Saturday, May 31, 2008

Facebook and Privacy

Like toothache some doubts just never go away.

The Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Group based at the University of Ottawa has filed a complaint against Facebook citing 22 separate breaches of privacy law in Canada.

As is ever the case Facebook refutes the charges suggesting that

"We pride ourselves on the industry leading controls we offer users
over their private information. We believe that this is an important
reason that nearly 40% of Canadians on the internet use our service.

"We've reviewed the complaint and found it has serious factual
errors, most notably its neglect of the fact that almost all Facebook
data is willingly shared by users."

Notice the phrase "almost all Facebook data is willingly shared by users".

I think that is just not the case.
Many , many Facebook users have no idea how their personal data is used, manipulated and exploited for Facebook's commercial advantage.

The concept of social networking and privacy seem incompatable.

Perhaps it's time for us all to become hermits

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

On the Biggest Hoax Drawing in the World

On the sublimely wonderful Strange Maps I came across this story.

A Swedish artist drew a self portrait on the map of the world, by using a GPS device, a suitcase, an airline and as it has since been revealed a sense of humour.

Writing on the project website the artist states

“My pen was a briefcase containing the GPS device, being sent around
the world. The paths the briefcase took around the globe became the
strokes of the drawing.” The resulting drawing’s dimensions are
40,076,592 by 40,009,153 meters – which are about the dimensions of the
Earth’s surface, if it could be rolled out as a canvas."

The website carries a mass of information, the finished drawing, youtube videos of the design process, pictures of the suitcase, travel instructions, delivery notes and finally four words written in red "This is a fictional work"

I'll own up, for a while I was fooled, and I should have known better!

Remember, not everything you read on the Internet is true, no matter how much we wish it was.

On Student Failure

Interesting article that raises many points that may be of interest to those of you working in Higher Education.

On Talent

In the States there's a programme called So You Think You Can Dance.

This guy can. Watch him and wonder about "Britain's Got Talent"

SYTYCD Season 4 - Robert Muraine - Audition

Powered by ScribeFire.

On Competition for Amazon

Borders my favourite bookshop is returning to the world of online book selling with a truly magnificent new store.

It's only available in the States at the moment but the UK version doesn't seem to be far away.

I can't wait.

I just love the magic shelf, it scrolls left and right, up and down; a joy to browse on my Mac.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

On Tune Glue

As a result of reading Very Short List I came across tuneglue, a site where I have since spent far too long exploring the music of my middle years!

Tune Glue is a "relationship explorer", type in the name of a band or musical artist and the site displays an interesting visual display showing a group of similar artists, clustered around the original query. I love it. The display is a joy, I love the way the clusters bounce on the screen as new entries vie for attention.

I'm not sure that the relationships displayed offer anything I didn't already know, but it is so good to be reminded of groups and artists currently residing on vinyl in my attic.
Selecting Yes as a starting point provided me with links to King Crimson, Jethro Tull, Rush, Genesis, ELP, and Anderson Bruford Wakeman and Howe. Selecting King Crimson added Camel, Van der Graaf Generator, Robert Fripp and Gentle Giant.

One click brings up a list of each artists releases and track titles, and a quick link to Amazon to allow easy purchase.

I might be spending a lot of money on music in the very near future!

Monday, May 19, 2008

On Politics and Web 2.0.

I see that Gordon Brown, our Prime Minister is taking an interest in Web 2.0 technologies.

Here on the Downing Street Channel he's posted a video, launching a sort of Prime Minister's Question Time on the Internet.

Members of the public can leave a question for Gordon, between 30 seconds and 1 minute long with "no party political content"!
Submissions must be made by June 21st.

We are invited to "come back soon to vote on your favourites". Then having considered the "wisdom of the masses"
Gordon will answer the top voted questions on YouTube sometime towards the end of June.

It's not exactly what you could call instant interactivity, but it's a start.
I think it's quite an interesting and brave experiment.

Looking at the video on YouTube, away from the Downing Street Channel I see that Gordon's introduction has been viewed 13,230 times. That's not bad for a 40 second video clip that was posted barely three days ago.

I also notice that the channel has 3,725 subscribers, while webcameronuk has 846 subscribers.

As you might expect mainstream media has picked up on the story, here, here and here.
Apparently several thousand people have already submitted questions.

PS Gordon already has a presence on YouTube. You can sing along here.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

On Toads

I came across this interesting and curious story thanks to growabrain

If the reports are to believed it seems that two days before the catastrophic earthquake hit China, the toads in a town called Taizhou decided to move out.

Did they sense the coming of the quake?

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On Being a Student of Economics .....

I love this story.

A mother wrote of her son's experience studying Economics at Lancaster University.

"I, very wrongly it seems, assumed that he would be fully engaged. He
is now quite addicted to alcohol, smokes and has spent a great deal of
time over the last nine months asleep".

What is it that students actually do?