Tag Archives: security

Digital Culture Links: April 11th

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.”"

Digital Culture Links: January 25th

Links for January 25th:

  • MEGAUPLOAD (by Dan Bull) – Independent artist Dan Bull raps about the harm shutting down MegaUpload has done to smaller artists. In the name of protecting the intellectual property of Hollywood and the MPAA, it seems that smaller artists who rely on cyberlockers like MegaUpload have found their means of distribution erased without noticed or recourse to protest.
  • Star Wars crowdsourced film reaches million YouTube views [BBC News] – “A “directors cut” of a fan-made version of Star Wars has passed one million views on YouTube. The film, uploaded on 18 January, is made up of hundreds of 15-second scenes created by internet users. The Star Wars Uncut project is widely regarded as an example of the power of crowdsourcing. Ramon Youseph, of the Crowdsourcing Gazette blog, told the BBC it showed “the power of the web to engage people in a global collaborative effort”. The website starwarsuncut.com began asking for fan-made scenes in 2009. It went on to win an interactive media Emmy in 2010.”
  • EU proposes ‘right to be forgotten’ by internet firms [BBC News] – A new law promising internet users the “right to be forgotten” will be proposed by the European Commission on Wednesday. It says people will be able to ask for data about them to be deleted and firms will have to comply unless there are “legitimate” grounds to retain it. [...] A spokesman for the commissioner clarified that the action was designed to help teenagers and young adults manage their online reputations. “These rules are particularly aimed at young people as they are not always as aware as they could be about the consequence of putting photos and other information on social network websites, or about the various privacy settings available,” said Matthew Newman. He noted that this could cause problems later if the users had no way of deleting embarrassing material when applying for jobs. However, he stressed that it would not give them the right to ask for material such as their police or medical records to be deleted.”
  • 60 hours per minute and 4 billion views a day on YouTube [YouTube Blog] – “Since the dawn of YouTube, we’ve been sharing the hours of video you upload every minute. In 2007 we started at six hours, then in 2010 we were at 24 hours, then 35, then 48, and now…60 hours of video every minute, an increase of more than 30 percent in the last eight months. In other words, you’re uploading one hour of video to YouTube every second.”
  • How Parents Normalized Teen Password Sharing [danah boyd | apophenia] – Interesting insights from danah boyd regarding teens sharing passwords to social media services with each other. It’s all about trust, and that’s something learnt at home since parents ask kids to trust them and let parents look after (or at least know) their passwords in the early years (normally): “When teens share their passwords with friends or significant others, they regularly employ the language of trust, as Richtel noted in his story. Teens are drawing on experiences they’ve had in the home and shifting them into their peer groups in order to understand how their relationships make sense in a broader context. This shouldn’t be surprising to anyone because this is all-too-common for teen practices. Household norms shape peer norms.”
  • Defend our freedom to share (or why SOPA is a bad idea) [YouTube] – A great talk from Clay Shirky explaining the history, context and potential impact of the US SOPA and PIPA bills which seek to radically censor the internet in the name of stopping “piracy”. Important to listen to since, as Shirky argues, there’s no doubt more of the same just around the corner.

Digital Culture Links: January 21st

Links for January 21st:

