links for 2009-07-26

  • "Try to remember all the crazy directions Microsoft has gone in over the past few years. Note the dizzy remarks by Chief Executive Steve Ballmer, who recently insisted that online advertising would soon account for the majority of Microsoft's income. This is a software company making these comments." Personally I think Microsoft is a good and robust company that needs new management or some new ideas and it would be a great company.
  • "Zdziarski said it’s just as easy to access a user’s private information on an iPhone 3GS as it was on the previous generation iPhone 3G or first generation iPhone, both of which didn’t feature encryption. If a thief got his hands on an iPhone, a little bit of free software is all that’s needed to tap into all of the user’s content. Live data can be extracted in as little as two minutes, and an entire raw disk image can be made in about 45 minutes, Zdziarski said." Scary, yes.
  • "If you watched Sarah Palin’s resignation speech, you know one thing: her high-priced speechwriters moved back to the Beltway long ago. Just how poorly constructed was the governor’s holiday-weekend address?" Vanity Fair edits Palin's resignation speech.
  • "Taking a new hard line that news articles should not turn up on search engines and Web sites without permission, The Associated Press said Thursday that it would add software to each article that shows what limits apply to the rights to use it, and that notifies The A.P. about how the article is used. Tom Curley, The A.P.’s president and chief executive, said the company’s position was that even minimal use of a news article online required a licensing agreement with the news organization that produced it. In an interview, he specifically cited references that include a headline and a link to an article, a standard practice of search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo, news aggregators and blogs." This is beyond stupid.
  • "This has been said before (multiple times) but you don't rescue your business model by "protecting" against what people want to do. You don't rescue your business model by wasting resources trying to hold back what people want to do. You rescue your business by providing more value and figuring out a way to monetize that value. Putting bogus DRM on news does none of that. It only hastens failure." Techdirt's initial thoughts on the AP's stupid plan.
  • "First of all, someone should sit Curley down and explain to him fair use — a concept of which he appears to be ignorant. This whole exercise seems to be an attempt to pretend that you can take away fair use rights via metadata. You can't. But, more importantly (from a business perspective) this shows a near total cluelessness on how Google works. Yes, Google built a multi-billion dollar business out of "keywords" but they did so not by forcing people to pay, but by adding value to people who did pay. That's the opposite of what Curley's trying to do. If you can't understand the difference between positive value and negative value, you should not be the CEO of a major organization. Meanwhile, Ryan Chittum, at the Columbia Journalism Review says that people should chill out because the AP isn't going after bloggers, he seems to miss a few points. First, the AP might not be "going after bloggers" now, but it certainly has shown a willingness to do so in the past." Techdirt = awesome.
  • "The Honduran armed forces issued a communiqué on Saturday indicating that they would not stand in the way of an agreement to return Manuel Zelaya, the country’s ousted president, to power." Good news.
  • "On the one hand, all of this is pretty rational — at any given moment, Specter was making moves that would seem to have maximized his chances of survival. On the other hand, it seems to have triggered plenty of fatigue with voters, who just can't be sure what they'll get if they vote to re-elect him. Arlen Specter is either just about the best reflection or the worst reflection on the state of our Democracy — it's just hard to say which one." Interesting statics on Arlen Specter's voting record.
  • "That’s Jupiter doing its cosmic job, astronomers like to say. Better it than us. Part of what makes the Earth such a nice place to live, the story goes, is that Jupiter’s overbearing gravity acts as a gravitational shield deflecting incoming space junk, mainly comets, away from the inner solar system where it could do for us what an asteroid apparently did for the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Indeed, astronomers look for similar configurations — a giant outer planet with room for smaller planets in closer to the home stars — in other planetary systems as an indication of their hospitableness to life."
  • Happy Birthday.
    (tags: humor xkcd)
  • "The Obama administration is vastly expanding a federal effort begun under President George W. Bush to identify and deport illegal immigrants held in local jails. But here in the city where the effort got a trial start eight months ago, people on each side of the immigration debate have found fault with it. Under the effort, known as Secure Communities, local officials check every set of fingerprints taken at jails against those of people who have had a brush with federal immigration authorities; in the past, they could check only for a criminal history in the F.B.I. database. If a person turns out to be an illegal immigrant, the case is turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for possible deportation proceedings in addition to the criminal charges."
  • "A prison in Goma in eastern Congo with 850 prisoners crammed into a facility built for 150 is the worst in Africa, a top United Nations human rights official said late Friday." Yeah that's pretty bad.
  • "Albinos are getting killed and mutilated for their body parts. Witch doctors believe their organs “bring good luck in love, life and business.” One man in the video explains how his brother Daniel was murdered by another family member — Daniel’s arms and legs were chopped off. The body parts were later sold for $240. This is what can happen when poverty and hopelessness meet superstition and miseducation." Horrible story.






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