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Digital Culture Links: February 1st 2011
February 1, 2011 / 2 Comments on Digital Culture Links: February 1st 2011
Links for January 28th 2011 through February 1st 2011:
- Apple Moves to Tighten Control of App Store [NYTimes.com] – Apple’s Walled Garden App Store is building even Bigger Walls: “Apple is further tightening its control of the App Store. The company has told some applications developers, including Sony, that they can no longer sell content, like e-books, within their apps, or let customers have access to purchases they have made outside the App Store. Apple rejected Sony’s iPhone application, which would have let people buy and read e-books bought from the Sony Reader Store. Apple told Sony that from now on, all in-app purchases would have to go through Apple, said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading division. The move could affect companies like Amazon.com and others that sell e-book readers that compete with Apple’s iPad tablet and offer free mobile apps so customers can read their e-book purchases on other devices. An iPad owner, for instance, has not needed to own a Kindle to read Kindle books bought from Amazon. That may now change.”
- Intel warns of $1bn cost of chip fix [Technology | The Guardian] – Ouch! “The chipmaker Intel has halted shipments of its new Sandy Bridge processors and says it will have to spend a total of $1bn (£600m) fixing a fault, delaying hundreds of new PC models for up to three months and potentially stifling growth in the personal computer market. Launched early in January, the Sandy Bridge chip combines standard processing and graphics units on a single die. But Intel said today it had found flaws in a support chip, called Cougar Point, which would have led to failures over time in connections to hard drives and DVDs. The fault will upset production on more than 500 computer models that were to have used the processors. That in turn will hit the PC industry, which has already been suffering from slowing growth in the US and other regions last year. It could also open the door to Intel’s longstanding rival, AMD, which has a similar processor, named Fusion. After the news AMD shares jumped by 5% in early trading in New York, while Intel shares slid by 1.5%”
- Wary of Egypt Unrest, China Censors Web [NYTimes.com] – “In another era, China’s leaders might have been content to let discussion of the protests in Egypt float around among private citizens, then fizzle out. But challenges in recent years to authoritarian governments around the globe and violent uprisings in parts of China itself have made Chinese officials increasingly wary of leaving such talk unchecked, especially on the Internet, the medium some officials see as central to fanning the flames of unrest. […] two of the nation’s biggest online portals — blocked keyword searches of the word “Egypt,” though the mass protests were being discussed on some Internet chat rooms on Monday. The use of “Egypt” has also been blocked on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. Censoring the Internet is not the only approach. The Chinese government has also tried to get out ahead of the discussion, framing the Egyptian protests in a few editorials and articles in state-controlled news publications…”
- Wikipedia Ponders Its Gender-Skewed Contributions [NYTimes.com] – “About a year ago, the Wikimedia Foundation, the organization that runs Wikipedia, collaborated on a study of Wikipedia’s contributor base and discovered that it was barely 13 percent women; the average age of a contributor was in the mid-20s, according to the study by a joint center of the United Nations University and Maastricht University. Sue Gardner, the executive director of the foundation, has set a goal to raise the share of female contributors to 25 percent by 2015, but she is running up against the traditions of the computer world and an obsessive fact-loving realm that is dominated by men and, some say, uncomfortable for women. Her effort is not diversity for diversity’s sake, she says. “This is about wanting to ensure that the encyclopedia is as good as it could be,” Ms. Gardner said in an interview on Thursday. “The difference between Wikipedia and other editorially created products is that Wikipedians are not professionals, they are only asked to bring what they know.””
- Google unveils Web-free ‘tweeting’ in Egypt move [AFP] – “Google, in response to the Internet blockade in Egypt, said Monday that it had created a way to post messages to microblogging service Twitter by making telephone calls. Google worked with Twitter and freshly acquired SayNow, a startup specializing in social online voice platforms, to make it possible for anyone to “tweet” by leaving a message at any of three telephone numbers. “Like many people we’ve been glued to the news unfolding in Egypt and thinking of what we could do to help people on the ground,” Google product manager Abdel-Karim Mardini and SayNow co-founder Ujjwal Singh said in a blog post. “Over the weekend we came up with the idea of a speak-to-tweet service — the ability for anyone to tweet using just a voice connection,” they said.”
