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     No, it’s AppleSingle!
    Filed under: — David @ 7:49 pm

    After all that fuss about MacBinary, I finally found out that AppleSingle is better than MacBinary, so I’m switching over to that. I also moved the encoding from the HTTP intermediary to the file sharing module itself; just ask it for “application/applefile”. That simplifies the intermediary’s job, as well as making that format available to other protocol adapters.

    The initial version of the file sharing plugin will be pretty basic, with no per-file/directory permissions and no Transfer Manager to enforce download queues and such. That will help me get the alpha release done sooner, while everything is of course being designed with those features in mind.

    Meanwhile I’m working on a good way to abstract the actual file management/reading/writing calls, hopefully sharing as much code as possible across platform versions. I may even write the Unix/generic version first, and put off the Mac-specific stuff, including AppleSingle, until after the first alpha.

     Induce Act sites
    Filed under: — David @ 6:33 pm

    Looking through blog search engines for stuff about the Induce Act, I found the Inducing Infringement of Copyrights Act of 2004 Blawg. The name sounds neutral, but after reading a few posts it becomes apparent that they’re against it.

    A more interesting post is on the FreeCulture.org wiki, which contains a report on a Senate hearing on the Induce Act.

    I still think a lot of people are overreacting, and remain completely unconvinced that the iPod (as a commonly cited example) is in any danger from this bill. Maybe the mere fact that the RIAA likes it makes it hard for some people to trust it. The only argument that I do buy is that it may lead to excessive litigation, which would have a negative impact on technological innovation because companies wouldn’t want (or couldn’t afford) to deal with the lawsuits. But I still think it’s exaggerated.

     MacBinary and chained data pipes
    Filed under: — David @ 9:56 am

    Last night, while thinking about how to encode files in MacBinary for downloading, I hit on the idea of chained data pipes: the contents of one pipe are inserted into another one. This allows the file sharing plugin itself to just worry about sending the contents of the data or resource fork, and the HTTP intermediary will take those two pipes and chain them into a third MacBinary pipe. I also added an option for the data producer to signal that the data flow has been aborted. I didn’t do this before because I figured the consumer would know how much data there was supposed to be and recognize that the data flow had ended prematurely. But with chained pipes, it’s much easier to propagate the aborted status up through the chain.

    I’m also trying to find a specification for the MacBinary 4 format. I found MacBinary 3, but 4 is mentioned all over the place and yet I can’t find any details about what the difference might be.

    Edit: It turns out there is no MacBinary 4. I guess some people are confusing it with BinHex 4.

     The Induce Act
    Filed under: — David @ 11:19 am

    So the other day I heard about the Induce Act, aimed at shutting down illegal file sharing over peer-to-peer networks. Some groups have a strong reaction against it, including the EFF. I read their Prelude to a Fake Complaint, and I read the text of the bill, which is quite short. My reaction: they’re a bunch of alarmists.

    So I consulted my local legal expert, Professor Lee Hollaar, who taught the Legal Protection of Digital Information class that I took here at the University of Utah. I figured he would at least have an opinion. It turned out his work, a paper titled Sony Revisited, was a major influence in the creation of the Induce Act. In his own words, you might even call him the father of the Induce Act.

    The point of the Induce Act is to clarify and formalize a concept that has already come up in court cases before, that of indirect liability for copyright infringement. The key thing that many people seem to miss, including the EFF, is the use of the word intentionally in “intentionally induces”. This oversight is especially odd since the word is not being introduced, but only clarified:

    (g)(1) In this subsection, the term `intentionally induces’ means intentionally aids, abets, induces, or procures, and intent may be shown by acts from which a reasonable person would find intent to induce infringement based upon all relevant information about such acts then reasonably available to the actor, including whether the activity relies on infringement for its commercial viability.

    Would a “reasonable person” say that Apple is intentionally inducing copyright infringement with the iPod? No, on the contrary, they designed the software to make it difficult to copy music illegally, and the iPod’s commercial viability does not depend on its ability to facilitate music piracy.

    But what about peer-to-peer software like Kazaa? I think “illegal file sharing” is the first thing that will pop into most people’s minds when you mention that name (at least it does mine). Even the demo on their site shows a user downloading music, with little to no guarantee that the activity will be legal.

    For an opposing view to Sony Revisited, as well as an example of how it got famous, see Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig’s blog post about it.

     And the winner is…
    Filed under: — David @ 8:27 am

    I’ve decided to use TikiWiki for the Volley wiki. It may be overkill, but I like the control it gives me, as well as the option to expand. For the forseeable future, I will continue to use the current forums and blog.

    The Cocoa client is coming along; yesterday I started working on the chat part. I was planning on working in the Colloquy style code at that point, but found it wasn’t as plug-and-play as I’d hoped. It’s probably better that way, though: I need to focus on just getting everything working right now, while keeping in mind the changes I will make to the user interface once all the functionality is in place.

    Once I do start working on the Colloquy styles, I want to work on an API for it that involves more C++ and less Objective-C - in fact, the more/less the better. Since it’s all based on standards like XML, I’d very much like it if Volley clients on other platforms (not to mention other applications) could adopt this more easily.

     TikiWiki
    Filed under: — David @ 10:32 am

    TikiWiki is a great example of what I want Volley to eventually become, in terms of the services it has. The main difference is that TikiWiki is web-based, and so it doesn’t have much in the way of real-time interaction services. I’m surprised it even has chat; web chats tend to be rather clunky.

    I’m about to set up a TikiWiki installation on my site, both for research purposes and because I’m considering actually using it - it’s got forums, blogs, wiki, and a big pile of other stuff. The transition for the forums would be a bit rough, but I’ll worry about that later.

     FilePlanet
    Filed under: — David @ 4:47 pm

    I just got a notification that my sumbission of Flag Domination 3.0 to FilePlanet has been accepted. I submitted that almost a month and a half ago, and it’s outdated now. I had no idea they were that slow.

     PhpWiki
    Filed under: — David @ 1:46 pm

    After a bit more trouble than advertised, I’ve managed to get a wiki set up for Volley. They forgot to mention, at least on that page, that you need to set up the config file, and I had to discover for myself that the config file must have the DEBUG variable defined. Then once all that was taken care of, it got stuck on its “virgin” initialization page; clicking the HomePage link at the end just made it re-initialize everything again. I had to manually go back to the root URL.

    It seems to be working now. I’ll post links to it once I’ve got it suitably customized and start adding content.

    Yes, I confess I was inspired by Colloquy’s use of a wiki. It seems appropriate for Volley because there are so many different topics that can be documented, and the forums (which I’ve been using until now) aren’t entirely suited to that. Plus I was never happy with SourceForge’s own documentation system. As with this blog, the line between the wiki’s purpose and the forum’s purpose may be a bit fuzzy, so we’ll see what happens.

    Edit: It turns out I didn’t quite have it configured correctly. When I tried to fix it, it got worse. I filed a support request. Response time is apparently a couple of days, so I’ll find another way to entertain myself in the mean time.


    This is my personal blog. The views expressed on these pages are mine alone and not those of my employer.

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