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Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

EU Commission Set to Unveil New Anti-Piracy Action Plans | TorrentFreak - 0 views

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    # ! as if they weren't more important issues... # ! ... but let's let's 'The Plan'.. # ! "follow the money" is good... # ! ... and let the #culture #thrive... "The EU Commission will next week announce new strategies for dealing with online piracy and counterfeiting. These non-legislative measures will include an EU action plan aimed at fighting IP infringement, plus a strategy to protect and enforce IP rights in third countries. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the aim is to "follow the money"."
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    # ! as if they weren't more important issues... # ! ... but let's let's 'The Plan'.. "The EU Commission will next week announce new strategies for dealing with online piracy and counterfeiting. These non-legislative measures will include an EU action plan aimed at fighting IP infringement, plus a strategy to protect and enforce IP rights in third countries. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the aim is to "follow the money"."
Paul Merrell

How to Encrypt the Entire Web for Free - The Intercept - 0 views

  • If we’ve learned one thing from the Snowden revelations, it’s that what can be spied on will be spied on. Since the advent of what used to be known as the World Wide Web, it has been a relatively simple matter for network attackers—whether it’s the NSA, Chinese intelligence, your employer, your university, abusive partners, or teenage hackers on the same public WiFi as you—to spy on almost everything you do online. HTTPS, the technology that encrypts traffic between browsers and websites, fixes this problem—anyone listening in on that stream of data between you and, say, your Gmail window or bank’s web site would get nothing but useless random characters—but is woefully under-used. The ambitious new non-profit Let’s Encrypt aims to make the process of deploying HTTPS not only fast, simple, and free, but completely automatic. If it succeeds, the project will render vast regions of the internet invisible to prying eyes.
  • Encryption also prevents attackers from tampering with or impersonating legitimate websites. For example, the Chinese government censors specific pages on Wikipedia, the FBI impersonated The Seattle Times to get a suspect to click on a malicious link, and Verizon and AT&T injected tracking tokens into mobile traffic without user consent. HTTPS goes a long way in preventing these sorts of attacks. And of course there’s the NSA, which relies on the limited adoption of HTTPS to continue to spy on the entire internet with impunity. If companies want to do one thing to meaningfully protect their customers from surveillance, it should be enabling encryption on their websites by default.
  • Let’s Encrypt, which was announced this week but won’t be ready to use until the second quarter of 2015, describes itself as “a free, automated, and open certificate authority (CA), run for the public’s benefit.” It’s the product of years of work from engineers at Mozilla, Cisco, Akamai, Electronic Frontier Foundation, IdenTrust, and researchers at the University of Michigan. (Disclosure: I used to work for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and I was aware of Let’s Encrypt while it was being developed.) If Let’s Encrypt works as advertised, deploying HTTPS correctly and using all of the best practices will be one of the simplest parts of running a website. All it will take is running a command. Currently, HTTPS requires jumping through a variety of complicated hoops that certificate authorities insist on in order prove ownership of domain names. Let’s Encrypt automates this task in seconds, without requiring any human intervention, and at no cost.
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  • The benefits of using HTTPS are obvious when you think about protecting secret information you send over the internet, like passwords and credit card numbers. It also helps protect information like what you search for in Google, what articles you read, what prescription medicine you take, and messages you send to colleagues, friends, and family from being monitored by hackers or authorities. But there are less obvious benefits as well. Websites that don’t use HTTPS are vulnerable to “session hijacking,” where attackers can take over your account even if they don’t know your password. When you download software without encryption, sophisticated attackers can secretly replace the download with malware that hacks your computer as soon as you try installing it.
  • The transition to a fully encrypted web won’t be immediate. After Let’s Encrypt is available to the public in 2015, each website will have to actually use it to switch over. And major web hosting companies also need to hop on board for their customers to be able to take advantage of it. If hosting companies start work now to integrate Let’s Encrypt into their services, they could offer HTTPS hosting by default at no extra cost to all their customers by the time it launches.
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    Don't miss the video. And if you have a web site, urge your host service to begin preparing for Let's Encrypt. (Let's video on why it's good for them.)
Paul Merrell

