Apple, Microsoft refuse to appear before IT pricing inquiry [The Age] – “A[n Australian] parliamentary committee wants to force computer giant Apple to appear before it after members became frustrated with the company’s refusal to co-operate. Hearings into the pricing of software and other IT-related material such as games and music downloads will begin in Sydney tomorrow but neither Apple nor Microsoft will appear. ”Some of the big names in IT have taken local consumers for a ride for years but when legitimate questions are asked about their pricing, they disappear in a flash,” Labor MP and committee member Ed Husic told Fairfax Media. ”Within our growing digital economy, there are reasonable questions to be answered by major IT companies on their Australian pricing. These companies would never treat US consumers in this way.” Both Microsoft and Adobe provided submissions to the inquiry.”
Don’t tweet if you want TV, London fans told [The Age] – “Sports fans attending the London Olympics were told on Sunday to avoid non-urgent text messages and tweets during events because overloading of data networks was affecting television coverage. Commentators on Saturday’s men’s cycling road race were unable to tell viewers how far the leaders were ahead of the chasing pack because data could not get through from the GPS satellite navigation system travelling with the cyclists. It was particularly annoying for British viewers, who had tuned in hoping to see a medal for sprint king Mark Cavendish. Many inadvertently made matters worse by venting their anger on Twitter at the lack of information. An International Olympic Committee spokesman said the network problem had been caused by the messages sent by the hundreds of thousands of fans who lined the streets to cheer on the British team. “Of course, if you want to send something, we are not going to say ‘Don’t, you can’t do it’,… “
38% of cell owners used their phone to keep themselves occupied during commercials or breaks in something they were watching
23% used their phone to exchange text messages with someone else who was watching the same program in a different location
22% used their phone to check whether something they heard on television was true
20% used their phone to visit a website that was mentioned on television
11% used their phone to see what other people were saying online about a program they were watching, and 11% posted their own comments online about a program they were watching using their mobile phone
Taken together, 52% of all cell owners are “connected viewers”—meaning they use their phones while watching television …”
RIAA: Online Music Piracy Pales In Comparison to Offline Swapping [TorrentFreak] – “A leaked presentation from the RIAA shows that online file-sharing isn’t the biggest source of illegal music acquisition in the U.S. The confidential data reveals that 65% of all music files are “unpaid” but the vast majority of these are obtained through offline swapping. […] In total, 15 percent of all acquired music (paid + unpaid) comes from P2P file-sharing and just 4 percent from cyberlockers. Offline swapping in the form of hard drive trading and burning/ripping from others is much more prevalent with 19 and 27 percent respectively. This leads to the, for us, surprising conclusion that more than 70% of all unpaid music comes from offline swapping. The chart is marked “confidential” which suggests that the RIAA doesn’t want this data to be out in the open. This is perhaps understandable since the figures don’t really help their crusade against online piracy.”
Robin Hood Airport tweet bomb joke man wins case [BBC News] – Finally: “A man found guilty of sending a menacing tweet threatening to blow up an airport has won a challenge against his conviction. Paul Chambers, 28, of Northern Ireland, was found guilty in May 2010 of sending a “menacing electronic communication”. He was living in Doncaster, South Yorkshire, when he tweeted that he would blow up nearby Robin Hood Airport when it closed after heavy snow.
After a hearing at the High Court in London his conviction was quashed.”
Music stars accuse Google of helping pirates rip off material [WA Today] – “LONDON: Roger Daltry of the Who and Brian May of Queen are among rock and pop stars who publicly attacked search engines such as Google for helping users get access to pirated copies of their music. Elton John, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin have also signed a letter to The Daily Telegraph in London calling for more action to tackle the illegal copying and distribution of music. Other signatories include the producer and creator of The X Factor, Simon Cowell. The letter, which will also be sent to the British Prime Minister, David Cameron, this week, highlighted the role that search engines can play in giving people access to illegal copies. Search engines must ”play their part in protecting consumers and creators from illegal sites”, the signatories said, adding that broadband companies and online advertisers must also do more to prevent piracy.”
