- 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
- More information on why the CBC cannot use CC licensed music
Mike Masnick at Techdirt has done a bit more digging, arriving at an explanation for why the CBC stopped using CC licensed music in its podcasts. The problem arises from the non-commercial clause which is quite common with these otherwise free licenses. Many of the radio programs are available through secondary and tertiary distribution platforms with arrangements, like pre-roll ads, that would violate the non-commercial requirement. Having run afoul of this same clause, I concur with Masnick that this explanation makes more sense than the ones offered earlier on as the story unfolded.
- Creative Commons on CBC and non-commercial licenses, Creative Commons
- Gait recognition for smart phones, Slashdot
- Duke Nukem Forever public demo coming next year, Wired
- CC launches the Public Domain Mark
This new tool from the Creative Commons is distinct from CC-0, their public domain dedication. The mark is used to help clearly identify works already free of copyright. This is a timely release given the report from the Library of Congress about the problems around preserving audio recordings because of how long it takes for works to devolve into the public domain. Using the mark and its associated deed could greatly ease the job of archivists, and the software they use, where there is already certainty about the status of works.
- Firefox 4 beta for mobile devices
Ryan Paul at Ars Technica has a good run down of both improvements in the latest release of Fennec, now just simply referred to as Firefox 4, as well as the remaining challenges for the mobile version of Mozilla’s browser to stack up well against other mobile browsers. Still trying to get my hands on 4-5 inch Android MID for, among other things, testing these mobile builds my own self.
- Interactive fiction on an e-reader
Tim Carmody at Wired provides what I think is the most compelling reason to get a dedicated e-reader yet, the ability hacked together by some gamers to play interactive fiction. Carmody calls out the one downer that occurred to me too, the pain of entering text on some of these devices. All the same, it definitely is a good match in terms of display capabilities and processing power. Well, and it’s intensely nerdy fun.
- Caught spying, FBI wants its bug back, Wired
- Software evolution storylines, inspired by xkcd, Slashdot
- CBC bans use of Creative Commons music on podcasts
Michael Geist links directly to the discussion in the comments at the Spark site. He also explains that it is a consequence of some collective agreement with talent agencies. It is easy to speculate that this is specifically targeting CC but I suspect that it may be mere boiler plate language that includes exclusivity as part of the deal which would preclude any other licenses, not just CC. Still, how quickly do you think the parties involved might backpedal?
- A step closer to workable brain-computer interfaces, Technology Review
Slashdot links to this now concluded contest that sort of reminds me of the demo scene in terms of the constraint to bum down code as much as possible. The results are a bit more diverse, including many interactive games as well as passive animations. More so than a lot of recent and fairly contrived “HTML5” demos, the finalists in JS1K really showcase what modern browsers can do.
- Firefox Home adding more devices, social capabilities
Chris Cameron at ReadWriteWeb shares news of Mozilla’s plans for their Sync client for iPhone. Personally, I cannot wait to get an Android powered replacement for my iPod Touch and start running Fennec, their full mobile browser, but in the interim I’m happy that Home is getting such attention from the lizard wranglers. I especially cannot wait for the password sync support planned for a future release.
- Congress passes internet, smart phone accessibility bill, Washington Post
- Update to private cloud-based file system, Tahoe-LAFS, BoingBoing
- Android software piracy rampant, Slashdot
- A Review of Jason Scott’s “Get Lamp”
Text adventure games figured largely in my earliest experiences of computers. It was a no brainer for me to pick up a copy of Scott’s documentary on the subject. I enjoyed it immensely and am far from finished exploring all the material he has included in the two disc set. Jeremy Reimer at Ars Technica has a glowing review that resonates very strongly with my own experience of the work.
- EFF, others, support Microsoft in case trying to make patent invalidation easier, EFF
- Open HDCP software implementation released
Ars Technica, among others, has news of researchers using the recently leaked HDCP keys to build an open source program capable of decrypting encoded digital video streams. Peter Bright questions the utility of the effort as it would still require some sort of hardware to connect into your home media ecosystem. I think the overlooks the very strong tradition of these sorts of proofs of concept developed by security researchers interested in the system more so than its applications.
- TRUSTe to offer badge for mobile sites, apps
I may sound cynical for saying so, but does anyone look for verification badge on existing web sites any more? The details at the New York Times are encouraging but I really am curious if TRUSTe’s brand still has cache in this space. Questions of trust and privacy for mobile apps and sites are certainly becoming more and more pressing, both with Apple’s heavy handed curation model and Android’s more liberal one. I just am not sure what stock users will put into the badges.
- StatusNet releases iPhone client
I am happy to see Evan and crew thriving. Audrey Watters at ReadWriteWeb has some details of the new app as well as an update on the company’s recent funding. I installed the app on my iPod Touch, it is pretty consistent with the portable desktop application they released earlier. One thing I would like is push support. I am also curious to see how the Android version stacks up once I get a replacement for my iPod.
