Tuesday, November 27, 2007

And a Big Fuck You to You Know Who You Are

This story from MSNBC shows that online sales on the monday after thanksgiving are up 21% on last year, for a total of $733 million in one day and so far for the month of Novemember we have about 11 Billion dollars US sales, up from last year despite a drop in per consumer spending!!!!!

Cyber Monday’ racks up $733 million online
Holiday season sales up 21 percent over last year for Web merchants

In 2003 I remember changing my CV for a while to remove the word web and internet from it. After all the "smart" people in 2003 could tell you the web was nothing but a bubble, a massive hype job that would never amount to anything.

Though in 2003 it was easy to find people who would say such things its now hard to find anyone who would admit to having said it. We live in an age of Internet addiction not collapse. But somewhere in your hearts you must know who you are and I just wanted to say fuck you you were wrong and I was right!!!!

Now that felt good. Didn't make up for having to change my CV in 2003 to hide my years of Intneret work but it felt good.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

OJ with Toast

Would you lie to get on the jury?  In LV and no LA will this trail be an excuse to finally send this 60 old guy away for what will most to the remaining factor of his life?

And would that be wrong?  If the jury is packed with people who lied their way on to get this one guy.  The founding fathers of the United States provided for juries as a check on institutional power of the courts, and one part it they must have seen is the publics demand for justice or even revenge in the face of a system that would benefit the rich and powerful.

Though I think jury members should answer all questions as towards prejudice of the case and suspect honestly before had if they can find a set of people who don't already know for sure that this guy got away with murder they will have another jury dumb enough to let him go again.  The demand for juries that are free of the influence of prejudices does not mandate a jury of idiots.

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Impressed by Ubuntu

Got a spare machine that can't handle Vista or even XP.  Love the Mac OS X but hate the price.  Want to be part of something different or just want to have geek fun.

I think Ubuntu Linux is just the think to try.  You can download a iso that fits on a CD that will allow you to test drive ubuntu on a Windows machine, and if you like it install it.  Ubuntu comes with all the free software that you will need and on the old Toshiba laptop that I could not get working with devices on Windows XP was no problem with ubuntu.

For just a few hours of effort you can burn a cd and give it a test run.  I have to say I love it.  I was able to download the tools I use mostly for web interactions: Second Life, Flock, Gimp and it comes with Firefox and Open Office. 

Ubuntu 7.04 - The power of open source. On your laptop, desktop and server. Smart. Secure. Easy. [download]

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

The device I want to go to SL on

I want to go to SL on my XBox. This is finally the control for it, released by Microsoft.

SL on a giant plasma screen through the XBox with this device, or a Wii with a remote like this would be the best Internet experience now possible.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

GOP Reeling From Money and Sex Scandals

GOP Reeling From Money and Sex Scandals
GOP Reeling From Money and Sex Scandals
Aug 30 03:13 AM US/Eastern
AP Special Correspondent

WASHINGTON (AP) - When it comes to scandal, Democrats could be forgiven for thinking they hit the political jackpot this summer. At Republican expense.

First came the disclosure that Louisiana Sen. David Vitter's telephone number was listed in the records of an escort service.

Then Sen. Ted Stevens' home in Alaska was raided by federal agents as part of a corruption investigation.

Now Sen. Larry Craig of Idaho is recanting a guilty plea that grew out of a police undercover operation in an airport men's room, adding, "I am not gay" for emphasis.

"This is a serious matter," said

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Vista is Great and Will Suck Less Later

Channel Register

Original URL: http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2007/08/29/microsoft_trumpets_vista_sp1/

Microsoft promises less-annoying Vista OS early next year

Published Wednesday 29th August 2007 19:26 GMT

A less-annoying version of Windows Vista is still several months away.

This morning, with a post to the official Windows Vista blog (http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/archive/2007/08/29/announcing-the-windows-vista-service-pack-1-beta.aspx), Microsoft said that the first Vista Service Pack will likely arrive at the beginning of the year, after the usual far-flung beta test. As SP1 betas continue to turn up on file-sharing sites across the web, the company will roll out an official beta "in the next few weeks," hoping to iron out more than few kinks in the little-used operating system.

"In addition to updates we’ve previously released, SP1 will contain changes focused on addressing specific reliability and performance issues we’ve identified via customer feedback, supporting new types of hardware, and adding support for several emerging standards," wrote Vista product manager Nick White.

White also said that the update will make "additional improvements to the IT administration experience." But he was adamant - thank goodness - that SP1 would not introduce brand new tools: "We didn't design SP1 as a vehicle for releasing new features; however, some existing components do gain enhanced functionality in SP1."

The official SP1 ship date will depend on how well the beta test goes. "We're targeting releasing SP1 to manufacturing in the first quarter of 2008," White said, "but as always, we're first and foremost focused on delivering a high-quality release, so we'll determine the exact release date of SP1 after we have reached that quality bar."

Of course, Redmond sees no reason for computer users to continue using Windows XP as the company prepares a more reliable version of Vista. "Microsoft encourages organizations not to wait for SP1 but instead [to] deploy Windows Vista today in order to benefit from improved security, management, and deployment benefits," the company told us in a canned statement, after rejecting our request for an interview.

Nonetheless, it seems well aware that most of us will continue to avoid Vista like the plague. Today, the company also announced that a third and final XP Service Pack will arrive by the middle of next year.

