Links for August 27th 2010 through August 30th 2010:
iPod sales drop to lowest quarterly number since 2006 [Business | The Guardian] – Sales of the traditional iPod are slowing in the face of the dramatic growth of iPhones, iPads and other competitor products. Apparently the music industry is concerned because they were betting on (presumably old-style) iPods to be the great saviour of the music industry, ensuring the next generation was downloading music legally, replacing slowing CD sales. The article also mentions the shift some canny bands have made to band-specific apps, meshing music and other experiences together via in bespoke applications, which better suit an iPhone/iPad environment. To be honest, nothing in this article should come as a shock, but it does point out that with 5 billion app downloads from the Apple store in just 2 years, this is definitely the peak growth area.
The Trouble with the Fourth Estate [Snurblog] – A sobering but insightful analysis by Axel Bruns regarding the failings of political journalism and the limits of political blogging in Australia today. Axel argues that the ‘fourth estate’ is probably the wrong metaphor for political bloggers today, although they struggle perhaps to be a fourth branch at times, doing some work once in realm of good journalism. The short version, though: “we’re stuck in a muddle, where journalists won’t and bloggers can’t exercise the informative function with as much energy and commitment as it actually requires – and that’s a very problematic state of affairs, especially in a political situation that is as confusing as the one we now find ourselves in.”
The Ballad of Cat Bin Lady: The Internet’s Latest Viral Villain [Mashable] – Coventry, England resident Mary Bale made a stupid decision when she pushed a local cat into a wheelie bin and shut the lid. By virtue of CCTV footage posted online, she was identified, named and shamed, and so forth. She’s become a meme, and a hated meme at that. But is the response too much? A ‘Death to Mary Bale’ Facebook group has just been shut down, suggested that in ‘citizen justice’ the penalties often vastly outweigh the crime.
Facebook Trademark Lawsuit Aims to Limit Use of “Book” by Others [Mashable] – “Facebook has filed suit against Teachbook.com, an online community for teachers. The lawsuit accuses Teachbook of “misappropriating the distinctive BOOK portion of Facebook’s trademark.” The lawsuit argues that Teachbook’s use of “book” dilutes the Facebook (Facebook) brand name, impairs Facebook’s ability to remain unique and creates the facade of a false relationship between the two social networking entities. While Facebook does not own the rights to the word “book” in all its forms, the company believes its name trademark applies to the word “book” when used in connection with a website of similar purpose. Facebook also takes issue with the fact that Teachbook has attempted to trademark its name and makes claims about being “Facebook for teachers” on the Teachbook website.” (Oh noes: I’ve been using this trademark infringing NOTEBOOK all this time …)
Links for August 25th 2010 through August 26th 2010:
Gmail Offers Phone Service via Web [NYTimes.com] – “Google entered a new business beyond Internet search on Wednesday with a service within Gmail to make phone calls over the Web to landlines or cellphones. The service will thrust Google into direct competition with Skype, the Internet telephone company, and with telecommunications providers. It could also make Google a more ubiquitous part of people’s social interactions by uniting the service for phone calls with e-mail, text messages and video chats. “It’s one place where you can get in touch with the people that you care about, and how that happens from a network perspective is less important,” said Charles S. Golvin, a telecommunications analyst at Forrester Research. Gmail has offered voice and video chat for two years, but both parties must be at their computers.” (It works from Australia, too.)
Woman caught dumping cat in bin ‘profoundly sorry’ [The Age] – 4chan really love cats: “A woman caught on camera dumping a cat in a bin says she is “profoundly sorry for a split second of misjudgment”. Mary Bale, 44, of Coventry in England, was named and shamed by users of the online forum 4chan after footage of the incident was posted on Facebook and YouTube. She was caught dumping a family’s cat into a large green rubbish bin by the family’s CCTV camera. The cat, Lola, was trapped in the bin for 15 hours before its owners found her.”
