- Origin of the HTML blink tag
Via Hacker News, I love that this ties back to Lynx, a text based browser I still use from time to time. It is also an excellent example of the odd thought process that often occurs to hackers. It also makes sense that the implementation was original an easter egg, the intent wasn’t to unleash untold eyestrain on the web but have a bit of a laugh. Funny how these unintended consequences arise.
- Senator uses copyright to block opponent’s use of her old web site
I am reading Netanel’s “Copyright’s Paradox” right now which is all about the fraught tension between free speech and copyright. Slashdot is one of many sources picking this story up today. It may be my current reading material speaking, but this seems like a very clear case of using copyright as a form of prior restraint, not having anything to do with its proper role as the “engine of free expression”.
- Near perfect 3D information storage, in the lab
Technology Review describes a system for reading and storing information that really does sound rather science fictional. A single bit encoded on a single molecule would seem to be pretty close to perfect density. Initially it is surprising that several developments here come from biography but then you have to wonder if related techniques operate or are instrumental to information processing in living systems.
- Open data analysis framework in the cloud
- Two Turkeys in conflict over Internet blocking
- Army will press charges against alleged WikiLeaks source
- Working towards a standardized power brick for laptops
- Seizure of DNS names of pirate sites by US fails
- WikiLeaks site in disrepair?
This Wired article by Ryan Singel is little better than a litany of breakages on the site. Despite the lurid lede, he doesn’t indulge in much speculation and actually concludes that a bump up in fund raising may be all that is needed to set things to rights.
- WikiLeaks’ response to Wired
Posted via Twitter but lacking any more detailed explanation. The short message was that the site is being upgraded to deal with growth. The only link is to their support page. A more detailed blog post would have gone further.
- What to expect in Firefox 4
Glyn Moody has some tantalizing details at Open Enterprise based on a discussion with one of the Mozilla folks. Confirms my recollection of performance, new features like Electrolysis, and an additional category, annoyances. Now I am jonesing for that beta that is almost but still not ready.
- Automated language deciphering by AI
- EU consider strong interoperability law for most technology makers
- IBM adopts Firefox as its default browser
Apologies for the limited blogging yesterday. Work was hectic with a celebration of the team’s last successful public code release and preparations for a move to a new space over the weekend both falling on the same day.
- Sandboxed plugins in Firefox to arrive with hang detector
The Register has the details of what version 3.6.4, now due next week, will deliver. I’ve been running the beta builds and been very happy. I haven’t seen anything in the beta release notes about the hang detector so that will be a very nice improvement coming with the final version in addition to the browser running plugins in isolated processes that I written about before.
- Computing without decrypting data has been improved
I first talked about homomorhpic encryption in June of last year. The idea was a class of encryption where some calculations could be run on data without decrypting it. Now Technology Review has news of improvements on Craig Gentry’s original scheme. Nigel Smart and Frederik Vercauteren have found comparable operations to what the original idea required but that are more easily computable hence actually implementable in software.
- WIPO study on the public domain published
HT Glyn Moody. A major thrust of the paper appears to be building a case for a positive protection of the public domain rather than continuing to regard it as the mere lack of copyright protection. This is very consistent with my reading and research on the public domain.
- Microsoft explains mystery Firefox add-on, provides fix and workaround
Emil Protalinski at Ars Technica has an explanation from the Redmond giant of what the add-on was meant to do but not of how they screwed up installing an update for components that were not installed. They have revved their update to fix this oversight and also provided pretty simple instructions for removing the add-on. Protalinski tested Microsoft’s claims about the fix and workaround, successfully, for what it is worth.
- Alleged WikiLeaks source describes crisis of conscience leading to leaks
- Pentagon undertakes search for WikiLeaks founder over recent leaks of military info
- WikiLeaks hires lawyer to defend alleged Army source
- Armenia decides it needs stricter copyright laws
Sorry I didn’t have time for more than some quick comments today. I spent most of my usual blogging time dealing with some important correspondence related to Cory Doctorow’s talk at this month’s CopyNight DC.
- More on “Collateral Video” leaker
Xeni at Boing Boing has a bit more on the story on which I briefly commented yesterday. She includes some back and forth between WikiLeaks and Poulsen at Wired. The issue WikiLeaks takes with Poulsen’s and Lamo’s behavior is betray the confidence of the leaker. I think this points at a potential drawback with my idea about WikiLeaks routing around the erosion of shield laws and the big question of journalism in this age of mass amateurization. With traditional media, the leaker would be able to converse about the experience of leaking with a journalist as well as sharing the key information.
