Friday, January 30, 2009

Byte Into It - 28 Jan 09

Wikipedia may tighten editing rules - web - Technology -
Wikipedia is considering tightening its rules on who can edit the online encyclopedia after vandals last week changed the entries of two US senators to erroneously report that they had died.

Wikipedia's founder, Jimmy Wales, proposed the change, which is being called "Flagged Revisions," after the vandalism of the entries on Senator Ted Kennedy and Senator Robert Byrd.

The proposal, which was approved 60-40 by participants in an online poll, would not allow first-time or anonymous users to make instant edits but would require that they be approved first by trusted users.

The proposed changes at Wikipedia come as Encylopedia Britannica's is beefing up its online presence and inviting registered users to edit exisiting articles on

"This nonsense would have been 100 per cent prevented by Flagged Revisions," Wales wrote on the Wikipedia user forum page.

The proposal has sparked a heated debate on the forum. Wikipedia prides itself on allowing anyone with an internet connection to contribute or edit content.

Wales expressed concern that the new procedure could delay the publication of some items but said he believed it was necessary.

He gave opponents two weeks to come up with another proposal.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Britannica reaches out to the web
The Encyclopaedia Britannica has unveiled a plan to let readers help keep the reference work up to date.

Under the plan, readers and contributing experts will help expand and maintain entries online.

Experts will also be enrolled in a reward scheme and given help to promote their command of a subject.

However, Britannica said it would not follow Wikipedia in letting a wide range of people make contributions to its encyclopaedia.

User choice

"We are not abdicating our responsibility as publishers or burying it under the now-fashionable 'wisdom of the crowds'," wrote Jorge Cauz, president of Encyclopaedia Britannica in a blog entry about the changes.

He added: "We believe that the creation and documentation of knowledge is a collaborative process but not a democratic one."
Battle of the browser: Microsoft IE 8 RC1 now available for download - News - PC Authority
Microsoft may have finally answered your browsing prayers. The release of IE 8 RC1 looks to have ironed out a significant portion of the browser's previous bugs.
If you’re a die-hard IE fan and haven't switched over to Firefox or Google Chrome in the past, the latest version of IE8 RC1 might finally be the release worth waiting for.

In addition to a cleaned-up and speedier interface, Microsoft have unveiled a number of interesting features including:

- InPrivate Filtering: Acts as phishing filter that doesn’t allow the site you're visiting to send information to third-party sites without your consent.
- Clickjacking protection: Stops hackers from placing invisible buttons underneath (or on top) of legitimate buttons.
- Integration of Microsoft live maps with address bar.
- Automatic crash recovery: probably the best feature of the new release. IE finally catches up to Firefox and Google Chrome and remembers your browser tabs for next time after your browser goes on the blink.
Torvalds warns of Windows 7 threat - News - PC Authority
In an interview with Computerworld, Torvalds said that Windows 7 is better than Vista and the Vole may have a huge PR advantage as people will compare it to Vista and think it is good so, "angels will sing again." This is what happened with Windows 95 compared to Windows 3.1.

He thinks that Microsoft may have even done this on purpose.

The Vole realised the Windows development cycle is way too long and it would be insane to do that again, however they might aim for a two-year development cycle and Torvalds think that is too long.

Torvalds thinks that Vole should disconnect the operating system from the applications and release products sooner.

He said for Linux six months is quite tight and the bits that are thrown together sometimes don't work properly. However an annual release cycle is a reasonable cycle for doing a whole distribution.

Microsoft wanted people to rent the software, but users don't want to. If you do development over five years and make so many changes it is more painful for the user. The cost of the pain is likely to be higher than the cost of the operating system which is why people are slow to upgrade, he said.
iPhone and Android developers to score in 2009 - Mobility - iTnews Australia
The main winners in the mobile world this year will be independent iPhone developers, and handset manufacturers and developers for the Android platform, according to digital innovations consultancy Fjord.

Christian Lindholm, former vice president of global mobile products at Yahoo, and now director of Fjord, told that 2009 will see a raft of innovative applications and services driven by the low cost and superior user experience of Apple's App Store.

"What we now see is a functional business ecosystem on the iPhone where developers can really turn their passion as a hobby into a useful business," he said.

"And the [low] cost of buying an application creates mass purchasing behaviour on an impulse level."

Lindholm highlighted a new trend of mobile viral advertising via free downloadable apps, such as the Carling iPint, a virtual pint of beer which he said makes advertising a physical and social act.