Our security auditor is an idiot

Our security auditor is an idiot

 

We're not turning into El Reg (at least, not just yet), but this is a great read.

 

Our security auditor is an idiot, how do I give him the information he wants?

 

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OpPayPal

Anonymous and LulzSec have launched "OpPayPal", an operation to boycott PayPal, based on refusal to host an account for Wikileaks while it hosts accounts for many other organisations.

 

Dear PayPal, its customers, and our friends around the globe,

This is an official communiqué from Anonymous and Lulz Security in the name of AntiSec.

In recent weeks, we've found ourselves outraged at the FBI's willingness to arrest and threaten those who are involved in ethical, modern cyber operations. Law enforcement continues to push its ridiculous rules upon us - Anonymous "suspects" may face a fine of up to 500,000 USD with the addition of 15 years' jailtime, all for taking part in a historical activist movement. Many of the already-apprehended Anons are being charged with taking part in DDoS attacks against corrupt and greedy organizations, such as PayPal.

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Unsuitable

Unsuitable

 

Anything which features "Imagine my surprise/shock" has to be good, as it is here with a post from Peter Bingle, Chairman of Bell Pottinger.

 

(...) Imagine then my shock this morning at receiving a letter informing me that my membership of Soho House and Shoreditch House was being revoked 'effective immediately.' The letter concludes: 'You will no longer have access as a member and we ask you refrain from entering any of our clubs for a period of six months.'

I looked at the letter in disbelief. What had caused this sad state of affairs? Have I been badly behaved? Have I been rude to any of the staff? Have I smashed up the place? No. My membership has been withdrawn because I have disregarded Soho House's 'casual dress code.' I have been banned for wearing a suit!

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Bye ads, hello art

More than a bit reminiscent of (alright, VERY MUCH LIKE) Julian Oliver's work Artvertiser, this app kills ads in New York's Times Square and replaces them with art.

 

 

(ht Adweek)

Life Online: call for submissions coming up

Many thanks to our friends at Furtherfield for the nudge about this. Skates on, as it closes tomorrow.

 

Life Online comprises our new permanent and temporary exhibition galleries devoted to exploring the history, social impact and future of the internet, which open in March 2012.

The inaugural exhibition to launch the new temporary exhibition space is entitled [Open Source]. This exhibition celebrates the internet's open source culture of sharing and collaboration, while examining current threats to net neutrality which could signify the end of the open nature of the internet as we know it.

Several newly commissioned artworks will be included in the [Open Source] exhibition. One of these brand new works will be an open commission and we are inviting UK-based artists to submit ideas based on the theme of the internet's open source culture of sharing and collaboration.

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Anonymous: Operation Unmanifest

Anonymous has launched a campaign to destroy all copies of Norwegian serial killer Anders Behring Breivik's manifesto, which was published by him just before he started the tragic cycle of killings that took place late last week.

 

The manifesto reads:

 

As Anders Behring Breivik wants to use the cruel action of killing over 90 young people to promote his 1516-page manifesto, also with the help of the internet, Anonymous suggests following action:

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Toby Barnes: V&Play - Mudlark at the V&A's Web Weekend

Last weekend, we were asked to show two things at the V&A's Web Weekend: something related to Chromaroma, and a new thing. We were in excellent company: a lot of people who we know and love were also showing work or giving talks.

 

Photo by courtesy of Mudlark, CC licence

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North and south

North and south

 

BBC R4, The Long View:

In the late 1950s The Manchester Guardian demonstrated its national ambition by dropping Manchester from its title. The Guardian wanted to establish itself as far more than a high-brow regional paper with a strong reputation for international coverage. And so, in 1961 the paper started to print in London. It wasn't a great success, furnishing parodists with acres of Gruaniad style material to parody while leaving ink all over the hands of the expanding Southern readership. But in 1964 the editorial headquarters followed the printing presses to the capital. Manchester and the north were in decline, yesterday's cities. To be a national paper the feeling was that you had to be based in London. Spool forward four decades and the BBC have taken an entirely different approach to being a national media organisation. The move of substantial programme making operations including Five Live and BBC 1 breakfast to Salford is a statement of intent. A new and exciting northern contribution to output, far greater than the old regional headquarters could ever manage, appears to be the way forward.

