In conversation with... David Berry and Andy Piper

David Berry, Andy Piper. Photography by courtesy of David Berry, Andy Piper

 

Software is increasingly becoming part of the world around us: from cars to washing machines, we are working with "smarter" devices that offer levels of service and interaction that have never been seen before. What does this mean for society, and how society understands the role that software plays within it? We invited two leading thinkers – David Berry and Andy Piper – to discuss software from a socio-cultural perspective.

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Banning Like

Banning Like

From VentureBeat:

 

The German government on Friday declared the Facebook "Like" button, which appears on countless websites accessible all over the world, in violation of the country's strict privacy rights — and thus illegal.

An official from the German state of Schleswig-Holstein's data protection center, Thilo Weichert, said the privacy violation stems from the Like button's ability to track a person's movement across the web, according to a report by The Local.

In addition to violating German laws, Weichert claims the Facebook Like button also breaks European Union data protection laws. However, Facebook has rejected those claims and said any data that's stored (like web activity from a unique IP address) is deleted after the industry standard 90-days, according to the report. VentureBeat has contacted the company for further comment.

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Damn you, ungrateful consumers

Damn you, ungrateful consumers

 

Gerry McGovern:

 

Stop talking or writing about your new app, video, Twitter feed or Facebook page. Start making your customers' lives simpler, faster, cheaper.

"Dear Gerry," the email from John Kavanagh, Loyalty Marketing Manager for Aer Lingus begins. "As a valued member of our Gold Circle programme I am delighted to be contacting you with news of the newly launched Aer Lingus App."

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Art of Digital London - alternative revenue streams

Art of Digital London - alternative revenue streams

 

Our friends at Art of Digital London are running a session next Wednesday at the Photographers' Gallery in London. Given the increasing requirement (implicit or explicit) by public funders to find alternative revenue streams, what do the alaternatives look like?

 

The following areas will be covered in the event:

 

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Ads: your super soaraway summer special

Ads: your super soaraway summer special

 

Creative Review undertakes a creative review:

 

Stunts, installations, neat tech ideas and UGC – advertising has been experimenting with all manner of new methods of engagement. Discovery Networks Europe's Federico Gaggio and Patrick Burgoyne CR editor brought together some of the most significant of these ideas in a presentation for the Promax Conference. Here's their overview of adland's new directions.

 

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Watching machines of loving grace

 

 

Adam Curtis' recent series All watched over by machines of loving grace is now available to download from Archive.org, in MP4 and Ogg formats.

Enjoy.

 

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Elliot Reuben: Caution - do not read

I really mean it. Perhaps that sounds odd in an age where everyone seems to be trying to gain a personal following. I mean, shouldn't I be trying to build up an audience? Should I not be kissing link-butt and drawing in you in? Maybe, but I don't like the idea of "belief." And following people – or, indeed, subscribing to their blogs – seems to engender a notion that one believes in them rather like one believes in a religion or political agenda. And that stuff is getting old, baby.

 

Elliot Reuben. Photo by Melissa Baynes

 

Let me explain: I am, basically, an old punk. My favourite band is probably Dead Kennedys (Caution: maybe NSFW / NSFL) and my favourite comedian Bill Hicks (likewise). It is plain weird to me that I have somehow, despite all my best efforts, ended up working in the field I do with the principles I hold dear, but that, as they say, is life. One of my main principles in thinking punkyish is that you burn your idols. You don't have them. Nobody gets to be right just by virtue of who they are. Our political systems (West, East, everywhere) are based on the idea that we believe what certain of our leaders say with often then very lightest of questioning.

 

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Simon Kendrick: Overhauling the agency pricing model

Simon Kendrick. Photo by courtesy of Simon Kendrick

 

Agencies are potentially losing out on beneficial and worthwhile commissions due to a fundamentally flawed approach to pricing their work. My personal experience with pricing is almost exclusively tied to research agencies, but I think that this is broadly applicable to all industries.

