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 …”
Google’s Do-It-Yourself App Tool [NYTimes.com] – Nifty: “Google is bringing Android software development to the masses. The company will offer a software tool, starting Monday, that is intended to make it easy for people to write applications for its Android smartphones. The free software, called Google App Inventor for Android (appinventor.googlelabs.com/about), has been under development for a year. User testing has been done mainly in schools with groups that included sixth graders, high school girls, nursing students and university undergraduates who are not computer science majors. The thinking behind the initiative, Google said, is that as cellphones increasingly become the computers that people rely on most, users should be able to make applications themselves. “
Facebook ClickCeop app to offer optional ‘panic button’ [Technology | The Guardian] – “After months of pressure to improve its online safety features, Facebook has reached an agreement to provide an application not dissimilar to the “panic button” critics have called for, which users can add to their homepage and links to the UK’s online child protection watchdog. […] Now Facebook UK is to launch a new initiative with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, one of its harshest critics, to give all users the potential to access the organisation’s advice and reporting centre. The service, accessible via a ClickCeop button, includes a dedicated facility for reporting instances of suspected grooming or inappropriate sexual behaviour. Facebook said that it marks the first time in the UK that all users, and especially the target demographic of 13-to-18-year-olds, will be able to have direct access to CEOP’s services. However, the new system is opt-in, meaning that Facebook users will have to actively choose to download, add, or bookmark the new button …”
Facebook relents on doll nipples ban [The Age] – Not so prudebook (just bad management): “A Sydney jeweller has castigated Facebook for its “opaque” and “arbitrary” moderation system after the site apologised for censoring her images of a nude porcelain doll posing with her works. The social networking site admitted this morning that it made a “mistake” in removing Victoria Buckley’s photos, after last week sending her several warning notices for publishing “inappropriate content” and erasing both censored and uncensored versions of the image from Facebook. “We’ve investigated this further and determined that we made a mistake in removing these photos,” Facebook said in a statement.”
iChatr: Chatroulette For the iPhone [TechCrunch] – “Oh, Internet, is there anything you can’t do? iChatr, a new app for the iPhone, is essentially Chatroulette for the iPhone. It’s pretty barren right now – I saw the same people once or twice – but the quality is pretty good …”
Tangerinegate… by Robert Popper [BBC Comedy Blog] – What happens when a prank call alleging the British PM’s temper got the best of him is aired live? Fact checking? Verification? Nope: straight to the daily newspapers! Popper’s tale: “So I switched on LBC (a London talk radio station) where the topic was Gordon Brown’s alleged bad temper. I called up and got through almost instantly. “What do you want to talk about?” asked the LBC operator. Without time to think I replied, “Gordon Brown visited my place of work and lost his temper right in front of me”. Very soon I was on air, explaining how Gordon Brown had toured my workshop – a ‘lamination factory’ – and thrown a tangerine into one of the machines, breaking it, before calling a member of staff a ‘citric idiot’. It was all I could think of at the time. A load of nonsense. But I was quite proud of the phrase, ‘citric idiot’.”
If you blog unauthorized “Daily Show” or “Colbert” clips, Viacom will sue your ass [Boing Boing] – Couldn’t agree with Xeni more on this one: “The Hollywood Reporter asked Viacom if the network intends to go after websites or bloggers who post unauthorized clips. “Yes, we intend to do so,” PR rep Tony Fox told THR. “My feeling is if (websites) are making money on our copyrighted content, then that is a problem.” What a big steaming pile of epic fail. How ’bout blogs (like, oh, let’s say Boing Boing) start suing Viacom for every time a Comedy Central writer lifts an idea, a blog post, a funny turn of phrase, or a story—and fails to credit, namecheck or pay us? Cmon guys, you know you do it. Television suit-people, when will you ever learn: we are the internet. We are your traffic machine. We are your idea machine. We are the engine that propels your shows.”
