Reading blogs #13

By | February 21, 2009

So, this week we had some Facebook in the news, mobile banking as another aspect of the “digital divide”, new website from Obama administration and a number of other interesting things. Hope you will find this interesting and will also share your thoughts.

  • Recent news related
  • Interesting reports, numbers, and visualizations
  • Interesting thoughts, ideas, opinions, and discussions
  • Digital Divide
  • MICT regulation
  • MICT business
  • “New” media
  • MICT in politics
  • Simply Interesting, Fun, and Coll Stuff
  • Please read on and share your thoughts!

    Recent news related

    When i first took note of the Facebook changing their terms of service, I posted it under “New Media”.  However, during the week, the item became widely debated around the web and new developments took place.  So, I decided to move it to the “news” section.

    I first read that it looks like you “belong” to Facebook even if you choose to abandon them on Michael Zimmer’s blog – “Facebook’s New Content License Extends Beyond Closure of Account” (also here).  Tech.Blorge posted a similar sentiment – “Facebook owns you… forever“.  VentureBeat, on the other hand were less alarmed – “Is Facebook really using its new terms of service to own your data?“.

    Reacting to the buzz, Facebookresponded – “Zuckerberg on Privacy: This is Just the Beginning” (you can also read the original – “On Facebook, People Own and Control Their Information” – from Mark Zuckerberg).  However, later in the week it decided to step back and withdraw the proposed changes – “Facebook Recants (Again)” – “Facebook faced down: new TOS tossed” – “Facebook U-turn on privacy changes” – “Recapping the Three-Day Facebook Firestorm“.  In Mark Zuckerberg’s post on Facebook, he announces a new group on the website that is dedicated to drafting “Facebook Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” – “Update on terms“.  Later on, I saw on one of the blogs – “Facebook to Users: We Are Sorry, Please Don’t Delete Your Account

    Somehow I fell this is not the last time we hear about Facebook, privacy, and experiments in governance online.

    What do you think about this story?

    Interesting reports, numbers, and visualizations

    “The Global Agenda 2009” (PDF via MIT Center for Future Civic Media) – A 325 page report summing up the World Economic Forum in Davos.  I find it particularly interesting, as similar to the discussions I intend to study, these outcomes have no binding implications, but they are important factors in defining how we talk about issues and what those issues are.  I have not read the entire document, but found comments from Florence Gallez of MIT interesting as well as the portion about the Internet.  For example, if you wondered why Internet Governance debates would be an important question for stufy, here is how Davos participants viewed it:

    Davos technology outlook

    Comparing Search Data Retention Policies of Major Search Engines” – Michael Zimmer reproduces a comparison chart from MS and Siva Vaidhyanathan is posting – “A slice of the introduction draft” – for his book about Google.

    Guide to Online Advocacy” – I think the title says it all; according to the post, this guide covers four areas: “informing and communicating; documenting and visualising; mobilising and coordinating; and bypassing and accessing”.  Could be great to know if anyone found it useful.

    Keep it official” (via LIRNEasia) – The Economist is taking a critical stand on a pending law in Kazakhstan, that is aimed to limit the freedom of online expression; this is despite the fact that the Prime Minister himself, happens to be a blogger (and his blog is bi-lingual in Kazakh and in Russian – it turns out the Russian is the second official language in the country, something I did not know).

    Some regional information:

    • Caribbean – Review of the telecom market
    • France – Mobile subscribers
    • Iceland – Review of the telecom industry
    • India – GSM subscribers
    • Japan – Review of the telecom sector
    • Morocco – Telecom industry stats
    • Spain – Mobile subscribers
    • UK – Text messaging
    • USA – Review of the telecom market

    For those who still wonder what this whole financial crisis is about, here is a rather well done visual explanation (via Digital Inspiration):


    Interesting thoughts, ideas, opinions, and discussions

    There was a seminar in Washington DC this week that I wish I could attend.  It was organized by the Columbia Institute for Tele-Information and now I understand also by Georgetown University.  The seminar focused on the portion of the stimulus plan dedicated to the broadband and its potential to contribute to economy rehabilitation.  Unfortunately, I don’t have much account of the event. There is this article which states that the primary focus was on the contribution of all this spending to job creation (here is the paper it is referring to). The App-Rising blog discussed the need for national broadband strategy and expressed general enthusiasm about investment in the broadband, while pointing at some still unanswered questions about the implementation of the stimulus.  Hope there will be more material soon, particularly the papers that were discussed there or maybe even transcripts of the sessions or even their video footage.

