Published March 29, 2004
Thanks to Dan Gillmor for reminding me about the excellent Copyfght blog.
Here we’ll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development and technological innovation that creates–and will recreate–the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we’ll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.
And thanks to Copyfight for pointing out this interview in the Chicago Tribune with Larry Lessig and Ken Waagner, who “oversees all things online for the Chicago band Wilco.” (free registration required – why do all the newspaper sites require registration? what do they actually do with that information that is helpful to them?).
Waagner: I wouldn’t tell a band that I worked with at this point to sign to a major label ever, but I don’t think I have since 1987. I don’t really think that what you get out of it is really worth what goes into it and the headaches; there are so many variables.
I operate under the assumption, I always have, that unless you’ve sold 100,000 records independently, there’s no point in signing to a major. Because you have about a six-week window where people will pay attention to you at the label, and if you haven’t sold 100,000 records in that period, it’s a pretty good chance no one’s ever going to pay attention to you again.
The Internet provides you the opportunity to do what record companies don’t, which is artist development. It gives you the opportunity to spend a couple of years honing your craft.
Published March 23, 2004
Must be my day to ponder security topics… not usually my favorite realm.
I noticed that SixApart, makers of the popular MovableType and TypePad weblog softwares (truth-in-advertising: this blog uses MovableType) is touting their upcoming entry into providing authentication services, called TypeKey. The ostensible purpose of TypeKey is to be a free, open system providing a central identity that anyone can use to log in and post comments on blogs and other web sites. The idea is that this will cut down on comment spam in weblogs around the globe.
I was wondering how exactly they’re planning on verifying the identity of the users before granting them authentication credentials. For instance, can I claim to be Steve Jobs and then post comments all over? Or will I have to prove my identity?
And just when I was wondering about that came a posting in Jon Udell’s weblog about How to forge an S/MIME signature that takes Thawte to task for providing digital signing certificates with no proof of identity that enable just this kind of spoofing.
The bottom line- proof of digital identity is not something that is easily accomplished, especially outside the realm of formal organizations. That’s why we make students come in person to show picture identification before resetting their passwords on accounts which can be used for anything from email to direct-deposits on students loans.
Published March 23, 2004
A couple of years ago, we were wondering how the University of Washington could be sure that we’re not passing on sensitive or private data when we send computers or even just hard disks to be sold as surplus property. Josh Larios from our staff wrote a handy tool called Autoclave, which securely erases hard drives on Intel-based computers by performing multi-pass writes on all parts of the drive.
Simson Garfinkle has a new article about the kinds of data that can routinely be recovered from old hard disks and he mentions Autoclave prominently:
The best disk sanitizers come on a bootable floppy or CD-ROM. You insert the removable media into the computer to be wiped clean, boot the computer and verify your intentions to the program. It does the rest. Clearly, these programs can be dangerous in the hands of a disgruntled employee—one reason it’s always a good idea to restrict physical access to your most important systems. One disk sanitizer I’m particularly fond of is called Autoclave. You can download it from staff.washington.edu/jdlarios/autoclave, write it to a floppy and go to town.
Nice to know the good work that’s done here is appreciated!
Published March 22, 2004
Apple’s iTunes Music Store is featuring a new exclusive release of a live Dylan concert from 1964.
This recording, with 19 previously unreleased tracks, captures the 23-year-old Dylan at a transitional mometn in his career. The Philharmonic Hall concert came two months after the release of Another Side of Bob Dylan and shortly before he headed into the studio to embark on the experiment that would result in the electrified rock heard on Bringing It All Back Home (several songs from whcih were performed at this concert). This iTunes-exclusive album stands as the only official release of an all-acoustic Dylan concert.
Guess Sony is buying into Apple’s vision. Good new all around, except the $17.99 price – no wonder they’re buying in – keep the ridiculously high price for forty year old content and they don’t even have to manufacture or ship physical product – what more could a mega-corporation want?
Published March 22, 2004
Today I got the following comment, posted twice to an entry I wrote several months back about weblog spam proliferation:
A new comment has been posted on your blog Oren Sreebny's Weblog, on entry
#91 (spam in the weblog).
IP Address: 184.108.40.206
Email Address: email@example.com
When you go to the url listed, it shows the Apache Tomcat project homepage, indicating a succesful installation of Tomcat on that server.
What’s up with this?
Published March 17, 2004
Something about making a silk purse from a sow’s ear – a poem of quotes from GW Bush.
Published March 16, 2004
Taking a look at our spam filtering statistics for the University of Washington’s main email services, the percentage of our overall email that is spam fell to 36% in February. That is the first time since July of 2003 that it’s below 40%.
While it’s too early to know if this is a trend or an anomaly, it’s one of the few hopeful signs of late.
But before you get too happy, realize that this still means we processed around 10 *million* spam messages last month, out of 28 million total email messages.
Published March 10, 2004
Rafe Colburn pointed out this totally depressing but truly insightful article in Washington Monthly by Richard Florida on the economic ramifications of not fostering the creative forces in America. Well worth a read.
America must not only stop making dumb mistakes, like starting trade wars with Europe and China; it must also put in place new policies that enhance our creative economy. Here, too, neither party quite gets it. Most of the Democratic candidates for president have rightly sounded the alarm about rising college-tuition costs and offered ideas to expand college access. That’s well and good, but we need to think far, far bigger. Our research universities are immigrant magnets, the Ellis Islands of the 21st century. And, with the demand among our own citizens for elite education far outstripping the supply, we should embark on a massive university building spree, for which we will be paid back many-fold in future economic growth. Building some of these top-flight universities in struggling red-state regions might give their economies a shot at a better future and help bridge the growing political divide.
Published March 9, 2004
The rise of RSS as a new way of aggregating multiple sources of information continues unabated. Today, Chad Dickerson reports here that requests to InfoWorld’s Top News RSS feed have topped requests for the normal InfoWorld home page. OK – so it’s a geeky audience by definition, but still – probably a significant leading indicator.
During the business day, we track hour-to-hour performance (using a combination of shell scripts and Analog) and in any given hour, about 8 of our top 10 most requested files are RSS files. The actual numbers are proprietary, of course, but I can say that we have seen significant growth in overall RSS requests just in the past several weeks.
Published March 4, 2004
Like lots of other folks, I’m really enthused by the winners of the Creative Commons Moving Image Contest – short videos that explain the need for and value of the Creative Commons approach to using common licensing terms that allow for controlled reuse of intellectual property rather than relying on outdated and overly restrictive copyright law that is increasingly controlled by large corporate entertainment agendas.
To quote Edgar Varese by way of Frank Zappa, “The modern day composer refuses to die.”