Links for September 2nd 2011 through September 7th 2011:

  • 28% of American adults use mobile and social location-based services [Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project] – Pew research, September 2011: “More than a quarter (28%) of all American adults use mobile or social location-based services of some kind. This includes anyone who takes part in one or more of the following activities:
    * 28% of cell owners use phones to get directions or recommendations based on their current location—that works out to 23% of all adults.
    * A much smaller number (5% of cell owners, equaling 4% of all adults) use their phones to check in to locations using geosocial services such as Foursquare or Gowalla. Smartphone owners are especially likely to use these services on their phones.
    * 9% of internet users set up social media services such as Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn so that their location is automatically included in their posts on those services. That works out to 7% of all adults.” [Full PDF Report]
  • Random thoughts about piracy [Social Media Collective] – boyd on the culturally-specific takes on media piracy: “I was absolutely enthralled with how the discourse around piracy in India was radically different than anything I had seen elsewhere. In India, piracy is either 1) a point of pride; or 2) a practical response to an illogical system. There is no guilt, no shame. I loved hearing people talk about mastering different techniques for pirating media, software, and even infrastructural needs (like water, electricity, even sewage…) There was a machismo involved in showing off the ability to pirate. To pay was to be cheated, which was decidedly un-masculine. Of course, getting caught is also part of the whole system, but the next move is not to feel guilty; it is to bribe the person who catches you. Ironically, people will often pay more to bribe inspectors than it would’ve cost them to pay for the service/item in the first place. Again, we’re back to pride/masculinity. Pirating was an honorable thing to do; not pirating is to be cheated.”
  • Practise the web safety you teach [SMH] – Important little piece reminder K-12 schools that they need to practice what they are starting to preach. It’s great to give students and parents tips on protecting their identity online, but when schools post photographs of students with full names online – often without getting parental or student consent – that’s hardly reinforcing the privacy-aware message.
  • The Fall of WikiLeaks: Cablegate2, Assange and Icarus [techPresident] – One (of many) takes on how Julian Assange and Wikileaks went too far in releasing entirely unedited records unedited. They’ve not only lost the moral highground, but tarnished past partners and ensured anyone in a position to leak something in the future would be even less likely to do so: “WikiLeaks has now indiscriminately dumped the whole cable set into the public arena, and in doing so it has tossed away whatever claim it might have had to the moral high ground. The argument that others were doing it already, or that bad actors were already getting access to the leaked master file and thus this was a mitigating step to reduce coming harms, or that it’s somehow The Guardian’s fault for publishing what it thought was a defunct password, doesn’t absolve WikiLeaks of its large share of responsibility for this dump. People are human; to err is human. But refusing to admit error, that is hubris. Assange, like Icarus, thought he could fly to the sun.”
  • AFACT Uncle Sam’s puppet in iiNet trial [SMH] – “US copyright police are pulling AFACT’s strings as it drags iiNet through Australian courts, but is anyone really surprised? The Motion Picture Association of America is driving AFACT’s legal attack on Australian ISP iiNet, bringing in Village Roadshow and the Seven Network to avoid the impression of US bullying, according to US diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks. It seems the MPAA deliberately avoided picking a fight with the more powerful Telstra, instead hoping for a quick victory against the smaller iiNet which could set a national and perhaps even international legal precedent to aid the Americans in their global fight against piracy. The undertones of American imperialism and Australian subservience are disturbing …”

Links for July 13th 2011 through July 21st 2011:

  • Google Scholar Citations [Google Scholar Blog] – Google launches (in very limited release) Google Scholar Citations, their own citation statistics for scholarly articles and books. Google Scholar has appeared to be one of Google’s least loved and least developed projects, so I’m glad to see it’s getting some TLC. That said, citation metrics are funny things and tend to be used in far more ways than intended, especially in evaluating ‘academic performance’. What sets these metrics apart from others is that thanks to Google Books, many citations from books and of books are in here too (many citation metrics are articles only). Which leaves me with one big question for now: carrot (what Google can do for struggling scholars out to prove their worth) or stick (is your data in Google Books, and if not, why aren’t you hassling your publisher to get included and thus get better metrics?)?
  • Pottermore and Google team up to enable Harry Potter ebooks push to Google Books libraries [Inside Google Books] – Google Potter – definitely a win for Google: “When JK Rowling’s new website Pottermore opens its doors this Fall, we’ll provide services to help fans make the most of their ebook purchasing experience. Pottermore and Google are teaming up to integrate Pottermore with a number of Google products and APIs. So when the series of Harry Potter ebooks launches on Pottermore.com in early October, these bestsellers will be available in the U.S. via the open Google eBooks platform. When you buy a Harry Potter ebook from Pottermore, you will be able to choose to keep it in your Google Books library in-the-cloud, as well as on other e-reading platforms. […] Also under this agreement, Google Checkout will be the preferred third party payment platform for all purchases made on Pottermore.com.”
  • ‪Rebekah Brooks “Friday” (Rebecca Black Parody)‬‏ [YouTube] – Impressive mashup lampooing Rebekah Brooks and the News of the World phone hacking scandal.
  • Australian Cinema Tickets Most Expensive: Choice [WA Today] – Throw in 3D for good measure and it’s close to $100 for a family of 4! “Australian cinema-goers pay more for their silver screen experience than anyone else in the Western world, according to consumer advocate Choice. Spokeswoman Ingrid Just said that Australians heading to the cinema paid far more than movie audiences in the US and New Zealand. Research found that, on average, Australian adults paid around $18 per ticket, while families of four can expect to fork out up to $67 for admission to the local multi-national cinema complex. “Taking into account exchange rates, an Aussie family of four spends just over $34 more than a New Zealand family and $28 more than a US family on a trip to the flicks,” Ms Just said.”
  • LulzSec hack into Murdoch’s British websites [The Age] – “Hackers who broke into the News Corporation network and forced its British websites offline claim to have stolen sensitive data from the company including emails and usernames/passwords. All of News Corporation’s British websites were taken offline today following an attack on the website of tabloid The Sun, which earlier today was redirecting to a fake story about Rupert Murdoch’s death. Further pain is expected for the media mogul as the hacker group responsible for the attack claims to have also stolen emails and passwords for News International executives and journalists. It said it would release more information tomorrow. […] The infamous hacking group LulzSec have claimed responsibility for taking over The Sun’s website, linking to a site with the fake story under the headline “Media moguls body discovered”, with “Lulz” printed at the bottom of the page.”
  • A life in writing: Slavoj Žižek [Culture | The Guardian] – Short and sweet interview with Slavoj Žižek. Notable quote regarding Wikileaks: “”We learned nothing new really from WikiLeaks,” he tells me later. “Julian is like the boy who tells us the emperor is naked – until the boy says it everybody could pretend the emperor wasn’t. Don’t confuse this with the usual bourgeois heroism which says there is rottenness but the system is basically sound. […] Julian strips away that pretence. All power is hypocritical like this. What power finds intolerable is when the hypocrisy is revealed.””
  • BBC rents out Doctor Who via Facebook [TV Tonight] – “BBC Worldwide will offer a series of digitally remastered Doctor Who stories to ‘rent’ via Facebook in Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. By using Facebook credits, users visiting the official Doctor Who page will be able to stream a selection of nine stories (each containing several episodes) from the history of the Time Lord, including digitally remastered classics such as ‘Tomb of the Cybermen’, ‘Silence in the Library’ and ‘End of the World’. […] John Smith, Chief Executive at BBC Worldwide said “As we have grown internationally, we’ve seen through our Facebook channel that fans who are loving the new series are asking for a guide into our rich Doctor Who back catalogue. Our approach to Facebook and other leading edge platforms is to be right there alongside them in fostering innovation. We see this service as a perfect way to give our fans what they want, as well as a great way for them to get their fix between now and the autumn when Series Six continues.”

