Damian Radcliffe

Archive for February, 2011|Monthly archive page

links for 2011-02-20

In Daily Links on February 21, 2011 at 1:01 am

links for 2011-02-19

In Daily Links on February 20, 2011 at 1:01 am

links for 2011-02-18

In Daily Links on February 19, 2011 at 1:02 am

links for 2011-02-10

In Daily Links on February 11, 2011 at 1:03 am

Top Internet, Technology and Social Media Stories, Facts and Links: mid-Dec 2010 to mid-Jan 2011

In Monthly round up: Top Internet, Technology and Social Media Stories, Facts and Links on February 11, 2011 at 12:22 am

Summary of the key stuff I bookmarked in the last month and that I thought worth sharing.

Social Media

Best of 2010: Social Media Stats & Year in Review | Social Media Today

Piracy

A new study has found a “staggering” amount of people are accessing piracy websites. Anti-fraud firm MarkMonitor said there were more than 53bn visits a year to the 43 file-sharing sites it studied.

Audio

The BBC is launching a higher quality audio stream for online radio, initially for live events but ultimately to be incorporated into iPlayer and Radioplayer. BBC Audio & Music director Tim Davie said: “HD Sound is an exciting development and a signal of our commitment to innovate in digital radio for the benefit of our listeners.”

UK Radioplayer, will be made available on joint venture YouView and other internet-connected TV platforms.

Facebook

Facebook tops Google as most visited site in U.S. – Facebook surpassed Google for the first time as the most visited website in the United States for most of 2010.

In a speech to the British Venture Capital Association, Facebook’s Europe VP and managing director Joanna Shields said she believes “the most important word on the internet today isn’t ‘search’, but ‘share’”, insisting the rise of social features represents a massive commercial opportunity for most businesses.

Facebook is temporarily disabling a newly launched feature which would have granted app developers access to some users’ home addresses and telephone numbers, saying it was making amendments following customer feedback.

The Wall Street Journal reported Facebook is breaching privacy rules as many applications are sharing personally identifiable information about their users with advertising and internet tracking companies. The report said the problem is allowing at least 25 ad and data firms to access users’ names and, in some cases, names of their friends, and the top 10 applications, including Zynga’s Farmville game, are transmitting user IDs to third parties. Facebook said it was taking steps to “dramatically limit” the exposure of personal information, adding the company would introduce new technology to eliminate this issue.

Google

Google announced a reshuffle of its top management that will see Eric Schmidt hand over the title of chief executive to co-founder Larry Page in April. The leaders said the changes were prompted by challenges brought by Google’s continuing growth. Brin said: “Every time we double in headcount the whole company changes a lot.”

Google posted a fourth-quarter net profit of $2.54bn, up 29% on a year earlier, on revenue 26% higher at $8.44bn.

Only 1% of Google searches get past page one of results.  Ref: Dumbest Generation by Mark Bauerlein

Google has increased its dominance of the US search engine market, growing its share to 66.6%, according to data from ComScore. The figures for December also show that Microsoft increased its share to 12%, though Yahoo! saw its share fall slightly to 16%.

The number of apps available at Google’s Android Market has increased six-fold in a year to almost 130,000. The research by Distimo also showed that the Apple App Store for iPhone doubled its total number of applications during 2010 to almost 300,000.

Apple

The New York Post reported Apple expected to ship about 12m iPad tablets by the end of 2010, and another 20m in 2011

Apple posted first-quarter net profits up 78% on a year ago to $6bn, on sales up 71% to a record $26.7bn.

Other Companies

Swiss-based Paper.li has raised $2.1m in a funding round which will allow it to set up operations in the US and Asia. Paper.li lets users transform social media news streams from Twitter and Facebook into personalised online newspapers.

Amazon is to take full control of movie streaming service Lovefilm, in which it already has a 42% stake. Terms were not disclosed, but the FT said the price was close to £200m.

