Monthly Archives: September 2011

Layout Changes (navigation)
Date Created: September 26, 2011  Date Modified: September 26, 2011

So I have spent the afternoon knee deep in CSS customizing the navigation and Im nearly happy with the layout. Now my problem is to go thru and edit each post to fit within the layout, there are about 6 blogs of mine I have bought together in this site and none had the same template, tho most of my blogger accounts are not the issue–its the bleepin Murdoch blog that has given me the most drama so far–and it does not suprise me given that we could only choose from a few templates and no access to the template files.

Im yet to check this site in IE; I know thats not best practice but I spent the last 12 months building spesifically for IE (UNDA company policy was Microsoft-centric), so now that Im free to work on my own site Im quietly avoiding that little blue “E”…

On the topic of IE: one thing I did notice is that the Twenty Eleven theme sitll supports IE6. Great for people with computers that still have windows 98–but not nessisary for anyone (read: everyone) else. Im tempted to take out all the “if IE6” CSS, or put a javaScript browser detectioin that redirects IE6 users to Microsoft’s downloads page but thats a bit conceded and arrogant.

The market share of IE6 is now at 2.0%, less than Safari, less than the more standards compliant Opera. Im not forced to support it but if I dont, its basically saying Im only 98% of a web developer, as Im only serving potentially 98% of the market.

I guess its something to think for another day, I’ve done enough for now..

New Media and Democracy: Wayback Machine
Date Created: September 23, 2011  Date Modified: April 9, 2012

I love archive.org, I go there an nab rights-free media all the time, and their wayback machine is a very useful tol for web designers and administrators to compare UI/UX changes over a long period of time–I used this many times when working at UNDA to highlight usability and design improvements I implemented (and once to recover a “missing” page, but thats another story…

However I never expected, possibly out of a narrow-mindset; that wayback would be defending our free expression of ideas, from Graham Readfearn (An Onymous Lefty):

A few days ago, when I was researching this piece for DeSmogBlog about the questionable coverage of climate change science by The Australian newspaper, I found that none of the links to my old News Ltd blog – GreenBlog – were working.
To be precise, the links worked, but there was no content on the pages. Just a white screen where about 650 posts and 14,000 comments used to be.
The record of an online blog session with then Prime Minister Kevin Rudd? Gone. The full Q&A with former UN general secretary Kofi Annan? Gone. My catalogue of critiques of News Ltd’s climate denial bloggers, Tim Blair and Andrew Bolt? All gone.

Obviously News Ltd’s editorial guidelines decided that the particular content did not reflect the values and opinions of Rupert Murdoch so they 404’ed it. But wayback, being impartial (as I am aware the crawlers do not hold any political opinion, but correct me if I am wrong) has saved some of the content–and even discussion of the above.

Kudos to wayback for protecting our political speach, lets just hope they dont end up permanb& when the cleanfeed kicks in. Of course its not just the media moguls who have editorial discression over the tubez, Google themselves have been known to remove content without explanation, remember to read the ToS.

Google+ User Stats
Date Created: September 22, 2011  Date Modified: September 26, 2011

So Google+ is now officially open for trade, but have people been signing up? I know only a few from my old FB friends list have made the migration, but what about the rest of the world?. Well acording to Googles Paul Allen:

On September 9, our model showed 28.7 million users
This morning, our model shows 37.8 million users, with most of the growth coming in the last 2 days
By adding a fudge factor (see below) to account for private user profiles and for non-Roman surnames (both of which are totally overlooked by our surname counting model), my current estimate is 43.4 million users

Paul Allen

This may be the fastest growing Social Network, however in comparison to usage of other google products; say the Android platform with its userbase of 160 million users, does it really justify the Developer time? Or is it just about pulling all the google pruducts under the same umbrella?

One think is unquestionable tho, the crew over at Facebook are scared–do they have anything to worry about?

Who has more Klout; Branson, Gates or Tim O’Rielly?
Date Created: September 22, 2011  Date Modified: September 22, 2011

I was playing with hootsuite today after looking at my lowrering Klout (Obviously due to deleting my FB) score and noticed that those on my twitter list the Klout of the following:

Screen Cap: Klout for Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Tim O'Rielly

I expected O’Rielly to out rank Branson, but Gates also? and Gates less than Branson?. Im interested to know how Jobs ranks but there is no way Im following him on twitter.