  • iBooks Textbooks for iPad [Apple - Education] – Apple jumps into the textbook market, with impressive pricing and engaging looking media-rich books which, of course, rely on students already owning an iPad. However, with a proprietary book creation tool, iBooks and a supposedly course-encompassing tool iTunes U which reduces education to content provision, at the very least Apple’s latest entry into education will need to be carefully contextualised and managed by educators. Kathleen Fitzpatrick highlights some other important concerns, too.
  • US prosecutors shut down one of world’s largest file-sharing sites, Megaupload [The Washington Post] – “One of the world’s largest file-sharing sites was shut down Thursday, and its founder and several company executives were charged with violating piracy laws, federal prosecutors said. An indictment accuses Megaupload.com of costing copyright holders more than $500 million in lost revenue from pirated films and other content. The indictment was unsealed one day after websites including Wikipedia and Craigslist shut down in protest of two congressional proposals intended to thwart online piracy. The Justice Department said in a statement said that Kim Dotcom, formerly known as Kim Schmitz, and three others were arrested Thursday in New Zealand at the request of U.S. officials. Two other defendants are at large. Megaupload was unique not only because of its massive size and the volume of downloaded content, but also because it had high-profile support from celebrities, musicians and other content producers who are most often the victims of copyright infringement and piracy.”
  • Eastman Kodak files for bankruptcy protection [BBC News] – “Eastman Kodak, the company that invented the hand-held camera, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The move gives the company time to reorganise itself without facing its creditors, and Kodak said that it would mean business as normal for customers. The company has recently moved away from cameras to refocus on making printers, to stem falling profits. The 133-year-old firm has struggled to keep up with competitors who were quicker to adapt to the digital era. “Kodak made all its money from selling film, then the digital camera came along and now no-ones buying film. It’s not like they didn’t see it coming. Kodak hesitated because they didn’t want to eviscerate their business,” said Rupert Goodwins, editor of technology website ZDNet.” For visuals, see [The Guardian's Kodachrome Photo Retrospective]
  • Teenagers Sharing Passwords as Show of Affection [NYTimes.com] – “Young couples have long signaled their devotion to each other by various means — the gift of a letterman jacket, or an exchange of class rings or ID bracelets. Best friends share locker combinations. The digital era has given rise to a more intimate custom. It has become fashionable for young people to express their affection for each other by sharing their passwords to e-mail, Facebook and other accounts. Boyfriends and girlfriends sometimes even create identical passwords, and let each other read their private e-mails and texts. They say they know such digital entanglements are risky, because a souring relationship can lead to people using online secrets against each other. But that, they say, is part of what makes the symbolism of the shared password so powerful.”
  • Facebook: Making Your Political Opinions Less Private Since 2012 [Blog of Rights: Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union] – “Facebook announced yesterday that “every post and comment — both public and private — by a U.S. user that mentions a presidential candidate’s name will be fed through a sentiment analysis tool that spits out anonymized measures of the general U.S. Facebook population.” This analysis, along with reader polls and other information, will in turn be shared with politico.com. The brief announcement of this new feature raises serious questions and offers few answers. Most troubling is Facebook’s willingness to search and collect users’ private political preferences and thoughts, preferences they may have shared only with their closest friend in a private email. This raises at least three concerns. The first is that many users may not want to be part of any “sentiment analysis” or poll …”

Digital Culture Links: October 17th 2011

Links for October 5th 2011 through October 17th 2011 (catching up on a backlog of good links!):