What to Watch? AUDIENCE MOTIVATION IN A MULTI-SCREEN WORLD [Screen Australia: Research] – New report from Screen Australia (released June 2012) which investigates the viewing habits of audiences in Australia. The report is careful to highlight the ongoing impact of traditional methods and advertising, but focuses most significantly on social media users. The report characterises 35% of Australians over the age of 14 as ‘connectors’ who both enjoy screen culture and are frequent social media users, often using social media to discuss their favourite content. The reach of these online discussions, and impact on other viewers (including those who don’t use social media) is substantial and significant. [Read the full report.]
Recruiting Via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter Continues To Grow [AllFacebook] – “A total of 92 percent of U.S. companies use social networks and social media to recruit talent, up from 78 percent five years ago, according to new research from recruitment platform Jobvite, which also found that although LinkedIn remains dominant in the sector, Facebook and Twitter continue to make inroads. Other findings in the 2012 annual Social Recruiting Survey from Jobvite: Two-thirds of companies now use Facebook for recruiting, while 54 percent use Twitter. LinkedIn continues to rule this category, at 93 percent.” [Infographic]
Some YouTube Partners Are Making Tens of Millions Of Dollars A Year [SFGate] – “Speaking at IGNITION West, Shishir Mehrotra, vice president of product management of YouTube, said the channels have increased engagement. Mehrotra also said TV creators are now running test shows on YouTube before running it on TV. “We are the world’s biggest focus group,” he said. Business Insider’s Matt Rosoff, who was leading the discussion, questioned whether or not we are going to see big time stars come out of YouTube anytime soon. Mehrotra answered, “hundreds of people are making 6 figures, some are making tens of millions of dollars.””
Twitter ordered to hand over Occupy tweets [BBC News] – “A US court has ordered Twitter to release old messages and details about a user arrested during an Occupy Wall Street protest in New York. The micro-blogging firm contested the subpoena, saying the tweets were owned by users rather than the company. But a judge said defendant Malcolm Harris’ privacy would not be violated if the material was handed over. Earlier, the American Civil Liberties Union commended Twitter for defending free speech rights. “If you post a tweet, just like if you scream it out the window, there is no reasonable expectation of privacy,” Judge Matthew Sciarrino wrote in his decision. Nevertheless, the judge said he would personally review the information and would only release the relevant sections to prosecution and defence lawyers.”
Gamers get adults-only R18+ classification [The Age] – Finally! “An adults-only computer game rating category will at last become a reality with legislation passing federal parliament yesterday. The new law fulfils the Commonwealth’s part of a deal with states and territories to include an R18+ rating in the games classification system. “These are important reforms over 10 years in the making,” Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare said in a statement yesterday. “The R18+ category will inform consumers, parents and retailers about which games are not suitable for minors to play and will prevent minors from purchasing unsuitable material. […] Previously, the highest rating for computer games has been MA15+ meaning overseas adult-only games are usually banned here or given a lower classification allowing children to obtain them.
The new laws bring computer games in line with the classification system for films and other material and make Australia more consistent with international standards.”
A Sign of the Times: Encyclopaedia Britannica to End Its Print Run [The Atlantic] – “After nearly two-and-a-half centuries in print, the publishers of the Encyclopaedia Britannica are expected to announce tomorrow that they are stopping their presses … As Wikipedia emerged over the past decade, the question has always been, but how does it compare to the Encyclopaedia Britannica? (Answer: mostly favorably, with bonus points for breadth and accessibility.) … Recent years have seen a sharp decline: The 1990 edition sold 120,000 editions in the United States — the most ever — but the 2010 edition sold just 8,000. Four thousand copies are still in a warehouse, waiting for owners. Today, the printed encyclopedia accounts for less than one percent of the company’s revenues. Britannica, as a whole, is not moribund, though: a half a million people pay $70 each year for complete access online.”
The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On [YouTube] – Well-made little video which tells the history of the now iconic and meme-ready ‘Keep Calm and Carry On’ poster which was originally designed and produced in England during the Second World War.
