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  (High Tech Developments)

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Current Topic: High Tech Developments

Web 2.0 is Sharecropping
Topic: High Tech Developments 7:37 am EDT, Jun  6, 2011

Jesse Vincent:

Social computing is a good thing.

What's worrying is how the current generation of Internet technology has increasingly centralized control of just about everything into very few hands. What we've seen is essentially a return to a sharecropping model where users neither own their tools nor the computers those tools run on.


Unless there is some detail that I'm missing, this sounds positively Orwellian.

An exchange:

Moe: Think hard, and come up with a slogan that appeals to all the lazy slobs out there.
Homer: [moans] Can't someone else do it?
Moe: "Can't someone else do it?", that's perfect!
Homer: It is?
Moe: Yeah! Now get out there and spread that message to the people!

Straw Man:

Money for me, databases for you.

Libby Purves:

There is a thrill in switching off the mobile, taking the bus to somewhere without CCTV and paying cash for your tea. You and your innocence can spend an afternoon alone together, unseen by officialdom.

Samantha Power:

There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.

Web 2.0 is Sharecropping

The Age of the Informavore
Topic: High Tech Developments 8:31 am EST, Nov 19, 2009

Frank Schirrmacher:

We are apparently now in a situation where modern technology is changing the way people behave, people talk, people react, people think, and people remember. And you encounter this not only in a theoretical way, but when you meet people, when suddenly people start forgetting things, when suddenly people depend on their gadgets, and other stuff, to remember certain things. This is the beginning, it's just an experience. But if you think about it and you think about your own behavior, you suddenly realize that something fundamental is going on. There is one comment on Edge which I love, which is in Daniel Dennett's response to the 2007 annual question, in which he said that we have a population explosion of ideas, but not enough brains to cover them.


The fundamental ideological fallacy in our society is the idea that maximizing property rights makes people in general more wealthy. In fact, a society can achieve its greatest wealth potential by maximizing innovation, which is a different value than property rights and the two are not always aligned.

Cory Doctorow:

The Dude is the easiest way to share stuff with your friends and other contacts, and it's also a great way to meet people who think like you.

David Lynch:

So many things these days are made to look at later. Why not just have the experience and remember it?

David Clark, on "Delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age":

If the gathering, storage, and processing of information puts us all in the center of a digital panopticon, the failure to forget creates a panopticon crossbred with a time-travel machine. Victor Mayer-Schoenberger catalogs the range of social concerns that are arising as technology favors remembering over forgetting, and offers some approaches that might give forgetting a respected place in the digital world. Read this book. Don't forget about forgetting.

The Age of the Informavore

How Team of Geeks Cracked Spy Trade
Topic: High Tech Developments 8:12 am EDT, Sep  9, 2009

Siobhan Gorman:

In 2003, Peter Thiel, the billionaire founder of PayPal, pitched an idea to Alexander Karp: Could they build software that would uncover terror networks using the approach PayPal had devised to fight Russian cybercriminals?

Alexander Karp:

"We were very naive. We just thought this was a cool idea."

Mary Beth Long:

"It's a new way of war fighting."

Gorman again:

Karp and his colleagues make frequent trips to Palo Alto to make sure they don't lose "the vibe of the Shire."

Karp, in a recent conversation with Charlie Rose:

You know, terrorism is asymmetric. Asymmetry presupposes software ... and we thought that [the Paypal] approach would be effective in this context and would do two things. It would allow humans to find needles in haystacks, so make the data intelligible to you and me, which it's not, and by doing that, it would allow them to find bad people trying to destroy our society, and could be used also to protect civil liberties by making the data so transparent that it is very clear what the government is doing and how they are doing it, which is a particular passion of our company.

Paul Graham:

In most domains, talent is overrated compared to determination--partly because it makes a better story, partly because it gives onlookers an excuse for being lazy, and partly because after a while determination starts to look like talent.

The more willful you are, the more disciplined you have to be. The stronger your will, the less anyone will be able to argue with you except yourself. And someone has to argue with you ...

Sam Kean:

There's nothing crueler the gods can do to an artist than misalign his talents and passion.

Gary Wills:

The deeper you go into one thing, the more it connects you with other things.

How Team of Geeks Cracked Spy Trade

Smarter Than Your Average Bear
Topic: High Tech Developments 7:57 am EDT, Aug  3, 2009

Jamie Hogan:

I'm an engineer, and if one genius bear can do it, sooner or later there might be two genius bears.

Elizabeth Gilbert:

Instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius.

Two from the archive:

A black bear was found passed out at a campground in Washington state recently after guzzling down three dozen cans of a local beer, a campground worker said on Wednesday.

Homer: Not a bear in sight. The "Bear Patrol" is working like a charm!
Lisa: That's specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: [uncomprehendingly] Thanks, honey.

Smarter Than Your Average Bear

Data Center Overload
Topic: High Tech Developments 8:24 am EDT, Jun 11, 2009

Tom Vanderbilt:

Who and where was this invisible metropolis? What infrastructure was needed to create this city of ether?

Much of the daily material of our lives is now dematerialized and outsourced to a far-flung, unseen network.

