While the maps function is being rolled out with very clear warnings about revealing locations publicly – with tools to remove geotags from some, groups or all photos – this rollout will no doubt remind (and shock many) users that the geographic tags on their photos mean that these aren’t just photos – they’re important and complex assemblages of data that can be reused and repurposed in a variety of ways.
Google to push pirate sites down search results [BBC – Newsbeat] – “Google is changing the way it calculates search results in an effort to make sure legal download websites appear higher than pirate sites. The world’s biggest search engine announced the change in a blog post on its website. The move has been welcomed by record companies in the UK and Hollywood film studios. Movie and music firms have complained in the past that Google should have been doing more to fight piracy. They say searching for an artist, song or film often brings up pages of illegal sites, making it hard to find a place to download a legal version. From next week, search results will take into account the number of “valid copyright removal notices”. Sites with more notices will rank lower, although Google has not said what it considers a valid notice.”
Facebook removes ‘racist’ page in Australia [BBC News] – “A Facebook page that depicted Aboriginal people in Australia as drunks and welfare cheats has been removed after a public outcry. The Aboriginal Memes page had allowed users to post jokes about indigenous people. An online petition calling for the removal of “the racist page” has generated thousands of signatures. The government has also condemned it. The page’s creator is believed to be a 16-year-old boy in Perth, reports say. “We recognise the public concern that controversial meme pages that Australians have created on Facebook have caused,” Facebook said in a statement to local media. A meme is an idea that spreads through the internet.”
Twitter ‘sorry’ for suspending Guy Adams as NBC withdraws complaint [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Twitter on Tuesday reinstated the account of a British journalist it suspended for publishing the email address of an executive at NBC, which had been attracting a significant amount of incoming fire over its Olympics coverage. The incident has not done Guy Adams of the Independent much harm. Apart perhaps from a little hurt pride, he has returned to the twittersphere with tens of thousands of new followers. For NBC, it was another blow to its already battered reputation over its coverage of the London Olympic Games. But Twitter found itself in a deeply unfamiliar situation: as the subject of one of the firestorms of indignation that characterises the platform, but which are usually directed at others.”
Murdoch’s tablet The Daily lays off nearly a third of its staff [Media | guardian.co.uk] – “The Daily, Rupert Murdoch’s tablet newspaper, has laid off close to a third of its staff just 18 months after its glitzy launch. Executives at the News Corp-owned title told its 170 employees on Tuesday that 50 of them would be let go. Sources told the Guardian that security staff were brought onto the Daily’s editorial floor at News Corp in New York to escort the laid-off employees out of the building. Earlier this month the paper’s editor-in-chief Jesse Angelo denied reports that the media giant had put the title “on watch” and was considering closing it. In a statement Tuesday Angelo said the title was dropping its opinion section and would be taking sports coverage from Fox Sports, also part of News Corp, and other partners. In another cost-saving move the title will also stop producing pages that can be read vertically and horizontally on a tablet, sticking to straight up and down.”
If Twitter doesn’t reinstate Guy Adams, it’s a defining moment [Dan Gillmor | Comment is free | guardian.co.uk] – “Once again, we’re reminded of a maxim when it comes to publishing on other people’s platforms: we publish at their sufferance. But there’s a corollary: When they take down what we publish, they take an enormous risk with their own futures.
This time, Twitter has suspended the account of a British journalist who tweeted the corporate email address of an NBC executive. The reporter, Guy Adams of the Independent, has been acerbic in his criticisms of NBC’s (awful) performance during the Olympics in London. Adams has posted his correspondence with Twitter, which claims he published a private email address. It was nothing of the kind, as many, including the Deadspin sports blog, have pointed out. … What makes this a serious issue is that Twitter has partnered with NBC during the Olympics. And it was NBC’s complaint about Adams that led to the suspension. That alone raises reasonable suspicions about Twitter’s motives.”
Links for December 30th 2008 through January 1st 2009:
Principles for a New Media Literacy by Dan Gillmor, 27 December 2008 [Center for Citizen Media] – “Principles of Media Creation: 1. Do your homework, and then do some more. … 2. Get it right, every time. … 3. Be fair to everyone. … 4. Think independently, especially of your own biases. … 5. Practice and demand transparency.””We are doing a poor job of ensuring that consumers and producers of media in a digital age are equipped for these tasks. This is a job for parents and schools. (Of course, a teacher who teaches critical thinking in much of the United States risks being attacked as a dangerous radical.) Do they have the resources — including time — that they need? But this much is clear: If we really believe that democracy requires an educated populace, we’re starting from a deficit. Are we ready to take the risk of being activist media users, for the right reasons? A lot rides on the answer.”
