Changing the game

Changing the game

 

Our friends at The Media Briefing have published a piece from Neil Thackray on online ad models.

 

The natural instinct for a publisher is to put the content at the centre of product development thinking. Magazine publishers start their working day by thinking about how to make a better magazine and then work outwards from there. When they ask what their readers want, the answer can only be something that can be squeezed into a magazine delivery format.

Look at how many websites and even iPad apps are little more than facsimiles of the magazine, albeit with some extra bells and whistles.

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Correction: fluid

Correction: fluid

 

When you last used a mobile phone to access any kind of data (you may even be using one now), how was your experience? Could you read your email without any glitches? Was your web browsing experience fuss-free? Did an app tell you what you needed to know about where you were, or where you wanted to be? And how was BBM – did your colleague's snippet of information turn out to be useful?

The chances are that any of these applications actually worked, and worked properly. In fact, when you consider the atmospheric conditions that they may have gone through – walking in cities covered in tall buildings, or working on a train, or in a spot of poor mobile coverage – then it's a minor miracle that right and meaningful data got through at all.

This is because digital communications rely on error correction. Whether it regards a mobile phone or a space probe, there is reliance on the part of both the sender and receiver, that the information has to be right and delivered as it was intended. In the case of both, there is liable to be some interference on the signal, so what is received is not necessarily what was sent. Correcting the problem is undertaken by adding extra information before the signal is transmitted.

Many of us know a little bit of how this works, with the tried-and-tested formula of the Parity Check. The binary transmission is split into chunks of seven. Before the signal is transmitted at the end of each group of 7, an additional bit is added in such a way that the total number of 1s in the new chunk of 8 is an even number. When the signal arrives, if there is an even number of 1s in the group of 8 then it looks to be more acceptable – more likely of being right – than if the number of 0s is an odd number. This makes the process of spotting mistakes fairly easy to automate, in a way that most of us now don't even see.

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Players keep playin'

 

 

As the BBC's hugely successful iPlayer goes global through an iOS app offering "the best of the BBC's content" for £44 pa, closer to home, ITV are going to be charging UK viewers for ITV Player.

If the licence fee didn't exist, how much would you pay for BBC iPlayer? Would you pay £44 per year for it, as non-UK viewers will be doing?

How much would you pay for the ITV Player?

Virtual Futures at Warwick University

Virtual Futures at Warwick University

In June 2011, Virtual Futures returned to the University under the banner Virtual Futures 2.0'11. The event was organised by digital media artist, and current Warwick student, Luke Robert Mason, and the Knowledge Centre was on hand to video the talks and interview the speakers.

We have a video of performance artist Stelarc's talk, as well as audio from a range of the talks. Professor Kevin Warwick spoke about his experiments with cyborgs and Pat Cadigan looked at how far we have come since the original Virtual Futures conferences.

 

There are plenty of videos and podcasts available at the University of Warwick's site, including the aforementioned Pat Cadigan and Captain Cyborg, as well as Sue Thomas, Stelarc, and Andy Miah.

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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