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 September 6th 2010 through September 8th 2010:

  • In ‘Bed Intruder Song,’ Gregory Brothers Have Billboard Hit [NYTimes.com] – “Viral videos tend to have a short lifespan online. [...] But in one of the stranger twists in recent pop-music history, a musical remake of a local news clip transcended YouTube fame and reached the Billboard Hot 100 chart in August. It was a rare case of a product of Web culture jumping the species barrier and becoming a pop hit. The song’s source material could not have been more unlikely: A local TV news report from Huntsville, Ala., about an intruder who climbed into a woman’s bed and tried to assault her. But with some clever editing and the use of software that can turn speech into singing, the Gregory Brothers, a quartet of musicians living in Brooklyn, transformed an animated and angry rant by the victim’s brother into something genuinely catchy. The resulting track, “Bed Intruder Song,” has sold more than 91,000 copies on iTunes, and last week it was at No. 39 on the iTunes singles chart. Its video has been viewed more than 16 million times on YouTube.” The background to this meme:
  • Avatar activism [Le Monde diplomatique] – Henry Jenkins on the mobilisation of popular cultural in protest movements: “Five Palestinian, Israeli and international activists painted themselves blue to resemble the Na’vi from James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar (1) in February, and marched through the occupied village of Bil’in. The Israeli military used tear gas and sound bombs on the azure-skinned protestors, who wore traditional keffiyahs with their Na’vi tails and pointy ears. The camcorder footage of the incident was juxtaposed with borrowed shots from the film and circulated on YouTube. We hear the movie characters proclaim: “We will show the Sky People that they can not take whatever they want! This, this is our land!” The event is a reminder of how people around the world are mobilising icons and myths from popular culture as resources for political speech, which we can call Avatar activism.”
  • Reputation bankruptcy :[The Future of the Internet — And How to Stop It] – Should we be able to purge our online reputation record and declare reputation bankruptcy? Jonathan Zittrain: “As real identity grows in importance on the Net, the intermediaries demanding it ought to consider making available a form of reputation bankruptcy. Like personal financial bankruptcy, or the way in which a state often seals a juvenile criminal record and gives a child a “fresh start” as an adult, we ought to consider how to implement the idea of a second or third chance into our digital spaces. People ought to be able to express a choice to de-emphasize if not entirely delete older information that has been generated about them by and through various systems: political preferences, activities, youthful likes and dislikes. If every action ends up on one’s “permanent record,” the press conference effect can set in. Reputation bankruptcy has the potential to facilitate desirably experimental social behavior and break up the monotony of static communities online and offline.”
  • What Are BP, Apple, Amazon, and Others Spending on Google Advertising? [Fast Company] – A peak into adword spending: “Google is typically very secretive about the specifics of its search revenue. I can’t actually recall any other leak quite like this one, in which the budgets of specific companies are laid out–kudos to AdAge for snagging the internal document with such rarely seen information. Much of the list, which covers the month of June 2010, will be of no surprise to anyone that uses Google Search regularly (which is pretty much everyone): AT&T spends ridiculous amounts of money, as do Apollo Group (which owns the University of Phoenix), Amazon, and Expedia. It’s worthwhile to note that some of AT&T’s $8.08 million budget was probably due to the launch of the wireless carrier’s biggest product of the year, the Apple iPhone 4. Apple itself spent slightly less than $1 million, which puts the company in the upper echelon of Google spending but not all that close to the top. 47 companies spent over $1 million, so Apple was, at best, in the top 50.”
  • On Wikipedia, Cultural Patrimony, and Historiography [booktwo.org] – A fantastic way to illustrate the importance of Wikipedia histories: “… Wikipedia is a useful subset of the entire internet, and as such a subset of all human culture. It’s not only a resource for collating all human knowledge, but a framework for understanding how that knowledge came to be and to be understood; what was allowed to stand and what was not; what we agree on, and what we cannot. As is my wont, I made a book to illustrate this. Physical objects are useful props in debates like this: immediately illustrative, and useful to hang an argument and peoples’ attention on. This particular book—or rather, set of books—is every edit made to a single Wikipedia article, The Iraq War, during the five years between the article’s inception in December 2004 and November 2009, a total of 12,000 changes and almost 7,000 pages.”

