Week in Review for 6/28/2009

Quick News Links

  • Western vendors supply DPI to Iranian government
    According to this WSJ piece, Nokia/Siemens sees the delivery of DPI capability as of a piece with providing communications capability. Given the examples mentioned in the article of other monitoring and filtering programs, even in otherwise democratic nations, the cynic in me agrees. The activist wonders if we can stem or turn back the tide on increasingly pervasive filtering.
  • Memory usage of Chrome, Firefox 3.5 and others
    It isn’t clear how this simple exercise controlled for other variables so that we can draw any kind of meaningful conclusions about speed or stability of the browsers examined. I also would have really liked to see a correlation between memory usage and page load time, probably a more compelling measure for the typical user.
  • ASCAP suing AT&T for ring tones as public performances
    Timmer at Ars has the details, include a mention of the EFF’s analyze which points out there are precedents ASCAP is ignoring in its filing that came of defeated pasted attempts at this kind of land grab. We discussed this at the most recent CopyNight, too, and it was mentioned that intent and profit factor into the question of public performances and sections 114 and 115 of the Copyright Act form a complex landmine that ASCAP realistically would have to negotiate to win.
  • EFF on ASCAP suit
    More clarification from bon Lohmann, especially on the limits imposed by section 114. Still, if ASCAP wins any consideration at all, it would set a dangerous precedent that they no doubt would seek to aggressively expand.
  • German MP joins Pirate Party over filtering law
    According to Timmer at Ars, the MP in question was the main resource of one of the parties backing internet filtering on issues of new media. His switch really reflects how he plans to vote on future issues of censorship but apparently on other issues will vote with his old party. The story is complicated by allegations that the MP possessed child porn, the material for which the filtering law is being legislated.
  • RDF version of GNU licenses now available
    As Mike Linksvayer at CC points out, FSF notably worked with CC to extend the semantics they already established to describe the CC licenses. This will hopefully keep machine parsing simpler than if FSF has decided to just add completely new elements to the existing definitions as the open format would allow. Mike also explains the current and potential uses of machine readable versions of the GNU licenses.
  • Spam filtering for Twitter
    According to RWW, Rarefied is not just looking to filter Twitter but are using it as a case study. It would be nice if this could be used in a client application, not just for real time search though I suppose blocking can help with that.
  • Recording industry trying to sue Irish ISPs into compliance
    Nate explains in this Ars piece how the IRMA is seeking to build on an early suit against a single ISP to force to more to comply with its graduated response scheme. It doesn’t look like either defendant, or the country’s ISP trade association, is looking to oblige any time soon though.
  • PK on organizing around middle-mile connections
    Gigi of PK clarifies that the special access lines are used by both wired and wireless carriers. More good detail in her post about the goals of the group.
  • Sole firm licensed to pursue file sharers in Norway loses that license
    Seems like this is pretty consistent with Norway’s stance on privacy, according to TorrentFreak. In the absence of a clarification of the ramifications of the license, which was only temporary, it was not renewed.
  • Thoughtful discussion of problems introduced by new content gatekeepers
    Cory does a pretty good job putting together a plausible theory of market consolidation and disruption. In this model, his argument about new gatekeepers makes sense but I wonder how realistic his solution is. If the majority of creators follows his advice, sure, but how do we get to that saturation point.
  • Dutch plan to save print involves taxing online media
    This is incredibly short sighted and scarily only a few steps away from draft legislation. Clearly everyone is scared about the future of print but this sort of meddling hardly seems the answer.
  • New version of Ubiquity to get suggestions, localization
    I misread the RWW explanation, at first, that this could offer to install feeds like Ubuntu does when you try to run a known command that is not installed. What it does is feed words that are not recognized commands to a remote services that tries to understand and make suggestions of appropriate commands.
  • A novel spin on online petitions utilizes TV ad spot
    Cory links to this interesting bit of political action. I think if it is going to be effective, it will be because that it acts like a traditional political ad, not necessarily because of the signatures. Without verify signers as constituents, petitions have been of limited use.
  • Sale of giant code wheel to benefit the EFF
