Following Up for the Week Ending 10/10/2010

TCLP 2010-09-26 News

This is news cast 225, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, thanks to Steve for his latest donation which also means he gets the signed copies of Wizzywig 1 & 2. Also, an announcement of audio and feed changes to go in effect on October 3rd.

This week’s security alert is a more in-depth look at the Stuxnet worm.

In this week’s news Intel to use DRM to charge for processor features and why that is problematic, an Ubuntu designer shares his thoughts on a context aware UI, a course on the anthropology of hackers (one I wish UMD’s MITH would offer), and the FCC finalizes rules for white space devices (including details on those rules) prompting one commissioner to speculate we no longer need net neutrality rules.

Following up this week the MPAA wants to know if it can use ACTA to block WikiLeaks and one judge quashes a US Copyright Group subpoena.


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.

FCC Opens Up APIs for Key Databases

Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica not only shares the news but includes some more crunchy detail on the APIs themselves. His article actually serves as a pretty good survey of what is possible with the APIs. It also hints that more data will be accessible in a similar manner soon.

“The release of these APIs marks an important day for us at the FCC,” Byrne says. “The FCC has long published many data sets. Now we are allowing developers direct access to our data via live queries. Your feedback on these APIs—what you think, how you are using them, what needs to be improved—helps us continue in this direction.”

This is an encouraging development from such a high profile agency beyond the broad and often frustratingly vague commitment to open data under the Obama administration. Information at this detail is key to enabling and encouraging the kinds of analysis and mash ups promised by mere transparency. Getting projects hacking is key to moving past the reactionary criticism of transparency solely as an end and reinforces its nature as a means to generating interest and actual knowledge.

Calling all developers! FCC releases APIs for key databases, Ars Technica

Following Up for the Week Ending 8/25/2010

TCLP 2010-08-08 News

This is news cast 221, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, my thanks to Mike for his donation for which he has earned a merit badge. A final reminder there will not be a feature cast this coming week, I’ll be out in San Francisco for most of the week. Also, a quick review of George Mann’s “The Osiris Ritual“. I reviewed his first novel, “The Affinity Bridge”, earlier in the Summer.

This week’s security alerts are RFIDs can be provably read at over 60 meters and an algorithmic attack on reCAPTCHA.

In this week’s news an algorithm to improve the energy efficiency of mesh networks, concerns over a citizen vigilante group monitor ISPs though the groups claims may be overstated, Google ends Wave development though is dedicated to learning from its failure in this case probably from its complexity despite adding more resources and opening up to more users, and unpacking what exactly went on between Google and Verizon especially as they deny claims of an anti-neutrality pact (even on Twitter). Odds are good they are still meeting and talking to some end which may be why the NYT is sticking to its story. Cringely has the most intriguing guess at their possible goal.

Following up this week EFF offers assistance to targets of the US Copyright Group and the FCC ends closed door discussions on its net neutrality plan.


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 7/25/2010

Following Up for the Week Ending 7/18/2010

Public and Non-public Discussion of FCC’s Plan for Net Neutrality

In an ideal world, the FCC’s recent notice of inquiry on its “third way” compromise for implementing some enforcement mechanism for network neutrality would push all of the stake holders–big, small, public and private–all into the same space and keep the discussions in the open. Sadly, that appears to be too much to hope, despite promises to that end by the Obama administration.

Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica has news of several private meetings between large stakeholders and the FCC, apparently to the end of brokering some sort of compromise that would avoid even partial re-classification of broadband as common carriage. I understand the angry ton of this story, especially from the public interest folks. It makes me a mad too but at the same time, this is how it has always been. Money buys privileged access and greater leverage to secure your own ends.

Lasar shares the a quote from an FCC staffer explaining the move. There will be a series of these meetings with “stakeholders” which begs the question, that Lasar also asks, of whether the public will be considered a stake holder in any form.

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

feeds | grep links > UI Advice for Facebook, A Possible Communications Act Update, Privacy Protecting Search Engine, and An Action Alert for ACTA

No time for digging into any of these more deeply, I need to be on my way soon to CopyNight DC.

  • OpenBook creator offers advice on simpler Facebook privacy controls
    Ryan Single at Wired has a screen shot of what Will Moffat, creator of the hacktivist tool OpenBook, is proposing. I still think this is missing the point. Friends of friends and Everyone are too opaque. The slider is not a bad idea, itself, but it needs to be coupled with previews or examples to expose the non-obvious consequences of the classes of audience to share with.
  • Rumblings of communications act update
    Matthew Lasar at Ars Technica has the details. I agree that in the short term, this could bolster the FCC’s attempts to move forward in network neutrality, especially if the “third way” plan falters. The very drive towards network neutrality could cause the draft to take some time. As Lasar explains, we’ve learned a lot since the last update to the law, in 96, but it still largely doesn’t cover the internet. A light touch is still probably in order as there is so much about what is essential and what is accidental we don’t fully understand, yet.
  • Sen. Ensign urges FCC to abandon “third way” for now
    Cecilia Kang’s story at the Post is a corollary to the possibility of an overhaul to the communications act. Unlike other criticisms, the urgings by Sen. Ensign aren’t based on opposition to network neutrality but anticipating updated, more appropriate enforcement powers explicitly granted by Congress better tailored to ISPs and the Internet.
  • New privacy-protecting search engine
    I’d heard of Duck Duck Go but hadn’t realized exactly what made it so different. The policies that make the search engine privacy preserving seem very simple but effective and MIT Tech Review praises it for the quality of its results. I’ve added it to my browser and need to add a command to Mozilla Ubiquity (my real search interface) to try it out.
  • EFF action alert to contact elected reps about ACTA
    The details are in the alert, including the committee members that are especially critical to reach on the continuing threat to balanced copyright presented by ACTA.