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Interesting links for August 5th 2008 through August 6th 2008:
- Thailand bans Grand Theft Auto IV [BBC] – “Copies of Grand Theft Auto IV have been pulled in Thailand after a teenager confessed to murdering a taxi driver. The 18-year-old high school student is accused of stabbing the cab driver to death by trying to copy a scene from the game. The biggest video game publisher in the south-east Asian country, New Era Interactive Media, has told retailers to stop selling GTA IV. “
- Trees die as first iPhone bills released [SMH] – Australian “Environmentalists have railed against mobile carriers for sending iPhone bills to customers that, depending on the plan, could contain more than 100 pages of non-recycled paper. The high page count stems from Optus and Telstra unnecessarily itemising each individual piece of web data downloaded using the phone, instead of having a single usage figure for each day.”
- When Google Owns You [chrisbrogan.com] – A cautionary tale about Google, power and losing your life in the cloud: “Nick Saber isn’t happy now. Monday afternoon, after lunch, Nick came back from lunch to find out that he couldn’t get into his Gmail account. Further, he couldn’t get into anything that Google made (beside search) where his account credentials once worked. When attempting to log in, Nick got a single line message: Sorry, your account has been disabled. [?] That’s it. ” (After much drama, Nick’s account was eventually restored after he managed to accurately complete this insane form.)
- Current Analysis and Future Research Agenda on “Gold Farming”: Real-World Production in Developing Countries for the Virtual Economies of Online Games [ Development Informatics Working Paper No. 32 ] – Abstract: “…a new form of employment has emerged in developing countries. It employs hundreds of thousands of people and earns hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Yet it has been almost invisible to both the academic and development communities. It is the phenomenon of “gold farming”: the production of virtual goods and services for players of online games. China is the employment epicentre but the sub-sector has spread to other Asian nations and will spread further as online games-playing grows. It is the first example of a likely future development trend in online employment. It is also one of a few emerging examples in developing countries of “liminal ICT work”; jobs associated with digital technologies that are around or just below the threshold of what is deemed socially-acceptable and/or formally-legal. This paper reviews what we know so far about gold farming, seeking to provide the first systematic analysis of the sub-sector. …”