Quick News Links
- Among other app store facts, Jobs confirms remote kill switch
This confirms the rumors but begs questions of under what circumstances would Apple use the capability, would they refund users for paid applications, and would they notify them ahead of time? There are also security implications if an attacker is able to exploit this capability for their own ends.
- Open source implementation of Google’s Map/Reduce
Take this one with a grain of salt for the language and sarcasm. It makes a good point about building truly useful open source frameworks that provably work. The sex appeal derives from the fact it is an implementation of several Google designs.
- Debunking the usefulness of technical jargon in non-technical use
Merlin describes the problematic language more accurately as buzz words. Berkun’s indictment of “jargon” is overbroad, though I do agree with him if we narrow this to buzzy business speak. By contracts, legitimate technical jargon serves a purpose, allowing experienced specialists to communicate more quickly in order to solve problems.
- Google testifies to Congress that they are not using DPI for ads
Google send in a response to a Congressional query during the hearings around the likes of NebuAd. It’s encouraging but since Google is not directly under investigation, has to be taken on faith.
- Google may not use DPI, is using DoubleClick tracking cookies
More details around the queries sent out to companies not directly involved in the hearings. A bit less complimentary of Google. Focuses on the rise of behavioral tracking and advertising and the concerns on opting out and customer notification.
- More support for filtered, national wireless broadband
Good details on the technical basis of some opposition to a national, free as in beer wireless broadband network. In short, they are mostly bogus based on similar networks deployed elsewhere and a defensive play by existing operators fearing the competition. There are also still substantial free speech issues with the filtering component of the plan.
- First all drone USAF air wing
An interesting change from when the first UAVs were introduced and promised not to replace combat pilots. The unit in question, the Reaper, is more of a fighter-bomber and is already being used to replace manned planes for certain kinds of missions. These are still remotely piloted rather than totally autonomous, so not sure the arguments about phasing out human discretion hold water. Interesting to note rising fuel cost is cited as a reason for increasing popularity of operating UAVs.
- Interview with Emmanuel Goldstein
The focus is the new book, a compilation of articles from 2600. They also discuss 2600 itself and a bit about hackers more generally, to establish some context around the book.
- Psystar sending customers Leopard restore discs
The vendor also provides recovery discs for Windows and Linux, as they pre-install those operating systems as well. Still, it seems like they are unwilling to back down on their choice to offer a Mac clone option.
- Information on overtime for tech workers
Good information for tech workers who may not be clear on what it means to be “exempt”. I am a little unclear on the reasoning behind exempting administrative and IT workers from overtime benefits, but this is the law on the land as it currently stands.
- Evidence that contradicts claims of network congestions, meltdown
Further evidence here is provided by an operator themselves. Reasons cited are normal seasonal dip in usage as well as a slower utilization of video sharing and social networking sites.
- Broadband speeds, adoption stalling
Study cites higher costs of fiber services, poor availability among other reasons. Study publishers have an agenda but the gist of it seems to match consumer experience in terms of higher cost for basic DSL and frustrations trying to get fiber.
- Understanding the roots of piracy in gaming and how to improve
This is a compelling first hand account of a creator competing with pirates. What is encouraging is his filtering out of the marginal responses and how constructive and positive his ultimate response is.
- Tax on downloadable content returns in California
The problems with this are similar to internet sales tax. This is not a collective license fee or media use tax, it is an additional cost of legitimate downloads. Worse, the sponsor has pulled some shenanigans to try to get it on the books in California.
- Contemplating Linux three years hence
This is really more of a survey of Linux at present. I am not as optimistic about where it will be in a few years, though it is the time scale, not the outcome I dispute.
- BBC failing to follow through on promises around open version of player
An opinion piece that thinks the BBC dropping DRM doesn’t go far enough. It gives them some credit but thinks it would be even better if they backed open formats, like Ogg Vorbis and Ogg Theora. Philosophically I agree but I am not sure that is practical, at least until FF3.1 is finished.
- UK considering upping copyright infringement penalties
This is the down side of the Gowers Report, recommendations to the government that in some ways may be good for legitimately stopping piracy buy in their actual enactment appear a bit vague and may inadvertently hurt incidental infringers.
- History of phone phreaking and a prominent phreaker
A good bit of history. Phreakers largely predate hackers but there is much in common in terms of philosophy. Joybubbles was a very singular example of a phreaker, to boot.
- Debian on OpenMoko phone
This is hardly surprising though it demonstrates practically the difference between OpenMoko and other efforts. I am skeptical that freesmartphone.org with Debian offers all that much more of a usable experience, though.
- Self assembled materials for chip fabrication
This actually appears to be a hybrid approach with traditional lithography. There appear to be some advantages of smaller scale structures but also of efficiency. The resulting structures appear best suited to storage applications rather than CPUs, per se, since they appear to due better with repetitive structures.
- Streaming music carrying the major labels forego DRM
They still use some tricks to discourage wholesale copying but the lack of strong DRM doesn’t appear to be a deal breaker with the labels. Good news and further evidence the tide is turning on DRM in the music industry.
Quick Security Alerts
- Consequences of Vista security bypass
- Going beyond simple passwords with musical hashes
- Crypto problems with OpenID
- New SQL injection attack builds combines phishing, malware
- Shadow authors apprehended
- New support for self signed certificates
- New web attack hijacks clipboard