"Microsoft will be releasing Windows XP SP3 to customers and partners in the next few weeks and is targeting the first half of 2008 for an RTM release," a spokesman said. "It is a standard practice to release a service pack as a release nears end-of-life for the convenience to our customers and partners. Windows XP SP3 is a roll-up of previously released updates for Windows XP including security updates, out-of-band releases, and hotfixes. It will also contain a small number of new updates."

For more details on Vista Service Pack 1, check out Microsoft's beta white paper (http://windowsvistablog.com/blogs/windowsvista/pages/windows-vista-service-pack-1-beta-whitepaper.aspx). Interestingly enough, the beta does not appear to include an update to Vista's desktop search interface, which Microsoft promised last month after a legal complaint from arch-rival Google. "The service pack improves the performance of the desktop shell, but it does not provide a new search user interface or a new version of Windows Media Center," the white paper reads. But Shanen Boettcher, a Windows general manager, told Cnet that this would come later in the beta process.

Naturally, as Vista users wait for SP1, Microsoft will continue to offer OS tweaks through Windows Update. "Service packs are part of our traditional software life-cycle; they're something we do for most major products as a commitment to continuous improvement," White wrote. "But, the servicing situation has changed with the advent of Windows Vista, as we no longer rely solely on service packs as the main vehicle used to deploy system fixes and improvements." ®

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More than 15m UK houses now online


More than 15m UK houses now online
Guardian Unlimited - 28 Aug 2007
The number of UK households with internet access has jumped by nearly one million over the past year, with London and the south-west leading the way, official data showed today.
Million more UK homes go online BBC News
More than 60% of homes online This is Money

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Yahoo Does Not Deny Torture of Those it Handed Over to China; Only Legal Blame!!!!

Go to Google News Home

Yahoo Asks Judge to Toss China Torture case
PC World -
11 hours ago
"Yahoo has no control over the sovereign government of the People's Republic of China, the laws it passes, and the manner in which it enforces its laws," ...
Yahoo! seeks dismissal in Chinese dissident case Monsters and Critics.com
Article:Yahoo seeks dismissal of suit brought by jailed Chinese:/c ... San Francisco Chronicle
Yahoo requests US District Court dismiss China case DM News
Times Online - Washington Post

Turkish Press

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The Internet as Telescreen in China

Internet users in China
Internet users will be reminded not to visit outlawed sites
Chinese authorities are to send two virtual police officers to patrol the internet, in a bid to combat "illicit activities", state media has reported.

The animated figures, a man and a woman, will appear on users' screens every 30 minutes "to remind them of internet security", China Daily said.

They will appear on news portals from Saturday and then on all Beijing sites and forums by the end of the year.

The Chinese government censors all internet and media content.

It blocks content it deems politically or morally threatening, but some users have found ways to circumvent government controls.

'Protect netizens'

The virtual officers will appear either on foot, on motorbikes or riding in a car.

They would "be on watch for websites that incite secession, promote superstition, gambling and fraud", the China Daily said, citing Beijing's Municipal Public Security Bureau.

"It is our duty to wipe out information that does public harm and disrupts social order," the newspaper quoted the bureau's deputy chief of Internet surveillance, Zhao Hongzhi, as saying.

He said the virtual police officers would protect "netizens" from harm.

Users will be able to click on the icons to connect to the bureau's Internet Surveillance Centre, where they can report illegal activities, Mr Zhao said.

China has experienced an internet boom in recent years. It is thought there are more than 120 million web surfers, a figure second only to the US.

The Chinese government has tens of thousands of real security officers monitoring the web and it regularly jails activists who have posted online messages criticising the government.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

Malta's Near Sourcing Boom

Malta woos technology wanderers
By Michael Dempsey
Business reporter, BBC News

Malta's harbour walls
Malta's ancient defences no longer deter outside interests
Keyboards click away as a small team of software programmers devise intricate lines of code that will create another computer code for far-flung clients in the global economy.

The digital world may have banished geographical boundaries, but not all outsourcing projects are located thousands of miles from Europe.

The work that will allow Lloyds Register to sell on a new maritime maintenance service is being carried out in Malta, an island nation of 400,000 people that joined the EU in 2004 - and is winning work due to corporate disillusionment with the trend towards outsourcing such projects to Asia.

Shipping news

Grant Macleod is a project manager with Lloyds Register in London.

Getting computer projects signed off and delivered is his job and he has a £10m ($20m;15m euros) budget to spend on it.

Grant Macleod, project manager with Lloyds Register
Lloyds Register is smiling after moving work from Manila to Malta

Lloyds Register joined the global outsourcing vogue when it shifted work to India and the Philippines earlier in this decade.

But over the last two years 40% of this budget has returned to Europe as Lloyds Register transferred vital coding from Manila to Malta.

The problem, Mr Macleod admits, lies in the language.

"English is widely spoken but not widely understood," he says.

The Maltese speak English and their own language, switching fluently between the idioms and expressions in English and a language that is largely a blend of Arabic and Italian.

Near sourcing boom

Mr Macleod's decision to move work to Malta was based on an equation of time and quality. Money matters, but a cheaper location can cost more in the long-term.

Farming work out to locations on the edge of the EU has generated a new piece of business jargon, "near sourcing".

"Malta is not cheaper than the Philippines, but here we have complete predictability. And if a project slows up because we cannot communicate properly with staff in Manila then it can cost us more anyway," says Mr Macleod.

The high retention rates of businesses on an island with a limited number of high-tech employers also appealed to Lloyds. And having one of the world's biggest natural harbours at hand matters if you're in the shipping business.

Other UK technology companies are now following suit.

