Week in Review for 2009/02/15

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  • Reverse engineering the mind for a new computing model
    Based on the description in this Wired article, I guess the difference between this and similar projects is that it is the first trying to tackle the entirety of the brain’s “hardware”. This isn’t borrowing or simulated parts but directly trying to build a similar, complete system, from the ground up.
  • Opera’s new JS engine catches up with native code generation
    Most other browser’s use engines with native code generation, according to this Ars Technica piece. Opera’s technical notes on their still under development JavaScript engine seem to point to a catch up move more than some of the fierce competition between Mozilla and Apple.
  • Newmark on building a community
    RWW gives a good, short history of Craig’s List and shares some key lessons from Newmark’s talk at UGCC. I would also suggest that Newmark is a good example of a founder and leader who has cultivated an effective, shared ethos in the community he has helped build.
  • Questioning the EC’s IE bundling remedies
    Ryan Paul at Ars questions the effectiveness of similar unbundling remedies sought in the past. He also makes a good argument about legislation being ineffective in helping improve technical standards. His final point is telling, that Mozilla in particular has picked up considerable market share even without unbundling MSIE. I am not sure I agree with the monopoly encouraging competitive innovation, though.
  • Filtering amendment appears to be out of the stimulus bill
    Public Knowledge put out a call to action earlier and it appears to have helped defeat this problematic amendment.
  • Death of SOA but not services
    I think this blog post really captures a broader phenomenon. Consultants and pundits like buzz words, simple snapshot solutions. Programmers on the ground usually understand that the real solutions may draw on elements from such popular ideas but there is a lot more that goes into effective technology than that buzzword compliance.
  • Could transparency chill individual political participation?
    The stories Ars’ Sanchez relates here are worth some contemplation. Sadly, I tend to think folks this zealous will find the means to target individuals regardless of the aid transparency provides. Personally, as much as it invites this risk that few are discussing, I still think the broader benefit is worth it.
  • Breakthrough in organic RFID components
    The organic chips, at the proof of concept stage according to EETimes, can be printed in large, flexible sheets unlike their traditional, silicon based counterparts. The biggest challenge has been overcoming the quicker deterioration of materials but the tests here look promising. I wonder if that degradation may also be a benefit, in terms of being a bit more landfill friendly, especially of the target application is ubiquitous use in product packaging.
  • Perelli speaks on IP
    Again, hard to make predictions. The live blogging Copyrights and Campaigns draws on in this piece even seems to indicate that, outside of large scale commercial piracy, IP enforcement would necessarily be a particular priority.
  • Book publishers object to Kindle 2’s text to speech
    This CNet piece includes some good comments from legal experts. They think the issue will be over public performance, I think it may come down a bit more to audio rights. The author points out this may not even make it to curt as publishers could simple pull their titles from the Kindle in protest.
  • YANAL series on Freedom to Tinker
    I read Freedom to Tinker, anyway, that Legal Blog Watch seems to be agreeing with, in particular a new series of posts Paul Ohm is publishing their to educate technologists on certain legal nuances. I think more education is always better than folk knowledge and ignorance.
  • New tool claims it can passively spot illegal torrents
    The described technique is basically hash matching. I am pretty sure some of the content filtering systems on media hosting services works in a similar fashion. However, if it is a viable alternative to DPI, its worth experimenting with as a network management tool.
  • FTC wants clearer privacy policies published by site operators
    Actually, according to the NYT Bit’s blog, they have published their recommendations on behavioral advertising, like Phorm. They two key elements are notice to users and an element of control. Without legislation, though, the FTC’s power to enforce is pretty limited.
  • Post relational databases
    RWW has a good discussion of the challenges of relational database and a class of solutions that have arisen to try to fill that gap. Most of the projects are services or pretty early on in their development.
  • YouTube introduces limited revenue sharing
    According to NYT Bits, this is of a piece with a new experimental feature for customers, the ability to download rather than stream. There will be a fee for the downloads and the revenue sharing kicks in there, for the content creators. It will be interesting to see how this pans out.
  • Mozilla Labs’ web based code editor
    This is an interesting experiment. I think the fact that one of their goals is collaboration is what makes the most sense for a web based code editor. There are some other good ideas, on the face of it, that I find attractive, too.
  • Public Resource leads to Pacer shutting down
    It is just the free version of the service. I think there was an opportunity missed, here, to work with Malamud and Public Resource. They would not have overwhelmed the service if given another means, I am sure.
  • Apple may be looking to press a DMCA complaint for jail breakers
    Apple has filed an object to the EFF’s petitions to allow circumvention for smart phones under the DMCA. This Bits piece points out what is at stake. If Apple is able to sustain that jail breaking violates its copyright, then it can claim much heftier damages with less burden than if they can only frame it as a violation of a contract, a EULA.
  • Facebook expanding its claims to user generated content
    They already exert a non-exclusive license over user submitted content. The Consumerist points out that they have dropped a critical limit on this, that if you delete your account or remove the content, the license no longer expires. Non-exclusive means this is not the end of the world, but something to be aware of.

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