The Hunger Games Game [CollegeHumor Video] – A parody video from College Humor, turning The Hunger Games into a tween-girl fantasy boardgame focusing on the love-triangle, to great comic effect. On some level, though, this is also a pretty decent critique of the way a film which and certain elements of the fandom around it miss the core critique of authority and a media culture, reducing it to a vapid romance tale.
Dragon Tattoo Has Unique DVD Design – Sony’s DVD release of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has confused some people because it’s designed to look like a ripped copy and, sporting letters which look like they’re written in felt-tip pen on a DVD-R. Confusing messages you’re sending there, Sony!
Twitter turns six [Twitter Blog] – On the sixth anniversary of Twitter’s launch, the service has reached 140 million users, with 340 million tweets made daily. That said, since most active users seem to tweet a lot more than 3 times a day, a significant proportion of users don’t actually seem to tweet much.
Game sales surpassed video in UK, says report [BBC News] – “Sales of computer games in the UK have surpassed those of videos for the first time, new figures suggest. The Electronic Retailers Association (ERA) said sales of £1.93bn in 2011 made the gaming industry the country’s biggest entertainment sector. By contrast, sales of DVDs and other video formats totalled £1.80bn, while music pulled in £1.07bn.”
Rob Reid: The $8 billion iPod | Video on TED.com – Fantastic TED parody explanation of the logic behind copyright lawsuits and litigation: copyright maths. From TED: “Comic author Rob Reid unveils Copyright Math (TM), a remarkable new field of study based on actual numbers from entertainment industry lawyers and lobbyists. Rob Reid is a humor author and the founder of the company that created the music subscription service Rhapsody”
Links for October 25th 2010 through November 1st 2010:
WikiLeaks on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan [The New Yorker] – “Whether WikiLeaks will prove over time to be a credible publisher of such truths is another question. Assange disclosed the names of informants in some of the war reports, even though doing so might endanger them and possibly cause their death. […] If the organization continues to attract sources and vast caches of unfiltered secret documents, it will have to steer through the foggy borderlands between dissent and vandalism, and it will have to defend its investigative journalism against those who perceive it as a crime. Assange is animated by the idea of radical transparency, but WikiLeaks as yet lacks a fixed address. Nor does it offer its audiences any mechanism for its own accountability. […] if WikiLeaks cannot learn to think efficiently about its publishing choices, it will risk failure, not only because of the governmental opponents it has induced but also because so far it lacks an ethical culture that is consonant with the ideals of free media.”
MI6 chief red over daughter’s Facebook shot [The Age] – This seems a ridiculous media beat-up to me: “British spy chief John Sawers is facing public embarrassment after his daughter posted a photo of herself posing with a gold Kalashnikov rifle on Facebook. Oxford graduate Corinne Sawers, 23, is seen standing in front of a family Christmas tree holding the gold-plated weapon – similar to those found among Saddam Hussein’s treasures after the 2003 Iraq invasion – in her profile pictures, The Sunday Mirror reports. The gun is a decommissioned Kalashnikov and is believed to have been a gift to Corinne’s father, MI6 boss Sir John, as a memento of his time in Iraq. All of Corinne’s 873 Facebook friends, and tens of thousands of their friends globally, can see her gun-toting picture on the networking site.”
New Zealand is still Middle-earth: A summary of the Hobbit crisis [Observations on film art] – An outstanding summary by Kristin Thompson of the issues surrounding the ill-advised actors’ boycott of Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit, the subsequent debates, deliberations and the eventual change in New Zealand’s laws to accommodate the production and any other films with budgets of $NZ150 million (James Cameron is supposedly looking at shooting Avatar 2 and 3 there). If nothing else, the whole debate shows just how deeply tied New Zealand is not with Middle Earth, both metaphorically and emotionally.
