Have you ever wondered what it would be like to read a book as its written? Or better yet, be able to make suggestions as the book develops and see your ideas help shape the result? Well, here’s your chance. If you’re already a Friend of Frank at my author site, or want to become one, that’s what you’re invited to do. As the book evolves, I'll ask for your advice, and answer any questions you may have. I’ll also give you the inside scoop about how and why each chapter is written as it is. Sound interesting? Great, because I’ve just posted the Prologue and First Chapter below. To read the future chapters for free as they’re posted, all you have to do is become a Friend of Frank.
Once upon a time – oh, say fifteen years ago – the terms open standards and open source software (OSS) were often used interchangeably. Not because they were the same thing, but because many people weren't sure what either really was, let alone the differences between them. That was unfortunate, because at that time the two had little in common, and were developed for very different purposes.
Recently, many people (especially OSS developers) have begun referring to the software they develop as “a standard.” This time around they’re a lot closer to being right.
So, what’s going on here? And is it a good thing?
Those who have followed the spread of open source software (OSS) know that a bewildering thicket of OSS licenses were created in the early days. They also know that although the Open Source Initiative was formed in part to certify which of these documents should be permitted to call itself an “open source software license,” that didn’t mean that each approved license was compatible with the other. Ever since, it’s been a pain in the neck to vet code contributions to ensure that an OSS user knows what she’s getting into when she incorporates a piece of OSS into her own program.
In the intervening years, more and more entities – private, public and academic – have decided to make public the increasingly large, various and valuable data sets they are producing. One resulting bonanza is the opportunity to combine these data sets in order to accomplish more and more ambitious goals – such as informing the activities of autonomous vehicles. But what if the rules governing these databases are just as diverse and incompatible as the scores of OSS licenses unleashed on an unwitting public?
My latest book, The Turing Test is out, and the first reviews are in. Here are a few samples from the reviews (all five star) posted at Amazon so far:
Beyond any shadow of doubt, 'The Turing Test' is a worthy addition to the Frank Adversego series and more than satisfied my every expectation ... For me, 'The Turing Test' is a stealthier creature. It packs its punches in a different but equally effective manner, delivering a terrific tension and suspense that ebbs and flows throughout a lengthy narrative peppered with twists, turns and shocking surprises ...
Releasing a new book is always a big deal for an author, no matter how many times it happens. this is the fourth time around for me, and I think The Turing Test, a Tale of Artificial Intelligence and Malevolence, is my best book so far. Happily, my much-esteemed beta readers all agree.
Long time Friends of Frank will also be happy to learn that, unlike the plots of the three preceding books, this one isn’t likely to come true. That is, for awhile.
By any measure, the rise of open source software as an alternative to the old proprietary ways has been remarkable. Today, there are tens of millions of libraries hosted at GitHub alone, and the number of major projects is growing rapidly. As of this writing the Apache Software Foundationhosts over 300 projects, while the Linux Foundation supports over 60. Meanwhile, the more narrowly-focused OpenStack Foundation boasts 60,000 members living in more than 180 countries.
The Supreme Court issued an opinion today that restricts the ability of patent owners to choose the court in which they bring an infringement suit. The case is called TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Food Group Banks LLC, and the justices unanimously ruled in favor of the new restrictions.
Several months ago, I called on France to learn from America’s mistakes. I told the French that it wasn’t too late to save themselves. They still had a chance to do what we could not – to vote a xenophobic, nationalist candidate out of the race and away from the presidency (though, in their case, Donald Trump is replaced by Marine Le Pen, leader of the far right party, le Front national). I warned them of the complacency felt by so many Americans in the days before November 8, of the voice in their heads that said it was okay to stay home on election day. The voice that said your vote doesn’t matter, or that it’s okay to cast a vote to show that you’re fed up with the status quo, a vote for a candidate you never expect to win. The voice that yawns and says, ‘Well, it can’t happen here.’
On Monday, Google announced a new program intended to create an expanding umbrella of protection over its Android operating system and Google Applications pre-installed on devices that meet Android's compatibility requirements. Whether the new initiative will provide such protection, or represents only a “feel good” PR opportunity remains to be seen. If history and what’s visible so far are any indication, the odds tip towards the latter.
Along with death and taxes, two things appear inevitable. The first is that wireless connectivity will not only be built into everything we can imagine, but into everything we can't as well. The second is that those devices will have wholly inadequate security, if they have any security at all. Even with strong defenses, there is the likelihood that governmental agencies will gain covert access to IoT devices anyway.