Category Archives: web 2.0

wikileakipedia

Fascinating expose about the rise and influence of Wikileaks. I find it interesting that companies are spending so much money to prevent the already preventable:

It’s a well-worn carpet. Since late 2007 every major security software vendor, from McAfee to Symantec to Trend Micro, has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to acquire companies in the so-called Data-Leak Prevention (DLP) industry—software designed to locate and tag sensitive information, and then guard against its escape at the edges of a firm’s network.

The problem: DLP doesn’t work. Data is simply created too quickly, and moved around too often, for a mere filter to catch it, says Richard Stiennon, an analyst for security consultancy IT-Harvest, in Birmingham, Mich. “For DLP to function, all the stars have to align,” he says. “This is a huge problem that can’t be stopped with a single layer of infrastructure.”

Dead horse, meet sledgehammer:

WikiLeaks’ founder, in fact, seems to have trouble accepting that Mudge is working for the other side. “He’s a clever guy, and he’s also highly ethical,” says Assange. “I suspect he would have concerns about creating a system to conceal genuine abuses.” He dismisses Cinder as just another system of digital censorship. And those systems, he says, will always fail, just as China’s Great Firewall can’t stop well-informed and determined dissident Internet users. “Censorship might work for the average person but not for highly motivated people,” Assange says. “And our people are highly motivated.”

Very similar to issue of file sharing and DRM in the movie, music, even the publishing industries: hackers, geeks and now even disgruntled employees will always be one transnational step ahead.  Who would have thought that forcing companies to be honest could be such a grassroots movement, albeit a highly dangerous and potentially lethal one.

But where it’s called transparency in the corporate world, it’s called open source for libraries, as they actually try to promote the sharing of information, whether it through the Web itself or their own repositories.  Specifically with the rise of Wikileaks, where is the library’s place in advocating information dissemination? Are we to promote access to leaked troop positions or emails detailing corrupt politicians and their corporate enablers that may potentially endanger the lives of these or peripherally connected people?

After hard thought it seems that Wikileaks is really no different than Wikipedia in principle: users, whatever their intentions, can post factual, sensitive and/or erroneous information at will. And not that either is an inherently bad/evil idea or virtual creation; it’s just that no one thought that either would be so significant in generating user interest and participation. I suppose a coming challenge for libraries and librarians is to start incorporating informational ethics into their instructional literacy sessions. Just think…we’d make a killing with the corruptible market out there…charging by the hour plus adding a fee for virtual downloads, etc. We could create our own unaccountable banking system.

weird twitter projects and vuvuzelas

Of the numerous weird yet useful yet interesting things I’ve been exploring on Twitter is the potential for collaborative projects/thinking.  Especially in the realm of libraries/books, there seems to be ample innovation for imaginative brainstorming.  Here are two projects that I’ve come across.

Jeff VanderMeer (@jeffvandermeer), extraordinary author of le nouveau weird, has come up with an interesting project based on the World Cup.  His World Cup of Fiction is a chance to display your hysteria for the tournament by reviewing works from those countries that are participating.  So far I’ve chosen Brasil’s Rubem Fonseca and his work The Taker and Other Stories, which certainly made an impression.  Hopefully I’ll make another submission soon enough.  At any rate, it’s a good way to generate more interest in what we consider ‘the foreign’ and reading in general.

Another interesting project is Lee Barnett’s Fast Fiction Challenge.  Budgie (@budgie) asks his troupe of followers for a title, consisting of a maximum of four words, and if he’s keen on your idea he’ll compose a 200 word virtual scribble of literary frenzy. Anything to keep the creative juices flowing.  See, it’s not just a virtual vuvuzela, though there are sites for that.

twitterbrarian

I’ve finally been sucked into the supermassive vortex of Twitter.  I suppose it was inevitable, but I’ve actually become intrigued by its potential, rather than simply skeptical and fearsome of the thing.  There’s a bit of a learning curve in terms of familiarizing oneself with what replies actually are, retweets, hash tags and the like, but it is an enchanting RSS type of device.

One reason I see for its popularity is how personal it can make the user feel.  Receiving updates to your device directly from types like Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself), Brent Spiner (@BrentSpiner) or Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) or whomever else you follow is beyond cool, almost as if the messages were sent with you in mind (which often can be).

Downsides can include the uberspam if you follow too many users and the certain time suck if you continually carry and monitor your device.  The main realization I’m getting is that it’s useful if you have specific people you’d like follow, but takes more effort to build a following with a consistent stream of updates.

Tweet Poetry

Web 2.0 in its highest form.  Egads.

 

 

apps for LT

Wishing LibraryThing had one.

Here’s the word from the man (message 23):

So, there’s some back story here.

According to Amazon, iPhone applications that use Amazon data are forbidden by their terms of service. They have told us we can’t develop one. Meanwhile, a number of other companies have developed them, and… Amazon has done nothing about it.

You can imagine how I feel about all this, particularly as Amazon is, through Abebooks, a minority investor of LibraryThing. It’s no fun to have your minority owner directly competing with you, through Shelfari, and stopping you from doing what even even companies they don’t own are doing. I hope they either enforce their rules and cut off the iPhone apps., or allow us to build one.

We will be debuting an Amazon app soon, but it will not be a cataloging app. For that, we need to develop an iPhone-optimized web version

knowledge is good

The University of Nottingham is definitely on to something.  What with their wildly popular and scientastic Periodic Table of Videos, it looks as if they’ve unveiled a new venture that’s rampaging through the Interweaves.  It’s called Sixty Symbols, “a channel devoted to those funny letters and squiggles used by physicists and astronomers.”

As evidenced by the rejuvenated popularity of Star Trek, I think people’s minds are melding to the idea that the 21st century is more about learning than it is about greed. Huzzah.