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Links for April 29th 2011 through May 12th 2011:
- 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 ]
- Obi Wan Obama, Bin Laden’s Death, and Tumblr [Unmuzzled Thoughts] – Kelli Marshall looks at the memes and reactions emerging on Tumblr after US president Barack Obama announced that long saught terrorist leader Osama Bin Laden had been killed by US forces in Pakistan. (The post includes a useful archive of images.)
- 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.”
As Ethan Zuckerman says: “There’s something very 2011 about a Russian video using a soundtrack from American cartoons and characters from a Finnish mobile phone game (based on an English fairytale) to satirize North African politics.”
Links for March 8th 2011 through March 14th 2011:
- Twitter angers third-party developers with ‘no more timelines’ urging [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Twitter has amazed and outraged developers by warning them that it will severely curtail their ability to build apps that use its output. The announcement on Twitter’s development mailing list – which has notably not been repeated or referred to on its company blog – comes from Ryan Sarver, the head of platform and API at Twitter. The site, which has grown from 48m to 140m tweets per day in the last year, and which celebrated its fifth birthday on Sunday night, now says that it is going in effect to take over the process of writing “the best client” for connecting to Twitter. The move follows the temporary suspension last month of a number of Twitter apps for “violating Twitter’s terms of service” But for the dozens of third-party apps which hook into Twitter’s API, and which fund themselves and their ongoing development through adverts, payments, or a combination of both, the announcement is a threat to their existence.”
- Twitter Libel Case | First Twitter Libel Case [The Age] – “A former Welsh mayor became the first Briton to be ordered to pay libel damages over a Twitter entry after a political rival sued him in the high court, a report said at the weekend. Colin Elsbury, a former mayor in the south Wales town of Caerphilly had tweeted ahead of a council election that his independent challenger Eddie Talbot had been “forcibly removed” from a polling station by police before realising that it was a case of mistaken identity, The Times newspaper said. Although Elsbury later tried to correct the tweet, Talbot took him to court in the Welsh capital Cardiff where a judge on Friday handed down a fine of £3,000 ($4751) and ordered him to pay costs of around £50,000 ($79,196) as well as apologise publicly to Talbot on his Twitter feed.”
- The once mighty medium of television is on its last legs [The Punch] – “Here’s a simple statistic that TV executives are happy you didn’t know. Back in the 1980s the population of Australia was about 14 million. A good TV show would rate about 5 million viewers. Fast forward to 2011. Australia’s population has grown to 20 million and TV execs are dancing on their mini-bars if their show attracts over 1.2 million viewers.The population has doubled, the viewers have halved. The maths is not good. “Masterchef” peaked last year with over 3.5 million viewers. Proportionally, based on 1980’s viewing habits, Masterchef should have rated nine million viewers. The velocity of the decline is increasing. For an industry that was once a sizable chunk of the life and breath of Australian culture, the Australian free TV industry is “circling the drain”. That’s cop show talk for dying. It’s not just competition from DVD’s, pay TV and on-line. Woeful staff management and lack of vision has seen free TV become embittered and as irrelevant to the next generation …”
- From “Businesses” To “Tools”: The Twitter API ToS Changes [TechCrunch] – “Yesterday, Twitter made a swift and sweeping move to alter their ecosystem. In an email to developers, Twitter laid out the new rules. Essentially, third-party developers should no longer try to compete with Twitter on clients; instead they should focus on things like data and specific verticals for tweets. Not surprisingly, there’s quite a bit of backlash against this maneuver.”
[TOS] January 3 version: “We want to empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable businesses around the information flowing through Twitter.”
March 11 version: “We want to empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable tools around the information flowing through Twitter.” Now perhaps you see why the ecosystem, the “partners”, are so enraged.
- I hope these people aren’t your friends [Pharyngula] – Horrible, offensive comments in the wake of Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami devastation. Surely these people have never ever thought about the longevity of their comments online: “Japan has a tragic and devastating earthquake. American responses follow a range of attitudes. […] And then there’s a third reaction. I was sent a collage of messages posted on Facebook in the last day or so, and these make me ashamed to share a culture with these wretched people. I may be about to ruin your morning. Don’t click on this compilation of facebook entries unless you’re one of those cynical people who already has low expectation of the worst of Americans.” (The same rubbish can be found on Twitter, too.)
