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Links for January 27th 2010:
- Terms of (Ab)Use: US and UK Consumers Dance to Different iTunes [Electronic Frontier Foundation] – Further illustration of the insanity of different national licensing agreements: “For example, as with many TOS agreements, the iTunes U.S. Terms purport to allow Apple to terminate any part of the service, including access to any music or other content available through iTunes, at any time without warning. The U.K. Terms step back from that extreme position. In particular, the U.K. Terms do not allow Apple to affect a user’s access to content already purchased. Furthermore, before terminating a user’s access to iTunes, the U.K. Terms require there at least be “strong grounds,” rather than mere “suspicion,” to believe the user has violated the agreement, and also obligates iTunes to provide notice of any planned modification, suspension, or termination to the extent possible. In other words, the U.K. Terms provide customers at least some guidance as to the grounds for termination, rather than leave them to worry their access to iTunes can be terminated at any moment for any reason.”
- Australia Set to Introduce Internet Filter that Could Block Access to Thousands of Anime, Comics, Gaming (ACG) and Slash Fan Sites by Mark McLelland, University of Wollongong [Guest Post: Confessions of an Aca-Fan] – Guest post by Mark McLelland looking at the implications of the Australian government’s forthcoming ISP-level internet filtering legislation on slash, anime, manga sites and thus fans in Australia. Outlook: poor.
- After Three Months, Only 35 Subscriptions for Newsday’s Web Site [The New York Observer] – So, how’s that paywall going? “In late October, Newsday, the Long Island daily that the Dolans bought for $650 million, put its web site, newsday.com, behind a pay wall. The paper was one of the first non-business newspapers to take the plunge by putting up a pay wall, so in media circles it has been followed with interest. Could its fate be a sign of what others, including The New York Times, might expect? So, three months later, how many people have signed up to pay $5 a week, or $260 a year, to get unfettered access to newsday.com? The answer: 35 people. As in fewer than three dozen. As in a decent-sized elementary-school class. That astoundingly low figure was revealed in a newsroom-wide meeting last week by publisher Terry Jimenez when a reporter asked how many people had signed up for the site. Mr. Jimenez didn’t know the number off the top of his head, so he asked a deputy sitting near him. He replied 35.”
- Google Doodle For Australia Day Missing Aboriginal Flag [SMH] – “An Australia Day artwork by student Jessie Du will be viewed by millions on Google’s home page today but one feature of her original design is conspicuously absent – the Aboriginal flag. Jessie’s Australia-themed version of the Google logo beat thousands of other entrants in the search giant’s Doodle 4 Google competition […] Jessie, 11, is a student at Rydalmere East Public School. Her entry fashioned the letters in Google’s logo out of native Australian animals, such as the kangaroo, koala and emu. The central “o” in the original design was the Aboriginal flag but this has been edited out of the final version that adorns Google’s home page today. The discrepancy caused much consternation on Twitter, but a Google spokeswoman explained that the editing of Jessie’s design was due to a copyright dispute. The designer of the flag, Harold Thomas, who owns the copyright to the flag, refused to give Google permission to reproduce the design on its website…”
- Stop pining for life on Pandora and come back to planet Earth [Telegraph] – Conservative London Mayor Boris Johnson on Avatar: “It is a feature of powerful military empires that they like to romanticise their victims and luxuriate guiltily in the pathos of their suffering. Think of the Roman crowds pleading for the lives of captured barbarians in the amphitheatre.[…] And I can’t believe that many of these gloomy post-Avatar Westerners, when they really think about it, would want to up sticks to Pandora and take part in Na’vi society, with its obstinate illiteracy, undemocratic adherence to a monarchy based on male primogeniture and complete absence of restaurants. The final irony, of course, is that this entrancing vision of prelapsarian innocence is the product of the most ruthless and sophisticated money-machine the world has ever seen. With a budget of $237 million and with takings already at £1 billion, this exquisite capitalist guilt trip represents one of the great triumphs of capitalism.”
Rather Google-centric links January 13th 2010:
- Google ‘may end China operations over Gmail breaches’ [BBC News] – “Internet search company Google says it may end operations in China over alleged breaches of the e-mail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. It said it had found a “sophisticated and targeted attack on our corporate infrastructure originating from China”. It did not specifically accuse China’s government but said it was no longer willing to censor its Chinese site’s results, as the government requires. Google said the decision may mean it has to shut the site, set up in 2006.” Google’s certainly showing some real guts; read their official statement.
