Links through to January 16th:

  • Beatles’ First Single Enters Public Domain — In Europe [Techdirt] – The Beatles remain the iconic pop group, so news on VVN/Music that their very first single has now entered the public domain is something of a landmark moment in music:
    The Beatles first single, Love Me Do / P.S. I Love You, has entered the public domain in Europe and small labels are already taking advantage of the situation.The European copyright laws grant ownership of a recorded track for fifty years, which Love Me Do just passed. That means that, starting January 1 of 2013, anyone who wants to put out the track is free to do so.
    Unfortunately, if you’re in the US, you’ll probably have to wait until 2049 or so. And things are about to get worse in Europe too. As Techdirt reported, back in 2011 the European Union agreed to increase the copyright term for sound recordings by 20 years,
  • App Store Tops 40 Billion Downloads with Almost Half in 2012 [Apple - Press Info] – Apple passes 40 billion app downloads: “Apple® today announced that customers have downloaded over 40 billion apps*, with nearly 20 billion in 2012 alone. The App Store℠ has over 500 million active accounts and had a record-breaking December with over two billion downloads during the month. Apple’s incredible developer community has created over 775,000 apps for iPhone®, iPad® and iPod touch® users worldwide, and developers have been paid over seven billion dollars by Apple.”
  • World Map of Social Networks [Vincos Blog] -“December 2012, a new edition of my World Map of Social Networks, showing the most popular social networking sites by country, according to Alexa traffic data (Google Trends for Websites was shut down on September 2012). Facebook with 1 billion active users has established its leadership position in 127 out of 137 countries analyzed. One of the drivers of its growth is Asia that with 278 million users, surpassed Europe, 251 million, as the largest continent on Facebook. North America has 243 million users, South America 142 million. Africa, almost 52 million, and Oceania just 15 million (source: Facebook Ads Platform). In the latest months Zuckerberg’s Army conquered Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia and Vietnam.”
  • Over 8 million game downloads on Christmas Day! [Rovio Entertainment Ltd] – Rovio’s big Christmas download haul: “Wow, what a year! We released four critically-acclaimed bestselling mobile games, developed two top-rated Facebook games, and reached more than a billion downloads — all before our 3rd “Birdday”! Angry Birds Star Wars and Bad Piggies in particular have dominated the app charts, with Angry Birds Star Wars holding the #1 position on the US iPhone chart ever since its release! To top it all off, we had 30 million downloads during Christmas week (December 22-29) and, on Christmas Day, over 8 million downloads in 24 hours alone!”
  • R18+ game rating comes into effect [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – Finally: “An R18+ video game rating has come into effect across Australia after a deal between the states and the Commonwealth last year. The change means some games that were previously unavailable to adults can go on sale, whereas others that could be accessed by children will become restricted. The issue had divided interest groups, with some claiming the new classification would protect children but others feared it would expose them to more violent games. Legislation to approve the rating was passed by the Senate in June. Under the previous classification regime, the highest rating for computer games was MA15+, meaning overseas adults-only games were either banned in Australia or given a lower classification, allowing children to obtain them.”
  • Two billion YouTube music video views disappear … or just migrate? [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – Despite rumours of massive cuts to major record labels’ YouTube channel counts, the explanation is rather more banal: “Universal and Sony have, since 2009, been moving their music videos away from their YouTube channels and over to Vevo, the music industry site the two companies own with some investors from Abu Dhabi. YouTube, meanwhile, thinks that is only right to count channel video views for videos that are still actually present on the channels – which means that whenever YouTube got round to reviewing the music majors’ channels on its site, a massive cut was always going to be in order.”

Links for May 11th through May 21st:

Links – catching up – through to May 7th:

