Opinion and Analysis

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YEAR IN REVIEW: KONY 2012 – The Movement That Wasn’t

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On March 5, one video appeared from an unknown organisation. “Nothing is more powerful than a idea,” the video declares in the first five seconds. But, despite being 30 minutes long, the video’s main message captured many. They soon shared it to their friends on Facebook and Twitter. Then their friends shared it to their friends; and soon, it became a movement.

A look back at the Nintendo Wii: Was it a ‘Revolution’?

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Six years, and it is now time to say goodbye. The Nintendo Wii, launched to great fanfare in 2006, is now being replaced on November 30 (in Australia) with the Nintendo Wii U – its successor. It topped the console charts for this generation – beating the technologically superior PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. All because it was small, cheap and was attractive to everyone, not just those who were […]

#IDF vs #Hamas: the new Gaza war, in 140 characters or less

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The hostilities between Israel and Hamas this week are just another sad exchange of munitions of no benefit for anyone, least of all the impoverished residents of Gaza. Rockets go one way, Hellfire missiles go the other. Targeted killing, random strikes, claim and counter claim of who is a terrorist and who is acting in self defence. Of far more novelty though is the Twitter war that broke out between […]

Pixelated: The Binary Network

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It’s the end of school term finally. And yet again, two of my close friends are acting like they’re part of an elite clan for hating Facebook. Insert some of the usual clichés about how it’s too crowded, how it’s full of attention seekers, how there are so many people who complain about their first world problems on it. All of the usual garbage. One of them then announces, to […]

Was it ‘ethical’ for Gawker to unmask a Reddit troll?

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Last week saw a lot of drama across the internet with Gawker Media’s decision to unmask a Reddit troll known as ‘Violentacrez’ – revealed to be a 49-year-old man from Texas. Some Redditors retaliated, putting a self-imposed ban on any Gakwer-related websites and calling the move ‘unethical’. But was it? Unlike ‘professional journalists’, bloggers don’t have a professional body to dictate ethics. However, since the line has pretty much blurred […]

The question of Python-iView: Copyright crusader or vigilante operative?

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The ABC recently raised eyebrows when it wrote a cease-and-desist letter to Python i-View, a mobile application which allowed viewers of ABC’s popular iview to download and playback its content later on slow or non-compatible technology. The issue of whether the Python-iView app infringes copyright, particularly it’s download feature, hinges on a number of specific sections of the Copyright Act and a concept of “vigilante interoperability”. Firstly, some background. Launched […]

‘Sexting’ teens: decriminalising young people’s sexual practices

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We need to acknowledge the diverse context in which teens engage sexting (Image by: Mahdi Abdulrazak/Flickr) Cases of teenagers “sexting” each other have recently provoked panicked responses by media, parents, educators and policy makers in Australia. Now a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into the practice has been told it’s better to use discretionary powers to deal with sexting cases rather than new laws. “Sexting” can mean the creating, sharing, sending or […]

Surviving the zombie apocalypse: the DayZ experiment

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Amid the resurgent popularity of zombies in recent years – think The Walking Dead, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Shaun of the Dead and so on – the 2011 publication of Dan Drezner’s Theories of International Politics and Zombies showed we might be able to learn something useful from the lumbering horde. In short, Drezner poses the question: how would we deal with a zombie outbreak? He answers it not […]

OPINION: New copyright laws are not the answer to stop piracy

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Image: Dr Stephen Dann/Flickr (Creative Commons) Earlier this week, Kim Williams, CEO of News Limited, spoke at the Australian International Movie Convention on the Gold Coast and called for new copyright laws to better protect digital property rights. Back in February, my colleague and friend Bruce Arnold opined a similar view, stating that in “the age of the internet and multinational business models, many of the existing laws are under […]

A Paid Social Network – Is App.net worth the $50/year price?

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Ever heard of App.net? The tech community has, and it’s built on a simple premise: being a different kind of social platform. As it’s creator Dalton Caldwell said in its video announcing the project, “our product is what we sell, not our users.” It also promises to be ad-free and will respect its developer community. Sounds like a dream service to use. But, there’s a catch – you have to […]

Myki needs updating, and fast after Metcard is gone

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It is just a few months before Myki is to officially replace Metcard as the ticketing system for Melbourne’s transportation system. However, once we get Metcard out, the Victorian Government needs to seriously upgrade Myki to future-proof the delayed and overbudget project, or else we would be forced to create a new system down the track. Technology The technology needs to be drastically improved. Response times are long (but are […]

Apple VS Samsung: The Defence of Common Sense

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The transpiring events of Apple’s lawsuit against Samsung has divided the technology industry and has honed in on several overarching talking points and issues in intellectual property which far extend the perpetual ‘eye for an eye’ battle that the companies currently occupy. Many writers and pundits state that the lawsuit will be a primary stepping stone to IP and patent reform and will be a primary decider of the future […]

The best things in life are free, especially if you’re downloading a movie

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$6. That’s the price I paid to rent the delightful Pixar production that is Wall-E. But, obviously, that’s not enough money for me to not be treated like a criminal, for me to actually watch the movie the way I wanted to, or even watch it at all in any way. Sure, it’s a rental, so I expect DRM. But even then, I would’ve had the same experience if I’d bought […]

A dangerous investment: Australia, New Zealand and the Trans-Pacific Partnership

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Image: NZ National Party/Flickr (Creative Commons) This week, San Diego is hosting the latest round of talks over the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Australia and New Zealand are at loggerheads over this secretive new trade treaty spanning the Pacific Rim. The rift between the neighbours over the Trans-Pacific Partnership was revealed after the investment chapter of the agreement was leaked to the public. Australian Trade Minister Craig Emerson has argued that the […]