A Show with Ze Frank by Ze Frank [Kickstarter] – Ze Frank (of ‘The Show with Ze Frank’) uses Kickstarter to ask fans to contribute to a new version of The Show, aiming to raise $50,000 to do The Show for a year. Instead, he raised $146,752, with over 3,900 backers (with one parting with $4000 … that’s a LOT of love for The Show)!
Animated GIFs: The Birth of a Medium [Off Book | PBS – YouTube] – Nifty little video looking at the history of the GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) image, from the 1987 creation (pre-web) through tothe Under Construction GIFs the were prevalent on the early web, the disappearance of GIFS, and their resurgence as an art-form (cinemagraphs) and a memey means of expression (Tumblr!).
Coles Twitter campaign goes down, down gurgler [WA Today] – “A social media experiment has backfired for Coles, exposing the supermarket to a flood of negative comments on Twitter. The supermarket is the latest company to have a social media marketing exercise go terribly wrong, following blunders from Qantas and Coca-Cola. The official Coles account last night urged followers to complete the sentence “in my house it’s a crime not to buy…..” But the PR exercise quickly fizzled as Twitter users inundated the supermarket’s account with negative comments. User @Pollytics wrote, “Food from markets while Coles exploits mental illness via pokies.” Other users raised concerns about the supermarket not giving farmers a fair price for their produce. @TaraMacca wrote, “In my house, its a crime not to buy LOCALLY- and I don’t mean from a @coles supermarket.” “In my house it’s a crime not to buy…BREAD AND MILK AT PRICES THAT ALLOW PRIMARY PRODUCERS TO SURVIVE,” said @downesy.”
Apple passes 25bn iPhone and iPad app downloads milestone [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Apple’s App Store has passed 25 billion downloads, with Disney’s iOS game Where’s My Water? Free nudging it past the milestone. Apple had been running a counter on its website and store, so the 25bn mark was actually reached over the weekend. The company has now revealed which app was the 25 billionth, as well as the name of the downloader: Chunli Fu in Qingdao, China. Late chief executive Steve Jobs would surely have approved of both. He was Disney’s largest shareholder in his later years, after it acquired his Pixar Animation Studios. Meanwhile, China has been an important growth market for Apple in the last year, as the iPhone went on sale there. […] As a comparison, Google recently announced that its Android Market store is generating 1bn monthly app downloads.”
Lego blondes [thinking with my fingers] – Torill Mortensen looks at the differences between normal Lego figure (minifigs) and the new ‘for girls’ Lego. The fact that ‘girl’ lego figures are incompatible with the ‘normal’ accessories and parts is telling. 🙁
An Oscar for Andy? by Tama Leaver [Antenna] – My first Antenna post looks at the possibility of a synthespian in the running for an acting Oscar: “On the back of the unexpected success of Rise of the Planet of the Apes, the big news isn’t a planned sequel but rather a “a healthy seven-figure deal for Andy Serkis to reprise his role as lead ape Caesar” along with the announcement that 20th Century Fox will be mounting an Oscar campaign aimed at getting Serkis a long overdue nod for Best Supporting Actor. It’s significant, too, because we never see Andy Serkis directly in Rise; rather, Caesar was created by the meshing of Serkis’s visceral, physical acting and the state-of-the-art computer wizardry from Weta Digital. Whether you prefer the term virtual actor, synthespian (‘synthetic thespian’) or just performance capture, an Academy Award for Serkis would demonstrate a widening understanding of what ‘acting’ actually means.”
Salman Rushdie claims victory in Facebook name battle [BBC News ] – “Author Salman Rushdie says he has won a battle with Facebook over what to call himself on his profile page on the social network. Rushdie’s dispute with Facebook began after he asked to be allowed to use his middle name Salman – the one he is known by across the world. But Facebook, which has strict real name policies, had insisted on Ahmed – the novelist’s first name. Rushdie says Facebook has “buckled” after he began tweeting about the row. “Victory! #Facebook has buckled! I’m Salman Rushdie again. I feel SO much better. An identity crisis at my age is no fun. Thank you Twitter!” wrote the British Indian author, who is known as SalmanRushdie on Twitter. “Just received an apology from The #Facebook Team. All is sweetness and light.””
