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!”
The Rise of Apps Culture [Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project] – New Pew study shows Apps are emerging, but far from ubiquitous just yet: “Some 35% of U.S. adults have software applications or “apps” on their phones, yet only 24% of adults use those apps. Many adults who have apps on their phones, particularly older adults, do not use them, and 11% of cell owners are not sure if their phone is equipped with apps. Among cell phone owners, 29% have downloaded apps to their phone and 13% have paid to download apps. “An apps culture is clearly emerging among some cell phone users, particularly men and young adults,” said Kristen Purcell, Associate Director for Research at the Pew Internet Project. “Still, it is clear that this is the early stage of adoption when many cell owners do not know what their phone can do. The apps market seems somewhat ahead of a majority of adult cell phone users.””
The Agnostic Cartographer – John Gravois [Washington Monthly] – Interesting article looking at the politics behind all maps, but especially Google Maps – trying to create one definitive map for the world, when so many maps are bound to particular nations, politics and cultures, means a lot of diplomacy or a lot of disputes (both are currently happening).
musing on child naming and the Internet [danah boyd | apophenia] – (Unborn) kids and digital footprints: “I am of the age where many of my friends are having kids and so I’ve been exposed to more conversations about what to name one’s child than I ever could’ve imagined. I’m sure people have always had long contested discussions with their partners and friends about naming, but I can’t help but laugh at the role that the Internet is playing in these conversations today. I clearly live in a tech-centric world so it shouldn’t be surprising that SEO and domain name availability are part of the conversation. But I’m intrigued by the implicit assumption in all of this… namely, that it’s beneficial for all individuals to be easily findable online and, thus, securing a fetus’ unique digital identity is a tremendous gift.”
‘That is so gay!’ [ABC The Drum Unleashed] – Matthew Sini on Stephanie Rice’s recent Twitter controversy: “A certain tweeting swimmer used the word faggot recently in a haphazard, inelegant and wholly unconscious way the other day. As many Rice-lovers have vocally pointed out, the intention behind the word choice was clearly not to insult. But that is the point. When you can use this sort of language in such a casual way, you have displayed an ignorance of very material prejudice and a history of oppression and suffering. Both Stephanie Rice, and me and my friends, make light of this history of suffering, but the difference is Rice does not acknowledge it when making light. She can only be accused of ignorance. In the same way that many ‘kids today’ use the phrase ‘that’s so gay’ or some cognate of it to describe something that is undesirable.”
App Store Review Guidelines [Apple – App Store Resource Center] – Apple releases their guidelines for reviewing Apps for the Apple App store. Finally, developers can figure out exactly what they need to do to ensure their Apps are accepted, and critics can evaluate how Apple wield their power in policing the iWalled Garden.
Social media terms are Words Of The Year 2009 [Computerworld] – “Words from the world of technology and social media are among those identified as the “Words of the Year 2009” in a list commissioned by Oxford University Press. The New Oxford American Dictionary had already announced the verb ‘unfriend’ (“To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook”) as its word of the year, confirming the social-networking term’s ubiquity. […] Also derived from Twitter is the word “Hastag” – meaning the # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets that contain similarly tagged items. “Tag cloud” (a visual depiction of the word content of a website, or of user-generated tags attached to online content) was also picked out as one of the words of the year.”
In 2009, Social Media Overtook Web 2.0 – GRAPHS [Mashable] – “Web 2.0. A few years ago, it was the hottest buzzword around. It refers to the second generation of web apps following the Internet bubble that devastated not only Silicon Valley, but our economy in general. Social Media. While its definition is not yet etched in stone, most believe it describes a new type of media and communication that creates a world conversation and dialogue. Instead of being fed news (a one-to-many dissemination approach), everyone is welcomed to be a content creator and to generate a debate around that content. While its focus is the web, it goes beyond it as well. Web 2.0 is a term that has been around since 2004. And as this graph of Google search volume indicates, it reached its peak in 2007 and 2008. But while the term is less frequently used and is in many ways outdated, its been a far more well-known and popular term than social media — until now.”
