- Amazon to allow lending of Kindle books
Groklaw pointed to this ABC News piece over the weekend. Details are scant, other than while a user has lent a book out, they will not be able to read it themselves. Books can be lent for two weeks at a time. Slashdot has one more tidbit, namely that books can only be lent out once. Superficially attempts to emulate the scarce nature of physical books but utterly fails on the one time limit and that lending is enabled or disabled by the publisher, a right of action current unencumbered for print editions.
- MIT Media Lab’s 25th anniversary
I clearly didn’t read closely enough the BBC article on the Lab to which I linked last week. Several other sites since then have posted reminiscences about the various interesting projects to come out of the Media Lab. John Timmer at Ars Technica posted this one over the weekend, which is a bit more whimsical but I think very much in the spirit of play that animates much of what the Lab has done over the past two and a half decades.
- Ubuntu switching to Unity for future desktop
Ryan Paul at Ars Technica was one of several people to mention this in my feeds today. Unity is the alternate shell for Gnome developed by Canonical specifically to improve the experience of users on netbooks. Reactions to the announcement so far are mixed, with some even thinking this signals a split between Canonical and Gnome, which I think is far from the case. Bear in mind that Linux has a long traditional of experimenting with desktops and undoubtedly if you dislike Unity, replacing it with the ordinary Gnome shell, or anything else for that matter, will remain trivial.
- Carl Malamud’s ignite talk on why building codes should be open, BoingBoing
- Mozilla pre-alpha demonstrates new way to customize its browser, The H
- What you need to know about link shorteners, O’Reilly Radar
- Bees beat machines at traveling salesman problem, Slashdot
- More technical details on Facebook’s leakage of user info, Freedom to Tinker
- Facebook app breach gets the attention of Congress, Ars Technica
- Facebook moves to encrypt user IDs, ReadWriteWeb
- New Adobe Reader with security sandbox due next month, Slashdot
- Root privileges through flaw in GNU C loader, The H
- Business models of cyber criminals, Slashdot
- Java surpasses Adobe’s products as most actively exploited, The Register
- Microsoft removes Zeus botnet from over 1/4 of a million machines, Zero Day
- Evercookie harder to combat in mobile browsers, Slashdot
- Mozilla patches nine Firefox flaws, The Register
- Thunderbird also receives security update, The H
- Hackers subvert Firefox security warnings to serve malware, The Register
- Security holes in Apache web server, Zero Day
- Chrome update plugs high risk security holes, Zero Day
- Apple patches older Java security flaw, Zero Day
- Gaping security hole in Apple’s FaceTime beta, Engadget via Hacker News
- Adobe Shockwave exploity, The Register
- Pidgin update closes DoS hole, The H
- Twelve year finds Firefox flaw, earns bounty, Zero Day
I wrote about the new gaming initiative from Mozilla Labs a little while ago when it launched. Marshall Kirkpatrick at ReadWriteWeb notes the announcement by that project of its first gaming competition.
Mozilla, home of the popular Firefox browser, has announced a new effort to challenge the dominance of Adobe Flash in the casual gaming market. Called Game On 2010, the effort is an international competition that will highlight “games built, delivered and played on the open Web and the browser.” The crux of the issue is no Flash allowed.
The contest will run between now and January 11th of next year. Marshall notes there is skepticism that HTML5 and related technologies are quite to the level needed to take on Flash directly. He, at least, seems game to see what the development community might come up with.
Mozilla Takes Aim at Flash-based Casual Games, ReadWriteWeb
Once again, crushed for time so only offering up some links without comment. Going to see the favorite angry liberal of mine and my wife’s, Lewis Black, later this evening after a nice dinner out in the heart of DC.
- IBM demos single-atom DRAM, Slashdot
- First installment of Xiph.org’s digital video primer for geeks, Slashdot
- Mozilla Labs re-imagines the smart phone, ReadWriteWeb
- Public.resource.org secures funding from Google’s 10^100 grant program, O’Reilly Radar
- Nightly builds of Fennec, Firefox’s mobile sibling, improving rapidly, Wired
- Xerox PARC turns 40, The Register
- Scribd quietly moves users docs behind a paywall
Mike Masnick at Techdirt shares the realization by law professor Eric Goldman of this little publicized change. This action by the document sharing service defies reason. Goldman articulates how undoubtedly most of the users caught by this change must feel, used and trapped. Once again, this isn’t an issue with open or closed but moving from one to the other after a bargain was offered and a promise made. Even a much more clear shift would have been more tenable, if almost as unpalatable.
