Links for December 4th 2008 through December 8th 2008:
Top 10 Most Pirated Games of 2008 [TorrentFreak] – “As expected, Spore is by far the most downloaded game on BitTorrent, in part thanks to the DRM that came with the game. Traditionally, games can’t compete with the most pirated movies and TV-shows in actual download numbers, but Spore came very close this year. Only 10 days after the game’s launch date, already half a million people had downloaded the game. During the months after that, another million people obtained a copy of the game via BitTorrent. According to our estimates, Spore was downloaded 1.7 million times since early September, a record breaking figure for a game.”
Sony Killing Questionable LittleBigPlanet Levels, Without Warning [Game | Life from Wired.com] – Sony have been deleting the shared levels of LittleBigPlanet which users have made featuring, what Sony feel, are copyrighted or trademarked materials. Creators are given no warning, no opportunity to alter their levels to remove supposedly offending material, and simply find their levels gone. Sony have created an incredible toybox of creativity with LittleBigWorld but seem determined to upset so many people who actually create anything with it. This is how to kill a user community and guarentee the game never reaches it potential. Silly Sony, the lessons of web 2.0 clearly haven’t been learnt.
iBreath to tackle drink driving [WA Today] – “The latest weapon in the war against drink driving is a breathalyser linked to an iPod or iPhone. The iBreath allows users to check their blood alcohol content to see if they are fit to drive.” (I’m sure after a few drinks connecting this little accessory will be entirely straightforward! LOL)
Video games and music | Playing along [The Economist] – “As the music industry searches for a new model in the age of digital distribution and internet piracy, it is getting a helping hand from an unexpected quarter: video games such as “Guitar Hero” and “Rock Band”, which let people play along to songs on simplified imitation instruments. “These games are revitalising the industry,” says Aram Sinnreich, an industry expert at New York University. “They’re helping as both a revenue and an advertising platform. … Established artists are also using the games to promote their music. Bobby Kotick, Activision’s boss, says Aerosmith have made more money from “Guitar Hero: Aerosmith”, a version of the video-game that features the band, than from any of their albums.” [Via Terry Flew]
Mainstream News Outlets Start Linking to Other Sites [NYTimes.com] – ” “Thou shalt not link to outside sites” — a long-held commandment of many newsrooms — is eroding. Embracing the hyperlink ethos of the Web to a degree not seen before, news organizations are becoming more comfortable linking to competitors — acting in effect like aggregators.”
AC/DC Electrify BitTorrent Album Downloads [TorrentFreak] – “AC/DC will release its new album ‘Black Ice’ worldwide on October 20th, in physical format only since the band doesn’t sell its music online. However, the upcoming album has already been digitized by pirates, as it leaked to BitTorrent five days ago. In that time it has taken the trackers by storm, racking up a staggering 400,000 downloads.”
Links of interest for October 1st 2008 through October 2nd 2008:
Google Search 2001 – To celebrate Google’s 10th birthday they’ve gone back in time and worked with the Internet Archive to let you search the 2001 web … YouTube is a nonsense word, ‘blog’ only returns 76,400 hits and Facebook has just under 1800 results!
EA Downplays Spore’s DRM Triggered Piracy Record [TorrentFreak] – Despite credible estimates that Spore has been downloaded over a million times via bittorrent networks, EA are playing down these figures and, in a turnabout for a big media producer, are arguing that not every download would have represented a legitimate sale were bittorrent not around (something many downloaders have been arguing about p2p film and even tv for years). Despite EA’s PR spin, it seems likely DRM is one of the big things nudging fans into downloading the Spore (and bypassing the DRM altogether).
Blizzard wins Warcraft bot payout [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “World of Warcraft creator Blizzard has won $6m (£3.36m) in damages from the makers of a software ‘bot’. The damages award comes after Blizzard won the first round of its legal battle against MDY Industries in July 2008. Blizzard embarked on the case against MDY claiming that the World of Warcraft Glider software produced by the small company infringed its copyright. The Glider software lets Warcraft players automate many of the repetitive steps the game involves. … it helped them automate the many repetitive tasks, such as killing monsters and scavenging loot, required to turn low level characters into more powerful ones.”