- Google finally enters the online storage arena with a free 1GB [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – With the announcement that Google are now supporting online file storage of any file-type via Google Docs the fabled GDrive appears one step closer! Jack Schofield examines Google’s online storage foray: “First, as Google says, you will be able to share files that Google Docs can’t handle, presumably including avi and MP3. That is clearly useful. Second, Google Docs can be a problem for companies sharing Microsoft Office files, because the features you lose when you convert to Google’s formats you can never get back. Google Docs storage will now let people share those files. And third…. Google is planning to launch ChromeOS, where computers run a Chrome browser but have no permanent local storage: everything is done “in the cloud”. Google probably does not plan to tell those folks to go somewhere else to store their files, so at that point it will need an online storage offering.”
- Uni staff migrate to the cloud [The Australian] – “More universities are set to follow Macquarie and outsource staff email to parties such as Google’s Gmail, with Curtin University close to a deal with Microsoft. About 14 Australian universities have already outsourced their student email to Gmail or Microsoft’s Live@edu service, but this week Macquarie became the first to migrate staff to the so-called cloud in a deal with Gmail. The cloud is jargon for the outsourcing of email and data services to external providers that host the data on servers that can be located across the world. Concerns about the security of intellectual property and academic privacy had made universities cautious about moving staff to the cloud. But Macquarie’s chief information officer Marc Bailey said the likes of Google and Microsoft offered vastly superior security to a university.” (Given how frustrating current arrangements can be, I welcome a cloud-based email system for Curtin staff!)
- Google Plans to Upgrade Old Billboards in Street View [RW Web] – Google’s street view becomes a virtual advertising landscape! Inspired by Minority Report perhaps? “According to a new patent that was just granted to Google, the company could soon extend the reach of its advertising program in Google Maps to Street View. This patent, which was originally filed on July 7, 2008, describes a new system for promoting ads in online mapping applications. In this patent, Google describes how it plans to identify buildings, posters, signs and billboards in these images and give advertisers the ability to replace these images with more up-to-date ads. In addition, Google also seems to plan an advertising auction for unclaimed properties. In Google’s example, the software could identify the marquis and individual window posters on a theater property and replace them with new information. Through this, a theater could promote a new play in Street View, even if the actual Street View image is completely out of date.”
Links of interest for November 21st 2008 through November 22nd 2008:
- EFA concerned about movie industry lawsuit against iiNet [Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA)] – “Electronic Frontiers Australa (EFA) today expressed concern about a lawsuit filed against Internet Service Provider iiNet in the Federal Court. A consortium of media companies have sued the ISP for allegedly allowing its users to download infringing movies and TV shows by failing to terminate their accounts after allegations of infringement by the copyright industry. “This lawsuit is the latest attempt by the movie industry to bully Internet Service Providers into becoming copyright police,” said EFA spokesperson Nicolas Suzor. “ISPs are not in a position to monitor and terminate internet access to users based upon unsubstantiated threats from copyright owners, and should not be asked to do so.””
- Kraftwerk sample case overturned [BBC NEWS | Entertainment] – “A court in Germany has told electronic band Kraftwerk that a producer who sampled one of their songs was not violating copyright. The ruling overturns an earlier decision against Moses Pelham’s use of a short sample from Metal on Metal. Judges in Berlin said the two second extract did not infringe copyright, as his song was substantially different. The move will come as a blow to artists who object to rivals using samples of their work to create new songs. ” (Bring on the legal remixes and mashups!)
- Immersion [The New York Times – Video Library] – A fascinating video by Robbie Cooper which captures the faces of young people as they play videogames – watch that concentration! (There are photos, too.)
- ‘The Dark Knight’ Conquers BitTorrent [TorrentFreak] – This week, in another round of leaks, DVD-rips of ‘The Dark Knight’ found their way to BitTorrent. Unsurprisingly, given the commercial success of the movie, <em>these were downloaded well over a million times in just a few days</em>. From the looks of it, Batman will crush Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk and Transformers, as it will easily become this year’s most pirated movie.
- Star Trek [Apple – Trailers] – Young James T Kirk … the beginnings of the Enterprise … angry Spock … and sex in outer space. The Star Trek reboot will either be amazing or utterly wrong!