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 December 7th 2010 through December 13th 2010:

  • The state, the press and a hyperdemocracy [Unleashed (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – Mark Pesce provokes a much larger debate about Wikileaks … is it really ‘the press’? “WikiLeaks is the press, but not the press as we have known it. This is the press of the 21st century, the press that comes after we’re all connected. Suddenly, all of the friendliest computers have become the deadliest weapons, and we are fenced in, encircled by threats – which are also opportunities. This threat is two-sided, Janus-faced. The state finds its ability to maintain the smooth functioning of power short-circuited by the exposure of its secrets. That is a fundamental, existential threat. In the same moment, the press recognises that its ability to act has been constrained at every point: servers get shut down, domain names fail to resolve, bank accounts freeze. These are the new selection pressures on both sides, a sudden quickening of culture’s two-step.”
  • The Atlantic Turns a Profit, With an Eye on the Web [NYTimes.com] – The Atlantic turns a profit by thinking digitally, and employing bloggers: “How did a 153-year-old magazine — one that first published the “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and gave voice to the abolitionist and transcendentalist movements — reinvent itself for the 21st century? By pretending it was a Silicon Valley start-up that needed to kill itself to survive. The Atlantic, the intellectual’s monthly that always seemed more comfortable as an academic exercise than a business, is on track to turn a tidy profit of $1.8 million this year. That would be the first time in at least a decade that it had not lost money. Getting there took a cultural transfusion, a dose of counterintuition and a lot of digital advertising revenue. “We imagined ourselves as a venture-capital-backed start-up in Silicon Valley whose mission was to attack and disrupt The Atlantic,” […] “In essence, we brainstormed the question, ‘What would we do if the goal was to aggressively cannibalize ourselves?’””
  • Angry Birds, Flocking to Cellphones Everywhere [NYTimes.com] – “It sounds like a tough sell: a game that involves catapulting birds at elaborate fortresses constructed by evil pigs. But Angry Birds, a hit game by Rovio, a small Finnish company, is one of the unlikeliest pop-culture crazes of the year — and perhaps the first to make the leap from cellphone screens to the mainstream. Angry Birds, in which the birds seek revenge on the egg-stealing pigs, is meant to be easily played in the checkout line and during other short windows of downtime — but some players have trouble stopping. Rovio says people around the world rack up 200 million minutes of game play each day. (Put another way, that is 16 human-years of bird-throwing every hour.) The game has inspired parodies, homages and fervent testimonials. Homemade Angry Birds costumes were big hits on Halloween. Conan O’Brien demonstrated the game in a YouTube video promoting his new show, and a sketch from an Israeli TV show about a birds-and-pigs peace treaty was popular online ….”
  • Assange And WikiLeaks Have Parallels With Spycatcher [SMH] – Malcolm Turnbull on Wikileaks: “Governments and politicians should be careful not to make a martyr of Assange and fools of themselves. Julia Gillard’s claim that Assange had broken Australian laws, when it is clear he has not, demonstrates how out of her depth she is. One may well ask whether her denunciations would be so shrill if the documents had been handed to a powerful newspaper group – if the contents were being dribbled out by The Australian, would she be accusing Rupert Murdoch of high crimes and misdemeanours? Assange is an Australian citizen. No matter how much the government disapproves of his actions, it should make it clear that he is entitled to return to Australia if he wishes and to receive consular assistance if the charges of sexual assault proceed in Sweden.”
  • Wikileaks and the Long Haul [Clay Shirky] – Some thoughts from Clay Shiry regarding Wikileaks which are well worth reading: “Over the long haul, we will need new checks and balances for newly increased transparency — Wikileaks shouldn’t be able to operate as a law unto itself anymore than the US should be able to. In the short haul, though, Wikileaks is our Amsterdam. Whatever restrictions we eventually end up enacting, we need to keep Wikileaks alive today, while we work through the process democracies always go through to react to change. If it’s OK for a democracy to just decide to run someone off the internet for doing something they wouldn’t prosecute a newspaper for doing, the idea of an internet that further democratizes the public sphere will have taken a mortal blow.”

