Thursday Threads: Unprotected Social Media Sites, Value of Free, and Real Life Net Neutrality

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This week’s Thursday Threads looks at a big hole in the security model of most internet sites that require you to log into them with a username and password plus a pair of stories about “big media” battles. If you find these interesting and useful, you might want to add the Thursday Threads RSS Feed to your feed reader or subscribe to e-mail delivery using the form to the right. If you would like a more raw and immediate version of these types of stories, watch my FriendFeed stream (or subscribe to its feed in your feed reader). Comments, as always, are welcome.

Slight Tweak to WordPress Broken Link Checker Plugin

In a futile effort to fight link rot on DLTJ, I installed the Broken Link Checker plugin by “White Shadow”. I like the way it scans the entire content of this blog — posts, pages, comments, etc. — looking for pages linked from here that don’t respond with an HTTP 200 “Ok” status code. The dashboard of problem links has a nice interface for updating or deleting these links, including the ability to add a CSS style deleted links to note that they were formerly there. One of the things I wished it did, though, was to add a message to posts/pages that noted a link was changed or deleted. You know — just to document that something changed since the page was first published. Tonight I hacked into the code to add this function. And with apologies to the original author of this beautifully structured object-oriented PHP code, it is a gruesome hack.

The PERL Way to Add OmniFocus Inbox Entries from Twitter

Over the weekend I got the bright idea of asking OmniGroup to ask an iPhone voice recognition application (like Dragon Dictation) to add a link to the OmniFocus iPhone application. That way I could simply dictate new inbox items on the iPhone rather than laboriously typing them with the on-screen keyboard. Before making the suggestion, I searched the OmniFocus User Forum for “voice recognition” to see if anyone else had suggested the same thing. As it turns out, there were a few posts that had instructions from people using Twitter as an intermediary. Unfortunately, they either required a desktop Twitter client to be running all of the time or used the now deprecated BasicAuth-based Twitter authentication scheme. So I created my own.

Protect Your Keyboards, Mice and Cables from Theft with a Flat Washer

You are using lockdown security cables to protect your PCs, but your accessories — keyboards, mice, and other cables — are still vulnerable to theft. You can use one of these specially built products to lock down the cables, or you can use a 20¢ flat washer from the hardware store to protect these components from minor mischief.

Thursday Threads: Disruption in Library Acquisitions, Publishing, and Remedial Education plus Checking Assumptions of Cloud Computing and a National Digital Library

If it is Thursday it must mean it is time for another in this series of Thursday Threads posts. This week there are an abundance of things that could fall into the category of “disruptive innovation” in libraries and higher education. If you find these interesting, you might want to subscribe to my FriendFeed stream where these topics and more are posted and discussed throughout the week.

Thursday Threads Bonus: Statistics (Election Polls) and Statistics (World Stats)

This is the second week of this Thursday Threads experiment and already we have a bonus edition. Two other items crossed my browser today that were just too good to pass up: how statistical techniques are improving the aggregation of political polling and a visual representation of lifespan versus income over time.

Thursday Threads: Technical Debt, QR Codes in National Parks, WebP Image Format, and SSL Cautions

Week #2 of this new project to highlight interesting tidbits from the previous seven days. Well, things that were interesting to me that I hope will be interesting to DLTJ readers. Time will tell.

A History of the OCLC Tax-Exemption Status

One of the baffling elements I’ve found in discussions of the history of OCLC is that of its tax exempt status under Ohio law. The latest example of this comes from documents filed in the SkyRiver/Innovative-vs.-OCLC case that make disparaging remarks about how OCLC got its state tax-advantaged status. (The text of the remarks in those documents are included below.) I was curious about this a while back and so did some research on the topic. I had set it aside and forgotten about it until this latest lawsuit brought it up again. So, to set the record straight, here is at least one version — hopefully written from a neutral perspective — of what happened nearly three decades ago.