Angry Birds’ Mighty Eagle: ‘We have expanded the market for games’ [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – They may be familiar, but the stats around Angry Birds remain startling, starting with the franchise’s 700m downloads across all platforms – a figure likely to top 1bn sometime in 2012. The original iPhone game is the biggest-selling paid app ever on both the UK and US App Stores according to Apple, with follow-ups Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio also in the top 10 in both countries.More than 1m people have reviewed the Android version of Angry Birds on Google’s Android Market, and Rovio has sold 25m plush toys so far. On the back of that, there are now more than 20,000 licensed Angry Birds products on sale […] Next up is Angry Birds Space, with a 22 March launch that will include a game, animated content, physical products and books. Rovio is working with NASA on the project, and National Geographic on the book, with more products to come. “It’s the first time we have everything available on launch day: animation, toys, books, candy, everything,” says Vesterbacka.”
Zynga Seeks to Broaden Reach With New Gaming Platform [NYTimes.com] – “Zynga, the creator of FarmVille, Words With Friends, Mafia Wars and other popular social games, is going to start supplying friends for those who are lacking. The company announced a new gaming platform on Thursday that will match up players who do not know one another but who have a mutual interest in getting the crops in and spelling words with J, Q and X. The goal is to make social gaming, which was pretty easy to begin with, even easier for everyone. The platform will be introduced in a trial version on Zynga.com later this month. The move is likely to reduce Zynga’s reliance on Facebook, something analysts have said the company needs to do. Most Zynga games are played on that social network, which derives 12 percent of its revenue from Zynga. In the future, hard-core players will most likely go to Zynga’s own site, finding not only Zynga games but also offerings from independent developers.”
The dirty job of keeping Facebook clean [Culture Digitally] – Fascinating post looking at Facebook’s leaked content moderation manual “Abuse Standards 6.1: Operation Manual for Live Content Moderators” which reveals a great deal about how Facebook decides what to delete and what to effectively sanction. As Gillespie says:”Facebook or otherwise, it’s hard not to be struck by the depravity of some of the stuff that content moderators are reviewing. It’s a bit disingenuous of me to start with camel toes and man-man foreplay, when what most of this document deals with is so, so much more reprehensible: child pornography, rape, bestiality, graphic obscenities, animal torture, racial and ethnic hatred, self-mutilation, suicide. There is something deeply unsettling about this document in the way it must, with all the delicacy of a badly written training manual, explain and sometimes show the kinds of things that fall into these categories.”
BBC iPlayer Booms in Australia [The Next Web] – “Two months after BBC Worldwide launched its global iPlayer app to 11 Western European countries in July, the app arrived in Australia, followed swiftly by Canada and then Scandinavia. The global BBC iPlayer app is a Video-on-Demand (VoD) pilot (paid) subscription service that differs from the UK version of iPlayer, in that it gives international users access to an extensive archive of classic and contemporary British TV programmes. Whilst it was initially restricted to iPads, it was finally rolled out to the iPhone and iPod Touch too. Australia is now the biggest market for global iPlayer, and is giving BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, significant consumer insight as the company begins to look beyond the current pilot phase. Access to BBC iPlayer content in Australia costs AU$9.49 a month, or AU$89.99 a year, and an equivalent figure in Euros and Canadian dollars.”
Author raises $1m to self-publish Order of the Stick webcomic book [Books | guardian.co.uk] – “The author of a self-published webcomic about a band of heroes in a fantasy role-playing world has raised more than $1m (£600,000) from fans on “crowdfunding” website Kickstarter to bring his stories back into print, making The Order of the Stick the richest creative work in the crowdfunding site’s history. Author and illustrator Rich Burlew launched The Order of the Stick online in 2003. Following the comic fantasy adventures of a collection of stick figures in a role-playing game world as they struggle with enemies and the rules of the game, much of the story is available online for free, but Burlew also began self-publishing parts of it in paper format in 2005. When the costs of keeping it in print proved too high, Burlew turned to Kickstarter following repeated demands from readers, launching a project in January to raise the $57,750 he needed to rerelease the books in print. Yesterday, he closed his fundraising project with 14,952 backers and $1,254,120 raised …”
An Oscar for Andy? by Tama Leaver [Antenna] – My first Antenna post looks at the possibility of a synthespian in the running for an acting Oscar: “On the back of the unexpected success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the big news isn’t a planned sequel but rather a “a healthy seven-figure deal for Andy Serkis to reprise his role as lead ape Caesar” along with the announcement that 20th Century Fox will be mounting an Oscar campaign aimed at getting Serkis a long overdue nod for Best Supporting Actor. It’s significant, too, because we never see Andy Serkis directly in Rise; rather, Caesar was created by the meshing of Serkis’s visceral, physical acting and the state-of-the-art computer wizardry from Weta Digital. Whether you prefer the term virtual actor, synthespian (‘synthetic thespian’) or just performance capture, an Academy Award for Serkis would demonstrate a widening understanding of what ‘acting’ actually means.”
Salman Rushdie claims victory in Facebook name battle [BBC News ] – “Author Salman Rushdie says he has won a battle with Facebook over what to call himself on his profile page on the social network. Rushdie’s dispute with Facebook began after he asked to be allowed to use his middle name Salman – the one he is known by across the world. But Facebook, which has strict real name policies, had insisted on Ahmed – the novelist’s first name. Rushdie says Facebook has “buckled” after he began tweeting about the row. “Victory! #Facebook has buckled! I’m Salman Rushdie again. I feel SO much better. An identity crisis at my age is no fun. Thank you Twitter!” wrote the British Indian author, who is known as SalmanRushdie on Twitter. “Just received an apology from The #Facebook Team. All is sweetness and light.””
Aussie expat’s TV torrent site shut down as The Slap producers intervene [SMH] – “The producers of ABC1 drama The Slap have succeeded in shutting down a Netherlands-based piracy website that over 40,000 Australian and New Zealand expats use to illegally watch local shows. The site, diwana.org, is run by an Australian expat who started the site over five years ago and is popular with expats and others based overseas who are looking to access Australia and New Zealand TV content, which is often difficult to access internationally.[…] Despite the shutdown of Diwana.org, The Slap is still widely available on other pirate websites.”
Exfoliate for Facebook [Android Market] – Android app to delete unwanted Facebook history: “Exfoliate automates the removal of old, forgotten, content from Facebook(tm). Old content on social networking sites is a threat to your privacy. Removing this old content by hand is tedious, and practically impossible. On your wall, Exfoliate can remove any post, comment, or like, whether made by you or by others, older than a time you specify. Exfoliate can remove your own posts, comments, and likes, from your friends’ walls too. You can choose the age of items you wish removed, and Exfoliate will remove any items that are at least as old as your selection from any of your selected content areas. It is important, though, to understand that Exfoliate truly deletes the content. It is not backed up and it is not recoverable – well, that’s kinda the point. […] Exfoliate is a network and battery hog, and there’s simply no way around this. To manage the impact, you can stop Exfoliate at any time, and restart Exfoliate later.”
Jailbreak the Patriarchy: my first Chrome extension [Danielle Sucher] – Clever: “I just released my first Chrome extension! It’s called Jailbreak the Patriarchy, and if you’re running Chrome, you can head over here to install it. What does it do? Jailbreak the Patriarchy genderswaps the world for you. When it’s installed, everything you read in Chrome (except for gmail, so far) loads with pronouns and a reasonably thorough set of other gendered words swapped. For example: “he loved his mother very much” would read as “she loved her father very much”, “the patriarchy also hurts men” would read as “the matriarchy also hurts women”, that sort of thing. This makes reading stuff on the internet a pretty fascinating and eye-opening experience, I must say. What would the world be like if we reversed the way we speak about women and men? Well, now you can find out!”
Anonymous online comments [The Age] – “Online news readers should be forced to reveal their identity when commenting on a story, a parliamentarian has argued while complaining about West Australian’s poor online behaviour. WA Labor MP Andrew Waddell called on news websites, including this one, to publish readers’ names with their post. “It has become an unfortunate fact that there is a group of cowards who, hiding behind the veil of anonymity, abuse their right to free speech to perpetuate lies, abuse others, commit hate crimes, libel others and behave in an unacceptable manner,” Mr Waddell told parliament yesterday. “It is often possible to post a comment on a very public site without there being any need to provide real validated identification. This gives … courage to those who may not otherwise be willing to stand behind their comments and face the consequences of their opinions. “A vibrant society has a healthy ongoing political debate … [but] vicious, nasty, anonymous trolls have no place in that debate.”
Man jailed for posting sex images of ex-partner online [BBC News] – “”A Nottingham man who posted sexual images of his former girlfriend online as he stalked her via social networking sites has been jailed for four months. Shane Webber, 23, of Hodgkin Close in Clifton, sent photographs and personal details about Ruth Jeffery, 22, to her family and strangers. Webber admitted one count of harassment at an earlier hearing at Southampton Magistrates’ Court. Miss Jeffery said she was devastated by Webber’s actions. Outside court she said even if Webber had received the maximum jail sentence magistrates could impose – six months – it would not have made up for the hurt she had been caused. She said: “I am extremely pleased with the outcome. The maximum sentence in a magistrates’ court will never make up for the hurt he had put me through but I am pleased I can now put it behind me.”
