Links for October 29th through November 8th:

  • Backdown on internet filter plan [SMH] – YAY! “The [Australian] government has finally backed down on its plan for a controversial mandatory internet filter, and will instead rely on major service providers to block ”the worst of the worst” child abuse sites. The retreat on the filter, which Labor proposed from early in its term, comes after a strong campaign by providers. Opponents argued it would not be effective, would be costly and slow down services, and involved too much censorship. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who strongly argued the case for years, will announce on Friday that providers blocking the Interpol worst of the worst list ”will help keep children safe from abuse”. ”It meets community expectations, and fulfils the government’s commitment to preventing Australian internet users from accessing child-abuse material online.” The government will use its powers under the telecommunications legislation, so Senator Conroy will say a filter law will not be needed.”
  • Barack Obama victory tweet becomes most retweeted ever [guardian.co.uk] – “Barack Obama has celebrated winning another term as US president by tweeting a photograph of himself hugging his wife, Michelle – which almost immediately became the most popular tweet of all time. The tweet, captioned “Four more years”, had been shared more than 400,000 times within a few hours of being posted, and marked as a favourite by more than 70,000.” (It’s now over 800,000 retweets!)
  • Announcing Instagram Profiles on the Web! [Instagram Blog] – Instagram adds full web profiles for all (public) Instagram accounts. While users can still only upload from mobile devices (for now), Instagram embracing the fuller web, probably as part of the larger integration with Facebook.
  • Mobile Apps Have a Ravenous Ability to Collect Personal Data [NYTimes.com] – “Angry Birds, the top-selling paid mobile app for the iPhone in the United States and Europe, has been downloaded more than a billion times by devoted game players around the world, who often spend hours slinging squawking fowl at groups of egg-stealing pigs. While regular players are familiar with the particular destructive qualities of certain of these birds, many are unaware of one facet: The game possesses a ravenous ability to collect personal information on its users. When Jason Hong, an associate professor at the Human Computer Interaction Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, surveyed 40 users, all but two were unaware that the game was noting and storing their locations so that they could later be the targets of advertising.”

Links for January 28th 2011 through February 1st 2011:

