Archive for May, 2005

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.