Links for December 6th 2009 through December 10th 2009:
Tiger Woods’s Web Site Is Drawing Attention and Scrutiny [NYTimes.com] – When Web Presence goes wrong: “In the nearly two weeks since Tiger Woods became tabloid fodder, his personal Web site has turned into a kind of town hall meeting on his reported extramarital behavior. More than 22,000 comments, many of them supportive but plenty of the finger-wagging variety, followed the Dec. 2 statement in which he admitted to vague “transgressions” and to letting his family down. The scandal over Woods’s suspected misdeeds has elevated TigerWoods.com’s traffic drastically, although not into the Internet stratosphere. In the week ending Nov. 29 — the day he issued his statement about his car accident — the number of unique users soared to 488,000 visitors, according to Nielsen Online. In that same period, it beat the 89,000 who visited BritneySpears.com.”
Facebook’s New Privacy Changes: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly [Electronic Frontier Foundation] – “Although sold as a “privacy” revamp, Facebook’s new changes are obviously intended to get people to open up even more of their Facebook data to the public. The privacy “wizard” that guides users through the configuration will “recommend” — preselect by default — the setting to share the content they post to Facebook, such as status messages and wall posts, with everyone on the Internet, even though the default privacy level that those users had accepted previously was limited to “Your Networks and Friends” on Facebook […] to ensure that users don’t accidentally share more than they intend to, we do not recommend Facebook’s “recommended” settings.” (Facebook’s explanation of the new settings.)
Game Developer Won’t Edit ‘Aliens vs. Predator’ To Appease Australian Censors [Techdirt] – “Rose M. Welch alerts us to the news that game developer Rebellion has decided not to resubmit an edited version of its game Aliens vs. Predator after it was rejected by the Australian Classification Board for being too violent. The company stated that it agrees the game is not suitable for children: “We agree strongly that our game is not suitable for game players who are not adults… it is bloody and frightening, that was our intent.” But Australia apparently doesn’t have an option for such “mature” content, and Rebellion seems to recognize how ridiculous that is: “We will not be releasing a sanitized or cut down version for territories where adults are not considered by their governments to be able to make their own entertainment choices.” Hopefully, things like this will make Australia reconsider its censorship of such content.” (Oh, Australia is ready to reconsider our insane games rating system … some annoying guy in SA isn’t!)
More than 50 papers join in front-page leader article on climate change [Media | guardian.co.uk] – THE GOOD: “The Guardian has teamed up with more 50 papers worldwide to run the same front-page leader article calling for action at the climate summit in Copenhagen, which begins tomorrow. This unprecedented project is the result of months of negotiations between the papers to agree on a final text, in a process that mirrors the kind of diplomatic wrangling among the world’s governments that is likely to precede any potential deal on climate change. Fifty-six papers in 45 countries published in 20 different languages have joined the initiative, and will feature the leader in some form on their front pages.
THE BAD: “Two Australian papers, the Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, pulled out at a late stage after the election of climate change sceptic Tony Abbott as leader of the opposition Liberal party recast the country’s debate on green issues.” (Australian media already bowing to Tony Abbott’s climate change scepticism …)
App Store Is a Game Changer for Apple and Cellphone Industry [NYTimes.com] – “Apple changed the view of what you can do with that small phone in your back pocket,” says Katy Huberty, a Morgan Stanley analyst. “Applications make the smartphone trend a revolutionary trend — one we haven’t seen in consumer technology for many years.” Ms. Huberty likens the advent of the App Store and the iPhone to AOL’s pioneering role in driving broad-based consumer adoption of the Internet in the 1990s. She also draws comparisons to ways in which laptops have upended industry assumptions about consumer preferences and desktop computing. But, she notes, something even more profound may now be afoot. “The iPhone is something different. It’s changing our behavior,” she says. “The game that Apple is playing is to become the Microsoft of the smartphone market.” (That last sentence is the important one: Microsoft has trouble playing with others; Apple’s increasingly having that issue, too!)
