Mild science, tech news, stories, reviews, opinion, maps and humor

11 March 2013

Compressed data for prayer, anagrams and digital rights management

I found an oddly contemporary-looking New York Times article that is in fact, quite vintage for the Internet. It begins with a review of a most peculiar e-commerce company:
doing business with Newprayer.com may require a leap of faith.
- Compressed Data: Beaming Prayers to God's Last Known Residence
via The New York Times Online, 31 August 1999.

Example of ecommerce in 1999
Last known location of the divine is
easier to find than this website
Image provided courtesy of archive.is
The Internet Fraud Watch for the National Consumers League was deluged with complaints about fraud on the Net, having received 7,700 last year and 6,000 through the first six months of 1999.
If they only knew what was to follow, in less than ten short years.

Digital rights management


The next article was about a new "pact" between Adobe and Xerox, to address the needs of companies
...seeking a way to prevent the rampant piracy that has plagued the digital music industry from overtaking digital publishing. The technology, called Content Guard, is to be announced at the Seybold 21st Century Publishing Conference in San Francisco.
When was the last Seybold 21st Century Publishing Conference, I wonder? Not for awhile. The proposed approach seems so straightforward! It would be
integrated... with Adobe's existing PDF format for distributing documents on line... publishers that have agreed to adopt the technology, include Thomson Learning, the National Music Publishers Association, and Haymarket Publications, a European business publisher.

Java


Content Guard was expected to be superior as a form of digital rights management software, as it was
based on an industry standard: Java, an Internet programming language developed by Sun Microsystems.
I just received my n-th zero day patch for Java last week. Yet Java lived up to this part of its promise, and still does:
The flexibility of Java would allow users to read Xerox protected documents [and non-Xerox protected documents too] on various types of software operating systems using any of the standard Web browser programs.
I don't think Adobe had fully enabled the following functionality in PDF's viewed with Adobe Reader until much later; I have rarely seen it used, even though it is available:
Publishers, corporations or individuals could specify who had access to the document, set a time frame for protection and even designate the type of authentication (like a password or a fingerprint) needed to read the document.
Adobe introduced these features in 2009, with the exception of fingerprint authentication for most of us, for digital signatory and general purpose security rather than digital rights management purposes.

Anagrams for free


I'll end on a more positive note, rather than gloomy nostalgia. The wonders of natural language processing were just emerging into the larger population.
The letters that form the name Boeing can be rearranged to spell "big one." Time Warner can be converted to "mean writer." And the title of Rupert Murdoch's sexy London tabloid The News of the World is an anagram for "tender, hot flesh -- wow." These are just a few of the possibilities in business anagrams, a game being played by office workers throughout the English-speaking world.
The language in the following paragraph caught my attention for several reasons. First, the exact and accurate wording, to "contact the server", would be uncommon now in a daily newspaper.
To play, contact the Internet Anagram Server at www.wordsmith.org/anagram, which provides immediate answers, or another site called Anagram Genius Server at www.anagramgenius.com/server.html, which gives a more considered response and replies by e-mail after a few minutes or hours, depending on traffic volume.
Then there's the reminder of the absence of web apps, as the requested anagram is sent by e-mail, in minutes. Or hours.
At no charge, these sites will attempt to create anagrams from any word or phrase, not just company names. But somehow there's a special mischievous thrill...
Emphasis mine. If you want to find out what that thrill is, read the New York Times article, linked above. I only hope that the New York Times will remain extant, rather than joining so many worthwhile news and information services, preserved for us only through Internet archives.

I'm sorry. I tried. Gloom won.

3 comments:

bill.everett said...

Wagon trains and white water rafting

I hope this is perceived as thanks, in return for your link, not spam! Please forgive me if it is intrusive?

Ellie K said...

Hello Bill!
It is so nice to see you here! Thank you for visiting, and please accept my apologies for not noticing your visit sooner. This is one of my least well-tended online outposts.

Comments with links are doubly delightful! My next click will be directly to view the adventures of The Frog that Jumped Out. I am thinking that Albuquerque, New Mexico might be involved :o)
- Ellie

bill.everett said...

Everything is connected sooner or later. I downloaded a copy of a paper by Xi Chen and Bruce E. Sagan this morning, "The fractal nature of the Fibonomial triangle," Paper A03 in Integers 14 (2014). I must find time to study it. As I recall, I had some correspondence with Bruce in August 2007 about the prime divisibility of Narayana numbers.