Week in Review for 1/11/2009

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  • Innovation in interfaces that do not require sight
    A perfect example of someone hacking their own life. This is inspiring, even if you don’t have to overcome the same adversity, to use open and generative technology to make your life better.
  • Exact cause of Zune meltdown uncovered, explained
    Stupid fence post error. Unfortunately, this is the kind of error, in loop conditions, that are easily overlooked because on cursory inspection, they look correct though working it out with pencil and paper would have quickly shown otherwise.
  • Player piano rolls production ceases
    Player pianos are still around but use digitized sources, like CDs. This is notable since the player piano was at the time of its invention as disruptive as our modern digital music and foreshadowed much of the industry rhetoric we are hearing.
  • Only legal downloads of Beatles catalog
    This is from the Norwegian broadcaster who successfully experimented with free downloads and BitTorrent for its own programming. They apparently have a license that allows re-release of some of their audio archive.
  • Beatles downloads pulled due to time condition
    This is a clarification, not a response from a rights holder. The license apparently always had a time limit outside of which the Beatles material apparently falls so would never have been eligible for re-release.
  • Debian 5 approaching release
    The biggest issue holding it up was disagreement over the inclusion of opaque binary firmware drivers. Apparently the desire for a timely release won out over what some interpret as a manifestation of Debian’s core principles dedicating the project to free software.
  • Opposition to NZ copyright bill
    Two provisions are being protested, both of which target ISPs. One requires they cut off access for infringers, the other affects their liability. A new formed group is leading the protest, ISPs are also objecting understandably.
  • Conference with former FCC staff offer reform to answer calls todismantle
    This was co-organized by one of my favorite groups, Public Knowledge. It seems to assume the FCC is fixable, rather than furthering the arguments to dismantle. They have launched a web site to continue the discussion of how to implement reform.
  • Idiotic copyright claim for sharing login information
    This is just silly and I am not sure what the plaintiff, CoStar, is hoping to achieve. Unlawful access would seem to be a stronger charge than copyright infringement. Hopefully this interpretation gets rejected out of hand.
  • OpenMoko CEO on the future of the project
    Moss-Pultz has championed the diverse development on the device, an aspect some see rather as annoying fragmentation. In his status message, he does admit to some missteps as well as highlighting successes. It reinforces his view that the device is more about enabling innovators than meeting market demand.
  • OpenID experiencing further adoption woes
    I am not sure one site dropping it constitutes a trend. I think the OStatic piece reads a bit much into the board elections last month, too. Regardless, the linked article has some good developments for the standard, too.
  • FTC to host meeting on DRM abuse
    The abuse in question seems to have to due with adequate disclaimers. Definitely a step in the right direction, maybe they will even discuss some of the specious claims like around garage door openers and the like.
  • Intel’s trusted computing implementation has security vulnerabilities
    Hardly surprising, as Masnick points out. One of two vulnerabilities appears to be a design flaw, one that Intel appears to have the opportunity to fix. Uptake of trusted computing has been low so I don’t know what incentive there is for a fix and who would really benefit.
  • EFF gets USPTO to re-examine broad music tech patent
    This is a hard won win. It is the sixth patent in a series of ten that EFF set out to bust in 2004. Of the six attempts so far, all have been successful, so the time invested definitely appears to be worth it.
  • Actual, disappointing details of Creative’s Zii
    This is definitely not the self assembling computing substrate I thought about when I first read the story last week. It seems like a mashup of single board media processor kits and some of the heterogenous many core systems other device makers have been playing with, some even at the scale of the CPU die, like the Cell processor.
  • EFF calls for hacker support of iPhone jail break exemption
    If you are an iPhone developer, visit the link and submit your comments by February 2nd to help the EFF with their petition.
  • Firebug 1.3.0 released
    I have been using this extension heavily in the new job and it definitely makes JavaScript development consume far less of my remaining sanity. I am encouraged that it is still actively being developed and improved.
  • Palm introduces their own open source phone
    The development model sounds a bit similar to Android. The tools are based largely on HTML5 and JavaScript, more clearly high level and user space like Android’s Java stack. It also sounds like developers will have more at their disposal in terms of system services once the SDK is generally available. Hopefully this will pressure Apple and Google to open up further.
  • Boucher to chair house Internet commerce committee
    Hopefully Boucher will defend an open internet and improve broadband access for all.
  • US Assistant AG nominee represented the recording industry
    This does not bode well. It is not certain that his past cases on behalf of the industry will bias his actions this time out at the DoJ but what else are we meant to conclude? Anyone know what his record was like during his previous DoJ postings?

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