March 2004 Archives

secure enough for consumerism, not good enough for voting?!

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In the past year or so we have seen various attempts to online voting just to see them scrapped because they are not secure enough. Pentagon Drops Plan To Test Internet Voting is the latest report on such initiative stating that "The Pentagon (news - web sites) has decided to drop a $22 million pilot plan to test Internet voting for 100,000 American military personnel and civilians living overseas after lingering security concerns, officials said yesterday."

How is it that we can't trust security because voting would be done over the Internet, when the same Internet is used for millions of dollars in daily transactions between consumers and companies and business-to-business? The same Internet is secure enough for commerce and can be trusted with billions of dollars. Yet, it is not secure enough for voting?

Something is wrong … perhaps the following explains it (from the same article): "The American pullback is in direct contrast to Europe, where governments are pursuing online voting in an attempt to increase participation. The United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Belgium have been testing Internet ballots."

Ref: Media Control: Open communication technologies as actors enabling a shift in the status quo

google's personalized 'jewel'

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Google does it again. Like with many of the practical implementations in the search world, Google is first again. First in implementing it in real world, not necessarily in research. As far as research is concerned, personalized searches have been discussed plenty.

This new personalized web search by Google utilizes facet aided searches.

The entire search is dynamic. Once you setup the profile, very simple and menu/directory driven, the left side shows the built query. You can still type a search term. The FAQ shows a bit how things supposed to work.

In any case, the search is operational (beta) and once the relevant docs are returned, there is a small sliding bar that can be moved left-right in order to dynamically relax-restrict the personalization.

Interesting stuff! Just when you think you have learned how Google works! :)

Now, all other search engines would try to do the same. Why don't they start something before Google does it for a change?! What are they afraid off?

(thanks to for the link)

12 Reasons for Growth of Open Source

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From Netscape Co-Founder's 12 Reasons for Growth of Open Source:

  • "The Internet is powered by open source."
  • "The Internet is the carrier for open source."
  • "The Internet is also the platform through which open source is developed."
  • "It's simply going to be more secure than proprietary software."
  • "Open source benefits from anti-American sentiments."
  • "Incentives around open source include the respect of one's peers."
  • "Open source means standing on the shoulders of giants."
  • "Servers have always been expensive and proprietary, but Linux runs on Intel."
  • "Embedded devices are making greater use of open source."
  • "There are an increasing number of companies developing software that aren't software companies."
  • "Companies are increasingly supporting Linux."
  • "It's free."

bad scientific/technology journalism or ...

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In the Supercomputers Think Fast with New Software article there is no mention of the word 'think', even though it is in the title/subject of the article.

Is this just intentionally bad journalism intended to get people to read the article because they believe computers and thinking are interesting conjectures, or, the journalist really does not know that computers (even supercomputers) can really think but only process information/data.

Talking about social construction of concepts. What goes on in those people's minds who believe computers can think? Do they believe that computers are always right and/or should always be trusted as such?

US societies back expanded free access to research

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From US societies back expanded free access to research, courtesy of

"A substantial number of the United States' leading medical and scientific societies have declared their support for free access to research under certain circumstances — including access by scientists working in low-income countries.

In a statement released this week in Washington DC, 48 not-for-profit publishers, representing more than 600,000 scientists and clinicians and more than 380 journals, pledge their support for a number of forms of free access."

The push is on to shelve part of the Patriot Act

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From The push is on to shelve part of the Patriot Act:

"Discontent about Section 215 has been smoldering; 253 cities and towns across the country have passed nonbinding resolutions expressing opposition to it. It flamed up last month when the American Booksellers Association, the American Library Association, and the writers group PEN American Center announced a drive to collect a million signatures in support of several bills pending in Congress to amend the law. The campaign is supported by a who's-who of publishers, booksellers, and library organizations, including the Barnes & Noble and Borders bookstore chains, publishers Random House and Simon & Schuster, the American Association of Law Libraries, and the Authors Guild."

Theories informing my research

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Understanding the implicit and explicit theories of a research article most often means carefully reading through the article for the explicit theories stated therein, and also browsing through the bibliography to see who else or what other theories, frameworks and paradigms have informed the current article. This also provides an insight about which implicit theories the author subscribes too.  To understand authors fully in this respect, it would require reading many of their works.

At the beginning of the Ph.D. program I was unaware of my theoretical framework, or better said, I would have been unable to answer such question if I was asked. At that time I would have thought that I didn’t really subscribe to any particular theory, framework or paradigm. One semester after another I struggled to identify my interests. I wanted to place and find myself within a particular school of thought. This was further complicated by the fact that information science as an interdisciplinary field of study is not yet well define by its theory or paradigm as understood in the traditional sense.

However, as I was writing more and more papers for my coursework, I started realizing that my writings usually concentrate around the subject of information artifacts (i.e. information, information structures, and information systems) and their role in the social structures that utilize them. At this point I decided to re-read all of my papers, four semesters worth. To my surprise and delight, I realized that all this time I was not just writing. I was actually trying to explicate and elaborate (with the language available to me at the time) on how various information technologies effect the social structures around them and concurrently are affected by the same. I recognized this theme throughout my papers.

strange world: Court stops DVD-copying software

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From Court stops DVD-copying software:

"A US court has told software company 321 Studios to stop selling a program that lets people copy DVDs."

Hmmm... Where is the logic of this? Why not stop the selling of VCR recorders because they can be used to make illegal copies of movies on video tapes.

By Mentor Cana, PhD
more info at LinkedIn
email: mcana {[at]} kmentor {[dot]} com

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