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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.”
Unless you’ve been buried under a rock, you’ve probably heard of the amazing successful Old Spice viral video marketing campaign (I’ve mentioned it here, and here). Since the original videos became popular, there have been a lot of parodies, but the recent “Smell Like a Monster” parody video from Sesame Street is just brilliant, so here you go:
PS If you really don’t get why that’s funny, re-watch it after you’ve check out the original ad:
(Which has now clocked over 20 million views on YouTube!) [Via Peter Black]
So, Australia woke up confused and unhappy this morning, after a soul-destroying election resulting in no clear leadership, no future Prime Minister and the largest number of informal votes ever. Even more bizarrely, the clearest commentary on events so far, comes from everyone’s most mashed up dictator:
(If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, there are quite a few parodies of Hitler commentating on various events, using footage from the Downfall film.)
Links for August 4th 2010 (definitely not endorsed by any version of Andrew Bolt):
- Andrew Bolt discovers Twitter fake. Is cross. [mUmBRELLA] – News Ltd columnist Andrew Bolt has, it would appear, had something of a sense of humour failure over his fake Twitter persona. This morning, Bolt wrote in his Herald Sun blog: “It shouldn’t need saying, but I do not have a Twitter account and the fake one seems to be the work of people whose employer will be very embarrassed to find its staff once more engaging in deceitful slurs. A little warning there. A tearful sorry afterwards will be both too late and insincere, especially from people with their record of sliming.” The fake Andrew Bolt, who has about 5000 followers, does give certain subtle clues on Twitter that he ain’t the real deal. Such as his bio: “Journalist. Blogger. Broadcaster. Climate scientist. Great in bed. This is the Twitter of Andrew Bolt. Follow me you barbarians.” Or messages such as: “Julia Gillard should put together a comittee of common folk to see if they can change the laws of physics. I suspect they can.””
- Andrew Bolt is not happy about @andrewbolt [Peter Black’s Freedom to Differ] – Peter Black looks at the legal side of (fake) Andrew Bolt on Twitter: “…it seems to me that Bolt would at least have an arguable case, that one or more of the tweets constituted a defamatory imputation. Moreoever, they were referrable to Bolt and published. It is also worth noting that cartoons, caricatures, jokes or satire may be defamatory depending upon the context of the publication (see Entienne v Festival City Broadcasters (2001) 79 SASR 19). How a jury would construe these statements, given they take place in the context of a fake Twitter account, is hard to predict. Nonetheless, I do believe that a judge would find that the material is capable of defaming Bolt and that it would then be up to a jury to decide whether the material actually defamed Bolt. So while I think it is highly unlikely Bolt would actually sue for defamation, it is worth remembering that even fake Twitter accounts, while intended for the purpose of satire and humour, may well have legal consequences.”
- Twitter List @andrew__bolt/AndrewBolt – A list of more than 30 ‘Andrew Bolt’ (fake) accounts on Twitter, the majority of which have appeared in the last 24hrs since Andrew Bolt (the man) complained about @andrewbolt (the most popular fake, on twitter).
- SRSLY? SMS Celebrates Its 25th Birthday [The Next Web] – “According to a press release from Sherri Wells, ‘one of the leading SMS messaging experts in the world’, SMS is celebrating 25 years of existence today, making its way from a R&D lab at Vodafone to become a technology that is now present on every single mobile phone currently in existence. Although SMS was developed twenty-five years ago in a collaboration between France and Germany, the first text message was actually sent seven years later on December 3rd, 1992, reading “Happy Christmas”. Since then SMS evolved through various stages, starting as a free service where teens helped popularise the service, before carriers then charged for the service, causing a decline of up to 40% in the process. Back in 2000, the average monthly texts sent per user was a paltry 35, today it’s as high as 357 with 1.5 trillion messages sent annually in the US.”
- Bill Cosby dead rumours dismissed on Twitter [WA Today] – Tweets of my death have been greatly exaggerated! “Television star Bill Cosby has been forced to reassure fans he’s still alive and well after news of his ‘death’ became a top trending topic on Twitter. ‘Bill Cosby died’ remains the fifth highest trending topic on the micro-blogging site this morning. “Emotional friends have called about this misinformation,” the Cosby Show star tweeted in response to the announcement. “To the people behind the foolishness, I’m not sure you see how upsetting this is. “Again, I’m rebuttaling rumours about my demise (sic).” This is the second time this year that Cosby has been pronounced dead by social media.”