  • YouTube’s content explosion: 60 hours of video every minute [Online Video News] – ““More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US TV networks created in 60 years.” Hunter Walk, YouTube Director of Product Management, Google in a tweet. Google told TechCrunch Monday that YouTube users now upload 60 hours of video every minute.” (That’s almost 10 years of content uploaded each day. Wowzers!)
  • Angry Birds maker Rovio reports £60.8m revenues for 2011 [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – Angry Birds has generated hundreds of millions of downloads for Finnish mobile games firm Rovio Entertainment, but the company’s financial results for 2011 reveal just how lucrative the franchise was that year. The company has reported total revenues of €75.4m (£60.8m) for 2011, with earnings before tax of €48m (£38.7m). 30% of Rovio’s revenues for the year came from its consumer products business, which includes merchandising and licensing income. Rovio says that the total number of Angry Birds game downloads reached 648m by the end of 2011, with 200m monthly active users (MAUs) across all platforms. As context for that figure, social games publisher Zynga had 21m MAUs at the end of March 2012, while also acquiring US developer OMGPOP, whose Draw Something mobile game currently has 33.9m MAUs.
  • Angry Birds Space rockets to 50m downloads in 35 days [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Angry Birds Space, the latest mobile game from Finnish developer Rovio, has reached the 50m downloads mark just 35 days after its release on 22 March. The publisher claims on its blog that this makes its tile “the fastest growing mobile game yet”, beating all previous records for the Angry Birds series. The announcement may be a deliberate reminder to challengers like Draw Something of the scale of Angry Birds. Draw Something was released on 1 February, notched up 35m downloads in its first seven weeks – yes, a similar time period to that required for Rovio’s new milestone – and was promptly acquired by Zynga for $180m. Draw Something passed 50m downloads in early April, while another recently-released game, Temple Run, is also past that milestone. “While numbers like this certainly say something about the popularity of Angry Birds, for us the main goal is to keep creating fun new experiences that everybody can enjoy,” explains Rovio on its blog.”
  • London 2012: Olympic photo ban ‘unenforceable’ [BBC News] – “Olympic bosses have admitted their ban on spectators posting videos and images on websites will be unenforceable. In the terms and conditions of ticket purchases for the London 2012 Games it states ticket holders cannot publish images, video or sound online. However, Sir Keith Mills, deputy chairman of organisers Locog, said “we live in an internet world… and there’s not much we can do about it”. He said a “common sense approach” would be used to protect media rights. Spectators will be able to watch many events, including the cycle road race, triathlon and marathon, without a ticket. But the ticket conditions as they currently stand prohibit ticket holders from posting photos and personal footage of the Olympics on sites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.”
  • British ISPs forced to block The Pirate Bay [WA Today] – “Britain’s High Court has ordered the country’s internet service providers to block file-sharing website The Pirate Bay. A High Court judge told Sky, Everything Everywhere, TalkTalk, O2 and Virgin Media to prevent access to the Swedish site, which helps millions of people download copyrighted music, movies and computer games. Music industry group BPI welcomed the order by justice Richard Arnold that the service providers block the site within the next few weeks. BPI chief executive Geoff Taylor said sites like The Pirate Bay “destroy jobs in the U.K. and undermine investment in new British artists.” The service providers said they would comply with the order. A sixth provider, BT, has been given several weeks to consider its position, but BPI said it expected BT would also block the website. Providers who refuse could find themselves in breach of a court order, which can carry a large fine or jail time.”
  • Google Drive- Google’s cloud storage drive – the GDrive or Google Drive – has arrived, offering 5Gb for free, with the option to upgrade storage to 25GB for $2.49/month, 100GB for $4.99/month or 1TB for $49.99/month. While Google’s entry is a late entry to the cloud storage arena, the integration with Google’s other products, and Android in particular, will probably see the GDrive rapidly rise in popularity.
  • Man jailed over nude Facebook photos [WA Today] – “A jilted boyfriend who put nude pictures of his former lover on Facebook has been sentenced to six months jail – a landmark social media-related conviction for Australia and one of just a handful in the world. Ravshan ”Ronnie” Usmanov told police: ”I put the photos up because she hurt me and it was the only thing [I had] to hurt her.” … Privacy experts say Usmanov’s case has exposed the ”tip of the iceberg” of online offences that are rarely punished.
    In sentencing the 20-year-old, NSW Deputy-Chief Magistrate Jane Mottley said she was ”deterring both the offender and the community generally from committing similar crimes”. ”New-age technology through Facebook gives instant access to the world … Incalculable damage can be done to a person’s reputation by the irresponsible posting of information through that medium. With its popularity and potential for real harm, there is a genuine need to ensure the use of this medium to commit offences of this type is deterred,”.”
  • The Filtered Network – Mark Zuckerberg of facebook buying Instagram for $1 BILLION [YouTube] – Fun remix of the trailer for The Social Network, playing with the question of what exactly Facebook purchased for a billion dollars!
  • Introducing Facebook Offers [YouTube] – Facebook Offers = Facebook’s answer to Scoopon.
  • 4% Of Children On Facebook Are Under 6 Years [AllFacebook] – I’m a bit suspicious of these statistics since they’re generated by a company that markets tools allowing parents to monitor the social networking of their kids, but the numbers certainly warrant attention: “Kids are learning to use computers at ever younger ages, and some are figuring out how to lie about their age to access Facebook. The site has a minimum age requirement of 13, yet four percent of children using the site are under age six. That’s the most startling statistic in the infographic compiled by Minor Monitor, one of the newer entrants into the already crowded market for surveiling kids’ activity online. According to the vendor, barely half of parents use technology to keep a digital eye on children, despite worries about sexual predators and bullying.”
  • Google+ redesigns and says 100m of its 170m users used it in past 30 days [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Google says 170m people have registered for its Google+ service since it was launched 10 months ago – and that 100m have “engaged” with the service at least once in the past 30 days and 50m have engaged with the service at least once a day in the past month.”

Links for April 11th:

  • Hillary Clinton Responds to Her Meme … With a Meme [The Atlantic] – Hillary Clinton responds to the Texts from Hillary Tumblr/meme by penning her own version and meeting with the two guys who started the Tumblr. Hilarity ensues, and Clinton’s online credibility goes up about 5000%. The pundits are impressed, too.
  • Selling You on Facebook [WSJ.com] – Useful article from the Wall Street Journal looking at how Facebook and Facebook apps utilise user’s data: “This appetite for personal data reflects a fundamental truth about Facebook and, by extension, the Internet economy as a whole: Facebook provides a free service that users pay for, in effect, by providing details about their lives, friendships, interests and activities. Facebook, in turn, uses that trove of information to attract advertisers, app makers and other business opportunities.”
  • Angry Birds animated TV series to premiere in Autumn 2012 [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Rovio Mobile is launching a series of 52 shortform animations for its Angry Birds in Autumn, but has ruled out a movie until after 2014. “We’re going to roll out a weekly animation series later this year of shortform content,” said Rovio’s head of animation Nick Dorra, speaking at the MIPTV conference in Cannes. The series will consist of 52 episodes lasting between two-and-a-half and three minutes each. “We’re going to roll it out on all possible devices,” said Dorra. “We’re looking at building a video app for that, and we’re also looking at partnerships and so on… We want to be on all screens.” Those partnerships include a deal with Samsung announced in January 2012 that involves an app for the company’s range of Smart TV internet-connected televisions.”
  • Twitter UK boss says social TV happens whether broadcasters like it or not [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Twitter’s UK general manager Tony Wang expects broadcasters to start using the microblogging service in more “artful” ways beyond showing hashtags and account handles on-air. “Broadcasters are not the ones to choose whether to have social TV. It happens whether they like it or not. But they have a choice about how to harness that social TV energy,” he told the MIPCube conference in Cannes. Wang cited stats showing that 80% of under-25s are using a second screen to communicate with friends while watching TV, while 72% of them are using Twitter, Facebook and other mobile apps to comment on the shows they watch. He added that Twitter sees three distinct strategies from broadcasters when it comes to social TV: some are doing nothing, others are doing something, and a few are doing “artful” things on-air. “It’s the past, present and future of social TV.””

Links for March 26th through March 30th:

  • The Dark Knight Rises Trailer 2: IN LEGO [YouTube] – Beautifully put together Lego version of the new Dark Knight trailer. “LEGO Dark Knight Rises Movie Trailer By ParanickFilmz. http://paranickfilmz.co.nr/ Thanks to Adviceversas for the mouth animation and JediMasterSoda for the CGI. Movie (2012) HD.”
  • CBS Blocks Use of Unused ‘Star Trek’ Script by Spinrad [NYTimes.com] – “For “Star Trek” fans it was like finding a lost Shakespeare play — only to have it snatched away by the playwright’s heirs.Last fall an unused script for the cult 1960s television show turned up after being forgotten for years. Its author, the science-fiction writer Norman Spinrad, announced that it would become an episode of a popular Web series, “Star Trek New Voyages: Phase II,” which features amateur actors in the classic roles of Capt. James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock and other crew members of the starship Enterprise. But then another player stepped in: CBS, which said it owned the script and blocked a planned Web production of it. Trekkies were appalled. “These executives should be phasered on heavy stun,” said Harmon Fields of Manhattan, who called himself “a ‘Star Trek’ fan of galactic proportions.” … By all indications CBS is within its rights. In the entertainment industry the paid writer of a teleplay generally cedes the rights to the material, even if it remains unproduced.”
  • Shitter: Social Media has never been so disposable – Online service that prints a twitter feed onto toilet paper. I suppose such a thing was inevitable.
  • Pay TV piracy hits News [AFR] – A detailed investigative report accuses NewsCorp of actively promoting and facilitating the piracy of competitors pay TV network content: ” A secret unit within Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation promoted a wave of high-tech piracy in Australia that damaged Austar, Optus and Foxtel at a time when News was moving to take control of the Australian pay TV industry.” These are hugely important accusations both in terms of NewsCorp but also in terms of how piracy is framed and understood.
  • What book publishers should learn from Harry Potter — Tech News and Analysis – Useful post detailing the DRM-free release of the Harry Potter ebooks and audio books for sale on J K Rowling’s Pottermore website. The lesson here is that DRM really isn’t necessary, and you’re more likely to reach a wider audience without it. Admittedly Rowling has unprecedented clout in managing her own books in electronic form, and has already made so much money off these books there’s no real risk involved, but the strategy is an important one nevertheless.
  • Angry Birds Space gets 10m downloads in three days [BBC] – The latest version of the Angry Birds game notched up 10 million download in its first three days of release, says its developer Rovio. Angry Birds Space only came out on 22 March, but in a tweet on Monday Rovio announced the game’s swift success. … The new Angry Birds instalment features 60 initial levels and six new characters and has what Rovio calls a “unique twist in a variable gravity environment”. As well as Google Android and Apple iOS devices, last week also saw the game released simultaneously on PC and Mac. Nasa was also involved in promoting the game, posting a video showing an astronaut on the International Space Station explaining the laws of physics using Angry Bird characters.
    The space agency called it “an exciting way to get people engaged with Nasa’s missions of exploration and discover”.
  • Google ordered to suspend autocomplete function over cyber-harassment [The Japan Times Online] – “The Tokyo District Court approved a petition demanding that Google Inc. suspend its autocomplete search feature for Internet browsers after a man alleged that it breached his privacy and got him fired, his lawyer said Sunday. Google is refusing to suspend the feature, saying that its headquarters in the United States will not be regulated by Japanese law and that the case does not warrant deleting the autocomplete suggestions related to the petition under its in-house privacy policy, lawyer Hiroyuki Tomita said. The case, which was adjudicated on March 19, is believed to be the first to order the suspension of the Web search feature, which attempts to instantly anticipate and list the words or phrases a person will type into a browser’s search box, Tomita said. [..] The man discovered that when people type his name into Google’s search engine, words suggesting criminal acts, which he is unfamiliar with, appear.”
  • Facebook Asserts Trademark on Word ‘Book’ in New User Agreement [Threat Level | Wired.com] – “Facebook is trying to expand its trademark rights over the word “book” by adding the claim to a newly revised version of its “Statement of Rights and Responsibilities,” the agreement all users implicitly consent to by using or accessing Facebook.”

