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Links for March 8th 2011 through March 14th 2011:
- Twitter angers third-party developers with ‘no more timelines’ urging [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – “Twitter has amazed and outraged developers by warning them that it will severely curtail their ability to build apps that use its output. The announcement on Twitter’s development mailing list – which has notably not been repeated or referred to on its company blog – comes from Ryan Sarver, the head of platform and API at Twitter. The site, which has grown from 48m to 140m tweets per day in the last year, and which celebrated its fifth birthday on Sunday night, now says that it is going in effect to take over the process of writing “the best client” for connecting to Twitter. The move follows the temporary suspension last month of a number of Twitter apps for “violating Twitter’s terms of service” But for the dozens of third-party apps which hook into Twitter’s API, and which fund themselves and their ongoing development through adverts, payments, or a combination of both, the announcement is a threat to their existence.”
- Twitter Libel Case | First Twitter Libel Case [The Age] – “A former Welsh mayor became the first Briton to be ordered to pay libel damages over a Twitter entry after a political rival sued him in the high court, a report said at the weekend. Colin Elsbury, a former mayor in the south Wales town of Caerphilly had tweeted ahead of a council election that his independent challenger Eddie Talbot had been “forcibly removed” from a polling station by police before realising that it was a case of mistaken identity, The Times newspaper said. Although Elsbury later tried to correct the tweet, Talbot took him to court in the Welsh capital Cardiff where a judge on Friday handed down a fine of £3,000 ($4751) and ordered him to pay costs of around £50,000 ($79,196) as well as apologise publicly to Talbot on his Twitter feed.”
- The once mighty medium of television is on its last legs [The Punch] – “Here’s a simple statistic that TV executives are happy you didn’t know. Back in the 1980s the population of Australia was about 14 million. A good TV show would rate about 5 million viewers. Fast forward to 2011. Australia’s population has grown to 20 million and TV execs are dancing on their mini-bars if their show attracts over 1.2 million viewers.The population has doubled, the viewers have halved. The maths is not good. “Masterchef” peaked last year with over 3.5 million viewers. Proportionally, based on 1980’s viewing habits, Masterchef should have rated nine million viewers. The velocity of the decline is increasing. For an industry that was once a sizable chunk of the life and breath of Australian culture, the Australian free TV industry is “circling the drain”. That’s cop show talk for dying. It’s not just competition from DVD’s, pay TV and on-line. Woeful staff management and lack of vision has seen free TV become embittered and as irrelevant to the next generation …”
- From “Businesses” To “Tools”: The Twitter API ToS Changes [TechCrunch] – “Yesterday, Twitter made a swift and sweeping move to alter their ecosystem. In an email to developers, Twitter laid out the new rules. Essentially, third-party developers should no longer try to compete with Twitter on clients; instead they should focus on things like data and specific verticals for tweets. Not surprisingly, there’s quite a bit of backlash against this maneuver.”
[TOS] January 3 version: “We want to empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable businesses around the information flowing through Twitter.”
March 11 version: “We want to empower our ecosystem partners to build valuable tools around the information flowing through Twitter.” Now perhaps you see why the ecosystem, the “partners”, are so enraged.
- I hope these people aren’t your friends [Pharyngula] – Horrible, offensive comments in the wake of Japan’s recent earthquake and tsunami devastation. Surely these people have never ever thought about the longevity of their comments online: “Japan has a tragic and devastating earthquake. American responses follow a range of attitudes. […] And then there’s a third reaction. I was sent a collage of messages posted on Facebook in the last day or so, and these make me ashamed to share a culture with these wretched people. I may be about to ruin your morning. Don’t click on this compilation of facebook entries unless you’re one of those cynical people who already has low expectation of the worst of Americans.” (The same rubbish can be found on Twitter, too.)
