Berkman Buzz: Week of November 9, 2009

November 13, 2009

BERKMAN BUZZ: A look at the past week's online Berkman conversations
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What's being discussed...take your pick or browse below.

* StopBadware is helping ISPs fight bots.
* Future of the Internet: ubiquitous human computing?
* David Weinberger pre-live-blogs himself.
* The CMLP contemplates a carved out CDA230.
* Dan Gillmor drops news consumption in the slow cooker...
* ...while Ethan Zuckerman practices a meta-slow-news.
* Doc Searls deflates your social media balloons.
* Andrew McAfee riffs on Hemingway and the ol'Cray-1.
* Weekly Global Voices: "Egypt: One day before playing Algeria"
* A year ago in the Buzz: "Where are the AdWords jingles?"
* In the end, Christian Sandvig wants to know what will happen to Internet video.

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The full buzz.

"For the last several months, some of the folks at Comcast have been working on a draft IETF document to inform ISPs about the role they can play in remediating bots on their customers’ computers. This is a tricky challenge: on one hand, ISPs are in a great position to detect bot activity, notify their customers, and potentially even block traffic. On the other hand, customers and net neutrality advocates don’t want ISPs mucking around with customers’ Internet use. The document attempts to find a balance, encouraging ISPs to notify customers of bots and assist with remediation, while warning about some of the risks of more aggressive involvement (such as "walled gardens," in which users are cut off from most Internet access until they clean up an infection)."
From Maxim Weinstein's blog post for StopBadware, ISPs and the fight against bots

"Those of you who follow Professor Zittrain’s work know that he’s been writing and thinking about ubiquitous human computing for the last several months. Another name for it might be distributed human computing: the phenomenon of disaggregating a task into component pieces and then parceling them out around the world. Perhaps the best-known example is Amazon Mechanical Turk, where simple tasks that cannot be done by a computer—for example, labeling images—are outsourced to anyone with an internet connection for 1 or 2 cents apiece. All the way at the other end of the scale, a company might pay $20,000 to anyone who can synthesize a certain kind of molecule. In between, a small company might offer hundreds of dollars for someone to design its website. (The US House of Representatives—not exactly a small company—recently paid $1500 for that service.)"
From Elisabeth Oppenheimer's blog post for Jonathan Zittrain's Future of the Internet blog, Introduction: Ubiquitous Human Computing

"I have been working for weeks on a talk I’m giving at a Tuesday lunch at the Berkman Center, where “work on” means erasing more than I’ve written. I’ve done more complete rewrites than I can count, mainly because I can’t figure out what the point of the talk is. I started out knowing what the point was, but as I actually wrote it, I knew less and less. So, here’s a rough outline of the current sorry state of the talk. / I. Information has been the dominant metaphor / This is the easy part. From cradle to grave, we’ve reconceived of ourselves and our world as information. But, except for the technical definition, we don’t know what it is (and most of how we’ve reconceived of ourselves has nothing to do with the technical def, and most of us don’t know the technical def anyway)."
From David Weinberger's blog post Rough, rough draft: What info was

"It doesn’t take much to whittle away a law. One need only use the Cartman technique – ask for one exception and wait for others to follow. It is death by a thousand cuts on the legal stage. After being manhandled by the housing market and countless Ponzi schemes, investors are tired of being victimized. In an effort to hobble unscrupulous economic predators, the House is considering the Investor Protection Act of 2009, which generally bolsters SEC oversight. This is a good thing. However, the Act also carves out a Fraud exception from Section 230 of the Communication Decency Act, which protects ISPs from liability for the actions of third-party users. And that’s where the trouble lies."
From Andrew Moshirnia's blog post for CMLP, The Cartman Technique: How a Fraud Exception will Mine the ISP Safe Harbor

