Why free is good for everyone…

Cyber radicals are harnessing the power of the internet to promote social change. Illustration: Lynsey Irvine and Peter Storey for the Observer

” 20 years ago, set the agenda for far-reaching transformations in the political sphere, in economies everywhere, in social interaction, even in concepts of our own identity. And Berners-Lee succeeded in doing so for one reason: he released the technology for free. This simple decision, taken by a computer scientist used to work in environments that promoted openness and transparency eclipses any hype about subsequent Twitter revolutions, Facebook campaigns or political protests ascribed to the platform since (link to the story in the Guardian by Aleks Krotoski)”

This story by Aleks Krotoski is OK, if not a little dated. There are lots of links on this blog about the use of the web for political purposes dating back about a decade. But I do like the way in which Krotoski (from the BBC series on the history of the internet) highlights the importance of free, open infrastructure for everyone. How lucky Australians are to have such a large public investment in a national Broadband network and such solid investment in the broader eResearch agenda (soon to include the humanities I hope!)

How to track Iranian protests online #iranelections

Here is how to find out about the Iranian elections online. Please send me your links. Also, Twitter’s down time has been rescheduled because of the important role that it is playing in the US elections (see link).

Hash Tag: #Iranelections (search and post your blogs and tweets with this).

  • Andrew Sullivan’s Blog (link) Thanks to D.P. for the link
  • uk-iran.com (link) Thanks to Payman for the link


  • (Flickr. search on Iran and Protests)


“The popular Iranian cartoonist, Nikahang Kosar, depicts Ahmadinejad as a bandit holding Iran to ransom. This is his take on the official result” (from the Guardian)

Manual Castells at London School of Economics 9 July


The acclaimed author of the Rise of Network Society, Professor Manual Castells  will be speaking at LSE on 9th July and launching his new book ‘Communication Power’.  I can’t wait for this one; I have wanted to hear Castells speak for years.  As a PhD candidate in the late ’90s, Castells changed how I though about nations and globalism and the way I interact with the world (perhaps I am not the only one!). His main contention is that the logic of globalism is networks; not geographic based industrial capitalism that defined most of the 20th Century.  A wonderful scholar; hope to see you there!

Thursday 9 July, 6.30-8pm, Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

LSE Summer School lecture with the Department of Media and Communications and POLIS present:

Communication Power

SPEAKER: Professor Manuel Castells

CHAIR: Professor Robin Mansell

This event marks the launch of Manuel Castells latest book, Communication Power, in which he analyses the transformation of the global media industry by the revolution in communication technologies. Manuel Castells is university professor and the Wallis Annenberg Chair Professor of Communication Technology and Society at the Annenberg School of Communication, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, and research professor of information society at the Open University of Catalonia, Barcelona.

Info: Ticket from 10am on Tuesday 30 June at www.lse.ac.uk/events or by calling 020 7955 6100.

Reclaiming the local…

(thanks to the NY Times)

If your local newspaper shuts down, what will take the place of its coverage? Perhaps a package of information about your neighborhood, or even your block, assembled by a computer.  

Minh Uong/The New York Times

A number of Web start-up companies are creating so-called hyperlocal news sites that let people zoom in on what is happening closest to them, often without involving traditional journalists.

The sites, like EveryBlock, Outside.in, Placeblogger and Patch, collect links to articles and blogs and often supplement them with data from local governments and other sources. They might let a visitor know about an arrest a block away, the sale of a home down the street and reviews of nearby restaurants (link NY Times)


Media Talk: Twitter @G20

Here is a podcast (audio); a reflective analysis of the use of new media such as twitter at the G20 protests by a panel of media experts.

Matt Wells and the panel discuss Twitter and the new forms of digital journalism at G20 (link)


Here is the app. for the iphone called Audioboo that is discussed on the podcast (link).

Communication Power in the Network Society


Manual Castells, who has a new book out in July called ‘Communication Power’ gave a lecture at the OII (Oxford Internet Institute), in October last year. Those kind folks at OII have provided a web-cast of it online.  There are also a number of other noterieties with web-cast-lectures. Most notable Ted Nelson, Jimmy Wales, Steven Colemen. Check it oot…(link)

Winners Portable Film Festival

After a month of deliberation, fandom, and some pretty abject name calling, Portable is proud to announce the winners of its 2008 festival, chosen by the likes of you!

Specially designed robots, working an algorhythm between total views, total ratings, and overall rating for each film, have worked night and day in front of one of those Good Will Hunting-style whiteboards with intimidating looking equations on it to work out the following…

Congratulations (and free stuff) goes out to (link)