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Category Archives: piracy
Links for May 26th 2011 through May 30th 2011:
- China used prisoners in lucrative internet gaming work [guardian.co.uk] – Chinese prisons used as gold farms (ie playing games to earn virtual gold to sale): “As a prisoner at the Jixi labour camp, Liu Dali would slog through tough days breaking rocks and digging trenches in the open cast coalmines of north-east China. By night, he would slay demons, battle goblins and cast spells. Liu says he was one of scores of prisoners forced to play online games to build up credits that prison guards would then trade for real money. The 54-year-old, a former prison guard who was jailed for three years in 2004 for “illegally petitioning” the central government about corruption in his hometown, reckons the operation was even more lucrative than the physical labour that prisoners were also forced to do.”
- Better Facebook – Browser Extension – Nifty browser extension that makes Facebook more useful – including tracking comments, far more detailed filtering options, unfriend tracking, themes and so forth. Works on most browsers except IE.
- “Literally Unbelievable” – The extremely odd, disheartening and worrying Tumblr blog which captures people’s reactions to stories in The Onion without realising they’re parody and satire. All a little worrying.
- The Tunnel – The Tunnel is an Australian horror film released in May 2011 which took the unique approach of officially and legally releasing the entire film exclusively as a Bittorrent file, while offering other ways to support the film (buy stills and various types of DVDs and extras), betting that working with p2p communities rather than against them would win fans and financial support in the long run. There’s a quick write-up in the SMH and some fascinating background: IMDb initially refused to let the film be listed since it wasn’t using any recognised channels for release (eventually IMDb bowed to fan pressure and it’s listed there now).
- Thanks, YouTube community, for two BIG gifts on our sixth birthday! [YouTube Blog] – YouTube turns six with some amazing stats: “Today, more than 48 hours (two days worth) of video are uploaded to the site every minute, a 37% increase over the last six months and 100% over last year. […] We’re amazed that over this last weekend, you drove YouTube past the 3 billion views a day mark, a 50% increase over last year. That’s the equivalent of nearly half the world’s population watching a YouTube video each day, or every U.S. resident watching at least nine videos a day.”Last year YouTube celebrated their 5th birthday with a dedicated channel page and a 5-year YouTube timeline which are still useful, too.
Links for May 14th 2011 through May 25th 2011:
- Lady Gaga Fans Swamp Amazon for a Cut-Rate Copy of a New Album [NYTimes.com] – “Lady Gaga has made herself a paragon of pop ambition and a spokeswoman for equal rights, but on Monday she became an unwitting symbol for something else: the pitfalls of cloud computing. “Born This Way” (Interscope), her new album, arrived with a blitz of marketing, and Amazon surprised the singer’s fans by offering a one-day sale of the MP3 version of the album for 99 cents, a full $11 less than its price at iTunes, the Web’s dominant music retailer. The discount was widely seen as a way for Amazon to promote its new Cloud Drive service, which allows users to store music files on remote servers and stream them over the Internet to their computer or smartphone. But Amazon may have underestimated the zeal (or thrift) of Lady Gaga’s fans. By early afternoon the company’s servers stalled, and many users were unable to download or listen to the album in full. Frustrated customers quickly took to Twitter and to Amazon’s user review page for “Born This Way.” “
- Lady Gaga’s $0.99 Album Download Overwhelms Amazon [Mashable] – “Lady Gaga fans were delighted Monday to learn that they could download her new album, Born This Way, from Amazon for a mere $0.99 — until, of course, technical difficulties set in. Downloads of the album are delayed, leaving folks unable to get the entire album immediately upon purchase. Amazon issued the following statement: “Amazon is experiencing high volume and downloads are delayed. If customers order today, they will get the full Lady Gaga, Born This Way album for $0.99. Thanks for your patience.” However, the damage has already been done, as users are meting out one-star ratings in droves, most of which deal with Amazon’s slow service as opposed to the quality of the music …”
- How to Use Your Android as a Photo Tool + Top 10 Apps | Photojojo – Good list of current, useful Android photo apps. Still no Instagram, but getting close.
- Zuckerberg: Kids under 13 should be allowed on Facebook [Fortune Tech] – Mark Zuckerberg wants under-13s to be legally able to join Facebook due to the educational value of social networking. There are much better spaces online and offline, to learn these lessons! “Zuckerberg said he wants younger kids to be allowed on social networking sites like Facebook. Currently, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) mandates that websites that collect information about users (like Facebook does) aren’t allowed to sign on anyone under the age of 13. But Zuckerberg is determined to change this. “That will be a fight we take on at some point,” he said. “My philosophy is that for education you need to start at a really, really young age.” But just how would Facebook’s social features be used by younger children? “Because of the restrictions we haven’t even begun this learning process,” Zuckerberg said. “If they’re lifted then we’d start to learn what works. We’d take a lot of precautions to make sure that they [younger kids] are safe.””
