Articles I've Read (2003)

These are articles that I've read that I don't want to lose track of.

1 December 2003

Desktop Linux Technology and Market Overview (34 page PDF)
"This report gives an overview of the state of Linux on the desktop, both from a technology perspective and in terms of marketplace developments. It concludes that, while much work remains to be done, desktop Linux is now 'good enough' for significant classes of users. … While technical challenges remain, we agree with several of the people we spoke with who argued that desktop Linux has evolved from being a technical challenge to a marketing challenge."

2 December 2003

Digital Hubris: Apple's Tablet Computer Might Finally Be That Link Between Your PC and TV
"What's needed is a networking technology optimized for video transport. One has been in the works for sometime, and down at the IEEE, they call it 802.15.3, and this is where I believe Apple sees opportunity."

Sucking Through a Straw: A Bandwidth Drought is Coming, and U.S. Phone Companies and ISPs Have No Idea What to Do About It
"If we are going to get to HDTV video-on-demand in every home, to wall-sized video conferences with Grandma, to the communication utopia described by every so-called expert, it is going to require massive increases in bandwidth. … If we leave it to the phone companies, though, it will never happen."

Snapster 2.0: This Time I Really Mean It
"Snapster 2.0 separates the concept of ownership from that of playing music or copying it. While those 100,000 CDs are still owned by all the shareholders, they really exist only as a central repository to simplify the sharing system from both a logistical and a legal standpoint."

Body Count: Why Moving to India Won't Really Help IT
"Productivity is producing more with fewer resources, usually with fewer people. It's all about simplification, reducing or eliminating labor, improving tools, locking in on a standard approach and being smart about changes."

No Feather in Our CAPPS: How We Are About to Spend a Lot of Money and (Again) Alienate Our Allies by Building a Computer System That Invades Privacy and Does Nothing to Make Us More Secure
"We look at security as a cost, not an opportunity to improve our infrastructure. CAPPS-II is an electronic Maginot Line that will cost a lot, is vulnerable to abuse, will cause rifts in our own community and with our neighbors, and will ultimately achieve no good at all."

The First Time is Free: Microsoft's Peculiar Profit Obsession, .NET, and What It All Really Means
"Microsoft wants to get into the TRANSACTION business. Initially, this may mean media delivery and digital rights management, but the ultimate goal is to use the same technology to handle almost any transfer of money or credit anywhere."

Natural Deselection: Not Even Microsoft Will Last Forever, but They Plan to Try
"None of this has to do with making computing more reliable or seamless or more trustworthy or whatever this week's catchphrase is. It has to do with improving Microsoft's financial picture at a time when the company is trying to reinvent itself as a media delivery/DRM outfit."

I'm With Stupid: How Having Friends Might Be the Key to Both Privacy and Identity
"Yet nearly everything we do to combat crime or enhance safety comes at the expense of reduced efficiency. So we build airports to make possible efficient air transportation, then set up metal detectors to slow down the flow of passengers. We build highways to make car travel faster, then set speed limits to make it slower."

Changing the Game: How to Save the World by Taking Back Control of Our Data
"… we not long ago had a vision of something better that could be achieved through technology. This was the cypherpunk dream of ubiquitous information security, perfect secrecy and anonymity, untraceable e-cash serving to enhance democracy, protect the small guy, circumvent censorship, form a parallel economy beyond the taxman's reach, reducing the power of states. That was yesterday's news."

Stream on: How Microsoft, on the Brink of Defeat, Could Still Win the Streaming Video War
"Microsoft—which probably hasn't quite figured this out yet but eventually will—now has to OWN the 37 Burst patents. Owning the Burst patents would tilt the playing field again in Microsoft's favor."

Voter Flawed: A Follow-Up on Several Back Columns and Can Diebold Voting Machines Really Be Hacked?
"The DCS-1000 or Carnivore system is apparently rife with security defects, starting with the fact that it is a Windows 2000 box exposed to the Internet, typically not behind the firewall, at the ISP and remote-controlled from the FBI office using PCAnywhere. The data it captures are downloaded insecurely in the PCAnywhere session."

5 December 2003

Debian Reference: Chapter 3—Debian System installation hints

Debian Reference: Chapter 4—Debian tutorials
"This section provides a basic orientation to the Debian world for the real newbie. If you have been using any Unix-like system for a while, you probably know everything I explained here. Please use this as a reality check."

