sfcrazy writes “The year 2012 has not been very good for Canonical and Ubuntu. The end of the year saw harsh criticism of Ubuntu from bodies like EFF and FSF which accused the operating system of ‘data leak’, ‘privacy invasion’ and adding ‘spyware’ features. Now, Gnome Shell is also getting online shopping lens. Alan Bell has created a Gnome Shell extension which allows a user to conduct online shopping search right from Gnome’s Dash. You can install the extension from this link. Once installed you can start searching for online shopping by hitting ‘super’ key and then enter your search term. One of the greatest differences between the implementations is who is in control. Gnome’s Shopping lens shows how it should have been done in the first place, as it puts the user in control, and not the company whose OS you are using. Bell has explained it very well on his blog.”
An anonymous reader writes “An article at CNET discusses Google’s ever-expanding role in search, and where it’s heading over the next several years. The author argues it’s becoming less of a discrete tool and more an integrated extension of our own minds. He rattles off a list of pie-in-the-sky functions Google could perform, which would have sounded ridiculous a decade ago. But in 2012.. not so much. Quoting: ‘Think of Google diagnosing your daughter’s illness early based on where she’s been, how alert she is, and her skin’s temperature, then driving your car to school to bring her home while you’re at work. Or Google translating an incomprehensible emergency announcement while you’re riding a train in foreign country. Or Google steering your investment portfolio away from a Ponzi scheme. Google, in essence, becomes a part of you. Imagine Google playing a customized audio commentary based on what you look at while on a tourist trip and then sharing photo highlights with your friends as you go. Or Google taking over your car when it concludes based on your steering response time and blink rate that you’re no longer fit to drive. Or your Google glasses automatically beaming audio and video to the police when you say a phrase that indicates you’re being mugged.’”
Trailrunner7 writes “Yahoo on Wednesday launched a new browser called Axis and researchers immediately discovered that the company had mistakenly included its private signing key in the source file, a serious error that would allow an attacker to create a malicious, signed extension for a browser that the browser will then treat as authentic. The mistake was discovered on Wednesday, soon after Yahoo had launched Axis, which is both a standalone browser for mobile devices as well as an extension for Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Internet Explorer. … Within hours of the Axis launch, a writer and hacker named Nik Cubrilovic had noticed that the source file for the Axis Chrome extension included the private PGP key that Yahoo used to sign the file. That key is what the Chrome browser would look for in order to ensure that the extension is legitimate and authentic, and so it should never be disclosed publicly.”
Worried about whether or not your favorite Web site is supporting the Stop Online Privacy Act? A new Chrome extension seeks to lift those fears.
After installing No SOPA, users get a warning message reading “SOPA Supporter! This company is a known supporter of the dangerous ‘Stop Online Piracy Act’,” every time they visit a SOPA-supporting Web site.
Congress could resume debate on SOPA as early as Jan. 17, and the Senate could vote on the measure as early as Jan. 24. SOPA would block access to sites accused of violating U.S. copyright laws. The measure has been called Draconian by opponents who say it would fundamentally change the free-flow of information across the Internet. Proponents, ranging from the NBA to Universal, say the measure is needed to block sites which flagrantly flaunt copyright laws and make content available for free without paying copyright owners.
“Boycott? Nasty letter time? You decide,” Andy Baird and Tony Webster, the extension’s creators, wrote on the extension Web site.
Hackers have already been working on other fixes to use if the law passes, including a satellite network and a Firefox add-on that directs the browser directly to a blocked site’s IP address. Such extensions are being created in part to show the regulations, if passed, will be ineffective in stopping traffic to blacklisted sites.
Evernote has expanded its read-later browser extension, Clearly, to Firefox. The extension first launched on Chrome in November. Clearly slides in a cleaned-up view of Web articles without ads or navigation, making content more pleasant to read. It automatically turns multi-page articles to single pages.
It’s also a content shifting tool. Clicking the Evernote elephant icon in the sidebar saves the cleaned up version to your Evernote account so it can be read on all devices. The article viewer also comes with three themes, and beyond that, all the fonts, colors and alignments can be customized.
Clearly brings Evernote into an increasingly crowded market dominated by dedicated read-later services like Instapaper and Read It Later. Like Clearly, Read It Later turns all articles into single-page views, but Instapaper intentionally doesn’t, in order to respect the revenue decisions of publishers.
Evernote Clearly could gain significant traction if users find they enjoy having all their cloud-synced stuff in one place, instead of having a separate app for reading. Content shifting is a new trend, and Evernote, whose basic service is free, is well positioned to introduce the behavior to new users.
CNET reports that as of yesterday, a new Chrome extension will “let a person on one computer remotely control another across the network.” The new remote-desktop capability is in BETA (Google’s all-caps version, for emphasis), but is said to work to control any OS from any other OS, so long as both sides are equipped with Chrome and the new extension. Related: Wired is running a profile of Rajen Sheth — “father of Gmail,” and now in charge of Google’s Chromebook project as well.
Guile is the GNU extension language. This is the case because Richard Stallman said so, 17 years ago. Beyond being a smart guy, Richard is powerfully eloquent: his “let there be Guile” proclamation was sufficient to activate the existing efforts to give GNU a good extension language. These disparate efforts became a piece of software, a community of hackers and users, and an idea in peoples’ heads, on their lips, and at their fingertips.
The two features of Guile he highlights are macros (“With most languages, either you have pattern matching, because Joe Armstrong put it there, or you don’t”) and delimited continuations.
The accompanying slides, The User in the Loop, for the 2011 GNU Hackers Meeting are also noteworthy, because they are not as dry as usual PL fare – instead Wingo revives the spirit of the Portland Pattern Repository:
“Thesis: Some places just feel right”
“Architectural patterns help produce that feeling”
“E11y [extensibility] is fundamental to human agency and happiness”
“Moglen: ‘Software is the steel of the 21st century’”
“Building Materials: Le Corbusier’s concrete; GNU’s C”