Archive for November, 2010

European Commissioner in FAVOR of Copyright Reform

Unbelievably, someone in power recently gave a speech titled “A Digital World of Opportunities” that is in favor of copyright reform.  Who, you might ask?  Ms. Neelie Kroes, the European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda.

I’d provide some details concerning the speech, but Thom Holwerda at OS News has already provided an outstanding review of her speech here.   It’s definitely a MUST READ!

The speech in its entirety can be found here, and I’ve posted a PDF copy here.

If only this speech could be the seed for an intelligent debate concerning the farce copyright law has become in the US (& elsewhere)… but I won’t set my hopes too high yet.

Beware of Firesheep!

Firesheep is an add-on for the Firefox web browser that makes it extremely easy for you (or anyone else) to hijack current web sessions over open Wi-fi.  It’s been available for a couple weeks now from here and has been downloaded over half a million times.

For a full analysis of what Firesheep is and how to protect yourself from being hijacked, listen to Steve Gibson’s “Security Now” podcast (28 Oct 10) on the topic.  If listening to podcasts isn’t your cup of tea, Steve transcribes them to various formats (html, pdf, text).  Here’s the html transcription of the Firesheep Security Now podcast.

I strongly suggest you also listen to Steve’s latest Security Now podcast (04 Nov 10).  It’s a “Listener Feedback” session but it provides more up-to-date info concerning Firesheep.  The html transcript of this podcast is located here.

The “Security Now” podcast is now in it’s sixth year of production.  It airs weekly every Wednesday on Twit TV  with Leo Laporte.  You can even watch the live video should you desire.  All 273 episodes are archived on Steve Gibson’s “Security Now” web site along with searchable transcripts.  It’s a fantastic educational resource!

UPDATE:  Woody Leonard wrote a great article for Windows Secrets last week titled  “Cloak your connection to foil Firesheep snoopers.”  I improperly referred to what Firesheep allows as “hijacking.”  The proper term for what Firesheep so easily performs is the other well known problem of “sidejacking.”

Music recommendations (er… unless you don’t like it, that is…)

I haven’t listened to the radio much over the past several years so don’t get exposed to much, if any, new music.  I primarily listen to podcasts during my commute to & from work.  As a certified old fart, it’s not surprising that my music tastes don’t always coincide with my college-aged son.  He listens to a ton of music & it always amazes me how well he knows what I like.  Here’s just three songs he picked for me over the past year that are “spot on” with my tastes:

If I Die Young (The Band Perry)

Furr (Blizten Trapper) <played on “Chuck” last season>

A Girl, A Boy, and a Graveyard (Jeremy Messersmith) <played on “Chuck” this season>

Ma Bell Canada – Metered Internet Usage & Eliminating Competition

I think perhaps we ought to be paying attention to what may be happening with internet service north of our border, as it could very well happen here in the US of A.  Bell Canada is apparently not only converting their customers to “metered internet usage”, but forcing their competing ISPs (who buy bandwidth from Bell Canada) to also do the same with their customers — thus conveniently eliminating any competition.  In addition to “metered internet usage” Bell Canada is also apparently throttling the traffic of so-called ‘network abusers.’

A metered internet – on the way in Canada? (p2pnet)

–  Bell Canada: Traffic Throttling Mark II (p2pnet)

Unfortunately, things aren’t all that great  here (south of Canada, that is).  Scientific American published an article last month titled “Why Broadband Service in the U.S. Is So Awful”.  It pretty much places the blame on the FCC boo-boo in 2002 where they reclassified broadband internet service as an “information service” rather than a “telecommunications service,”  thus stifling competition.

Oh well… not to worry!  (yeah right….)