- Angry Birds: 200m downloads are the tip of the mobile gaming iceberg [guardian.co.uk] – “The Angry Birds phenomenon shows no sign of slowing up. Developer Rovio Mobile says that the franchise has now generated more than 200m downloads across all platforms, with its latest incarnation Angry Birds Rio racking up 35m since its launch in March. Depending which report you read, Rovio is now making preparations for an IPO sometime in the next two to three years, or planning to launch location-based services around the Angry Birds brand. The company’s executives also have a fairly transparent strategy of talking Rovio up as a potential Disney. Angry Birds is now a cross-platform success, with a big share of its last 100m downloads coming from Android devices …”
- How Viral PDFs Of A Naughty Bedtime Book Exploded The Old Publishing Model [Fast Company] – Did the massive online distribution of a ‘pirated’ PDF lead to satirical kids book for adults _Go The Fuck To Sleep_ hitting the #1 spot on Amazon’s book sales list even before the official publication date? Looks like it.
- NCIS, Idol Top TVGuide.com’s List of the Most Social Shows [TVGuide.com] – A TVGuide.com (of 1586 people) reports significant use of social media to discuss TV shows both before, during and after, although conversations during shows being the least active of these three periods. Twitter users are more likely to talk about the shows they are watching (50% of the time) than Facebook users (35% of the time). More results and graphs at the TVGuide website.(This survey was conducted in April 2011 on TVGuide.com, with 1,586 respondents. )
Links for March 21st 2011 through March 25th 2011:
- Record Industry: Limewire Could Owe $75 Trillion – Judge: “Absurd” [Crunch Gear] – “… this is beyond ridiculous. This is… sublime. The record companies suing Limewire were asked to estimate the damages that should be paid by the file-sharing service. Their estimate? $400 Billion on the low end, and at the high end — $75 trillion dollars. That’s more than the GDP of the entire world. The judge, in a refreshing stroke of good sense, deemed these potential damages “absurd” and the plaintiff’s approach “untenable”. The $75tn figure relies on an interpretation of copyright law that provides statutory damages for each instance of copying, and with the numbers of downloads and individual songs the industry is alleging, the money adds up quickly. Even the $400bn figure is certainly grossly inflated, however “conservative” it may appear to Virgin, Atlantic, Sony, and so on. It was decided that an interpretation of copyright law enabling the music industry to sue for more money than they’ve made in the history of recorded music was necessarily wrong…”
- Troll jailed for posting child porn on tribute pages for dead children [News.com.au] – A MAN charged over Facebook vandalism for plastering child pornography over sites set up to pay tribute to two slain schoolchildren has been jailed. The Brisbane District Court was told Bradley Paul Hampson, 29, posted offensive messages and photographs on Facebook “RIP tribute” pages for a 12-year-old boy stabbed at a Brisbane school and a nine-year-old Bundaberg girl abducted and murdered in February last year. Hampson, of Tarragindi, on Brisbane’s southside, today pleaded guilty to two counts using a carriage service, the internet, to cause offence and one each of distributing and possessing child exploitation material between February 14 and June 4 last year. […] Judge Kerry O’Brien jailed Hamspon for three years, but ordered he be released after serving 12 months. Judge O’Brien ordered Hampson be placed on a two-year probation order upon his release from jail.”
- Tweeting with the telly on [BBC News] – Twitter TV – it can be more than just #qanda! “The days of families reverentially gathered around the box may be long gone but the doom-mongers who said that on-demand would kill linear TV completely may also be somewhat off the mark. A new generation of viewers is watching what has been dubbed social TV – a synthesis between TV and social networking. A recent study from marketing agency Digital Clarity found that 80% of under-25s used a second screen to communicate with friends while watching TV and 72% used Twitter, Facebook or a mobile app to comment on shows. Currently it is little more sophisticated than watching TV with one eye on Twitter or Facebook, but that is beginning to change as TV executives start to experiment with greater social networking integration. In New Zealand, TVNZ has just launched a new youth channel which sees Facebook heavily integrated to create an interactive entertainment and music show.”
- Amazon Appstore: what does it mean for developers? [guardian.co.uk] – Amazon launch their new Android App store. Testimony to the choice available on an open system. However, launching it US-only seems ridiculous. Rovio’s ‘Angry Birds Rio’ is free for the first day of Amazon’s App Store, but no one in the US can ‘buy’ it (ie download it) at all. Not a terribly auspicious start. (Oh, and Apple are going to sue them for use of ‘App’ in the name of their App Store.)
- Piracy: are we being conned? [The Age] – A thoroughly research article which rebukes some of the ridiculous claims in several recent industry-backed “piracy” scare reports: “This month, a new lobbying group, the Australian Content Industry Group (ACIG), released new statistics to The Age, which claimed piracy was costing Australian content industries $900 million a year and 8000 jobs. The report claims 4.7 million Australian internet users engaged in illegal downloading and this was set to increase to 8 million by 2016. By that time, the claimed losses to piracy would jump to $5.2 billion a year and 40,000 jobs. But the report, which is just 12 pages long, is fundamentally flawed. It takes a model provided by an earlier European piracy study (which itself has been thoroughly debunked) and attempts to shoe-horn in extrapolated Australian figures that are at best highly questionable and at worst just made up.”