U.S. military closer to making cyborgs a reality - CNNPolitics.com - 0 views

  • The U.S. military is spending millions on an advanced implant that would allow a human brain to communicate directly with computers.If it succeeds, cyborgs will be a reality.The Pentagon's research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), hopes the implant will allow humans to directly interface with computers, which could benefit people with aural and visual disabilities, such as veterans injured in combat.The goal of the proposed implant is to "open the channel between the human brain and modern electronics" according to DARPA's program manager, Phillip Alvelda.
  • DARPA sees the implant as providing a foundation for new therapies that could help people with deficits in sight or hearing by "feeding digital auditory or visual information into the brain."A spokesman for DARPA told CNN that the program is not intended for military applications.
  • But some experts see such an implant as having the potential for numerous applications, including military ones, in the field of wearable robotics -- which aims to augment and restore human performance.Conor Walsh, a professor of mechanical and biomedical engineering at Harvard University, told CNN that the implant would "change the game," adding that "in the future, wearable robotic devices will be controlled by implants."Walsh sees the potential for wearable robotic devices or exoskeletons in everything from helping a medical patient recover from a stroke to enhancing soldiers' capabilities in combat.The U.S. military is currently developing a battery-powered exoskeleton, the Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit, to provide superior protection from enemy fire and in-helmet technologies that boost the user's communications ability and vision.The suits' development is being overseen by U.S. Special Operations Command.In theory, the proposed neural implant would allow the military member operating the suit to more effectively control the armored exoskeleton while deployed in combat.
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  • In its announcement, DARPA acknowledged that an implant is still a long ways away, with breakthroughs in neuroscience, synthetic biology, low-power electronics, photonics and medical-device manufacturing needed before the device could be used.DARPA plans to recruit a diverse set of experts in an attempt to accelerate the project's development, according to its statement announcing the project.
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    Let's assume for the moment that DARPA's goal is realizable and brain implants for commuication with computers become common. How long will it take for FBI, NSA, et ilk to get legislation or a court order allowing them to conduct mass surveillance of people's brains? Not long, I suspect. 
Gary Edwards

When You're a WebKit Hammer, Everything Looks Like an Open Web Nail ... As it should! - 0 views

  • You’re still waiting for me to explain what I meant when I referred to JavaScript as a last resort. I hinted at it in the preceding paragraph. Not the part on JavaScript debugging, but my reference to CSS and HTML. These do a lot more than paint screens. They are a browser's client-side framework. Everything they do is handled as native code. In other words, they're fast. CSS3 and HTML5 are too inconsistently implemented (if at all) across browsers to design to unless you're specifically targeting Safari, iPhone, or other WebKit-based browsers.
    • Gary Edwards
       
      Tom makes the point that the use of AJAX JavaScript breaks Web interoperability. He further points out that HTML is a static layout language, where CSS is dynamic and adaptive. (Use HTML5/DOM for document structure, and CSS4 for presentation - layout, formatting and visual interface).

      It is the consistency of the WebKit document model across all WebKit browsers that makes for an interoperable Open Web future. I would not however discount the importance of Firefox and Opera embracing the WebKit document model (HTML5, CSS4, SVG/Canvas, JavaScript, DOM2). That's our guarantee that the future of the Open Web will actually be open.

      Tom goes on to suggest that instead of "AJAX", developers would be better off thinking in terms of "ACHJAX": Asynchronous CSS4 - HTML5 - JavaScript and XML ..... with the focus on getting as much done in CSS4 as possible.
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    InfoWorld's Tom Yager makes the case for the WebKit visual document model over AJAX. The problem with AJAX as he sees it is that it's JavaScript heavy. And that breaks precious Web interoperability. He makes the point that if something can be done in CSS, it should. He also argues that WebKit is the best tool because the document model is that of advanced HTML5 and CSS3.

    "... These [WebKit] browsers also share a stellar accelerated JavaScript interpreter that makes the edit/run/debug cycle go faster. They are also the only browsers that deliver on CSS4 and HTML5 standards (with some elements that are proposed to the W3C standards body). Sites that are visually rich may start sprouting "best viewed with Safari" banners until other browsers catch up. The banner would also let users know that your site is optimized for iPhone....."

    Humm. Did you catch that? CSS4!!! I guess he's referring to the WebKit penchant for putting advanced graphical transitions and animations into CSS instead of relying on a device specific or OS specific API.

