Happy New Year! Links for December 21st through January 1st:

  • My New Year Wish [Neil Gaiman’s Journal:] – As New Years wishes go, I think Neil Gaiman wins this year: “I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something. So that’s my wish for you, and all of us, and my wish for myself. Make New Mistakes. Make glorious, amazing mistakes. Make mistakes nobody’s ever made before. Don’t freeze, don’t stop, don’t worry that it isn’t good enough, or it isn’t perfect, whatever it is: art, or love, or work or family or life. Whatever it is you’re scared of doing, Do it. Make your mistakes, next year and forever.”
  • Henchminion Sends In the Tale of “The Magna Carta Essay!” [College Misery] – In 2005 a frustrated US college professor wrote a fake essay about the Magna Carta – filled with notable errors, jokes and almost no substance – and posted it online to several notable paper mills and plagiarism websites. Six years later it’s still out there and still being quoted. A notable tale for would-be undergraduates cutting corners with their research and citation!
  • Marvel’s lawyers get into fanboy flamewar with IRS about human-status of its mutants [Boing Boing] – Marvel’s lawyers argue that the X-Men aren’t human for tax purposes. Of course, this undermines almost 50 years of the X-Men as repressed and misunderstood humanity. Looks like the lawyers are running Marvel!
  • Doctor Who Meets Star Wars Episode I – The Prequel Menace [Mashup] – Extremely silly, but made with so much love and affection that it’s well worth 6 minutes of your time! :)
  • ‘Doctor Who’ Tops ‘Modern Family’ as iTunes Best-Seller of 2011 [Anglophenia | BBC America] – “Never underestimate the power of Whovians. That loyal fan base has lifted Doctor Who to the very top of iTunes’ list of most downloaded full TV seasons of 2011! Yes, more than any other show on TV. Can I get a Woo-Who? That means Doctor Who beat ABC’s hit, Emmy-winning sitcom Modern Family (No. 2), Dexter (No. 3), Breaking Bad (No. 4), and True Blood (No. 5) in downloads. Just behind them at No. 6 is BBC America’s Top Gear. Here’s the full top 10 via The Hollywood Reporter:
    TOP-SELLING SEASONS:
    1. Doctor Who
    2. Modern Family
    3. Dexter
    4. Breaking Bad
    5. True Blood
    6. Top Gear
    7. Glee
    8. Entourage
    9. Archer
    10. The Walking Dead”
  • Company sues ex-employee for his Twitter followers [The Guardian] – “A Twitter user is being sued for £217,000 by his former employer for taking his online followers with him when he switched jobs. Noah Kravitz, a writer from Oakland, California, amassed 17,000 followers on the social networking site when he worked for PhoneDog, a website providing news and reviews about mobile phones. He posted Twitter messages under the name @Phonedog_Noah, but in October 2010 he left the company, renamed his account @noahkravitz and took his following with him. PhoneDog has launched legal proceedings seeking damages of $2.50 a month per follower for eight months, for a total of $340,000. The company is arguing that Kravitz’s list of followers constitutes a customer database and the valuation is an estimate of how much each follower is worth to the company.”
  • ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ Pirate Sentenced to One Year in Prison [ComicsAlliance] – “A man who’s confessed to uploading an early cut of X-Men Origins: Wolverine to the Internet a month before the film was to debut in cinemas has been sentenced to a year in federal prison. Deadline reports that 49-year-old Gilberto Sanchez pleaded guilty in March to one count of “uploading a copyrighted work being prepared for commercial distribution,” a charge which United States District Judge Margaret M. Morrow described as “extremely serious.” The early leaking of the DVD-quality workprint of Wolverine created quite a commotion back in 2009. The pirated cut was downloaded at least four million times, which according to Reuters could have translated to $28.7 million in lost ticket sales if the downloaders opted out of seeing Wolverine in the theater. Compounding fears, the leaked copy was missing final special effects shots and other material, and the advance spoiler-filled reviews were incredibly damning of the X-Men sequel, which cost $150 million to produce.”

