Quick Links for 8/26/2009

  • Dirty coding tricks to make a deadline
    Some really amusing stories, here, not as horrifying as I expected at first. A few of them are actually some good lessons about lateral and creative thinking in the face of extreme constraints.
  • Finalists chosen in Apps for America 2 contest
    Sunlight Labs continues to encourage what is not only possible, but truly useful with open government data. I like the hyper-local application and hope that if it fares well, they’ll look into incorporating not just federal data, but also local government data.
  • Mininova, TPB rival, ordered to remove copyrighted material
    According to the Wired article, what is surprising is that Mininova, unlike The Pirate Bay, appears to have respected take down requests in the past. There’s no information on any damages, just that the court ruling requires them to take down all infringing material in one fell swoop, presumably as opposed to as complaints come in.
  • Coder who worked on Swiss wiretapping trojan talks about it
    The details are not so shocking as the revelation, which actually came out some time ago, that some law enforcement agencies would go to such lengths. The risk they are willing to put consumers at seems above and beyond more “traditional” forensic tools and techniques.
  • FCC chair strongly commits to network neutrality
    The problem, as pointed out in this Ars piece by Matthew Lasar, is that his declaration is scant on details. He hasn’t even commented on the latest maneuvering by Comcast trying to erode the FCC’s power to enforce neutrality or Markey’s latest legislation. Vague, unenforceable rhetoric is as bad, maybe worse, than no such commitment.
  • Google opens up its ePub archive
    Just a few details beyond the announcement at RWW. The books in question all come from the public domain and while they are OCRed, so much smaller sized files and benefitting fulling from the ePub format, they are not proof read or edited. May be useful to Project Gutenberg if there are enough titles not already on their library as it would save initial scanning and converting at least.
  • EU may rule parts of ACTA unconstitutional
    Michael Geist links to a piece that discusses the implications, which may be limited. I am not entirely familiar with the legal and legislative concepts discussed, but they seem to speak to jurisdiction and scope of powers, so may not be affected by the details of the agreement, which is still largely secret. I hope the comparison to the French court’s ruling on Hadopi leads to a similar outcome.
  • FCC considers allocating spectrum to the smart grid
    John Timmer at Ars has coverage of the discussion which seems very preliminary, it is the first time I’ve even seen this suggested. Apparently the discussion was undertaken as part of the larger consideration of the national broadband plan the FCC has been hashing out.
  • Apparently no one asked Flickr to takedown Obama picture
    If you rule out the likeliest rights holders, then who is left, really? It certainly seems like there isn’t anyone who hasn’t spoke up denying they issued a complaint. It certainly tips consideration further to the censorship side of the question.
  • Government briefing to its employees equates file sharing to stealing
    As the Slashdot piece mentions, no consideration is given for public domain works or open content of any kind. Hardly surprising for what is essentially an overgrown HR memo.