Monday, July 31, 2006

Linkdump - MySpace and Web safety

A MySpace Cheat Sheet for Parents
By Kevin Poulsen| 02:00 AM Feb, 27, 2006
"MySpace can be unfamiliar ground to busy parents, and not everything is as it seems on the site.
So Wired News addresses some of the most pressing questions parents might have if they explore their teenager's relationship with MySpace."

This story has several valuable links to additional info.,70287-0.html

How safe is Myspace, or other websites and chat rooms?
"These stories are tragic and true, Myspace can be a dangerous place for children to spend time unsupervised, but Myspace is not the only website that can be dangerous for children.
Any gathering place for kids can be dangerous without adult supervision."

Friday, July 28, 2006

Kazaa P2P Network goes Legit

With settlement, Kazaa casts off its pirate garb
The notorious P2P service tries to go straight, but even a multimillion-dollar deal with record labels might not be enough.

By Caroline McCarthy, Staff writer, CNET
Last modified: July 27, 2006, 12:56 PM PDT

Once a bane of the recording industry for its popularity as a place to get music without paying for it, Kazaa now will begin using filtering technology to prevent its users from distributing files that infringe on copyrights. Its parent company, Sharman Networks, will pay more than $100 million to global record labels EMI Group, Sony BMG Music Entertainment, Universal Music and Warner Music.


Friday, July 21, 2006

MySpace Study Examines Predator Issues

Study shows fear of MySpace predators is overblown
From danah boyd's Apophenia blog.

This is interesting stuff. By all means look at the study, but read through the comments that follow danah's original post. It seems to me that whether the issue is overblown comes down in part to what is an acceptable percentage of kids that are approached. Some folks say 7% is acceptable risk, some say that is still a huge number. (Seven percent of 50 million is still ** 3.5 million ** !) I say "What if your kid was one of the 7%?"
That so much of this study's data is qualitative detracts from the conclusion that the issue is indeed overblown. The fact that the study's author is hawking a book raises some motivational questions as well.

Please read the whole schmeer:

Passing your identity among web sites

An interesting look at the emergence of "Identity Networks" by Stephen Downes (Identity Networks Are Here).
For example, one of the services (TypeKey) intro page says: "TypeKey is a free, open system providing you a central identity for posting comments on weblogs and logging into other websites."

It probably seems a little esoteric to the layperson right now, but I think it is something that we will all deal with in the not-too-distant future.

Stephen finishes the post by saying:
"And I think that educational providers, who have focused almost exclusively on centralized or federated approachs thus far, will have to take note. People today get their own names, addresses and phone numbers. In the future, they will get their own net identities, and the universities won't provide it for them. This then raises the wisdom of heavy investment in an alternative schools-only system."


Can you hear me now? The ringtone article

A Ring Tone Meant to Fall on Deaf Ears
By PAUL VITELLO, New York Times, Published: June 12, 2006
"In that old battle of the wills between young people and their keepers, the young have found a new weapon that could change the balance of power on the cellphone front: a ring tone that many adults cannot hear.
In settings where cellphone use is forbidden — in class, for example — it is perfect for signaling the arrival of a text message without being detected by an elder of the species."


Thursday, July 20, 2006

(Non) Funding of Technology in US Schools

From the Chronicle of Higher Education Wired News blog, July 19, 2006:

Taking a Stand for Classroom Tech
Michael Feldstein of e-Literate points to an "extremely important" article at eSchool News that paints a dismal picture of the United States’ commitment to classroom technology:
In Britain, it’s estimated that half of all classrooms will be outfitted with interactive electronic whiteboards by the end of this year. In Mexico, every fifth and sixth grade classroom is expected to have a computer, printer, interactive whiteboard, and projector by November.

And here in the United States, Congress is poised to eliminate millions of dollars in federal ed-tech funding at the request of the president.

Ideological Social Networks?

My Political Space
New niche social-networking sites connect users based on ideological compatibility. Are they the next best campaign tool or just another way to get a date?

Newsweek, Updated: 2:26 p.m. MT July 19, 2006

"Essembly, designed last year by Joe Green, 23, a friend and former Harvard classmate of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is the emerging online social network of the serious-minded. Like Facebook and MySpace, the site is free and lets users browse friends' photos and personal information. But unlike more organic networks, it actively promotes intellectual discussion. In the spirit of collegiate debate, Essembly users spar over declarations of opinion called "resolves." They also identify other members as "allies" and "nemeses" based on ideological similarities. 'On Facebook, people rack up 'friends' like there's no tomorrow,' Green says. 'What really is missing is a connection between people based on how they think.'"


BBC News: Indian Govt Bans Some Blogs

India bloggers angry at net ban
By Soutik Biswas, BBC News, Delhi
Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 July 2006

India's burgeoning blogging community is up in arms against a government directive that they say has led to the blocking of their web logs.
The country's 153 internet service providers (ISP) have blocked 17 websites since last week on federal government orders.
Some of these sites belong to Google's Blogspot, a leading international web log hosting service.


Blog censorship handbook released
BBC News Last Updated: Thursday, 22 September 2005

A handbook that offers advice to bloggers who want to protect themselves from recrimination and censors has been released by Reporters Without Borders.
The media watchdog said it gives people who want to set up a blog tips on how to do so, how to publicise it, as well as how to establish credibility.


An Educator Discovers his SecondLife

Terry Anderson explores the SecondLife virtual world
"I did see other players walking about and engaged in a bit of text chat. The first person I really chatted with ended up giving me some new clothes to wear and answered some of my newbie questions. I probably should have taken one of the guided tours of SL or tried to hook up with a guide, but I also wanted to experience the learning curve without ‘hand holding’."

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Social Networks Under Scrutiny (CNET Update)

MySpace may face legislative crackdown.
As November election nears, Republicans say new laws are needed to protect kids from gangs, sex predators on the Net.
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: July 11, 2006, 4:35 PM PDT

"Politicians on Tuesday accused and other social-networking sites of failing to protect minors from sexual predators and other malign influences and said a legislative crackdown may be necessary."

Online Video Repositories Raise Concerns

Online Video Boom Raises Risks, Concerns
The Associated Press
Sunday, July 9, 2006; 10:31 PM
In: The Washington Post

"Popular Web sites such as MySpace, YouTube, Yahoo, Google and soon also Microsoft Corp.'s MSN are featuring user-generated videos that quickly have become a phenomenal form of entertainment. YouTube, the leading video site that helped catapult the genre with its public launch in December, attracted more than 20 million visitors in May. The company says it averages 50,000 new video uploads per day."
and later...
"While catering to a mass audience whose entertainment tastes run the gamut, the online video Web sites are aware of the challenges they face in welcoming uncensored clips. They strive to be an open stage for budding musicians, comedians and filmmakers, but they also don't want to drive away offended viewers or advertisers.
'We are concerned about this issue and are aware that it affects most services that make video available on the Internet,' Google stated in response to the New York consumer board alert."

Monday, July 17, 2006


Herein a place to put links to interesting articles that generally have to do with popular digital culture, and may or may not merit an entire posting themselves.

Exploratorium's CabSpotting site:
Cabspotting traces San Francisco's taxi cabs as they travel throughout the Bay Area. The patterns traced by each cab create a living and always-changing map of city life. This map hints at economic, social, and cultural trends that are otherwise invisible.
Exploratorium Digital Library is at:
Found via
AssembleMe is an information science blog written by Julius Schorzman that frequently sways off-topic.

Wow check this out -
"Population, population density, and geographic area estimates used in this map are taken from the CIA Factbook 2004, a wonderful public domain source of information."
Found via:
Found via BoingBoing (see sidebar links)

The Net Generation Goes to College
"Tech-savvy 'Millennials' have lots of gadgets, like to multitask, and expect to control what, when, and how they learn. Should colleges cater to them?"
From the Chronicle of Higher Education issue dated October 7, 2005

Are "Digital Natives" Brains Being Rewired?

Report: The next step in brain evolution
The Sunday Times July 09, 2006

"To some, a world flooded with endless info bits and constant stimuli is scary; to others, it is full of possibility and fascinating questions. Are digital natives charting a new course for human intelligence? And if so, is it better, faster, smarter?"
and later on...
"Where is it all leading? Only one thing seems clear: changes propelled by the digital world are just beginning. Indeed, one of the markers between the natives and the immigrants — it’s not simply a question of age — is the intuitive acceptance of rapid digital change."

Interview with Larry Magid of BlogSafety

Digital kids: Keeping kids safe on social sites
By Stefanie Olsen
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: July 17, 2006 1:50 PM PDT

"News of kids on falling prey to after-school stalkers or creepy marriage offers has given many parents the chills about their own child's activities online.

As a result, questions like "How can I keep my child from MySpace altogether?" have become common among concerned parents. But like stopping any other teen fad, that option is a dicey proposition.

To answer some of the more common questions about social networks and blog safety, CNET talked to an expert. Larry Magid launched the site Blogsafety, a social network for parents, with partner Anne Collier, and he authored the forthcoming book "MySpace Unraveled: What It Is and How to Use It Safely," which will hit bookstores Aug. 2."

Monday, July 10, 2006

Students still want their music free

The WSJ article below was cited in the Chronicle of Higher Education's July 6 2006 Wired Campus blog:
The main reason for the legal services’ lack of success seems to be that students don’t want their MP3 files coming with strings attached. A recent graduate from the University of South California sums up the problem facing Napster, Ruckus, and Cdigix: “People still want to have a music collection. Music listeners like owning their music, not renting.”