This rant was posted in Internet, SEO, Social Networking, Tech, Twitter, Web on by .

Accessibility and the iPad
Date Created: September 21, 2011  Date Modified: September 21, 2011

In one of the forums Im a member I read the following regarding accessibility and the iPad:

have been working with an EIP student to work out the best way for her to use her iPad, ideally she would like enlarged text and voice-over (see quote below) , she does not need text highlighted. It seems that it is not possible to do both using the iPad accessibility options – any ideas? Apps? For this student the easiest way for her to retrieve her resources from her personal uni web page is to open them in iBooks, this saves a whole lot of moving files around. I am providing AccessiblePDF files at the moment as these can be opened with one mouse click to open and then another to open in iBooks..
‘Tonight I have found quite a deliberate flaw! I thought having zoom with voice over (both in accessibility) would be the way to go with the iPad. However, the iPad can only have one or the other. The reason given for this perplexing situation is that they have conflicting commands! Glory be! It seems that we can’t have larger print and voice over at the same time on an iPad!’

Im not an iPad developer (TEAM ANDROID!!!) but Im sure there is someone out there who can knows of a solution to this that I could forward on??.

This rant was posted in Accessibility, Apple, Web Development on by .

New Media and Democracy: The Troll King
Date Created: September 19, 2011  Date Modified: September 22, 2011

In a follow-up to my post from earlier re: Political Trolls, last night the ABC’s Four Corners aired this piece on the climate change debate called “The Climate Wars”. I think the following quote from Liberal Senator Cory Bernardi really sums up the current political climate over new media:

I’ve always sought to build a movement, not an empire. I want as many, you know, like-minded groups out there advocating for what they think is important – not what Cory Bernardi thinks is important.

If they’ve got a good idea about a blog or you know an activism initiative that they want to pursue, if I’ve got the money and the resources to help them, I will do that.

Now, I don’t necessarily have to agree with everything they do or everything they say. I just want people to get out there and have a go.

The entire article is below (thanks to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

So basically yes, the fascist dogs are manipulating the media to their own agenda, and its up to us to do something about it… then this morning the ABC aired a programme about Phone Phreaking and the early days of hacking–maybe the ABC is trying to manipulate me to go after these shites!. (BTW: the Sydney Morning Herald is a sharepoint driven site so dont even bother going after Andrew “Im a fuckwit” Bolt.

After all, it was those inflammatory remarks from right-wing retards which caused me to disable my Facebook.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes…
Date Created: September 19, 2011  Date Modified: January 22, 2013

playing with the CSS today so the site might look wacky.. I dont like the OOTB twentyEleven theme..

Im baseing it on my blogger site layout that kind of evolved its own CSS over the years. At least I am hacking together my own style here from twentyEleven–even if im not building a theme from scratch..

Still have a few more elements to sort out before the theme is stable…

UPDATE: All thats left to do now is customise the navigation and then I think we’re done with the CSS for now.. DONE

UPDATE: I commented this out of the original post but I have decided to have it visible because this is all too common and it cheapens my industry

I think its worth pointing out that there are some design agency’s (read: more than one person unlike myself) are using OOTB paid for themes sans any custom CSS.

Im also going to add OracleDigital this list as they are another web “company” who dont even use their own theme. Im going to continue cateloguing every so called web designer in WA that, as I said in the commented out sections of this post:

Yes I am annoyed at the lack of knowledge and skills some people manage to make a living from.

I beilive in industry self-regulation–if you are making money from other peoples hard work, be afraid!.

Essay: Digital Distribution
Date Created: September 16, 2011  Date Modified: September 21, 2012

READERS NOTE: This is my original work was originally posted on my no-longer active Murdoch blog on April 14th, 2010.

I have decided to post my MCC124 essay here on the blog so you may comment and critisize it. Its fairly short of the required 1500 words so I dont expect to be given a high mark for it. Before I paste it into here I would like to share a quote from the song “Evolution” by 311:

Evolution has expontential timing it’ll be
Half as long til the next breakthrough that
blows are mind
It’s up to the people to brave on with
experimentation
Move forth the species by using our
imagination

But can we handle it
Could we dismantle it
Or should we fear the void and just be
para-paranoid
If it’s understood it could be used for good
and would
If you will believe in all we can conceive

Describe the impact of piracy, p2p and/or file sharing on the digital distribution of media.