- It’s the (virtual) economy, stupid [SMH] – “Mark Pincus has amassed a $US1 billion fortune selling bits and bytes that have no intrinsic value to an army of virtual farmers and city planners. Every month, 275 million people sign on to one of Pincus’ addictive games, paying real money to buy virtual seeds and crops in Farmville, construct fake buildings in CityVille or expand their criminal empire in Mafia Wars. Pioneers of the “virtual goods” market, Pincus’ company Zynga – just three years old – earned $850 million in revenue last year and is now valued between $US7 billion and $US9 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal. It’s not a new phenomenon – for years people have been spending real money to buy their own virtual islands and toys in the online world Second Life and others have spent thousands on rare items in online games like World of Warcraft. Last year, a virtual space station in Entropia Universe sold for $US330,000. But with Zynga, virtual goods have hit the mainstream …”
Links for March 2nd 2011 through March 8th 2011:
- Angry Birds is coming to Facebook, which means it has now pretty much conquered the entire world [News.com.au] – I’m genuinely curious how a hugely popular single-player game will deploy the social dynamics of Facebook in when Angry Birds is re-engineered as a social game: “ANGRY Birds will be flinging itself onto Facebook next month, the makers of the hugely popular game said today. Finland-based Rovio Mobile told tech magazine Wired UK that the Facebook version of Angry Birds will include new aspects of gameplay. “There will be completely new aspects to it that just haven’t been experienced on any other platform,” said Rovio chief executive Mikael Hed. “The pigs will have a more prominent role.””
- Angry Birds – Letters from the Front Lines [McSweeney’s Internet Tendency] – “Dearest Martha, It has been some time since I’ve had the opportunity to write you, perhaps seven or eight levels. The green pigs have fortified their defenses and there seems to be no end to this madness. They are an industrious lot who have remarkable construction skills in spite of their lack of arms or legs. They’re a formidable enemy but I still envision the day we can bring our eggs home safely. Keep the nest warm for me, Yellow Bird” There’s a lot more where that came from! 🙂
- Twitter Spoils the Oscars Party for Channel Nine [Mapping Online Publics] – “In addition to their massive global TV audience, the 2011 Academy Awards also featured the #Oscars hashtag for the first time, of course, encouraging even more discussion of the Oscar ceremony on Twitter. And discuss they did – globally, over 500,000 tweets were posted during the marathon five-hour live event of the red carpet arrivals and awards ceremony, peaking at nearly 2500 tweets per minute during the tongue-in-cheek ‘best movie’ song montage. […] what’s especially interesting from our perspective in Australia is the local takeup of Twitter to discuss the Oscars. With ‘spoilers’ about winners and losers being posted on Twitter and other social media sites, it’s now almost impossible not to be aware of the Oscar results well before they reach our screens in the evening – which means that local viewers may still watch the delayed telecast to catch the full pomp and circumstance of the Academy Awards, but the party’s already over by then.”
- German minister quits amid plagiarism scandal [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Germany’s popular defence minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg has announced his resignation a month after being stripped of his doctoral title over accusations of plagiarism. […] The suave aristocrat, who can trace his family back to the 12th century and whose wife is a direct descendent of the 19th century “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck, had been dubbed “Baron Cut-And-Paste” and “Zu Googleberg” by the media. […] the plagiarism row, which broke after a law professor close to the opposition went through his doctoral thesis, was what finally broke him. Internet sleuths set up a wiki, or collaborative website, to comb through the 475 pages, concluding that more than two-thirds of the dissertation contained evidence of unattributed copying.”
- Bloody battle over Mortal Kombat ban as critics decry ‘broken’ classification system [The Age] – Australian Video Game Classification: Still Broken, Still Confusing Everyone. “Warner Bros. is appealing a ban on one of the most anticipated game releases of the year, Mortal Kombat, as the federal government’s censors defend their decision to ban Mortal Kombat while allowing a sexy spanking game to be classified PG. Earlier this week it was revealed that the Classification Board had given Mortal Kombat a “refused classification” rating due to its violent gameplay, effectively banning it from sale in this country unless the publisher, Warner Bros., submits a more toned-down version. At the same time, a new risqué title for the Wii, We Dare, is due for release tomorrow and has been given a PG rating despite the game promoting spanking, stripping and sexual partner swapping. The Australian Christian Lobby said the We Dare decision showed the classification system was “broken”. Even the game’s publisher, Ubisoft, says the game is intended for an “adult” audience.”
- Charlie Sheen Joins Twitter [The Age] – Could the whole Sheen meltdown be part of a campaign to sell a brand of milk? (I’m joking … I think?)