The Indian technology boom had prompted Crimsonwing to move a chunk of its business to Chennai (formerly known as Madras).

David Walsh, chief executive Crimsonwing
David Walsh was won over by Malta's ambience

Crimsonwing writes software for UK businesses such as supermarket group Morrisons and discovered that the superficial attraction of setting up a programming team in Asia was undermined by the difficulties in communicating with Indian staff over a long distance

"What happened was that we lost control of things. There was a lot of attrition among the personnel," says David Walsh, Crimonswing's chief executive.

Seeking names and faces that would remain in place, Crimsonwing opted to relocate the work to Malta.

Emotional lure

Mr Walsh admits that his criteria for selecting Malta was not the stuff of business school MBA courses.

"I didn't do a massive exercise in analysis; it was a decision that came from the heart. The labour rates here are one third of the UK, there is a keen workforce and it's three hours from London," he says.

Salaries in Malta are low by EU standards. A computer programmer with 5-10 years experience can expect to earn £12,500-£15,625 per annum.

We have no oil, no grain, and no minerals. All we have is people
Joseph Sultana, managing director, Ascent

Walsh's employees are a mix of native Maltese and British IT staff lured by a Mediterranean lifestyle.

"A good apartment can be rented for £5,000 a year and personal taxes are lower than in the UK," says Mr Walsh.

Joseph Sultana, managing director of local software house Ascent, works for a variety of clients who have abandoned the Indian outsourcing model in recent years.

He knows that the Indian model has its attractions. "Offshoring IT development works for people who need large numbers of staff working on a project."

Mr Sultana is precise about where Malta's near sourcing proposition fits in.

Joseph Sultana, managing director, Ascent Software
Joseph Sultana runs a business with its sights set on SmartCity

"Let's be very clear about this, here in Malta we can't turn around and offer you a 200-strong development team overnight. But we can deliver consistent quality. "

"We have no oil, no grain, and no minerals" says Mr Sultana, "all we have is people."

SmartCity plans

Claudio Grech, first secretary at Malta's Ministry for IT & Investment, wants to expand that part of the economy.

Mr Grech says that attracting more IT development will create better-paid jobs, by local standards, and also draw in a better class of corporate company.

A high-tech theme-park, the SmartCity project, is taking off with $300m backing from Dubai's Tecom group.

Claudio Grech, first secretary at the Ministry for IT and Investment
Claudio Grech thinks the technology sector makes a good neighbour
Mr Grech knows that putting Malta on the map is a challenge in an technology industry dominated by billion-dollar players.

"It is tough for a small country to knock on all those doors."

Ricasoli, a former industrial zone on a neglected promontory overlooking the Grand Harbour, is the SmartCity site.

Just across the water from Valletta, it is perched above the area known locally as The Three Cities.

The Maltese are hoping that Ricasoli will host a cluster of technology firms that can cooperate across business boundaries.

However, Malta is not the only EU country where "near sourcing" is taking place.

Indeed, many Indian outsourcing companies are setting up subsidiaries in Eastern European countries like the Czech Republic.

But Malta may be able to capitalise on the reaction against outsourcing that is sweeping businesses across Europe.

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Friday, August 10, 2007

NASA fears fallen ice gouged shuttle shield

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

A spray of ice during liftoff might have gouged the heat shield of shuttle Endeavour, which has carried Canadian astronaut Dave Williams to the International Space Station.

NASA managers said Friday that a white spot near one of the shuttle's landing-gear traps is likely a seven-centimetre gash in a heat tile.

A closer check will be conducted Sunday with the laser sensors of the shuttle's Canadian-made inspection boom.

"It's way too early now to determine whether any repairs are required," said John Shannon, chairman of NASA's mission management team.


How far will the United States go with this system that does not work?  The shuttle is Nasa's Iraq.

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Tuesday, August 07, 2007

The fall of Apache


Well it makes sense, Windows Server 2003 is the natural OS from more and more back end servers and IIS comes with OS.

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Microsoft starts to scalp Apache

MICROSOFT IS continuing to push the open sauce Apache off web-servers across the world.

According to Netcraft, the outfit is increasing its web server market share, adding 2.6 million sites this month as Apache loses 991,000 hostnames.

This represents an improvement in market share by Vole by 1.4 per cent to 34.2 per cent. Apache lost 1.7 per cent to 48.4 per cent.

Netcraft points out that if Volish market share keeps growing at that rate, it might eventually take Apache's leadership position in 2008.

Apache has been the big chief since March 1996 and by November 2005, Apache was found on 71 per cent of web sites, putting it more than 50 percentage points ahead of Microsoft IIS.

However it is not all going Microsoft's way. Apache is also losing ground to another open source server, lighttpd which has 1.2 per cent of all sites and Google which takes 4.4 per cent.

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Sunday, July 22, 2007

Statement on Pornography

 hate the word pornography, pornography is a word that carries legal and social baggage.  Porn is by its meaning something wrong, something to be censored.  But the word is commonly used and the concept of pornography needs to be refined, so the word needs to be retooled in the age of self publishing.

I have learned, through travelling around the world and living in 3 countries that one can always tell just how democratic nation is by seeing how hard or easy it is to find pornography.  This is an empirical observation I have made over the years.  And one that I have followed through with a great deal of study which is long winded, boring, and most certainly wrong.  But the nature of collective knowledge construction is that poorly formed ideas are made public and refined by finer minds until they are more useful.

Perhaps there is a mind listening out there who can take my poorly formed ideas and express them as something more useful. 

But I can only speak for my own ideas. 