Links for February 23rd through March 2nd:

  • Angry Birds’ Mighty Eagle: ‘We have expanded the market for games’ [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – They may be familiar, but the stats around Angry Birds remain startling, starting with the franchise’s 700m downloads across all platforms – a figure likely to top 1bn sometime in 2012. The original iPhone game is the biggest-selling paid app ever on both the UK and US App Stores according to Apple, with follow-ups Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio also in the top 10 in both countries.More than 1m people have reviewed the Android version of Angry Birds on Google’s Android Market, and Rovio has sold 25m plush toys so far. On the back of that, there are now more than 20,000 licensed Angry Birds products on sale [...] Next up is Angry Birds Space, with a 22 March launch that will include a game, animated content, physical products and books. Rovio is working with NASA on the project, and National Geographic on the book, with more products to come. “It’s the first time we have everything available on launch day: animation, toys, books, candy, everything,” says Vesterbacka.”
  • Zynga Seeks to Broaden Reach With New Gaming Platform [NYTimes.com] – “Zynga, the creator of FarmVille, Words With Friends, Mafia Wars and other popular social games, is going to start supplying friends for those who are lacking. The company announced a new gaming platform on Thursday that will match up players who do not know one another but who have a mutual interest in getting the crops in and spelling words with J, Q and X. The goal is to make social gaming, which was pretty easy to begin with, even easier for everyone. The platform will be introduced in a trial version on Zynga.com later this month. The move is likely to reduce Zynga’s reliance on Facebook, something analysts have said the company needs to do. Most Zynga games are played on that social network, which derives 12 percent of its revenue from Zynga. In the future, hard-core players will most likely go to Zynga’s own site, finding not only Zynga games but also offerings from independent developers.”
  • The dirty job of keeping Facebook clean [Culture Digitally] – Fascinating post looking at Facebook’s leaked content moderation manual “Abuse Standards 6.1: Operation Manual for Live Content Moderators” which reveals a great deal about how Facebook decides what to delete and what to effectively sanction. As Gillespie says:”Facebook or otherwise, it’s hard not to be struck by the depravity of some of the stuff that content moderators are reviewing. It’s a bit disingenuous of me to start with camel toes and man-man foreplay, when what most of this document deals with is so, so much more reprehensible: child pornography, rape, bestiality, graphic obscenities, animal torture, racial and ethnic hatred, self-mutilation, suicide. There is something deeply unsettling about this document in the way it must, with all the delicacy of a badly written training manual, explain and sometimes show the kinds of things that fall into these categories.”
  • BBC iPlayer Booms in Australia [The Next Web] – “Two months after BBC Worldwide launched its global iPlayer app to 11 Western European countries in July, the app arrived in Australia, followed swiftly by Canada and then Scandinavia. The global BBC iPlayer app is a Video-on-Demand (VoD) pilot (paid) subscription service that differs from the UK version of iPlayer, in that it gives international users access to an extensive archive of classic and contemporary British TV programmes. Whilst it was initially restricted to iPads, it was finally rolled out to the iPhone and iPod Touch too. Australia is now the biggest market for global iPlayer, and is giving BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, significant consumer insight as the company begins to look beyond the current pilot phase. Access to BBC iPlayer content in Australia costs AU$9.49 a month, or AU$89.99 a year, and an equivalent figure in Euros and Canadian dollars.”
  • Capture full page – Screenshot Full web page – Capture full web page – Useful tool, lets you take a screenshot of an entire webpage by simply entering the URL.
  • Author raises $1m to self-publish Order of the Stick webcomic book [Books | guardian.co.uk] – “The author of a self-published webcomic about a band of heroes in a fantasy role-playing world has raised more than $1m (£600,000) from fans on “crowdfunding” website Kickstarter to bring his stories back into print, making The Order of the Stick the richest creative work in the crowdfunding site’s history. Author and illustrator Rich Burlew launched The Order of the Stick online in 2003. Following the comic fantasy adventures of a collection of stick figures in a role-playing game world as they struggle with enemies and the rules of the game, much of the story is available online for free, but Burlew also began self-publishing parts of it in paper format in 2005. When the costs of keeping it in print proved too high, Burlew turned to Kickstarter following repeated demands from readers, launching a project in January to raise the $57,750 he needed to rerelease the books in print. Yesterday, he closed his fundraising project with 14,952 backers and $1,254,120 raised …”

Links for June 30th 2011 through July 4th 2011:

  • Google Chrome hits 20% global share as Microsoft continues browser slide [Network World] – “Google Chrome’s rise in popularity has been remarkably fast and it’s just hit a new milestone: more than 20% of all browser usage, according to StatCounter. Chrome rose from only 2.8% in June 2009 to 20.7% worldwide in June 2011, while Microsoft’s Internet Explorer fell from 59% to 44% in the same time frame. Firefox dropped only slightly in the past two years, from 30% to 28%.”
  • Angry Birds film takes off [guardian.co.uk] – “An Angry Birds movie is slingshotting its way into development with the announcement that former Marvel Studios chairman David Maisel has been recruited as a special adviser by Rovio – the mobile game company that developed the popular pig-popping franchise. “There has been so much chatter about an Angry Birds movie, but it’s now real,” Maisel told Variety. “The process is starting now.” Maisel, who was responsible for shepherding mega-hits such as Iron Man to the big screen while at Marvel, said he was interested in the “emotional connection” that players have with the Angry Birds characters.”
  • Australian Social Trends, Jun 2011 – Summary data released in the Australian Bureau of Statistics in 2011 about social and cultural trends in Australia (as measured by a variety of stats). Useful for lectures.
  • Exclusive: Myspace to Be Sold to Specific Media for $35 Million [AllThingsD] – MySpace purchase price in 2005: $580 million.
    MySpace sale price in 2011: $35 million.
    NewsCorp: not winning.
  • Chinese faked photograph leaves officials on street of shame [The Guardian] – “For government officials in Huili, a distinctly modest county in a rural corner of south-west China, attracting national media coverage would normally seem a dream come true. Unfortunately, their moment in the spotlight was not so welcome: mass ridicule over what may well be one of the worst-doctored photographs in internet history. The saga began on Monday when Huili’s website published a picture showing, according to the accompanying story, three local officials inspecting a newly completed road construction project this month. The picture certainly portrayed the men, and the road, but the officials appeared to be levitating several inches above the tarmac. As photographic fakery goes it was astonishingly clumsy.” [Gallery of photoshop 'responses.]
  • ‪Credit Is Due (The Attribution Song)‬‏ [YouTube] – Nina Paley’s excellent short video explaining why copying WITHOUT ATTRIBUTION is plagiarism. (And why that’s wrong.) Surely this clip will find its way into first-year university lectures everywhere!
  • Bitcoins [Rocketboom] – Molly on Rocketboom makes a valiant, if slightly confused, effort to explain Bitcoins.

Links for April 29th 2011 through May 12th 2011:

