Tag Archives: apple

Digital Culture Links: April 16th 2010

Links for April 13th 2010 through April 16th 2010:

  • No Free Lunch for Ning Users; Still Plenty of Bargains Elsewhere [Read Write Web] – “The social networking platform Ning announced today that it was making some substantial changes to the company. The news, coming just one month after Jason Rosenthal replaced Gina Bianchini as CEO, was sour for both employees and for many users of the service. Ning will cut 70 jobs and will end free subscriptions to the site. Rosenthal writes in the press release, “We will phase out our free service. Existing free networks will have the opportunity to either convert to paying for premium services, or transition off of Ning.” According to the release, paying subscribers account for 75% of the service’s traffic. These fees have ranged from $4.95 per month to use your own domain name, to $24.95 per month to remove Ning’s promotional links, although it’s unclear if those fees will change. But the service has long been used by many small groups and organization, many of which are in a tail-spin over today’s announcement.”
  • Youth, Privacy and Reputation (Literature Review) – April 12, 2010 Authored by Alice E. Marwick, Diego Murgia Diaz, John Palfrey, Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative [Berkman Center] – Fantastically useful overview of youth & privacy writing & research: “The scope of this literature review is to map out what is currently understood about the intersections of youth, reputation, and privacy online, focusing on youth attitudes and practices. We summarize both key empirical studies from quantitative and qualitative perspectives and the legal issues involved in regulating privacy and reputation. This project includes studies of children, teenagers, and younger college students. For the purposes of this document, we use “teenagers” or “adolescents” to refer to young people ages 13-19; children are considered to be 0-12 years old. However, due to a lack of large-scale empirical research on this topic, and the prevalence of empirical studies on college students, we selectively included studies that discussed age or included age as a variable. Due to language issues, the majority of this literature covers the United States, the United Kingdom, the European Union, and Canada.”
  • Murdoch hails iPad as saviour of news [The Age] – “Rupert Murdoch has launched a spirited defence of putting up paywalls around his newspaper websites, while embracing the game-changing potential of Apple’s iPad. The News Corporation chairman hailed the device as a possible saviour of the newspaper industry.Advocates of free newspaper websites often accuse Murdoch of being a technophobe but the Australian media mogul was happy to embrace the technology of Apple’s iPad tablet device, launched in the US on April 3. [...] During an interview with journalist Marvin Kalb, Murdoch sat with an iPad and even picked it up to demonstrate how to navigate The Wall Street Journal’s website. He said the iPad could be the saviour of newspaper journalism – in electronic form, not print. ”I got a glimpse of the future … with the Apple iPad,” Murdoch said. ”It is a wonderful thing. If you have [fewer] newspapers and more of these … it may well be the saving of the newspaper industry.””
  • Internet Filter Not Needed, Says US Ambassador to Australia [The Age] – US to Australia: don’t screw up the internet! “The US ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich has criticised the Rudd government’s plan to filter the internet, saying the same goals can be achieved without censorship. The federal government’s $128.8 million Cyber Safety policy includes forcing ISPs to block access to certain websites and blacklist offensive material. Legislation to enable the scheme is set to be introduced this year. On ABC’s Q&A program last night, Mr Bleich said the “internet has to be free” and that there were other means of combating nasty content such as child pornography. “We have been able to accomplish the goals that Australia has described, which is to capture and prosecute child pornographers … without having to use internet filters,” he said. “We have other means and we are willing to share our efforts with them … it’s an ongoing conversation.”"

Digital Culture Links: January 29th 2010

Links for January 29th 2010:

