MonthFebruary 2004

Google bans protest ad

Haven’t heard anything about this elsewhere:

Oceana, a 2.5-year-old nonprofit group, said Google dropped the text-based ads displayed in shaded boxes along the right side of its Web page because they were critical of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. Oceana believes Royal Caribbean pollutes the oceans by improperly treating the sewage on its ships, and hoped to publicize its complaints by paying to have its ads appear when terms like “cruise vacation” and “cruise ship” were entered into Google’s search engine.

Google’s policy prohibits ads criticizing other groups or companies, said a Google representative.

Public relations

These two quotes are by Edward Bernays, from Stuart Ewen’s PR!: a Political History of Spin

“[The term public relations] hasn’t only been misused, but people have used the name for press agents, flacks, publicity men or women, individuals who simply try to get pieces into the paper that are favorable to a client. Whereas, by my definition, a public relations person, who calls themselves [sic] that, is an applied social scientist who advises a client or employer on the social attitudes and actions to take to win the support of the publics upon whom his or her its viability depends.” (11)

“The job of a public relations counsel is to instruct a client how to take actions that ‘just interrupt… the continuity of life in some way to bring about the [media] response.” (14)

Virtual graffiti round up

For my reference, here’s a list of the various virtual graf systems that I’ve found:

1. Geonotes. Web site is down, and the program failed to connect to the server. This is/was a project based out of Stockholm, but it was the only international system that I’m aware of. It stored messages on wifi hubs, and if I remember correctly, had software out for win2k/XP, Linux, and some obscure PDA OS. I once left a note at Thee Aurafice. Info and screenshots.

2. Tag and Scan a new UK only system. Commercial.

3. Virtual Helsinki: Slashdot discussion

4. FLIRT, also in Helsinki, Financial Times article

5. Urban Tapestries London only, I think

6. Wave Market Global? (Howard Rheingold reviews it here)

Anyone know any others? Seems like there’s something in Tokyo I’m forgetting.

The Extremophile Gold Rush

Interesting piece from the BBC:

The UN University says “extremophiles”, creatures adapted to life in the polar wastes, are being relentlessly hunted in what is virtually a new gold rush.

BBC: Antarctica’s resources ‘at risk’

(via Boing Boing)

Sounds of mobility

a post about interactive audio projects, by Anne.

I meant to post this earlier, but forgot. She posts about two interesting projects: Sonic Cities and Glitch. Neither of them seems to offer a collaborative environment for creating audio. But, unlike my earlier idea, it creates sound in real time. I suppose it wouldn’t be too tough to write a an app that automatically mixes audio dropped into a directory via Audblog into a MOD file format, encode it into an mp3, and make it available for streaming.

Sky Ear

Shortly before dusk in Spring 2004 the Sky Ear structure will be released from its ground moorings and slowly float up into the sky sampling the electromagnetic spectrum as it rises, rather like a vertical radar sweep.

This non-rigid “cloud”, made up of several hundred glowing helium balloons will be embedded with mobile phones. The balloons will contain miniature sensor circuits (simple gaussmeters) that detect levels of electromagnetic radiation at a variety of frequencies. When activated, the sensor circuits will cause ultra-bright coloured LEDs to illuminate. The cloud will glow and flicker brightly as it passes through varying radio and microwave spaces.

Via Space and Culture

12 Myths of Mobile Device User-Interface Design

Conference on mobile user-interface design (via Boing Boing)

Myth: Users want power and aesthetics. Features are everything.
Myth: What we really need is a Swiss army knife.
Myth: 3G is here!
Myth: Focus groups and other traditional market analysis tools are the best way to determine user needs.
Myth: If it works in Silicon Valley, it will work anywhere.
Myth: The killer app will be games, er, no, I mean, horoscopes, or
Myth: Mobile devices will essentially be phones, organizers, or combinations, with maybe music/video added on.
Myth: The industry is converging on a UI standard.
Myth: Highly usable systems are just around the corner.
Myth: One underlying operating system will dominate.
Myth: Mobile devices will be free-or nearly free.
Myth: Advanced data-oriented services are just around the corner.

Panopticon singularity

This article has been widely blogged, can’t remember where I first saw it… Charlie Stross on the panopticon:

If a panopticon singularity emerges, you’d be well advised to stay away from Massachusetts if you and your partner aren’t married. Don’t think about smoking a joint unless you want to see the inside of one of the labour camps where over 50% of the population sooner or later go. Don’t jaywalk, chew gum in public, smoke, exceed the speed limit, stand in front of fire exit routes, or wear clothing that violates the city dress code (passed on the nod in 1892, and never repealed because everybody knew nobody would enforce it and it would take up valuable legislative time). You won’t be able to watch those old DVD’s of ‘Friends’ you copied during the naughty oughties because if you stick them in your player it’ll call the copyright police on you. You’d better not spend too much time at the bar, or your insurance premiums will rocket and your boss might ask you to undergo therapy. You might be able to read a library book or play a round of a computer game, but your computer will be counting the words you read and monitoring your pulse so that it can bill you for the excitement it has delivered.

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