  • Millions of Facebook users under 10 [The Age] – “Some 7.5 million of the 20 million US minors who used Facebook in the past year were younger than 13, and a million of them were bullied, harassed or threatened on the site, an American study shows. More than 5 million Facebook users were aged 10 or younger, and they were allowed to use Facebook largely without parental supervision, the State of the Net survey by Consumer Reports found.”
  • chrome-angry-birds [Nelson's Weblog] – Angry Birds comes in HTML5, too! “One of Google’s big announcements this week was the launch of Chrome Angry Birds, a port of the hugely popular mobile game to Google’s browser. But calling it “Chrome Angry Birds” is missing the point because what’s really interesting is that it’s a real-time multimedia cross-platform HTML 5 app. It runs fine in MSIE 9 and Firefox on Windows (sound and save games included) and I’ve heard reports it works in Safari on Macs, too. And because the game is based on open browser technologies, we can easily pull it apart and see how it’s built just like we’ve been pulling apart web pages since 1993 via the magic of “view source”. [Play.]
  • Chromebook – Google partners to release Chromebooks, cloud-centric computers which boot amazingly fast are are designed to operate with everything in and from the cloud. Built upon the Chrome ‘browser’ (or OS) technology.
  • Introducing Music Beta by Google [YouTube] – Google introduces “Music Beta”, their entry into the cloud music services, allowing individuals to upload their music collection, then use Google or Android to stream that music to portable and fixed devices. (Currently invitation-only and US-only.)
  • Zynga goes Gaga! Lady Gaga and Zynga team up to celebrate new album “Born This Way” [Zynga] – Well, Zynga and Gaga get points for an original combination of media elements, at least: “Lady Gaga and Zynga today announced a partnership to launch the mega-artist’s new album “Born this Way.” Launching May 17, the first-of-its-kind program gives “little monsters” throughout the world a first listen to exclusive un-released songs from the upcoming when they visit GagaVille, a uniquely designed neighboring farm in FarmVille (There will be unicorns and crystals. Enough said.). The full album also comes bundled as a free download with the purchase of a special Zynga $25 game card, available exclusively at Best Buy. The program reaches across Zynga games and across platforms. Words With Friends, the popular mobile social game available iPhone, iPad, as well as Android devices, will feature a daily “Words with Gaga” contest …”
  • Google Launches Movie Rentals on Android Market: Online Video News [GigaOm] – Android rentals: “Google announced a new cloud movie service for Android that will be available as part of the Android Market. At its Google I/O developers conference Tuesday, the company said the service will have “thousands of movies available,” with titles including Inception, The King’s Speech and Despicable Me, and rentals starting at $1.99. Users will be able to rent titles on the Android Market’s website and then watch them on the web, stream them to Android devices and even download them to play on the go where no network connectivity is available.”
  • Watching Together: Twitter and TV [Twitter Blog] – “Last week, Twitter enjoyed its widest television integration to date via the live coverage of the royal wedding, as Chloe Sladden from our media team discusses on the Twitter Media blog. During the wedding, users interacted with ABC News’ coverage by using the hashtags #RoyalSuccess and #RoyalMess to voice their opinion about the events unfolding in London. They shared their thoughts with CNN by including the hashtag #CNNTV in their Tweets, causing #CNNTV to trend early in the event. And as audiences around the world watched the events live on TV, they posted millions of Tweets, peaking at 16,000 Tweets per minute between 5 and 6 a.m. EST. The royal wedding is just one example of how real-time Twitter integration can enhance TV coverage and help drive viewership …” [ Related YouTube clip: http://youtu.be/Jc8TQppzORE ]
  • Obi Wan Obama, Bin Laden’s Death, and Tumblr [Unmuzzled Thoughts] – Kelli Marshall looks at the memes and reactions emerging on Tumblr after US president Barack Obama announced that long saught terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US forces in Pakistan. (The post includes a useful archive of images.)
  • Corporate Rule of Cyberspace – Slavoj Žižek [ Inside Higher Ed] – Slavoj Žižek Vs Cloud Computing: “To put it simply, Steve Jobs is no better than Bill Gates: whether it be Apple or Microsoft, global access is increasingly grounded in the virtually monopolistic privatization of the cloud which provides this access. The more an individual user is given access to universal public space, the more that space is privatized. Apologists present cloud computing as the next logical step in the “natural evolution” of the Internet, and while in an abstract-technological way this is true, there is nothing “natural” in the progressive privatization of global cyberspace. There is nothing “natural” in the fact that two or three companies in a quasi-monopolistic position can not only set prices at will but also filter the software they provide to give its “universality” a particular twist depending on commercial and ideological interests.”
  • South Korea bans youngsters from playing online games after midnight [News.com.au] – “Young South Koreans will be banned from playing online video games later than midnight after lawmakers passed a new curfew law. Yonhap news agency reported the new law – which bans anyone under 16 from playing online into the early hours – was passed by lawmakers worried about growing levels of addiction to gaming among youngsters. Gaming companies fiercely contested the legislation but the Youth Protection bill passed late Friday.”
  • Superman threatens to renounce US citizenship [Books | guardian.co.uk] – “After years of declaring he stood for “truth, justice and the American way,” Superman has provoked the ire of rightwingers by threatening to renounce his US citizenship. In the latest issue of Action Comics, which went on sale on Wednesday, the Man of Steel decides to take the step after he intervenes in a protest against the Iranian government. After the Islamic regime brands his non-violent protest as an act of war taken on behalf of the US president, the DC comic hero says he will renounce his citizenship before the United Nations. “I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of US policy,” he says. Although Superman never actually renounces his citizenship in the story, conservative commentators reacted with disgust.”
  • Instagram Spawns a Photo Ecosystem [NYTimes.com] – “Instagram, the social-meets-photos app for the iPhone that transforms plain cellphone pictures into vintage-looking works of art, has attracted millions of users. In recent months, it has also begun to draw entrepreneurs who are eager to capitalize on its growing popularity. In particular, people are creating services that revolve around bringing Instagram photos, typically viewed on a phone screen, into the real world. Keepsy lets people quickly build a photobook of their favorite Instagram pictures and share it on Facebook and Twitter. They can then print a hard copy of the photobook for about $30. There is also Postagram, which lets its users mail a postcard created from an Instagram photo to a recipient of their choice for 99 cents. And Hatchcraft will frame favorite Instagram pictures in hand-carved bamboo shadow boxes that can be hung on a wall.”