    According to this Boing Boing post, Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman built this as a demonstration piece for the RSA Conference. This cryptex is of truly impressive scale and is actually functional.
  • New Google developer site focusing on performance
    According to RWW, this is not just a set of resources, though that’s where it starts, but an effort by Google to advocate for improving standards and technology. It’s optimistic, to be sure, but I don’t see evidence of them addressing the real hurdle here, Microsoft’s poor track record with its browser.
  • Anderson’s Free contains apparent plagiarism
    This is unfortunate and a little confusing since he is working with a larger publisher. I know the editing process is not perfect but this seems like a pretty big slip up.
  • Anderson’s response on plagiarism in Free
    He pretty clearly takes responsibility though it still seems a little odd that this wasn’t cleared up before press time. The correction in the digital edition is good but I wonder if its possible to correct later printings, even. The publisher has at least committed to fix in future print editions.
  • Seemingly obvious wireless hotspot patent awarded
    The core of the patent seems to deal with sifting through multiple access points, or carriers, and presenting a simpler list. I am pretty sure, even the application was filed in 2002, that there is prior art for some variation on this idea. Otherwise, I suspect all hell will break loose if Boingo starts making claims against MS, Apple, et. al.
  • Another sharing service fined, ordered to filter content
    Nate has the details at Ars on this bit of bad news. RapidShare had been sued in the past and in response already was taking reasonable measures to screen for infringing content. This latest aware sets the bar almost impossible high and opens the door for more labels and trade groups in Germany to go after ISPs and online services very aggressively.
  • New release of Eclipse IDE
    Ars’ Ryan Paul covers the most interesting new feature, Xtext, which should make the IDE even more attractive to languages other than Java. Within the Java world, the ability to easily support new DSLs should make Groovy and Scala fans intensely happy.
  • Facebook to change privacy defaults for the worse
    RWW not only has the details but the results of their own testing which revealed some problems with the new privacy settings. Facebook has clarified that the default of public messages will only apply to users with public profiles but RWW couldn’t confirm that was the case.
  • A Pandora-like streaming player for Magnatune
    Cory links straight to the player if you want to check it out. It lacks the recommendation systems that Pandora uses but as far as ease of use, it is directly comparable.
  • China blocks Google services
    Xeni from BoingBoing has a quote from the Guardian which I think has it right. This is a diversionary tactic to pull attention from Green Dam. It may backfire as it has apparently prompted a complaint from the US.
  • Schneier concurs on dropping password masking
    Bruce concurs with Nielsen which really says something about the low risk of password snooping. He also clarified a similar but distinct case, PINs on public terminals, as a case where masking may still be warranted.
  • Copyfraud, laying illegitimate claim to the public domain
    This Register piece basically discusses an exploit of Amazon and Google made possible by the scale of their operations and the lack of resources to check new submissions to ensure they aren’t fraudulent. Seems similar to traditional problems of infringement except it is the public at large that suffers, not a rights holder.
  • Clarification, criticism of copyfraud article from CC
    CC’s Mike Linksvayer tempers the Register rhetoric, in particular clarifying and gutting the tarring that Eicher did to the CC0 waiver and other public domain tools. The Register as a whole has issues with both free software and free culture advocacy so their incorrect characterization seems hardly surprising. Glad of the correction, all the same.
  • Netflix prize team claims success
    Wired’s Eliot Van Buskirk has good background on the prize as well as the current, yet to be verified, achievement. The top two contenders combined their efforts to eke past the required 10% improvement on Netflix’s existing recommendation algorithms. It’s unclear from the prize rules but hopefully this research is open and will benefit not just Netflix.
  • Filtering companies protected from suits by blacklisted firms
    According to Wired, this is another protection afforded by the CDA, indemnification of service providers from claims, just in this case it is for black list operators against the targets of their lists.
  • TPB experiments with HMTL5 and Ogg codecs
    This site is highly experimental but follows in the vein of Daily Motion’s open video pilot. The difference is TPB’s offering appears to be all open, not just some, and even more experimental. TPB also have a pretty high profile for discovering media so this is a nice bit of added momentum for open formats.

Quick Security Alerts

Quick Follow Up Links

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *