Posted by: John Savageau in china, censorship on
Jun 30, 2009
Possibly due to international pressure, possibly due to the fact it probably simply wouldn't work, China has made a decision to delay the deadline for companies to install the controversial "Green Dam" software in all new computers sold in the country. The software package, formally called "Green Dam Youth Escort," was promoted by the Chinese government as a utility to protect Chinese citizens from being exposed to pornography.
However, once the package was released to manufacturers and testing organizations it quickly became apparent the software had other features, including filtering words and topics deemed too sensitive for Internet users. Those topics include phrases like "Falun Gong," and "7/4 (a reference to the Tianamen Square Massacre)." If a user typed sensitive phrases into a browser search window, Green Dam would immediately close the browser window denying the user access to both the browser and content.
Other content being requested resulted in POP UP screens announcing the content is "harmful" to web viewers.
Internet censorship is control or suppression of the publishing or accessing of information on the Internet. (Wikipedia)
Attempts to censor Internet content have been around for years. In the good old days of the US Internet we had a lot of innovative censorship ideas including the Communications Decency Act of 1996 and the "clipper chip." In recent years we've added additional utilities demanded by the Children's Internet Protection Act and Online Predators Act.
It is not only the United States. Many countries around the world restrict Internet access for a variety of reasons, both political and to prevent access to "indecent" materials.
Riding home on a train from New York City to Long Beach (NY) gives a creative mind a lot of time to think through a variety of topics, and form a variety of opinions on those topics. In the current wired world, there are many different methods of bringing those thoughts to both friends and others via tools available via the Internet.
"I find time (to write) in airplanes, taxis, and while riding the train. I will write myself articles on the Blackberry, email to myself, and publish (to a blog) when I get home" Hunter Newby
Blogs are becoming a very popular way of bringing your story to both your friends and the rest of the connected world. Friends who read your blogs (or email), tend to have fairly high confidence that what you write is based on some level of fact. Or they simply enjoy reading your accounts of events happening in your part of the world.
Structure 08 was only a year ago, but it seems like an entire generation of discussion has passed in those short 12 months. Prior to Structure 08, Cloud Computing was not an industry household word. Now it is not only a word, but a concept that is gaining recognition and debate faster than any other comparable technology or service.
Structure 09's Theme was "Put Cloud Computing to Work." Most of the keynote speakers and panelists set aside their marketing hats, and sunk their energy into reviewing the prior year's advances in cloud technology, as well as looking into a future that recognizes the challenges and great opportunities of cloud computing.
"Last year cloud was something we talked about, now it is a strategy." Om Malik, Founder, the GigaOM Network
Posted by: John Savageau in metro on
Jun 22, 2009
My preferred route from downtown Long Beach to downtown Los Angeles is the LA Metro Rail Blue Line. I pay $1.25 for a one-way trip, $5 for a day pass, and an additional investment point-to-point of around 45 minutes. That actually returns an ROI of +25 minutes during the evening, as the commute via rail is nearly half the time as driving on the 710 or 110 freeways.
Most of the Blue Line riders are blue collar workers, with a few professionals - such as myself - peppering the platforms in the Long Beach area. The Blue Line route takes you through some of the more famous (or notorious) sections of Los Angeles, including Artesia, Compton, Watts, and So. Central LA.
In 5 years riding the Blue Line I have never seen an incident of misconduct, other than the occasional over-zealous sheriff deputy asserting himself as a combat-ready ticket checker, ensuring no miscreant traveler has dared climb the train platform without having paid their fare.
Posted by: John Savageau in citizen journalism on
Jun 20, 2009
The current events in Iran have clearly shown us citizen journalism may bring us news and snapshots of activities denied to traditional reporters. The CNN "iReport" shows events on the streets of Tehran denied to the professional cameras and interpretation of CNN's seasoned staff. However, to bring us those iReports, citizen journalists take on risks normally avoided by citizens. It that risk too high? The dangers too great?
On June 20th a citizen journalist submitted a video showing the brutal death ("Youtube Please don't delete. This is happening in streets of my country World should know.") of a young Iranian woman protester on streets of Tehran. The motivation for taking the video was to ensure the rest of the world would be exposed to the horrific cost of the demonstrations in the streets, and the struggle would not be suppressed or forgotten. The individual taking the video clearly put himself in great danger, making a decision the cost of recording this event was too import to be lost to history.
Fox News recently teamed with MySpace to encourage citizen journalists to submit their stories via the "uReport" upload utility. The Weather Channel asks viewers to submit their videos of hurricanes and tornados, and local stations such as CBS 4 in Denver which made national news when a 6 year old girl uploaded images and video of a tornado cloud forming with a cheap child's toy camera.
Citizen journalism (also known as "public", "participatory", "democratic" or "street journalism") is the concept of members of the public "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information." Wikipedia
On Wednesday, CNN frequently showed amateur videos, with a graphic that labeled them "unverified material." It showed a YouTube video of the aftermath of an apparent raid at Tehran University. The video showed rooms that appeared to have been burned extensively. New York Times
Citizen Journalism took on a very clear role this week as the Iranian government continued to deport journalists admitted with temporary visas (to cover the Iranian elections). As western journalists were told reporting on the demonstrations and protests against perceived election fraud was illegal ("We warn those who propagate riots and spread rumors that our legal action against them will cost them dearly," a statement from the military force said), the burden of reporting fell on the shoulders of Iranian citizens participating in the demonstrations.
"If you put out a product, and nobody wants to pay for it, you don't have a product." David Simon
A debate is heating up on the topic of unpaid, or "Citizen Journalists." This issue is whether or not citizen journalists are qualified to represent news to the public, and if the news they distribute has any inherent value.
Traditional newspapers such as the Seattle Post-Intelligencer and the Christian Science Monitor have gone to online-only editions. Most existing print newspapers also have online editions, and those online editions are gradually opening up to include blogs, including non-paid blogs opened to citizen journalists with little or no experience and formal training in journalism.
Can an enthusiast blogger generate the level of experience and credibility of a card-carrying journalist?
In part 2 of our series on journalism, newspapers, and the new media, we look at a comparison of bloggers and professional journalists. The question, recently voiced with strong emotion by David Simon (film producer and former reporter for the Baltimore Sun), asks whether or not bloggers can adequately research and write on topics traditionally reported on by professional journalists.
In a powerful speech given to the National Press Corps in Washington DC, Simon expressed concern that the art of reporting, performed by professional journalists, is being lost. This is partly the result of local newspapers being shut down, or with local news being replaced by wire service content.
The Boston Globe, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Tribune Company (owner of LA Times and KTLA) are all recent examples of traditional media on the brink of closure.
Circulation is down more than 30% at the Boston Globe since 2000, which is only representative of a trend hitting the print media market - people avoid buying newspapers if the news they need is online.
The online world of journalism and blogging is generally free, forcing media companies to deal with two sticky issues: