Thursday, September 19, 2019

Google's Fenced Garden

In the wake of Lina Khan's masterful January 2017 Yale Law Journal article Amazon's Antitrust Paradox, both anti-trust investigations of the FAANGs and anti-trust remedies have been consuming extraordinary numbers of pixels. Although the investigations cover all the major platforms, the discussion of remedies has tended to focus on Facebook and Amazon. Below the fold, I ask whether, assuming any of the multifarious investigations lead to anything other than cost-of-doing-business fines, any of the proposed remedies would be effective against Google. I apologize for the inordinate length of this post; it seemed that the more I wrote the more there was to write.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Interesting Articles From Usenix

Unless you're a member of Usenix (why aren't you?) you'll have to wait a year to read two of three interesting preservation-related articles in the Fall 2019 issue of ;login:. Below the fold is a little taste of each of them, with links to the full papers if you don't want to wait a year:

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The Optimist's Telescope: Review

The fundamental problem of digital preservation is that, although it is important and we know how to do it, we don't want to pay enough to have it done. It is an example of the various societal problems caused by rampant short-termism, about which I have written frequently.

Bina Venkataraman has a new book on the topic entitled The Optimist's Telescope: Thinking Ahead in a Reckless Age. Robert H. Frank reviews it in the New York Times:
How might we mitigate losses caused by shortsightedness? Bina Venkataraman, a former climate adviser to the Obama administration, brings a storyteller’s eye to this question in her new book, “The Optimist’s Telescope.” She is also deeply informed about the relevant science.

The telescope in her title comes from the economist A.C. Pigou’s observation in 1920 that shortsightedness is rooted in our “faulty telescopic faculty.” As Venkataraman writes, “The future is an idea we have to conjure in our minds, not something that we perceive with our senses. What we want today, by contrast, we can often feel in our guts as a craving.”

She herself is the optimist in her title, confidently insisting that impatience is not an immutable human trait. Her engaging narratives illustrate how people battle and often overcome shortsightedness across a range of problems and settings.
Below the fold, some thoughts upon reading the book.

Thursday, August 29, 2019

SSD vs. HDD (Updated)

IDC & TrendForce data
via Aaron Rakers
Chris Mellor's How long before SSDs replace nearline disk drives? starts with a quote I think the good Dr. Pangloss would love:
Aaron Rakers, the Wells Fargo analyst, thinks enterprise storage buyers will start to prefer SSDs when prices fall to five times or less that of hard disk drives. They are cheaper to operate than disk drives, needing less power and cooling, and are much faster to access.
Below the fold, some skepticism.

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Optical Media Durability: Update

A year ago I posted Optical Media Durability and discovered:
Surprisingly, I'm getting good data from CD-Rs more than 14 years old, and from DVD-Rs nearly 12 years old. Your mileage may vary.
It is time to repeat the mind-numbing process of feeding 45 disks through the reader and verifying their checksums. Below the fold, this year's results.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

A Tribute To Don Waters

Michael Keller has written, in Exploiting the opportunities of the maturing digital age: the first twenty years of the Scholarly Communications Program of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, what is effectively a richly deserved tribute to Don Waters as his retirement looms. Below the fold, some commentary and my two cents worth.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Wine on WIndows 10

Source
David Gerard posts Wine on Windows 10. It works.
Windows 10 introduced Windows Subsystem for Linux — and the convenience of Ubuntu downloadable from the Microsoft Store. This makes this dumb idea pretty much Just Work out of the box, apart from having to set your DISPLAY environment variable by hand.

So far, it's mindbogglingly useless. It can only run 64-bit Windows apps, which doesn't even include all the apps that come with Windows 10 itself.

But I want to stress again: this now works trivially. I'm not some sort of mad genius to do this thing — I only appear to be the first person to admit to having done it publicly.
Gerard recounts the history of this "interesting" idea. Although he treats this as a "geek gotta do what a geek gotta do" thing, the interest for Emulation & Virtualization as Preservation Strategies is in the tail of the post:
TO DO: 32-bit support. This will have to wait for Microsoft to release WSL 2. I wonder if ancient Win16 programs will work then — they should do in Wine, even if they don't in Windows any more.
Of course, if they run in Wine on Ubuntu on Windows 10 on an x86, they should run on Wine on Ubuntu on an x86. But being able to run Wine in an official Microsoft environment might make deployment of preserved Win16 programs easier to get past an institution's risk-averse lawyers.