On a recent trip through Greece I had the opportunity to observe the art and culture left over from the first efforts by humans to grant power on to the “demos”.  The concept of a human in Classic Athens was by no means perfect, it excluded women and slaves.  But it was an effort to move from the dictatorships and aristocratic rules of earlier time to one which each member of the republic had a share in the power of the state.

During this period of moving from the archaic age to the Classical age we see a radical transformation in art.  Archaic culture, as reflected in Homer, was dominated by power held by warlords, and its art was dominated by geometric patterns.  This age was followed by a period of chaos and colonisation in the Greek states which saw in Athens the emergence of a new order in which the citizens of the state were given the powers and duties of the collective power.  This was also accompanied by a change in art, art became both more naturalistic and nude.  Sexual content in writing and graphic art increased.  Plato was so dirty it was not until recently students read proper texts of him in translation.

Roman Republic, though containing more slaves than free men was also dominated by naturalistic images of nude bodies.  Free men create naturalistic nudes.

When a new dictatorship was formed at the end of the Classical period and the new dictatorships emerged in Europe new levels of censorship emerged.  It is interesting to note that during the wars with Spartan the destruction of penises on statues in Athens was a crime.  In the early Catholic new central power classical statues had their penises knocked off.

I had the chance to be in Ireland in the early 1990s.  Ireland had been a “democratic” state for 70 years before that, but a study of the 20th Century Irish society shows it in fact was dominated by the Catholic Church and not very free or democratic.  Some Irish would even say that the priests were a kind of secret police dominating the state.  Sexual expression and sexual practices were gravely restricted until the late 1980s.

Naturalistic Nude is called, in our time and society pornography.

Again when Ireland reformed itself and its economy in to a more democratic and richer state condoms and pornography suddenly emerged in the stores.

In my travels in Japan and Korea I noticed Japan, which had been democratic since the end of WWII had plenty of pornography.  It was very easy to find.  In the mid 1990s Korea was just emerging from a long period of dictatorship.  Democracy was still rather new and as it spread in the society pornography began to show up in the corners of stores, some films were even showing.  I am sure as democracy becomes stronger pornography will become more common.

Thinking about it I can only think that sexuality is central to the identity and meaning of people's lives.  Just about everything that means anything to us is sexual.  We are men or women, but gender is a sexual construct.  We are gay, bisexual, or heterosexual and these meanings are key to our identity.  We may decided to be sexually active or to be married with children and true to one person, and these are sexual as well.  Its hard to think of things important to how we define ourselves that are not attached to sexuality, and even concepts like race or class get tied with sex.  American obsession with race is tied in with sexual fears about black males.  Social class in Edwardian England was tied in with sexual exploitation of lower classes by gentlemen.

When sexuality is keep secret these key issues are kept from playing a key role in our culture, existing categories gender, race, identity and family can not be discussed.  No discussion not discourse, no discourse no democracy. 

Pornography is the discussion of sexuality.  Where it is banned there is no democracy.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Hong Kong: the Flickr'd photo that got blogger Oiwan in trouble

Hong Kong: the Flickr'd photo that got blogger Oiwan in trouble

Yesterday I blogged about the case of Oiwan Lam, a well-known blogger in Hong Kong (Links: 1, 2, 3, 4) who's facing the possibility of a year in jail or a $HK 400,000 fine for having linked to an image deemed offensive by authorities. That image (a non-pornographic, artistic nude) was shot and published by none other than Jake Appelbaum, whose work has been blogged here on BoingBoing many times. Cropped detail of the offending image shown above, click here for the full photo (hazmat warning: contains breasts).

Oiwan reached out to Jake for help via Flickr mail. She blames the photo-sharing site's recently implemented content rating/blocking system in part for the legal situation she now faces in Hong Kong.

Jake believes the program, as implemented, amounts to censorship, and that it helps governments which are already unfriendly to online free speech limit that speech more efficiently. He writes:

The photo in question is mine. It is this url. This comment was left shortly after the linking. I believe this is the original article in question. Sadly, the key part of that comment is this:

Lam said that the photograph was taken from the international photography site 'flickr' (see Nude and Captured") and was an art photograph around which the discussion was totally technical in nature. "It will not arouse immoral, obscene thoughts." Flickr itself has not received any complaints to have the photograph removed. Lam said that she will not remove the photograph, although the InMedia editorial board has not reached a decision yet. She said: "Whether something is a work of art should be determined subjectively instead of just counting how many naughty bits is being exposed."......

Why is this sad? Because recently, I was contacted by Oiwan Lam. I was told that because my account is now rated as 'unsafe' by flickr, this seems to render their previous argument about obscenity inaccurate. It's considered obscene by both the Chinese government censors and the censors at flickr.

Quoting Lam:

however, when flickr introduced its filtering system around mid june, they have flitered away your photos in hk. and the local authority put back the case to the tribunal for classification in june 22. where, they have classified it as indecent.

As I understand that statement, it is because of Flickr censoring my account that the tribunal moved forward with their prosecution. A direct result of censorship on Flickrs part. Flickr doesn't like the word censorship but that's just what they're doing.

Let me be clear: Flickr is instituting a global censorship program that allows for regional censorship of photos. As a Flickr user, I was not informed that I fell into such a program or even in fact that such a program existed.

Flickr won't even respond to my emails about the specific problems with my account or as to why it's being filtered. It took outsiders contacting me before I realized I was being censored. I managed to get a form letter about how I could go through all of my photos and ask for a re-review. I did this and most, if not all of my photos are properly tagged. Still, I wasn't told of any specific offending photos. My re-review included the the previously mentioned photo that's causing Lam so many problems. After writing several more emails, I am still waiting to hear back. Flickr doesn't seem to care.

