Week in Review for 2/8/2009

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  • Microsoft installs Firefox extension without notice
    This is a bad idea no matter how Microsoft might rationalize it. They are installing an extension to software they did not author without adequately notifying the user. I could see a notice buried in a Visual Studio installer, perhaps, but the fact that it is now part of SP3 makes me think not.
  • Open source crash reporter for iPhone
    Erica Sadun at Ars has the details. This is not the first time Landon Fuller has built missing software or patches of Apple. He has also worked on porting the BSD OpenJDK and unofficial patches in response to lmh’s month of Apple bugs a year or two ago.
  • NZ amended copyright act to go into effect at the end of the month
    Nate Anderson has the details at Ars, including the justifiable criticism from many quarters. This amended law would add a so-called graduated response but it is a bit vaguely worded. The idea of enforcement at the ISP with a customer disconnect also is at odds with the usual process of judicial action on claims of infringement.
  • EFF calls for help in fighting recent wave of YouTube takedowns
    The EFF points to a recent increase in takedowns, attributable to a general increase in the use of YouTube’s Content ID system and more specifically a spat with Warner that has them issuing more takedowns for circumstances where they formerly just shard revenue. The EFF is asking for folks targeted to step forward, to help them find and press appropriate fair use cases.
  • Obama administration so far not toughening on offshoring
    I think Hira’s commentary is a bit tenuous. Mostly he points to IBM not being forthcoming about details of reductions in force and redistribution of jobs throughout its global operations. I agree up to a point that the new administration should call them on the mat but it may be harder to do so when someone outside of industry may not even realize the kinds of gaming of job numbers Hira suggests.
  • Malware spread by windshield fliers, false parking citations
    In a nutshell, this is a form of social engineering. The papers contain URLs with either enticements or, in the case of the false citations, a site where targets can supposedly dispute. I’d say the payload, web infections, is more novel than the vector itself.
  • Yochai Bentler explains broadband stimulus package
    Julian Sanchez has a good summary of Bentler’s remarks. They seem to be a roughly equal mixture of praise and criticism. He understandably seems to favor the clearer language in the House version around what exactly is broadband and what constitutes open access. In the Senate version, though, there is consideration for education as well as infrastructure.
  • Obama signs another bill without promised review
    TLF’s Jim Harper points out the emerging trend that belies Obama’s original promise to post legislation for a five day review before signing. Even though there are only two data points, I really do suspect this is a trend, that the promise will shortly fall completely by the wayside.
  • Is open source Windows inevitable?
    I’ve seen this Infoweek piece by Babcock debated on a few forums. I think it is just pot stirring, like suggesting that Apple must release their OS for beige boxes. I think these models are so deeply ingrained in the corporate DNA that they won’t change shy of a drastic re-organization or even dissolution of the companies in question.
  • Obama announces top tech nominee
    Vivek Kundra, DC’s CTO is the nominee. I’ve seen some endorsements for trusted sources leading up to the appointment. The position is technical in the OMB and will definitely fulfill the more infrastructural role folks have been discussing, rather than the policy advising one.
  • WISPs may be a viable alternative to cable, telco duopoly
    I’ve seen Glass post elsewhere, he himself operates a wireless ISP. I am not entirely convinced of his argument, despite the pretty map. It really seems to be more isolated islands, even though there are a lot of them. Is anyone reading this using a WISP, by the way, especially in an urban center like here in DC?
  • Clay Shirky interview on peer leadership
    This is a teaser transcript for a forthcoming podcast interview with Shirky. Looks like an interesting discussion, similar to considerations of how such a miniscule minority of users at Wikipedia can cultivate a strong central ethos and keep such a massive, peer produce project on track.
  • First federally certified voting system
    This is not necessarily a ringing endorsement as the Slashdot piece points out the length of testing, 17 months, may increase the chance the system was certified to an older, obsolete standard.

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