feeds | grep links > Drawing and Erasing Circuits, Failures Regulating Crypto, and More

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.

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Touchless, Gestural Interface

Slashdot embedded this video demo that is pretty compelling.

What is shown isn’t going to replace the fine selection and manipulation possible with touch interfaces but would make an excellent complement. The very first thing I thought of was for in car control where you could easily gesture at your console without taking your eyes of the road, easily turning the system on and off and performing simple navigation. Of course, that’s the very example mentioned in the link post so clearly is intentional in the video.

Although there isn’t any more detail in the press release, it didn’t dissuade me from my other impression, about the coarseness of control. I very much doubt you’ll be able to pull off any sophisticated gestures, like drawing shapes. All the same, even a chunky version will be intensely useful.

Touchless Gesture User Interfaces, Slashdot

feeds | grep links > Another Zombie Cookie Lawsuit, Airport Scanners Outside the Terminal,

TCLP 2010-08-22 News

This is news cast 223, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.

In the intro, an obligatory reminder there will be no new shows on the 29th, the 1st and the 5th because of Dragon*Con. Also, if you are in the north west of the UK, check out U^3 an UnWorkShop being held the 28th of August.

This week’s security alerts are a Firefox bug bypasses URL protection for embedded frames and an old Linux Kernel flaw allows exploits to acquire root privileges.

In this week’s news the end of privacy, a new probabilistic processor design, a thirty year old crypto system is resistant to quantum cryptanalysis, and privacy concerns (among others) over Facebook’s new Places feature. The EFF already has a guide to protecting your privacy against it.

Following up this week EFF appealing the Jewel v. NSA warrantless wiretapping case and negotiators concede ACTA isn’t about counterfeiting after all.

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feeds | grep links > Self Replicating MakerBot, AI Predicting Manhole Explosions, Mousing without the Mouse, and More

  • Self replicating MakerBot
    Via Nat’s Four Short Links on O’Reilly Radar. As he notes, highly appropriate as MakerBot started as a modified RepRap which was all about being self reproducible.
  • AI used to predict manhole explosions in NYC
    I had no idea the scale of this problem was worth harnessing machine learning to tackle but according to Slashdot, apparently it is. It sounds to me like a pretty big multivariate analysis depending on pretty laboriously collected data and observations from the field. Regardless of the risk of a heavy, iron manhole cover being ejected in a gout of flame and gas, the idea to use an AI to help stay on top of the mammoth maintenance challenge for a city as old as New York greatly appeals to me.
  • NetApp threatens sellers of appliances running ZFS
    What the Slashdot summary glosses over but the linked articles make a bit more clear is that there is a history to these complaints to goes back a ways. The same company apparently repeatedly threatened Sun for much the same reason that they are now threatening NAS maker Coraid. I find it hard to credit that there isn’t a less fraught file system offering similar capabilities originating more directly from the FLOSS world.
  • Mousing without a mouse
    Priya Ganapati describes an MIT project from the creator of Sixth Sense, Pranav Mistry. It definitely seems to be strongly related, using commodity hardware to track your mousing hand as you pantomime the gestures you’ve become used to in order to drive your computer without actually needing a mouse. Given the rate at which scroll wheels get gummed up, I would gladly invest many times more than the $20 figure quoted to never have to clean any part of a mouse ever again.
  • Incremental update to OLPC XO to include multitouch screen
    Via Hacker News.
  • Skype’s encryption is partially reverse engineered
  • Fan remake of Ultima VI released
  • Blizzard backs down on requiring real names in its forums

Curated Computing

Sarah Rotman Epps, Forrester Research Analyst, has an intriguing op-ed at Ars Technica. I think she does a pretty good job of explaining why the iPad has been able to gain traction in a space, tablet computing, that has seen lack luster uptake despite existing for a couple of decades.

I like her concession that the success of Apple’s tablet is partly because it is a peripheral, a supplemental computer. There is an implication that what she is identifying as a fourth form factor alongside desktops, laptops and netbooks will never be able to replace examples from any of the other three.

I still reject that a closed ecosystem is essential to achieving the other quality that she thinks is critical: fitting better into the user’s lifestyle in and around the other computers they already own. I think her advice to really look at how this first practically successful tablet is being used by its owners is sound for the queue of vendors looking to crack into a space Apple has managed to revitalize. I do not believe that a closed, or curated, system is required to achieve the same result.

I think her choice of that term, curated, is telling. Clearly she’s trying to find a softer, more constructive way of talking about, and recommending, Apple’s walled garden. There are other curation models, though, that do not depend on being closed and tightly controlled. Ranking, recommendation, and filtering are vital parts of curation as acknowledged by their use within Apple’s distribution channel. I don’t subscribe to the view that these have to be coupled with gatekeeping and/or pruning to provide a compelling experience to users.

If experience is placed first, there is something also to be said for serendipity and other forms of random discovery. Sure, with a catalog as large as Apple’s store, you can be fooled into thinking there is plenty of space for the chaotically alluring. I remain convinced that the best way to provide the most compelling content and applications is to be open, to invite the unintended rather than to enshrine this rather paltry form of curation.

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.

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Following Up for the Week Ending 4/11/2010