- Kickstarter for a modern interactive fiction game
Jason Scot, the producer of the wonderful documentary, “Get Lamp”, tweeted about this. Andrew “Zarf” Plotkin has started a pledge drive to support his full time effort to produce his next interactive fiction project. He has already sailed past his goal, did so in a mere 13 hours. I imagine pledges will continue to push his funding up for a few more days yet, especially with an endorsement from Scott.
- Microsoft upset by open Kinect drivers, then relents
Ryan Paul at Ars Technica was one of a few folks to note the Redmond giant’s reaction to Adafruit’s bounty program and winner. I really don’t understand their response given that it is going to add sales to folks who otherwise wouldn’t have bothered with the device. Dana Blankenhorn at ZDNet’s Open Source blog soon after had the story that Microsoft had relented on their threats.
- A working 8-bit computer in Minecraft
This is a different effort from the working ALU to which Cory linked before on BoingBoing, but definitely in that same vein. Not sure what architecture Lazcraft is building here as the video lacks any kind of narration, inluke theInternetFTW’s.
- Enigma cipher machine up for auction, Christie’s, via Hacker News
- IBM offers glimpse of extreme, miniature super computers of tomorrow, BBC
- How to make art online without getting ripped off, BoingBoing
- Obama administration to appoint web privacy czar, Ars Technica
- Apple partnering with Oracle to bring OpenJDK to OS X, Ars Technica
- One next step in the wiki’s evolution merges in the social
As Mike Melanson at ReadWriteWeb explains, this announcement for Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, reveals what is coming for his commercial venture, Wikia. I am relieved that similar plans are not in the offing for Wikipedia itself. Given how Wikia has struggled to gain traction, with a rising tide of me-too services further diluting the field, embracing social features may yield a needed shot in the arm.
- Google-Facebook hissy fit over data portability
Mike Melanson at ReadWriteWeb has the latest turn in a largely tiresome spat between the two web giants. I think Google’s competitive zeal against Facebook is clouding their better judgment, though the messaging is pretty funny. Rather than enlisting users or sprinkling code-based caltraps, I really think Google should stick to the ideal that informs their internal Data Liberation Front. Sinking to Facebook’s level is just going to prolong the delay before data portability wins out.
- Citizen Lab develops project to map out RIM’s concessions to government, Citizen Lab
- European commissioner lambasts copyright middlemen, TorrentFreak
- Yet another social browser
Not being a particular fan of Flock, I was going to refrain from comment on RockMelt, a me-too social focused browser-remix. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to link to Glenn Fleishman’s discussion at BoingBoing of the new offering backed by Marc Andreessen of Netscape fame, among others. The over the top opening paragraph alone is worth reading Glenn’s post. He also works in mentions of Freedom, a tool designed to deprive you of network access to encourage real work, if that helps you understand from where his remarks are coming.
- Possible future for location based apps from PARC
Richard MacManus at ReadWriteWeb discusses a prototype app that better fits what I discussed as the potential of location applications in the latest podcast. It isn’t surprising that this example of ubiquitous computing comes from PARC, responsible for so many other innovations in the field of computing.
- Feds admit to storing tens of thousands of body scan images
Xeni at BoingBoing was one of several folks to link to this story. The CNet article freely mixes and matches information from different sources, exaggerating the situation somewhat. Given the cited releases, this story is also not exactly breaking news though perhaps not common knowledge. It does correctly identify the key concern throughout that the scanners can store and transmit scans opening the door for all kinds of problems beyond the scope of their immediate security applications.
- Yet another spawn of Java trying to fix its ills is released, Slashdot
- Self repair manifesto, BoingBoing
- Crowdsourcing surveillance, Schneier on Security
Slashdot links to a PC Pro article discussing a move by the commission to give more power to consumers. What amounts to a plan for new legislation next year may be a mixed blessing. Users would gain more control over their data, including the right to have it deleted, while at the same time decreasing friction for the flow of personal data through the markets. The latter would seem to increase pressure on advertisers to acquired the necessary informed consent and raise barriers to executing deletion, or forgetting, requests.
There is no mention of accountability or enforceability, aspects of the plan that will have to be addressed for it to have a hope of making a difference. Sadly, I think the inclusion of a right to be forgotten implies that the balance will still tilt towards too much collection.
- First glimmerings of holographic video displays
John Timmer at Ars Technica discusses some pretty impressive research considering how little holography has advanced for anything other than trivial applications. The system these researchers are building may seem crude but most of the equipment being used, including the network connection, are pretty close to consumer grade. The potential is enormous though I have to imagine free standing holography is a further horizon beyond these re-writing but otherwise fairly constrained displays.
- History of computing and elections from 1952
Wired has re-printed an article from around the time of the last US elections by Randy Alfred. In it, he explains how Univac, one of the earliest computers, was tasked with predicting the presidential election in 1952. The forecast put together by the machines and its operators was remarkably accurate but the TV folks they initially approached were too skeptical to air it at the time, only admitting to discounting the computer’s results well after they were obviously correct.
- Patent database is up and running
Rogue archivist, Carl Malamud, has the good news at O’Reilly Radar. The joint effort between the USPTO, the White House and Jon Orwant at Google has resulted in a new, open database that supplants feeds that formerly required substantial subscription feeds. As Carl explains, this was no easy chore given vested interests in the revenue streams from the old, closed system. A huge win for restoring a critical piece of our informational commons here in the US.
