Week in Review for 7/19/2009

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  • Javanese cloth dyers say no to copyright
    Not so sure about the basis of the norm, here, in the article Cory links from BoingBoing. But glad of another example where a community is satisfied with norms and practices and don’t feel the need for regulation to practice their creative works.
  • Public Resources wants the full text of laws to be open
    I am a big fan of Malamud and Public Resource’s work, as no doubt is Cory who linked to this piece. They are trying to recover moneys they spent earlier to acquire the bulk text of federal legislation that they don’t think was worth the price, to eliminate the disproportionately high cost of federal standards, and to try a different tactic to get at the federal register. I hope they succeed on at least one if not all three of these efforts.
  • Stephen Fry speaks up on copyright issues
    I am tickled to see this story, here thanks to Techdirt. I am grateful for the emphasis that this is not about piracy but a gap between what people want in the form of cultural goods and what can be had legitimately under the current regime. Even though Fry is definitely a techie, hopefully his broad appeal will spread these questions and concerns more widely.
  • Repulsive force in light could lead to optically controlled nano-components
    According to this Ars piece, some recent research showed a nano scale attractive force to light tangential to its direction and suggested it should also have a complementary repulsive force. That prediction has been confirmed and opens the way to use light for motive purposes in some nano mechanical systems.
  • UK National Portrait Gallery threatens Wikipedia over public domain images
    This Creative Commons piece puts the claims here in good context. While the actions of the NPG reflect poorly on its understanding of the role of museums in curating culture and facilitating access for all, they are certainly not unique in their thought process. Hopefully, projects that get it will quickly become the new norm, helping to dissuade such counter productive actions in the future.
  • A protocol for foiling border seizures of laptops
    Schneier wrote a simpler form of this protocol up the last time there were rumblings of expanding search and seizure powers at US borders for the purposes of dealing with, oddly enough, copyright infringement. This more fleshed out version isn’t fool proof but probably effective enough for anyone still concerned about such seizures.
  • Report confirms small percent of users actually click on spam
    This Ars piece discusses research that confirms what must have been true all along. I am shocked that the percentage of users who click is in the low double digits, I would have expected it to be lower. Worse that the 12% in this study clicked not out of ignorance but interest. Many seem to have some sense, worse, that their actions would just encourage spammers.
  • Another model for fans to support an artist
    I am not surprised that the band Techdirt points to is Brad Sucks (aka Brad Turcotte) who I’ve interviewed as an independent musician and creator of open media. It also isn’t surprising that the sponsor here driving this model is David Weinberger.
  • Privacy questions raise not calm concerns
    I suppose this makes a perverse sort of sense. It kind of fits with some of Scheier’s own later writings looking at the psychological component of security.
  • New compression algorithm from Google for smaller updates
    The compression here is hyper adapted to the application, distributing code updates, so unlikely to lead to anything useful for general data. But a nine times improvement is considerable and likely to really help with the stated goal, of encouraging more frequent security and stability updates by immensely reducing the cost of doing so.
  • Arrests under the DMCA for conspiracy to infringe
    This appears to be pretty clearly a case of commercial piracy. It is a variation on cable descrambler schemes, really. Was it entirely necessary to invoke the DMCA, though? Isn’t this so clearly criminal as to be well prosecutable under pre-existing statutes?
  • Rushkoff on open source economy
    This is an excellent piece from RWW digging into one of the suggestions in Rushkoff’s book. I am also hugely enjoying Rishkoff’s Media Squat program on WFMU which also digs into the issues he wrote about in Life, Inc. as well as his other equally fascinating interests.
  • autonomo.us on Chrome OS
    Mako points to a FSM article that predicts Chrome OS will net a win for Linux on the desktop. Mako agrees with the concerns I shared in the wake of the Chrome OS announcement, that shifting the location of computing of the user’s system increases the need to understand how to protect their freedom and autonomy.
  • New major release of nmap security tool
    The new release, according to Security Focus, adds a couple of interesting features as well as improving performance of this commonly relied upon security tool.
  • Years after TJX breach, industry finally sets security standards
    Wired has the details as well as a refresher on some of the events stemming from the TJX breach. That the recommendation is so late and so basic is a bit stunning but consistent with the piece that Wired recaps, of an employee being fired for pointing out the shoddy internal network practices in place even after so much scrutiny had been levied against TJX by consumers and regulators.
  • Mozilla design challenge winners
    Ryan Paul has a good wrap up at Ars on Mozilla’s competition to improve the tab navigation and management in Firefox. Personally, I like tabviz but just couldn’t get the prototype code to work with FF 3.5. Hopefully we’ll see some rapid developments incorporating these ideas in 3.6 and later.
  • James Boyle on attitudes toward copyright a century ago
    This is an excellent walk through handling of similar issues to what we are facing today. The scope of network and digital technologies may be larger, but as Boyle mentions in the start, it is about disruptive innovation. I am so glad of historical grounding like this as it often does provide positive examples for more palatable compromises.

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