"In the minutes and hours after an Army officer opened fire on his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, Texas, last week, the media floodgates opened in a now-standard way. A torrent of news reports and commentary poured from the scene, the immediate community and the Pentagon, amplified by corollary data, informed commentary and rank speculation from journalists, bloggers, podcasters, Tweeters, texters and more. Also standard in this age of fast news was the quality of the early information: utterly unreliable, and mostly wrong. The shooter was dead; no he wasn’t. There were two accomplices; no there weren’t. And so on. (See Greg Marx’s “Jumping to Confusion” at CJR, and Glenn Greenwald’s “media orgy” post at Salon.) This was not, as several critics have claimed, a failure of citizen journalism."
From Dan Gillmor's blog post Toward a Slow-News Movement

"One of the reasons no one reads newspaper corrections is that they’re literally unreadable – they’re paper hyperlinks to an earlier day’s edition, which means they’re useless unless you keep a stack of papers around to correct after the fact. We can do so much better in a digital age – we could correct, while linking to the earlier version, and we could offer a blacklined version of stories to show how they were edited and changed. It would be unobtrusive for readers who didn’t care to see the earlier versions, and we’d avoid questions of libel by making it clear that the earlier edition had been corrected and was not for citation."
From Ethan Zuckerman's blog post Criticism corrected, and corrections criticized

"While the survey is fine for its purposes (mostly probing Twitter-based social media marketing) and I don’t mean to give it a hard time, it does a nice job at bringing up a framing issue for social media that has bothered me for some time. You can see it in the survey’s first two questions: What Social Media platforms do you use? and How often are you on social media sites? The frame here is real estate. Or, more precisely, private real estate. Later questions in the survey assume is that social media is something that happens on private platforms, Twitter in particular. This is a legitimate assumption, of course, and that’s why I have a problem with it. That tweeting it is a private breed of microblogging verges on irrelevance. Twitter is now as necessary to tweeting as Google is to search. It’s a public activity under private control."
From Doc Searls' blog post Beyond Social Media

"On a recent trip to Munich I got to visit the geek paradise that is the Deutsches Museum, the largest science, technology, and engineering museum in the world. Its enormous collections were almost totally lost on me, though, because I spent just about all my time in the wing devoted to calculating devices. This was not the plan. I intended to move on after checking out a few highlights like the Enigma machines (the legendary WWII German code machines deciphered by Polish and British brilliance) and the astonishing miniature Curtas (perfected while the inventor was an inmate in Buchenwald). But I wound up spending hours there, spellbound by the variety, ingenuity, and beauty of the devices on view."
From Andrew McAfee's blog post Gradually, Then All at Once

"Hisham of GVO covered the Algerian side of the online feud and tension over the decisive football match due to take place in Cairo on November 14. The encounter will determine which of the two teams will qualify to next year's FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Some Egyptian bloggers enjoy a game with a twist..."
From Marwa Rakha's blog post for Global Voices, Egypt: One day before playing Algeria

"I’ve been reading up on the history of media and advertising lately, including a book by Stephen Fox on the history of advertising called Mirror Makers. Fox’s core argument is that advertising strategies are cyclical over time, varying between straightforward, plain text advertising that describes the price and value of the product to atmospheric advertising that attempts to attract attention and build up the reputation of a brand. He includes lots of examples of early advertising, including the following jingles about “Sunny Jim” used to sell Force cereal in 1902..."
From Hal Roberts' blog post Where are the AdWords jingles? [originally included in the Berkman Buzz in November 2008]

"Comcast is the largest cable operator in the US and it was my cable service in Illinois until I cancelled cable earlier this year. Here’s when I snapped: Our cable bill was up to $123.80 per month (internet + digital cable) and we were not getting premium channels or using pay-per-view. Cable operators are notorious for leveraging their legal monopoly — they like to charge high prices for terrible service. My Comcast cable regularly had service problems even though I live in the center of town."
From Christian Sandvig's blog post Comcast is after me… and Internet video

Last updated November 16, 2009