Ballmer: Google’s culture isn’t responsible for its success [Technology | guardian.co.uk] – Steve Ballmer proves he doesn’t get irony (or: how does he think Windows got its dominance?!?): “Ask Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer why he thinks Google is the internet’s most powerful company, however, and he’ll offer a straightforward alternative: it got there first. Speaking at the SMX West conference in California on Tuesday, the man in charge of rival search engine Bing said that Google’s success today was not tangibly linked to the company’s culture, but simply spun out of the fact that it became successful in web search before its rivals. “The number one thing that Google benefits from in search is that they did it right, first,” he said. “There’s a value to incumbency.” “You can ascribe these things to things like culture, but it’s never clear which came first – incumbency or culture,” he added.”
Researchers Suspect “Perfect Storm” of Political Opportunism in Game Violence Studies [GamePolitics] – Debunking videogames = violence:
“* In the last 10 years, video games studies have been overwhelmingly popular compared to studies on other media.
* Less than half of studies (41%) used well validated aggression measures.
* Poorly standardized and unreliable measures of aggression tended to produce the highest effects, possibly because their unstandardized format allows researchers to pick and choose from a range of possible outcomes.
* The closer aggression measures got to actual violent behavior, the weaker the effects seen.
* Experimental studies produced much higher effects than correlational or longitudinal studies. As experimental studies were most likely to use aggression measures of poor quality, this may be the reason why.
* There was no evidence that video games produce higher effects than other media, despite their interactive nature.
* Overall, effects were negligible, and we conclude that media violence generally has little demonstrable effect on aggressive behavior.”
Picnik Acquired by Google [Picnik Blog] – So Google have purchased the online photo editing service Picnik. I’ve always found Picnik really useful for quite edits and found their integration into Flickr really useful. Of course, Flickr is owned by Yahoo, and while the noise initially is “nothing will change” we’ll have to see how Flickr’s integration with Google Picnik continues. In the meantime, I’m hoping to see a lot more of Picnik in Picasa! 🙂
Understanding the Participatory News Consumer [Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project] – “The internet is now the third most-popular news platform, behind local and national television news and ahead of national print newspapers, local print newspapers and radio. Getting news online fits into a broad pattern of news consumption by Americans; six in ten (59%) get news from a combination of online and offline sources on a typical day. The internet and mobile technologies are at the center of the story of how people’s relationship to news is changing. In today’s new multi-platform media environment, news is becoming portable, personalized, and participatory: portable – 33% of cell phone owners now access news on their cell phones; personalized – 28% of internet users have customized their home page to include news from sources and on topics that particularly interest them; participatory – 37% of internet users have contributed to the creation of news, commented about it, or disseminated it via postings on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter.”
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.”
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.”
Social media terms are Words Of The Year 2009 [Computerworld] – “Words from the world of technology and social media are among those identified as the “Words of the Year 2009” in a list commissioned by Oxford University Press. The New Oxford American Dictionary had already announced the verb ‘unfriend’ (“To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook”) as its word of the year, confirming the social-networking term’s ubiquity. […] Also derived from Twitter is the word “Hastag” – meaning the # [hash] sign added to a word or phrase that enables Twitter users to search for tweets that contain similarly tagged items. “Tag cloud” (a visual depiction of the word content of a website, or of user-generated tags attached to online content) was also picked out as one of the words of the year.”
In 2009, Social Media Overtook Web 2.0 – GRAPHS [Mashable] – “Web 2.0. A few years ago, it was the hottest buzzword around. It refers to the second generation of web apps following the Internet bubble that devastated not only Silicon Valley, but our economy in general. Social Media. While its definition is not yet etched in stone, most believe it describes a new type of media and communication that creates a world conversation and dialogue. Instead of being fed news (a one-to-many dissemination approach), everyone is welcomed to be a content creator and to generate a debate around that content. While its focus is the web, it goes beyond it as well. Web 2.0 is a term that has been around since 2004. And as this graph of Google search volume indicates, it reached its peak in 2007 and 2008. But while the term is less frequently used and is in many ways outdated, its been a far more well-known and popular term than social media — until now.”
Location, Location, Location: 5 Big Predictions for 2010 [Mashable] – Will location be the next big thing in social media? Where did you update your Facebook status from … and did you really want to share it? “GPS-aware mobile devices have become commonplace, which means connecting the dots between what you’re doing and where you’re doing it is easier than ever. In 2009, location-sharing applications finally emerged in user-friendly formats, altering the way we think about where we are and helping us understand more of the meaning behind the data in aggregate. Technology early adopters showed a predilection towards mobile location-based games, discovering that check-ins could mean something and that being the mayor of a venue might earn them a free drink. Now that businesses are actively exploring the opportunities that these location-aware services provide, we’ll see location matter more than ever in 2010. 1. Facebook Status Updates Will Become Location-Aware […] 5. Location Will Be Both Media Darling and Cautionary Tale”
[MLA 09] “Blogging, Scholarship, and the Networked Public Sphere” Draft [The Chutry Experiment ] – Chuck Tryon takes a fresh look at scholarly blogging from the 2009 MLA: “… the most notable aspect of blogging may be the temporal orientation that encourages daily or semi-daily publication. Although writing frequently may seem to discourage the deeper reflection privileged in academic essays, writing often, for a large audience, also provides the opportunity not only to benefit from the expertise of a wide range of readers–whether scholars or industry professionals–but also to build a well-developed, cross-referenced archive that can serve as a kind of history of the present. In this sense, it is worthwhile to return to Shambu’s comments about what he values about blogging: blogs allow us to educate ourselves in public, to learn collectively about pertinent issues, as we seek to make sense of our current moment of media transition.”
Race and Social Network Sites: Putting Facebook’s Data in Context [apophenia] – danah boyd takes a hard look at race in relation to social networks: “A few weeks ago, Facebook’s data team released a set of data addressing a simple but complex question: How Diverse is Facebook? Given my own work over the last two years concerning the intersection of race/ethnicity/class and social network sites, I feel the need to respond. And, with pleasure, I’m going to respond by sharing a draft of a new paper. […] access is important. But I’m much more concerned about how racist and classist attitudes are shaping digital media, how technology reinforces inequality, and how our habit of assuming that everyone uses social media just like we do reinforces social divisions that we prefer to ignore.”
The Absent Presence: Today’s Faculty [Brian Croxall] – Brian Croxall’s MLA paper (presented in absentia) which clearly elucidates the casualisation of US academia (like Australia and elsewhere, too): “… having a faculty majority comprised of contingent faculty means a lot more than just conferences being less and less attended. In my case, it means that my students cannot easily meet with me for office hours since contingent faculty don’t really have offices. It means that they do not get effective, personal mentoring because I have too many students. It means that I cannot give the small and frequent assignments that I believe teach them more than a “3-paper class” because I do not have time to grade 90 students’ small and frequent assignments. It means that the courses they can take from me will not be updated as frequently as I think is ideal because I will be spending all of my spare time looking for more secure employment—or working a part-time job.”
HP camera ‘can’t see’ black faces [BBC News] – A very clear way to explain how race is still an issue in software and hardware design – it’s the presumption of a ‘normal user’ which is so often white: “A YouTube video suggesting that face recognition cameras installed in HP laptops cannot detect black faces has had over one million views. The short movie, uploaded earlier this month, features “Black Desi” and his colleague “White Wanda”. When Wanda, a white woman, is in front of the screen, the camera zooms to her face and moves as she moves. But when Desi, a black man, does the same, the camera does not respond by tracking him. The clip is light-hearted in tone but is titled “HP computers are racist”.” The video:
Avatar To Sink Titanic at Box Office [WA Today] – In Australian movie theatres: “Avatar has raced to almost $36 million in its first 13 days. Helped by higher ticket prices for 3-D, giant screen and premium cinema sessions, the science-fiction epic is expected to become one of the country’s top 10 highest-grossing movies by today or tomorrow. The general manager of film for the Greater Union chain, Peter Cody, predicted yesterday that Avatar would top Titanic after an ”outstanding” opening fortnight. ”There’s every likelihood it will go on to gross north of $60 million,” he said. ”Even if the film drops 50 per cent in week three – and I don’t think it will – that’s $50 million.’ […] Despite the financial downturn and the popularity of home cinema, the Australian box office is expected to break the $1 billion mark for the first time this year. Given it was up 15 per cent to the end of November, the annual tally is expected to easily top last year’s record $945.4 million.”
