to think more about the future sustainability and expansion.

I have operations experience, so of course I will want to maintain high efficiency of overall operation, but on the other hand I want to work on scaling other parts of the foundation – especially reach out, evangelism, and of course – fundraising.

((WN)) Do you expect any major upgrades to be needed to hardware or software anytime soon, and if so what?

DM: Projects are always growing – pages, pageviews, revisions, users, media, archives – to facilitate that there will always be major upgrades. We still have some of the solutions that allowed us to survive for years, but are not suitable for a whole millennium. There will always be new features, that will need more resources, so we definitely won’t stop improving our hardware or software platform. I have to take off the board member hat to answer these questions, as they should be really directed to technology team, instead of board. I won’t mention exact projects, but we have a trail of features that have to be implemented, and will be, soon. But indeed, that is very much operational issue, that the technology team and foundation staff is known to handle well.

((WN)) What do you expect lies ahead for the Foundation in the long run – say, the next ten years?

DM: My generation is already forming the ‘Wikimedia Alumni’ – the readers, consumers of our content love us. It is amazing to realize what powers they may have in the next ten years, and how they will be able to assist us.

The biggest work to be done – maintaining the loyalty of our community, continue being the good guys of the Internet. Next ten years will be years of continued Internet penetration, and us being the major beneficial part of that process is especially exciting.

I really want to believe, that our offline activities will be just an intermediate step, and we will have whole world using our online resources, and of course – contributing to them.

Also, I’m not sure if we will be capable to achieve in next ten years, but besides digital divide, we will have to break information isolationism that certain countries or communities maintain – and the best way to achieve it is by providing the best knowledge resource possible. Opening up communities and having them work together may really become the next great wonder of the world. Who doesn’t want to be part of that?ย ๐Ÿ™‚

This exclusive interview features first-hand journalism by a Wikinews reporter. See the collaboration page for more details.

Ems, A Modern Way To Treat Stiff Muscles And Joints

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By Adriana J. Noton

Obese people who have wanted to lose weight for the longest but are not able to have high heart rates should invest in trying out an EMS or electronic muscle stimulator. This is because the unit stimulates the muscles of the body into thinking they are being fully exercised thereby causing increased blood flow and perspiration. The result is a toned physique and loss of weight without the hardships of normal workouts.

Just like the effects of deep tissue massage this type of therapy is used to treat various muscle strains or injuries. This device is used by chiropractors and other physical therapists or any person wishing to work on their body after injury ; especially athletes and sports men or for normal body exercise. It is portable, easy to operate and this is why it is a house hold name to many people in the country.

Stimulation of muscles can bring about relief from painful joints and other parts of the body caused by stress, depression or through accidents or injury. Other body disorders like headaches, weak muscles and fatigue can be overcome by the use of this unit. Patients suffering from chronic diseases like asthma have reported major progress in their health after regular use of the machine.

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People who are athletes such as footballers are involved in extreme sports which can cause sever muscle pain and inflammation. In addition, these individuals are prone to have concussions. This is why using of devices can help them heal their body and increase blood flow in the body. Serious injuries can heal faster when these tools are used in treatment.

People who suffer from arthritis can also benefit from the use of this product by improving muscle or joint motion in the areas affected and by reducing pain and inflammation associated with this disease. It increases blood flow and makes it possible for the person to seek treatment while sleeping. Sedentary people especially the elderly can always benefit from using this because they need to have their muscles activated in order to avoid atrophy.

The use of this stimulator does not require people to get out of their normal lifestyle as they are able to exercise while still going on with their day to day activities. Unlike other exercises which require a lot of vigorous movements like lying on the floor or lifting heavy equipment, the EMS is easy to handle and does not require the use of large bags to carry around. The flex belt can even be hidden under a garment and thereby make it easy to get a full workout at any place and time.

It is not recommended that people who have had injury perform strenuous workouts because they can worsen the condition. People who exercise often complain about sore muscles and strained necks. It can be difficult for them to resume their daily workout until they heal from these problems. Using of the EMS is preferred by many physicians because it enables muscle contraction without one having to undergo a painful regimen.

EMS is a unit that is applicable to all ages and can help one get the kind of body they have been yearning to have without the need to go to the gym and workout. What is most appealing about it is that one can exercise without ever leaving their home or they can do so while at work and still look and feel great. The effect is a lean body and toned muscles that are the envy of everyone who sees them.