Debian Reference: Chapter 7—The Linux kernel under Debian
"Debian has its own method of recompiling the kernel and related modules."

Debian Reference: Chapter 8—Debian tips
Booting, recording activities, backup, system freeze recovery, & mistakes

10 December 2003

The war on copying
"It's easy to lose sight of the true goal of copy protection. It is not about preventing copying. In most cases, a perfect digital copy is unnecessary; many DVD-copying applications make good-enough copies˘copies that users can't tell from the originals˘from analog outputs. Effective copy protection, rather, is about making distribution of pirated material difficult enough that you can turn most nonpaying pirates into paying users. … Of course, you can always try charging a reasonable price and trusting people to be honest. Just think of all the money you'll save not having to implement DRM."

The Worst Jobs in Science,12543,484153,00.html
"We at Popular Science are sometimes brought up short by the realization that there are aspects of science—entire jobs, even—that, when you strip away the imposing titles and advanced degrees, sound at best distasteful and at worst unbearable. Having chosen last month our second annual Brilliant 10—a group of dynamic researchers making remarkable discoveries—we turned to this pressing question: For the rest out there, just how bad can a science job get?"

Start here to learn about Linux
IBM gives a very basic overview.

Eleven Inherent Rules Of Corporate Behavior
"The following list is an attempt to articulate the obligatory rules by which corporations operate. Some of the rules overlap, but taken together they help reveal why corporations behave as they do and how they have come to dominate their environment and the human beings within it."

The Creation of the UNIX Operating System
"After three decades of use, the UNIX computer operating system from Bell Labs is still regarded as one of the most powerful, versatile, and flexible operating systems (OS) in the computer world. Its popularity is due to many factors, including its ability to run a wide variety of machines, from micros to supercomputers, and its portability—all of which led to its adoption by many manufacturers. … Like another legendary creature whose name also ends in 'x,' UNIX rose from the ashes of a multi-organizational effort in the early 1960s to develop a dependable timesharing operating system."

O'Reilly Network: WebDAV on OS X
"WebDAV support in Mac OS X … allows for simple remote management of Web content. … DAV provides support for: Editing (creating, updating, deleting), Properties (title, author, publication date, etc.), Collections (analagous to a filesystem's directory or desktop folder), Locking (prevents the confusion and data corruption caused by two [or more] people editing the same content at the same time)."

15 December 2003

Location, Location, Location: Tips for Storing Web Site Files
"And one of the first things you'll need to figure out is where to store your web site's files. Should they be in the Sites folder? The Documents folder? What are your options? Here are three common approaches—which address the needs of basic, intermediate, and advanced web developers."

Personal Security on Jaguar: The Secure Shell, Part 1
"The purpose of focusing on SSH is that it can be instantly used in Jaguar to secure two of the most common daily work processes: file transfers (FTP) and email. As a web applications developer, I often connect to remote servers to upload files or make changes to sites. Wrapped around this process is a constant buzz of email communication. In the case of email and FTP we want to protect our passwords as well as the information or content that we send. SSH can do both and it costs nothing."

Top Five Open Source Packages for System Administrators: #5: Amanda
"Amanda stands for Advanced Maryland Automated Network Disk Archiver. … Amanda is a network-based enterprise backup utility that includes features previously available only in expensive commercial packages."

Top Five Open Source Packages for System Administrators: #4: LDAP
"LDAP provides a directory service which can be used for storing and querying information about the individuals in an organization (e.g., employees). The range of information that can be made available in this way is quite broad: traditional telephone or other institutional directory data (office location, phone numbers, and the like), Unix user account data, more personal data such as home telephone numbers and photographs, along with any other site-specific data that may be appropriate."

Top Five Open Source Packages for System Administrators: #3: GRUB
"There is a newer, more general and flexible boot loader coming into wide usage. It is named GRUB: the GRand Unified Bootloader."

Top Five Open Source Packages for System Administrators: #2: Nagios
"Nagios is a feature-rich network monitoring package. Its displays provide current information about system or resource status across an entire network. In addition, it can also be configured to send alerts and perform other actions when problems are detected."

