Links for August 29th through September 3rd:

  • Navigating the new multi-screen world: Insights show how consumers use different devices together – Google Mobile Ads Blog – New report funded by Google: “The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior” "discovered that 90% of people move between devices to accomplish a goal, whether that’s on smartphones, PCs, tablets or TV. We set out to learn not just how much of our media consumption happens on screens, but also how we use these multiple devices together, and what that means for the way that businesses connect with consumers. In understanding what it means to multi-screen, we discovered two main modes of usage:
    * Sequential screening where we move from one device to another to complete a single goal
    * Simultaneous screening where we use multiple devices at the same time
    We found that nine out of ten people use multiple screens sequentially and that smartphones are by far the most common starting point for sequential activity." [Full Report PDF]
  • UKNova made to halt television and radio torrent links [BBC News] – "UKNova has stopped offering BitTorrent links after becoming the latest file-sharing site to be targeted by copyright defenders. Its administrators said they took the action after receiving a demand from the Federation Against Copyright Theft (Fact). UKNova had pitched itself as a free catch-up TV and radio service and had asked its members not to add material available for sale elsewhere. It has been in operation since 2003. UKNova's use of BitTorrent links meant it did not keep any pirated material on its own servers, but rather provided the means for its members to download and upload material to and from each others' computers. […] Unlike many other file-sharing sites, UKNova did not run adverts on its pages. One of its administrators said it was not run for profit, had survived purely from voluntary donations and nobody involved had been paid."
  • Apple kills Star Trek [YouTube] – Clever re-dub of classic Star Trek: The Next Generation footage in the aftermath of Apple's patent lawsuits. Things don't go well for the Enterprise!
  • Are Apple’s innovations inside us now? [CNN.com] – Douglas Rushkoff: "Imagine that we were just developing spoken language for the first time. And someone came up with a new word to describe an action, thought or feeling — like "magnify" or "dreadful." But in this strange world, the person who came up with the word demanded that anyone else who used it pay him a dollar every time the word was uttered. That would make it pretty difficult for us to negotiate our way to a society that communicated through speech. That's the way the patent wars on smartphone and tablet advances are beginning to feel to me. […] Usually, advancements of this sort are developed through consortia of companies. The HTML standards through which the Web is rendered are not owned by a single company, but developed together and used by everyone. Imagine if one musical instrument company owned the patent on the piano keyboard, and another on the tuning of a violin. Or what if every typewriter company had to develop its own layout of letters?"

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 August 30th 2010 through September 6th 2010:

  • The future of the internet: A virtual counter-revolution [The Economist] – A good overview article which looks at the potential “balkanisation” or fragmenting of the internet into different walled gardens of various sorts. The article focuses on three trends: national governments asserting their power in various ways to regulate their citizens’ access to the web; big IT companies building different walled gardens, from Facebook’s social network to Apple’s regulated iOS and App store; and lastly the push to by big internet providers for tiered internet provision and the push back in the form of net neutrality. (This is a short but useful overview of these issues for teaching purposes.)
  • Computers as Invisible as the Air [NYTimes.com] – Useful historical reminder: “The personal computer is vanishing. Computers once filled entire rooms, then sat in the closet, moved to our desks, and now nestle in our pockets. Soon, the computer may become invisible to us, hiding away in everyday objects. A Silicon Valley announcement last week hinted at the way computing technology will transform the world in the coming decade. Hewlett-Packard scientists said they had begun commercializing a Lilliputian switch that is a simpler — and potentially smaller — alternative to the transistor that has been the Valley’s basic building block for the last half-century. That means the number of 1’s and 0’s that can be stored on each microchip could continue to increase at an accelerating rate. […] This is the fulfillment of Moore’s Law, first described in the 1960s by Douglas Engelbart & Gordon Moore, which posits that computer power increases exponentially while cost falls just as quickly”
  • Stephanie Rice apologises for ‘offensive Tweet’ [TV Tonight] – “Channel Seven personality and Olympic swimmer Stephanie rice has apologised for a comment she made on her Twitter feed which has been branded as homophobic. After the Wallabies’ win over the Springboks in South Africa on Saturday night, Rice tweeted; “Suck on that f**gots”, adding; “Probs the best game I’ve ever seen!! Well done boys.” Rice has since removed the comment and apologised. “I made a comment on Twitter last night in the excitement of the moment,” she told news.com.au. “I did not mean to cause offence and I apologise. I have deleted it from the site.” Former NRL player, openly gay Ian Roberts slammed her actions. “She is an idiot and anyone who continues to endorse her as an athlete is an idiot as well,” he said. “And I say that with a very sad tone in my voice. What a fool.””
  • YouTube Deal Turns Copyright Videos Into Revenue [NYTimes.com] – “Last month, a YouTube user, TomR35, uploaded a clip from the AMC series “Mad Men” in which Don Draper makes a heartfelt speech about the importance of nostalgia in advertising. Viewers wouldn’t notice, but that clip also makes an important point about modern advertising — YouTube is an increasingly fruitful place for advertisers. In the past, Lions Gate, which owns the rights to the “Mad Men” clip, might have requested that TomR35’s version be taken down. But it has decided to leave clips like this up, and in return, YouTube runs ads with the video and splits the revenue with Lions Gate. Remarkably, more than one-third of the two billion views of YouTube videos with ads each week are like TomR35’s “Mad Men” clip — uploaded without the copyright owner’s permission but left up by the owner’s choice. They are automatically recognized by YouTube, using a system called Content ID that scans videos and compares them to material provided by copyright owners.”
  • Google’s Earth – William Gibson / Op-Ed Contributor [NYTimes.com] – An insightful and engaging look at today’s cyberspaces and Google’s Earth from William Gibson, over 25 years after he coined the term cyberspace: “We have yet to take Google’s measure. We’ve seen nothing like it before, and we already perceive much of our world through it. We would all very much like to be sagely and reliably advised by our own private genie; we would like the genie to make the world more transparent, more easily navigable. Google does that for us: it makes everything in the world accessible to everyone, and everyone accessible to the world. But we see everyone looking in, and blame Google. Google is not ours. Which feels confusing, because we are its unpaid content-providers, in one way or another. We generate product for Google, our every search a minuscule contribution. Google is made of us, a sort of coral reef of human minds and their products.”
  • Introducing Wikileakileaks.org: Your Source for Wikileaks [Valleywag] – Gawker Media try and turn the transparency tables on Wikileaks’ secretive founder Julian Assange by setting up “Wikileakileaks.org: your source for Wikileaks-related secrets, documents and rumors!” The site aims to be an anoymous clearing house for Wikileaks-related material. While there is some merit on turning transparency back on its secretive champions, this also smacks of pettiness since, as Gawker admit, they’ve been blacklisted by Assange after an unfavourable reporting.
  • Facebook’s now trying to trademark the word ‘face’ [Chicago Breaking Business] – It gets sillier: “Facebook, which has gone after sites with the word “book” in their names, is also trying to trademark the word “face,” according to court documents. But the social networking site has met with a familiar foe. As TechCrunch first reported, Aaron Greenspan has asked for an extension of time to file an opposition to Facebook’s attempt. Greenspan is the president and CEO of Think Computer, the developer of a mobile payments app called FaceCash. Greenspan, also a former Harvard classmate of Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg, claimed he had a hand in developing the social networking giant. The case was settled last year. In an interview with CNNMoney.com, Greenspan said the two extensions he filed now give him until September 22 to oppose the “face” trademark attempt. The original deadline was June 23.”