    The alternative energy discussion keeps on coming on my radar and some of the ideas seem interesting.  This week I read about deep water wind turbines and even a combination of utilizing wave power with the offshore turbines.  I agree with author of the second post that the next step seems to add solar to these constructions.

    The Computer as a Road Map to Unknowable Territory” (via Thoughts about k4d) – A Washington post article about computer simulations of social phenomena.  I find it pretty intriguing, regardless of the obvious limitations.

    John Markoff of NY Times is concerned with security of the web and is raising a question – “Do We Need a New Internet?” Andrew LaVAlle of WSJ Bits is following with – “Do You Want a New Internet?” – And what do you think?

    Tough times require different approach to innovation” (via CommunicationsDirect) – A call to rethink ways to innovate in the technology-driven industry in times of economic recession.

    Digital Divide

    Was the Sugar User Interface a Mistake?” – Actually I would like to leave it as a question and ask those who have used the system: what do you think?

    I.B.M. Delivers Rural Broadband Over Power Lines” – I’ve been hearing about similar technologies for many years now, but this is the closest I see it coming to actual deployment.

    German Government Introduces National Broadband Strategy, Pledges to Auction Digital Dividend” – They want to have 100% of the households connected by 2010 and 75% of the households have 50 MBpS by 2014.

    Bill Gates helping to bring mobile banking to the poor” – In fact, the idea is to bring banking to “the 1.7 billion people globally that have a mobile phone, but no bank account” (more here); perhaps this is another face of the digital divide.

    It was probably not random that I also saw this piece of news – “Telcel partners with Banamex to launch SMS-Mobile Banking (Mexico)” – and this commentary – “E-mail, Mobile Phones– and Microfinance?” – it looks like the mobile banking emerged as a hot topic last week.

    MICT regulation

    Field Guide to the ICANN Reforms (Part 2)” – Milton Mueller continues explaining the politics of ICANN on the Internet Governance Project blog.

    Changes on the way for US telco environment” – Another analysis of the broadband stimulus in the US and its potential repercussions.

    MICT business

    This week passed under a sign of positive news about the venture capital market.  For example, Bits have published that in 2008 – “Venture Investment Climbs in India, China and Israel” – and VentureBeat reported that another initiative that aims at doing well while doing good managed to raise some money – “World of Good raises $1.1M for socially conscious shopping“.

    Is the mobile phone industry really turning itself green?” – Review of some green-oriented innovations in the mobile industry.

    “New” media

    Medpedia: A Collaborative Encyclopedia for Health Care” – I think we are facing a new trend of wiki-based encyclopedias that are more focused and are concerned with professional credentials of the contributes.

    MICT and politics – Another communication innovation from Obama team. This time it is aimed at increasing transparency regarding spending of the stimulus package (which also includes limiting employment of H-1B visa holders).  In the meantime, there is not much information on the website, but it is naturally generating some buzz – “Visit to learn how the government spends $787B” – “Obama Launches – Your $787 billion at Work“.  At the same time it is also attracting criticism – “Can Obama’s Online Hotline Deliver?” – which is new to the coverage of Obama’s “new media” initiatives.

    If you are interested to hear more about the online strategies of Obama’s campaign, you may want to read this interview with Thomas Gensemer – the man who is credited with its success.

    Simply Interesting, Fun, and Coll Stuff

    Top 10 best open source games” – Although I used to enjoy computer games, I was never fanatic about it.  This is probably why I found this list and the concept itself as rather interesting and amusing.  I should try some of those… After the A-exams of course 🙂

    Single Google Query uses 1000 Machines in 0.2 seconds” – A short post and a video about how Google works.  And if we are on Google – “Google Earth finds Atlantis off coast of Africa” – which may be cool, but I wonder though, why it happened only now if it was that easy?  After all, these images are not new to the world.

    Download, install and drive – the future of automotive software” – An aspect of the automobile industry that I usually don’t think about.

    The Universe in ’09” (via FlowingData) – SEED Magazine’s mosaic of interesting and provoking ideas.

    The Trilogy Meter” (via FlowingData) – Levels of enjoyment from some famous trilogies – just for fun!

    A really cool video about how amazing the nature is – a group of scientists capture the structure of an ant colony (thank you, Julia!):


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