  • Apple Moves to Tighten Control of App Store [NYTimes.com] – Apple’s Walled Garden App Store is building even Bigger Walls: “Apple is further tightening its control of the App Store. The company has told some applications developers, including Sony, that they can no longer sell content, like e-books, within their apps, or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store. Apple rejected Sony’s iPhone application, which would have let people buy and read e-books bought from the Sony Reader Store. Apple told Sony that from now on, all in-app purchases would have to go through Apple, said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division. The move could affect companies like Amazon.com and others that sell e-book readers that compete with Apple’s iPad tablet and offer free mobile apps so customers can read their e-book purchases on other devices. An iPad owner, for instance, has not needed to own a Kindle to read Kindle books bought from Amazon. That may now change.”
  • Intel warns of $1bn cost of chip fix [Technology | The Guardian] – Ouch! “The chipmaker Intel has halted shipments of its new Sandy Bridge processors and says it will have to spend a total of $1bn (£600m) fixing a fault, delaying hundreds of new PC models for up to three months and potentially stifling growth in the personal computer market. Launched early in January, the Sandy Bridge chip combines standard processing and graphics units on a single die. But Intel said today it had found flaws in a support chip, called Cougar Point, which would have led to failures over time in connections to hard drives and DVDs. The fault will upset production on more than 500 computer models that were to have used the processors. That in turn will hit the PC industry, which has already been suffering from slowing growth in the US and other regions last year. It could also open the door to Intel’s longstanding rival, AMD, which has a similar processor, named Fusion. After the news AMD shares jumped by 5% in early trading in New York, while Intel shares slid by 1.5%”
  • Wary of Egypt Unrest, China Censors Web [NYTimes.com] – “In another era, China’s leaders might have been content to let discussion of the protests in Egypt float around among private citizens, then fizzle out. But challenges in recent years to authoritarian governments around the globe and violent uprisings in parts of China itself have made Chinese officials increasingly wary of leaving such talk unchecked, especially on the Internet, the medium some officials see as central to fanning the flames of unrest. […] two of the nation’s biggest online portals — blocked keyword searches of the word “Egypt,” though the mass protests were being discussed on some Internet chat rooms on Monday. The use of “Egypt” has also been blocked on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Censoring the Internet is not the only approach. The Chinese government has also tried to get out ahead of the discussion, framing the Egyptian protests in a few editorials and articles in state-controlled news publications…”
  • Wikipedia Ponders Its Gender-Skewed Contributions [NYTimes.com] – “About a year ago, the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs Wikipedia, collaborated on a study of Wikipedia’s contributor base and discovered that it was barely 13 percent women; the average age of a contributor was in the mid-20s, according to the study by a joint center of the United Nations University and Maastricht University. Sue Gardner, the executive director of the foundation, has set a goal to raise the share of female contributors to 25 percent by 2015, but she is running up against the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men and, some say, uncomfortable for women. Her effort is not diversity for diversity’s sake, she says. “This is about wanting to ensure that the encyclopedia is as good as it could be,” Ms. Gardner said in an interview on Thursday. “The difference between Wikipedia and other editorially created products is that Wikipedians are not professionals, they are only asked to bring what they know.””
  • Google unveils Web-free ‘tweeting’ in Egypt move [AFP] – “Google, in response to the Internet blockade in Egypt, said Monday that it had created a way to post messages to microblogging service Twitter by making telephone calls. Google worked with Twitter and freshly acquired SayNow, a startup specializing in social online voice platforms, to make it possible for anyone to “tweet” by leaving a message at any of three telephone numbers. “Like many people we’ve been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we could do to help people on the ground,” Google product manager Abdel-Karim Mardini and SayNow co-founder Ujjwal Singh said in a blog post. “Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service — the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection,” they said.”