Groupon has completed a $950m financing deal with investments from a number of firms, including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Greylock Partners and Andreessen Horowitz. The company now has 50m subscribers.

Mobile

Android Market growth rate outstrips Apple App Store

Pandora CEO Tim Westergren credited the rise of smartphones with transforming the US radio streaming group, which was close to bankruptcy four years ago, into an “anytime, anywhere service without us doing anything”. Registered users at the site have grown from 40m to 75m over the past 12 months.

50% of UK children aged 5-9 and 75% of 7-15 year olds now  own a mobile phone.   Ref: Manchester University Social Attitudes Study (UK)

Only 3 out of 220 US students were able to turn off their cell phones for 72 hours.  Ref: Fox News (US)

Both from: http://brainmail.nowandnext.com/brainmail_issue68.txt

Research by video traffic management firm Bytemobile revealed just 10% of mobile users account for 90% of all networks’ data traffic, and suggested that by 2011 60% of all traffic will be video.

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo has revealed the number of posts made via mobile phones has risen 25% in a year, with two out of every five Tweets now made through handsets.

New research suggested a growing trend among consumers to use their mobiles to shop, with almost a third having used their phone to access a retailer’s website.

Games and Gaming

Microsoft Ships 8 Million Kinect Devices, to Add Hulu

Nintendo said it expects to ship around 1.5m units of its 3DS console in Japan after its launch at the end of January. Hailing the new 3D-capable handheld game player, president Satoru Iwata told the Nikkei business daily: “It’s important that we ensure a continuous supply.” The 3DS is scheduled for a European and US launch in March, with the Japanese company targeting 4m worldwide sales before the beginning of April.
Predictions for 2011

Just some of the many of the navel crystal ball gazing articles produced around Christmas time…

10 Predictions for the News Media in 2011 – in 2011, the focus on mobile will continue to grow with the launch of mobile- and iPad-only news products, but the greater focus for news media in 2011 will be on re-imagining its approach to the open social web. The focus will shift from searchable news to social and share-able news, as social media referrals close the gap on search traffic for more news organizations. In the coming year, news media’s focus will be affected by the personalization of news consumption and social media’s influence on journalism.

Social Business Predictions 2011 – Being Peter Kim

2011 Social Media Prediction Roundup: Common Themes for the New Year – Shoutlet

Eleven Digital Trends to Watch in 2011 – Edelman presentation

Edelman Technology–our predictions for 2011 « The Naked Pheasant

5 Predictions for 2011 From IDC

Charlie’s Angles: How did I do with my tech predictions for 2010? | Technology | guardian.co.uk

The Cool Commentator 2011 Trend Predictions! | THE COOL COMMENTATOR

Tomorrow’s world – 2011 predictions | The Filter: Team Blog

95+ Predictions for the Web in 2011 – from Mashable

Top 5 technology predictions for 2011 – Telegraph

Analyst technology predictions 2011 « The IIAR Blog

BBC – dot.Rory: Tech in 2011: Who knows what’s next?

30 Social Media Predictions From 30 Social Media Pros … – Social Media Examiner

10 Ways Social Media Will Change in 2011 – ReadWriteWeb

Top Ten Trends for 2011 from Moxie – with excellent downloadable PDF

2011 Staff Predictions – more from ReadWriteWeb

Gartner Predicts 2011 – business angle

11 Digital Predictions for 2011, Contagious Magazine

Seven Technologies That Will Rock 2011 – TechCrunch

10 Websites to Watch in 2011 – Mashable

Summary of Trends for 2011+ – Futurist, Richard Watson

Deloitte predicts that in 2011 social networks are likely to surpass the breathtaking milestone of one billion unique members. Also, they may deliver over 2 trillion advertisements.

