Following Up for the Week Ending 11/7/2010

Quick Security Alerts for the Week Ending 11/7/2010

feeds | grep links > Holographic Video Displays, Univac’s Electoral Prediction, Patent Database is Up and Running, and More

  • First glimmerings of holographic video displays
    John Timmer at Ars Technica discusses some pretty impressive research considering how little holography has advanced for anything other than trivial applications. The system these researchers are building may seem crude but most of the equipment being used, including the network connection, are pretty close to consumer grade. The potential is enormous though I have to imagine free standing holography is a further horizon beyond these re-writing but otherwise fairly constrained displays.
  • History of computing and elections from 1952
    Wired has re-printed an article from around the time of the last US elections by Randy Alfred. In it, he explains how Univac, one of the earliest computers, was tasked with predicting the presidential election in 1952. The forecast put together by the machines and its operators was remarkably accurate but the TV folks they initially approached were too skeptical to air it at the time, only admitting to discounting the computer’s results well after they were obviously correct.
  • Patent database is up and running
    Rogue archivist, Carl Malamud, has the good news at O’Reilly Radar. The joint effort between the USPTO, the White House and Jon Orwant at Google has resulted in a new, open database that supplants feeds that formerly required substantial subscription feeds. As Carl explains, this was no easy chore given vested interests in the revenue streams from the old, closed system. A huge win for restoring a critical piece of our informational commons here in the US.
  • Five years of Linux kernel benchmarks, Slashdot
  • Group trying to get back scatter airport scanners banned, Techdirt
  • Google and Facebook to face tougher EU privacy rules, Reuters, via Groklaw
  • New beta of Firefox 4 mobile released, Mozilla, via Hacker News

feeds | grep links > USB Dead Drops, Mobile Mesh for Telephony, Facebook Bans Apps that Sold User Data, and More

  • USB dead drops, embedding the dark net in architecture
    Slashdot and BoingBoing covered this project by Aram Bartholl over the weekend. He’s cemented USB sticks into walls and other fixtures at a handful of locations, with plans to set up more such dead drops. The idea is that rather than passing storage containers hand to hand, file shares can simply plug in and copy onto and from the drives what they want. The project seems more like an art installation than an IT effort, a way of weaving asynchronous, anonymous sharing into public spaces.
  • Mobile mesh for wireless telephony
    Duncan Geere cross posted this article to Wired and Ars Technica, it is about research that really is quite similar to other mesh network plans about which I’ve read. Why not make the cutely named body-to-body connections simply provide IP protocol carriage with telephony being just one application carried? I would think the growth of smart phones is what is crushing networks more so than mere phone calls. It will be interesting to see if this work which was done at Queen’s University in Belfast can make better progress on the challenges of making a mobile device based mesh as good as or better than the fixed mobile networks we have now.
  • Facebook bans apps that sold user info to data brokers
    Sarah Perez at ReadWriteWeb has the details of some positive privacy news from the dominant social network. I do wonder if this practice would have persisted if the Wall Street Journal had not exposed it, though. Also, why isn’t Facebook built in such a way to make this sort of thing much more difficult, if not outright impossible?
  • Users sue Google, Facebook, Synga over privacy , Slashdot
  • Justice department rules isolate gene sequences should not be patentable, Techdirt
  • Google sues US government for only considering Microsoft solutions, Techdirt
  • Researchers claim better quantum tunneling, EE Times

Following Up for the Week Ending 10/31/2010

Quick Security Alerts for Week Ending 10/31/2010

Following Up for the Weekn Ending 10/24/2010

feeds | grep links > Rare Earth Minerals May Become Rarer, 3D Acceleration Coming to DOSBox, and More

  • China halting rare earth mineral shipments to the US
    Slashdot links to a cluser of stories around China’s trade decision against the US, following a similar decision regarding exporting these critical minerals to Japan. A bit of recent listener feedback has me mulling over post-abundance computing, this seems to be suggestive of future concerns. Like news of limited recycling of these materials, I also wonder at the positive possibility of making the production of electronics more environmentally responsible and durable.
  • DOSBox to get emulated 3D accelerator card
    I used DOSBox to get an old game I still had on CD-ROM working a couple of years ago. Slashdot has news of the developers looking to add a “complete and faithful” emulation of the core chipset of the old 3dfx Voodoo Graphics card. I had one of those and it figures into some very fond memories of LAN parties back in the madness of the height of the dot-com bubble back in the nineties.
  • Bendable memory from nanowire transistors , Technology Review
  • Feds forced to admit it is legal to photograph federal buildings, BoingBoing
  • Google rolls out Chrome 7, Slashdot

feeds | grep links > TV Interview with Captain Crunch, New Report on Circumvention Tools, IP4 Addresses Running Out, and More

feeds | grep links > Remembering Mandelbrot, and More

As I predicted, I was not able to get enough work done on the stories I had bookmarked for tonight’s news show. As busy I as I was volunteering yesterday and grinding on my interviews notes for this week, I still had these links I wanted to share.

  • Remembering Benoit Mandelbrot
    I was incredibly saddened to read news of Mandelbroit’s passing over this weekend. His study of fractals is thoroughly bound up in my own readings on complexity. It’s a topic I find as endlessly fascinating as the ability to infinitely zoom in on the fuzzy forms he characterized without ever hitting a limit to the detail. In this blog post, Rudy Rucker, another icon in my readings on universal gnarl, presents his personal memories on first meeting Mandelbrot. Seems very fitting to me.
  • Google secretly tests autonomous vehicles in real traffic, ReadWriteWeb
  • Offering censorship as a product feature
    From Slashdot, this is concerning for its potential for abuse and the obvious privacy implications. A recent patent grant to Apple for a similar notion in the iPhone, covered by ReadWriteWeb, hints this may become a trend. This is like the problem of hard drives full of copies in junked photocopiers but now with a network connection. An even greater fear for me is that competitors will feel compelled to also offer this feature, worse even possible one-upping the original.