Quick Security Alerts for the Week Ending 11/7/2010

feeds | grep links > Circumventing Chinese Censors on a Kindle, Open Flash Tool Now Closed, Faced Detection for Web Apps, and More

  • Kindle allowing bypass of Chinese censoring firewall
    Slashdot points to an interesting use for the otherwise not very freedom friendly device. Apparently, however the 3G service is provided locally in China, it isn’t being subjected to the same censorship as regular net access. I tend to agree with Professor Kwan’s interpretation, that those in charge of the firewall simply don’t realize the Kindle can be used for anything other than buying and reading books.
  • Adobe temporarily closes their Flex SDK
    According to a conversation with the product manager initiated by The Register, the public source code repository and patch submission for Flex will be closed for a couple of releases. This stems from the fact that while the tool itself, used for creating Flash and AIR apps, is open, the platform is closed. In order to build against the un-released new versions of closed platform components, it is necessary to also close Flex. This demonstrates one considerable risk of working with a set of tools that isn’t all open.
  • Face detection with HTML5 and JavaScript
    Klint Finley at ReadWriteWeb describes a new library that the developer sees as helping with automatically tagging photos online. Even if it doesn’t evolve from face detection to full on recognition, you could easily see how a distributed, in browser trick like this could be effectively coupled with crowd intelligence to allow web applications to offer almost as good identity based tags. I think it is far more interesting to consider how the library might open up compelling, novel interactions with web applications based on a user’s movements and orientation in space. That avenue of thought is less concerning from a privacy perspective, too.
  • Publisher sells DRM-free ebooks to libraries , BoingBoing
  • OpenBSD 4.8 released, Slashdot

Quick Security Alerts for Week Ending 10/31/2010

feeds | grep links > Microsoft Charging Linux Royalties (Again), Aussie Kids Foil Fingerprint Readers, Adobe’s Flash-to-HTML5 Demo, and More

  • Microsoft charging PC makers royalties for installing Linux
    Slashdot links to a DigalTimes piece with the details, namely that the vendors in question are minority players in the handset and netbook spaces, Acer and Asustek. Given the low volume of units they ship, this is a deterrence move, not for generating any kind of real revenue. Pretty sleazy but also consistent with Microsoft’s patent dealings in other spaces.
  • Aussie kids foil fingerprint readers
    Slashdot links to a ZDNet piece describing students using the already well know ability of gelatin, the main ingredient in readily accessible gummy candies, to bypass not just the pattern matching of scanners but also capacitance sensors. I wonder if card scanners and fingerprint readers really save the schools in question all that much versus a manual taking of attendance, one of the reasons for using these systems.
  • Adobe demos Flash-to-HTML5 tool
    In a post to both Ars Technica and Wired, Scott Gilbertson discusses a demo from Adobe of a tool that really is pretty consistent with past efforts, if you think about its support for exporting from its design tools to static HTML pages. The quality of output in the past has been pretty miserable, apparent to anyone with the intestinal fortitude to wade through View Source on resulting page. From what little can be seen in the embedded video, it looks like the markup generated by the latest offering continues that dubious tradition.
  • China may have built the new number one super computer, InformationWeek
  • Citizen Lab collaborates with users to map Blackberry servers, The Register
  • Chrome web store delayed until December, ReadWriteWeb

Quick Security Alerts for the Week Ending 10/24/2010

Quick Security Alerts for the Week Ending 10/10/2010

Quick Security Alerts for the Week Ending 9/26/2010

Quick Security Alerts for the Week Ending 9/19/2010

feeds | grep links > Desktop 3D Scanner, 64-Bit Flash for Linux, Diaspora Releases Source Code, and More

Another day of light posting between mental heavy lifting while coding for $employer and burning much of my usual end of day hour on a personal hacking project. The latter is an itch that had started to drive me insane, automating my podcast feed management to both reduce the amount of manual work around that task in my podcast work flow and to move the step entirely over to Linux. I’ll post more details of how I manage this later, including links to source.

  • Makerbot 3D scanner
    Bruce Sterling at Wired points out a new offering from the desktop printing and home fabrication innovators at Makerbot, a desktop 3D scanner. While it is likely to have similar limitations as its printer counterpart, it along with free and open source 3D design software completes the trifecta for not just ginning up your own tangible parts and goods but to designing and customizing them in the first place.
  • 3D printing commercial air craft parts, Make
  • IBM patents choose your own adventure movies, Slashdot
  • Adobe releases 64-bit Flash, including Linux version
    I’ve only had some minor trouble with Flash under Linux but this beta, as Slashdot points out, should eliminate all kinds of jiggery-pokery most 64-bit Linux users have to go through. I wish we didn’t have to keep supporting Flash, either with official builds or via free and open one offs but for online video it is still effectively king.
  • Diaspora releases source code
    The link is directly to their site which also includes a simple screen shot. I haven’t had time to download and test but have read elsewhere that this is really pre-alpha quality code. I would suggest holding off unless you are willing to help test and maybe even send along patches.
  • Law suit over another post-cookie tracking technique, Wired

feeds | grep links > Mozilla Inserts a Stability Beta, How-to Read a Patent, Babbage’s Debugger, and More

Apologies for the paucity of posts today. I am feeling brain drain from a technical presentation at the $employer today. And my mind is still spinning on re-working my audio workflow under Linux now that my mixer is working.