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Dear ScienceDirect,

This is my semi-annual message to you explaining how awful, frustrating and ultimately self-defeating your registration process is.

Topic: 

The Usability of Logging In

Submitted by Leo Klein on Thu, 1/4/07 (12:17pm)

Emre Sokullu writes about the "big barrier" of logging in to a site and what companies do to make things easier:

Keep It Fields!

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 1/3/07 (5:12pm)

As anyone familiar with Chicago knows, changing the name of "Marshall Fields" to "Macy's" by Federated Department Stores is a sore subject around here.

Now the Chicago Tribune reports:

Location: 

DRM Down the Drain?

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 1/2/07 (1:49pm)

'DRM' stands for 'Digital Rights Management'. It's a way for content owners, particularly in the music industry, to control the way a product is used after it's been sold to the consumer.

Needless to say, for most consumers this really means 'Digital Restrictions Management' and most don't like it. Nevertheless, the music industry has seen fit to shove it down our throats no matter what. Apparently their approach isn't working:

Revenue from digital downloads and mobile content is expected to be flat or, in some cases, decline next year. If the digital market does in fact stall, alternatives to DRM will look much more attractive. (Reuters 1/2/07)

So what's the solution? Things are getting so bad for the music industry that they're actually thinking about dumping DRM and releasing their music as mp3's! Yes, the single most popular digital format on the planet and the recording industry is only thinking of embracing it now -- and then only as a form of market capitulation. Oh brave new world!

When Is TV Not TV? (When It's IPTV!)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Sat, 12/30/06 (1:16pm)

AT&T - Your world. Our Restrictions.In order to get its proposed merger with Bell South approved by the FCC, AT&T has agreed to abide by Net Neutrality at least for its DSL service. Initial reaction to this was largely positive echoing the conclusion of Tim Wu:

Institution: 

Person of the Year: Ms. Dewey (Janina Gavankar)

Submitted by Leo Klein on Wed, 12/27/06 (3:26pm)


After a pain-staking process of vetting countless candidates, I'm pleased to announce that this year's CL Person of the Year is none other than Ms. Dewey (aka Janina Gavankar).

U.S. Military: HTML Email Is a Security Threat

Submitted by Leo Klein on Tue, 12/26/06 (5:34am)

The Department of Defense is automatically converting all formatted email (aka 'html' email) to plain text:

The [Joint Task Force for Global Network Operations] mandated use of plain text e-mail because HTML messages pose a threat to DOD because HTML text can be infected with spyware and, in some cases, executable code that could enable intruders to gain access to DOD networks, the JTF-GNO spokesman said.

Attachments like Powerpoint "used for briefings" can still get through. Article here... (h/t ZDNet)

Topic: 

All Things Ruby on Rails

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/25/06 (1:34pm)

Justin Williams has a good primer on Ruby on Rails (AKA 'RoR') called 'Ruby on Rails for the Rest of Us'. RoR is a "rapid development framework" for creating online applications. It's generated a lot of interest recently because it's a handy way to develop database-driven sites.

Microformat Extension for Firefox

Submitted by Leo Klein on Mon, 12/25/06 (5:38am)

"I've seen the future of web browsing", writes John Allsopp with self-conscious hyperbole, "and it is Operator."

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