In 2007 Radiohead, a popular musical act released their seventh studio album, In Rainbows in a way not seen before from such a well known musical, act: They made their album available to download, at a cost decided by the consumer, from the bands website—as well as making a hard copy available to be purchased by fans in conventional music stores1. It was big music conceding defeat in the digital distribution war.

The distribution of media through piracy, even p2p is not a new phenomenon. Video piracy was widespread with the consumer availability of VHS recorders, software piracy plagued developers since programming shifted from hard-coded chips to the floppy disk, and music piracy was no different2. With technological advances come new methods of breaking the law, it must follow then that legislation needs to keep up-to-date with emerging technological trends.

Digital distribution of music was not a new concept for the music industry3 in 2007, the time this white surrender flag was waved. By 2007 the case of Napster was long in the past and Apple’s iTunes store was now five years old. The music listening public had made their choice and it was up to the artists and record labels to catch up—people were not going to stop downloading music, (no matter what the cost?).

Not so much that’s it was the musicians themselves, as most of them shared their voice with the people in the battle cry for digital distribution, Acts as diverse as pop music’s Moby4 and Prince; New Metal band Slipknot; and the anti-establishment political rap group Public Enemy5 had been long advocates of digital distribution; In the case of Public Enemy, this stance put them up against their own label: Def Jam6. The record label, the face of the enemy.

Recording companies were the biggest opponents of digital distribution, primarily because it was seen to undermine their position in the music industry heavyweights, the generals and brigadiers leading their elite squads of musical acts in the pursuit of money and fame. The record companies saw digital distribution as synonymous with piracy and responded with legal actions against its proponents—both those end users downloading music, but also those that put in place the infrastructure to accomplish this.

Sony was one recording company that had tried, and failed horribly to counter digital distribution in 2005 with their DRM software7. People who had brought compact disks legitimately, were the casualties, a root-kit installed on a users computer once the CD was inserted into the optical drive, making the users computer vulnerable to malicious code. It was the wrong approach, for the kids of generation Y, downloading music was seen as a rebellion against an over-zealous corporate establishment8. Punishment for rebellion would only prove counter productive.

Apple, makers of designer electronics, had taken a different tact. Unlike Sony, Apple did not see digital distribution as a threat to their existing business model. Apple may not have had the massive back catalogue of music it owned rights to, but it did have dominance over the MP3 player market, so the choice to embrace digital distribution with its iTunes store could be seen as less of a risk. By October 2007, Apple had secured rights to distribute “digital” boxed sets from 1970’s super group Led Zeppelin9, people would still download music, even if they did have to pay for it.

Legislation was seen as something that needed to be brought into line with the emerging technologies, legislation that was fair to both user, creator and publisher. After the Napster case hit US courts, a “Digital Recording Act” was proposed10. Without a legal framework corporate interests would still look at digital distribution with an eye of mistrust, they needed a guarantee of return-of-investment on their stockpile of music11.

What the success of the Apple model of distribution, over Sony’s DRM failure taught musicians was that the old paradigm of selling music was becoming obsolete, and it followed that the record companies themselves were obsolete. Artists could do away with the corporate drill, and take on their own means of getting their music to their audience. Bands had taken on this endeavor before, as militant anti-government rap group Public Enemy had done. But popular music had yet to free itself from the corporate hierarchy—that was until an internationally known pop band Radiohead released “In Rainbows”, in its first month online over a million copies were downloaded taking US$3 million, from 40% of those users choosing to pay. At an average of $6(US)12, proving digital distribution can still be lucrative for the artist.

What the significance of In Rainbows had to the digital distribution of media was not a technological one, but a larger cultural paradigm shift. Indy bands, and militant rappers had embraced the technology before, but this was confined to smaller sub-cultures. The mass adoption of digital distribution had been proven effective, and it wasn’t until In Rainbows was this acknowledged by anyone from within the corporate music mainstream. This act meant not that the battle lines had been redrawn, but that the war was finally over.