Projects are commissioned when there is agreement between what an agency is willing to offer, and what a client is willing to pay.

My issue is that both of these components are based on cost. Instead, they should be based on value.

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Sell your agency

Sell your agency

 

Own or run a pure-play social media agency? Then, according to this opinion piece in NMA, you should GET OUT NOW:

 

Owner/managers of social media agencies looking to realise the value they have built in their businesses may well be asking themselves how they should be approaching a potential sale. Currently there are only a few independent social media agencies of any significant size - perhaps a dozen at most in the UK - so rarity value is playing in their favour. It's a sellers' market and we believe deals will continue to be done at lightning speed.

Yet the window of opportunity to sell is likely to be pretty brief - the 'sizzle' in the market is starting to disappear already, and now is the time to act. We are seeing social media agencies starting to lose pitches to non-specialist agencies. A range of warning signs leads us to believe that social media agencies have this year and possibly some of 2012 to make their move.

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Mountains of things

Mountains of things

 

The impact of connected digital media on western society is well-documented. From the early days of Usenet and IRC to the contemporary, vibrant interest around Twitter, Facebook and many others, it has been matched by commentary, books, and the growing importance of new sources to report on constant innovation - such as Mashable and Techcrunch. For consumers and for business, it is a phenomenon that has completely transformed society and allowed the world to shrink, to be faster, and to be more accessible.

 

 

For developing communities, their own journeys will be different. If there is a much smaller digital legacy – no telecommunications infrastructure, no 16-bit computers – then much of what we in the west consider to be de rigeur and readily available within society will turn out to be completely new. The ways in which these communities approach, use and develop themselves in terms of digital adoption may deliver interesting, and perhaps very different, results.

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Shrinking covers

Shrinking covers

 

NYT:

 

When the album designer Michael Carney submitted his proposed cover for the Black Keys' album "Brothers" last year, he and the band were a little anxious. Seeking a change from their previous, illustration-driven packaging, which he'd also designed, Mr. Carney devised the simplest of covers: two sentences — "This is an album by the Black Keys. The name of this album is Brothers" — set against a black background.

"We thought, 'Are we allowed to do this?' " Mr. Carney recalled of the bare-bones cover, which he also felt reflected a new boldness in the Black Keys' music. Although its label, Nonesuch, was initially perplexed, Mr. Carney's fears were ultimately put to rest. "The marketing people said, 'This is our dream!' " Mr. Carney said, and the artwork was a go.

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The Internet in 1969

This YouTube clip is labelled "The Internet in 1969", although there is no information on whether this is from 1969, or which programme it's from. Still, interesting, if only for the father's rather scary collection of silver boxes and screens on an L-shaped oak desk.

 

 

Our favourite bit is the "Communal Service Agency". Next time you're on the phone to BT, call them that.

Spot check

Spot check

 

Art is becoming increasingly wrapped up with digital technology. Whether it's from people and companies with a predominantly technological history, or from those that have come from art, resurgent coverage and attention on art, artists and galleries has come at a time when digital business opportunities are greater than ever.

Working and living at the Danielle Arnaud Gallery for 16 years, Raphaëlle Heaf knows a thing or two about the wider art world – artists, curation, exhibitions, and the nuances of the gallery space. Bringing this knowledge into a completely new context – the development of a social network and mobile application – requires perseverance, determination, and an understanding of what works – and what doesn't. While these qualities are shared with many other entrepreneurs, they may not have been so rigorously tested in art, where there are fewer online services and apps. Consequently, now is a great time for digital innovation within arts and culture.

Although Heaf has a firm grounding in art, she has not worked uniquely in the sector. Studying architecture at university gave her an opportunity to marry creativity with technology, something that she remembers with fondness – including the chance to play online games while waiting for work to render in the middle of the night.