    Placing the visual interface instructions in the documents presentation layer (CSS4) is a revolutionary idea. The WebKit model will go a long way towards creating a global interoperability layer that rides above lower device, OS, browser and application specifics. So yes, by all means see go with CSS4 :)

Gary Edwards

Official Google Webmaster Central Blog: Introducing Rich Snippets - 0 views

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    Google "Rich Snippets" is a new presentation of HTML snippets that applies Google's algorithms to highlight structured data embedded in web pages. Rich Snippets give end-users convenient summary information about their search results at a glance. Google is currently supporting a very limited subset of data about reviews and people. When searching for a product or service, users can easily see reviews and ratings, and when searching for a person, they'll get help distinguishing between people with the same name. It's a simple change to the display of search results, yet our experiments have shown that users find the new data valuable. For this to work though, both Web-masters and Web-workers have to annotate thier pages with structured data in a standard format. Google snippets supports microformats and RDFa. Existing Web data can be wrapped with some additional tags to accomplish this. Notice that Google avoids mention of RDF and the W3C's vision of a "Semantic Web" where Web objects are fully described in machine readable semantics. Over at the WHATWG group, where work on HTML5 continues, Google's Ian Hickson has been fighting RDFa and the Semantic Web in what looks to be an effort to protect the infamous Google algorithms. RDFa provides a means for Web-workers, knowledge-workers, line-of-business managers and document generating end-users to enrich their HTML+ with machine semantics. The idea being that the document experts creating Web content can best describe to search engine and content management machines the objects-of-information used. The google algorithms provide a proprietary semantics of this same content. The best solution to the tsunami of conten the Web has wrought would be to combine end-user semantic expertise with Google algorithms. see hope Google stays the RDFa course and comes around to recognize the full potential of organizing the world's information with the input of content providers. One thing the world desperatel
Paul Merrell

Legislative Cyber Threats: CISA's Not The Only One | Just Security - 0 views

  • If anyone in the United States Senate had any doubts that the proposed Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA) was universally hated by a range of civil society groups, a literal blizzard of faxes should’ve cleared up the issue by now. What’s not getting attention is a CISA “alternative” introduced last week by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va) and Susan Collins (R-Me). Dubbed the “FISMA Reform Act,” the authors make the following claims about the bill:  This legislation would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to operate intrusion detection and prevention capabilities on all federal agencies on the .gov domain. The bipartisan bill would also direct the Secretary of Homeland Security to conduct risk assessments of any network within the government domain. The bill would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to operate defensive countermeasures on these networks once a cyber threat has been detected. The legislation would strengthen and streamline the authority Congress gave to DHS last year to issue binding operational directives to federal agencies, especially to respond to substantial cyber security threats in emergency circumstances.
  • The bill would require the Office of Management and Budget to report to Congress annually on the extent to which OMB has exercised its existing authority to enforce government wide cyber security standards. On the surface, it actually sounds like a rational response to the disastrous OPM hack. Unfortunately, the Warner-Collins bill has some vague or problematic language and non-existent definitions that make it potentially just as dangerous for data security and privacy as CISA. The bill would allow the Secretary of Homeland Security to carry out cyber security activities “in conjunction with other agencies and the private sector” [for] “assessing and fostering the development of information security technologies and capabilities for use across multiple agencies.” While the phrase “information sharing” is not present in this subsection, “security technologies and capabilities” is more than broad — and vague — enough to allow it.
  • The bill would also allow the secretary to “acquire, intercept, retain, use, and disclose communications and other system traffic that are transiting to or from or stored on agency information systems and deploy countermeasures with regard to the communications and system traffic.”
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  • The bill also allows the head of a federal agency or department “to disclose to the Secretary or a private entity providing assistance to the Secretary…information traveling to or from or stored on an agency information system, notwithstanding any other law that would otherwise restrict or prevent agency heads from disclosing such information to the Secretary.” (Emphasis added.) So confidential, proprietary or other information otherwise precluded from disclosure under laws like HIPAA or the Privacy Act get waived if the Secretary of DHS or an agency head feel that your email needs to be shared with a government contracted outfit like the Hacking Team for analysis. And the bill explicitly provides for just this kind of cyber threat analysis outsourcing:
  • (3) PRIVATE ENTITIES. — The Secretary may enter into contracts or other agreements, or otherwise request and obtain the assistance of, private entities that provide electronic communication or information security services to acquire, intercept, retain, use, and disclose communications and other system traffic in accordance with this subsection. The bill further states that the content of your communications, will be retained only if the communication is associated with a known or reasonably suspected information security threat, and communications and system traffic will not be subject to the operation of a countermeasure unless associated with the threats. (Emphasis added.) “Reasonably suspected” is about as squishy a definition as one can find.
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    "The bill also allows the head of a federal agency or department "to disclose to the Secretary or a private entity providing assistance to the Secretary…information traveling to or from or stored on an agency information system, notwithstanding any other law that would otherwise restrict or prevent agency heads from disclosing such information to the Secretary."" Let's Let's: if your information is intercepted by the NSA and stored on its "information system" in Bluffdale, Utah, then it can be disclosed to the Secretary of DHS or any private entity providing him/her with assistance, "notwithstanding any other law that would otherwise restrict or prevent agency heads from disclosing such information to the Secretary." And if NSA just happens to be intercepting every digital bit of data generated or received in the entire world, including the U.S., then it's all in play, "notwithstanding any other law that would otherwise restrict or prevent agency heads from disclosing such information to the Secretary.". Sheesh! Our government voyeurs never stop trying to get more nude pix and videos to view.  
Paul Merrell