So do you achieve national coverage by going to London or by leaving London? The Long view examines whether the decisions are right and why they were made. It tells a story of the changing balance of the North South divide examines the relationship between how you cover the UK and where you are within it.

 

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Skittlegasm

From Taste the rainbow of fruit flavours to... er... this:

 

 

We're not going to ever buy Skittles again after this, but it could have been much worse. It could have been the inside of an After Eight.

Anyway, it is not a real ad, but US campaign spec work from directing team Cousins.

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Betty Martins: Quarantine the past

Facebook

Betty Martins. Photo by courtesy of Betty Martins

This "In conversation with..." is a little different; it's with one person, and goes in-depth into a specific project. Betty Martins' Expindigital project is based on virtual ethnography, based on the processes and practices of human memory - remembering and forgetting, in the context of virtual space.

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Marcus Michaels: Google+ versus brands

Marcus Michaels: Google+ versus brands

 

Another social network? What the hell do I need another social network for?

Nothing.

Though I can't help but admire their audacity at such a blatant attempt to take on Facebook.

When I first signed up to Google+, I was dubious of the blank profile sitting in front of me that still knew far too much about my life. So, I filled out my profile while learning of its complexity, which ironically, clarifies the social spectrum in a lot of ways for me, such as talking to people you want to talk to and seeing things from people that you want to see things from. Of course, I'm talking about the filtration system known as Circles; one of the many nice features of Google+.

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Pat Mills: comics and conflict

Pat Mills

Pat Mills is one of the founders of 2000AD. As well as being behind the best-known sci-fi comic in the UK, he has been involved in the development of many of its most well-known characters: Slaine, Nemesis the Warlock, Savage, and, of course, Judge Dredd.
 

There's no question that Pat has undertaken some vital and important work in terms of pushing UK comics forward. This "In conversation with..." is slightly different, as we offered the chance through @imperica for our readers to ask questions to Pat. Thanks to everyone that submitted a question.

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Elliot Reuben: Hacking? Wise up. This is just democracy in action

Elliot Reuben: Hacking? Wise up. This is just democracy in action

Hackers – we're all going to lose our financial information, our national security, our gaming info, our very LIVES. And it's all their fault.

Once the reserve of honourable and lovely young men like that chap in War Games or that nice Angelina Jolie in "Hackers" the movie, now it's the reserve of dangerous anarchic nerds and –worse – one of them is from Essex, goddamit.

You'd be forgiven for holding this view if you get your information from a media that clearly doesn't understand what a hacker actually does, the difference between a thief and a pisstaker or the cultures that surround either. As a source of information on hacking, the media at large is distinctly underqualified.

We're in BIG trouble, people.

 

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In conversation with... Ed Elworthy and Nic Owen

Ed Elworthy, Nic Owen

A successful client-agency relationship is founded on an understanding of the value that each party makes to each other. Nike has enjoyed a relationship with Wieden + Kennedy for the entire duration of the agency's existence – the sportswear giant was the agency's founding client.

While some client-agency relationships are great, irrespective of the people within them, others hit the dirt. What makes a good relationship? Nike's Ed Elworthy talked with Nic Owen at W+K about their shared principles and values.

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Step on

Step on

 

Music created by systems have produced some real aural treats over the years. When systems produce music, the output is commonly called generative music: a term coined by Brian Eno at the time of his 1996 album Generative Music 1,  produced with Koan Pro from Sseyo. The effect of working with generative systems can be beautiful in often unexpected ways; as Kevin Kelly says, "generative music is out of control" - but for very good reasons.

Dan Stowell has taken the concept of generative music and applied it to one of the more popular and contemporary genres, dubstep. Stowell comes to the project with a not inconsiderable track record: by day he is a researcher at Queen Mary, and the co-author of many publications that discuss the specifics and intricacies of music making when both humans and computers – and systems – are involved. By night he is MCLD, composer and performer, using live coding and beatboxing to offer what is a harmonious product of man and machine, taking the show across Europe – from the Cheltenham Science Festival to Multiplace in Bratislava. Generative dubstep has been part of many of these shows, with Stowell giving it full exposure as part of the Web Weekend @ the V&A weekend of digital events.

