Week in Review for 6/21/209

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  • AP to syndicate non-profit journalism
    I suppose supporting investigative journalism is orthogonal to their war on bloggers and other online sites sharing links and content from AP. It is experimental, anyway, and wholly not for profit so we’ll see what, if any long term good comes of it.
  • Surprising predictions from analysis of content tag networks
    Casey has the fascinating details of this research at Ars. The investigators looked at delicious, one of the larger social bookmarking services, as well as a smaller one focused specifically on biblio citations. Fascinating to see this sort of mathematically grounded analysis applied to social networks which usually are only shallowly understood.
  • The hidden cost of privacy
    Scheier discuss a Forbes piece that points out the regulatory cost. More importantly, he identifies the real problem as a lack of reward coupled with a real patchwork of law in the US that introduces the frustratingly uneven costs.
  • Python standard library in Google Native Client
    via Hacker News, looks like Native Client is moving forward based on developer interest. The more full ports there are, the greater the choice and potential adoption.
  • AACS managed copy finally to arrive
    Chris at Ars has the background and details of what is really some pretty thin gruel for the licensing body. An exception in the spec is nowhere near as powerful as a much needed limit on the DMCA allowing personal backups. Worse, because this “feature” is so late, many early adopters will be left in the cold.
  • Amendment to cyber crime law a mixed blessing
    At the expense of broadening the reach of this overly vague law, we get some clarification on damages. A very cheap trade give how thoroughly this and state laws modeled after it have been stretched and abused.
  • Activists launch web attack on Tehran regime
    According to Noah at Wired, this is an outgrowth of Iran having a strong engagement with social media. I think it is more continuous with the kind of vandalism and other tactics of protesters everywhere.
  • Online attacks expand in Iran
    Again from Noah at Wired, more details on the progression of online attacks undertaken by protesters.
  • Twitter postpones maintenance to preserve speech in Iran
    On the one hand, there is a warm and fuzzy to this RWW piece that Twitter is willing to help those trying to exercise free political speech. On the other hand, why are they putting their eggs all in one basket like this? Seems rather foolish especially given Twitter’s history of outages and its fundamentally closed and private nature.
  • Iranian activists get help from Anonymous, TPB
    Another piece from Noah at Wired, this one making me feel better about the state of hacktivism. The project, Anonymous Iran, is supporting what I think are more sustainable free speech tactics, like what the fine folks at Citizen Lab have been doing for a while now.
  • Are US trade regulations interfering with free speech in Iran?
    The EFF unsurprisingly identifies and discusses my latent concerns about the focus on Twitter, it is a single target subject to regulatory interference. This is true of other Web 2.0 services, as they point out, though Twitter has garnered the most press. This is why FLOSS and in particular de-centralized systems like Tor are critical.
  • Tor usage grows in Iran, interview with EFF, Tor project
    And finally, thanks to Tim at O’Reilly’s Radar site, we start to see some direct discussion of Tor which was designed exactly for circumventing censorship.
  • Experts say nanotechnology getting closer
    Looks like a good state of nanotech piece, going directly to some of the original thinkers in the space, including Drexler himself.
  • Comparison of H.264, Theora and considering HTML5, YouTube
    Some good FUD-busting though it should not have been necessary considering diBona’s pre-Google interests and pedigree. I am glad to see the Xiph codecs continue to draw attention as HTML5’s media support progresses, even if Google is dragging its feet.
  • Mozilla Service Week planned for September
    RWW has the story, a call from Mozilla to give back through volunteering. Follow the links and mark your calendars.
  • Obama administration plans on fixing Real ID act
    Good details from Ryan at Ars on the new bill and how it came to be. In short, the states were upset at being stuck with the bill. Surprisingly, some recent, focused support from within the administration has aligned with them and the concerns of privacy advocates.
  • Opera’s new feature for peer-to-peer browsing
    RWW was just one of many to pick up this story. This isn’t quite flock and despite claims it isn’t truly peer-to-peer architecturally even if that is sort of the higher level effect. I think the lackluster adoption of Flock plus the not inconsiderable security challenges will prevent this from accomplishing very much.
  • In depth analysis of Opera Unite
    Chris Messina does a far better job on deconstructing the hype around Opera Unite. There is a lot to object to here, a lot of technical detail that really suggest this is more of a land grab by Opera than empowering individual users.
  • More skepticism on Opera Unite
    Neil McAllister arrives at very similar conclusions to Chris Messina.
  • Germany readying filtering law
    Cory’s got the link and a clear quote that sums it up. Germany has obviously not learned the lesson taught by the US’s COPA and CDA laws. Perhaps the local politics will allow this to get further but it really is a bad bargain for the average citizen despite the often raised specter of child porn.
  • New exotic material could revolutionize computing
    via Hacker News, this is arguably one of the more exciting breakthroughs in material science that could directly improve the state of computing. The zero energy loss would eliminate the thermal load and allow lower power chips to do the same work or more. Exciting stuff.
  • HTML5 targeting Flash, Silverlight
    This piece really raises more of the question of what are the barriers rather than extolling the virtues of HTML5’s capabilities over long established closed competitors. I think if just the media support itself gains ground, that could form a beachhead that later on could be expanded to interactive capabilities like what Canvas provides.
  • Researchers build a browser based darknet
    RWW has the story, a very compelling one of a potentially very powerful application of HMTL5’s new data storage and advanced scripting capabilities. Everyone has been focused on the media apps and scaling and speeding up of Web 2.0 applications. This, by contrast, real begs the question of what truly novel applications could be developed that we haven’t seen any inkling of yet.
  • Amazon releases some Kindle source code
    I think Cory’s guess is correct, that this really is more about GPL compliance than opening Kindle to potential build an ecosystem beyond Amazon. Cory also clearly articulates my own reservations not just with the Kindle device itself but also the Kindle app for the iPhone.
  • Kindle release not as significant as it may seem
    Ars’ Ryan Paul confirms Cory’s guesses.
  • Canadian cops want wiretapping power under new bill
    Via Cory’s post, this law raises the usual bugbears. At the same time it overlooks the simple problem security researchers have raised over and over. If you mandate a uniform wiretap interface, it is just as easy for the authorities as well as criminals to use it, opening up a Pandora’s box of unintended uses/.

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