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Space shuttle Discovery safely arrives at launch pad

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Friday, May 19, 2006File:148888main sts121atpad lg.jpg

On Friday in Cape Canaveral, Florida, Space Shuttle Discovery began its 4.2 mile, 7 hour long journey to the launch pad, completing successfully. Discovery weighs approximately 4.5 million pounds.

The launch was supposed to occur in May, but NASA pushed back the date because of a faulty fuel sensor.

This will be Discovery’s second mission since the space shuttle Columbia broke apart during re-entry in 2003. Engineers believed that foam falling from the shuttle and smashing into the wing caused the disaster. After the accident, NASA grounded the shuttle fleet to determine the cause.

In 2005 cameras had shown during launch that a piece of foam being shed from the external tank, as well as smaller tile and foam dings. NASA and the crew decided that mission specialist Stephen Robinson should attempt to pull out the protruding gap fillers. Cameras also detected a small piece of thermal blanket near the cockpit that fell off, but later tests in wind tunnels had shown the piece to be of little concern and Discover landed safely.

NASA is scheduling the launch for Discovery to be between July 1 and July 19, 2006 and Steve Lindsey will Commander of the mission, flying with pilot Mark Kelly, two spacewalkers, Mike Fossum and Piers Sellers and mission specialists Stephanie Wilson and Lisa Nowak. European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Thomas Reiter is also part of the crew but he will remain on the International Space Station (ISS) for several months.

NFL: Brett Favre traded to the New York Jets

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Thursday, August 7, 2008

Quarterback Brett Favre has been traded to the New York Jets for a conditional fourth-round draft selection in the 2009 NFL Draft. The trade was later confirmed by ESPN and the Jets themselves. The multiple National Football League record-holder was the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers from 1992 to the end of the 2007 NFL season. Favre, 38, announced his retirement on March 6, 2008 after much speculation over his future.

After a long dispute with the Packers’ management, Favre was reinstated by the NFL and was pursued in trade discussions with the Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Jets were much more aggressive than the Buccaneers in their pursuit of Favre all along, offering a conditional fourth-round draft choice in the 2009 NFL Draft which could be promoted to a first-round selection based on performance criteria.

“Brett has had a long and storied career in Green Bay, and the Packers owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude for everything he accomplished,” the Packers said in a press release. Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said of the trade, “We just felt like this was an opportunity to go get somebody of Brett’s stature and what he’s accomplished.”

The trade caps a roller-coaster off-season ride for Favre and the franchise that became synonymous with his legendary No. 4 jersey, which was planned to be retired in the Packers’ home opening game. Favre’s on-again, off-again retirement has monopolized headlines for the past two months as news began trickling to the media that the legendary passer was second-guessing both his retirement decision and his status in Green Bay. Favre was offered a $20 million dollar marketing contract from the Packers to remain retired.

Now, the Jets may have to clear cap space in order to have Favre on their roster โ€” who is due to make $12 million this season โ€” which may call for the release of Chad Pennington. A comment from Jets GM Tannenbaum all but confirmed the release of Pennington. “It’s a bittersweet moment for us. I have all the respect in the world for Chad as a person, as a player,” Tannenbaum said, adding that an announcement on a transaction involving Pennington will come later Thursday.

The Packer’s official website states that they will be holding press conferences at noon and 2:00 p.m. CDT and more information will be released then.

New Jersey officials: Stimulus bill hurting Atlantic City casinos

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Sunday, March 29, 2009

A New Jersey congressman says restrictions on federal stimulus money are hurting gaming destinations like Atlantic City, and he is seeking to repeal a provision banning the use of funds for casinos or other gaming establishments.

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“The demonization of gaming destinations such as Las Vegas and Atlantic City for business travel is wrong, wrong, wrong,” U.S. Rep Frank LoBiondo said Friday during a press conference in front of Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City.

The $787 billion federal stimulus bill passed in February specifically prohibits casinos from applying for funds for infrastructure improvements and other similar projects. LoBiondo said Atlantic City is losing millions of dollars in business as a result of that provision.

Casinos’ revenues dropped 19.2 percent in February 2009 month compared to February 2008, according to the New Jersey Casino Control Commission. LoBiondo said $160 million worth of business and 120,000 visitors have chosen other cities for their tourism plans due to the stimulus bill, according to Atlantic City Convention Center figures.

The administration also recently determined other groups like nonprofit organizations and local governments may not spend their stimulus money at casino properties. State officials said the rules are damaging a major pillar of the New Jersey economy.

