Shhh! Don’t tell anyone, but my new SEKRIT podcast The 9pm Edict starts this coming Monday 22 February 2010.
Following yesterday’s news that a memo claiming McDonald’s deliberately rips off customers was a fake (pictured), I spoke about Internet pranks on ABC Radio 891 Adelaide this morning. I figured you might as well see my notes.
Oh, and the audio is below.
The fake memo was the work of Adelaide-based satirist and prankster David Thorne who, amongst other things, runs the website 27bslash6 as troll-bait and is flogging t-shirts and a book of his pranks called The Internet is a Playground.
Personally, I reckon pranks that just waste people’s time or otherwise annoy them without making any more significant point about society are pretty cheap.
Thorne’s attempt to pay a bill with a drawing of a spider is perhaps amusing, and it’s good that the victim saw the joke. But I put it at the same level as The Chaser bringing a horse into shops. Whereas The Chaser‘s breach of security at APEC, which you can see on video, made an important point about security theatre and social engineering attacks.
Anyway, this is what I discovered while poking around…
Here are the web links I’ve found for 15 October 2009, posted almost automatically. Almost
- Shouts & Murmurs: Subject: Our Marketing Plan | The New Yorker: A glorious satire on what’s happening in the publishing industry. The geeky language baffles the authors, who then have to do all the work. Much laughter was had. I hope you have it too.
- Twitter in the courtroom: a fad, or here to stay? | The Lawyer’s Weekly: This article from a Canadian law magazine reckons Twitter and its successors are here to stay — including courtrooms.
- Courtroom Tweeting | ReadWriteWeb: “The cat is decidedly out of the bag, and Twitter will probably carry blow-by-blow accounts of many future trials.”
- 28th April 1999 Net censorship! | YouTube: A podcast, as it would now be called, which includes a dig at the Australian Computer Society for supporting then communications minister Senator Richard Alston’s introduction of the Internet censorship blacklist.
- The Oz halts courtroom tweeting | Tech Marketing: The Australian has stopped its journalist Andrew Colley from providing the live courtroom Twitter stream. I reckon it’s an own goal. His constant tweets reminded me that he was there, prompting me to read his “proper” stories when they eventually emerged. Now The Australian just looks old-fashioned.
- Court reporting in 140 character tweets | Crikey: Metajournalist Margaret Simons’ take on the live Twitter stream coming from the Federal Court during the current AFACT v iiNet case.
- No oral sex, says ute crash waitress | Northern Territory News: The headline is just the beginning of a great story. True human drama.
- Even Cops Think It’s A Bad Idea | newmatilda.com: An interview with a former US police chief who reckons the War on (Some) Drugs has been a complete waste of time. He’s not alone.
- Peer-to-Peer Passé, Report Finds | Wired.com: P2P file sharing as a percentage of global traffic is declining as legitimate live video streaming is becoming more available.
Here are the web links I’ve found for 12 September 2009 through 19 September 2009, posted not-quite-automatically.
- Steak House or Gay Bar?: Can you pick the steakhouses from the gay bars, just by their names? It’s harder than you might thing!
- Greenpeace frees ocean life from Pacific longliner | Greenpeace Australia Pacific: Greenpeace’s report on their ship Esperanza “freeing tuna, sharks, marlin and an endangered sea turtle from a Taiwanese longliner”, the Ho Tsai Fa 18. Or, as I prefer to label it, Greenpeace committing piracy and endangering the lives of mariners going about their business.
- Fish Now, Pay Later | Greenpeace Australia Pacific: Darren Smith told me the article on dolphin-safe tuna wasn’t right, that Greenpeace didn’t support any kind of industrialised fishing. Here’s what Greenpeace is currently doing in the Pacific.
- The ecological disaster that is dolphin safe tuna | Southern Fried Science: By promoting “dolphin-safe tuna” — I prefer to spell it with a hyphen thusly — we’ve ended up with a system that’s unsafe for pretty much everything else.
- Meet my hot new stripper wife / Turns out the mid-life crisis is a cruel global phenomenon. Can it be stopped? | Mark Morford: Mark Morford is rapidly becoming one of my favourite writers. In this piece from February 2008 he explains a man’s mid-life crisis rather too well. And entertainingly. I’ll never be able to listen to Justin Timberlake in the same way again.
