Glenn Fleishman: “It’s a well-established practice as a journalist that if you find out about a story from another publication, not a source or your own research, you credit that source. If you don’t know that another publication broke the news, you’re off the hook, too, generally. But don’t go taking my scoop away.” [Via Scobleizer]
I agree with Glenn, but it’s sometimes not that easy. For example, I wrote a story last week for eWeek on the the security holes in Apple’s URI handling for the HelpViewer application. I first read about it on the MacNN forums, via a posting on a mailing list. The original source may have been a German Web site. And there’s a user who claims he first notified Apple about it in February. Who do you credit? In this case, I gave a pointer to the user’s site, and that’s about all.
Sometimes, though, it IS easy. Macworld UK found and posted about the Word “Demo” trojan, and when I wrote about it I credited them – well done to Karen Haslem for breaking the story.
So it seems like what everyone with half a brain suspected was true all along: Ahmed Chalabi was feeding the US government exactly what it wanted to hear about Iraq, in order to provoke a war. [Via Boing Boing]
Over the weekend, Plaxo released version 2.0 of its software, which allows users to synchornize their Outlook contacts with Plaxo’s server, and request updates for contact information from users. I started using Plaxo last week, and – thanks largely to having more than one similar application installed at the same time – ran into some horrendous problems.
So it was with some trepidation that I installed version 2.0, having dumped the last version because, after my contacts database got corrupted, it would continually crash Outlook. So far, though, it’s worked far more effectively than the previous version, so much so that I’ve installed it on two machines and actually got them to sync not only contacts, but also all my other Outlook data – something that I had on my Mac via iSync and .Mac, and deeply missed on Windows. If someone produced something that let me sync to the Mac as well, I’d be in deep joy.
Incidentally, a couple of people asked me to remove their details from Plaxo, over uncertainties about how the system could be used for spamming – something that (of course) I was happy to do (Plaxo 2.0 actually makes it easier to do this, with a single-button on each contact card which lets you remove the contact from their system). Although I can see the reasoning, I think there has to be a measure of trust involved in any system that handles personal data. I also suspect there’s cheaper and easier ways to mine email addresses. As a journalist, I often have to find people’s email addresses, and not once has Google and a bit of intelligence let me down – including for people who take steps to hide their addresses from their Web pages.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, there’s another URI exploit in Mac OS X, this time involving the Telnet: command. Not so serious, although it can still be used to play a few tricks – and not patched by Friday’s security update.