Stowell's new project generates infinite amounts of instrumental dubstep tracks. "Rather than composing a single track, I'm trying to compose an unbounded number of them at the same time, by writing software that generates it with random parameters. It's an interesting job to try and play with probabilities so that a system can randomly generate music with the right sort of structure and the right amount of novelty (the right point on the Wundt curve). It's my own over-wrought way of making music I can dance to."

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In the know

In the know

There are two generally-accepted beliefs about Wikipedia. The first is one of exposure: that it's always there in the first page of search results on anything that the online encyclopedia features. The second is one of trust: that there is a shared belief that it is the "font of all knowledge" - that, to most, it is a place where truth and knowledge exist, and that false information is teased out by its community.

The combination of these two points clearly make Wikipedia a viable and useful tool for the recording and documentation of factual information, something that many public institutions do very well. It was, therefore, perhaps only a matter of time that public organisations such as museums and libraries stepped up their interest in wikis and in Wikipedia as a way to open up their often huge body of knowledge and research to a wider audience. Wikipedia has dubbed this body GLAM (Galleries, Libraries, Archives and Museums) and there is now a GLAM Steering Committee at Wikimedia UK, supported by board member Ashley van Haeften, known as Fae. The importance of Wikipedia to cultural organisations cannot, according to Fae, be underestimated: "The cultural institutions I have talked to over the past year are highly aware that if they are serious about public outreach and access, then Wikipedia cannot be ignored. The value it offers such institutions sometimes comes as a surprise."

For these organisations, Fae sees some basic advantages. Perhaps one of the most powerful from the organisation's perspective is that articles of public interest will be maintained at no cost to the organisation itself, and that its main website remains the key source due to links back from the Wiki article. Given that both the institution's website and the Wikipedia entry are likely to appear on the first page of search results, this will be a help rather than a hindrance, on the presupposition that the institutional Wikipedia page will be kept up-to-date and is a reasonable reflection of it and its activities. Fae sees these benefits to be of particular relevance to curators, suggesting that Wikipedia can also act as a source of reference and background information for exhibitions and collections – something that may exist as a concise version of the institution's own web content, and therefore complimentary rather than in competition.

Although there are opportunities for institutions in using Wikipedia, it is Wikipedia which can act as something of a battering ram for opening up latent information and knowledge to the public. Fae's work with the Derby Museum is a case in point; articles were published about the museum's artefacts to Wikipedia, in over 100 languages. This exercise was perhaps unique to Wikipedia and maybe only a handful of other websites: an entirely voluntary, collective effort to build outreach and access that by any other approach would have been too time-consuming and expensive, if not practically impossible.

The Derby Museum's curator also allowed the voluntary group to add QR codes to an exhibition, enabling links to related Wikipedia pages. While this is a well-understood application of QR technology, the subtlety makes it rather unique: because of the number of languages that the group was working with, the visitor's phone would display a Wikipedia page from the QR code, in the language that the phone was set to. This body of diverse and rich content has, in Fae's view, given exposure to the museum to an audience that may never be able to physically visit the museum, while enriching the experience for those that do.

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London Weekend Telematics

London Weekend Telematics

 

Websites come and go. They often launch with little fanfare, apart from those involved celebrating with a glass of bubbly (or a pint), and the chance to catch up on some sleep. However, one of the world's largest museums of art and design has given its new website something of a grand launch, by organising a weekend that celebrates that spirit of universal, diverse, creativity in media that only the Internet can deliver.