- Is Facebook turning on online activists it used to support?, ReadWriteWeb
- An open source, low bandwidth voice codec
Slashdot points to a project whose main developer also worked on the Speex codec, another effort tailored to efficient coding of just voice. Mainly Codec2 looks to be focused on replacing a current, proprietary codec used in amateur radio but its capabilities are compelling, almost 4 seconds of clear speech in just over 1 kilobyte. It would be nice of some of the unencumbered ideas might find application in high quality voice encoding, too, perhaps to help fuel an open alternative to Skype with similar sound quality. Of course, that’s just the podcaster in me thinking out loud.
- Mozilla joins Open Invention Network as licensee
- Wendy Seltzer discusses new IP enforcement bill
In this post on the Freedom to Tinker blog, Seltzer places the bill firmly in the context of piracy as a legal pretext for censorship. I didn’t touch on the issue of potential abuses but the point dovetails with what I explained yesterday about lowering friction. It simply becomes too easy to press a claim of infringement, legitimate or not, for the correct purpose or some lateral one such as suppressing dissenting speech.
- EP votes on controversial anti-piracy report, TorrentFreak
- Bill Tracker launched for legislation in the UK, BoingBoing
Apologies for the paucity of posts today. I am feeling brain drain from a technical presentation at the $employer today. And my mind is still spinning on re-working my audio workflow under Linux now that my mixer is working.
- FSF calls on government to stop pushing Adobe Reader, The Register
- Mozilla slips in a stability beta, re-ordering betas slightly, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/09/15/moz_suspends_firefox_updates/
- Humorous how-to on reading a patent, BoingBoing
- Babbage’s debugger
Via Hacker news, this blog post summarizes a paper the grandfather of computing wrote in contemplating the problems troubleshooting his early designs for purely mechanical computers. Despite its similarities to a sequence diagram, it is perhaps akin to the sort of mental contortions early coders went through in converting machine code to binary, as Babbage’s notion and examples deal with the lowest level of his proposed machinery.
As Adrianne Jeffries at ReadWriteWeb explains the new project, Mozilla Labs Gaming, is meant to encourage developers to use the new technologies being built into modern browsers both to highlight those capabilities and capitalize in the growing interest in casual and social games. The intersection makes a great deal of interest and is a more productive notion than the usual anti-Flash sentiments offered when discussing HTML5, CSS3 and other newer standards.
The new efforts reinforces why Firefox is still my favorite browser despite market share gains made by Chrome. Mozilla is as dedicated to the broader space of open web standards as it is to its own particular entrants. Driving developer adoption of these technologies forces all browser makers to evolve and innovate ensuring that users get the best experience of the web regardless of what software they use.
I am still on the road, returning from Dragon*Con in Atlanta. There four more hours between me and DC, which will be tackled tomorrow, bright and early. My blogging should return to normal either tomorrow or Wednesday.
- Mozilla Bespin renamed Skywriter, The H
- Google to simplify its privacy policies, New York Times
- Brazil considering legalizing file sharing, Slashdot
- Mozilla starts culling Firefox 4 features to focus release, The H
- Programming knowledge that is more useful to know earlier rather than later, Slashdot
- Cheap, portable 3D printer, Boing Boing
- RedHat opens its cloud APIs, ReadWriteWeb
- Three new APIs included in latest version of JetPack from Mozilla, The H
- Diaspora sticks to its committed release date, Wired
- Czech copyright bill threatens public licenses like CC, Slashdot
- Pirate Bay documentary to be crowd, or peer, funded, TorrentFreak
- Court halts PS3 jail break sales, Ars Technica
- Sweden may get second Pirate MEP, TorrentFreak
Fennec is Mozilla’s mobile browser, currently targeting the Nokia internet tablets and the Android operating system. This latest release still bears the the alpha tag signifying users should try it with the utmost caution as all bets are on in terms of reliability. The prior alpha truly looked unusable but as Frederic Lardinois at RWW explains, addressing performance was the top priority informing this fresh update.
The video is well worth a watch, giving a sense of where the browser’s speed is at but also highlighting Fennec’s interface. I cannot wait to get a mobile friendly version of Firefox’s awesome bar. The search engine integration in Fennec’s awesome page is a nice touch.
One of the reasons I am particular interested in getting an Android MID as my next mobile gadget is the possibility of running Fennec. I am an immense fan of Firefox, the full browser, both for the software itself but also for the principles of an open web on which it is built. Fennec would bring that same openness to the mobile web, not to mention the recent data sharing via Sync that has shaped up to be a killer feature across most of Mozilla’s offerings.