Ramblings & ephemera

What happens to IP when it’s easy to copy anything?

From Bruce Sterling’s “2009 Will Be a Year of Panic” (Seed: 29 January 2009): Let’s consider seven other massive reservoirs of potential popular dread. Any one of these could erupt, shattering the fragile social compact we maintain with one another in order to believe things contrary to fact. … 2. Intellectual property. More specifically, the […]

Give CLEAR your info, watch CLEAR lose your info

From “Missing SFO Laptop With Sensitive Data Found” (CBS5: 5 August 2008): The company that runs a fast-pass security prescreening program at San Francisco International Airport said Tuesday that it found a laptop containing the personal information of 33,000 people more than a week after it apparently went missing. The Transportation Security Administration announced late […]

How ARP works

From Chris Sanders’ “Packet School 201 – Part 1 (ARP)” (Completely Full of I.T.: 23 December 2007): The basic idea behind ARP is for a machine to broadcast its IP address and MAC address to all of the clients in its broadcast domain in order to find out the IP address associated with a particular […]

ODF compared & constrasted with OOXML

From Sam Hiser’s “Achieving Openness: A Closer Look at ODF and OOXML” (ONLamp.com: 14 June 2007): An open, XML-based standard for displaying and storing data files (text documents, spreadsheets, and presentations) offers a new and promising approach to data storage and document exchange among office applications. A comparison of the two XML-based formats–OpenDocument Format (“ODF”) […]

The future of security

From Bruce Schneier’s “Security in Ten Years” (Crypto-Gram: 15 December 2007): Bruce Schneier: … The nature of the attacks will be different: the targets, tactics and results. Security is both a trade-off and an arms race, a balance between attacker and defender, and changes in technology upset that balance. Technology might make one particular tactic […]

My new book – Google Apps Deciphered – is out!

I’m really proud to announce that my 5th book is now out & available for purchase: Google Apps Deciphered: Compute in the Cloud to Streamline Your Desktop. My other books include: Don’t Click on the Blue E!: Switching to Firefox Hacking Knoppix Linux Phrasebook Podcasting with Audacity: Creating a Podcast With Free Audio Software (I’ve […]

A single medium, with a single search engine, & a single info source

From Nicholas Carr’s “All hail the information triumvirate!” (Rough Type: 22 January 2009): Today, another year having passed, I did the searches [on Google] again. And guess what: World War II: #1 Israel: #1 George Washington: #1 Genome: #1 Agriculture: #1 Herman Melville: #1 Internet: #1 Magna Carta: #1 Evolution: #1 Epilepsy: #1 Yes, it’s […]

A definition of cloud computing

From Darryl K. Taft’s “Predictions for the Cloud in 2009” (eWeek: 29 December 2008): [Peter] Coffee, who is now director of platform research at Salesforce.com, said, “I’m currently using a simple reference model for what a ‘cloud computing’ initiative should try to provide. I’m borrowing from the famous Zero-One-Infinity rule, canonically defined in The Jargon […]

DIY genetic engineering

From Marcus Wohlsen’s “Amateurs are trying genetic engineering at home” (AP: 25 December 2008): Now, tinkerers are working at home with the basic building blocks of life itself. Using homemade lab equipment and the wealth of scientific knowledge available online, these hobbyists are trying to create new life forms through genetic engineering — a field […]

Many layers of cloud computing, or just one?

From Nicholas Carr’s “Further musings on the network effect and the cloud” (Rough Type: 27 October 2008): I think O’Reilly did a nice job of identifying the different layers of the cloud computing business – infrastructure, development platform, applications – and I think he’s right that they’ll have different economic and competitive characteristics. One thing […]

Business models for software

From Brian D’s “The benefits of a monthly recurring revenue model in tough economic times” (37 Signals: 18 December 2008): At 37signals we sell our web-based products using the monthly subscription model. We also give people a 30-day free trial up front before we bill them for their first month. We think this model works […]

An analysis of Google’s technology, 2005

From Stephen E. Arnold’s The Google Legacy: How Google’s Internet Search is Transforming Application Software (Infonortics: September 2005): The figure Google’s Fusion: Hardware and Software Engineering shows that Google’s technology framework has two areas of activity. There is the software engineering effort that focuses on PageRank and other applications. Software engineering, as used here, means […]

Richard Stallman on proprietary software

From Richard Stallman’s “Transcript of Richard Stallman at the 4th international GPLv3 conference; 23rd August 2006” (FSF Europe: 23 August 2006): I hope to see all proprietary software wiped out. That’s what I aim for. That would be a World in which our freedom is respected. A proprietary program is a program that is not […]

Richard Stallman on the 4 freedoms

From Richard Stallman’s “Transcript of Richard Stallman at the 4th international GPLv3 conference; 23rd August 2006” (FSF Europe: 23 August 2006): Specifically, this refers to four essential freedoms, which are the definition of Free Software. Freedom zero is the freedom to run the program, as you wish, for any purpose. Freedom one is the freedom […]

The NSA and threats to privacy

From James Bamford’s “Big Brother Is Listening” (The Atlantic: April 2006): This legislation, the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, established the FISA court—made up of eleven judges handpicked by the chief justice of the United States—as a secret part of the federal judiciary. The court’s job is to decide whether to grant warrants requested by […]

George Clinton and the sample troll

From Tim Wu’s “On Copyright’s Authorship Policy” (Internet Archive: 2007): On May 4, 2001, a one-man corporation named Bridgeport Music, Inc. launched over 500 counts of copyright infringement against more than 800 different artists and labels.1 Bridgeport Music has no employees, and other than copyrights, no reported assets.2 Technically, Bridgeport is a “catalogue company.” Others […]

Steve Jobs has changed 4 industries

From Tom Junod’s “Steve Jobs and the Portal to the Invisible” (Esquire: 29 September 2008): … Jobs has changed three industries forever — personal computing with the Apple II, music with the iPod and iTunes, and movies with Pixar — and is on the verge of changing a fourth with the iPhone …

Microsoft’s programmers, evaluated by an engineer

From John Wharton’s “The Origins of DOS” (Microprocessor Report: 3 October 1994): In August of 1981, soon after Microsoft had acquired full rights to 86-DOS, Bill Gates visited Santa Clara in an effort to persuade Intel to abandon a joint development project with DRI and endorse MS-DOS instead. It was I – the Intel applications […]

The life cycle of a botnet client

From Chapter 2: Botnets Overview of Craig A. Schiller’s Botnets: The Killer Web App (Syngress: 2007): What makes a botnet a botnet? In particular, how do you distinguish a botnet client from just another hacker break-in? First, the clients in a botnet must be able to take actions on the client without the hacker having […]

Cheating, security, & theft in virtual worlds and online games

From Federico Biancuzzi’s interview with security researchers Greg Hoglund & Gary McGraw, authors of Exploiting Online Games, in “Real Flaws in Virtual Worlds” (SecurityFocus: 20 December 2007): The more I dug into online game security, the more interesting things became. There are multiple threads intersecting in our book: hackers who cheat in online games and […]