Misc: Facebook email, verbal contracts, free Symbian, Jonathan Schwartz

Sometimes, there's more going on than will fit into one post. Here are a few more links that caught my eye over the past 24 hours. In IT Blogwatch, Facebook un-munges email addresses, Fraunhofer lets you sign contracts on the phone, Symbian goes free, and Jonathan Schwartz tweets his final goodbyes.

By Richi Jennings. January 4, 2010. Your humble blogwatcher selected these links for your enjoyment. Not to mention the FAILboat...

    Eric Eldon gets inside Facebook's profiles:

When it comes to user email addresses on Facebook profiles, Facebook for years has taken the extra step of listing user emails in an image format in order to make it harder for scripts to scrape massive numbers of email addressess. However, it has recently switched to providing them in plain text.


For the average user, the change’s impact is only that they can now copy and paste email addresses. ... OCR, or optical character recognition, has become a more widely understood technology in recent years. Formatting text within an image, as Facebook has done, does not necessarily provide meaningfully greater security.

Clay Dillow talks about legally binding verbal contracts:

Researchers at the Secure Information Technology wing over at Fraunhofer in Darmstadt, Germany have developed a means of creating secure, legally-binding phone archives, meaning two parties can "sign" a contract without ever putting ink to paper.


The digital signature software begins recording and blocking the conversation into intervals, stamping each block with an encoded tag as it goes. The recording is chopped into blocks for security purposes, but the stamps create a secure chain. ... While it's not quite as friendly as a smile and a handshake, "let's talk this over" is plenty more cordial than "I'm going to need that in writing."

Alan Shimel notes that Symbian is now 100% free (as in speech):

The most popular OS for mobile phones (over 330 million phones) in the world is now open source. ... The migration was actually finished ahead of schedule by a few months. ... when Nokia bought Symbian a few years back they made a decision to change the model and open source the software.


Symbian claims that only about 1/3 of the Android code base is really open. ... [And] the Symbian foundation will do everything it can to have a wider base of contributors making decisions on where the official version is going.


This is another big victory for the open source movement ... [and not] some marketing stunt. ... Let the innovation begin!

And Chris Mellor makes this obscure British reference about ex-Sun CEO Jonathan Schwartz:

Schwartz was a Marmite CEO; people either loved him or couldn't stand him. He could certainly talk the CEO talk, giving complex and logical presentations, and was never threatened in his role at Sun even though company revenues under his reign tumbled steadily downhill.


The fact that Sun had to be bought to get out of its troubles is a great big critical judgement on his strategy. It was clearly wrong and Sun was far too big a company to prosper on the open source software-derived revenues, however great the technological expertise of its engineers.


It seems unlikely that Schwartz will write the following haiku:


Revenues Shrank

As I gave software away

Customers right; me wrong.

And finally...

Richi Jennings, your humble blogwatcher
  Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and security. A cross-functional IT geek since 1985, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You can follow him as @richi on Twitter, or richij on FriendFeed, pretend to be richij's friend on Facebook, or just use good old email: itblogwatch@richij.com.

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