Technology, Thoughts & Trinkets

Touring the digital through type

Month: January 2009 (page 2 of 4)

Trinkets: Acer Aspire One Review

200901191559.jpgI’ve recently become responsible for the upkeep of an Aspire One netbook. My thoughts, thus far: wait for a while, get another model than I did, and dump Linpus as quick as possible. First, I’ll provide the actual specs for the netbook in the house, and then outline my thoughts a bit more.

Acer Aspireone (AOA110-1531 (Refurbished))

  • Sapphire Blue
  • Intel Atom Processor N270 (512KB L2 cache, 1.60GHz, 533MHz FSB)
  • 512BM DDR2 533 SDRAM
  • 8GB SSD
  • Card Reader
  • 802.11b/g WLAN
  • 10/100 LAN
  • Webcam
  • 8.9″ WSVGA (1024X600)
  • 3 cell battery
  • Preload with Linux

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Review: Privacy On The Line

200901181405.jpgThis updated edition of Diffie and Landau’s text is a must-have for anyone who is interested in how encryption and communicative privacy politics have developed in the US over the past century or so. Privacy On The Line moves beyond a ‘who did what’ in politics, instead seeing the authors bring their considerable expertise in cryptography to bear in order to give the reader a strong understanding of the actual methods of securing digital transactions. After reading this text, the reader will have a good grasp on what types of encryption methods have been used though history, and strong understandings of the value and distinction between digital security and digital privacy, as well as an understanding of why and how data communications are tracked.

The only disappointment is the relative lack of examination of how the US has operated internationally – there is very little mention of the OECD, nor of European data protection, to say nothing of APEC. While the authors do talk about the role of encryption in the context of export control, I was a bit disappointed at just how little they talked about the perceptions of American efforts abroad – while this might have extended slightly beyond the American-centric lens of the book, it would have added depth of analysis (though perhaps at the expense of making the book too long for traditional publication). One of the great elements of this book is an absolutely stunning bibliography, references, and glossary – 106 pages of useful reference material ‘fleshes out’ the already excellent analysis of encryption in the US.

Ultimately, if you are interested in American spy politics, or in encryption in contemporary times, or in how these two intersect in the American political arena, then this text is for you.

Technology – Questions of Digitizing Identity

200901151542.jpgA common element of the (various) streams of thought that I’m usually engaged in surrounds the question of identity. What constitutes identity? How is this constitution being modulated (or is it?) in digital spaces? What can past and contemporary theorists offer us, in response to these questions? What are the strengths of these responses, and what are their weaknesses?

Over the next six months or so, I want to begin taking up these questions more seriously. I plan to begin constructing an account in order to gain a better appreciation for both how granularly we often attempt to separate identities, and how at the same time those are often shared, surveyed, or otherwise modified without our ever being aware. My thoughts are that a core difference between ‘analogue’ and ‘digital’ identities follows from the (relative) ease of surveying and modifying digital identities without the source of that identity ever being made aware. While unobtrusive surveillance is possible in an analogue space, there is an emphasis in the West on the development of homogeneous protocols that are intended to facilitate the diffusion of data across digital pathways, and this carries with it new ways of collating and modulating available dataflows. Continue reading

Thoughts – Building Platforms for the Future

200901151502.jpgIn this post I want to think, just a little bit, about the role of platforms and how I’m attempting to maneuver this space. This is aimed at better clarifying (for me) how this space is used, as well as to render its use more transparent (which is apparently a core facet of building successful platforms *grin*).

A few weeks ago I was linked to a blog page that discussed the role of platforms in opening up future publishing-related avenues. The principles of the post could be boiled down to the follow:

  1. Speak authentically;
  2. Speak regularly;
  3. Speak in an open, transparent fashion;
  4. Speak so that the development of ideas is clear;
  5. Speak so that you are demonstrating your authority.

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