May 19, 2008 10:29 AM
Posted by: GuyPardon
, Web 2.0
Do you think much about the future of the Internet? Last week, the academics and technologists who consider the matter professionally gathered at the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts to hail ten years of achievement in cyberlaw and digital activisim . Check out this timeline to see how the Berkman Center has grown.
[Download a special report on 10 years at Berkman (PDF)]
Berkman at 10 combined conference with celebration, as Harvard professors, staff, alumni and guests convened for sessions that included presentations from distinguished professors, a discussion with the co-founder of Wikipedia, a panel featuring Viacom’s general counsel, a former FCC chairman and venture capitalist Ester Dyson — all within the course of the first day. Dinners, sessions in the style of an unconference, a talk about the future of journalism from TalkingPointMemo‘s Joshua Micah Marshall and seminars that addressed net neutrality, netizenship and much more continued the second day, followed by a gala that honored the achievements of those who have made outstanding contributions to the Internet’s impact on society over the past decade. Winners included the founders of MideastYouth.com, Connexions, FreeRice.com, PublicResource.org, Worldspace.com. Highest honor went to Jeffrey Cunard and Bruce Keller for their pro bono work.
[Watch the archived webcasts of Berkman at 10]
The men and women considering the future of the Internet used the medium itself to meet, greet, intermingle and collectively think about the topic at hand. As you might expect at a conference packed with cyberluminaries, computer scientists, engineers, journalists and assorted digerati, the two days were an exercise in hyperconnectivity. Conferees listened in the audience, watched live video feeds from overflow rooms or participated remotely using uncommonly robust social media tools.
“The question is not freedom of speech, the question is freedom *after* speech.”
- Esther Dyson, quoting an unnamed Russian
The Berkman Center created a Berkman at 10 wiki where you can find much more information about the conference, its agenda, attendees, the sessions and the Center itself. Projects founded, funded or organized by Berkman and its Fellows have been far-reaching in their influence and are frequently grounded in the entrepreneurial focus and intellectual rigor of its founders. They include:
- Open Net, which investigates and analyzes the various filtering and surveillance practices around the world.
- The Publius Project, which features essays and conversations about constitutional moments on the Net.
- Global Voices Online (GVO), which focuses on highlighting global conversations in blogs that exist outside the world of TechMeme, the “A-list” and Silicon Valley.
- A new project of GVO is Voices Without Votes, which covers what is being discussed about the US elections throughout the world’s blogs.
- StopBadware.org, which identifies Websites infected with spyware or malware and, with Google’s help, interjects warnings when users try to access them.
The conference was kicked off by the Dean of Harvard Law School, Elena Kagan, who announced that the Berkman Center for Internet and Society now a university-wide research center at Harvard. She also urged the crowd to lobby Jonathan Zittrain to come back to Harvard and led an impromptu chant to urge him to consider the invitation. Professor Nesson, cofounder of the Berkman Center, then introduced Professor Jonathan Zittrain, aka “JZ,” to the conference.
Professor Zittrain’s thesis is that the “generative Internet,” the combination of a programmable computer and an open, “writable” Internet, is in danger from tethered appliances like the iPhone and TiVo or walled gardens of non-portable data like Facebook. Doc Searls posted the following graphic within his “Understanding Infrastructure” article for Linux Journal:
In the PC and the network, the narrow point in the hourglass is where the generative power rests, in the Internet Protocol and the operating system. During the session, Zittrain repeatedly referred to this power as the “dark energy” of the Internet and raised concerns that the means to contribute could gradually be abridged or blocked in the future by corporations or governments through changes in the network or locking down the OS. The iPhone and other appliances like the Chumby or XBox are examples of the latter.
Further thoughts and analysis of the session can be found from Ethan Zuckerman, David Weinberger, Patrick Philippe Meier, Andy Sellars, Daithí Mac Sithigh, Dan Farber and Jim Rapoza. Zittrain’s book, “The Future of the Internet,” is available at futureoftheinternet.org.
Professor John Palfrey, the executive director of the Berkman Center, followed with a session on the impact of the Internet on politics and democracy. The presentation reached much further than the U.S. Presidential election, though the impact of YouTube, socially networked fundraising and the netroots has been far reaching domestically. He also presented three crucial arguments, each of which may be viewed and commented upon related ideas at the wiki at Berkman and is quoted below:
- The Internet allows more free speech from more people than ever before, but states are finding ways to filter and limit that speech.
- There is greater autonomy of the individual because of the Internet.
- The formation of online groups will alter the form and function of existing organizations and institutions with unknown impacts on democracy and governance.
Palfrey’s talk reflected many of Zittrain’s concerns: the very openness and disruptive change that a generative Internet presents for free speech may be dangerous enough to repressive regimes that technological steps, like the Great Firewall of China, may be taken to limit access or the ability to publish freely.
Palfrey presented a map of the Farsi blogosphere (above) and noted, however, that the Iranian blogosphere is the fourth largest in the world, including a range of conservative, religious, secular and liberal views. The map was produced by John Kelly and Bruce Etling for their paper, “Mapping Iran’s Online Public: Politics and Culture in the Persian Blogosphere.”
One of the more intriguing notions that came out of the session was the concept of “flashdrive democracy,” where Palfrey used the example of Cuban dissidents who smuggled contraband video of student protests out of Cuba using a sneakernet and published them to YouTube.
