Friday, August 10, 2007

Online Collegians Learn, Avoid Learning

Even study time is multitasked by this most wired group.

The Internet is both a study aid and distraction for college students, according to a Packaged Facts study underwritten by textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin. The survey was conducted in July 2007.

Nearly two-thirds of college students said they studied diligently, and 59% said they used online study tools. These tools included online quizzing, course outlines, video tutorials, tutoring and study groups. At the same time, 44% of responding college students said that the computer was their distraction of choice.

"We're finding that students are increasingly using online study tools in tandem with their textbooks," Katie Rose, head of research and marketing for Houghton Mifflin College Division, said in a statement.

A spring 2007 survey by Youth Trends found that full-time students at four-year colleges spent an average of 19.2 hours online per week, up one hour from the previous year.

Students spent more time online for entertainment than for academics.

With all the media choices available to them, college students have become experts at multitasking.

According to a William Blair study, 93% of college students conduct another activity while watching TV. Overall, 41.6% of TV time is spent multitasking.

Youth Trends found that talking on the phone, instant messaging and text messaging are the most common activities done while the TV is on.

for the full article with graphs and stats click here.

Hard Drives Grow As MP3s Pile Up

Nearly four in 10 US computers had at least 70 GB of hard drive space in April 2007, up from 33% in January 2007, according to comScore's initial TechMetrix survey.

comScore also surveyed PC owners about their hard drives from another perspective: Just over half of PCs had less than 50 GB of hard drive space in April 2007, down from 59% in January 2007.

They typical US PC had 880 MP3 files in April 2007, taking up 3 GB of hard drive space on average.

The average computer also contained 197 Microsoft Word documents, 100 PDF files, 77 Microsoft Excel files and 36 Windows Media files. The average Windows Media file size was 12.5 MB.

The study defined heavy MP3 users as those who had more MP3 files than 50% of all PC users. Nearly 40% of this group visited video game information Web sites. That was more than twice the number of visitors from the general PC-using population.

Heavy MP3 users were also more likely than general PC users to visit online gambling, teen community and humor Web sites.

Microsoft Driving Game Promotes Live Search Maps Service

When you're driving down the Strip in Las Vegas and you get crunched between a Mad Momma in her green station wagon and a Golden Oldie who laments he "doesn't have any insurance," then adds "there's nothing like the feel of some new support socks and the open road," don't worry. It's all part of Microsoft's latest effort to introduce users to its Live Search Maps Web site.

Microsoft, with its agency EVB, has created Live Derby 2007 as a "Pac-Man" style game where players can drive their car along city streets and pick up points while avoiding other drivers like Mad Momma, Golden Oldie and others. What makes the game different from other maze style games is that the mazes use actual Microsoft Live Search Maps of San Francisco, New York, Seattle, Las Vegas and London, complete with satellite imagery. The "power-boost" locations players can drive through to charge up their cars are actual locations in those cities, and players can click on those destinations to access the real listings using the Live Search Maps interface.

"You have these maps and it's only so exciting, but you add an element of a chase or a maze to it makes it more interesting," said Nick Mitrousis, an associate technical director for EVB who worked on the game. "You're playing with real world data. The links are right out to Live Search."

Microsoft has often sought to get its brand name noticed through more traditional banner and text ads; the company decided to create a game using Live Search Maps to reach out to users in a new way.

"We actually didn't want consumers to think about it as just another marketing initiative being pushed at them, we wanted to give them a great game experience and share it among their community," said Kevin Hagwell, senior product manager for Live Search Maps for Microsoft. "We wanted to show the real information because that's the value of the product."

The challenge of getting people interested in mapping technology led digital agency EVB to consider how to "integrate all the features of the maps but do it in a way that is really fun," said Daniel Stein, CEO of EVB. "It's easy to do advertising that talks about the features of a program like Live Maps, but the truth is with a virtual product like that you really need to show it and draw people in to involve them."

You can play the game here: http://www.livederby2007.com/

MEDIA, MEMORY and the ARCHIVE

Argos, Centre for Art & Media, and PACKED present:

Media, Memory and the Archive
CONFERENCE
ARGOS, Brussels
Sa 06.10.2007 11:00-19:00


How will generations after us look back on artistic production of the 20th and 21st centuries? Media formats, operating systems, software and hardware, browsers and the internet as we know it today will have evolved beyond recognition, both in shape and in use.

What strategies might be used to transpose technology-based works, variable, hybrid and ephemeral by nature, to an unknown and unpredictable future? How can intent, context and experience be recorded and permanently interpreted? The archiving process does not merely represent an attempt to preserve some notions, it also implicates that others will be forgotten.

What is relevant for preservation? What is the impact of used models, technical structures and tools on the construction of cultural memory? How does information travel through time, now
that the world is being (re)presented and organised more and more as a database, dynamic and networked? How will museums and other memory institutions cope with these new paradigms and what is the role media artists and we ourselves might have in the structuring of public memory?

Speakers: Richard Rinehart, Steve Dietz, Josephine Bosma, Oliver Grau, Charlie Gere, Wolfgang Ernst, Jean-Fran├žois Blanchette

Moderated by Marleen Wynants (CROSSTALKS, Vrije Universiteit Brussel - VUB)

www.packed.be
www.argosarts.org


Media, Memory and the Archive is part of OPEN ARCHIVE#1, a series of programs and events in which Argos mines the archive, reflecting and presenting a range of responses to the argos collections as well as considering the nature of the contemporary archive, media and memory.

Please note: on Fr 05.10.2007, the day before ‘Media, Memory and the Archive’, Argos and INC are organizing the conference ‘Video Vortex: Responses to YouTube’ with Lev Manovich, Nora Barry, Keith Sanborn, Tomas Rawlings & Ana Kronschnabl, Simon Ruschmeyer, Peter Westenberg, Johan Grimonprez. Others tbc.


argos
Werfstraat 13 rue du Chantier
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
tel +32 2 229 00 03
fax +32 2 223 73 31
stoffel@argosarts.org

Postanarchism Reader: Call for Submissions

Call for Submissions: Postanarchism Reader
Ed. Duane Rousselle
Due: December 2007

Post-structuralist anarchism, or what more often has been referred to as postanarchism, never quite received the attention that it deserved from the anarchist community at large. Nor has it to any great extent been met with sympathy. Part of the reluctance, I suspect, results from the empty spaces occupying the bookshelves of universities, alternative bookstores, and radical lending libraries across the world today - all of which are awaiting the publication of this volume, The postanarchism reader: writings at the intersection of anarchism and poststructuralism. But, most ironically, this problem has arisen simultaneously with a proliferation of related articles across disparate disciplines; a tradition built around such heterogeneity runs the risk of erecting its own tombstone.

It would seem that there is a double necessity here, one of maintaining a transdisciplinary approach while also ensuring that the tradition remains bounded. A body of thought such as this should allow itself the dignity to live on as the vital condition of a contemporary anarchist politics, as a volume of work which, though explicitly multivocal, nonetheless inherently shares a sense of community and responsibility. In this sense, the articles that will be presented in The postanarchism reader, constitutes a community of sorts, even before their binding.

To my knowledge, other than the humble contributions offered in the Reader, only three book-length works (Todd May's The Political Philosophy of Poststructuralist Anarchism was introduced in 1994, followed by Saul Newman's From Bakunin to Lacan: Antiauthoritarianism and the Dislocation of Power and Lewis Call's Postmodern Anarchism in 2001 and 2004 respectively) explore this subject in any sort of depth.

We might recall May's groundbreaking book which was among the first to explore the relationship between poststructuralism and anarchism; May's book arrived as a response to the question Is poststructuralism anarchist? Indeed it is the case that poststructuralism, as a political philosophy, is, if not anarchist, at least anarchistic, and yet if we were to seek out full texts documenting this collaboration, still after so many years, we would be left, for the most part, near empty handed. Newman, obviously referring to May's original text, but seven years later, commented that he was only aware of one other author who explored these
connections at any length (Newman, 2001: 7).

Now, fourteen long years after May's initial writing on the subject and six empty years after Call's, there still consists of only three lengthy texts which explicitly address these connections. Are we not then to presume that postanarchism should be explored no further?


This book will come in part then as a reaction to the empty bookshelves that have come to be the private trouble of any postanarchist-curious reader. It also comes as a response to the outrageous lack of accessibility to postanarchist articles, many of which an academic might find scattered from one journal to the next, hardly reaching the most serious and sympathetic readers.

