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Links for February 23rd through March 2nd:
- Angry Birds’ Mighty Eagle: ‘We have expanded the market for games’ [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – They may be familiar, but the stats around Angry Birds remain startling, starting with the franchise’s 700m downloads across all platforms – a figure likely to top 1bn sometime in 2012. The original iPhone game is the biggest-selling paid app ever on both the UK and US App Stores according to Apple, with follow-ups Angry Birds Seasons and Angry Birds Rio also in the top 10 in both countries.More than 1m people have reviewed the Android version of Angry Birds on Google’s Android Market, and Rovio has sold 25m plush toys so far. On the back of that, there are now more than 20,000 licensed Angry Birds products on sale […] Next up is Angry Birds Space, with a 22 March launch that will include a game, animated content, physical products and books. Rovio is working with NASA on the project, and National Geographic on the book, with more products to come. “It’s the first time we have everything available on launch day: animation, toys, books, candy, everything,” says Vesterbacka.”
- Zynga Seeks to Broaden Reach With New Gaming Platform [NYTimes.com] – “Zynga, the creator of FarmVille, Words With Friends, Mafia Wars and other popular social games, is going to start supplying friends for those who are lacking. The company announced a new gaming platform on Thursday that will match up players who do not know one another but who have a mutual interest in getting the crops in and spelling words with J, Q and X. The goal is to make social gaming, which was pretty easy to begin with, even easier for everyone. The platform will be introduced in a trial version on Zynga.com later this month. The move is likely to reduce Zynga’s reliance on Facebook, something analysts have said the company needs to do. Most Zynga games are played on that social network, which derives 12 percent of its revenue from Zynga. In the future, hard-core players will most likely go to Zynga’s own site, finding not only Zynga games but also offerings from independent developers.”
- The dirty job of keeping Facebook clean [Culture Digitally] – Fascinating post looking at Facebook’s leaked content moderation manual “Abuse Standards 6.1: Operation Manual for Live Content Moderators” which reveals a great deal about how Facebook decides what to delete and what to effectively sanction. As Gillespie says:”Facebook or otherwise, it’s hard not to be struck by the depravity of some of the stuff that content moderators are reviewing. It’s a bit disingenuous of me to start with camel toes and man-man foreplay, when what most of this document deals with is so, so much more reprehensible: child pornography, rape, bestiality, graphic obscenities, animal torture, racial and ethnic hatred, self-mutilation, suicide. There is something deeply unsettling about this document in the way it must, with all the delicacy of a badly written training manual, explain and sometimes show the kinds of things that fall into these categories.”
- BBC iPlayer Booms in Australia [The Next Web] – “Two months after BBC Worldwide launched its global iPlayer app to 11 Western European countries in July, the app arrived in Australia, followed swiftly by Canada and then Scandinavia. The global BBC iPlayer app is a Video-on-Demand (VoD) pilot (paid) subscription service that differs from the UK version of iPlayer, in that it gives international users access to an extensive archive of classic and contemporary British TV programmes. Whilst it was initially restricted to iPads, it was finally rolled out to the iPhone and iPod Touch too. Australia is now the biggest market for global iPlayer, and is giving BBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the BBC, significant consumer insight as the company begins to look beyond the current pilot phase. Access to BBC iPlayer content in Australia costs AU$9.49 a month, or AU$89.99 a year, and an equivalent figure in Euros and Canadian dollars.”
- Capture full page – Screenshot Full web page – Capture full web page – Useful tool, lets you take a screenshot of an entire webpage by simply entering the URL.
