technology

iPad, HyPad.

So, MacTablet day is over, and what have we learnt? Steve Jobs can’t do magic, either. The emphasis Apple put on the iPad’s assumed magical abilities in the official presentation video, in which Apple developers do appear a bit, well, over the top (not to say, enchanted). And, I think, Apple is actually very much aware of the device’s lack of magic – the iPad will cost half of the rumoured prices.

Apart from that – it’s just what everybody expected. A great looking device taking design and UI cues from both the iPhone and the iPod touch, with a proprietary CPU that appears to be relatively fast and economic in its use of energy.  10 hours of battery life in such a sleek device, that’s definitely quite something.

It will be interesting to see whether extended typing will be bearable on the virtual keyboard, but initial reports indicate it’s probably not going to be. The screen is not actually high resolution – 1024*768 in a 9,7“ screen is, well just barely above standard. It could be a good screen, but that remains to be seen.

But even so, it is an LED screen, and that’s really something entirely different from the electronic ink technology used by, say, Amazon’s Kindle. Apple’s bookstore will probably sell books, but reading on a backlit device will not be as convenient as it is on an e-ink screen. I don’t think it’s too surprising Amazon’s stock was up after the iPad’s presentation – investors probably realized the iPad won’t kill the Kindle. Currently, alas, there is just no „best of both worlds“ – e-ink is not available in colour for mass consumption and neither is any other non-LED based technology.

The iPad apparently also doesn’t feature a camera, so it’s useless for video calls.

But the device’s biggest problem may turn out to be what is Apple’s huge strength in the phone market (- and, if Microsoft is clever, an opportunity to regain lost ground in the market it pioneered  with a „Windows7 tablet PC edition 2010″…): The system is currently closed, and Apple controls who gets to put what on the system. Flash, for example, is not currently supported. And that’s a pretty big problem for a web-surfing tablet, and ‚pretty big‘ is probably an understatement.

We’ll see, in three months everyone will be able to do a hands-on test.

Standard
almost a diary, Economics, German Politics, intellectual property rights, internet, media

Manifestieren.

Im vergangenen April, auf der Republica 2009, habe ich Stefan Niggemeier nach der gnadenlos langweiligen Blogger vs. Journalismus-Diskussion zwischen zwei Radiointerviews zum Thema noch gefragt, ob es ihn nicht langweile, seit Jahren mit den gleichen Leuten immer die gleichen Dinge zu diskutieren. Er meinte schlicht – „ja“.

Aber er begreift diese Diskussionen wohl auch als eine Art öffentliche Dienstleistung, als Bohren verdammt dicker Bretter vor den Köpfen mancher Menschen, die immer größere Schwierigkeiten haben, die sich progressiv virtualisierende Realität in ihre mentalen Interpretationsschemata zu pressen, so wie sie das beim Ausdrucken von Netzinhalten auf Din-A4-Seiten versuchen. Das Netz hat halt keine Seitenbegrenzungen.

Die Überwindung dieses konzeptionellen Grabens und die zumindest tendenzielle Beantwortung der wirtschaftlichen und sozialen Fragestellungen, die sich aus der Digitalisierung, dem Informationsparadoxon und der so immer schlechter funktionierenden „unsichtbaren Hand“ des Marktes ergeben sind eine Generationenaufgabe, in der man Redundanz vermutlich vor allem als eine Art kognitives Stützrad ansehen muß. In der Wiederholung liegt zumindest ein Teil der Kraft, denn Ideen, die sich nur als Folge von Zeichen, nicht aber in Köpfen manifestieren, sind eigentlich keine. Die Annahme der Aufgabe, mit Redundanz mentale Überzeugungsarbeit zu leisten, ist daher auch ein Zeichen der Anerkenntnis von gesellschaftlicher Verantwortung.

Der Weinerlichkeit des Heidelberger Appels und der Hamburger Erklärung wird heute von einigen Journalisten und Bloggern eine Alternative entgegengesetzt, die Handlungs- und Gestaltungsfähigkeit annimmt, und nicht den Untergang des Abendlandes, sollte bei diesem Internet nicht bald mal jemand den Stecker ziehen. Steht nix Neues drin, klar, und Probleme werden darin auch nicht gelöst. Wie auch? So geht das eben nicht. Das ist ja gerade der problematische Punkt an der Sache.

Aber das Manifest ist – wie die Piratenpartei und wie der Kulturkampf um die Netzsperren in diesem Sommer – ein Zeichen für die in meiner Generation wachsende Erkenntnis, daß man sich nicht mehr unter Berufung auf vermeintliche oder tatsächliche superiore Sachkenntnis oder die nicht seltene Unterträglichkeit von institutionellen Auseinandersetzungen aus diesen heraushalten darf. Der Preis wäre zu hoch.

Und daher werde auch ich das an sich redundante Internet-Manifest mitzeichnen, sobald es die Möglichkeit dazu gibt.

Standard
web 2.0

Happy with WordPress.