References

  1. Wikipedia, “In Rainbows” en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Rainbows
  2. Kembrew McLeod, 2005, “MP3s Are Killing Home Taping: The Rise of Internet Distribution and Its Challenge to the Major Label Music Monopoly”
  3. Sean Ebare, 2004, “Digital music and subculture: Sharing files sharing styles”
  4. Moby, “Napster” 2001 www.moby.com/journal/2001-01-29/napster.html
  5. John Borland, 2000, “Rapper Chuck-D throws his weight behind Napster” news.cnet.com/2100-1023-239917.html
  6. MTV News, 2000 “Public Enemy Leaves Def Jam, Will Distribute Next Album Online” www.mtv.com/news/articles/1427080/19990114/chuck_d.jhtml
  7. Molly Wood, 2005, Cnet News, “DRM This!” www.cnet.com/4520-6033_1-6376177-1.html
  8. Carrie James, 2009 “Young People, Ethics and Digital Media”, Page 53, MIT Press
  9. Apple Co, (Press Release) 28th October 2007, “Led Zeppelin Digital Box Set…” http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2007/10/23itunes.html
  10. Raymond Shih Ray Ku, 2001, “The Creative Destruction of Copyright: Napster and the New Economics od Digital Technology”, University of Chicago Law Review.
  11. Jeevan Jaisingh, 2004, “Piracy on file sharing networks: Stratergies for recording companies”, Hong Kong University of Science & Technology.
  12. Wired Magazine, 12.18.2007, “David Byrne and Thom Yorke on the Real Value of Music”, http://www.wired.com/entertainment/music/magazine/16-01/ff_yorke?currentPage=all#ixzz0jlXr4Ley

New Media and Democracy: Wikileaks
Date Created: September 16, 2011  Date Modified: September 22, 2011

READERS NOTE: This was originally posted on my nolonger active Murdoch blog on May 2nd, 2010

Governments around the world all have sensitive information they would like kept out of the public record, this is of no surprise to anyone (tho the nature of some of that information most likely will!). Not all information governments suppress is related to military activities, however when strategic military information is “leaked” the governments respond to minimize the impact of the leak, this process is most likely to differ from nation to nation depending on the persuasion of the current regime.

However not all military information is of strategic importance. On april 5 of this year (2010) Wikileaks, a not-for-profit website specializing in distributing leaked “intel” from both private and government sources, posted a video online that they have labled “Collateral Murder”. The video is decrypted US military footage and has been confirmed as authentic, shot from on board a US military helicopter gunship.

The victims of this event are alleged to include two Reuters employees, Photo-journalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and driver Saeed Chmagh. Reuters had been trying to obtain a copy of the incident under the United States FOI (Freedom of Information) Act without sucsess. The video was leaked to wikileaks by sources within the US military.

There are a few issues here i would like to explore:

If the video was “classified” sensitive by the department of defense, then it would automatically be exempt from any FOI application, therefore anyone implicated in leaking the video is committing treason. Forget for a moment about the human toll and the fact that the occupation of Iraq was based on non-existent WMD’s, imagine this footage as if it were any other strategic intel–Is leaking classified military data a concern for the government, the answer: Absolutely. There are government departments whos sole task it is to make sure classified data does not enter the public domain.

This brings me to my next point; Accountability and transparency in the classification of sensitive material. This video was classified as sensitive, but by whom and for what reason? if it was classified for reasons that it might have a negative impact on the public’s perception of the military (or the Iraq conflict itself) then should governments be allowed to use their means to suppress said video? I dont think it should. If it were classified for reasons it might escalate tensions in the middle east resulting in more bloodshed?, the answer is less clear. Perhaps the video was classified because it highlighted the US military s poor level of combat training, and could be viewed by hostile forces wishing to learn weaknesses in air-to-ground combat situations? Surely if this were the reason it would be justified in its classification? there must be some transparency in this decision making process.

