Just some stuffPosted: November 28, 2012
One of the best pieces I have read in recent years from Eben Moglun of the Software Freedom Law Center, examining security in the cloud and what it means for web2.0. Its a transcript of a talk given in 2010 (hence the mention of 2.0 which has been out of vogue for a while now) but worth it for his potted history of the origins of the construction of today’s consumer facing computing infrastructure. He shows how the whole client/server structure was a bastardisation of original intentions and what it has meant for us as customers. Doc Searl’s brandishes a similar war-cry describing it in terms of relationships as calf/cow.
This piece from the Economist does a great job of explaining why closed source is a significant problem and something that we should all gain a small level of understanding about. Describing the fact (which is obvious once mentioned, but until mentioned simply not on the radar) that all medical mechanical implants are built from both software and hardware the article then goes further and shows that there are no circumstances whereby you could get to look at that code. Moreover, and considerably more worrying, there are NO significant safety checks required under law to ensure the safety of this code. Add in the fact that many of these devices have wireless functionality and the whole security aspect of open vs closed becomes somewhat pertinent. The most simple method of hurting someone who is in medical need of one of these devices? Just run the battery down with repeated calls to the wireless communication functions. This youtube link covers the same ground and is superb.
Here is a great AMA from reddit. If you’re not familiar AMA stands for ask me anything. The individuals being asked questions are often famous people, but often they are ordinary people who have done extraordinary things. This is one such. Its a 97 year American who worked at NASA through Apollo missions 1 to 14, his grandson is transcribing his answers. Just pure gold, this man has led a great life. A tip for making it easy to read. Scan and scroll down looking for the name Methusela1915, which will also be the only name on a small blue background, it stands out nicely. These are his answers, the specific questions will be just above. Scanning the thread like this allows you to avoid the fluff from well meaning people who are simply saying hello or expressing their gratitude and amazement. I have linked the whole thread and also one of a specific question he answered, just because its such a great story.
Here’s a toy. We’ve all seen these kind of things that enable a very quick, but surprisingly cogent construction of a piece of music that requires literally no talent beyond working the interface of our computers. This is a great example of the market adjustment required in some areas of the creative industries. This shows how easy it is to make music today. Now, whereas no-one is making a hit using this toy it is easy to understand that a few technical jumps forward and the talent required to create music today is not what it was 20 years ago. Are there still great talents using all this modern tech to make great music, hell yes. Does that mean that every passable 15 year olds attempts should guarantee a functional income…hell no.
Here is a wonderful thing. Bill Gates has purchased the Feynman lectures, prepared and annotated them and made them available for free. Yes for FREE. Feynman was a wonderful man, a huge character and frontiersman in theoretical physics much loved by many. His life was a joy and the mark of the man is that he published books, not only about physics but also about his life, that have converted people to consider his contributions to science purely as a result of a fascination with his personality.