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May 1, 2009

Hate sites attack hated brands. Shock.

Hate sites. Hates sites everywhere! Attacking idolised Aussie brands like ... McDonalds ... and ... Amex. Well done Daily Tele.

The Nazis within. The Daily Telegraph published a stunning expose on Thursday of “dozens of hate sites on the web” that attack “Australiaʼs favorite brands”. Worse still, these hate sites “could have a big impact on company image”. Absolutely shocking business, and terrible for those companies targeted. Oh wait … Iʼm confused. I thought that maybe Jewish workers at Woolworths were being targeted in a corporate version of the Adelaide Institute, after all a “hate site” is “a website that promotes hatred, typically against a specific race, religion nationality, s-x or sexuality”.

Instead, sites in the article include Dell Hell (a US site and brand), Qantas Sucks (nothing hateful in that name), AmexSux (definitely a favorite Australian brand) and McSucks, a site as the name suggests targets McDonalds. The article fails on two counts: exercising dissent in a free society doesnʼt make a site a “hate site”, and most of the brands mentioned donʼt qualify as Australian favorites (Qantas maybe, but notably Qantas isnʼt ranked in the top 20 Australian brands.

Iʼd normally conclude with the line “but why let that get in the way of a good tabloid beatup” but thereʼs a more serious issue at stake. Labeling sites such as these “hate sites” draws attention away from real hate sites, and diminishes the seriousness of the term in the publicʼs eye.

ABS CC A2.5. Data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is freely and frequently used by Government, media and businesses alike, but only recently has the ABS licensed their data in a way that allows it to be legally and freely used. Mostly unnoticed back in December, the ABS adopted the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia license for most of their material. The license means that anyone can use statistical data from the ABS (unless noted otherwise), as long as they provide attribution to the ABS when quoting the data.

Google on the horizon. The United States Patent Office has awarded Google a patent for floating data centers. The proposed data centers would be located 5-10 kms offshore, and would use the ocean to provide power and cooling. Besides the green benefits (well, visual pollution aside), the data centers would save money for Google as they would be free of property taxes.

The law powered by Facebook. Chris Kelly, the Chief Privacy Officer (the title isnʼt meant to be ironic) at Facebook has announced that heʼs considering running for Attorney General of California. Existing AG Jerry Brown is considering a run for Governor, opening the door for another Democrat to take his place.

Itʼs April 1 every day on Sunrise. Oh no, the Internet is nearly full! Iʼd type more but I want to conserve space. Iʼd encourage you to watch the Sunrise clip here only on your designated internet watching days as determined by your street number. The text only (and more efficient) counter argument can be viewed here.

When robots attack. A Swedish company has been fined after a malfunctioning robot attacked and almost killed one of its workers at a factory north of Stockholm. According to a local report, the robot suddenly came to life and grabbed a tight hold of the victim’s head. The man succeeded in defending himself but not before suffering serious injuries.

And then there were three. Disney has acquired a stake in Hulu, the News Corp/ NBC joint venture that offers free on-demand television shows and movies online. The deal will see content from the Disney owned American television network ABC (such as Lost, Desperate Housewives and Greyʼs Anatomy) made available on Hulu for the first time, and possibly Disney movies in the near future.

Hulu has been a huge success, showing 235 million videos in March, making it the sixth largest online video property in the United States, and the largest dedicated legal television content destination. The one stop shop for legal television content is credited by some as reducing the rate of video piracy in the United States, one of the sites original objectives.

The theory, missed so far by Australian television networks, is that by offering an appealing, easy to use, single destination for legal, on demand content, users have less of an incentive to download illegal copies.

Tornado porn. In an age where the ideas behind The Truman Show have become standard fare, you can pretty much watch anything live online, including Tornados. The team at TornadoVideos.net have added live streaming to their storm chasing vehicles, delivering some amazing live footage.

Donʼt look at this. Facebook is being targeted in a new phishing scam. If you receive an email with the subject line “Look at this!” and a link encouraging you to click thru to Facebook, be careful. The give away is the resulting page, which at least in the current attacks resolves to FBAction.net, although the page presents as the standard Facebook login page.

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