Links for November 25th 2010 through December 2nd 2010:

  • Report on video games clears way for R18+ rating [News.com.au] – This is a BIG DEAL in the battle to get an R18+ rating for Aussie videogames: “Violent video games have no “greater impact” on players than movies or music clips, government research has found just days ahead of a decision expected to allow the sale of R18+ games. Games are currently limited to a top rating of MA15+, which means violent titles are either banned outright or have some graphic content removed. In some cases, games have been given a MA15+ rating here despite copping an 18+ rating overseas. Australia’s attorneys-general will meet in Canberra tomorrow to discuss the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games, bringing their ratings into line with those of films and literature. Both the gaming community and family groups believe the adult rating is almost a certainty after Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor yesterday released a research paper into their impact on encouraging violent behaviour.” (See full report here.)
  • Justin Bieber Swears Off YouTube For Facebook, Unwittingly Steps In Copyright Minefield [Forbes] – “Over the past weekend, Internet pop sensation Justin Bieber went to upload the music video of his new song called “Pray” to his personal YouTube site. He was in for a rude surprise: YouTube automatically blocked his video upload on “copyright grounds” that the video contained content from Universal Music Group (UMG), parent company to Bieber’s record label, Island Def Jam records. “yo youtube…how u gonna block my own song?!?!?!” wrote an outraged Bieber on his Twitter account. In another Twitter update, he wrote, “dear youtube…we started this journey and now u r cheatin on me with this vevo chica…i see how it is…i will be over here with facebook [sic].” (Vevo is the music video website responsible for Bieber’s official YouTube syndication, and is a joint venture between music giants Sony Music Entertainment, UMG and Abu Dhabi Media.) In response, YouTube wrote back to Bieber on its Twitter account, “sorry about the upload pain around ‘Pray’. That’s between you and your label …”
  • WikiLeaks website pulled by Amazon after US political pressure [Media | The Guardian] – “The US struck its first blow against WikiLeaks after Amazon.com pulled the plug on hosting the whistleblowing website in reaction to heavy political pressure. The company announced it was cutting WikiLeaks off yesterday only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security. WikiLeaks expressed disappointment with Amazon, and insisted it was a breach of freedom of speech as enshrined in the US constitution’s first amendment. The organisation, in a message sent via Twitter, said if Amazon was “so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.” While freedom of speech is a sensitive issue in the US, scope for a full-blown row is limited, given that Democrats and Republicans will largely applaud Amazon’s move. Lieberman, though an independent, is a former Republican who switched to the Democrats last year.”
  • Report: In-Game Purchases To Blow Mobile Games Revenues Past $11 Billion By 2015 [TechCrunch] – “A new report from Juniper Research forecasts global mobile games revenues to surpass $11 billion by 2015, nearly double what they were in 2009. All in all, it’s a fairly conservative prediction in my opinion, but what’s interesting is that the research firm also says in-game purchases will overtake the traditional pay-per-download model, with Apple’s in-app billing mechanism leading the way, as the primary source of monetizing mobile games in about two years (by 2013). At the same time, Juniper Research acknowledges that, with the ever-increasing amount of apps on all popular platforms (and app stores for that matter), discoverability remains a problem for game developers and publishers alike.”
  • Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards [State Library of Western Australia] – Significantly, this year, the WA Premier’s Book Awards will be offering a Digital Narrative Award which has a $5000 prize attached to it, and fairly broad parameters of what a digital narrative might be. (Only open to Australians, though, sorry!)
  • Facebook looks to trademark the word ‘face’ [BBC News] – My MyFace, FaceWorld and CyFace domains will be worthless! “The social networking giant Facebook is a few steps away from trademarking the word face, online documents reveal. The site has been asked to detail a “statement of use” by the US Patent and Trademark Office, explaining how it intends to use the word. If granted, the trademark will only apply to online sites and services used to exchange messages. It could limit the use of the word in other social networks and services, such as Apple’s Facetime, lawyers said.”
  • Axl Rose sues Guitar Hero makers over animated Slash [Music | guardian.co.uk] – “Axl Rose even hates the cartoon version of Slash. The Guns N’ Roses frontman is suing the makers of Guitar Hero for $20m (£12.6m), claiming they “spun a web of lies and deception” by including an animated Slash in the video-game version of his band. Slash left the group in 1996. According to his claim, Rose licensed Welcome to the Jungle to Guitar Hero III on the condition that any reference to the departed guitarist or his new band, Velvet Revolver, would be omitted. But in early versions of the game, a Slash-like character could be seen parading around the stage in the guitarist’s trademark top hat, sunglasses and nose piercing. […] One of the highest-grossing video games of all time, Guitar Hero III has amassed more than $1bn. “This lawsuit is about protecting Guns N’ Roses and Welcome to the Jungle, and is about holding Activision accountable for its misuse of these incredibly valuable assets,” Rose’s lawyer insisted.”