- Five years of Linux kernel benchmarks, Slashdot
- Group trying to get back scatter airport scanners banned, Techdirt
- Google and Facebook to face tougher EU privacy rules, Reuters, via Groklaw
- New beta of Firefox 4 mobile released, Mozilla, via Hacker News
Ernesto at TorrentFreak has a disturbing glimpse of a second order effect of the push to fight camcorder piracy in cinemas. He rattles off a litany of techniques already in use, many quite obnoxious. One vendor of current technologies, Aralia Systems, is partnering with academics at the University of West England not only to advance their tools but to potentially branch into marketing.
According to Dr. Farooq [project leader from the Machine Vision Lab at UWE] the project should make it possible to record and analyze the public’s emotions. These emotions will not be used to track down camcording pirates, but will serve as a market research tool for the movie industry and advertisers.
Ernesto aptly raises the question of consent. That is certainly a difficult line to draw as it is unclear how it differs from a market researcher attending a showing incognito and using human discretion to make the same kinds of emotional observations. I suspect that the difference lies in the scale of data that an automated solution can capture and how the lowered cost of integrating and analyzing it changes our expectations of privacy in a traditionally semi-public space. On the other hand, one does have to wonder what potential their is to game emotional recognition to humorous or even privacy preserving effect.
Despite assurances to the contrary, I am still concerned at abuses besides privacy. Emotional recognition seems to border on divining intent. Some clueless theater chain, cinema manager, or movie studio is undoubtedly going to push using this capability, just because it exists, to fight piracy. That’s the problem, regardless of Ariala’s intentions for the technology, they aren’t the ones who will shape its actual use.
Anti-Piracy Tool For Cinemas Will Recognize Emotions, TorrentFreak
- USB dead drops, embedding the dark net in architecture
Slashdot and BoingBoing covered this project by Aram Bartholl over the weekend. He’s cemented USB sticks into walls and other fixtures at a handful of locations, with plans to set up more such dead drops. The idea is that rather than passing storage containers hand to hand, file shares can simply plug in and copy onto and from the drives what they want. The project seems more like an art installation than an IT effort, a way of weaving asynchronous, anonymous sharing into public spaces.
- Mobile mesh for wireless telephony
Duncan Geere cross posted this article to Wired and Ars Technica, it is about research that really is quite similar to other mesh network plans about which I’ve read. Why not make the cutely named body-to-body connections simply provide IP protocol carriage with telephony being just one application carried? I would think the growth of smart phones is what is crushing networks more so than mere phone calls. It will be interesting to see if this work which was done at Queen’s University in Belfast can make better progress on the challenges of making a mobile device based mesh as good as or better than the fixed mobile networks we have now.
- Facebook bans apps that sold user info to data brokers
Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb has the details of some positive privacy news from the dominant social network. I do wonder if this practice would have persisted if the Wall Street Journal had not exposed it, though. Also, why isn’t Facebook built in such a way to make this sort of thing much more difficult, if not outright impossible?
- Users sue Google, Facebook, Synga over privacy , Slashdot
- Justice department rules isolate gene sequences should not be patentable, Techdirt
- Google sues US government for only considering Microsoft solutions, Techdirt
- Researchers claim better quantum tunneling, EE Times
- KEI letter to European Parliament regarding ACTA, KEI
- US says it will basically ignore anything in ACTA it doesn’t like, Techdirt
- Prominent law professors urge Obama to end ACTA endorsement, Techdirt
- Scholars say ACTA needs Senate approval, Wired
- India concerned how ACTA changes previous trade agreements, Techdirt
- How ACTA changes secondary liability into criminal aiding and abetting, Techdirt
- Google, et. al. respond to Paul Allen with motion to dismiss, sever, Groklaw
- OOo community council members resign, The H
- Hadopi already sending out 240K first strike notices per day, Techdirt
- Secretive negotiations over three strikes regime in Denmark, TorrentFreak
- EFF urges EU authorities to repeal Data Retention Directive, EFF
- Facts, figures on South Korea’s three strikes system, Michael Geist
- Court orders LimeWire to shut off P2P service, Ars Technica
- FTC ending its inquiry into Google’s WiFi data snarfing, Ars Technica
- Could a $105 defense stop copyright-troll lawsuits?, Wired
- Impressive uptake of HTML5 based video playback, ReadWriteWeb
- Oracle claims Google directly copied Java code, Slashdot
- EFF files suit against Justice over push to broaden surveillance laws, EFF
- Vans drive themselves across the world
Slashdot links to a Techeye piece describing the track of four driver-less vehicles that successfully re-traced the route of Marco Polo. Autonomous vehicles seem to be improving dramatically rather rapidly. The fact that these are not sedans but the smallest style of commercial vehicle reinforces my expectation that we’ll see this technology in regular use for long haul freight hauling before it becomes an up-class option on your next personal vehicle.
- Research suggesting an end run around scale limits of chip photo-lithography
Chris Lee at Ars Technica describes so new work that may give Moore’s Law, as seen with current techniques for making computer chips, a reprieve until more advanced replacements come into play. The effective threshold on current photo-lithographic techniques is how small a bit of light you can cast through a mask onto the chip. What researchers are now realizing is that they may be able to manipulate secondary effects to go beyond this diffraction limit, continuing to shrink the scale at which they can manipulate materials with light.
- Facebook adds friend stalker tool
Slashdot is just one of many places pointing to this developer driven feature recently announced by the social networking giant. It is difficult to know if this really exposes any more private information than any other page or feature on the site. What is clear is that by casting it into a new context, the interactions between two friends the observer selects, more expectations are likely to be violated about where and how this information is seen.
- Australian privacy commissioner slams data retention plan , Slashdot
- Israel to join list of nations with ‘adequate’ data protection plans, The Register
- Archive of Geocities being released as a near 1TB torrent, Techdirt