Technology

SSSCA Down for the Count?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports:

Senate Commerce Committee hearings relating to the Security Systems Standards and Certification Act (SSSCA), originally set for October 25, have been postponed in the face of mounting opposition from the technology community.

The SSSCA would require that all future digital technologies include federally-mandated \"digital rights management\" (DRM) technologies that will enable Hollywood to restrict how consumers can use digital content. Response to the draft bill, which was authored by Senator Fritz Hollings (D-SC), has been largely negative. EFF announced its opposition to the bill several weeks ago and encouraged its members to express their concerns to Senator Hollings. IBM, Intel, Microsoft, and others have since announced their opposition, as well.

Senator Hollings has not re-scheduled the hearings, and has indicated that he would consider modifying the bill.

Music Labels Target CD Ripping

jen writes \"N\'Sync\'s new CD can\'t be played or copied onto PCs.
While I\'m not necessarily crying about not being able to listen to N\'Sync at work [I am! says Blake], if I can make mix tapes, why not mix CDs?
\"Labels are reluctant to talk about their copy protection plans for fear consumers will be annoyed with any new restrictions. However, they\'re
already experimenting with copy-protection technology. \"

Full PCworld.com Story \"

A New Approach to Filtering

From Phil Agre of Red Rock Eater Digest fame:

Community Web filtering seems like a good idea, and it\'s time to explore automated tools to support it. In this article I will suggest a design for a Web-based filtering tool. I cannot participate in building such a tool, but I would be happy to try out any prototypes
that others might construct. I have established a discussion list for people who might be interested in working on a tool . . .

Here, then, is my proposed design. I am sure that people who design Web-based services for a living can do better, but I also hope that any designers will listen to my rationales, which are based on years of experience running a community Web filtering service by hand.

The \"webfilter\", as I\'ll call it, is a cross between a discussion list, a weblog, and a bookmark file. It is not just a weblog, since it includes numerous functionalities to deal with long lists of URL\'s. Nor is it just a discussion list, since the goal is to produce a
reasonably clean and orderly presentation of the URL\'s. Nor is it just a bookmark file, because of its community nature . . .

More with thanks to wood s lot

On Digital Library Standards: From Yours and Mine to Ours

From the new issue of CLIR Issues:

If you ask people in research libraries to identify the most significant digital library challenge facing them, it is likely that most will respond with the same answer: the absence of standards. These people are not referring to the formal standards emerging from the International Standards Organization (ISO) or the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Such standards are plentiful. Instead, they are bemoaning the lack of a consensus about when and how to apply those formal standards in a digital library.

More with thanks to the Scholarly Electronic Publishing Weblog.

National Library of Scotland to close science reading room

Charles Davis writes \"The National Library of Scotland today announced plans to develop an
electronically-based general information service for scientific and business
researchers. As a consequence, the Library will close its specialist science
reading room and reduce its binding operations.
The full text of this press release is available
Here \"

Amazon Dumps Windows, Saves Millions with Linux

In a move that could potentially spell disaster for the folks at Microsoft, online retail giant, Amazon.com has dumped the Windows operating system for Linux. In all of its open sourceness, could Linux possibly become the new kinder, gentler wizard of OS? more...

NY Times Computers Shut Down by Apparent Hack Attack

From ZDNet,
First it was an Anthrax scare, now their network has apparently been hacked. Someone seems to be targeting the New York Times. According to the network administrator, \"We don\'t know that it was malicious, but there seems to be no innocent explanation.\" more...

The Challenges of D.I.Y. Circulation

From today\'s New York Times:

On a recent weekday evening, scores of work-weary people waited to check out materials at the Mid-Manhattan branch of the New York Public Library while, a few yards away, two self-service checkout machines stood idle.

Michael Dong of the Bronx approached one, but his attempt at do- it-yourself library clerking ended in an error message. \"Of all the times I\'ve tried it, it\'s worked once,\" said Mr. Dong of the machine as he abandoned it in exasperation.

He is not alone. For the past eight years, many libraries in the United States have invited people to step out of line and check out materials themselves. But library patrons have been less than enthusiastic about the devices, which have yet to live up to their manufacturers\' promise of becoming the book borrower\'s version of the automated teller.

More (registration required).

Tech Heavyweights Condemn SSSCA

The Security Systems Standards and Certification Act\'s prospects just got a bit dimmer:

After weeks of conference calls and quiet rallying of the troops, technology companies including Intel, IBM, Microsoft and Compaq Computer held a coming-out press conference Monday to oppose a broad copyright protection proposal being backed by Walt Disney and Sen. Ernest Hollings.

The plan has yet to be introduced as a bill, but it has been the source of intense debate since August, when drafts first began reaching the public. The technology companies\' event appeared to be aimed at pre-empting a Senate hearing on the issue scheduled for later this week.

\"This legislation would be an unwarranted intrusion by the government into the commercial marketplace,\" said Ken Kay, executive director of the Computer Systems Policy Project, a trade group that includes IBM, Intel, Dell Computer, Motorola and others as members. \"This would freeze technology...(and) force government to pick winners and losers.\"

More with thanks to Slashdot.

Internet Radios Aid Africa

Cavan McCarthy passed along This Interesting story from the BBC on Internet radios in Africa.

They have some kind of special radio connected to an adapter card in a Pentium computer, on the other end, the radio is connected to a detachable micro-dish receiver outside the window. It\'s currently operating in four countries - Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Ethiopia and is called Arid Lands Information Network - Eastern Africa (ALIN-EA)

I\'ve read about something similar here in the states on Slashdot.

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