Links for August 16th 2011 through August 25th 2011:

  • OK Go and The Muppets – Muppet Show Theme Song [YouTube] – OK Go and the Muppets, doing The Muppets Theme. I’m pretty sure this is what teh interwebz were built for! (Also, the new Muppets: The Green Album looks great [iTunes link]).
  • Compare the new CGI Yoda from the Blu-Ray Star Wars Episode One with the original puppet [io9] – George Lucas goes back to Star Wars Episode 1 (The Phantom Menace) and replaces the scenes of Yoda that still used some puppetry with completely CGI ones. I guess Lucas is now fully postmodern: there is no original.
  • Samsung uses 2001: A Space Odyssey as prior art in Apple’s iPad lawsuit [io9] – “Did Apple invent the iPad? Or did Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke? Samsung is using the above clip as a piece of evidence in its defense against Apple’s patent lawsuit over the Galaxy S and similar tablet computers. Samsung notes that “the tablet disclosed in the clip has an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface (which is evident because the tablets are lying flat on the table’s surface), and a thin form factor.” You don’t actually see the actor interacting with the tablet’s user interface, but plenty of other science fiction movies and TV shows have depicted tablets, including Star Trek’s PADD.”
  • Copyright: Forever Less One Day – YouTube – Concise, clear and well-argued video decrying the current length (and beneficiaries) of copyright law.
  • On Pseudonymity, Privacy and Responsibility on Google+ [TechnoSocial] – Superb post by Kee Hinckley looking at the many challenges and issues raised by the ‘nymwars’ (Google+ forcing users to have ‘real names’, not pseudonyms).
  • Youth in the dark about sexting [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Australia’s leading cyber-safety expert has told a women and policing conference young people do not understand the consequences of sending sexually explicit images via mobile phones. […] Susan McLean from Cyber Safety Solutions Victoria says many people under 18 do not realise taking and sending sexual images of themselves can be child pornography. […] Ms McLean is calling for child pornography law reform to address the growing number of young people exchanging sexual photos. She says while some people under 18 send explicit pictures through coercion, others are just expressing themselves and child pornography laws are not designed for that. […] “What I think we need to look at is the consensual sexting if you like, the image that might go from A to B and no further. Should these people be charged with manufacturing child pornography and should they risk being placed on the sex offenders register and of course the answer is no.””
  • Fox’s 8-Day Delay on Hulu Triggers Piracy Surge [TorrentFreak] – Despite having had streaming versions of man of their shows legally available online immediately after broadcast via Hulu and their own websites, Fox in the US have now added a 7-day delay to all streaming releases (ostensibly to drive viewers back to scheduled TV). And the result of increasing the tyranny of digital distance? More TV show piracy: “Over the last week TorrentFreak tracked two Fox shows on BitTorrent to see if there was an upturn in the number of downloads compared to the previous weeks, and the results are as expected. For both Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef the download numbers have surged. During the first 5 days, the number of downloads from the U.S. for the latest episode of Hell’s Kitchen increased by 114% compared to the previous 3 episodes. For MasterChef the upturn was even higher with 189% more downloads from the U.S. For MasterChef; the extra high demand may in part have been facilitated by the fact that it was the season finale.”
  • Facebook tribute site for Ayen Chol ruined by racists [Courier Mail] – “Vulgar photographs and racist posts have ruined a Facebook tribute site dedicated to the little girl mauled to death by a dog last week. The State Government and police will try to erase the posts. The two pages have 35,000 followers, several of whom have contacted Crimestoppers. Some vile comments and images already have been removed. But others remain on the sites dedicated to four-year-old Ayen Chol. One post on a page described the pit bull-cross linked to the girl’s death last Wednesday as a legend. […] A Victoria Police spokeswoman said police would work with Facebook to try to have any offensive content removed. A Facebook spokeswoman said the site wanted to express its sympathies to Ayen’s family and friends.”
  • Inquiry ordered as law lags behind teen sexting [The Age] – The Victorian government will launch an inquiry into sexting to investigate whether the law needs an overhaul […] Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark said sexting raised serious issues for victims and offenders and the law needed to catch up with changes in behaviour and technology […] The inquiry is to report back by mid-next year. In America, some states have changed their laws to decriminalise the consensual exchange of sexts between teenagers. But forwarding the pictures to others without permission remains an offence. In the cases of youths who were registered as sex offenders after sexting offences, Mr Clark said: ”The implications of the sex offender register are a key part of what we would expect the inquiry to look at. This seems to be an example of where the law can apply in a context which was not in mind at the time the law was enacted and which may well be having consequences that the community would not think were appropriate or intended.””
  • Warning: Those Facebook rants can get you sacked [News.com.au] – “Fair Work Australia has upheld the right of an employer to sack a worker over an expletive-filled Facebook rant against a manager that was posted out of hours on his home computer. In a case that highlights the hazy line between work and private lives, computer technician Damian O’Keefe was dismissed after posting on Facebook last year that he “wonders how the f *** work can be so f***ing useless and mess up my pay again. C***s are going down tomorrow.” Mr O’Keefe’s employer, a Townsville franchise of the retail electrical goods business, The Good Guys, believed the post constituted a threat to Kelly Taylor, an operations manager responsible for processing the pay of employees. […] The tribunal’s deputy president, Deidre Swan, said “common sense would dictate” that a worker could not publish insulting and threatening comments about another employee. “The fact that the comments were made on the applicant’s home computer, out of work hours, does not make any difference,” she said.”
  • England riots: pair jailed for four years for using Facebook to incite disorder [guardian.co.uk] – “Two men have been jailed for four years for using Facebook to incite disorder. Jordan Blackshaw, 20, from Marston near Northwich, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, from Warrington, appeared at Chester crown court on Tuesday. They were arrested last week following incidents of violent disorder in London and other cities across the UK. Neither of their Facebook posts resulted in a riot-related event. During the sentencing, the recorder of Chester, Elgin Edwards, praised the swift actions of Cheshire police and said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent to others. Assistant Chief Constable Phil Thompson said: “If we cast our minds back just a few days to last week and recall the way in which technology was used to spread incitement and bring people together to commit acts of criminality, it is easy to understand the four year sentences that were handed down in court today.”
  • Study finds third of teachers have been bullied online [BBC News] – “More than a third of teachers have been subject to online abuse, according to a survey conducted by Plymouth University. The majority of the abuse – 72% – came via pupils but over a quarter was initiated by parents. The majority of teachers claiming online abuse were women. Much of the abuse is via chat on social networks but the study also found that many were setting up Facebook groups specifically to abuse teachers. In some cases, people posted videos of teachers in action on YouTube while others put abusive comments on ratemyteacher.com. In total, 35% of teachers questioned said they had been the victim of some form of online abuse. Of these, 60% were women.”