- It’s the (virtual) economy, stupid [SMH] – “Mark Pincus has amassed a $US1 billion fortune selling bits and bytes that have no intrinsic value to an army of virtual farmers and city planners. Every month, 275 million people sign on to one of Pincus’ addictive games, paying real money to buy virtual seeds and crops in Farmville, construct fake buildings in CityVille or expand their criminal empire in Mafia Wars. Pioneers of the “virtual goods” market, Pincus’ company Zynga – just three years old – earned $850 million in revenue last year and is now valued between $US7 billion and $US9 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s not a new phenomenon – for years people have been spending real money to buy their own virtual islands and toys in the online world Second Life and others have spent thousands on rare items in online games like World of Warcraft. Last year, a virtual space station in Entropia Universe sold for $US330,000. But with Zynga, virtual goods have hit the mainstream …”
Links for March 2nd 2011 through March 8th 2011:
- Angry Birds is coming to Facebook, which means it has now pretty much conquered the entire world [News.com.au] – I’m genuinely curious how a hugely popular single-player game will deploy the social dynamics of Facebook in when Angry Birds is re-engineered as a social game: “ANGRY Birds will be flinging itself onto Facebook next month, the makers of the hugely popular game said today. Finland-based Rovio Mobile told tech magazine Wired UK that the Facebook version of Angry Birds will include new aspects of gameplay. “There will be completely new aspects to it that just haven’t been experienced on any other platform,” said Rovio chief executive Mikael Hed. “The pigs will have a more prominent role.””
- Angry Birds – Letters from the Front Lines [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency] – “Dearest Martha, It has been some time since I’ve had the opportunity to write you, perhaps seven or eight levels. The green pigs have fortified their defenses and there seems to be no end to this madness. They are an industrious lot who have remarkable construction skills in spite of their lack of arms or legs. They’re a formidable enemy but I still envision the day we can bring our eggs home safely. Keep the nest warm for me, Yellow Bird” There’s a lot more where that came from! 🙂
- Twitter Spoils the Oscars Party for Channel Nine [Mapping Online Publics] – “In addition to their massive global TV audience, the 2011 Academy Awards also featured the #Oscars hashtag for the first time, of course, encouraging even more discussion of the Oscar ceremony on Twitter. And discuss they did – globally, over 500,000 tweets were posted during the marathon five-hour live event of the red carpet arrivals and awards ceremony, peaking at nearly 2500 tweets per minute during the tongue-in-cheek ‘best movie’ song montage. […] what’s especially interesting from our perspective in Australia is the local takeup of Twitter to discuss the Oscars. With ‘spoilers’ about winners and losers being posted on Twitter and other social media sites, it’s now almost impossible not to be aware of the Oscar results well before they reach our screens in the evening – which means that local viewers may still watch the delayed telecast to catch the full pomp and circumstance of the Academy Awards, but the party’s already over by then.”
- German minister quits amid plagiarism scandal [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Germany’s popular defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has announced his resignation a month after being stripped of his doctoral title over accusations of plagiarism. […] The suave aristocrat, who can trace his family back to the 12th century and whose wife is a direct descendent of the 19th century “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck, had been dubbed “Baron Cut-And-Paste” and “Zu Googleberg” by the media. […] the plagiarism row, which broke after a law professor close to the opposition went through his doctoral thesis, was what finally broke him. Internet sleuths set up a wiki, or collaborative website, to comb through the 475 pages, concluding that more than two-thirds of the dissertation contained evidence of unattributed copying.”
- Bloody battle over Mortal Kombat ban as critics decry ‘broken’ classification system [The Age] – Australian Video Game Classification: Still Broken, Still Confusing Everyone. “Warner Bros. is appealing a ban on one of the most anticipated game releases of the year, Mortal Kombat, as the federal government’s censors defend their decision to ban Mortal Kombat while allowing a sexy spanking game to be classified PG. Earlier this week it was revealed that the Classification Board had given Mortal Kombat a “refused classification” rating due to its violent gameplay, effectively banning it from sale in this country unless the publisher, Warner Bros., submits a more toned-down version. At the same time, a new risqué title for the Wii, We Dare, is due for release tomorrow and has been given a PG rating despite the game promoting spanking, stripping and sexual partner swapping. The Australian Christian Lobby said the We Dare decision showed the classification system was “broken”. Even the game’s publisher, Ubisoft, says the game is intended for an “adult” audience.”
