Wednesday, February 18, 2009
One of the basic truths of the web is that you give up data to websites so you can use their services. This is true in particular of social networking sites like Facebook where the point is to share - ie to spread content. Once you let it go - you no longer have full control over your content online. The internet is interactive and other people are going to get involved.
People should realise that in this context, online privacy is a contradiction in terms. If you want to keep something truly private, don't post it online - that is the only basic rule to follow.
Thanks to Mike Harvey in The Times.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
The successful applicant will:
• Develop a strategy and implementation plan for extending digital engagement across Government
• Work with communication, policy and delivery officials in Government departments to embed digital engagement in the day to day working of Government
• Work with Directors of Communication to ensure that digital media are included in the reporting of reaction to Government policy and initiatives
• Work closely with web teams to ensure that digital communications are making the most effective and efficient use of hardware and software
• Act as head of profession for civil servants working on digital engagement
• Ensure that digital engagement is always a leading part of Government consultation
• Introduce new techniques and software for digital engagement, such as ‘jams’ into Government
• Convene an expert advisory group made up of the leading experts on digital engagement to provide advice to Ministers and act as a sounding-board for the Government’s digital engagement strategy
• Work closely with the Ministerial Group on Digital Engagement, delivering the work agreed at Cabinet on digital engagement
Salary? £81,600 - 160,000
Tell the successful applicant what to do here.
We are pleased to announce the release of our first research prototype of a social dynamic analysis tool for Wikipedia called WikiDashboard.
The idea is that if we provide social transparency and enable attribution of work to individual workers in Wikipedia, then this will eventually result in increased credibility and trust in the page content, and therefore higher levels of trust in Wikipedia.
Check this out.
...anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later.* Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even sublicense it if they want.
You hereby grant Facebook an irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive, transferable, fully paid, worldwide license (with the right to sublicense) to (a) use, copy, publish, stream, store, retain, publicly perform or display, transmit, scan, reformat, modify, edit, frame, translate, excerpt, adapt, create derivative works and distribute (through multiple tiers), any User Content you (i) Post on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof subject only to your privacy settings or (ii) enable a user to Post, including by offering a Share Link on your website and (b) to use your name, likeness and image for any purpose, including commercial or advertising, each of (a) and (b) on or in connection with the Facebook Service or the promotion thereof.
From the Consumerist. Read here for some updates.
Monday, February 16, 2009
Bad enough that there is a growing belief among engineers and security experts that Internet security and privacy have become so maddeningly elusive that the only way to fix the problem is to start over.
What a new Internet might look like is still widely debated, but one alternative would, in effect, create a “gated community” where users would give up their anonymity and certain freedoms in return for safety. Today that is already the case for many corporate and government Internet users. As a new and more secure network becomes widely adopted, the current Internet might end up as the bad neighborhood of cyberspace. You would enter at your own risk and keep an eye over your shoulder while you were there.
“Unless we’re willing to rethink today’s Internet,” says Nick McKeown, a Stanford engineer involved in building a new Internet, “we’re just waiting for a series of public catastrophes.”
From the NYT.
Leaving aside for a moment that the Kindle’s very name is weirdly evocative of book burning, consider that for everything we gain with a Kindle—convenience, selection, immediacy—we’re losing something too. The printed word—physically printed, on paper, in a book—might be heavy, clumsy or out of date, but it also provides a level of permanence and privacy that no digital device will ever be able to match.
In the past, restrictive governments had to ban whole books whose content was deemed too controversial, inflammatory or seditious for the masses. But then at least you knew which books were being banned, and, if you could get your hands on them, see why. Censorship in the age of the Kindle will be more subtle, and much more dangerous.
One of the things that happens when books and other writings start to be distributed digitally through web-connected devices like the Kindle is that their text becomes provisional.
The truth is out there. And changing.
From Nick Carr.
But I have found something sickly compelling about the way Labourlist has unfolded into a tragi-comedy that reveals more than it should about the troubled relationship the Labour Party has with the internet.
Jack Thurston goes long on that LabourList thing.
Google said on Thursday it aimed to build a data centre at an old paper mill in southeastern Finland that it bought from Stora Enso for 40 million euros ($51.7 million).
"We are currently considering to build a data centre at this site," said Google spokesman Kay Oberbeck.
Google has dozens of data centres, or server farms, which consume significant amounts of energy, around the world.
In early 2008 Stora Enso closed down the loss-making Summa mill, which consumed 1,000 gigawatt hours of electricity per year, after nearly 53 years in operation.
From Reuters. Who are still in news.
Smart man writes for Time, feels like he's been asked to:
There is, however, a striking and somewhat odd fact about this crisis. Newspapers have more readers than ever. Their content, as well as that of newsmagazines and other producers of traditional journalism, is more popular than ever — even (in fact, especially) among young people.
The problem is that fewer of these consumers are paying. Instead, news organizations are merrily giving away their news. According to a Pew Research Center study, a tipping point occurred last year: more people in the U.S. got their news online for free than paid for it by buying newspapers and magazines. Who can blame them? Even an old print junkie like me has quit subscribing to the New York Times, because if it doesn't see fit to charge for its content, I'd feel like a fool paying for it.
Walter Isaacson in Time.
Smarter man replies:
Walter Isaacson, the former editor of TIME magazine and current President of the Aspen Institute, wrote a column last week arguing that newspapers should squeeze revenue out of their web sites through "micropayments." It's an idea with a long, but not very successful, history: Isaacson himself points out that Ted Nelson, the inventor of hypertext, imagined micropayments for written content back in the early 1960s.
Small payments, on the order of a dollar, work well for some kinds of highly valued, contextualized content, like a book to your Kindle or a song to your iPod. But "micro" payments on the order of a nickel—the figure Isaacson mentions for a hypothetical news story—have never taken off. Transaction costs, caused by things like credit card processing, are usually cited as the reason, but I've never found that view persuasive: It's not hard to set up a system in which micro transactions are aggregated into parcels of at least a few dollars before being channeled through our existing credit card infrastructure.
David Robinson at Princeton's Center for Information Technology Policy.
One update, however, is wholly new: Amazon has added a "Text to Speech" function that reads the e-book aloud through the use of special software.
This presents a significant challenge to the publishing industry. Audiobooks surpassed $1 billion in sales in 2007; e-book sales are just a small fraction of that. While the audio quality of the Kindle 2, judging from Amazon's promotional materials, is best described as serviceable, it's far better than the text-to-speech audio of just a few years ago. We expect this software to improve rapidly.
From the Author's guild. Read on, it's interesting about copyright too.
Davos is all about the year ahead and hence in the public sessions at least almost the entire focus was on the economic situation with the occasional diversion into the crisis in Gaza. My sense was that no-one could paint a clear picture of what is likely to happen in the coming months and an awful lot of time seemed to be spent on trying to figure out who was to blame for not spotting the encroaching crisis. This didn’t seem productive to me.
Tim Brown on the Big Boys 'awaydays".