“Charlie Sheen has once again become an advocate for chocolate milk consumption in his much-anticipated debut on Twitter this morning. The troubled actor, who has been racking up a phenomenal 100,000 followers an hour after joining the micro-blogging site overnight, posted a Twitpic of himself in a kitchen holding a bottle of flavoured milk. Last month the Hollywood bad boy received a round of applause from a university baseball team in California when he offered some anti-drug advice during a congratulatory speech. “Stay off the crack. Drink a chocolate milk,” Sheen said at the time. In an apparent reference to that, the dairy fan posted on Twitter a photograph of himself, the milk and porn star Bree Olson, one of two “goddesses” who lives with him in his Los Angeles home. Olson is pictured holding organic “Naked” juice.”
Links for November 19th 2010 through November 24th 2010:
- Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality [Scientific American] – Inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Berners-Lee, in a passionate defense of the open web (and a few pointed jabs at Facebook): “The Web is now more critical to free speech than any other medium. It brings principles established in the U.S. Constitution, the British Magna Carta and other important documents into the network age: freedom from being snooped on, filtered, censored and disconnected. […] If we want to track what government is doing, see what companies are doing, understand the true state of the planet, find a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, not to mention easily share our photos with our friends, we the public, the scientific community and the press must make sure the Web’s principles remain intact—not just to preserve what we have gained but to benefit from the great advances that are still to come.”
- Everything is a Remix – Part 1 [Vimeo] – Kirby Ferguson’s great video about remix, focusing on musical culture and the long history of remix as a core creative process (long before the web).
- The Attention-Span Myth [NYTimes.com] – A great read: “Whether the Web is making us smarter or dumber, isn’t there something just unconvincing about the idea that an occult “span” in the brain makes certain cultural objects more compelling than others? So a kid loves the drums but can hardly get through a chapter of “The Sun Also Rises”; and another aces algebra tests but can’t even understand how Call of Duty is played. The actions of these children may dismay or please adults, but anyone who has ever been bored by one practice and absorbed by another can explain the kids’ choices more persuasively than does the dominant model, which ignores the content of activities in favor of a wonky span thought vaguely to be in the brain. So how did we find ourselves with this unhappy attention-span conceit, and with the companion idea that a big attention span is humankind’s best moral and aesthetic asset? […] Instead, the problem with the attention-span discourse is that it’s founded on the phantom idea of an attention span.”
- New Facebook Messaging Continues to Block Some Links [Epicenter | Wired.com] – Facebook’s “not email” email system will block certain links. Definitely not email. “Facebook’s “modern messaging system” may make it convenient to seamlessly move between instant messaging and a Facebook.com e-mail account, but not if you are sharing a link to a file sharing site. Facebook began blocking BitTorrent link-sharing on Facebook walls and news feeds last spring, and also started blocking private messages between users that included a link to torrents on the Pirate Bay. Facebook says that content censorship policy isn’t changing, even as its new Facebook Messages service gives users e-mail accounts and encourages them to communicate even more through Facebook. “We have systems in place to prevent abuse on Facebook and prevent spam which we’ll continue to deploy with the new Messages,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in a written statement. “We don’t share specifics on those systems.””
- Facebook credits go on sale in UK [guardian.co.uk] – This is Facebook’s answer to the app store; watch the money flow! “Online currency, with which Facebook users can purchase pixel-based virtual farm animals or pay to attend virtual events, might seem small beer. But now the online goods economy may be about to boom in the UK, as Tesco and the games retailer Game start selling Facebook credits in more than 1,000 high street stores. The UK’s 33 million Facebook users will be able to buy so-called “Facebook credits” in the non-pixellated world. The gift cards, costing £10 or £20, will only be redeemable on Facebook, where users can spend the converted currency on any number of nonexistent objects. The virtual goods economy, where money is spent on items that only exist on the internet, is expected to exceed £550m for social gaming such as Zynga’s Farmville by the end of this year, according to a recent Inside Virtual Goods report.”
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.”
- 10 Unbelievable Twitter Stories [Oddee.com] – A bit silly, but some useful extreme stories of what Twitter communication is very good for (and very bad for).
- 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.”
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