Author Archive

Tech can never hide secrets – tech will always reveal secrets

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

I think the trend with technology is that it will always reveal information and not hide it. DeCSS is an example, a few small lines of c code which DVD Jon stored on his mobile got around the stupid protection on dvds. Not one DRM system has been found to be uncrackable. So it shouldn’t be too surprising that a PDF file containing a detailed U.S. military report on the killing of an Italian agent by U.S. troops was cracked.

Many lines in the report were blacked out to keep sensitive information censored. The guy who made the PDF was obviously clueless about making PDFs and an Italian student pretty much clicked a few buttons and the black was removed. This reminds me of a script a guy wrote recently which goes over a document with words blackened out. Using some clever algorithm he can still see partial letters and figure out what the words are and so he removes the censorship.

In my own experience with FOI documents in Ireland they are a little better at taking out data. They cover swathes of text with paper and then photocopy them. So instead of black lines you have giant white spaces. Much harder to decode. However they don’t do that with all documents and I have a significant amount with blacklines running through them. I should pass them through that declassifier script one of these days …

Happy Burfday Mr Winer

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

Dave wants a birthday present of a link so that he can go up the Technorati Top 100 list. There ya go. Now I have two more links to Dave in this post.

Firstly, the ads in RSS debate rages on and I’d recommend reading the comments. Right now, even after reading all the comments I’m not against ads in RSS if that’s how writers want to earn their bread and butter. If RSS becomes the main way people read your content and you need to make a living from your content then you need some way of supporting yourself. To me it’s an Occam’s Razor attitude. People are going to choose the easiest, most convenient way to generate income. If signing up to AdSense which will inject relevant ads into your RSS is the simplest route then that’s what people will go for. What are the alternatives to this and are they as simple ?

Secondly, Dave posted a summary of a West Wing story which was a few episodes before I stopped watching the West Wing. Having RTE show the series close to midnight on a thursday wasn’t the best way for me to get to see it. I might borrow a box set or two from a friend and watch it. I did love the idealism in that show.

Calling bloggers liars is not a good move

Monday, May 2nd, 2005

There’s a big bruhaha going at the moment over the Creative Commons joining up with a viral marketing company to promote the Creative Commons. Generating artifical word-of-mouth campaigns is not approved of by many of the CC supporters. Of course calling bloggers liars was not a good move. I thought All marketers are liars?

I posted a comment on Larry’s blog:

There seems to be an emerging consensus that the CC needs to better promote itself. I think the likes of BzzAgent and other marketing/pr companies should work with the Creative Commons people to design a campaign that involves all the supporters to increase awareness. This campaign needs to be transparent and supporters feedback should be listened to. In return these commercial companies get good PR for helping the Creative Commons but more importantly they get invaluable experience helping a worldwide campaign that is trying to make the world a better place.

The Creative Commons is a very important group when so much of this world and our creativity is strictly controled by corporations. It’d be nice if more and more people knew about the Creative Commons alternatives.

Channel 4 Spoof Political Ads

Sunday, May 1st, 2005

Brilliant. Channel 4 hired Lee Ford and Dan Brooks of Suicide Bomber in Volkswagen fame to make some fake political campaign ads for the British Election. They did 3 ads which are quite outrageous really. The link to the Labour one is broken now. EDIT: Kevin sent the right link.

When I was looking for blogger commentary on that I found Peter Parkes’ website who in another post pointed to an interview between Jeremy Paxman and Michael Howard where Paxman grilled Howard and asked him the same question 12 times. We need more Paxmans in this world and our own versions in Ireland too. Will they come from journalism degrees or from the ? Peter also linked to the Bush Childs Play ad which seems quite effective when it comes to making people think.

RTE should offer up their news archive under a Creative Commons licence and allow people to create their own remixes. Remix culture remix culture ReCulture Mix.

Remix Culture -> EFF -> Danny -> BBC

Saturday, April 30th, 2005

Via BoingBoing comes details of songs created from speech samples from George Bush. george Bush sings Imagine and Sunday Bloody Sunday. It’d be nice to see more of this in the arena as we get closer to the next Irish general election. Hopefully we’ll have our own EFI/EFF up and running by then as well as an Irish version of They Work for You. I’d happily donate a few hundred quid for something like that.