Location, Location, Location: 5 Big Predictions for 2010 [Mashable] – Will location be the next big thing in social media? Where did you update your Facebook status from … and did you really want to share it? “GPS-aware mobile devices have become commonplace, which means connecting the dots between what you’re doing and where you’re doing it is easier than ever. In 2009, location-sharing applications finally emerged in user-friendly formats, altering the way we think about where we are and helping us understand more of the meaning behind the data in aggregate. Technology early adopters showed a predilection towards mobile location-based games, discovering that check-ins could mean something and that being the mayor of a venue might earn them a free drink. Now that businesses are actively exploring the opportunities that these location-aware services provide, we’ll see location matter more than ever in 2010. 1. Facebook Status Updates Will Become Location-Aware […] 5. Location Will Be Both Media Darling and Cautionary Tale”
[MLA 09] “Blogging, Scholarship, and the Networked Public Sphere” Draft [The Chutry Experiment ] – Chuck Tryon takes a fresh look at scholarly blogging from the 2009 MLA: “… the most notable aspect of blogging may be the temporal orientation that encourages daily or semi-daily publication. Although writing frequently may seem to discourage the deeper reflection privileged in academic essays, writing often, for a large audience, also provides the opportunity not only to benefit from the expertise of a wide range of readers–whether scholars or industry professionals–but also to build a well-developed, cross-referenced archive that can serve as a kind of history of the present. In this sense, it is worthwhile to return to Shambu’s comments about what he values about blogging: blogs allow us to educate ourselves in public, to learn collectively about pertinent issues, as we seek to make sense of our current moment of media transition.”
Race and Social Network Sites: Putting Facebook’s Data in Context [apophenia] – danah boyd takes a hard look at race in relation to social networks: “A few weeks ago, Facebook’s data team released a set of data addressing a simple but complex question: How Diverse is Facebook? Given my own work over the last two years concerning the intersection of race/ethnicity/class and social network sites, I feel the need to respond. And, with pleasure, I’m going to respond by sharing a draft of a new paper. […] access is important. But I’m much more concerned about how racist and classist attitudes are shaping digital media, how technology reinforces inequality, and how our habit of assuming that everyone uses social media just like we do reinforces social divisions that we prefer to ignore.”
The Absent Presence: Today’s Faculty [Brian Croxall] – Brian Croxall’s MLA paper (presented in absentia) which clearly elucidates the casualisation of US academia (like Australia and elsewhere, too): “… having a faculty majority comprised of contingent faculty means a lot more than just conferences being less and less attended. In my case, it means that my students cannot easily meet with me for office hours since contingent faculty don’t really have offices. It means that they do not get effective, personal mentoring because I have too many students. It means that I cannot give the small and frequent assignments that I believe teach them more than a “3-paper class” because I do not have time to grade 90 students’ small and frequent assignments. It means that the courses they can take from me will not be updated as frequently as I think is ideal because I will be spending all of my spare time looking for more secure employment—or working a part-time job.”
HP camera ‘can’t see’ black faces [BBC News] – A very clear way to explain how race is still an issue in software and hardware design – it’s the presumption of a ‘normal user’ which is so often white: “A YouTube video suggesting that face recognition cameras installed in HP laptops cannot detect black faces has had over one million views. The short movie, uploaded earlier this month, features “Black Desi” and his colleague “White Wanda”. When Wanda, a white woman, is in front of the screen, the camera zooms to her face and moves as she moves. But when Desi, a black man, does the same, the camera does not respond by tracking him. The clip is light-hearted in tone but is titled “HP computers are racist”.” The video:
Avatar To Sink Titanic at Box Office [WA Today] – In Australian movie theatres: “Avatar has raced to almost $36 million in its first 13 days. Helped by higher ticket prices for 3-D, giant screen and premium cinema sessions, the science-fiction epic is expected to become one of the country’s top 10 highest-grossing movies by today or tomorrow. The general manager of film for the Greater Union chain, Peter Cody, predicted yesterday that Avatar would top Titanic after an ”outstanding” opening fortnight. ”There’s every likelihood it will go on to gross north of $60 million,” he said. ”Even if the film drops 50 per cent in week three – and I don’t think it will – that’s $50 million.’ […] Despite the financial downturn and the popularity of home cinema, the Australian box office is expected to break the $1 billion mark for the first time this year. Given it was up 15 per cent to the end of November, the annual tally is expected to easily top last year’s record $945.4 million.”
