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Links for August 25th 2008

Interesting links for August 23rd 2008 through August 25th 2008:

  • Drilling Down – Preferring the Web Over Watching TV [ NYTimes.com] – “For children ages 10 to 14 who use the Internet, the computer is a bigger draw than the TV set, according to a study recently released by DoubleClick Performics, a search marketing company. The study found that 83 percent of Internet users in that age bracket spent an hour or more online a day, but only 68 percent devoted that much time to television. The study found that the children often did research online before making a purchase (or bugging their parents to make one). The big exception to this rule was apparel: like many grown-ups, the children said they preferred to choose their clothes at a store.”
  • Film Studies For Free [Catherine Grant on Blogger] – “Film Studies For Free actively espouses the ethos of Open Access to digital scholarly material. It aims to promote good quality, online, film and moving-image studies resources by commenting on them, and by linking to them. These resources will include published scholarship or research in various forms: from film and media weblogs, through online peer-reviewed journals, to other forms of web-based scholarly writing, as well as online works of film/moving-image research by practice. Film Studies For Free readers are invited to bring relevant items to the blog’s attention; please use the comments option or this email link to do so.”
  • “A Few Lives Left” for Poor Research into Virtual Worlds [PERSONALIZE MEDIA] – A substantial, well-research and convincing rebuttal of this article from the SMH on Second Life and Virtual Worlds. This rebuttal contains many stats and figures which cast Asher Moses’ piece in a pretty poor light.
  • Hollywood losing its grip on television content [Darknet] – JD Lasica interviews Eric B Kim (an Intel VP and general manager of its Digital Home Group) and Patrick Barry (VP of TV for Yahoo) about the coming trend of getting TV properly on the net: “Kim’s quote that most stuck out for me was this: “We’re bringing television to the internet.” Notice what Kim didn’t say: We’re bringing the Internet to television, which has been the approach of the big movie studios until now. (Or, until recently, We’re preventing the Internet from coming to TV.) I don’t know whether Kim’s turn of phrase was intentional or not — I suspect so — but the difference is a significant one. “
  • Video: Lifelike animation heralds new era for computer games [Times Online] – “Extraordinarily lifelike characters are to begin appearing in films and computer games thanks to a new type of animation technology. Emily – the woman in the above animation – was produced using a new modelling technology that enables the most minute details of a facial expression to be captured and recreated. She is considered to be one of the first animations to have overleapt a long-standing barrier known as ‘uncanny valley’ – which refers to the perception that animation looks less realistic as it approaches human likeness. Researchers at a Californian company (Image Metrics) which makes computer-generated imagery for Hollywood films started with a video of an employee talking. They then broke down down the facial movements down into dozens of smaller movements, each of which was given a ‘control system’.” [Via io9]
  • The dawn of intelligent machines [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “The idea may scare some, but Intel predicts that by 2050 machines could surpass the peak of human intelligence. So predicted Justin Rattner, chief technology officer at the chip maker, in a presentation at the Intel Developer Forum which examined how technology is expected to bridge the gap between man and machine. The vision included sensitive robots and shape-shifting materials. “There is no question that one of the most likely things that will happen in the next 40 years is that machine and human intelligence will come much closer together,” Mr Rattner told the BBC. “The ability of humans to communicate with machines and for machines to communicate with humans will get so much better.””
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The Wired Everyday: Blogging (Lecture Slides and Notes)

Hello to anyone visiting from the Self.Net: Identity in the Digital Age course. The slides from my guest lecture are embedded here:

If you click the link and follow back to Slideshare, you’re welcome to download the slides for your own uses if that would be helpful.

Some of the links discussed today that you might want to explore:
* Rebecca’s Pocket (Rebecca Blood)
* Dear Raed (Salam Pax)
* http://jilltxt.net/ (Jill Walker Rettberg)
* Larvartus Prodeo (Mark Bahnisch et al)
* The Daily Kos

Comments or questions are welcome!

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Links for August 1st 2008

Interesting links for August 1st 2008:

  • Malwebolence – The World of Web Trolling [NYTimes.com] – A really fascinating article from Mattathias Schwartz trying to take a serious look at the more extreme edge of trolling culture, searching for meaning behind what at first glance are random acts of online cruelty. Schwartz paints the biggest trolls as quite complicated people, who have their own rationale for what they do, albeit often quite a hard to comprehend one. [Via Christy Dena]
  • Rebooting America (Book) [Personal Democracy Forum] – The blurb: “The Personal Democracy Forum presents an anthology of forty-four essays brimming with the hopes of reenergizing, reorganizing, and reorienting our government for the Internet Age. How would completely reorganizing our system of representation work? Is it possible to redesign our government with open doors and see-through walls? How can we leverage the exponential power of many-to-many deliberation for the common good?” The entire collection is available online, for free, as pdfs and features lots of people you know, or should know, like Yochai Benkler, danah boyd, Howard Rheingold and Clay Shirky. The whole thing is released under a Creative Commons license, too! [Via danah]
  • Beijing lifts some internet restrictions: IOC [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “The International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the Chinese organisers have agreed to lift all internet restrictions for the Beijing Games, IOC vice-president Gunilla Lindberg says. “The issue has been solved,” Ms Lindberg said. “The IOC Coordination Commission and the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee (BOCOG) met last night and agreed. “Internet use will be just like in any Olympics.” ABC journalists in Beijing said they could access internet content about Tiananmen Square and other previously banned websites. But it was not immediately clear if the restrictions had been lifted outside hubs for foreign media.”
  • Oh happy day — the new Delicious is here [delicious blog] – No longer del.icio,us, Delicious had an overhaul, a facelift, and now resides at delicious.com. To see what’s different, check out the video or read What’s New.For readers of this blog, the biggest difference will be that I can now use 1000 characters in teh notes section, so my annotated links posts will often have considerably more annotation! 🙂
  • Scrabulous Returns As Wordscraper [All Facebook] – “One of the big news stories this morning is that the Argarwalla brothers who founded Scrabulous have launched a similar application called “Wordscraper”. The application, which is similar in style to Scrabulous, has attracted over 8,000 people so far. It also appears that the brother no longer have an announcement message on Scrabulous and have instead completely pulled down the application.” (That said, using Facebook in Australia I still have perfect access to Scrabulous today!)
  • Blocked websites ‘not Olympics related’ [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Internet censorship in China is now being allowed during the Olympic period on the basis that the blocked websites are not related to the Games. The stance is a backdown on earlier promises made by the International Olympic Committee (IOC)…”
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Blogging (the book) by Jill Walker Rettberg

I’m delighted to see that Jill Walker Rettberg’s book Blogging has just been released. I had the pleasure of reading much of this book in draft form last year while Jill was a guest researcher here in Communication Studies here at UWA, and on the basis of what I read I’m confident this book will be extremely well received. Jill’s work is neither a simple how-to guide (of which there are many), nor is it a book on blogging which presumes readers are already blogosphere aficionados. Rather, Jill has managed to write an engaging and critical book which situates blogging within broader histories – such as the role of blogging in terms of literacy, the evolution of citizen journalism, blogs and/as social networks, and even ethical frameworks which examine advertising and authenticity in blogs. More to the point, for someone new to blogs as an idea, or in practice, Blogging offers a world of insight and experience distilled into a readable and engaging form.

The table of contents and the (extremely positive) early reviews of Blogging are available on Polity’s website, and it can be ordered now from Amazon UK or will be available from Amazon US in about two months.

I strongly recommend you read Blogging for yourself!

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Links for June 17th 2008

Interesting links for June 12th 2008 through June 17th 2008:

  • Blogger arrests hit record high [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “Since 2003, 64 people have been arrested for publishing their views on a blog, says the University of Washington annual report. In 2007 three times as many people were arrested for blogging about political issues than in 2006, it revealed.”
  • Facebook No Longer The Second Largest Social Network [Tech Crunch] – “April 2008 was the milestone: Facebook officially caught up to MySpace in terms of unique monthly worldwide visitors, according to data released by Comscore … Both services are attracting around 115 million people to their respective sites each month.”
  • Save Jericho Again: TV Campaign Info – The fan fight to save the now twice-cancelled US TV series Jericho continues, with dedicated Jericho nuts this time raising funds for a series of tv advertisements and billboard trying to save the show and get a new network to pick up the series.
  • Sexually Frustrated Superheroes: Superheroes Who Can’t Have Sex [io9] – Which comic-book superheroes can’t have sex? Any why? (And I can’t believe there is an alternative future Spider-Man comic in which Mary-Jane dies after sharing too many bodily fluids with Marvel’s favourite hero!!).
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Links for May 21st 2008

Interesting links for May 21st 2008:

  • The Long Tail Wags the Dog [Technorati Weblog] – “Nowhere have we seen a bigger impact of blogging and social media on the American political landscape than on the 2008 presidential election. Candidate appearances formerly confined to a small town are uploaded to YouTube and seen by millions.”
  • Big Brother’s vault for all net use, calls and emails [The Age] – “A digital vault containing information about every email, internet visit and phone call made in Britain is to be created in a European bid to battle terrorism. The plan, …has alarmed civil libertarians who are already anxious about a proposed ID card”
  • Teenage burglar snapped on cameraphone [PerthNow] – “A teenage boy is facing burglary charges after being photographed on a mobile telephone after allegedly breaking into a Thornlie house. A woman took a snap of the 17-year-old as he rode away on a BMX bike …”
  • Net starts to overtake TV [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “A new survey of internet consumer trends has revealed that people with broadband connections spend more time on the net than watching television. … Australians with broadband spend an average of 22 hours per week on the web. “
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Links for May 14th 2008

Interesting links for May 12th 2008 through May 14th 2008:

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Links for May 12th 2008

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.”
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No Australian can have missed the news that we’ll be voting in a Federal Election on November 24. The advertising onslaught has begun and, unlike past campaigns, this one’s taking online campaigning seriously, with the current Liberal government apparently spending upward of $5 million on their web-based advertising. In the lead up to the official election campaign we’ve seen Labor make considerable inroads with both MySpace and Facebook. Indeed, Team Rudd have been so clever with Facebook that Kevin not only has his maximum-allowed 5000 friends, but there is also an “I want to be Kevin Rudd’s Facebook Friend, Too!” Facebook group which has over 10,000 members and uses Facebook’s structural limitation as a popularity mechanism! Given their knowledge of web campaigning, it’s hardly a surprise that the Kevin07 web campaign is so clearly modeled on the high-profile runners for the 2008 US elections.