I’m rather happy with the current path the WP community is following – notable cool things in the upcoming months will include

  • create your own post types from within the admin panel (#9674 (Better support for custom post types) – WordPress Trac)
  • BuddyPress will become a feature for standard WP.org installations
  • Custom taxonomies are becoming progressively easier to implement
  • It’s getting progressively easy to work with custom fields.
  • There are two WP Google Summer of Code projects dealing with AJAX inline reordering of pages on the manage post screens.

That said, I’m not sure I really need the media handling improvements now the focus of the WP 2.9 development. But I think it’s a generally a good thing. Now if they only allow easy flickr integration or API searching of pictures from the edit screens and improve the internal linking features, I’d have a hard time to find a lot of thigs I still don’t like about WordPress…

Standard
Allgemein

Niggemeier dekonstruiert Gorny.

Großes Kino: Stefan Niggemeier dekonstruiert Dieter Gorny. Und den Rest der Branche. Das krasse ist ja, da ändert sich nix, weil sich da nix ändern muß, solange diejenigen, auf die die Lobbyarbeit zielt, keinen blassen Schimmer von der Ökonomie des geistigen Eigentums in einer vernetzten Welt haben, und die, die die Lobbyarbeit betreiben, immer noch glauben, daß sie deswegen das Netz doch noch zu „Music On Demand“ (anyone remember?) umbauen können.

http://www.stefan-niggemeier.de/blog/understanding-dieter/

Standard
Datenschutz, privacy

Google Chrome has a unique ID.

Apparently, just as Google Desktop Search, Google’s new browser, „Chrome“, has a unique ID. That basically means that if you are using chrome with any other Google service, like GMail, Google will be able to create a personalised history of browsing. According to Golem.de, Google say they don’t that. But they could. Easily. If you don’t want that, and there are important, very important reasons not to want it, don’t use Google chrome unless Google changes this ID policy. I will only use it locally to ensure cross browser compatibility for my webpages if it gains some non-trivial market-share. Luckily, the layout engine is based on WebKit, so there won’t be too many bad surprises in that respect.

Standard
Bürgerrechte, intellectual property rights

What Fuckery Is This?

Over at afoe, Alex has put it more eloquently than I would have. Specifically by asking the question above which I probably would have avoided, but which is more than appropriate in this case –

„What fuckery is this? It looks like the French government, having failed to impose an awful record-industry inspired snooping act at home, is trying to policy-launder it through the European Union. The so-called “3 strikes” law foresaw that ISPs would be required to cut off service to anyone who was found downloading or distributing copyrighted material three times – which of course implied that the ISPs would be expected to filter all traffic by content, a wildly grandiose, authoritarian, and insecure idea. (Wonderfully, Nicolas Sarkozy outsourced his Internet policy to a committee led by the owner of a chain of record shops; a little like putting the manufacturers of candles in charge of street lighting.)

But the legislation failed in France; so here it is, coming straight back via the European Parliament. The odd bit, though, seeing as it’s a French idea chiefly backed by the EPP (=European Conservative group), is that it’s being pushed by the British Tories in Brussels – half of whom don’t believe there even should be a European Parliament. Specifically, according to Heise.de (German link), it’s the Tory MEPs Malcolm Harbour and Sayed Kamal. Kamal is responsible for possibly the most egregious tagnut of a clause in the whole thing, which would permit essentially unrestricted telecoms surveillance for the (naturally undefined) “security of a public or private communications system”, and Harbour for the copyright/content-sniffing bit.“

Standard
Datenschutz, German Politics, Germany, internet, privacy

„The privacy and integrity of information processing systems“

Striking down state (Land) legislation from Nordrhein-Westfalia that allowed the use of trojan software to spy on individual’s computers, the German constitutional court (Bundesvrfassungsgericht) has derived from the fundamental legal premises of the German constutiton a new basic right to „privacy and integrity of information processing systems“ (my quick and dirty translation). As a basic right, it can only be infringed given very specific circumstances – in this case, the court explicitly mentioned „specific“ threats to the life and liberty of individuals, or „concrete“ threats to the state.

It will obviously depend on legislative interpretations of the court’s ruling to see whether it’s possible to speak of a „loophole“ in the basic right, as Spiegel Online English does. My guess is not, as politicians will not want to get slapped in the face by the Constitutional Court again, and the court will rule on two more privacy related cases soon.

While the court’s ruling will have to be studied in detail to understand its intentions more clearly, this is clearly a landmark decision with respect to the question of how to balance the state’s desire to gather information to protect its citizens and ensure the rule of law with the citizens‘ right to privacy.

The Chaos Computer Club’s Andreas Bogk’s, who serves as an expert at the court, likenes the verdict to the census ruling in 1983, which derived a basic right to informational self determination and paved the way for privacy protection legislation.

Netzpolitk.org (German) has everything and then another link and quote regarding the verdict and the unfolding media coverage.

Some more links in English – BBC, WSJ, Bloomberg.

Standard