- Author raises $1m to self-publish Order of the Stick webcomic book [Books | guardian.co.uk] – “The author of a self-published webcomic about a band of heroes in a fantasy role-playing world has raised more than $1m (£600,000) from fans on “crowdfunding” website Kickstarter to bring his stories back into print, making The Order of the Stick the richest creative work in the crowdfunding site’s history. Author and illustrator Rich Burlew launched The Order of the Stick online in 2003. Following the comic fantasy adventures of a collection of stick figures in a role-playing game world as they struggle with enemies and the rules of the game, much of the story is available online for free, but Burlew also began self-publishing parts of it in paper format in 2005. When the costs of keeping it in print proved too high, Burlew turned to Kickstarter following repeated demands from readers, launching a project in January to raise the $57,750 he needed to rerelease the books in print. Yesterday, he closed his fundraising project with 14,952 backers and $1,254,120 raised …”
Links for September 27th 2011 through October 3rd 2011:
- How Social Networking Is Reviving Communal TV Viewing [The Next Web] – Real-time TV viewing is on the rise once more thanks to cleverly design related apps and strategic use of related #hashtags: “There are some signs that TV’s re-engaging its most coveted viewers. According to Nielsen, tech-savvy 12-24 year-olds are more connected and therefore more adept at using mobile devices to watch shows. This doesn’t bode well for the networks or for advertisers since, sometimes, the ads can be skipped. However, by turning TV programming into a true two-screen experience, it changes the equation. It makes the live experience more valuable, especially for the younger set. The data show that 18-34 year-olds are the most active demographic on social networks.”
- Facebook sued over claims it tracks users’ activity [The Age] – “Facebook is being sued by a group of users over claims it tracks their online activity after they log off. […] On Friday, 10 public interest groups asked the US Federal Trade Commission to investigate Facebook’s tracking of internet users after they log off. They urged the commission to examine whether Facebook’s new ticker and timeline features increased privacy risks for users by combining biographical information in an easily accessible format. The lawsuit – filed by Perrin Aikens Davis, of Illinois – seeks class status on behalf of other Facebook users in the US. Davis seeks unspecified damages and a court order blocking the tracking based on violations of federal laws, including restrictions on wiretapping, as well as computer fraud and abuse statutes.”
- Peers, review your actions [Times Higher Education ] – Interesting proposition: academics should boycott doing peer review (for free) for journals which aren’t open access (ie charge a lot to be viewed).
- Princeton goes open access to stop staff handing all copyright to journals – unless waiver granted [The Conversation] – Princeton University policy prevents their academics from publishing in journals which demand full copyright over their work (unless explicit permission is sought from the institution). A bold move to try and reign in the big copyright holders and publishers who currently have a strangle-hold over a great deal of academic work!
- BBC iPlayer launches on iPad in Australia [TV Tonight] – The BBC iPlayer comes to Australia, for a fee. For $10 a month you can access more than 1000 hours of BBC archives (at launch, growing regularly) but NOT current TV shows. In part this is probably due to existing contracts with local networks (why would the ABC bother to screen Doctor Who if it was available via iPlayer before broadcast), but this really doesn’t then address the problem of the tyranny of digital distance. This is a clever commercial move, but is unlikely to address the issue of unauthroised downloading of UK TV shows in Australia.
- A New Flavor…Still Delicious [AVOS] – AVOS launch the re-imagined Delicious. Being a long-term Delicious user, I’ve got to admit I find the new version a bit confronting, especially the changes to tag clouds and so forth. And I really don’t want “stacks” – that’s what something like Pinterest is for (and I don’t use that much, either). However, I’m delighted Delicious lives on, so I’ll give it a go!
Links for July 27th 2011 through August 5th 2011:
- The freedom to be who you want to be… [Google Public Policy Blog] – A February 2011 post from the Google Public Policy blog, which included this: “Pseudonymous. Using a pseudonym has been one of the great benefits of the Internet, because it has enabled people to express themselves freely—they may be in physical danger, looking for help, or have a condition they don’t want people to know about. People in these circumstances may need a consistent identity, but one that is not linked to their offline self. You can use pseudonyms to upload videos in YouTube or post to Blogger.” In light of the real names policy on Google Plus, I wonder if Google is getting so big that the left hand is writing policies while the right hand thinks about things?
- “Real Names” Policies Are an Abuse of Power [danah boyd | apophenia] – Some important thoughts about the increasing in ‘real names’ policies, especially on Google Plus. From an historical point of view, boyd makes the important distinction between Facebook’s evolution (starting in a closed , trusted community where real-names are the norm) and GooglePlus, which has most directly courted the geek/coder/developer communities which have a much stronger tradition of handles, avatars and other non-real (where real = legal) names. And, as most people have pointed out, the disempowered, disenfranchised and non-elite members of society are often those who have the best (and convincing) need to use names other than their legal ones.