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.

[Look Behind You! Run, Run for your Life! Nom, Nom, Nom all CC BY]

I turned 32 on the weekend, but with a 9-week old in the house we’re much more in tune with our inner children, too, so I was just blown away when Em made me these amazing Alien Invader cupcakes! There were lots of other highlights – a great lunch with family, some brilliant presents, watching my son giggle away, and an early Christmas party dinner with good friends – but I just had to share the cupcake pictures! :)

Interesting links for July 17th 2008 through July 18th 2008:

  • Michelle Obama’s blog [BlogHer] – In a canny move, Michelle Obama has begun blogging from the campaign trail.  It’ll help create her own voice which, at least on the other side of the world, really hasn’t been heard yet.
  • Watchmen (2009) [Apple – Trailer]The Dark Knight has raised the bar for graphic novel adaptations, but the trailer for Watchmen looks pretty damn amazing (visually). Let’s just hope the film turns out as dark and bleak as it should. The trailer does make everything perhaps a little too crisp (Watchmen is nothing if not gritty), but I thought the CGI New York with the Twin Towers in the background looked excellent.
  • Rick Trooper [YouTube] – What happens when Dark Vader goes Rickrolling? [Background here.]

Interesting links for June 21st 2008 through June 27th 2008:

Interesting links for May 23rd 2008:

  • Lessons From the Class Blog [zigzigger] – Reflections on 4 semesters of teaching with a class blog in a media course. Some useful observations about how much students blog, ideas about assessing blogs and whether ‘forced’ comments are of any use.
  • Star Wars Kid: The Data Dump [Waxy.org] – Andy Baio takes a very in depth look at the Star Wars Kid meme (that he named, hosted and shared) from 2003, complete with very, very detailed stats and a look at the media coverage SWK got.
  • Cash will buy clone of man’s best friend [PerthNow] – “A US biotech company will clone dogs for the five highest bidders in a series of online auctions, in a move condemned by some ethicists who fear it could lead to human clones.” (Hello ‘RePet’ from The Sixth Day!)

Interesting links for May 9th 2008 through May 12th 2008:

  • TimeTube – “Creates a timeline for any YouTube keyword search–very handy for visualising the activity around particular topics–and iterations/transformations of particular videos–over time.” (Via Jean)
  • Victorian Liberal staffers sacked for blogging [gatewatching] – Two staffers in the Victorian Liberal Party were fired after they were outed as the writers of a blog highly critical of the party’s leader. Jason Wilson: “blogs revealed once more as a politically disruptive technology”. (More from the ABC)
  • Storm Troopin’ – a set on Flickr – An absolutely wonderful set which tells the convoluted tale of Star Wars StormTrooper (toy) TK-704 and his many adventures in our world, from his quest for love, the arrival of other Troppers, and their shared love of doughnuts!
  • Grand Theft Auto IV smashes sales record [theage.com.au] – “Grand Theft Auto IV blew away video game and Hollywood records as its creators reported that it raked in an unprecedented $US500 million in its opening week.”