Session notes are available from Professor Palfrey. More analysis and notes from David Weinberger’s post, Micah Sifry’s post and Daithí Mac Sithigh’s post.
In the third session of the day, Yochai Benkler, professor and author of the Wealth of Networks, interviewed Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia. The two men deconstructed the sprawling online encyclopedia and discussed different models of peer production.
Dan Farber reported on the session and posted a transcript of Wales’ remarks on his blog. Adam Oran also wrote at length about this session at Radar.OReilly.
“The threat is not the money, the threat is the authority over knowledge.”
- Yochai Benkler
The links above are far from the only reactions to the sessions, of course. See the Center’s collection of online coverage of Berkman at 10 for more information about the unconference, panels and seminars.
Throughout the conference, participants near and far chatted over IRC, Twittered about memorable moments or useful links and used a dynamic online question tool as a live discussion board during each presentation. Hallmark technologies of “Web 1.0″ like IP, IRC, HTTP, WWW and HTML were enhanced by social media from the Web 2.0 world, like blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, microblogging and live videoblogging. Conference participants chatted live there on the IRC channel or in the virtual 3D hall on the Berkman Center’s island in Second Life. Some participants, however, still passed notes.
Berkman at 10 was chronicled using what Professor David Weinberger might term a folksonomy, a user-defined taxonomy for classifying digital content. Participants assigned digital content to the Berkman folksonomy on whatever platform they were publishing to using a #Berkman hashtag or “Berkmanat10″ tag or category.
Here are the different aggregations.
May 12, 2008 9:46 AM
Posted by: GuyPardon
, command line
, open source
, operating systems
, software development
In these videos, Robin Good interviews Richard Stallman about free software and the open source movement. Stallman created the GPL and the Free Software Foundation to protect the GNU operating system from becoming proprietary.
In the sequence embedded below, filmed, the founding father of open source software answers a series of questions. This interview was originally posted at MasterNewMedia.org in 2006 and features commentary and links from Robin Good.
Q: What is free software?
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Q: What are the negative consequences of using proprietary software instead of free software?
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Q: What free software do you recommend using?
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Q: Can individuals and organizations use GNU/Linux in their daily operations?
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Q: What can individuals do to support the open source movement?
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May 6, 2008 8:38 AM
Posted by: GuyPardon
This video, uploaded by CommuniGate, demonstrates Pronto!, their take on a unified communications dashboard.
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The application pulls multiple forms of rich media and communication streams into a single dashboard.
The desktops of many office workers these days often contains all of these communications forms already; they’re just not combined into a single, slick interface or administrated by centralized controls. Given the risk that any organization, much less enterprise, takes in allowing employees to install multiple third party applications for IM, VoIP, email, RSS, videoconferencing and web-based widgets for anything and everything else, it’s perhaps not surprising that vendors are stepping in to offer some control to sysadmins.
April 30, 2008 6:03 PM
Posted by: GuyPardon
, new media
, Web 2.0
Are you hip to Really Simple Syndication? If you’re still behind on the adoption curve, May 1st is RSS Awareness Day.
Daniel Socco of DailyBlogTips offers a detailed explanation of where the idea for RSS Awareness Day came from and what it was intended to accomplish. Check out RSSDay.org for more information.
In honor of the occasion, we’ve made RSS our Word of the Day to help get out the word, so to speak.
For more information, check out:
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UPDATE: Dave Winer wished everyone Happy RSS Awareness Day. I’m glad I tweeted him about it, as he hadn’t heard the news.
UPDATE II: Marshall Kirkpatrick blogged up a storm over at ReadWriteWeb, writing an epic Ode to RSS to honor the day and the technology itself. It’s the best blog post on the subject that I’ve read and will, I suspect, a canonical post about RSS for some time to come. As Marshall points out, blogging and podcasting as we know it simply wouldn’t be possible without RSS.
A hearty thanks to the pioneers and early adopters whose dedication, hard work and dogged advocacy have brought the technology to its present state!
April 29, 2008 9:13 AM
Posted by: GuyPardon
This video features Shreeraj Shah, one of the founders of NetSquare, speaking about defending Web applications and kernel keyloggers at the HackInTheBox Conference in 2003. Fast forward to 2:40 to skip the introduction.
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From the show notes on Google Video:
This presentation discusses some of the more advanced techniques in writing kernel based keyloggers and presents the newest release of THC-vlogger 2.1 with new keystroke logging techniques and more features such as centralized logging. THC-vlogger, first presented in Phrack Magazine #59, enables the capability to log keystrokes of all administrator/user’s sessions via console, serial port and Telnet/SSH remote sessions, switching logging modes by using magic passwords, stealthily sending logged data to centralized remote server. Its smart mode can automatically detect password prompts to log only sensitive user and password information. This talk also discusses the recently published tool in PHC’s ‘fake’ phrack #62 dealing in the detection and disabling of Sebek, a host based honeypot monitoring tool of the Honeynet project. The presentation also discusses the advantages of THC-vlogger 2.1 over Sebek and other similar keylogger tools.
In looking for videos related to typeprint analysis and keyloggers, I came across many, many tutorials that can easily equip a high school student with the tools to embed keyloggers on Web pages and viral emails. Scary stuff.