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Gay Lesbian Syrian Blogger? Or a Bearded American from Edinburgh?

Here’s a cautionary tale about how hard it is to verify whether someone is who they say they are: Syrian lesbian blogger is revealed conclusively to be a married man Tom MacMaster’s wife has confirmed in an email to the Guardian that he is the real identity behind the Gay Girl in Damascus blog Syrian lesbian blogger has been revealed to be Tom MacMaster, an American based in Scotland. Public domain The mysterious identity of a young Arab lesbian blogger who was apparently kidnapped last week in Syria has been revealed conclusively to be a hoax. The blogs were written by not by a gayContinue readingGay Lesbian Syrian Blogger? Or a Bearded American from Edinburgh?

How Long Was the iPhone Location Vulnerability Known?

I’m very intrigued by the Guardian’s piece iPhone keeps record of everywhere you go | Technology | guardian.co.uk but I’m wondering how new this information is, and whether other less transparent folk have already been using this gaping hole. Charles Arthur writes: Security researchers have discovered that Apple‘s iPhone keeps track of where you go – and saves every detail of it to a secret file on the device which is then copied to the owner’s computer when the two are synchronised. The file contains the latitude and longitude of the phone’s recorded coordinates along with a timestamp, meaning that anyone who stole the phone or the computerContinue readingHow Long Was the iPhone Location Vulnerability Known?

A pale white man shows us what journalism is

My weekly Loose Wire Service column. Is the Internet replacing journalism? It’s a question that popped up as I gazed at the blurred, distorted web-stream of a press conference from London by the founder of WikiLeaks, a website designed to “protect whistleblowers, journalists and activists who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public”. On the podium there’s Julian Assange. You can’t make a guy like this up. White haired, articulate and defensive, aloof and grungy, specific and then sweepingly angry. Fascinating. In a world of people obsessed by the shininess of their iPhones, Assange is either a throwback to the past or a gulfContinue readingA pale white man shows us what journalism is

Media’s Future: Retail

(This is a copy of my weekly newspaper column, distributed by Loose Wire Service) By Jeremy Wagstaff As you no doubt know, Rupert Murdoch has decided to put up a front door on the The Times’ website, demanding a modest toll for reading the online content. Needless to say this has prompted laughter among those who think that content should be free. This is silly: Someone needs to pay for this stuff at some point. And no one else has any better ideas right now, so good luck to them, I say. Though I would counsel them to be smarter about the way they makeContinue readingMedia’s Future: Retail

SideWiki’s Wish Fulfilment

A piece in today’s Guardian attracted my attention–“SideWiki Changes Everything”—as I thought, perhaps, it might shed new light on Google’s browser sidebar that allows anyone to add comments to a website whether or not the website owner wants them to. The piece calls the evolution of SideWiki a “seminal moment”. The column itself, however, is disappointing, given that SideWiki has been out six weeks already: Few people in PR, it seems, have considered the way that SideWiki will change the lives of beleaguered PR folk. In time, this tool will significantly change the way brands strategise, think and exist. SideWiki is going to challenge PRContinue readingSideWiki’s Wish Fulfilment

Hoodiephobia, Or We Don’t Lie to Google

Does what we search for online reflect our fears? There’s a growing obsession in the UK, it would seem, with ‘hoodies’—young people who wear sports clothing with hoods who maraud in gangs. Michael Caine has just starred in a movie about them (well, a revenge fantasy about them.) This Guardian piece explores the movie-making potential of this phenomenon. Recently a female documentary film maker was saved from a group of iron bar-wielding “feral girls” by the bike-riding mayor of London (I’ve always wanted to write the headline for the story). So is this “growing fear” reflected online? Well, yes, it is. Here’s what a graphContinue readingHoodiephobia, Or We Don’t Lie to Google

Nonsense Linking, Or the Rise of the Cheap Bot

I’m a big fan of The Guardian, but their auto-linking software needs some tweaking. It’s a classic example of trying to provide that extra value to data on the cheap. My argument for a while has been that the only lasting way for traditional media to make itself competitive again is not to create more, but to create better. In one key sense this is about injecting extra value into words: metatagging them, in short, so that other content belonging to the media—or others—adds context. But this is not easy. Lots of people are trying it, and some are doing interesting stuff with it. ButContinue readingNonsense Linking, Or the Rise of the Cheap Bot

Telling the Story in the Third Dimension

Technorati Tags: journalism,media,newspapers,infoviz,visualization,google earth,kml The bitter end of the Tamil Tigers has been fought away from the news crews, but not the satellites. But did we make the most of this technology to tell the story of human suffering and the end of a 35-year guerrilla movement? A month ago the U.S. government released satellite images apparently showing how tens of thousands of Sri Lankan civilians had been squeezed into the last tract land held by the LTTE, a story covered somewhat cursorily by the media. This three paragraph piece from The Guardian, for example: A week ago (May 12) Human Rights Watch issued itsContinue readingTelling the Story in the Third Dimension

The Cup Final, the Uplifting Video and the iPod

Hang on, let me check my iPod first Technology, however small, can be the difference between winning a cup final and losing it. Manchester United faced Tottenham Hotspur in the Carling Cup Final on Sunday, and it’s instructive how video technology was, in a way, the difference between the two sides. After no goals in 120 minutes, there was nothing between the sides, and it came down to a penalty shoot-out. (Each take five.) Now I’m a Tottenham fan, if that means anything to you, so this is painful to relate, but it’s striking. The Spurs manager, old school Harry Rednapp, had got his staffContinue readingThe Cup Final, the Uplifting Video and the iPod

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