Links of interest for September 24th 2008 through September 25th 2008:
‘Heroes’ Causes BitTorrent Boom [TorrentFreak] – “An example of the BitTorrent traffic boost was reported yesterday, as Mininova got 10 million downloads in a single da. A record breaking figure, in part thanks to the debut of ‘Heroes’ and several other shows. Other BitTorrent sites report a similar increase in traffic. It’s Heroes that breaks all the records though. Our statistics show that, across all BitTorrent sites, the two episodes from Heroes’ season opening were downloaded well over a million times each – in just one day. The vast majority of the downloads come from outside the US (92%), where shows usually air weeks, months or even years later. The show was downloaded the most in the UK (15%), where the official season opening is scheduled for October 1st. Canada, France and Australia complete the top 5.” (Which is really interesting to compare with the US domestic TV viewership was down 25%.
Spore copyright control relaxed [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “Video game maker Electronic Arts has loosened copyright protection for the newest release of its game Spore. Released earlier in the month, the game received a flurry of complaints about a restriction that meant the game could only be registered to three computers. That restriction has now been raised to five computers, which the company says should account for all legitimate uses. The company has also addressed the complaint that each copy of the game only allows one player to use it. ” (A step in the right direction … a small step, I should add, but it would be Spore suicide for EA not to learn from the Amazon one-star anti-DRM protest!)
Doh! Cartoons pulled from Russian TV [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Pornographic, extremist and immoral – that’s how Russian prosecutors are describing popular US cartoons like The Simpsons, Family Guy and South Park. The channel that carries them has been forced to suspend broadcasts of the offending programs pending legal action. On Wednesday (local time), a meeting of a government monitoring agency could take channel 2×2 off the air.” (I wonder how long it will take before South Park is advertised with the tagline “Pornographic, extremist and immoral – Russia”?)
Interesting links for August 27th 2008 through August 28th 2008:
Blogger arrested over Guns N’ Roses leak [The Age] – “A blogger suspected of streaming songs from the unreleased Guns N’ Roses album Chinese Democracy on his website was arrested and appeared in court, where his bail was set at $US10,000. FBI agents arrested 27-year-old Kevin Cogill on Wednesday morning on suspicion of violating federal copyright laws. Cogill appeared in court in the afternoon wearing a T-shirt; his girlfriend sat in court and afterward said, “Rally the troops”, but declined further comment. Federal authorities say Cogill posted nine unreleased Guns N’ Roses songs on his website in June. The songs were later removed.” (So, a hardcore fan shares some unreleased songs. Solution: send an email and ask him to remove then, he gets a kick from hearing from the band, and happily respects their wishes? Or try and get him locked up and fined? Does no one remember what happened when Metallica shat all over anyone using Napster?) [Via Anna @ iGenMasters]
Woolies’ new card will trail shoppers [The Age] – “An unprecedented mountain of data will be amassed by the nation’s leading retail company with the launch of a sophisticated credit card that can follow shoppers on their spending trails and be used to entice them to buy more products. Woolworths’ Everyday Money Credit Card is the first in the country to combine a credit card with a sophisticated loyalty program capable of capturing and then sending a shopper’s purchasing details back to a central database. The database is linked to the company’s recently launched fuel voucher card.”
Interesting links for August 19th 2008 through August 20th 2008:
Facebook, MySpace users warned of cyber crime risk [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “The Victorian Government has warned users of social networking sites not to post private information online. The Government has released a list of security tips for users of social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace in response to the emergence of cyber crime, such as identity theft. Tips include urging users to think twice before posting private information such as addresses and phone numbers online.”
I Was There. Just Ask Photoshop. [NYTimes.com] – Photoshop, from realfact to goodfact: “REMOVING her ex-husband from more than a decade of memories may take a lifetime for Laura Horn… But removing him from a dozen years of vacation photographs took only hours, with some deft mouse work from a willing friend who was proficient in Photoshop, the popular digital-image editing program. Like a Stalin-era technician in the Kremlin removing all traces of an out-of-favor official from state photos, the friend erased the husband from numerous cherished pictures taken on cruises and at Caribbean cottages, where he had been standing alongside Ms. Horn, now 50, and other traveling companions. “In my own reality, I know that these things did happen,” Ms. Horn said. But “without him in them, I can display them. I can look at those pictures and think of the laughter we were sharing, the places we went to.” “This new reality,” she added, “is a lot more pleasant.””