It was one of her first undergraduate projects that became something of a reference point for her later work. Working as part of a project team for the the Forestry Commission in Dorset, she started to measure and record the attributes of a park, every 5 metres of so, adding small posts from marble as indicators. She had decided to use these points as markers to communicate the location of her fellow students' work within the park, and that the posts would interact with visitors through SMS. Eventually, a strategy behind the project was formed: to provide a way for park visitors to receive information on park installations through their own mobile devices.

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Gerry McGovern on Yahoo's broadcast mentality

Gerry McGovern on Yahoo's broadcast mentality

 

As is so often the case, McGovern is well worth reading - this week he's on Yahoo's case:

 

Yahoo is an extremely popular website, yet its stock has performed really badly. Why? Because it sells stuff (banner ads) people don't want to buy.

Bartz claims that Yahoo is customized, that it's moving towards the "web of one." When I went to Yahoo today I saw a big banner ad for a mobile phone plan that I definitely don't want. This plan in no way meets my needs. Is that customization?

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Mish Mashing up

Mish Mashing up

 

The folks at Leonardo have relaunched the Leonardo Electronic Almanac. Called Mish Mash, the first issue in the new series is packed full of wonderfully insightful, interesting and thoughtful articles covering art, science and tech.

 

The articles are:

 

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Creatively socialising

Creatively socialising

Here's the next event from our friends at Creative Social. It's all in the flyer...

 

 

... and here's where you go to book a ticket.

The dance of the hemispheres

The dance of the hemispheres

 

A common belief of the brain is that it is divided into two sites, hemispheres, and that they are entirely separate. Indeed, the “left / right” analogies offer a separation which suggests that people, and the world, are either A or B.

Psychiatrist and writer Iain McGilchrist suggests that a co-existence between left and right occurs within all of us. The left hemisphere does not appreciate how much it depends on the right - although the right hemisphere appreciates that it needs the left. A right-hemisphere world would have room in it for the left hemisphere, and would be properly balanced, unlike a world of the left hemisphere. The concepts are explained in his latest book, The Master and his Emissary.

It argues that these two hemispheres are fundamental to human existence. They make possible the versions and interpretations of the world that otherwise would not exist. The differences between the two hemispheres are stark and are broadly accepted, although there is less known as to why they exist, and why they exist in the way that they do. The book argues that every type of function, whether emotional, linguistic, visual or anything else – is the product of both hemispheres, rather than the domain of one in essential isolation. McGilchrist admits to his surprise as to the correspondence that he has received on the back of the book's publication, suggesting that his thinking is untapping a need for an understanding of these hemispheres to be at least discussed, if not addressed. The RSA is planning a symposium for public and private organisations to debate these ideas, an activity that is perhaps symptomatic of a need to debate these ideas, in advance of perhaps a re-addressing of how we live out lives, and the implicit and explicit products that are made through them.

McGilchrist's forthcoming talk at Salon London will focus on only a few of these key points. "I always like talking to a new audience, and the whole subject of hemisphere difference is such a minefield, full of prejudice and misunderstanding. Yet it is of absolutely prime importance, because it casts light on why we think and behave in the way we do, and even helps to explain some of the more worrying features of the world we live in today."

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Lack of Facebook

"Attention, citizens of the world":

 

 

 

Anonymous is threatening to shut down Facebook on November 5, basing the threat on Facebook's much-documented - and often controversial - ways in which it deals with private data. The threat makes specific reference to an alleged passing on of private information to "authoritarian governments".

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Recovering from the riots

This is the Sony CD / DVD distribution centre in Enfleid, in flames.

 

 

It left a number of indie labels, whose stock was inside the building, basically without any stock... and struggling to survive. They are distributed by PIAS, with the Quietus offering those with good ears a chance to help the labels - and the artists - out, by buying some great music digitally.

 

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The Choice: Captain Cyborg

The Choice: Captain Cyborg

 

Kevin Warwick is on The Choice with Michael Buerk, BBC R4.

Link

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