- Google accuses China of interfering with Gmail email system [The Guardian] – Google vs China, round two: “Google has accused the Chinese government of interfering with its popular Gmail email system. The move follows extensive attempts by the Chinese authorities to crack down on the “jasmine revolution” – an online dissident movement inspired by events in the Middle East. According to the search giant, Chinese customers and advertisers have increasingly been complaining about their Gmail service in the past month. Attempts by users to send messages, mark messages as unread and use other services have generated problems for Gmail customers. In the wake of the catastrophic earthquake in Japan, Google set up an application to help people find relatives and friends lost in the disaster. This service too seems to have been compromised. “Relating to Google there is no issue on our side. We have checked extensively. This is a government blockage carefully designed to look like the problem is with Gmail,” said a Google spokesman.”
Links for March 1st 2011:
- Should an employer ever require your social media passwords as an employment condition? [eGov AU] – “At least one state agency in the US, Maryland Division of Correction, recently started requiring employees to provide their personal Facebook password and allow their employer to scrutinise their account as a condition of continued employment. Apparently this request wasn’t illegal – although it breaches Facebook’s usage policy (which could mean the employee loses their account). The rationale given by the employer was that they needed to review the contents of the account as part of the employment contract. A video of one staff member asked to provide his personal Facebook password is below. […] A number of law enforcement agencies have also apparently begun requesting this information as part of their recruitment process, as reported by USANow in the article, Police recruits screened for digital dirt on Facebook, etc. […] Should employers be allowed to request your passwords?” My answer: absolutely not!
- Your view from the #Oscars stage [Twitter Media] – “The 83rd Annual Academy Awards captured the country’s attention on Sunday night, but ABC’s cameras didn’t provide the only view. This year’s show was a new kind of 360-degree event, with:
* a camera-snapping, live-tweeting host;
* an official hashtag on air; and
* a big, sustained second-screen conversation on Twitter.
First: whatever you thought of his hosting, there’s no question that James Franco broke new ground with his tweeting. […] And all together, that represents a brand-new kind of event experience: one where viewers get to experience it from every vantage point, from even the stage itself. And the experience went both ways, because Franco got to hear what the viewers at home were saying, too; his account was mentioned 63,737 times during the show. Second: an official #oscars hashtag appeared on air twice—once near the beginning of the telecast and again near the end: Now, we know that when a hashtag shows up on TV, it causes a surge of Tweets.”
- Auto-Tune the News Rocks the Oscars: Online Video News [NewTeeVee] – “I’m probably not the only one who was ready to fall asleep halfway through the show during last night’s Oscars telecast, but then it happened: Anne Hathaway and James Franco joked slightly awkwardly about this being “the year of the movie musical,” only to wake up the audience with an awesome auto-tune mash-up, featuring Harry Potter pals Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, Woody from the Toy Story franchise, Justin Timberlake playing Sean Parker and Twilight’s Edward, Jacob and Bella. […] The video wasn’t just a tribute to the YouTube auto-tune mash-up phenomenon, though; it was actually produced by none other than the Gregory Brothers, best known for Auto-Tune the News and their Songify This videos. Asked about the collaboration, Evan Gregory told me via email: “The producers of the broadcast reached out to us and asked us to do a piece. Then we collaborated with them over a period of several weeks to pull it together.””
- 5 Reasons Why Your Online Presence Will Replace Your Resume in 10 years [Dan Schawbel – Personal Branding – Forbes] – While I don’t agree with all of these points, it is a useful indicator of how central web presence will be in terms of employment now and even more so in the future:
“5 reasons why your online presence will replace your resume:
1. Social networking use is skyrocketing while email is plummeting
2. You can’t find jobs traditionally anymore
3. People are managing their careers as entrepreneurs
4. The traditional resume is now virtual and easy to build
5. Job seeker passion has become the deciding factor in employment”
- Gmail back soon for everyone [Official Gmail Blog] – Apparently it was “0.02%” of gmail accounts that were temporarily deleted – still tens of thousands of accounts. Google sound confident all data will be back, soon, but that’s an awfully big scare, especially given how stable and reliable Gmail has appeared in the past compared to other cloud email services (yes, Hotmail, I’m looking at you!).
- Many Gmail Users Can’t Find Their Messages [Google OS] – Woah: Google has (accidentally?) deleted “0.08%” of all gmail accounts. That must be hundreds or thousands of accounts! While I love Gmail, it’s this sort of accident that reminds us all how precarious data in the cloud can be. Google are in the process of restoring these accounts, but even a few days with none of your email or email account would cause real challenges for most people! (Actually the BBC note that this might mean up to 150,000 Gmail accounts!!)