Giving its top predictions for 2011 in its annual ‘Year in Review Briefing’, search marketing specialist and technology firm Greenlight said it expects Google and Bing to offer app search before the end of the year

links for 2011-02-09

In Daily Links on February 10, 2011 at 1:02 am

Stories and issues relating to older and disabled people which have caught my eye in the last month

In Monthly round up: Older People and Disability issues on February 9, 2011 at 7:09 pm

1.         20% of people in the UK today to become Centurions (or at least live to 100)

Nearly a fifth of people living in the UK today are expected to celebrate their 100th birthday, according to government projections released recently. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) said its figures suggested 10 million people – 17% of the population – would become centenarians.

These are based on Office for National Statistics population projections and life expectancy estimates.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said the “staggering” figures brought home the need for pension reforms. “Many millions of us will be spending around a third of our lives or more in retirement in the future,” he said, adding the government was determined to reform the pensions system to make it “sustainable for the long-term”.

The DWP estimates there will be at least 507,000 people aged 100 or over by 2066, including 7,700 people aged 110 or over, so-called super centenarians.

Currently 11,800 people in the UK are aged 100 or over and fewer than 100 are over 110.

The government figures suggest that of the more than 10m who will go on to reach 100, 3m are currently aged under 16, 5.5m are aged between 16 and 50, and 1.3m are aged between 51 and 65. About 875,000 are already aged over 65.

See some charts showing this here: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/newsroom/press-releases/2010/dec-2010/dwp186-10-301210.shtml

 

2.         End of the default retirement age

The Government has indicated an end to the default retirement age (DRA), following the consultation launched by the Coalition last July.

Ministers have decided to proceed with their plan to phase out the DRA between 6 April and 1 October this year to both reflect the changing UK demographic and enable more choice for workers as to when they want to retire.

As well as benefiting individuals – the Government argues – the freedom to work for longer will provide a boost to the UK economy in the face of an ageing population.

 

3.         Older People on Television

Not surprisingly, lots of coverage in the past month about the successful ageism case former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly brought against the BBC.

Former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’Reilly, who won a landmark age discrimination case against the BBC, told the Sunday Telegraph she felt she had been “erased” from the Corporation. She said: “I found out through a press release that it was only the women who were going. It was like I’d never worked on the programme. I felt very hurt by it. I was very sad. I knew Jay Hunt [former BBC One controller] wanted to refresh the programme but I became angry when I realised it was only the women who were being ‘refreshed’.” She added: “I hope other women will take a similar stand. I think the BBC should be very worried.”

A recent edition of the Guardian’s weekly Media Talk podcast has a good summary of the case and its implications, you can listen to it online at: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/audio/2011/jan/13/media-talk-podcast-countryfile-miriam-oreilly-arizona-shootings

Meanwhile, a number of other broadcasters commented on the case, see:

 

Whilst the Daily Mail has an extended interview with Miriam: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1347627/Countryfiles-Miriam-OReilly-says-theres-offensive-wrinkles.html   

Writing in The Times, Patrick Foster, notes that one study found last year that only 20 per cent of presenters and actors on BBC One were over 50, compared with 34 per cent of the population.

Most recently, the Guardian ran a feature entitled: “Who are you calling past it?” which features interviews with Joan Bakewell (77), Jennie Bond (60), and others on their experiences as women working in the media: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/feb/05/older-women-tv-radio-miriam-oreilly

Whilst The Sunday Times reported the BBC’s ratings-winning consumer show Rip Off Britain has given presenters Gloria Hunniford, Angela Rippon and Jennie Bond the chance to ‘defy the Corporation’s obsession with youth’ amid recent controversy surrounding the employment of older women. All of the presenters are in their sixties and seventies.

Rippon commented: “It shows that you should never underestimate your audience. They really do not care about the age or sex of the presenters. They just care about what they like. The public is more discerning than television executives over who they want to watch.”

 

4.         BBC Director-General to chair Cultural Diversity Network

Mark Thompson, the BBC Director-General becomes Chair of the Cultural Diversity Network (CDN) for a period of two years. He takes over from Channel 4’s Chief Executive David Abraham.  As Chair, Mark Thompson will lead an association of Britain’s leading broadcasters and independent production companies to improve diversity in the television industry – both on screen and behind the camera.

