recognizing Arthur C. Clarke’s third law

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

I spy for you and me

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Rock WerchterFans who attended Rock Werchter, the Belgian music festival that ended Sunday, were being tracked by Bluetooth scanners as they enjoyed the music of  Coldplay, Nine Inch Nails, Fleet Foxes, Metallica, Oasis and numerous other bands.

Researchers from the University of Ghent set up a network of 36 Bluetooth scanners at the festival site as well as on a few surrounding roads and bus stops that noted each of the 80,000 daily attendees as he or she came within 30 meters (approximately 100 feet).

The resulting data is the first time a large crowd has been tracked in a live situation, according to the researchers. They added that privacy wasn’t a concern since they only tracked MAC addresses (the unique identifier assigned by the manufacturer) and therefore cannot be linked to an individual user.

Some fans who attended the UK’s Download Festival last month encountered a different unexpected Bluetooth application. Local police and the Leicestershire Drug and Alcohol Action Team asked if they wanted to opt in to receive free informational animated messages. Among those that were sent out were friendly advisories on alcohol and drug use.

(Title lyric from the Dead Kennedys.)


Written by chris

July 6, 2009 at 9:55 pm

It’s always more fun to share with everyone

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gerd_leonhardGerd Leonhard went public with Futerati, a Twitter-API-based site that brings together the eclectic assortment of people that inspire his thinking. Basically, Gerd has curated his extensive personal collection of tweeps into six categories: futurists, thought leaders authors, activists, startups, and others.

A brief comment explains why each person is included, and of course it offers their latest tweets and a link for clicking through to that person’s Twitter profile for more information and ease of following.

“One of the most important realizations that has recently transpired via my Twitter pipeline is how much I am gaining from the ever increasing Sharism i.e. by what others are sharing with me,” Gerd explains, adding that Futerati is a way of paying it forward.

(Title lyric from Jack Johnson.)

Written by chris

July 6, 2009 at 8:31 am

Posted in Culture, Internet, Twitter

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It’s an art to live with pain

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jackson_billiejeanApplication developers 9astronauts have created Billie Tweets, an art project they refer to as “a Twitter tribute to Michael Jackson.” Basically it plays the incomparable Billie Jean video, featuring Michael Jackson at the height of his powers, accompanied by a waterfall of random tweets that have each word of the lyrics highlighted in order, kinda like Twitter karaoke. The effect is oddly hypnotic.

(Title lyric from Pearl Jam.)

Written by chris

July 5, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Don’t name your boat Titanic II

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DeweytrumanSome pundits, many of them traditional reporters, wrote about Michael Jackson’s death pitted new media against old media. Others said the reporters had a lot to learn from each other. But if they’re going to continue and be successful, I don’t think there should be any clear difference between them. Bloggers, Tweeters and their ilk need to work on improving their credibility. Those in print, radio and TV should improve their understanding of emerging media – not just its tools, but also its culture.

As for the mercifully few curmudgeons who are jumping on the bloggers who got it wrong, as though those errors prove we can’t trust digital media, I suggest they look up how many reputable newspapers reassured readers that all of the Titanic’s passengers were rescued.

(Title lyric from Beautiful South.)

Written by chris

July 4, 2009 at 2:03 am

Posted in Culture, Internet, Print

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I’m falling in love, my Walkman and me

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walkman tvIt’s been 30 years since Sony Corp. introduced the Walkman to an amazed world. Somewhere deep in my closet of obsolete gizmos that I can’t bear to part with is a Sony Walkman that not only played stereo cassettes with auto-reverse, it also had an AM/FM tuner and – in what was cutting edge for the time (1986?) – received a few channels of TV audio.

I couldn’t find the exact model on Pocket Calculator’s Walkman Museum, but subsequently I was surprised to learn that newer ones are still available.

(Title lyric from Veruca Salt.)

Written by chris

July 4, 2009 at 2:00 am

Posted in Culture, Hardware

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Who will dance on the floor in the round

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Moonwalk Richard LarteyOne of the events honoring Michael Jackson provides a test for judging who “gets” Web 2.0. Basically, any entertainment executive who doesn’t understand why the Liverpool Street moonwalk flash mob was wonderful should hire someone who does.

Here’s what happened. The Prince of Pop died Thursday afternoon here in Los Angeles. The brilliant Rob Manuel, 8 hours ahead in London, woke up to the news and Twittered that a tribute flash mob would be fun. By 6 pm London time, Milo Yiannopoulos had  leveraged the power of social networking into having many hundreds of otherwise unaffiliated people gather to dance (or at least happily mill about – see picture) to Billie Jean at one of London’s busiest commuter rail stations.

(Title lyric by Michael Jackson. Image borrowed from here.)

Written by chris

June 27, 2009 at 8:26 pm

Angel of death standing by

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Angel of Death - Zoe BellAngel of Death, the web series by Eisner Award-winning writer/cartoonist Ed Brubaker, is morphing from 10 parts on into a 90-minute movie on Spike TV.

The White Rock Lake Production will air July 25 at midnight ET/PT. It stars Zoe Bell (pictured in character as Eve, the assassin of the title), Lucy Lawless, Doug Jones, Ted Raimi, Brian Poth, Justin Huen and Jake Abel. Paul Etheredge directed and John Norris produced.

It’s not the first time Spike TV has picked up a show from the Internet. In April it started running MoCap, LLC, the darkly humorous adventures of a low rent motion capture company trying to get a foothold in the world of video games. Worldwide Biggies produced six half-hour episodes exclusively for Spike TV.

(Title lyric is from Ozzy Osbourne.)

Written by chris

June 26, 2009 at 10:57 pm