Due Process. If the alleged crime–which traditional media would have to call it as conviction had yet been handed down, was committed does its distribution to the world have any impact on the future court proceedings resulting?. Could defendants claim to not be given a fair trial because of how it were reported in the media, ie: wikileaks?. In criminal cases in Western Australia journalists have to adhere to certain rules so to not bias any possible jury selection. If this were a civilian killing another civilian the use of the URL using the word murder would be cause for possible mistrial. This case involves military combatants, who traditionally operate within their own legal framework. Perhaps the role of the military in this situation are in an illegal occupation, and therefore there may be criminal cases lodged on the soldiers at a later date?. If this is the case, has the incident made it impossible for the defendants to seek fair trial in such a case?.

You don’t conquer empires with army’s, you conquer them with ideas

On the other side of the coin is the humanitarian point of view. The video shows the killing of unarmed civilians by military combatants, a clear human rights abuse and war crime. Dont we need to make such human rights abuses public so to achieve justice for the victims and their families? Should all war footage be made available to a public so they can scrutinize the government? Is this a democratic “checks and balances” that we must have access to information regarding human rights abuses, so we can vote out culpable governments?.

Or has this incident highlighted that the role of governments must change now that we are a global communications village, sowing us that an un-just industrial-military machine has failed yet again and that the whole idea of armys and wars and governmnets are becoming obsolete in this digital age.

UPDATE

This Dateline (SBS TV) story about Wikileaks is worth a watch–its a shame I couldnt embedd the video.

New Media and Democracy: Cleanfeed, Titstorm and the state of the Internet
Date Created: September 15, 2011  Date Modified: September 15, 2011

READERS NOTE:This was originally on my Murdoch blog but it for some reason did not import when I migrated the content over..

The way New Media has changed the political landscape is one for much debate, politicians, public servants academics, journalists and the general public each have their own roles and expectations with what they want to achieve and how technology will change the way governments are run.

On one side we have the politicians, who are embracing Web 2.0 technology–in particular social media, to get in touch with their constituents and financial backers. If we look at the 2008 US presidential election we see that Obama raised more campaign contributions than any candidate before him–and this was largley to do with how he used Web 2.0 to reach a much broader audience.

In Australia, Senator Kate Lundy has set up a Governmnet 2.0 taskforce to assess how technology can change the way governments communicate with the public.

Interest groups too are taking on social media as a way of lobbying support for their cause, Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) have not only a Facebook presence, they also have a wiki where members of the public can contribute ideas on issues that the lobby group is focused upon: Internet Censorship, 18+ Games Legislation, etc.

Other groups–for example Anonymous, use various forms of new media to reach their target audience. Altho Anonymous’ actions differ greatly to that of EFA, even if there end goals are largely the same. Early this year members of Anonymous sent a clear message to the Australian Federal government, and began what they call “Operation Titstorm”, which involved Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks on government websites. Below is a short video that many of you may have already seen, its a warning message from Anonymous to the Federal Government.

One of the main targets in this attack is Senator Stephen Conroy, the minister for the Internet and Digital Economy. Below we have an interview of Conroy from the ABC television show Hungry Beast.

Anonymous’ actions, the DDoS attacks on government websites have be criticized by EFA as being counterproductive. The EFA, being a legitimate lobby-group, fear that the actions of Anonymous will alienate the general public from their cause. This could be for many reasons, one being how Anonymous is portrayed in the mainstream media–as a ill-formed group of sexual deviants, as this clip from the ABC show QandA:

The above clip also demonstrates a clear lack of knowledge about new-media by both politicians and members of the old media. If governments are to effectively deal with issues arising from new-media, a far better understanding of how new media (and user created content) work. The discussion in is dominated by the issue of child pornography, which is NOT what Operation Titstorm–AND the proposed internet cleanfeed are about. Having debate hijacked by the issue of child-abuse means the real issue of politicaly imposed censorship is being pushed to the side.

Its not just EFA and Anonymous groups of alleged “hackers” that are weighing into this debate, Journalist sans Frontiers (Anglais: Reporters without Borders) have been critical of the federal governments plans since they were first proposed–now there opposition is gaining momentum, with the ABC reporting that Australia has been placed on an “Enemy of the Internet” watchlist. Having JSF behind the anit-cleanfeed movment gives more validity, as they are a legitimate lobby group that wont resort to militant counter-productive tactics as well as exposing the issue to the world’s journalists and media-content creators. Internet giants Google and Yahoo have also recently voiced their opposition to the proposed filter, and this is in the wake of Google’s decision to pull out from China due to censorship issues.

