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So, Australia woke up confused and unhappy this morning, after a soul-destroying election resulting in no clear leadership, no future Prime Minister and the largest number of informal votes ever. Even more bizarrely, the clearest commentary on events so far, comes from everyone’s most mashed up dictator:
(If you’re unfamiliar with the genre, there are quite a few parodies of Hitler commentating on various events, using footage from the Downfall film.)
Links for April 21st 2010:
- Hitler Is Very Upset That Constantin Film Is Taking Down Hitler Parodies [TechCrunch] – It looks like the Hitler Gets Upset About [Whatever] meme might be drawing to an end thanks to copyright issues. Constantin Film, the production company behind Downfall (Der Untergang in German) have asserted their copyright over the Downfall footage and YouTube’s automated system appears to be pulling the clips down all over their service. I’d like to think everyone will be filing counter-claims since this is clearly Fair Use according to US copyright law (how could this not be parody or satire?) but we’ll have to see what happens. (An Open Video Alliance post notes that the”videos were blocked by YouTube’s Content ID system, not taken down via DMCA notices”). Meanwhile, until it disappears, here’s Hitler’s thoughts on the Downfall videos disappearing.
- More Changes to Facebook Privacy, and More to Come [Social Hacking] – “… Facebook is changing the “Become a Fan” buttons to “Like” buttons. If you want to connect with a page for something you’re interested in, you now will simply “like” the page. In a blog post, Facebook spun the connections as an exciting improvement: “Instead of just boring text, these connections are actually Pages, so your profile will become immediately more connected to the places, things and experiences that matter to you.” I can see three main reasons why Facebook would make this change, and none of them involve text being boring. […] First, this helps software more easily process your interests. […] Second, the shift to “liking” reduces friction. The semantics may be subtle, but I’m sure Facebook has done research on this. “Liking” implies a simple, casual gesture […] Third, this increases the useful data Facebook can offer to others.”
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Links for February 3rd 2010 through February 7th 2010:
- Blogging: a great pastime for the elderly [Rough Type – Nicholas Carr’s Blog] – LOL: “I remember when it was kind of cool to be a blogger. You’d walk around with a swagger in your step, a twinkle in your eye. Now it’s just humiliating. Blogging has become like mahjong or needlepoint or clipping coupons out of Walgreens circulars: something old folks do while waiting to croak. Did you see that new Pew study that came out yesterday? It put a big fat exclamation point on what a lot of us have come to realize recently: blogging is now the uncoolest thing you can do on the Internet. It’s even uncooler than editing Wikipedia articles or having a Second Life avatar. In 2006, 28% of teens were blogging. Now, just three years later, the percentage has tumbled to 14%. Among twentysomethings, the percentage who write blogs has fallen from 24% to 15%. Writing comments on blogs is also down sharply among the young. It’s only geezers – those over 30 – who are doing more blogging…”
- Symbian phone operating system goes open source [BBC News] – This is a bit like Netscape going open source (and becoming Firefox) BEFORE they went broke! A good idea, if you ask me: “The group behind the world’s most popular smartphone operating system – Symbian – is giving away “billions of dollars” worth of code for free. The Symbian Foundation’s decision to make its code open source means that any organisation or individual can now use and modify it “for any purpose”. Symbian has shipped in more than 330m mobile phones, the foundation says. It believes the move will attract new developers to work on the system and help speed up the pace of improvements.”
- Memes as Mechanisms: How Digital Subculture Informs the Real World [MIT Convergence Culture Consortium] – Alex Leavitt takes a look at memes (especially the Downfall meme), their mixed reception depending on context and familiarity, and gives a great overview of the many instances of the Hitler YouTube parodies, concluding: “Memes tend to be jokes, first, but they represent a valuable example of networked knowledge online. Although most memes do not escape the subcultural barriers of small Internet communities, a few do make an impact on the real world. Of course, many Internet memes are simply humor. But the evolutionary structure of some memes create a strong cultural value that acts as a grammar for information networks.”
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 24th 2010:
- What Does China Censor Online? [Information Is Beautiful] – Provocative infographic illustrating some of what China blocks online.