As I'm currently traveling in Romania, I don't have time to write them daily. My connection here is limited. Their censorship of over 17,000 of my photos is absurd. I don't have 17,000 photos of porn. I have hardly any nude photos at all by comparison to the larger body of my work hosted on Flickr.

First it was journalists who used Yahoo! mail and now it's people who merely link to their property. Though this is certainly a case of an unintended consequence of being a censor, it's important to understand the wide ranging issues behind becoming a censor. They're about to be complicit in putting another (Thanks Yahoo!) Chinese citizen behind bars as an unintended consequence of their attempts to grab foreign markets. Their desire to internationalize has caused them massive problems in Germany.

I personally know two dozen Germans that cannot access my work, the same is true in Austria. The reason according to Flickr is that they have to comply with German law, so naturally they just include Austria as collateral damage. Imagine the joy this causes as I am a member of monochrom and work in Vienna with various groups such as the Metalab. Why does flickr subject Austrian users to German law? A glitch? The law? Or a taste of what's to come? Is this so called legal compliance or just a broad stroke of the censor?

Until users create new accounts with fake addresses outside of Germany, Austria or Hong Kong, they can't even view my photos if they wanted to do so. No amount of clicking about. This is probably happening in more than these three countries but I can't confirm it. A Canadian friend of mine reported some problems but it was just the new default filter system and it was possible for him to click through eventually. He merely had to dig through his preferences to find that Flickr had helpfully enabled filtering of all the photos he could see. To be clear, this was new. Now by default, everyone (and not just new accounts) has a filter enabled that blocks so called 'unsafe' accounts. It may also block 'moderate' accounts, I'm unsure. All of this was without notice and all of this goes without direct comment beyond some simple nonsense form letter about reading their community guidelines. I've read them, I tag and flag my images. I think it's silly but I've tried to play by the rules.

However, I find all of this extremely frustrating. I do not like that my choice in photo hosting is now possibly going to cost a person their freedom. I don't care why they linked to my photos, it's a hyperlink to some conceptual art. Yes, it has nudity but it's clearly labeled as such. It's not pornography, it's art. This photo was specifically chosen because it was tastefully created by working with a professional model, a professional rope rigger and myself, arguably, a professional photographer. This isn't pornography or obscenity by any reasonable measure of either.

It's made me seriously question why I'm using Flickr at all. I am a paying customer but I don't think I'll be renewing my account now that I realize how unreasonable they are. I know Flickr (as well as Yahoo!) has some amazing people on staff and I'm aware they're doing some interesting stuff. The jailing of journalists in China was the line crossed by Yahoo. This censorship crosses the line for Flickr.

Flickr should make this right for everyone involved. They should unfilter my account (as well as the rest of the flickr users), properly apologize in public for censoring me and help Oiwan Lam with the legal assistance needed to stay out of jail. This may mean paying the insanely high fine. I think that's a reasonable way to resolve it considering the moneybags parent company Yahoo. The bottom line of their company shouldn't be censorship of so called questionable material to attract a larger market. They should actually support their so called community. They claim they're complying with local law but really, they're doing so much more as we can see. They're directly affecting local law. They're becoming the judge and jury about what was obscene or what is obscene. They're complicit in an even larger censorship system and this is outrageous.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Decline of Second Life

Virtual marketers have second thoughts about Second Life

Others just want to access a larger community than Second Life offers. Between May and June, the population of active avatars declined 2.5%, and the volume of U.S. money exchanged within the world fell from a high of $7.3 million in March to $6.8 million in June.

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Sunday, June 17, 2007

All falls down for Flickr

Talk about bad press, Flickr becomes global news for all the wrong reasons:

Yahoo's Flickr photo service facing censorship complaints in Germany

International Herald Tribune

Flickr Restrictions Irk German Users
Houston Chronicle, United States

Yahoo's Flickr service facing censorship complaints in Germany
San Jose Mercury News,  USA

Flickr Restrictions Irk German Users
Forbes, NY

Yahoo's Flickr service facing censorship complaints in Germany
XETV FOX6 San Diego, CA

Flickr Users In Germany Complain Of Censorship

German Users In Revolt Over Flickr Image Restrictions
Wired News

Flickr curtails German photo sharing
CNet News.com Blog

The Germans get their Flickrs in a twist over 'censorship'
The Observer, UK

This is the worst press the Internet has gotten since pets.com, the worst press since the dot bomb, this is now the worst press any Web2.0 site.  All that is needed is for some of these news sources to see how little Flcikr has done about all the child porn.

Bob Hooker

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Flickr Censors Germany in Mass


When the Flickr filters were put in place I posted to the threads that they were putting in place a framework for future censorship, in response Flickr blocked my IP from the threads.  I can post from interent cafes but whats the point accept to gloat, and be taken down in a matter of seconds, and now there are thousands of people repeating what I said as it turns out yes the filter system is a framework for collective censorship.

The decision to censor Germany in mass was a bit strange, and one wonders where it was made: Yahoo or Flickr?  Flickr itself remains empty of all information and explanations.

Oh well, sometimes being right and punished for being right doesn't feel good.  When the filters came out I made my case that they would lead to national censorship and they made censorship too easy for Flickr.  At the time the Nazis who run Flickr blocked my IP, which they would not do for a woman being sexually assualted on Flickr. 