“Are those jobs somehow less important or less meaningful than those in the manufacturing, retail or financial industries?” said Ken Calemmo, chairman-elect of the Greater Atlantic City Chamber.

Anti-gambling officials said the stimulus law does not prohibit casinos from taking advantage of tax breaks, and Atlantic City officials should not complain about the stimulus bill because the city is too reliant on an unreliable revenue stream.

“There isn’t a state, including New Jersey or Nevada, that could gamble themselves rich, any more than an individual could gamble themselves rich,” said Tom Grey, field director for StopPredatoryGambling.org. “They should’ve diversified (the economy) instead of chasing their loss.”

But Joe Kelly, chamber president, said 35,000 people work at New Jersey casinos, and thousands more around the state work for outside vendors that depend on casinos for their business.

“It is not just an Atlantic County issue. It is not just a Cape May issue,” Kelly said. “There’s purchasing done by every county.”

LoBiondo is working to repeal the provision with U.S. Rep Shelly Berkley, co-chair of the Congressional Gaming Cascus, and has reached out to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who has a history of representing the interests of the gaming industry.

Teak Chairs Perfect For Using In The Shower

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By Jesse Akre

Whether it’s because of a medical issue, and accident or just age catching up, there are a number of people who can’t get in and out of the tub or stand in the shower for as long as they would need to, to enjoy a good bathing experience. Over the years there have been a number of inventions to try and help to this end.

Many of them were plastic chairs that while they were effective in the beginning, still were plastic, and eventually would break down. This could be a potentially deadly situation for someone who can’t get out of the shower by him or herself to be in.

Thankfully there is another option. There are now a variety of teak chairs for the shower. When it comes to durability, teak is the top of its class. When many people think of putting the words wood and shower together, they picture a chair that is going to warp and rot over time.

That doesn’t happen with teak. Teak is a weather and water resistant wood. Since it’s so thick with natural oils teak will not be phased by the water that is raining down in the shower. Instead of sinking in and leading to rot, that water will roll off the teak wood as it would the proverbial duck’s back.

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Another benefit of getting a teak chairs for the shower is that they are a lot of more attractive than plastic. While many people think you should only worry about the function of items that are needed, such as shower chairs, why not also have pieces that are attractive while they do the job?

When shopping for teak chairs for the shower, you should also look for adjustability. Some shower chairs come as is, and there is no flexibility in the fit. But, not all people are created alike. You should look for a chair that has adjustable legs and seat height. You need to make sure it can be set at a height that is comfortable for the person using it. The reason you are purchasing teak chairs for the shower is because someone needs a little help, they don’t need an uncomfortable seat.

You should also measure the seat width and depth. You need to make sure there is enough space side to side for the person to sit. Too skinny of a seat that has side handles or other attachments can pinch the skin and be painful. Likewise, you need to make sure the seat is deep enough that the person using it doesn’t feel like they are in a balancing act to stay on the chair.

The construction of teak chairs for the shower differs by the specifications of the chair. Make sure to look at the weight restrictions of the chair you are considering and that it is rated high enough to hold the weight of the person who will be using it.

Finally, make sure it will be safe. Check to see if the legs of the teak chairs have non-slip rubber stoppers at the bottom so they don’t slide around in the shower or tub.

About the Author: Author Jesse Akre is an owner of different niche online sites that offer consumers both products and information on how to make their homes both functional and appealing to the eye. Today he offers advice on what to do in your space and for a great way to furnish it, turn to lovely

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CEO of GM outlines plan for “New GM” after auto company declared bankruptcy

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Thursday, June 4, 2009

In a New York press conference at 16:15 UTC, June 1st, Fritz Henderson, the Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, which filed for bankruptcy and Chapter 11 protection from its creditors earlier today, outlined a plan for what he called a “New GM”.

Speaking to the press under safe harbor provisions of U.S. law, Henderson described the events of today as a “defining moment” in the history of General Motors. Speaking to the public he said that “The GM that let you down is history,” and described a “New GM” that he expected to result from the bankruptcy process.

Henderson stated that he envisioned the bankruptcy process would take between 60 and 90 days. He stressed several times his view that the process would be one that is executed quickly, saying that not just a sense of urgency but “pure unadulterated speed” was his expectation of the process. He emphasized that “GM remains open for business” during the bankruptcy period, continuing to sell and to support its products, and that day one motions had been filed in the bankruptcy court in order to allow this.

Regarding the bankruptcy process he said, “We will do it right. And we will do it once.”

