Links for October 10th 2010 through October 12th 2010:
Simpsonic Business as Usual? [Antenna] – Jonathan Gray’s excellent piece discussing the tensions evident in Bansky’s Simpsons’ opening sequence: “… it leaves us with uncomfortable questions about Groening and co. How are they complicit, and are they simply making this a joke so that they and we can say, “Oh yes, that is bad, isn’t it? But we know about it, so it’s all okay. Let’s just get back to business as usual, shall we? Pass the Cheetos”? I was left with many conflicting responses here myself, on one hand thinking it was a brilliant statement, on the other hand feeling deeply uncomfortable that this is the show’s response to its labor practices – making an opening credit sequence rather than actually fucking doing something about them. Yet, the contestation of authorship in which the sequence engages leaves us wondering whether the American animators (who are largely responsible for the couch gags, by the way – these rarely involve the writers) can do anything about The Simpsons Factory.”
Traditional developers look to Facebook games for inspiration [WA Today] – The rise of casual gaming: “While casual games might seem like innocuous time wasters, the sort of drop-in, drop-out games played on Facebook, mobile phones and through web portals have seen revenue grow from $US300 million in 2005 to at least $US3 billion ($3.05 billion) today. The real-time farming simulation game, FarmVille, made for Facebook and smartphones by the developer Zynga, has more than 62 million active users, which is equivalent to about 10 per cent of Facebook users. […] While console-game developers charge a large upfront fee, casual-games revenue is derived through micro-transactions. “You may see 90 per cent or more of your audience never pay you a dime,” Kozik says. “They engage in the game absolutely free and can see if it is something that appeals to them or not. Then the 10 per cent or less who do pay more than justifies the continued expansion of the game.” Casual and social games are less expensive to develop than console games.”
Apple Awarded Trademark for “There’s an App for That” [Mashable] – There’s a trademark for that: “Apple has filed a trademark application for the company’s now ubiquitous catchphrase, “There’s an app for that.” Apple filed for the trademark back in December 2009, citing first commercial use of the phrase on January 26, 2009, per trademark documentation. The trademark was filed in the Advertising, Business and Retail Services, Computer and Software Services and Scientific Services categories. The trademark applies to “retail store services featuring computer software provided via the Internet (Internet) and other computer and electronic communication networks; retail store services featuring computer software for use on handheld mobile digital electronic devices and other consumer electronics.””
The Search – Is Your Web Identity Hurting Your Employment Chances? [NYTimes.com] – Web presences as (un)intended CVs: “You looked wonderful on your résumé. Your references raved about you. The interview went swimmingly. Yet you didn’t get the job. Oh, no: did they see that Facebook photo of you dancing on a table? Or find out that you’re six months behind on your mortgage payment? You may never know why you weren’t hired, but be aware that background checks can make or break a job application. And in a data-rich world, the person with the fewest red flags may get the job. Little hard research has been done on how hiring managers use the Internet to vet applicants. But you should assume that they are at least looking you up on search engines. So it’s wise to review the results of a quick search of your name. It is very hard to remove anything questionable about yourself from a search engine, but you can at least push it lower by adding positive entries, said Barbara Safani, owner of Career Solvers, a career management business in New York. “
Short Attention Spans for Web Videos [NYTimes.com] – I suspect the quality of the content matters, too! “After watching an online video for a full minute, 44.1 percent of viewers will have clicked away, according to Visible Measures. But an outsize slice of that loss occurs in the first 10 seconds, during which 19.4 percent of a video’s audience defects. This phenomenon, known as “viewer abandonment,” is of intense interest to those who make online videos or advertise alongside them. Visible Measures studied the abandonment rate of 40 million videos over seven billion viewings. Music videos had especially high rates of abandonment, as did videos slow to reach a punchline — for example, a Budweiser ad about a man humiliated while buying pornography, which loses nearly 40 percent of viewers in the first 10 seconds. “It took a shocking 12 seconds to get to the conceit,” said Matt Cutler, the head of research at Visible Measures.”
Keeping Our Distance, the Facebook Way [NYTimes.com] – It’s all about the weak ties: “Facebook is the best distancing tool since the creation of the Christmas card. Sending holiday greeting cards began in the 1850s in England and spread quickly as a way to stay in touch with far-flung friends and relatives. The cards, whether religious or not in theme, went to people you rarely wrote to and even more rarely spoke to, but for whom you still had a measure of affection — or curiosity. You wanted to know what was going on in their lives, and one exchange a year did the trick. The cards kept the people in your social network at a distance, while maintaining ties to them. I recall my parents sending and receiving Christmas cards. I did it for a year after I married, but I stopped because it was just too much work. Facebook, which tries to replicate our real-world relationships online, now helps me maintain those connections. But it does cards one better. It preserves the weak ties in my social network without creating obligations.”
Bathurst delay angers viewers [The Age] – Interesting idea; I don’t think a social media blackout would work, but there are definitely issues to sort out: “A social media blackout is needed when watching so-called live sport. The poor TV networks just can’t win when it comes to sport. They regularly get canned for cutting away from the action to screen ads. But Sunday’s Bathurst 1000 race was so tight that Seven claims it didn’t want to risk missing too much of the action. Instead, the network started pausing the coverage to drop in ad breaks. As a result, the broadcast was almost half an hour behind the race by the time the cars crossed the finish line. […] Rather than treat viewers like idiots, perhaps the networks should start treating them like a precious commodity that will dry up if not handled with care. This means being honest when live sport isn’t really live.”
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)
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”?)
Is YouTube truly the future? [SMH] – Henry Jenkins and John Hartley give their take on the “pre-history” of YouTube, looking at DIY culture more broadly, including punk, zines and fandom, arguing for a deeper conception of participatory culture than just YouTube.
Monster mash gives ad boss nightmares [The Age] – “More than 6000 spoof ads made by viewers have been uploaded to the website for an ABC television series about the advertising industry, delivering the state broadcaster the kind of viewer participation that would be the envy of the commercial world.”
Half UK web videos are from YouTube [WatchingTV Online] – Comscore:”During March, 48% of the 3.5 billion web videos watched in the UK came from Google sites, of which 99% were from YouTube…. The BBC only has 1.2% share of the video viewing market despite the launch of the BBC’s iPlayer catch-up service. “