  • Man jailed over anti-semitic video [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “A 39-year-old Perth man has been sentenced to three years’ jail for posting an anti-semitic video on the internet. Brendon Lee O’Connell is the first person in Western Australia to be convicted under the state’s racial vilification laws. A jury found him guilty last week of six offences. O’Connell posted a video on YouTube showing him insulting a young Jewish man in 2009. The video also showed O’Connell standing in front of the Perth Bell Tower telling Jews their days were numbered.”
  • Facebook launches mobile deals [BBC News] – In a very clear challenge to FourSquare: “Facebook is launching a service that lets British users earn discounts from high street businesses. Users who visit participating shops can log in from their mobile phones to receive rewards. Companies, meanwhile can use Facebook Deals as a virtual loyalty card or coupon system. The social network has already lined up promotions with several businesses including Starbucks, Debenhams and mobile network O2. The service ties into Facebook Places, an add-on for mobile phones that launched in 2010 as a way for users to share their location with friends. Users who login to Places via the dedicated Facebook app for the iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android system can update their whereabouts – or “check in” – whenever they visit a variety of shops, restaurants and other venues. With Deals, users will not just be able to tell other people their location, but can also take advantage of any special offers that the retailer has.”
  • Android overtakes Symbian in smartphone sales [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Google’s Android overtook the long-time market leader, Nokia’s Symbian, as the world’s most popular smartphone platform in the fourth quarter, according to the research firm Canalys. In total, 32.9m phones running Android were sold to retailers and mobile networks in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared with Symbian’s total sales of 31m in the quarter, the researcher said. In a press release, Canalys noted that Nokia had however retained its lead as the single biggest smartphone vendor, with a 30.6% share of phones shipped. The rise of Android to the top of the smartphone sales chart indicates the popularity of the free operating system with vendors, which do not have to pay a licence fee to use it on their phones.”
  • Angry Birds Go Hollywood [NYTimes.com] – “Angry Birds, the cellphone game that has turned into a cultural phenomenon with 75 million downloads and counting, is lending its wings to a 20th Century Fox movie. To promote the April 15 release of “Rio,” an animated film starring two rare macaws, Fox and Rovio, the small Finnish company behind Angry Birds, said on Friday that Rovio would release Angry Birds Rio. The special edition of the game – the original Angry Birds are kidnapped and taken to Rio – will be made available in March. The announcement was made at an only-in-Hollywood press event on the Fox lot in Los Angeles. As a quartet of Brazilian bongo drummers pounded away on their instruments and reporters guzzled drinks made with Brazilian rum, Jim Gianopulos, co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, broke the news.”
  • Amazon Kindle e-book downloads outsell paperbacks [BBC News] – “Amazon has announced that in the US it sold more e-books for its Kindle device than it sold paperback books in the last three months of 2010. […] Amazon announced that in the US since the start of the year it had sold 115 e-book downloads for every 100 paperback books, even excluding its downloads of free books. But it stressed that sales of paperback books were also growing. “Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year,” said Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. “So this milestone has come even sooner than we expected – and it’s on top of continued growth in paperback sales.” It has not said how many of its Kindle devices it has sold, but did say that they had overtaken the final book in the Harry Potter series to become the top-selling item in Amazon’s history.”
  • Egypt cuts off internet access [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Egypt appears to have cut off almost all access to the internet from inside and outside the country from late on Thursday night, in a move that has concerned observers of the protests that have been building in strength through the week. “According to our analysis, 88% of the ‘Egyptian internet’ has fallen off the internet,” said Andree Toonk at BGPmon, a monitoring site that checks connectivity of countries and networks. “What’s different in this case as compared to other ‘similar’ cases is that all of the major ISP’s seem to be almost completely offline. Whereas in other cases, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were typically blocked, in this case the government seems to be taking a shotgun approach by ordering ISPs to stop routing all networks.””