- Evil fiction: teacher a target of fake Facebook profile [the Age] – “Police are hunting the creator of a fake Facebook profile that was used to impersonate a Sydney primary school teacher and frame him as a paedophile by targeting kids at his school. The teacher, who cannot be named, is a long-time campaigner against racism online and with others he runs a blog that names and shames racists by publishing their hate-filled Facebook postings. In a phone interview, he said he believed this is why he was targeted. He said he and his family had been harassed over the phone, received death threats and had threatening notes left in his mail box after his personal details – including his address, phone number, photos and work details – were posted on a white supremacist website. “This Facebook profile opened up a couple of days ago with a picture of me and a friend with shirts off holding a beer … they were writing things on the wall such as ‘i’m gay and I like little boys’ and all sorts of things like that,” the teacher said in a phone interview.”
- Google+ pseudonym wars escalate – is it the new being ‘banned from the ranch’? [guardian.co.uk] – “Google is handling the issue of monikers rather badly when it comes to Google+. The list of blocked users is what is now being referred to as the NymWars extends to some fairly influential users. […] Blocked users are told: “After reviewing your profile, we determined that the name you provided violates our Community Standards.” Standards that are being used to ensure that everyone using Google+ is signed up using their real name. It doesn’t take much imagination to work up a few conspiracy theories about why Google should be so insistent on a real-name policy, alongside some more rational, soft-policy theories on encouraging a more, mature constructive level of engagement that reflects how we best communicate in the real world – ie, when we know who we’re talking to. But online identity is more nuanced than that. Though the roots of pseudonyms may have been in the murky, early web days when users may have felt safer protecting their identity when exploring this new world …”
- 6,000,000,000[ Flickr Blog] – Flickr reaches 6 billion photos in size, increasingly roughly 20% the number of uploads per year. This is a lot of photos, but a good, official (instagram-like) Flickr mobile app would probably mean this number would be much higher.
- Facebook’s new ‘Expected: Child’ tag sparks outcry [The Age] – “Facebook just made it easier to tell all your friends and acquaintances about your new pregnancy in one fell swoop. The social networking site recently added “Expected: Child” to its list of friends and family tags. The company also allows you to write in your due date and has optional space for the soon-to-be little one’s name. […] When I heard the news I put in a call to a friend who is 10 weeks pregnant to see if she would consider adding an “Expected: Child” on her Facebook account. The answer? A big fat no. “I’m so curious to see who would even do that,” she said. She identified three main problems with this new designation.
1. It might hurt her friends’ feelings to hear about her pregnancy over Facebook rather than in person.
2. The issues around having a miscarriage.
3. For people who have had trouble conceiving, Facebook was already a minefield of pregnancy announcements and new baby photos.”
- Fox Network to limit Web access to its shows [CNET News] – Fox in the US increases the tyranny of digital distance and provides massive incentives for unauthorised downloading of TV shows: “Fox Network announced late today that it will begin delaying Web access to many of its popular TV shows to give cable and satellite TV providers greater exclusivity with programming, essentially putting up a de facto pay wall around its content. Beginning August 15, only those people who subscribe to a participating video distributor will be able to view TV shows on an Internet portal the day after shows air on the network, the company said in a press release. All other viewers who are used to seeing episodes of “The Simpsons,” “Bones,” and “Glee” for free the next day on sites such as Hulu or Fox.com will now have to wait eight days to catch their shows.”
- BBC iPlayer goes global with iPad app launch in 11 countries [guardian.co.uk] – “BBC Worldwide is launching its global iPlayer service today, via an iPad app that will be made available in 11 countries in Western Europe. The US, Canada and Australia will follow later this year, as part of what is intended to be a one-year pilot. The service will offer a limited amount of content for free, supported by pre-roll ads and sponsorship, but its core business model is subscription, with users paying €6.99 a month or €49.99 a year. The 11 launch countries are Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Republic of Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and Switzerland. The global iPlayer app includes some features that are not in the UK version, including the ability to stream shows over 3G as well as Wi-Fi, and a downloading feature to store programmes on the iPad for offline viewing. “We think we have a load of unmet demand for BBC and British content internationally,” said BBC.com managing director Luke Bradley-Jones in an interview with Apps Blog.”
