Biella Coleman, Wolfe Chair, McGill University ??? Hacking: the new Internationalism

 

Coleman spent years living in San Francisco and observing hacking culture up close through interactions with both the open source and, including the hacktivist group Anonymous. She says that online communities of hackers and other enthusiasts now constitutes a kind cross cultural identity that is both worthy of academic study – and likely to have a huge influence in our everyday lives. I caught up with Gabriella at home in Montreal and asked her about her research.

Seminars (Events) | ECS | Victoria University of Wellington

The theoretical foundations of parallel programs have historically been defined using unstructured parallel programming constructs such as threads and locks. While these constructs suffice to characterize fundamental properties of parallel program execution such as determinacy, data races, memory consistency, deadlock, and livelock, we argue that they are inappropriate foundations for programmability and performance of parallel software. One can see an analogy with the Turing Machine abstraction which suffices to establish theoretical properties of computable functions, but is an inappropriate foundation for sequential software.

The Habanero Multicore Software Research project at Rice University (http://habanero.rice.edu) has focused on identifying orthogonal sets of structured parallelism primitives that can provide a foundation for improved programmability and performance of parallel software. In this talk, we summarize key primitives for task creation, termination, synchronization and isolation, and show how they can provide rich semantic guarantees for different classes of programs while also being amenable to efficient and scalable implementations. The benefits of structured parallelism will be motivated by illustrating how these primitives can help improve the effectiveness of data race detectors, compilers, and runtime systems, relative to the use of unstructured parallelism.

 

Google???s "troubling dominance"

Former FTC Commissioner Pamela Jones Harbour, now corporate lawyer for Microsoft (among other clients), wrote this op-ed that appeared in yesterday???s New York Times:

Google is not just a ???search engine company,??? or an ???online services company,??? or a publisher, or an advertising platform. At its core, it???s a data collection company.

Its ???market??? is data by, from and about consumers ??? you, that is. And in that realm, its role is so dominant as to be overwhelming, and scary. Data is the engine of online markets and has become, indeed, a new asset class.

[…]

I???ve been concerned about Google???s dominant role in data collection ??? and the profound privacy concerns it raises ??? since my time at the F.T.C. When the commission approved Google???s 2007 acquisition of DoubleClick, I dissented ??? because I was concerned that combining the two companies??? vast troves of consumer information would allow Google, which was largely unchecked by competition, to develop invasive profiles of individuals??? Internet habits.

How dominant is Google?

The disaggregation of linear TV is accelerating???

From Business Insider???s The Future of Digital

I was just talking yesterday about two French ISPs having given up on building their own linear content packages. One might argue that they did this in part because they see linear TV on a downward slope. The news last night about the Disney / Netflix deal will probably comfort them in that line of reasoning???

Earlier this year it looked like Netflix was facing an increasingly uphill battle to maintain its rich content at such a low price to consumers, and some of the large majors seemed to be poised to bet on cable as opposed to Netflix. But last night Disney and Netflix announced a multi-year agreement for Netflix to distribute Disney movies in the earliest Pay TV slot on their US platform. Of course, we have no idea what the financial aspects of the deal are, and whether in the long term such deals will drive Netflix???s costs (and therefore their prices) up. Still, it certainly puts a halt to rumours that Netflix would not be able to negociate access to such contents.

And as the slide above shows, 16% of US TV sets were used at prime time for non-linear video viewing 4 years ago, it???s now 33%. Maybe Disney sees the writing on the wall as well.

Linear TV is not the future of the Internet.

TPP traps – we need to know the costs as well as the gains

In 2005 the Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement (AUSFTA) was signed. Some agricultural tariffs were reduced immediately. Sugar wasn’t. Australian beef won’t enjoy duty free access to the US market until 2023.

Australia accepted that trade – US market access in exchange for US copyright demands.

A report from the Australian Productivity Commission – the Government’s independent research and advisory body – indicated that Australia suffered a net loss under AUSFTA as a whole because of accepting the US copyright demands.

So why has our political leadership not talked about the costs of accepting the US copyright demands?

Why wouldn’t you look at the total cost/benefit analysis? Because you want the political benefit at any cost. Just like the Government did with the Hobbit, and may do over the dissatisfaction Chorus has expressed at the Commerce Commission copper/UBA price determinations.

Schibsted???s extraordinary click machines

It all starts in 2005 with a Power Point presentation in Paris. At the time, Schibsted ASA, the Norwegian media group, is busy deploying its free newspapers in Switzerland, France and Spain. Schibsted wants its French partner Ouest-France ??? the largest regional newspapers group ??? to co-invest in a weird concept: free online classifieds. As always with the Scandinavian, the deck of slides is built around a small number of key points. To them, three symptoms attest to the maturity of a market???s online classified business:  (a) The number one player in the field ranks systematically among the top 10 web sites, regardless of the category; (b) it is always much bigger than the number two; (c) it reaps most of the profits in the sector.

December in Dubai

Telephony: Sender Pays

In many ways the telephone leaned heavily on the telegraph service for its service model, which, in turn, leaned on the postal service, establishing a provenance for the telephone service model that stretched back over some centuries to at least the 1680s and London’s Penny Post, if not earlier.

The postal service model that gained ascendency over the preceding centuries was one in which the original sender of the letter paid for the entire service of letter delivery. If the postal service that received the letter in the first place needed to use the services of a different postal service to complete the delivery, neither the sender nor the intended recipient were aware of it. The postal services were meant to divide the money received from the sender to deliver the letter, and apportion it between themselves to compensate each service provider for undertaking its part in the delivery of the letter.

The telephone service, for the most part, operates in a very similar fashion. The caller pays for the entire cost of the call, and the called party pays nothing.

Of course, the called party rarely paid nothing. Perhaps no additional charge to receive, but then they had subscribed to the service with the purpose of receiving. So it was that the “free” reception of letters in a box on side of the road, was never akin to the paid reception of calls at a subscribers telephone.