feeds | grep links > Limited Lending on Kindle, MIT Media Labs’ 25th Anniversary, Unity as Default in Future Ubuntu, and More

  • Amazon to allow lending of Kindle books
    Groklaw pointed to this ABC News piece over the weekend. Details are scant, other than while a user has lent a book out, they will not be able to read it themselves. Books can be lent for two weeks at a time. Slashdot has one more tidbit, namely that books can only be lent out once. Superficially attempts to emulate the scarce nature of physical books but utterly fails on the one time limit and that lending is enabled or disabled by the publisher, a right of action current unencumbered for print editions.
  • MIT Media Lab’s 25th anniversary
    I clearly didn’t read closely enough the BBC article on the Lab to which I linked last week. Several other sites since then have posted reminiscences about the various interesting projects to come out of the Media Lab. John Timmer at Ars Technica posted this one over the weekend, which is a bit more whimsical but I think very much in the spirit of play that animates much of what the Lab has done over the past two and a half decades.
  • Ubuntu switching to Unity for future desktop
    Ryan Paul at Ars Technica was one of several people to mention this in my feeds today. Unity is the alternate shell for Gnome developed by Canonical specifically to improve the experience of users on netbooks. Reactions to the announcement so far are mixed, with some even thinking this signals a split between Canonical and Gnome, which I think is far from the case. Bear in mind that Linux has a long traditional of experimenting with desktops and undoubtedly if you dislike Unity, replacing it with the ordinary Gnome shell, or anything else for that matter, will remain trivial.
  • Carl Malamud’s ignite talk on why building codes should be open, BoingBoing
  • Mozilla pre-alpha demonstrates new way to customize its browser, The H
  • What you need to know about link shorteners, O’Reilly Radar
  • Bees beat machines at traveling salesman problem, Slashdot

feeds | grep links > Firefox Mobile Beta, Text Adventures on E-Readers, No CC Music at the CBC, and More

  • Firefox 4 beta for mobile devices
    Ryan Paul at Ars Technica has a good run down of both improvements in the latest release of Fennec, now just simply referred to as Firefox 4, as well as the remaining challenges for the mobile version of Mozilla’s browser to stack up well against other mobile browsers. Still trying to get my hands on 4-5 inch Android MID for, among other things, testing these mobile builds my own self.
  • Interactive fiction on an e-reader
    Tim Carmody at Wired provides what I think is the most compelling reason to get a dedicated e-reader yet, the ability hacked together by some gamers to play interactive fiction. Carmody calls out the one downer that occurred to me too, the pain of entering text on some of these devices. All the same, it definitely is a good match in terms of display capabilities and processing power. Well, and it’s intensely nerdy fun.
  • Caught spying, FBI wants its bug back, Wired
  • Software evolution storylines, inspired by xkcd, Slashdot
  • CBC bans use of Creative Commons music on podcasts
    Michael Geist links directly to the discussion in the comments at the Spark site. He also explains that it is a consequence of some collective agreement with talent agencies. It is easy to speculate that this is specifically targeting CC but I suspect that it may be mere boiler plate language that includes exclusivity as part of the deal which would preclude any other licenses, not just CC. Still, how quickly do you think the parties involved might backpedal?
  • A step closer to workable brain-computer interfaces, Technology Review

Following Up for the Week Ending 9/12/2010

feeds | grep links > OpenStreetMaps Available for Bing Maps, OLPC Offers to Help India’s $35 Tablet, and More

TCLP 2010-08-01 News

This is news cast 220, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, an apology for missing the last two shows, though I had good reason. I will be in San Francisco from August 9th to the 11th for Cassandra Summit and a training day. If anyone is interested in a meet up Monday or Tuesday night, let me know. And if you don’t read the web site, I am a finalist for a Parsec award.

This week’s security alerts are Apple fixes the autofill bug in Safari that I didn’t get to discuss last week and AT&T said it wouldn’t interfere with a Black Hat demo and was true to its word.

In this week’s news EFF wins three DMCA exemptions with deeper analysis from both them and Public Knowledge. There were two additional exemptions granted and many others that were not. I get why most of the coverage is so positive but I cannot help but give voice to my inner cynic. Also, the Senate prepares privacy legislation as industry discusses self regulation, a couple of stories about e-books in developing nations, and Slashdot is losing relevance on the social web.

Following up this week Al Franken frames net neutrality as key free speech issue and Canadian C-32 is clearly following the US DMCA.


