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Stilgherrian’s links for 08 November 2009 through 18 November 2009:

See what happens when you don’t curate your links for ten days, during which time there’s a conference which generates a bazillion things to link to? Sigh.

This is such a huge batch of links that I’ll start them over the fold. They’re not all about Media140 Sydney, trust me.

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Stilgherrian’s links for 16 August 2009 through 26 August 2009:

  • Academic Earth: “Video lectures from the world’s top scholars”, it says. Provided they’re American. The universities included so far are Berkeley, Harvard, MIT, Princeton, Stanford, UCLA and Yale.
  • [Air-L] Trivial tweeting: Another viewpoint on the “Twitter is pointless babble” rubbish, this time from Cornelius Puschmann, PhD, in the Department of English Language and Linguistics at the University of Düsseldorf.
  • Power of Information | UK Cabinet Office: The February 2009 report from the UK government’s taskforce on Government 2.0.
  • My #blogpostfriday post | Scripting News: Dave Winer is worried about the cloud. “We pour so much passion into dynamic web apps hosted by companies we know very little about. We do it without retaining a copy of our data. We have no idea how much it costs them to keep hosting what we create, so even if they’re public companies, it’s very hard to form an opinion of how likely they are to continue hosting our work.”
  • 8129.0 – Business Use of Information Technology, 2007-08 | Australian Bureau of Statistics: Detailed indicators on the incidence of use of information technology in Australian business, as collected by the 2007-08 Business Characteristics Survey (BCS).
  • The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction | Wikipedia: Someone — I forget who — told me to read this 1935 essay by German cultural critic Walter Benjamin. It’s been influential in the fields of cultural studies and media theory. It was produced, Benjamin wrote, in the effort to describe a theory of art that would be “useful for the formulation of revolutionary demands in the politics of art&”. “In the absence of any traditional, ritualistic value, art in the age of mechanical reproduction would inherently be based on the practice of politics. It is the most frequently cited of Benjamin’s essays”, says Wikipedia. Sounds like I should indeed read it.
  • How Tim O’Reilly Aims to Change Government | ReadWriteWeb: Tim O’Reilly posits “government as platform”, where the government would supply raw digital data and other forms of support for private sector innovators to build on top of. That’s the writer’s version. Does this fit with the Rudd government’s idea of the government as an enabler, as outlined in their Digital Economy Future Directions paper?
  • CHART OF THE DAY: Smartphone Sales To Beat PC Sales By 2011 | Silican Valley Insider: This is based on worldwide sales figures, and it makes sense. The Third World could really use a low-power, rugged smartphone at a sensible price, rather than a laptop or even a netbook to lug around.
  • News Corp pushing to create an online news consortium | latimes.com: By “consortium” they mean “cartel”, right? “Chief Digital Officer Jonathan Miller has positioned News Corp as a logical leader in the effort to start collecting fees from online readers because of its success with the Wall Street Journal Online, which boasts more than 1 million paying subscribers. He is believed to have met with major news publishers including New York Times Co, Washington Post Co, Hearst Corp and Tribune Co, publisher of the Los Angeles Times.”
  • Us Now : watch the film: “In a world in which information is like air, what happens to power?” This entire film can be watched online.
  • Morons with mobiles sour the tweet life | theage.com.au: Jacqui Bunting writes some of the dumbest words about Twitter which have ever been written. Note to editors: Anyone who starts from the premise that Twitter is meant to be a “commentary on life” needs to be taken out the back and slapped around a bit. It’s 2009. Please catch up.
  • The Conversation | Now That I Have Your Attention: The creator of Father Ted and The IT Crowd, Graham Linehan, also has a few words on Pear Analytics’ cod research on Twitter. He makes the point that for the first time we’re truly having a global conversation.
  • Pointless babble | The New Adventures of Stephen Fry: The redoubtable Stephen Fry rips into that Pear Analytics research on Twitter, with more brevity and wit than I did the other day. Well said, Sir!
  • Top 100 Aussie Web Startups – August 09 | TechNation Australia: The latest league table of Australian web businesses, for those who like to have winners and losers in clearly-defined categories.
  • Benjamin Franklin’s daily schedule | Flickr: Proof that you don’t need the Getting Things Done (GTD) methodology to be boringly anal-retentive about your scheduling.
  • Bruce Schneier: Facebook should compete on privacy, not hide it away | The Guardian: Another thought-provoking essay by Bruce Schneier.
  • Hype Cycle Book | Gartner: Mastering the Hype Cycle is the book explaining Gartner’s regular Hype Cycle reports.
  • How It All Ends | YouTube: A follow-up to the video The Most Terrifying Video You’ll Ever See, which presented a risk analysis showing that we cannot afford to ignore the potential risk of climate change, even if it all turns out to be wrong. This version skips over the main argument and addresses the potential objections.
  • Climate change cage match | Crikey: A delightful comment from a Crikey reader, Stephen Morris, who likens the tactics of climate change denialist Tamas Calderwood to the mating habits of the Satin Bowerbird, which is totally obsessed by the colour blue. “It will actively search through a wide variety of brightly coloured objects that might suitably decorate its bower, but the only colour that interests it and it wants to collect are those coloured blue. Tamas in his scientific objectivity (and unfortunately often his logic) is very Satin bowerbird like. It doesn’t matter what large amounts of available data says about global warming, the only titbits of data of interest to Tamas, are those that can be seen to indicate cooling. Once a data set loses its blueness (or coolness), it seems interest in it is lost and other blue data sets are sought.”
  • Senator Lundy describes her Public Sphere initiative | Net Traveller: A ten minute video in which Senator Kate Lundy describes her Public Sphere initiative, made for students at ANU studying Information Technology in Electronic Commerce COMP3410.
  • AP contradiction: Move forward but restore | Pursuing the Complete Community Connection: Steve Buttry points out the problem with Associated Press’ content protection plan: How can you “move forward” and “restore the past” at the same time?

