Monday, August 27, 2012

Will Diaspora ever beat out Facebook?

"Diaspora has grown into something more than just a project four guys started in their office at school. It is bigger than any one of us, the money we raised, or the code we have written. It has developed into something that people all over the world care about and are inspired by. We think the time is right to reflect this reality, and put our code where our hearts lie.
Today, we are giving control of Diaspora to the community."

It will be interesting to see how an originally small group effort gets turned into a crowd-sourced effort.  I look forward to the day that Diaspora replaced Facebook.

Friday, August 17, 2012

does Internet free speech require a minimum amount of critical evaluation to work properly?

"The government banned bulk phone messaging for 15 days, Home Secretary R.K. Singh told reporters in New Delhi yesterday. Ninong Ering, a ruling Congress party lawmaker from the state of Arunachal Pradesh, said in parliament yesterday that about 20,000 people had fled cities including Mumbai, Bangalore and Pune, and demanded action against those spreading rumors."

So maybe this was something that was taken for granted. One thing I noticed about Anonymous is that they critically evaluated most everything, and even tended toward "that's bullshit" even before evaluating things.  But perhaps there are some societies or cultures where critical thinking is not ingrained enough to reject common rumors online.  Just because someone says something on the Internet, it shouldn't be taken as truth immediately, just the same as in real life.  It seems to be a common problem among human beings.  Even on's /b/ channel, this warning is needed; "The stories and information posted here are artistic works of fiction and falsehood. Only a fool would take anything posted here as fact."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Video activists change the course of revolution

"Across Syria hundreds of video activists – most of them young, male, and technologically savvy – have joined the revolution against the Syrian government. 'The regime is fighting the people in two ways. One is with the army. The other is with the media,' Yahya Abdulrahman, a physics student from Aleppo University explained.
The 21-year-old, who is from Aldana, north of Aleppo, added: 'There are parts of the Free Syrian Army that are fighting the regime. But there are other parts fighting the regime's hackers.' Aldana is without an internet connection, so Abdulrahman, also a video activist, typically gives his Nokia memory card to Mohammad to upload.
Abdulrahman took his first video of a demo on Aleppo University's science campus. He said he got the job because he was tall and good at running. During his second assignment, however, the security forces caught and arrested all of the students involved. 'I was shooting video. Five guys grabbed me," he recalled.'"

When the government says such and such is happening, and the people upload videos showing that's just a big fat lie, it deflates the mighty power of government propaganda instantly.  A few guys with cameras and Internet access can overcome an entire department of trained propagandists.