Q&A: Felicia Day, from ‘The Guild’ to ‘Dragon Age’ [latimes.com] – “Playing” Felicia Day: “And when Electric Arts [makers of Dragon Age] called, that was the first call in years that was really like, “Oh!” They asked, “What would you like to do?” and I said, “What properties do you have?” And when Dragon Age came up I was, like, “Yes!” Because when am I ever going to be able to be in a medieval world as an actor? Probably never. So I’ll help create it myself. This will be the first time that a video game property is a Web series; and the elf is an actual playable character. So my character will be a DLC [downloadable content] piece; if people own Dragon Age II, they’ll be able to purchase an extension pack and play with my character. It’s full motion capture with me, full facial capture, full vocal acting. It’s pretty much the coolest thing I could ever imagine: Not only am I in a game, but it’s as a character I created.”
Plagiarism [Common Craft] – Basic but very accessible and useful video explaining plagiarism: “While Plagiarism can be intentional, it is more often caused by misunderstanding. Avoiding it means understanding the role of intellectual property and what makes plagiarism wrong. This video teaches: Why giving credit to others is necessary; A definition of plagiarism; Steps to avoiding plagiarism; Types of ideas and media that can be plagiarized”
BBC News – Man jailed for posting sex images of ex-partner online – “A Nottingham man who posted sexual images of his former girlfriend online as he stalked her via social networking sites has been jailed for four months. Shane Webber, 23, of Hodgkin Close in Clifton, sent photographs and personal details about Ruth Jeffery, 22, to her family and strangers. Webber admitted one count of harassment at an earlier hearing at Southampton Magistrates’ Court. Miss Jeffery said she was devastated by Webber’s actions. Outside court she said even if Webber had received the maximum jail sentence magistrates could impose – six months – it would not have made up for the hurt she had been caused. She said: “I am extremely pleased with the outcome. The maximum sentence in a magistrates’ court will never make up for the hurt he had put me through but I am pleased I can now put it behind me.”
Angry Birds developer Rovio to open stores in China [BBC News] – Angry Birds maker Rovio has announced plans to open stores in China within 12 months. Unofficial merchandise connected to the videogame has already proved popular in the country. The company’s chief marketing officer, Peter Vesterbacka, made the announcement at the Techcrunch conference in Beijing. He said he was targeting $100m (£62m) in sales from the shops in their first year of operation. “On the physical side, we don’t have a lot of our officially licensed products out here, so we have ourselves to blame,” he told the conference. Mr Vesterbacka said he had been to China many times “checking out the Angry Birds’ presence”. He told delegates he was unhappy with the quality of the unofficial products, but had also gained “a lot of inspiration from the copyists”. The comment drew laughter from the audience.”
Qantas’ Social Media Response Rapped For Bad Service [The Age] – “Qantas has been criticised for its mechanical, impersonal social media response to the grounding of its fleet and the ensuing customer chaos. The announcement sparked a torrent of posts on Twitter, with independent social media analyst Thomas Tudehope noting that, at its peak, “Alan Joyce”, “Qantas” and “Anthony Albanese” were all trending worldwide – indicating in excess of a thousand tweets per minute. “This is particularly remarkable given that Australia only has an estimated 2 million Twitter accounts compared to a global audience pushing towards 250 million accounts,” Tudehope said. […] Several Twitter accounts have sprung up lampooning Qantas and its CEO, Alan Joyce, including @AlanJoyceCEO and @Qantas_VH_OQA.”
Links for September 27th 2011 through October 3rd 2011:
How Social Networking Is Reviving Communal TV Viewing [The Next Web] – Real-time TV viewing is on the rise once more thanks to cleverly design related apps and strategic use of related #hashtags: “There are some signs that TV’s re-engaging its most coveted viewers. According to Nielsen, tech-savvy 12-24 year-olds are more connected and therefore more adept at using mobile devices to watch shows. This doesn’t bode well for the networks or for advertisers since, sometimes, the ads can be skipped. However, by turning TV programming into a true two-screen experience, it changes the equation. It makes the live experience more valuable, especially for the younger set. The data show that 18-34 year-olds are the most active demographic on social networks.”