- Media Piracy in Emerging Economies | A Report by the Social Science Research Council – “Media Piracy in Emerging Economies is the first independent, large-scale study of music, film and software piracy in emerging economies, with a focus on Brazil, India, Russia, South Africa, Mexico and Bolivia. Based on three years of work by some thirty-five researchers, Media Piracy in Emerging Economies tells two overarching stories: one tracing the explosive growth of piracy as digital technologies became cheap and ubiquitous around the world, and another following the growth of industry lobbies that have reshaped laws and law enforcement around copyright protection. The report argues that these efforts have largely failed, and that the problem of piracy is better conceived as a failure of affordable access to media in legal markets.” [PDF]
Links for December 2nd 2010 through December 6th 2010:
- Facebook Causes One In Five Divorces In US [Link Newspaper] – I think ’causes’ is an overstatement; facilitates, perhaps: “Flirty messages and photographs found on social networking website Facebook are now leading to at least one in five divorces in the US, a survey has revealed. A new survey by the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers also says around 80 per cent of divorce lawyers have reported a spike in the number of cases that use social media for evidence of cheating, according to the Daily Mail. Many cases revolve around social media users who get back in touch with ex-girlfriends and lovers they had not heard from in many years. Facebook was by far the biggest offender, with 66 per cent of lawyers citing it as the primary source of evidence in a divorce case. MySpace followed with 15 per cent, Twitter at five per cent and other websites together at 14 per cent.”
- When Oprah Winfrey educates Yanks on our ‘hip’ McCafes, it’s the dollar talking [News.com.au] – For Oprah, Australia = product placement: “Oprah Winfrey has already given Americans an insight into our culture. This is despite the fact the TV queen some say is the most influential woman in the world doesn’t arrive in Australia until tomorrow. According to Oprah’s Aussie Countdown, which screened to 10 million Americans last week, we Australians call men “blokes”, women “sheilas” and we like to meet up at “hip joints” called McCafes to sip on gourmet coffee. Some of the one-million-strong Australian audience who saw this report on the Ten Network last week were a little surprised to hear of the importance of McCafes to the Australian lifestyle. […] The Australian asked the Ten Network and McDonald’s about the curious reference and they confirmed McDonald’s was a “broadcast sponsor and had a global arrangement directly with Harpo Productions for the in-program McCafe activity that appeared in Carrie’s segment”. In other words, the segment was paid for and funded by McDonald’s”
- Labor to back adults-only games classification [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – Good news: “The Federal Government has announced it will support a push for an adults-only classification for video games. A decision on the matter is expected on Friday at a meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General. A recent Galaxy survey has found strong support for an R18+ classification, with 80 per cent of people surveyed saying they believed an adult classification was needed, while a government public consultation on the matter received close to 60,000 responses – with 98 per cent in favour of an adult rating. Currently in Australia, games classed above MA15+ are refused classification and cannot be brought into the country. Home Affairs Minister Brendan O’Connor says an adults-only classification would include games with excessive violence or adult themes.”
- Life on Mars? Not yet. But in the meantime, NASA has found a new kind of life on Earth… [Perth Now] – It’s life, Jim, but its diet is not as we know it: “Lurking in the depths of a California lake is a bacteria that can thrive on arsenic, an explosive discovery that could expand the search for other life on Earth and beyond, researchers have found. The NASA-funded study released today and published in the journal Science redefines what biologists consider the necessary elements for life, currently viewed as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulphur. Not only does the bacteria survive on arsenic, it also grows by incorporating the element into its DNA and cell membranes. “What is new here is arsenic is being used as a building block for the organism,” said Ariel Anbar, co-author of the study. “We have had this idea that life requires these six elements with no exceptions and here it turns out, well maybe there is an exception.””