- Charlie Sheen Joins Twitter [The Age] – Could the whole Sheen meltdown be part of a campaign to sell a brand of milk? (I’m joking … I think?)
“Charlie Sheen has once again become an advocate for chocolate milk consumption in his much-anticipated debut on Twitter this morning. The troubled actor, who has been racking up a phenomenal 100,000 followers an hour after joining the micro-blogging site overnight, posted a Twitpic of himself in a kitchen holding a bottle of flavoured milk. Last month the Hollywood bad boy received a round of applause from a university baseball team in California when he offered some anti-drug advice during a congratulatory speech. “Stay off the crack. Drink a chocolate milk,” Sheen said at the time. In an apparent reference to that, the dairy fan posted on Twitter a photograph of himself, the milk and porn star Bree Olson, one of two “goddesses” who lives with him in his Los Angeles home. Olson is pictured holding organic “Naked” juice.”
Links for January 5th 2011:
- Billionaires take a turn at initiating ‘brand’ damage [SMH] – The Australian retail industry has jumped the shark. In an effort to ‘combat’ consumers getting better deals online, the retail giants have banded together to lobby the government to remove an exclusion that means purchases for overseas goods totally under $1000 don’t have the GST added. Customers, in turn, have pointed out very loudly that they shop online because of the terrible state of retail shops in Australia. Whoever thought up a PR campaign that basically tells consumers that the rich retail giants want consumers to be taxed more because they’re becoming too savvy and demanding better choice clearly failed Marketing 101!
- How iTunes buyers are ripped off [Perth Now] – Australians are sick of the tyranny of digital distance: “Australian music fans are forging foreign iTunes accounts to make big savings on their purchases. The practice, which is a direct breach to iTunes terms and conditions, has exposed the inflated price that Australians pay to access songs off the popular music and entertainment site. By creating an American iTunes account through the use of a US credit card or gift card, users are saving up to 80c per song and $7 per album. The recently released Beatles box set collection can be bought with a saving of more than $A100. […] Numerous forums have surfaced on the net explaining the details of how to access the store which include creating a fake American billing address. Some have even used the address of the Apple corporation in the US to gain access.”
- Facebook Users Uploaded A Record 750 Million Photos Over New Year’s [Tech Crunch] – “It doesn’t come as a huge surprise, but it’s still staggering to think about: over the New Year’s weekend, Facebook saw 750 million photo uploads from its users. That’s a lot of celebrating, and it sets a new Facebook record. The stat was just tweeted by Facebook marketing director Randi Zuckerberg (who is also founder Mark Zuckerberg’s sister). We’ve reached out to Facebook to ask what the last record was, but I’m guessing it was set over Halloween, which has historically been the biggest day for Facebook Photos. To give some context to that number, in July Facebook said that more than 100 million photos get uploaded every day (that average is higher now, obviously).”
- Angry Birds launch for Sony’s Playstation 3 and PSP [BBC – Newsbeat] – Angry Birds makes the jump from mobile gaming to the consoles: “Sony has announced that Angry Birds is going to be released on its PlayStation 3 and PSP consoles. The game was originally developed for smart phones and proved a huge success with iPhone and Android users. Since being released in late 2009 it’s been downloaded nearly 40 million times. But with the Japanese entertainment giant now firmly on board developers Rovio have high hopes about bringing the game to a new audience. Released on January 5th it will be available to download for £2.49. “
- What Could Have Been Entering the Public Domain on January 1, 2011? [Center for the Study of the Public Domain] – “Waiting for . . . Waiting for Godot and Lord of the Flies, The Doors of Perception, Rear Window, Seven Samurai, Creature from the Black Lagoon, the first issues of Sports Illustrated, Horton Hears a Who! . . . . Current US law extends copyright protections for 70 years from the date of the author’s death. (Corporate “works-for-hire” are copyrighted for 95 years.) But prior to the 1976 Copyright Act (which became effective in 1978), the maximum copyright term was 56 years (an initial term of 28 years, renewable for another 28 years). Under those laws, works published in 1954 would be passing into the public domain on January 1, 2011. What might you be able to read or print online, quote as much as you want, or translate, republish or make a play or a movie from? How about William Golding’s Lord of the Flies?”