UK Government Report Shows That Digital Economy Bill Will Cost More Than Highest ‘Piracy’ Estimates, Drive 40,000 Offline [Techdirt] – Even just on the economic side this seems rather silly: “As the UK considers Peter Mandelson’s Digital Economy Bill, a UK government report that looks into the likely impact of the law is incredibly damning. It finds that the plans to send threat letters to users and eventually kick them offline based on accusations (not convictions) would cost consumers in the neighborhood of £500 million. Note, of course, that the music industry itself claims that £200 million worth of music is downloaded in the UK per year (and, of course, that’s only “losses” if you use the ridiculous and obviously incorrect calculation that each download is a “lost sale”).”
MPs warned to avoid hasty blogs [BBC NEWS | UK | UK Politics] – The next generation of [UK] Labour MPs have been warned to be careful about what they write on blogs and websites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube – as comments made in haste remain on the internet forever. At a packed fringe meeting hosted by Google at the Labour conference, activists, prospective and current MPs were told of the benefits of social networking sites – where politicians can get their message out without civil servants and special advisers getting in the way. Labour’s newly crowned “Twitter tsar”, MP Kerry McCarthy, made a bid to win over the sceptics by saying it did not have to be a burden […] But in a word of warning Adewale Oshineye, a Google engineer, advised prospective MPs to bear in mind they were publishing something that could be dug out years later. “When you are saying something amusing as a prospective parliamentary candidate, in four or five years’ time when you are a cabinet minister and someone digs that up…””
Online advertising ‘overtakes TV’ [BBC NEWS | Business] – “Online advertising spending in the UK has overtaken television expenditure for the first time, a report has said. Outlay grew 4.6% to £1.752bn between January and July, according to the study by the Internet Advertising Bureau and PricewaterhouseCoopers. The recession saw overall advertising slide by 16% in the period, according to the study. E-mail campaigns, classified adverts, display ads and search marketing are all classed as online advertising. The body representing UK commercial television broadcasters said that the comparison was unfair.” (Unfair … or harder to pitch against?)
Aussies call an end to just phoning on mobiles [The Age] – “Using mobiles for just calls and texting is a thing of the past, as a third of Australians now check emails on their handsets and more than 70 per cent access mobile entertainment and information services. In spite of the global financial crisis, the use of mobile phone services has continued to grow in the past year as more Australians buy internet-enabled smartphones, the 2009 Australian Mobile Phone Lifestyle Index reveals. Released today by the Australian Interactive Media Industry Association, the exhaustive survey of 3710 respondents found 36% used email on their mobiles in the past 12 months, and, of those, almost half used email daily – a growth rate of 80 per cent over the previous year. In last year’s survey, just 7 per cent of respondents accessed social networking sites from their handsets, but this figure has jumped this year to 32 per cent, with half of those accessing the sites daily.”
Sarah Brown becomes Britain’s highest-profile Twitter user [Politics | guardian.co.uk] – “Sarah Brown [wife of UK PM] has overtaken Stephen Fry as Britain’s highest profile Twitter user, it emerged today. “SarahBrown10” has gained more than 775,000 followers since joining the social networking service in March, outstripping Fry’s 768,000. The number of fans keeping up with Brown’s tweets amounts to almost five times the entire Labour party membership. The prime minister’s wife steers clear of political controversy in her messages, instead giving followers glimpses into her day-to-day life and publicising her favourite charities. … Since joining Twitter, Brown has sent out 1,162 messages, each limited to 140 characters. Ross Furlong, an online public relations expert, said Brown’s tweets could help Labour despite the fact that she does not use them for campaigning purposes. “Although the content is deliberately not party political, she is effectively pressing voter flesh online, as she did in person at the Glenrothes byelection to great effect,” Furlong said .”
The Message of Twitter: "Here It Is" and "Here I Am" [Confessions of an Aca/Fan: Archives] – Henry Jenkins has a thoughtful post on why Twitter matters. The most positive being that "None of us can spot everything in our field and collectively pooling our knowledge is of enormous value. For me, that's been my primary use of Twitter both as a consumer and as a contributor." The most negative being the misquoting that from the contextlessness of 140 characters (something especially problematic for academics).
