- Vans drive themselves across the world
Slashdot links to a Techeye piece describing the track of four driver-less vehicles that successfully re-traced the route of Marco Polo. Autonomous vehicles seem to be improving dramatically rather rapidly. The fact that these are not sedans but the smallest style of commercial vehicle reinforces my expectation that we’ll see this technology in regular use for long haul freight hauling before it becomes an up-class option on your next personal vehicle.
- Research suggesting an end run around scale limits of chip photo-lithography
Chris Lee at Ars Technica describes so new work that may give Moore’s Law, as seen with current techniques for making computer chips, a reprieve until more advanced replacements come into play. The effective threshold on current photo-lithographic techniques is how small a bit of light you can cast through a mask onto the chip. What researchers are now realizing is that they may be able to manipulate secondary effects to go beyond this diffraction limit, continuing to shrink the scale at which they can manipulate materials with light.
- Facebook adds friend stalker tool
Slashdot is just one of many places pointing to this developer driven feature recently announced by the social networking giant. It is difficult to know if this really exposes any more private information than any other page or feature on the site. What is clear is that by casting it into a new context, the interactions between two friends the observer selects, more expectations are likely to be violated about where and how this information is seen.
- Australian privacy commissioner slams data retention plan , Slashdot
- Israel to join list of nations with ‘adequate’ data protection plans, The Register
- Archive of Geocities being released as a near 1TB torrent, Techdirt
- All of gopher space as a single download
Cory at Boing Boing has this bit of digital archiving. I was a bit surprised at the size of the data, given that gopher, a predecessor of the web, is only text. Still, making it available as a torrent makes a great deal of sense to help ensure this snapshot is preserved.
- What’s wrong with streaming DRM
Nina Paley follows up on her decision not to pursue Netflix streaming of “Sita” because of the non-optional DRM. Mostly she takes apart the received wisdom that streaming content cannot be saved on a receiving system, anyway, so DRM doesn’t change the analysis. She explains how this is dangerous and leads to a sort of technical illiteracy that allows DRM to burrow deeper into the systems we use.
- More details on Fennec pre-alpha for Android
Ryan Paul at Ars Technica has some more detail on the new build of Fennec now available for Android. In addition to his first hand observations in terms of its speed and usability, he digs a bit into the under the cover details. The build is a thin Java wrapper that uses JNI to thunk to native code. The Gecko rendering engine is used for much of the chrome as well as the web pages themselves. That may mean that the Android specific code is fairly small, easing my initial concerns about cost of maintaining the port.
- Class action suit file against Sony for removing Linux from PS3
According to the Thinq article to which Slashdot links, the claim is deceptive and unfair trade practices. There may also be another lawsuit coming on this same issue. Sony is trying to use its EULA as a defense so the suit could test the validity of clickwrap licenses, at least in the California district where it is being pursued.
Nate Anderson at Ars spoke with Martha Anderson, the director of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library. She explains that the move to archive Twitter’s public timeline was initiated by Twitter which makes a lot more sense out of the idea. She expresses more enthusiasm for the project than I would have inferred from it being pushed by the social message service.
I can see her point about capturing a change in communications as it happens. I will be curious to see if Twitter and social messaging as a whole remain an abiding change like print, radio and television. I wonder if it is too early to make this call but given the storage capacity mentioned in the article, the cost of finding out is minimal. I hope the other costs associated are minimal, there is good reasons to think so. I am glad that the archive will be using existing capacity, no doubt a big reason why the Library agreed in the first place.
Nate paints some interesting scenarios, too, to help explain the project. I guess he has a point about the archive as a supplemental resource. It is time coded and increasingly will be geocoded making it easier to correlate to more in-depth materials. As such, I think he may be right about it giving a social color to events of the day that may be otherwise lacking in the digital record.
I would suggest they look at the Internet Archive to help with the short link issue. Think about it: even expanding a short link and capturing the canonical ULR now could lead to a broken link years from now or worse a site that no longer matches the message from which it was linked. Converting short links through their expanded form and then to a pointer into a snapshot in the Wayback Machine makes great sense to better solve both those problems.
Michael Geist shared the link to this story. The works in question are out of print and out of copyright. The e-books are the result of a three year project where the library has been working with Microsoft. As near as I can tell, the books will be specifically formatted for the Kindle. No mention of any other formats. Still, it is a pretty big wind fall for the public domain. I cannot imagine the works would have DRM even if the format is just for the Kindle. We’ll find out for sure this Spring.
The reguar Friday happy hour at the the $employer tried to break my daily posting streak. I’m not having that.
- Archiving of url shortened links
If you wondered about the long term viability of shortened URLS, especially with the third party indexing of Twitter and other social messaging services, this is good news. The shuttering of tr.im initially raise some question though their decision to open source the data dodged the bullet eventually. The Archives cooperation eith bit.ly is a more sustainable solution that points the way, potentially, for other shortening services.
- New Supreme Court database
My good friend Kevin from the Life after Law School podcast sent me this link. This builds on some earlier work make the SCOTUS cases easier to search and more accessible for law geeks, well, like me. Further good news, though, in the general vein of access to the information that is critical to our open democracy.
- New cookie consent law in the EU
According to the WSJ, the law won’t ban cookies, rather requiring that there is an opt-out mechanism and clear notification. I have to agree with Felten whose view on this in the past is that browser cookies are the devil we know. If this law is indeed specific to cookies, it may encourage the use of less manageable ways of achieving the same end, like Flash cookies.
- More to consider with Google’s SPDY protocol
At Ars Iljitsch van Beijnum points out something I had largely overlooked with Google’s new protocol, that fact that it will require SSL. If that’s true, if this is not optional, he’s right. Encryption will interfere with content caching, definitely, and he’s definitely right in terms of less powerful devices like smart phones.
- Call to restore a key oversight board
This EFF post explains about a body that in the past has exercised critical oversight and could have headed off perhaps some of the worst abuses. Their petition here makes sense to rollback the re-organization that remove the effect of this board.
- Verizon to test sending infringement letters to customers
I am not sure I agree with Cecilia Kang’s extrapolation in this WaPo piece from Verizon’s pilot of what merely sounds like notices to the impending three strikes that may be forced via treaty with ACTA. Still that the carrier is considering cooperating with big content is itself a concern in terms of traction in their companion to deputize third parties.
- EFF participating in global copyright database
This is not a project originated with the EFF but clearly in keeping with their focus. I think this may be the first such effort so sweeping in its scope. It makes sense to not only leverage the participating of NGOs and academics, but also libraries which have a strong stake in the public access side of the copyright debate.