Siri secrets stored for up to 2 years [WA Today] – “Siri isn’t just a pretty voice with the answers. It’s also been recording and keeping all the questions users ask. Exactly what the voice assistant does with the data isn’t clear, but Apple confirmed that it keeps users’ questions for up to two years. Siri, which needs to be connected to the internet to function, sends all of its users’ queries to Apple. Apple revealed the information after Wired posted an article raising the question and highlighting the fact that the privacy statement for Siri wasn’t very clear about how long that information is kept or what would be done with it.”
Now playing: Twitter #music [Twitter Blog] – Not content to be TV’s second screen, Twitter wants to be the locus of conversations about music, too: “Today, we’re releasing Twitter #music, a new service that will change the way people find music, based on Twitter. It uses Twitter activity, including Tweets and engagement, to detect and surface the most popular tracks and emerging artists. It also brings artists’ music-related Twitter activity front and center: go to their profiles to see which music artists they follow and listen to songs by those artists. And, of course, you can tweet songs right from the app. The songs on Twitter #music currently come from three sources: iTunes, Spotify or Rdio. By default, you will hear previews from iTunes when exploring music in the app. Subscribers to Rdio and Spotify can log in to their accounts to enjoy full tracks that are available in those respective catalogs.
Soda Fountains, Speeding, and Password Sharing [The Chutry Experiment] – Fascinating post about the phenomenon of Netflix and HBO Go password sharing in the US. When a NY Times journalist admitted to this (seemingly mainstream) practice, it provoked a wide-ranging discussion about the ethics and legality of many people pooling resources to buy a single account. Is this theft? Is it illegal (apparently so)? And, of course, Game of Thrones take a centre seat!
Nielsen Agrees to Expand Definition of TV Viewing [The Hollywood Reporter] – Nielsen ratings reflect that online TV ratings are growing and matter: “The Nielsen Co. is expanding its definition of television and will introduce a comprehensive plan to capture all video viewing including broadband and Xbox and iPads … By September 2013, when the next TV season begins, Nielsen expects to have in place new hardware and software tools in the nearly 23,000 TV homes it samples. Those measurement systems will capture viewership not just from the 75 percent of homes that rely on cable, satellite and over the air broadcasts but also viewing via devices that deliver video from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, from so-called over-the-top services and from TV enabled game systems like the X-Box and PlayStation. While some use of iPads and other tablets that receive broadband in the home will be included in the first phase of measurement improvements, a second phase is envisioned to include such devices in a more comprehensive fashion.”
Why I’m Done Posting Photos of My Kid On Facebook [Chicago Now] – Short but well written piece on why parents should be more careful about what photos etc they share of their kids online. Author calls parents “online guardians”. “We all want to believe that Facebook takes parents’ concerns about privacy seriously. But the truth is that Facebook is a publicly traded company that cares first and foremost about making its shareholders happy. We have no idea how far it will go to do so, especially since the company is not extraordinarily profitable right now. But what we do know is that Facebook is pushing our boundaries now, often, to see just how much of our privacy we’re willing to give away.”
Instagram users begin fightback against stolen photos [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – Solid piece on the challenges of photos from Instagram (and the web in general) being used by others without permission. Copyright, theft, credit and ethics all get a mention, but the short version is: if copyright is understood on the web (often it’s not), it’s often not respected whatsoever. For the Instagram examples, I can only image this will get worse, not better, with Instagram moving more solidly onto the web proper, not just mobile devices.
Introducing Your Instagram Feed on the Web [Instagram Blog] – Furthering their shift to looking more and more like parent-company Facebook, Instagram have expanded the web presence associated with each username, allowing the liking, commenting and exploring of the people you follow on Instagram without use of a mobile device. The only thing you can’t do is upload an image from the web (yet).
Coming and Going on Facebook [Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project] – “Two-thirds of online American adults (67%) are Facebook users, making Facebook the dominant social networking site in this country. And new findings from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project indicate there is considerable fluidity in the Facebook user population: * 61% of current Facebook users say that at one time or another in the past they have voluntarily taken a break from using Facebook for a period of several weeks or more. * 20% of the online adults who do not currently use Facebook say they once used the site but no longer do so. * 8% of online adults who do not currently use Facebook are interested in becoming Facebook users in the future.”
