Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Technics: Internet: MySpace refuses to turn over sex-offenders names, cites Fed privacy law vs States attorneys genral email newsletter informs us informs us in "MySpace won't turn over names of sex offenders" (May16,2k7).

Story Highlights
• NEW: MySpace not turning over names of sex offenders
• NEW: MySpace attorney: Privacy act requires subpoenas
• Thousands of offenders might be MySpace members
• MySpace prevents children under 14 from setting up profiles

RALEIGH, North Carolina (AP) -- Citing federal privacy law, said Tuesday it won't comply with a request by attorneys general from eight states to hand over the names of registered sex offenders who use the social networking Web site.

MySpace's chief security officer said the company regularly discloses information to law enforcement officials but the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act says it can only do so when proper legal processes are followed.
Technotes, by Technowlb
"We're truly disheartened that the AGs chose to send out a letter ... when there was an existing legal process that could have been followed," the security officer, Hemanshu Nigam, said in an interview.

In a letter Monday, attorneys general from North Carolina, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Ohio and Pennsylvania asked MySpace to provide information about registered sex offenders using the site and where they live.

Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal on Tuesday blasted MySpace for refusing to share the information and said no subpoena is needed for MySpace to tell the attorneys general how many registered sex offenders use the site "or other information relating to possible parole violations."
The whole article is well worth clicking up and reading in its entirety. Sad that MySpace can't find a way to comply.

Natural justice so prioritizes the children who will be victimized, above federal claims to its own h+er jurisdictional status over states in regard to such an offender's privacy r+ts, that the fed law seems to be an impediment in the real world of chat-room chickenhawks who apparently gravitate to MySpace in quest of little girls and boys. But now we find our topic has shifted from a technics focus to juridics and segzetics (yes, coined word).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Technics: Internet: MicroSoft, Yahoo to join in online search services, compete with Google published with updates a report by Jonathan Thaw and Jason Kelly that relates to major changes coming to the battle of titans on the Internet, particularly the search services. Yahoo and Google are the major two, with Google far in the lead but not that far. "Microsoft, Yahoo May Partner to Challenge Google in Web Search" (May5,2k7).

MicroSoft has been unable to break effectively into the field, but wants part of the ad revenues that the search services routinely place on their pages. What is being presented to the public at the moment is called a "partnership," but the relation being explored seems to have in its background MS's intent to buy and swallow ("merge") Yahoo in six months time.

May 5 (Bloomberg) -- Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo! Inc. have held talks about a partnership designed to boost their share of the Web search and advertising market and catch up with Google Inc., people briefed on the discussions said.

The discussions are in the early stages and focus on a partnership rather than a merger, said one of the people, who asked to remain anonymous because the negotiations are private. Shares of Yahoo jumped the most in three years yesterday after the New York Post said Microsoft wants to buy the company.

Yahoo and Microsoft, the world's largest software maker, have struggled to dent Google's dominance in searching the Web and in the booming market for advertising spots next to search results. A combination would triple Microsoft's share of the U.S. search market to 38.4 percent, rivaling Google's 48.3 percent, according to ComScore Inc.

``It gets them enough economies of scale to be a viable force in search,'' said Walter Price, who oversees about $2 billion including Microsoft shares at RCM Capital Management in San Francisco. ``You have to ratchet up your capital expenditure to compete with Google.''
What this will mean for consumers (web users) hopefully will be more and better services, in the first instance, by Google. I could make some recommendations in that regard, as I don't think the ads I obstruded onto other's webpages when I search are sufficiently compensated by the time-consuming awkwardnesses I have to crawl thru when using Google. The Google ads on refWrite are not at all those I would select from their stable, tho usually they are tolerable, at other times downr+t obnoxious. But that's another story.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Technics: Juridics: Internet news-aggregator of content-URLs 'Digg' treated as pirate for code hack HD DVDs

CNet blogger Steven Musil reports "Unhappy Digg users bury site in protest" (May2,2k7). users, very upset at the news aggregate site for deleting articles containing an encryption key that could be used to crack the digital rights management on HD DVDs [H+Density DVDs], have inundated the site with thousands of recommendations to pages that contain the code. The protest was apparently heard by Digg administrators, who later reversed the ban.