Facebook censors website critical of it [jill/txt] – More Facebook censorship: Openbook is a website that lets you search public status messages on Facebook. Try searching for “hate my boss” or “playing hooky” for interesting results. Or, as Twitter posts keep mentioning today, search for “mosk” to see how many people who hate muslims don’t know how to spell mosque. I tried to send someone a message on Facebook including a link to Openbook, and was surprised when I couldn’t. Then I tried to post a link to Openbook to my profile. Nope. Of course I let Facebook know that I think this is an error. Because come ON – censoring a website so obviously critical of them? Not impressive. “
ABC presenter reprimanded over Twitter [SMH] – “Perth’s ABC morning radio presenter Geoff Hutchison has been reprimanded by the national broadcaster for his comments on Twitter attacking Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. While Mr Abbott appeared on the ABC’s Q and A program on Monday night, Hutchison used his Twitter account @hutchabc to unleash several tweets criticising the Liberal leader. Hutchison made fun of Mr Abbott on Twitter, saying: “I have gay Muslim friends says Tony. But I don’t really like them.” He also wrote that Mr Abbott had said homosexuals were “morally dubious, but big tobacco is all right by me”. The ABC ordered Hutchison to delete his Twitter account, saying it breached the broadcaster’s social media policy which states employees “should not mix professional and personal in ways likely to bring the ABC into disrepute”. “Geoff has been reminded of his obligations under the ABC’s social media guidelines and that any future use of Twitter should be in accordance with ABC policy,” an ABC spokesman said.”
How The Internet Beat Up An 11-Year-Old Girl [Defamer Australia] – 4chan and /b/ collectively turn on self-styled tween micro-celeb “Jessi Slaughter”, a very foul-mouthed video poster whose antics and anti-“hater” video got their undivided attention. The young girl in question is certainly provoking people, but SHE’S ONLY 11 YEARS OLD!
As Defamer note “here are some important lessons from this tale:
1. What are your kids doing on the internet? Normally we find fears about kids on the Internet the product of technophobic hysteria. But this case is a very good argument for why parents should at least be vaguely aware of what their kids are up to on the internet. […]
2. Tumblr is becoming a home for trolls. […]
3. Don’t pick on 11-year-old girls. Seriously. No matter dumb they seem – no matter how much it seems like they deserve it – they are, at the end of the day, 11-year-old girls. You wouldn’t make an 11-year-old girl cry in real life; why do it on the internet?”
The Art Of Trolling: Inside A 4chan Smear Campaign [Defamer Australia] – 4chan go after Dahvie Vanity, the lead singer of “the terrible electro-pop MySpace band Blood on the Dance Floor”, who has supposedly been linked to 11-year-old 4chan victim Jessi Slaugher (he’s been rumoured to be a paedophile, but these are by now means substantiated – to my knowledge, no police action has been taken). /b/’s actions are citizen justice at its worst.
Jessi Slaughter and the 4chan trolls – the case for censoring the internet [News.com.au] – Peter Farquhar uses the 4chan Vs Jessi Slaughter debacle as an excuse to promote the notion of an internet filter in Australia. While there is some token disagreement towards the end of the article, it’s still an example of terrible writing since it implies that (if she was in Australia, presumably) the proposed filter would have helped the situation. For the record, even the most extreme version of the filter Conroy mooted, would have made absolutely no difference in this case whatsoever. What WOULD make a difference for young people in Australia is more money and resources put into education about social media and online interactions across the national curriculum; the sort of money being spent developing and arguing about a useless mandatory filter would be exactly the put of money that could make a real difference in the eduction, awareness and thus safety of young Australians online.
Why this is NOT the Twitter election [mUmBRELLA] – Quick post pointing out that while the upcoming Australia election will certainly be influenced by Twitter and social media, it certainly won’t be driven by it given the paucity of social media use and awareness of the two newbie leaders of the big parties.
Google Discontinues the Nexus One Android Phone [Mashable] – Google’s experiment as a smartphone distributor come to a swift end: “Google has pulled the plug on the Nexus One, its once highly anticipated smartphone. The last shipment has arrived at Google HQ, and once those are gone there will be no more Nexus Ones for U.S. consumers. The handset will still be sold through Vodafone in Europe and some Asian carriers, and developers will still be able to get their hands on one, but it looks like the Droid phones on Verizon will carry the mantle for Google’s (Google) Android (Android) mobile operating system. This is the end the company’s grand experiment with an unlocked handset. Following disappointing sales, Google had already closed the Nexus One web store two months ago, so this final nail in the coffin was already overdue.”