  • New YouTube features for music artists [YouTube Blog] – YouTube gets even further on the disintermediation bandwagon (ie cutting out the middle people), letting bands and music partners offer merchandising, concert tickets and link to digital sales (including iTunes) from their music videos. It’s all about the integration!
  • Amazon Rewrites the Rules of Book Publishing [NYTimes.com] – “Amazon.com has taught readers that they do not need bookstores. Now it is encouraging writers to cast aside their publishers. Amazon will publish 122 books this fall in an array of genres, in both physical and e-book form. It is a striking acceleration of the retailer’s fledging publishing program that will place Amazon squarely in competition with the New York houses that are also its most prominent suppliers. It has set up a flagship line run by a publishing veteran, Laurence Kirshbaum, to bring out brand-name fiction and nonfiction. It signed its first deal with the self-help author Tim Ferriss. Last week it announced a memoir by the actress and director Penny Marshall, for which it paid $800,000, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said. Publishers say Amazon is aggressively wooing some of their top authors. And the company is gnawing away at the services that publishers, critics and agents used to provide.”
  • Buyers dodge court’s Samsung tablet ban [The Age] – Surprising no one: “Australians are making a mockery of a Federal Court injunction banning the sale of Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablets in Australia by ordering them from online stores. Meanwhile, in the US, Samsung’s own lawyers were left red-faced after being unable to differentiate between Samsung’s and Apple’s tablets in court. Samsung has been forbidden by Federal Court Justice Annabelle Bennett from selling or marketing the device in Australia until a full hearing in its patent infringement case with Apple, which isn’t expected to take place until next year. Justice Bennett said Apple had a prima facie case that Samsung infringed two of its patents. But online sellers on eBay, and web stores such as MobiCity.com.au, Expansys, Techrific and dMavo, are bypassing Samsung Australia and obtaining stock from other countries, such as Hong Kong.”
  • Google Announces Third Quarter 2011 Financial Results (GooglePlus = 40 million+) [Google Investor Relations] – In their third quarter financial resuts, Larry Page announces that Goole+ has passed 40 million users.
  • Lady Gaga bans Lady Goo Goo song [BBC News] – Given Lady Gaga’s rhetoric about respecting her fans ignoring (her) copyright and that this effort seems like parody to me, I’ll be interested to see how this is justified: “Lady Gaga has won an injunction at London’s High Court to stop animated character Lady Goo Goo from releasing a single, its makers have said. Lady Goo Goo, a baby with a long blonde fringe from the Moshi Monsters online game – owned by UK firm Mind Candy – released The Moshi Dance on YouTube. But Lady Gaga’s injunction has stopped its full release, Mind Candy said. Law firm Mishcon de Reya confirmed it had represented Lady Gaga but said it could not comment further.”
  • A fall sweep [Official Google Blog] – Google is killing off a number of poorly performing products. Google Buzz is the most notable closure. Hopefully Google learnt a lot from Buzz, especially about privacy.
  • Felicia Day turns to Hangouts to promote new show [NewTeeVee - Online Video News] – “Web series veteran Felicia Day will promote her new online show Dragon Age: Redemption with a unique twist on Google+ Hangouts: The actress will be experimenting with something she dubbed Hangout Housecalls this coming Tuesday. Day is promising to visit as many Hangouts of her fans within a three-hour window as possible. She announced the house calls on Google+, where she explained: I’ll answer questions about the show and we can even pose for a photo that you can screencap and post later! Cool? Cool. The Dragon Age: Redemption house calls will kick off with a post on Day’s Google+ profile on Tuesday at 10 a.m. PST that will ask viewers to post links to their Hangouts in the comments. Day will then click through those links, visiting one Hangout after another.”
  • The Guild turns product placement into merchandising gold [NewTeeVee - Online Video News] – Good wrap-up of the many, many different types of merchandise now available surrounding Felicia Day’s web series The Guild. Also interesting are both the careful deals – finding merchandise options which don’t threaten existing sponsorship from Microsoft and Sprint – but also how a lot of merchandise was strategically linked to Comic Conventions so that, eventually, they could be integrated into Season Five of The Guild which is largely set at a con. Day really is a canny business person and shows how far a recognisable web series can the deployed to make money across a wide range of products and tie-ins.
  • 200 million Creative Commons photos and counting! [Flickr Blog] – Flickr users have now explicitly licensed and shared over 200 million photos using Creative Commons licenses. This is a fantastic and valuable resource. However, given there are more than 5 billion photos on Flickr, surely there could be more under CC licenses if the world was really spread? After all, being able to specify your license is one of the key things that Facebook really can’t do right now/
  • Barcode Scanner for Zotero [Android App] – Android barcode scanning app for Zotero. If the barcode links to a book metadata, you can automatically add it to your Zotero library. “Scanner For Zotero brings Zotero’s magic wand tool out into the physical world. Scan the ISBN barcode on any book, and Scanner For Zotero will fetch that item’s bibliographic info from the web and allow you to add it to your Zotero library.That’s pretty cool.”
  • Facebook’s privacy lie: Aussie exposes ‘tracking’ as new patent uncovered [The Age] – “Facebook has been caught telling porkies by an Australian technologist whose revelations that the site tracks its 800 million users even when they are logged out have embroiled Facebook in a global public policy – and legal – nightmare. Facebook’s assurances that “we have no interest in tracking people” have been laid bare by a new Facebook patent, dated this month, that describes a method “for tracking information about the activities of users of a social networking system while on another domain”.”

Digital Culture Links: March 1st 2011

Links for March 1st 2011:

  • Should an employer ever require your social media passwords as an employment condition? [eGov AU] – “At least one state agency in the US, Maryland Division of Correction, recently started requiring employees to provide their personal Facebook password and allow their employer to scrutinise their account as a condition of continued employment. Apparently this request wasn’t illegal – although it breaches Facebook’s usage policy (which could mean the employee loses their account). The rationale given by the employer was that they needed to review the contents of the account as part of the employment contract. A video of one staff member asked to provide his personal Facebook password is below. [...] A number of law enforcement agencies have also apparently begun requesting this information as part of their recruitment process, as reported by USANow in the article, Police recruits screened for digital dirt on Facebook, etc. [...] Should employers be allowed to request your passwords?” My answer: absolutely not!
  • Your view from the #Oscars stage [Twitter Media] – “The 83rd Annual Academy Awards captured the country’s attention on Sunday night, but ABC’s cameras didn’t provide the only view. This year’s show was a new kind of 360-degree event, with:
    * a camera-snapping, live-tweeting host;
    * an official hashtag on air; and
    * a big, sustained second-screen conversation on Twitter.
    First: whatever you thought of his hosting, there’s no question that James Franco broke new ground with his tweeting. [...] And all together, that represents a brand-new kind of event experience: one where viewers get to experience it from every vantage point, from even the stage itself. And the experience went both ways, because Franco got to hear what the viewers at home were saying, too; his account was mentioned 63,737 times during the show. Second: an official #oscars hashtag appeared on air twice—once near the beginning of the telecast and again near the end: Now, we know that when a hashtag shows up on TV, it causes a surge of Tweets.”
  • Auto-Tune the News Rocks the Oscars: Online Video News [NewTeeVee] – “I’m probably not the only one who was ready to fall asleep halfway through the show during last night’s Oscars telecast, but then it happened: Anne Hathaway and James Franco joked slightly awkwardly about this being “the year of the movie musical,” only to wake up the audience with an awesome auto-tune mash-up, featuring Harry Potter pals Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Woody from the Toy Story franchise, Justin Timberlake playing Sean Parker and Twilight’s Edward, Jacob and Bella. [...] The video wasn’t just a tribute to the YouTube auto-tune mash-up phenomenon, though; it was actually produced by none other than the Gregory Brothers, best known for Auto-Tune the News and their Songify This videos. Asked about the collaboration, Evan Gregory told me via email: “The producers of the broadcast reached out to us and asked us to do a piece. Then we collaborated with them over a period of several weeks to pull it together.””
  • 5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 years [Dan Schawbel - Personal Branding - Forbes] – While I don’t agree with all of these points, it is a useful indicator of how central web presence will be in terms of employment now and even more so in the future:
    “5 reasons why your online presence will replace your resume:
    1. Social networking use is skyrocketing while email is plummeting
    2. You can’t find jobs traditionally anymore
    3. People are managing their careers as entrepreneurs
    4. The traditional resume is now virtual and easy to build
    5. Job seeker passion has become the deciding factor in employment”
  • Gmail back soon for everyone [Official Gmail Blog] – Apparently it was “0.02%” of gmail accounts that were temporarily deleted – still tens of thousands of accounts. Google sound confident all data will be back, soon, but that’s an awfully big scare, especially given how stable and reliable Gmail has appeared in the past compared to other cloud email services (yes, Hotmail, I’m looking at you!).
  • Many Gmail Users Can’t Find Their Messages [Google OS] – Woah: Google has (accidentally?) deleted “0.08%” of all gmail accounts. That must be hundreds or thousands of accounts! While I love Gmail, it’s this sort of accident that reminds us all how precarious data in the cloud can be. Google are in the process of restoring these accounts, but even a few days with none of your email or email account would cause real challenges for most people! (Actually the BBC note that this might mean up to 150,000 Gmail accounts!!)
  • iiNet again slays Hollywood in landmark piracy case [The Age] – “The giants of the film industry have lost their appeal in a lawsuit against [Australian] ISP iiNet in a landmark judgment handed down in the Federal Court today. The appeal dismissed today had the potential to impact internet users and the internet industry profoundly as it sets a legal precedent surrounding how much ISPs are required to do to prevent customers from downloading movies and other content illegally. The film studios had sued iiNet arguing that, by not acting to prevent illegal file sharing on its network, it was essentially “authorising” the activity. “I have concluded that the appeal should be dismissed,” Justice Arthur Robert Emmett said in court this afternoon…”
  • Filmed on a phone, spy movie takes out junior Tropfest award [WA Today] – Tropfest under-15 winner shot the whole film on an iPhone: “Simeon Bain cites the 2010 blockbuster Inception as the motivation for his own film, for which he won the Tropfest film festival’s Trop Jr prize this year. Like Inception, Simeon’s film, Imagine, follows the story of a skilled spy, but that is where the similarities end. Simeon’s film was much cheaper, costing $70 to make over three days, and being shot entirely with a mobile phone. ”I was between cameras,” Simeon, from Gisborne, said. ”I was on the verge of getting a new one, and my old camera just wasn’t good enough, so I decided to use my iPhone instead. Filming with a phone has its benefits, because it requires very little set up and it’s highly portable.””
  • What is ‘The Streisand Effect’? [YouTube] – Quirky little video which actually explains the Streisand Effect very clear (short version: attempts to censor information online often lead to that information becoming a lot more popular and viewed!).
  • Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings Every User Needs to Know [Mashable] – Useful list of privacy settings every Facebook user should be aware of.
  • How Angry Birds really took off: 200m minutes a day spent playing it [SMH] – Fluffy article on the development of Angry Birds, but it does highlight the importance of the Apple App Store as a reliable single portal for developers: “Rovio needed a solution and the iPhone provided one. After the phone’s launch in 2007, Rovio realised that their industry was about to change completely. For the first time, users from all over the world would be able to download games from the same place: Apple’s online App Store. So a manufacturer only had to produce one version of a game, reducing costs dramatically.”

