Blog Ipsa Loquitur

SSL is what makes transacting business over the internet reasonably safe. However, in the last two weeks, two of the certifying authorities of SSL have been breached, and handed out fake certificates for sites like Gmail. The major web browsers have revised how they handle certificates (specifically, they now check to see if the certificate has been revoked), but if you use Mac OS, you might consider the following,

[…] OCSP and CRL checking is disabled by default in Mac OS (except for Extended Validation “EV” certificates). You should turn it on. While I don’t see a big risk to most of us from the Comodo issue, in general it is a very good idea to enable this checking. To do this on Mac OS 10.6:

  • Open Applications -> Utilities -> Keychain Access
  • Under Keychain Access menu, select Preferences…
  • Select the Certificates tab
  • Set “Online Certificate Status Protocol (OCSP)” to ”Best Attempt”
  • Set “Certificate Revocation List (CRL)” to “Best Attempt”
  • Set “Priority” to “OCSP”

via The Security Skeptic.

Published on under A Day in the Life

From Threat Level:

A film company suing 5,865 BitTorrent downloaders over the flick Nude Nuns with Big Guns doesn’t own the rights to the movie, according to court documents and interviews. Incentive Capital of Utah took ownership last month of the B-rated flick about a sister who is “one Bad Mother.”

Yet two weeks after Incentive Capital foreclosed and assumed Camelot Distribution Group’s titles because of an allegedly soured loan, Camelot filed a mass copyright lawsuit (.pdf) on behalf of Nude Nuns claiming it owned the rights.

Now Your Honor, I’m not some fancy big city lawyer. Back home in the back woods of Kentucky, we got usselves a sayin’. If you gonna sell me a hound dog, make sure you sell me y’all hound dog, ah reckon.

Yesterday, Wired ran a story about a novel way to recoup investments in indie films: wait until they’re pirated, and sue the downloaders. This plan seemed far from foolproof, but I have to say, I didn’t expect someone to actually bungle this step quite so dramatically. The film company defaulted on the loan used to finance the movie in the first place, and the film itself was apparently collateral for the loan. So now the lender owns the film, not the plaintiff. Whoops!

Published on under The News

Wow. April Fool’s Day came early. Android is now Open-ish:

Playtime is over in Android Land. Over the last couple of months Google has reached out to the major carriers and device makers backing its mobile operating system with a message: There will be no more willy-nilly tweaks to the software. No more partnerships formed outside of Google’s purview.

From now on, companies hoping to receive early access to Google’s most up-to-date software will need approval of their plans. And they will seek that approval from Andy Rubin, the head of Google’s Android group.

The rest of Do Not Anger the Alpha Android is a must-read.

Proving a separate (if not completely unrelated) point about the app ecosystem, Google removed a Playstation emulator from the Android Marketplace earlier this week. This may have had something to do with the Android-powered Playstation phone. I mean, the emulator was questionably legal to begin with, but it spent six blissful months available in the marketplace before being removed the week it becomes commercially inconvenient for one of Android’s many benefactors.

None of this is terribly surprising (although John Gruber is having a schadengasm that’s as predictable as it is amusing). Google knows what’s wrong with Android like the rest of us: fragmentation. The best solution to the fragmentation of the OS itself probably looks a lot like Apple’s model; you can lock down parts of the OS that end users won’t care too much about, and still manage to create a platform that’s open enough to encourage development. These are the growing pains of an operating system that’s grown even faster than the iPhone.

Again, none of this is surprising. What surprises me is Nokia’s announcement that Symbian is now fully open source. Yes, they planned this all out years ago, but last I’d heard it was still under a proprietary license and the Symbian Foundation owned the license but you could borrow it if you promised not to keep it out too late, etc. etc. etc. Now they just use Git.

And this is before I check the April Fool’s stories on Slashdot, too. I’m going back to bed.

Published on under The News

While the title of this post might well serve as an effective SEO strategy (although I’m not sure for what, precisely), it’s the natural byproduct of the gender bias I’ve been subjected to my whole life. So says The Achilles Effect, which made a word cloud out of the terms that show up most often in ads for toys for the XY set:

I didn’t realize how many times the world BATTLE was directed at my poor, defenseless kid brain. Bonus points: there’s a word cloud for the commercials pointed at little girls. Read How Toy Ad Vocabulary Reinforces Gender Stereotypes at The Achilles Effect blog.

Published on under Irreverently Irrelevant

From megafirm Weil, Gotshal & Manges comes the Weil Bankruptcy Blog’s Sweet Sixteen! The Business Finance & Restructuring Team has their own blog, and apparently someone has been carving tally marks into the stone walls of the document review gulags! That can only mean one thing:

In the spirit of March Madness, we’ve asked the attorneys in Weil’s Business Finance & Restructuring department to compile a list of the most influential, transformative, or game-changing U.S. bankruptcy decisions of all time – a “Sweet Sixteen of Bankruptcy.”

In the coming weeks, we’ll be asking you to decide the winners of each matchup and crown the ultimate champion of our Big Dance of Bankruptcy.

Oh, man. I’ve got Unsecured Creditors Commission v. Noyes (In re STN Enterprises, Inc.) to win the whole thing! I’m a sucker for a good Cinderella story!

Published on under Irreverently Irrelevant

The longstanding Google Books litigation will continue. Judge Denny Chin rejected the proposed settlement agreement today. Read the full 48 page opinion here. (PDF Link)

The biggest stumbling block for the Library of Googlexandria? Orphan works are opt-out, instead of opt-in. Having a hard time economically tracking down people who own the rights to this book you just scanned? No worries! In an opt-out model, it’s the rightsholder who has the responsibility to track you down. (This is especially great when the rightsholder doesn’t know he holds rights in anything.)

Judge Chin pointed out that many of his concerns would be ameliorated if the settlement were made opt-in all around. Of course, I think that would ameliorate Google’s interest in the settlement. I’m attending the status update next month, so there will be more updates forthcoming.

Published on under The News