- 19-Year-Old Lifecaster Commits Suicide on Justin.TV [smcb] – “In a tragic story from NewTeeVee, we learn that a 19-year-old user of the online live-streaming video service Justin.TV has apparently commit suicide in front of an audience of fellow forum dwellers egging him on during the process. The death has been confirmed with the Broward County medical examiner and the timeline has been pieced together from several different forums that have chronicled the unfortunate series of events.”
Links of interest for October 28th 2008:
- Putting Privacy Settings in the Context of Use (in Facebook and elsewhere) [apophenia] – danah boyd’s sensible and timely reminder about Facebook’s ridiculously complicated and confusing privacy settings: “Facebook’s privacy settings are the most flexible and the most confusing privacy settings in the industry. Over and over again, I interview teens (and adults) who think that they’ve set their privacy settings to do one thing and are shocked (and sometimes horrified) to learn that their privacy settings do something else. Furthermore, because of things like tagged photos, people are often unaware of the visibility of content that they did not directly contribute. People continue to get themselves into trouble because they lack the control that they think they have.” [Via Jill] (These, incidentally, are among the reasons why you won’t see any pictures of my son on Facebook! Flickr, where I retain copyright and can actually use meaningful privacy settings, is far preferable!)
- Google considers local centre [Australian IT] – “Google has quietly dispatched a team of experts from the US on a fact-finding mission to decide whether it should establish a data centre in Australia. In the past few weeks the team of about five Google US employees had been involved in high-level discussions with local data centre providers, sources said. The meetings are believed to have been led by Simon Tusha, who labels himself as “Google’s duke of data centres”. A Google-run data centre would be positive for the company’s operations in Australia as it sought to increase its penetration of the large education sector.”
- Microsoft to battle in the clouds [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “Microsoft has unveiled a cloud computing service, in which data and applications will not be stored on individuals’ computers. The new platform, dubbed Windows Azure, was announced at Microsoft’s Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles. The platform was described by Microsoft’s chief software architect Ray Ozzie as “Windows for the cloud”. … The move sees Microsoft taking on established players like Google and Amazon in the rapidly growing business of online software. The aim is to allow developers to build new applications which will live on the internet, rather than on their own computers.” [Check out Windows Azure; but Dave Winer’s not impressed.]
Links of interest for October 27th 2008:
- Telecommunications Today Report 6: Internet Activity and Content [ACMA, 22 October 2008] – A detailed look at Internet use in Australia (September 2008): “Age is a determining factor in the activities consumers choose to perform online. Email is the most common application across all age groups. Streaming videos and banking online feature in the top five activities of all age groups, and participating in auctions features in the top 10. Internet users aged between 16 and 24 years are the most likely group to use the internet for entertainment, while those aged between 25 and 34 also recorded a high level of use of social and entertainment applications. A high proportion of users over the age of 45 use the internet to submit forms or information to government websites; this activity is recorded in the top 10 of all three age group segment …” [View the full PDF.]
- Net filters may block porn and gambling sites [The Age] – “Family First Senator Steve Fielding wants hardcore pornography and fetish material blocked under the Government’s plans to filter the internet, sparking renewed fears the censorship could be expanded well beyond “illegal material”. The Opposition said it would most likely block any attempts to introduce the controversial mandatory ISP filtering policy, so the Government would need the support of Senator Fielding as well as the Greens and Senator Nick Xenophon to pass the legislation. Industry sources said Senator Fielding’s sentiments validated ISPs’ concerns that the categories of blocked content could be broadened significantly at the whim of the Government, which is under pressure to appease vocal minorities.”
- Bishop apologises after second plagiarism incident [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – “Deputy Opposition Leader [and former education minister!!] Julie Bishop has been forced to apologise after being embroiled in a second plagiarism row. A spokeswoman for Ms Bishop says the Opposition treasury spokeswoman submitted a chapter for a book about the future of the Liberal Party, that was actually written by her chief of staff, Murray Hansen. In the essay, Mr Hansen used material contained in a speech made by New Zealand businessman Roger Kerr several years ago. Mr Hansen says he forgot to provide footnotes to the publisher.” (I wonder how many of our students will be ‘forgetting to include the footnotes’ and calling it the Bishop defense, this semester? *sigh*)