Smartphone innovation: Where we're going next (Smartphones Unlocked) | Dialed In - CNET Blogs - 0 views

  • With his shaggy, sandy blond hair and a 5-o'clock shadow, Mark Rolston, the creative director for Frog Design, has studied technology for the better part of two decades. As he sees it, smartphones are just about out of evolutionary advances. Sure, form factors and materials might alter as manufacturers grasp for differentiating design, but in terms of innovative leaps, Rolston says, "we're at the end of gross innovation for smartphones." That isn't to say smartphones are dead or obsolete. Just the contrary. As Rolston and other future thinkers who study the mobile space conclude, smartphones will become increasingly impactful in interacting with our surrounding world, but more as one smaller piece of a much large, interconnected puzzle abuzz with data transfer and information. We'll certainly see more crazy camera software and NFC features everywhere, but there's much, much more to look forward to besides.
  • You may have never given two thoughts to the sensors that come on you smartphone. They don't mind. They're still there anyway, computing data on your phone's movement and speed, rotation, and lighting conditions. These under-appreciated components -- the gyroscope, accelerometer, magnetometer, and so forth -- are starting to get more friends in the neighborhood. Samsung, for instance, slipped pressure, temperature, and humidity sniffers into the Galaxy S4. They may not be the sexiest feature in your phone, but in the future, sensors like accelerometers will be able to collect and report much more detailed information.
  • If you've made it here, you'll start seeing a general theme: in the forward-looking smartphone environment of our future, our devices are anything but isolated. Instead, smartphones will come with more components and communications tools to interact more than ever before with people and other devices. We already see some communication with Wi-Fi Direct, Bluetooth, and NFC communications protocols, plus newcomers like the Miracast standard. In short, the kind of innovation we see in the mobile space may have more to do with getting your smartphone to communicate with other computing devices in the ecosystem than it will have with how many megapixels or ultrapixels your camera lens possesses or what kind of leather was used to finish the chassis.
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  • An extension of the smartphone as medical device is what Ideo's Blakely terms "appcessories," a set of highly specialized peripheral software that fulfills very targeted needs, stuff that most people wouldn't want their everyday phone.
  • . Let's say you're in a bar or at a conference and you want to meet people, he says. Extremely precise sensors track exactly where you are indoors. Point the phone toward a person in the crowd and her pertinent information pops onto the screen: who she is, what she does, and maybe some backgrou
  • Into the coffee shop of tomorrow walks a techie of tomorrow. He or she is decked out in wearable tech from head to toe -- the Bluetooth earring or ear cuff tucked into a lobe; Google glasses beaming up maps and directions; a smartwatch that takes your vitals, deals with mobile payments, and serves as a console for the most important functions. Then there's the smartphone slipped into the pocket for more complicated tasks or to serve as a "big" screen, and the smart shoes that calculate distance, underfoot conditions, and analyze your gait. Your smartphone is still there, still essential for communicating with your environment, but it becomes only one device in a collection of other, even more personal or convenient gadgets, that solve some of the same sorts of problems in different or complimentary ways.
  • The scenario above isn't all that outlandish, especially given the rise of smartwatches, which still have a ways to go before becoming truly well-rounded devices. Crazy tech that interacts with your body has been in development for some time. To illustrate the point, Frog's Rolston brought a pair of Necomimi Brainwave Cat Ears to our interview. The fuzzy "ears," which have been on sale for about two years, sit atop a headband. A sensor protrudes from the band onto your forehead and a dangling clip closes the circuit when you attach it to your earlobe. The cat ears swivel and twitch in concert with your brain waves, a bizarre and surprisingly giddy sensation. Necomimi's contraption isn't particularly useful or flattering, but its brain-reading sensors underscore the kind of close, personal interaction that can occur when tech "talks." Paired with a smartphone app, what could this contraption share about our brains when we wake or sleep?
  • The point is this: smartphones aren't going anywhere. But instead of a focusing on the world within the phone's screen, the smartphone will be tuned more than ever before to the world around you.
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Linux Foundation's Deal With the Devil | FOSS Force [# ! Note] - 0 views

    • Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.
       
