Links for July 5th 2011 through July 12th 2011:

  • China’s first ‘virtual property’ insurance launched for online gaming sector [Global Times] – “A Chinese insurance company has unveiled a new type of “virtual property” insurance that might be the first of its kind in the world. The new service, tailored for online game players, was jointly launched by Sunshine Insurance Group Corporation and online game operator and manufacturer Gamebar. The two companies agreed to create the virtual property insurance amid an increasing number of disputes between online game operators and their customers, often related to the loss or theft of players’ “virtual property” such as “land” and “currency.” Over 300 million people engage in online gaming in China, and these players sometimes become involved in arguments with game operators due to the loss of property.” [Via]
  • First lesson of viral video: No monkey business [Online Video News] – “Apes with assault rifles are just a bad idea: That’s the lesson 20th Century Fox wanted to convey with a viral video it published on YouTube last week. The video shows a group of soldiers from an unidentified African country having some fun with a chimpanzee. Then one of the soldiers hands the ape an AK-47, and the animal takes aim at the soldiers. The clip is a viral video ad for the upcoming Rise of the Planet of the Apes movie, complete with a semi-authentic and amateurish look and some subtle branding that identifies it as content of the “20th Century Fox Research Library.” And so far it has been a success, if you only measure view counts: The video has attracted more than 4.5 million views since being published last Wednesday. But a look at the YouTube comment section tells a different story: A substantial number of commenters take the opportunity to drop the n-word, compare black people to monkeys or publish other kinds of racial slurs.”
  • Fifty Million [Matt Mullenweg] – On July 11, 2001, Worpress “passed over 50,000,000 websites, blogs, portfolios, stores, pet projects, and of course cat websites powered by WordPress.” That’s a lot! 🙂
  • Smartphone Adoption and Usage – 11 July 2011 [Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project] – “In its first standalone measure of smartphone ownership, the Pew Internet Project finds that one third of American adults – 35% – own smartphones. The Project’s May survey found that 83% of US adults have a cell phone of some kind, and that 42% of them own a smartphone. That translates into 35% of all adults. […] Some 87% of smartphone owners access the internet or email on their handheld, including two-thirds (68%) who do so on a typical day. When asked what device they normally use to access the internet, 25% of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer.” [Full Report PDF]
  • Apple App Store: 15 Billion Downloads & Counting [Mashable] – “Apple’s App Store has generated 15 billion downloads since its launch in July 2008, Apple has announced. The App Store now offers more than 425,000 apps, 100,000 of which are created specifically for Apple’s tablet, the iPad. Apple has paid developers more than $2.5 billion to date. Given Apple’s 30/70 revenue split with app developers, that means Apple itself has netted more than $1 billion directly from app sales. In January 2010, the App Store surpassed 3 billion downloads, and in January 2011, Apple announced that the App Store surpassed 10 billion downloads. It took Apple’s App Store only six months to jump from 10 billion to 15 billion downloads.”
  • Zynga Launches PrivacyVille, a Gamified Version of Its Privacy Policies [Inside Social Games] – Gamification of Zynga’s privacy policy! “As Zynga edges closer to its initial public offering, the social game developer seems concerned with educating the masses both on social game revenue models and on the actual fine print of social game privacy policies. Today, the company announces PrivacyVille, an interactive walkthrough of its privacy policies that rewards participants with zPoints to spend in gift network RewardVille. The experience can be clicked through in about two minutes, with each structure on the CityVille-like map representing a different component of Zynga’s privacy policy. The tutorial text seems to stress to readers that Zynga will collect players’ information from Facebook and from mobile devices and share it with third-party service providers, the legal system in the case of a court ordered disclosure, and with other players in cases where a player’s icon displays a link back to their Facebook account.”
  • Natalie Tran: Down Under’s Top YouTuber Considers Her Next Move [Forbes] – Quick profile of Natalie Tran, the person behind Australia’s most subscribed to YouTube channel (communitychannel): “Around the world, young adults like Natalie Tran are facing a key moment in their lives: they’ve been graduated from university and are examining the success and failures of their academic years to decide which direction to take their careers. It’s just that most of those students have not built an international fan-base at this point. Tran, 23, has. The Sydney, Australia resident recently received her Digital Media degree from the University of New South Wales. I hope she got at least one high mark for this fact: Tran is Australia’s most-subscribed-to YouTuber. Over the past five years, her “communitychannel” has amassed nearly 1 million subscribers and her videos have garnered nearly 400 million upload views. Reasons: Smart, funny, quirky, beautiful. Why complicate matters?”
  • Google Realtime goes dark after Twitter agreement expires [VentureBeat] – “Google has taken its powerful Realtime search product offline after a 2009 agreement to display up-to-the-minute Twitter results expired. The shutdown of Realtime comes just as Google is in the process of rolling out Google+, its new social networking initiative that competes with Twitter. Google said it planned to relaunch Realtime search after retooling it and adding in Google+ results. “Since October of 2009, we have had an agreement with Twitter to include their updates in our search results through a special feed, and that agreement expired on July 2,” Google told Search Engine Land. “While we will not have access to this special feed from Twitter, information on Twitter that’s publicly available to our crawlers will still be searchable and discoverable on Google. Our vision is to have google.com/realtime include Google+ information along with other realtime data from a variety of sources.””

Links for November 11th 2010 through November 17th 2010:

  • The Shadow Scholar [The Chronicle of Higher Education] – A truly fascinating, albeit hugely disheartening, piece describing the inner workings of a paid student essay mill from the inside. The pseudonymous author talks candidly about her/his range and rates, as well as the sort of relationships that can form with repeat customers, who use this sort of service to pass entire degrees. It’s a huge indictment of huge chunks of the global education system, but also contains some implicit points about how to write assignments that are much harder to plagiarise. Some of the comments are well worth reading, too, although many are more about name-calling than taking the issues raised seriously.
  • Riding the tube [SMH] – Profile of Natalie Tran, Australia’s most successful YouTuber, with near to a million subscribers, making a healthy living off the advertising.
  • Twitter + Ping = Discovering More Music [Twitter Blog] – Now Twitter can be integrated into Apple’s Ping proto-social network, so you can share your musical likes in your Twitter stream. Ping is still at a very early, underdeveloped stage … I’m not sure what this will add for Twitter except a bunch of musical likes. For Apple, it’s a huge win since those links are pointing back to the Apple store (with integration into the new twitter, so you can click directly on the songs to purchase).
  • Fox.com joins NBC, ABC and CBS by blocking Google TV [Engadget] – Google have some deals to strike with the networks very soon if Google TV is actually going to have any TV on it: “Looks like Fox has finally made a decision, following the other major networks, Hulu and several cable channels by opting to block streaming video on its website from Google TV devices. Blocking by Flash ID is the order of the day and takes simple browser workarounds out of play, so unless users want to go the PlayOn route, there’s large swaths of legitimate video on the web that’s now inaccessible.”

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.”