Talking digital detox on ABC 891 Adelaide

ABC logoDo you think you need a “digital detox”? You know, something to break your “addiction” to digital devices? That’s what I just spoke about on ABC 891 Adelaide.

Drive presenter Michael Smyth and his team had heard about the Digital Detox and Camp Grounded holiday camps in the US, based on the summer camp concept…

Trade in your computer, cell phone, email, Instagrams, clocks, schedules, work-jargon, networking events and conferences for an off-the-grid weekend of pure unadulterated fun in the redwoods.

… so I was invited to give my opinion. Before I spoke, though, they played CNet’s report of a visit to Camp Grounded, as well as a vox pop of people recorded earlier today in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall.

Here’s the full 11-minute extravaganza.

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The book I mentioned was Robin Dunbar’s Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language. And something I meant to refer to, but didn’t manage to fit in, was We don’t need digital detox, but there is a need to rethink our relationship with technology by Natasha Mauthner, Personal Chair at the University of Aberdeen.

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Talking technology on ABC 720 Perth, first of several

ABC logoLast week’s conversation about the future of jobs apparently went so well that it’s become a regular weekly spot over summer. “Tech Wreck” is now on ABC 720 Perth each Tuesday at 1430 AWST / 1730 AEDT.

This week we spoke about:

The presenter is Jamie Burnett. If there’s any topics you’d like us to talk about in coming weeks, please let us know. Or phone in during the program on +61 8 9220 2700.

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The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Nokia Lumia 925 and Windows Phone 8 trial: Day 1

Katoomba railway station: click to embiggenSetting up the Nokia Lumia 925 was straightforward, and I’m impressed with the smartphone itself. But while there’s plenty to like about Windows Phone 8, I was also struck by the lack of key applications and a few rough edges.

These are my bullet-point observations from Day 1 of my Nokia Lumia 925 / Windows Phone 8 trial. You can also follow it live on Twitter, where I’m using the hashtag #LumiaWP8trial.

Continue reading “Nokia Lumia 925 and Windows Phone 8 trial: Day 1”

Talking Instagram on ABC 666 Canberra

ABC logoBy the time I got to doing my third radio spot about the Instagram saga, the issues were clear in my mind and I had a few well-rehearsed sound bites. So my final spot on ABC 666 Canberra was smooth.

I don’t think I need to provide any more background. My conversation with Louise Maher stands for itself, I think. We didn’t speak for as long as we’d originally intended, but they also had to update their listeners on the progress of some bushfires and that does have priority.

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This audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is an unedited copy of what went to air, though the ABC has not posted it online as far as I know.

At some point in the next few days I’ll post further thoughts about this Instagram incident. Stay tuned.

Talking Instagram on ABC Radio’s “PM”

ABC logoWith ABC Radio National Breakfast out of the way, I settled down to write my Crikey story about the Instagram saga.

By that stage my understanding of the story had evolved.

I was becoming increasingly cranky with so many people, including many who should know better, pushing the “Instagram wants to sell your photos” line. Failing to distinguish between selling a license to use a photo in various ways and selling the ownership of the photo itself was a massive failure. The difference is as clear at that between selling a house and renting it out to a tenant.

There was also a clarification from Instagram, making it clear that they weren’t seeking such ownership, admitting that they really hadn’t figured out precisely what it was they wanted to do with users’ photos, and agreeing that the language was open to misinterpretation.

I incorporated this into my Crikey piece, which was given the headline: Users snap over Instagram, but should have seen it coming.

In hindsight, and had I know this was to be the headline, I wouldn’t have been so blunt in my final paragraph.

The core lesson here is that services like Instagram aren’t free. You pay for them by licensing the operator to use your content and other data in various ways. If you don’t like that, well, pay for your goddam internet hosting yourself.

All I meant by this was that internet hosting is pretty cheap these days, and there’s plenty of low-cost providers to choose from. It’s not as if Instagram is a public service that owes you anything.

In any event, I filed the Crikey story before midday as usual. It seemed to me that Instagram was responding appropriately, and I’d always thought they were at the responsible end of social networking. My thoughts were now moving to the future. Would Instagram be able to prove they were worth their billion-dollar price tag? How would they behave if they didn’t start generating revenue?

But on the way to a lunch in the Sydney CBD, I ended up discussing the issue with a journalist for ABC TV’s 7.30 and a producer with ABC 666 Canberra. It was becoming clear to me that for most people in the media this was a brand new issue. Further media spots were being organised.

The next to be recorded, though not the next to go to air, was with ABC Radio’s national current affairs program PM. What pleases me about this piece, I think, is that the “tape ID” — the bit at the front of a recording where you identify who you are so there’s no confusion later — was included as part of the story. Because I used the word “arsehattery”.

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This audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is an unedited copy of the original audio posted on their website. There’s a transcript over there too, where they spell arsehattery “ass-hattery”. The journalist was Will Ockenden.

Talking Instagram on ABC Radio National Breakfast

ABC logoWednesday was a strange day for me this week, unexpectedly dominated as it was by the public outcry over photo sharing service Instagram changing its terms of use to make it explicit that people’s photographs could be used for promotional purposes.

This is the first of a series of posts that document the media that I was involved with that day — eventually three radio spots and a story for Crikey, plus discussions with a journalist at ABC TV’s 7.30 for a story that ended up not happening — as well as the evolution of my own thoughts on the topic.

I’d gotten up early that morning to work on a Crikey story about the risks of big data, so I was already in media mode when I saw the tweets starting to flood out.

Instagram was claiming the right to sell your photos, they claimed — which I found most unlikely because they can’t sell what they don’t own, and social networks have long since given up trying to claim ownership over their users’ content. At least the ones that intend lasting more than a week online.

Sure enough, I looked at Instagram’s proposed new terms of use, and they actually made it quite explicit that they were not doing that. As I expected, they were seeking the right to use photographs in connection with promotions of unspecified nature — though they’d stated the fact that you wouldn’t be paid for this rather baldly.

To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you.

Moreover, it looked to me like Instagram’s existing terms of use already gave them this right, though the wording was vague.

… you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Instagram Services or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.

In retrospect, I think both are worded rather vaguely, with a phrase like “in connection with” being able to cover a multitude of sins. But “without any compensation to you” is clear enough, and that obviously triggered the fears.

But Instagram’s actions weren’t unusual, they weren’t claiming ownership of your photos, and there was no need to panic — and that’s what I tried to stress in this first media spot, a chat with John Doyle on ABC Radio National Breakfast at around 0840 AEDT.

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This audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is an unedited copy of the original audio posted on their website.