Now I predict about 1 million users are about to take their IPs off line. 

Flickr survives simply because it is the best technology and was there first, it reached critical mass.  But almost everyone wants an alternative and as soon as one of the other products becomes mature Flickr will collapse.  The Germany censorship was a step too far, there is no defense or excuse for locking everyone in Germany to child status.

To the admins who have ruined Flickr, and the cyber bullies who used to own the threads, but have since lost them, a message from Bob Hooker "you screwed up losers"!

Bob Hooker

Flickr has gone too far

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Saturday, June 09, 2007

Has Flickr Blocked China

At first view it seems that China has blocked farm1 and farm2 on Flickr without Flickr and Yahoo knowing.

News story

Flickr Shamefully Blocked in China

Flickr.com has been blocked in China since 7th June, 2007, the reason unidentified. Reports have come from everywhere in China confirming the blockage. Flickr’s team has also confirmed that the problem is not from their end. The blocked servers are currently farm1.static.flickr.com and farm2.static.flickr.com, which are reportedly servers for pictures only. This explains the fact that all texts on Flickr are unaffected whereas no photo could be shown when one attempts to access flickr.com inside mainland China. Some domestic search engines are now sensitive to these server addresses as well. Baidu, the most popular search engine in mainland China, gives no result under the keywordfarm1.static.flickr.com” or “farm2.static.flickr.com“.

Sounds simple, but from Washburn" href="http://www.shanghaiist.com/2007/06/08/having_flickr_p.php">Dan Washburn

We have an observation that Farm2 server on Flickr was down period. That is at the same time that China lost view of Farm1 and Farm2 memebers of Flickr report Farm2 went down around the world. 3 users reported this on the forum before Flickr locked the group.

Accident? Coincidence? Tell that to the Democracy leaders in Chinese Jails because of Yahoo.

Farm2 server is down!!!!

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`Pacdog Pro User says:

It is..
Posted at 4:23AM, 8 June 2007 BST ( permalink )

Pacdog does not live in china, but a few other people noticed at the same time that the blocking was starting farm2 was down for a group of people beyond China. An accident, or perhaps Flickr was refining its blocking of Farm1 and Farm2 to Chinese IP.

Steward promptly locked the discussion. But it would be a very interesting coincidence that just when Farm1 and Farm2 were being "blocked" by China Farm2 went down to western users. My it is just strange luck. But three users on the thread, before Flickr closed it, all reported that Farm2 was down globally at the same time that Farm1 and Farm2 were being "blocked" in China.

Yahoo has a very close relationship with Flickr, there is deniability on both sides, but the possibility that this was done by Flickr at the request of China is a very likely possibility.

Despite denials Flickr engages in wide spread IP blocking, but they are plagued with technical problems. Also I have not been able to find another site being similiarly blocked. Searchs on other blogging engines and China return no news items on Google that I have been able to find. Only Flickr is having problems.

Coincidence? Perhaps. But there really is no rational reason to believe Flickrs account of things.

Bob Hooker

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Yahoo is bad for you

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SL Can be Fun
Felling a little sick, well it could be Yahoo. They seem better at blocking China Democracy movement that hackers.

McAfee: Yahoo search most "risky"

Tom Espiner, ZDNet UK

06 June 2007 09:34 AM

Out of the top five search engines, Yahoo returns the riskiest sites for users, according to security vendor McAfee.

In research published on Monday by McAfee SiteAdvisor, 5.4 percent of Yahoo searches returned links to "risky" Internet sites. AOL was found to be the safest of the top five, with 2.9 percent of sites.

According to McAfee SiteAdvisor, Yahoo returned the most results rated "red" or "yellow". "Red" rated sites failed McAfee SiteAdvisor's safety tests. "Examples are sites that distribute adware, send a high volume of spam, or make unauthorised changes to a user's computer," said the report. Examples of "Yellow" rated sites are those which send a high volume of "non-spammy" e-mail, display many pop-up ads, or prompt a user to change browser settings.

According to McAfee, overall, on Yahoo, MSN, Ask.com, Google, and AOL, sponsored searches returned more risky results than "organic" searches. Of sponsored searches, 6.9 percent returned risky content, compared with 2.9 percent of organic searches.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Wweeggee another vicitim of Flickr makes the case against Censorship with art

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wweeggee  Pro User  says:

antimoral art














Posted 3 days ago. ( permalink )
wweeggee edited this topic 3 days ago.

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Flickr Censorship Cancer

The internt is rapidly filling up with these ugly signs of Flickr censorship, they have become a kind of cancer of what is wrong with corporate ownership of web culture.

Though you have to wonder, why would flickr be happy to have the blogosphere full of millions and millions of such images?  Anyone at home.

Also it has come to my attention that Flickr censors are reading this blog, welcome.  Its good to know that since you block all criticism of yourselves on Flickr you have discovered a place where you might read something other than the shrinking chorus of Cyber bullies.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

Welcome Flickr Censors

It has come to my attention, and great joy, that this blog is read by some of the Flickr Censorship squad.

Welcome. It is so refreshing to have a forum that some of the people responsible for the destruction of freedom that is not blocked out of hand.

The other day I read that SL declared their site an adult site. With this one simple statement they liberated SL from a great deal of potential censorship. Which made me wonder: how many children actually use Flickr? I just spent several hours exploring Flickr and I couldn't find anyone not in their late teens posting on the site.

As far as I know Flickr has never posted information as to their idea of how many people under 18 view the site.

