Week in Review for 2/22/2009

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  • TPB claiming safe harbor in its defense
    As Ars reports, this is entirely consistent with TBP’s stated stance all along. One of the defense lawyers does clarify that Swedish copyright law includes a safe harbor. The comparisons to more “legitimate” services is telling and will no doubt cloud the issue for observers wondering why TPB is being prosecuted versus a YouTube.
  • Burdensome DRM in Windows continues with version 7
    This Slashdot story isn’t all that surprising. It sounds pretty similar to the findings by Gutman in Vista.
  • New MS deal with Red Hat foregoes patent indemnities
    According Ryan Paul at Ars, this may be a first of a kind deal for Microsoft. Most deals in the past have focused almost entirely on license and IP compatibility. This virtualization deal seems to forego such concerns and limit itself to the technical challenges. Microsoft apparently cites customer demand for mixed deployments as being the driver here.
  • Academic paper on ineffectiveness of ISP filtering for infringement
    Cory has the link at BoingBoing to the paper by Adams and Brown of Reading and Oxford respectively. This seems to solidify much of the anecdotal reasoning around filtering, especially about the effects of encryption.
  • Projects for recovery.org as stimulus
    I like the contention in this Wired piece. Building new transparent systems or converting legacy data over could form a novel sort of public works program appropriate to the network age to help create jobs and stimulate the technology sector, specifically.
  • Foiling EULAs with a cat
    This Slashdot story describes the absurd but really I don’t think it is much more ridiculous than people clicking EULAs. No one has really pinned the issues of knowledge and consent around this annoying clickthrough and shrinkwrap style of contracts, even whether they are binding as such.
  • Latest Apple update breaks Perl
    According to this Slashdot story, it actually looks like a break because of version incompatibilities in modules needed to use CPAN. This seems like something that should have been easy to test and catch. No news of an update to resolve it.
  • Massive incompatibility list of major sites for MSIE8
    How do these popular, high profile sites fair on Firefox, Chrome and Safari? The Register piece actually describes the problem as sites built to older IE’s quirks failing with the more standards complaint IE8. But what if IE8 identified itself as a more standards compliant browser, would it just work since Firefox and others have been gaining ground? The article doesn’t say.
  • NZ protests of looming copyright amendments
    I wrote about the network activities related to this protest. I haven’t seen any news of whether this is being effective, yet. It is drawing a lot of global attention, thanks to sites like BoingBoing picking it up, so we’ll see.
  • Risks of distribution defaulting to app store model
    Neil McAllister does a good job of laying out the risks of this kind of concentration of software distribution. I think it is unlikely, though, as one of his examples, Android, isn’t offering the paid marketplace at the expense of the free one. Regardless, it is a good argument for developers demanding equal access to existing, open distribution channels.
  • Researchers defeat facial recognition scanners
    Hruska has a good discussion of a Blackhat presentation of research foling three different implementations. The key issue appears to be the level of acceptable error has to be high to get reasonable convenience out of the system. I still want to know how any biometric system will deal with revocation which needs to be a function of any authentication system in the face of lose or breach.
  • Graphene semiconductor theory confirmed
    Good details from EETimes of some findings that should guide near term research with high temperature, carbon based semiconductors, specifically for computing applications. Turns out that the edge topology of the graphene sheets or strips is the key.
  • Why Viacom gives mashups a pass
    This bit of video from Ad Age shows a Viacom lawyer being surprisingly clueful. He concedes the cost, though, of fact finding for mashups beyond what the filters they use can automatically detect. But then he explains more, that Viacom apparently thinks mashes don’t overlap with their market interest, so they just don’t see reason to pursue them.
  • Log analysis, info from Shmoocon
    Tenable is clearly showing off their own product, but some interesting info gathering from the hacker con with commentary pointing out some of the particularly curious bits.
  • Effect of bad apples on collaborating groups
    Jeff shares a particularly insightful and relevant story from This American Life. For me, it confirmed what I already knew, instinctively, about bad apples and group dynamic. I also was not surprised by the opposite effect of a good leader. However, the more project teams that are aware of this, the better in my view.
  • New research on ultradense storage
    The research described in this Slashdot piece sounds similar to other research I’ve read about. Basically, it looks like good progress on nanoscale assembly techniques beyond traditional means. In this case, a clever form of guided self assembly of copolymers.

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