Aaron Swartz indicted on charges of "wire fraud, computer fraud" etc.
Jason KottkeJason Kottke, Kottke.orgkottke.org, 2011/07/19

Interesting. Young computer whiz (I can't call him 'teen computer whiz' any more, he's 24, but I remember his work from ten years ago) Aaron Swartz has been indicted on computer hacking charges after he downloaded about a quarter of the JSTOR library. What he was attempting to do is not difficult to guess; in 2009 he used a free trial of the government’s Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) system to download 19,856,160 pages of documents in a campaign to place the information free online. The case is odd because the alleged 'victims' declined to mpress charges and said no damage had been caused. Still, Swartz now faces some serious jail time. More form the Register, Wired News, Forbes. Today: Total:55 [Comment] [Direct Link]

No one uses the phone anymore
Jason KottkeJason Kottke, Kottke.orgkottke.org, 2011/03/23

Finally, the world is catching up to my own perspective on telephones. Kottke: "They text, they email, they IM, but increasingly the phone call is too intrusive of a communication option for many... "I remember when I was growing up, the rule was, 'Don't call anyone after 10 p.m.,'" Mr. Adler said. "Now the rule is, 'Don't call anyone. Ever.'" I have always hated that aspect of phoning people, that you would be interrupting whomever you called, no matter what they were doing. Today: Total:63 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Seven hours of Feynman lectures online
Jason KottkeJason Kottke, kottke.orgkottke.org,

I got email enthusiastically lauding the release of some Richard Feynman videos, seven hours of his lectures. Great! However the web page informed m it was installing Silverlight first. Not so great. Today: Total:39 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Creating Talent
Jason KottkeJason Kottke, kottke.orgkottke.org,

I saw the Brain Trainer mentioned somewhere a few weeks ago, but haven't seen a link until now. I find this phenomenon - the widespread popularity of a 'game' that is intended to help you become smarter - very interesting. The popularity itself belies the claims of those who assert that people will not make good choices when given the opportunity to improve, or not improve, their education. The other thing that interests me is the assertion that "people who are good at things got good at them primarily through practice and not because of innate talent." This again sounds right to me. What does it take to learn? Practice and reflection. There are no short-cuts, no magic elixirs, no matter what the salesmen tell you. Today: Total:42 [Comment] [Direct Link]

GoogleOS? YahooOS? MozillaOS? WebOS?
Jason KottkeJason Kottke, Kottke.orgkottke.org,

OK, this post is mostly speculation, but it's informed speculation, and even though it's a little out there, it is beyond neither comprehension nor reason. The idea, in a nutshell, is that the applications we normally store on our computer - things like MS Words, email, PowerPoint, and the like - will in the future be hosted on the web. This will mean that we're not bound to Microsoft, that our applictaions will work the same (and be the same) no matter what computer we're using. But as the author notes, "the reality of it will probably be a lot messier and take a lot longer than most would like." The take-home here is that the boundary between online and offline will get fuzzier and fuzzier over time, and that applications will have to interoperate as easily between websites as they do doday on your desktop. Today: Total:27 [Comment] [Direct Link]

Ajax and Weblogs
Jason KottkeJason Kottke, Kottke.orgkottke.org,

I've mentioned Ajax before; this item is a follow-up with a nice example, complete with code. The author described the use of Ajax - a set of Javascripts used to manage interactive web pages - to parse and display XML files on this home page. Nice - nice, and elegant. Today: Total:26 [Comment] [Direct Link]

43 Things Amazon Conspiracy
Jason KottkeJason Kottke, Kottke.orgkottke.org,

There was a social networking meme that went around a few weeks ago called '43 Things' - the idea is that you would form online groups dedicated to doing one of the 43 things would would like to do. I thought it was interesting but not really applicable to online learning, so I didn't cover it here. Now I sort of wish I did, but am glad I didn't, because it turns out that the whole thing was a front for Amazon.com. Well. I don't know what to think, except to observe that companies are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their online efforts. And it is becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between a genuine grassroots movement and a marketing campaign. Meanwhile, I'll classify this story about 43 Things under the heading: funny. Today: Total:41 [Comment] [Direct Link]


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