Disruptions and dividends: a fast broadband Australia [ABC] – A fantastic speech from the ABC's Managing Director Mark Scott, given in September 2012, highlighting the challenges and opportunities the public broadcaster faces in the era of broadband and digital distribution. Scott sees the huge amount of time-shifted streaming of children's television as a harbinger of a future driven by immediacy, while the recent move to make episodes of Doctor Who available online (on iView) the second they finish in the UK signals the only way to answer online piracy: provide a better and easier service.
Creepshots and revenge porn: how paparazzi culture affects women [The Guardian] – Disturbing but well-written piece on 'creepshots' and the broader cultural context in which they exist: "… we arguably all live in a paparazzi culture now. Cameras are ubiquitous, as is the technology to share and publicise pictures instantly. The throb of surveillance plays out in different ways. On the more benign side are the mild nerves many people feel when an email pops up to tell them they have been tagged in a Facebook photo, an image that could be from any moment in their life – recent or historical – now public, and open for comments. But it also plays out in more insidious ways. This includes the creepshot websites, and others where people collect images of ordinary women they have culled from around the internet."
Gangnam Style, Dissected: The Subversive Message Within South Korea’s Music Video Sensation [The Atlantic] – "Park Jaesang is an unlikely poster boy for South Korea's youth-obsessed, highly lucrative, and famously vacuous pop music. Park, who performs as Psy (short for psycho), is a relatively ancient 34, has been busted for marijuana and for avoiding the country's mandatory military service, and is not particularly good-looking. His first album got him fined for "inappropriate content" and the second was banned. He's mainstream in the way that South Korea's monolithically corporate media demands of its stars, who typically appear regularly on TV variety and even game shows, but as a harlequin, a performer known for his parodies, outrageous costumes, and jokey concerts. Still, there's a long history of fools and court jesters as society's most cutting social critics, and he might be one of them. […] Gangnam is a tony Seoul neighborhood, and Park's "Gangnam Style" video lampoons its self-importance and ostentatious wealth, with Psy playing a clownish caricature of a Gangnam man."
Parents using Facebook to attack school staff, Principals Federation says [Perth Now] – “Parents are using Facebook and other social networks to attack principals and teachers they dislike or believe have wronged them or their children. The growing practice of raging against school staff online has sparked calls for the Education Department to step in. “These forums can also fuel the sort of misplaced anger and hatred that can end in physical confrontations and school lockdowns,” Australian Principals Federation president Chris Cotching said. Lawyers acting for the federation have warned the department it could be legally culpable if it continued to ignore online campaigns against staff.”
Palin Fans Trying to Edit Wikipedia Paul Revere Page [Little Green Footballs] – Interesting case study on Wikipedia’s accuracy – after Sarah Palin gets history wrong, her supporteres try and edit Wikipedia to make the Palin version; drama and editorial warfare ensue: “Man, you’ve gotta almost admire the sheer blind dedication of Sarah Palin’s wingnut acolytes. Now they’re trying like crazy to edit the Wikipedia page for “Paul Revere” to make it match Palin’s botched version of history. Here’s the Revision history of Paul Revere; check out the edits that are being reversed. Also see the discussion page for an entertaining exchange between Wikipedia editors and a would-be revisionist.”
Google Chrome: Lady Gaga [YouTube] – Clever ad for Google Chrome featuring Lady Gaga (and simultaneously a Lady Gaga ad featuring Chrome!) which really highlights how she’s deeply engaging with her fanbase via social media.
Google’s YouTube policy for Android users is copyright extremism [guardian.co.uk] – Cory Doctorow laments Google’s copyright-driven philosophical contradictions: “The news that Android users who have jailbroken their phones will be denied access to the new commercial YouTube pay-per-view service is as neat an example of copyright extremism as you could hope for. Android, of course, is Google’s wildly popular alternative to Apple’s iOS (the operating system found on iPhones and iPads). Android is free and open – it costs nothing to copy, it can be legally modified and those modifications can be legally distributed […] unless you’re running a very specific version of Google’s software on your phone or tablet, you can’t “rent” movies on YouTube. Google – the vendor – and the studios – the rights holders – are using copyright to control something much more profound than mere copying. In this version of copyright, making a movie gives you the right to specify what kind of device can play the movie back, and how that device must be configured.”
