Pipeline – Mike Andrew

Recorded in Melbourne in 1997 for a promo tour. Pipeline.

      Pipeline - Mike Andrew

Dance On – Mike Andrew

      Dance On - Mike Andrew

New UK law makes copying CDs legal

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Music Cds thumb New UK law makes copying CDs legalAn outdated law meaning millions of people are unknowingly copying music illegally is due to be swept away by the Government.

Business Secretary Vince Cable has backed proposals to update what some have called the country’s ‘archaic copyright laws’.

At the moment it is technically illegal to transfer content from CDs and DVDs onto a different format such as a computer or MP3 player.

The Government is putting the wheels in motion to change this, allowing people to transfer content and make copies for their own and immediate family’s personal use.

However, at present millions of people are breaking the law, with many unaware they are doing it.

Intellectual property lawyer for Mishcon De Reya Adam Morallee believes legislation is merely catching up with what is already being done.

‘It really does have to catch up and look at what’s happening. The people who operate the fast sharing sites are miles ahead of the where the legislators are.’

These proposals are in response to a review of Intellectual Property legislation carried out in May. The government is expected to agree with much of the report.

Sharing of copyrighted material over the internet will still be illegal.

However some critics in the entertainment industry believe these proposals are merely altering an outdated law.

What they are not doing is tackling the real and pressing problem posed by illegal downloading.

Jonathan Shalit, chairman of Roar Global which represents artists, told Sky News he is worried about the repercussions for his clients.

‘The minute you say it is legal to copy something you’re then legitimising it and where does the barrier or boundaries of immediate family end.

‘I think it has not been well thought through and a lack of respect remains for artists who create the original product.’

Online spoofs are also expected to receive legal protection.

The makers of Newport State of Mind, a song which satirised singer Alicia Key’s Empire version by moving it from New York to South Wales, was removed from YouTube recently after a legal battle.

MJ Delaney, the director of the track, did not realise she had been breaking the law when she made the video and agrees with the changes.

‘EMI who took it down, they weren’t a victim in any sense of what we’ve done.

‘By the time we’d done that video the song Empire State of Mind was pretty old. It was long gone out of the charts so if anything all we did was raise the profile of the song and remind everyone what a great song it was.’

It is hoped the moves will benefit the UK economy, in part because individuals will be able to legally back up their music, films and e-books, encouraging the development of new technology.

It will clear the way for companies such as Google and Amazon to market online content storage systems for UK consumers, allowing them to create back-up files of their music and film libraries in a ‘cloud’ on the internet, so they can be retrieved even if their own computer or MP3 player is stolen or lost.


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Astroturfing on the web–Creating your own grass roots movement

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Antiastroturfing thumb Astroturfing on the web–Creating your own grass roots movementFunny sounding title I know, but the very essence of what you and I read on the net is under threat from companies and lobbyists taking over social media sites to lobby or to create artificial grass roots movements. Online forums and blogs including Twitter are being taken over and hi jacked by people who aren’t what they seem.

In December last year George Monbiot from the Guardian Newspaper in the UK wrote on his blog of the impact of astroturfing, here’s an excerpt from that story:

“The anonymity of the web is giving companies and governments golden opportunities to run astroturf operations: fake grassroots campaigns that create the impression that large numbers of people are demanding or opposing particular policies. This deception is most likely to occur where the interests of companies or governments come into conflict with the interests of the public. For example, there’s a long history of tobacco companies creating astroturf groups to fight attempts to regulate them.

It now seems that these operations are more widespread, more sophisticated and more automated than most of us had guessed. Emails obtained by political hackers from a US cyber-security firm called HBGary Federal suggest that a remarkable technological armoury is being deployed to drown out the voices of real people.”

So can it happen here in this country, absolutely and it’s happening now, do you think that political issues like a carbon tax for instance, are not going to be fair game to give you and I information from sources that we believe to be genuine. By using the power of social media, governments and companies can create artificial movements designed to complement there mainstream media lobby tactics, but it can all be hidden under the guise of the everyday person.

Here’s some examples of how they do this:

• Companies now use “persona management software”, which multiplies the efforts of each astroturfer, creating the impression that there’s major support for what a corporation or government is trying to do.

• This software creates all the online furniture a real person would possess: a name, email accounts, web pages and social media. In other words, it automatically generates what look like authentic profiles, making it hard to tell the difference between a virtual robot and a real commentator.

• Fake accounts can be kept updated by automatically reposting or linking to content generated elsewhere, reinforcing the impression that the account holders are real and active.

• Human astroturfers can then be assigned these “pre-aged” accounts to create a back story, suggesting that they’ve been busy linking and retweeting for months. No one would suspect that they came onto the scene for the first time a moment ago, for the sole purpose of attacking an article on climate science or arguing against new controls on salt in junk food.

• With some clever use of social media, astroturfers can, in the security firm’s words, “make it appear as if a persona was actually at a conference and introduce himself/herself to key individuals as part of the exercise … There are a variety of social media tricks we can use to add a level of realness to fictitious personas.”