Moreover this book is an attempt to come to terms with one of the biggest challenges posed by a postanarchist politics, that of building sustainable community in the face of endless fragmentation. I am reminded, in particular, of a popular conversation between John D. Caputo and Jacques Derrida, to which the question was posed: "[w]hat does deconstruction say, if anything, in favor of the unum, of community? Is there a place for unity after deconstruction? What might it look like?" (Caputo, 1997: 11), to which Derrida replied, "[o]f course, we need unity, some gathering, some configuration. You see, pure unity or pure multiplicity or disassociation . . is a synonym for death" (Ibid., 13).

This book, therefore, is an attempt to take what are now scattered, yet important, articles and combine them into an accessible anthology, it will be just one shameless attempt at sustainable community. Up until now postanarchism, as a responsible tradition, has been far too interested in its transdisciplinarity without equal regard for its shared ethical commitments. This book is only one attempt, among many, to (re)achieve such a balance.


The deadline for current paper proposals is December of 2007.
Contributions from many writers have already been secured, however we are still searching for a few more. We are looking for work/play which either explicitly addresses a post(structuralist) anarchist political approach, as in the case of Jason Adam's "Postanarchism in a nutshell", or work/play which creatively deals with both poststructuralist and anarchist theories within the same essay. If you or somebody you know would like to contribute, please contact me by email at Duane.Rousselle@unb.ca or by phone at 1-613-344-0132.
Duane Rousselle
Kingston, Ontario

Consumers Give Low Marks to Video Downloading

Only one in five users is satisfied

A new survey from market research firm Parks Associates has found that few consumers in the U.S. are satisfied with the videos they download from the Internet. Just 16% say the selection of videos available online is good, and only 13% say video downloads are sold at a reasonable price. Most tellingly, fewer than one in five consumers downloading video say they plan to download videos again in the future.

Consumers generally download video from one of two sources: peer-to-peer networks that offer unauthorized copies of TV programs and films, or licensed online services like iTunes. Low satisfaction levels might be expected for consumers using unlicensed sources because their quality and reliability are generally low—a consequence of being an unlicensed service. Yet even consumers who exclusively use legitimate services are unhappy with the experience (see figure below).



“People don’t see a reason to use video downloading services,” said John Barrett, director of research at Parks Associates. “Sure, it saves a trip to the video store, but it takes longer, looks worse, and you end up watching it on a 17” screen. No wonder consumers are dissatisfied with the experience.” He noted that niche markets will emerge, but mainstream consumers will remain lukewarm about the video download experience. Good news for DVD makers, perhaps, but certainly not the feedback that online distributors like Apple are hoping to hear.

Video Vortex: Responses to YouTube

Argos, Centre for Art & media, and The Institute of Network Cultures (INC) present:

Video Vortex: Responses to YouTube
CONFERENCE
ARGOS, Brussels
Fri 05.10.2007 11:00


Over the past years the moving image has claimed an increasingly prominent place on the internet. Thanks to a wide range of technologies and web applications it has become possible, not only to record and distribute video, but to edit and remix it on-line as well.

With this world of possibilities within reach of a multitude of social actors, the potential of video as a personal means of expression has arrived at a totally new dimension.

How is this potential being used? How do artists and activists react to the popularity of YouTube and other ‘user-generated-content’ websites? What is the impact of the availability of massive on-line images and sound databases on aesthetics and narrativity? How is Cinema, as an art form and experience, influenced by the development of widely spreading internet practices? What does YouTube tell us about the state of art in visual culture? And how does the participation culture of video-sharing and vlogging reach some degree of autonomy and diversity, escaping the laws of the mass media and the strong grip of media conglomerates?

This Video Vortex conference is the first in a series of international events, aimed at critical research and reflection surrounding the production and distribution of on-line video content, at the instigation of the Institute of Network Cultures (INC).

Speakers: Lev Manovich, Nora Barry, Keith Sanborn, Tomas Rawlings & Ana Kronschnabl, Simon Ruschmeyer, Peter Westenberg, Johan Grimonprez. Others tbc.

Moderated by Geert Lovink (Institute of Network Cultures)

www.networkcultures.org

www.argosarts.org

Video Vortex is part of OPEN ARCHIVE#1, a series of programs and events in which Argos mines the archive, reflecting and presenting a range of responses to the argos collections as well as considering the nature of the contemporary archive, media and memory.

Please note: on Sa 06.10.2007, the day after 'Video Vortex', Argos organizes the conference ‘Media, Memory and the Archive’, with Richard Rinehart, Steve Dietz, Josephine Bosma, Oliver Grau, Charlie Gere, Wolfgang Ernst, Jean-Fran├žois Blanchette

argos
Werfstraat 13 rue du Chantier
B-1000 Brussels
Belgium
tel +32 2 229 00 03
stoffel@argosarts.org

Thursday, August 9, 2007

‘Fake Steve’ Blogger Comes Clean

For the last 14 months, high-tech insiders have been eating up the work of an anonymous blogger who assumed the persona of Steven P. Jobs, Apple’s chief executive and one of the world’s most famous businessmen.

The mysterious writer has used his blog, the Secret Diary of Steve Jobs, to lampoon Mr. Jobs and his reputation as a difficult and egotistical leader, as well as to skewer other high-tech companies, tech journalists, venture capitalists, open-source software fanatics and Silicon Valley’s overall aura of excess.

The acerbic postings of “Fake Steve,” as he is known, have attracted a plugged-in readership — both the real Mr. Jobs and Bill Gates have acknowledged reading the blog (fakesteve.blogspot.com). At the same time, Fake Steve has evaded the best efforts of Silicon Valley’s gossips to discover his real identity.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the country, Daniel Lyons, a senior editor at Forbes magazine who lives near Boston, has been quietly enjoying the attention.

“I’m stunned that it’s taken this long,” said Mr. Lyons, 46, when a reporter interrupted his vacation in Maine on Sunday to ask him about Fake Steve. “I have not been that good at keeping it a secret. I’ve been sort of waiting for this call for months.”

Mr. Lyons writes and edits technology articles for Forbes and is the author of two works of fiction, most recently a 1998 novel, “Dog Days.” In October, Da Capo Press will publish his satirical novel written in the voice of the Fake Steve character, “Options: The Secret Life of Steve Jobs, a Parody.”

Unlike the off-the-cuff ramblings on his blog, “Options” is a well-plotted satire that imagines Apple’s chief executive grappling with his real-life stock option backdating troubles and getting help, and bad advice, from friends like Larry Ellison, Bono and Al Gore.

The book, in part, led to Mr. Lyons’s unmasking. Last year, his agent showed the manuscript to several book publishers and told them the anonymous author was a published novelist and writer for a major business magazine. The New York Times found Mr. Lyons by looking for writers who fit those two criteria, and then by comparing the writing of “Fake Steve” to a blog Mr. Lyons writes in his own name, called Floating Point (floatingpoint.wordpress.com).

Mr. Lyons said he invented the Fake Steve character last year, when a small group of chief executives turned bloggers attracted some media attention. He noticed that they rarely spoke candidly. “I thought, wouldn’t it be funny if a C.E.O. kept a blog that really told you what he thought? That was the gist of it.”

Mr. Lyons says he recalled trying out the voices of several chief executives before settling on the colorful Apple co-founder. He twice tried to relinquish the blog, but started again after being deluged by fans e-mailing to ask why Fake Steve had disappeared.

Though many speculators have guessed Fake Steve was an Apple insider, Mr. Lyons says he has never interviewed Mr. Jobs nor written a story about the company. “I have zero sources inside Apple,” he said. “I had to go out and get books and biographies to learn about a lot of the back story.”

continue reading at the New York Times

Folksonomy: free public lecture by Thomas Vander Wal, 2pm, 18 September 2007, De Montfort University, Leicester, UK

This is particularly interesting to people in the UK (or Leicester for that matter):

Folksonomy: A look at a hated word but a loved resource

2:00-3:30PM, September 18, 2007. Free and open to the public.

Room 0.01, Clephan Building, De Montfort University, Leicester UK. LE1 9BH




"Folksonomy" was recently voted one of the new terms most likely to make you "wince, shudder or want to bang your head on the keyboard." This talk by the inventor of the term – Thomas Vander Wal – will offer you a chance to make your own judgment. The talk is open to all and will not require any specialist knowledge on behalf of the audience.


A Folksonomy can be created when users of "web2.0" sites such as YouTube, Flickr, LastFM and Del.icio.us add keywords ("tags") to the items they view in order to add information about these items. As more and more users tags such items more information is created about the the items. Unlike library catalogues which are created by experts, folksonomies are like catalogues created by everyday people. For some, this heralds a brave new era of democratic information management, for others it heralds the death of expertise.


