Freenet’s Move to Social System

Freenet a “free software which lets you anonymously share files, browse and publish “freesites” (web sites accessible only through Freenet) and chat on forums, without fear of censorship,” is now making a move toward censorship resistant social networking system.

Freenet, essentially is a decentralized hard drive, with cryptographically implemented input and output controls — a person could push contents into Freenet, and other person can retrieve. With clever use of these simple systems, now BBS (Bulletin Board System), social network, and blog sites are emerging.

A BBS on Freenet is nothing new — external software called Frost is quite functional BBS that uses Freenet infrastructure. However, it has its own problem. First, it is external software. User has to go to Frost’s site and download the software. While not difficult, it introduced extra burden on users’ side that they have to have this software to access to the system. Secondly, Frost is not very resistant to spamming.

Freenet’s new Freetalk integrates to Freenet interface, and will be ready to use when Freenet is available. (as long as it is enabled.) It works right on a browser.

Freetalk on Freenet

Combating against spam on Freenet is somewhat contradictory, as whole point of Freenet system is resist censorship. Therefore, Freetalk (and other items I cover in this article) uses scheme called Web of Trust. Web of Trust may sound familiar with one who has worked with OpenPGP softwares. It is essentially, trust system based on how peers trust others. With this system, while spam would be there, spammers will (inevitably) starting to receive low score, and can be filtered out. One thing to note is that Web of Trust system, unlike with OpenPGP, is pseudonym. A person can have multiple ID under Freenet’s Web of Trust, but origination of messages can be verified under this system.

Using this same basic system, there is a system called Sone (Freenet link) which offers Facebook/Twitter like system that allows users to have their own time lines. Visitors will be able to interact with posts by commenting and liking, just like on Facebook. While offered by third-party, it is implemented as Freenet plugin, which can be also used right on Freenet interface through the browser.

Sone

Blogging on Freenet, called Flog is not new, but there’s now a helper application on Freenet called FlogHelper. This allows you to setup Flog, as well as managing posts within. Visitor can reach through Freenet’s address. The picture below is a Flog by the developer of Freenet.

Flog by Toad

With those tools now available, Freenet is becoming true communication site, and will hopefully be providing censorship resistant communication, especially to countries like China where strong censorship is in place.

A Call for Help Resolving Google Chrome Issue

Chrome BugI have been observing the issue with Google Chrome mainly on Mac OS X, that in some instance, the browser would show wrong URL and page title.

For instance, the screenshot on this page shows problem — the page I’ve navigated was creativecommons.org, but page title shows “New tab” (my UI is set to Japanese, thus showing it in Japanese) as it also shows chrome://newtab. Reloading this page would cause new tab page to load, and forward and back functionality will function as if it was on the page display on the URL displayed. (If navigated slashdot.org then cnn.com, and then navigated to creativecommons.org — if the bar says http://www.cnn.com/ then refreshing will refresh to cnn.com, back button will put you back to slashdot.org, and once you are back to slashdot.org pressing forward button will cause cnn.com to load. I observe is this can happen in any pages, and persists until I kill the browser process of the page instance. As annoying this could be, this also carries security implication, as one could be navigating to website for bank, and if they have navigated to possible phishing site, the browser still will show URL and title for the bank. So far I have observed this issue on Mac OS X, but it might be happening on other operating systems, too.

I reported this as issue 82073 (may not be visible as it is security issue) however was told they won’t fix unless I have repro step. As I feel it is very critical issue, I would like to see if I can provide them repro step, and the first step is to find out if there are any patterns. However, so far I haven’t found the cause yet.

If you happen to see this issue, please let me know of your environment, URL of the site affected, browser version, extensions installed, as well as any operations you have been doing when you observed the issue. As the security bug, if Google is to offer bounty on it, I will see if they’ll be able to split it among contributors, and if not, I will refuse such payment and have it donated to charity. Main thing is that I want this to be addressed.

Thank you for your help in advance!

Social Expectations in Japan and Why I Can’t Ever Live in Japan

During Sakura-Con, I had chance listening to Roland Kelts talking about foreigner living in Japan. He said that if foreigners visit Japan, they can’t be one of them (Japanese) but they will be able to enjoy benefit of being in Japan without being expected to be Japanese. (and any effort of blending into them will be taken favorably by Japanese.)

This was very interesting to hear from “foreigner perspective”, as its flip-side is exactly what I had in mind, and what I have written in the past. In the US, even though I’m considered to be American, a lot of people still may see me as foreigner, but at same time, that doesn’t mean much, as a lot of Americans are originally from foreign country; it’s just part of the society. However, this creates very awkward situation for me to be in Japan.

I have been long enough in Japan; first 13 years of my life to be exact, and I understand sociological norm in Japan. However, it is also true that I have lived in the States for 18 years. This makes it very awkward when I visit Japan; while I understand that norm, I do not necessary believe in executing it myself. I speak perfect Japanese, I look like Japanese, and I don’t look like a foreigner — so unless I pretend I don’t speak Japanese; which actually I have done casually in the past, Japanese people expect me to behave, and more importantly, think like Japanese.

Because their social expectation for me to act like Japanese, I do not get any credits for efforts of act (and think) like Japanese, because they assume that what I am supposed to be doing, yet any deviance from it would count negative toward me.

I don’t have any problem living in the States looking like Japanese, but this is why I sometimes wish I looked like foreigners in Japan.
While I am doubtful I will ever be living in Japan, this will be certainly life-long wonder of how I should mitigate this “identity crisis” every time I visit Japan, or merely dealing with Japanese elsewhere.

Anime I’m Watching

Crunchyroll allows me to watch many titles, in fact I’m watching 10 times more than I used to be.
The one I finished recently, is Squid Girl (Ika-Musume). This show certainly isn’t the best one I’ve ever seen, but I enjoyed it a lot. (In fact, Ika-Musume was one of few reasons I signed up for Crunchyroll premium-geso.

Some highlights from this season:

  • Nichijou (My Ordinary Life) – Hilarious (in good way) in many ways. Memorable character. If you only have time to watch one show this season, watch this one. Opening and Ending songs makes this even better.
  • Hoshizora e Kakeru Hashi (A Bridge to the Starry Sky) – Anime based on gal-ge from same title. Just as good as you can expect from such conversion.
  • STEINS;GATE – Story involving machine that can TXT back to the past. Interesting story.
  • Hanasaku Iroha – Honestly, I didn’t have high expectation from this show before I watched. I found first few episodes to be bit irritating, as I found most characters to be quite mean. But it gets better as the story progresses.

I’ve recently watched Clannad the Movie, but this one deserves it own entry, and I will do that once I’ve written one up.

Also my Watchlist is available if you are wondering what I’m up to.