In a welcome move, the Indian patent office has temporarily stopped issuing software patents. "In view of several representations received regarding interpretation and scope of section 3(k) of the Patents Act 1970 (as amended), the Guidelines for Examination of Computer Related Inventions... are kept in abeyance till discussions with stakeholders are completed and contentious issues are resolved," the Controller General of Patents said in a notification issued last week. Again, this is a temporary measure and given the intensive lobbying that happens behind doors, it could still be revised.
The Internet Engineering Task Force(IETF) has finally created a standard for when a page has been taken down due to legal reasons. The new status code, 451, indicates that a host has received a legal demand to deny access to a resource. Via TheNextWeb
It seems every year I change my blog backend, hoping it will make a difference to the frequency in blogging. After 10+ years blogging, I am older and wiser enough to know that it doesn’t. It is a losing battle. Content I would like to share with my family goes to Facebook, random quips go to Twitter. Pretty much wherever there is a more suitable audience. In any case, writing or not, it is much better to move to a hosted solution, and I moved my domain and migrated my Jekyll website (painfully) to the wordpress.
It is impossible to ignore avro at work - it is the data serialization format of choice at work (and rightly so), whether it is to store data into Kafka or into our document database Espresso. Recently, I had the need to read avro data serialized by a Java application, and I looked into how I might use Python to read such data.
Having worked with Python for a while, I am trying to pick up Ruby, especially for some of my work with logstash. While trying out a small program in Ruby, I got stumped with a peculiar trait of Ruby hashes with default values. It made me lose an hour of my life I am not going to get back. :(
Ok, I don’t particularly like calling a bug fantastic, in this case, it is more of a fantastic troubleshooting of a bug. What I found interesting was the layers that were unpeeled one by one to reach the probable region of the root cause. (Yeah, the root cause is probably so esoteric and confined to a specific combination of version, that it is unlikely to be looked at by anybody).
I have a confession to make. Hollywood has always fascinated me. Not because of the larger-than-life stories they come up with. But because of the enormous machinery that churns out a movie. To the utter frustration of my family, I always stay back at the end of a movie, looking at all the credits which flash by - to see the rest of the iceberg under the tip. The thousands of people who made this movie happen, out of which only a fraction gets the world wide adulation, but all of them were needed to make it happen.
Apple has patented a piece of technology which would allow government and police to block transmission of information, including video and photographs, from any public gathering or venue they deem “sensitive”, and “protected from externalities.” In other words, these powers will have control over what can and cannot be documented on wireless devices during any public event.
And while the company says the affected sites are to be mostly cinemas, theaters, concert grounds and similar locations, Apple Inc. also says “covert police or government operations may require complete ‘blackout’ conditions.”
Who said the field of security cannot have humour! An Android app to control the commode in Japan (you know the land of fully programmable toilets, I kid you not) has announced a vulnerability because the bluetooth pairing code is hardcoded.
Just now read a rather disturbing article from Sophos security. The article describes the interpretation of the law by NSA and some of the internal policies that they use in surveillance. They also reveal that courts don’t always determine who’s targeted for surveillance because that discretion is practiced by the NSA’s own analysts, with only a percentage of decisions being reviewed by regular internal audits. To make those decisions, NSA analysts use information including IP addresses, potential targets’ statements, and public information and data collected by other agencies.