Links for September 18th 2009 through September 21st 2009:

  • RIP Facebook Beacon [Mashable] – “Facebook launched its ad platform “Beacon” in Nov 2007, hoping to revolutionize advertising by posting updates to your Facebook profile when you interacted with its partner sites. This week Facebook said that it has settled a class-action lawsuit against the product, agreed to shut it down completely, and will establish a $9.5 million “settlement fund” to fund initiatives related to online privacy. … Facebook Beacon was a system that posted your activity on third-party websites – Blockbuster, Gamefly, Overstock.com and more – back to your Facebook profile. Privacy advocates rallied against it, however, arguing that data was being sent without the users’ explicit permission. The situation worsened after a report claimed that Beacon was collecting data from partner sites regardless of whether users were Facebook members …” (Beacon remains one of those most teachable examples of Facebook’s privacy woes, but I’m delighted with the idea of money being spent privacy initiatives.)
  • Nigeria ‘offended’ by sci-fi film [BBC NEWS | Africa] – “Nigeria’s government is asking cinemas to stop showing a science fiction film, District Nine, that it says denigrates the country’s image. Information Minister Dora Akunyili told the BBC’s Network Africa programme that she had asked the makers of the film, Sony, for an apology. She says the film portrays Nigerians as cannibals, criminals and prostitutes. An actor from the film said that it was not just Nigerians who were portrayed as villains. … But Mr Khumbanyiwa said Nigerians in the cast did not seem worried by the portrayal of their country. He suggested that the film, which depicts people wanting to eat aliens to gain the superhuman powers, should not be taken too literally. “It’s a story, you know,” he said. “It’s not like Nigerians do eat aliens. Aliens don’t even exist in the first place.”” (Well said, Mr Khumbanyiwa, well said.)
  • Welcome to the (anonymous) rabbit hole [Unleashed] – Mark Pesce’s playful take on the largely unsuccessful attempts by Anonymous to take down the ACMA and Australian Prime Minster’s websites on 09/09/09/
  • VICTORY: FCC to Mandate Net Neutrality for the Web [Mashable] – “The Federal Communications Commission has been in the middle of it, as it has outlined loose net neutrality guidelines in the past. But according to The Wall Street Journal, the FCC is about to propose definitive rules that could have major repercussions for the entire web. The new rules, expected to be announced Monday by Julius Genachowski, the FCC Chairman, will outline requirements for ISPs to treat all traffic on the Internet equally. This means that Comcast can’t decide that Google gets less bandwidth and Microsoft/Bing (Bing) gets more for any reason (i.e. one pays for preferential treatment). It’s also expected that the net neutrality rules will apply to wireless services, meaning they would be in effect for Internet data via your phone and 3G networks. The impact of this cannot be understated, especially as iPhones and other smart phones make the mobile web a major part of our lives.” (Excellent!)
  • Google slams Murdoch plan to charge for online news [The Age] – “Publishers of general news would find it hard to charge for their content online because too much free content is available, the chief executive of Google said. Speaking to a group of British broadcasting executives via video link, Eric Schmidt said he could, however, imagine niche providers of content such as business news succeeding in this area. Schmidt was responding to an announcement by News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch that he could start charging for content online. “In general these models have not worked for general public consumption because there are enough free sources that the marginal value of paying is not justified based on the incremental value of quantity,” he said. “So my guess is for niche and specialist markets … it will be possible to do it but I think it is unlikely that you will be able to do it for all news.””
  • Meme Analysis: Kanye Interrupts, the Internet (and Obama) Listens [NewTeeVee] – Everything you ever wanted to know about the Kayne West interrrupts Taylor Swift meme …