      # ! Too soon to start blaming the deal. It will be seen what goes on. Community will decide and, in case, perhaps we'll see a 'Fork for Freedom'... # ! Meanwhile, see wait to see if the deal respects the GPLv3... as Stallman/Moglen commented... http://techrights.org/2015/11/30/redhat-microsoft-patent-agreement-fsf-replies/
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    "Christine Hall Last week when Microsoft and the Linux Foundation separately announced a partnership that would see Redmond issuing a Linux certification called Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate Linux (MCSA), Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols felt the need to add the words "not a typo" to the headline of his coverage on ZDNet."
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    "Christine Hall Last week when Microsoft and the Linux Foundation separately announced a partnership that would see Redmond issuing a Linux certification called Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate Linux (MCSA), Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols felt the need to add the words "not a typo" to the headline of his coverage on ZDNet."
Gary Edwards

What Oracle Sees in Sun Microsystems | NewsFactor Network - 0 views

  • Citigroup's Thill estimates Oracle could cut between 40 percent and 70 percent of Sun's roughly 33,000 employees. Excluding restructuring costs, Oracle expects Sun to add $1.5 billion in profit during the first year after the acquisition closes this summer, and another $2 billion the following year. Oracle executives declined to say how many jobs would be eliminated.
  • Citigroup's Thill estimates Oracle could cut between 40 percent and 70 percent of Sun's roughly 33,000 employees. Excluding restructuring costs, Oracle expects Sun to add $1.5 billion in profit during the first year after the acquisition closes this summer, and another $2 billion the following year. Oracle executives declined to say how many jobs would be eliminated.
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    Good article from Aaron Ricadela. The focus is on Java, Sun's hardware-Server business, and Oracle's business objectives. No mention of OpenOffice or ODf though. There is however an interesting quote from IBM regarding the battle between Java and Microsoft .NET. Also, no mention of a OpenOffice-Java Foundation that would truly open source these technologies.

    When we were involved with the Massachusetts Pilot Study and ODF Plug-in proposals, IBM and Oracle lead the effort to open source the da Vinci plug-in. They put together a group of vendors known as "the benefactors", with the objective of completing work on da Vinci while forming a patent pool - open source foundation for all OpenOffice and da Vinci source. This idea was based on the Eclipse model.

    One of the more interesting ideas coming out of the IBM-Oracle led "benefactors", was the idea of breaking OpenOffice into components that could then be re-purposed by the Eclipse community of developers. The da Vinci plug-in was to be the integration bridge between Eclipse and the Microsoft Office productivity environment. Very cool. And no doubt IBM and Oracle were in synch on this in 2006. The problem was that they couldn't convince Sun to go along with the plan.

    Sun of course owned both Java and OpenOffice, and thought they could build a better ODF plug-in for OpenOffice (and own that too). A year later, Sun actually did produce an ODF plug-in for MSOffice. It was sent to Massachusetts on July 3rd, 2007, and tested against the same set of 150 critical documents da Vinci had to successfully convert without breaking. The next day, July 4th, Massachusetts announced their decision that they would approve the use of both ODF and OOXML! The much hoped for exclusive ODF requirement failed in Massachusetts exactly because Sun insisted on their way or the highway.

    Let's hope Oracle can right the ship and get OpenOffice-ODF-Java back on track.

    "......To gain
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Studios Fed Up With Funding The MPAA: Changes May Be Coming | Techdirt - 0 views

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    "from the about-time dept A few years ago, the major record labels finally started to realize that, perhaps, shoveling many millions of dollars to the RIAA was a waste of good money, and they severely cut back funds. You may have noticed that, while the RIAA had taken the lead on the copyright front in the first decade of the new century"
Gonzalo San Gil, PhD.

Just in time for the Holidays: UN Approves Privacy Resolution in Major Victory for Human RightsBlog | Access - 1 views

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    [10:21am | 19 December 2014 | by Deji Olukotun, Peter Micek] "The UN General Assembly formally approved a major resolution on the right to privacy yesterday, by consensus. The resolution spotlights the privacy violations that are enabled by advances in technology, overbearing government surveillance, and corporate complicity. "
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    [10:21am | 19 December 2014 | by Deji Olukotun, Peter Micek] "The UN General Assembly formally approved a major resolution on the right to privacy yesterday, by consensus. The resolution spotlights the privacy violations that are enabled by advances in technology, overbearing government surveillance, and corporate complicity. "
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