Links for November 25th 2010 through December 2nd 2010:

  • Report on video games clears way for R18+ rating [News.com.au] – This is a BIG DEAL in the battle to get an R18+ rating for Aussie videogames: “Violent video games have no “greater impact” on players than movies or music clips, government research has found just days ahead of a decision expected to allow the sale of R18+ games. Games are currently limited to a top rating of MA15+, which means violent titles are either banned outright or have some graphic content removed. In some cases, games have been given a MA15+ rating here despite copping an 18+ rating overseas. Australia’s attorneys-general will meet in Canberra tomorrow to discuss the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games, bringing their ratings into line with those of films and literature. Both the gaming community and family groups believe the adult rating is almost a certainty after Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor yesterday released a research paper into their impact on encouraging violent behaviour.” (See full report here.)
  • Justin Bieber Swears Off YouTube For Facebook, Unwittingly Steps In Copyright Minefield [Forbes] – “Over the past weekend, Internet pop sensation Justin Bieber went to upload the music video of his new song called “Pray” to his personal YouTube site. He was in for a rude surprise: YouTube automatically blocked his video upload on “copyright grounds” that the video contained content from Universal Music Group (UMG), parent company to Bieber’s record label, Island Def Jam records. “yo youtube…how u gonna block my own song?!?!?!” wrote an outraged Bieber on his Twitter account. In another Twitter update, he wrote, “dear youtube…we started this journey and now u r cheatin on me with this vevo chica…i see how it is…i will be over here with facebook [sic].” (Vevo is the music video website responsible for Bieber’s official YouTube syndication, and is a joint venture between music giants Sony Music Entertainment, UMG and Abu Dhabi Media.) In response, YouTube wrote back to Bieber on its Twitter account, “sorry about the upload pain around ‘Pray’. That’s between you and your label …”
  • WikiLeaks website pulled by Amazon after US political pressure [Media | The Guardian] – “The US struck its first blow against WikiLeaks after Amazon.com pulled the plug on hosting the whistleblowing website in reaction to heavy political pressure. The company announced it was cutting WikiLeaks off yesterday only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security. WikiLeaks expressed disappointment with Amazon, and insisted it was a breach of freedom of speech as enshrined in the US constitution’s first amendment. The organisation, in a message sent via Twitter, said if Amazon was “so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.” While freedom of speech is a sensitive issue in the US, scope for a full-blown row is limited, given that Democrats and Republicans will largely applaud Amazon’s move. Lieberman, though an independent, is a former Republican who switched to the Democrats last year.”
  • Report: In-Game Purchases To Blow Mobile Games Revenues Past $11 Billion By 2015 [TechCrunch] – “A new report from Juniper Research forecasts global mobile games revenues to surpass $11 billion by 2015, nearly double what they were in 2009. All in all, it’s a fairly conservative prediction in my opinion, but what’s interesting is that the research firm also says in-game purchases will overtake the traditional pay-per-download model, with Apple’s in-app billing mechanism leading the way, as the primary source of monetizing mobile games in about two years (by 2013). At the same time, Juniper Research acknowledges that, with the ever-increasing amount of apps on all popular platforms (and app stores for that matter), discoverability remains a problem for game developers and publishers alike.”
  • Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards [State Library of Western Australia] – Significantly, this year, the WA Premier’s Book Awards will be offering a Digital Narrative Award which has a $5000 prize attached to it, and fairly broad parameters of what a digital narrative might be. (Only open to Australians, though, sorry!)
  • Facebook looks to trademark the word ‘face’ [BBC News] – My MyFace, FaceWorld and CyFace domains will be worthless! “The social networking giant Facebook is a few steps away from trademarking the word face, online documents reveal. The site has been asked to detail a “statement of use” by the US Patent and Trademark Office, explaining how it intends to use the word. If granted, the trademark will only apply to online sites and services used to exchange messages. It could limit the use of the word in other social networks and services, such as Apple’s Facetime, lawyers said.”
  • Axl Rose sues Guitar Hero makers over animated Slash [Music | guardian.co.uk] – “Axl Rose even hates the cartoon version of Slash. The Guns N’ Roses frontman is suing the makers of Guitar Hero for $20m (£12.6m), claiming they “spun a web of lies and deception” by including an animated Slash in the video-game version of his band. Slash left the group in 1996. According to his claim, Rose licensed Welcome to the Jungle to Guitar Hero III on the condition that any reference to the departed guitarist or his new band, Velvet Revolver, would be omitted. But in early versions of the game, a Slash-like character could be seen parading around the stage in the guitarist’s trademark top hat, sunglasses and nose piercing. […] One of the highest-grossing video games of all time, Guitar Hero III has amassed more than $1bn. “This lawsuit is about protecting Guns N’ Roses and Welcome to the Jungle, and is about holding Activision accountable for its misuse of these incredibly valuable assets,” Rose’s lawyer insisted.”

