- UK Government to Sell Its Students’ Data (Wired UK) — The National Pupil Database (NPD) contains detailed information about pupils in schools and colleges in England, including test and exam results, progression at each key stage, gender, ethnicity, pupil absence and exclusions, special educational needs, first language. The UK is becoming patient zero for national data self-harm.
- It’s Insanely Easy to Hack Hospital Equipment (Wired) — Erven won’t identify specific product brands that are vulnerable because he’s still trying to get some of the problems fixed. But he said a wide cross-section of devices shared a handful of common security holes, including lack of authentication to access or manipulate the equipment; weak passwords or default and hardcoded vendor passwords like “admin” or “1234″; and embedded web servers and administrative interfaces that make it easy to identify and manipulate devices once an attacker finds them on a network.
- Postman — API testing tool.
- App Controlled Hearing Aid Improves Even Normal Hearing (NYTimes) — It’s only a slight exaggeration to say that the latest crop of advanced hearing aids are better than the ears most of us were born with. Human augmentation with software and hardware.
Visualizing City Data, Gigabits Unrealized, Use Open Source, and Bad IPs Cluster
- VizCities Dev Diary — step-by-step recount of how they brought London’s data to life, SimCity-style.
- Google Fibre Isn’t That Impressive — For [gigabit broadband] to become truly useful and necessary, we’ll need to see a long-term feedback loop of utility and acceptance. First, super-fast lines must allow us to do things that we can’t do with the pedestrian internet. This will prompt more people to demand gigabit lines, which will in turn invite developers to create more apps that require high speed, and so on. What I discovered in Kansas City is that this cycle has not yet begun. Or, as Ars Technica put it recently, “The rest of the internet is too slow for Google Fibre.”
- gov.uk Recommendations on Open Source — Use open source software in preference to proprietary or closed source alternatives, in particular for operating systems, networking software, Web servers, databases and programming languages.
- Internet Bad Neighbourhoods (PDF) — bilingual PhD thesis. The idea behind the Internet Bad Neighborhood concept is that the probability of a host in behaving badly increases if its neighboring hosts (i.e., hosts within the same subnetwork) also behave badly. This idea, in turn, can be exploited to improve current Internet security solutions, since it provides an indirect approach to predict new sources of attacks (neighboring hosts of malicious ones).
UK Copyright Modernisation, Lessons from Cisco's Evil, Automation, and Kinect Tool
- HM Government Consultation on Modernising Copyright (PDF) — from all appearances, the UK Govt is prepared to be progressive and tech-savvy in considering updates to copyright law. Proof of the pudding is in the eating (i.e., wait and see whether the process is coopted by maximalists) but an optimistic start.
- Cisco Provides a Lesson (Eric Raymond) — This is why anyone who makes excuses for closed source in network-facing software is not just a fool deluded by shiny marketing but a malignant idiot whose complicity with what those vendors do will injure his neighbors as well as himself. […] If you don’t own it, it will surely own you.
- Automate or Perish (Technology Review) — As the MIT economist David Autor has argued, the job market is being “hollowed out.” […] Any work that is repetitive or fairly well structured is open to full or partial automation. Being human confers less and less of an advantage these days.
- Kinectable Pipe (Github) — command-line tool that writes skeleton data (as reported by Kinect) to stdout as text. Because Kinect programming is a pain in the neck, and by trivializing the device’s output into a simple text format, it becomes infinitely easier to digest in the scripting language of your choice.
An open standards battle in the U.K., mobile web development keeps growing, the upside of functional languages.
This week on O'Reilly: We learned how the U.K. government is facing pressure from all sides as it evaluates open standards, Maximiliano Firtman evaluated two years' worth of mobile web developments, and the utility of functional languages was put in the spotlight.
The UK government is fighting for open standards, but it needs help.
Influence, money, a bit of drama — not things you typically associate with open standards, yet that’s what the U.K. government is facing as it evaluates open options.
One-Click Zeroed Down Under, Piracy, One Site To Rule Them All, and English Language
- Telsta Scores Patent Win over Amazon (ZDNet) — The delegate of the Commissioner of Patents, Ed Knock, found this week that Amazon’s 1-click buy facility “lacks novelty [and] an inventive step”, making Amazon’s claim unpatentable.
- The Final Answer for What To Do To Prevent Piracy (Jeff Vogel) — His advice is to do the minimum to encourage people to pay, as Anything beyond that will inconvenience your paying customers and do little to nothing to prevent piracy.
- alpha.gov.uk — an experimental prototype of a single interface to all government services. Governments have been trying these for years. This one’s different–it’s not built by the highest bidder, it’s the result of a lean team headed by the stellar Tom Loosemore (ex-BBC). It’s prototyping the idea of using lightweight reusable syndication-friendly components (decision trees, calculators, guides, etc.) to build such a site. My suspicion, though, is that government websites are a people problem not a technology problem.
- A StackExchange for the English Language — what’s the collective noun for pedants?
- Public Data Corporation — UK to form a corporation to centralize both opening and commercializing government data. “A Public Data Corporation will bring benefits in three areas. Firstly and most importantly it will allow us to make data freely available, and where charging for data is appropriate to do so on a consistent basis. It will be a centre where developers, businesses and members of the public can access data and use it to develop internet applications, inform their business decisions or identify ways to run public services more efficiently. Some of this work is already taking place but there is huge potential to do more. Secondly, it will be a centre of excellence where expertise in collecting, managing, storing and distributing data can be brought together. This will enable substantial operational synergies. Thirdly, it can be a vehicle which will attract private investment.” Did I wake up in crazyland? Private Investment?!!
- What If Flickr Fails — thoughtful piece about business models. Among all the revenue diets a company might have, advertising equates best with candy. Its nutritive value is easily-burned carbohydrates. A nice energy boost, but not the protein-rich stuff comprised of products and services that provide direct benefits or persistent assets.
UK, German and French book publishers have all provided content for the ipad and while there remain some grumbles about legality, the agency model for bookselling now seems to have passed it's first challenge, actually existing.