Links for November 9th 2010 through November 11th 2010:
Great Scott! Over 35 Hours of Video Uploaded Every Minute to YouTube [YouTube Blog] – “… the amount of video uploaded to YouTube to 35 hours per minute. That breaks out to 2,100 hours uploaded every 60 minutes, or 50,400 hours uploaded to YouTube every day. If we were to measure that in movie terms (assuming the average Hollywood film is around 120 minutes long), 35 hours a minute is the equivalent of over 176,000 full-length Hollywood releases every week. Another way to think about it is: if three of the major US networks were broadcasting 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year for the last 60 years, they still wouldn’t have broadcast as much content as is uploaded to YouTube every 30 days.”
Hulu Brings in the Dough: $240M of Revenue in 2010 [NewTeeVee] – “Hulu is going to make more than $240 million in revenue in 2010, the company’s CEO Jason Kilar revealed at GigaOM’s NewTeeVee Live conference today. Kilar added that Hulu generated $108 million in revenue in 2009. Hulu had 30 million users in October 2010, who watched some 260 million content streams as well as 800 million ad streams during that month. Kilar said that Hulu now has 235 content partners. The company had 352 advertising clients in Q3. “The leading source of revenue is through advertising,” said Kilar, adding that more than 40 percent of money generated with content in this industry is generated through advertising. This has led Hulu to optimize its ad experience, and Kilar showed a few new features that the company will roll out in the future. Hulu will introduce personalized advertising, addressing users by name. “
How Conan O’Brien Beat Leno And Letterman [Fast Company] – Team CoCo rides the social media wave to ratings success: “I know what you guys are thinking: ‘Hey, it’s the guy from Twitter,'” joked Conan O’Brien, before launching into a mock-impression of his Internet fans. “Why am I doing that!” he began laughing. “Those people saved my ass! Talk about biting the hand that feeds you.” Indeed, a strong Internet following fed Conan, who debuted his new show last night on TBS, very well. Bolstered by his almost 2 million Twitter followers, a first-of-its-kind social media strategy, and an innovative digital team, Conan soared on the late-night scene with huge ratings, besting both David Letterman and arch-nemesis Jay Leno with 4.2 million viewers […]“Conan’s audience has been very vocal online, and he clearly made a smooth transition from Twitter to TBS,” said Steve Koonin, president of Turner Entertainment Networks.[…] Team Coco’s digital strategy a “brilliant launch campaign that incorporated social media better than I’ve ever seen.”
BBC iPlayer going international next year, will be either fee- or ad-supported [Engadget] – “The BBC’s iPlayer video-on-demand service has been an unqualified success since its rollout back in 2007 and now it’s taking the next logical step in expanding its reach: it’s going global. Such is the word from John Smith, the generically named head of BBC Worldwide, who sees the international market for British shows as “under-exploited” and wants to see the iPlayer opened up beyond the Queen’s home isles. Of course, since continental Europeans and North Americans aren’t subject to the same backbreaking TV license fee, there’ll be a new commercial element to the service, though the Beeb’s bigwigs have yet to figure out if that means users will have to pay a levy or put up with some ads.”
Ghoulish Facebook vandals mock Australian laws [SMH] – Tribute pages to young people who have died, being ‘defaced’, but is it illegal? “Also defaced was a tribute page to Chantelle Rowe, 16, who was found dead with her parents in their Adelaide home yesterday. Inappropriate messages and doctored photographs were posted to several tribute pages for Chantelle and her family, who police believe were killed in a triple murder. A cousin, Steven Rowe, wrote about the material on Facebook: “He even sent this shit to my inbox … thats my cousin and i honestly hope some [sic] kicks your head in!” But the user responsible for the messages replied: “I won’t go to jail … i’m not in Australia, therefore I cannot break the Australian law”. Victoria Police and South Australia Police both refused to comment, arguing no offence had been committed. However, Jesssica Chantelle Cook, 22, from Queensland, received a three-month suspended jail sentence in August for posting offensive material on a Facebook tribute page…”
Woman to pay $1.5m for downloading music [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “A US jury has ordered a Minnesota woman to pay $US1.5 million for illegally downloading 24 songs in a high-profile digital piracy case. Jammie Thomas-Rasset, a single mother of four, was found liable by a jury on Wednesday (local time) of copyright infringement for using Kazaa, a peer-to-peer file-sharing network, to download the songs from the internet. She has been ordered to pay $US62,500 for each of the 24 songs – a total of $US1.5 million. The verdict is the third in the long-running case and it has been welcomed by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).[…] In December 2008, the RIAA said it would stop suing people who download music illegally and focus instead on getting internet service providers to take action.”
iBookstore Australia Launch: iBookstore Opens In Australia [SMH] – “Australians can now use ther iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch as a serious e-book reader after Apple opened the doors to its iBookstore today. It’s taken the company five months since the iPad’s launch to get the store up and running but it has succeeded in signing up a wide range of book publishers including Macmillan, Hachette, HarperCollins, Hardie Grant, Murdoch Publishers and Wiley. Previously, Australians viewing the iBookstore could only access old out-of-copyright books but now there is a range of new release titles on offer. The exact number is unclear but an Apple spokeswoman said they numbered in the “thousands”.”