Interesting links for August 21st 2008 through August 22nd 2008:
Monkey Magic – Karen Lury / University of Glasgow [Flow TV, 8.06] – Playful and engaging reading of the BBC Monkey-style BBC Opening for the Olympic Games: “A playful, irreverent choice then: a trailer that reverses a mythic journey (from West to East) and which pays overt homage to a cult TV series that was never – in any coherent sense – an ‘authentic’ reflection or interpretation of Chinese culture or mythology. … The animation itself reproduces certain static poses and a colour scheme that may have been inspired by Chinese illustration and Japanese Manga; but for Hewlett fans, this is recognisably a Hewlett world – a world that is both menacing and cute (and where ‘cute’ is revealingly close to its roots in the freakish world of the side-show). It is funny and slightly unsettling as Pigsy smirks provocatively or when Monkey opens his mouth to reveal his dirty and surprisingly sharp teeth.”
Digital futures report: the internet in Australia [CCI] – “This report provides an overview of our work, presenting results for each of the questions asked. We will also be publishing work that examines relationships between our key variables exploring, for example, differences between users with broadband access at home and those on dial-up connections and the differences that age, gender and education levels make to people’s use and experience of the internet. Analysis we have already conducted shows that broadband does make a substantial difference to peoples’ use of the internet. The internet is more highly valued by those with broadband connections and they use the internet for longer and for a greater variety of purposes. Younger people have been quick to integrate the internet into their lives, they use the internet more and particularly for entertainment.” [Full Report PDF]
Few lives left for Second Life [The Age] – “Separately, figures released by the virtual world’s creator Linden Lab in April show there are only 12,245 active Australian Second Life users, down from highs of 16,000 towards the end of last year. … Australians appear to have lost interest in Second Life and the users still there appear to be shying away from the big corporate brands. Kim MacKenzie, a PhD student at the Queensland University of Technology, centred her honours year thesis around the business applications of Second Life. She studied the Second Life bases of 20 international brands over three months last year, including Dell, Toyota, Coca-Cola, BMW, AOL and Vodafone. “They were like ghost towns,” said MacKenzie, adding that many of the users she saw on the company islands appeared to be staff members.” (A significant rebuttal of the information and argument in this article can be found at Personalize Media.
For YouTube videos, a ‘fair use’ boost [News.com] – “Copyright owners, such as NBC Universal, Warner Bros., and Viacom, were put on notice Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled that they must not order video be removed from Web sites indiscriminately. Before taking action against a clip, copyright owners, must form a “good-faith belief ” that a video is infringing, according to Corynne McSherry, an attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “
Poor earning virtual gaming gold [BBC NEWS | Technology] – “Nearly half a million people are employed in developing countries earning virtual goods in online games to sell to players, a study has found. Research by Manchester University shows that the practice, known as gold-farming, is growing rapidly. Researchers say the industry, which is largely based in China, currently employs about 400,000 young people who earn £80 per month on average.” (Good article, but really, “playbourers”?)
Up, Up, and Away? Separating Fact from Fiction in the Comic Book Business [Alisa Perren / Georgia State University – Flow TV 8.06] – A timely look at the relationship between comic book sales and the blockbuster movies they’ve been driving so successfully this year: “Myth #1: Comic-Con is all about comics. From its inception in 1970 well into the 1990s, this was largely the case. However, in recent years, the Hollywood studios increasingly have focused their energies on using the annual event as a means of promoting upcoming films and television programs. … Myth #2: Since movies based on comics are all the rage, comic books must be selling like crazy.”
iTunes blocked in China after protest stunt [WA Today] – “Access to Apple’s online iTunes Store has been blocked in China after it emerged that Olympic athletes have been downloading and possibly listening to a pro-Tibetan music album in a subtle act of protest against China’s rule over the province. The album, called Songs for Tibet, was produced by an a group called The Art of Peace Foundation, and features 20 tracks from well-known singers and songwriters including Sting, Moby, Suzanne Vega and Alanis Morissette. It was released as a download on the iTunes Store on August 5 – three days before the start of the Olympics – with the physical CD launched on Tuesday this week. The Foundation provided free downloads of the album to Olympic athletes, urging them to play the songs on their iPods during the Games as a show of support.”