Identity of 'skank' blogger revealed [The Age] – "An anonymous blogger whose identity was unmasked by court order after she called a Vogue Australia covergirl a "psychotic, whoring, lying … skank" plans to sue Google for $US15 million for breaching her privacy. The model, Liskula Cohen, confronted and forgave the blogger after a judge ordered Google to tell Cohen who had allegedly defamed her on a blog called "Skanks in NYC". … it has now been revealed that the blogger is Rosemary Port, a 29-year-old New York fashion student. … In an interview with the New York Daily News, Port said Cohen, 37, had defamed herself by launching such a public lawsuit. She claimed she had the right to an opinion and that she had been "put on a silver platter for the press to attack". "Before her suit, there were probably two hits on my website: one from me looking at it, and one from her looking at it," Port said. "That was before it became a spectacle. I feel my right to privacy has been violated."" (The privacy 'there and back again' …)
Fairfax records $380m loss [ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)] – "Fairfax Media has posted a net loss of $380 million for the 2009 financial year. The media company says its underlying earnings were $605m, down 27 per cent on the previous year. Fairfax has blamed the speed of the economic slowdown, cuts to advertising revenues, and the move towards online services for the result."
Location, Location, Location [Twitter Blog] – Twitter are adding (optional) geo-location metadata: "We're gearing up to launch a new feature which makes Twitter truly location-aware. A new API will allow developers to add latitude and longitude to any tweet. Folks will need to activate this new feature by choice because it will be off by default and the exact location data won't be stored for an extended period of time. However, if people do opt-in to sharing location on a tweet-by-tweet basis, compelling context will be added to each burst of information." Jeff Jarvis has a good run down of why this will actually be very useful.
Retractions up tenfold [Times Higher Education] – "The rate at which scientific journal articles are being retracted has increased roughly tenfold over the past two decades, an exclusive analysis for Times Higher Education reveals. Growth in research fraud as a result of greater pressure on researchers to publish, improved detection and demands on editors to take action have been raised as possible factors in the change. The study, by the academic-data provider Thomson Reuters, follows the retraction last month of a paper on the creation of sperm from human embryonic stem cells. The paper, written by researchers at Newcastle University, was withdrawn by the Stem Cells and Development journal following its discovery that the paper's introduction was largely plagiarised."
Teenager is first to be jailed for Facebook bullying [Telegraph] – "Teenager Keeley Houghton, who used Facebook to make death threats against Emily Moore, has become the first person in Britain to be jailed for bullying via a social networking site. Houghton, 18, boasted on the site that she wanted to kill Miss Moore, also 18, who she had bullied since they were at school together. Houghton, who admitted harassment, was sentenced to three months in a young offenders’ institute and given a five-month restraining order. District Judge Bruce Morgan told her: “Since Emily Moore was 14 you have waged compelling threats and violent abuse towards her. “Bullies are by their nature cowards, in school and society. The evil, odious effects of being bullied stay with you for life. “On this day you did an act of gratuitous nastiness to satisfy your own twisted nature.” On July 12, the court heard, Houghton wrote on her Facebook site: “Keeley is going to murder the —–."
Failed Negotiations – YouTube Will Block Music Videos in the UK [NYTimes.com] – “YouTube just announced that it wasn’t able to reach a new deal with the UK’s Performing Rights Society (PRS for Music), which collects licensing fees for musicians and labels in the UK. Because of this, YouTube will now block access to all premium music videos for users in the UK. According to YouTube, the licensing fees that PRS was looking for were “simply prohibitive” and Google would lose a “significant amount of money with every playback.” YouTube also bemoans that PRS was unwilling to provide it with a comprehensive list of songs that were actually included in the license. … YouTube goes out of its way to state that this move has nothing to do with the record labels. Patrick Walker, YouTube’s Director of Video Partnerships, Europe, Middle East and Africa, lays the full blame on PRS for Music – and PRS, of course, blames Google for being too greedy.”
Australians refused insurance because of poor genes [WA Today] – “Australians have been refused insurance protection because of their genetic make-up, researchers have shown in the first study in the world to provide proof of genetic discrimination. Most cases were found to relate to life insurance. In one instance, a man with a faulty gene linked to a greater risk of breast and prostate cancer was denied income protection and trauma insurance that would have let him claim if he developed other forms of cancer. The findings have led to renewed calls by experts for policies to ensure the appropriate use of genetic test results by the insurance industry.” (Gattaca!)
