Clearing the Air Around Tor (Quinn Norton) — Occasionally the stars align between spooks and activists and governments and anarchists. Tor, like a road system or a telephone network or many pieces of public infrastructure, is useful to all of these people and more (hence the debate on child pornographers and drug markets) because it’s just such a general architecture of encryption. The FBI may want Tor to be broken, but I promise any spies who are counting on it for mission and life don’t.
Offline Cookbook — how Chrome intends to solve the offline problem in general. I hope it works and takes off because offline is the bane of this webapp-user’s life.
The Pirate Bay, Down Forever? — As a big fan of the KLF I once learned that it’s great to burn great things up. At least then you can quit while you’re on top.
Luigi (Github) — a Python module that helps you build complex pipelines of batch jobs. It handles dependency resolution, workflow management, visualization, etc. It also comes with Hadoop support built in. (via Asana engineering blog)
Hardening Android for Security and Privacy — a brilliant project! prototype of a secure, full-featured, Android telecommunications device with full Tor support, individual application firewalling, true cell network baseband isolation, and optional ZRTP encrypted voice and video support. ZRTP does run over UDP which is not yet possible to send over Tor, but we are able to send SIP account login and call setup over Tor independently.
The Great Smartphone War (Vanity Fair) — “I represented [the Swedish telecommunications company] Ericsson, and they couldn’t lie if their lives depended on it, and I represented Samsung and they couldn’t tell the truth if their lives depended on it.” That’s the most catching quote, but interesting to see Samsung’s patent strategy described as copying others, delaying the lawsuits, settling before judgement, and in the meanwhile ramping up their own innovation. Perhaps the other glory part is the description of Samsung employee shredding and eating incriminating documents while stalling lawyers out front. An excellent read.
socketcluster — highly scalable realtime WebSockets based on Engine.io. They have screenshots of 100k messages/second on an 8-core EC2 m3.2xlarge instance.
Machine Learning on a Board — everything good becomes hardware, whether in GPUs or specialist CPUs. This one has a “Machine Learning Co-Processor”. Interesting idea, to package up inputs and outputs with specialist CPU, but I wonder whether it’s a solution in search of a problem. (via Pete Warden)
Spoiled Onions — analysis identifying bad actors in the Tor network, Since September 2013, we discovered several malicious or misconfigured exit relays[…]. These exit relays engaged in various attacks such as SSH and HTTPS MitM, HTML injection, and SSL stripping. We also found exit relays which were unintentionally interfering with network traffic because they were subject to DNS censorship.
My Mind (Github) — a web application for creating and managing Mind maps. It is free to use and you can fork its source code. It is distributed under the terms of the MIT license.
Tor Users Get Routed (PDF) — research into the security of Tor, with some of its creators as authors. Our results show that Tor users are far more susceptible to compromise than indicated by prior work.
Hands on Learning (HuffPo) — Unfortunately, engaged and enlightened tinkering is disappearing from contemporary American childhood. (via BoingBoing)
Silk Road (Gawker) — Tor-delivered “web” site that is like an eBay for drugs, currency is Bitcoins. Jeff Garzik, a member of the Bitcoin core development team, says in an email that bitcoin is not as anonymous as the denizens of Silk Road would like to believe. He explains that because all Bitcoin transactions are recorded in a public log, though the identities of all the parties are anonymous, law enforcement could use sophisticated network analysis techniques to parse the transaction flow and track down individual Bitcoin users. “Attempting major illicit transactions with bitcoin, given existing statistical analysis techniques deployed in the field by law enforcement, is pretty damned dumb,” he says. The site is viewable here, and here’s a discussion of delivering hidden web sites with Tor. (via Nelson Minar)
Dr Waller — a big game using DC Comics characters where players end up crowdsourcing science on GalaxyZoo. A nice variant on the captcha/ESP-style game that Luis von Ahn is known for. (via BoingBoing)
Sketchflow Demo (Vimeo) — wow, impressive tool for whipping up wireframes and workflows for web apps. I’ve dreamed of being able to build real apps in this fashion. (via davetenhave on Twitter)
Content is a Public Good — fascinating guest post on Charlie Stross’s blog, making yet again the point that attempting to legislate the digital horse back into the content owner’s barn is futile. Content is a public good. Here’s what this doesn’t mean: It doesn’t mean content is free (Cleverer people than me have explained why information doesn’t want to be free.), or cheap to make (though it can be), or that content creators should not get rewarded for their efforts. And here’s what it does mean: It means that old business models based on content being a club good simply don’t work.
Tor on Android — Orbot is an application that allows mobile phone users to access the web, instant messaging and email without being monitored or blocked by their mobile internet service provider.
Baroque Trappings of Today’s Web Applications (Elaine Wherry) — Personally, when I listen to harpsichord music from the Baroque period, not too much time passes before I start to think, “I think this harpsichord piece is just trying to play as many notes as possible.” Similarly, after browsing the Internet for a bit today I start to think, “I’m not sure I can withstand another mashup, rounded corner, or headline announcing a breakthrough platform.” Amusing essay (based on a talk given at a CHI event) but with serious points about the kitchen sink design aesthetic of many web apps.
The growing role of software architects: “Architecture has become much more interesting now because it’s become more encompassing," says Neal Ford, software architect and meme wrangler at ThoughtWorks.