Sunday, January 06, 2013

One should never laugh at another's misfortune. Nor should one base their Superbowl ad on such misfortune. (But feel free to laugh anyway)
Report: Thieves steal iPads from Microsoft, leave everything else

Strange, only one mention of unencrypted laptops being stolen.
Erica Gann Kitaev of BakerHostetler has a recap of some privacy lawsuits in 2012:
During 2012, privacy class actions continued to trend toward two major categories: 1) actions that arose out of a data breach event and 2) actions brought to prosecute an alleged consumer privacy right.
Read her recap here.

Tweeking Facebook?
January 05, 2013
EFF - Extension Gives You More Control Over Your Facebook Privacy
"Facebook Messages has a feature that tells you when a chat recipient has seen a message. This "read receipt" is, in true Facebook fashion, both nifty and unsettling. And it brings with it tons of potential for abuse. Unfortunately, there's no built-in method to opt out. Facebook's privacy interface has undergone change upon change, yet some needed controls simply don't exist—and these days consumer privacy depends heavily on control. Luckily, the developers over at Crossrider have an extension, Chat Undetected, that disables the read receipt feature. The extension is available for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Safari. By nature of its popularity, Facebook is inviting developers to customize users' experiences and create useful tools. We're hoping Facebook adopts a policy that allows its users to innovate, create, and—in the spirit of Facebook—hack. Currently, an overly vague Terms of Service has led Facebook to shut down helpful add-ons like Fluff-Busting Purity, which let users configure what news items were shown to them. As FB Purity's developer notes, many of his users stuck around Facebook only because their experience was tailored to their liking." [Probably an overstatement, but it would be nice if... Bob]

Was there a specific threat they failed to tell us about? Is it wise for the government to “secure” some NFL games but not others? Yes. The first time there is an incident at an unsecured game they can respond to the “public outcry” by increasing their scope (and budget) to cover everything. Worry more if the start showing up at schools.
"Travel writer Christopher Elliott touches down with the news that the U.S. Transportation Security Administration was spotted standing around outside a recent American football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Green Bay Packers (picture). According to Mr. Elliott, the 'TSA goes to NFL games and political conventions and all kinds of places that have little or nothing to do with ... travel. It even has a special division called VIPR — an unfortunate acronym for Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response team — that conducts these searches.' He continues, 'As far as I can tell, TSA is just asking questions at this point. "Data and results collected through the Highway BASE program will inform TSA's policy and program initiatives and allow TSA to provide focused resources and tools to enhance the overall security posture within the surface transportation community," it says in the filing. But they wouldn't be wasting our money asking such questions unless they planned to aggressively expand VIPR at some point in the near future. And that means TSA agents at NFL games, in subways and at the port won't be the exception anymore — they will be the rule.'"

What? No conspiracy theories? That must mean the government suppressed them!
"The NY Times reports that Al Jazeera plans to start an English-language channel available in more than 40 million U.S. homes, with newscasts emanating from both New York and Doha, Qatar. They announced a deal to take over Current TV, the low-rated cable channel that was founded by Al Gore seven years ago. But the challenge will be persuading Americans to watch the award winning network with 71 bureaus around the world — an extremely tough proposition given the crowded television marketplace and the stereotypes about the channel that persist to this day. 'There are still people who will not watch it, who will say that it's a "terrorist network,"' says Philip Seib. 'Al Jazeera has to override that by providing quality news.' With a handful of exceptions, American cable and satellite distributors have mostly refused to carry Al Jazeera English since its inception in 2006. While the television sets of White House officials and lawmakers were tuned to the channel during the Arab Spring in 2011, ordinary Americans who wanted to watch had to find a live stream on the Internet. Al Jazeera's Robert Wheelock said, We offer an alternative. It's a broader coverage of news. It's a broader spectrum into countries that aren't traditionally covered.'"

I offer as proof the fact that one of the most popular Science Fiction series of recent years, the Honor Harrington series, is now available in a leather bound edition. “If it's in leather, it must be a classic!” There, I said it on the Internet, so it must be true.
"Although just 16% of Americans have purchased an e-book to date, the growth rate in sales of digital books is already dropping sharply. At the same time, sales of dedicated e-readers actually shrank in 2012, as people bought tablets instead. Meanwhile, printed books continue to be preferred over e-books by a wide majority of U.S. book readers. In his blog post Will Gutenberg Laugh Last?, writer Nicholas Carr draws on these statistics and others to argue that, contrary to predictions, printed books may continue to be the book's dominant form. 'We may be discovering,' he writes, 'that e-books are well suited to some types of books (like genre fiction) but not well suited to other types (like nonfiction and literary fiction) and are well suited to certain reading situations (plane trips) but less well suited to others (lying on the couch at home). The e-book may turn out to be more a complement to the printed book, as audiobooks have long been, rather than an outright substitute.'"

Not yet a Star Trek tricorder, but clearly the platform it will be developed for.

(Related) The Doogie Howser toolkit.

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