- iiNet again slays Hollywood in landmark piracy case [The Age] – “The giants of the film industry have lost their appeal in a lawsuit against [Australian] ISP iiNet in a landmark judgment handed down in the Federal Court today. The appeal dismissed today had the potential to impact internet users and the internet industry profoundly as it sets a legal precedent surrounding how much ISPs are required to do to prevent customers from downloading movies and other content illegally. The film studios had sued iiNet arguing that, by not acting to prevent illegal file sharing on its network, it was essentially “authorising” the activity. “I have concluded that the appeal should be dismissed,” Justice Arthur Robert Emmett said in court this afternoon…”
- Filmed on a phone, spy movie takes out junior Tropfest award [WA Today] – Tropfest under-15 winner shot the whole film on an iPhone: “Simeon Bain cites the 2010 blockbuster Inception as the motivation for his own film, for which he won the Tropfest film festival’s Trop Jr prize this year. Like Inception, Simeon’s film, Imagine, follows the story of a skilled spy, but that is where the similarities end. Simeon’s film was much cheaper, costing $70 to make over three days, and being shot entirely with a mobile phone. ”I was between cameras,” Simeon, from Gisborne, said. ”I was on the verge of getting a new one, and my old camera just wasn’t good enough, so I decided to use my iPhone instead. Filming with a phone has its benefits, because it requires very little set up and it’s highly portable.””
- What is ‘The Streisand Effect’? [YouTube] – Quirky little video which actually explains the Streisand Effect very clear (short version: attempts to censor information online often lead to that information becoming a lot more popular and viewed!).
- Facebook Privacy: 10 Settings Every User Needs to Know [Mashable] – Useful list of privacy settings every Facebook user should be aware of.
- How Angry Birds really took off: 200m minutes a day spent playing it [SMH] – Fluffy article on the development of Angry Birds, but it does highlight the importance of the Apple App Store as a reliable single portal for developers: “Rovio needed a solution and the iPhone provided one. After the phone’s launch in 2007, Rovio realised that their industry was about to change completely. For the first time, users from all over the world would be able to download games from the same place: Apple’s online App Store. So a manufacturer only had to produce one version of a game, reducing costs dramatically.”
Links for December 2nd 2010 through December 6th 2010:
- Facebook Causes One In Five Divorces In US [Link Newspaper] – I think ’causes’ is an overstatement; facilitates, perhaps: “Flirty messages and photographs found on social networking website Facebook are now leading to at least one in five divorces in the US, a survey has revealed. A new survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers also says around 80 per cent of divorce lawyers have reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence of cheating, according to the Daily Mail. Many cases revolve around social media users who get back in touch with ex-girlfriends and lovers they had not heard from in many years. Facebook was by far the biggest offender, with 66 per cent of lawyers citing it as the primary source of evidence in a divorce case. MySpace followed with 15 per cent, Twitter at five per cent and other websites together at 14 per cent.”
- When Oprah Winfrey educates Yanks on our ‘hip’ McCafes, it’s the dollar talking [News.com.au] – For Oprah, Australia = product placement: “Oprah Winfrey has already given Americans an insight into our culture. This is despite the fact the TV queen some say is the most influential woman in the world doesn’t arrive in Australia until tomorrow. According to Oprah’s Aussie Countdown, which screened to 10 million Americans last week, we Australians call men “blokes”, women “sheilas” and we like to meet up at “hip joints” called McCafes to sip on gourmet coffee. Some of the one-million-strong Australian audience who saw this report on the Ten Network last week were a little surprised to hear of the importance of McCafes to the Australian lifestyle. […] The Australian asked the Ten Network and McDonald’s about the curious reference and they confirmed McDonald’s was a “broadcast sponsor and had a global arrangement directly with Harpo Productions for the in-program McCafe activity that appeared in Carrie’s segment”. In other words, the segment was paid for and funded by McDonald’s”
- Labor to back adults-only games classification [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – Good news: “The Federal Government has announced it will support a push for an adults-only classification for video games. A decision on the matter is expected on Friday at a meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. A recent Galaxy survey has found strong support for an R18+ classification, with 80 per cent of people surveyed saying they believed an adult classification was needed, while a government public consultation on the matter received close to 60,000 responses – with 98 per cent in favour of an adult rating. Currently in Australia, games classed above MA15+ are refused classification and cannot be brought into the country. Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor says an adults-only classification would include games with excessive violence or adult themes.”
- Life on Mars? Not yet. But in the meantime, NASA has found a new kind of life on Earth… [Perth Now] – It’s life, Jim, but its diet is not as we know it: “Lurking in the depths of a California lake is a bacteria that can thrive on arsenic, an explosive discovery that could expand the search for other life on Earth and beyond, researchers have found. The NASA-funded study released today and published in the journal Science redefines what biologists consider the necessary elements for life, currently viewed as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur. Not only does the bacteria survive on arsenic, it also grows by incorporating the element into its DNA and cell membranes. “What is new here is arsenic is being used as a building block for the organism,” said Ariel Anbar, co-author of the study. “We have had this idea that life requires these six elements with no exceptions and here it turns out, well maybe there is an exception.””
