Programs Fixing Programs, Grand Unified Microblogging, and More

  • Petition to Obama to disclose ACTA negotiations
    KEI who also were instrumental in getting the list of folks who did see the draft under NDA now is organizing a petition to the president. I first saw this when Professor Lessig tweeted about his own signature. Cory shares further details about the petition on Boing Boing.
  • MIT research on program to fix bugs in other programs
    I am pretty sure I’ve read about similar efforts and the appeal of this is obvious. In reading through the linked MIT Technology Review article, I did have a thought in the back of my mind about theory of mind in humans and that this sort of modeling of software’s behavior by software seems to me at least to be eerily similar if incredibly limited.
  • Grand unified theory of microblogging
    Glyn Moody points to this OStatic piece about a D-Bus library, Microfeed, that could make aggregation of social messaging easier for desktops that use that particular inter process messaging system, like most of the Linux desktops. I don’t see the value of running multiple clients as the article suggests but I do see a possible acceleration in features on clients which is even more worthwhile in my view if it gets us to better categorization and management of messages.
  • AZ judge rules metadata on public records are also public records
    The case in question was one brought by a police officer trying to investigate his suspicions about reasons for his demotion. In this Ars piece, Jon Stokes not only relates the excellent news, at least for activists and investigators in Arizona, but puts it into context discussing how metadata has helped and hurt other efforts in public debates.
  • FCC considering more control over electronic media
    This is potentially troubling news and I think signifies an unfortunate expansion of outmoded thinking. Past media regulations were predicated on scarcity, starting with broadcast spectrum. Digital media are antithetical to that, representing abundance based models. This also makes me think of the EFF’s criticisms of the FCC’s move to regulate the internet, the examples of sub-optimal regulations of speech and access they’ve made in the past based on specious assumptions about availability and vague notions of decency.
  • A taxonomy of online security and privacy threats
    The Technology Liberation Points to this useful table put together by PFF. In the preamble, they explain they developed this grid to help balance the discussion around privacy risks, to broaden the focus of potential regulations beyond just behavioral advertising. I still wonder if we can come up with a less prescriptive listing and a more descriptive and predictive model, as challenging as that may be to achieve.

Blueprint for Scaling Quantum Computers, Machine Intelligences Composing Music, and More

These are the stories I was going to discuss in tonight’s show until I decided it was too late to finish my preparations. I’ve condensed my thoughts on the couple that I did have fleshed out notes and added some quick thoughts to the other two stories.

  • A “photon machine gun” could improve scale of quantum computers
    This is some very early theoretical work that could overcome one of the current limits of quantum computers, the register size. By shining light on a specially prepared quantum dot, these researchers believe they can produce chains of entangled photons between twelve and twenty particles in size.
  • A not-for-profit model to a micro blogging infrastructure
    Ethan Zuckerman of the Berkman Center points to a WP op-ed by Bo Peabody where he offers some thoughts on why it simply may not be possible to commercialize social networks. In discussing this with some friends, recently, I tend to think that the quality of ubiquity may actually chart out more of a continuum, that the more ubiquitous and unpredictable information in a tool, the harder advertising will be as Bo suggests but that there are examples backing off from that where ads can be made attractive to sponsors.
  • Using machine intelligence to compose music
    At Ars Jacqui Cheung describes some fascinating research being done by David Cope at UCSD. I particularly enjoy how Cope was inspired to come from another discipline, music, into machine intelligence. He seems to bring some unique and useful perspectives with him as a consequence.
  • Open source not welcome in Palm app store
    This story was actually covered a variety of places over the course of last week. jwz has been presented with a series of nonsensical conditions and policies making it impractical for him to distribute the ports of some of his existing work to WebOS. Between this story and the problems between Google and cyanogen over his Android distribution, it is looking like none of the major commercial smart phone platforms are very open source friendly, despite predictions around Android and WebOS at the outset. At least we still have some other options, like Maemo.