Thomas Vander Wal lives in Bethesda, Maryland, and this is a rare opportunity to hear him in the UK. He coined the term "folksonomy" in 2004 and is a popular speaker on tagging/folksonomy, social web, and web applications around well structured information. He is principal, and senior consultant at InfoCloud Solutions, a social web consulting firm. Thomas has been working professionally on the web since 1995 (with a professional IT background beginning in 1988) and has breadth and depth across many roles and disciplines around web design, social web development & research and general web development. He is a member of the Web Standards Project Steering Committee and helped found the Information Architecture Institute and Boxes & Arrows web magazine. See his web site to find out more:
http://www.vanderwal.net/



The lecture is presented as part of the AHRC-funded research project Tags Networks Narratives, examining the interdisciplinary application of experimental social software to the study of narrative in digital contexts.

It is a unique speculative project assessing the potential for collaborative social-software techniques such as folksonomy in narrative research.

The project explores:

- What kinds of collaborative social network tools are available for the gathering and classification of information?

- Which researchers are making online narratives the focus of study, and how are those projects categorised by discipline?

- How can these researchers make effective use of social network tools to share knowledge and develop interdisciplinary collaborations?



The project is based in the Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT) at De Montfort University, Leicester UK and is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Board from October 2006-September 2007. The project team consists of Professor Sue Thomas, Bruce Mason and Simon Mills.



The talk is organised in partnership with Production and Research in Transliteracy group
http://www.transliteracy.com


For more information and directions to the venue visit
http://www.ioct.dmu.ac.uk/tnn/vanderwal07.htm

Hearst Acquires Social Shopping Site Kaboodle

Hearst has completed an acquisition of social shopping site Kaboodle. The e-commerce-friendly site opens cross-promotional opportunities for Hearst properties.
Kaboodle will operate independently, though the social shopping aspect offers synergy with Hearst properties, particularly Hearst's women's service magazines. Magazines like Good Housekeeping, Marie Claire, and Cosmopolitan can extend to the Web by creating buying guides, or the season's hottest items. "What we do in print is now online in a community way," said Kenneth Bronfman, president of Hearst Interactive Media.

Plans on how to integrate Kaboodle into Hearst properties are not finalized, but Bronfman said, "There is a wealth of ideas on what we can do together."

With the power of Hearst behind the start-up, Kaboodle can work on advancing the site functionality and bringing in advertisers.

"It's fair to say that Kaboodle as a development stage company has spent time building community and tools and hasn't focused on developing advertising revenue," said Bronfman. Hearst's sales force will start to sell Kaboodle as part of packages with other publishing properties, and as a standalone media buy.

Building out relationships with big brand advertisers, as well as continuing to enhance the user experience is among Kaboodle's goals. The site also plans to add premium content by way of editorial content from Hearst's magazine properties as well as other publishers. Bronfman said Hearst will not hinder Kaboodle from pursuing relationships with other newspapers, TV properties, magazines and dot com properties. "They will do what they think is best to build the company, not beholden to Hearst," he said.

The completed acquisition makes Kaboodle a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hearst. The Web property will be managed by Hearst Interactive Media and Hearst Magazines Digital Media. Kaboodle's founder and management will remain in tact, and continue to operate in the company's Santa Clara, California offices. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Computers and tech gadgets were originally a core driver for shopping comparison sites, according to Manish Chandra, founder and CEO of Kaboodle. He said fashion now leads the growth of e-commerce and comparison shopping sites. The category leaves room for the commentary Kaboodle and other sites offer users. The social component taps into the gene "that gets people talking spontaneously about a product."

Kaboodle is one of a number of social shopping sites that encourage users to evangelize their favorite purchases. Competing start-up ThisNext shares revenues with its most active users.

The Kaboodle deal follows the recent acquisition of men's lifestyle site UGO Networks.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Poor Study Results Drive Ad Research Foundation Initiative

Advertiser demand for quick and dirty online studies and a dearth of participants has corrupted the quality of some online research, a problem the Advertising Research Foundation is hoping to change with its newly launched Online Research Quality Council. As calls for transparency in online measurement increase, the goal of the new ARF committee is to create standards for research firms and their clients when it comes to Web panel-based research studies.

"The biggest issue that is perplexing advertisers….is the inability to replicate the studies," said ARF President and CEO Robert Barocci. What researchers and their advertiser clients are finding, said Barocci, is it's been difficult to duplicate the results from one panel "so that people in the business can have confidence that the results they're getting are valid and predictable."

There are a couple factors contributing to this dilemma that the ARF aims to understand through the council's work. One is over-participation by survey respondents. "Those people are making a living taking online surveys," said Barocci, who suggested the cash and prize incentives awarded to online survey participants might create bias in favor of the advertiser in question.

"I think some of the recruiting techniques are a little unusual," Barocci said, noting "It used to be believed that if you pay people, they'd be biased going in."

Among other things, the Online Research Quality Council will address this perceived prejudice. A meeting is set for September 10th to discuss a preliminary proposal for guidelines for Web panel measurement.

"We're hoping to get a plan outlined or agreed to at that meeting," said Barocci, who said he'd be pleased to see a hundred or more people discussing the issues at the September get-together. He'd like for official standards to be unveiled during the annual ARF convention in April, he added. The council steering committee is comprised of six execs representing research firms including TNS, Ipsos Interactive Services, NPD Group, comScore and Harris Interactive.

Some believe a high demand from advertisers for cheap, speedy online studies is resulting in erosion in the quality of Web panel research.

"I've witnessed the pressure that panel companies are under from advertisers to provide very low cost" studies, said Tom Kelly, COO of Safecount, a recently re-launched arm of WPP's research division Kantar. Rather than collecting data from a set panel of respondents, the company conducts live Web intercept studies, inviting individuals to take brief five-minute surveys.

Safecount is also dealing with a lack of Web survey participants, driven by privacy concerns. According to Kelly, online research firms have experienced a drop in survey cooperation rates over the past few years.

"We need to understand the impact of non-response," said Kelly.

Although many in the ad industry have expressed a lack of confidence in Web panels for some time, Barocci suggested concern among ARF members "has grown dramatically" since the organization's meeting last fall focused on the decline in Web survey response and cooperation rates.

Barocci is quick to differentiate between ARF's initiative and the Interactive Advertising Bureau's recent demand for audits of Nielsen//NetRatings' and comScore's methodologies. The impetus for the IAB's efforts is "a currency issue," he said; the IAB's goal is to shed light on methods for measuring Web site audiences, which in turn influence how ads are priced.

Still, there does seem to be a common theme in the recent calls for transparency in online research and measurement. "The research space online is maturing," said Kelly.

But in order for the ARF to accomplish its mission, Kelly believes the organization will need cooperation from the advertiser community.

"People in the client space need to become stakeholders in this effort," he said. "I don't think any groups or mandates will work unless there's advertiser buy-in."

Diaspora and the Media: Leeds Conference Programme

EUROPEAN WORKSHOP

Mediations of Cultural Difference: Debating Media and Diversity

7 and 8 September 2007
University of Leeds



“Mediations of Cultural Difference: Debating Media and Diversity” is the title of a two-day conference to be held at the University of Leeds on 7 and 8 September 2007. Organised by the Diaspora, Migration and the Media Section of the European Communication and Research Association (ECREA), this symposium will showcase the latest research on cultural difference, communication, and the media.


Confirmed keynote speakers include Marie Gillespie (Open University), Charles Husband (Bradford University), and Kim Knott (Leeds University).


A preliminary version of the conference programme and information on registration, travel, and accommodation are available at the workshop website:
http://ics.leeds.ac.uk/ecrea-diasporamedia/

Social Bookmarking in Plain English

I founf this on youtube today. it explains how social bookmarking works, using del.ico.us as an example.

And hey, if you like this post, why not social bookmark it with the social bookmark button below?



We made this video because we want people to see the power of social bookmarking and how it makes web pages easy to remember, organize and share.

EFF minilinks

The week's EFF noteworthy news, compressed.

