When cameras are everywhere …
This is an amazing article, with a link to a web site that shows just how advanced criminals are becoming … and how they are leveraging technology.

The concept is simple as described below … what is wild is that they are using some fairly simple technologies to accomplish this. Just the other night I saw an episode of Law & Order where a high school student took pictures of other students in the gym locker room … with her cell phone … and then sent them to other people. I hadn’t even thought about the portability of these “wireless cameras”. This all makes me think about where we are heading when miniature cameras can be carried and left just about anywhere. And people are thinking that we can protect privacy?

ATM Skimmers with Wireless Cameras, Pickups. Automated Teller Machine customers now robbed wirelessly without knowledge: The University of Texas at Austin police have a compelling page that shows how a skimmer (which scans ATM cards before they’re inserted into the ATM) and a wireless camera in an innocuous position nearby can steal a card and the PIN. The skimmer reads the magnetic stripe; the camera can see the PIN being entered. The thieves park nearby and retrieve the information wirelessly. This is reminiscent of last month’s story of a wireless Israeli post office money heist. It may be just me, but after years of being warned about shoulder surfers in the 1980s and 1990s, I often cover my hand when entering a PIN on a phone or ATM. I guess my paranoia pays off. Also, I only go to one bank’s ATM machines, which are uniform. I think I’d notice a weird add-on…. [Wi-Fi Networking News]

Freenet still alive and kicking …
When I first read Ian’s papers about Freenet (quite a long time back) a group of us immediately set up nodes for testing and experimentation. It was very crude back then, and several months ago I even stumbled on one of my old NetWare servers that still had the directory structure and files. It was good to see this update and to see that Freenet is still making great progress. I just downloaded it to see about getting it up and going again. It appears to have come a log ways …

Freenet Project More Stable, In Need [Slashdot]

There is one standard … until there is the next one!
I enjoy talking with Phil … he gets it. All of the people who argue about “which standard” to adopt, completely miss the point that they are only going to evolve and move forward. Pick something and go with it … and be prepared to embrace change … prepare to adopt the next standard when it arrives. I didn’t see them mention Atom!

Enjoy the Politics of Difference. John Gotze talked to Mr. Safe recently. The conversation is about whether to use RSS 2.0 or RSS 1.0 since they’re both part of the Danish Government’s Reference Profile (which I had a hand in creating). John’s advice to Mr. Safe was to publish both formats. Here’s the most important part of the conversation: [Windley’s Enterprise Computing Weblog]

You can’t stop it … gene therapy is going to change everything
After reading the article below, along with this article, about this particular discovery I realized that the genetic revolution is coming much faster than we believe … and its not going to stop. And no matter what the various sports and Olympic groups believe, they are only going to fall behind the times if they think they can “test” for “enhanced humans.”

As we learn more and more about how genes work, and how to perform “gene therapy” the modifications that occur are going to become more and more “natural” … harder and harder to detect. The only differences between this, and “breeding” people is that this can be done in less time. “Genetic manipulation” is going to become a way of life … we might attempt to control and regulate it here … however there will be other places or countries that capitalize on allowing it. And it will be tough to tell the difference between “natural” and “genetically manipulated” …

Gene Therapy Shows Its Muscle. Scientists working to help muscular dystrophy patients have developed a gene therapy that could be used illegally to build super athletes. Sports officials are looking for ways to detect the genetic manipulation. [Wired News]

Sharing photos … and information
I liked reading about this application since it reminded me of a project that I set aside. A couple of years ago, I began to work on my “slide-show screensaver” … something that a lot of people have. A screensaver that flips through a directory on my hard disk, displaying each of the photos saved there one after the other. This is no big accomplishment, except that I then expanded it to begin to sync the directory with one on my server. Now I have a screensaver that pulls the photos from my server when new ones are placed there … by anyone.