The tilting CD tower gives way to the MP3-laden hard drive which itself yields to a service like Pandora, music that is always “there,” waiting to be heard.

But where is “there,” and what does it look like?

Have you read Vanderbilt's "Traffic"?

Ultimately, Traffic is about more than driving: it’s about human nature.

Data Center Overload

How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write
Topic: High Tech Developments 8:15 pm EDT, Apr 20, 2009

Steven Johnson:

The book's migration to the digital realm will not be a simple matter of trading ink for pixels, but will likely change the way we read, write and sell books in profound ways. It will make it easier for us to buy books, but at the same time make it easier to stop reading them. It will expand the universe of books at our fingertips, and transform the solitary act of reading into something far more social. It will give writers and publishers the chance to sell more obscure books, but it may well end up undermining some of the core attributes that we have associated with book reading for more than 500 years.

There is great promise and opportunity in the digital-books revolution. The question is: Will we recognize the book itself when that revolution has run its course?

Samantha Power:

There are great benefits to connectedness, but we haven't wrapped our minds around the costs.

Bruce Sterling:

"Poor folk love their cellphones!"

Have you seen Readernaut?

Share your reading experience by writing notes, tracking progress, and engaging in meaningful discussions with friends.

How the E-Book Will Change the Way We Read and Write

Lessons From the Identity Trail
Topic: High Tech Developments 8:40 am EDT, Apr 13, 2009

Ian Kerr, Valerie Steeves, and Carole Lucock:

During the past decade, rapid developments in information and communications technology have transformed key social, commercial, and political realities. Within that same time period, working at something less than Internet speed, much of the academic and policy debate arising from these new and emerging technologies has been fragmented. There have been few examples of interdisciplinary dialogue about the importance and impact of anonymity and privacy in a networked society. Lessons from the Identity Trail: Anonymity, Privacy and Identity in a Networked Society fills that gap, and examines key questions about anonymity, privacy, and identity in an environment that increasingly automates the collection of personal information and relies upon surveillance to promote private and public sector goals.

This book has been informed by the results of a multi-million dollar research project that has brought together a distinguished array of philosophers, ethicists, feminists, cognitive scientists, lawyers, cryptographers, engineers, policy analysts, government policy makers, and privacy experts. Working collaboratively over a four-year period and participating in an iterative process designed to maximize the potential for interdisciplinary discussion and feedback through a series of workshops and peer review, the authors have integrated crucial public policy themes with the most recent research outcomes.

Noam Cohen's friend:

Privacy is serious. It is serious the moment the data gets collected, not the moment it is released.

David Barrett:

A European Union directive will require all internet service providers to retain information on email traffic, visits to web sites and telephone calls made over the internet, for 12 months.

Lessons From the Identity Trail

How to exploit the SIP Digest Leak vulnerability
Topic: High Tech Developments 6:09 pm EDT, Apr  2, 2009

The SIP Digest Leak is a vulnerability that affects a large number of SIP Phones, including both hardware and software IP Phones as well as phone adapters (VoIP to analogue). The vulnerability allows leakage of the Digest authentication response, which is computed from the password. An offline password attack is then possible and can recover most passwords based on the challenge response.

By making use of which is included in VOIPPACK, one can automate the process of getting the phone to ring, obtaining a challenge response and performing a brute-force attack. In this tutorial we shall be looking at how this module makes the whole process an easy task.

From the archive:

In this Special Edition, I sat down with Cullen Jennings out at VoiceCon San Francisco in August 2007 to talk about SIP security.

How to exploit the SIP Digest Leak vulnerability

The genius behind Google’s web browser
Topic: High Tech Developments 7:42 am EDT, Mar 30, 2009

Rob Minto interviews Lars Bak:

"In the US, there is an aggressiveness, the extra level of belief in yourself that is needed. The European way is less aggressive. But in the US, you can get promoted and stay in touch with the technical side. In Europe, you turn into a paper manager. It’s hard to get your fingers dirty."

Programming can be a very solitary pursuit. Although Bak and Kasper Lund work in close collaboration, there is still a sense of isolation from the rest of the world. You write code, test it, refine it, write more, and just keep going until something works like you need it to. For Bak, it’s very simple, and very secluded. And then, for some reason, the rest of the world wants in – to know about you and your work.

Far away, so close:

"Being in the water alone, surfing, sharpens a particular kind of concentration, an ability to agree with the ocean, to react with a force that is larger than you are."

If Schnabel is a surfer in the sense of knowing how to skim existence for its wonders, he is also a surfer in the more challenging sense of wanting to see where something bigger than himself, or the unknown, will take him, even with the knowledge that he might not come back from the trip.

... What does a man need---really need? A few pounds of food each day, heat and shelter, six feet to lie down in---and some form of working activity that will yield a sense of accomplishment. That's all---in the material sense.

The genius behind Google’s web browser

Topic: High Tech Developments 7:56 am EDT, Mar 10, 2009

Timetric's here to help you make sense of data. If you think about it, most of the numbers we come across every day are things like temperatures, prices, rates, volumes: numbers which vary over time. That's what Timetric focuses on: graphing, tracking and comparing the movements of data over time.

From some time ago:

"You Westerners have your watches," the leader observed. "But we Taliban have time."


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