Participative Pedagogy for a Literacy of Literacies by Howard Rheingold [Freesouls, ed. Joi Ito] – “Literacy−access to the codes and communities of vernacular video, microblogging, social bookmarking, wiki collaboration−is what is required to use that infrastructure to create a participatory culture. A population with broadband infrastructure and ubiquitous computing could be a captive audience for a cultural monopoly, given enough bad laws and judicial rulings. A population that knows what to do with the tools at hand stands a better chance of resisting enclosure. The more people who know how to use participatory media to learn, inform, persuade, investigate, reveal, advocate and organize, the more likely the future infosphere will allow, enable and encourage liberty and participation. Such literacy can only make action possible, however−it is not in the technology, or even in the knowledge of how to use it, but in the ways people use knowledge and technology to create wealth, secure freedom, resist tyranny.
Israel posts video of Gaza air strikes on YouTube [Australian IT] – THE Israeli military has launched its own channel on video-sharing website YouTube, posting footage of air strikes and other attacks on Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. The spokesman’s office of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said it created the channel — youtube.com/user/idfnadesk — on Monday to “help us bring our message to the world.” The channel currently has more than 2,000 subscribers and hosts 10 videos, some of which have been viewed more than 20,000 times. The black-and-white videos include aerial footage of Israeli Air Force attacks on what are described as rocket launching sites, weapons storage facilities, a Hamas government complex and smuggling tunnels. One video shows what is described as a Hamas patrol boat being destroyed by a rocket fired from an Israeli naval vessel.”
No terminating the Terminator … ever [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Time will not be allowed to terminate The Terminator, the US Library of Congress said overnight. The low-budget 1984 action film, which spawned the popular catchphrase “I’ll be back”, was one of 25 movies listed for preservation by the library for their cultural, historic or aesthetic significance. Other titles included The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Deliverance (1972), A Face in the Crowd (1957), In Cold Blood (1967) and The Invisible Man (1933). The library said it selected The Terminator for preservation because of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s star-making performance as a cyborg assassin, and because the film stands out in the science fiction genre. “It’s withstood the test of time, like King Kong in a way, a film that endures because it’s so good,” Patrick Loughney, who runs the Library of Congress film vault, said.”
Webisodes Bridge Gaps in NBC Series [NYTimes.com] – Takes a look at the late 2008/early 2009 webisodes from NBC (particularly for Heroes and Battlestar Galactica) and the way these online stories are used to keep fans engaged with television series (or, really, television-spawned franchises) during breaks.
Nintendo to offer videos on Wii [WA Today] – “Nintendo will start offering videos through its blockbuster Wii game console, the latest new feature for the Japanese entertainment giant. Nintendo said it would develop original programming which Wii users could access via the internet and watch on their television. It is considering videos for both free and fees. The game giant teamed up with Japan’s leading advertising firm Dentsu to develop the service, which will begin in Japan next year, with an eye on future expansion into foreign markets.”
Online Streaming Adds Millions of Viewers for ‘Heroes,’ ‘The Office’ [TV Decoder Blog – NYTimes.com] – “How many consumers stream TV episodes on the Internet? How many download the episodes on iTunes? How many watch the episodes using video on demand? How many view the episodes on mobile phones? NBC is trying to tell by adding together all the exposure of its episodes on five platforms in a rubric they call the TAMi, short for “Total Audience Measure index.” The TAMi was first used for the Olympics and is now being released on a weekly basis for NBC’s prime time shows.” (the TAMi seems like a very clear admission that Neilsen ratings and similar eyeballs on tv screen measures are simply out of date!)
Sickie faker busted by Facebook [The Age] – “A Sydney telco employee has learned the hard way the perils of sharing too much information on Facebook after he was caught by his boss faking a sickie after a big night out. The manager then sent Doyle a screen grab of Doyle’s Facebook profile, highlighting a status update written on the leave day in question. […] “Kyle Doyle is not going to work, f— it i’m still trashed. SICKIE WOO!,” it read. Sprung and with no room left to move, Doyle replied to the boss: “HAHAHA LMAO [laughing my ass off] epic fail. No worries man.” In an email exchange doing the rounds of office blocks, Kyle Doyle was asked by his employer, AAPT, to provide a medical certificate verifying a day of sick leave in August.”
Backlash over Microsoft’s anti-piracy tactics [The Age] – “Chinese internet users have expressed fury at Microsoft’s launch of an anti-piracy tool targeting Chinese computer users to ensure they buy genuine software. The “Windows Genuine Advantage” program, which turns the user’s screen black if the installed software fails a validation test, is Microsoft’s latest weapon in its war on piracy in China, where the vast majority of 200 million computer users are believed to be using counterfeit software, unwittingly or not. “Why is Microsoft automatically connected with my computer? The computer is mine!” one angry blogger wrote on popular Chinese web portal Sina.com. “Microsoft has no right to control my hardware without my agreement.” Another blogger railed over the cost of authorised versions. “If the price of genuine software was lower than the fake one, who would buy the fake one?” he wrote.”
Dutch teens convicted of virtual theft [The Age] – “A Dutch court has convicted two teenagers of theft for stealing virtual items in a computer game and sentenced them to community service. Radio Netherlands reports that the two teenagers – a 15 and a 14-year-old – were found guilty of using violence to rob a 13-year-old classmate of virtual property in the multiplayer online game RuneScape.”