- Making Copyright Work Better Online [Google Public Policy Blog] – From the point of view of digital libertarians, Google just got a bit more evil as they’ve pledged to act on reducing the ease of access to links to allegedly pirate material in their index. Google aren’t removing links (except where a DMCA takedown notice is submitted) but will prevent suspect material appearing in auto-complete, act faster on DMCA takedown notices, more carefully ensure AdSense doesn’t get used for ads pointing to pirated material, and other experiments. So the material is still returned in normal search results unless you’ve got the autocomplete on by default.
- BBC Plans Subscription-Only U.S. iPlayer On iPad [mocoNews] – “This is huge. The BBC will launch the long-awaited global version of its iPlayer TV catch-up service on a subscription-only basis, and initially only on iPad. The service, carrying BBC shows like Doctor Who on-demand, will likely be very popular in the U.S., generating new income for the BBC back in Britain. The significance of the move is clear – it means the BBC will operate a subscription worldwide media channel that, in time, could become one of its biggest.”
Links for September 23rd 2010 through September 30th 2010:
- Why I’m quitting Twitter [Jason Wilson – ABC The Drum Unleashed] – Jason Wilson’s decision to quit Twitter begs some interesting questions about academics in public debate: “My first reaction to the Grog’sgate story was disbelief and disgust, which I put out there as soon as it registered. There’s still some of that in my considered response, but it’s my professional role as someone whose research and teaching crosses over with the events of Grog’sgate to lead with considered analysis, not trail with it. Twitter encourages one (or me, at least) to vent immediate replies, which may not match, may even contradict a more disinterested evaluation. I’m not paid or qualified for minute-by-minute commentary, but for analysis and research. My personal opinions are my own, and they’re quite distinct from, and often incompatible with any professional conclusions I might draw. But I need to make that clearer by not issuing professional and personal messages from the same space. Since I’ve ruled out separate accounts, the whole thing needs to come to a halt.”
- Tweets in your media, media in your Tweets [Twitter Blog] – Twitter officially pushes symbiotic relationships w/other media: “While Twitter is about all types of information, the ways that the service fits into media have long been important to us, and increasingly, media makers are weaving Tweets into the very fabric of their content. Look at segments like Jimmy Fallon’s Late Night Hashtags, where Tweets from viewers aren’t a gimmick; they’re great content. Look at sites like the Huffington Post, where Tweets underscore and amplify the headlines whenever there’s a big story brewing. Look at live shows like the VMAs, where Twitter came alive on a 95-foot-wide screen. Now, with the launch of the new Twitter, the ways that media fits into Twitter.com are just as important. Whenever there’s a new movie release, a TV show premiere, a big football game, or a breaking news story, people are talking about it on Twitter. With the new Twitter, they’re seeing glimpses of it, too, because photos and videos are now presented as part of the core Twitter experience.”
- Invasion of Privacy Charges After Death of Tyler Clementi [NYTimes.com] – A sad but timely reminder about the potential ramifications of not respecting people’s right to privacy: “It started with a Twitter message on Sept. 19: “Roommate asked for the room till midnight. I went into molly’s room and turned on my webcam. I saw him making out with a dude. Yay.” That night, the authorities say, the Rutgers University student who sent the message used a camera in his dormitory room to stream the roommate’s intimate encounter live on the Internet. And three days later, the roommate who had been surreptitiously broadcast — Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old freshman and an accomplished violinist — jumped from the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River in an apparent suicide.”
- When traditional media exposes public service bloggers [eGov AU] – Craig Thomler has a reasonable snapshot of “#grogsgate” as the anonymous writer behind political blog Grog’s Gamut has his identity revealed in the daily national newspaper (he’s a public servant). Thomler points out that Grog broke no rules, followed the social media and commentary policies of his employment, and that the ‘outing’ seems pretty petty and unnecessary. It does, though, remind us that having separable online and ‘real’ identities is a harder and harder thing to do these days. Read the outing in The Australian, and Grog’s Response.
- French court convicts Google and its boss for defamation [WA Today] – Is an algorithm a defense? If not, most search engines, and social networks, have troubled legal water to navigate: “A Paris court has convicted US search engine giant Google and its chief executive Eric Schmidt of defamation over results from its “suggest” function, a French legal affairs website has revealed. The new function, which suggests options as you type in a word, brought up the words “rapist” and “satanist” when the plaintiff’s name was typed into the search engine, legalis.net reported. The court ordered Google to make a symbolic payment of one euro in damages and take measures to ensure they could be no repeat of the offence. […] A Google spokesman told AFP by email that they would be appealing the ruling. The statement said that the Google Suggest function simply reflected the most common terms used in the past with words entered, so it was not Google itself that was making the suggestions.
Links through June 28th 2010 (catching up on the last week!):
- Fairfax and content theft – mUmBRELLA – Mumbrella asks if Fairfax media is copying YouTube videos and placing them onlive via a Fairfax media player, then using them on Fairfax online properties: is this “piracy”? Aren’t Fairfax ripping off YouTube creators who are relying on advertising (on their YouTube clips) to make a little money? I’ve no idea if Fairfax has some sort of license to do this (or if it might be legal under fair dealing – although using the whole clip can’t be) but it’s an important question given the rhetoric of piracy being a problem with individuals, rather than corporations, downloading “illegally”.