- Man jailed over anti-semitic video [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “A 39-year-old Perth man has been sentenced to three years’ jail for posting an anti-semitic video on the internet. Brendon Lee O’Connell is the first person in Western Australia to be convicted under the state’s racial vilification laws. A jury found him guilty last week of six offences. O’Connell posted a video on YouTube showing him insulting a young Jewish man in 2009. The video also showed O’Connell standing in front of the Perth Bell Tower telling Jews their days were numbered.”
- Facebook launches mobile deals [BBC News] – In a very clear challenge to FourSquare: “Facebook is launching a service that lets British users earn discounts from high street businesses. Users who visit participating shops can log in from their mobile phones to receive rewards. Companies, meanwhile can use Facebook Deals as a virtual loyalty card or coupon system. The social network has already lined up promotions with several businesses including Starbucks, Debenhams and mobile network O2. The service ties into Facebook Places, an add-on for mobile phones that launched in 2010 as a way for users to share their location with friends. Users who login to Places via the dedicated Facebook app for the iPhone and handsets running Google’s Android system can update their whereabouts – or “check in” – whenever they visit a variety of shops, restaurants and other venues. With Deals, users will not just be able to tell other people their location, but can also take advantage of any special offers that the retailer has.”
- Android overtakes Symbian in smartphone sales [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Google’s Android overtook the long-time market leader, Nokia’s Symbian, as the world’s most popular smartphone platform in the fourth quarter, according to the research firm Canalys. In total, 32.9m phones running Android were sold to retailers and mobile networks in the fourth quarter of 2010, compared with Symbian’s total sales of 31m in the quarter, the researcher said. In a press release, Canalys noted that Nokia had however retained its lead as the single biggest smartphone vendor, with a 30.6% share of phones shipped. The rise of Android to the top of the smartphone sales chart indicates the popularity of the free operating system with vendors, which do not have to pay a licence fee to use it on their phones.”
- Angry Birds Go Hollywood [NYTimes.com] – “Angry Birds, the cellphone game that has turned into a cultural phenomenon with 75 million downloads and counting, is lending its wings to a 20th Century Fox movie. To promote the April 15 release of “Rio,” an animated film starring two rare macaws, Fox and Rovio, the small Finnish company behind Angry Birds, said on Friday that Rovio would release Angry Birds Rio. The special edition of the game – the original Angry Birds are kidnapped and taken to Rio – will be made available in March. The announcement was made at an only-in-Hollywood press event on the Fox lot in Los Angeles. As a quartet of Brazilian bongo drummers pounded away on their instruments and reporters guzzled drinks made with Brazilian rum, Jim Gianopulos, co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment, broke the news.”
- Amazon Kindle e-book downloads outsell paperbacks [BBC News] – “Amazon has announced that in the US it sold more e-books for its Kindle device than it sold paperback books in the last three months of 2010. […] Amazon announced that in the US since the start of the year it had sold 115 e-book downloads for every 100 paperback books, even excluding its downloads of free books. But it stressed that sales of paperback books were also growing. “Last July we announced that Kindle books had passed hardcovers and predicted that Kindle would surpass paperbacks in the second quarter of this year,” said Amazon boss Jeff Bezos. “So this milestone has come even sooner than we expected – and it’s on top of continued growth in paperback sales.” It has not said how many of its Kindle devices it has sold, but did say that they had overtaken the final book in the Harry Potter series to become the top-selling item in Amazon’s history.”
- Egypt cuts off internet access [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Egypt appears to have cut off almost all access to the internet from inside and outside the country from late on Thursday night, in a move that has concerned observers of the protests that have been building in strength through the week. “According to our analysis, 88% of the ‘Egyptian internet’ has fallen off the internet,” said Andree Toonk at BGPmon, a monitoring site that checks connectivity of countries and networks. “What’s different in this case as compared to other ‘similar’ cases is that all of the major ISP’s seem to be almost completely offline. Whereas in other cases, social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter were typically blocked, in this case the government seems to be taking a shotgun approach by ordering ISPs to stop routing all networks.””