- The Lost Seasons | ABC: More details of the Australian Aboriginal six-season cycle, including a nice explanation of the system used by the Sydney basin’s D’harawal people.
- War 2.0: Political Violence & New Media | ANU Department of International Relations: I’ve been invited to attend this 2-day symposium in Canberra on 7-8 October. Now, to figure out who’s paying for it, which will be the key factor in deciding whether I can go.
- Jimmy Carter says that tea baggers hate President Obama because he's black | The Root: The former president points out a truth so self-evident you wonder how it could possibly be controversial. But controversial it is. Has modern journalism become so timid that it can’t handle the truth?
- Understanding the Telstra d-i-v-o-r-c-e | SearchNetworking.com.au: Richard Chirgwin’s backgrounder explains just how difficult it will be to separate Telstra into separate wholesale and retail divisions.
- The next generation bends over | 37signals: The makers of Basecamp, something I use every day, reckon the sale of online accounting software Mint to Intuit, the makers of Quicken and Quickbooks, is “indicative of a VC-induced cancer that’s infecting our industry and killing off the next generation”.
- Kid Cannabis | Rolling Stone: “How a chubby pizza-delivery boy from Idaho became a drug kingpin.” It’s just another product distribution business, just illegal.
- Rudd & Conroy Gambling On Mandatory Internet Censorship Working | broowery.com: An odd statistical analysis of the likelihood of stumbling across banned material online.
- ACMA Blacklists Iran Protest Video & Boing Boing: Another example of why the ACMA blacklist process is seemingly out of step with what the community might want. That’s not ACMA’s fault, they’re just implementing a dodgy policy.
- Why Sol Trujillo should be sued for stuffing up Telstra: Kohler | SmartCompany: There’s so many historical analyses of Telstra coming out this week, what with the government announcing its break-up and n’all. This one is marvellous.
- 2009 Menzies Lecture by John Howard (full text) | The Australian: “In the Australian context the adoption of a Charter or Bill of rights would represent the final triumph of elitism in Australian politics,” reckons our former Prime Minister. A fascinating read if only for its disingenuous use of political rhetoric and coded messages rather than rational argument.
- Oil Rocks | BLDGBLOG: Imagine a city of 5000 people built on stilts and causeways some 45km out into a lake. Well, it exists, and it’s called Oil Rocks, in the Caspian Sea in Azerbaijan.
- The Mushroom Tunnel of Mittagong | BLDGBLOG: A fascinating look, with photos, of a mushroom farm inside a disused railway tunnel. The tunnel itself is still government property, with the farm existing on a 5-year lease.
- Death by Information Overload | HBR.org: “New research and novel techniques offer a lifeline to you and your organization,” it says.
- The Economics of Sex Work | Core Economics: Good to see an update of knowledge since I did a little research on the sex industry for ABC Radio all those years ago.
- CHART OF THE DAY: Primetime On Facebook Is Monday To Wednesday | Silicon Valley Insider: “Social media marketers, take note. The best days to spam, erm, publish wall posts on Facebook that you want your ‘fans’ to pay attention to are Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays.”
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.
Stilgherrian’s links for 16 June 2009 through 20 June 2009, posted with a distinct sense of “better late than never”:
- Tether me!: How to tether your iPhone (that is, use it as a broadband modem for your laptop) when when your carrier doesn’t officially support it. (I haven’t tried this. I don’t have an iPhone.)
- Hobby Horses | Blackbeard Blog: Tom Ewing observes that it might be better to stop trying to think about the “usefulness” of social media and instead consider it as a hobby. He draws some excellent parallels to hobbies and sport.
- Optimizing Rural E-service Engagement | Information Technology in Developing Countries: A paper comparing development-driven and entrepreneurial models of Internet services in rural third-world locations. On of the examples is India’s DakNet which I mentioned the other day.
- First Dog on the Moon | Crikey: The entire First Dog on the Moon back catalog is now online. 300+ images. Enjoy.
- Letter Opener | restoroot.com: A plug-in for OS X’s Mail.app to handle those pesky winmail.dat attachments that sometimes, even today, still infect some emails from people with Exchange servers (which have been poorly configured).