Aussie expat’s TV torrent site shut down as The Slap producers intervene [SMH] – “The producers of ABC1 drama The Slap have succeeded in shutting down a Netherlands-based piracy website that over 40,000 Australian and New Zealand expats use to illegally watch local shows. The site, diwana.org, is run by an Australian expat who started the site over five years ago and is popular with expats and others based overseas who are looking to access Australia and New Zealand TV content, which is often difficult to access internationally.[…] Despite the shutdown of Diwana.org, The Slap is still widely available on other pirate websites.”
Exfoliate for Facebook [Android Market] – Android app to delete unwanted Facebook history: “Exfoliate automates the removal of old, forgotten, content from Facebook(tm). Old content on social networking sites is a threat to your privacy. Removing this old content by hand is tedious, and practically impossible. On your wall, Exfoliate can remove any post, comment, or like, whether made by you or by others, older than a time you specify. Exfoliate can remove your own posts, comments, and likes, from your friends’ walls too. You can choose the age of items you wish removed, and Exfoliate will remove any items that are at least as old as your selection from any of your selected content areas. It is important, though, to understand that Exfoliate truly deletes the content. It is not backed up and it is not recoverable – well, that’s kinda the point. […] Exfoliate is a network and battery hog, and there’s simply no way around this. To manage the impact, you can stop Exfoliate at any time, and restart Exfoliate later.”
Jailbreak the Patriarchy: my first Chrome extension [Danielle Sucher] – Clever: “I just released my first Chrome extension! It’s called Jailbreak the Patriarchy, and if you’re running Chrome, you can head over here to install it. What does it do? Jailbreak the Patriarchy genderswaps the world for you. When it’s installed, everything you read in Chrome (except for gmail, so far) loads with pronouns and a reasonably thorough set of other gendered words swapped. For example: “he loved his mother very much” would read as “she loved her father very much”, “the patriarchy also hurts men” would read as “the matriarchy also hurts women”, that sort of thing. This makes reading stuff on the internet a pretty fascinating and eye-opening experience, I must say. What would the world be like if we reversed the way we speak about women and men? Well, now you can find out!”
Parents using Facebook to attack school staff, Principals Federation says [Perth Now] – “Parents are using Facebook and other social networks to attack principals and teachers they dislike or believe have wronged them or their children. The growing practice of raging against school staff online has sparked calls for the Education Department to step in. “These forums can also fuel the sort of misplaced anger and hatred that can end in physical confrontations and school lockdowns,” Australian Principals Federation president Chris Cotching said. Lawyers acting for the federation have warned the department it could be legally culpable if it continued to ignore online campaigns against staff.”
Palin Fans Trying to Edit Wikipedia Paul Revere Page [Little Green Footballs] – Interesting case study on Wikipedia’s accuracy – after Sarah Palin gets history wrong, her supporteres try and edit Wikipedia to make the Palin version; drama and editorial warfare ensue: “Man, you’ve gotta almost admire the sheer blind dedication of Sarah Palin’s wingnut acolytes. Now they’re trying like crazy to edit the Wikipedia page for “Paul Revere” to make it match Palin’s botched version of history. Here’s the Revision history of Paul Revere; check out the edits that are being reversed. Also see the discussion page for an entertaining exchange between Wikipedia editors and a would-be revisionist.”
Google Chrome: Lady Gaga [YouTube] – Clever ad for Google Chrome featuring Lady Gaga (and simultaneously a Lady Gaga ad featuring Chrome!) which really highlights how she’s deeply engaging with her fanbase via social media.
Google’s YouTube policy for Android users is copyright extremism [guardian.co.uk] – Cory Doctorow laments Google’s copyright-driven philosophical contradictions: “The news that Android users who have jailbroken their phones will be denied access to the new commercial YouTube pay-per-view service is as neat an example of copyright extremism as you could hope for. Android, of course, is Google’s wildly popular alternative to Apple’s iOS (the operating system found on iPhones and iPads). Android is free and open – it costs nothing to copy, it can be legally modified and those modifications can be legally distributed […] unless you’re running a very specific version of Google’s software on your phone or tablet, you can’t “rent” movies on YouTube. Google – the vendor – and the studios – the rights holders – are using copyright to control something much more profound than mere copying. In this version of copyright, making a movie gives you the right to specify what kind of device can play the movie back, and how that device must be configured.”