  • iPad_parody
    [Source]
  • iPad DRM endangers our rights [DefectiveByDesign.org] – The petition against Apple’s iPad (and other) DRM: "DRM will give Apple and their corporate partners the power to disable features, block competing products (especially free software) censor news, and even delete books, videos, or news stories from users’ computers without notice– using the device’s "always on" network connection. This past year, we have seen how human rights and democracy protestors can have the technology they use turned against them. By making a computer where every application is under total, centralized control, Apple is endangering freedom to increase profits. Apple can say they will not abuse this power, but their record of App Store rejections and removals gives us no reason to trust them. The iPad’s unprecedented use of DRM to control all capabilities of a general purpose computer is a dangerous step backward for computing and for media distribution. We demand that Apple remove all DRM from its devices."
  • Hitler responds to the iPad [YouTube] – Yes, it was inevitable that the iPad would attract the Downfall meme!
  • 12 Key Features Apple iPad lacks [SMH] – It’s 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9 which will stop me buying the first release iPad (I suspect much of this will be fixed by iPad 2.0!):
    "1. iBooks is initially US-only
    2. No built-in camera
    3. No USB ports
    4. No memory card read
    5. Keyboard dock sold separately
    6. No multi-tasking
    7. No Adobe Flash support
    8. Can only run Apple-sanctioned apps
    9. Can only access iTunes videos and music
    10. Lacks HDMI port
    11. Screen is 4:3 aspect ratio, not 16:9 widescreen
    12. No full GPS support"
  • New page in publishing turns on Apple’s offering [The Australian] – eBooks, eBooks, eBooks, OI, OI, OI: "The use of e-book readers is in its infancy in Australia but Apple’s iPad will be the harbinger of a change in the way Australians read books, says the nation’s largest independent publisher. Allen & Unwin’s digital publishing director, Elizabeth Weiss, said: "There is a buzz around. We think iPad will further stimulate interest in e-books." E-book sales – either via a PC or readers such as Amazon’s Kindle – are statistically insignificant in the $2.5 billion book market in Australia, but the industry is expecting a similar pattern to the US where, in less than two years, and during a deep recession, digital books have captured about 5 per cent of the market. "You’ll see a rapid take-up over the next six months," said Australian Booksellers Association chief executive Malcolm Neil. But he said that could result in some smaller booksellers losing market share and being forced to close."
  • Microsoft Releases a Study on Data Privacy Day [Microsoft Privacy & Safety] – More evidence that your web presence doesn’t ever just stay on the web: "Our study found 70% of surveyed HR professionals in U.S. (41% in the UK) have rejected a candidate based on online reputation information. Reputation can also have a positive effect as in the United States, 86% of HR professionals (and at least two thirds of those in the U.K. and Germany) stated that a positive online reputation influences the candidate’s application to some extent; almost half stated that it does so to a great extent. What we hope people take away from this research is that an online reputation is not something to be scared of; it’s something to be proactively managed. That means not just removing (or not posting) negatives, but also building the online reputation that you would want an employer (or friend or client) to find."
  • Google Routes Around App Store On The iPhone… Others Can Too [Techdirt] – Apps want to be free, too: "I was just recently suggesting that the massive focus on "apps" and "app stores" may be a red herring, as eventually many of those apps can be built via the web (especially as HTML 5 moves forward), without having to go through any kind of app store approval process. So it’s worth noting that, in fact, Google has done exactly that with its Google Voice app for the iPhone (doing so because of problems getting a client-side app approved by Apple)."

Digital Culture Links: January 7th 2010

Links for January 6th 2010 through January 7th 2010:

  • New Video: Protecting Reputations Online in Plain English [Common Craft] – Great new Common Craft video looking at reputation management, especially in terms of thinking about what poeple share today and what that means tomorrow!
  • Aliases, creeping, and wall cleaning: Understanding privacy in the age of Facebook by Kate Raynes-Goldie [First Monday 15.1, Jan 2010] – Timely look at Facebook, privacy and young adults: “This paper explores how 20–something Facebook users understand and navigate privacy concerns. Based on a year–long ethnographic study in Toronto, Canada, this paper looks at how — contrary to many mainstream accounts — younger users do indeed care about protecting and controlling their personal information. However, their concerns revolve around what I call social privacy, rather than the more conventional institutional privacy. This paper also examines the somewhat subversive practices which users engaged in to enhance their own social privacy, and in some cases, violate that of others. Finally, this paper examines some of the reasons that users may continue using the site, despite privacy concerns.”
  • Rogue Marketers Can Mine Your Info on Facebook [Wired.com] – Another reason Facebook’s new privacy settings suck: “Got an e-mail list of customers or readers and want to know more about each — such as their full name, friends, gender, age, interests, location, job and education level? Facebook has just the free feature you’re looking for, thanks to its recent privacy changes. The hack, first publicized by blogger Max Klein, repurposes a Facebook feature that lets people find their friends on Facebook by scanning through e-mail addresses in their contact list. But as Klein points out, a marketer could take a list of 1,000 e-mail addresses, either legally or illegally collected — and upload those through a dummy account — which then lets the user see all the profiles created using those addresses. Given Facebook’s ubiquity and most people’s reliance on a single e-mail address, the harvest could be quite rich.”
  • The MLA, @briancroxall, and the non-rise of the Digital Humanities [academhack] – An interesting follow-up to the social media prominence of Brian Croxall’s MLA paper: “two observations: 1. The fact that Brian’s making public of his paper was an oddity worth noticing means that we are far away from the rise of the digital humanities. 2. The fact that a prominent digital scholar like Brian doesn’t even get one interview at the MLA means more than the economy is bad, that tenure track jobs are not being offered, but rather that Universities are still valuing the wrong stuff. They are looking for “real somebodies” instead of “virtual somebodies.” Something which the digital humanities has the potential of changing (although I remain skeptical).” [Via Chuck]
  • Pocohontar [Boing Boing] – Yes, James Cameron’s Avatar is very similar to Disney’s Pocahontas and here’s the script treatment to “prove” it.
  • Apple’s App Store Downloads Top Three Billion – Just as Google unveils their Nexus One phone, Apple reminds everyone that their App store will be a hard one to beat: “Apple® today announced that more than three billion apps have been downloaded from its revolutionary App Store by iPhone® and iPod touch® users worldwide. “Three billion applications downloaded in less than 18 months—this is like nothing we’ve ever seen before,” said Steve Jobs, Apple’s CEO. “The revolutionary App Store offers iPhone and iPod touch users an experience unlike anything else available on other mobile devices, and we see no signs of the competition catching up anytime soon.”” 3 billions apps … wowzers!

Nexus One

Just in case you’ve not this post is the first thing you’ve seen after having no internet connection for two days, guess what?  Google released a phone:

nexus_one

Meet the Nexus One. There has already been a phenomenal amount written about Nexus One vs The iPhone (here’s a nice clear tech and cost comparison) but the real stories here are bigger than that.  The are millions of people writing about the Nexus One today, but my pick of that crop are these:

  • The official Nexus One page (where “Web meets phone” apparently).  For Australian’s the “order now” button currently reads “Sorry, the Nexus One phone is not available in your country.” Hmph.
  • BBC News “Google unveils Nexus One phone”.  The big difference for US customers: “Gartner analyst Carolina Milanesi said this could be its main selling point as it would mean owners could decide which network to sign up with. "You buy the phone and then choose what sim card you want to put in," she said. Those buying an unlocked phone would be able to use it as a GSM phone on almost any network.” (Which doesn’t seem like such a big deal to us Aussies since you can buy and iPhone with any of the big telcos in Australia.)
  • Guy Kawasaki’s 13 ways a Nexus One is better than an iPhone. The most important: “Open system” so that, God forbid, if someone can create a better browser, address book, calendar, or email client, you can install it. Somebody at Apple thinks it has the monopoly on good app development. He or she is wrong.”
  • Finally, Engadget’s Nexus One review – all the hardware and software specs – like a 5.0 megapixel camera with a flash!

Sure, the Nexus One might not be a hugely different experience to the iPhone, but Google entering the mobile market with an open source operating system offers a healthy alternative model for smartphone users. It’s also another step in becoming Planet Google!

Digital Culture Links: December 10th 2009

Links for December 6th 2009 through December 10th 2009:

  • Tiger Woods’s Web Site Is Drawing Attention and Scrutiny [NYTimes.com] – When Web Presence goes wrong: “In the nearly two weeks since Tiger Woods became tabloid fodder, his personal Web site has turned into a kind of town hall meeting on his reported extramarital behavior. More than 22,000 comments, many of them supportive but plenty of the finger-wagging variety, followed the Dec. 2 statement in which he admitted to vague “transgressions” and to letting his family down. The scandal over Woods’s suspected misdeeds has elevated TigerWoods.com’s traffic drastically, although not into the Internet stratosphere. In the week ending Nov. 29 — the day he issued his statement about his car accident — the number of unique users soared to 488,000 visitors, according to Nielsen Online. In that same period, it beat the 89,000 who visited BritneySpears.com.”
  • Facebook’s New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly [Electronic Frontier Foundation] – “Although sold as a “privacy” revamp, Facebook’s new changes are obviously intended to get people to open up even more of their Facebook data to the public. The privacy “wizard” that guides users through the configuration will “recommend” — preselect by default — the setting to share the content they post to Facebook, such as status messages and wall posts, with everyone on the Internet, even though the default privacy level that those users had accepted previously was limited to “Your Networks and Friends” on Facebook [...] to ensure that users don’t accidentally share more than they intend to, we do not recommend Facebook’s “recommended” settings.” (Facebook’s explanation of the new settings.)
  • Game Developer Won’t Edit ‘Aliens vs. Predator’ To Appease Australian Censors [Techdirt] – “Rose M. Welch alerts us to the news that game developer Rebellion has decided not to resubmit an edited version of its game Aliens vs. Predator after it was rejected by the Australian Classification Board for being too violent. The company stated that it agrees the game is not suitable for children: “We agree strongly that our game is not suitable for game players who are not adults… it is bloody and frightening, that was our intent.” But Australia apparently doesn’t have an option for such “mature” content, and Rebellion seems to recognize how ridiculous that is: “We will not be releasing a sanitized or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.” Hopefully, things like this will make Australia reconsider its censorship of such content.” (Oh, Australia is ready to reconsider our insane games rating system … some annoying guy in SA isn’t!)
  • More than 50 papers join in front-page leader article on climate change [Media | guardian.co.uk] – THE GOOD: “The Guardian has teamed up with more 50 papers worldwide to run the same front-page leader article calling for action at the climate summit in Copenhagen, which begins tomorrow. This unprecedented project is the result of months of negotiations between the papers to agree on a final text, in a process that mirrors the kind of diplomatic wrangling among the world’s governments that is likely to precede any potential deal on climate change. Fifty-six papers in 45 countries published in 20 different languages have joined the initiative, and will feature the leader in some form on their front pages.
    THE BAD: “Two Australian papers, the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, pulled out at a late stage after the election of climate change sceptic Tony Abbott as leader of the opposition Liberal party recast the country’s debate on green issues.” (Australian media already bowing to Tony Abbott’s climate change scepticism …)
  • App Store Is a Game Changer for Apple and Cellphone Industry [NYTimes.com] – “Apple changed the view of what you can do with that small phone in your back pocket,” says Katy Huberty, a Morgan Stanley analyst. “Applications make the smartphone trend a revolutionary trend — one we haven’t seen in consumer technology for many years.” Ms. Huberty likens the advent of the App Store and the iPhone to AOL’s pioneering role in driving broad-based consumer adoption of the Internet in the 1990s. She also draws comparisons to ways in which laptops have upended industry assumptions about consumer preferences and desktop computing. But, she notes, something even more profound may now be afoot. “The iPhone is something different. It’s changing our behavior,” she says. “The game that Apple is playing is to become the Microsoft of the smartphone market.” (That last sentence is the important one: Microsoft has trouble playing with others; Apple’s increasingly having that issue, too!)

Digital Culture Links: October 10th 2009

Links for October 9th 2009 through October 10th 2009:

  • Y,000,000,000uTube [YouTube Australia Blog] – YouTube Chad Hurley posts a rather self-congratulatory post about YouTube passing an daily average 1 billion views (he also compares YouTube to fast food – not the best metaphor for a CEO – and drops the expression ‘open platform’ into the mix despite the ability to download YouTube clips, or for creators to enable that option, being one of the most requested and never created functions on the platform. Hurley: “Three years ago today, Steve and I stood out in front of our offices and jokingly crowned ourselves the burger kings of media. We’d just made headlines by joining with Google in our shared goal of organizing the world’s information (in our case, video) and making it easily and quickly accessible to anyone, anywhere. Today, I’m proud to say that we have been serving well over a billion views a day on YouTube.”
  • Big bother: DVD Jon has Steve Jobs in a twist [SMH] – “…Jon Lech Johansen, who became known as DVD Jon after he cracked the encryption used on DVDs when he was 15, has released a new version of his doubleTwist software that allows iPod owners to completely bypass iTunes and iPhoto when buying and managing their music, videos and photos. [...] In a further slight, Johansen released a clip parodying Apple’s famous “1984″ ad for the Mac, which portrayed IBM as an Orwellian overlord and Apple as the leader of the rebellion. [...] In Johansen’s version, made 25 years after the original, it is Jobs who is the oppressive Big Brother figure. The clip quickly went viral and has amassed hundreds of thousands of views on YouTube. “No other choices shall detract from our glory,” Jobs says in the clip, before a voiceover announces “on October 6, doubleTwist brings you … choice.”
  • TRUTH IN NUMBERS – Trailer for a new film about the building and running of Wikipedia, featuring both advocates and critics.

