Archive for the 'Technology' Category

12 DecScript to Convert Windows-1252 files to UTF-8

I had several hundred (over 1000) HTML files in a directory. They were unfortunately encoded in Windows-1252 and I wanted them all converted to UTF-8, but I was not willing to open the files one by one or feed their names to a script (there’s too many) so I needed a script that would operate on the whole directory and spit out the converted files in one fell swoop.

If you’re not familiar with encodings the visual problem one sees is that Firefox displays little black diamonds with question marks inside them for characters it doesn’t understand (I think they’re mostly tabs, spaces, and em-dashes in this case.)

With help from friends and the internet I learned about the GNU/Linux command-line tool iconv which handled this perfectly. Here’s the bash script I used that made it work on the entire directory at once:

#/bin/bash
LIST=`ls *.html`
for i in $LIST;
do iconv -f WINDOWS-1252 -t UTF8 $i -o $i.”utf8″;
mv $i.”utf8″ $i;
done

It seems that iconv requires a new name for the output file, so the above script temporarily names them *.utf and then moves them back over the original .html files. Hopefully this helps someone else.

06 NovGoogle, Inc. v. American Blind & Wallpaper Factory, Inc., (N.D. Cal. Apr. 18, 2007).

I hate it when I can’t easily find an opinion online: Google, Inc. v. American Blind & Wallpaper Factory, Inc., (N.D. Cal. Apr. 18, 2007).

14 SepU.N. agency eyes curbs on Internet anonymity

Interesting CNET article,

A United Nations agency is quietly drafting technical standards, proposed by the Chinese government, to define methods of tracing the original source of Internet communications and potentially curbing the ability of users to remain anonymous.

The U.S. National Security Agency is also participating in the “IP Traceback” drafting group, named Q6/17, which is meeting next week in Geneva to work on the traceback proposal. Members of Q6/17 have declined to release key documents, and meetings are closed to the public…

08 SepHistory of the Browser User Agent String

In the beginning there was NCSA Mosaic, and Mosaic called itself NCSA_Mosaic/2.0 (Windows 3.1), and Mosaic displayed pictures along with text, and there was much rejoicing…

History of the Browser User Agent String.

15 AugDebian on the Openmoko Neo FreeRunner

It was inevitable. One can now run the entire Debian distribution (ARM port) on the Openmoko Neo Freerunner. Slashdot previously covered the July 4th launch of this GNU/Linux-based smartphone, which is open down to its core, with the company providing CAD files and schematics for the phone. Openmoko released an update to their software stack earlier this month, called Om2008.8, which is still a work in progress. But now one can use these instructions on the Debian wiki to open up the possibility of using apt-get to access Debian’s more than 20,000 applications–on your phone, which due to integration with freesmartphone.org efforts, can also actually be used as a phone. There were previously efforts to run Debian on the predecessor product to the Neo FreeRunner, the Neo 1973, but with the wider adoption of the Neo FreeRunner and the hard work of many Debian developers at the ongoing DebConf8, carrying Debian in your pocket has just gotten a lot easier.

23 JunCapitol Records v. Multiply, Inc. 07-11357 (SDNY)

07-11357-013-AmendedComplaint
07-11357-029-MemoISOMotToDismiss
07-11357-034-MemoOppMotToDismiss
07-11357-039-ReplyMemoISOMotToDismiss

02 FebSony Laptop Locks Out non-Sony Battery

Yesterday I received a generic replacement battery that I had ordered for my Sony VGN-FS840/W laptop. When placed in the laptop the battery indicator flashes rapidly. The laptop will not turn on with the battery inserted, even if the AC cord is also used. The battery shows no charge and does not charge. Reading online I learned that Sony apparently uses a hardware lock in certain of its laptop models to prevent the use of non-Sony replacement batteries. See, for example, these blog posts.

Some people, using Windows, are able to avoid this problem by using msconfig to delete the Sony program, ISBMgr.exe, that monitors for non-Sony batteries, but I am running GNU/Linux and not Windows. Some others using Windows also find that deleting the program doesn’t help because Sony has some hardware or BIOS method of disallowing any non-Sony battery. I think this must be the case for my model laptop.

I’m pondering who can be sued over this. Post your ideas on who the plaintiff(s) should be and what the claims should be in the comments. I’d also be happy with a technical fix, if anyone has one.

