Industry Update

Today’s posting is fairly disjointed, as I don’t seem to have the brainpower to offer a coherent writeup. But there are lots of bits and pieces:

Web Services

For those people who still want to know more about XML-RPC and web services, here’s a registry of publicly accessible “web services” that can be addressed using XML-RPC. It’s not exhaustive–there are ways to address Google, for instance, using XML queries that aren’t covered here. But it’s an interesting start.

Microsoft BraXP

Last week I pointed to a story about a Swiss Microsoft ad being pulled because it was too racy. That may have been a little hard to understand if you never saw the ad in the first place. Fortunately, AdCritic mirrored the ad. (Warning: AdCritic is a pretty high traffic site and so the download will probably be slow.)

Frank Willison

It’s too bad that some people have to pass away before you hear their advice. Frank Willison, editor-in-chief at O’Reilly, passed away on 30 July 2001. Today O’Reilly posted a tribute to him that included a long list of excellent quotations from him, including this one that seems particularly pertinent (even though I’m married and not writing code):

“Don’t spend the whole summer inside writing code. You have your whole miserable adult life to do that. I’m forty years older than you are, and I spend all my waking hours typing on a silly computer, answering emails from people I don’t know. If I hadn’t spent my teenage summers at the community pool flirting with Sue Jenkins (what a babe!), I’d be a miserable old goat now. Plan to have some fun this summer, in person. Note that ‘internship’ and ‘internment camp’ both start with ‘intern.'”

Fun with the DMCA

I’m almost afraid to start writing about the DMCA because it’s a long black hole of a no-win argument. Putting consumers’ rights on the one hand against the rights of content providers on the other would normally be no contest, until you put yourself in the content provider’s shoes. Still, I think there are some interesting points that can be made about the law without touching the rights argument. I especially like the point raised in this MSNBC article by Richard M. Smith of the Privacy Foundation:

“Virus writers can use the DMCA in a perverse way. Because computer viruses are programs, they can be copyrighted just like a book, song, or movie. If a virus writer were to use encryption to hide the code of a virus, an anti-virus company could be forbidden by the DMCA to see how the virus works without first getting the permission of the virus writer. If they didn’t, a virus writer could sue the anti-virus company under the DMCA!”