The CDN is an association of Britain’s leading broadcasters and independent production companies, originally formed in 2000, to improve the representation of ethnic minorities in television both on screen and behind the camera. It focuses on working with its member broadcasters on sharing expertise, resources and models of good practice.

As members of the CDN, programme makers and commissioners are encouraged to think about ethnic minority representation, disability, sexual orientation, age, gender and social background when casting or recruiting.

Diversity Pledge

The CDN introduced a Diversity Pledge in 2009 – a public commitment by independent production companies, in-house producers and their suppliers to take measurable steps to improve diversity in the television industry.

The pledge is split into four sections covering different aspects of diversity with practical suggestions on how to improve representation. The approach is flexible – it’s up to individual companies to set their own agenda.

The four aspects are:

1. Recruiting fairly and from as wide a base as possible and encouraging industry entrants and production staff from diverse backgrounds.
2. Encouraging diversity in output.
3. Encouraging diversity at senior decision-making levels.
4. Taking part in, or running, events that promote diversity.

 

5.         Digital Inclusion

“We don’t have a computer. Are we missing out?”

This was the question posed by two older Guardian readers recently. The responses from the public don’t say anything you probably don’t already know, but it ‘s good to hear readers outline the arguments for – and against – rather than simply people who work in this field.

Read the comments here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/blog/2011/jan/28/do-we-need-a-computer

 

6.         ‘Life Opportunities Survey’

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has published interim results from the ‘Life Opportunities Survey’ (LOS), the first major longitudinal survey in Great Britain to apply the social model and explore disability in terms of social barriers to participation, rather than in terms of impairments or health conditions.

The LOS compares the experiences of people with and without impairments across a range of different areas. Barriers identified include ‘discrimination; the attitudes of other people; inaccessible buildings, public transport and information; as well as lack of support, equipment and adjustments’.

Key findings from the survey include:

  • 29% of adults had an impairment
  • 26% of adults were disabled as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
  • 56% of adults with impairments experienced restrictions in the type or amount of paid work they did, compared with 26% adults without impairments (equipment was identified by disabled people as an enabler in employment)
  • 74% of adults with impairments experienced restrictions in using transport, compared with 58% without impairments
  • 12% of adults with impairments experienced a participation restriction in housing (accessing rooms within their home or getting in or out of their home), compared with 1% without impairments, with common barriers in both cases including ‘stairs, lack of ramps/stair lift’
  • 29% of adults with impairments experienced a participation restriction to accessing buildings outside their home, compared with 7% without impairments

 

The survey was commissioned by the Office for Disability Issues (ODI) alongside two qualitative research reports. The research and factsheets summarising the findings are here.

 

7.         Disability Hate Crime

Almost half of all disabled people are affected by disability hate crime. However, only 1,200 cases were prosecuted in the three years to March 2010. To counter this, Radar, the Royal Association for Disability Rights, is working to improve the reporting and recording of disability hate crime by:

– mapping disability hate crime third party reporting sites that already exist or are being set up

– exploring disabled people’s experiences of reporting disability hate crime.

Get involved now by visiting the Radar or ODI website: http://www.odi.gov.uk/about-the-odi/odi-news.php#radar

 

8.         Wayfinding Technology

The installation of digital ‘wayfinding’ technologies to help blind people find their way around railways stations and other public spaces might not be cost-effective for five years or more, according to Dr John Gill, a consultant and former RNIB chief scientist.

His comments follow the publication of a report on “Evaluating wayfinding systems for blind and partially sighted customers at stations” has been published by the Rail Safety and Standards Board and is at http://www.rssb.co.uk/sitecollectiondocuments/pdf/reports/research/T881_rpt_final.pdf  with the  appendices at http://www.rssb.co.uk/sitecollectiondocuments/pdf/reports/research/T881_apps_final.pdf

The research found that there are a significant number of existing or potential rail passengers who are blind or visually impaired. Improvements to the network are being undertaken by several parties within the GB rail industry to provide benefits to passengers with a range of specific needs, building on the considerable investment in recent years in systems such as real time audio and visual information and provision or improvement of step free access to stations.