- You might do a job on yourself [The Age] – Recruiters and interview panels are increasingly examining web presences: “Thank twice before uploading another photo or status update if you are about to have a job interview – employers are watching you. In an age of oversharing online, with a third of the Australian population on Facebook, many recruiters and companies cannot resist the temptation to screen potential candidates via social media. US employers have taken screening one step further, asking some job candidates to log in to their Facebook pages during the interview. There is no sign of this happening in Australia, recruiters say. But employers were interested in looking beyond a person’s resumé, said Kate Kendall, who specialises in recruitment via social media. “Companies are more interested in a holistic view of who they are hiring,” she said. “You can’t really try to hide.””
- Instagram Quickly Passes 1 Million Users [NYTimes.com] – “Instagram, a social photo-sharing company that opened its shutters to iPhone owners just two months ago, announced Tuesday that it passed a major milestone of 1 million registered users. The company began offering its simple photo service in mid-October that allows people to share images from a mobile phone and then add unique and fun filters. Since then, Instagram has quickly become the talk of the tech community as people have flocked to the service even with stiff competition from a number of well-financed competitors, including PicPlz, Flickr and Path.”
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 November 25th 2010 through December 2nd 2010:
- Report on video games clears way for R18+ rating [News.com.au] – This is a BIG DEAL in the battle to get an R18+ rating for Aussie videogames: “Violent video games have no “greater impact” on players than movies or music clips, government research has found just days ahead of a decision expected to allow the sale of R18+ games. Games are currently limited to a top rating of MA15+, which means violent titles are either banned outright or have some graphic content removed. In some cases, games have been given a MA15+ rating here despite copping an 18+ rating overseas. Australia’s attorneys-general will meet in Canberra tomorrow to discuss the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games, bringing their ratings into line with those of films and literature. Both the gaming community and family groups believe the adult rating is almost a certainty after Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor yesterday released a research paper into their impact on encouraging violent behaviour.” (See full report here.)
- Justin Bieber Swears Off YouTube For Facebook, Unwittingly Steps In Copyright Minefield [Forbes] – “Over the past weekend, Internet pop sensation Justin Bieber went to upload the music video of his new song called “Pray” to his personal YouTube site. He was in for a rude surprise: YouTube automatically blocked his video upload on “copyright grounds” that the video contained content from Universal Music Group (UMG), parent company to Bieber’s record label, Island Def Jam records. “yo youtube…how u gonna block my own song?!?!?!” wrote an outraged Bieber on his Twitter account. In another Twitter update, he wrote, “dear youtube…we started this journey and now u r cheatin on me with this vevo chica…i see how it is…i will be over here with facebook [sic].” (Vevo is the music video website responsible for Bieber’s official YouTube syndication, and is a joint venture between music giants Sony Music Entertainment, UMG and Abu Dhabi Media.) In response, YouTube wrote back to Bieber on its Twitter account, “sorry about the upload pain around ‘Pray’. That’s between you and your label …”
- WikiLeaks website pulled by Amazon after US political pressure [Media | The Guardian] – “The US struck its first blow against WikiLeaks after Amazon.com pulled the plug on hosting the whistleblowing website in reaction to heavy political pressure. The company announced it was cutting WikiLeaks off yesterday only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security. WikiLeaks expressed disappointment with Amazon, and insisted it was a breach of freedom of speech as enshrined in the US constitution’s first amendment. The organisation, in a message sent via Twitter, said if Amazon was “so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.” While freedom of speech is a sensitive issue in the US, scope for a full-blown row is limited, given that Democrats and Republicans will largely applaud Amazon’s move. Lieberman, though an independent, is a former Republican who switched to the Democrats last year.”
- Report: In-Game Purchases To Blow Mobile Games Revenues Past $11 Billion By 2015 [TechCrunch] – “A new report from Juniper Research forecasts global mobile games revenues to surpass $11 billion by 2015, nearly double what they were in 2009. All in all, it’s a fairly conservative prediction in my opinion, but what’s interesting is that the research firm also says in-game purchases will overtake the traditional pay-per-download model, with Apple’s in-app billing mechanism leading the way, as the primary source of monetizing mobile games in about two years (by 2013). At the same time, Juniper Research acknowledges that, with the ever-increasing amount of apps on all popular platforms (and app stores for that matter), discoverability remains a problem for game developers and publishers alike.”