Links for October 25th 2010 through November 1st 2010:

  • WikiLeaks on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [The New Yorker] – “Whether WikiLeaks will prove over time to be a credible publisher of such truths is another question. Assange disclosed the names of informants in some of the war reports, even though doing so might endanger them and possibly cause their death. […] If the organization continues to attract sources and vast caches of unfiltered secret documents, it will have to steer through the foggy borderlands between dissent and vandalism, and it will have to defend its investigative journalism against those who perceive it as a crime. Assange is animated by the idea of radical transparency, but WikiLeaks as yet lacks a fixed address. Nor does it offer its audiences any mechanism for its own accountability. […] if WikiLeaks cannot learn to think efficiently about its publishing choices, it will risk failure, not only because of the governmental opponents it has induced but also because so far it lacks an ethical culture that is consonant with the ideals of free media.”
  • MI6 chief red over daughter’s Facebook shot [The Age] – This seems a ridiculous media beat-up to me: “British spy chief John Sawers is facing public embarrassment after his daughter posted a photo of herself posing with a gold Kalashnikov rifle on Facebook. Oxford graduate Corinne Sawers, 23, is seen standing in front of a family Christmas tree holding the gold-plated weapon – similar to those found among Saddam Hussein’s treasures after the 2003 Iraq invasion – in her profile pictures, The Sunday Mirror reports. The gun is a decommissioned Kalashnikov and is believed to have been a gift to Corinne’s father, MI6 boss Sir John, as a memento of his time in Iraq. All of Corinne’s 873 Facebook friends, and tens of thousands of their friends globally, can see her gun-toting picture on the networking site.”
  • New Zealand is still Middle-earth: A summary of the Hobbit crisis [Observations on film art] – An outstanding summary by Kristin Thompson of the issues surrounding the ill-advised actors’ boycott of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, the subsequent debates, deliberations and the eventual change in New Zealand’s laws to accommodate the production and any other films with budgets of $NZ150 million (James Cameron is supposedly looking at shooting Avatar 2 and 3 there). If nothing else, the whole debate shows just how deeply tied New Zealand is not with Middle Earth, both metaphorically and emotionally.
  • LimeWire file-sharing site shut down in US [BBC News] – “An injunction issued by the US district court in New York has effectively shut down LimeWire, one of the internet’s biggest file-sharing sites. It ends four years of wrangling between the privately-owned Lime Group and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The injunction compels Lime Group to disable its searching, downloading, uploading and file trading features. The firm plans to launch new services that adhere to copyright laws soon. Visitors to the LimeWire website are confronted with a legal notice that reads: “This is an offical notice that LimeWire is under a court ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software.””
  • Tweeting celebrities in dash for cash [SMH] – “Australian celebrities are being offered as much as $10,000 for a single tweet endorsing products to their thousands of Twitter followers, say sponsorship experts. But while the US celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan and Snoop Dogg are reportedly already enjoying large one-off payments to promote brands and products on Twitter, the dash for cash is yet to take hold here. The celebrities need only post a one-line product endorsement in exchange for the fee, and according to Britain’s Marketing Week, Range Rover approached 40 British celebrities this week to tweet in a similar way about the recently unveiled Evoque 4×4 in the UK. Bruce Kaider, president of Sponsorship Australasia and founder of a sports management company, confirmed that high profile Australian sportspeople were already being approached to endorse products on Twitter for fees of anything between $500 to $10,000 per tweet.”