Perhaps the most disturbing revelation is this. The US Air Force has been tendering for companies to supply it with persona management software, which will perform the following tasks:

a. Create “10 personas per user, replete with background, history, supporting details, and cyber presences that are technically, culturally and geographically consistent … Personas must be able to appear to originate in nearly any part of the world and can interact through conventional online services and social media platforms.”

b. Automatically provide its astroturfers with “randomly selected IP addresses through which they can access the internet” (an IP address is the number which identifies someone’s computer), and these are to be changed every day, “hiding the existence of the operation”. The software should also mix up the astroturfers’ web traffic with “traffic from multitudes of users from outside the organisation. This traffic blending provides excellent cover and powerful deniability.”

c. Create “static IP addresses” for each persona, enabling different astroturfers “to look like the same person over time”. It should also allow “organisations that frequent same site/service often to easily switch IP addresses to look like ordinary users as opposed to one organisation.”

Software like this has the potential to destroy the internet as a forum for constructive debate. It jeopardises the notion of online democracy. Comment threads on issues with major commercial implications are already being wrecked by what look like armies of organised trolls – as you can sometimes see on guardian.co.uk.

The internet is a wonderful gift, but it’s also a bonanza for corporate lobbyists, viral marketers and government spin doctors, who can operate in cyberspace without regulation, accountability or fear of detection. So let me repeat the question I’ve put in previous articles, and which has yet to be satisfactorily answered: what should we do to fight these tactics?

So there you have it, be very careful before you begin to follow and support users on social media sites.

I have taken the liberty of using excerpts from George Monbiots article which appeared in December 2010, you can read the full article here


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Twitter to serve up ads

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twitter logo thumb1 Twitter to serve up adsTwitter will begin placing advertisements known as ‘Promoted Tweets’ in the timelines of users who follow a particular brand or company.

Twitter said it will begin testing the new advertising offering with a number of companies including Dell, Gatorade, Groupon, JetBlue, LivingSocial, Microsoft, Red Bull, Starbucks and Virgin America.

Promoted Tweets from non-profits such as the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the American Red Cross will also be shown, the San Francisco-based Twitter said in a blog post.

‘When we decide to follow a favourite brand, business or charitable organisation, we expect to be among the first to get a special announcement, access to exclusive content or a great offer,’ Twitter said.

‘That’s why starting today, we’re introducing a way to ensure that the most important tweets from the organisations you follow reach you directly,’ it said.

Twitter has enjoyed explosive growth since it was founded in 2006 but it is unclear how successful it has been in translating its popularity into profit.

Twitter chief executive Dick Costolo, speaking at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech conference in Aspen, Colorado, last week declined to reveal whether the privately held company is profitable.

But he said the number of advertisers on the platform is up 600 per cent this year over last year, when it numbered in the hundreds.

Twitter said the new advertising scheme will involve placing ‘Promoted Tweets’ from accounts that a user follows ‘at or near the top’ of their timeline, or stream of messages, when a user logs in.

‘These Promoted Tweets will scroll through the timeline like any other tweet, and like regular tweets, they will appear in your timeline just once,’ Twitter said.

‘Promoted Tweets can also be easily dismissed from your timeline with a single click,’ Twitter added.

The advertiser-sponsored tweets will only be shown on the accounts of users of the Twitter.com website, not the scores of third-party applications used to access the service.


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NBN to plug first site in

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NBN thumb NBN to plug first site inThe National Broadband Network will on Friday plug the first East Coast site into the super-fast grid.

It is coming a day after NBN Co released the third edition of its Wholesale Broadband Agreement and a discussion paper providing an overview of its planned Special Access Undertaking.

It sets out the arrangements for the delivery of commercial services over the NBN and encompasses matters such as products and price, service levels, technical information, credit policies and future product development.

Next month NBN Co intends to release the Operations Manual that will describe the operational processes that support the supply of its services.


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Hacker groups call for PayPal boycott

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paypal thumb Hacker groups call for PayPal boycottHacker groups Anonymous and Lulz Security have called for a boycott of PayPal to punish the electronic payments firm for its refusal to accept donations for WikiLeaks.

PayPal, Visa and MasterCard have stopped accepting donations for WikiLeaks in December after the website began releasing sensitive US State Department cables.

PayPal says the decision to restrict the WikiLeaks account wasn’t the result of any pressure from the US government.


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More businesses move onto the internet

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Business Online thumb More businesses move onto the internetMore businesses are taking advantage of the internet, with many finding the move online creates more revenue, a new survey has found.

Research by accounting software provider MYOB has found that the number of Australian businesses now online has increased to 39 per cent, up from 35 per cent last November, with a further 22 per cent planning to create a website in the next 12 months.

Almost a third of the 1000 respondents surveyed reported an increase revenue compared with just 22 per cent without a website.

‘Today consumers look online first when making buying decisions,’ MYOB CEO Tim Reed said, releasing the survey findings on Wednesday.