- The Director of Downfall Speaks Out on All Those Angry YouTube Hitlers [Vulture – New York Magazine] – “When the Conan-Leno debacle began, two things were certain: One, it would change the face of late night, and two, someone would apply it to the Downfall Hitler meme. When Oliver Hirschbiegel staged the famous bunker scene in his 2004 movie, with Bruno Ganz as Hitler, he wasn’t expecting it to be appropriated for comedy; a dramatic recreation of Hitler’s last stand is not exactly a laugh-out-loud subject. And yet the German filmmaker is pleased, nay, thrilled that YouTube enthusiasts have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret it to address anything from Hillary Clinton’s loss to the Taylor Swift-Kanye West feud. “Someone sends me the links every time there’s a new one,” says the director …”
- Phone texting ‘helps pupils to spell’ [BBC News] – “Children who regularly use the abbreviated language of text messages are actually improving their ability to spell correctly, research suggests. A study of eight- to 12-year-olds found that rather than damaging reading and writing, “text speak” is associated with strong literacy skills. Researchers say text language uses word play and requires an awareness of how sounds relate to written English. This link between texting and literacy has proved a surprise, say researchers. These latest findings of an ongoing study at the University of Coventry contradict any expectation that prolonged exposure to texting will erode a child’s ability to spell.”
- Serial Boxes [Just TV] – A draft of Jason Mittell’s “Serial Boxes: The Cultural Values of Long-Form American Television” essay which gives a very clear account of the different ways viewers engage with television, especially long-form serial television, in light of the shifts from live viewing as the only (or primary) choice to a market where box-set DVDs and the like encourage quite different modes of reception. Mittell also looks at the ‘re-watch’ projects and notes why they usually fail to sustain their initial enthusiasm and momentum.
- Facebook sites inciting anti-Indian sentiment continue to flourish [The SMH] – “Facebook sites inciting anti-Indian sentiment continue to flourish despite protests from Indians in Australia. Groups such as I think Indian People Should Wear Deodorant, Stop Whinging Indians, and Australia: Indians, You Have a Right to Leave, have not been removed. Gautam Gupta, secretary of the Federation of Indian Students, said: “These sites must be shut down but, on the other hand, we must keep track of these hate groups being formed. They can be online or offline. When they’re offline we call them gangs. These are essentially online gangs.” More than half a dozen Australian groups that are specifically anti-Indian are still active on Facebook. On top of that, there are many broadly racist groups, including F— Off – We’re Full and Speak English or Piss Off!!!, which has 54,000 members and is growing at a rate of about 2000 people a week. “I don’t think it’s just a Facebook problem – it’s a social problem, a problem in the society,” Mr Gupta said.”
Interesting links for August 9th 2008 through August 10th 2008:
- Barack Roll [YouTube] – Barack Obama gets … or possibly embodies being … rickrolled.
- Tape Delay by NBC Faces End Run by Online Fans [NYTimes.com] – “NBC’s decision to delay broadcasting the opening ceremonies by 12 hours sent people across the country to their computers to poke holes in NBC’s technological wall — by finding newsfeeds on foreign broadcasters’ Web sites and by watching clips of the ceremonies on YouTube and other sites. In response, NBC sent frantic requests to Web sites, asking them to take down the illicit clips and restrict authorized video to host countries. As the four-hour ceremony progressed, a game of digital whack-a-mole took place. Network executives tried to regulate leaks on the Web and shut down unauthorized video, while viewers deftly traded new links on blogs and on the Twitter site, redirecting one another to coverage from, say, Germany, or a site with a grainy Spanish-language video stream. As the first Summer Games of the broadband age commenced in China, old network habits have never seemed so archaic — or so irrelevant.”
- Twitter Down for Hitler [Blip TV] – DownFall Hitler parody: “Upon hearing tragic news, Hitler decides to tweet his sadness only to learn it’s down. ” LOL
- So what if you give most of it away?: The Bikini Concept. [The Road To Attversumption] – “I found out the age-old concept of the bikini to apply. That by giving away 90% of the concept, and keeping 10%, the attraction factor was just as strong, if not twice as strong (there are reasons for me saying ‘twice as strong). And yes, what the bikini didn’t reveal, was the part the audience most wanted (naturally), and was the part they were willing to pay for.”
- Hamlet Retold Via Facebook (PNG Image, 1254×1608 pixels) – “Hamlet became a fan of daggers.” Clever little retelling of Hamlet using Facebook stories.
Memes are funny things (both funny as in odd and, if done well, often funny and in the laughing stuff) but I never really expected Hilter (or even an actor playing Hitler) to be become meme central. I guess that shows I really do underestimate those interweb folks! 😛 So, as you might have guessed, a new meme is rapidly spreading; it features new subtitles added to the 2004 German film Downfall (Der Untergang) by Oliver Hirschbiegel, which depicts Hitler’s last 10 days. This footage is now being remixed with new subtitles added to talk about new topics, many of which are really quite funny.
The standout version thus far, though, has to be this one in which Hitler realises that he’s the new Star Wars Kid:
I suspect the ridiculousness and almost sacrilegious idea of Hitler as a comic figure is one of the reasons it’s hard to look away from this clip! [Via Kevin Lim]
Update: Chuck Tryon has some interesting thoughts about a version of this meme which parodies Hillary Clinton’s campaign to become the democratic presidential nominee.
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