- Google’s mismanagement of the Android Market [Jon Lech Johansen’s blog] – Jon Lech Johansen’s critique of the current Android marketplace. While it’s preferable to the closed Apple App store, the Android Marketplace clearly needs a lot more work on its centralised architecture to sell and distribute apps effectively.
- Exercising Our Remote Application Removal Feature [Android Developers Blog] – Android centrally nukes their first app from the marketplace and all phones using it; from the Android blog: “The remote application removal feature is one of many security controls Android possesses to help protect users from malicious applications. In case of an emergency, a dangerous application could be removed from active circulation in a rapid and scalable manner to prevent further exposure to users. While we hope to not have to use it, we know that we have the capability to take swift action on behalf of users’ safety when needed. This remote removal functionality — along with Android’s unique Application Sandbox and Permissions model, Over-The-Air update system, centralized Market, developer registrations, user-submitted ratings, and application flagging — provides a powerful security advantage to help protect Android users in our open environment.”
- Pakistan to monitor Google and Yahoo for ‘blasphemy’ [BBC News] – “Pakistan will start monitoring seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, for content it deems offensive to Muslims. YouTube, Amazon, MSN, Hotmail and Bing will also come under scrutiny, while 17 less well-known sites will be blocked. Officials will monitor the sites and block links deemed inappropriate. In May, Pakistan banned access to Facebook after the social network hosted a “blasphemous” competition to draw the prophet Muhammad. The new action will see Pakistani authorities monitor content published on the seven sites, blocking individual pages if content is judged to be offensive. Telecoms official Khurram Mehran said links would be blocked without disturbing the main website.”
- ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups [Threat Level | Wired.com] – ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) tries to rally against alternative copyright licensing, even those which actually assist creators to license clearly! “ASCAP’s attack on EFF and Public Knowledge are farfetched. Those groups do not suggest music should be free, although they push for the liberalization of copyright law. But the attack on Creative Commons is more laughable than ASCAP’s stance against EFF and Public Knowledge. While lobby groups EFF and Public Knowledge advocate for liberal copyright laws, Creative Commons actually creates licenses to protect content creators. […] The licenses allow the works in the public domain, with various rules regarding attribution, commercial use and remixing. The group’s creative director, Eric Steuer, said nobody forces anybody to adopt the Creative Commons credo. “I think it’s false to claim that Creative Commons works to undermine copyright,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s an opt-in system.””
- dev:wordpress [Zotero Documentation] – Plugins to make the COins data on blogs visible from WordPress (ie makes Zotero recognise WordPress blog metadata).
- Sex domain gets official approval [BBC News] – .xxx is coming: “Official approval has been given for the creation of an internet domain dedicated to pornography. The board of net overseer Icann gave initial approval for the creation of the .xxx domain at its conference in Brussels. Icann’s approval will kick off a fast-track process to get the porn-only domain set up. ICM Registry, which is backing the domain, said .xxx would make it easier to filter out inappropriate content. The decision ends a long campaign by ICM Registry to win approval. Stuart Lawley, chairman of ICM, welcomed the decision and said it was “great news for those that wish to consume, or avoid, adult content”.”
- Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review [danah boyd | apophenia] – “I’m pleased to announce a rough draft of Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review for public feedback. This Literature Review was produced for Harvard Berkman Center’s Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative, co-directed by John Palfrey, Urs Gasser, and myself and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. This Literature Review builds on the 2008 LitReview that Andrew Schrock and I crafted for the Internet Safety Technical Task Force. This document is not finalized, but we want to make our draft available broadly so that scholars working in this area can inform us of anything that we might be missing. Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review.”
- Twitter has a bad day: FTC tells it off and the site’s not running well [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Twitter’s having a bad day. First it got told off by the US Federal Trade Commission for incidents in January and May last year when 33 accounts, including Barack Obama’s, were hacked using the company’s own internal support tools. And then it’s having to scale back on its API in order to get the site in order, according to its status page. The FTC settlement is “the agency’s first such case against a social networking site” over flawed data security. According to the FTC’s complaint, between January and May 2009, hackers who gained administrative control of Twitter were able to view nonpublic user information, gain access to direct messages and protected tweets, and reset any user’s password and send authorized tweets from any user account.”
- 1 in 5 Android Apps Pose Potential Privacy Threat [REPORT] [Mashable] – Further fuel for Steve Jobs decision to police the Apple App store so tightly: “Mobile security company SMobile has looked into the potential privacy and security issues in more than 48,000 apps in the Android Market. The company’s findings are alarming for Android owners, since approximately 20% of Android apps request permission to access private or sensitive information.[…]. By contrast, the Android (Android) market is open, meaning that Google (Google) doesn’t minutely examine apps for approval (it did, however, ban certain apps from the Market) and Android apps don’t have to be acquired from the Market; users can obtain them from other sources, like a developer’s website. Google’s approach makes it easier on the developers, but it can also result in a security nightmare for consumers. According to the report, one out of every 20 apps can place a call to any number without approval from the user; 3% of apps can send an SMS to any number…”
- HUGE: Twitter Lets You Automatically Follow Your Facebook Friends [UPDATED] [Mashable] – “Twitter has announced that it is launching major upgrades to its Facebook and LinkedIn (LinkedIn) applications, bringing added functionality and integration between Twitter and two of the world’s largest social networks. The new Twitter app for Facebook, which is now available here, not only allows you to syndicate your tweets to the world’s largest social network, but now has a feature that allow users to see which of their Facebook friends are also on Twitter and choose which ones they want to follow. The new feature could be huge: it brings existing Facebook connections into the Twitterverse, which is likely to spur new levels of engagement and growth.”
