Robot newsreading and journalism has very much become my thing — as evidenced by the fact that I spoke about it yet again on ABC Radio National Drive on 3 July.
Here’s the news stories that triggered presenter Waleed Aly’s interest:
American news agency Associated Press has joined the ranks of the LA Times and Forbes magazine by adding robots to its workforce.
AP says it will use robots to write its corporate earnings reports, giving finance reporters time to concentrate on more in-depth stories.
The news comes just a week after Japan unveiled its robot newsreader, the ‘Kodomoroid’.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 5:30 — 2.6MB)
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Stilgherrian’s links for 22 September 2009 through 26 September 2009, gathered intermittently and posted with a lack of attention to detail:
- How Twitter works in theory | Epeus’ epigone: There is much in this commentary of Twitter which I support, particularly the concepts of flow and the overlapping social networks. Read and learn.
- Industry cooperation looming on filtering? | CommsDay: There have been rumours, from reliable sources, that Senator Conroy is hoping Australia’s Internet industry will come up with its own answer to censorship.
- Dear Associated Press: Come On, Attribution is Not That Hard | Whatever: John Scalzi is annoyed that AP cited him as “another user” on Twitter, when his name is just a click away. This fits with something I hinted at in Crikey this week. More about that another time.
- How journalists and media brands can get the maximum benefit from Twitter | Write, edit, blog: A nice collection of thoughts about… well, what the title says.
- Public Radio Exchange: “An online marketplace for distribution, review, and licensing of public radio programming.” Free registration means you can listen to this stuff yourself. Hours and hours of it.
- Programmatic specificity: what is Rudd talking about? | En Passant: An earlier essay, from July, with another take on Ruddspeak.
- Rudd's robust language is not the problem | Woolly Days: A nice analysis of why Prime Minister Kevin Rudd using the f-word really of little consequence, whereas bureaucratic evasiveness like “detailed programmatic specificity” is.
- Caring for Your Introvert | The Atlantic (March 2003): An oldie but a goodie. Kind of. If you’re an introvert, it might be worth showing this to those extroverts who are pissing you off.
- LIFE photo archive hosted by Google: All of the photos from LIFE magazine from 1936 to 1972 are on Google Images. This isn’t new — the archive was created in 2008 — but I was reminded of it this week.
- WP Greet Box WordPress Plugin | OMNINOGGIN: A different message is displayed to blog visitors, depending on how they found you. Do I have a use for this, or it it just another annoyance to maintain?
- Is the Internet melting our brains? | Salon Books: Despite the provocative headline, this interview with linguist Dennis Baron from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is a sensible debunking of the fears.
- The Interregnum Revisited | Jon Taplin’ Blog: This essay deserves slow and careful reading. It links the themes of the cyclic nature of right-wing fear-mongering and paranoia with longer-term US political history — with some disturbing conclusions.
- Can Sheepdogs Round Up Magpies? | BitingTheDust: A great story from Robbo, currently in the Gibson Desert. And a great photo.
- MacSpeech Dictate 1.5: I’d been meaning to find decent dictation software for OS X, and John Birmingham mentioned this one. Must check it out.
- Average Web Page Size Triples Since 2003 | WebSiteOptimization.com: Web pages now average more than 300KB and 50 objects per page. I know my own attitude has been that everyone now has broadband. But what about mobile devices and the Third World?
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?
Here are the web links I’ve found for 10 August 2009 and some days beforehand, posted automatically, kinda.
- Teens Don’t Tweet… Or Do They? | apophenia: Mashable reported some new statistics on Twitter usage with the headline “Teens Don’t Tweet”;. This article debunks that idiocy.
- Why I believe in the link economy | MediaFile: Chris Ahearn, who’s President, Media at Thomson Reuters, provides an interesting counterpoint to Associated Press’ aggressive anti-linking views.
- What’s a Big City Without a Newspaper? | NYTimes.com: This feature starts off with a long nostalgic waffle about newspapers, but towards the end it has some excellent points about how journalism may adapt to the new world.
- Hunter S Thompson Motivational Posters | Sloshspot Blog: Yes, the world needs Hunter S Thompson motivational posters. It truly does.
- The Communications Market 2009 (August) | Ofcom: The UK communications regulatory authority’s latest industry statistics.
- TVS – Television Sydney: Community TV station TVS has a website — which is nothing new, except that I just discovered that their program are streamed live as well as being broadcast on UHF analog.
- eCrime Symposium panel discussion | Risky Business: One of the panel discussions from last week’s eCrime Symposium in Sydney, featuring: Rachel Dixon, who’s a technology executive for online media group Viocorp, as well as being the deputy chair of consumer group CHOICE; Phil Argy, head of the Technology Dispute Centre, and Sean Richmond from Sophos. The panel was hosted by Nigel Phair, and there’s a question from me.
- Mission control | SomaFM: Apollo mission radio feeds from NASA mixed with ambient electronica. Suitably excellent listening.
- Rupert and the death of hubris – Alan Kohler | Business Spectator: A solid analysis of Rupert Murdoch’s announcement that News Corporation will pull its content behind paywalls.
- Watch the Ebb and Flow of Melbourne Trains | FlowingData: From Australian data visualisation team Flink Labs, a fascinating overview of Melbourne’s railway network in action.
- Internet Filter Plan From Stephen Conroy Won’t Work: DPP | theage.com.au: Earlier this week, the NSW Director of Public Prosecutions, Nicholas Cowdery QC, was rather sceptical of the Rudd government’s plans to “filter” the Internet.