Digital Culture Links: November 9th 2010

Links for November 7th 2010 through November 9th 2010:

  • Risk Reduction Strategies on Facebook [danah boyd | apophenia] – Fascinating look at certain teen uses of Facebook, including those who deactiviate their profile every time they log out (preventing unwanted uses/interactions when the user isn’t “there”) and others who continually delete all FB traces, using the platform to engage in the ‘now’ but erase the ‘then’. The most interesting insight: “For the longest time, scholars have talked about online profiles as digital bodies that are left behind to do work while the agent themselves is absent. In many ways, deactivation is a way of not letting the digital body stick around when the person is not present.”
  • Google Maps Mistake: Nicaragua Accused Of Invading Costa Rica [WA Today] – Surely no army can really be relying purely on Google Maps data?!? “A Google Maps error is being blamed for Nicaraguan troops accidentally invading Costa Rica last week. The troops have been accused of crossing the hotly disputed Nicaragua border into Costa Rica and setting up camp for the night after taking down a Costa Rican flag and raising the Nicaraguan flag. But their commander, Eden Pastora, told Costa Rica’s largest newspaper, La Nacion, that Google Maps was used to justify the incursion. Nicaraguan government officials have also blamed a “bug in Google” for the error. [...] In a blog post at the weekend, Google geopolicy analyst Charlie Hale confirmed the error, which misplaced the border between the two countries. The error lies in Google’s depiction of the border in part of the Caribbean coast, near the San Juan River, the centre of the dispute between Costa Rica and Nicaragua that arose over the latter’s dredging of a river separating the two countries.”
  • Politicians Caught in the Web in Past Images [NYTimes.com] – A new generation of politicians have long digital shadows: “With the ubiquity of technology and social networking Web sites like Facebook that allow — and compel — young people to document themselves drinking, wearing little clothing or putting themselves in otherwise compromised positions, it was a given that a generation of politicians would someday find themselves confronted with digital evidence of their more immodest and imprudent moments. But who knew it would happen this quickly? Politics today is rife with examples of candidates having to explain why they were posing shirtless for pictures poolside with a skimpily clad woman (Representative Aaron Schock of Illinois), simulating sex acts on a toy (the Congressional candidate Krystal Ball of Virginia), or carousing on Halloween night dressed as a ladybug (the Senate candidate Christine O’Donnell of Delaware).”
  • Google bars data from Facebook as rivalry heats up [Reuters] – Clash of the titans: “Google Inc will begin blocking Facebook and other Web services from accessing its users’ information, highlighting an intensifying rivalry between the two Internet giants. Google will no longer let other services automatically import its users’ email contact data for their own purposes, unless the information flows both ways. It accused Facebook in particular of siphoning up Google contact data, without allowing for the automatic import and export of Facebook users’ information. Facebook, with more than 500 million users, relies on email services such as Google’s Gmail to help new users find friends already on the network. When a person joins, they are asked to import their Gmail contact list into the social network service. Facebook then tells the user which email contacts are also on the social network. In a statement, Google said websites such as Facebook “leave users in a data dead end.” Facebook did not immediately provide a comment on Friday.”

Digital Culture Links: October 18th 2010

Links for October 13th 2010 through October 18th 2010:

  • Facebook in Online Privacy Breach; Applications Transmitting Identifying Information [WSJ.com] – *sigh* “Many of the most popular applications, or “apps,” on the social-networking site Facebook Inc. have been transmitting identifying information—in effect, providing access to people’s names and, in some cases, their friends’ names—to dozens of advertising and Internet tracking companies, a Wall Street Journal investigation has found. The issue affects tens of millions of Facebook app users, including people who set their profiles to Facebook’s strictest privacy settings. The practice breaks Facebook’s rules, and renews questions about its ability to keep identifiable information about its users’ activities secure. [...] The Journal found that all of the 10 most popular apps on Facebook were transmitting users’ IDs to outside companies. [...] include Zynga Game Network Inc.’s FarmVille, with 59 million users, and Texas HoldEm Poker and FrontierVille. Three of the top 10 apps, including FarmVille, also have been transmitting personal information about a user’s friends to outside companies”
  • Apple stores teeming with germs [WA Today] – Finally, viruses come to Apple! :P “A leading Australian expert in infectious diseases says people who use display iPads and iPhones at Apple stores are risking serious infections and the company should do more to maintain hygiene. The call by Professor Peter Collignon, the director of infectious diseases and microbiology at the Australian National University, follows research that found a higher risk of transmitting pathogens from glass surfaces like iPads to human skin. “You wouldn’t have hundreds of people using the same glass or cup, but theoretically if hundreds of people share the same keyboard or touch pad, then effectively that’s what you’re doing,” Collignon said in a phone interview.”
  • Facebook and Microsoft Team Up on Social Search [NYTimes.com] – Searching your social graph? “Bing just got a little more help from its friend, Facebook. On Wednesday, Microsoft announced that Facebook users would be able to see recommendations and relevant links from their friends in search results on Bing. “It isn’t just about the common connections between data and the offline world, it’s about the connections between people,” said Yusuf Mehdi, a senior vice president of online business at Microsoft, during an event held at Microsoft’s campus in Mountain View, Calif. Mr. Mehdi gave the example of a Bing user trying to decide whether or not to see the science fiction film “Inception.” When a user searches for the film on Bing, information about how many of their friends “liked” the movie on Facebook and relevant links they have shared will appear alongside reviews, ticketing information and movie show times, he said. [...] Facebook and Microsoft are increasingly deepening ties, perhaps in an effort to better fend off a common adversary, Google”
  • Unlogo – Nifty! “Unlogo is a web service that eliminates logos and other corporate signage from videos. On a practical level, it takes back your personal media from the corporations and advertisers. On a technical level, it is a really cool combination of some brand new OpenCV and FFMPEG functionality. On a poetic level, it is a tool for focusing on what is important in the record of your life rather than the ubiquitous messages that advertisers want you to focus on. In short, Unlogo gives people the opportunity to opt out of having corporate messages permanently imprinted into the photographic record of their lives.” [Video: http://vimeo.com/14566198]
  • Facebook keeps ‘deleted’ user photos for years [WA Today] – “Even if you delete incriminating photos on your Facebook profile, the company is keeping them accessible to anyone online for up to 30 months. The social networking site admitted it had been keeping deleted photos for a “limited” amount of time. But users who have kept the direct link to photos that were originally uploaded to the social networking site have been able to still gain access to them months, even years after deletion. In one report, a Facebook user said they had deleted an image from the site 2.5 years ago (30 months), and that it was still available to see on the site. Another said a photo from April 2009 was still accessible after it was deleted.”
  • Baby Born From 20-Year-Old Frozen Embryo [io9] – “Cryopreservation was once the domain of sci-fi novels and B-rate movies. (Think Encino Man.) But it’s increasingly real, as the recent birth of a healthy boy from a frozen embryo created 20 years earlier shows. The birth, which is reported in a study in the online edition of the journal Fertility and Sterility, sets a record. Until now, no embryo frozen for this long has resulted in a live birth. The 42-year-old mother of the boy, who is not named in the study, began trying to get pregnant using IVF ten years ago. At the time, she and her husband received embryos from a heterosexual couple who had themselves undergone IVF. That couple had anonymously donated their leftover embryos after the woman successfully gave birth. Thing was, they did so in 1990 …”
  • Half of second-hand mobile phones contain personal data [SMH] – “Consumers are unwittingly passing much of their most private personal data to strangers when they discard mobile phones, with intimate photos and credit card numbers and pins frequently left on handsets, according to new research. An analysis of 50 handsets bought from second-hand resellers on eBay found that more than half contained personal messages or photos, according to exclusive research from the mobile and forensics experts Disklabs. More than 60 per cent still contained phone numbers left on a call log. A number were sold with pornographic material still on the phone. [...] Personal security information, including home address, credit card numbers and pin numbers, was on 26 of the handsets.”

