Week in Review for 3/29/2009

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  • TPB to launch circumvention tool for new Swedish law
    This sounds like an anonymizer on steroids and is in response specifically to a forthcoming monitoring law. The difference from existing an popular consumer VPNs is that this service will not retain any data, so there will be nothing to turn over under the aegis of monitoring laws.
  • Manifesto for software craftsmanship
    I like the idea but question the need for a manifesto. I invest considerably in my own professional development and personal process motivated by similar ideas. This takes a day to day commitment to personal improvement not a large gesture like signing a manifesto.
  • EFF highlights unusual DRM claim in Fairey case
    According to this Ars piece, von Lohmann is pointing out a complaint by the AP about Fairey removing copyright metadata, prohibited by the DMCA. However, it seems pretty clear that if Fairey worked from a printed copy with physical materials, this is a tenuous claim, at best. It also doesn’t jibe with Fairey’s claim that he didn’t seek to hide the attribution to Mannie Garcia the original photographer.
  • Facebook gets new public policy director from the ACLU
    Sparapani’s connections are impressive. Hopefully he’ll be able to do some good steering Facebook to make more consumer and privacy friendly decisions with their practices and ToS from the start rather than in the wake of widespread user protests.
  • New loss-less mp3 format
    Coming from Thomson, this is no doubt as encumbered as MP3 itself. The novelty seems to come from this being a wrapper format that bundles standard MP3 with a lossless version, too, so different players can access the best version they support. Is that idea obvious enough for Xiph to implement something similar for Vorbis and Flac?
  • CC wins FSF award for Project of Social Benefit
    Nice to see the mutual respect between CC and FSF and recognition of how CC has been freeing culture consistent with the freedoms FSF works on for software.
  • Translation of out of print book nets professor jail time
    This is thoroughly horrible. Ideally the publisher should have to compete with the professor’s translations not be able to threaten him with such disproportionate punishments.
  • Future of Firefox according to Mozilla innovation chief
    The focus will be on navigation and managing complexity. I am a bit concerned about the remarks around moving some data, like bookmarks and the awesome bar, to the cloud. The RWW article has few details, so this may be done in a portable way.
  • White House to use Google Moderator
    While this is good news, it seems to be to be a pretty obvious move. I’d rather see more efforts spent on the harder questions of making existing data more transparent and amenable to third party analysis, use and re-purposing.
  • AT&T has started issuing RIAA takedowns
    Another reason to despise AT&T though they have since been quick to clarify they are not disconnecting users. The plan of the RIAA to co-opt at least some ISPs to push enforcement seems to be coming to fruition. No doubt lucrative content deals for the ISPs are their incentive to betray their customers.
  • More on AT&T and RIAA P2P program
    Nate Anderson at Ars has more details, as I mentioned that the ISP is not disconnecting users. Further they claim this is a geographically limited trial. AT&T, and the cable operators, are trying to downplay their actions but I can’t help but see this as a gradual escalation of their involvement leaving less freedom and recourse for consumers.
  • Why requirements stink
    Some simple but I think accurate reasons provide. That and a couple of good resources for folks interested in truly improving the process, not just dressing it up with social tools.
  • 14th anniversary of the wiki
    Thank you, Ward! Wikis have become so pervasive for all scales and types of collaboration, it is hard to imagine a web without them, now.
  • CC in development of cloud computing standards, manifestos
    A good discussion of the benefits of using CC in document and specification development. I like that CC’s Linksvayer also admonishes that merely using CC is no pixie dust for consensus and adoption of the resulting documents.
  • Google implements open standard for FoaF data
    RWW has some info on Google’s latest, Portable Contacts. I think this is long overdue as the relationship data invested into a particular service far outweighs any other data, such as a user’s profile.
  • State of multicore programming
    Ars’ Hruska discusses a Gartner report on the state of many core. He concedes the easy to agree on part, the gap between computing power and software able to take full advantage. He questions some of their reasoning, though, around the adoption curve. Regardless, hopefully more attention will net more efforts on better parallel programming models and tools which benefits from the low to the high end of the market.
  • Considering moving past the expectation of privacy test
    This is a pretty thoughtful examination by Schneier of the standard set for in Katz and how it has become a trap. He surveys some of the latest thought on privacy in a networked world and concludes that none are entirely correct, urging us to engage more fully and actively drive future definitions of privacy.
  • German cops raid WikiLeaks
    The speculation is that this was prompted by their recent publication of censorship black lists. The police in question are claiming a tenuous connection to distribution of child porn. WikiLeaks recently had a call for support, looks like they’ll need it more for defense, now, than to help with logistics of publishing.
  • Bletchley Park rebuilds code cracking Bombe machines
    My fascination with Bletchley and its role in the birth of modern computing endures. I hope to be able to visit, some day. It would be a marvel to see these bombes first hand given the amazing effort that went into their restoration.

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