RealID and WoW Forums: Classic Identity Design Mistake [Habitat Chronicles] – As Blizzard shift to a ‘real names’ model for their forums, including all official World of Warcraft forums, many folks are unhappy. Blizzard are trying to get some users to be more responsible for their posts, but as Randy Farmer argues Blizzard haven’t learnt from many, many identity-related mistakes in online fora of the past!
Ridley Scott and YouTube Want You To Film One Day in Your Life [Mashable] – “YouTube has announced a project called Life in a Day, which attempts to document one day, July 24, seen through the camera lens of people around the world. The project will be executive produced by Ridley Scott […] edited by Kevin Macdonald, best known for directing films such as The Last King of Scotland and One Day in September. The film will premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival; if your footage makes the final cut, you’ll be credited as a co-director, and 20 contributors will be selected to attend the premiere. If you’re hoping for financial gain, however, you’ll be disappointed; for this one, glory is your only reward. To contribute to the project, you need to capture July 24, 2010, on camera, and upload the footage to the Life in the Day channel sometime before July 31. As for what your footage should consist of, YouTube (YouTube) wants you to have no limits, to be personal, to film anyone you like…”
Prank leaves Justin Bieber facing tour of North Korea [BBC News] – LOL: “Justin Bieber’s Twitter page has become the target of an internet joke. A public vote on the Canadian singer’s My World Tour page asked users which country he should tour next, with no restrictions on the nations that could be voted on. This spurred users of imageboard website 4Chan to nominate North Korea, with the vote now turning viral. There are now almost half a million votes to send Bieber to the secretive communist nation. The contest, which ends at 1800 on 7 July, saw North Korea move from 24th to 1st place in less than two days, several thousand votes ahead of Israel.”
Facebook bans doll nipples [The Age] – Prudebook? “Facebook’s prude police are out in force yet again, this time threatening action against a Sydney jeweller for posting pictures of an exquisite nude porcelain doll posing with her works. Victoria Buckley, who owns a high-end jewellery store in the Strand Arcade on George Street, has long used dolls as inspiration for her pieces and hasn’t had one complaint about the A3 posters of the nudes in her shop window. But over the weekend she received six warnings from Facebook saying the pictures of the doll, which show little more than nipples, constituted “inappropriate content” and breached the site’s terms of service.The warnings said Facebook would remove the images and Buckley is worried she will be banned from the site if she posts them again.”
4Chan hackers blamed for redirecting Justin Bieber fans to porn websites [News.com.au] – 4chan Vs Bieber: “Hackers wreaked havoc with a series of Justin Bieber YouTube pages today – redirecting users to pornography websites and videos saying the Canadian pop star had died in a car accident. The first YouTube spoof sent fans of the 16-year-old singer into a panic after hackers changed the sound of a video falsely reporting that Bieber died in a car accident, Mashable social media blog reported. Other YouTube pages featured pop up windows of pornography websites and videos exposing underage Bieber fans to explicit content. Internet forum 4Chan was blamed for the attacks but it is believed others joined in once the hack was discovered. YouTube said it was working to fix the problem as soon as possible. The stunt came just days after Bieber took to his Twitter account to dispel rumours regarding the identity of his father, claims that he was dead and reports his mother was offered a hefty sum to pose topless for Playboy magazine.”
Guardian Takes Next Step in Open Content Strategy With Blog Plugin [Giga OM] – As many other newspapers try and lock their content behind paywalls and paid apps, the Guardian is moving boldly in the opposite direction, releasing a free WordPress application to embed full articles from the Guardian in any WordPress blog. The Guardian makes money by keeping their advertising intact, but gives bloggers the full right to re-post Guardian content (not just snippets). It’s not a perfect app – nor that easy to install – but it’s definitely a move in the right direction, and evidence for a very sensible business plan for the Guardian group – sharing content further, not restricting it! Take notes, Rupert Murdoch!
