Open Source Neural Networking Tool, Behavioral Ads without Tracking, and More

  • Pirate software moving from bit torrent to commercial hosting services
    This is hardly surprising news and will probably continue as long as there are newer services to which pirates can move. Or rights holders are able to vastly change the contours of the current notice and takedown regime, like through their efforts to enlist ISPs to actively filter for infringing material.
  • Lessons from a more ambitious vision for the web
    Atwood describes the Xandu project, a bit of perpetual vaporware that predates the web but shares many similarities when considered at a very high level of abstraction. His point really is to use it as an example that illustrates one of my favorite quotes from Ward Cunningham–“write the simplest thing that could possibly work”.
  • Open source release of framework for artificial neural networks
    Despite the framework being written in Java which will no doubt turn off some readers, this looks like a worthwhile release for any arm chair hackers in machine intelligence. It is nice to see some accessible documentation made available alongside the source release, too.
  • Quick history on P3P and theory on why it failed
    The Register recaps an episode of OUT-LAW Radio. I think there is more to the story than just browser adoption, at least according to folks I talked to who participated in the development of P3P. It certainly is a large part of the spec’s failure, to be sure.
  • 100 years of big content’s objections
    When you start down the rabbit hole that is this question of copyright reform, there are stories you hear over and over. At Ars, Nate Anderson has an excellent survey of these cases where the incumbent rights holders have raised very similar rhetoric repeatedly over the past century in their attempts to veto innovation in order to preserve their existence business interests.
  • Without free software, open source would lost its meaning
    Thanks to PJ at Groklaw for pointing this out. It is actually a response by Glyn Moody, of whom I am also a fan, to another piece to which I linked recently, Matt Asay’s problematic assertion about the death of free software. Glyn articulates what I think is the key point incredibly well, that the free software movement pegs one end of the spectrum without which, our choices and rhetoric would be much, much narrower.
  • Recommending Postgres for the enterprise
    I am very glad to see Matt Asay make a strong case for Postgres which is often overlooked in the open source world for reasons I don’t entirely understand. Unfortunately, I think he really mischaracterizes the driving issue. I would never describe Postgres as a “Java database”, though I get the point he is trying to make about its suitability in the enterprise. I think it would be fair to state that Postgres’ support for Java is much more reliable than MySQL’s support for the same.
  • Behavioral advertising without tracking
    Professor Felten points out a paper that proposes a system which may provide the best of both worlds. He summarizes the work as the user’s browser building and protecting the behavioral model locally and negotiating with the ad service to select ads from a portfolio without revealing any personal info. Felten’s conclusion is also well worth noting, that if this research can be implemented, it will merely erode the rational for tracking, not necessarily the desire.

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