- Judge Sides With Google in Viacom Suit Over Videos [NYTimes.com] – “In a major victory for Google in its battle with media companies, a federal judge on Wednesday dismissed Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement against YouTube, the video-sharing site owned by Google. The judge granted Google’s motion for summary judgment, saying that the company was shielded from Viacom’s copyright claims by “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That law generally protects user-generated sites from liability for copyrighted material uploaded by users as long as the operator of the site takes down the material when notified by its rightful owner that it was uploaded without permission. The dispute is over videos owned by Viacom that others had posted to YouTube. Viacom, which sued Google in 2007 for copyright infringement, had argued that Google was not entitled to the copyright act’s protections because Google deliberately turned a blind eye and profited from to the rampant piracy on YouTube.”
- YouTube Video Editor [Google OS] – Useful for only the very basics, but still a useful on-the-fly tool: “YouTube has a new video editor that lets you create videos using excerpts from the videos you’ve already uploaded. You can also add a music file from the AudioSwap library, but YouTube mentions that it might display ads if you use some of the audio files.”
- Content Is No Longer King: Curation Is King [Business Insider] – “”Content is King” — no longer. Today, the world has changed. “Curation Is King.” Ok, I hear all the content-makers sharpening their knives to take me on. I’m ready. First, why content is dead: Content used to be the high quality media that came out of the very pointed end of the funnel. Articles in the New York Times. Movies from Miramax. Thursday night comedy from NBC. Books published by Simon and Schuster. Creative folks wrote pitches, treatments, sample chapters, pilots, but only the best of the best got published. Then, the web came along and blew that up. Kaboom! Now content has gone from being scarce to being ubiquitous. […] We’ve arrived in a world where everyone is a content creator. And quality content is determined by context. Finding, Sorting, Endorsing, Sharing – it’s the beginning of a new chapter […] The emergence of a new King — a Curation King, reflects the rise of the new Aggregation Economy. It is an exciting time to be in content, and the best is yet to come.”
Links for May 24th 2010 through May 26th 2010:
- Facebook ‘hindering the police’ [WA Today] – The Australian Federal Police take on Facebook: “Facebook’s woeful relationship with law enforcement bodies is hampering police investigations and putting lives at risk, the Australian Federal Police says. The AFP’s assistant commissioner and head of high tech crime operations, Neil Gaughan, will fly to Washington DC today for a meeting convened by the US Department of Justice in which senior law enforcement officials from around the world will discuss their concerns with the social networking website. State and federal police have told the Herald’s sister paper, the Age, the company has been unwilling to provide police with the intelligence they need for investigations. They want Facebook to appoint a dedicated law enforcement liaison in Australia who can, for example, match user accounts to physical internet addresses.”
- Facebook told to set up warning system after new sex scam [The Age] – Just what Facebook needs, its own viruses: “A major computer security firm urged Facebook to set up an early-warning system after hundreds of thousands of users were hit by a new wave of fake sex-video attacks. British-based virus fighter Sophos warned users of the world’s biggest social networking site to be on guard against any posting entitled “distracting beach babes”, which contains a movie thumbnail of a bikini-clad woman. In a press statement, Sophos said the malicious posts appear as if they are coming from Facebook users’ friends, but it urged recipients not to click on the thumbnail. By clicking on it, users are taken to a rogue Facebook application informing them that they do not have the right player software installed, Sophos said. It tricks users into installing adware, a software package that automatically plays, displays or downloads advertisements to their computer, and the video link is spread further across the network.”
- Lady Gaga Says No Problem If People Download Her Music; The Money Is In Touring [Techdirt] – “… Lady Gaga admits she’s fine with people downloading her music in unauthorized forms because she makes it up in touring revenue:
She explains she doesn’t mind about people downloading her music for free, “because you know how much you can earn off touring, right? Big artists can make anywhere from $40 million [£28 million] for one cycle of two years’ touring. Giant artists make upwards of $100 million. Make music — then tour. It’s just the way it is today.”
Similarly, she knocks bands that don’t really try to work hard to please the fans, and who just expect them to automatically buy each album:
“I hate big acts that just throw an album out against the wall, like ‘BUY IT! F*** YOU!’ It’s mean to fans. You should go out and tour it to your fans in India, Japan, the UK. I don’t believe in how the music industry is today. I believe in how it was in 1982.”