‘If your business can’t be found via a search engine, it’s as if you don’t exist.’

Western Australian businesses are leading the way online at 43 per cent, closely followed by NSW and Victoria at 41 and 40 per cent respectively.

Still, not all business are making full use of the internet and some are convinced that the internet is not the way forward.

The survey found that 57 per cent of business still do not promote or sell products and services online.

Almost half without a website said they have no intention of creating one in the future, and 26 per cent don’t believe a website would benefit their business at all.

‘While only 26 per cent of business owners believe their competitors are ahead of them when it comes to the online economy, I’m concerned for Australia’s future international competitiveness if business owners don’t do more to embrace the online economy,’ Mr Reed said.

‘It’s important Aussie business owners take action now to make sure they don’t lose market share to global competitors.’

He said one of the biggest challenges for businesses getting online appears to be having the right skills and knowledge to take the necessary steps to move.

One in three businesses believe they are behind the times in using the internet for business, 35 per cent believe they don’t use the internet well enough for marketing purposes, and 31 per cent believe they don’t use online search engines well enough to market their business.


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Hackers act to wipe out Norway manifesto

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Hackers thumb Hackers act to wipe out Norway manifestoA German hacker group has called for online users to circulate altered versions of the 1500-page manifesto by Norwegian terrorist suspect Anders Behring Breivik, until the original document is drowned out by copies.

‘Ensure that Anders becomes a joke, so nobody takes him seriously any more,’ declared the hacker group Anonymous on Tuesday.

In the 1500-page manifesto, Breivik laid out the racist and anti-Islamist rhetoric that he used to justify last week’s deadly twin attacks on Oslo and a youth camp, in which 76 people died.

Earlier, a senior German police officer said they were investigating claims that Breivik sent copies of the manifesto to extremists in Germany.

An anti-rightwing organisation reported that Breivik sent the document to German neo-Nazis in cities including Dortmund.

‘We are of course investigating this,’ said the chief criminal police officer in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Wolfgang Gatzke. They had maintained a close eye on right-wing extremists since the attacks, he added.

‘No great cheer has erupted in that scene,’ Gatzke said, adding that the overriding response was that it was ‘not in order’ to target young people in terrorist attacks.

Berlin officials previously said Breivik had no links to Germany.

Breivik has confessed to having carried out Friday’s bombing in Oslo and the shootings at Labour Party youth camp on Utoya Island.


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Books, Clothing Top Planned Online Purchases

 Books, Clothing Top Planned Online Purchases

Global online consumers say that books and clothes are the items they most plan to purchase in the next six months, according to analysis of Nielsen Company global data by My Coupon Codes. Forty-four percent of global online consumers say they will buy books online in the next six months, while 36% plan to buy clothing.

Other top planned near-term online purchases include airline tickets (32%), electronic equipment (27%) and airline reservations (26%).

 Books, Clothing Top Planned Online Purchases

Comparing global online spending in the Western hemisphere compared to the Eastern hemisphere, it becomes clear that consumers in the East perform more of their monthly shopping online than their Western counterparts. For example, 51% of Western consumers spend less than 5% of their total monthly expenditures online, 27.5% more than the 40% of Eastern consumers who spend this small amount online per month.

While 28% of both Eastern and Western consumers perform 5-10% of their monthly spending online, the real differences occur in the rates with which they perform 11-25% and 26-50% of their monthly spending online. Nineteen percent of Eastern consumers perform 11-25% of their monthly spending online, 36% more than the 14% of Western consumers who do so.

The discrepancy is even larger among consumers who perform 26-50% of their monthly spending online. Nine percent of Eastern consumers spend this amount, 80% more than the 5% of Western consumers who do so. Spending beyond this level online is rare for consumers in both hemispheres.

 Books, Clothing Top Planned Online PurchasesAlmost nine in 10 (87%) consumers in the Asia-Pacific region have shopped online. Rates online shopping among consumers in Europe (85%), North America (83%) and South America (81%) are relatively similar. However, only 53% of consumers in the Middle East, Africa and Pakistan region have shopped online.

 Books, Clothing Top Planned Online PurchasesIn addition to being the most active online shoppers, Asia-Pacific consumers are also the most critical, with 49% of reviews from consumers in this region being negative. Consumers in Europe (32%) are least critical. Fifty-seven percent of online consumers consider customer reviews prior to making a consumer electronics purchase; other items with a large percentage of online consumers checking reviews include cars (45%) and software (37%).

Consumers who are brand advocates, meaning they habitually share information about products they use, are far more likely to share product data online than non-advocates, according to research released by marketing network BzzAgent in May 2011. This includes using social media, email, e-commerce websites, and online feedback mechanisms.

Brand advocates (28%) are four times as likely as non-advocates (7%) to share information about products, brands, sales or stores via online feedback mechanisms than non-advocates. They are also roughly twice as likely to share information via social media (58% compared to 27%) and e-commerce websites (43% compared to 22%). A smaller, but still significant discrepancy exists in the use of email (53% compared to 39%) for sharing product information.


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