Digital Culture Links: September 15th 2010
September 15, 2010 / 3 Comments on Digital Culture Links: September 15th 2010
Links for September 10th 2010 through September 15th 2010:
- Myths of the NBN myths [ABC The Drum Unleashed] – Stilgherrian rebukes the common myths associated with the National Broadband Network, showing their false logic and short-sightedness. A good read.
- The Rise of Apps Culture [Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project] – New Pew study shows Apps are emerging, but far from ubiquitous just yet: “Some 35% of U.S. adults have software applications or “apps” on their phones, yet only 24% of adults use those apps. Many adults who have apps on their phones, particularly older adults, do not use them, and 11% of cell owners are not sure if their phone is equipped with apps. Among cell phone owners, 29% have downloaded apps to their phone and 13% have paid to download apps. “An apps culture is clearly emerging among some cell phone users, particularly men and young adults,” said Kristen Purcell, Associate Director for Research at the Pew Internet Project. “Still, it is clear that this is the early stage of adoption when many cell owners do not know what their phone can do. The apps market seems somewhat ahead of a majority of adult cell phone users.””
- The Agnostic Cartographer – John Gravois [Washington Monthly] – Interesting article looking at the politics behind all maps, but especially Google Maps – trying to create one definitive map for the world, when so many maps are bound to particular nations, politics and cultures, means a lot of diplomacy or a lot of disputes (both are currently happening).
- musing on child naming and the Internet [danah boyd | apophenia] – (Unborn) kids and digital footprints: “I am of the age where many of my friends are having kids and so I’ve been exposed to more conversations about what to name one’s child than I ever could’ve imagined. I’m sure people have always had long contested discussions with their partners and friends about naming, but I can’t help but laugh at the role that the Internet is playing in these conversations today. I clearly live in a tech-centric world so it shouldn’t be surprising that SEO and domain name availability are part of the conversation. But I’m intrigued by the implicit assumption in all of this… namely, that it’s beneficial for all individuals to be easily findable online and, thus, securing a fetus’ unique digital identity is a tremendous gift.”
- ‘That is so gay!’ [ABC The Drum Unleashed] – Matthew Sini on Stephanie Rice’s recent Twitter controversy: “A certain tweeting swimmer used the word faggot recently in a haphazard, inelegant and wholly unconscious way the other day. As many Rice-lovers have vocally pointed out, the intention behind the word choice was clearly not to insult. But that is the point. When you can use this sort of language in such a casual way, you have displayed an ignorance of very material prejudice and a history of oppression and suffering. Both Stephanie Rice, and me and my friends, make light of this history of suffering, but the difference is Rice does not acknowledge it when making light. She can only be accused of ignorance. In the same way that many ‘kids today’ use the phrase ‘that’s so gay’ or some cognate of it to describe something that is undesirable.”
- FarmVille – Facebook application metrics from AppData Facebook Application Metrics [AppData] – Statistics for Farmville use in terms of the Facebook plugin. 83,755,953 all-time high for monthly users to date.
- App Store Review Guidelines [Apple – App Store Resource Center] – Apple releases their guidelines for reviewing Apps for the Apple App store. Finally, developers can figure out exactly what they need to do to ensure their Apps are accepted, and critics can evaluate how Apple wield their power in policing the iWalled Garden.
Digital Culture Links: June 28th 2010
June 28, 2010 / 2 Comments on Digital Culture Links: June 28th 2010
Links through June 28th 2010 (catching up on the last week!):
- Fairfax and content theft – mUmBRELLA – Mumbrella asks if Fairfax media is copying YouTube videos and placing them onlive via a Fairfax media player, then using them on Fairfax online properties: is this “piracy”? Aren’t Fairfax ripping off YouTube creators who are relying on advertising (on their YouTube clips) to make a little money? I’ve no idea if Fairfax has some sort of license to do this (or if it might be legal under fair dealing – although using the whole clip can’t be) but it’s an important question given the rhetoric of piracy being a problem with individuals, rather than corporations, downloading “illegally”.
