Week in Review for 11/30/2008

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  • Legal guide for security researchers
    Another invaluable resources from the EFF. Hopefully the guidance through computer crime laws and digital copyright will encourage more researchers to publish what they can to improve network security.
  • Google’s SearchWiki drawing privacy criticism
    The privacy issues seem to center around how comments are shared across all users with the original user’s name. More critically, the feature lacks a way for users to opt out altogether.
  • Paired lasers generate random numbers at high speed
    The system, based on partial feedback to a standard communications laser, is both tunable and far faster than other physical random number generators.
  • New firm to buy tech patents for purposes of defense
    The firm, RPX, will then license its portfolio to companies that subscribe to its service. I am not sure this is morally that much better than patent trolls. What about free software, seems like it would be left in the could by the subscription fee.
  • “Here Comes Everybody” review
    This has certainly piqued my interest in Shirky’s book, which I had been considering reading already. It looks like a thought provoking consideration of emergent organizational models in network environments.
  • Fedora 10 released
    Lots of detail at the link, a good number of new features worth checking out. I may install it in a VM on my new work machine which has four cores and plenty of RAM so would be an excellent host for virtual testing.
  • Bogus DMCA claim from Apple
    Apple is trying to stop developers from reverse engineering the hashing in the iTunes software’s database. The EFF article breaks down exactly why this claim is not valid under the DMCA.
  • Another deconstruction of the failures of passwords
    Ben Laurie actually blames usability and security design for training in bad habits for users. He also takes to task the myth that passwords don’t scale as a side effect of how easy we have made phishing.
  • Software supported by ad revenue
    McAllister posits that ad support software is a consumer oriented counterpart to subscription based support in the enterprise. He lays out a couple of problems and one opportunity, OpenCandy, present in this approach currently.
  • KDE’s text editor gets vi key bindings
    Especially with gvim, this won’t serve as an outright vim replacement. Paul I think correctly characterizes it as smoothing over working outside of vim for vim addicts such as myself.
  • Nanotube switching effect
    The effect seems easy to achieve and results in essentially a switchable quantum dot that researchers were able to integrate with traditional circuitry.
  • Affects of opening Java on Linux adoption, bundling
    This is a pretty good write up of the affects of opening Java, in particular on the decision and mechanism for its include across Linux distributions. It is both optimistic and skeptical, but in a way that makes a certain amount of sense.
  • Linux kernel booting on the iPhone
    This hack was done by one of the folks responsible for the tool used to jail break the iPhone. It is already leading to speculation of Android running at some point in the future on the iPhone, an intriguing if unimaginative possibility.
  • Optimized UI based on user’s abilities
    This approach actually makes a great deal more sense. In traditional systems, the burden is on the user to know how to best configure settings for accessibility.
  • Improving CS coverage on Wikipedia
    Some courses are already encouraging students to start or contribute to Wikipedia entries. I for one would welcome some more academically informed knowledge on the subject in one of my favorite online tools.
  • State of Linux file systems
    This is actually a pretty good article for anyone shopping for a file system, too, or interested in what will be coming down the pipe for future use.
  • Ethical question raised by out-of-print books and ebooks
    More than a thought experiment, an actual conundrum though the author doesn’t mention the particular title. I’d say go with the pirated ebook and purchase an in print title by the book’s author and donate it to a library if you don’t want to keep it.

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