- Western Australian Premier’s Book Awards [State Library of Western Australia] – Significantly, this year, the WA Premier’s Book Awards will be offering a Digital Narrative Award which has a $5000 prize attached to it, and fairly broad parameters of what a digital narrative might be. (Only open to Australians, though, sorry!)
- Facebook looks to trademark the word ‘face’ [BBC News] – My MyFace, FaceWorld and CyFace domains will be worthless! “The social networking giant Facebook is a few steps away from trademarking the word face, online documents reveal. The site has been asked to detail a “statement of use” by the US Patent and Trademark Office, explaining how it intends to use the word. If granted, the trademark will only apply to online sites and services used to exchange messages. It could limit the use of the word in other social networks and services, such as Apple’s Facetime, lawyers said.”
- Axl Rose sues Guitar Hero makers over animated Slash [Music | guardian.co.uk] – “Axl Rose even hates the cartoon version of Slash. The Guns N’ Roses frontman is suing the makers of Guitar Hero for $20m (£12.6m), claiming they “spun a web of lies and deception” by including an animated Slash in the video-game version of his band. Slash left the group in 1996. According to his claim, Rose licensed Welcome to the Jungle to Guitar Hero III on the condition that any reference to the departed guitarist or his new band, Velvet Revolver, would be omitted. But in early versions of the game, a Slash-like character could be seen parading around the stage in the guitarist’s trademark top hat, sunglasses and nose piercing. […] One of the highest-grossing video games of all time, Guitar Hero III has amassed more than $1bn. “This lawsuit is about protecting Guns N’ Roses and Welcome to the Jungle, and is about holding Activision accountable for its misuse of these incredibly valuable assets,” Rose’s lawyer insisted.”
Links for November 2nd 2010 through November 5th 2010:
- Digital Primetime Arrives Just in Time to Crush the Net [The Steve Rubel Stream] – Will the massive increasing in demand for, and quality of, streaming online video create a ‘digital primetime’ which the current internet infrastructure is unable to cope with? Interesting question!
- Woman to pay $1.5m for downloading music [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “A US jury has ordered a Minnesota woman to pay $US1.5 million for illegally downloading 24 songs in a high-profile digital piracy case. Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a single mother of four, was found liable by a jury on Wednesday (local time) of copyright infringement for using Kazaa, a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, to download the songs from the internet. She has been ordered to pay $US62,500 for each of the 24 songs – a total of $US1.5 million. The verdict is the third in the long-running case and it has been welcomed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[…] In December 2008, the RIAA said it would stop suing people who download music illegally and focus instead on getting internet service providers to take action.”
- The Cooks Source Scandal: How a Magazine Profits on Theft [Edward Champion’s Reluctant Habits] – The very sad and nasty story of Cooks Source Magazine, which appears to have been ripping large amounts of stories, photos and recipes off the internet, claiming the internet is entirely public domain, and ignoring all copyright on these works. Understandably, a number of people are upset, and the magazine’s editor has a lot of explaining to do.
- iBookstore Australia Launch: iBookstore Opens In Australia [SMH] – “Australians can now use ther iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch as a serious e-book reader after Apple opened the doors to its iBookstore today. It’s taken the company five months since the iPad’s launch to get the store up and running but it has succeeded in signing up a wide range of book publishers including Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Hardie Grant, Murdoch Publishers and Wiley. Previously, Australians viewing the iBookstore could only access old out-of-copyright books but now there is a range of new release titles on offer. The exact number is unclear but an Apple spokeswoman said they numbered in the “thousands”.”
- Children and ultra-violent video games: court to decide [SHM] – Wow: the ‘do violent videogames hurt kids’ debate rolls into the US Supreme Court: “The US Supreme Court has expressed sympathy for a California law that aims to keep children from buying ultra-violent video games in which players maim, kill or sexually assault images of people. But several justices said the law faces a high constitutional hurdle before going into effect. The high court has been reluctant to carve out exceptions to the First Amendment, striking down a ban on so-called “crush videos” that showed actual deaths of animals earlier this year. California officials argue that they should be allowed to limit minors’ ability to pick up violent video games on their own at retailers because of the purported damage they cause.”