Children and ultra-violent video games: court to decide [SHM] – Wow: the ‘do violent videogames hurt kids’ debate rolls into the US Supreme Court: “The US Supreme Court has expressed sympathy for a California law that aims to keep children from buying ultra-violent video games in which players maim, kill or sexually assault images of people. But several justices said the law faces a high constitutional hurdle before going into effect. The high court has been reluctant to carve out exceptions to the First Amendment, striking down a ban on so-called “crush videos” that showed actual deaths of animals earlier this year. California officials argue that they should be allowed to limit minors’ ability to pick up violent video games on their own at retailers because of the purported damage they cause.”
Google gaining on booming smartphone market [The Age] – “Google’s Android software platform rose to the number two spot globally on the booming smartphone market in the third quarter, research firm Canalys said this week. Nokia’s Symbian continued to lead the market with a 37 per cent share, while Android had 17 per cent of the market. It has surpassed Research In Motion, Apple and Microsoft this year. Growing popularity of Android phones – made by companies including Motorola, HTC and Samsung Electronics – puts Google in a good position as handsets look set to surpass computers for browsing the web. Google chief executive Eric Schmidt said in September he expects mobile searches to generate most of the firm’s revenue eventually, but it could take a long time, despite growing at a rapid clip.”
Facebook posting boasting led to sack [WA Today] – Be ye not so stupid: “A West Australian schoolgirl who was sacked over Facebook for comments she made on the popular social network has had her dismissal upheld by the national workplace watchdog. The 15-year-old was fired after it was claimed she had written to a possible competitor of her employer, despite being told not to. In a peculiar twist, her employer then fired her via Facebook. The sacking has since been upheld by Fair Work Australia after the girl, who cannot be named, took too long to file a complaint. The case marks something of an increasing trend of workplace folly that has come from misuse of the social networking site. There have been at least five cases before Fair Work Australia where employees have been sacked after something they wrote or did was recorded on Facebook. There are likely to be many more dismissals that went unchallenged and never reached the tribunal.”
Google baulks at Conroy’s call to censor YouTube [SMH] – Google tells Stephen Conroy it won’t be filtering YouTube for him! Australian “Communications Minister Stephen Conroy referred to Google’s censorship on behalf of the Chinese and Thai governments in making his case for the company to impose censorship locally. Google Australia’s head of policy, Iarla Flynn, said the company had a bias in favour of freedom of expression in everything it did and Conroy’s comparisons between how Australia and China deal with access to information were not “helpful or relevant”. Google has recently threatened to pull out of China, partly due to continuing requests for it to censor material. “YouTube has clear policies about what content is not allowed, for example hate speech and pornography, and we enforce these, but we can’t give any assurances that we would voluntarily remove all Refused Classification content from YouTube,” Flynn said.”
WARNING: Google Buzz Has A Huge Privacy Flaw [Business Insider] – The privacy problems with Buzz defaults: “There is a huge privacy flaw in Google’s new Twitter/Facebook competitor, Google Buzz. When you first go into Google Buzz, it automatically sets you up with followers and people to follow. A Google spokesperson tells us these people are chosen based on whom the users emails and chats with most using Gmail. That’s fine. The problem is that — by default — the people you follow and the people that follow you are made public to anyone who looks at your profile. In other words, before you ever touch any settings in Google Buzz, someone could go into your profile and see who are the people you email and chat with most. In my profession – where anonymous sourcing is a crucial tool — the implications are terrifying. But it’s bad for others too. Two obvious scenarios come to mind: imagine if a wife discovering that her husband emails and chats with an old girlfriend a ton. Imagine a boss discovers a subordinate emails with executives at a competitor”
More Fun than Blackboard – A satirical blog which documents things which might be “more fun that Blackboard’s discussion board system”. So far, blog entries include root canal surgery and running with scissors!