Links for March 2nd 2011 through March 8th 2011:

  • Angry Birds is coming to Facebook, which means it has now pretty much conquered the entire world [News.com.au] – I’m genuinely curious how a hugely popular single-player game will deploy the social dynamics of Facebook in when Angry Birds is re-engineered as a social game: “ANGRY Birds will be flinging itself onto Facebook next month, the makers of the hugely popular game said today. Finland-based Rovio Mobile told tech magazine Wired UK that the Facebook version of Angry Birds will include new aspects of gameplay. “There will be completely new aspects to it that just haven’t been experienced on any other platform,” said Rovio chief executive Mikael Hed. “The pigs will have a more prominent role.””
  • Angry Birds – Letters from the Front Lines [McSweeney's Internet Tendency] – “Dearest Martha, It has been some time since I’ve had the opportunity to write you, perhaps seven or eight levels. The green pigs have fortified their defenses and there seems to be no end to this madness. They are an industrious lot who have remarkable construction skills in spite of their lack of arms or legs. They’re a formidable enemy but I still envision the day we can bring our eggs home safely. Keep the nest warm for me, Yellow Bird” There’s a lot more where that came from! :)
  • Twitter Spoils the Oscars Party for Channel Nine [Mapping Online Publics] – “In addition to their massive global TV audience, the 2011 Academy Awards also featured the #Oscars hashtag for the first time, of course, encouraging even more discussion of the Oscar ceremony on Twitter. And discuss they did – globally, over 500,000 tweets were posted during the marathon five-hour live event of the red carpet arrivals and awards ceremony, peaking at nearly 2500 tweets per minute during the tongue-in-cheek ‘best movie’ song montage. [...] what’s especially interesting from our perspective in Australia is the local takeup of Twitter to discuss the Oscars. With ‘spoilers’ about winners and losers being posted on Twitter and other social media sites, it’s now almost impossible not to be aware of the Oscar results well before they reach our screens in the evening – which means that local viewers may still watch the delayed telecast to catch the full pomp and circumstance of the Academy Awards, but the party’s already over by then.”
  • German minister quits amid plagiarism scandal [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Germany’s popular defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has announced his resignation a month after being stripped of his doctoral title over accusations of plagiarism. [...] The suave aristocrat, who can trace his family back to the 12th century and whose wife is a direct descendent of the 19th century “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck, had been dubbed “Baron Cut-And-Paste” and “Zu Googleberg” by the media. [...] the plagiarism row, which broke after a law professor close to the opposition went through his doctoral thesis, was what finally broke him. Internet sleuths set up a wiki, or collaborative website, to comb through the 475 pages, concluding that more than two-thirds of the dissertation contained evidence of unattributed copying.”
  • Bloody battle over Mortal Kombat ban as critics decry ‘broken’ classification system [The Age] – Australian Video Game Classification: Still Broken, Still Confusing Everyone. “Warner Bros. is appealing a ban on one of the most anticipated game releases of the year, Mortal Kombat, as the federal government’s censors defend their decision to ban Mortal Kombat while allowing a sexy spanking game to be classified PG. Earlier this week it was revealed that the Classification Board had given Mortal Kombat a “refused classification” rating due to its violent gameplay, effectively banning it from sale in this country unless the publisher, Warner Bros., submits a more toned-down version. At the same time, a new risqué title for the Wii, We Dare, is due for release tomorrow and has been given a PG rating despite the game promoting spanking, stripping and sexual partner swapping. The Australian Christian Lobby said the We Dare decision showed the classification system was “broken”. Even the game’s publisher, Ubisoft, says the game is intended for an “adult” audience.”
  • Charlie Sheen Joins Twitter [The Age] – Could the whole Sheen meltdown be part of a campaign to sell a brand of milk? (I’m joking … I think?)
    “Charlie Sheen has once again become an advocate for chocolate milk consumption in his much-anticipated debut on Twitter this morning. The troubled actor, who has been racking up a phenomenal 100,000 followers an hour after joining the micro-blogging site overnight, posted a Twitpic of himself in a kitchen holding a bottle of flavoured milk. Last month the Hollywood bad boy received a round of applause from a university baseball team in California when he offered some anti-drug advice during a congratulatory speech. “Stay off the crack. Drink a chocolate milk,” Sheen said at the time. In an apparent reference to that, the dairy fan posted on Twitter a photograph of himself, the milk and porn star Bree Olson, one of two “goddesses” who lives with him in his Los Angeles home. Olson is pictured holding organic “Naked” juice.”