On Tuesday night, the "All topics" category contained several pages of the most popular articles recommended by Digg readers populated only by links to sites that contained the code, as well as messages deriding the Motion Picture Association of America, a proponent of digital rights management and antipiracy measures. Many of the articles had upward of 4,000 recommendations from users.

A message purporting to be from Digg co-founder and CEO Jay Adelson posted to the site early Tuesday explained the rationale behind the site's former stance.

"We've been notified by the owners of this intellectual property that they believe the posting of the encryption key infringes their intellectual property rights," the posting reads. "In order to respect these rights and to comply with the law, we have removed postings of the key that have been brought to our attention."

Later, a message headlined with the code and credited to Digg co-founder Kevin Rose called Tuesday "a difficult day for us" and explained that site had reversed its earlier stance and would reluctantly allow articles containing the code to be referenced from the site.

"We had to make a call, and in our desire to avoid a scenario where Digg would be interrupted or shut down, we decided to comply and remove the stories with the code," according to the posting. "...[Digg website users ha]ve made it clear. You'd rather see Digg go down fighting than bow down to a bigger company. We hear you, and effective immediately we won't delete stories or comments containing the code and will deal with whatever the consequences might be. If we lose, then what the hell, at least we died trying."
"Living by the wisdom of the crowd is what made Digg popular, said CEO Jay Adelson in a telephone interview Wednesday, reports Chris Gaylord of Christian Science Monitor in "Digg's online crowd flexes its muscle--Backlash over the site administrators' attempt to squelch postings of a secret encryption code shows power of free-speech-minded Web users" (May4,2k7).
"Digg is supposed to be the opposite of censorship," he said. "Our attorneys were advising us that it is always better to be safe than sorry and continue removing the stories. But the users clearly wanted it … and this was something we didn't want to suppress anymore."

What could have been an unraveling for Digg and other social websites – that peek behind the curtain to discover that the online community is not truly in control – turned into a solidifying event for the idea that the Internet is as much a tool for participating as it is for publishing. For many users, the code wasn't the point. The Digg deluge was about reclaiming the reins.

"This had the possibility of being a very dark moment, and it's turned out to be quite a strong statement about what it means to have socially driven websites," says John Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard Law School. "It was civil disobedience on restriction of free speech – but in an Internet fashion."
Technotes, by Technowlb

Two days later, the story but not the code (!) made its way to a science blog in the field of physics. updates the early reports. The blog-entry's content goes so beyond my "Technics" category that probably I should re-designate my headline "Juridics" in the first cat. Come to think of it, the slant to legal actions in tech articles, seems to be something like a trend at the moment. Or, perhaps I should retitle the first slot "Social Networking" which also played a huge role in Digg's removal of the orginal post. Article: "Has Digg Dug a Legal Hole for Itself?" (May4,2k7). From the aritcle itself you can navigate to the site's PhysOrgForum, where you can discuss the whole phenom with many others who are keeping up with this development.

Call it the Internet's version of a bloodless coup. A revolt by users of led the administrators of the Web site to reverse a decision to remove stories containing code used to circumvent digital rights management for HD-DVDs [H+Density Digital Video something or other].

But the change of course by has not settled anything; instead the latest flare up regarding the now-infamous code highlights both legal and security issues facing HD-DVD technology and the Internet itself.'s initial decision to take down the stories was spurred by a cease and desist letter earlier this week from the AACS LA (Advanced Access Content System Licensing Administrator).