Zimbabwe's New Spying Laws
Mugabe grants his government the right to intercept phone, mail and Internet traffic.
http://www.boingboing.net/2007/08/05/zimbabwe_mugabe_enac.html


House Panel Approves Legal Shield for Bloggers
The Free Flow of Information Act would protect journalists and bloggers alike.
http://news.com.com/2100-1028_3-6200188.html


Congress to Investigate Yahoo's Role in Chinese Rights Case
What did Yahoo know about dissident Shi Tao when they handed information to the Chinese government?
http://www.siliconvalley.com/portal/news/ci_6537733?nclick_check=1&_loopback=1


File-sharing, a "Petty Offense" in Germany
German prosecutors refuse to unmask alleged file-sharers.
http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070802-file-sharing-is-a-petty-offense-say-german-prosecutors.html


UK Study of Downloading Habits
More people are downloading music, and using social networking sites to discover new music.
http://www.entertainmentmediaresearch.com/ADMINNews/templates/emr.asp?articleid=43&zoneid=1


Don't Sell Imports, or We'll Sue!
Universal threatens to sue retailers for selling an Amy Winehouse import.
http://blog.wired.com/music/2007/08/universal-threa.html


"I Am the Real Fake Steve Jobs"
The blogger behind "The Secret Diary of Steve Jobs" was revealed.
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/06/technology/06steve.html?ex=1344052800&en=8ab7e0cf79cf8e96&ei=5090&partner=rssuserland&emc=rss

CCIA Targets Bogus Copyright Warnings

Copyright warnings - like those "FBI Warnings" on DVDs, stickers on CDs, and warnings flashed during NFL broadcasts - are becoming increasingly common.

Trouble is, most of these warnings are blatantly misleading claiming that any and all unauthorized uses are forbidden by law. Of course, copyright has always allowed lots of unauthorized uses, including fair uses. They are also annoying, and in the case of DVDs, unskippable.

Last Wednesday, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA) filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), asking the Commission to take a number of major corporations to task for their misleading and intimidating copyright warnings.

Targets include: the NFL, Major League Baseball, DreamWorks, Morgan Creek (producers of "The Good Shepherd"), and the book publishers, Harcourt and Penguin.

CCIA's also started a petition that will be sent to the FTC - sign it here:
http://defendfairuse.org/take_action.html

Read the CCIA complaint:
http://defendfairuse.org/ftc_complaint.html

For the full post:
http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/005385.php

21st Century Teenager: Media Representation, Theory and Policy

Twenty First Century Teenager: Media Representation, Theory and Policy

A conference hosted by the Association for Research in Popular Fictions

10th-12th July,2008 Trinity and All Saints College, Leeds


TV drama, young adult fiction, music, art, citizenship agenda, documentary, photography, journalism, pedagogy, youth culture, social exclusion, child poverty, curriculum and literacy, sub-culture, new media, disability, teen audiences, magazines/comics, juvenile delinquency, beauty and lifestyle, pop and politics, internet cultures, texting and social ritual, teen nights and street culture, ASBOs and Hoodies, comparative studies.


Please send an abstract of 200-300 words by December 15th 2007 to
Nickianne Moody,
Convenor ARPF,
MCCA,
Liverpool John Moores University,
Dean Walters Building,
St James Road,
Liverpool L1 7BR
E-mail N.A.Moody@ljm.ac.uk
Fax 0151 6431980

Society of Cinema and Media Studies 2008 Conference

CFP: Society of Cinema and Media Studies 2008 Conference
Philadelphia, PA, March 6-9, 2008

Proposed panel:
Sports and Media

This panel seeks to address issues relating to sports and media in all forms. Sports is a large part of moving image consumption around the world and has enormous economic, political, social, and cultural impact, but is an understudied area of media research. It is our hope to suggest new areas of study and approaches to this material. Papers on, but not limited to, the following topics are welcomed:

-Gender representation and related gender issues
-Race in sports and its representation in sports media
-Political economy of sports broadcasting
-Questions of sexuality raised by and embedded within sports media
-Sports marketing approaches and audience research techniques
-Sports broadcasting aesthetics
-Regulations/Contractual agreements regarding national and local broadcasts
-Films about sports or how sports and sports culture are represented in film
-Historical development of sports broadcasting and its relation with traditional television programming
-User generated sports media created through new media technologies
-YouTube, sports, and related issues regarding copyright and legal ownership of media
-Economic and social repercussions of cable verses over-the-air (free) broadcasting of sporting events
-Consumption of sports in public or private spaces
-Sports, media, and shared and/or individual memory
-Nationalism and sports consumption

Please send a 200-300 word abstract for a paper presentation and a short bio to Sudeep Sharma (sudeep@ucla.edu) and Eric Vanstrom (vanstrom@ucla.edu) by August 24. Feel free to send any questions or suggestions to the same.

Nielsen Study Finds In-Game Ads Drive Brand Recognition

A recent study of approximately 600 video game players found that those gamers exposed to in-game ads while playing displayed an increased brand recognition compared to those who were not shown ads.

The survey was conducted by Nielsen Entertainment, a unit of The Nielsen Company, and undertaken on behalf of in-game advertising network Massive, a unit of Microsoft. As part of the survey, respondents from Massive partner Electronic Arts' “Need for Speed Carbon,” racing game were placed into a test or control group based on whether they played on an Xbox 360 or PC system and were shown ads, or played on another system and were not shown the ads.

The survey found that on average the test group's brand familiarity increased by 64 percent, its brand rating increased by 37 percent and its purchase consideration increased by 41 percent over the control group that was not shown ads. It also found that average ad recall increased by 41 percent and ad ratings increased by 69 percent.

"When you play the game and you see how the ads are rendered you get a huge sense of the engagement and that backs up the data more than anything," said Cory Van Arsdale, CEO of Massive. "This will start to validate the direction we're headed. It's validating for advertisers and marketers the value of the engagement in the game."

The study utilized advertisements from several categories, including automotive, consumer packaged goods, quick service restaurant and technology tools. In breaking down results by category, Nielsen found that the automotive ads generated a 69 percent increase in purchase consideration among likely car buyers, the CPG client saw a 71 percent increase in the snack food being considered "cool," and the technology client saw a 70 percent increase in its brand rating, all comparing the control group to the test group.

The survey also saw what Massive considers a "halo effect with the brand beyond the basic metrics," said Alison Lange Engel, marketing director for Massive.

"We saw a 42 percent increase when exposed to the ads of respondents saying a product is fun to eat," Lange Engel said. "There is a halo effect that being in the game makes them cool."

The in-game advertising market is expected to reach $2 billion in spending by 2012, according to a recent Parks Associates forecast, and the Nielsen/Massive results are in keeping with a similar survey released by Double Fusion, although Lange Engel pointed out that the Nielsen study surveyed gamers "in a live setting" instead of a lab. She also said that compared to television or other media which has dozens of ads per hour of exposure, in-game advertising's four to five minutes of advertising per hour of game play has a greater impact.

"We have so much less clutter, and that's driving the high recall in the media form that we're seeing," she said. "What matters most to us is hearing back from our clients. The second core piece is the gamer reaction to the ads to make sure we're fulfilling our promise that the ads need to add to the experience and make the game more interactive, and we're seeing positive scores there as well."

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

ComScore Sees a Boom Year Globally for Social Nets

Social networking Web sites enjoyed "dramatic" growth during the past year, with yearly increases in total visitors skyrocketing as much as 774 percent, according to a new study.

Conducted by comScore, the study looked at MySpace, Facebook, Hi5, Friendster, Orkut, Bebo and Tagged. The researchers studied the number of unique visitors and average daily visitors at the five sites, comparing this June's levels to those documented in June 2006.

While comScore found Tagged.com to be the fastest-growing site of those it studied with a 774 percent growth rate, MySpace continues to lead the league, according to the report. The study showed MySpace had more than 114 million unique visitors this June, a 72 percent increase over the 66 million visits of June 2006.

Coming in at second-place was Facebook, with about 52 million unique visitors this summer. But, as comScore noted, Facebook's pace of growth was significantly better than that of MySpace during the past year. In June 2006, Facebook had about 14 million visitors. By June, that number had grown 270 percent, according to comScore.

All that growth means social networking sites are a big part of the fabric of the Internet and should not be considered a passing phase or fad, said comScore EVP Jack Flanagan, and that advertisers are right to be scrutinizing the channel for opportunities -- even if campaigns placed on social nets so far have an uneven track record.

"In terms of the size of audiences, certainly social networking has hit the mainstream," said Flanagan. "Typically we see that, whenever that happens, advertisers will follow the eyeballs."

While those eyeballs were initially owned by mostly young people, social network interaction by adults is on the rise, said Flanagan. "Certainly, where it started off with the younger demographic, what we have seen in the past year is that... people of all age groups are using social networking sites. It's not a genre restricted to a demographic as much as an overall function being used across the Internet."

