Get Your Personal Supercomputer, Asking Whether New Technology Makes Us Dumber, and More

  • Patent troll defamation case settled
    I was unaware of this case until Mike Masnick mentioned it on Techdirt earlier in the week. He asks the key question now that the case has been settled, whether the blogger in question will keep writing about the tactics and actions of patent trolls, enlightening the rest of us and hopefully placing that much more pressure for reform.
  • SGI to sell personal super computer
    I was skeptical until I saw that the system in question will scale up to 80 cores. While it may be at the personal scale, to effectively use such a machine, you really would need to use super computing tools and frameworks, like MPI to fully utilize that many cores. Maybe OpenCL and similar initiatives will make programming a personal super computer more approachable.
  • Next Ubuntu release will be a long term support release
    Ryan Paul discusses what an LTS release means at Ars. He also recounts the disappointments with past LTS versions and forthcoming changes, in particular Gnome 3, that may cloud the LTS aspect of 10.04, or Lucid Lynx.
  • Industry group sides with Apple over block Pre sync with iTunes
    The question, as the Globe and Mail eventually points out, is over Palm spoofing Apple’s USB vendor ID to make their phone sync. Palm apparently made the complaint to the USB Implementers Forum but they sided with Apple. It makes sense if you think about the effort and rules behind assigning IDs to be able to clearly distinguish host and device makers. It still doesn’t mean Apple closing their ecosystem to Palm is a good or moral move.
  • Microsoft receives patent on peer to peer DRM
    The article linked to by Slashdot at least has the good graces to acknowledge that this patent is now largely moot. I was willing to concede his point about P2P DRM helping grow P2P networks until I realized that the only thing that makes it P2P is how it distributes and serves keys. I initially thought that the DRM would only be effective in the P2P system, which would be a cool compromise, allowing personal use copying. That is clearly not the case.
  • FCC stance on net neutrality may reset the bar for other countries
    This Globe and Mail piece is mostly a backgrounder and concludes with a quote from Prof. Geist where he makes the point about the new US policy setting a different example for Canada specifically. I think the point could easily be generalized to any country fully engaged with the question of an open internet as a value in and of itself.
  • Google launches web site annotation service
    RWW explains how the service is intended to work, largely as a distributed comment system but with a few twists that distinguish it from struggling predecessors like Disqus. The piece also very briefly considers the ramifications of Google collecting yet more data.
  • Greater risks of Google’s Sidewiki
    Jeff Jarvis points out how the new service diminishes value at destination sites, shifting it to Google. He contrasts this to Google’s other services that drive traffic and value to the edges of the network. He has some updates with worthy rebuttals that really just reveal that Google perhaps should have thought through how this offering changes the dynamic with target sites.
  • Ruling upholds legality of GPL in France
    Saw this on Glyn Moody’s blog, a bit of good news in a country that is descending down a scarey rabbit hole with its pursuit of a three strikes regime against copyright infringers.
  • Do pencils make us dumber?
    At Techdirt, Mike Masnick mentions a book I think I need to add to my pile. It contemplates a question that has occurred to me with increasing frequency when hearing industry incumbents struggle to veto or otherwise suppress innovation. Namely that this dynamic is far from new and I really do wonder what we can learn from history to strike better balances.