Here’s a rather gruesome public service commercial from the American Lung Association. It reminds me of the U.N landmine commercial that was popular earlier in the year. While there seems to be tons of research on the effect of videogame violence (mostly biased), I wonder if there are any recent studies on the effect of this type of shock-advertising on the viewing public. For instance, does watching an anti-smoking ad like the one linked above actually produce the desired effect on the targetted population?
Don’tClickIt.com provides the interesting experience of a click-less interface. The site does well to make a point of how difficult it is to break the mouse-click habit, provides a brief history of the mouse-click in computer history and poses a few alternatives to mouse-click in practice. For me, it helped me consider how the GUI has been shaped by the mouse-click, and helped me contemplate an alternative history in my mind’s eye. Check it out … see if you can resist the click.
I had a people contact me with interest in presentations I have done in the recent past. I am not sure if I ever posted these presentations to this blog, but in case I did miss them, here they are.
I’ve just linked to PDF version, although the Apple Keynote files should be available on my presentations page (where I put all this ‘stuff’). I apologize for not having any audio or narration notes … obviously the presentations are a bit incomplete without these. As these were delivered live, I never bothered with the fine details, but should really think about recording audio during my presentations.
An interesting post on Boing Boing reports an excerpt from Stephen Johnson’s (author of Everything Bad Is Good For You) open letter to Hilary Clinton on the recent Grand Theft Auto controversy. The excerpt read:
Dear Senator Clinton:
I’m writing to commend you for calling for a $90-million study on the effects of video games on children, and in particular the courageous stand you have taken in recent weeks against the notorious “Grand Theft Auto” series.
I’d like to draw your attention to another game whose nonstop violence and hostility has captured the attention of millions of kids – a game that instills aggressive thoughts in the minds of its players, some of whom have gone on to commit real-world acts of violence and sexual assault after playing.
I’m talking, of course, about high school football.
If you’ve read Johnson’s latest, the satire should be familiar (it’s a good read). The rest of Johnson’s open letter can be found here.
I noticed a few people mentioning (can’t seem to find the posts now) that having one’s podcast listed in the iTunes Podcast Directory could potentially lead to a surprising increase in bandwidth due to greater exposure/downloads. If you are hosting your own podcasts, one tool that could potentially reduce bandwidth costs is a new open source P2P tool called Dijjer.
I haven’t got a chance to use it, but it seems to work somewhat like Bittorrent, and the setup is a breeze.
You don’t need to install anything. Just put a file on your site as you normally do, but add “http://www.dijjer.org/get/” to the beginning of your links:
normal link: http://mysite.com/video.mov
dijjer link: http://dijjer.org/get/http://mysite.com/video.mov
For Dijjer to work, people must have a Dijjer client running on their machine (available for Mac/Linux/Windows). Therefore, the bandwidth is distributed across Dijjer users. However, to download a Dijjer supported file, a user doesn’t need to have the client installed.
Sounds interesting, I wonder if it will get the network support it needs to be successful.
Digg is a technology news website that combines social bookmarking, blogging, RSS, and non-hierarchical editorial control. With digg, users submit stories for review, but rather than allowing an editor to decide which stories go on the homepage, the users do.
After finally getting a chance to read the Wisdom of Crowds, it seems to me that this unique type of editorial control may just produce a neat resource.
Dana Blankenhorn wrote an interesting rebuttal to an AP article titled, “Piracy Tool Turns Legit”. The article put a negative spin on Opera’s latest move to support BitTorrent as “The Opera Web browser will soon support a file-transfer tool commonly associated with online movie piracy.”
Excuse me, AP, but bull-cookies. BitTorrent is not Kazaa. It’s a technology. There’s no business there. Blaming BitTorrent for piracy is like blaming FTP or SMTP or even HTTP for piracy, because you can move copyrighted files. You can move copyrighted content across all Internet protocols. They are value-neutral.
Yet Blankenhorn’s central thesis pointed to the idea of Press bias being inescapable to its current business model
The news industry as a whole is moving increasingly toward the idea that stories are commodities, like movies or recordings, and that common Internet usage of such material represents piracy. Many AP papers are now behind registration firewalls, and AP’s new pricing policy will accelerate the trend.
Thus, the AP has an institutional bias against the Internet, a business bias.
To me, this is just another sign that it’s much more important today to support collaborative efforts of open publishing such as Wikipedia. Certainly, there will always be bias in any story written (it’s inescapable), but as Blankenhorn points out, fairness (leaning against one’s own bias) is also a central, balancing tenet of news reporting, and it seems this is increasingly much harder to come by in practice.
There was an interesting article by Jack Kapica of the Globe & Mail yesterday which discusses the possibility of Internet search and archiving being an illegal activity which infringes against an ammendment to the Canadian Copyright Act (Bill C-60).
Section 40.3 (1) of the bill states that “the owner of copyright in a work or other subject-matter is not entitled to any remedy other than an injunction against a provider of information location tools who infringes that copyright by making or caching a reproduction of the work or other subject matter.”
That section, he says, implies that “information location tools” would infringe copyright if they archive any material that is copyright, not just material that is itself infringing.
The bill defines information location tools as “any instrument through which one can locate information that is available by means of the Internet or any other digital network.”
So in other words, Google or other search engines or archive services (e.g., the Internet Archive Wayback Machine) may be in infringement of copyright law due to the way they cache and archive copyrighted material. However, the author also notes that as Bill C60 is at the first stage of reading in parliament there is time to “fix” or remove the provision.
However, in today’s related news, it looks like the WayBack Machine, a service of the non-profit Internet Archive is being sued under the Digital Millenium Copyright Act.
It’s an amazing time to be alive as we are really experiencing a unique time in history as we have been given a wonderful, liberating tool for sharing information across cultures and geographic boundaries, but at the same time, witnessing the immense greed of certain corporate entities as they influence our legislative bodies.
My brother George noticed a neat feature on the website for the upcoming movie The Wedding Crashers. It appears you can “crash the trailer”. Here’s the Wedding Crashers trailer featuring myself and my brother George.
If you don’t know us, it may not be as funny, but I think it’s an excellent example of viral marketing for an upcoming movie.
The United Nations’ World Food Programme has launched a free educational video game titled “Food Force”. The game is designed to “teach children about the logistical challenges of delivering food aid in a major humanitarian crisis.”
I’m pleased to see that the game is available for both PC and Mac platforms (although unfortunately not Linux). The game can be downloaded from http://www.food-force.com. Free, humanitarian, learning, game … sounds like a winning combination to me.