22 July 2007

Copyright pour les nuls

A brilliantly simple drawing to explain US copyright law in Erik J. Heels blog, courtesy of Jeremy's blog:

21 July 2007

Facebook again

It seems that Facebook is making puzzled waves in the Irish blogosphere, interestingly at a time where it seems to be leaving its traditional US college-based demographics. Not only does it now attract younger US teenagers, albeit by reproducing a social divide, but it is opening up to a non-college base. Jill Walker points out that, on top of 85% of US college students, visitors 35+ increased 98% in the past year.

I had registered a while back, all in the name of research, naturally, and ended up being “friended” by an Irish-American college student sharing the same family name; it is however my husband’s name, mine heralding from sunnier climes; one disappointed “friend”, one empty profile. Now that my age-group (most definitely 35+) is joining, maybe I should go back and investigate some more.

14 July 2007

Bebo vs Facebook?

A little while ago, danah boyd wrote a thought-provoking article on a change in Social Network use in US adolescents, which she sees not so much as a “shift” than a “fragmentation”. The former mass use of MySpace in high schools has gradually changed in the past 6 months, along a class divide. Boyd reports on the use of social networks by “good” and “bad” kids (the teens’ own terms) but prefers to refer to them as “hegemonic teens” and “subaltern teens”. The former, aspiring to college and belonging to a comfortable socio-economic class join the college-oriented Faceboook, see as “safer” than MySpace, where non-conformist as well as working-class kids are staying. Aesthetics reflect on this duality: clean and modern look for Facebook pages, “bling” for Myspace. On an interesting aside, she notes that the US army has banned MySpace, frequently used by soldiers, but not Facebook, used by officers.

Yesterday, Bernie Goldbach posted podcast reflecting on the appeal of Facebook for an older demographic, typically professionals (Robert Scobble, it seems, has thousands of friends on Facebook). There follows a very interesting discussion on the possible uses of Facebook as a teaching tool in college, as it seems his students are now joining Facebook, more for professional reasons it seems, but brings me to wonder if we are going to see a fragmentation of social network use in Ireland following the US model, and if college students are going to leave Bebo for a more “grown-up”, sophisticated version of the social network.

10 July 2007

Strange people, brought to you by Google

A while back, after reading Blankpaige’s enthusiastic endorsement, I registered with Statcounter and kept a vague eye on things, reckoning that most of the time, only my own visits were recorded, with a short outburst whenever I linked to someone’s post. Today, sick to death of trying to write a chapter that will not let itself be written, I decided to dig a bit deeper into the analysis offered by Statcounter. I am subsequently slightly unnerved and more than a little nonplussed. Who was the visitor from Denver, Colorado, who came through a Google search of “the rumble strips boys and girls” (yuck!) and stayed for 13 minutes!!! And as for the person from Toronto, who looked for “PhD lol”, I honestly can’t see the joke at the moment. Back to trying to draw blood from a stone.

08 July 2007

The Cyborgs are coming

Last August in Umea, Patrik Hernwall gave a keynote speech on the cyborg citizen, where he claimed that technology is becoming a prosthesis of the 21st century human. His striking example was that of the mobile phone, which liberates our memories from our friends’ and families’ phone numbers. Who nowadays tries to remember phone numbers? We don’t even write them down on pieces of paper anymore, we enter them directly into our machines. Now it seems that the US courts agree with him, considering a laptop as an extension of our minds, as reported in this article in Wired, found through Jill’s blog.

A US citizen travelling back to California found his laptop searched by customs officials, who subsequently found illegal files in the machine. A district judge in California threw out the evidence, claiming that :

"Electronic storage devices function as an extension of our own memory," Judge Dean Pregerson wrote. "They are capable of storing our thoughts, ranging from the most whimsical to the most profound. Therefore, government intrusions into the mind -- specifically those that would cause fear or apprehension in a reasonable person -- are no less deserving of Fourth Amendment scrutiny than intrusions that are physical in nature."

Women In Art

A beautiful, (transliterate?) piece

07 July 2007

Rain and mud

Daughter No.2 is on her way home from Oxegen, after a sleepless night in a broken tent in the mud, surrounded by wet wet clothes and food. It seems that queues for buses to Dublin starting forming as soon as 9 am, before any sound had even started from any stage...

04 July 2007

Narrative and dinosaurs

I just discovered dinosaur comics...

Another sad song

Found on David Brake's blog, a link to the very sad song of the lonesome blogger... Complete with video, and lyrics:

Lyrics - I Started A Blog Which Nobody Read by Sprites

I started a blog, which nobody read
When I went to work I blogged there instead
I started a blog, which nobody viewed
It might be in cache, the topics include:

George Bush is an evil moron
What’s the story with revolving doors?
I’m in love with a girl who doesn’t know I exist
Nobody hates preppies anymore

I started a blog, but nobody came
No issues were raised, no comments were made
I started a blog, which nobody read
I’ll admit that it wasn’t that great
But if you must know, here’s what it said:

One hundred of my favorite albums
Two hundred people I can’t take
Four hundred movies I would like to recommend
Ten celebrities, four of whom I might assassinate

I started a blog, I sent you the link
I wanted the world (you) to know what I think

I started a blog, but when I read yours
It made me forget what I had started mine for

02 July 2007

A map of the world

(click on the map for bigger image)

A map of the world according to the dominant social network sites in each country/region. Ireland is unequivocally Bebo country, along with New Zealand. LiveJournal is identified as social network here, as is Blogger. From Valleywag.

01 July 2007

This is where I was for the past two weeks...

It's going to take some time to get used to the rain again.