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Berkman Buzz: Week of October 25, 2010

October 29, 2010

BERKMAN BUZZ: A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations
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What's being discussed...take your pick or browse below.

* Ethan Zuckerman reflects on "narrative audio content," via the Internet.
* Christian Sandvig tries to recall the race to ISDN.
* Jonathan Zittrain considers the "awful" SMS replicator app.
* Dan Gillmor assesses the new Nook tablet.
* Joseph Reagle shares some gems from the history of reference work adverts.
* David Weinberger gives expunging a chance.
* Herdict on Net filtering in Uzbekistan.
* OpenNet Initiative on Australia's ongoing filtering debate.
* Weekly Global Voices: "Russia: Online Activism Success Stories"

Special note: The Berkman Center is now accepting applications for fellowships for the 2011-2012 academic year.

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The full buzz.

"What McKibben’s celebrating, primarily, isn’t radio per se – it’s narrative audio content. Here’s the distinction, as I see it. Radio is live, and highly perishable. In Rick Bass’s “Winter: Notes from Montana” (I believe – I’m on the road and don’t have the book in front of me), the author mentions jonesing for NPR, which doesn’t reach his isolated mountain cabin. Friends offer to tape his favorite shows and he turns down the offer, explaining that it would be too painful – the beauty of radio, for him, is that another person, somewhere, is alive and speaking at that very moment. That’s a powerful and important function of radio. But it’s not what I get from many of my favorite programs..."
From Ethan Zuckerman's blog post When the best radio isn't radio

"I used this comment to make the point that America historically dominated the Internet and that our current middling ranking in various Internet reports (including Akamai’s) was a fall from strength....I also made the point that these between-country horserace comparisons were often a waste of time. I noted that Germany won the “race to ISDN.” Yet it is not clear what the prize for that was. Does anyone remember the race to ISDN? The prize was probably a big brass plaque that’s now on display near the bathrooms in the Hamburg Hauptbahnhof. I think broadband Internet rankings do matter (while the race to ISDN did not) because we know what the Internet is."
From Christian Sandvig's blog post Public Policy Causes Slow Internet

"With the iPhone, apps like these just aren’t available — at least without the stalker having to jailbreak the targeted iPhone first. On the more generative Android, it’s simply easier for bad stuff to brazenly find its way onto the platform since Google isn’t as obsessed with curating the selection of software for the phone. And with Android, the official apps market isn’t the only source for software — so the banning of SMS Replicator there doesn’t exclude it from the phone; the enterprising stalker can install it from elsewhere."
From Jonathan Zittrain's blog post "...helpful to people in relationships where this type of monitoring can be useful."

"But, based on what I can tell from coverage of today's launch event and the company's website, the Nook Color going to be a deliberately crippled tablet computer, locked down so that users can't add apps other than ones B&N decides they can add. There's an obvious reason for the company to do this: to prevent Amazon from using the new Nook as a platform on which Amazon could itself compete as a bookseller. But it's a counterproductive move in the end."
From Dan Gillmor's post on Salon, Barnes & Noble's new color e-reader

"...you can find advertising claims by print-based reference works that are as hyperbolic as any Web 2.0 pundit today. Morton's The Story of Webster's Third discusses this when he talks about the critical and popular controversy associated with the publication of the Third in the 1960s. (And he argues that while the advertising department did go too far, those actually producing the dictionary never made such claims.)"
From Joseph Reagle's blog post Truth in Numbers and Advertising

"I read an article this morning in “Hello!” about John Lennon’s seventieth birthday. It notes that “his life was taken away 30 years ago by gunman ____,” except they filled in the blank with the murderer’s name. I’m not going to. If you want to know the “gunman’s” name, you can look it up. But I’d rather not give him the recognition. In the current (near final?) draft of “Too Big to Know,” I touch on Wikipedia’s debate about whether to give each victim in the Virginia Tech murders their own separate entry..."
From David Weinberger's blog post Give expunging a chance

"Coinciding with Reporters Without Borders release of the Press Freedom Index on October 20, Facebook was blocked in Uzbekistan for a day when the report listed the country as 163rd out of 178 countries. Ranked near countries such as Libya and Cuba, the Eurasian country was placed only slightly above China (171st), Iran (175th), and North Korea (177th)."
From the Herdict blog post Facebook Blocked in Uzbekistan

"The AFP recently reported that Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has begun actively pushing to filter Australia’s Internet content. According to news sources, the filter would block websites that contain rape, bestiality, and child sex abuse. Included in the plan is a proposed “secret blacklist” containing restricted sites, on which Australian ISPs could execute complete filtering control in conjunction with government policies."
From Qichen Zhang's blog post for ONI, Australian Prime Minister Backs Web Filtering

"While Internet analysts across the Atlantic are busy arguing if the use of technology brings about social and political change, bloggers in Russia add their humble contributions to the debate, probably unaware that the debate is taking place at all. Their victories are few and small and their impact can easily be attributed to statistical error - but they certainly are out there. The Russian blogosphere's success stories of the past few months have one thing in common: leveraged by the online media, the stories have resulted in executive decisions that helped people defend their rights."
From Alexey Sidorenko's blog post for Global Voices, Russia: Online Activism Success Stories

(Bonus: the Berkman Center's recently released Public Discourse in the Russian Blogosphere)

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The weekly Berkman Buzz is selected from the posts of Berkman Center people and projects -- http://cyber.harvard.edu/planet/current/ -- and sometimes from the Center's wider network -- http://cyber.harvard.edu/planet/network/

Suggestions and feedback about the Buzz are always welcome and can be emailed to syoung@cyber.harvard.edu

Last updated

March 25, 2011