Links for August 30th 2010 through September 6th 2010:

  • The future of the internet: A virtual counter-revolution [The Economist] – A good overview article which looks at the potential “balkanisation” or fragmenting of the internet into different walled gardens of various sorts. The article focuses on three trends: national governments asserting their power in various ways to regulate their citizens’ access to the web; big IT companies building different walled gardens, from Facebook’s social network to Apple’s regulated iOS and App store; and lastly the push to by big internet providers for tiered internet provision and the push back in the form of net neutrality. (This is a short but useful overview of these issues for teaching purposes.)
  • Computers as Invisible as the Air [NYTimes.com] – Useful historical reminder: “The personal computer is vanishing. Computers once filled entire rooms, then sat in the closet, moved to our desks, and now nestle in our pockets. Soon, the computer may become invisible to us, hiding away in everyday objects. A Silicon Valley announcement last week hinted at the way computing technology will transform the world in the coming decade. Hewlett-Packard scientists said they had begun commercializing a Lilliputian switch that is a simpler — and potentially smaller — alternative to the transistor that has been the Valley’s basic building block for the last half-century. That means the number of 1’s and 0’s that can be stored on each microchip could continue to increase at an accelerating rate. […] This is the fulfillment of Moore’s Law, first described in the 1960s by Douglas Engelbart & Gordon Moore, which posits that computer power increases exponentially while cost falls just as quickly”
  • Stephanie Rice apologises for ‘offensive Tweet’ [TV Tonight] – “Channel Seven personality and Olympic swimmer Stephanie rice has apologised for a comment she made on her Twitter feed which has been branded as homophobic. After the Wallabies’ win over the Springboks in South Africa on Saturday night, Rice tweeted; “Suck on that f**gots”, adding; “Probs the best game I’ve ever seen!! Well done boys.” Rice has since removed the comment and apologised. “I made a comment on Twitter last night in the excitement of the moment,” she told news.com.au. “I did not mean to cause offence and I apologise. I have deleted it from the site.” Former NRL player, openly gay Ian Roberts slammed her actions. “She is an idiot and anyone who continues to endorse her as an athlete is an idiot as well,” he said. “And I say that with a very sad tone in my voice. What a fool.””
  • YouTube Deal Turns Copyright Videos Into Revenue [NYTimes.com] – “Last month, a YouTube user, TomR35, uploaded a clip from the AMC series “Mad Men” in which Don Draper makes a heartfelt speech about the importance of nostalgia in advertising. Viewers wouldn’t notice, but that clip also makes an important point about modern advertising — YouTube is an increasingly fruitful place for advertisers. In the past, Lions Gate, which owns the rights to the “Mad Men” clip, might have requested that TomR35’s version be taken down. But it has decided to leave clips like this up, and in return, YouTube runs ads with the video and splits the revenue with Lions Gate. Remarkably, more than one-third of the two billion views of YouTube videos with ads each week are like TomR35’s “Mad Men” clip — uploaded without the copyright owner’s permission but left up by the owner’s choice. They are automatically recognized by YouTube, using a system called Content ID that scans videos and compares them to material provided by copyright owners.”
  • Google’s Earth – William Gibson / Op-Ed Contributor [NYTimes.com] – An insightful and engaging look at today’s cyberspaces and Google’s Earth from William Gibson, over 25 years after he coined the term cyberspace: “We have yet to take Google’s measure. We’ve seen nothing like it before, and we already perceive much of our world through it. We would all very much like to be sagely and reliably advised by our own private genie; we would like the genie to make the world more transparent, more easily navigable. Google does that for us: it makes everything in the world accessible to everyone, and everyone accessible to the world. But we see everyone looking in, and blame Google. Google is not ours. Which feels confusing, because we are its unpaid content-providers, in one way or another. We generate product for Google, our every search a minuscule contribution. Google is made of us, a sort of coral reef of human minds and their products.”
  • Introducing Wikileakileaks.org: Your Source for Wikileaks [Valleywag] – Gawker Media try and turn the transparency tables on Wikileaks’ secretive founder Julian Assange by setting up “Wikileakileaks.org: your source for Wikileaks-related secrets, documents and rumors!” The site aims to be an anoymous clearing house for Wikileaks-related material. While there is some merit on turning transparency back on its secretive champions, this also smacks of pettiness since, as Gawker admit, they’ve been blacklisted by Assange after an unfavourable reporting.
  • Facebook’s now trying to trademark the word ‘face’ [Chicago Breaking Business] – It gets sillier: “Facebook, which has gone after sites with the word “book” in their names, is also trying to trademark the word “face,” according to court documents. But the social networking site has met with a familiar foe. As TechCrunch first reported, Aaron Greenspan has asked for an extension of time to file an opposition to Facebook’s attempt. Greenspan is the president and CEO of Think Computer, the developer of a mobile payments app called FaceCash. Greenspan, also a former Harvard classmate of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, claimed he had a hand in developing the social networking giant. The case was settled last year. In an interview with CNNMoney.com, Greenspan said the two extensions he filed now give him until September 22 to oppose the “face” trademark attempt. The original deadline was June 23.”

Links for August 25th 2010 through August 26th 2010:

  • Gmail Offers Phone Service via Web [NYTimes.com] – “Google entered a new business beyond Internet search on Wednesday with a service within Gmail to make phone calls over the Web to landlines or cellphones. The service will thrust Google into direct competition with Skype, the Internet telephone company, and with telecommunications providers. It could also make Google a more ubiquitous part of people’s social interactions by uniting the service for phone calls with e-mail, text messages and video chats. “It’s one place where you can get in touch with the people that you care about, and how that happens from a network perspective is less important,” said Charles S. Golvin, a telecommunications analyst at Forrester Research. Gmail has offered voice and video chat for two years, but both parties must be at their computers.” (It works from Australia, too.)
  • Woman caught dumping cat in bin ‘profoundly sorry’ [The Age] – 4chan really love cats: “A woman caught on camera dumping a cat in a bin says she is “profoundly sorry for a split second of misjudgment”. Mary Bale, 44, of Coventry in England, was named and shamed by users of the online forum 4chan after footage of the incident was posted on Facebook and YouTube. She was caught dumping a family’s cat into a large green rubbish bin by the family’s CCTV camera. The cat, Lola, was trapped in the bin for 15 hours before its owners found her.”
  • Facebook censors website critical of it [jill/txt] – More Facebook censorship: Openbook is a website that lets you search public status messages on Facebook. Try searching for “hate my boss” or “playing hooky” for interesting results. Or, as Twitter posts keep mentioning today, search for “mosk” to see how many people who hate muslims don’t know how to spell mosque. I tried to send someone a message on Facebook including a link to Openbook, and was surprised when I couldn’t. Then I tried to post a link to Openbook to my profile. Nope. Of course I let Facebook know that I think this is an error. Because come ON – censoring a website so obviously critical of them? Not impressive. “
  • ABC presenter reprimanded over Twitter [SMH] – “Perth’s ABC morning radio presenter Geoff Hutchison has been reprimanded by the national broadcaster for his comments on Twitter attacking Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. While Mr Abbott appeared on the ABC’s Q and A program on Monday night, Hutchison used his Twitter account @hutchabc to unleash several tweets criticising the Liberal leader. Hutchison made fun of Mr Abbott on Twitter, saying: “I have gay Muslim friends says Tony. But I don’t really like them.” He also wrote that Mr Abbott had said homosexuals were “morally dubious, but big tobacco is all right by me”. The ABC ordered Hutchison to delete his Twitter account, saying it breached the broadcaster’s social media policy which states employees “should not mix professional and personal in ways likely to bring the ABC into disrepute”. “Geoff has been reminded of his obligations under the ABC’s social media guidelines and that any future use of Twitter should be in accordance with ABC policy,” an ABC spokesman said.”
  • Star Wars Uncut — Emmy Winner [Digits – WSJ]The Star Wars Uncut project, where fans re-shot 15-second sequences from Star Wars, in whichever style they liked, one an Emmy award for “creative achievement in interactive media – fiction” at the recent awards.

Links for August 17th 2010 through August 24th 2010:

  • Social Steganography: Learning to Hide in Plain Sight [DMLcentral] – danah boyd on social steganography: “… hiding information in plain sight, creating a message that can be read in one way by those who aren’t in the know and read differently by those who are. […] communicating to different audiences simultaneously, relying on specific cultural awareness to provide the right interpretive lens. […] Social steganography is one privacy tactic teens take when engaging in semi-public forums like Facebook. While adults have worked diligently to exclude people through privacy settings, many teenagers have been unable to exclude certain classes of adults – namely their parents – for quite some time. For this reason, they’ve had to develop new techniques to speak to their friends fully aware that their parents are overhearing. Social steganography is one of the most common techniques that teens employ. They do this because they care about privacy, they care about misinterpretation, they care about segmented communications strategies.”
  • The Mother Lode: Welcome to the iMac Touch [Patently Apple] – A look at a patent for the future iMacs which shows the entire desktop computer will soon be enable as a giant touch-screen device thanks to the technology developed creating the iPad and Apple’s new iOS touch-based operating system.
  • Sweden Rescinds Warrant for WikiLeaks Founder [NYTimes.com] – Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, was, for a brief time, up on rape and molestation chages in Sweden before the charges were rescinded just as quickly as they’d appealed. In a context where the Pentagon and others have said they’ve the resources to close Wikileaks and prosecute Assange, this whole debacle seems entirely suspicious.
  • Share Bookmarklet [Twitter] – The official Twitter Bookmarklet, streamlining the sharing of any site or page on Twitter via a bookmarked link in your browser.
  • Our Natalie raking in $100,000 a year from YouTube [The Age] – Australian YouTube sensation Natalie Tran is reported making more than $100,000 Australian dollars from the advertising on her clips, Community Channel.
  • Facebook scam lures users craving ‘Dislike’ button [SMH] – This scam works because so many people want a DISLIKE button on Facebook! “Computer security firm Sophos has warned that scammers are duping Facebook users with a bogus “Dislike” button that slips malicious software onto machines. There is no “Dislike” version of the “Like” icon that members of the world’s top social networking website use to endorse online comments, stories, pictures or other content shared with friends. Hackers are enticing Facebook users to install an application pitched as a “Dislike” button that jokingly notifies contacts at the social networking service “now I can dislike all of your dumb posts.” Once granted permission to access a Facebook user’s profile, the application pumps out spam from the account and spreads itself by inviting the person’s friends to get the button, according to Sophos.”

