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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.””
Links for July 21st 2010 through July 28th 2010:
- How Twitter Is Being Used In The Election Campaign [National Times] – Axel Bruns offers a quick look at how Twitter is being used in the Australian politician election campaigning to date: short version, the candidates aren’t doing brilliantly well and #ausvotes is the real hashtag, while #ozvotes is all about electing wizards! 🙂
- Julia Gillard Impersonators On The Rise [National Times] – There are a lot more fake Julia Gillards on Twitter than the real one (currently our PM); most of the fake ones are much funnier, and all of them get that Twitter isn’t just a broadcast platform (the real one hasn’t figured this out, yet).
- Old Spice Sales Double With YouTube Campaign [Mashable] – Apparently social media + charismatic actor + great scripts = advertising gold: “You know those YouTube videos with that manly Old Spice guy and his hilarious responses to Twitter fans? Of course you do. So does everybody, it seems, because Old Spice body wash sales have increased 107% in the past month thanks to that social media marketing campaign. We already published stats from video analytics company Visible Measures that made it clear that the Old Spice guy was a hugely successful initiative from marketing firm Wieden + Kennedy, achieving millions of viral video views quicker than past hits like Susan Boyle and U.S. President Barack Obama’s election victory speech. The statistic of the 107% sales increase over the past month comes from Nielsen…”
- Amazon’s ebook milestone: digital sales outstrip hardbacks for first time in US [The Guardian] – “In what could be a watershed for the publishing industry, Amazon said sales of digital books have outstripped US sales of hardbacks on its website for the first time. Amazon claims to have sold 143 digital books for its e-reader, the Kindle, for every 100 hardback books over the past three months. The pace of change is also accelerating.”
- Skin Whitening, Tanning, and Vaseline’s Controversial Facebook Ad Campaign [danah boyd | apophenia] – An insightful look at a controversy that has sprung up about a Vaseline ad on Facebook, aimed at India, for a skin whitening cream which offers a preview of a whitened face. boyd does a great job of showing how racism is often culturally and historically specific, and that Americans who are deeply offended by the ads really need to engage with how the ads are read by the Indian internet users who are targeted. boyd stresses that most histories of racism and the meaning of skin-colour are deeply problematic, but the main point is that these operate quite differently in different places and cultures, and that these contexts need to be taken into consideration.
- Gay zombie porn gets festival flick [The Age] – Film censorship returns to Australia – gay zombie film in peril: “The Australian censor has banned a film from screening at the Melbourne International Film Festival for the first time in seven years – a work described as ”gay zombie porn”. Festival director Richard Moore received a letter yesterday from the Film Classification Board director Donald McDonald, stating that L.A. Zombie, the latest offering from Canadian provocateur Bruce LaBruce, could not be screened as it would in his opinion be refused classification. The festival is not generally required to submit films for classification, but after reading a synopsis of the plot of L.A. Zombie, which features wound penetration and implied sex with corpses, the Classification Board requested a DVD to watch, and then refused to issue an exemption. It is the first film to be banned from the festival circuit since Larry Clark’s Ken Park in 2003.”
Links for January 29th 2010:
- iPad DRM endangers our rights [DefectiveByDesign.org] – The petition against Apple’s iPad (and other) DRM: "DRM will give Apple and their corporate partners the power to disable features, block competing products (especially free software) censor news, and even delete books, videos, or news stories from users’ computers without notice– using the device’s "always on" network connection. This past year, we have seen how human rights and democracy protestors can have the technology they use turned against them. By making a computer where every application is under total, centralized control, Apple is endangering freedom to increase profits. Apple can say they will not abuse this power, but their record of App Store rejections and removals gives us no reason to trust them. The iPad’s unprecedented use of DRM to control all capabilities of a general purpose computer is a dangerous step backward for computing and for media distribution. We demand that Apple remove all DRM from its devices."
- Hitler responds to the iPad [YouTube] – Yes, it was inevitable that the iPad would attract the Downfall meme!