ComScore's figures represent visitors of at least 15 years of age. The researchers focused on social networking sites that had at least 10 million visitors and experienced growth rates of at least 50 percent year-to-year.

While the sites studied by comScore are of "particular significance to the North American region," the company said it will focus future studies on sites that are popular worldwide. The researchers noted that both MySpace and Facebook, while continuing to expand globally, get about two-thirds of their audiences from North America. In Europe, Bebo enjoys "a particularly strong grasp," attracting almost 63 percent of its visitors from that continent. In Latin America and Asia, Orkut is "firmly entrenched," and Friendster gets 89 percent of its visitors from the Asia-Pacific region, said comScore.

GAME-ON 2007

What: Conference, "GAME-ON 2007"
Sponsor: EUROSIS-ETI, University of Bologna
When: 20 November 2007
Deadline For Submissions: 15 August 2007
Website: http://www.eurosis.org/cms/index.php?q=node/256


Supported by Ghent University, Larian Studios, The Moves Institute, Binary Illusions, ISA, ModelBenders LLC, Liverpool John Moores University and TU Delft

Conference website http://www.eurosis.org/cms/index.php?q=node/256


The aim of the 8th annual European Game-On Conference on simulation and AI in Computer Games, is to bring together researchers and games people in order to exchange ideas on programming and programming techniques, which will be beneficial to the gaming industry and academia. Secondly it aims to steer young people into this industry by providing how-to tutorials and giving them the opportunity to show their ideas and demos to the gaming industry. The conference will concentrate mostly on the programming of games, with special emphasis on methodology, simulation, AI and fuzzy sets, and physics related computer graphics. Next to that, all of this will be fused in the topic of computer game design in stand-alone and networked games. Software providers will be able to show their latest packages and give hand-on tutorials for the participants. Companies will also have the opportunity to seek new talent at this event.

The conference will cover three core tracks:

Game Development Methodology
Game Development Methodology, Game Design and Research Methods, Production Roles, Techniques and Process Management, Social and Technical Interactions in Art and Engineering, Participatory Media and Heterogeneous Development Approaches, Sociotechnical MOG Development, Communities and Sustainability, Business and Requirements Modeling for Game Projects, Software Architecture and Modeling in Games, Interaction Design and Usability in Game Contexts, Play Testing, Gameplay Experience Evaluation

Artificial Intelligence
Designing (Extensible) AI Engines with Built-in Machine Learning Technologies, Using Adaptive Markov Models, Using Decision Trees, Production Rules and Learning , Using Fuzzy Logic for membership functions and inference procedures , Using Rule Based AI or a Finite State Machine (FSM) , Using Fuzzy State Machines (FuSM) or Cascaded FuSMs , Using Artificial Life and layered AI Techniques , Level-of-Detail AI, Using scripting languages to govern NPC Bots, synthetic characters, or believable agents , Controlling simulated characters (Group Behaviour control) using f.ex. flocking algorithms based on extensible scripting systems , Cognitive Modeling: (combining geometric models and inverse kinematics to simplify key-framing. physical models for animating particles. Bio-mechanical modeling, behavioral modeling), Domain knowledge specification and character instruction, Creating AI Networks using supervised learning and genetic algorithms, and pathfinding, Using Databases using the winnowing algorithm , Using Multi-user Data Management.

Physics and Simulation
Collision detection, contact resolution and manifold generation (methods Lin-Canny, OBB Trees, I-Collide and Ray Tracing) ; Calculation optimization between objects ; The closest point algorithm by Gilbert Johnson and Keerthi (GJK) between convex and union-of convex objects ; Contact equation formulation (point-plane, edge-edge and sphere-plane) ; LCP (Linear Complementary problems) Based contact resolution ; Iterative constraints and penalty methods for contact resolution, Micro-Collisions, Software Object Interaction.


Peripheral tracks

3-D Scalability
MRM (Multi-Resolution Mesh) Technology and the Messiah and Lith Tech Engines ; Scalable level of detail-oriented rendering ; Methods for scaling animation quality ; Scaling animation quality, new animation steps, on interpolated key-frame animation or key-frame morphing ; Bump mapping: emboss-dot product and environment mapped bump map (EMBM)

Facial Animation
Facial animation for Real-Time, Model Behaviour of 3D Modeling; Modelling the bone structure of faces, Facial Hair etc..

Skeletal animation and fully scaled rendering
Physical Simulation, 3D Character Animation and physical controllers ; Simulation performance ; Rigid body physical animation and rigid body dynamics ; Polygon Character Design and level of Detail under Technical Constraints ; Particle systems, full polygonal models or sprites ; Smooth rendered skins, soft skinning, head animations and full body animation (Skin, extrude and boolean, Design, composition and anatomy) ; Skeletal, skinning, single skin meshes ; Creating Character Animation Assets ; Real-Time motion Synthesis, Kinematics and Dynamics, Animating the real-time run cycle ; T-Buffers and motion blur ; Motion Capture Techniques.

3D in Game Animation
Creating and scaling special effects in Real-Time 3D: environmental weapon effects and general pyrotechnics, software used to produce single frame and animated textures, booth looping and linear, and the pivotal role of alpha channels. Modeling an animation of the geometry needed and the system used to encode additional engine-specific timing and trigger data into the files. The use of the engine particle system and scripting capabilities, Weighted vertices, Streaming SIMD Extension Overview (floating point instruction) ;Pre-rendered cinematics ; Scaling of special effects and texture tricks: particle systems for generating smoke and fire, texture tricks, for volumes, lens flares and onscreen pyrotechnics, Animation Blending

Tools
Silicon Graphics (MAYA, as a game prototyping environment), 3D Programming for Rage Programmable Shaders (Renderman), 3D Studio Max, Scratch,XNA and other Open Source Games Software

Design
Game Engine Design and game environment creation; Using rapid prototyping (NEMO-DEV) and generic technology (generic world building engine), portable code ; Using Math for Game programming by solving simultaneous Equations ; Using Modularity and isolation abstraction, data hiding, functional independence, cohesion and coupling ; Using Java as an embedded Game scripting engine ; Procedural content placement, level design, enemy and entity placement ; Using Databases in online Games ; Programming in Linux, C++ and Visual Basic ; Programming Web Games in Java Scalable 3D games ; Creating large 3D worlds ; Creating Multiplayer online Games ; Techniques for scaling game content, and approaches to scaling game content ; C++ optimization Strategies and Techniques ; 3D Engine optimization; Optimizing games for the MIPS RISC Architecture ; Game design: User set set according to hard limits, pre-runtime profiling and runtime profiling history of Game Design.

Rendering
Rendering Equations and architectures; Image Based Rendering (polygon counts (throughput) and overdraw (filtrate); Photorealistic rendering using Open GL and Direct 3D ; Multi texture tricks like gloss mapping, dynamic environment mapping, detail texturing and bump mapping Spatial aliasing and Anti-aliasing and accumulation buffers ; Setup, Rendering and Transforms ; Full floating point setup ; Perspective-corrected texture mapping, multiple filtering modes, sophisticated texture blending for special effects and effective looking transparency ; Classical local illumination equations and colour theory; Creating Reflections and shadows with stencil buffers and Z-Buffers ; Light maps and changing texture coordinates, shadow maps, projected shadow maps ; Methods for scaling lighting and shadows, lighting calculations ; Equation on a per pixel basis, pixel path and voxel animation ; Procedural Texture Methods and Theory and Real-Time ; Procedural Texture Implementation ; Parametric Surfaces, Deforming surfaces, Curved surfaces and tri-linear flip-flopping Using NURBS (non-uniform rational B-splines) and other parametric surfaces for representing 3D Geometry ; Matrix Manipulations ; Methods for scaling geometry using parametric curves and surfaces in relation to polygonal models ; Progressive meshes and subdivision surfaces

On-Line Gaming and On-Line Game Security
As online gaming becomes more and more popular security issues now come into the forefront of secure game play using public key cryptography, symmetric key cryptography, digital signatures, authentication and available cryptographic toolkits.

Voice Interaction
Using Intelligent Speech Synthesis Algorithms, Speech Processing, Voice Interaction, Speech Synthesizer; Interaction with AI-NPC's, Voice-Over Net Technology (one to one, and one to many)

Cognitive Psychology applied to games
Based on player to game interactions and biometric data analysis.