- Making Copyright Work Better Online [Google Public Policy Blog] – From the point of view of digital libertarians, Google just got a bit more evil as they’ve pledged to act on reducing the ease of access to links to allegedly pirate material in their index. Google aren’t removing links (except where a DMCA takedown notice is submitted) but will prevent suspect material appearing in auto-complete, act faster on DMCA takedown notices, more carefully ensure AdSense doesn’t get used for ads pointing to pirated material, and other experiments. So the material is still returned in normal search results unless you’ve got the autocomplete on by default.
- BBC Plans Subscription-Only U.S. iPlayer On iPad [mocoNews] – “This is huge. The BBC will launch the long-awaited global version of its iPlayer TV catch-up service on a subscription-only basis, and initially only on iPad. The service, carrying BBC shows like Doctor Who on-demand, will likely be very popular in the U.S., generating new income for the BBC back in Britain. The significance of the move is clear – it means the BBC will operate a subscription worldwide media channel that, in time, could become one of its biggest.”
Links for November 9th 2010 through November 11th 2010:
- Great Scott! Over 35 Hours of Video Uploaded Every Minute to YouTube [YouTube Blog] – “… the amount of video uploaded to YouTube to 35 hours per minute. That breaks out to 2,100 hours uploaded every 60 minutes, or 50,400 hours uploaded to YouTube every day. If we were to measure that in movie terms (assuming the average Hollywood film is around 120 minutes long), 35 hours a minute is the equivalent of over 176,000 full-length Hollywood releases every week. Another way to think about it is: if three of the major US networks were broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the last 60 years, they still wouldn’t have broadcast as much content as is uploaded to YouTube every 30 days.”
- Hulu Brings in the Dough: $240M of Revenue in 2010 [NewTeeVee] – “Hulu is going to make more than $240 million in revenue in 2010, the company’s CEO Jason Kilar revealed at GigaOM’s NewTeeVee Live conference today. Kilar added that Hulu generated $108 million in revenue in 2009. Hulu had 30 million users in October 2010, who watched some 260 million content streams as well as 800 million ad streams during that month. Kilar said that Hulu now has 235 content partners. The company had 352 advertising clients in Q3. “The leading source of revenue is through advertising,” said Kilar, adding that more than 40 percent of money generated with content in this industry is generated through advertising. This has led Hulu to optimize its ad experience, and Kilar showed a few new features that the company will roll out in the future. Hulu will introduce personalized advertising, addressing users by name. “
- How Conan O’Brien Beat Leno And Letterman [Fast Company] – Team CoCo rides the social media wave to ratings success: “I know what you guys are thinking: ‘Hey, it’s the guy from Twitter,'” joked Conan O’Brien, before launching into a mock-impression of his Internet fans. “Why am I doing that!” he began laughing. “Those people saved my ass! Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.” Indeed, a strong Internet following fed Conan, who debuted his new show last night on TBS, very well. Bolstered by his almost 2 million Twitter followers, a first-of-its-kind social media strategy, and an innovative digital team, Conan soared on the late-night scene with huge ratings, besting both David Letterman and arch-nemesis Jay Leno with 4.2 million viewers […]“Conan’s audience has been very vocal online, and he clearly made a smooth transition from Twitter to TBS,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks.[…] Team Coco’s digital strategy a “brilliant launch campaign that incorporated social media better than I’ve ever seen.”
- BBC iPlayer going international next year, will be either fee- or ad-supported [Engadget] – “The BBC’s iPlayer video-on-demand service has been an unqualified success since its rollout back in 2007 and now it’s taking the next logical step in expanding its reach: it’s going global. Such is the word from John Smith, the generically named head of BBC Worldwide, who sees the international market for British shows as “under-exploited” and wants to see the iPlayer opened up beyond the Queen’s home isles. Of course, since continental Europeans and North Americans aren’t subject to the same backbreaking TV license fee, there’ll be a new commercial element to the service, though the Beeb’s bigwigs have yet to figure out if that means users will have to pay a levy or put up with some ads.”