- New tablet from RIM reveals what they did with the acquisition of the QNX OS, The Register
- Mapping the brain on a massive scale, Technology Review
- Rewiring a damaged brain, Slashdot
- Meego port for other Android devices
Make had a story yesterday about a Nexus 1 running Meego, another Linux based OS designed for mobile devices. It makes sense that an Android capable gadget would easily run what could be thought of as a sibling OS. No big surprise, then, that the H expands the story today to point out that Dell’s Streak and HTC’s desire have also been made to run Meego. Sadly, as the H goes on to explain, there are issues with Android’s binary only accelerated graphics drivers for these three devices, so the Meego port is little more than a not very usable proof of concept.
- DuckDuckGo search engine errects Tor hidden service
Slashdot shares news that DuckDuckGo has made it easier to use their search engine without leaving the privacy preserving penumbra of the Tor network. Previously, the search engine set up a dedicated exit node which actually allowed searchers to keep their search traffic encrypted. Tor’s hidden services eliminate the need to start on the regular, unencrypted network at all before switching over to access services via encrypted traffic.
- Competition produces vandalism detection for Wikis, Slashdot
- An open response to the USPTO, Groklaw
- Samuelson’s latest call for copyright reform
Groklaw, among others, also linked to this short article at the SFGate to which Cory linked in his discussion of Boyle’s and Jenkin’s new copyright comic book. It is a very accessible explanation of why reform is needed, prompted by the disruptions digital copying has wrought and the ensuing norms. It concludes with a brief recap of suggested areas for change that Samuelson has explored more fully in her academic writing.
- Meego on Android hardware, Make
- Ubuntu 9.04 approaches end of life, The H
- Pew Research Center report on trends in technology journalism, ReadWriteWeb
- Censored maps hard-wired into Chinese iPhones, ReadWriteWeb
- EFF weighs in on COICA IP enforcement bill
Richard Esguerra provides analysis that echoes that of Wendy Seltzer, to which I linked yesterday. He augments her arguments about censorship, adding concerns about how interference with the DNS system could cause problems and the signal this bill would send with regards to the US’s stance on internet censorship. The latter point is interesting because the bill, if passed, would contradict, in actions, what the State Department put into words with Clinton’s speech several months back.
- Scribd apologizes, clarifies archive option that optionally results in paywall
Via Hacker News.
- Google crowd sources efforts to fix invalid metadata in Books, The Register
- BBC coverage of Nerdcore
Via Hacker News. I have been listening to MC Frontalot quite a bit lately, especially his latest album, “Zero Day”. Not surprisingly, I was thrilled to see this BBC piece which I take as a good sign that Nerdcore is still alive and well. Even if the main stream media here is a couple of years late.
- Smart phones as a replacement for hotel key cards
Mike Melanson at ReadWriteWeb explains how one chain is experimenting with the idea, clearly driven by convenience over security. Do I need to count the number of ways this system will be that much more vulnerable than the existing key cards? To the credit of the hotel chain trying this idea, they are making it optional. Given the addition of the phones’ processing power, there is an opportunity to actually make the system much more secure. As much as past history is a valid predictor, the implementers are unlikely to be pushing the security envelope as far as the hardware would enable.
- Federal guide to spying on your suspected terrorist neighbors, Wired
- Brain coprocessors, Technology Review
- Brazil undertaking all digital census, using smartphones, Slashdot
- Contribute to SETI@home from your browser
Via Hacker News.
- Re-targeting ads stalk surfers for weeks after they shop
Slashdot links to a story at NYT that I find fascinating for its potential to drive home the point about widespread behavioral advertising. If more users notice these sorts of creepy practices, the more fuel we’ll have for debate around better practices around transparency and affording the ability to opt out.
- Cyanogen, after market mod for Android smart phones, now supports FroYo, ReadWriteWeb
- GPU assisted sorting algorithm breaks giga-sort barrier, Slashdot
- iPhone app in approval limbo goes open source, Slashdot
- New model developed to help organize, keep private massive amounts of online data, Science Daily
- Some California schools decide to track students with RFIDs, EFF
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
- Profile of a hacktivist who first helped with elections in Iran
Slashdot links to a Newsweek article that is well worth the read. A lot of criticism has been flying around lately against clicktivists and slacktivists. This is a reminder that there are programmers quietly working on pieces and parts to support real social change.
- How the internet has changed language
BBC via Slashdot
- Next version of Ubuntu gets a name–Natty Narwhal
Ryan Paul at Ars Technica has some good perspective on the rather silly, even for Canonical, name and the plans around the release that are a bit more serious. There is more evidence, beyond the big announcement yesterday about multitouch coming in Meerkat, that the roadmap will pay more attention to mobile computing. Whether that will be at the expense of the traditional desktop remains to be seen but count me as one of the skeptics.
- Court OKs covert iPhone recording
As David Kravets at Wired explains, the fact it was an iPhone is incidental as it wasn’t a call that was recorded. The ruling in the 2nd Circuit is apparently consistent with other recent rulings that I have to imagine are about recording in public or semi-public spaces not over telephone lines which is traditionally scrutinized much more closely.
- Mobile super computing
According to the article to which Slashdot links, this is rather different than the mobile cloud about which I posted yesterday. This refinement of an existing approach combines the horsepower of true super computers with the convenience of mobile devices. Essentially, most of the heavy lifting is done before sending what reads like a intermediate result or cheaper to run, partially pre-digested simulation to the phone. A small but interesting space of what-if changes can be made and re-run at decent speeds on the less capable devices.