UK Government Report Shows That Digital Economy Bill Will Cost More Than Highest ‘Piracy’ Estimates, Drive 40,000 Offline [Techdirt] – Even just on the economic side this seems rather silly: “As the UK considers Peter Mandelson’s Digital Economy Bill, a UK government report that looks into the likely impact of the law is incredibly damning. It finds that the plans to send threat letters to users and eventually kick them offline based on accusations (not convictions) would cost consumers in the neighborhood of £500 million. Note, of course, that the music industry itself claims that £200 million worth of music is downloaded in the UK per year (and, of course, that’s only “losses” if you use the ridiculous and obviously incorrect calculation that each download is a “lost sale”).”
New Study Shows Time Spent Online Important for Teen Development [MacArthur Foundation] – “Results from [a] … US study on teens and their use of digital media show that America’s youth are developing important social and technical skills online – often in ways adults do not understand or value. “It might surprise parents to learn that it is not a waste of time for their teens to hang out online,” said Mizuko Ito, University of California, Irvine researcher … . “There are myths about kids spending time online – that it is dangerous or making them lazy. But we found that spending time online is essential for young people to pick up the social and technical skills they need to be competent citizens in the digital age.” […] Significant findings include – There is a generation gap in how youth and adults view the value of online activity; Youth are navigating complex social and technical worlds by participating online; Young people are motivated to learn from their peers online.” [Full Report]
Musicians Get Meta in Guitar Hero and Rock Band [Waxy.org] – “There’s something satisfyingly self-referential about watching talented musicians try to play their own music in Rock Band and Guitar Hero. Especially when they’re worse than you.” (So, the connection between Rock Band, Guitar Hero and actual instruments seems … tenuous at best! :P)
Google iPhone app baffled by foreign accents [The Age] – “A new voice-recognition search tool for the iPhone has problems understanding British accents, leading to some bizarre answers to spoken queries, reports say.The free application, which allows iPhone owners to use the Google search engine with their voice, mistook the word iPhone variously for sex, Einstein and kitchen sink, said London’s Daily Telegraph…. But British iPhone owners had less luck when speaking the word iPhone into the application – a Scottish user was offered a porn website after it mistook his search for sex, the Telegraph reported.” (What’s all this about the AmericaniZation of English? :P)
Links of interest for November 17th 2008 through November 18th 2008:
‘Meh’: new word for indifference enters English dictionary [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Meh”, a word which indicates a lack of interest or enthusiasm, has become the latest addition to the Collins English Dictionary. … The dictionary entry for “meh” will say it can be used as an interjection to indicate indifference or boredom, as an adjective to describe something as boring or mediocre, or to show an individual is apathetic or unimpressed. The word was popularised by the US comedy animation series “The Simpsons”, where characters Bart and Lisa use it to express indifference when their father Homer suggests a day trip. (Note to students: yes, it is very exciting that The Simpsons has changed language once again, but NO I do not expect to see Meh in your essays except in very specific, critical circumstances!)
Disturbing attitude to girls [Courier Mail Education Blog] – An Assault on Our Future is a report on the impact of violence on young people and their relationships released today by White Ribbon. It shows that violence is having a major impact on the long term health and wellbeing of Australia’s children. White Ribbon Chairman Andrew O’Keefe says that the report highlights clear evidence that many boys hold violence supportive attitudes:
• Nearly one in seven (14%) of boys believe that ‘it’s OK to make a girl have sex with you if she was flirting’;
• Close to one in three (31%) boys believe ‘it’s not a big deal to hit a girl’;
• nearly one in three (32%) boys believe ‘most physical violence occurs because a partner provoked it’.
Boys aged between 12-14 show higher support for these sorts of attitudes.
“White Ribbon aims to prevent violence against women. If we are going to succeed we must start by challenging these attitudes while kids are still young …” (White Ribbon Day is Nov 25)