What makes this a useful application is that I don’t have to go looking for photos for my screensaver. I don’t have to update the photos on my hard disk. If I, or anyone that I permit, puts new photos on my server they just start to show on my laptop. And on any other laptop running my application.

I really believe that it is the ease of use – and the automation – of applications that makes them more and more usable. And more accepted. This is why RSS news aggregation makes so much sense, and is used so heavily. I don’t have to go looking at web sites to search out the news I want … I subscribe and receive the information automatically.

I like this application … I’m going to dig up my source code and experiment with my screensaver again … this gave me some new ideas!

Share That Photo: Hit Save. Some photo buffs have so many pictures from their digital cameras, they don’t know what to do with them. And sending by e-mail is clunky compared with new technologies that make storing and showing as simple as pie. [Wired News]

The Operating System Monoculture dilemma
It is often fun to speculate and point at problems … the solutions, however, do not always come easy. This article is about the issues surrounding a paper written about the “Windows Monoculture” … proposing that so many people are running Microsoft Windows products that a single major flaw could be discovered that causes massive damage (to the entire human race?) when millions of computers are effected.

There are a number of “flaws” with this model, although it points at some potential issues to be learned from. One thing is that no real solution is outlined … and the “obvious” solution is that the world ought to be running on tens or hundreds of different operating systems to solve this dilemma.

Replacing one ‘monoculture’ with a different ‘monoculture’ is not a solution. So having GNU/Linux dominate the earth would simply spawn a new group of “anti-GNU/Linux” people who would call that wrong, and create their alternative. There are only two real ways out … to create something within the technologic substrate that is superior to what is possible in the biologic substrate … or to have a large and diverse number of operating systems.

I actually think that what we are going to find is that the technologic substrate will allow for the emergence of entities that far exceed the capabilities of the biological world that we are a part of.

Warning: Microsoft ‘Monoculture’. A security expert warns Microsoft’s dominance of software is a set-up for global disaster — and promptly loses his job. His comparison is to biology, where species with little genetic variation are vulnerable to catastrophic epidemics. [Wired News]

Autonomic tools from IBM … the coming abstraction
I found two articles recently that cover the release of the IBM tools for Autonomic computing. Even if you are not interested in IBMs tools, there is a lot of very good reading about its core concepts.

The article below, and this NWFusion article both give a brief overview of what IBM released, and contain links to where you can download the tools or read more about them.

I do believe that they are introducing some powerful models for developing software that are able to exist in highly-distributed networks, and that are able to deal with failures effectively. Much of this is accomplished using some very simple concepts.

There are several of the same areas that we have been exploring with our web services work, and our application substrate. I really like their Installation and Deployment model as it mirrors much of our same functionality … there might be some aspects that we embrace. All of this continues to support a growing abstraction above the operating system.

IBM delivers autonomic tools. Big Blue packages up the results of its research into self-managing systems with an open-source toolkit that plugs into the Eclipse development set of software. [CNET News.com – Front Door]

Good comments on the leaked Windows source code
As usual … this is a interesting read about the Windows source code that was floating around the net last week. It seems pretty objective …

We Are Morons: a quick look at the Win2k source. A quick, superficial look at the style and content of the leaked Windows 2000 source. I quote from the comments but not the code, so this should be safe for developers to read. [kuro5hin.org]

More hope for less spam … soon …
This appears to be some good momentum in the anti-spam area, as a good first effort to combat the problem. There are no doubt other proposals and standards that will emerge.

This specific solution will force companies to define their mail servers in DNS in a way that allows them to be held accountable for spam. This will provide a way to deny e-mail from being received, if the source of that mail can not be tracked down. It’s a very good start.

eWEEK: New Anti-spam Initiative Gaining Traction. A grass-roots movement to improve the SMTP protocol that governs e-mail traffic is gaining acceptance, and its lead developer hopes to get fast-track approval by the Internet Engineering Task Force to make the emerging framework a standard. [Tomalak’s Realm]