Metroscreen Logo: click for video stream

There’s a very special edition of Stilgherrian Live this Friday afternoon at 2pm Sydney time. ’Pong and his classmates at Metro Screen are producing a full multi-camera episode with a quiz and interviews and other entertainments.

The program is the end result of their full-week course, Produce live-streamed multi-cam television. ’Pong pitched doing Stilgherrian Live as his segment — as if he wasn’t busy enough doing his Masters of Digital Media at COFA and being DOP for some SEKRIT soap opera — and somehow that’s morphed into me presenting the whole program.

The program will be streamed live from Metro Screen’s page at Viocorp.

Now, I know 2pm Friday is when many people are meant to be working, but it’d be great to have a few of you watching, commenting back, and even providing the students with some feedback.

So to encourage your participation, we’ll have our usual offer of a t-shirt of your choice from our friends at King Cnut Ethical Clothing. Just nominate a “Cnut of the Week” and be watching the program when we draw a name from the Cocktail Shaker of Integrity.

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Screenshot from Project TOTO video diary, with Gnaomi the topless gnome and Apollo the cat

People have been asking whether I’m excited about my trip to Africa. To be perfectly honest, I’m not.

Or at least not yet.

Project TOTO is still too abstract. There’s no firm dates, there’s no clear itinerary and, from a project management point of view, no clearly defined goals. Not because the project isn’t happening or doesn’t have support or isn’t being planned properly, but simply because that detailed conversation with ActionAid Australia about priorities has yet to take place.

That conversation is scheduled for this coming Friday 12 June.

Meanwhile, I’ve had many, many things on my mind. Most of them are completely unrelated to Project TOTO. But all of them have conspired to make the last three weeks extremely stressful indeed.

That’s one reason why my last video diary was back on 21 May. That’s a screenshot at the top of this post. I’m looking tired, eh? And I’ve been even more stressed since.

It’s time to catch up. So, even though this is the Queen’s Birthday holiday, here’s a rambling update. With some pictures.

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Stilgherrian’s links for 29 May 2009 through 08 June 2009. Yes, another delayed posting which will give you plenty of Queen’s Birthday holiday reading.