Pollies ‘twitspit’ in not-so-social media [The Australian] – NSW’s political twits: “Not content with their offline stoushing, NSW Premier Kristina Keneally (@KKeneally) and Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell (@barryofarrell), both keen tweeters, have now taken to using the social media site for slinging digital barbs. Last week’s exchange was triggered by Keneally making fun of O’Farrell’s claim that the fact he had walked the Kokoda Track proved he was a strong leader, commenting: “Well, so did Miss Australia, so congratulations, Barry.” O’Farrell took to Twitter to retort that Keneally, having seen her quip “blow up in her face”, “now tries to politicise Kokoda”. Keneally responded that it was O’Farrell “who uses Kokoda as political football”. O’Farrell struck back with a couple of obscure digs at Keneally for her “keen interest” in his tweets about his coffee meetings. He also taunted the Premier by calling her by her full initials, “KKK”, although in more recent tweets he has reverted to using “KK”.”
I Can Has Cheezburger Blog Leads to a Web Empire [NYTimes.com] – “Three years ago Ben Huh visited a blog devoted to silly cat pictures — and saw vast potential. Mr. Huh, a 32-year-old entrepreneur, first became aware of I Can Has Cheezburger, which pairs photos of cats with quirky captions, after it linked to his own pet blog. […] Sensing an Internet phenomenon, Mr. Huh solicited financing from investors and forked over $10,000 of his own savings to buy the Web site from the two Hawaiian bloggers who started it. “It was a white-knuckle decision,” he said. “I knew that the first site was funny, but could we duplicate that success?” Mr. Huh has since found that the appetite for oddball Internet humor is insatiable. Traffic to the Cheezburger blog has ballooned over the last three years, encouraging Mr. Huh to expand his unlikely Web empire to include 53 sites, all fueled by submissions from readers. In May, what is now known as the Cheezburger Network attracted a record 16 million unique visitors…”
Tweet! Tweet! Tweet! [Roger Ebert’s Journal] – Roger Ebert on finding his voice, and many conversations, on Twitter: “I vowed I would never become a Twit. Now I have Tweeted nearly 10,000 Tweets. I said Twitter represented the end of civilization. It now represents a part of the civilization I live in. I said it was impossible to think of great writing in terms of 140 characters. I have been humbled by a mother of three in New Delhi. I said I feared I would become addicted. I was correct. Twitter is now a part of my daystream. I check in first thing every morning, and return at least once an hour until bedtime. I’m offline, of course, during movies …”
Inglis racial slur is unacceptable | Herald Sun – My complete respect to Tahu; it’s this level of dedication to stamping out racism that’s absolutely needed: “Andrew Johns last night quit the NSW Origin team after he admitted a racist sledge towards Queensland superstar Greg Inglis was behind Blues winger Timana Tahu walking out of the side. After one of Origin’s most dramatic days – with NSW team management at first trying to cover up the scandal – Johns said he had no choice but to resign as assistant coach after it emerged he had sledged Tahu’s long-time friend at a bonding session at a Kingscliff hotel on Wednesday night. The Sunday Telegraph can reveal Johns told Blues centre Beau Scott: “You must shut that black c… down.””
“for the lolz”: 4chan is hacking the attention economy [danah boyd | apophenia] – 4chan as the hackers of the attention economy? I’m not sure I’m 100% convinced by boyd here, but it’s certainly an idea worth thinking about: “I would argue that 4chan is ground zero of a new generation of hackers – those who are bent on hacking the attention economy. While the security hackers were attacking the security economy at the center of power and authority in the pre-web days, these attention hackers are highlighting how manipulatable information flows are. They are showing that Top 100 lists can be gamed and that entertaining content can reach mass popularity without having any commercial intentions (regardless of whether or not someone decided to commercialize it on the other side).”