Facebook sued over claims it tracks users’ activity [The Age] – “Facebook is being sued by a group of users over claims it tracks their online activity after they log off. […] On Friday, 10 public interest groups asked the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate Facebook’s tracking of internet users after they log off. They urged the commission to examine whether Facebook’s new ticker and timeline features increased privacy risks for users by combining biographical information in an easily accessible format. The lawsuit – filed by Perrin Aikens Davis, of Illinois – seeks class status on behalf of other Facebook users in the US. Davis seeks unspecified damages and a court order blocking the tracking based on violations of federal laws, including restrictions on wiretapping, as well as computer fraud and abuse statutes.”
BBC iPlayer launches on iPad in Australia [TV Tonight] – The BBC iPlayer comes to Australia, for a fee. For $10 a month you can access more than 1000 hours of BBC archives (at launch, growing regularly) but NOT current TV shows. In part this is probably due to existing contracts with local networks (why would the ABC bother to screen Doctor Who if it was available via iPlayer before broadcast), but this really doesn’t then address the problem of the tyranny of digital distance. This is a clever commercial move, but is unlikely to address the issue of unauthroised downloading of UK TV shows in Australia.
A New Flavor…Still Delicious [AVOS] – AVOS launch the re-imagined Delicious. Being a long-term Delicious user, I’ve got to admit I find the new version a bit confronting, especially the changes to tag clouds and so forth. And I really don’t want “stacks” – that’s what something like Pinterest is for (and I don’t use that much, either). However, I’m delighted Delicious lives on, so I’ll give it a go!
Links for August 25th 2011 through August 30th 2011:
Academic publishers make Murdoch look like a socialist [The Guardian] – George Monbiot looks at the monopolistic world of academic publishing and finds a world where profits are soaring while the broader media landscape around them is crumbling. On the ethical side, the important question: should publicly funded reseach end up in journals that cost $20+ an article to read if you’re not attached to a university? Open access might be one answer to the problem!
Teen hacks ex-mate’s Facebook [Toowoomba Chronicle] – “Bad blood between former teenage mates had driven one to hack into the other’s Facebook page and leave a posting that he was gay and wanted to come out of the closet, Toowoomba Magistrates Court heard yesterday. […] Woodside then hacked into the victim’s Facebook page and posted that the victim was gay and wanted to “come out of the closet”, a posting which anyone accessing the page could have read, the court heard.”
“Does This Technology Serve Human Purposes?”: A “Necessary Conversation” with Sherry Turkle (Part Three) [Confessions of an Aca/Fan: Archives] – Sherry Turkle interviewed by Henry Jenkins, clarifying many important points from Alone Together: “My earlier enthusiasm for identity play on the Internet, […] relied heavily on the work of psychologist and psychoanalyst Erik Erikson. Erikson wrote about the developmental need for a moratorium or “time out” during adolescence, a kind of play space in which one had a chance to experiment with identity. In the mid-1990s, I wrote about the Internet as a space where anonymity was possible and where one could experiment with aspects of self in a safe environment. Today, adolescents grow up with a sense of wearing their online selves on their backs “like a turtle” for the rest of their lives. The internet is forever. And anonymity on the Internet seems a dream of another century, another technology.” [Part 1] [Part 2]
Apple cancels iTunes TV rentals [GigaOM] – “Despite its role as a major selling point of the revamped Apple TV last fall, Apple has done away with TV show rentals. Several bloggers noticed the option to rent individual episodes missing from iTunes and Apple TV Friday, and Apple later confirmed the decision was based on lack of interest. “iTunes customers have shown they overwhelmingly prefer buying TV shows,” Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr told AllThingsD Friday. “iTunes in the Cloud lets customers download and watch their past TV purchases from their iOS devices, Apple TV, Mac or PC allowing them to enjoy their programming whenever and however they choose.” Very few TV studios were on board with the idea in the first place–only Fox and ABC–so this isn’t a huge change. But now the only option in iTunes when it comes to TV shows is to buy. You can buy a full season or “Season Pass,” or if you want to cherry pick a season, you can still buy individual episodes.”
Case History Of A Wikipedia Page: Nabokov’s ‘Lolita’ [The Awl] – Fascinating: “Entries such as the one on Lolita demonstrate why perfection on Wikipedia remains an “unattainable” goal—when the topic is contentious, perfection will always butt heads against “is completely neutral and unbiased.” One man’s undeniable literary masterpiece is another man’s abominable pedophilic trash, and they’re both editors on Wikipedia. The edits to the Lolita page (and any Wikipedia page) can seem tedious and petty, and many of them are. But the users’ vigilance in keeping some words and changing others, and debating over content and style, does have a purpose: it keeps critical thinking alive and well. The writing, editing, rewriting and re-editing process of a Wikipedia page creates a new entity—the Lolita Wikipedia page, which is not Nabokov’s Lolita, but a work in its own right. In the collaborative editing process, any reader can use the Lolita page to challenge its meaning. In fact, he can reach right in and edit it himself, until someone else edits it again.”