This work has included a pilot deployment of the RNIB React system in Scotland, RNIB ‘React’ is a talking sign system whereby audio messages are triggered by users carrying a special trigger fob when they approach. Whilst demonstrating some benefits of the React system, there were problems with planning, implementing and maintaining the React system cost-effectively: current estimated costs for implementing such a system across the entire UK rail network are between £250 million and £500 million.

Given this size of cost, “only those systems which provide some benefits to the wider rail-travelling community (as opposed to only the visually-impaired) look likely to be even worth considering”, the report says. In the meantime, the provision of extra staff to assist people with disabilities might be more cost-effective, as such staff would also be able to undertake other tasks, it says.

Dr Gill, who contributed to the report on the potential benefits of future technologies in this field such as radio frequency tags (RFID), smartcards and satellite location systems, said in time cheaper technologies could be developed combining positioning systems with live train information accessed over the web.

These alternative technologies include:

  • Infra-red
  • Radio Frequency Identification (RFID)
  • Bar codes
  • Wireless (including Bluetooth and React)

 

“The problems with implementing systems like React were not just related to technology but maintenance”, he said.  “You need systems to see if it is working reliably. If there is a talking sign on the end of a platform saying don’t walk any further, and it’s not working, is actually creating a safety hazard. Any system has got to work 99.9% of time, so you can rely on it.”

The decision on when to make investments in wayfinding technologies is ultimately a political one, Dr Gill said. “It’s a matter of who is going to pay, and who else is going to benefit.

The rate of change of technology and economics is so fast that one hesitates to predict exactly when it will work out.”

Quotes from: http://www.headstar.com/eablive/?p=530

 

9.         Europe

A proposal for a ‘European Accessibility Act’, which will include accessibility measures on ICT and websites, will be put forward during 2012. The act, part of actions following on from a wider European Disability Strategy ( http://bit.ly/fDCRlP ) unveiled last year, will be based on an upcoming commission study of accessibility barriers for disabled citizens across Europe. The study will cover access to public services, public buildings and transport, as well as other areas.

The act will set out contain common standards to help regulate accessible design in a number of areas including ICT, the built environment and product design.

 

 10.      Next phase of superfast broadband plans announced

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has outlined government plans for ‘the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015’, working in partnership with the private sector, councils and communities. To reduce the ‘digital divide’, all parts of the UK will be covered, with government funding for areas that the market cannot reach. A ‘world class communications network’ is seen as fundamental for economic growth and for more efficient and accessible public services.

Plans include:

  • a mix of technologies –fixed, wireless and satellite – to deliver superfast broadband
  • developing the next generation of mobile broadband services, based on new wireless technologies
  • a Publicly Available Specification for new build homes to give developers and builders a steer as to what connectivity homes should contain

 

Recognising the need to ‘ensure that consumers are comfortable with technology and that those currently excluded from the digital world, for whatever reason, are able to join it and reap the benefits’, the strategy refers to Martha Lane Fox’s Race Online initiative (details here).

There are also references to tele-working for disabled people and to the Whole System Demonstrator programme. The press release is here.

Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is the delivery vehicle for these policies. To find out via this link.

links for 2011-02-08

In Daily Links on February 9, 2011 at 1:02 am
  • The Patch Effect: Will AOL's hyperlocal experiment across the new media news ecosystem yield peril or profit? An assessment from the ground up offers a deeper look
  • Thirteen year-end news photo galleries of 2010.
  • The World Bank works with a network of specialists all over the world to gather and curate a large body of economic development data each year. The organization has made a few million dollars from subscription sales of its datasets to universities and other institutional subscribers – but last year the Bank decided it would rather give the data away for free and see what would happen.