Unleashed VC is a blog’s best friend [The Australian] – Steven Schwartz on being Australia’s first blogging Vice-Chancellor: “…the blog has given me the opportunity to express my views on such issues as “the idea of a university today”, reprising Cardinal Newman’s famous essay in a new context; the development of a new code of ethics at the university; if governments can make us happy; how to develop a fairer higher-education system; and expanding equality of opportunity in universities. I have also discussed philanthropy, research, innovation, the role of the humanities, what the future may hold, health, depression, literacy, education, marketing and, by way of making an argument about the importance of scholarship, Tiger Woods. It has been rewarding, and a lot of fun. There is a downside to blogging: a large amount of spam that needs clearing out each morning, and some comments are rude, hostile, or unintelligible.” [Via Andrew Bartlett]
Is Jon Stewart the Most Trusted Man in America? [Television – NYTimes.com] – An engaging profile of Jon Stewart and The Daily Show, charting where politics met parody: “Mr. Stewart’s comedic gifts — his high-frequency radar for hypocrisy, his talent for excavating ur-narratives from mountains of information, his ability, in Ms. Corn’s words, “to name things that don’t seem to have a name” — proved to be perfect tools for explicating and parsing the foibles of an administration known for its secrecy, ideological certainty and impatience with dissenting viewpoints.”
Gaming surgeons quash technology fears [The Australian] – “”…playing smarter computer games can actually help modify our abilities in problem solving, visual attention, working memory, forming and modifying strategies, even creativity.” Professor Westwell said the study on keyhole surgeons, published by the Archives of Surgery, found that while operating and playing computer games, the doctors made decisions and responded quickly to the consequences of those decisions and any unexpected changes that occurred.”
IOC Wants Olympic Torrents Off The Pirate Bay [TorrentFreak] – “In an official letter to Swedish Minister of Justice Beatrice Ask, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has asked for “assistance” from the Swedish government with preventing video clips from the Olympics in Beijing to be shared on The Pirate Bay. The Pirate Bay, however, does not plan to take anything down, and renamed their tracker to The Beijing Bay.”
Internet becomes Iraq’s new matchmaker [The Age] – “Young Iraqis in Baghdad are surfing the internet to search for partners to tie the knot as violence and sectarian tensions take their toll on more traditional forms of socialising. Dating has fallen victim to the insecurity that has reduced the capital to a sullen network of rival neighbourhoods, leaving little space for men and women to meet other than in cyber chat rooms. “I think the Iraqis are looking for love on the internet because there are no other places for them to meet,” said Mustafa Kazem, a 20-year-old engineering student who found his soulmate on a university chat forum.”
Brands line up for Bond sequel [Variety] – “James Bond is bringing back some familiar brands in “Quantum of Solace.” Sequel to “Casino Royale” will again be backed by Ford Motor Co., Heineken beer, Smirnoff vodka, Omega watches, Virgin Atlantic, Sony Ericsson cell phones and other Sony electronics. These brands all have products placed in the film and each will shell out tens of millions of dollars as a promotional partner of the pic. Sony Pictures, which is distribbing the movie, declined to disclose how much the brands are ponying up, but returning partners spent up to $100 million worldwide on ad efforts around “Casino Royale,” industryites estimate. The same is expected this time around.” [Via The Frodo Franchise]
Italy blocks The Pirate Bay [The Age] – “An Italian judge has ordered the country’s internet service providers to block access to The Pirate Bay, a Swedish file-sharing website, as part of a probe into copyright law violation, officials said on Thursday. Since last week, Italy’s anti-fraud police have been informing providers they must heed the order of a judge in the northern city of Bergamo, police Col. Alessandro Nencini said.” (Apparently the impact of this ‘ban’ has been to increase Italian traffic to The Pirate Bay!
TV takes the online challenge [The Age] – ‘”The reason people are illegally using P2P [peer-to-peer] networks is simply because content isn’t available elsewhere,” says Ten’s general manager, Digital Media, Damian Smith.’ (So give me a legal way to download Battlestar Galactica today and I will!)
Parents angry at violent school bully game [The Age] – From Rockstar Games, the people behind Grand Theft Auto, comes the hugely provocative Bully: Scholarship Edition in which you play a rebellious school kid, and runs the risk of (purposefully?) provoking cyberbulllying to normalising school-yard shootings.
ABC’s digital push for channels, radio [The Age] – “The ABC wants to triple its number of television channels and radio services over the next 12 years as it seeks to increase Australian content levels and cement its place in the digital media age, its managing director, Mark Scott, has flagged”
The new digital paparazzi [On Line Opinion – 14/4/2008] – Peter Black discusses “the new digital paparazzi” which are more likely friends, family, or even ourselves, posting photos online with little concern for personal privacy. Black argues that this is evident of a shift in the way privacy is thought about.
Decline Of US Newspapers Accelerating [Tech Crunch] – “Figures released by the Newspaper Association of America show that the decline of newspapers is more rapid than previously thought, with total print advertising revenue in 2007 plunging 9.4% to $42 billion compared to 2006…”