Links for March 16th 2011 through March 20th 2011:
Why Curation Is Just as Important as Creation [Mashable] – “The folks who run the online galleries — the curators — aren’t asking permission or giving a revenue share, which means that content creators need to get comfortable with the idea that in the new world of the link economy, curating and creating aren’t mutually exclusive. Exhibit A: Seth Godin. He is one of the web’s best-known marketing wizards. […]. And he says that content creators can’t ignore curation any longer. “We don’t have an information shortage; we have an attention shortage,” Godin said. “There’s always someone who’s going to supply you with information that you’re going to curate. The Guggenheim doesn’t have a shortage of art. They don’t pay you to hang paintings for a show — in fact you have to pay for the insurance. […] As Godin sees it, power is shifting from content makers to content curators: “If we live in a world where information drives what we do, the information we get becomes the most important thing. The person who chooses that information has power.””
Why Do We Hate Rebecca Black? [Brow Beat] – “It’s Fri-ee-day! Here in New York, where the long-awaited sunshine is making everyone slightly loopy, “Friday”—Rebecca Black’s so-awful-it’s-kind-of-genius viral sensation—makes for a highly appropriate soundtrack. Like her lyricists, I, too, can barely form coherent sentences, because we-we-we so excited about all the fun ahead of us tonight. A quick recap, for anyone who’s missed the frenzy: Rebecca Black, an eighth-grader from Orange County, recorded a song and produced a video with vanity label Ark Music Factory, which specializes in tweenybopper “artists.” Last week, Black’s video starting ricocheting around the Web, to the delight and horror of millions of viewers. No one, it seems, can believe that anything this terrible could possibly exist. […] So her parents paid $2,000 for her to pretend to be a star. […] and for an unexpected dose of media training.
xxx marks the spot [SMH] – “The group in charge of internet addresses has opened the door for adult-content websites ending with .xxx but delayed deciding whether to open the floodgates for other suffixes. The non-profit internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) board voted to approve a petition to add .xxx to the list of “generic top-level domains” – endings that include .com, .net and .org. […] The request had been rejected about five years ago and was reconsidered after an appeal.”
Bullying Video’s “Little Zangief” A Hero Online [WA Today] – “It was inevitable. The Sydney boy who retaliated against a younger student at school after an apparent bullying attack has been transformed from a victim to an online hero. Since video of the incident at a western Sydney school this week was posted online, it immediately went viral. The 16-year-old “victim” has been dubbed “Little Zangief” – a character from the Street Fighter video game – and likened to the Incredible Hulk and The Punisher, with websites, mash-up videos and even a Twitter account set up in his honour. The video, which has since been featured on US and British news sites, shows a smaller 12-year-old boy punching the bigger boy. The bigger boy then picks up his tormentor and throws him to the ground. The issue dominated talkback radio after it happened.” [More at Know Your Meme] [More Remixes]
40th anniversary of the computer virus [Net Security] – “1971: Creeper: catch me if you can. While theories on self-replicating automatas were developed by genius mathematician Von Neumann in the early 50s, the first real computer virus was released “in lab” in 1971 by an employee of a company working on building ARPANET, the Internet’s ancestor. Intriguing feature: Creeper looks for a machine on the network, transfers to it, displays the message “I’m the creeper, catch me if you can!” and starts over, thereby hoping from system to system. It was a pure proof of concept that ties the roots of computer viruses to those of the Internet.”