Artistic input to game and character design
Storytelling and Natural Language Processing
Applications
Wargaming methodology

Techniques applied to strategic game design using Campaign managers, character generators, terrain generators. Multiplayer wargaming and Web Wargaming Serious Games applications Aerospace Simulations, Board Games etc... Games for training

Handheld Gaming Devices - Mobile Gaming
Gaming with I-Toy, WII and other handheld devices such as phones, Virtual Sat-Nav Gaming. Focusing on the man-machine interaction part

Perceptual User Interfaces for Games
Humans communicate using speech, gesture, and body motion, yet today's computers do not use this valuable information. Instead, computers force users to sit at a typewriter keyboard, stare at a TV-like display, and learn an endless set of arcane commands -- often leading to frustration, inefficiencies, and disuse.

The idea behind PUI is that a computer system "hears" users' voice commands and "sees" their gestures and body positions. Interactions are natural, more like human-to-human interactions. PUI use here machine perception to allow users to interact with computergames and within computer gaming environments. By reading gestures, motions and speech we should be able to in a much more natural way interact with the games.

But sensor systems deliver only raw position and pose information. For interface use, these are not the desired quantities—we need to understand the abstractions appropriate for a natural interface and consider how the various perceptual input degrees of freedom should relate to available commands and options.

Special track: Gaming with robots
Aibo, Bionicles, Mindstorms etc...

Tutorials, "Aren't we great" presentations, Student Demos.
Students are encouraged to show demos of their work to the companies present at the conference. The best demo will receive a prize from the organizers.

Poster Session
The poster session only features work in progress. Next to the actual poster presentation, these submissions also feature as short papers in the Proceedings.

Students Session
This session is for students who want to present their work in progress or part of their doctoral thesis as a paper. Student papers are denoted by the fact that only the name of the student appears on the paper as an author. They are published as short papers in the Proceedings.

Diverse Activities
For demonstrations or video sessions, please contact Philippe Geril. A Special session will be set up for vendor presentations in co-ordination with the scientific program. User Group meetings for simulation languages and tools can be organised the day before the conference. If you would like to arrange a meeting, please contact the Conference Chairs. We will be happy to provide a meeting room and other necessary equipment. Partners for projects session(s) will be organised by EUROSIS to give potential project teams or individuals the opportunity to present their research in order to link up with fellow researchers for future research projects. Those wishing to participate in this session need to send a proposal to Philippe Geril

Exhibition
A special exhibition will be held during the conference focused on gaming tools. For more information please contact EUROSIS for further details. Email: Philippe.Geril@eurosis.org


Paper Submission Types

FULL PAPER
(including abstract, conclusions, diagrams, references)
During review, the submitted full papers can be accepted as a regular 5 page paper. If excellent, full papers can be accepted by the program committee as an extended (8-page) paper. Each submission will be reviewed by at least three members of the International Program Committee.

EXTENDED ABSTRACT
(at least five pages)
Participants may also submit a 5 page extended abstract for a regular (5 pages) or short (3 pages) paper or poster, which will be reviewed by the International Program Committee. All accepted papers will be published in the GAMEON'2007 Conference Proceedings.

SHORT ABSTRACT
(at least three pages)
Participants may also submit a 3 page abstract for a short paper or poster, which will be reviewed by the International Program Committee. All accepted papers will be published in the GAMEON'2007 Conference Proceedings.

ONE PAGE ABSTRACTS ARE NOT ACCEPTED.

All EUROSIS Proceedings are indexed by ISI-Thomson and IEE-INSPEC

Selected papers will be published in the International Journal of Computer Games Technology.


Deadlines and Requirements
Send all submissions in an ELECTRONIC FORM ONLY in uuencoded, zipped Microsoft Word format, PDF or Postscript format indicating the designated track and type of submission (full paper or an extended abstract) to EUROSIS (Philippe.Geril@eurosis.org).

Please provide your name, affiliation, full mailing address, telephone / fax number and Email address on all submissions as well. For submissions please put in the subject of your Email the following indications: GAMEON2007 and designated track or USE THE ABSTRACT SUBMISSION SITE!!

Only original papers, which have not been published elsewhere, will be accepted for publication


Submission Deadlines
EARLY BIRD SUBMISSION: JULY 15
AUGUST 15 2007:
Submit contributed full-papers (5 to 8 proceedings pages) not previously published. These submissions, when accepted will be published as regular or extended papers, depending on their quality.

Submit extended abstracts (5 abstract pages) or short papers (3 abstract pages), reports of industrial projects and summaries of posters. These submissions, when accepted will be published as regular 5 page proceedings papers.

Submit one -to -three page proposals to present tutorials, to organise and chair panel sessions, to organise user meetings, vendor sessions or to exhibit software

Submit abstracts for student and poster session

LATE SUBMISSION DATE : SEPTEMBER 15
OCTOBER 1, 2007:
Notification of Acceptance or Rejection

NOVEMBER 5, 2007:
Authors provide camera-ready manuscript

NOVEMBER 22-24, 2007:
Conference


Outstanding Paper Award
The 2007 GAMEON Conference Committee will select the Outstanding Paper of the Conference. The author of this paper will be awarded a free registration for a EUROSIS conference. Only papers SUBMITTED AS FULL papers will be eligible for the Outstanding Paper Award.

Selected papers of the event will be published in the International Journal of Computer Games Technology.

Language
The official conference language for all papers and presentations is English.

Digital Games and Labor (2008 SCMS panel) Call for Papers

Society for Cinema and Media Studies 2008 Panel

WORK HARD, PLAY HARD: Digital Games and Labor

Organizer:
Aubrey Anable
Program in Visual and Cultural Studies
University of Rochester
424 Morey Hall
Rochester, NY 14627


Play has become an increasingly complicated and multivalent word for game studies. Recently, the real economies of games like World of Warcraft and Second Life and the activities of gold farmers have pointed to the necessity ofexpanding our understanding of what the pleasures and politics of gameplay are.

Similarly, websites such as Amazon’s Mechanical Turk or Games with a Purpose harness the possibility of play to enlist cheap (or free) labor. Play is both labor and commodity. Even relatively straightforward gaming activities seem laborious in their difficulty, time consumption, and serious affect.

For this panel, we are seeking papers that put pressure on the concept of play in game and new media studies in light of these and other issues of labor.

Please send 250 word paper proposals, a 2-5 item bibliography, and a short biovia email to Aubrey Anable at anbl@mail.rochester.edu by August 12, 2007.

Amazon introduces own online payment system

As eBay continues to fight off calls for the addition of Google Checkout to its online marketplace, here comes another big-name PayPal alternative. Today, on its web services blog, Amazon announced a limited beta version of a long-rumored online payment system, dubbed the Amazon Flexible Payments Service, or FPS.

Aimed at developers looking to build their own internet-driven businesses, this new set of web service APIs allows the exchange of funds via credit cards and bank accounts as well as “Amazon Payments” accounts.

“The ‘good idea’ has become a reality and developers now have yet another way to build scalable, profitable online businesses,” wrote Amazon’s Jeff Barr, in a blog post entitled “Ka-Ching!” Yes, third-party sellers can already collect payments through the existing Amazon Payments system. But Payments is only an option if you’re selling goods on Amazon.com.

FPS enables payment collection on third-party sites as well, and like Payments, it allows buyers to transfer funds via their existing Amazon accounts, so they don’t have to re-enter all their personal information on another site. The big question is whether eBay will allow the use of Amazon’s new service alongside its own PayPal service.

The world’s most famous online auction site currently bans the use of Google Checkout, arguing that a payment service isn’t suitable unless it has a “substantial historical track record of providing safe and reliable financial and/or banking related services.” The Google payment system launched in June of 2006. Is this a new threat for PayPal?

Source: Register, Amazon

Undergrads Want Freebies for Mobile Ads

Over half of US college students would accept ads on their mobile phones in exchange for something free, according to research by Ball State University.

About 37.4% of students said a ringtone was a fair trade for viewing an ad, while 21.4% wanted a discount or coupon to a restaurant, movie or grocery store. A fifth of students wanted free minutes, upgrades, access to the Internet or music.

The study also found that 36.7% of college students received a text message advertisement in 2007, up 13% from 2005.

The study questioned students from 2005 to 2007.

Ball State also found that of college students surveyed in 2007:

40% sent photos from a mobile phone or e-mail
10% sent videos from their mobile phone to another mobile phone or e-mail address
50% downloaded a ringtone
20% downloaded screensavers or wallpaper

Video: Campaign trail on the blogosphere

I found this on newsvids:

With mainstream media already on the campaign trail, Democrat Party presidential hopefuls take their arguments to the bloggers.

