Links for February 1st 2011 through February 7th 2011:

  • The ex factor: when love doesn’t click, revenge does … online [SMH] – Another digital shadow: “In dating land, revenge is now a dish best served online, with jilted lovers using Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter to dish the dirt on their exes. And what would once have been a heat-of-the-moment spray can now live on forever, dredged up by a simple Google search. As the online reputation management company SR7 says, “what happens in Vegas stays on Facebook”. In the latest example, an angry ex-girlfriend took her ex-boyfriend’s professional photograph and overlaid it with derogatory text – then uploaded dozens of different versions to the web. They now come up every time someone Googles his name. The feud was first spotted by the SEO Roundtable blog, which also uncovered that the ex-boyfriend’s mother sought help from the Google Webmaster Help forum. The post has now been removed but not before hitting the blogosphere.”
  • Big business buys up to outsmart ‘typosquatters’ [The Age] – “BIG Australian companies are buying up ”misspelt” internet domain names to stop others making money from their brand. Corporations such as Qantas, Westpac and Woolworths have registered the incorrectly spelt internet names because many people are terrible typists or cannot spell. Consumers can type in quantas.com.au and still get to the airline’s website. And if they leave the ”s” off the end of Woolworths, they are still diverted to the giant retailer’s website. Australia Post has registered austaliapost.com.au and australipost.com.au to make sure clumsy typists can still get access. Another company, Weather.com.au, has also registered whether.com.au and wether .com.au. Internet authorities are also cracking down on so-called ”typosquatters” who register deliberately misspelt domain names to make money from big business. The ”domainers” run ads on the misspelt websites and get paid up to $20 a click by the advertisers.”
  • WikiLeaks has created a new media landscape [Clay Shirky | Comment is free | The Guardian] – Clay Shirky on Wikileaks: “WikiLeaks allows leakers transnational escape from national controls. Now, and from now on, a leaker with domestic secrets has no need of the domestic press, and indeed will avoid leaking directly to them if possible, to escape national pressure on national publishers to keep national secrets. WikiLeaks has not been a series of unfortunate events, and Assange is not a magician – he is simply an early and brilliant executor of what is being revealed as a much more general pattern, now spreading. Al-Jazeera and the Guardian created a transnational network to release the Palestine papers, without using WikiLeaks as an intermediary, and Daniel Domscheit-Berg is in the process of launching OpenLeaks, which will bring WikiLeaks-like capability to any publisher that wants it. It is possible to imagine that secrets from Moscow, Rome or Johannesburg will be routed through Iceland, Costa Rica, or even a transnational network of servers volunteered by private citizens.”
  • Single or Spoken For? Facebook Can Alert Your World [NYTimes.com] – “Why do so many Facebook users agree to announce their romantic entanglements? “What is a wedding ring, but a status report?” said Nancy Baym, an associate professor of communication studies at the University of Kansas and the author of “Personal Communications in the Digital Age.” But she noted that Facebook had changed the way people report developments in their love lives to the wider community, creating the ability to instantly send out an update, which, she said, “forces you to make things explicit.” “It can force you to have discussions, or arguments, or decision points,” she added. “When you start dating somebody, you go through the transition, ‘Gee, we are hanging out and having fun,’ you don’t usually make an announcement.””
  • Finding the Global Village through a Twitter Bot [Just TV] – Media scholar Jason Mittell has responded to the misuse of Marshall McLuhan on Twitter by creating a Twitter bot which automatically assails tweets which mention MchLuhan with a famous line from Woody Allen’s Annie Hall. In that scene the real McLuhan confronts a pompous academic who misunderstands McLuhan, responding “You know nothing of my work! You mean my whole fallacy is wrong.” Now the Twitter bot shares that same retort; the Twitter profile points back to a YouTube clip of the scene in question, so anyone getting autotwittered at can share the joke (although not everyone does). Is this comedy, criticism, spam or the new face of the “digital humanities”? 🙂
  • ePub Converter – Online electronic publication converter. Creates .mobi and .epub out of lots of different formats, including Word documents and PDFs.
  • The New York Times vs. Fox News [POLITICO.com] – Damn right: “New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller has become the most prominent media figure so far to blame Fox News for the polarized discourse that has become such a hot topic in the wake of the Tucson shooting. During an interview with Marvin Kalb in at the National Press Club in Washington Monday night, Keller expanded his complaint with Rupert Murdoch beyond the scope of the Wall Street Journal’s newspaper war with the Times, accusing Murdoch of poisoning the American discourse through Fox News. “I think the effect of Fox News on American public life has been to create a level of cynicism about the news in general,” Keller said. “It has contributed to the sense that they are all just out there with a political agenda, but Fox is just more overt about it. And I think that’s unhealthy.””
  • Media Life and Protests in the Arab World [Deuzeblog] – Mark Deuze: “It is safe to say that just about every news organization and technology-blog spends significant time these days engaging with the ongoing protests and turmoil across the Arab world and the role of internet and mobile media in general and Al-Jazeera, Twitter, Facebook, and texting in particular. […] I’m covering this debate in my (work-in-progress) Media Life book, aiming to articulate a position beyond whether ‘media did it’, instead suggesting that lived experience is synonymous with mediated experience, and therefore we cannot experience a revolution or indeed any kind of process of social change outside of media.”