Things have really kicked into overdrive for both main political parties – and the others – with Google’s 2007 Australian Federal Election page which has lots of usefully aggregated material as well as a dedicated YouTube channel for each of the political parties. While the potential social affordances of these tools aren’t necessarily being explored that well by the major parties, at least the web is being taken seriously as a battleground for the minds and hearts of the Australian public. In that direction, it’s great to see Australia’s national broadcaster – the ABC – getting in on the act with their Poll Vault, which collates reporting from their various sources.

Also important for this election – and really, this is the first Australian election in which it’s been a major player – is the influx of citizen journalism and participatory cultural portals centred on the election. For example the ambitious YouDecide07 attempts to bring citizen journalists across the country together tightly focusing on the election seat-by-seat. This project is run through QUT‘s Centre for Creative Industries and Innovation with Jason Wilson doing a lot of the hard yards in running the website itself, with the help of media-savvy folk like Barry Saunders. Also of note is the Election 07 Norg from the people who bring you PerthNorg. This user-voted website with at least partially user-generated content (and mainstream media reports ranked via a Digg-style voting system) is just getting started but looks quite promising. It’ll probably retain a WA flavour given it’s run here, but there’s nothing stopping sharing between this Norg and the many other mainstream and user-generated election 07 sources. Similarly the team at New Matilda have launched a focused groupblog called Polliegraph while the always political Lavartus Prodeo have kicked into election overdrive.

Of course, there are still many individual bloggers offering insightful – or sometimes just vicious – commentary but you’ve probably got your own favourites so I shan’t run through the major individual bloggers. I will, however, end by mention two newer folks well worth reading: Peter Black from Law at QUT is blogging at his dedicated sub-site Australian Politics 2.0 while Elliott Bledsoe from Creative Commons Australia and Vibewire (who have their own youth-orientated political bloggers) , among other things, has upped his what it feels like for a boi into full election mode. And if you’re already over the campaign promises and just want the election-related comedy clips, Elliot’s also focused on building an Election on YouTube stream. In that spirit, as elections always bring out the most amusing video clips, I’ll finish with a satire from the self-anointed Axis of Awesome, called their Rudd Vs Howard rap

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Blogging Burma

[Photo by Marxpix]

Like the Asian Tsunami (December 29, 2004),the The London Bombings (July 2005) and Hurricane Katrina’s Aftermath (September 2005), information about the current demonstrations and atrocities happening in Burma are flowing through user-generated channels as much (indeed, often more so than) through the traditional mainstream media. There is a great deal of activity both in blogs and throughout the broader sphere of citizen media, but some noteworthy places to look are:-

[X] The 2007 Burmese anti-government protests Wikipedia entry – Wikipedia is at its most useful during moments of crisis which have many sets of eyes watching. The collective intelligence of Wikipedia contributors continues to develop one of the best resources on the Burma protests.

[X] YouTube has a number of clips like this one which simply show the enormous scope of the protests [Via]. A very good source is the videostream from news6776 which collates a great deal of footage (both mainstream media-produced and from citizen journalists)

[X] The Support the Monks’ protest in Burma Facebook Group – To be honest, I’ve never really thought Facebook would provide a terribly useful platform for political activism as the ‘groups’ often seem a peripheral part of Facebook’s design. However, I happily stand corrected as the exponential growth of the Support the Monks’ protest in Burma Facebook Group has been amazing – over 170,000 members when I checked this morning – and the links, advice and descriptions of how members can actively support the Burmese demonstrations in that group seems quite robust to me, not just a tokenistic gesture. Indeed, I’d go so far as to say this Facebook group has probably done more to promote the ‘ Day of International Action for a Free Burma – Free Aung San Suu Kyi & Support the Monks in Burma’ on October 6th than any other single outlet online or offline.

[X] The SmartMobs blog notes that cameraphones and other mobile devices are one of the main tools allowing information and media to get out of Burma, but the government has moved from shutting down Internet Cafes to blocking the entire internet in order to try and stop knowledge about the situation in Burma being available internationally. Taking the massive step of blocking the entire internet speaks volumes to how widely the impact of citizen reportage is from inside Burma is disseminating to international viewers and readers.

[X] For a traditional media rundown of the impact of citizen media, see ‘Bloggers in Burma keep world informed during military crackdown’ in the San Francisco Chronicle and Dan Gillmor’s response at the Centre for Citizen Media where he points out, quite rightly, that there’s a lot more than just blogging going on!

[X] Finally, you should visit Free Burma (dot Org) which is a portal for international information on how to support the protestors and get involved in their struggle.

[Photo by Hugo*’s from protestors supporting the Burmese democratic protests, in front of the Myanmar embassy in Paris, with a portrait of Aung San Suu Kyi.]

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