All the candidates, except Senator Joe Biden, took up issues like Iraq and the the importance of winning the White House before a bloggers convention - trying to win over the internet generation.

A blogger is the term used on the internet for any publishing their writing on a web-log.

Soundbites from:
Markos Moulitsas, "Daily Kos" blog
Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential candidate

Monday, August 6, 2007

Social Networks, Gender and Friending: An Analysis of MySpace Member Profiles

In 2007, the social networking web site MySpace apparently overthrew Google as the most visited web site for U.S. web users. If this heralds a new era of widespread online social networking, then it is important to investigate user behaviour and attributes.

Although there has been some research into social networking already, basic demographic data is essential to set previous results in a wider context and to give insights to researchers, marketers and developers.

In this article the demographics of MySpace members are explored through data extracted from two samples of 15,043 and 7,627 member profiles. The median declared age of users was surprisingly high at 21, with a small majority of females.

The analysis confirmed some previously reported findings and conjectures about social networking, for example that female members tend to be more interested in friendship and males more interested in dating. In addition, there was some evidence of three different friending dynamics: oriented towards close friends, acquaintances, or strangers.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, female and younger members had more friends than others, and females were more likely to maintain private profiles, but males and females both seemed to prefer female friends, with this tendency more marked in females for their closest friend.

The typical MySpace user is apparently female, 21, single, with a public profile, interested in online friendship and logging on weekly to engage with a mixed list of mainly female ‘friends’ who are predominantly acquaintances.

Full paper:
http://www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/~cm1993/papers/MySpace_d.doc

Amazon: Spectacular Textbook Savings

OK, this is sort of an advertising post:



Amazon.com's Textbook Store is offering spectacular savings on textbooks at the moment. You can save up to 30% on over 100,000 new textbooks and also receive Free 2-Day Shipping on orders of $200 or more of eligible titles sold by Amazon.com, and if you’re a Prime member you’ll receive a $20 promotional certificate to be used for a future purchase. Just enter code TBFALLO7 at the checkout. If you buy used textbooks you can even safe up to 90% off the list price of millions of used listings.

Here's a few I'd buy:


If you are based in the UK (like me) you can check out cheap(ish) textbooks on Amazon.co.uk by going to their Books For Study Section. They have some really great offers in the undergraduate and postgraduate section. That is where I will get my books from (and the library, of course). It's still cheaper than the bookstore on campus.

It would be nice if you could support this blog by getting some stuff from Amazon, I'd appreciate it.

Participative Web: Shaping Policies for Creativity, Confidence and Convergence in the Digital World

Participative Web: Shaping Policies for Creativity, Confidence and Convergence in the Digital World

Government Conference Center, Ottawa, Canada
Jointly Organised by the OECD and Industry Canada
3 October 2007

This site is directly accessible at: www.oecd.org/futureinternet/participativeweb


The use of the Internet is characterised by increased participation and interaction of users to communicate and express themselves. The expanding use of the Internet’s inherent capabilities for creation and exchange is often called the “participative web”.

It is an Internet influenced by new intelligent web services enabling users to contribute to developing, rating, collaborating and distributing Internet content and developing and customising Internet applications, driven by an expanding broadband base and easy-to-use software to create and distribute content.

The collective intelligence of Internet users is driving new social and economic applications, with the participative web increasingly important across an expanding range of business, research and innovation and social activities.

More open approaches to information creation, exchange and diffusion are being taken up extensively in government, education and other areas. As new models for creation, distribution and use of digital information are enabled by the Internet, new policy challenges for governments are emerging to provide the environment that enables and supports these development and diversity of use.

Questions to be addressed in the Foresight Forum include: What does the future hold for the participative web? What are the trends and impacts on knowledge-creation, business, users and governments? What are the implications for enhancing confidence and trust in the Internet? What is the government role in providing the right environment for stimulating Internet innovation and economic growth?

This first-ever international policy forum on the participative web will bring together experts from around the world, from policy makers and academics to business executives and a wide range of civil society to address these questions.

The presentations and discussions around the themes of Creativity, Confidence and Convergence will contribute to the OECD Ministerial Meeting on The Future of the Internet Economy in Seoul, Korea, 17-18 June 2008.

Previous yearly OECD Technology Foresight Forums have dealt with Radio-Frequency Based Identification Technologies (RFID) (2005) and Next Generation Networks (2006).

Civil Society Practitioners Programme (CSPP)

We are inviting applications from the global South to fill two places on our Civil Society Practitioners Programme (CSPP).

This visitor programme is intended for Civil Society Practitioners of distinction or outstanding promise who wish to visit the OII for a period of six weeks between February and December 2008, to undertake research concerning the social impact of the Internet and related ICTs.


The successful applicants will receive:
- A subsistence allowance of 3800 GBP (7500 USD) to cover research expenses and living costs during their stay in Oxford
- A travel grant of up to 1000 GBP (2000 USD) for travel to and from the UK

Applications will ideally be submitted by Civil Society Practitioners in or from the global South, active in the areas of freedom of expression, media reform, media justice, and communications and information policy in the globalized context of the Internet.


Deadlines:
The deadline for completed applications to reach us is 26 September 2007. Final notification of an award will occur in November 2007.

Successful candidates will be expected to take up their six week residency in Oxford at any time between February and December 2008.


Application and contact details:
http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/microsites/cspp/

This programme has been made possible through funding by the media policy portfolio in the Knowledge, Creativity and Freedom Program of the Ford Foundation.

3rd Social Informatics Research Symposium @ ASIST 07

Call for papers and participation: 3rd Annual Social Informatics Research Symposium:
The social web, social computing and the social analysis of computing (SIG SI)


Friday October 19th, 1-6pm; Hyatt Regency Milwaukee Wisconsin

The purpose of this ASIST preconference research symposium is to disseminate current research and research in progress that investigates the social aspects of information and communications technologies (ICT) across all areas of ASIST. The symposium includes members of many SIGs.


The symposium defines "social" broadly to include critical and historical approaches and well as contemporary social analysis; and, it defines "technology" broadly to include traditional technologies (i.e., paper) as well as state of the art computer systems.

This year's theme is "The social web: Web 2.0, social computing and the social analysis of computing"

We are pleased to announce that the keynote will be given by Dr. Alice Robbin, Director of the Rob Kling Center for Social Informatics and Associate Professor in the School of Library and Information Science at Indiana University. Her topic will be "Planning the Future of Social Informatics in ASIST."
Dr Robbin will lead a lively discussion focusing on:
~Funding opportunities for research on the social impacts of technology
~How social informatics reseachers in library and information science and related disciplines might collaborate in the development of innovative research proposals


Call for papers and posters:
Submit a short paper (3000 words) or poster (1000 words) by August 31,2007

Submissions may include empirical, critical and theoretical work, as well as richly described practice cases and demonstrations.

Acceptance announcements made by September 10, in time for conference early registration (ends Sept 14th).


Tentative Schedule
Paper presentations: 1-2:30 pm
Break: 2:30-2:45 (with poster viewing)
Paper presentations: 2:45-4:15
Poster 15 minute madness: 4:15 to 4:30
Break: 4:30-4:45 (with poster viewing)
Closing Keynote Discussion: 4:45-6:00 pm

For further information and instructions for submitting papers and posters
see: https://mywebspace.wisc.edu/eschenfelder/web/si2007

Summer ESRC Research Methods Festival in Oxford: Call for Research Ethics Session

Contribution to a Research Ethics Session at the 2008 ESRC Methods Festival

The Oxford e-Social Science Project (OeSS), part of the National Centre for e-Social Science, has been asked to organize a session on research ethics at the 2008 ESRC Research Methods Festival from 30 June to 3 July 2008. It will be held at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, as was the previous festival in 2006, see: www.ccsr.ac.uk/methods/festival/index.html

Our particular session is scheduled from 9.15 – 12.45 (with a break) on 2 July. The basic format, which is flexible, would be 3-4 speakers with 1-2 discussants, leaving 30-40 minutes for general discussion.

As a coordinator of this session, I am asking if you might be willing to propose a paper or be willing to serve as a discussant. The programme committee will need a provisional programme of speakers by September, so I will need to firm this up as soon as possible over August. Titles and abstracts would be due by the end of November 2007, but fuller versions of the presentations, ideally as a paper, would not be needed until May 2008.

At this time, we are keeping the session open to a wide range of possible topics. We are interested in the issues raised by the application of advances in information and communication technologies, such as the Internet, both as a new research tool and new space in which research methods are applied.