Govt wants ISPs to record browsing history [Zdnet] – Is Conroy TRYING to lose the next election? “Companies who provide customers with a connection to the internet may soon have to retain subscriber’s private web browsing history for law enforcement to examine when requested, a move which has been widely criticised by industry insiders. The Attorney-General’s Department yesterday confirmed to ZDNet Australia that it had been in discussions with industry on implementing a data retention regime in Australia. Such a regime would require companies providing internet access to log and retain customer’s private web browsing history for a certain period of time for law enforcement to access when needed. Currently, companies that provide customers with a connection to the internet don’t retain or log subscriber’s private web browsing history unless they are given an interception warrant by law enforcement, usually approved by a judge. It is only then that companies can legally begin tapping a customer’s internet connection.”
In Hong Kong, Eternity Goes Online [NYTimes.com] – Hong Kong, one of the most wired societies in the world, is taking the Internet to a higher level. Bereaved users in this city of seven million got a new way of honoring and commemorating their loved ones Thursday: A Web site that enables them to set up online profiles for the dead, www.memorial.gov.hk. The creator of the site is not some Internet-savvy, 20-something college graduate, but the Hong Kong Food and Environmental Hygiene Department […] Hong Kong culture takes death very seriously. Elaborate ceremonies twice a year honor not just recently deceased relatives and friends, but also generations of ancestors before them. […] The Web site is free, but the site is restricted to individuals who were buried or cremated in facilities operated by the Hong Kong government.
Links for September 18th 2009 through September 21st 2009:
RIP Facebook Beacon [Mashable] – “Facebook launched its ad platform “Beacon” in Nov 2007, hoping to revolutionize advertising by posting updates to your Facebook profile when you interacted with its partner sites. This week Facebook said that it has settled a class-action lawsuit against the product, agreed to shut it down completely, and will establish a $9.5 million “settlement fund” to fund initiatives related to online privacy. … Facebook Beacon was a system that posted your activity on third-party websites – Blockbuster, Gamefly, Overstock.com and more – back to your Facebook profile. Privacy advocates rallied against it, however, arguing that data was being sent without the users’ explicit permission. The situation worsened after a report claimed that Beacon was collecting data from partner sites regardless of whether users were Facebook members …” (Beacon remains one of those most teachable examples of Facebook’s privacy woes, but I’m delighted with the idea of money being spent privacy initiatives.)
Nigeria ‘offended’ by sci-fi film [BBC NEWS | Africa] – “Nigeria’s government is asking cinemas to stop showing a science fiction film, District Nine, that it says denigrates the country’s image. Information Minister Dora Akunyili told the BBC’s Network Africa programme that she had asked the makers of the film, Sony, for an apology. She says the film portrays Nigerians as cannibals, criminals and prostitutes. An actor from the film said that it was not just Nigerians who were portrayed as villains. … But Mr Khumbanyiwa said Nigerians in the cast did not seem worried by the portrayal of their country. He suggested that the film, which depicts people wanting to eat aliens to gain the superhuman powers, should not be taken too literally. “It’s a story, you know,” he said. “It’s not like Nigerians do eat aliens. Aliens don’t even exist in the first place.”” (Well said, Mr Khumbanyiwa, well said.)
VICTORY: FCC to Mandate Net Neutrality for the Web [Mashable] – “The Federal Communications Commission has been in the middle of it, as it has outlined loose net neutrality guidelines in the past. But according to The Wall Street Journal, the FCC is about to propose definitive rules that could have major repercussions for the entire web. The new rules, expected to be announced Monday by Julius Genachowski, the FCC Chairman, will outline requirements for ISPs to treat all traffic on the Internet equally. This means that Comcast can’t decide that Google gets less bandwidth and Microsoft/Bing (Bing) gets more for any reason (i.e. one pays for preferential treatment). It’s also expected that the net neutrality rules will apply to wireless services, meaning they would be in effect for Internet data via your phone and 3G networks. The impact of this cannot be understated, especially as iPhones and other smart phones make the mobile web a major part of our lives.” (Excellent!)
