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The President Calls for Help

Apparently Barak Obama, the President of the USA, has asked the Tech World for help. The President has asked for the “best ideas about how to clamp down on rogue Web sites and other criminals who make money off the creative efforts of American artists and rights holders.” This comes after the dramatic backdown  by the supporters of the SOPA and PIPA [^] – proposed legislation to restrict the freedom and openness of the internet.

As Nat Torkington points out perhaps the problem isn’t one of fighting the challenges to intellectual property rights [^]. It’s a case of rights-holders – large film studios, record labels, and publishers – failing to adapt to a changing technological world. Every other industry has had to move with the times – why not publishers? It’s time to stop praying for a sign and start living in the here and now.

The Presidents Challenge

Your customers are demanding changing, they want electronic copies of your goods and for the most part they are willing to pay for them. As Jonathan Coulton says “Make good stuff, then make it easy for people to buy it [^]” should be your anti-piracy plan. Sure there will always be pirates, but they will be there no matter how hard you make if for them; some just enjoy the challenge!

Ye Olde Internet Browsers

In Before Netscape: the forgotten Web browsers of the early 1990s [^] Matthew Lasar at ArsTechnica takes us back to that time to those early days and shows us how far we have come in the 18 years since Netscape’s Mosaic launched.

Before Internet Explorer, even before Netscape, there was a whole ecosystem of different browsers that were evolving. This was back in the early 1990s when the concept of the publicly accessible internet, the information superhighway, was just beginning to catching on.

Pundits were still trying to tell us that this new thing was just a passing fad and it would never catch-on, it was just too complicated. But new browsers seemed were springing up all over the place. Some of them were even able to show in-line image, rather than having to open them in new windows, then came sound and video.

ArsTechnica - Before Netscape the forgotten browsers

9 Ideas of About the Internet

The Internet is one of those things that we take for granted. We do not even consider how this apparently limitless supply of information and distractions reaches our computers. Fifteen years ago a dial-up was a marvel, now we have broadband and wireless internet; and we expect it.

A funny thing happened to us on the way to the future. The internet went from being something exotic to being boring utility, like mains electricity or running water – and we never really noticed.
John Naughton: “The internet: Everything you ever need to know[^]

John Naughton in The Observer explains 9 key things about the internet that everyone should know. From the difference between web and the net, to the internet’s ability to disrupt technology, existing business models, and even laws, and the long-term effects of any revolution. This should be compulsory reading for anyone who expresses an opinion about the internet.

Internet things to know

Internet Cables

Trans-Atlantic Cable

The Daily Mail has an interesting feature on the latest fibre optic cable [^] linking the UK and the USA.

The cable travels 3,800 miles underwater, carries 10,000 volts and is capable of covering the internet needs of 20 million people transmitting 3.2terabits of data per second! The article also has a look at the anatomy of an undersea cable, the business of repairing undersea cables and the predicted UK internet crisis of 2014. It helps you to realise how fragile and flexible the internet really is.

Image: MailOnline

A Technical View of the Filter

Gizmodo has a look at the proposed compulsory Australian Internet Filter [^] proposed by the Federal Government. The article has a look at how filtering systems work – either by IP address, domain name or specific pages. The story is a good primer on the mechanics of web filtering, and interestingly it includes a brief description of how these filters can be easily by-passed.

fight the filter

All of this without even discussing the ramifications of the black-list being secret. Tied to this is the fact that there are already falsely blocked sites [^] on the list without a process being in place for a review.

One Gizmodo commenter points out that the education sector has plenty of experience in filtering, with little success,  but no-one from that area has been consulted. The education sector is one group with a high degree of control over physical security, the ability to lockdown the operating system and access rights, and a supposedly “inexperienced” user-base up against trained professionals. How can the Government hope to improve on this set of circumstances?

With an election pending and the obvious technical difficulties the filter has been deferred [^] for a year.