As the V&A has its origins in the 1851 Great Exhibition, it's perhaps fitting that the spirit of its forthcoming Web Weekend @ the V&A are similar in tone, although perhaps this later celebration is slightly less grand in its scale. Web Weekend covers three rather packed days that celebrate how the UK is a world leader in inventing, developing, producing and distributing new, creative ways to use interconnected digital technology. Covering workshops, commissions, demonstration and talks – as well as absorbing existing events such as Dorkbot for one time only – it's certainly something that is filled with a huge amount of intellectual and creative energy. Indeed, it's great to see many former Imperica interviewees taking part: Katy Beale (running a mini Culture Hackday with Mia Ridge); Furtherfield's Ruth Catlow; Joel Gethin Lewis; and the Mudlark team, among many others. Participants will also be let loose on APIs, given the chance to contribute to museum content on Wikipedia, and view many new installations and works.

Louise Shannon is the event's curator, and was co-curator of last year's Decode, alongside Shane Walter of Onedotzero. She explains the thinking behind the event, and its relationship to V&A's wider programming and strategy: "Our ambition is to provide the very best digital content and means to access our collections and expertise online.

"The V&A has a strong background in both collecting, commissioning and exhibiting digital art and design. We have been collecting digital based work since the 1960s and commissioned artists such as UVA, Mat Collishaw, Julius Popp, rAndom International and Troika. We have hosted experimental exhibitions such as Shhh...Sounds in Spaces, the audio exhibition in 2005 and Decode in 2009, which went on to tour internationally after being on show at the V&A. Digital programming is at the core of the V&A's activities and continues to be an important part of our offering."

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The speed of movement

The speed of movement

Change occurs constantly. As our view of creativity is becoming all the more democratised and fluid, then so should the practices that supports this view. What constitutes "art" – and perhaps "good art" in general – has been set in the public consciousness for generations: driven by a naturalistic beauty in sculpture and in landscape.

Many practices are clearly and unrelentingly aiming to change these views. From the recent work undertaken by Folly to acquire a piece of digital art (won by Thomson and Craighead) through to the Turner Prize and to the V&A's Decode exhibition last year, there is an opening up of these perceptions which is gaining public acceptance and inviting wider dialogue, consideration, and appreciation that substantiates the work to more people in more ways. A long-standing example of art which is part of this artistic permeation is kinetic art, with Kinetica being one of the country's most active organisations in terms of its exhibition, commercialisation, and support for the practice.

Kinetica's own journey is one of movement. Founded by Tony Langford and fine artist Dianne Harris, the original space was created in order to unite artists who were certainly showing work that was kinetic and used new media, but it was more than that: it was planned to show works which were exploring scientific and universal concepts under one roof. It took the duo two years to bring the concept to life, and in 2006 the first Kinetica space opened, launching an exhibition with 15 artists, Life Forms.

The evolution of kinetic art is somewhat part of our own evolution, within the contexts of media and of creativity. "The way in which people consume information... it's no longer necessarily in a book or on a screen. That information is now more inclusive; it's all around us. People are absorbing these messages in so many different ways; they are all around us. People are becoming used to absorbing that information through many different media, and society is more open to new and more and dynamic ways of portraying information and art. It's a subconscious thing. People have always been particularly attracted to the kind of work that we show, but there historically have been barriers in terms of people showing it."

 

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In conversation with... Brendan Randall and Brendan Oliver

Brendan Randall, Brendan Oliver

 

It goes without saying that public art is being opened up through interactive, digital media. However, devices that are becoming popular in domestic environments are now also gaining in popularity and relevance in such projects, due to their low cost and increasingly sophisticated nature.

Brendan Randall and Brendan Oliver are a partnership of interaction designers that have developed projects including "Le Cadavre Exquis", explained later in this conversation, and commissioned by the Broadway arts centre in Notttingham as part of its "Making Future Work" programme.

We talked with Brendan and Brendan about their work, the potential that public art now attracts, and working in ways that attract new audiences.

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In conversation with... Andy Sandoz

In conversation with... Andy Sandoz

 

The Internet used to be fun. Was that ever the case? If so, why and how was it more "fun" than it is now?

In the first of a two-part conversation, we started from this proposition – as debated at a recent Creative Social event in London – with one of the its key speakers, Andy Sandoz.

 

Tell us about your talk at Creative Social.

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