Links for November 19th 2010 through November 24th 2010:

  • Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality [Scientific American] – Inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, in a passionate defense of the open web (and a few pointed jabs at Facebook): “The Web is now more critical to free speech than any other medium. It brings principles established in the U.S. Constitution, the British Magna Carta and other important documents into the network age: freedom from being snooped on, filtered, censored and disconnected. […] If we want to track what government is doing, see what companies are doing, understand the true state of the planet, find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, not to mention easily share our photos with our friends, we the public, the scientific community and the press must make sure the Web’s principles remain intact—not just to preserve what we have gained but to benefit from the great advances that are still to come.”
  • Everything is a Remix – Part 1 [Vimeo] – Kirby Ferguson’s great video about remix, focusing on musical culture and the long history of remix as a core creative process (long before the web).
  • The Attention-Span Myth [NYTimes.com] – A great read: “Whether the Web is making us smarter or dumber, isn’t there something just unconvincing about the idea that an occult “span” in the brain makes certain cultural objects more compelling than others? So a kid loves the drums but can hardly get through a chapter of “The Sun Also Rises”; and another aces algebra tests but can’t even understand how Call of Duty is played. The actions of these children may dismay or please adults, but anyone who has ever been bored by one practice and absorbed by another can explain the kids’ choices more persuasively than does the dominant model, which ignores the content of activities in favor of a wonky span thought vaguely to be in the brain. So how did we find ourselves with this unhappy attention-span conceit, and with the companion idea that a big attention span is humankind’s best moral and aesthetic asset? […] Instead, the problem with the attention-span discourse is that it’s founded on the phantom idea of an attention span.”
  • New Facebook Messaging Continues to Block Some Links [Epicenter | Wired.com] – Facebook’s “not email” email system will block certain links. Definitely not email. “Facebook’s “modern messaging system” may make it convenient to seamlessly move between instant messaging and a Facebook.com e-mail account, but not if you are sharing a link to a file sharing site. Facebook began blocking BitTorrent link-sharing on Facebook walls and news feeds last spring, and also started blocking private messages between users that included a link to torrents on the Pirate Bay. Facebook says that content censorship policy isn’t changing, even as its new Facebook Messages service gives users e-mail accounts and encourages them to communicate even more through Facebook. “We have systems in place to prevent abuse on Facebook and prevent spam which we’ll continue to deploy with the new Messages,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a written statement. “We don’t share specifics on those systems.””
  • Facebook credits go on sale in UK [guardian.co.uk] – This is Facebook’s answer to the app store; watch the money flow! “Online currency, with which Facebook users can purchase pixel-based virtual farm animals or pay to attend virtual events, might seem small beer. But now the online goods economy may be about to boom in the UK, as Tesco and the games retailer Game start selling Facebook credits in more than 1,000 high street stores. The UK’s 33 million Facebook users will be able to buy so-called “Facebook credits” in the non-pixellated world. The gift cards, costing £10 or £20, will only be redeemable on Facebook, where users can spend the converted currency on any number of nonexistent objects. The virtual goods economy, where money is spent on items that only exist on the internet, is expected to exceed £550m for social gaming such as Zynga’s Farmville by the end of this year, according to a recent Inside Virtual Goods report.”