Hell hath no fury like the ‘ex’ files [The Age] – “It was the wedding present from hell. In the middle of his Pacific island honeymoon, a Melbourne finance executive discovered that a woman claiming to be his ex had branded him in cyberspace as a dud lover and serial cheat. Along with his name and picture, the anonymous “ex” posted his mobile phone number, address and car registration on the “love rat” site dontdatehimgirl.com. … The executive is one of more than 200 Australian men whose profiles have been posted on dontdatehimgirl.com or datingpsychos.com — US sites now being used by Australian women to post anonymous rants against men who have supposedly done them wrong, and to warn other prospective partners. Other women — also anonymous — then add “comments” which may include their own experiences of the same man. Men named — and often also pictured — in the profiles may deny the accusations.” (What happens when citizen justice decends into the digital lynchmob!)
Obama in-game advertising [The LAMP Watercooler] – “The Obama campaign has made strong use of the internet for fundraising, organising and spreading the message. The campaign has gone to a new level with the release of in-game advertising as illustrated in this screen-shot published on Gigaom recently.”
Digital switch timetable [TV Tonight] – “[Australian] Senator Conroy has mapped out the switch from analog to digital television …” Perth will have to switch to entirely digital television broadcast by January – June 2013; regional WA by the end of 2013. Follow the link for the timeline for the rest of Australia.
Giant database plan ‘Orwellian’ [BBC NEWS | Politics] – “Proposals for a central database of all mobile phone and internet traffic have been condemned as “Orwellian”. Home Secretary Jacqui Smith said the police and security services needed new powers to keep up with technology. Details of the times, dates, duration and locations of mobile phone calls, numbers called, website visited and addresses e-mailed are already stored by telecoms companies for 12 months under a voluntary agreement. The data can be accessed by the police and security services on request – but the government plans to take control of the process in order to comply with an EU directive and make it easier for investigators to do their job.” (Apparently you’ll need a passport to buy a mobile phone in the UK, too.)
Links of interest for September 9th 2008 through September 10th 2008:
Pirates become canon keepers [The Australian] – “Some commentators have suggested that it’s simply easier for studios to replace the entire score than to investigate music rights. In any case, an unannounced modern alteration is cultural vandalism, even if you don’t think the original work was any good. As a result the DVD is useless as a piece of cultural history and as a representation of an original work. With the internet full of sellers (often fans themselves) willing to provide the copies of this and other series taken from unedited broadcasts, the studio has taken a huge step towards legitimising piracy as a means of cultural preservation.” (A fantastic, if rather sarcastic, article by Kit MacFarlane arguing that piracy may be the only course open to preserve tv texts in the face of minor – and major – alterations made by studios and distributors on the way to dvd releases and more. )
Australia rated foot of developed world on school funding [PerthNow] – “Australia’s government spending on public education is the second lowest among developed nations, a new report has found. Turkey, Portugal, Mexico and Iceland all spend more money on public education institutions than Australia. … Federal Education Minister Julia Gillard says the new OECD Education at a Glance report highlights the need for the Rudd Government’s much-hyped “education revolution”.” (Yes, but WHEN is this much-vaunted education revolution actually going to start? It’s close to unforgivable that the once ‘clever country’ is so far behind in global terms.)
Google Turns 20 (fiction) – “This month, September 2018, marks the 20th anniversary of Google as a business…” A provocative little piece of speculation fiction looking back from 2018 at the rise, and fall, of Google. A few ideas are a bit far-fetched (Windows Free?) but most are plausible; all beg interesting questions about current trends, from software design, to monopolistic practices, to (really) participatory culture!
Interesting links for August 10th 2008 through August 11th 2008:
having “exclusive rights” in a region is a remnant of the twentieth century’s mass media [jill/txt] – “The tyranny of digital distance is most often experienced by people outside of the United States. … Another aspect of these cultural blockades where being outside of the US has been an advantage is baseball. In the US, if you’ve moved away from where the team you support is based you often won’t be able to watch their games because the local television stations won’t broadcast them. So MLB.tv lets you subscribe to watch all baseball games – except local ones, because the local television stations have exclusive rights to them. If you live outside of the US, you have no local games – so you can watch every baseball game live, no holds barred.”
How to Get Your Indie Film on iTunes (…It’s Not Easy) [CinemaTech] – Scott Kirsner’s really useful guide to distributing independent films via iTunes and (more feasibly) via their main competitors like Amazon Unbox. For the upcoming filmmakers of tomorrow, this is essential information! (Especially if you’re already planning your own Dr Horrible!)
Amazon Adds Universal Wish List [Micro Persuasion] – Amazon.com’s Wish List feature has been around a long time – over 10 years in fact. However, recently the e-commerce site expanded it with a new feature called The Universal Wish List. Using a simple bookmarklet … you can now add any item to your list from anywhere on the web.” (I use Amazon’s wish lists a lot, both for purchases and to fill out bibliographies of new books, so this looks like a really useful little addition to me!)
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.”
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.”