ModernityBlog

“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Technology

Wiki, Losing Contributors

with one comment

Saw this and thought it worth a read:

“Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that is written entirely by volunteers and allows anyone to edit its entries, is losing contributors, its founder complained Thursday.

Speaking with The Associated Press on the sidelines of the website’s annual conference, Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales said the nonprofit company that runs the site is scrambling to simplify editing procedures in an attempt to retain volunteers.

“We are not replenishing our ranks,” said Wales. “It is not a crisis, but I consider it to be important.”

Administrators of the Internet’s fifth most visited website are working to simplify the way users can contribute and edit material. “A lot of it is convoluted,” Wales said. “A lot of editorial guidelines … are impenetrable to new users.”

Wikipedia has more than 3 million entries but has been marred by subjective entries and pranks. Even so, Wikipedia cites studies that compare the website’s accuracy favorably to more conventional encyclopedias, while other studies give it lower marks.

Despite Wikipedia’s wide-reaching popularity, Wales said the typical profile of a contributor is “a 26-year-old geeky male” who moves on to other ventures, gets married and leaves the website. Other contributors leave because, 10 years after the website was launched, there are fewer new entries to add, he said. “

The comments at Slashdot are probably nearer the truth.

Written by modernityblog

06/08/2011 at 00:51

Twitter Vs. Unnamed Sportsman.

with 2 comments

Up front, I like Twitter, the ease of accessing masses of information appeals to me, plus the fact that the rich and powerful can’t exert their customary controls and are brought down to the ground by the free availability of Twitter, so the new court case against Twitter should prove very amusing.

Apparently, lawyers on behalf of a Premier league footballer have served an injunction on Twitter, Business Week reports:

“May 20 (Bloomberg) — Twitter Inc. and some of its users were sued by an entity known as “CTB” in London, according to a court filing.

While the document gave no details, CTB are the initials used by the court in a separate lawsuit to refer to an athlete who won an anonymity order banning the media from publishing stories about his alleged affair with a reality-television star.

The Twitter suit was filed May 18 at the High Court in London according to court records, and named as defendants the San Francisco-based company and “persons unknown responsible for the publication of information on the Twitter accounts” listed in confidential court documents.

A Twitter user on May 8 posted a series of messages claiming a number of U.K. celebrities had received so-called super-injunctions and made claims detailing the activities that the people had sought to keep out of the public eye.

Twitter didn’t respond to a messages seeking comment. Daniel Ingram-Fletcher, a spokesman for the law firm representing CTB, didn’t respond to a messages seeking comment.

The case is: CTB v. Twitter Inc., Persons Unknown, High Court of Justice (Queens Bench Division), HQ11X01814.”

I imagine within an hour or two we will know from tweets on Twitter who CTB is and what’s going on!

It all seems so self-defeating as it highlights these issues and people are naturally going to comment on them, on Twitter, again, leading to the Barbra Streisand effect.

I suppose lawyers love it, they will end up suing tens of thousands of people across the globe who use Twitter, or perhaps they will realise the futility of such actions? When will the legal profession, the rich and powerful finally catch up with technology?

(Hat tip: Index on Censorship)

Update 1: The Guardian has more.

Update 2: Heresy Corner posts on this topic:

“It’s not yet clear how Twitter will respond to the lawsuit. Their terms of service specify that “international users agree to comply with all local laws regarding online conduct and acceptable content”, but the most notorious of the Twitter accounts listing alleged injunctions (@InjunctionSuper, which posted details of six supposed cases on 8th May and then went quiet) has not been taken down. The company is based in the United States and has little to fear from the English courts – although any assets they have in this country might be vulnerable.

In the short term, however, two things are clear. It is impossible for Twitter to delete all references to the alleged affair from their website. It has long since gone viral. It had gone viral even before the @InjunctionSuper account was set up, which is one reason why (unlike David Allen Green) I don’t think there are good grounds for saying that the account was a deliberate leak by someone in the know. (At least, if there are such grounds they do not lie in the content of the Tweets themselves, but rather in the immediate and disproportionate attention they attracted.) Predictably, the main result of today’s news on Twitter itself has been the proliferation of the name Giggs. Twitter, as a company, is powerless to shut this one down.

Secondly, there are now so many thousand “persons unknown” that they cannot all be sued, or even identified (the more likely intention). And even if CTB’s lawyers were able to track them all down and serve them with injunctions, the self-defeating effect would be to confirm the facts. Suspicion would become actual knowledge.

So how can Twitter satisfy the demands of the English courts – assuming, that is, that CTB’s case is found to have merit? The obvious way would be to block Twitter from the UK, putting it permanently out of the reach of British judges. It could happen. Already some US-based news and gossip sites, including National Enquirer, are unviewable in Britain without use of a proxy server, so alarmed are the publishers by English libel law. If CTB’s case succeeds, or inspires other, Twitter’s bosses might begin to see such a course of action as preferable to fighting costly legal battles on foreign soil. “

Update 3: The Guardian explains the Streisand effect: Secrecy in the digital age.

Update 4: TechCrunch is perplexed by the British legal system and I don’t blame them:

“We’ve been watching the British legal system turn itself into knots for the last couple of weeks, largely due to the ability of Twitter users to break just about any legal ‘super injunction’ a ‘celebrity’ (usually footballers) has on the reporting of their private life (usually affairs). So far so normal for Twitter. What’s a super injunction? It’s when someone rich (these things are very expensive) takes out an injunction on the press that not only stops them reporting something but also stops them reporting that the injunction even exists. That makes it ‘super’, which of course it is anything but.

But today the story took a new turn when it emerged that Twitter Inc. itself is being sued. Oh yes. They are going there.”

