16 Jan

O’Reilly Radar – The President’s challenge

All I can think is: we gave you the Internet. We gave you the Web. We gave you MP3 and MP4. We gave you e-commerce, micropayments, PayPal, Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, the iPad, the iPhone, the laptop, 3G, wifi–hell, you can even get online while you’re on an AIRPLANE. What the hell more do you want from us?

Take the truck, the boat, the helicopter, that we’ve sent you. Don’t wait for the time machine, because we’re never going to invent something that returns you to 1965 when copying was hard and you could treat the customer’s convenience with contempt.

via O’Reilly Radar – The President’s challenge. Cory Doctorow has a wonderful saying “Copying is never going to get harder than it is now.” The idea that we’ll be able to go back in time and make it harder for people to get digital information/media/anything is just wrong. Businesses (hello entertainment industry) seems to ignore that fact time and time again. Businesses can either accept that getting media via the internet is getting easier and easier and try to make it simpler for consumers to get it legally or they will fail.

16 Sep

Ars Technica – Newzbin2 builds block-averting measures into its software

Usenet index Newzbin2 claims to have built software that will defeat court-ordered ISP blocking tactics and allow users to access it as normal.

Following complaints from content companies back in July 2011, BT was forced to implement its child-porn blocking software to stop customers from accessing the website, which aggregates links to copyrighted content. At the time there were fears from charities that by using this technology to combat copyright infringement, it would divert more attention to making it easy to circumvent these blocks.

Those fears turn out to have been justified—it took coders less than two months to defeat the ban. Newzbin Client 1.0.0.127 has been released, which evades BT’s Cleanfeed technology by creating an encrypted session between the client and the Newzbin2 site. It also lets the user access the site through the TOR anonymity network, adding an extra layer of encryption.

via Ars Technica – Newzbin2 builds block-averting measures into its software. Every time someone tries to prevent information from being reached on the Internet someone else finds a way around it.

11 Sep

Fraser Speirs – A Supercomputer in Every Backpack

My youngest daughter, Beth, started school last week. She’s four and a half and has never known a world in which the iPhone did not exist. She has never known a world in which 24×7 connectivity to the Internet was an impossible sci-fi dream. I suppose her starting school led me to reflect on what her school life will be like.

Consider the basic timeline: Beth won’t leave school until the summer of 2025. Assuming we still have universities by then, she’ll be be launched into the world waving her degree from the University of Hyderabad in the summer of 2029.

The question is simple: is there any plausible non-apocalyptic scenario in which technology is less prevalent, less widely distributed and less embedded in our culture in 2029 than it is in 2011? I simply can’t imagine one.

The GSMA predict that there will be 50,000,000,000 connected devices on the planet by the year 2025. Think about that: by the time Beth leaves school, there will be something like seven Internet-connected devices on the planet for every person.

To paraphrase William Gibson, ubiquitous computing is here – it’s just not built into the furniture. We don’t have smart floors or LCD walls, sensor grids in the ceilings or the Internet on our fridge. We are almost all, however, carrying a pocket device that connects at some level to the network. The flood of smartphones only increases their capabilities.

We are already at a point where the ratio of professionals to computers is 1:2. A laptop and a smartphone are standard equipment in our society. With the advent of the tablet, we may be moving towards or beyond three computers per person.

The fact of the matter, though, is that this ubiquity of computing devices is not reflected in most schools.

via Fraser Speirs – A Supercomputer in Every Backpack. Same problem I’ve been thinking about for a long time, our education system is built for the jobs of the past not the jobs of the future.

21 Apr

BBC News – Jihadists use mobiles as propaganda tools

Islamic militants have developed sophisticated ways of spreading propaganda via mobile, a study suggests.

Researchers found jihadists were compiling packages of information designed to be received on smartphones.

They contained copies of videos, songs, speeches and images that followers are encouraged to pass on.

Some were using Bluetooth short-range radio technology to anonymously spread information to potential supporters.

The study was led by German researcher Nico Prucha who has spent seven years cataloguing the materials put online by Jihadists.

Mr Prucha said that without technologies such as the web and mobile phones, al-Qaeda may well have withered a long time ago.

"It’s the only way for them to remain part of the debate," he said. "Without it they would be isolated like they were in the 1980s."