Links for March 1st 2010:

  • YouTube mum wins mammoth music battle [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – A win for US fair use: “A woman in California has won a partial victory in a lawsuit against a record company that forced her to remove a video she posted on YouTube. The woman posted a video of her young child dancing to the Prince song Let’s Go Crazy. Universal Music, which owns the copyright, demanded YouTube remove the video – which it did. With help from a group of free speech activists, she filed a suit saying her video constituted a fair use of the song. A California judge has ruled in her favour, saying she is entitled to at least recover her legal fees. Observers say this is an important case in copyright-infringement law.”
  • This week in search 2/28/10 (Google Adds Facebook Status Updates to Search) [Official Google Blog] – Google officially adds Facebook status updates to their real-time search function (with the implicit flow-on into ‘normal’ Google search, as with Twitter): “Facebook in real-time search: Starting this week we added Facebook content to real-time search in the U.S. Real-time search, which we launched in December, helps you tap into the most relevant, freshest search results on the web, many of which are just seconds old. With this latest addition, you can access the news, photos and blog posts that Facebook fan pages publish to the world. You can find the Facebook Pages updates in our real-time mode by clicking on “Show Options” and then “Latest” or “Updates.” Example search: [facebook]”
  • Academic Author Sues Journal Editor For Criminal Defamation Over Negative Book Review [Techdirt] – After a book review she was unhappy with wasn’t removed from publication at her request, Karin Calvo-Goller is suing the journal editor for criminal defamation (in the French courts). Apart from fundamentally misunderstanding how the culture of academic book reviewing works, I fear Calvo-Goller is rather unfamiliar with the Striesand Effect!
  • How to Deal With Twitter DM Spam [Mike Haydon] – “There is a lot of malware spam on twitter at the moment. I’m getting between 100-500 Direct Messages (DMs) a day from compromised accounts. They say things like: “i made $426.23 online today with” “I make money online with google. i learned how here” “this you here” “hey can you do me a favor? take this iq test. here” “hey. can you take this quiz thingy? here” “rofl this you???” “LOL, omg this you?” “hahah you should see this” “You’re on here…” […] … all with links at the end. I just copy/pasted some of the ones I received today. DON’T CLICK THE LINK even if it’s from one of your friends. It seems the link takes you to a site where your twitter account gets hacked and sends the same sort of DMs to your followers.”
    If you did click the link don’t panic, read this!

internet-monitoring

Earlier today I was interviewed by Damien Smith on RTR FM’s morning magazine talking about the Australian Federal Government’s plan to introduce national internet censorship.  As you might imagine, I’m not a fan of the plan, and think its the thin edge of a very large, potentially very conservative and encompassing censorship programme.  Feel free to listen to the interview, or grab the direct mp3 download, but more than that, please take a look at this material and judge the plan for yourself:

If you think this is a poor plan for Australia, please let your voice be heard.