The Rise of Twitter Poetry [NYTimes.com] – “… there’s evidence that the literary flowering of Twitter may actually be taking place. The Twitter haiku movement — “twaiku” to its initiates — is well under way. Science fiction and mystery enthusiasts especially have gravitated to its communal immediacy. And even litterateurs, with a capital L, seem to be warming to it. For two years, John Wray, the author of the well-regarded novel “Lowboy,” has been spinning out a Twitter story based on a character named Citizen that he cut from the novel, a contemporary version of the serialization that Dickens and other fiction writers once enjoyed. “I don’t view the constraints of the format as in any way necessarily precluding literary quality,” he said. “It’s just a different form. And it’s still early days, so people are still really trying to figure out how to communicate with it, beyond just reporting that their Cheerios are soggy.””
Links for January 10th 2011 through January 18th 2011:
Wikipedia’s Jimmy Wales: App stores a clear and present danger [TECH.BLORGE.com] – Interesting: “The app store model is a more immediate threat to internet freedom than breaches of net neutrality. That’s the opinion of Wikipedia chief Jimmy Wales. According to Wales — who was quick to stress he was speaking in a purely personal capacity — set-ups such as the iTunes App Store can act as a “chokepoint that is very dangerous.” He said such it was time to ask if the model was “a threat to a diverse and open ecosystem” and made the argument that “we own [a] device, and we should control it.””
Wikipedia – an unplanned miracle | Clay Shirky [The Guardian] – “Wikipedia is the most widely used reference work in the world. That statement is both ordinary and astonishing: it’s a simple reflection of its enormous readership; and yet, by any traditional view about how the world works, Wikipedia shouldn’t even exist, much less have succeeded so dramatically in the space of a single decade. The cumulative effort of Wikipedia’s millions of contributors means you are a click away from figuring out what a myocardial infarction is, or the cause of the Agacher Strip war, or who Spangles Muldoon was. This is an unplanned miracle, like “the market” deciding how much bread goes in the store. Wikipedia, though, is even odder than the market: not only is all that material contributed for free, it is available to you free; even the servers and system administrators are funded through donations.”
YouTube mobile video viewing surges [The Age] – “YouTube has said it is serving up more than 200 million videos daily to smartphones and other internet-linked mobile devices. News of the milestone came as the Google-owned video-sharing service began routing Vevo music videos from artists such as Lady Gaga and U2 onto smartphones powered by newer versions of Google-backed Android software. “As the world goes mobile and more people watch videos on their smart phones, we expect more partners will take advantage of these new mobile advertising capabilities and make more of their content available across more devices,” YouTube mobile product manager Andrey Doronichev said in a blog post. Android smartphones running on “Froyo” or newer versions of the mobile operating software will be able to access Vevo’s music video library using a free YouTube application, according to Doronichev.”
MySpace to shut Australian office [The Age] – “MySpace looks set to close its Australian office as part of its move to cut 500 jobs – or nearly half its staff – potentially setting the stage for a sale of the social network owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.MySpace chief executive Mike Jones said in a statement today that the company would enter into strategic local partnerships to manage advertising sales and content in Australia, with details of partners yet to be finalised. He said the company would retain a core international team to work with partners. It is understood that all Australian positions within MySpace are under review with some opportunities for relocation to other divisions.”
MySpace cutting global workforce by half [BBC News] – Ouch: “Struggling MySpace is cutting almost half of its global workforce. The social networking website is getting rid of 500 positions, or 47% of its employees. The announcement comes as MySpace continues to be eclipsed by Facebook, and as it tries to reinvent itself as an entertainment website. MySpace was bought by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation for $580m (£372m) in 2005, but it has struggled to make money for its parent company. Mike Jones, MySpace’s chief executive, said the job cuts were “tough but necessary”, and had been taken to put the website on the path towards growth and profitability.”
‘Angry Birds’ Exec Calls Android Too Complex [Angry Birds World] – “Those who use the Android might wanna whip some “Angry Birds” out on Peter Vesterbacka, the head of business development in North America for Rovio. While there’s a free version of “Angry Birds” for Android users available, a 99-cent version for the iPhone is a huge success. And the iPhone will continue to be “the No. 1 platform for a long time from a developer perspective.” Question is: why? Apple has “gotten so many things right. And they know what they are doing and they call the shots.” Android, too, is growing, he said, “But it’s also growing complexity at the same time.” While there are many devices and carriers that use Android, “device fragmentation (is) not the issue,” Vesterbacka said, “but rather the fragmentation of the ecosystem. So many different shops, so many different models. The carriers messing with the experience again. Open but not really open, a very Google-centric ecosystem. And paid content just doesn’t work on Android.””
