feeds | grep links > Oversharing Risks on Facebook, Safe Harbor Victory, and Google e-Books to Launch this Summer

  • Consumer Reports warns of risks of oversharing on Facebook
    As Sarah Perez explains at RWW, the source, a mainstream media outlet, is the most remarkable part of this story. Consumer Reports’ findings are compelling nonetheless and I hope further the public pressure of Facebook to end its attack on our onlineprivacy.
  • RapidShare wins key victory on copyright filtering
    Nate Anderson at Ars Technica has the details. The ruling on appeal hinges on the fact that the file locker service doesn’t share files uploaded publicly, unlike most p2p file sharing applications. Not only did the court hold RapidShare could not be held liable for infringement but that they also did not need to run the filename filtering scheme being pressed by rightsholders.
  • Google’s e-book store to launch this Summer
    RWW doesn’t have much more detail beyond what was revealed in the original announcement of Editions. The emphasis is on the date, soon enough they may be able to capitalize on the interest being driven by Apple’s ebook offering.

TCLP 2010-04-11 News

This is news cast 211, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, thanks to new donor this week, David.

This week’s security alerts are a new site collecting privacy and security info on apps and services and a vulnerability in WebKit’s handling of the blink tag.

In this week’s news reverse engineering facial recognition to develop dazzle camouflage (a story I also wrote up on the web site), asking whether IBM broke its open source patent pledge with their response and clarifying commentary from a couple of knowledgeable folks, a new memory management technique that could boost performance for multiple cores, and contending format shifting a book you own is ethical with supporting and dissenting responses.

Following up this week court rules against FCC in Comcast case barring neutrality regulation on ancillary authority but not through other means and the Digital Economy Bill has been passed including what we should do now.


Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

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

Eye Tracking as a Component of the Future of Reading

At Wired, Eliot Van Buskirk describes research demonstrated a few months back where eye tracking technology is used to bring some intriguing possiblities to the experience of reading. I think this is continuous with Clive Thompson’s thoughts on the future of reading. Eliot does an excellent job of teasing out both the potential and the pitfalls. Ultimately this suggests how electronic books, which I personally feel improve very little on their print cousins, might being start to open that gap a bit more.

Initially, I think capabilities that don’t require anything from the original author, like the skimming mode, are most likely to improve the appeal of reading electronic text. As much as implementers can keep that cost down, they’ll help avoid a re-tooling curve that could kill this particular venue.

As for implementations, I think this is something an open platform, like Android, could tackle quite easily. I am a bit concerned about the mention of Apple acquiring several key patents. I suppose the ultimate outcome of Apple’s current suit against HTC over some of the key patents in the smart phone space might foreshadow whether they are likely to try to tie up novel uses of gaze tracking as well.

Following Up for the Week Ending 3/21/2010

Super Fast Book Scanner

Mark at Boing Boing links to an IEEE Spectrum piece about the research by Masatoshi Ishikawa and his colleagues. More specifically it is about the applications they are developing for an incredible machine vision chip. The Super Vision Chip has been used for other prototypes requiring extreme temporal resolution video, like guiding robotic hands to accomplish astonishing feats of dexterity.

The latest system using the chip is a scanner that can digitize 200 pages in a minute. It was developed by lab members Takashi Nakashima and Yoshihiro Watanabe. Each page is captured lit by a bright light source and a second time with a series of laser lines projected on it. This second capture is critical for undoing the distortions introduced by flipping through the book so quickly. The researchers think they can make the system scan even faster.

The article jokes about Google paying attention to this work, too, but I am thinking it could fuel all manner of digitization, public and private. While this is an unknown amount of time and effort from market availability, it is another point in the trend leading up to regular folks being able to “rip” their own paper books in a manner similar to format shifting CDs and DVDs for greater convenience.

EFF Checklist for Readers Considering Digital Books

This looks like a complementary piece to the EFF’s guide to privacy and e-book readers. Unlike that other guide, this list doesn’t supply answers but rather poses questions consumers should consider when contemplating the growing market of digital books on offer. It also extends beyond privacy alone to incorporate other issues EFF is tracking like (but not limited to) whether you own or merely license the books in question.

The document not only frames questions but helps to explain why the issues are important and provide suggestions of what to look for when evaluating a service. There is a strong implication, especially in the conclusion, that readers need to become much more participatory in the shaping of this new market. By reading the list and seeking to find the answers for yourself, you’ll be a good, long step along the way to doing so.

E-Books to be Offered by British Library

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.

Three Fantasy Authors Launch E-Book Store

The FSF Defective by Design folks posted a link to this on Identi.ca. The site is Closed Circle and features titles from C.J. Cherryh, Jane Fancher, and Lynn Abbey. The titles available from this site aren’t from the full catalog of these authors which would be rather huge. I suspect these are newer titles for which the authors were able to retain rights to distribute electronic editions.

There is a lot of good information on the site aimed at helping fans who purchase the e-books use them. Rather than restricting choice, their store offers a zip file that contains the title in pretty much all of the popular e-book formats. The FAQ has good information on and links to reader software for those new to e-books.

This reminds me not so much of the larger e-book efforts, the platform plays, I’ve written about. This feels very similar to musicians who offer MP3s directly for sale on their site. I love the idea and that these women are willing to do this despite there not being any sort of standard for e-books, even a de facto standard.

The final thought I had in looking over the site is how the e-book files are produced. If there is some software or technology partner encoding these for the authors, that is worth sharing as well. If authors knew exactly where to go to get commodity or free encoding with predictable results, like with MP3 audio, I think that might be key to seeing more author hosted stores like these regardless of the thicket of competing readers and formats.

TCLP 2010-01-31 News

This is news cast 205, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, information about a couple of great upcoming events: Free Culture X and the Southern California Linux Expo.


This week’s security alert are fighting spam with captured botnets and examining an exploit kit.

In this week’s news what history can tell us about HTML5, open video and h.264 with confirmation that patented codecs aren’t compatible with free software, a framework for a folk or para-copyright, Amazon and Macmillan go to war over a price point at the expense of their customers though the fate of an open e-book market may be at stake, and Google proposes extending DNS.

Following up this week Jammie Thomas is offered a settlement but she refuses as the RIAA appeals the judge’s reduction of their damage award against her and a guide to speaking out against ACTA.


Grab the detailed show notes with time offsets and additional links either as PDF or OPML. You can also grab the flac encoded audio from the Internet Archive.

Creative Commons License

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

Amazon Makes DRM-Free E-Books Easier

Several sources, including ReadWriteWeb, pushed out the news that Amazon was allowing some publishers and authors to opt out of DRM on the Kindle. Most are also sharing an update where the retail giant is claiming this was always possible, they are simply making the option easier.

Whichever version of the story is true, the proof will be in how many more DRM-free titles become available in the wake of the change. Cory also posted some critical questions on Boing Boing that remain unanswered. Depending on the answers, Amazon still may be pushing a locked-in system, just relying on contract enforcement rather than the DMCA.