LimeWire file-sharing site shut down in US [BBC News] – “An injunction issued by the US district court in New York has effectively shut down LimeWire, one of the internet’s biggest file-sharing sites. It ends four years of wrangling between the privately-owned Lime Group and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). The injunction compels Lime Group to disable its searching, downloading, uploading and file trading features. The firm plans to launch new services that adhere to copyright laws soon. Visitors to the LimeWire website are confronted with a legal notice that reads: “This is an offical notice that LimeWire is under a court ordered injunction to stop distributing and supporting its file-sharing software.””
Tweeting celebrities in dash for cash [SMH] – “Australian celebrities are being offered as much as $10,000 for a single tweet endorsing products to their thousands of Twitter followers, say sponsorship experts. But while the US celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Lindsay Lohan and Snoop Dogg are reportedly already enjoying large one-off payments to promote brands and products on Twitter, the dash for cash is yet to take hold here. The celebrities need only post a one-line product endorsement in exchange for the fee, and according to Britain’s Marketing Week, Range Rover approached 40 British celebrities this week to tweet in a similar way about the recently unveiled Evoque 4×4 in the UK. Bruce Kaider, president of Sponsorship Australasia and founder of a sports management company, confirmed that high profile Australian sportspeople were already being approached to endorse products on Twitter for fees of anything between $500 to $10,000 per tweet.”
Facebook and Farmville dominate 3’s mobile broadband data [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – Zynga and Farmville second only to Facebook in UK mobile network traffic: “The mobile network 3 has released the first in a series of research papers describing traffic use and behaviour among its mobile broadband customers, published here first by the Guardian. Of the 2,500 terabytes of data used across the network in July, it’s no surprise that Facebook (by several metrics now the most popular website in the world) came out top, accounting for 7.023 terabytes of data use across the network. 3 says the data, from more than 1 million customers, is specifically from mobile broadband or dongles, which evidently have moved far beyond primarily business use; 3 claims its users account for 40% of the dongle market. […] The surprise is that casual gaming company Zynga is second only to Facebook in volume of data used at 3.584 terabytes, while Zynga’s own flagship game, Farmville, is listed fifth with 1.68 terabytes for the month.”
Go beyond the PC, Microsoft urged [BBC News] – “Microsoft must think beyond the PC if it is to weather the changes due to hit in the next five years. The warning was given by Microsoft’s chief software architect Ray Ozzie in a memo penned soon after he announced he was leaving the company. […] he said, the strengths that had helped Microsoft grow in the past now risked holding it back. The memo, called “Dawn of a New Day” mirrors one Mr Ozzie wrote soon after taking over from Bill Gates as the man in charge of charting the development direction of Microsoft’s portfolio of programs. That first memo imagined a world of seamless computing and kicked off Microsoft’s attempts to get its many different programs working together across lots of different devices. In Dawn of a New Day, Mr Ozzie praised the work Microsoft had done towards that end, but said rivals had done even better.”
A Labor Issue Entangles ‘The Hobbit’ [NYTimes.com] – The real battle for Middle Earth: “Is Wellywood burning? New Zealand’s feisty film workers have taken to the streets this week to try to keep Peter Jackson’s production of “The Hobbit” in their country, nudging the prime minister, John Key, toward a Tuesday summit meeting with a visiting contingent of Warner Brothers executives. Filming had been threatened by a dispute over whether a New Zealand branch of an Australian union could engage in collective bargaining on the Hollywood films, which they have not been able to do in the past. As of Tuesday afternoon in Wellington — the New Zealand capital and the center of a growing movie industry sometimes called Wellywood — the matter was unsettled. But it was clear that Mr. Jackson’s furry little film creatures were not going anywhere without a fight.”
Sony Kills The Cassette Walkman On The iPod’s Birthday [Gizmodo Australia] – Steve Jobs killed the cassette playing star? “After 30 years, Sony has announced that they will stop manufacturing and selling the venerable cassette Walkman. In a poetic twist, the official death of the Walkman also lands on the iPod’s 9th anniversary. The Sony Walkman was introduced on July 1, 1979 in Japan and it was a major breakthrough in delivering a low-cost portable stereo. […] Over its 30 year history of the Cassette Walkman, Sony sold 200 million units. A portable music player became a part of our lives, largely in part of the Walkman.”