Links for December 16th 2008:

  • The writer’s guide to making a digital living [Australia Council for the Arts] – “The writer’s guide was developed through the Australia Council’s Story of the Future project to explore the craft and business of writing in the digital era. It includes case studies from Australia’s rising generation of poets, novelists, screenwriters, games writers and producers who are embracing new media and contains audio and video content from seminars and workshops, as well as extensive references to resouces in Australia and beyond.” (The online presentation is great, but you can also download the full guide as a PDF and watch the hilarious introductory video.)
  • YouTube Videos Pull In Real Money [NYTimes.com] – Making videos for YouTube — for three years a pastime for millions of Web surfers — is now a way to make a living. Michael Buckley quit his day job in September. He says his online show is “silly,” but it helped pay off credit-card debt. One year after YouTube, the online video powerhouse, invited members to become “partners” and added advertising to their videos, the most successful users are earning six-figure incomes from the Web site. For some, like Michael Buckley, the self-taught host of a celebrity chatter show, filming funny videos is now a full-time job.”
  • A “Run” of William Gibson’s “Agrippa” Poem from a Copy of Original 1992 Agrippa Diskette [The Agrippa Files] – A video capture of William Gibson’s infamous self-destroying poem Agrippa – to read it, you had to erase it! Amazing stuff.
  • Top 10 Most Pirated Movies of 2008 [TorrentFreak] – Surprising no one, The Dark Knight is the most pirated movie of 2008, but how did The Bank Job end up at #3 given it took less than $US 65 million at the box office? The match between downloads and box office figures seems vague, at best!
  • News About the News Business, in 140 Characters [NYTimes.com] – “With staff changes and reductions across the media industry, even a blog post can be too time-consuming a way to announce who is in and out of a job. That is why a public relations employee turned to the instant-blogging platform Twitter to create The Media Is Dying, a Twitter feed that documents media hirings and firings in one-sentence bursts of text. “These sorts of layoffs are unheard-of,” said the stream’s founder, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to preserve his sources in the industry. “It’s gotten insane to keep up with who was moving around and changing beats.” Initially, The Media Is Dying was accessible only to select Twitter members, as the feed was intended to help those in the P.R. industry stay on top of the revolving entries in their address books. But requests to be included flooded the founder, who decided to go public three weeks ago.”
  • Iran’s bloggers thrive despite blocks [BBC NEWS | World | Middle East] – “With much of the official media controlled by the government or hardline conservatives, the internet has become the favoured way of communicating for Iran’s well-educated and inquisitive younger generation. Go online in Iran and you will find blogs or websites covering every topic under the sun. Politics, of course, but also the arts, Hollywood cinema, women’s issues, women’s sport, pop music. Whisper it quietly, there is even an online dating scene in the Islamic Republic. Day-by-day there is an intriguing cyber-war, as the government wrestles for control of the internet, and Iran’s bloggers wrestle it back. Iran hosts around 65,000 bloggers, and has around 22 million internet users. Not bad for a country in which some remote areas do not yet have mains electricity.”

Links for December 2nd 2008:

  • Why defend freedom of icky speech? [Neil Gaiman’s Journal] – Neil Gaiman on defending freedom of speech: “If you accept — and I do — that freedom of speech is important, then you are going to have to defend the indefensible. That means you are going to be defending the right of people to read, or to write, or to say, what you don’t say or like or want said. The Law is a huge blunt weapon that does not and will not make distinctions between what you find acceptable and what you don’t. This is how the Law is made.”
  • Iron Man and me [Adactio] – The story of how a CC BY Flickr photo ended up in the Iron Man film!
  • ABC views year from on high [TV Tonight] – “The [Australian Broadcasting Corporation]ABC is hailing 2008 as its best ever result, improving 2% on its 2007 performance. With 7 of its top 10 shows being local productions, ABC is also buoyed by several brands hitting all time highs … The broadcaster also notes the popularity of its iView platform and the success of the relaunched ABC2 channel …
    iView – Since iView’s launch on Wednesday 23rd July: ABC iView has recorded a total of 2.3 million page views. The most popular iView channel is Catch Up. (This data is up to midnight on Sunday 30th November 2008) (Source: WebTrends OnDemand)
    VODCASTS (1 January – 16 November 2008)
    • The total number of vodcast downloads this year to date is 14 million.
    • Most downloaded vodcasts in 2008 to date include At The Movies, triple j tv (including jtv), Catalyst, ENOUGH ROPE segments, Bed of Roses, Not Quite Art, The Cook And The Chef, Gardening Australia, Lateline Business segments, Lateline segments. (Source: WebTrends, Akamai Mpeg Stats)”