Quick News for 8/31/2009

  • IP stack in a tweet
    Sure, it is the usual for fun kind of effort but it does make you wonder. Other folks have tried to push data compression to see what is possible with the 140 character limit. Why not do the same for nano-programs. I wonder what sort of sharing might be possible, though the more obvious scenarios involve attackers and spammers spreading malware nano-programs.
  • Google to hand over IP addresses of Caribbean journalists
    This WikiLeaks article makes it pretty clear that this is not a may for Google, but definitely a will. It is under the auspices of a libel suit, one of the few limits on free speech but I wonder if that claim holds water here. The statements deemed libelous were made as part of a government inquiry and at least the WikiLeaks article is careful to label them as allegations, not fact.
  • A response to the good enough revolution
    Mike Masnick offers a rebuttal on Techdirt to this story to which I linked earlier. Masnick’s post is well worth a read but in brief, basically contends that the good enough lamented in the Wired piece is actually best when measured correctly. Any shortcoming is a bias of the observer.
  • Turing apology campaign gains momentum
    The field of computing is lousy with some regrettable social ills, most notably a perverse gender bias. What happened to Turing at the hands of his own government makes these problems pale. I do like that those spear heading this campaign are open to their efforts having a benefit just by helping more people understand the importance of Turing’s contributions to modern computing. I genuinely hope they manage to achieve much more than that for this misunderstood pioneer.
  • Wikipedia to color code edits from less trusted authors, editors
    Mike Masnick has the details at Techdirt though many other sources are also pointing to this story. We’ll see how it works in practice but in theory I like the idea of an explicit signal that a source may need checking. It’s a subtle distinction from flagging the accuracy of the article itself, which may be high regardless of the contributor’s trust status. I think it is continuous with other changes the site has been making recently to improve quality of information.
  • Lori Drew case dismissed for vagueness
    Wired has the details of the judge’s written ruling following up on his ealrier decision in the case. The ruling speaks to the very problematic charge under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act from the lower court’s ruling, overturning for exactly the reasons we would hope. Namely that it sets a very dangerous precedent that encourages vague and over broad interpretation of the CFAA.

One Reply to “Quick News for 8/31/2009”

  1. I note that WikiTrust will probably never be a default feature.

    Quote from our press guy, who says it as well as I would:

    “WikiTrust is one of thousands of extensions available within the
    MediaWiki library. As with other extensions, including flagged
    revisions, which has been the subject of quite a bit of attention
    over the past few weeks, extensions are tested and evaluated by
    members of the volunteer community before being implemented on any
    of the Foundation’s projects, including Wikipedia. Many of these
    extensions are part of ongoing research by outside developers and
    volunteers who want to look at ways of improving the quality of
    content on Wikipedia and other wikis using MediaWiki. When WikiTrust
    makes its way through testing and analysis it may be made available
    as an optional tool that Wikipedia users can activate through their
    user settings. That timeframe has still not been set. The
    Foundation is also looking at introducing a number of visible
    trust/quality metric tools, which may include tools familiar to many
    users, including ‘rate this article’ tools on Wikipedia pages.
    These enhancements would be introduced in the spirit of letting
    readers and editors better understand which articles, facts, or
    edits need to be reviewed for quality and accuracy.”

    Basically, cool idea, and the extension is available for people to use, but not one that’s planned to make a big change in the basic operation of Wikipedia in the near future

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