He stated that the plan for General Motors had the support of the United Auto Workers union, the Canadian Auto Workers union, the GM VEBA, and a majority of the unsecured bondholders of GM. He also mentioned that GM had already received โ‚ฌ1.5 million in bridge financing from the German government.

In response to questions about the possibility of the United States federal government, a majority shareholder in the restructured company, dictating future product development and strategy, such as the sale of more fuel-efficient and green vehicles; he first observed that the federal government had already stated to him that it had “no real interest in running our business” and that he expected that still to be his job. Of the specific hypothetical scenario where the management of GM wants to make one type of car, because it thinks that it is the right thing for the business, and the U.S. government wants to make another type of car, he stated that “I don’t think it’s going to happen.” Expanding on that point he stated that he expected the “New GM” to focus upon “highly fuel-efficient and green technology”, and that operating both in accordance with U.S. environmental laws and in response to customer demand would naturally result in the New GM producing the types of vehicles that the U.S. government would encourage.

The “New GM” he also expected to focus on “four core brands”, and will size its dealership to match that. He stated that GM would offer a “deferred termination” package to dealers, to allow them to cease dealing in GM vehicles in a managed and gradual way.

He stated that the bankruptcy filings did not cover General Motors’ businesses in Latin America, Europe and the Middle East, and Asia and the Pacific. Of GM’s profitable ventures in China, specifically, he stated that they were “a critical part of the New GM”. In response to questions of whether the New GM would import cars from China to the U.S., he stated the formative company’s core principle that “We build where we sell” applied in both directions, with GM building in China to sell in China and building in the U.S. to sell in the U.S., stating that this shortened supply chains.

He declined to predict when the New GM would return to profitability, stating that the goal was rather to lower the break-even EBIT point for the company. He also declined to speculate upon when the U.S. government would sell its stake in the company, saying that that was a question “better addressed to the U.S. Treasury”, and merely saying that he expected it to be “years, not months” when the U.S. Treasury felt it would give “the right return for taxpayers.”

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G20 Summit plans to inject US$5tn into economy before 2011

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Friday, April 3, 2009

The G20 Summit held in London, England concluded Thursday with an injection into the economy of US$5 trillion by the end of 2010.

Global trade would be supported by $250 billion (169.5 billion pounds). “We are going to act decisively to kickstart international trade. We will ensure availability of at least $250 billion over the next two years,” said Gordon Brown Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

The International Monetary Fund IMF will have access to $750bn in resources of which $250bn will support special drawing rights.

Developing countries received $100bn which will be dispensed via Multilateral development banks. Towards this end, the IMF will sell off gold reserves.

China will support the IMF fund by $40bn, the European Union by $100bn, and Japan by $100bn.

There will be increased regulation on banking and credit ratings agencies. There was a commitment to clamp down on hedge funds, tax havens and toxic assets. To restore consumer confidence in the financial sector, a new Financial Stability Board will be initiated internationally. There would be new policies implemented to control pay and bonuses paid to the heads of banks and corporations.

The G20 leaders were adverse to protectionism and rallied to support international trade and investment.

The Leaders’ statement said, “We reaffirm the commitment made in Washington: to refrain from raising new barriers to investment or to trade in goods and services, imposing new export restrictions, or implementing World Trade Organization (WTO) inconsistent measures to stimulate exports.โ€

Eoin O’Malley, senior adviser on international trade at BusinessEurope, said “The measure also needs to be part of wider package to avoid protectionism and conclude the Doha round which will stimulate trade growth. The key point now is to move forward with Doha. The key now is implementation. G20 governments must act quickly to provide this finance to companies that need it urgently.”

Greece formally asks for EU-IMF loans

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Friday, April 23, 2010

Greece has formally asked for rescue loans by the European Union and International Monetary Fund (IMF) to be activated, aimed at helping the country recover from an economic crisis.

Under the plan, countries in the Eurozone will provide up to 30 billion euros in loans in the first year, while the IMF will contribute ten billion euros.

“The moment has come,” said Greek prime minister George Papandreou. He stated that it is “a national and pressing necessity for us to formally ask our partners for the activation of the support mechanism, which we jointly created in the European Union.” The prime minister added that “several days will pass before money can start being drawn.”

Under the bailout, Greece’s borrowing needs for the immediate future will be covered, so it can avoid default and keep servicing; the request needs to be approved by all fifteen countries using the euro, and will be reviewed by the European Central Bank.