Samsung uses 2001: A Space Odyssey as prior art in Apple’s iPad lawsuit [io9] – “Did Apple invent the iPad? Or did Stanley Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke? Samsung is using the above clip as a piece of evidence in its defense against Apple’s patent lawsuit over the Galaxy S and similar tablet computers. Samsung notes that “the tablet disclosed in the clip has an overall rectangular shape with a dominant display screen, narrow borders, a predominately flat front surface, a flat back surface (which is evident because the tablets are lying flat on the table’s surface), and a thin form factor.” You don’t actually see the actor interacting with the tablet’s user interface, but plenty of other science fiction movies and TV shows have depicted tablets, including Star Trek’s PADD.”
Youth in the dark about sexting [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Australia’s leading cyber-safety expert has told a women and policing conference young people do not understand the consequences of sending sexually explicit images via mobile phones. […] Susan McLean from Cyber Safety Solutions Victoria says many people under 18 do not realise taking and sending sexual images of themselves can be child pornography. […] Ms McLean is calling for child pornography law reform to address the growing number of young people exchanging sexual photos. She says while some people under 18 send explicit pictures through coercion, others are just expressing themselves and child pornography laws are not designed for that. […] “What I think we need to look at is the consensual sexting if you like, the image that might go from A to B and no further. Should these people be charged with manufacturing child pornography and should they risk being placed on the sex offenders register and of course the answer is no.””
Fox’s 8-Day Delay on Hulu Triggers Piracy Surge [TorrentFreak] – Despite having had streaming versions of man of their shows legally available online immediately after broadcast via Hulu and their own websites, Fox in the US have now added a 7-day delay to all streaming releases (ostensibly to drive viewers back to scheduled TV). And the result of increasing the tyranny of digital distance? More TV show piracy: “Over the last week TorrentFreak tracked two Fox shows on BitTorrent to see if there was an upturn in the number of downloads compared to the previous weeks, and the results are as expected. For both Gordon Ramsay’s Hell’s Kitchen and MasterChef the download numbers have surged. During the first 5 days, the number of downloads from the U.S. for the latest episode of Hell’s Kitchen increased by 114% compared to the previous 3 episodes. For MasterChef the upturn was even higher with 189% more downloads from the U.S. For MasterChef; the extra high demand may in part have been facilitated by the fact that it was the season finale.”
Facebook tribute site for Ayen Chol ruined by racists [Courier Mail] – “Vulgar photographs and racist posts have ruined a Facebook tribute site dedicated to the little girl mauled to death by a dog last week. The State Government and police will try to erase the posts. The two pages have 35,000 followers, several of whom have contacted Crimestoppers. Some vile comments and images already have been removed. But others remain on the sites dedicated to four-year-old Ayen Chol. One post on a page described the pit bull-cross linked to the girl’s death last Wednesday as a legend. […] A Victoria Police spokeswoman said police would work with Facebook to try to have any offensive content removed. A Facebook spokeswoman said the site wanted to express its sympathies to Ayen’s family and friends.”
Inquiry ordered as law lags behind teen sexting [The Age] – The Victorian government will launch an inquiry into sexting to investigate whether the law needs an overhaul […] Victorian Attorney-General Robert Clark said sexting raised serious issues for victims and offenders and the law needed to catch up with changes in behaviour and technology […] The inquiry is to report back by mid-next year. In America, some states have changed their laws to decriminalise the consensual exchange of sexts between teenagers. But forwarding the pictures to others without permission remains an offence. In the cases of youths who were registered as sex offenders after sexting offences, Mr Clark said: ”The implications of the sex offender register are a key part of what we would expect the inquiry to look at. This seems to be an example of where the law can apply in a context which was not in mind at the time the law was enacted and which may well be having consequences that the community would not think were appropriate or intended.””
Warning: Those Facebook rants can get you sacked [News.com.au] – “Fair Work Australia has upheld the right of an employer to sack a worker over an expletive-filled Facebook rant against a manager that was posted out of hours on his home computer. In a case that highlights the hazy line between work and private lives, computer technician Damian O’Keefe was dismissed after posting on Facebook last year that he “wonders how the f *** work can be so f***ing useless and mess up my pay again. C***s are going down tomorrow.” Mr O’Keefe’s employer, a Townsville franchise of the retail electrical goods business, The Good Guys, believed the post constituted a threat to Kelly Taylor, an operations manager responsible for processing the pay of employees. […] The tribunal’s deputy president, Deidre Swan, said “common sense would dictate” that a worker could not publish insulting and threatening comments about another employee. “The fact that the comments were made on the applicant’s home computer, out of work hours, does not make any difference,” she said.”