It strikes me that the "young people" argument seems silly when you look at the profiles of thousands of Flickr users, they are vastly adult. So why is a set of adults being made to live by the rules of a junior high school?

I suspect "children" are a nice excuse to impose a regime of censorship.

As for the censorship itself, as I predicted, Flickr is filling up with more and more hard core porn than ever. Since in order to even see artistic nudes one has to register with Yahoo! it turns out that people who like porn are being forced to get a Flickr account. Once having a free account they might as well load up a few pictures. And what are they going to load up? More porn.

People who post photos of cats and flowers can be viewed without a flickr account. So Flickr has made it so people who want porn are made to join, where as other people are not. Sounds like a great way to insure Flickr becomes the world's largest source of porn, which it is becoming.

As for Flickr uses, the filter system has removed them. The uncertainty as to status of a site means that it can not reliably used for much of anything. If I go on vacation and want to post my pictures why would I post them on Flickr if none of my friends or family can see them for months? Also if I want to present class projects on Flickr again I can rely on people being able to see it without registering with Flickr.

Recently I created a PhD project presentation on Web2,0 and presented the findings on Flickr. In order to circulate it to the class I had to start a blogger account and migrate the information to blogger. Members of the class refused to register with Yahoo.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Virtual worlds to get Oscar-like awards

Virtual worlds to get Oscar-like awards

NEW YORK - Two of the best-known entrepreneurs in game-like online spaces known as "virtual worlds" plan to give out awards for the burgeoning industry.

Ailin Graef, a Chinese-born real-estate mogul in the "Second Life" world, and Miami-based Jon Jacobs, who owns an asteroid in "Entropia Universe," announced this week that they've created a Virtual Worlds Academy.

The academy will accept nominations on its Web site for categories like "Best Virtual World," "Best Virtual Fashion Designer" and "Most Dynamic Virtual Economy."

The goal is to "recognize achievements in all areas of virtual artistry, technology, commerce and culture," said the founders, who are better known under their online names: Graef is "Anshe Chung" and Jacobs is "Neverdie."

"I guess all industries get to the point of having awards and I see no reason why the virtual worlds one should be any different," said Ren Reynolds, a British consultant who follows the industry.

"It looks like a good move for Anshe as she is building a brand around a service organization that spans virtual worlds," Reynolds added.

Beyond "Second Life," Graef has business interests in "Entropia Universe," "There" and "IMVU." She has 60 full-time employees.

The winners will be announced in February and will receive virtual statues at "live" ceremonies in "Second Life" and "Entropia Universe."

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Friday, May 18, 2007

Flickr's attitude to Censorship has NOT changed Flickr=Censorship

NOW Heather (Queen Flickr Censor) responds with a thread to close discussions that engage in "fish slapping", Why does this woman still have a job with Flickr? They say they have learned their lesson, so shut up or you'll be blocked.

Mad King Yahoo must be stopped!!!! Democracy is now at stake in the digital age. We can not have an internet culture where people like Heather have the power, it would be a kind of dictatorship. A state where the government can apologise and then censor any further debate.

censorship discussion

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funkyj Pro User says:

Hey flickr, how about that bad press your getting for censoring injured parties like Rebekka?

You might generate more goodwill if you had a more open and candid policy.

In the BBC article on this subject you are quoted as saying:

He said Flickr had removed the comments because there was "personal information of the infringing company's owner and suggestions for how best to exact revenge".

So, instead of deleting photos or peoples accounts how about you make a public policy of replacing the censored comment with a explanation for why it was censored e.g. this comment has been removed because it includes personal information that may result in a person being harassed or some such?

What really gets peoples dander up is not the censoring per se but the scale it occurs on and the lack of explanation.
Posted at 10:37PM, 18 May 2007 BST ( permalink )

Platform Info:

On shard: 8

www5 Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20070309 Firefox/ Flash V:7 D:Shockwave Flash 9.0 r28

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Xerxes2K Pro User says:

Hi funkyj, you might want to read this topic www.flickr.com/help/forum/40074/ and the official blog post blog.flickr.com/flickrblog/2007/05/sometimes_we_ma.html
Posted 50 minutes ago. ( permalink )

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Brenda Anderson Pro User says:

Flickr has already said it was a mistake.

And Stewart said, in this thread, in response to a question about what the mistake was:

Pretty simple: by removing more than we needed too. The right response would have been deleting any comments that contained personal information or specific threats and writing to Rebekka to let her know that if she didn't ask people to tone it down, we'd make the photo private while it cooled off. Deleting the entire photo and all the comments which were plain statements of support was too much.

Posted 50 minutes ago. ( permalink )
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shot by Scott Pro User says:

Flickr have apologise and learnt from it I don’t think anything like this will happen again. Isn’t it time to get over that part and concentrate on the theft of the images which set all this off?
Posted 46 minutes ago. ( permalink )

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Flickr Staff

heather says:

As pointed out by others....

Here's the previous topic on the same subject:

Stewart's official response:

FlickrBlog post:

The previous topic was locked given that it veered somewhat off course and began to feature a generous dollop of fish slapping:


I'm happy to engage in further discussion, but should the the fish appear, I'll lock this topic down.
Posted 11 minutes ago. ( permalink )

Thank You Heather, you fascist. Now in the insanity of Flickr censorship this corporate bitch from Yahoo, who has a retard joke photo on her photostream has already threatened to lock the debate down.

This is now beyond support, Flickr is a major collaborative space which uses the Internet for distribution, Mad King Yahoo does not own the Internet, and pro account users pay, and yet she will not engage in discussions about censorhip.