Digital Culture Links: September 23rd 2010

Links for September 22nd 2010 through September 23rd 2010:

  • Zotero Everywhere [Zotero Blog] – The big announcement from Zotero is that the reference management system is growing up from a Firefox-specific plugin to plugins for many browsers and even more importantly, a stand-alone desktop application. That’s the death of Endnote you can hear! The announcement: “Today we are announcing support for Google Chrome, Apple Safari, and Microsoft Internet Explorer, which account for 98% of the web’s usage share. Plugins for these browsers will soon allow users to add anything they find on the web to their Zotero libraries with a single click, regardless of the their browser preferences. Rather than use the Zotero pane in Firefox, users will have the new option of accessing their libraries via a standalone desktop version of Zotero, available for Mac, Windows, and Linux.”
  • Google’s Chief Defends His Privacy Comment — or Joke [NYTimes.com] – In an interesting on his infamous comment that teens should be able to change their names when they become legal adults in order to escape their online histories, Google CEO Eric Schmidt told The Colbert Report that then comment was intended as a joke and his intention was simply to emphasise the fact that once something is online it’s potentially there forever. This is either a very clever sidestep by Schmidt to get around one of this most legendary gaffs, or the slowest retraction ever not-quite-issued. See the video:
    The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
    Eric Schmidt
    www.colbertnation.com
    Colbert Report Full Episodes 2010 Election Fox News
  • Announcement: Dissertation, “Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Self-Branding in Web 2.0,” now available [tiara.org] – Alice Marwick has generously shared her 2010 Ph D dissertation, “Status Update: Celebrity, Publicity, and Self-Branding in Web 2.0.” under a Creative Commons (CC BY NC ND) license (PDF link). This is a must-read for those interested in social media, the way Web 2.0 is used (Marwick does a great job contextualising the term) and obviously social media more broadly. (Strongly recommended for Web 101 and Web 207 students.)
  • A Better Games Experience [Facebook] – Facebook moves to reduce the number of people annoyed by social game feeds in their news, while making the game news more central for social/casual gamers: “Previously, you’ve had the ability to hide an application story, or block it completely. Now, we’re putting changes in place so game stories only post to your feed if you’re playing them. This means people who play games can post stories to their Wall without worrying about overwhelming their friends who aren’t playing, and people who don’t play games won’t see irrelevant stories in their feed for which they have no context.”
  • Twitter patches hole after cyber attack [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Twitter has fixed a security flaw on its popular social media website after a cyber attack sent some users to Japanese porn websites. [...] It said no user information was compromised. A tweet from Twitter’s safety chief said the attack had been “fully patched” and that hackers could no longer exploit the flaw. “We don’t believe any user info was compromised,” the tweet said. Twitter’s website was hijacked by users who exploited a security flaw that allowed messages to pop up and third-party websites to open when a user moved their mouse over a link, security technology company Sophos said. Sophos, which has no formal business relationship with Twitter, says the messages spread without users’ consent.” Twitter’s Official Response

Digital Culture Links: September 21st 2010

Links for September 16th 2010 through September 21st 2010:

  • Mobile phones are now our net tool of choice [News.com.au] – “The mobile phone, which not long ago was mainly for talking and texting, is now replacing the PC as the preferred way to surf the internet. A report shows half of users in their 30s accessed the web using their mobile device while at work or at home even though they had access to a computer. The behaviour comes as a result of the thriving smartphone market which was energised by the release of the iPhone more than two years ago. Christena Singh, author of the Sensis e-Business Report, said mobile internet use has become mainstream with use common across a wide age range. [...] The most popular information accessed on mobile devices are maps and directions (67 per cent), the weather (64 per cent), news sites (59 per cent), social networking sites (56 per cent) and sports results (46 per cent).” [PDF of Sensis e-Business Report]
  • Downloads grow by 50% [The Age] – “Australia’s appetite for the internet continues to grow and the number of wireless internet connections has soared in the last year, a study has found. A report released yesterday by the Bureau of Statistics shows the amount of data downloaded in the June 2010 quarter increased by more than 50 per cent compared to the same period a year earlier. In the same period, the number of wireless broadband connections increased by 70 per cent to nearly 3.5 million, while the number of fixed-line broadband connections rose slightly to 4.2 million.”
  • Old Spice manufacturer ignores a smellers’ market [The Australian] – A slightly odd article which celebrates the US-created and focused 2010 viral Old Spice videos and campaign and the knock-on effect on Old Spice branded products (which have increased sales dramatically), but then complains not enough Old Spice products are actually sold in Australia. Certainly the global reach of YouTube as a viral advertising is worth noting, and I guess the Australia’s national newspaper is complaining that there aren’t enough Old Spice products in Australia on the back of the campaign’s success, that’s an even stronger testimony. (Or a waste of ink: you decide.)
  • A Baby Photo Becomes an Internet Meme [NYTimes.com] – “Sometime back in 2000, Allen S. Rout, a systems programmer from Gainesville, Fla., posted a few photos of his 5-month-old son, Stephen, on his personal Web site. They were the kind of photos that every parent takes, but one in particular stood out: Stephen wearing a pair of red overalls, smiling in a crib. “We’re really blessed,” Mr. Rout wrote as the caption. “Stephen is an amazingly happy baby.” The photo had faded from memory until last July, when Mr. Rout, curious about his online reputation, did a Google search of himself. Deep within the results pages, he found the picture of Stephen. Only, it wasn’t exactly the same picture. He was surrounded by cartoonish word bubbles filled with Japanese writing: “Don’t call me baby!” they read. “Call me Mr. Baby!” And there were other images in which the photo was transformed further…” [More on this here at Know Your Meme]
  • The Future of Television [YouTube] – Nice little video summary of television’s emergence, early history and where it might be going tomorrow. (Useful for Web Media 207.)
  • Internet Founder Tim Berners-Lee Details 4 Concerns About Future of Mobile Web (Nokia World 2010) ]RWW] – In a keynote at Nokia World 2010 in London, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, celebrated the emerging mobile web, but also noted four major challenges ahead: (1) Privacy – matching what smartphones etc can do/share with current needs and ideas about privacy will prove difficult; (2) Accountability – ensuring companies that collect data from mobile web users are transparent; (3) Neutrality – even the mobile web must be neutral, with no variation in charges for different types/tiers of data; and (4) the biggest challenge is still assisting the 80% of the global population who aren’t even online yet, let alone mobile web users.
  • Engineer’s Privacy Breach Raises Questions For Google [International Business Times] – The challenges of trusting the cloud, whoever happens to be running that part of it (even Google): “A significant privacy breach from a Google engineer has web privacy experts questioning the Mountain View, Calif. company’s control system and transparency methods. David Barksdale, a 27-year-old engineer who worked in Google’s Seattle office, leveraged his role as a member of an elite technical group to access private data about minors. Google fired Barksdale after getting complaints from the minor’s parents. [...] For web privacy experts, the Barksdale incident is a huge red flag. Furthermore, Google reportedly told TechCrunch it was not the first time one of its engineers was fired for a privacy breach. Even though these are largely isolated incidents for a 10-year-old company with approximately 20,000 employees, it does signify some within the company has access to people’s critical, private data. What they do with it, is up to them.”

Digital Culture Links: July 2nd 2010

Links for July 2nd 2010:

  • Google to Add Pay to Cover a Tax for Same-Sex Benefits [NYTimes.com] – On this front, at least, Google have got their ‘Don’t be Evil’ stance right: “On Thursday, Google is going to begin covering a cost that gay and lesbian employees must pay when their partners receive domestic partner health benefits, largely to compensate them for an extra tax that heterosexual married couples do not pay. The increase will be retroactive to the beginning of the year. “It’s a fairly cutting edge thing to do,” said Todd A. Solomon, a partner in the employee benefits department of McDermott Will & Emery, a law firm in Chicago, and author of “Domestic Partner Benefits: An Employer’s Guide.” Google is not the first company to make up for the extra tax. At least a few large employers already do. But benefits experts say Google’s move could inspire its Silicon Valley competitors to follow suit, because they compete for the same talent.”
  • Don’t buy The Australian iPad app [Refined Geek - Blog] – A detailed look at the shortcomings of The Australian’s iPad application (almost all text is presented as images, for example, which is silly to start with …)
  • [Media] Cognitive surplus, the soma of television and being on Newsnight with Clay Shirky [Aleks Krotoski] – Aleks Krotoski outlines her disagreements with Clay Shirky’s ‘cognitive surplus’ argument: basically, she suggests Shirky makes too sweeping an argument, which encompasses too many people, and devalues the participatory nature of earlier media forms, especially television, in ways less visible to contemporary social media forms.
  • Foursquare Puts Money Before Privacy [Threat Level | Wired.com] – Foursquare demonstrates they really don’t care about users’ privacy, when they take a long time to fix one privacy flaw, fail to fix two more, don’t disclose any of this to users, and spend most of their energies pursuing more funding.
  • Apple introduces iHand: the right way to hold your iPhone [Scoopertino] – Yes, it’s a parody: “Responding to complaints that the new iPhone 4 loses signal when held by a human hand, Apple today launched iHand — a synthetic appendage that makes it easy for anyone to “get a grip” on iPhone and remain connected. iHand is so easy to use, it doesn’t require a manual. Simply insert iPhone 4 into iHand’s adjustable fingers, raise it to your ear and start talking. With iHand, you get all the functionality of the human hand, without the signal-sucking biology that encumbers most iPhone owners.”