England riots: pair jailed for four years for using Facebook to incite disorder [guardian.co.uk] – “Two men have been jailed for four years for using Facebook to incite disorder. Jordan Blackshaw, 20, from Marston near Northwich, and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan, 22, from Warrington, appeared at Chester crown court on Tuesday. They were arrested last week following incidents of violent disorder in London and other cities across the UK. Neither of their Facebook posts resulted in a riot-related event. During the sentencing, the recorder of Chester, Elgin Edwards, praised the swift actions of Cheshire police and said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent to others. Assistant Chief Constable Phil Thompson said: “If we cast our minds back just a few days to last week and recall the way in which technology was used to spread incitement and bring people together to commit acts of criminality, it is easy to understand the four year sentences that were handed down in court today.”
Study finds third of teachers have been bullied online [BBC News] – “More than a third of teachers have been subject to online abuse, according to a survey conducted by Plymouth University. The majority of the abuse – 72% – came via pupils but over a quarter was initiated by parents. The majority of teachers claiming online abuse were women. Much of the abuse is via chat on social networks but the study also found that many were setting up Facebook groups specifically to abuse teachers. In some cases, people posted videos of teachers in action on YouTube while others put abusive comments on ratemyteacher.com. In total, 35% of teachers questioned said they had been the victim of some form of online abuse. Of these, 60% were women.”
The freedom to be who you want to be… [Google Public Policy Blog] – A February 2011 post from the Google Public Policy blog, which included this: “Pseudonymous. Using a pseudonym has been one of the great benefits of the Internet, because it has enabled people to express themselves freely—they may be in physical danger, looking for help, or have a condition they don’t want people to know about. People in these circumstances may need a consistent identity, but one that is not linked to their offline self. You can use pseudonyms to upload videos in YouTube or post to Blogger.” In light of the real names policy on Google Plus, I wonder if Google is getting so big that the left hand is writing policies while the right hand thinks about things?
“Real Names” Policies Are an Abuse of Power [danah boyd | apophenia] – Some important thoughts about the increasing in ‘real names’ policies, especially on Google Plus. From an historical point of view, boyd makes the important distinction between Facebook’s evolution (starting in a closed , trusted community where real-names are the norm) and GooglePlus, which has most directly courted the geek/coder/developer communities which have a much stronger tradition of handles, avatars and other non-real (where real = legal) names. And, as most people have pointed out, the disempowered, disenfranchised and non-elite members of society are often those who have the best (and convincing) need to use names other than their legal ones.
Evil fiction: teacher a target of fake Facebook profile [the Age] – “Police are hunting the creator of a fake Facebook profile that was used to impersonate a Sydney primary school teacher and frame him as a paedophile by targeting kids at his school. The teacher, who cannot be named, is a long-time campaigner against racism online and with others he runs a blog that names and shames racists by publishing their hate-filled Facebook postings. In a phone interview, he said he believed this is why he was targeted. He said he and his family had been harassed over the phone, received death threats and had threatening notes left in his mail box after his personal details – including his address, phone number, photos and work details – were posted on a white supremacist website. “This Facebook profile opened up a couple of days ago with a picture of me and a friend with shirts off holding a beer … they were writing things on the wall such as ‘i’m gay and I like little boys’ and all sorts of things like that,” the teacher said in a phone interview.”
Google+ pseudonym wars escalate – is it the new being ‘banned from the ranch’? [guardian.co.uk] – “Google is handling the issue of monikers rather badly when it comes to Google+. The list of blocked users is what is now being referred to as the NymWars extends to some fairly influential users. […] Blocked users are told: “After reviewing your profile, we determined that the name you provided violates our Community Standards.” Standards that are being used to ensure that everyone using Google+ is signed up using their real name. It doesn’t take much imagination to work up a few conspiracy theories about why Google should be so insistent on a real-name policy, alongside some more rational, soft-policy theories on encouraging a more, mature constructive level of engagement that reflects how we best communicate in the real world – ie, when we know who we’re talking to. But online identity is more nuanced than that. Though the roots of pseudonyms may have been in the murky, early web days when users may have felt safer protecting their identity when exploring this new world …”
6,000,000,000[ Flickr Blog] – Flickr reaches 6 billion photos in size, increasingly roughly 20% the number of uploads per year. This is a lot of photos, but a good, official (instagram-like) Flickr mobile app would probably mean this number would be much higher.