  • How Twitter Will Change the Way We Live | TIME: Yes, TIME magazine’s cover story is about Twitter. It starts extremely badly: that clichéd, lazy trope about people tweeting what they had for breakfast. Despite that inexcusable slackness, it’s a useful addition to the cornucopia of Twitter-based articles.
  • 10 Things I would do differently | Still A Newspaperman: Written with the benefit of hindsight, a former newspaper journalist considers how he’d have handled running a metropolitan newspaper. He’s spot on in many ways.
  • Can the EU play Battleships? | Global Dashboard: Is it time for Europe, as a united entity, to develop a naval strategy? The article’s illustration is also a remarkable example of period gender stereotyping.
  • How IT Can Save Africa | SAP Network Blogs: While clunkily-written, this piece outlines why getting decent IT to Africa isn’t a “waste”, but in fact a core element of getting rid of poverty.
  • How Twitter’s Staff Uses Twitter (And Why It Could Cause Problems) | ReadWriteWeb: It turns out that the staff of Twitter don’t use it like “power users” like me use it. Could this affect the tool’s development?
  • The oldest sculpture ever discovered is a 36,000 year old woman with really big breasts. Is anyone surprised? | 3quarksdaily: Dubbed the “Venus of Hohle Fels”, this 6cm tall sculpture us about 36,000 years old. And it has large breasts.
  • Live Streaming Video From Livestream.com: The live video streaming service Mogulus has re-branded as Livestream. That should Hoover them into some generic wordspace, yeah. (Google it!)
  • Spootnik: A tool to automatically synchronise information between 37signals’ Basecamp (which use extensively) and OmniFocus (which intend to use).
  • Tom’splanner: Another software as a service start-up, this time about “creating and sharing project schedules”. Their website’s menu bar is the clichéd list of Home, tour, product Info, Pricing and — of course! — “Buzz”, so it must be good. Sigh.
  • How Journalists Are Using Twitter in Australia | PBS: Julie Posetti’s rather reasonable article which responds to “the views of resistors and detractors” who argue that “Twitter isn’t journalism”. “Sound familiar to veterans of the great blogging vs journalism debate?” she asks. “Of course Twitter isn’t journalism, it’s a platform like radio or TV but with unfettered interactivity. However, the act of tweeting can be as journalistic as the act of headline writing. Similarly, the platform can be used for real-time reporting by professional journalists in a manner as kosher as a broadcast news live report.”
  • Light Rail to Summer Hill | Metro Transport: The other Monday, yet another proposal for a new transport line in Sydney went to NSW state cabinet. This one involves extending the existing light rail line by 3.7km from Lilyfield to Summer Hill by converting the Rozelle freight line. It also has the advantage of running through the state seat of Balmain, where sitting Labour member Verity Firth runs the risk of losing to The Greens in the 2011 election.

Stilgherrian’s links for 09 May 2009 through 17 May 2009, gathered intermittently and jumbled together at random:

Stilgherrian’s links for 01 May 2009 through 07 May 2009, pubished wl late in the week for your weekend reading pleasure:

  • VideoLAN: I was surprised to discover quite a few people who didn’ know about this free open source video player. It’s very good, you know, handling both downloaded files and live streams.
  • The Iremonger Award | Allen & Unwin: A $10,000 prize for someone who was an idea for a non-fiction book which will “contribute to public debate on a contemporary Australian political, social or cultural issue”. Entries close 1 September 2009.
  • Control freaks don’t get it: the web works best in a free-for-all | The Observer: John Naughton says it all on the 50th anniversary of C P Snow’s famous meme, the mutual incomprehensible “two cultures” of science and the “literary intellectuals”. But now, the two cultures are very different.
  • Defence needs a plan for the Internet age | Tom Worthington via Link: Tom says the Australian government’s new defence white paper is deficient in not mentioning “Internet” or “web” at all. The section on cyber warfare envisages military personnel and scientists operating a “Cyber Security Operations Centre”. But without civilian support from organisations such as AusCERTt, the ADF will be vulnerable to cyber attack.
  • Mogulus Live Broadcast: I’ve been using Ustream.TV to do Stilgherrian Live. This new (?) service still officially in beta offers the full mix of live video streaming, video on demand of previous programs, and 24/7 streaming of pre-sequenced programs. I will definitely be exploring this properly soon!

Here are the web links I’ve found for 25 April 2009 through 27 April 2009, posted with postingness.

