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2010

Path to nowhere? I don’t get it either…

Link: Path to nowhere? I don’t get it either…: ""

I've seen Path , the new "un social" network (limit 50 friends) plugged by pundits and journalists. I tried it and just didn 't get it. Didn't know what it was for, who it was for, and why it was getting attention. So I am glad finally to come across a commentator who seems to agree with me… Check this post Path Adds 10-Second Video to its Anti-Social Network from Mashable!:

Ultimately, Path appears to value style over function with an overwrought and contrarian approach to social networking. For a service that intends to be deeply intimate in purpose, it’s an approach that so far feels cold and unwelcoming. Of course, it’s too soon to tell whether Path is destined for success or doomed for failure. The pedigree of its founders and investors assures us, however, that we will certainly hear a lot more from this startup in the year ahead.

Stuxnet apparently as effective as a military strike

Link: Stuxnet apparently as effective as a military strike: ""

Check out Stuxnet apparently as effective as a military strike(from Ars Technica:

"Damage from the Stuxnet virus has apparently set back the Iranian nuclear program by as much as two years, according to a German security expert talking to the Jerusalem Post. This makes the virus as effective as a military strike—but without loss of life or risk of full-blown war." (from:Stuxnet apparently as effective as a military strike)

Really fascinating.

Here's the Jerusalem Post article from which Ars Technica was reporting:“It is extremely difficult to clean up installations from Stuxnet, and we know that Iran is no good in IT [information technology] security, and they are just beginning to learn what this all means,” he said. “Just to get their systems running again they have to get rid of the virus, and this will take time, and then they need to replace the equipment, and they have to rebuild the centrifuges at Natanz and possibly buy a new turbine for Bushehr.” (from Stuxnet virus set back Iran’s nuclear program by 2 years)

Interesting article about Architecture of the Certificate Authority Trust Model

Link: Interesting article about Architecture of the Certificate Authority Trust Model: ""

Check out The Flawed Legal Architecture of the Certificate Authority Trust Model(from Freedom to Tinker:

"The bottom line is that the CA Trust Model's legal architecture inures to the benefit of no one. Neither website operators, certificate authorities, nor end-users can be sure of their rights or exposure. The Model's legal structure may therefore be just as troubling as its security vulnerabilities." (from:The Flawed Legal Architecture of the Certificate Authority Trust Model)

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Wikileaks, continued

Link: Wikileaks, continued: ""

I continue to be fascinated by this. Is WikiLeaks a good guy or a bad guy? I don't know how I feel yet, so I continue to read. Here are more articles that have impressed me:

From Jeremy Wagstaff's Loose Wire Blog:

"Asked why he chose to work with three major news outlets to release the Afghan data, he said it was the only way to get heard. He pointed out that he’d put out masses of interesting leaks on spending on the Afghan war previously and hardly a single journalist had picked it up.

Hence the — inspired — notion of creating a bit of noise around the material this time around. After all, any journalist can tell you the value of the material is less intrinsic than extrinsic: Who else is looking for it, who else has got it, and if so can we publish it before them." (from Loose Wire Blog)

Wikileaks

Link: Wikileaks: ""

Like many, I don't know yet whether I support or condemn the Wikileaks action that has been discussed and debated at length on all fora. You have to agree that it has yielded some interesting insights about the way the world works.

First of all: as far as a diplomat making snide comments about one world leader or another, big deal! I mean it's embarrassing (like someone hacking your email account or finding your personal diary) but certainly no one is surprised -- gossiping and show boating is human nature, yes?

A friend of mine who has been in the foreign service for a long time read the cables with gusto and said if nothing else, it shows that the US foreign service officials are smart and thoughtful and do an impressive and important job.

From that perspective he feels pride that the work that he's done in obscurity for years finally gets seen by his friends and colleagues who can now appreciate it for what it is.

Here are some more serious questions that occur to me:

  • If it is illegal for Wikileaks to publish cables that they received (from essentially a whistleblower in the Defense department) then why is it not equally illegal for the New York Times to publish them? Is it because the NYT is 'more reasonable' and will more likely do what the government wants them to do?

  • Think about having a thumb drive with 500,000 documents on it. What do you do with it? What's the point of making it available, even to someone with a 'need to know'? How do you make sense of it. Talk about trying to find a needle in a haystack. Chances are good that you won't. It brings up the importance of tools and systems to process, classify, summarize and in general make sense of it.

  • This leak appears to have been the work of a lone whistleblower. How is it even possible that a single person has access to such a huge collection of documents? Given the size of thumb drives (I just bought a 16Gig drive for under $30) keeping them from moving in and out of secure buildings is impossible. So the problem is access to the data, and ability to 'export it' at all.

Some final links if you are still with me. Look at this very interesting summary article in the New York Times, which comments on one of the questions I raise above:

"Mr. Packer is very much against the prosecution of WikiLeaks on grounds of treason because, he said, “discerning the legal difference between what WikiLeaks did and what news organizations do is difficult and would set a terrible precedent." (from The New York Times)

Look at this interesting post by David Weinberger, commenting on a fantastic article by Jeremy Wagstaff, who says:

"No, the problem that WikiLeaks unearths is that the most powerful nation on earth doesn’t seem to have any better way of working with all this information than anyone else. Each cable has some header material—who it’s intended for, who it’s by, and when it was written. Then there’s a line called TAGS, which, in true U.S. bureaucratic style doesn’t actually mean tags but “Traffic Analysis by Geography and Subject”—astate department system to organize and manage the cables. Many are two letter country or regional tags—US, AF, PK etc—while others are four letter subject tags—from AADP for Automated Data Processing to PREL for external political relations, or SMIG for immigration related terms." (from Jeremy Wagstaff: Data, Wikileaks and War")

You see, this Wikileaks question raises some important and tricky questions, and they are not all about who called who by what name.

Space Geeks: Fantastic slow motion video of Shuttle Launch

Link: Space Geeks: Fantastic slow motion video of Shuttle Launch: ""

I've always been a major space travel fan and geek. This video linked from Engadget incredibly had me glued to my seat for almost 40 minutes. Some fantastic super slow motion footage of the launch.

Note especially how the two narrators just love the shuttle and love their jobs. They can't get enough of it, even after having seen this stuff a million times over.

Do you need to keep your cell phone in a protective case?

Link: Do you need to keep your cell phone in a protective case?: ""

Check out this really interesting Pogue article in the New York Times: "Gorilla Glass, the Smartphone's Unsung Hero". Here's a tidbit:

“It’s the screen of every touchscreen phone, like the iPhone and Android phone, plus the iPad and iPod Touch. It’s an amazing story. Corning invented this stuff in the ’60s, but didn’t know what to do with it. Then a few years ago, someone showed a piece of it to Steve Jobs. The guy dropped a piece of the glass into a bag full of keys and shook it hard; it came out without a scratch on it! Jobs immediately seized on the idea of using it for his iPhone. Today, Apple buys practically all the Gorilla Glass that Corning can make. Apple is the world’s No. 1 consumer of it.” (from Pogue article in the New York Times: "Gorilla Glass, the Smartphone's Unsung Hero")

Followup: Upgraded my iPhone from 3GS to 4 for MINUS $40.00

Link: Followup: Upgraded my iPhone from 3GS to 4 for MINUS $40.00: ""

Following up from yesterday's post, in fact, I was able to get $300 for my mint condition iPhone 3GS on Craig's list, and was able to buy a new iPhone 4 from Radioshack for $260 after tax!

So, if you have an iPhone 3GS in good condition, and your AT&T contract is up, then you should upgrade to an iPhone 4 and make $40 in the process. Cool!