Week in Review for 7/12/2009

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  • O’Reilly suggests Kindle’s closed nature will kill it despite popularity
    This piece that both BB and Slashdot linked is a few months old but telling in that little has changed around the Kindle and its closed network. O’Reilly cites many past examples where open-ness fostered strong, more diverse markets than closed systems.
  • Missing data from the National Archives
    I don’t know that I agree with the conclusions that this RWW article reaches. As Schneier’s recent discussion of homomorphic encryption explained, a third party is indeed more motivated to protect your data to keep your business. But that doesn’t mean the solution is perfect, which thankfully the article admits. Distributed, encrypted backups, now, that might be worth thinking about.
  • Mullenweg rebuts suggestion that GPL chills adoption
    Gruber weighs in on a discussion of the possible chilling effect of the GPL started at Jaikut and responded to by Mullenweg of WordPress. Gruber clearly sides with the pro-BSD camp but I wonder if the academic licenses would be as free, even if they are less restrictive, without the GPL staking out freedoms much more aggressively.
  • Felten on cookies as the least evil option
    His arguments make a lot of sense. As problematic as cookies are, they do in fact afford us a high degree of transparency and control. I am more concerned by the suggestion that other mechanisms exist that are totally invisible to the consumer.
  • Should safe harbors be broadened to offline media?
    According to Masnick at Techdirt, this is being given some serious thought. The economics are different enough to give pause, but the freedom of speech implications are the same. Curious to see if this bears fruit even if an “offline safe harbor” is quite a bit different.
  • Schneier extremely skeptical of Chrome OS security claims
    I think RWW strikes the right balance in their analysis of Schneier’s comments. I doubt Google is suggesting a completely virus-proof OS but the fact that they may be radically simplifying what an OS can ordinarily do suggests it may be easier to keep secure over time.
  • MS promises not to sue Mono over .NET patents
    Paul’s take in this Ars piece is very optimistic. Has anyone actually read the Microsoft’s Community Promise? Is it revocable? Does it allow sub-licensing and/or patent indemnification? Both of these are key components of open source and free software licenses that are critical for real, legal compatibility.
  • Position statement from Pirate Party MP
    As Masnick notes in this Techdirt post, Engstrom’s Financial Times op-ed is more reasonable than big content would like us to believe. It is fairly accessible, a good explanation of common cultural goods that makes sense to anyone with a minimum of online experience.
  • Judge rules internet addresses not personally identifiable
    Thankfully this is one ruling of many, several others going the other way. While this may be technically accurate, it is pedantic to split hairs over a computer or a person. With just an IP address, it is not hard to deduce distinct users based on simple traffic and usage patterns.
  • VLC 1.0.0 released
    This Ars article has a nice, quick history as well as a roundup of what is new. Despite the landmark release number, it sounds like this is an incremental improvement over the last point release.
  • Google Image search now can filter for CC licensed content
    A nice bit of news, even if you have to know the option is there, in the advanced search capabilities. Hopefully more will follow in Google’s foot steps and Google will consider adding this feature to their general search, too.
  • Citizen Engineer, comics and open hardware kits
    Nice like at BB to a Make post about this well packaged kits. The comics are printed on demand and seem to be more of a focus, the kits coming as a gimme with the books rather than the other way around. Nice looking in either case.
  • ASCAP claims video embeds are public performance
    Masnick at Techdirt predict someone would do this and according to his post, it is hardly surprising that ASCAP has turned out to be that someone.
  • Universal, Tunecore strike a deal
    I’ve read about Tunecore before, they seem to be one of the newer middle players in the music industry that gets working in a more bottom up fashion. They seem very indie friendly and according to Jacqui’s story at Ars, this looks like it extends their reach and capabilities considerably.
  • French hackers unveil obfuscating wireless router
    Cory has updated this post on BB, turns out this is a hoax. But it points to something that would be a feasible means of routing around or at least making enforcement of three strikes regimes difficult.
  • New router manages flows rather than individual packets
    I seem to recall reading about something similar in SciAm a while back. The idea of being more aware of which packets are related in a sequence makes a certain amount of sense with the rising popularity of streaming video in particular.
  • Peer-to-patent system quietly winds down
    Masnick has some details at Techdirt including noting that few others are remarking on the end of the program. I believe it was always set up as a trial or pilot. I don’t really know enough to agree or disagree with Masnick’s clear qualms about how the program was put together while it did run.
  • Bletchley Park code breakers recognized by the UK government
    As Cory notes, this would only be bettered if the government also helped preserve the site itself through better funding. Hopefully it draws more attention to this historic site and if not them, then more private donors will pitch in.

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