Stilgherrian’s links for 20 April 2009 through 21 April 2009:

  • A criminally stupid war on drugs in the US | FT.com: Clive Crook pulls no punches, calling the US “War on Drugs” immoral, brainless and, yes, “criminally stupid”.
  • Twitter Telepathy: Researchers Turn Thoughts Into Tweets | Wired.com: What's interesting about this is not that a message was generated from a person’s brain via EEG, ‘cos that’s been in use for a while, but that the researchers linked that to a remote messaging system. Using Twitter is a bit of a gimmick IMHO, since any text system would work similarly, but then it did get them the media attention.
  • How the 3Rs empower Telstra staff online — Social Media Guardrails | nowwearetalking: Released this week: Telstra’s 6-page social media policy. Billed as the first by a major Australian company (which I doubt), I daresay it’ll be analysed to death.
  • Blogging from a Corporate Perspective | www.nickhodge.com: Microsoft’s blogging policy, on the other hand, it just nine brief bullet points. If only governments could get to the point so quickly.
  • Circular 2008/8: Interim protocols for online media participation | Australian Public Service Commission: The Australian government’s guidelines for public servants using social media. Of course it’s written in bureaucratic language, but it covers some good territory.
  • World’s Biggest Submarine [with pics] | English Russia: The Typhoon was the biggest submarine in the world, and one of Russian’s deepest Cold War secrets. Now it’s a minor tourist attraction, and very rusty.
  • Five menu items at Silver Spoon Thai that could also be the name of an unsuccessful sex worker | 5ives: What it says.
  • Newspapers and Thinking the Unthinkable | Clay Shirky: A must-read article. “When someone demands to know how we are going to replace newspapers, they are really demanding to be told that we are not living through a revolution. They are demanding to be told that old systems won’t break before new systems are in place. They are demanding to be told that ancient social bargains aren’t in peril, that core institutions will be spared, that new methods of spreading information will improve previous practice rather than upending it. They are demanding to be lied to. There are fewer and fewer people who can convincingly tell such a lie.”
  • NEO Living: The website for a new apartment block to be built on Enmore Road, Newtown. Some wonderfully creative PR bullshit about how wonderful the area is. For some reason, the website completely fails to mention that the development is sited on a busy and rather noisy Enmore Road, and is directly under the flight path leading to Sydney Airport’s runway 16L.
  • Debate: Hugh White and Australian defence policy | The Interpreter: Rory Medcalf kicks of a debate of Hugh White’s paper at the Lowy Institute’s blog.
  • A focused force: Australia’s defence priorities in the Asian Century | Lowy Institute: Professor Hugh White calls for Australia to abandon the “Balanced Force’ concept and refocus its military on managing strategic risks related to the rise of China. Professor White argues that Chinese power will challenge US primacy, undercutting the basic assumptions of Australian defence policy. This paper, with its controversial force-structure recommendations, is a major contribution to the Australian security debate on the eve of the 2009 Defence White Paper.
  • NavyNorthernTrident (navytrident09) on Twitter: An innovative use of Twitter? Tweets from two Royal Australian Navy ships embarking on a 6-month deployment taking them to 13 countries.
  • Ashton Kutcher Punks Twitter: A Giant Million Follower PR Stunt | NowPublic News Coverage: I wasn’t going to write anything about the supposed race to a million Twitter followers, and now I don’t have to because this article says it all: “This is not a story of the ‘little man’ beating out ‘big media’ — this is the story of a major Hollywood celebrity orchestrating a massive, social media publicity campaign that was specifically designed to promote himself, Twitter and, by extension, Ted Turner and CNN.” Once more, this will have triggered thousands into joining Twitter, and once more they’ll imagine its main purpose is for them to passively absorb the message of the “famous”. Such a wasted opportunity. P.S. Who’s Ashton Kutcher?
  • Disturbing Strokes | YouTube: MontyPropps takes the opening credits from the TV series Diff’rent Strokes and, by replacing the original jaunty music, creates something far more sinister. A demonstration of the power of music to set the mood.

Painting of Ada Lovelace

It’s Ada Lovelace Day! 24th March has been selected by Suw Charman-Anderson as an international day of blogging to draw attention to women excelling in technology. This is my contribution.

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, known in modern times simply as Ada Lovelace, was the daughter of Lord Byron of poetry fame. A mathematician, she’s widely regarded as the world’s first computer programmer.

“Women’s contributions often go unacknowledged, their innovations seldom mentioned, their faces rarely recognised,” says Charman-Anderson. “We want you to tell the world about these unsung heroines.”

For my contribution, I decided to interview Australian geek girl Pia Waugh, and this is the result — the first time I’ve actually edited video with my own hands. Well, with a computer. Enjoy. It runs for just under nine minutes.

If the embedded video player (above) doesn’t work, try over at Viddler.

This is is also my first attempt at building a workflow for recording video interviews. There may more in the future.

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