- Old Spice Voicemail Generator – Make your own voicemail or answering machine message made up of audio samples from the Old Spice guy’s recent replies. This voicemail is now diamonds! (By Chriswastaken, Area, and Nelson Abalos Jr | Thanks to Reddit)
- YouTube Star to Put His Life in Your Hands for a Year [Mashable] – “Heyo all you megalomaniacs out there — may we introduce yet another way to get your jollies this year: Dan 3.0. Starting today, 20-year-old YouTube sensation Dan Brown is launching a new web show/social experiment in which he will turn control of his life over to you, the viewers, for an entire year. Brown […] is one of those rare dudes whose only gig is video blogging. […] When asked how he thinks this project will affect his day-to-day life, Brown told us: “Basically I’m going to be living my life, doing what my viewers tell me and documenting it. That’s going to be it. Daily life is going to be affected – I don’t know exactly what it means for relationships with friends and relationships with people I know in real life. I guess we’ll find out when we get there.” So as to prevent any catastrophes, Brown has a few ground rules. Viewers can’t ask him to do things like, say, dump his girlfriend, or to do anything illegal or harmful to others. He has also veto power …”
- Google Android phone shipments increase by 886% [BBC News] – There’s a lot more smartphones out there: “Google Android phone shipments increase by 886% Shipments of Google’s Android mobile operating system have rocketed in the last year, figures suggest. Statistics from research firm Canalys suggest that shipments have increased 886% year-on-year from the second quarter of 2009. Apple showed the second largest growth in the smartphone sector with 61% growth in the same period. Overall, the smartphone sector grew by 64% from the second quarter 2009 to the second quarter 2010, the research says.”
Links for July 15th 2010 through July 18th 2010:
- As Older Users Join Facebook, Network Grapples With Death [NYTimes.com] – How Facebook does (and doesn’t) deal with death: “For a site the size of Facebook, automation is “key to social media success,” said Josh Bernoff, […] “The way to make this work in cases where machines can’t make decisions is to tap into the members,” he said, pointing to Facebook’s buttons that allow users to flag material they find inappropriate. “One way to automate the ‘Is he dead’ problem is to have a place where people can report it.” That’s just what Facebook does. To memorialize a profile, a family member or friend must fill out a form on the site and provide proof of the death, like a link to an obituary or news article, which a staff member at Facebook will then review. But this option is not well publicized, so many profiles of dead members never are converted to tribute pages. Those people continue to appear on other members’ pages as friend suggestions, or in features like the “reconnect” box …”
- Facebook Breaks All Bit.ly Links, Marks Them as Abusive [Mashable] – For a period of time, all bit.ly links were blocked on Facebook; clicking on them returned a ‘reported as abusive’ page from Facebook. I’m sure this will be resolved relatively quickly, but it does underscore the danger of URL shorteners as platforms (not just Facebook) battle phishing and spam. Blocking a whole domain is overkill, of course, but it’s going to happen and it’s worth asking about the extra burden that one extra (shortened) step brings to the internet at large. (It’s fixed now.)
- New Spice | Study like a scholar, scholar [YouTube] – Definitely my favourite parody of the Old Spice guy so far: “Do you want to be a scholar? Then study at the Harold B. Lee Library. Do your research here, study here, and be a scholar!” I’m on a cart …
- Everything you need to know about the internet [Technology | The Observer] – Nine ‘big picture’ notions about what the internet is and isn’t from John Naughton (Professor of the public understanding of technology at the Open University). Useful as a primer for Web Communications 101.
- The Trouble at Twitter Inc. [Gawker] – Gawker’s rumour-ridden piece suggesting that Evan Williams may be losing the reigns as CEO of Twitter.
- World Vision I Old Spice [YouTube] – Tim Costello from World Vision makes his own Old Spice guy (parody) reply, pitching World Vision as the charity of the future. It’s actually quite funny.
- O’Farrell lays low after Twitter gaffe [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “New South Wales Opposition Leader Barry O’Farrell is laying low after posting an embarrassing message this morning on the social networking site Twitter. Believing he was sending a private message to journalist Latika Bourke’s Twitter account, Mr O’Farrell opened up on his thoughts about the delay on candidate selection. […] “Deeply off the record – I think the timetable and struggle to get candidates reflects internal poll – pre and post the ranga,” he tweeted, a reference to Prime Minister Julia Gillard.”
Links for July 2nd 2010:
- Google to Add Pay to Cover a Tax for Same-Sex Benefits [NYTimes.com] – On this front, at least, Google have got their ‘Don’t be Evil’ stance right: “On Thursday, Google is going to begin covering a cost that gay and lesbian employees must pay when their partners receive domestic partner health benefits, largely to compensate them for an extra tax that heterosexual married couples do not pay. The increase will be retroactive to the beginning of the year. “It’s a fairly cutting edge thing to do,” said Todd A. Solomon, a partner in the employee benefits department of McDermott Will & Emery, a law firm in Chicago, and author of “Domestic Partner Benefits: An Employer’s Guide.” Google is not the first company to make up for the extra tax. At least a few large employers already do. But benefits experts say Google’s move could inspire its Silicon Valley competitors to follow suit, because they compete for the same talent.”