Top Five Open Source Packages for System Administrators: #1: Cfengine
"Cfengine is a wonderful tool for configuring and maintaining Unix computer systems. Cfengine is a stand-alone tool (set of tools), which administers and configures computers according to the instructions in its configuration files. The configuration files describe the desired characteristics of various system components using a high-level language that is easy to learn and use (and involves no programming). In this way, Cfengine can automatically bring one or a large number of systems into line with each one's individually defined configuration specifications. It can also make sure they stay that way by monitoring them and correcting them as needed on an ongoing basis."

18 December 2003

How Open source software works: 'Free' user-to-user assistance
"Research into free and open source software development projects has so far largely focused on how the major tasks of software development are organized and motivated. But a complete project requires the execution of 'mundane but necessary' tasks as well. In this paper, we explore how the mundane but necessary task of field support is organized in the case of Apache web server software, and why some project participants are motivated to provide this service gratis to others."

Taking the Copy Out of Copyright
"More important is the fact that copies are not only frequently and continuously made in the computer world but moreover are necessary in order to make use of a work—any use. This is something entirely new in the realm of copyright. Reproduction is not necessary to access a work embodied in a physical artifact. No copying is required to read a book or watch a movie. However, copying is necessary in order to read an e-book or watch a DVD. In the digital world, the right to control copying becomes tantamount to a right to control access to a work for purposes of normal use, such as reading, viewing, and listening. In the digital world, the right to control copying means that actually reading an e-book is presumptively a violation of the copyright owner's rights."

22 December 2003

Continental Divides
"American politics always comes back to geography. One reason for this is the Electoral College, which doesn't award votes based on which candidate was favored by soccer moms or NASCAR dads. On election night, all that matters is who won where, and the 10-region model shows the long-term trends that both parties must take into account in trying to assemble an Electoral College majority."

Dominators and Bloc-heads
"The 10-region model provides a new template for thinking about presidential politics. But that's not all it does. It also deflates many of the clichés that now pass for political analysis, promising explanation but delivering only obfuscation. … Chief among these clichés is the prediction that one of the major parties will not only break the deadlock of the 2000 election, but also dominate American politics for years (or decades!) to come."

The 10 Regions of US Politics
"Northeast Corridor, Southern Lowlands, Upper Coasts, The Farm Belt, Great Lakes, Appalachia, El Norte, Southern Comfort, Big River, Sagebrush"

Software Reviews: Solaris 9 x86
"Solaris x86 fits a very small niche. If you need it, you need it—it's not a bad operating system to be stuck with anyway—but if you don't need it, you don't want it."

Q: What will happen when a national political machine can fit on a laptop? A: See below
"To an economist, the 'trick' of the Internet is that it drives the cost of information down to virtually zero. So according to Coase's theory, smaller information-gathering costs mean smaller organizations. And that's why the Internet has made it easier for small folks, whether small firms or dark-horse candidates such as Howard Dean, to take on the big ones."

Dean's Manager: Inside Savvy and Outsider Edge
A profile of Joe Trippi, Howard Dean's campaign manager.

Network Communication with Linux
"… some of the common and not-so-common networking tools you'll find included with nearly every Linux distribution."

Improve Your Web Site's Security with htpasswd
A short explanation of htpasswd.

29 December 2003

Introduction to Nessus, a Vulnerability Scanner
A very basic guide to installing & using Nessus.

Reclaiming the Commons: Why we need to protect our public resources from private encroachment
"A society in which every human transaction is increasingly mediated by the market, in which everything is privately owned and controlled, may come to resemble a network of medieval fiefdoms, in which every minor property-holder demands tribute for the right to cross his land or ford his streams. This balkanization is bound to impede the flow of commerce and ideas—and the sustainability of innovation and democratic culture."excellent_star: Excellent!

Fighting (with) Hierarchies—Part I: Basics
"Many sets or systems can be mapped to a hierarchy, often simply called a 'tree' (although this term is not quite correct, I will use both terms interchangeably, as is done in most publications). A tree consists of two types of elements, nodes and leaves. Nodes represent hierarchical levels and may contain other elements, such as lower-level nodes and leaves. Leaves do not contain other elements and are the 'items' of a set."

Fighting (with) Hierarchies—Part II: Presentation
"This article on hierarchies takes a closer look at the presentation of hierarchies. Hierarchies are often huge, complex and abstract. How can this mass of data be efficiently displayed in the restricted amount of space that is available on a computer screen? In this article, I demonstrate that there are many possible answers to this question."

WebSanity Top Secret