- Ghoulish Facebook vandals mock Australian laws [SMH] – Tribute pages to young people who have died, being ‘defaced’, but is it illegal? “Also defaced was a tribute page to Chantelle Rowe, 16, who was found dead with her parents in their Adelaide home yesterday. Inappropriate messages and doctored photographs were posted to several tribute pages for Chantelle and her family, who police believe were killed in a triple murder. A cousin, Steven Rowe, wrote about the material on Facebook: “He even sent this shit to my inbox … thats my cousin and i honestly hope some [sic] kicks your head in!” But the user responsible for the messages replied: “I won’t go to jail … i’m not in Australia, therefore I cannot break the Australian law”. Victoria Police and South Australia Police both refused to comment, arguing no offence had been committed. However, Jesssica Chantelle Cook, 22, from Queensland, received a three-month suspended jail sentence in August for posting offensive material on a Facebook tribute page…”
Links for May 26th 2010 through May 28th 2010:
- CHART OF THE DAY: The Half-Life Of A YouTube Video Is 6 Days [Business Insider] – “A video on YouTube gets 50% of its views in the first 6 days it is on the site, according to data from analytics firm TubeMogul. After 20 days, a YouTube video has had 75% of its total views. That’s a really short life span for YouTube videos, and it’s probably getting shorter. In 2008, it took 14 days for a video to get 50% of its views and 44 days to get 75% of its views. Why? In the last two years, YouTube has improved its user interface, which helps videos get seen early on. Also, the world has gotten more adept at embedding and sharing videos in real-time via Twitter and Facebook. (And there’s probably more video to choose from.)”
- “Transparency Is Not Enough.” [danah boyd] – danah boyd making the important point that data transparency is only useful if we are also teaching the information literacy to responsibly employ that transparent data: “This is a country built on a mantra that “all [people] are created equal.” Those who are working towards transparency are doing so with this mission in mind. We desperately need an informed citizenry. But getting there is two pronged. We need information transparency and we also need to help people develop the skills to leverage that information to their advantage. And to help society writ large. The Internet radically increases the opportunities for information to be made available which is why we’re all here celebrating Gov2.0. But the Internet does not magically give people the skills they need to interpret the information they see. That’s why I need you. I need you to fight for information literacy alongside information transparency. Both are essential to creating an informed citizenry.”
- Twitter faux pas: 20 dreadful types of tweet [Telegraph] – Yes, this is silly, but there is some insight in there, too: “Twitter is frequently ridiculed by people who have never used the service. But fans of the micro-blogging site are more aware than anyone just how annoying some tweets can be. Below are 20 types of tweet that make our toes curl, from exchanges between celebrities who only engage with each other, to people who will type anything to win an Apple gadget.”
- Facebook to draw local police guidelines [The Age] – “Facebook appears to have bowed to police pressure to draw up a local law enforcement policy but will stop short of installing a police liaison officer in Australia as asked. In a telephone interview yesterday, Facebook US-based director of communications and public affairs Debbie Frost said a liaison team visited Australian authorities including the Attorney-General’s department last week and “was working on local guidelines”.”
- Facebook reveals ‘simplified’ privacy changes [BBC News] – A genuine response to widespread desire for better and more transparent privacy controls, or a half-way measure to ward off a tide of people leaving Facebook and stemming talk of government intervention in the way privacy is managed online? We’ll have to see once the new settings roll out: “Social network Facebook has said it will offer a one-stop shop for privacy settings in response to user concerns. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg admitted the settings had “gotten complex” for users. It follows a storm of protest from users over a series of changes on the site that left its members unsure about how public their information had become. “We needed to simplify controls,” he told a press conference. “We want people to be able to share information in the way that they want,” he told BBC News. “Our goal is not to make your information more private or more open.””
- BBC iPlayer integrates Twitter and Facebook [BBC News] – The BBC’s online video service, iPlayer, goes social: “The BBC iPlayer has launched a trial service inviting users to share favourite programmes via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. People can now choose to log-on to the revamped video player, allowing them to personalise the service and see recommendations based on prior viewing. It will also aggregate content from other broadcasters including Channel 4. Users will also soon be able to chat using Microsoft’s Messenger service while watching live TV streams. “We spent more time designing [the new interface] than building it,” said the BBC’s Anthony Rose, chief technology officer for Project Canvas, a new online broadcast initiative currently under development. “It’s a complete social ecosystem.””
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