Facebook’s new ‘Expected: Child’ tag sparks outcry [The Age] – “Facebook just made it easier to tell all your friends and acquaintances about your new pregnancy in one fell swoop. The social networking site recently added “Expected: Child” to its list of friends and family tags. The company also allows you to write in your due date and has optional space for the soon-to-be little one’s name. […] When I heard the news I put in a call to a friend who is 10 weeks pregnant to see if she would consider adding an “Expected: Child” on her Facebook account. The answer? A big fat no. “I’m so curious to see who would even do that,” she said. She identified three main problems with this new designation.
1. It might hurt her friends’ feelings to hear about her pregnancy over Facebook rather than in person.
2. The issues around having a miscarriage.
3. For people who have had trouble conceiving, Facebook was already a minefield of pregnancy announcements and new baby photos.”
Fox Network to limit Web access to its shows [CNET News] – Fox in the US increases the tyranny of digital distance and provides massive incentives for unauthorised downloading of TV shows: “Fox Network announced late today that it will begin delaying Web access to many of its popular TV shows to give cable and satellite TV providers greater exclusivity with programming, essentially putting up a de facto pay wall around its content. Beginning August 15, only those people who subscribe to a participating video distributor will be able to view TV shows on an Internet portal the day after shows air on the network, the company said in a press release. All other viewers who are used to seeing episodes of “The Simpsons,” “Bones,” and “Glee” for free the next day on sites such as Hulu or Fox.com will now have to wait eight days to catch their shows.”
BBC iPlayer goes global with iPad app launch in 11 countries [guardian.co.uk] – “BBC Worldwide is launching its global iPlayer service today, via an iPad app that will be made available in 11 countries in Western Europe. The US, Canada and Australia will follow later this year, as part of what is intended to be a one-year pilot. The service will offer a limited amount of content for free, supported by pre-roll ads and sponsorship, but its core business model is subscription, with users paying €6.99 a month or €49.99 a year. The 11 launch countries are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The global iPlayer app includes some features that are not in the UK version, including the ability to stream shows over 3G as well as Wi-Fi, and a downloading feature to store programmes on the iPad for offline viewing. “We think we have a load of unmet demand for BBC and British content internationally,” said BBC.com managing director Luke Bradley-Jones in an interview with Apps Blog.”
Media Piracy in Emerging Economies | A Report by the Social Science Research Council – “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies is the first independent, large-scale study of music, film and software piracy in emerging economies, with a focus on Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Bolivia. Based on three years of work by some thirty-five researchers, Media Piracy in Emerging Economies tells two overarching stories: one tracing the explosive growth of piracy as digital technologies became cheap and ubiquitous around the world, and another following the growth of industry lobbies that have reshaped laws and law enforcement around copyright protection. The report argues that these efforts have largely failed, and that the problem of piracy is better conceived as a failure of affordable access to media in legal markets.” [PDF]
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.”
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.”
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 …”
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 …”
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. )
Millions of Facebook users under 10 [The Age] – “Some 7.5 million of the 20 million US minors who used Facebook in the past year were younger than 13, and a million of them were bullied, harassed or threatened on the site, an American study shows. More than 5 million Facebook users were aged 10 or younger, and they were allowed to use Facebook largely without parental supervision, the State of the Net survey by Consumer Reports found.”
chrome-angry-birds [Nelson’s Weblog] – Angry Birds comes in HTML5, too! “One of Google’s big announcements this week was the launch of Chrome Angry Birds, a port of the hugely popular mobile game to Google’s browser. But calling it “Chrome Angry Birds” is missing the point because what’s really interesting is that it’s a real-time multimedia cross-platform HTML 5 app. It runs fine in MSIE 9 and Firefox on Windows (sound and save games included) and I’ve heard reports it works in Safari on Macs, too. And because the game is based on open browser technologies, we can easily pull it apart and see how it’s built just like we’ve been pulling apart web pages since 1993 via the magic of “view source”. [Play.]
Chromebook – Google partners to release Chromebooks, cloud-centric computers which boot amazingly fast are are designed to operate with everything in and from the cloud. Built upon the Chrome ‘browser’ (or OS) technology.
Introducing Music Beta by Google [YouTube] – Google introduces “Music Beta”, their entry into the cloud music services, allowing individuals to upload their music collection, then use Google or Android to stream that music to portable and fixed devices. (Currently invitation-only and US-only.)