- How The Australian fell in love with the iPad [mUmBRELLA] – Is The Australian an Apple customer or commentator? “While it’s fair to say that the world’s media has been pretty excited about Apple’s iPad, The Australian appears to be on the verge of spontaneously combusting over the device’s official arrival Down Under this Friday. Clearly the newspaper’s plans to launch its own paid-for iPad app are unrelated to that. Indeed, if it sells as many apps as it has written stories about the iPad, it will be well on the way to securing a digital future for itself. […] I’d love to bring you every article The Australian’s carried about the iPad. But Google tells me there are 4,790 of them. So I’d better stop there. Did I mention that The Australian’s got an iPad app?”
- Quitting Facebook is pointless; challenging them to do better is not [danah boyd | apophenia] – boyd’s discussion points:
“1. I do not believe that people will (or should) leave Facebook because of privacy issues.
2. I do not believe that the tech elites who are publicly leaving Facebook will affect on the company’s numbers; they are unrepresentative and were not central users in the first place.
3. I do not believe that an alternative will emerge in the next 2-5 years that will “replace” Facebook in any meaningful sense.
4. I believe that Facebook will get regulated and I would like to see an open discussion of what this means and what form this takes.
5. I believe that a significant minority of users are at risk because of decisions Facebook has made and I think that those of us who aren’t owe it to those who are to work through these issues.
6. I believe that Facebook needs to start a public dialogue with users and those who are concerned ASAP (and Elliot Schrage’s Q&A doesn’t count).”
There were more than 400,000 tweets during the Lost season finale; I didn’t make any of them, or read any of them in real-time, but not for a lack of interest. Rather, as I write this post (on Tuesday, 25 May) Australia has still not screened the Lost finale; it’s scheduled for Wednesday night on Seven. While Seven have reduced the delay between US screenings and Australian broadcast times, as was noted in yesterday’s links, the finale was simulcast live in the UK, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Turkey, and Canada but that was not the case down under. To add insult to injury, Seven couched this decision as service to Australian Lost fans:
Channel Seven will not screen the 2½-hour finale until 8.30pm Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the station said a Monday afternoon simulcast was considered, but it was felt fans would find the show more easily in its current timeslot – although the finale has been upgraded from digital channel 7TWO to Seven. […] ‘Ridiculous,” says comedian Wil Anderson, a Lost die-hard. ”If I was going to watch it on Wednesday, I could not go on the internet at all for two days. I will definitely have watched it by Wednesday.”
Better to have said nothing, or spoken plainly that they’ve decided the ratings boost from the Lost finale would be insufficient to justify tinkering with their Monday line-up, but to have Seven claim that the delay is to make things easier for Lost fans in Australia is really pretty offensive.
On the 400,000+ tweets made during the Lost finale by those who could see it live:
“And that is a conservative estimate,” said Mark Ghuneim, chief executive [of WiredSet]. That beat the show’s average of 27,000 tweets during the season, but was still a smaller volume overall than an event like the Oscars, said Mr. Ghuneim. “We tracked about 780,000 tweets during the Oscars,” Mr. Ghuneim said. “But it’s still an impressive number.” In addition, he said, tweets about the show peaked during commercials. “Instead of running to the fridge during commercial breaks, people were running to their laptops and phones,” he said.
From those comments, Twitter is a boon to commercial television: a social media tool which encourages real-time viewing, which actually justifies the ad breaks as times to reflect, comment and connect with other fans (with the ads still blaring away rather than risk missing the opening of next act), rather than skipping the commercials altogether. For so many Lost fans, that sense of shared viewing made the finale much more meaningful event television, whether you loved it, or hated it. Spreading that conversation across North America and sizable chunk of Europe made it even richer, but those riches were denied Australians. What Seven fails to understand, is that a delay of just over two days may as well be two decades; most people I know in Australia have already seen Lost via means which aren’t legal, be that a peer to peer download, or circumventing the geographic restrictions for an online replay-service like Hulu. Lost succeeded admirably in creating dedicated fans across the web; Seven succeeded admirably in forcing them to look elsewhere.
Perhaps the greatest irony, and the surest sign that Seven doesn’t understand social media, is the fact that there will be a “Live Blog” on the official Seven Lost pages on Wednesday night. On the web, live means live globally, not live in an arbitrary national sales region bounded by water. Besides which, I live in Perth, on the west coast of Australia, and the live blog wouldn’t even be live here anyway; were I watching Lost in Australia, it’d still be one giant spoiler thanks to Perth being 2-hours behind the East coast.
I’ve written about the tyranny of digital distance before which, in a nut-shell, occurs when the real-time nature of digital information sharing isn’t fulfilled due to historical, political and commercial boundaries which were largely established before the internet, before the web. Not being able to participate in the Lost finale’s global commentary is a poignant example of the tyranny of digital distance in action, and has done nothing for my relationship with commercial broadcasting in Australia. In an era where the immediacy and real-time nature of commentary can add so much to the shared viewing experience, the boundaries which prevent that fan experience can be all the more disappointing and distancing.
For the record: I’ve now seen the finale, and I loved it.
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