Links for February 16th 2010 through February 17th 2010:
- Google admits Buzz social network testing flaws [BBC News] – “Google has admitted to BBC News that testing of its controversial social network Buzz was insufficient. The firm has had to make a series of changes to the service after a ferocious backlash from users concerned about intrusions of privacy. The BBC understands that Buzz was only tested internally and bypassed more extensive trials with external testers – used for many other Google services. Google said that it was now working “extremely hard” to fix the problems. “We’re very early in this space. This was one of our first big attempts,” Todd Jackson, Buzz product manager, told BBC News.”And the line that has everyone going “Duh*: ““We’ve been testing Buzz internally at Google for a while. Of course, getting feedback from 20,000 Googlers isn’t quite the same as letting Gmail users play with Buzz in the wild.”“
- The fear fades: legal downloads make sweet music for industry [SMH] – What’s that? Given actual legal options, people still buy music? “The very thing that has torn strips from the Australian music industry now looks to be driving a return to profitability. Digital music has experienced rocketing sales that appear – last year at least – to have more than offset the continuing drop in CDs sold, according to figures released yesterday by the Australian Recording Industry Association. Buyers’ increased enthusiasm for legal digital downloads has fuelled the industry’s first year of financial growth since wholesale earnings peaked in 2003. Overall revenue last year was up almost 5 per cent to $446 million on the back of a 72 per cent rise in digital-album purchases to almost 2.3 million.”
- A fight over freedom at Apple’s core [FT.com / UK] – Jonathan Zittrain on Apple’s philosophy shift from open (Apple Mac) to closed (iPhone/iPad): “In 1977, a 21-year-old Steve Jobs unveiled something the world had never seen before: a ready-to-program personal computer. After powering the machine up, proud Apple II owners were confronted with a cryptic blinking cursor, awaiting instructions. The Apple II was a clean slate, a device built – boldly – with no specific tasks in mind. Yet, despite the cursor, you did not have to know how to write programs. Instead, with a few keystrokes you could run software acquired from anyone, anywhere. […] Mr Jobs ushered in the personal computer era and now he is trying to usher it out. We should focus on preserving our freedoms, even as the devices we acquire become more attractive and easier to use.”
- Is ChatRoulette the Future of the Internet or Its Distant Past? By Sam Anderson Feb 5, 2010 [New York Magazine] – Accessible and human article about ChatRoulette (a service which connects random strangers to each other to ‘chat’ via webcam or text). ChatRoulette has many sides, with some amazing stories and people, but also an awful lot of things that are best left unshared (also, not safe for kids, not safe for work, etc). For one of the most human moments I’ve read about a ChatRoulette interactions, see Scott Heiferman’s Notes from hell.
- EMI Apparently Forgot Grey Album Disaster; Issues Takedown Of Wu Tang vs. Beatles [Techdirt] – “I’m beginning to think that EMI is trying to commit suicide, given many of its recent actions. Its latest move is to force offline a wildly popular mashup, mixing The Beatles with The Wu Tang Clan., despite it getting rave reviews and lots of attention… and despite a history of similar actions backfiring massively for EMI. Let’s take a look back. Apparently the folks over at EMI/Capitol Records have no sense of history. Back in 2004, DJ Danger Mouse put together “The Grey Album,” a fantastic mashup of The Beatles’ “The White Album” with Jay-Z’s “The Black Album.” EMI/Capitol, who holds the copyright on much of The Beatles’ catalog went nuts, and started sending cease-and-desists to pretty much everyone, leading to the infamous “Grey Tuesday” on February 24, 2004, where lots of websites posted the album in protest. Years later, EMI admitted that the Grey Album didn’t do any harm, but the company didn’t care, saying “It’s not a question of damage; it’s a question of rights.””