The AACS LA licenses the encryption technology meant to protect HD-DVDs from illegal copying.
But the decision [by Digg to restore the offending code] could open it up to legal action by the AACS LA for a possible violation of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, a series of provisions that prohibit the production or distribution of technology that circumvents DRM.

Copyright 2007 by Ziff Davis Media
By the way, I found the following ad text on the website: "How To Copy A DVD Movie Burn & Copy Your Home DVD Movies to Blank CD. Play Copy Anywhere $24."

As CSM's Chris Gaylord has noted, the Digg Episode (or Epiphany, as some Diggers mite regard it) is not an isolated case:
Other successful social sites have hit similar power struggles. In September, the popular college networking site thought they would further connect users by rolling out a "news feed" feature that would update everyone on nearly every change occurring on friends' profiles, right down to who rejected whose party invitation. This perceived invasion of privacy launched boycotts and rumors of a National Don't Log Into Facebook Day. Site administrators changed the feature after only two days.

The HD-DVD key was not the first story Digg administrators yanked. They regularly pull down links to pornography and hate speech, says Mr. Adelson. But with more than 7,000 articles submitted to Digg every day, he acknowledges the process is very reactive. Digg's most relied-on filter is its users – for sniffing out both the good and the bad.

Digg's crowd is a tech-savvy set, so when the movie-code posting sneaked past administrators, the readers dug it. Before anyone at the Digg office noticed that the story had slipped through the cracks, 15,000 users had recommended it – making its sudden disappearance all the more noticeable, Adelson says.
So the Episode takes its place among many, and surely will not be the last of them either.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Music: Gospel: Oldtime music revival in NYC with Bluegrass Gospel's 'Diane McKoy and a Small Few"

Veteran entertainer Diane McKoy combines her love of God with her love of music and forms Bluegrass Gospel band in the Big Apple. She's a veteran entertainer who's combining her love of God and Scripture, with her love of music, by forming a new Bluegrass Gospel band in the Big Apple in her second try in her home city. As far as she knows, hers is again the only one in that northern metropolis where the grass is scarce, green not really blue.

New York, Apr28,2k7 /Christian Newswire/ -- New York City may be famed for Broadway and Wall Street, but Diane McKoy hopes America's largest city becomes known as home to her Bluegrass Gospel band, Diane McKoy and a Small Few.

"New York City may not be the first place that comes to mind when you hear about a Bluegrass Gospel band," says McKoy, the band's leader, "but God put A Small Few in my heart and I live in New York." Although there are many Gospel music groups in the Big Apple, Bluegrass Gospel bands are otherwise nonexistent. There was one other. McKoy started it. It lasted 13 years before it disbanded.
Music, by Audiovisiotor
The newly formed band features McKoy and two musician/singer friends: Steven Antonelli and Daniel Marcus. Together they produce Bluegrass Gospel and Country Gospel, music that mixes the Good Book with strings and harmonizing.

Like many indie musicians Diane McKoy and a Small Few has a My Space page. Presently, the group is playing at various venues throughout New York City. The trio is making fans out of big city dwellers wherever the band plays.
I can think of other cities, further North, that may welcome authentic Bluegrass, especially of the key Gospel variety. Fascinating too is the the fact that Gospel has differentiated into three at least subgenres: traditional, country, and bluegrass. I wonder whether I could find these different varieties online at a digital music store.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Technics: Intenet: Law suit by UK football club tries to stop circulation of video clips on YouTube/Google

Techdirt's Mike Masnick, "Premier League, Jealous Of Viacom, Sues YouTube As Well" (May5,2k7)