Links for June 10th 2010 through June 14th 2010:

  • Pollies ‘twitspit’ in not-so-social media [The Australian] – NSW’s political twits: “Not content with their offline stoushing, NSW Premier Kristina Keneally (@KKeneally) and Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell (@barryofarrell), both keen tweeters, have now taken to using the social media site for slinging digital barbs. Last week’s exchange was triggered by Keneally making fun of O’Farrell’s claim that the fact he had walked the Kokoda Track proved he was a strong leader, commenting: “Well, so did Miss Australia, so congratulations, Barry.” O’Farrell took to Twitter to retort that Keneally, having seen her quip “blow up in her face”, “now tries to politicise Kokoda”. Keneally responded that it was O’Farrell “who uses Kokoda as political football”. O’Farrell struck back with a couple of obscure digs at Keneally for her “keen interest” in his tweets about his coffee meetings. He also taunted the Premier by calling her by her full initials, “KKK”, although in more recent tweets he has reverted to using “KK”.”
  • I Can Has Cheezburger Blog Leads to a Web Empire [NYTimes.com] – “Three years ago Ben Huh visited a blog devoted to silly cat pictures — and saw vast potential. Mr. Huh, a 32-year-old entrepreneur, first became aware of I Can Has Cheezburger, which pairs photos of cats with quirky captions, after it linked to his own pet blog. [...] Sensing an Internet phenomenon, Mr. Huh solicited financing from investors and forked over $10,000 of his own savings to buy the Web site from the two Hawaiian bloggers who started it. “It was a white-knuckle decision,” he said. “I knew that the first site was funny, but could we duplicate that success?” Mr. Huh has since found that the appetite for oddball Internet humor is insatiable. Traffic to the Cheezburger blog has ballooned over the last three years, encouraging Mr. Huh to expand his unlikely Web empire to include 53 sites, all fueled by submissions from readers. In May, what is now known as the Cheezburger Network attracted a record 16 million unique visitors…”
  • Tweet! Tweet! Tweet! [Roger Ebert's Journal] – Roger Ebert on finding his voice, and many conversations, on Twitter: “I vowed I would never become a Twit. Now I have Tweeted nearly 10,000 Tweets. I said Twitter represented the end of civilization. It now represents a part of the civilization I live in. I said it was impossible to think of great writing in terms of 140 characters. I have been humbled by a mother of three in New Delhi. I said I feared I would become addicted. I was correct. Twitter is now a part of my daystream. I check in first thing every morning, and return at least once an hour until bedtime. I’m offline, of course, during movies …”
  • Inglis racial slur is unacceptable | Herald Sun – My complete respect to Tahu; it’s this level of dedication to stamping out racism that’s absolutely needed: “Andrew Johns last night quit the NSW Origin team after he admitted a racist sledge towards Queensland superstar Greg Inglis was behind Blues winger Timana Tahu walking out of the side. After one of Origin’s most dramatic days – with NSW team management at first trying to cover up the scandal – Johns said he had no choice but to resign as assistant coach after it emerged he had sledged Tahu’s long-time friend at a bonding session at a Kingscliff hotel on Wednesday night. The Sunday Telegraph can reveal Johns told Blues centre Beau Scott: “You must shut that black c… down.””
  • “for the lolz”: 4chan is hacking the attention economy [danah boyd | apophenia] – 4chan as the hackers of the attention economy? I’m not sure I’m 100% convinced by boyd here, but it’s certainly an idea worth thinking about: “I would argue that 4chan is ground zero of a new generation of hackers – those who are bent on hacking the attention economy. While the security hackers were attacking the security economy at the center of power and authority in the pre-web days, these attention hackers are highlighting how manipulatable information flows are. They are showing that Top 100 lists can be gamed and that entertaining content can reach mass popularity without having any commercial intentions (regardless of whether or not someone decided to commercialize it on the other side).”
  • Govt wants ISPs to record browsing history [Zdnet] – Is Conroy TRYING to lose the next election? “Companies who provide customers with a connection to the internet may soon have to retain subscriber’s private web browsing history for law enforcement to examine when requested, a move which has been widely criticised by industry insiders. The Attorney-General’s Department yesterday confirmed to ZDNet Australia that it had been in discussions with industry on implementing a data retention regime in Australia. Such a regime would require companies providing internet access to log and retain customer’s private web browsing history for a certain period of time for law enforcement to access when needed. Currently, companies that provide customers with a connection to the internet don’t retain or log subscriber’s private web browsing history unless they are given an interception warrant by law enforcement, usually approved by a judge. It is only then that companies can legally begin tapping a customer’s internet connection.”
  • Augmented Reality – Explained by Common Craft – [Common Craft] – Useful basic explanation of augmented reality using a smartphone. (It combines the ‘real’ world and information in a seemingly seamless manner on your screen.)
  • In Hong Kong, Eternity Goes Online [NYTimes.com] – Hong Kong, one of the most wired societies in the world, is taking the Internet to a higher level. Bereaved users in this city of seven million got a new way of honoring and commemorating their loved ones Thursday: A Web site that enables them to set up online profiles for the dead, www.memorial.gov.hk. The creator of the site is not some Internet-savvy, 20-something college graduate, but the Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department [...] Hong Kong culture takes death very seriously. Elaborate ceremonies twice a year honor not just recently deceased relatives and friends, but also generations of ancestors before them. [...] The Web site is free, but the site is restricted to individuals who were buried or cremated in facilities operated by the Hong Kong government.