Command Line

A blog and podcast exploring the rough edges where society, public policy and computers meet.

Quick News Links for Week Ending 6/1/2008

Posted by Thomas Gideon on June 1, 2008

  • Developer speaks out on Twitter outages
    The core problem they identified is a mismatched design. Twitter was original built as a CMS but is scaling like a messaging system. They are going to attempt an incremental re-write.
  • The benefit of killing Live Book Search
    Microsoft is ending its involvement with the Open Content Alliance. Kahle, through the involvement of the Internet Archive, thinks the ending of corporate support is necessary for OCA’s long term sustainability.
  • Google characterizes Viacom’s YouTube suit as broader threat
    Google sees this as a potential erosion of safe harbor under the DMCA. Viacom, not surprisingly disagrees and thinks Google is setting a “terrible example”. The outcome could substantially effect the nature of safe harbor either way.
  • Possible second release candidate for Firefox 3
    At issue are ten critical bugs. Mozilla developers are planning on fixing, regardless, the question is whether the fixes will be included in the 3.0 release are as a 3.0.1 update.
  • Allowance for breaking ineffective DRM in Finland overturned
    The ruling that was appealed was problematic in and of itself, as the article points out. Unfortunately, the result of the appeal is a step backwards. It gives weight back to industries tactics around secondary liability for infringement.
  • Shady practice of “cramming”
    This story is horrifying and made all the worse by the apparent fact that consumers can do very little to defend themselves or fix the problem after the fact. The complacent attitude of the telcos is hardly surprising but infuriating nonetheless.
  • Hacking a penny at a time
    A curious hack, to say the least, since I thought these deposits were actually auths, not actual transfers. Charges are pending on the fraudulent identities the hacker used, not on the theft itself.
  • Cybernetics research advances as monkeys control robotic arm
    This is continuous with early research but is notable for the complexity of the tasks achieved. It cements that these approaches have merit and while much research remains there is eventual hope for applications for those with severe disabilities.
  • Government sponsored knowledge repository
    This is an interesting effort and hopefully one that will spark applications with the ontological data stored therein. In and of itself, however, the value remains to be seen.
  • New and updated developer tools from Google
    No new language for GAE, but two new APIs for memcached and images. GWT updated for Java 5 and a new AJAX loading library to work with the most popular AJAX libraries with minimal effort.
  • Canadian net neutrality bill submitted
    Even though the bill appears to be well intentioned and tries to be specific, I still have reservations about how it will be enforced. There are no good consumer tools for auditing any kind of discrimination and much debate on what reasonable network management practices are, exactly.
  • Mozilla’s scripting plug-in for IE
    As an application developer, this appeals, but I have enough experience to realize that going from the zero requirements of the browser itself to even 1 plugin is a huge logistical and psychological barrier.
  • Discussing team dynamic on open source projects
    One approach to keeping the dynamic healthy by discouraging sense of ownership and hence a project’s code from being unduly beholden to a single contributor.
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