Slashdot is running a discussion named How To Pull Location Data From Encrypted Google Maps Sessions.
Their summary: "In the last couple of years, Google and some other Web giants have moved to make many of their services accessible over SSL, and in many cases, made HTTPS connections the default. That's designed to make eavesdropping on those connections more difficult, but as researchers have shown, it certainly doesn't make traffic analysis of those connections impossible. Vincent Berg of IOActive has written a tool that can monitor SSL connections and make some highly educated guesses about the contents of the requests going to Google Maps, specifically looking at what size the PNG files returned by Google Maps are. The tool then attempts to group those images in a specific location, based on the grid and tile system that Google uses to construct its maps."
Ok, I'm almost back behind the helm and I expect it's going to take me at least a week to catch up the geonews, but you'll get them.
During my absence last week, Slashdot ran a discussion named Ask Slashdot: Open Source vs Proprietary GIS Solution?
Their summary: "As the Project Manager for a non-profit looking to implement a tech project, I am running into a few dilemmas, and as a casual Slashdotter I could really use some help. I'll start with a brief explanation of the project. We research issues in Canadian Immigrants, and found that there was a lack of recent, unaggregated information. As we dug further, we found that some data was available, but there was no central repository. Therefore, we are building a web based service to collect this data, with the intent of having it display in Google Maps and then be downloadable as a CSV file that is readable in GIS software such as ESRI Arcsoft, so that data may be visualized."
Like a lot of Slashdot discussions, the value is in the moderated comments.
Slashdot is discussing a story named Shopping Center Tracking System Condemned by Civil Rights Campaigners.
Their summary: "Civil rights campaigners have spoken out against a technology used by several shopping centers in the UK to track consumers using their mobile signals. The shopping centers claim that the technology helps them provide better services to consumers and retailers without compromising privacy. The system, called the Footpath, allows them to know how people are spending time in a shopping center, which spots they visit the most and even the route they take while walking around. Several consumer and civil rights groups, including Big Brother Watch, say consumers must be given a choice on whether they want their movement tracked or not."
See this story and the related links for numerous previous similar stories.
Two days ago (yes, I was busy) Slashdot discussed a story named Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, and Google Chase 'Got Milk?' Patents.
Their summary: "Among the new iOS 5 features is Reminders, which Apple explains this way: 'Say you need to remember to pick up milk during your next grocery trip. Since Reminders can be location based, you'll get an alert as soon as you pull into the supermarket parking lot.' But does Reminders infringe on a newly-granted patent to Amazon for Location Aware Reminders, which covers the use of location based reminders to remind a user 'to purchase certain items such as, for example, as milk, bread, and eggs'? Or could Reminders run afoul of Google's new patent for Geocoding Personal Information, which covers triggering a voice reminder or making a computing device vibrate when a user approaches a location if 'one of the user's events is a task to pick up milk and bread'? Not to be left out of the 'Got Milk?' patent race, Apple also has a patent pending for Computer Systems and Methods for Collecting, Associating, and/or Retrieving Data, which covers providing a reminder to a user whose 'to do' list includes 'get milk' when the user's location matches 'a store that sells the item "milk."'
That should not be confused with Microsoft's pending patent for Geographic Reminders, which allows users to specify reminders such as 'pick up milk if I am within a ten minutes drive of any grocery store.' That all four tech giants chose to pursue remember-the-milk patents — and the USPTO is considering and granting them — is all the more remarkable considering that Microsoft suggested location-based reminders were obvious in a 2005 patent filing, which informed the USPTO that 'a conventional reminder application may give the user relevant information at a given location, such as 'You're near a grocery store, and you need milk at home.' So much for that immediate patent quality improvement promised by the America Invents Act!"
You bet the patent system needs to be overhauled!