  • Facebook and Farmville dominate 3’s mobile broadband data [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – Zynga and Farmville second only to Facebook in UK mobile network traffic: “The mobile network 3 has released the first in a series of research papers describing traffic use and behaviour among its mobile broadband customers, published here first by the Guardian. Of the 2,500 terabytes of data used across the network in July, it’s no surprise that Facebook (by several metrics now the most popular website in the world) came out top, accounting for 7.023 terabytes of data use across the network. 3 says the data, from more than 1 million customers, is specifically from mobile broadband or dongles, which evidently have moved far beyond primarily business use; 3 claims its users account for 40% of the dongle market. […] The surprise is that casual gaming company Zynga is second only to Facebook in volume of data used at 3.584 terabytes, while Zynga’s own flagship game, Farmville, is listed fifth with 1.68 terabytes for the month.”
  • Go beyond the PC, Microsoft urged [BBC News] – “Microsoft must think beyond the PC if it is to weather the changes due to hit in the next five years. The warning was given by Microsoft’s chief software architect Ray Ozzie in a memo penned soon after he announced he was leaving the company. […] he said, the strengths that had helped Microsoft grow in the past now risked holding it back. The memo, called “Dawn of a New Day” mirrors one Mr Ozzie wrote soon after taking over from Bill Gates as the man in charge of charting the development direction of Microsoft’s portfolio of programs. That first memo imagined a world of seamless computing and kicked off Microsoft’s attempts to get its many different programs working together across lots of different devices. In Dawn of a New Day, Mr Ozzie praised the work Microsoft had done towards that end, but said rivals had done even better.”
  • A Labor Issue Entangles ‘The Hobbit’ [NYTimes.com] – The real battle for Middle Earth: “Is Wellywood burning? New Zealand’s feisty film workers have taken to the streets this week to try to keep Peter Jackson’s production of “The Hobbit” in their country, nudging the prime minister, John Key, toward a Tuesday summit meeting with a visiting contingent of Warner Brothers executives. Filming had been threatened by a dispute over whether a New Zealand branch of an Australian union could engage in collective bargaining on the Hollywood films, which they have not been able to do in the past. As of Tuesday afternoon in Wellington — the New Zealand capital and the center of a growing movie industry sometimes called Wellywood — the matter was unsettled. But it was clear that Mr. Jackson’s furry little film creatures were not going anywhere without a fight.”
  • Sony Kills The Cassette Walkman On The iPod’s Birthday [Gizmodo Australia] – Steve Jobs killed the cassette playing star? “After 30 years, Sony has announced that they will stop manufacturing and selling the venerable cassette Walkman. In a poetic twist, the official death of the Walkman also lands on the iPod’s 9th anniversary. The Sony Walkman was introduced on July 1, 1979 in Japan and it was a major breakthrough in delivering a low-cost portable stereo. […] Over its 30 year history of the Cassette Walkman, Sony sold 200 million units. A portable music player became a part of our lives, largely in part of the Walkman.”