- Another suspect study on piracy, this time on gaming
Gamasutra has news of a new study from a Japanese trade association. The figure quoted, $41.5B, is staggering and seems hard to credit on the face of it. Undoubtedly this research suffers from the same problems quantifying the real economic effects of piracy that all previous studies, regardless of industry, suffer. That is comes from a trade association just about clinches it.
- Mozilla responds to Apple’s HTML5 demo page
Ryan Paul at Ars Technica has an excellent write up of the issues with an HTML5 demo page Apple launched recently. In short, they are blocking all browsers but their own despite the fact that only some of the demos require advanced, not-quite-standard features in Safari. To drive the point home, he links to Chris Blizzard’s critique which includes some hard data on standards adoption by Mozilla and every other browser. Blizzard also tries to get to the root of the problem, intentional confusion about what is and is not HTML5.
- Apple uses open source with minimal attribution
As The Register explains, they didn’t violate the Apache License for the Readability project when lifting portions of its code for the Reader feature in Safari 5. The article even has a screenshot of the nod in Safari’s about dialog. That doesn’t make me feel very good about Apple’s relationship with open source which I am increasingly viewing as more parasitic than symbiotic.
This is news cast 215, an episode of The Command Line Podcast.
In the intro, just a pointer to my thoughts on Balticon 44 and a recap on advertising, the badge experiment, and Flattr so far.
In this week’s news Google drops Microsoft for internal use citing security reasons though some are skeptical, figuring out if Wikileaks spun up using documents intercepted from Tor with thoughts from both the Tor project and Wikileaks itself, IBM’s 40 year old Muppet sales films, and a new paper debunks certain suggested advantages of quantum computing.
Following up this week, if you are tired of Facebook then check out a Firefox extension that aims to help preserve your privacy while using it and India tries to gather opposition to ACTA.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.
The Register spotted the tweet explaining the site’s success at the fund raising it has been doing since the start of the year.
Achieved min. funraising goal. ($200k/600k); we’re back fighting for another year, even if we have to eat rice to do it.
Further details are scant, the main page still has the plea for donations. Hopefully operations will return to normal soon, especially considering how many journalists have come forward endorsing Wikileaks as a critical online resource.
Wired has a good summary of Wikileaks current campaign for contributions to help cover its costs and its progress to date since it suspended operations. They also explain how the site came into being and share some information about the organization that backs it.
Since the last story I saw on the clearinghouse site, a Facebook group has now formed to spread the word further. Also, journalists from the Guardian and the Spectator have spoken out about the value Wikileaks provides to their trade.
The clearing house for leaked documents suspended operations earlier, posting details of how you can support their efforts on their home page. Wikileaks tweeted a Guardian story today as a reminder that their operations are still suspended.
At the very least, the hiccup in donation processing via PayPal has been resolved. According to an anonymous source, I learned after that story that both this suspension of their PayPal account and the last one were simple TOS issues. The Register’s suggestion about the anti-money laundering policies is probably fairly close to the truth if not the exact condition in question.
The Register has an update on the story from yesterday, that for at least the second time, PayPal suspended the site’s ability to receive donations through the micropayment service. An acquaintance hinted to me that there was more than the story but was not in a position to comment further. According to this article,
PayPal’s spokeswoman said it had lifted the suspension on Saturday, suggesting it had been triggered by anti-money laundering systems.
This despite Wikileaks working with a known quantity, Wau Holland Stiftung, a foundation that also works with CCC. Actually, in sifting through the translation of the foundation’s home page, supporting the Chaos Computing Club seems to be their sole raison d’etre.
As well regarded as CCC is in the hacker community, especially for its annual hacker gathering, I suspect this association may have as much to do with the suspension as anything. Of course, facts are sparse here so this is just my supposition.
The timing of this story could not be worse as Wikileaks is in the midst of fund raising. It is unclear why PayPal has frozen out Wikileaks other than an implication by the person who submitted the story to Slashdot that PayPal’s owners or operators take issue with the web site.
This is at least the second time PayPal has done this specifically to Wikileaks. The comment thread on Slashdot suggests that there is a clear need for more regulated and/or accountable micropayment services to prevent this sort of arbitrary interference. I agree with the need but am skeptical of it happening. Many users have boycotted PayPal for a broad swathe of reasons, even just for their transactions fees being too high. Even such direct pressure on retail usage hasn’t done much to change the state of things.
I suspect that Google Checkout may be a more reliable micropayment service but I do not know how they stack up in terms of features and transactions fees.