- 12 Key Features Apple iPad lacks [SMH] – It’s 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9 which will stop me buying the first release iPad (I suspect much of this will be fixed by iPad 2.0!):
"1. iBooks is initially US-only
2. No built-in camera
3. No USB ports
4. No memory card read
5. Keyboard dock sold separately
6. No multi-tasking
7. No Adobe Flash support
8. Can only run Apple-sanctioned apps
9. Can only access iTunes videos and music
10. Lacks HDMI port
11. Screen is 4:3 aspect ratio, not 16:9 widescreen
12. No full GPS support"
- New page in publishing turns on Apple’s offering [The Australian] – eBooks, eBooks, eBooks, OI, OI, OI: "The use of e-book readers is in its infancy in Australia but Apple’s iPad will be the harbinger of a change in the way Australians read books, says the nation’s largest independent publisher. Allen & Unwin’s digital publishing director, Elizabeth Weiss, said: "There is a buzz around. We think iPad will further stimulate interest in e-books." E-book sales – either via a PC or readers such as Amazon’s Kindle – are statistically insignificant in the $2.5 billion book market in Australia, but the industry is expecting a similar pattern to the US where, in less than two years, and during a deep recession, digital books have captured about 5 per cent of the market. "You’ll see a rapid take-up over the next six months," said Australian Booksellers Association chief executive Malcolm Neil. But he said that could result in some smaller booksellers losing market share and being forced to close."
- Microsoft Releases a Study on Data Privacy Day [Microsoft Privacy & Safety] – More evidence that your web presence doesn’t ever just stay on the web: "Our study found 70% of surveyed HR professionals in U.S. (41% in the UK) have rejected a candidate based on online reputation information. Reputation can also have a positive effect as in the United States, 86% of HR professionals (and at least two thirds of those in the U.K. and Germany) stated that a positive online reputation influences the candidate’s application to some extent; almost half stated that it does so to a great extent. What we hope people take away from this research is that an online reputation is not something to be scared of; it’s something to be proactively managed. That means not just removing (or not posting) negatives, but also building the online reputation that you would want an employer (or friend or client) to find."
- Google Routes Around App Store On The iPhone… Others Can Too [Techdirt] – Apps want to be free, too: "I was just recently suggesting that the massive focus on "apps" and "app stores" may be a red herring, as eventually many of those apps can be built via the web (especially as HTML 5 moves forward), without having to go through any kind of app store approval process. So it’s worth noting that, in fact, Google has done exactly that with its Google Voice app for the iPhone (doing so because of problems getting a client-side app approved by Apple)."
Links for January 22nd 2010:
- Essay on Identity 2.0: Constructing identity with cultural software [Anne Helmond] – Great paper! "…deals with the change of identity on the web as a result of the assemblage of social software platforms, engines and users. It can be stated that major platforms for presenting the self online have developed over time: the homepage, the blog, the social networking profile, the micro-blog and the lifestream. They each have their own specific way for presenting the self online. The advent of the search engine has had a major impact on both the construction and the presentation of the online identity. Search engines not only index the platforms on which identity is performed, but they also organize and construct identity online. They act as a central point where identity performance is indexed. Since identity construction and identity performance have significantly changed with the advent of these engines, identity must be reconsidered. It can be argued that the assembly of platform, engine and user has constructed a new type of identity: Identity 2.0. …"
- Clinton Urges Global Response to Internet Attacks [NYTimes.com] – "Declaring that an attack on one nation’s computer networks “can be an attack on all,” Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton issued a warning on Thursday that the United States would defend itself from cyberattacks, though she left unclear the means of response. In a sweeping, pointed address that dealt with the Internet as a force for both liberation and repression, Mrs. Clinton said: “Those who disrupt the free flow of information in our society or any other pose a threat to our economy, our government and our civil society. Countries or individuals that engage in cyber-attacks should face consequences and international condemnation.” Her speech was the first in which a senior American official had articulated a vision for making Internet freedom a plank of American foreign policy.""
- With Rival E-Book Readers, It’s Amazon vs. Apple [NYTimes.com] – You’re nobody unless you’ve got an app store these days! "It’s a formidable high-tech face-off: Amazon.com versus Apple for the hearts and minds of book publishers, authors and readers. Amazon’s Kindle devices and electronic bookstore now dominate a nascent but booming market, accounting for more than 70 percent of electronic reader sales and 80 percent of e-book purchases, according to some analysts. And on Thursday it will take a page from Apple and announce that it is opening up the Kindle to outside software developers. Apple’s much-anticipated tablet computer, which is widely expected to be announced next Wednesday and go on sale this spring, will be a far more versatile (and expensive) device that will offer access to books, newspapers and other reading material through Apple’s popular App Store on iTunes."
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