However, we are open to innovative treatments of ethical issues within any domain for research, including case studies, policy studies, frameworks for understanding the ethical issues of social science research, ethical issues arising within multi- or inter-disciplinary and international research, and research ethics as an object of study from any social science disciplinary perspective.

From the OeSS project we have become convinced that ethical issues are rising in significance across a range of subject areas. Is this an inherent feature of new ways of conducting research, or a transitional phase?


If you might be interested in participating, please let me know what topic(s) you would propose, and I will get back with you. Whether or not you are personally interested in contributing, I would welcome your advice on emerging issues or studies that should be incorporated in this session.


Travel and Expenses:
Travel is expected to come out the existing ESRC research budgets of participants. If you are not in a position to fund your travel in Britain from an existing ESRC research project, please let me know as we can apply for a limited amount of local travel funds. I don’t believe we are able to support international fares.

Many thanks for considering this request. I look forward to hearing from you.

Regards,

Bill Dutton
E-Mail: Director at oii.ox.ac.uk

Director, Oxford e-Social Science Project and Co-Director, e-Horizons Project

National Centre for e-Social Science: http://www.ncess.ac.uk/
Oxford e-Social Science Project: http://www.oii.ox.ac.uk/microsites/oess/
e-Horizons Project: http://www.e-horizons.ox.ac.uk/

Sunday, August 5, 2007

KCTOS: Knowledge, Creativity, and Transformation of Societies - Call for Papers

KCTOS: Knowledge, Creativity, and Transformation of Societies
Vienna, Austria, 6 to 9 December 2007


Call for Papers for the section:

Indigenous Peoples Knowledge Society: Transformations and Challenges
Indigene in der Wissensgesellschaft: Transformationen und Herausforderungen
http://www.inst.at/kctos/sektionen_a-f/fiser_budka.htm



Abstract:
Of the more than 300 Million Indigenous Peoples recognized by the United Nations, a growing minority is actively shaping indigenous visions of a knowledge-based society. These visions are not simply indigenous responses to global mainstream debates over post-industrial development or techno-scientific culture, etc.

More importantly, they articulate the actual deployment of new media and information communications technologies (ICTs) by indigenous communities to forward their own policies and practices.

They frame how indigenous communities are mobilizing over the internet and on the Web to communicate their lived experiences and extend their local networks to global audiences, including and especially, a global indigenous audience.


For academics in the field, online indigenous communities are opening up spaces of inquiry beyond the digital divide by actively co-creating virtual communities and transforming their cultural experience through ICTs (i.e., real life in cyberspace).

Questions about resources, knowledge/power and access continue to be important, but they have become more complicated by issues of networking and social life, virtual reproduction, and information policy. These new social, political, and cultural forms of indigeneity will be discussed within this section.


Details on Submission:
You are invited to submit abstracts (250 words, English) till the 24th of August 2007. Please include your contact details (name, affiliation, email, and a brief bio).

Successful candidates will be notified by the end of August.

Full paper submissions should be about 4.000 words long, formatted according to the APA guidelines (e.g. http://www-distance.syr.edu/apa5th.html), and submitted by the 16th of November.

Accepted papers will be published in TRANS – Internet Journal for Cultural Sciences (http://www.inst.at/trans/index.htm) and included in a book project (full text on CD-ROM, more info at: http://www.inst.at/kctos/publikationen_en.htm).


Please note that the conference organizers are unable to fund travel or hotel costs for conference attendees.


Please send abstracts to the section leads Adam Fiser (University of Toronto) adam.fiser@gmail.com and Philipp Budka (University of Vienna) ph.budka@philbu.net



Abstracts should address one or more themes reflected in the following research questions:

• How can/should social sciences describe and explain local indigenous knowledge production in a potentially global knowledge system? What are the socio-cultural and political inter-linkages between local and global?

• How do indigenous communities integrate new media practices and ICTs into processes of local media production and networking to participate in socio-cultural life, political movements, economic development, healthcare, education, and so forth?

• How might indigenous communities’ uses of new media and ICTs reflect challenges for diversity, conflict, global ethics, pluralism, gender, youth and heritage?

• What best practices have indigenous organizations developed around the inter-linkages of knowledge production, new media, ICTs, and local/global community networks (that could inform practitioners and scholars)?

CFP for Generalist online journal, September 3, 07

Nebula is an online, peer-reviewed, academic periodical which is interested in all things intellectual with the intention of providing a platform for interdisciplinary reading. Unlike other academic periodicals, Nebula is not limited to one Faculty or subject. We accept academic articles from any discipline provided that these are written in non-specialist language and in a manner that appeals to a broad audience.

Nebula 4.2 is now available online and with unrestricted access at http://www.nobleworld.biz .

The table of contents is listed below for your convenience.
Our current call for papers follows the table of contents.


Note on contributors i-v

Pramod K. Nayar.
“The New Monstrous: Digital Bodies, Genomic Arts and Aesthetics.” 1-20

Sarah Atkinson.
“The Versatility of Visualization: Delivering Interactive Feature Film Content on DVD.” 21-39

Robert Goff.
“Convenient Truths: A Commentary on the 2007 Academy Awards Ceremony as a Global Event.” 40-57

Kimberly S. Adams.
“Different Faces, Different Priorities: Agenda-Setting Behavior in the Mississippi, Maryland, and Georgia State Legislatures.” 58-95

Haidar Eid.
“Representations of Oslo Intelligentsia: A Fanonian Reading of the Intellectual Landscape in Post-Oslo Palestine.” 96-106

Yashar Keramati.
“Twenty Years in the Making: The Palestinian Intifada of 1987.” 107-122

Yashar Keramati.
“Religious Zionist Female Settlers and Participation in Warfare and Violence.” 123-138

Vladimir Tumanov.
“Yahweh vs. the Teraphim: Jacob’s Pagan Wives in Thomas Mann’s Joseph and his Brothers and in Anita Diamant’s The Red Tent.” 139-151

Munira K. Al-Fadhel.
"Coiled Tongues: A Critical Reading of Thinking Class: Sketches from a Cultural Worker by Joanna Kadi.” 152-161

Isam M. Shihada.
“The Patriarchal Class System in Nawal El Saadawi’s God Dies by the Nile.” 162-182

Anthony Stewart.
“Cooperation in the Face of Defection: The Prisoner's Dilemma in Invisible Man.” 183-207

Victoria E. Price
“Troping Prostitution: Jonson and the ‘Court Pucell.’” 208-222

Senayon S. Olaoluwa.
"From the Local to the Global: A Critical Survey of Exile Experience in Recent African Poetry." 223-252

Stuart Laing and Tara Brabazon.
“Creative Doctorates, Creative Education? Aligning Universities with the Creative Economy.” 253-267

Philip Santa-Maria.
“Changing the Direction of Society Through Human Enhancement and Society’s Reactions.” 268-282

Nejmeh Khalil-Habib.
“Al-Durra/The Second Wife.” 283-286

Nejmeh Khalil-Habib.
“Struck by an Evil Eye.” 287- 291

Kris Belden-Adams.
“Fiddling While New Orleans Flooded: The Production, Dissemination and Reception of ‘Dubya’ Serenading the ‘Madonna of the Superdome.’”
292-305

Terry Dalrymple and John Wegner.
“We Could Be So Good Together: Rock and Roll and American Fiction.” 306-318

Sunday Adejimola Amuseghan.
"ESL Curriculum in Secondary Schools in Nigeria: Issues and Challenges Towards Communicative Competence." 319-333

Samar Habib.
"Re-visiting Ursula Le Guin’s The Dispossessed: Anarcho-Taoism and World Resource Management." 334-348


Nebula also publishes intellectual writings that may not necessarily meet the generic conventions of an academic article. In addition, we encourage academics and intellectuals to participate in a public debate as regards world politics. We particularly welcome submissions of a marginal or “against the grain” nature and those that heavily interrogate popular political ideologies in a sound and well-evidenced manner.

Writings of high calibre that are particularly underrepresented in other academic periodicals are most welcome for consideration. Nebula also publishes literary and art works and is willing to consider any (graphic, cartoon etc.) material, which can be published on the world wide web.

Submissions intended for Nebula are not limited by a particular house style; we simply ask that whichever referencing style is being used, that it is used consistently and thoroughly throughout each piece. Please note that we receive a large volume of submissions for each issue and cannot consider material which is, or appears to be, in draft form.

Submissions for Nebula 4.3 are due September 3, 2007.
Email articles in .doc or equivalent to nebula@nobleworld.biz or editors@nobleworld.biz, please also include a brief biographical note and a brief CV