“Postgraduates at the University of East Anglia are being assessed as they edit existing Wikipedia articles and research and write their own pieces. Politics lecturer, Nicola Pratt, says using Wikipedia can develop students’ research skills.”
Steve Rubel’s basic Twitter search engine. It’s slim, but definitely the best there is at the moment!
“The latest iTunes update provides the strongest hint yet that Apple will soon sell TV shows in Australia through its online media store. ” (All geared up with Australian TV ratings … could legal downloads via the iTunes store be in Australia soon?)
“Part of a new youth delinquency law targets “happy slapping”, the recording of violent acts to entertain the attacker’s friends. The law makes it illegal for anyone but professional journalists to film and broadcast violent.” (*ahem* symptom, not cause!)
A nifty little SF mashup/collage of two Ron D Moore’s series. BSG audio, DS9 visuals … and it works a treat!
As part of their ever-expanding interaction with the fan community, the producers of Battlestar Galactica have announced a competition allowing fans access to selected BSG clips, sounds and music which they can mix with their own footage to create new videos. As their instructions explain:
Be a part of Battlestar Galactica!
We’re giving you sound and visual effects and music clips that you can use to create and share your own four-minute Battlestar videos.
Create your own mock commercials, short scenes or even mini-episodes — funny or dramatic. Choose from more than 30 visual effects, 20-plus audio effects and cuts from the show’s soundtrack, specially selected to help give your videos the Battlestar look and sound. Use them to make your video, add the required promo clip at the end, and send it to us!
Battlestar Galactica executive producer David Eick will choose one video to broadcast in full on SCI FI Channel during an upcoming Battlestar episode.
This sounds fantastic off the bat. Certainly I’d love to have a play and try out my sorely under-used editing skills. However, the instructions also come with these rules:
Your video can’t be longer than four minutes. Don’t use footage you don’t create yourself or that you didn’t get from the Battlestar Videomaker Toolkit.
Do not use any music for which you don’t have the rights.
Do not include images, photos, logos or artwork that you did not create or to which you don’t hold the rights (such as pictures from magazines, books and other Web sites).
No inappropriate content. If we can’t show it on network TV in prime time, don’t put it in your video.
Do not post your film on other sites, such as YouTube, MySpace, Google, etc.
You must be a legal resident of the United States and over the age of 18.
So, once again, the Battlestar Galactica franchise is treated as a purely US property. While I sympathise with the demands and difficulties of copyright, I have to concur with the forums in my disappointment that these wonderful fan-engaging opportunities are not open to the wider, global BSG community. This is another instance of what I have called the tyrrany of digital distance.
Also problematic is the notion that these videos can’t be uploaded elsewhere – be it YouTube, MySpace or similar. I imagine such restrictions disuade some fans or simply get ignored (and its not like YouTube currently lacks BSG fan-made films).
All of that said, I commend the producers of BSG for this initiative, I just hope they can widen both the level of participation and allow fans broader rights to distribute (not profit from, just distribute) the fan films they’ll be creating.
“The Microsoft Corporation, the software giant, has prepared a blistering attack on rival Google, arguing that the Web search leader takes a cavalier approach to copyright protection.” (I’m sorry, but even God is soft on copyright compared to Microsoft!)
Is the simulacra over? RIP Baudrillard, whose work was at the core of postmodernism.
Is this virtual terrorism or just forceful editing? The Second Life Liberation Army (SLLA) has both damanged other virtual property and been attacked – presumably in retribuition – by others, but is this a problem for the SLers or just growing pains?
“In 1998, I had it figured that the dot-com boom would become a dot-green boom. It took a while for others to get it. … [the] 21st-century green is and must be about everything — the works. Sustainability is comprehensive.”