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Global net censorship 'growing'

China internet cafe
China filtered a wide range of topics, said the report

The level of state-led censorship of the net is growing around the world, a study of so-called internet filtering by the Open Net Initiative suggests.

The study of thousands of websites across 120 Internet Service Providers found 25 of 41 countries surveyed showed evidence of content filtering.

Websites and services such as Skype and Google Maps were blocked, it said.

Such "state-mandated net filtering" was only being carried out in "a couple" of states in 2002, one researcher said.

"In five years we have gone from a couple of states doing state-mandated net filtering to 25," said John Palfrey, at Harvard Law School.

What's regrettable about net filtering is that almost always this is happening in the shadows.

John Palfrey, Harvard Law School

Mr Palfrey, executive director of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, added: "There has also been an increase in the scale, scope and sophistication of internet filtering."

ONI is made up of research groups at the universities of Toronto, Harvard Law School, Oxford and Cambridge.

It chose 41 countries for the survey in which testing could be done safely and where there was "the most to learn about government online surveillance".

A number of states in Europe and the US were not tested because the private sector rather than the government tends to carry out filtering, it said.

Countries which carry out the broadest range of filtering included Burma, Iran, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen, the study said.

The filtering had three primary rationales, according to the report: politics and power, security concerns and social norms.

The report said: "In a growing number of states around the world, internet filtering has huge implications for how connected citizens will be to the events unfolding around them, to their own cultures, and to other cultures and shared knowledge around the world."

World map
The report said net censorship was spreading across the globe

Jonathan Zittrain, Professor of Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University, said the organisation was also looking at the tools people used to circumvent filtering.

"It's hard to quantify how many people are doing this. As we go forward each year we want to see if some of these circumvention technologies become more like appliances and you just plug them in and they work," he added.

"Few states restrict their activities to one type of content," said Rafal Rohozinski, Research Fellow of the Cambridge Security Programme.

He added: "Once filtering is begun, it is applied to a broad range of content and can be used for expanding government control of cyberspace. It has become a strategic forum of competition between states, as well as between citizens and states."

Mr Palfrey said the report was an attempt to shine a spotlight on filtering to make it more transparent.

"What's regrettable about net filtering is that almost always this is happening in the shadows. There's no place you can get an answer as a citizen from your state about how they are filtering and what is being filtered."

The survey found evidence of filtering in the following countries:

Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Burma/Myanmar, China, Ethiopia, India, Iran, Jordan, Libya, Morocco, Oman, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, UAE, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Yemen.

NOTE: I lived in Tunisa for a while, no porn, no left wing press, and yet I used the Interent every day, I chatted on English language political groups, I did work. I guess a filteed net is better than no net, though a free net is best of all.

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Yahoo 'censored' Flickr comments

Yahoo 'censored' Flickr comments
Flickr is one of the most popular photo-sharing sites

Yahoo has been accused of censorship on its popular photo website Flickr, in a row that has highlighted the issue of copyright in the online age.

Earlier this month photographer Rebekka Gudleifsdóttir discovered that seven of her pictures were reportedly being sold by a UK-based online gallery.

She raised the issue on Flickr but a photo and comments were deleted.

Yahoo, which had no involvement in the row over the sale of the photos, has now apologised for its "mistake".

According to Ms Gudleifsdóttir, online gallery Only Dreemin sold 60 prints of seven of her photos, for more than £2,500, without her consent.

No-one from gallery Only Dreemin was available for comment.

Ms Gudleifsdóttir owns the copyright to all of her photos on Flickr and the website clearly states that people cannot use them without permission.

Withdrew photos

The gallery withdrew the photos for sale but refused to compensate her, she said.

Ms Gudleifsdóttir posted a new photograph on Flickr to highlight her problem with the gallery and received more than 450 comments of support from other users.

But that post was removed by Flickr staff on the grounds it could "harass, abuse, impersonate, or intimidate others".

Ms Guðleifsdóttir said Flickr had also threatened to terminate her account.

The fact remains that they made a profit off my work when they had absolutely no right to
Rebekka Gudleifsdóttir

"Freedom of expression? Telling the truth? Not popular with Flickr administration, apparently," she wrote on her blog.

The co-founder of Flickr, Stewart Butterfield, has now apologised.

"We screwed up and for that I take full responsibility," he said.

He added: "It's important to be clear why the photo was deleted: it had nothing to do with a desire to silence Rebekka from calling attention to the outfit which had reportedly sold copies of her photos without knowledge or permission and without compensating her.

"This had nothing to do with fear of a lawsuit, but with deeply held beliefs about the kind of place we want Flickr to be. Unfortunately, those beliefs were misapplied in this case, but we still hold the general principle to be true."

He said Flickr had removed the comments because there was "personal information of the infringing company's owner and suggestions for how best to exact revenge".

Ms Gudleifsdóttir told BBC News that the gallery had told her they had bought the photos from a third party for £3,000 in good faith and had been shown "official looking documents".

"When my lawyer requested that they send a copy of these documents, to prove that this transaction had indeed taken place, we heard no more from them," she said.

"If I had decided to proceed further with this case, my next move would have been to hire a UK-based lawyer to take them to court. I however did not feel able to do this, as I simply don't have the money needed to pay for it."

She said she had been left feeling "extremely frustrated" by the gallery and had been "offended" by Flickr's initial reaction to her protest.

But she said she had now accepted Flickr's apology but would continue to campaign for compensation.

"The fact remains that they made a profit off my work when they had absolutely no right to," she said.

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