- Google gaining on booming smartphone market [The Age] – “Google’s Android software platform rose to the number two spot globally on the booming smartphone market in the third quarter, research firm Canalys said this week. Nokia’s Symbian continued to lead the market with a 37 per cent share, while Android had 17 per cent of the market. It has surpassed Research In Motion, Apple and Microsoft this year. Growing popularity of Android phones – made by companies including Motorola, HTC and Samsung Electronics – puts Google in a good position as handsets look set to surpass computers for browsing the web. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said in September he expects mobile searches to generate most of the firm’s revenue eventually, but it could take a long time, despite growing at a rapid clip.”
- Facebook posting boasting led to sack [WA Today] – Be ye not so stupid: “A West Australian schoolgirl who was sacked over Facebook for comments she made on the popular social network has had her dismissal upheld by the national workplace watchdog. The 15-year-old was fired after it was claimed she had written to a possible competitor of her employer, despite being told not to. In a peculiar twist, her employer then fired her via Facebook. The sacking has since been upheld by Fair Work Australia after the girl, who cannot be named, took too long to file a complaint. The case marks something of an increasing trend of workplace folly that has come from misuse of the social networking site. There have been at least five cases before Fair Work Australia where employees have been sacked after something they wrote or did was recorded on Facebook. There are likely to be many more dismissals that went unchallenged and never reached the tribunal.”
Links for August 4th 2010 through August 10th 2010:
- Women Set the Pace as Online Gamers [NYTimes.com] – “Although women are still slightly in the minority among global Web users, they are closing ground with men and, once connected, spend about two more hours online a month on average. […] Women also outpace men in photo sharing and shopping, and in what may come as a surprise, gaming, favoring casual puzzle, card and board games. Female gamers over 55 spend the most time online gaming of any demographic by far and are nearly as common as the most represented group, males 15 to 24.”
- Wikipedia’s Lamest Edit Wars [Information is Beautiful] – Fantastic infographic showing a timeline of some of Wikipedia’s silliest editing wars.
- Omo GPS stunt opens doors for marketers [News.com.au] – Unilever Brazil has embedded 60 GPS trackers in OMO washing liquid bottles and then their teams have followed the pruchasers of these bottles home and given them prizes. Understandably, many privacy issues have been raised!
- Does Facebook unite us or divide us? [CNN.com] – Brilliant, and a little confronting, TED talk from Ethan Zuckerman (senior researcher at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society) looking at how globalisation might be a technical achievement, but not a social or mediated one (“cosmopolitan globalisation”). We look to our own social networks, and they increasingly narrow our perspective rather than broadening it.
- Update on Google Wave [Official Google Blog] – Google Wove: Wave development ceases, after users find it’s all too complicated.
- CommBank app lets people snoop on your house [SMH] – House-pricing information is apparently available to the public generally, but there is a real sense of privacy invasion at work here: “There’s a brand new property app on the block that gives iPhone users detailed information on the value of any house they care to point their handset towards, but privacy experts warn it may not sit well with the neighbourhood watch. Detailing sales prices of 95 per cent of Australian homes, the free app has been launched by the Commonwealth Bank in a bid to deliver more immediate buying and selling information to the public as they are actually viewing properties, helping them to ward off rogue sellers who attempt to talk up property prices. Just by pointing an iPhone at a particular property, they will be able to see the last sale price of the property, and if the home is actually for sale, the app will bring up a listing from realestate.com.au with details such as home layout and pictures.”
- Thunderous Bolt sensitive to parody [ABC The Drum Unleashed] – Jason Wilson weighs in on fake Twitter profiles in the wake of Andrew Bolt’s angry denouncement of (fake) himself: “Online fakery is something that draws on different strands in online and offline cultural history. Apart from drawing on early online examples like Fake Steve Jobs, Twitter faking has links with political impersonation, writing techniques like pastiche, and it also has some relationship to genres like fan fiction. After all, the best fakes don’t just go after their targets with blunt instruments, they create a narrative world for the fake persona to inhabit …”
Largely Lost-centric links for May 24th 2010:
- Lost Finale: What the Web Wasn’t Made For [Mashable] – Why I’ll be off most social media today: “Those two wonderful facets of the web — on-demand viewing and instant communication between fans — tonight become a double-edged sword. The Lost Finale will be shown at 9pm ET on the East Coast, and 9pm PT on the West Coast. These time zone delays are the antithesis of what the web is about: Instant communication. The web is the perfect platform for the spread of breaking news, rumor, and those facts that corporations and politicians would rather keep quiet. In short: blogs, Facebook and Twitter make the spread of information immediate. But the web doesn’t understand the concept of the “spoiler”: The kind of information you’d like to avoid until a specific date or time. A TV blog can’t set its RSS feeds to be delivered later to the West Coast than the East. A Facebook update doesn’t get held back until you’ve watched the finale on your DVR. Your phone doesn’t know to block all Lost-related Tweets until you’ve watched the final episode.”