- Google’s mismanagement of the Android Market [Jon Lech Johansen’s blog] – Jon Lech Johansen’s critique of the current Android marketplace. While it’s preferable to the closed Apple App store, the Android Marketplace clearly needs a lot more work on its centralised architecture to sell and distribute apps effectively.
- Exercising Our Remote Application Removal Feature [Android Developers Blog] – Android centrally nukes their first app from the marketplace and all phones using it; from the Android blog: “The remote application removal feature is one of many security controls Android possesses to help protect users from malicious applications. In case of an emergency, a dangerous application could be removed from active circulation in a rapid and scalable manner to prevent further exposure to users. While we hope to not have to use it, we know that we have the capability to take swift action on behalf of users’ safety when needed. This remote removal functionality — along with Android’s unique Application Sandbox and Permissions model, Over-The-Air update system, centralized Market, developer registrations, user-submitted ratings, and application flagging — provides a powerful security advantage to help protect Android users in our open environment.”
- Pakistan to monitor Google and Yahoo for ‘blasphemy’ [BBC News] – “Pakistan will start monitoring seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, for content it deems offensive to Muslims. YouTube, Amazon, MSN, Hotmail and Bing will also come under scrutiny, while 17 less well-known sites will be blocked. Officials will monitor the sites and block links deemed inappropriate. In May, Pakistan banned access to Facebook after the social network hosted a “blasphemous” competition to draw the prophet Muhammad. The new action will see Pakistani authorities monitor content published on the seven sites, blocking individual pages if content is judged to be offensive. Telecoms official Khurram Mehran said links would be blocked without disturbing the main website.”
- ASCAP Assails Free-Culture, Digital-Rights Groups [Threat Level | Wired.com] – ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) tries to rally against alternative copyright licensing, even those which actually assist creators to license clearly! “ASCAP’s attack on EFF and Public Knowledge are farfetched. Those groups do not suggest music should be free, although they push for the liberalization of copyright law. But the attack on Creative Commons is more laughable than ASCAP’s stance against EFF and Public Knowledge. While lobby groups EFF and Public Knowledge advocate for liberal copyright laws, Creative Commons actually creates licenses to protect content creators. […] The licenses allow the works in the public domain, with various rules regarding attribution, commercial use and remixing. The group’s creative director, Eric Steuer, said nobody forces anybody to adopt the Creative Commons credo. “I think it’s false to claim that Creative Commons works to undermine copyright,” he said in a telephone interview. “It’s an opt-in system.””
- dev:wordpress [Zotero Documentation] – Plugins to make the COins data on blogs visible from WordPress (ie makes Zotero recognise WordPress blog metadata).
- Sex domain gets official approval [BBC News] – .xxx is coming: “Official approval has been given for the creation of an internet domain dedicated to pornography. The board of net overseer Icann gave initial approval for the creation of the .xxx domain at its conference in Brussels. Icann’s approval will kick off a fast-track process to get the porn-only domain set up. ICM Registry, which is backing the domain, said .xxx would make it easier to filter out inappropriate content. The decision ends a long campaign by ICM Registry to win approval. Stuart Lawley, chairman of ICM, welcomed the decision and said it was “great news for those that wish to consume, or avoid, adult content”.”
- Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review [danah boyd | apophenia] – “I’m pleased to announce a rough draft of Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review for public feedback. This Literature Review was produced for Harvard Berkman Center’s Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative, co-directed by John Palfrey, Urs Gasser, and myself and funded by the MacArthur Foundation. This Literature Review builds on the 2008 LitReview that Andrew Schrock and I crafted for the Internet Safety Technical Task Force. This document is not finalized, but we want to make our draft available broadly so that scholars working in this area can inform us of anything that we might be missing. Risky Behaviors and Online Safety: A 2010 Literature Review.”