Digital Culture Links: September 17th 2009

Links for September 11th 2009 through September 17th 2009:

  • 50 Cent: Piracy Is A Part Of The Marketing [Techdirt] – “…rapper 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson) was apparently on CNBC recently talking about his “business acumen.” I have to admit that having three different people all trying to interview him at once is rather annoying — as they almost never let him complete a thought. However, when they ask him about piracy, and whether or not it makes him angry (around 2 minutes), he responds that: he sees it as a part of the marketing of a musician, because “the people who didn’t purchase the material, they end up at the concert.” He says that people can fall in love with the music either way, and then they’ll go to concerts. He notes that you can’t stop piracy either way, so why try to fight it? He also talks about other business opportunities for musicians.” (Can’t say I’m a fan of his music, but his perspective on piracy, fans and the business futures for music are spot on!)
  • Why the White House is Hiring a Social Media Archivist [Mashable] – The US White House is seeking to archive all of their social media presence and conversation. While their motivations are legal (they’re required to archive all correspondence of any sort) this is still an important archiving process of important historical value. It would be nice to see all national governments following a similar procedure for their national records (hello Mr Rudd).
  • Hands-On: iPod Nano vs. Flip SD [NewTeeVee] – The new iPod Nano with video-recording offers a direct challenge to the Flip market. Testing a new Nano versus a Flip HD, the results: “Overall — the Flip offered a MUCH better picture both indoor and out, providing way more detail in the image. The Flip microphone was also a little more discerning in our test, able to distinguish our subject’s voice in a crowded room much better than the Nano.
  • Wikipedia’s Rapid Reaction to Outburst During Obama Speech [The Lede Blog - NYTimes.com] – “If journalism is the first draft of history, what is a Wikipedia entry when it is updated within minutes of an event to reflect changes in a person’s biography? This is the very live issue that cropped up in a heated argument on the discussion page that accompanies Wikipedia’s entry on Representative Joe Wilson Wednesday night, just 30 minutes after the Republican from South Carolina interrupted President Barack Obama’s speech by shouting “You lie!””

There’s an app for that, too.

Sometimes the simplest parodies are the most effective. Case in point: Adam Sacks’ brilliant, satirical take on the power of a range of Apple iPhone applications.

Topical, isn’t it?

Privacy, Power, Permanence & Politics!

One of the reasons I’ve been so quiet is that in the past few weeks I’ve started teaching two new units here at Curtin. Both of these units have been completely redeveloped and this is their first run in the new form. I’ll talk about Web Communications 101 another day, but I wanted to point out how much I’m enjoying teaching our new Internet Politics and Power unit. The unit has a healthy dose of thinking from people like Lessig and Zittrain and really tackles many of the big issues for digital culture today. So I’m now required to stay on top of many of those issues I like to blog about, like privacy and copyright, rather than having to steal a hour here or there! :) There are so many issues that are relevant today, but one area which is really getting me thinking is the way that Apple, Google, Facebook and others are creating their own bounded realms of control!

A recent example that really highlights the complexity of these issues is the policing of Apple’s application store for the iPhone. Recently there was a a fairly heated discussion after Apple rejected the Ninjawords: iPhone Dictionary application ostensibly for offensive words (but words which are present in many other apps). It turns out Apple had more complex reasoning which was, among other things, wrapped up with new parental controls being introduced for apps. While this rationale is less bizzare, John Gruber still makes the very important point that the biggest issue is there needs to be "fairness, consistency, and common sense in the App Store review process" and that consistency is, thus far, sorely lacking.