- Final episode Lost in transmission [WA Today] – Australian broadcasting is indeed, Lost, but not in a good way: “AT 2PM AEST today the final episode of supernatural drama Lost will be broadcast simultaneously in eight countries. Fans in the US, Canada, Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Israel and Turkey will sit down as one to discover how the big questions in one of television’s most diabolically complicated shows are resolved. The international simulcast aims to stave off piracy, while attracting viewers worldwide before spoilers hit the web. But not in Australia. Channel Seven will not screen the 2½-hour finale until 8.30pm Wednesday. […] ‘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.” Many Australian Lost fans have left free-to-air television for an alternate viewing reality, downloading, to join in discussions online…”
- Ahead of ‘Lost’ Finale, Fans Shut Off Virtual Hints [NYTimes.com] – “Erin Farley has her plans for Sunday all laid out. Two hours before the last episode of “Lost” is broadcast three time zones away, she will shut down her home Internet connection. TweetDeck? Off. Facebook? Off. Her cellphone? Stashed out of reach. “I’ll turn off the whole Internet just to avoid having anything spoiled,” said Ms. Farley, a 31-year-old freelance writer in Portland, Ore. “I don’t want to ruin the surprise.” The Internet in general, and social media like Twitter in particular, can be a minefield for those who are trying to keep themselves in the dark about an event or show so they can enjoy it later. When the Olympics and Grammy Awards are time-delayed, for example, armchair critics chattering about the wins and losses online can destroy the suspense in an instant. […] people who don’t live on the East Coast, where Lost is shown first, are especially at risk for online spoilers. Overseas fans may have to wait days for a local broadcast – several years in Internet time”
- Lost bows out – after 121 baffling episodes – with 5am TV simulcast to beat plot spoilers [Television & radio | The Guardian] – Closer to non-sporting global television events: “Early on Monday morning [UK time] , millions of Lost fans will be hoping that the mysteries of the US drama’s fictional island accumulated over five years are finally revealed when the show closes in a unique broadcasting event. The finale will be simulcast on ABC in the US and by seven broadcasters around the world. Lost fans in the UK will be switching on Sky1 at 5am on Monday for the two-and-a-half-hour climax to six series, and 121 episodes, of baffling TV. Fans in Italy, Spain, Portugal, Israel, Turkey, Canada, as well as the UK, will see the show at the same time it is aired by ABC on America’s west coast. The time lag between broadcast in America and in the UK used to be six months or more, but has been narrowing for the most popular imports to counter DVD piracy and illegal downloads. Sky1 has been broadcasting this year’s final series of Lost on Friday nights — five days after its US Sunday evening premiere on ABC.”
- LOST re-enacted by Cats in 1 minute.
- Fan-made Lost Finale Trailer
- Facebook, MySpace Confront Privacy Loophole [WSJ.com] – “Facebook, MySpace and several other social-networking sites have been sending data to advertising companies that could be used to find consumers’ names and other personal details, despite promises they don’t share such information without consent. The practice, which most of the companies defended, sends user names or ID numbers tied to personal profiles being viewed when users click on ads. After questions were raised by The Wall Street Journal, Facebook and MySpace moved to make changes. By Thursday morning Facebook had rewritten some of the offending computer code. Advertising companies are receiving information that could be used to look up individual profiles, which, depending on the site and the information a user has made public, include such things as a person’s real name, age, hometown and occupation.” [Also see Benjamin Edelman’s analysis.]
- PAC-MAN rules! [Official Google Blog] – After their first interactive logo, celebrating Pac-Man’s 30th birthday, Google makes their homage game available permanently: “We’ve been overwhelmed — but not surprised 🙂 — by the success of our 30th anniversary PAC-MAN doodle. Due to popular demand, we’re making the game permanently available at www.google.com/pacman. Thanks to NAMCO for helping to make this wonderful collaboration happen. Enjoy!”
- Watching for Iron Sky [The Chutry Experiment ] – Useful introduction to the crowd-sourced film Iron Sky (coming some time 2011) for Web 207.
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