Wendy Seltzer has a great essay up today about the process by which ICANN is allocating new top-level domains (TLDs, like .com, .net, .org, and so forth). Wendy is the copyfighting civil liberties cyberlawyer who founded Chilling Effects
and previously worked with me at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. She's served on the ICANN board for years -- this is the US-chartered corporation that oversees the domain name system, the only really centrally governed piece of the entire Internet.
ICANN has been thrashing for years over the creation of more TLDs, like ".sex" -- the idea is to recapture the edenic glory days when all .COMs were companies, all
.ORGs .EDUs were educational institutions and all .WS sites were in Western Samoa. A .sex TLD would be overseen so that only porn sites got .sex domains, and so that porn sites would be forced out of the .com/net/org spaces. This merely requires that some perfectly infallible institution be set up to rake in gigantic profits from the sex industry while accurately dividing all material on the web into "porn" and "not-porn." Simple.
Another faction has bigger ideas: they want to blow the lid off of DNS, to allow for the creation of an infinite number of TLDs. Wendy is in this faction and in "Aging the Internet Prematurely," she sets out a stirring call-to-arms for the TLD multiverse.
To trust the market, ICANN must be willing to let new TLDs fail. Instead of insisting that every new business have a 100-year plan, we should prepare the businesses and their stakeholders for contingency. Ensuring the "stable and secure operation of the Internet's unique identifier systems" should mean developing predictable responses to failure, not demanding impracticable guarantees of perpetual success. Escrow, clear consumer information, streamlined processes, and flexible responses to the expected unanticipated, can all protect the end-users better than the dubious foresight of ICANN's central regulators. These same regulators, bear in mind, didn't foresee that a five-day add-grace period would swell the ranks of domains with "tasters" gaming the loophole with ad-based parking pages.
David Robinson used the data from the 28,657 people who self-selected to take the Stack Overflow survey to investigate the relationship between programmer pay and the conventions of using either tabs or spaces to mark indents, and found a persistent, significant correlation between using spaces and bringing home higher pay.
It’s the end of an era, sort of: Fraunhofer IIS, the developers of the MP3 audio compression format, announced that they are ceasing their licensing program. In a blog post, spokesman Matthias Rose says that it’s had a good 20-year run and is obsolete. But it’s also true that the decoding patents expired last year, […]
Freddy deBoer writes that he’s been telling the same joke for years about Silicon Valley’s only product, which might be universalized as “At last, a way to verb with nouns on the internet!” But the social-media techopoly is stable, now, and so the venture capitalists have moved on to the three terrible trends that will […]
Learning a new language will give your resume an upgrade, sure, but it will also provide a huge cognitive boost for mental tasks outside of translation and conversation. Bilingual brains have been shown to be better at handling multiple concurrent tasks, and gaining fluency in a new tongue is an amazing way to improve memory, […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]
Although flagship smartphones are unlikely to adopt heavy-duty outer casing anytime soon, you can always prepare your device for the outdoors with a beefy case and and an external battery like this Nomad Tile Trackable PowerPack, available in the Boing Boing Store for $119.95.The Nomad Tile can fully recharge an iPhone 7 over three times […]