- Don’t buy The Australian iPad app [Refined Geek – Blog] – A detailed look at the shortcomings of The Australian’s iPad application (almost all text is presented as images, for example, which is silly to start with …)
- [Media] Cognitive surplus, the soma of television and being on Newsnight with Clay Shirky [Aleks Krotoski] – Aleks Krotoski outlines her disagreements with Clay Shirky’s ‘cognitive surplus’ argument: basically, she suggests Shirky makes too sweeping an argument, which encompasses too many people, and devalues the participatory nature of earlier media forms, especially television, in ways less visible to contemporary social media forms.
- Foursquare Puts Money Before Privacy [Threat Level | Wired.com] – Foursquare demonstrates they really don’t care about users’ privacy, when they take a long time to fix one privacy flaw, fail to fix two more, don’t disclose any of this to users, and spend most of their energies pursuing more funding.
- Apple introduces iHand: the right way to hold your iPhone [Scoopertino] – Yes, it’s a parody: “Responding to complaints that the new iPhone 4 loses signal when held by a human hand, Apple today launched iHand — a synthetic appendage that makes it easy for anyone to “get a grip” on iPhone and remain connected. iHand is so easy to use, it doesn’t require a manual. Simply insert iPhone 4 into iHand’s adjustable fingers, raise it to your ear and start talking. With iHand, you get all the functionality of the human hand, without the signal-sucking biology that encumbers most iPhone owners.”
You’ve probably heard that many of those wonderful YouTube parodies using the clips from Downfall are disappearing due to copyright claims. Well, to help combat that tragedy, Rocketboom/Know Your Meme have put together this useful Public Service Announcement ‘Challenging a YouTube Take Down with Fair Use’:
Links for March 11th 2010:
- Chatroulette Map: Not So Anonymous Anymore [Laughing Squid] – Not so anonymous anymore: “Chatroulette Map is a project that is grabbing the IP addresses of users, along with a screenshot, and then using Geo IP tools to pinpoint them roughly on the map. The site relies on the fact that Chatroulette connects users directly to each other (assumedly in an effort to save bandwidth) and in doing so exposes IP addresses. Most of the screenshots are safe and entertaining, but there are a few of those Not-Safe-For-Work ones mixed in. The site is also a great way to see a small sampling of the concentration of users around the world.”
- American Idol Contestants Have To Give Up Their Social Media Presence? [Techdirt] – American Idol owns Idol’s web identities? “Apparently, you don’t just commit to handing over your music recordings if you enter American Idol, but now you have to give up your ability to build your own brand, as well. Hypebot alerts us to the news that American Idol contestants for the latest season were all forced to shut down their Facebook, MySpace and Twitter usage, and point everyone directly to American Idol’s own website instead. In an age when having a strong social media presence is important to career success for many musicians, this seems like quite a big trade-off.”
- UPDATED: All Your Apps Are Belong to Apple: The iPhone Developer Program License Agreement [Electronic Frontier Foundation] – “The entire family of devices built on the iPhone OS (iPhone, iPod Touch, iPad) have been designed to run only software that is approved by Apple—a major shift from the norms of the personal computer market. Software developers who want Apple’s approval must first agree to the iPhone Developer Program License Agreement. So today we’re posting the “iPhone Developer Program License Agreement“—the contract that every developer who writes software for the iTunes App Store must “sign.” Though more than 100,000 app developers have clicked “I agree,” public copies of the agreement are scarce, perhaps thanks to the prohibition on making any “public statements regarding this Agreement, its terms and conditions, or the relationship of the parties without Apple’s express prior written approval.””
- Porn internet domain name ‘dot.xxx’ plan revived [BBC News] – The .xxx top-level domain is once again on the ICANN agenda: “A plan to create an internet domain specifically for adult websites will be resurrected three years after it was rejected by internet regulators. The net’s governing body Icann will reconsider the .xxx scheme on 12 March. Icann had previously given the domain the go ahead in 2005, but reversed the decision two years later amidst protests from US conservative groups. An independent review recently concluded that decision was unfair and that the plan should be reconsidered. Icann (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) has now confirmed to BBC News that its board will discuss the plan at its meeting in Nairobi, Kenya and could decide to back the proposals.”
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