Zynga goes Gaga! Lady Gaga and Zynga team up to celebrate new album “Born This Way” [Zynga] – Well, Zynga and Gaga get points for an original combination of media elements, at least: “Lady Gaga and Zynga today announced a partnership to launch the mega-artist’s new album “Born this Way.” Launching May 17, the first-of-its-kind program gives “little monsters” throughout the world a first listen to exclusive un-released songs from the upcoming when they visit GagaVille, a uniquely designed neighboring farm in FarmVille (There will be unicorns and crystals. Enough said.). The full album also comes bundled as a free download with the purchase of a special Zynga $25 game card, available exclusively at Best Buy. The program reaches across Zynga games and across platforms. Words With Friends, the popular mobile social game available iPhone, iPad, as well as Android devices, will feature a daily “Words with Gaga” contest …”
Google Launches Movie Rentals on Android Market: Online Video News [GigaOm] – Android rentals: “Google announced a new cloud movie service for Android that will be available as part of the Android Market. At its Google I/O developers conference Tuesday, the company said the service will have “thousands of movies available,” with titles including Inception, The King’s Speech and Despicable Me, and rentals starting at $1.99. Users will be able to rent titles on the Android Market’s website and then watch them on the web, stream them to Android devices and even download them to play on the go where no network connectivity is available.”
Watching Together: Twitter and TV [Twitter Blog] – “Last week, Twitter enjoyed its widest television integration to date via the live coverage of the royal wedding, as Chloe Sladden from our media team discusses on the Twitter Media blog. During the wedding, users interacted with ABC News’ coverage by using the hashtags #RoyalSuccess and #RoyalMess to voice their opinion about the events unfolding in London. They shared their thoughts with CNN by including the hashtag #CNNTV in their Tweets, causing #CNNTV to trend early in the event. And as audiences around the world watched the events live on TV, they posted millions of Tweets, peaking at 16,000 Tweets per minute between 5 and 6 a.m. EST. The royal wedding is just one example of how real-time Twitter integration can enhance TV coverage and help drive viewership …” [ Related YouTube clip: http://youtu.be/Jc8TQppzORE ]
Corporate Rule of Cyberspace – Slavoj Žižek [ Inside Higher Ed] – Slavoj Žižek Vs Cloud Computing: “To put it simply, Steve Jobs is no better than Bill Gates: whether it be Apple or Microsoft, global access is increasingly grounded in the virtually monopolistic privatization of the cloud which provides this access. The more an individual user is given access to universal public space, the more that space is privatized. Apologists present cloud computing as the next logical step in the “natural evolution” of the Internet, and while in an abstract-technological way this is true, there is nothing “natural” in the progressive privatization of global cyberspace. There is nothing “natural” in the fact that two or three companies in a quasi-monopolistic position can not only set prices at will but also filter the software they provide to give its “universality” a particular twist depending on commercial and ideological interests.”
South Korea bans youngsters from playing online games after midnight [News.com.au] – “Young South Koreans will be banned from playing online video games later than midnight after lawmakers passed a new curfew law. Yonhap news agency reported the new law – which bans anyone under 16 from playing online into the early hours – was passed by lawmakers worried about growing levels of addiction to gaming among youngsters. Gaming companies fiercely contested the legislation but the Youth Protection bill passed late Friday.”
Superman threatens to renounce US citizenship [Books | guardian.co.uk] – “After years of declaring he stood for “truth, justice and the American way,” Superman has provoked the ire of rightwingers by threatening to renounce his US citizenship. In the latest issue of Action Comics, which went on sale on Wednesday, the Man of Steel decides to take the step after he intervenes in a protest against the Iranian government. After the Islamic regime brands his non-violent protest as an act of war taken on behalf of the US president, the DC comic hero says he will renounce his citizenship before the United Nations. “I’m tired of having my actions construed as instruments of US policy,” he says. Although Superman never actually renounces his citizenship in the story, conservative commentators reacted with disgust.”
Instagram Spawns a Photo Ecosystem [NYTimes.com] – “Instagram, the social-meets-photos app for the iPhone that transforms plain cellphone pictures into vintage-looking works of art, has attracted millions of users. In recent months, it has also begun to draw entrepreneurs who are eager to capitalize on its growing popularity. In particular, people are creating services that revolve around bringing Instagram photos, typically viewed on a phone screen, into the real world. Keepsy lets people quickly build a photobook of their favorite Instagram pictures and share it on Facebook and Twitter. They can then print a hard copy of the photobook for about $30. There is also Postagram, which lets its users mail a postcard created from an Instagram photo to a recipient of their choice for 99 cents. And Hatchcraft will frame favorite Instagram pictures in hand-carved bamboo shadow boxes that can be hung on a wall.”