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 August 17th 2010 through August 24th 2010:

  • Social Steganography: Learning to Hide in Plain Sight [DMLcentral] – danah boyd on social steganography: “… hiding information in plain sight, creating a message that can be read in one way by those who aren’t in the know and read differently by those who are. […] communicating to different audiences simultaneously, relying on specific cultural awareness to provide the right interpretive lens. […] Social steganography is one privacy tactic teens take when engaging in semi-public forums like Facebook. While adults have worked diligently to exclude people through privacy settings, many teenagers have been unable to exclude certain classes of adults – namely their parents – for quite some time. For this reason, they’ve had to develop new techniques to speak to their friends fully aware that their parents are overhearing. Social steganography is one of the most common techniques that teens employ. They do this because they care about privacy, they care about misinterpretation, they care about segmented communications strategies.”
  • The Mother Lode: Welcome to the iMac Touch [Patently Apple] – A look at a patent for the future iMacs which shows the entire desktop computer will soon be enable as a giant touch-screen device thanks to the technology developed creating the iPad and Apple’s new iOS touch-based operating system.
  • Sweden Rescinds Warrant for WikiLeaks Founder [NYTimes.com] – Julian Assange, the Wikileaks founder, was, for a brief time, up on rape and molestation chages in Sweden before the charges were rescinded just as quickly as they’d appealed. In a context where the Pentagon and others have said they’ve the resources to close Wikileaks and prosecute Assange, this whole debacle seems entirely suspicious.
  • Share Bookmarklet [Twitter] – The official Twitter Bookmarklet, streamlining the sharing of any site or page on Twitter via a bookmarked link in your browser.
  • Our Natalie raking in $100,000 a year from YouTube [The Age] – Australian YouTube sensation Natalie Tran is reported making more than $100,000 Australian dollars from the advertising on her clips, Community Channel.
  • Facebook scam lures users craving ‘Dislike’ button [SMH] – This scam works because so many people want a DISLIKE button on Facebook! “Computer security firm Sophos has warned that scammers are duping Facebook users with a bogus “Dislike” button that slips malicious software onto machines. There is no “Dislike” version of the “Like” icon that members of the world’s top social networking website use to endorse online comments, stories, pictures or other content shared with friends. Hackers are enticing Facebook users to install an application pitched as a “Dislike” button that jokingly notifies contacts at the social networking service “now I can dislike all of your dumb posts.” Once granted permission to access a Facebook user’s profile, the application pumps out spam from the account and spreads itself by inviting the person’s friends to get the button, according to Sophos.”

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.”

Asher Moses reports today ‘Leaked Australian blacklist reveals banned sites’:

The Australian communications regulator’s top-secret blacklist of banned websites has been leaked on to the web and paints a harrowing picture of Australia’s forthcoming internet censorship regime. Wikileaks, an anonymous document repository for whistleblowers, obtained the list … University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt said the leaked list "constitutes a condensed encyclopedia of depravity and potentially very dangerous material". He said the leaked list would become "the concerned parent’s worst nightmare" as curious children would inevitably seek it out. But about half of the sites on the list are not related to child porn and include a slew of online poker sites, YouTube links, regular gay and straight porn sites, Wikipedia entries, euthanasia sites, websites of fringe religions such as satanic sites, fetish sites, Christian sites, the website of a tour operator and even a Queensland dentist. "It seems to me as if just about anything can potentially get on the list," Landfelt said.

At the moment ISPs and others are sent this list, with the option of implement it for some (or all) customers.  The current Rudd government, with Stephen Conroy pushing it, wants this to be an Australia-wide mandatory block list. Misuse of such a list (along with the fact its implementation would slow internet access across all of Australia) is one the main reasons so many people, myself included, find national government level internet censorship abhorrent.

(It should be noted, that as this list was obtained from an ISP, it may contain links which were added only by the ISP, not from the ACMA list. I suspect that most of what’s blocked is from ACMA, especially the non-porn stuff, but the exact nuances aren’t 100% clear yet.)

Update: A story about the leaked list on the ABC is provoking a few comments!

Update 2: Conroy claims that the leaked list is not the official blacklist, although there are “are some common URLs to those on the ACMA blacklist”.  Oddly, though, Conroy is still referring the matter to police to investigate who leaked the list … which isn’t the list.