18 DecShould Copyright Owners Have to Give Notice About Their Use of Technical Protection Measures?

One good DRM paper deserves another. Former EFF Staff Attorney, Jason Schultz, has taken a position at UC Berkeley’s School of Law and has just posted a pre-publication paper he co-wrote with Berkeley Law Professor Pamela Samuelson entitled: Should Copyright Owners Have to Give Notice About Their Use of Technical Protection Measures? From the abstract:

Consumers expect to be able to do at least as much with digital content as they have been able to do with analog content, and more. Yet, some copyright owners are using technical protection measures to thwart certain consumer uses of digital content, and rarely do they give effective notice to consumers about these technical restrictions. This article identifies six types of consumer harms that have occurred from inadequate notice, including lack of expected interoperability, privacy invasions, security vulnerabilities, anti-competitive lock-out as to compatible systems, risks of inadvertent anti-circumvention liability, and unanticipated changing terms and discontinued service. It discusses a range of options for responding to the notice inadequacy problem, from trusting the market to substantive regulation that would forbid use of certain kinds of TPM restrictions (such as those that invade user privacy). Because the market has yet to yield effective notice to consumers of TPM restrictions, the article recommends that the Federal Trade Commission investigate the deployment of TPMs in digital content and make recommendations for standard notices that should be provided to consumers about the TPM restrictions.

Berkeley Law seems to be gathering together a think-tank of talent focused on getting technology law right.

09 OctRadiohead’s “In Rainbows” to be DRM-free MP3s

Radiohead recently announced that fans could pick the price they’d pay for Radiohead’s new album, In Rainbows.

To check this out and support this experiment, I signed up for the download-only version and chose to pay $.99 per song, i.e., $9.90 for the 10-song album. (I used a currency-converter to figure out how much to pay in pounds.)

I just received the following e-mail indicating the download codes will be provided tomorrow morning (UK time) and the songs will be provided as DRM-Free MP3s. Nice. They have made the right choice. Again.

THANK YOU FOR ORDERING IN RAINBOWS. THIS IS AN UPDATE.

YOUR UNIQUE ACTIVATION CODE(S) WILL BE SENT OUT TOMORROW MORNING (UK TIME). THIS WILL TAKE YOU STRAIGHT TO THE DOWNLOAD AREA.

HERE IS SOME INFORMATION ABOUT THE DOWNLOAD:

THE ALBUM WILL COME AS A 48.4MB ZIP FILE CONTAINING 10 X 160KBPS DRM FREE MP3s.

MOST COMPUTERS NOW HAVE ZIP SOFTWARE AS PART OF THE OPERATING SYSTEM; IF YOUR COMPUTER DOES NOT, YOU NEED TO GET WINZIP OR ZIPIT INSTALLED PRIOR.

YOU CAN DOWNLOAD THEM HERE:

PC: http://www.winzip.com/
MAC: http://www.maczipit.com/

IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR PROBLEMS DOWNLOADING YOUR FILE, PLEASE CONTACT OUR DOWNLOAD CUSTOMER SERVICE TEAM AT downloadinrainbows@waste.uk.com

11 Jul9th Cir decision in Perfect 10 v. Visa Int’l Serv. Assoc.

On July 3rd the 9th Circuit filed its opinion in Perfect 10 v. Visa Int’l Serv. Assoc., (9th Cir. 2007). The majority (Reinhardt and Smith) takes itself to be following the recent P10 decisions from the 9th Circuit, Perfect 10, Inc. v. CCBill LLC, (9th Cir. 2007). and Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon, Inc., (9th Cir. 2007), finds the claims against Visa were rightly dismissed, and has an interesting discussion of secondary liability–worth reading even if you’re intimately familiar with CCbill and Amazon. Kozinski’s dissent is classic Kozinski and also worth a read. He ends in exasperation, “In straining to escape the strictures of our caselaw, the majority draws a series of ephemeral distinctions that are neither required nor permitted; the opinion will prove to be no end of trouble.”

When one recalls that Kozinski penned the opinion in the rightly-maligned Fair Housing Council v. Roommates.com, LLC, (9th Cir. 2007) decision from May of this year, one can see how divergent Kozinski’s views are on these topics from his fellow judges.

I wrote a detailed analysis of the opinions, No End of Trouble? Perfect 10 v. Visa International and Secondary Liability.