Baby swinging video case warning [The Age] – “The lawyer representing an Australian charged for republishing, on a video-sharing site, a video of a man swinging a baby around like a rag doll says that if the case proceeds every Australian who surfs the net could be vulnerable to police prosecution. Chelsea Emery, of Ryan and Bosscher Lawyers in Maroochydore, represents Chris Illingworth, who was charged with accessing and uploading child abuse material. Illingworth, 61, published the three-minute clip on Liveleak, a site similar to YouTube but focused on news and current events. Illingworth has uploaded hundreds of videos to the website. The one he was charged over, thought to have been created by a Russian circus performer, had already been published widely across the internet and shown on US TV news shows. The clip can still be found online and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.” (I’m staggered that this case is still moving forward!)
Links for January 3rd 2009 through January 5th 2009:
Participatory Media Literacy: Why it matters [Digital Ethnography] – Michael Wesch (of The Machine is Us/ing Us fame): “Those of us striving to integrate participatory media literacy practices into our classes often face resistance. Other faculty might argue that we are turning away from the foundations of print literacy, or worse, pandering to our tech-obsessed students. Meanwhile, students might resist too, wondering why they have to learn to use a wiki in an anthropology class. The surprising-to-most-people-fact is that students would prefer less technology in the classroom (especially *participatory* technologies that force them to do something other than sit back and memorize material for a regurgitation exercise). We use social media in the classroom not because our students use it, but because we are afraid that social media might be using them – that they are using social media blindly, without recognition of the new challenges and opportunities they might create.”
Speeding hoons in Victoria and South Australia goad police with vanity videos on YouTube [PerthNow] – “Furious police are scouring the internet for the irresponsible antics of hoon drivers and have vowed to use covert sting operations to catch them. The warning to exhibitionists who post videos of their potentially deadly stunts on website YouTube has been issued by South Australia’s police Traffic Support Branch Superintendent Mark Fairney.”We’re not taking it, we’ve had enough,” he said. A series of hoon videos made in SA has been posted on YouTube in the past six months. The footage outraged police and the RAA, with both saying innocent motorists were at risk from the stunts. In one video clip, a motor-cyclist was filmed from different angles and can be seen reaching a speed of 210km/h at Eagle on the Hill. The white-knuckle ride was filmed by a bike-mounted camera and several roadside positions. The title of the clip boasts that the rider hit 215km/h. The video, posted in July, included a Google Earth map following the route”
Homework is fun on an iPod touch [WA Today] – “A pilot program in which teenagers used iPods for school work has increased attendance and increased enthusiasm for homework. A class of year 8 students at Shepparton High School in central Victoria are the first in Australia and among the first in the world to use iPod touches in the classroom for a global “mobile learning” project. The students use the hand-held media players to search the internet, download music, do quizzes, research and submit assignments and collaborate with a school in Singapore. Preliminary research on the program found students were more willing to come to school, did more homework and used their iPods more than laptops or desktop computers.”
Who on earth is Matt Smith? [BBC NEWS | Entertainment] – “Matt Smith has been named as the actor who will take on the role of TV’s most famous time traveller. He may be the youngest actor to play the Doctor, but Smith has already built up an impressive CV on stage and the small screen. His biggest television role has been in BBC Two’s political drama Party Animals (2007) in which he played parliamentary researcher Danny Foster.” (New Doctor actor is youngest ever. )
Popeye the Sailor copyright free 70 years after Elzie Segar’s death [Times Online] – ““I yam what I yam,” declared Popeye. And just what that is is likely to become less clear as the copyright expires on the character who generates about £1.5 billion in annual sales. From January 1, the iconic sailor falls into the public domain in Britain under an EU law that restricts the rights of authors to 70 years after their death. Elzie Segar, the Illinois artist who created Popeye, his love interest Olive Oyl and nemesis Bluto, died in 1938. … While the copyright is about to expire inside the EU, the character is protected in the US until 2024. US law protects a work for 95 years after its initial copyright. The Popeye trademark, a separate entity to Segar’s authorial copyright, is owned by King Features, a subsidiary of the Hearst Corporation — the US entertainment giant — which is expected to protect its brand aggressively.”