View the detailed show notes online. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Following Up for the Week Ending 7/4/2010

feeds | grep links > Technology Changing Copyright, Open Access Fiber in Australia, More Graphene Electronics Advances, and More

feeds | grep links > Data Retention Snuck into Child Protection Declaration, Where Are the Promising E-Book Readers, Another Case Against Apple’s Tools Restrictions, Macedonia Enables Massive Online Surveillance, and More

  • Search data retention clause snuck into EU child protection declaration
    EFF has the details, including that a majority of members of the EP didn’t spot the close and signed the declaration. Several have since withdrawn their signatures. Once again, no one is suggesting that protecting children online is a goal not worth pursuing. As the post says, it is not worth utilizing measures to do so that compromise other human rights.
  • Where are the promising e-book readers, post-Kindle, post-iPad?
    Jon Stokes at Ars Technica takes a look at two of the more promising e-book readers announced but not yet on the market. Both appear to have succumbed to delays and possibly an inability to deliver on ambitious technology promises. Both may be in financial trouble, with rumors of sale being sought for the companies behind them. Stokes sees the iPad as contributory but not entirely causative for the once promising future of these devices having evaporated. I’d be more upset if I, like Stokes, wasn’t still being print editions and enjoying them more than any kind of screen.
  • Apple’s iOS tools should compete on their strength, not arbitrary rules
    Dana Blankenhorn at ZDNet’s Open Source blog has a decent rant that sums up many of the issues with Apple’s restrictions on tools and languages for its mobile platforms. He talks up Appcelerator, a company and tool caught in the middle that translates from other languages to Objective-C, seemingly getting around Apple’s restrictions. It is unclear whether this tactic will work but the adoption by developers points to a clear opportunity if Apple would just relax about its proprietary tool chain.
  • Macedonia introduces law allowing deep, persistent online surveillance
    Cory shares the horrifying tale at Boing Boing, what reads like any cyberlibertarian’s worst nightmare. Just about everything a law enforcement agency could want for wire-tapping online appears to be included. I don’t know what the history of policy is in Macedonia but it seems clear that the government ignored advice from several NGOs that gathered to discuss the human rights implications of the draft being passed without amendment.
  • Did SC use 2nd hand voting machines de-certified in another state?
  • Why banning filming of police is a terrible idea
  • New technical paper on ways to shift TV spectrum to wireless broadband

Publishers Want Open Ebooks, Won’t Cooperate to Get Them

I linked to the remarks by Penguin CEO David Shanks earlier but didn’t comment as I was trying to catch up on a glut of stories over the long weekend. Jacqui Cheung at Ars Technica has a thoughtful follow up explaining the problems with publishers saying they want open formats for electronic books but doing very little to bring them about.

Cheung talked with a couple of authors who gave more nuance to the issues holding back forward momentum on an open standard. Cesar Torres describes a problem, lack of consensus leading to stalled progress, common to all sorts of open technology standards. Hold outs use the remaining warts in a standard as an excuse to abstain forming a self reinforcing barrier to getting either a common standard or even a subset of the features they individually are after.

Edward Champion paints a picture that sounds like what every distributor of size has gone through in the wake of digital technology. Self interest in preserving stable markets almost always outweighs investment in the future goods in which customers are most interested. As a lover of both hard cover editions and ebooks, I stand as an example of his point about a desire in the market to be able to purchase both on the same day.

I love that O’Reilly already offers bundles like this and appears to be thriving, not thrashing. I’d much more willingly pay the exorbitant price for a hardcover edition of the latest fiction title on my wish list if it came bundled with an ePub edition as part of the deal. Right now, paper and electronic books complement each other well in my experience. I would accept either a smaller number of publishers simply experimenting to improve availability or all publishers tinkering with a small number of their titles. Even if they could not settle on a single format, maybe competing two or three against each other, I suspect the publishers would be surprised by the positive response to a truly open and portable option.

Post Balticon Catch Up

I’ve been home from Balticon for half a day, at least, and still am deeply weary. I promise to write out some more coherent, extensive thoughts on my experiences, all constructive and enjoyable, when I am more caught up on my rest. I have audio from two panels I will be sharing this week and next. This will give me an opportunity to get caught up on writing features without straining my brain. That poor organ is currently awash in a vicious stew of fatigue toxins.

I did manage to get caught up on my feeds, only making all as read on the one or two with the highest volume and lowest signal-to-news ratio. I don’t think these few stories that interested me require much comment. All to the good as I cannot manage anything terrifically insightful at the moment. I will re-engage more fully with my reading, thoughts and writing on the blog tomorrow.