Week in Review for 5/31/2009

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  • Firefox extension to research people’s identities
    Nice detail in this piece at RWW. I can definitely see the utility here, as long as privacy concerns can be properly balanced. I try to encourage online acquaintance to explain why they are seeking a connection but few offer any explanation. This tool can potentially make figuring out the common interests or mutual acquaintances much easier.
  • Jamendo reaches 20K albums
    The CC blog has followed Jamendo’s progress to date. This altest is a hell of a milestone and a testament to the power of this model as a new form of discovery and distribution.
  • Mainstream coverage of allegations of government plagiarism
    The plagiarism here, follow the links through to Geist’s original discussion, is all the worse for the copied source being a blatant lobby group. It is encouraging that such a wide variety of outlets are drawing attention to this bit of nasty misinformation and hypocrisy.
  • Apple thinks better of rejecting e-book reader
    via Lauren Weinstein. I linked to the application in question, an ebook reader comparable to Stanza in features and in that it grants immediate access to free Project Gutenberg texts. This is a thin victory as it doesn’t illuminate Apple’s approval process or provide any sort of meaningful precedence or guidance to subsequent applicants for approval.
  • Canonical working on Android app support
    A short but clear piece from Engadget. This is the power of open source in a nutshell. Canonical can borrow momentum from Android for its efforts around netbooks rather than losing inertia trying to re-invent the wheel. It has the potential for a virtuous circle, feeding back into the Android phones if it sparks more creative developers from the netbook ecosystem.
  • Using Android beyond the phone
    This NYT’s piece draws out the trend beyond just Canonical and netbooks. The rise of smartphones has no doubt also been a boon to all kinds of other ubiquitous computing devices that can now benefit both from cheaper, more powerful chips as well as a well supported, open operating system and development platform.
  • Interview with HTML 5 spec editor
    via Hacker News, a nice bit of background on HTML 5, even drawing it into a continuous trajectory with past versions of HTML despite the guerilla re-boot by the WHATWG folks. I think the early adoption of select elements is the real proof in the pudding, beyond the conceptual appeal of relatively simple open standards.
  • Google commits to HTML 5 as future of the web, apps
    Google’s endorsement is likely to carry the day for HTML5. I for one very much enjoy what they’ve done to GMail for the iPhone using the earliest pieces of the new spec. Of course, their latest bit of technology, Wave, no doubt would not have been possible otherwise.
  • Examples of zines targeting true fans to survive
    Techdirt’s Masnick points out a good example of smaller press outfits figuring out how to focus in on those fans and subscribers most likely to support them more directly rather than diffusing their efforts in continuing to pursue traditional circulation models.
  • Cyberlaw background of Obama’s SCOTUS nominee
    Wired has the pertinent details, in particular that Sotomayor will be the first judge, if approved, to have written cyberlaw rulings before joining the highest court in the land. I am not entirely encouraged by some of the cases discussed but read elsewhere that she is a fairly strict consitutionalist so will reserve the benefit of the doubt.
  • Geeks and open government
    A nice profile at O’Reilly by a guest contributed of geeks getting involved in government activism.
  • Mitch Kapor takes over as chair of One Web Day
    I try to observe One Web Day each year since Boing Boing first brought it to my attention a couple of years ago. Maybe this would be a good excuse to approach Kapor for an interview both on his new appointment and his past work.
  • Band rewards pirate as taste maker
    Techdirt’s Masnick keeps on delivering examples of smaller and independent creatives who are proving experimentation and conversation pay off.
  • Two new books about innovation at odds with the law
    I like that some at the EFF get that many of the seemingly unrelated legal wranglings going on over technology are really about disruptive innovation. I will add these two to my ever growing stack of books to read.
  • Addressing troubling issues in Yahoo, section 230 case
    As Masnick discusses, the devil is certainly in the details. I am glad the particular amici are involved, as well as seeing a link to Eric Goldman’s detailed explanation of the case to date. Section 230 of the CDA has served as a critical balance in the issue of free speech online and even a subtle erosion could have disastrous, unintended consequences.
  • COBOL turns fifty
    The Reg is surprising reverent in their coverage of the milestone in the oft reviled, so-called “legacy” programming language. I view it by and large as proof that legacy is a horrible misnomer, that technology rarely goes obsolescent as quickly or as easily as we may imagine.
  • Beer as a key ingredient of team development
    Don’t let the white paper’s title fool you, this is a pretty well considered discussion of team formation and effectiveness. A lot of good food for thought here. Thanks, Chris.
  • Debugging Python without breakpoints
    The idea seems to be similar to non-interactive uses of early debuggers, like being able to investigate or replay core dumps. Replaying an instrumented run of a Python application seems to be the core idea behind this clever tool. Thanks, walkerh.
  • New Java features locked up behind support contract
    I have to agree with the submitter to slashdot, this smacks of Oracle’s influence. In the past, Sun hasn’t held back tools or even sources from individual developers, choosing rather to use licensing constraints where they are more appropriate, corp to corp.

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