The Australian model for a great firewall or cleanfeed has been proposed in other jurisdictions, with the EU looking at enacting similar measures–and coming against opposition from abuse survivors.

The more that the issue of cleanfeed gets discussed in an inteligent manner in the mainstream media, the less likely the government are to enact such draconian legislation against the publics will.

FBgone
Date Created: September 14, 2011  Date Modified: May 6, 2012

after all the love, hate, drama and chaos facebook brought to my life I decided that the social network was nolonger for me. Im still on linkedin, and google+, but facebook is nolonger active..

However I did decide to create a page on Facebook for myself, so if people search for me they can still find me (and Like me)–they just cant Friend me.

UPDATE: I received many calls from friends re: deleting my Facebook of the “why did you defriend me” type, if you’re considering ditching facebook–let your friends know in advance or it might cause some unwanted confusion.

Hacked WP? for some reason this was saved as a draft?
Date Created: September 10, 2011  Date Modified: September 10, 2011

“Πάλιν τὸ παραπέτασμα τῆς εἰς τὰ ἅγια τῶν ἁγίων παρόδου, κίονες τέτταρες αὐτόθι, ἁγίας μήνυμα τετράδος διαθηκῶν παλαιῶν, ἀτὰρ καὶ τὸ τετράγραμμον ὄνομα τὸ μυστικόν, ὃ περιέκειντο οἷς μόνοις τὸ ἄδυτον βάσιμον ἦν*λέγεται δὲ Ἰαουε, ὃ μεθερμηνεύεται ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἐσόμενος. Καὶ μὴν καὶ καθʼ Ἕλληνας θεὸς τὸ ὄνομα τετράδα περιέχει γραμμάτων.”

google translate tells me the above reads:

“Again the veil of the Holy of Holies Lane, columns tettares ibid, holy message quartet wills old, ATAPI and tetragrammon name secret, the periekeinto ois monois sanctuary merits not * said he Iaoue the translates is and is esomenos . And do not and during the Greek god name contains four letters. “

I didnt notice the draft prior to migrating to the new domain, but it could have been imorted from the blogger accounts I merged into here… I dont have time nor inclination to investigate. Surviving a new city is my prority

This rant was posted in CMS, Hacks, Wordpress on by .

HTML Kit
Date Created: September 9, 2011  Date Modified: September 21, 2012

I have been using this HTML text editor since 2001, in the early days I used it alongside Dreamweaver, but now I use it as my primary editor. I have put so many prople onto this product, from enthusiasts to profesionals, to accademics. Try it out, it will be a welcome addition to your arsenal.

UCMPOS: the worst band ever!
Date Created: September 9, 2011  Date Modified: September 22, 2011

I managed to catch up with my cousin the other day and spoke with him about the progress of his band and how things are going….

not so great is the jist, they havnt even gigged since they have been over–but they are on unearthed, so heres linky:

UCMPOS

http://www.triplejunearthed.com/Artists/View.aspx?artistid=19453

UPDATE: The “Muppets” and “Bad Taste” tags are a joke–this is my cousins band and they dont suck that much

This rant was posted in Bad Taste, Music, UCMPOS on by .

Leaving Freo — Entering Melbourne
Date Created: September 6, 2011  Date Modified: September 6, 2011

So I bit the bullet and headed east to seek fame and fortune. I didnt get much chance to check out the town today, had to catch up on sleep from the red-eye over here. But so far everything seems cool–this city kinda reminds me of a cross between Paris and London.. tho I havnt been here for 24 hours yet.

The real shock however is economics; example, the cab I caught from the airport to the hotel would have cost in Perth around $50-60 AUD, the cab I took cost me less than $10. But thats just the tip of the iceberg–I went past a BMW dealership; everything is so cheep here!. and with everything being so cheap one would assume salarys to be much lower. Happily did I discover that is not the case, I checked seek and one of the University’s here is offering a position identical to the one I just left at UNDA–and their offering significantly more than I would get on the west coast.

I should have moved here years ago..

This rant was posted in Work on by .