Update 5: David Allen Green blogs on it, carefully:

“It is important at this stage to be aware of what one cannot know for certain:

1. that the “CTB” is actually the same person as “CTB” in the recent privacy case (though it appears the same law firm is instructed);

2. what the claim is for in terms of law – is it a privacy claim or is it under some other form of law; and

3. what the remedy requested is – is it a damages claim or is it for disclosure by Twitter of third party information (for example the information of those who have used Twitter accounts to break – rather than repeat – allegations), or for something else.

As yet, we simply do not know.”

May and Technological Bits.

leave a comment »

I have neglected technological innovations for far too long, Linux Journal explains how to put that operating system on a fingernail or SD card.

Tiny Core has reached V3.6, give it a go. It’s not obvious and you do have to read the manual, but it will rejuvenate even the oldest machine, remember RTFM.

All of this wonderful hardware comes at a price:

“When the allegations were put to Foxconn by the Observer, manager Louis Woo confirmed that workers sometimes worked more than the statutory overtime limit to meet demand from western consumers, but claimed that all the extra hours were voluntary. Workers claim that, if they turn down excessive demands for overtime, they will be forced to rely on their basic wage: workers in Chengdu are paid only 1,350 yuan (£125) a month for a basic 48-hour week, equivalent to about 65p an hour.

The Wine development version has reached 1.3.19, go for it, install Linux, then Wine and forget M$ crap.

Oh, there is a new version of Ubuntu, 11.04 and here’s what you might do after installing it.

Don’t try this at home, How to install Burg boot loader in Ubuntu 11.04 Natty Narwhal. Might be worth a try instead of the awful Grub2.

Big companies and their power, Tethering apps ‘blocked’ in Android Market.

Some reviewers really like it, Xubuntu 11.04: Solid, Sleek, and Speedy.

This tutorial explains how to get out of Microsoft’s grasp, How to install Photoshop in Ubuntu and LinuxMint.

Not a bad idea, Firefox Sync.

Malware to watch out for, protect your phone too!

The idea of a USB sized computer is superb, it could seriously undercut expensive, useless hardware, but will meet resistance I am sure:

“David Braben, an UK game developer has created a tiny computer which is about the same size as an USB stick, should cost about $25 and it will ship with Ubuntu by default.

The USB computer is going to be used in teaching computer programming to children and will be distributed by a new charitable foundation called “Raspberry Pi Foundation” within the next 12 months. “

I am fond of Mint and so are others, Linux Mint 11 (Katya) Preview and Testing Version Released!

For those with a slightly less than technogical view of the world, the social implications of all of this, How Social Media Creates a Rough Draft of History.

Feeling musical? Use Linux.

Finally, always have Parted Magic 6.1 ready.

Written by modernityblog

09/05/2011 at 15:33

Not At The Oscars, But On Twitter.

with 2 comments

Those who really know me would be surprised to hear that I am not at the Oscars in Hollywood.

But I am on Twitter, instead !

And whilst I am not a film critic or much given to commenting on cultural issues, I would say that the King’s Speech is historically rather problematic.

Some about Edward VIII.

Written by modernityblog

28/02/2011 at 03:53

Bits And Watson.

leave a comment »

I am away for a few days, so I thought I would leave readers with something on Watson.

Watson is a computer system capable of answering general knowledge questions and was entered in the American quiz show, Jeopardy!

It won.

The background to Watson and what it could mean in the future is explained here.

This is a good video, where David Ferrucci provides a good overview into the topic:

Update 1: This paper is informative, Building Watson: An Overview of the DeepQA Project – AI Magazine [a PDF].

Update 2: I forgot to add that Watson is running on Linux.

Written by modernityblog

18/02/2011 at 14:03

Ten Reasons And Plenty Of Bits.

leave a comment »

Ten reasons to choose Linux, for kids, or even adults.

Want security? Ditch Windows.

Firefox 4 on Linux ?

55 networking tools.

What is Open Core?

More, Canonical’s copyright assignment, slightly puzzling but I tend to agree with this author, they are up to something.

A Firefox add-on that strips out Flash video.

Five reasons Android will beat the iPhone.

Tablet under £200?

Places for cheaper tablets.

Openoffice is updating itself, which proves that Libre Office’s competition is good.

Firefox 3.6.11 is out.

Written by modernityblog

20/10/2010 at 12:07

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

October and Linux.

with one comment

Slow blogging again, away from PCs for a few days.

A good guide to Firefox.

ACS law has made the headlines, but not all of the story has come out in the mainstream media. Here’s a few other views on ACS Law.

Not forgetting ACS Law’s emails and Sky Broadband users.

Now BT’s involved.

Some lovely Linux Admin Tools.

The Blackberry Playbook looks nice, but not sure it will win the battle with the Ipad. This is a good comparison between them.

Ultimately I think it will come down to applications, once the market for these devices has settled with the advent of Android versions.

Cheap Android tablets on the way?

For Windows users this is a very good site, is it still annoying you?

Are 48 cores too much?

Don’t forget, you are probably using Unix, sort of, in one way shape or form, even if you don’t realise.

The issue of copyright.

Scanning things and Linux.

Taintdroid, not available yet tho.

More wine, 1.1.34 is here.

End of the BIOS?

Anyone for Firefox 4, a bit bleeding edge for me,

A Firefox wish list, not bad, I agree,

Drop box from Android.

Like hacking? This is the site for you.

OpenOffice is forked! Libre Office has come to life.

An area of weakness in Linux, nannying.

Can OLPC be resuscitated?

Written by modernityblog

08/10/2010 at 13:35

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with ,

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 44 other followers