Week in Review for 7/27/2008

Trying a new format to consolidate the weekly link dumps into a single post.

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  • Manipulating single electrons for quantum computing
    This is very much at the early experimental stages, confirming some theoretical predictions. What is exciting is it is based on using conventional transistors. Seems to rely on random atomic scale inclusions so next steps would be to deliberately manufacture transistors with the correct doping.
  • Wikipedia tests approval system to reduce vandalism
    This alters the fundamental peer production model that has ruled Wikipedia to date. However, at the moment it is being used experimentally on only a few hundred articles. Approvers are drawn from the community, too, based on simple quality of edits criteria.
  • Effectiveness of test driven development
    A formal study, actually, which found quality was strongly correlated with quantity of test, regardless of approach. TDD group wrote more tests so there appears to be an indirect correlation resulting in higher quality.
  • More considered analysis of TDD research
    The author confirms my suspicious that the researchers are reading more causation in the results than are supportable by the data. He actually does an excellent job breaking the empirical results down and laying things bare more objectively. Don’t read the paper at the previous link without also reading the analysis at this link.
  • Cable companies want metered access
    We are not talking at commodity rates or on an all you can eat basis like true utilities. The overages, in particular, seem pretty severe.
  • Courts shoot down COPA, again
    This was the 3rd federal circuit court upholding an existing ban. The issue with the law is its broad and overreaching language which the courts have so consistently found objectionable that the law has never effectively been enforced.
  • Bill to amend ’96 Telecom Act will remove anti-competition loophole
    At stake is a bureaucratic loophole where the default action when a telco seeks a waiver on offering their bandwidth wholesale to competitors is deemed granted if not acted in by the deadline. Sen. Markey has introduced a bill to revise this to take out the “deemed granted” part.
  • Ottawa neighborhood experimenting with resident owned broadband
    I have been wondering about this model since I first read Cringley’s suggestion of it as a solution for lack of competition in the last mile. I hope this experiment goes well though my neighborhood is so old, I doubt I’ll ever get a chance to own my own strand without moving.
  • Carbon nanotube circuitry
    The application is for flexible circuitry and the research here was to figure out if carbon nanotubes performed better than existing solutions, which does indeed seem to be the case.
  • Embarq halts use of NebuAd
    I am still skeptical. Each attempt at this style of advertising has been halted by public scrutiny but companies keep springing up anew trying to roll it out. One of them is going to do it, despite the hue and cry, and open a flood gate that cannot be closed.
  • Lingering effects of and on decision making
    Fascinating insights into our decision making processes and how they can be affected by unrelated thoughts and processes. May help explain why we make bad decisions at times and help us prevent ourselves doing so.
  • Telco won’t install fiber, sues to stop city from doing so
    The arguments by the teclo seem thin, at best, since fiber to the home can easily be characterized as a public good comparable to the other kinds of things that the local law allows bond issues to cover.
  • Yahoo Music going dark, taking DRM keys with it
    First Microsoft, now this. It really highlights that the rights holder half of DRM is nowhere near permanent and the risk of losing your DRMed music is really and probable.
  • Yahoo to compensate stranded music customers
    Details are unclear but this is clearly a PR move and may support the joke many are making at Yahoo’s expense that they have a truly insignificant number of customers for their music service.
  • Three strikes rule stopped in the UK
    It leaves complaint letters and network management techniques on the table but France is still the only country to have adopted this extreme, three strikes measure for infringing file sharers.
  • Senate combines several bad IP bills into one
    This is the Senate version of the House passed Pro IP bill and carries forward most of that bill as well as combining it with the PIRATE act. The most controversial measure is the granting of seizure powers under certain circumstances comparable to anti-drug seizure powers.
  • Ubunt’s Shuttleworth on a Linux based future
    He covered extensibility and interoperability, models for financially supporting Linux’s growth, cooperation across distros and the need to outdo Apple with usability and visual sophistication on the desktop without sacrificing the freedoms that make the Linux desktop distinct from OS X.
  • Details on open sourcing on Symbian
    Nokia mostly sees the move as a way of re-invigorating the OS and breaking past a plateau in its adoption. All in all though it is early days and this may be as protracted an effort as Sun’s opening of Java.
  • Network neutrality surfaces in senate races
    Sixteen democratic contenders for senate openings not only endorse neutrality but apparently are espousing very specific means of ensuring it. The article contrasts this to presidential candidate McCain who has been dismissive, seeing it as an issue for the market to sort out.
  • WordPress challenges compatibility of open source with iPhone
    The SDK’s license agreement seems to forbid open source of any kind. The WordPress application for the iPhone is indisputably open source, with code available. It will be interesting to see what Apple does, if anything.
  • Microsoft approves of LGPL, joins Apache Foundation
    The moves seem motivated by interoperability and flow in one direction, into FLOSS projects. Microsoft still will not use open source in any of its own projects for fear of exposure. Interesting to see if this trend continues.
  • Google’s lead Python hacker weighs in on code review
    Speaks pretty effectively to the psychology, good and bad, behind code review and why it is not done as much as it should and suggestions for how to improve that.
  • Comcast reading customers’ blogs and responding
    Is this damage control only or a hint that the big bad may be shifting its opinions and practices? I tend to think the former though will reserve a slight benefit of the doubt.

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2 Replies to “Week in Review for 7/27/2008”

  1. Thank you for the link to Shuttleworth’s further explanation of release “pulses”. His comparisons to the automotive and fashion industries make sense. I tend to think he is indeed onto something in terms of helping drive recognition and adoption of Linux by a wider audience.

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