Apple’s app store has also been under fire for rejecting a Google app which would allow many users to access cheaper calls and services. Elisabeth Oppenheimer, writing at Zittrain’s Future of the Internet blog, notes that Apple claimed that they rejected Google’s app since it "duplicates iPhone functionality" but in real terms many people suspect it was rejected since it threatened the monopoly AT&T have enjoyed in being the exclusive iPhone service provider in the US. Oppenheimer is "hopeful that killing Google Voice will be the one step too far that inspires consumers and regulators to sit up and work to get sensible open-access rules" but I’m not necessarily that optimistic.

Meanwhile, Rupert Murdoch is demanding Amazon hand over the details of Kindle users who subscribe to media from Murdoch’s vast empire. So far Amazon has not complied, but I wonder if they’re willing to risk their relationship with Newscorp in the long run? Along similar lines, this week Facebook purchased Friendfeed which potentially adds even more information to Facebook’s vast array of user information that they manage in, at times, curiously questionable ways.

While not quite an app, on another front the permanence of archives has come under threat from another third-party tool. While there have been concerns for a while about URL-shortening services, the upcoming closure of tr.im is the first one that I know of to go under. These services have become extremely popular, allowing people to create tiny web page addresses that can fit alongside a tweet and still fit Twitter’s 140 character limit. However, what will happen to all of the tweets which contain tr.im address? They’ll go dead, effectively making those tweets useless. While tr.im is not really to blame (really, what is the business model for a URL-shortener?), our reliance on these services leaves our tweets and related links fragile and vulnerable when a company or service collapses under the weight of their own popularity. This is less a privacy issue than an issue of utility: relying on third-party tools with no real backup function leaves the usefulness of our personal and collective archives in the hands of folks who, ultimately, may not have the resources to run these services forever!

Update: On the tr.im font there appears to be a happy ending, with the announcement that tr.im is becoming a community-developed open source project.

Update 2: Apple claim that they “did not reject an iPhone application submitted by Google and that it was still studying it, in part because of privacy concerns.”

Digital Culture Links: August 5th 2009

Links for August 5th 2009:

  • Women comprise 55% of Twitter users [SheSpotter] – “A new study released in Harvard Business publishing examines gender trends in Twitter.
    Highlights include: Females hold a slight majority on Twitter: men comprise 45% of Twitter users, while women represent 55%. ” While there are slightly more women using Twitter, there are a lot less young people Tweeting according to Mashable.
  • Music off the menu as licensing row heats up [SMH] – “The fee paid by restaurants and cafes for background music is due to skyrocket if a new licensing proposal goes ahead. For Stuart Knox, the owner of the 55-seat Fix St James restaurant in the city, it means his annual licence fee would rise from $69 to more than $5500. ‘‘For that sort of fee, I’d prefer to buy my customers an iPod each and they can listen in private at their table,” he says. There is widespread concern in the restaurant industry that new tariffs suggested by the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia will make the cost of playing music prohibitive.” (If costs get too out of hand, I wonder if someone will collate a whole range of Creative Commons Attribution – CC BY – music and point Australian restaurants to it – they wouldn’t need to pay a cent!)
  • Apple tries to silence owner of exploding iPod with gagging order [Times Online] – “Apple attempted to silence a father and daughter with a gagging order after the child’s iPod music player exploded and the family sought a refund from the company. The Times has learnt that the company would offer the family a full refund only if they were willing to sign a settlement form. The proposed agreement left them open to legal action if they ever disclosed the terms of the settlement.”
  • 2009 Social Network Analysis – Social Network Demographics – Social Network Geographic Data [Ignite Social Media] – Useful 2009 snapshot of the demographics and for: Badoo.com, Bebo.com, Digg.com, Facebook.com, Fark.com, Flickr.com, Flixster.com, Friendster.com, Gather.com, Habbo.com, Hi5.com, Iambored.com, Identi.ca, IndianPad.com, Last.fm, Linkedin.com, Livejournal.com, Meetup.com, Metafilter.com, Mixx.com, Multiply.com, Myspace.com, Netlog.com, Newsvine.com, Ning.com, Plaxo.com, Plurk.com, Pownce.com, Propeller.com, Reddit.com, Reunion.com, Shoutwire.com, Skyrock.com, Stumbleupon.com, Tribe.net, Tuenti.com, Twitter.com, Wayn.com, Xanga.com, Yelp.com, YouTube.com.