    In order to make the most of this new opportunity, the Bank decided to work with Challenge Post, a software developer contest adminstration service, to create a contest called Apps for Development, challenging developers around the world to build apps on top of the data. The apps are in, it's time to vote and the things people have built are quite remarkable. The apps have come from 30 different countries and more were built in Africa than in Europe.

  • The launch event for Rupert Murdoch's new iPad-only newspaper The Daily was full of rhetoric about the future of journalism, heralding the app as a "this changes everything" sort of moment.

    But having had a chance to download and read today's inaugural issue, it doesn't seem that the user experience matches the rhetoric. That may not be a surprise as plenty of people have long predicted The Daily would be a flop. But it still feels like a shame, considering the resources (some $30 million from Murdoch himself) that have been poured into the endeavor and considering the promise for a reinvented and reinvigorated journalism.

    That's just my opinion, of course, as are these first impressions of the new app

  • Telecommunications company Vodafone says that it has been forced to send pro-government messages to its subscribers in Egypt during the country's recent protests.
    (tags: mobile)
  • The 90's rap icon MC Hammer made a fortune, lost it, and is now an investor in 8 different tech companies.
  • The United States, like most governments, has developed teams and tools to wage Web warfare. But not all the tools are what we would normally think of as offensive weapons. The U.S. military, it turns out, can force a country that has disconnected itself from the Internet back online.
    (tags: internet)
  • According to IDC, smartphone manufacturers shipped 100.9 million devices in the fourth quarter of 2010, while PC manufacturers shipped 92.1 million units worldwide. Or, more simply put, smartphones just outsold PCs for the first time ever.
    (tags: mobile trends)

links for 2011-02-07

In Daily Links on February 8, 2011 at 1:01 am
  • Leaked slides and editorial summary of AOL's vision for the next couple of years.
    (tags: aol journalism)
  • After co-founding a social enterprise that created employment for homeless people a decade ago, Paul Harrod hopes the experience will help him lay better foundations for his latest venture
  • Elisabeth Hoodless, outgoing executive director of Community Service Volunteers, says cuts in funding are removing opportunities for people to help deliver services
    (tags: bigsociety csv)
  • Arianna Huffington's decision to sell to AOL means that some shareholders must be sitting on very large returns as the company has received just $37m in funding
  • The history books will say that the Pittsburgh Steelers lost 2011's Super Bowl XLV – but on the night the biggest losers were the pop star Christina Aguilera and the cut-price internet site Groupon.

    As with Janet Jackson's famous halftime show "wardrobe malfunction," both Aguilera and Groupon blew a big chance in front of a US viewing audience of 100 million. But while Aguilera's mangling of the US national anthem was presumably unintentional, Groupon's attempt to use the plight of the people of Tibet as a marketing tool was all too deliberate.

  • The Federal Communications Commission will announce plans to begin converting the $8 billion fund that subsidizes rural telephone services into one that will help pay for broadband in underserved areas. According to The New York Times, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is set to outline the proposal in a speech today.

    The plan will involve reshaping the Universal Service Fund, a decade-old subsidy which is paid for by fees added onto most consumers' phone bills. That money is then disitributed among phone companies to help subsidize the costs of providing services to rural areas.

  • One of the world's most revered cultures and religious histories has been threatened with death and extinction in Tibet for decades at the hands of the authoritarian Chinese government; Groupon's Super Bowl advertisement about Tibet (below) was based on a joke drastically reducing the seriousness of that suffering. Not all hope is lost, the ad says, because at least there are still refugees that will cook discounted food for White people! Many people on Twitter reacted very negatively to the ad. This is my best explanation why it was offensive. Not everyone agrees – we've got a debate going in comments below which we invite you to participate in
    (tags: groupon)

links for 2011-02-04

In Daily Links on February 5, 2011 at 1:01 am