Free, Legal and Ignored
Colleges Offer Music Downloads, But Their Students Just Say No; Too Many Strings Attached

Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2006; Page B1

As a student at Cornell University, Angelo Petrigh had access to free online music via a legal music-downloading service his school provided. Yet the 21-year-old still turned to illegal file-sharing programs.

The reason: While Cornell's online music program, through Napster, gave him and other students free, legal downloads, the email introducing the service explained that students could keep their songs only until they graduated. "After I read that, I decided I didn't want to even try it," says Mr. Petrigh, who will be a senior in the fall at the Ithaca, N.Y., school.

Academic: Wikis in the Classroom

From the Innovate Journal of Online Education
June/July 2006, Volume 2, Issue 5,
An academic article regarding wikis and potential applications in education. I think the importance of this article is in providing some insight as to the perspectives of the digital natives and how these collaborative tools will be used in schools, and hence inevitably find their way into your home.

From the introduction:
Uses and Potentials of Wikis in the Classroom
by S. Pixy Ferris and Hilary Wilder
As Prensky (2001) observes, "Our students have changed radically. Today's students are no longer the people our educational system was designed to teach" (1). Prensky sees today's students as digital natives while most of today's teachers remain digital immigrants. In particular, today's educators are acculturated to a print paradigm while students are increasingly products of a digitally-based secondary-oral paradigm. Happily for educators, electronic and cyber technologies can potentially combine the best aspects of both print and secondary-oral paradigms, allowing educators to move freely across the print-oral continuum. One cyber technology enabling this movement is the wiki, a unique interface where information is not fixed (as in a print model) but fluid and flexible to meet the needs of the community (as in the pre-literate age). In this article we describe how teaching and learning have changed across oral, print, and secondary-oral paradigms; in turn, after addressing some controversies over the use of wikis as scholarly and educational resources, we advocate the use of wikis as a teaching and learning tool.

Note that you may have to subscribe to Innovate in order to access the entire article.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Now a Wiki for eBay...

eBay Wiki - world's largest commercial wiki launched
Richard MacManus on Next Generation Web and Media
June 13, 2006 | Category: Publishing Services | 7

"eBay, in collaboration with JotSpot, has just released a new community wiki - making it almost certainly the world's largest wiki platform for a commercial website (Wikipedia is bigger, but it's non-commercial). eBay Wiki is described as "a collection of fact-based articles written and maintained by eBay Community members" and is powered by JotSpot's innovative wiki technology."

I note with a grin that the two most recent articles today (July 6) are:
"Adult Magazine on Ebay - Where & How to Find them & List them"
"Profit or Save Money via Misspelled Auctions on eBay"

Happy auctioning!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Parenting and MySpace

MySpace, a place without MyParents
Scott Granneman, SecurityFocus, 2006-06-30

Scott Granneman looks at the mass hysteria surrounding MySpace social security issues, examines a collection of frightening reports, and then discusses the real issue of parenting and parental supervision behind keeping our children safe.

"...At that point I realized the awful truth: lots of people just don't know how to raise their kids.
The same situation holds true for MySpace. The company can hire all the security officers it wants, and it could replace every ad with a flashing banner that says "DO NOT TRUST RANDOM STRANGERS!!!", and send fliers to every parent in America ... and bad things would still happen to kids connected to MySpace. A lot of parents aren't very good at parenting, and part of being a teenager is saying and doing stupid things (I'm example number one for that particular precept), trying to socialize as much as possible, and worrying at the same time about your hair and your weight and your zits and your clothes."

Lots of interesting, useful, and disturbing links contained in the article.

Peer-to-peer is alive and well...

Illegal file sharing showing no letup
By John Boudreau
San Jose Mercury News
Monday, July 3, 2006

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A year after the Supreme Court's landmark Grokster decision — which set out to curb online theft of music and movies — illegal file sharing is as popular as ever even as Silicon Valley technologists and Hollywood moguls continue their awkward embrace.
...and further down:
...Meanwhile, file sharing, most of which is illegal, continues to grow. Nearly 10 million users worldwide simultaneously clicked into peer-to-peer technology in May — 12 percent more than in May 2005, according to BigChampagne, a Los Angeles research firm that monitors file sharing.
"The social-networking aspect of the Internet is continuing to blossom, and no landmark court decision or watershed event changes that," BigChampagne Chief Executive Eric Garland said.

Article at:

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tracking Social Networking Sites?

From CNET News
Congress targets social-networking sites
By Declan McCullagh
Staff Writer, CNET
Published: June 29, 2006, 11:38 AM PDT

The concept of forcing companies to record information about their users' Internet activities to aid in future criminal prosecutions took another twist this week.
Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, originally proposed legislation (click here for PDF) in April that would require Internet service providers to retain activity logs to aid in criminal investigations, including ones involving child abuse.
Now DeGette and some of her colleagues in the House of Representatives are suggesting that social-networking sites should be required to do the same thing.