Links for October 10th 2010 through October 12th 2010:

  • Simpsonic Business as Usual? [Antenna] – Jonathan Gray’s excellent piece discussing the tensions evident in Bansky’s Simpsons’ opening sequence: “… it leaves us with uncomfortable questions about Groening and co. How are they complicit, and are they simply making this a joke so that they and we can say, “Oh yes, that is bad, isn’t it? But we know about it, so it’s all okay. Let’s just get back to business as usual, shall we? Pass the Cheetos”? I was left with many conflicting responses here myself, on one hand thinking it was a brilliant statement, on the other hand feeling deeply uncomfortable that this is the show’s response to its labor practices – making an opening credit sequence rather than actually fucking doing something about them. Yet, the contestation of authorship in which the sequence engages leaves us wondering whether the American animators (who are largely responsible for the couch gags, by the way – these rarely involve the writers) can do anything about The Simpsons Factory.”
  • Traditional developers look to Facebook games for inspiration [WA Today] – The rise of casual gaming: “While casual games might seem like innocuous time wasters, the sort of drop-in, drop-out games played on Facebook, mobile phones and through web portals have seen revenue grow from $US300 million in 2005 to at least $US3 billion ($3.05 billion) today. The real-time farming simulation game, FarmVille, made for Facebook and smartphones by the developer Zynga, has more than 62 million active users, which is equivalent to about 10 per cent of Facebook users. [...] While console-game developers charge a large upfront fee, casual-games revenue is derived through micro-transactions. “You may see 90 per cent or more of your audience never pay you a dime,” Kozik says. “They engage in the game absolutely free and can see if it is something that appeals to them or not. Then the 10 per cent or less who do pay more than justifies the continued expansion of the game.” Casual and social games are less expensive to develop than console games.”
  • Apple Awarded Trademark for “There’s an App for That” [Mashable] – There’s a trademark for that: “Apple has filed a trademark application for the company’s now ubiquitous catchphrase, “There’s an app for that.” Apple filed for the trademark back in December 2009, citing first commercial use of the phrase on January 26, 2009, per trademark documentation. The trademark was filed in the Advertising, Business and Retail Services, Computer and Software Services and Scientific Services categories. The trademark applies to “retail store services featuring computer software provided via the Internet (Internet) and other computer and electronic communication networks; retail store services featuring computer software for use on handheld mobile digital electronic devices and other consumer electronics.””
  • The Search – Is Your Web Identity Hurting Your Employment Chances? [NYTimes.com] – Web presences as (un)intended CVs: “You looked wonderful on your résumé. Your references raved about you. The interview went swimmingly. Yet you didn’t get the job. Oh, no: did they see that Facebook photo of you dancing on a table? Or find out that you’re six months behind on your mortgage payment? You may never know why you weren’t hired, but be aware that background checks can make or break a job application. And in a data-rich world, the person with the fewest red flags may get the job. Little hard research has been done on how hiring managers use the Internet to vet applicants. But you should assume that they are at least looking you up on search engines. So it’s wise to review the results of a quick search of your name. It is very hard to remove anything questionable about yourself from a search engine, but you can at least push it lower by adding positive entries, said Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a career management business in New York. “
  • Short Attention Spans for Web Videos [NYTimes.com] – I suspect the quality of the content matters, too! “After watching an online video for a full minute, 44.1 percent of viewers will have clicked away, according to Visible Measures. But an outsize slice of that loss occurs in the first 10 seconds, during which 19.4 percent of a video’s audience defects. This phenomenon, known as “viewer abandonment,” is of intense interest to those who make online videos or advertise alongside them. Visible Measures studied the abandonment rate of 40 million videos over seven billion viewings. Music videos had especially high rates of abandonment, as did videos slow to reach a punchline — for example, a Budweiser ad about a man humiliated while buying pornography, which loses nearly 40 percent of viewers in the first 10 seconds. “It took a shocking 12 seconds to get to the conceit,” said Matt Cutler, the head of research at Visible Measures.”
  • Keeping Our Distance, the Facebook Way [NYTimes.com] – It’s all about the weak ties: “Facebook is the best distancing tool since the creation of the Christmas card. Sending holiday greeting cards began in the 1850s in England and spread quickly as a way to stay in touch with far-flung friends and relatives. The cards, whether religious or not in theme, went to people you rarely wrote to and even more rarely spoke to, but for whom you still had a measure of affection — or curiosity. You wanted to know what was going on in their lives, and one exchange a year did the trick. The cards kept the people in your social network at a distance, while maintaining ties to them. I recall my parents sending and receiving Christmas cards. I did it for a year after I married, but I stopped because it was just too much work. Facebook, which tries to replicate our real-world relationships online, now helps me maintain those connections. But it does cards one better. It preserves the weak ties in my social network without creating obligations.”
  • 10 Unbelievable Twitter Stories [Oddee.com] – A bit silly, but some useful extreme stories of what Twitter communication is very good for (and very bad for).
  • Bathurst delay angers viewers [The Age] – Interesting idea; I don’t think a social media blackout would work, but there are definitely issues to sort out: “A social media blackout is needed when watching so-called live sport. The poor TV networks just can’t win when it comes to sport. They regularly get canned for cutting away from the action to screen ads. But Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 race was so tight that Seven claims it didn’t want to risk missing too much of the action. Instead, the network started pausing the coverage to drop in ad breaks. As a result, the broadcast was almost half an hour behind the race by the time the cars crossed the finish line. [...] Rather than treat viewers like idiots, perhaps the networks should start treating them like a precious commodity that will dry up if not handled with care. This means being honest when live sport isn’t really live.”