Links for March 25th 2010 through March 29th 2010:
Stephen Conroy and US at odds on net filter[Perth Now] – “The Obama administration has questioned the Rudd government’s plan to introduce an internet filter, saying it runs contrary to the US’s foreign policy of encouraging an open internet to spread economic growth and global security. Officials from the State Department have raised the issue with Australian counterparts as the US mounts a diplomatic assault on internet censorship by governments worldwide.”
Sony accuses Beyonce of piracy for putting her videos on YouTube [Boing Boing] – For a period of time (and seems fixed now): “Sony Entertainment has shut down Beyonce’s official YouTube site. Congrats to Sony Entertainment for wisely spending its legal dollars and working on behalf of its artists. Truly, you deserve many laws and secret treaties passed to protect your “business model” (how else could such a delicate flower survive the harsh realities of the real world?).” This really does show how amazingly complicated and messed up the policing of copyright can be online.
Privacy battle looms for Google and Facebook [The Age] – A battle with wide implications for online privacy: “You have been tagged in 12 photos — even if you’re not signed up to the Web site. European regulators are investigating whether the practice of posting photos, videos and other information about people on sites such as Facebook without their consent is a breach of privacy laws. The Swiss and German probes go to the heart of a debate that has gained momentum in Europe amid high-profile privacy cases: To what extent are social networking platforms responsible for the content their members upload? The actions set the stage for a fresh battle between American Web giants and European authorities a month after an Italian court held three Google executives criminally responsible for a user-posted video.”
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)
Links of interest for November 11th 2008 through November 13th 2008:
New York Times: Fake New York Times Declares Iraq War Over! Here’s Who Did It [Gawker] – “The Iraq War is over, according to the fake New York Times! This morning a cadre of volunteers has fanned out across New York City to pass out a remarkably good, faux-copy of the Times dated July 4, 2009. They’ve even set up an entire website with all of the liberal fantasy headlines. Universities to be free! Bike paths to be expanded! Thomas Friedman to resign, praise the Unitarian Jesus! It’s not funny like The Onion, but obviously a lot of work went into this. Now we play “Who did it?”” The Yes Men. Clever parody; very clever indeed … the cover.
Big fuss brews over LittleBigPlanet [The Age] – “LittleBigPlanet is fast firming as one of the biggest game launches this year because players can create and share their own worlds, but Sony’s heavy-handed moderation has many gamers crying foul. A key selling point of the PlayStation 3 game, which was launched in Australia just days ago and has received an average rating of 95 per cent from reviewers, is that people can share their own levels over the PlayStation Network. Some have spent days crafting their ideal custom worlds, including tributes to classic games and characters such as Final Fantasy, Pac-Man, Batman, Sonic The Hedgehog, God Of War, Super Mario Bros and Indiana Jones. Over the past few days, many have found their levels summarily blocked by Sony and LittleBigPlanet’s developers, Media Molecule, because they allegedly breach someone else’s intellectual property.” (Copyright vs creativity in an entirely corporately-owned toy world with brilliant design tools … what could go wrong? :P)
Interview @MarsPhoenix – Universe – “For over a year, Veronica McGregor has been Twittering from Mars. Of course, she’s not living among the wind storms and dirt of the red planet herself, but she is the voice of MarsPhoenix, the strangely compelling, first-person, lonely robot Twitter feed that somehow became the official mouthpiece of NASA’s Phoenix mission and has catalyzed an entirely new kind of public involvement in science.”
Cloverfield: Mapped [Google Maps] – Blow by blow map of the action in Cloverfield. As you might suspect, the action doesn’t quite make sense if you look at it on a New York map!
China issues first definition of Internet addiction [China Daily] – Chinese doctors define what they call “internet addiction”: “Symptoms of addiction included yearning to get back online, mental or physical distress, irritation and difficulty concentrating or sleeping. The definition, based on a study of more than 1,300 problematic computer users, classifies as addicts those who spend at least six hours online a day and have shown at least one symptom in the past three months.”