Celebrities plugging products on Twitter could face legal action [Perth Now] – “As if they aren’t raking in enough money or freebie gifts, greedy British celebs are rapidly utilising the perk power of a new cash cow – their Twitter accounts. However, there could be consequences. Dozens of celebrities, including actress Liz Hurley and singer Lily Allen, face possible court action over claims that they are endorsing products through their Twitter accounts without declaring that they have been paid by the companies concerned, reports the Daily Mail. Celebs who fail to mention that they have a financial interest in ‘plugging’ goods online could be contacted by the UK’s consumer watchdog in the coming weeks. The crackdown has been ordered by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading, which has the power to take offenders to court.”
Links for November 19th 2010 through November 24th 2010:
Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality [Scientific American] – Inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, in a passionate defense of the open web (and a few pointed jabs at Facebook): “The Web is now more critical to free speech than any other medium. It brings principles established in the U.S. Constitution, the British Magna Carta and other important documents into the network age: freedom from being snooped on, filtered, censored and disconnected. […] If we want to track what government is doing, see what companies are doing, understand the true state of the planet, find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, not to mention easily share our photos with our friends, we the public, the scientific community and the press must make sure the Web’s principles remain intact—not just to preserve what we have gained but to benefit from the great advances that are still to come.”
Everything is a Remix – Part 1 [Vimeo] – Kirby Ferguson’s great video about remix, focusing on musical culture and the long history of remix as a core creative process (long before the web).
The Attention-Span Myth [NYTimes.com] – A great read: “Whether the Web is making us smarter or dumber, isn’t there something just unconvincing about the idea that an occult “span” in the brain makes certain cultural objects more compelling than others? So a kid loves the drums but can hardly get through a chapter of “The Sun Also Rises”; and another aces algebra tests but can’t even understand how Call of Duty is played. The actions of these children may dismay or please adults, but anyone who has ever been bored by one practice and absorbed by another can explain the kids’ choices more persuasively than does the dominant model, which ignores the content of activities in favor of a wonky span thought vaguely to be in the brain. So how did we find ourselves with this unhappy attention-span conceit, and with the companion idea that a big attention span is humankind’s best moral and aesthetic asset? […] Instead, the problem with the attention-span discourse is that it’s founded on the phantom idea of an attention span.”
New Facebook Messaging Continues to Block Some Links [Epicenter | Wired.com] – Facebook’s “not email” email system will block certain links. Definitely not email. “Facebook’s “modern messaging system” may make it convenient to seamlessly move between instant messaging and a Facebook.com e-mail account, but not if you are sharing a link to a file sharing site. Facebook began blocking BitTorrent link-sharing on Facebook walls and news feeds last spring, and also started blocking private messages between users that included a link to torrents on the Pirate Bay. Facebook says that content censorship policy isn’t changing, even as its new Facebook Messages service gives users e-mail accounts and encourages them to communicate even more through Facebook. “We have systems in place to prevent abuse on Facebook and prevent spam which we’ll continue to deploy with the new Messages,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a written statement. “We don’t share specifics on those systems.””
Facebook credits go on sale in UK [guardian.co.uk] – This is Facebook’s answer to the app store; watch the money flow! “Online currency, with which Facebook users can purchase pixel-based virtual farm animals or pay to attend virtual events, might seem small beer. But now the online goods economy may be about to boom in the UK, as Tesco and the games retailer Game start selling Facebook credits in more than 1,000 high street stores. The UK’s 33 million Facebook users will be able to buy so-called “Facebook credits” in the non-pixellated world. The gift cards, costing £10 or £20, will only be redeemable on Facebook, where users can spend the converted currency on any number of nonexistent objects. The virtual goods economy, where money is spent on items that only exist on the internet, is expected to exceed £550m for social gaming such as Zynga’s Farmville by the end of this year, according to a recent Inside Virtual Goods report.”