Nick writes in to let us know that the Premier League, in the UK (football/soccer, depending on where you are) has decided to sue Google/YouTube for copyright infringement. Nick has his own analysis, but there are a number of interesting (or silly, depending on your perspective) things about the case. First off, it was almost exactly two years ago that we were surprised to hear the Premier League suggest that it needed to sue fans who were streaming its games online (pre-YouTube days). Here were fans who were so interested in following what was going on that they'd watch games online and help promote it to others who had no way of watching the games, and the best the Premier League could do was threaten to sue? That seemed backwards. Last year, the Premier League popped up again, complaining about videos on YouTube. However, while again it seemed like bad marketing to go after fans who are promoting your sport, we figured it was at least a positive that the Premier League wasn't so silly as to blame YouTube for the actions of its users. Apparently, we spoke too soon.
Technotes, by Technowlb
If anything, this is probably a reaction to Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit against Google/YouTube. The Premier League figured it might get a piece of that, or at least hope that Google would be willing to settle. Of course, Google's defense should be the same as it was for Viacom. The Premier League makes one different argument -- which is that it tried to use the anti-piracy tools provided by Google, and they didn't work. It's hard to see how the fact that the tools don't work very well is illegal. There is no magic bullet that can stop unauthorized copies -- so every "anti-piracy" tool won't work entirely. That's hardly something to sue over. The other difference is that the Premier League is looking to have the case declared as a class action suit, so that all copyright holders can get at Google in one shot. If this succeeds, then it seems likely that it will shut down YouTube, destroying one of the most effective promotional vehicles the Premier League has had in years. It's hard to see how that's beneficial for anyone.
More need to be said here, but I'll say it tomorrow. G'nite!

Sports: English Football: Ashton Villa wallops 3-0 Sheffield United in Barclays' Premier League game

Barclay's Premiership stats (May6,2k7)

Most of the game saw Sheffield struggle to hold the Villans down, as the tide just swept these Ashtonauts forward, while Sheffield gradually fell apart. They kept their faces brave thru-out the disaster in Barclay's English Premier League, in a game which I viewed live across the Pond in Toronto on Saturday afternoon our time. The crowd kept roaring thru-out, so the lads had all the encouragement they could use.

Sports / UK Football, by Sportikos

As the stats show, Ashton Villa is no paragon of football excellency, yet it soars 5 slots above Sheffield United in the standings. On the other hand, the Villa itself has to look 10 strata above itself to discern the august Machester United team at the top of Barclay's Premiership, with Chelsea breathing down their necks.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Technics: Internet: Whose counting your online clicks? and how!

When you go surfing the WordWideWeb and even the larger Internet of which www. is only the most prominent component, there are many technical means to monitor your moves or, lacking that thoroness, to sample a survey group of sizeable proportions that is most likely to be able to project/predict your most likely moves, statistically speaking. Obviously, if your own internet demographic profile is multiply-marginal, your own choices may not register in the prevailing samples.

Or, your Internet Service Provider (ISP, IP) may be selling your click habits to firms that buy them en masse. Otherwise, your obscurity would then be, perhaps mercifully, preserved--unless you are host to some other means ensconced on your own computer in the form of click-counters' cookies that send out signals as to what you are doing each time you make a move, check an ad, whatever. This is not necessarily bad, depending on your own concerns and privacy values.

MSNBC carries a report by Catherine Holshan, "Who's Counting Clicks, and How -- There are lots of ways to measure Web traffic. Here's a glance at some of the more common approaches " (Apr30,2k7).

A host of companies are doing their level best to keep tabs on how many people are visiting a given Web site, and what those users do while they are there. Some use tags installed on a user's Web browser, while others extrapolate surfing habits from a sample audience. A handful use a combination of several methods. Here's a glance at a range of approaches, with a look at what each has to say about one popular online video site, Metacafe.
Technotes, by Technowlb

Here's the varied list of click-counters and analysts, that Ms. Halshan evaluates as to What, How, Strengths, Weaknesses. Dare I advise readers to click-up her article?

Alexa Internet, owned by Amazon (AMZN)
Compete Inc.
Google Analytics (GOOG)
Omnitecture (OMTR)
Nielsen//NetRatings (NTRT)

generic - internal server logs
used by individual net companies
to track the traffic that click
onto their own sites