Google slams Murdoch plan to charge for online news [The Age] – “Publishers of general news would find it hard to charge for their content online because too much free content is available, the chief executive of Google said. Speaking to a group of British broadcasting executives via video link, Eric Schmidt said he could, however, imagine niche providers of content such as business news succeeding in this area. Schmidt was responding to an announcement by News Corp CEO Rupert Murdoch that he could start charging for content online. “In general these models have not worked for general public consumption because there are enough free sources that the marginal value of paying is not justified based on the incremental value of quantity,” he said. “So my guess is for niche and specialist markets … it will be possible to do it but I think it is unlikely that you will be able to do it for all news.””
Bangladesh imposes YouTube block [BBC NEWS | South Asia] – “The video-sharing web site YouTube has been blocked by Bangladesh after a recording of a meeting between the PM and army officers was posted. The meeting took place two days after a mutiny by border guards in Dhaka that left more than 70 people dead. The recordings cover about 40 minutes of a three-hour meeting and reveal how angry many in the military were at the government’s handling of the crisis. YouTube had been blocked in the “national interest”, officials said.”
Ewan McGregor twitchy over fake Twitter site [The Guardian] – “Spare a thought for the 19,639 subscribers to Ewan McGregor’s Twitter feed. For the past four months they have been treated to regular updates of the actor’s daily routine. When McGregor was “about to enjoy banana pancakes”, they were kept informed. When he “needed some Tylenol extra strength”, they were told about that too. Now comes the most alarming revelation of all: representatives of the actor claim that the Twitter site and its related MySpace profile are actually run by impostors. “Ewan McGregor does not have a Twitter site or one on MySpace either,” insisted a spokesperson for the Trainspotting star. “Someone is just making it all up.”” (Which would, I’d imagine, be easy enough to do!)
Twittering celebs tell all from Oscars parties [The Age] – Forget the gossip mags – celebrities attending the Oscars and associated after-parties gave fans backstage passes by publishing messages, videos and pictures on their Twitter accounts throughout the evening. After years of dealing with the media mangling their words, stars are now creating a direct dialogue with fans. The combination of Twitter, which allows people to post short messages directly from their mobile phones, and alcohol, led to surprisingly candid postings from the Oscar festivities. Ashton Kutcher and wife Demi Moore were by far the most prolific Oscar Twitterers. They didn’t attend the awards ceremony but hosted an Oscars after-party attended by some of the biggest stars. Kutcher posted an image of rapper Sean “P Diddy” Combs clutching an Oscar alongside the message “Diddy throws up Oscars”. He also published an image of himself with Penelope Cruz’s Oscar. (Whatever will the paparazzi do when the celebrities are all happily photo-stalking each other?)
Links for February 17th 2009 through February 20th 2009:
4chan /b/ goes after cat abusers, wins [Inquisitr] – “A video of two men abusing a cat surfaced on YouTube late last week, and members of /b/ took it upon themselves to bring the sickos to justice. The video was quickly narrowed down to prime suspects, primarily through the help of /b/, and local authorities arrested the men. Many have been quick to criticize /b/ in the past, but today at least you can’t doubt one thing: they love cats.” (While this doesn’t suddenly make /b/ a haven of good will and public mindedness, it does show that with the proper motivation 4chan can be a powerful force!)
Macroanonymous Is The New Microfamous [Fimoculous.com] – “…I interviewed the founder of 4chan for a magazine story that never ended up running. He chatted about everything from the techincal complexities of keeping 4chan alive to the anxieties of operating the most controversial site on the internet. By the end of the interview, I was thinking “This kid has seen stuff that would make my eyes burn, but he seems so smart and sweet about it all.” (He started the site when he was 15; he just turned 21.) It seemed like insightful stuff that should run somewhere, so here it is….”
Whisper campaigns exposed: pay per lie on YouTube [The Age] – “One of Australia’s most popular YouTube users has admitted being paid to spruik Ten’s new show Lie To Me surreptitiously in the latest example of marketers invading the popular video sharing site. Amateur video maker Hugh Thomas, 26, from Bondi, said he was asked by a mystery third party to create a video blog on Lie To Me and publish it on his popular YouTube channel, in return for payment from 20th Century Fox. He would not give more details of the whisper campaign, saying he was bound by a non-disclosure agreement.”