Links for October 4th 2010 through October 9th 2010:
Perhaps a revolution is not what we need [Confessions of an Aca/Fan] – Henry Jenkins offers a powerful rebuke of Malcolm Gladwell’s claim that Twitter and other social media aren’t revolutionary: “The Civil Rights Movement certainly tapped into networks of all kinds — from the congregations of churches to the sisterhood of sororities, and deployed a broad range of communications technologies available at the time. Twitter is however simply one of many communications platforms through which we forge politics in the 21st century. There’s a tendency to look at it and try to read its features as totally embodying a new kind of public, but that is profoundly misleading. We do not live on a platform; we live across platforms. We choose the right tools for the right jobs.”
5% of babies “have a social media profile” [Next Web] – “As social media becomes an increasingly important part of life, it’s perhaps unsurprising to find out that parents are creating digital presences for their children – sometimes while they’re still in the womb. You may think that it would only be a handful of particularly geeky parents who would bother to set up a Twitter or Facebook account for their unborn child, but a study published today by Internet security firm AVG found that 5% of babies under 2 have social media profiles, while 7% have an email address. The main reason for doing this, it seems, is to share baby scans and and information about the pregnancy with family and friends. Meanwhile, many more babies are “online” in some form or other. 23% of fetuses had images of their antenatal scans uploaded before birth.”
Libya takes hard line on .ly link shortening domains [BBC News] – The perils of URL shortening: “The Libyan government has removed an adult-friendly link-shortening service from the web, saying that it fell foul of local laws. It could have an impact on similar services registered in Libya. The domain vb.ly was revoked[…] Co-founder of vb.ly Ben Metcalfe warned that “other ly domains are being deregistered and removed without warning”. “The domain was seized by the Libyan domain registry for reasons which seemed to be kept obscure until we escalated the issue,” he wrote. “We eventually discovered that the domain has been seized because the content of our website, in their opinion, fell outside of Libyan Islamic/Sharia Law.” URL shortening is a technique that allows users to significantly condense often long web addresses to more manageable and memorable links. The Libyan crackdown could come as a blow to other url shortening services such as bit.ly, which is particularly popular on Twitter where all messages have to be limited to 140 characters.”
The Man Who First Said ‘Cyborg,’ 50 Years Later – Alexis Madrigal [The Atlantic] – “We’re gathered here today to celebrate Manfred Clynes. Fifty years ago, he coined the word “cyborg” to describe an emerging hybrid of man’s machines and man himself. The word itself combined cybernetics, the then-emerging discipline of feedback and control, and organism. The word appeared in an article called “Cyborgs and Space,” in the journal Astronautics’ September 1960 issue. Just to be precise, here’s how the word was introduced: “For the exogenously extended organizational complex functioning as an integrated homeostatic system unconsciously, we propose the term ‘Cyborg,'” wrote Clynes and his co-author Nathan Kline, both of Rockland State University. From that catchy description, it might not have been immediately apparent that Cyborg was destined to become the label for a profound myth, hope and fear specific to our era.”
Cyberbully Is Found Guilty on Multiple Counts in Dead Sea Scrolls Case [The Chronicle of Higher Education] – “A professor’s adult son was convicted in a New York State court of 30 criminal charges on Thursday for using online aliases to try to harass and discredit scholars whom his father opposed in a bitter debate over the Dead Sea Scrolls. The jury found Raphael H. Golb, the 50-year-old son of the prominent religious-studies scholar Norman Golb of the University of Chicago, guilty all but one of the 31 counts against him, according to an Associated Press report. It convicted him of forgery, harassment, and identity theft in connection with a sustained electronic campaign in which he impersonated five people and used about 70 phony e-mail accounts to harass and try to damage the reputations of scholars. Of particular note to academics who were following the case, the jurors rejected a defense lawyer’s argument that the damaging statements that Raphael Golb had made about others under assumed names amounted to parody or irony intended to expose what he saw as scholarly lies…”