Me, myself, and whoever comes along

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Consultor em tecnologia por profissão, curioso por natureza.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Automating Web Access

Over the past few weeks I managed to resume reading about programming in general, and Python in particular. I've watched a great presentation by the BDFL himself, talking about Python 3.0. Great stuff is coming. Another thing that caught my interest is a library for automated web browsing, named "twill". Seems great for web application testing, and even for implementing something like "web pipes" or "mashups" over existing content (that is not accessible as XML, or SOAP, or whatever is the current acronym for such thing).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Honor and identity

I'm the kind of people that is often accused of being too confident, or even naive, regarding my posture towards other people. I prefer to start from the principle I should trust people. It makes sense in a practical way - it's just too much work and little added benefit to do otherwise. It has served me well most of the time; I reckon that the time that I saved, and also, the happiness that I experienced by having a trustful approach is much bigger than the eventual disappointments that I had over my life.

In the general sense, I believe that the concept of 'honor' in human relations is closely related to the viability (and scalability) of economical systems. A post by Seth Godin about
the honor system argues that this is true, but dangerous, for the Internet. He's right, but there's more to it.

The question with the Internet is one of anonymity. In real ife, word of mouth spreads quickly if you misbehave. But online, it's just to easy, either to be anonymous, or to create a fake identity, so many people feel that they can do whatever they want, and they will get away with it. It's easy to buy a product online, use it, and return; no other vendor will know about what I did. So people get away with it pretty easily.

At this point things get ideological. To put it bluntly, the respect for anonymity or privacy cannot be confused with lack of imputability, or worse - with impunity.

One funny thing about identity is that in the US, people are not used to the concept of carrying a mandatory ID card. It's in their history, they never trusted the government to issue such a thing. Here (in Brazil) and in many other countries, it's not such a big deal. So I reckon that it will be easier to implement a reliable identity system here, or in China, than it will be in the US. I may be wrong of course.