Week in Review for 12/21/2008

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  • FCC scraps plans on free wireless internet plan
    This was to be based on their conditions of certain chunks of wireless spectrum. Apparently the opposition was too stiff so they cancelled a vote and appear to be scrapping the plans altogether.
  • A good rebuttal of misinterpreting CDNs as violating neutrality
    Tim Lee had a pretty well considered paper, recently, exploring possible unintended consequences of regulating for neutrality. Also clarified some definitions and uses that basis to rebut the WSJ piece, that they misunderstand the difference between lower level routing concerns and content caching.
  • Samba’s Jeremy Allison on future of Linux
    Not as far ranging as I had hoped, given some of his much more thought provoking writing. Still, it should carry some weight when such a high profile Linux developer says there should be more cohesion across distros.
  • Google Friend Connect now compatible with Twitter
    This is a pretty high profile deployment. If anything is going to prove out whether Friend Connect is worthwhile or not, it is going to be a massively popular service like Twitter.
  • Appeals court limits NSL gag orders
    The court actually overturned a lower court ruling that might have struck down a portion of the Patriot Act. The ruling is a bit of a compromise, though, as it raises a First Amendment burden on NSLs higher than what is required by the law.
  • Netbooks increasingly tethered by data plans
    I guess the idea is to couple the cheap device with more ubiquitous data service than wifi alone. However, the article points out this raises the total cost of ownership to approaching a traditional notebook, erasing much of the appeal of these cheaper devices.
  • Professor argues IP law can be tweaked to support open standards
    The core of his idea seems to be to encourage competition in standards to foster open ones. The goal is laudable but I think naive given that not all market actors are rational and that market failures are more common that he seems to give credit.
  • If programming languages were religions
    Just a little bit of humor, taking equal swipes at all of the languages on the list, including some less common ones like Lua and Haskell.
  • Possibility of tech workers unions and opposition to the idea
    I am not sure I understand the real issues at play, here. It seems to me that tech workers have far more individual bargaining power and the possibility of unintended consequences of collective action may be more far ranging.
  • CDT calls for do not track list
    This seems like another key consumer protection that will face stiff opposition as it strikes at a core aspect of online advertising. Similar things could have been said about the do not call list which has managed some partial success so who knows.
  • Novel comparison of hackers to musicians
    This is a bit more detailed and better considered than the first impression from the headline. It is not the usual comparison of hackers to creatives.
  • RIAA moves on from file sharing to 3 strikes rule
    This is going to be discussed on the upcoming year in review episode. In short, this is hardly surprising and doesn’t mean the industry is relenting and coming to terms with the facts of digital copying.
  • Should Wikileaks have a better standard for whistle blowing?
    Whistle blowing does imply a moral direction of some sort. As such, I do think this question bears more consideration than the site operators seem to have given.
  • Free high availability load balancer
    Not sure of the license but this at least appears to be free as in cost. It also goes a bit beyond what could be done with say mod_proxy_balancer with very little increase in relative complexity.
  • Arkansas court protects identity of users editing Wikipedia
    The rationale appears to be safety rather than free speech. It is possible the law on the books in that state about using state resources for political speech legitimately trumps free speech, hence a rejection on another basis.

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