- Twitter has a bad day: FTC tells it off and the site’s not running well [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Twitter’s having a bad day. First it got told off by the US Federal Trade Commission for incidents in January and May last year when 33 accounts, including Barack Obama’s, were hacked using the company’s own internal support tools. And then it’s having to scale back on its API in order to get the site in order, according to its status page. The FTC settlement is “the agency’s first such case against a social networking site” over flawed data security. According to the FTC’s complaint, between January and May 2009, hackers who gained administrative control of Twitter were able to view nonpublic user information, gain access to direct messages and protected tweets, and reset any user’s password and send authorized tweets from any user account.”
- 1 in 5 Android Apps Pose Potential Privacy Threat [REPORT] [Mashable] – Further fuel for Steve Jobs decision to police the Apple App store so tightly: “Mobile security company SMobile has looked into the potential privacy and security issues in more than 48,000 apps in the Android Market. The company’s findings are alarming for Android owners, since approximately 20% of Android apps request permission to access private or sensitive information.[…]. By contrast, the Android (Android) market is open, meaning that Google (Google) doesn’t minutely examine apps for approval (it did, however, ban certain apps from the Market) and Android apps don’t have to be acquired from the Market; users can obtain them from other sources, like a developer’s website. Google’s approach makes it easier on the developers, but it can also result in a security nightmare for consumers. According to the report, one out of every 20 apps can place a call to any number without approval from the user; 3% of apps can send an SMS to any number…”
- HUGE: Twitter Lets You Automatically Follow Your Facebook Friends [UPDATED] [Mashable] – “Twitter has announced that it is launching major upgrades to its Facebook and LinkedIn (LinkedIn) applications, bringing added functionality and integration between Twitter and two of the world’s largest social networks. The new Twitter app for Facebook, which is now available here, not only allows you to syndicate your tweets to the world’s largest social network, but now has a feature that allow users to see which of their Facebook friends are also on Twitter and choose which ones they want to follow. The new feature could be huge: it brings existing Facebook connections into the Twitterverse, which is likely to spur new levels of engagement and growth.”
- Judge Sides With Google in Viacom Suit Over Videos [NYTimes.com] – “In a major victory for Google in its battle with media companies, a federal judge on Wednesday dismissed Viacom’s $1 billion copyright infringement against YouTube, the video-sharing site owned by Google. The judge granted Google’s motion for summary judgment, saying that the company was shielded from Viacom’s copyright claims by “safe harbor” provisions of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That law generally protects user-generated sites from liability for copyrighted material uploaded by users as long as the operator of the site takes down the material when notified by its rightful owner that it was uploaded without permission. The dispute is over videos owned by Viacom that others had posted to YouTube. Viacom, which sued Google in 2007 for copyright infringement, had argued that Google was not entitled to the copyright act’s protections because Google deliberately turned a blind eye and profited from to the rampant piracy on YouTube.”
- YouTube Video Editor [Google OS] – Useful for only the very basics, but still a useful on-the-fly tool: “YouTube has a new video editor that lets you create videos using excerpts from the videos you’ve already uploaded. You can also add a music file from the AudioSwap library, but YouTube mentions that it might display ads if you use some of the audio files.”
- Content Is No Longer King: Curation Is King [Business Insider] – “”Content is King” — no longer. Today, the world has changed. “Curation Is King.” Ok, I hear all the content-makers sharpening their knives to take me on. I’m ready. First, why content is dead: Content used to be the high quality media that came out of the very pointed end of the funnel. Articles in the New York Times. Movies from Miramax. Thursday night comedy from NBC. Books published by Simon and Schuster. Creative folks wrote pitches, treatments, sample chapters, pilots, but only the best of the best got published. Then, the web came along and blew that up. Kaboom! Now content has gone from being scarce to being ubiquitous. […] We’ve arrived in a world where everyone is a content creator. And quality content is determined by context. Finding, Sorting, Endorsing, Sharing – it’s the beginning of a new chapter […] The emergence of a new King — a Curation King, reflects the rise of the new Aggregation Economy. It is an exciting time to be in content, and the best is yet to come.”
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