Mr Prucha said that before the rise of the internet it was difficult for those interested in al-Qaeda or other militant groups to find information.

via BBC News – Jihadists use mobiles as propaganda tools. What a stupid article, if it was the 1980’s we would all be as isolated as if it was the 1980’s. Any technology can be just as equally used by terrorists or criminals, in the same manner as we use it.

13 Feb

Miller-McCune – Book Banners Finding Power in Numbers

"The fact people say AP high school students shouldn’t be reading Beloved, or Bookseller of Kabul, what I fear this indicates is that these are people who believe no one should be reading these books," Bertin says. “In their view, these books are the product of a corrupt and immoral society, and they don’t want to have anything to do with it.”

There is, of course, a fine line being danced around here. What’s appropriate for one student might not be for another of the same age. Librarians, teachers and parents can help make these determinations, but, Caldwell-Stone says, "it shouldn’t be one parent deciding what’s appropriate for every 12-year-old. This is a pluralistic society, not everyone shares the same values, and publicly funded schools and libraries have to serve the public."

via Miller-McCune – Book Banners Finding Power in Numbers. Banning a book or in reality knowledge has to be one of the worst decisions any person could make.

01 Dec

CNET News – Congressman wants WikiLeaks listed as terrorist org

The incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says WikiLeaks should be officially designated as a terrorist organization.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the panel’s next head, asked the Obama administration today to "determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a foreign terrorist organization," putting the group in the same company as Al Qaeda and Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese cult that released deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway.

via CNET News – Congressman wants WikiLeaks listed as terrorist org. Perhaps more interesting is what Wikipedia’s Co-Founder had to say.

@wikileaks Speaking as Wikipedia’s co-founder, I consider you enemies of the U.S.–not just the government, but the people.

Sarah Palin of course also had to speak up, but proved she doesn’t have a clue about international law, copyright and secrecy laws.

Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book “America by Heart” from being leaked,but US Govt can’t stop Wikileaks’ treasonous act?

In short everybody has a reaction, overall mine is Wikileaks is a valuable service, in no way is it a terrorist organization. It’s goal does not appear to be sheer destruction of governments or organizations or even chaos of those same instutions. It is an organization driven to do one thing publish information that otherwise might not be exposed to the public.

21 Oct

Seth’s Blog – Deliberately uninformed, relentlessly so [a rant]

Let’s assert for the moment that you get paid to create, manipulate or spread ideas. That you don’t get paid to lift bricks or hammer steel. If you’re in the idea business, what’s going to improve your career, get you a better job, more respect or a happier day? Forgive me for suggesting (to those not curious enough to read this blog and others) that it might be reading blogs, books or even watching TED talks.

As for the deliberately uninformed, we can ignore them or we can reach out to them and hopefully start a pattern of people thinking for themselves…

via Seth’s Blog – Deliberately uninformed, relentlessly so [a rant]. That’s part of my reasoning behind this whole site, people thinking for themselves.

25 Apr

Riders on the Storm – NYTimes.com

But the core finding is that most Internet users do not stay within their communities. Most people spend a lot of time on a few giant sites with politically integrated audiences, like Yahoo News.

via Riders on the Storm – NYTimes.com. Interesting one study finds that the idea of people avoiding web sites that differ from their own point of view isn’t so true. However this is hard to rationalize with my thoughts of most people that I know. It’s far more likely the ideologues only visit a few sites and most everyone else floats from site to site as the study suggests.

25 Apr

Greater Transparency Around Government Requests – Official Google Blog

We are today launching a new Government Requests tool to give people information about the requests for user data or content removal we receive from government agencies around the world. For this launch, we are using data from July-December, 2009, and we plan to update the data in 6-month increments.

via Greater Transparency Around Government Requests – Official Google Blog. Interestingly Brazil is the number one in both data requests (3663) and removal requests (291), the US is #4 in removal requests (123) and #2 in data requests (3580). China is not listed as any requests are considered state secrets, by the Chinese government.

28 Mar

Reputation Is Dead: It’s Time To Overlook Our Indiscretions – Techcrunch

We’re going to be forced to adjust as a society. I firmly believe that we will simply become much more accepting of indiscretions over time. Employers just won’t care that ridiculous drunk college pictures pop up about you when they do a HR background search on you.

via Reputation Is Dead: It’s Time To Overlook Our Indiscretions. The future of information leads to two things either we all stop caring about minor indiscretions or we hide everything. Arrington’s hope for the future of information on people is my hope as well.