Speaking of EFF, Danny O’Brien is the new Activist Co-ordinator for the EFF. He’ll still be writing his Irish Times piece though and doing NTK.

And in RSS news The BBC is going all out RSS ka-razy after the general election. Pete Clifton, editor of the BBC News website gave a summary:
So in May we’ll be happy for outside websites to dip in and take our headlines. We’re also adding new feeds, like one with the most recently published stories, and still to come will be an RSS search telling you when reports have been published about particular topics you are interested in.

May sound a bit much to get your head around, but it’s the way ahead for lots of people. In March, we registered 16.5 million click-throughs to reports from RSS feeds, and our target is 10% of our traffic driven by RSS by the end of this year.

Come on RTE, get the party started !

[EDIT 11-11-05] Hello to BBC readers than came from this article.

Irish Blog War -IrishBlogs Removes Cloudlands

Friday, April 29th, 2005

UPDATE: John’s listing has been restored. Hooray !

Tension in the ? John Breslin was dumped from the IrishBlogs.ie listings. If this was more than an administrative oversight then I think I’ll be asking them to remove me from their listings too. This is a community of bloggers where the attitude should be inclusive not exclusive. The WikiPedia is the perfect example of an open and inclusive system. It’s become huge because it welcomes everyone. Adding and removing blogs from your listings because they do not fit your hidden criteria is a great disservice to the whole community. We are all Irish Blogs but are some IrishBlogs more Irish and Bloggy than others ?

Italian Coffin Chique

Thursday, April 28th, 2005

An Italian coffin maker markets itself with a sexy calendar This is the very interesting April photo:

april2005Calendar.jpg

I wonder what the new Pope will say ?

Le Trackback est Mort Vive le Something or other

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

Top Coates starts a conversation about trackback and whether it’s dead in the water. He states “I don’t think this problem can be solved by engaging in the arms race” and I have to agree that once you’re a spammer target you’re well and truly fucked. My activity logs for each day show I get absolutely pummeled by attempted spams from various bots. Even though I have comments and trackback turned off they still smack themselves off my server daily.

I do think though that comments and trackbacks have been very beneficial to starting and sustaining conversations and some better system is needed. Perhaps Tom’s post will bring Trackback Version 2.0 or something like this. I do find trackbacks are a marvellous thing. They’re an immediate way of letting the person you’re reading know that you’re sending them link karma for their latest post. We need to keep letting know they’re being read without having them resort to server logs and we need to let them know what we think of what they wrote too.

I don’t have comments or trackback enabled as I said above but I manage to see what the are saying about me via Planet of the Blogs and via a pubsub rss feed.

Ads in RSS – Google is doing this

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

John Battelle is reporting that Google is getting into injecting ads into RSS feeds. Dave Winer recently took Google to task on their lack of interest/support of RSS.

Dave said: “To this day Google doesn’t do anything interesting with RSS feeds. It can’t even display feeds in an intelligent way. Perhaps it’s NIH that’s keeping them from embracing RSS as their two main competitors have. Whatever it is, Yahoo is dashing in front, with Microsoft close behind.

Why isn’t Google in the race? To me it remains a mystery.”

I’ve noted before that GMail may be doing RSS integration but who isn’t at this stage in the game ? I would really like a way of searching for all the using Google and without resorting to doing a complicated filetype search.

Battelle has also shown some new forms of non-text ads from Google. Seems they are really putting pressure on the likes of DoubleClick and their ilk by offering traditional forms of webadvertising now. Heh “Traditional webadvertising”, we’re getting old.

Continuing the RSS and ads theme comes evidence that Slashdot is now displaying ads in their RSS feeds.

To finish off all my daily Google fetish comes news of a possible new way of getting rid of spam called TrustRank which uses a small seed set of “good” websites and trusts their links more and with some mathematical magic can dump all those spam sites. Handy.

Best Newspaper Frontpage Layout of the Day

Wednesday, April 27th, 2005

BushSaudi1.jpg

Via MetaFilter. The Editor of the Dallas Morning News was having a bit of fun.