Links for July 29th 2010 through August 2nd 2010:

  • The Way We Live Now – I Tweet, Therefore I Am [NYTimes.com] – Peggy Orensein muses, in a charmingly disarming way, about the threshold between describing ourselves and purposefully constructing and performing ourselves, when using social media. There’s nothing really new in this short column, but, despite evoking Goffman and citing Turkle, the question is asked in a way which most people will probably relate to.
  • Link by Link – WikiLeaks Turns to the News Media to Package the Information [NYTimes.com] – Wikileaks works more closely with traditional news media to make the leaks count: “The four stages of a political movement, as Gandhi told it, were: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” For the whistle-blower Web site WikiLeaks, the release last week of secret field reports on the war in Afghanistan that it obtained from American military sources certainly looked like a victory. Not only did The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel devote hundreds of hours of reporters’ and editors’ time to analyzing and confirming the information in the documents, the three agreed to coordinate publication for last Monday, ensuring there would be blanket news media coverage on at least two continents.”
  • A 21st Century Sherlock [Antenna] – Sean Duncan’s reading of the new BBC Sherlock series (which, from the first episode, at least, looks magnificent): “The Holmes and Watson of the 21st century both engage with modern technology, but unlike Rathbone/Bruce also have their inner thought processes represented in manners that remediate popular media. To be a plausible 21st century Holmes, one must be shown as thinking like a 21st century person, within a network of mobile phones, Internet-enabled devices, and even video games.”
  • MasterChef website racks up 48m page views [TV Tonight] – Biog ratings = TV + web: “MasterChef Australia wasn’t only a hit on air, but a hit online with bumper results for the show’s official website. Page views for the season reached 48 million, an increase of 32 per cent over last year’s numbers, reports The Australian. Video views rose by 44 per cent this year to 13.1 million, according to data from Omniture. There were 233,000 fans on Facebook.”
  • YouTube banned by Russian court [guardian.co.uk] – “Russia’s blogosphere reacted with anger today after a regional court banned YouTube because it carried a single video containing “extremist” content. The court in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in Khabarovsk region in the Russian far east ordered Rosnet, a local internet provider, to block YouTube as well as three online libraries and a website that archives deleted web pages. The regional ban was made because YouTube hosted Russia For Russians, an ultra-nationalist video which was added to the justice ministry’s federal list of banned extremist materials after a separate court decision in Samara region in November. […] The YouTube ruling is likely to be an embarrassment for President Dmitry Medvedev, who recently launched his own channel on the video-sharing site. Other countries that have banned YouTube include China, Pakistan, Turky and Iran.”

Links of interest for November 11th 2008 through November 13th 2008:

  • New York Times: Fake New York Times Declares Iraq War Over! Here’s Who Did It [Gawker] – “The Iraq War is over, according to the fake New York Times! This morning a cadre of volunteers has fanned out across New York City to pass out a remarkably good, faux-copy of the Times dated July 4, 2009. They’ve even set up an entire website with all of the liberal fantasy headlines. Universities to be free! Bike paths to be expanded! Thomas Friedman to resign, praise the Unitarian Jesus! It’s not funny like The Onion, but obviously a lot of work went into this. Now we play “Who did it?”” The Yes Men. Clever parody; very clever indeed …  the cover.
  • Big fuss brews over LittleBigPlanet [The Age] – “LittleBigPlanet is fast firming as one of the biggest game launches this year because players can create and share their own worlds, but Sony’s heavy-handed moderation has many gamers crying foul. A key selling point of the PlayStation 3 game, which was launched in Australia just days ago and has received an average rating of 95 per cent from reviewers, is that people can share their own levels over the PlayStation Network. Some have spent days crafting their ideal custom worlds, including tributes to classic games and characters such as Final Fantasy, Pac-Man, Batman, Sonic The Hedgehog, God Of War, Super Mario Bros and Indiana Jones. Over the past few days, many have found their levels summarily blocked by Sony and LittleBigPlanet’s developers, Media Molecule, because they allegedly breach someone else’s intellectual property.” (Copyright vs creativity in an entirely corporately-owned toy world with brilliant design tools … what could go wrong? :P)
  • Interview @MarsPhoenix – Universe – “For over a year, Veronica McGregor has been Twittering from Mars. Of course, she’s not living among the wind storms and dirt of the red planet herself, but she is the voice of MarsPhoenix, the strangely compelling, first-person, lonely robot Twitter feed that somehow became the official mouthpiece of NASA’s Phoenix mission and has catalyzed an entirely new kind of public involvement in science.”
  • Cloverfield: Mapped [Google Maps] – Blow by blow map of the action in Cloverfield. As you might suspect, the action doesn’t quite make sense if you look at it on a New York map!
  • China issues first definition of Internet addiction [China Daily] – Chinese doctors define what they call “internet addiction”: “Symptoms of addiction included yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. The definition, based on a study of more than 1,300 problematic computer users, classifies as addicts those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one symptom in the past three months.”