Microsoft sells the premium version of its new Office 2007 software suite for $1150, but in a new promotion it is offering the package to Australian university students for just $75. The almost 95 per cent discount for Office 2007 Ultimate is offered through a website made specifically for the promotion, itsnotcheating.com.au. It comes as Microsoft’s cash-cow office productivity suite – which has more than 400 million users worldwide and accounts for about 30 per cent of the software giant’s income – is being increasingly threatened by free alternatives. Most notable is OpenOffice, but there are also a number of web-based competitors such as Google’s Docs & Spreadsheets and Zoho Office. […] When asked why the discount was not being offered to TAFE or non-tertiary students, a Microsoft spokeswoman said: “Microsoft has targeted universities in the roll out of this three month pilot program. If the program is successful, we will look at extending the offer to TAFE students as well as K-12.”
In many ways this is a clever strategic move by Microsoft to ensure that the university students of today – and leaders of tomorrow – are thinking Microsoft when they move out of the universities. It certainly speaks to the competition coming from other options – I must admit I’m musing Google Docs more and more as their export to PDF function makes editing documents intended for the web far faster than using Word and the Acrobat plugin.
Microsoft are also try to tap the web2.0 world of blogging:
Microsoft hopes to spread the word about its offer virally by running a blogging competition, and the first prize is a Vespa GT200 scooter. “All you have to do is mention the word ‘Office’ and the link ‘www.itsnotcheating.com.au’ in your blog,” the website reads. “Winner is judged on creativity of the story.”
Of course, there is real potential for that competition to turn against Microsoft, especially when students find their new spiffy formats of Word aren’t compatible with previous versions. Then again, perhaps someone at Microsoft is either feeling ironic this week – or is rather ignorant about Microsoft’s ongoing anti-piracy war – as this ‘cool’ list appears on the competition page of the It Not Cheating website:
So … “It’s not cheating if … you don’t get caught.” That’s certainly not the message my university wants to send. Nor, I suspect, it is what Microsoft really wants to say. Rather, in the push for blogging credibility, Microsoft haven’t thought through their own campaign! It may be intended as satirical, but I suspect most people will find these attempts at being hip rather ironic!
Update (1.35pm, Tues 6 Mar 07): Long Zheng has a more robust argument about why this Microsoft initiative is a bad idea here. (Of course, all those criticisms aside, I have to admit: were I currently a student without a copy of Office, I’m pretty sure I’d be looking to get myself a $75 legal copy tomorrow!)
“The media’s portrayal of young women as sex objects harms girls’ mental and physical health, US experts warn. […] Sexualisation can lead to a lack of confidence with their bodies as well as depression and eating disorders.”
“Next week Cisco Systems … plans to announce one of its most unusual deals: it is buying the technology assets of Tribe.net, a mostly forgotten social networking site, according to people close to the companies’ discussions.” (But no one knows why!)
“The BBC has struck a content deal with YouTube, the web’s most popular video sharing website, owned by Google. Three YouTube channels – one for news and two for entertainment – will showcase short clips of BBC content.”
“Could the blogosphere survive without the reporting provided by newspapers and TV networks? Online pros tackle the question.”
“Computers, digital cameras and the Internet are giving marriage-bound couples new tools to make sure their special day is preserved in beautiful, flattering photography that can easily be shared with family and friends.”
Great resource for podcasters (and educators)! Podcast music ahoy!
Web surfers will no longer be reliving the magic moments of the 2007 Oscarcast via YouTube. The vid-viewing site complied with a Tuesday request from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to remove all unauthorized clips of the kudocast.
I’m giving a couple of lectures this semester in the Ecotexts: Nature/Writing/Technology course which has some great books and films on it. I’m getting to give lectures on Blade Runner and the anime Metropolis, but I’ve also been exploring links between these and other films on the course, including Code 46 and Children of Men. Of the three non-animated films, one of the most interesting textures they use is advertising; the bleak landscapes and cityscapes of the near-future are awash with commercials and warnings! In my online explorations, I’ve found a wonderful clip produced as a portfolio piece by the Foreign Office, the design company which worked on many of the media textures in Children of Men:
The future imagined through these advertisements and warnings is one easily extrapolated from today, yet cleverly different enough to suggest a future setting!
If you’re interested in Net Neutrality, then check out this evocative mini-documentary on why regulating the internet in the ways being debate in the US are a bad idea of democracy, a bad idea for the US, and a really bad idea for the rest of us!
If you’re not interested in Net Neutrality, perhaps after watching this you should be!