Snoop Software Gains Power and Raises Privacy Concerns

Steve Fesenmaier sent over A NY Times Piece on snoopware.
Makers of "snoopware" — as opposed to the software known as "spyware" that many businesses use to monitor the activities of Web site visitors and to send them pop-up ads — enthusiastically pitch their products' ability to be installed remotely. They typically skirt the ethical and legal issues with fig-leaf disclaimers and check-off boxes where buyers promise not to violate the law.


Microsoft developing software to track child porn

Steffers writes "Stemming from an e-mail sent by a Canadian cop, Microsoft Canada is developing an open source software to assist police investigations of child pornography. The article makes me wonder what (if any) applications there would be to track "inappropriate web materials" in libraries? Not being a techie I don't know what to expect/think, what are the thoughts of the tech gurus out there?"


Open Source Software in Libraries: A Workshop

Eric Lease Morgan has created This Site is a part of a hands-on workshop for teaching people in libraries about open source software.
Given the linked texts, the accompanying set of software, and reasonable access to a (Unix) computer, the student should be able to read the essays, work through the exercises, and become familiar with open source software especially as it pertains to libraries. More specifically, the student will learn the ideas behind open source software, a bit of its history, and how it is similar and dissimilar to librarianship.


Opportunities for Open Source software in the publishing industry

NewsForge has an article, Opportunities for Open Source software in the publishing industry, that looks at how to apply open source tools in the many areas of publishing. Publishing -- by firms that produce newspapers, magazines, books of all kinds, and even corporate documents -- is a very well understood business where the leaders are firms who have cut costs to the absolute minimum and exist on very thin margins, thanks to intense competition from other publishers and other media, including, nowadays, the Internet.

"Open Source developers can also find lots of niche opportunities -- publishing is a huge and varied field, and these customers will listen to developers who can save them money. Where Gutenberg failed, an Open Source developer may well succeed."


Herodotus: A Peer-to-Peer Web Archival System

Ender, The Duke of URL spotted An Interesting MIT Paper [That's a PDF, Google has an HTML Cache As Well] that proposes the design and implementation of Herodotus, a peer-to-peer webarchival system. Like the Wayback Machine, a website that currently offers a web archive, Herodotus periodically crawls the world wide web and stores copies of all downloadedweb content. Unlike the Wayback Machine, Herodotus does not rely on a centralized serverfarm. Instead, many individual nodes spread out across the Internet collaboratively performthe task of crawling and storing the content. This allows a large group of people to con-tribute idle computer resources to jointly achieve the goal of creating an Internet archive. Herodotus uses replication to ensure the persistence of data as nodes join and leave. Herodotus is implemented on top of Chord, a distributed peer-to-peer lookup service. It is written in C++ on FreeBSD. Their analysis based on an estimated size of the World Wide Web shows that a set of 20,000 nodes would be required to archive the entire web, assuming that each node has atypical home broadband Internet connection and contributes 100 GB of storage.


RFID Moves into Public Library

The RFID story continues to get some good press.
Not suprisingly, the EFF Has Privacy Concerns. An AP Story looks at San Francisco Public Library's plans to track books by inserting computer chips into each tome. Another AP Article says a University of Pittsburgh electrical engineer has developed a "smart tag" that he says addresses consumer privacy advocates' concerns surrounding radio frequency identification tags, which are becoming the next generation of bar codes. The NYTimes has a good general look at applications for RFID tags.
The Wireless Data Research Group says it has found the market for RFID hardware, software and services will increase at a 23 percent CAGR from more than $1 billion in 2003 to $3 billion in 2007. Says Convenience Trumps Privacy, with an interesting projection:
"Tomorrow's RFID chips won't just spit out serial numbers; they will also carry data and myriad sensors, transforming inert objects into "smartifacts"—intelligent artifacts that interact with the surrounding environment. Add this all on top of today's search engine craze, and I'll bet we'll eventually have "IndexBots" running around the landscape hunting and cataloging every RFID chip they find."
There's already at least two "RFID solution designed to improve library operational efficiency".
Update: 10/05 18:44 EST by B:Glossary of RFID Terms offered up by Gary Price.


Wireless at O'Reilly

I found this new resource by accident at one of my favorite technical book publisher's website:

You can find lots of free information there as well as information from O'Reilly's great books.
Bill Drew

New Wireless Routers

"Plug the HotPoint wireless routers into wall outlets around your building. In about 2 minutes, the flat boxes power up, activate their Wi-Fi WLAN radios (either 802.11b or 802.11g), and automatically create a wireless mesh network. The mesh acts as a dynamic wireless backhaul: If a link goes down or becomes congested, the mesh automatically reroutes wireless traffic."

Voice over IP via WLANs

Voice Via WLANs on Horizon

September 29, 2003
By Carmen Nobel

With new products that support voice communication via WLANs, several companies are working toward the goal of having PDAs replace desktop phones.

Symbol Technologies Inc., which caters to vertical customers, has plans for several new devices that marry wireless LAN support with voice capabilities, according to officials at the Holtsville, N.Y., company.

The company plans to add voice support to several of its devices based on Microsoft Corp.'s Pocket PC operating system, as well as a product road map that includes Pocket PC devices designed to support voice over Wi-Fi, officials said.

Through channel partners, Symbol in December will start selling a software option called Voice Communicator that turns a handheld device, running Pocket PC, into a walkie-talkie.

The rest of the story

The Man Who Translates Alphabets to Computer Code

Steve Fesenmaier writes "For the World's A B C's, He Makes 1's and 0's [NY Times]. MICHAEL EVERSON, a 40-year-old typographer who lives in Dublin, considers himself blessed because he has found his life's work: to be an alphabetician to all the peoples of the world. Mr. Everson's largest project to date - a
contribution to a new version of Unicode 4.0, an international standard for computerizing text - is cementing his reputation.

"His mission has taken him to Kabul, Afghanistan, and Helsinki, Finland; to Beijing, Tokyo and Redmond, Wash. His Dublin
house is a shrine to his obsession with every writing system that humans are known to have created - 148 of which Mr. Everson
says he can use for writing his name. In the hallway is an icon of the saints Cyril and Methodius (Cyril is often credited with
inventing the Cyrillic alphabet) and a page from a Maghreb manuscript from North Africa."



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