- Canberra Players League’s All Star Game 2009 | Dnosauria: Not bookmarked because I’m interested in basketball, but because Dean trialled using Livestream.com to put the video online. Live. Seems it’s a batter choice than Ustream, which is what I’d been using until now. I may check it out.
Here are the web links I’ve found for 27 July 2009 through 03 August 2009, posted not-quite automatically, and very late.
- Viral Wedding Video’s 10M Views Drive Chris Brown Buzz and Sales | Nielsen Wire: That “viral” (by which they just mean “popular”) video of a wedding party dancing into the church [was it a church?] reminded everyone of Chris Brown’s tedious autotune’d song again, with the result that it ended up in iTunes’ Top 10. Yet another example of how something being given away increases its sales.
- Who needs newspapers when you have Twitter? | Salon News: A massive troll by Wired editor Chris Anderson, seeking attention for his new book Free, which is not free. He starts by saying he doesn’t use the words “media” or “news” or “journalism”, but doesn’t offer any alternatives. Wanker.
- Techfest 2009 | NICTA: On 12 August 2009, NICTA showcases some of the new ICT research and development they’ree working on at this most-of-the-day event in Sydney. Let me know if you’d like to join me.
- Women In Film | YouTube: A morph-montage of some of the most famous female faces in film. Note how the eyes are so similar.
- Men In Film | YouTube: A morph-montage of some of film’s most famous male faces. It’s a challenge to spot all of them. Note how similar most of the noses are.
- Ashes 09: Hughes’ Twitter drop – Gen Y meets the Baggy Green | Crikey: Twitter, Criket Australia style: “We get the Twitter from Phillip and I feed them into our IT guy.” Somehow I don’t think they get this “personal” and “spontaneous” stuff.
- 栏目（目录): China’s PLA Daily offers free downloads of (military) music, plus some cheesy animated GIFs.
- Real Black Hats Hack Security Experts on Eve of Conference | Wired.com: Infosec “expert” Dan Kaminsky has been pwn3d, and his lame choice for passwords exposed.
- Tesla_Downunder: Some amazing photos of electrical effects from an Australian who’s been building large Tesla coils.
- AdViews: A digital archive of thousands of vintage TV commercials from the 1950s to 1980s, created or collected by ad agency Benton & Bowles or its successor, D’Arcy Masius Benton & Bowles (DMB&B).
- Profile: Gary McKinnon | guardian.co.uk: 43yo Gary McKinnon, diagnosed last August with Asperger’s syndrome, admits to hacking US military computers to fuel his UFO obsession.
- Template Twitter strategy for Government Departments | UK Cabinet Office: The UK has developed a standard 20-page template which departments can use for their own Twitter strategy. I can’t help think that it’ll kill spontaneity before it starts. “All other tweets will be cleared by staff at Information Officer grade and above in the digital media team, consulting relevant colleagues in comms and private offices as necessary.” Gawd.
- The Mind Of A US Army Sniper | newmatilda.com: A fine article on what it means for a soldier, particularly a sniper, to kill a person. And then do it again. Not an easy read, but an important read.
- Reconceptualising “time” and “space” in the era of electronic media and communications | Australian Policy Online: “This paper examines to what extent electronic media and communications have contributed to currently changing concepts of time and space and how crucial their role is in experiencing temporality, spatiality and mobility.”
- Cutthroat Capitalism: An Economic Analysis of the Somali Pirate Business Model | Wired: “Like any business, Somali piracy can be explained in purely economic terms. It flourishes by exploiting the incentives that drive international maritime trade. The other parties involved — shippers, insurers, private security contractors, and numerous national navies — stand to gain more (or at least lose less) by tolerating it than by putting up a serious fight. As for the pirates, their escalating demands are a method of price discovery, a way of gauging how much the market will bear.”
- Mark Thomas Info: I first encountered Mark Thomas by reading his book As Used on the Famous Nelson Mandala: underground adventures in the arms & torture trade. The stand-up comedian and activist for human rights is worth paying attention to.
- The Arms Trade | A Stubborn Mule’s Perspective: Sean Carmody turns his data analysis skills to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s Arms Transfer Database, which I mentioned the other day. This initial foray generates some nice maps.
- The Coming Upstream Revolution. And We Need It | Gigaom: Just as I thought, increasingly two-way communication on the web leads to increased demand for fast uplinks as well as downlinks.
- Metadata for news | BuzzMachine: Jeff Jarvis’ write-up of Associated Press and the Media Standards Trust proposal for a new standard for metadata for news, plus his own thoughts.
- SIPRI Arms Transfers Database | Stockholm International Peace Research Institute: A searchable database of all international transfers in seven categories of major conventional weapons from 1950 to the most recent full calendar year.
I seem to have forgotten to tell you that episode 43 of Stilgherrian Live is online for your viewing pleasure. It has been for nearly two weeks! So does that mean there’s another episode tonight? It does.
This means I need to do a number of things.
First, I need to tell you that last program’s “Cnut of the Week” finalists were: 4th Miranda Devine (18%); equal 2nd Jane Schulze and Associated Press, and The Cuffs Guy (24% each); 1st The Liberal Party Generally (34%).
Second, I need to tell you that…
Nominations are now open for this week’s “Cnut of the Week”.
Continue reading “Yes, Episode 44 is tonight!”