Archive for the ‘Technology’ Category

Denial is More Than a River, it’s also Egypt’s Internet Service

How’s this for a first when it comes to not only social media, but modern communications as a whole? Because of the mass protests, the Egyptian government turned off the Internet for the entire country… and you thought it was aggravating when you have to reboot your router.

Matt Richtel at  The New York Times has an excellent article chronicling the largest Internet shut-off in history. Interesting factoid in Matt’s article is that the government of Myanmar did this in 2007 and Nepal also denied Internet service to its citizenry a couple of years before that. Obviously, neither are anywhere near the size and scope of the Egypt’s Internet denial. Appears to be a growing and increasingly disturbing trend.

It Stux to be Infected by this Computer Worm

Modern warfare is increasingly moving on to the Internet as this century’s battlefield.  Without dropping a single bomb or firing a single bullet, a highly advanced computer worm named Stuxnet has wreaked untold carnage on Iran’s nuclear research projects.  Ed Barnes from has a detailed and highly perceptive article about this intriguing new development covert weaponry.  He opens his story by describing how in years past this mission would be given to James Bond, but now there is technological license to Stux.

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Study Tries To Change Status To…COLD TURKEY!

Pardon the word play, but this article is a bit chilling. Education reporter Jenna Johnson at The Washington Post reports on a study recently conducted at the University of Maryland. The two hundred students who participated were forced to not use technology for 24 hours, that’s right just one day, and you can probably predict the results. Some of the kids described how they quickly realized that they “addicted” to their smart phone, Facebook, IMing, texting, etc.
Here is one particularly telling comment from a student participant:
“…I felt quick alone and secluded from my life. Although I go to school with thousands of students, the fact that I was not able to communicate with anyone via technology was almost unbearable.”
Here is the site for the study and all the student comments. It’s enough to give you the shakes!
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Online News Still Not Taking a Toll on Readers

So exactly how do you get people to pay for news when it is being offered for free? This is certainly an even more compelling question when it comes to a whole generation raised on the Internet and the concept of of shared music and information. As you can see in this recently survey covered by the San Francisco Chronicle, these attitudes are only going to get more difficult to change.

It’s becoming increasingly apparent that the online advertiser revenue model is not going to be the silver bullet that the traditional newspaper and magazine world so desperately needs. Yet, these media outlets have been far too slow in offering current print subscribers a digital version of their daily editions. Why can’t they aggressively canvass their existing subscription lists and begin offering a modern version of the publication with a discounted price point as an introduction. The end goal to eventually replace print distribution altogether. Hopefully the old world media doesn’t prove to be as flat footed and stubborn as the late 20th century music industry was.

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Google to China: Don’t Be an Evil Empire

Well this one seemed inevitable. As technology companies continue to strike deals with centralized governments, the main compromise often involves censorship. Google is now facing the stark realities of its relationship with the Chinese government and the resulting frictions are sure to be closely monitored by corporations around the globe. Here’s an article from The Economist that concisely details the situation.

This also brings to mind a book recently co-written by Born Digital author John Palfrey entitled: Access Controlled: The Shaping of Power, Rights, and Rules in Cyberspace. I have been meaning to read this one for some time and will hopefully have an entry about it in the near future.

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Newspapers Continue To See Red, Ink That Is

If you were planning on getting good news about the traditional print newspaper industry as the year winds down, then please don’t read this article by Elizabeth Redman at She covers a recent study by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, which predicts that newspaper industry will shed a quarter of its existing job base within the next decade. You heard that right, the downsizing at newspapers has only just begun.

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Crazy Like A Fox (…News Mogul)

Well, Rupert Murdoch is once again making headlines. The News Wizard from OZ is hinting at a battle with Google over the way in which it makes it very easy for users to get free content from his online newspapers and news sites.Nigel Constantine at TG Daily sums up the behind-the-scenes machinations nicely. The possible team-up of Murdoch with Bing could be a historic development in the changing nature of news distribution.

It raises the intriguing question on whether search engines could eventually become this century’s answer to the paperboy?

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Unsportsmanlike Twittering

Insightful article from Evan Hessel at about the motivations behind the NFL’s recently released policy guidelines restricting fans’ use of Twitter and other social media sites while watching games.

By now you may have heard that the NFL have stated that it will allow fans to tweet about players and teams, but will be forbidden from posting any details that includes play-by-play commentary. The league also has the added challenge of trying to contain the spread of fans recording and uploading the action with smart phone or other devices.

Hessel does a great job of exploring all these angles and includes some very fascinating comments from Wendy Seltzer, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society. Seltzer raises the issue of First Amendant rights of a fan and how the NFL could eventually find itself sacked by the court system.

And Iran, Iran and Tweeted Away…

Just came across this insightful piece from discussing how social media is overcoming the restrictions that the Iranian government has placed on traditional media. Even with a concerted news black-out, the world at large can now read first person accounts from unfiltered online sources.

These latest developments are really thrusting Twitter into center stage. In some ways, it parallels the first Gulf War when George H.W. Bush Administration officials admitted that they were watching CNN to keep up with war developments, creating a de facto endorsement of the network’s news gathering capabilities.
Still, even with the advent of blogs and varying social media voices, there remains a need for an responsible editor and news gathering organization to help present all this material forward in an clear and thoughtful way. While old media (newspapers, etc.) obviously face an ongoing decline, social media commentary and information can often be far too unwieldy and disorganized. That’s why the newspaper model will not really die, its just that staying so committed to paper and ink has been its undoing. Very similar to the music industry and its addiction to physical CDs. That one’s a long story for a completely different entry though.

The Spy Who Logged In From The Cold

This is a really fascinating article by Massimo Calabresi at TIME on how the CIA is utilizing social media and a Wikipedia format entitled Intellipedia to share and access up-to-the-minute information

I thought that the piece was thought provoking, and dare I say timely, because so much attention has recently been given to social media and external communications, while the prospects for developing even more effective channels of internal communications are too often being overlooked.

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