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Tim Berners-Lee, known as the father of the World Wide Web, says Internet users should demand all of their inaccessible data from Facebook, Google, and every other major Web site.
“One of the issues of social networking silos is that they have the data and I don’t,” Berners-Lee told The Guardian in an interview published today. “There are no programs that I can run on my computer which allow me to use all the data in each of the social networking systems that I use plus all the data in my calendar plus in my running map site, plus the data in my little fitness gadget and so on to really provide an excellent support to me.”
To Berners-Lee, technology has the unique ability to understand more about its users than we might give it credit for. He pointed to his smartphone, which, by sitting in his pocket, knows “how much exercise I’ve been getting and how many stairs I’ve been walking up and so on.” He also told The Guardian that his habits on his computer indicate his health and places he’s been.
Human interaction with technology — and thus, Web sites — could make everything far more personalized, Berners-Lee said in the interview. And such personalization, he told The Guardian, could present “tremendous potential to help humanity” by expanding the usability of other sites that can access a person’s data across a wide array of services.
Berners-Lee has been ringing the data-openness bell for years. Back in 2010, he criticized sites like Facebook and LinkedIn for a “silo” approach that keeps user data self-contained and incapable of being easily transferred from one site to another, where that data might be of greater use.
“If we, the Web’s users, allow these and other trends to proceed unchecked, the Web could be broken into fragmented islands,” he wrote in Scientific American in 2010. “We could lose the freedom to connect with whichever Web sites we want. The ill effects could extend to smartphones and pads, which are also portals to the extensive information that the Web provides.”
The stakes, Berners-Lee told The Guardian, could be high. He pointed out that as quickly as some Web services soar in popularity, they too might fail. For example, Digg, once the dominant player in the social-news sector of the Web, is now an also-ran behind Reddit and countless other news-aggregation sites. Berners-Lee argues that today’s Web users should anticipate that, and if the online community could come to some sort of understanding on data portability, taking data from a declining site, like Digg, and transferring it to the rising star could create a more appealing online experience.
But as with anything else, there’s a financial component in all of this. User data is a revenue opportunity, and sharing it with others isn’t always in the best interests of a Web company. Facebook, for example, applies user information to its social advertising to help companies target people more effectively; it’s one of many companies that rely on data to increase revenue. Allowing data to be tossed across the Web to any and all competitors isn’t necessarily something that companies may wish to do.
Google co-founder Sergey Brin may be one of the folks who agrees with Berners-Lee, even though the latter also took aim at the search giant. In an interview with The Guardian that was published on Sunday, Brin made it clear that he believes an “open” Internet is good for everyone and that user data could go a long way in improving innovation across the Web.
“You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive,” Brin said of Apple and Facebook, two companies that he believes are too closed-off. “The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the Web was so open. Once you get too many rules that will stifle innovation.”
Updated at 9:07 a.m. PT
to include more details.
To win over Instagram, Facebook was forced to show its hand.
In early April, Facebook bought the photo-sharing service for $1 billion, agreeing to pay roughly 30 percent in cash and 70 percent in stock, according to people briefed on the negotiations. At that level, Facebook is pegging its own stock price at roughly $30 a share. Based on those numbers, the giant social network is valued at north of $75 billion.
But Facebook could actually be worth more.
During the negotiations with Instagram, the parties framed the deal around a logical assumption: Facebook could soon trade publicly at a much higher market value. As part of the talks, the companies discussed a potential value of about $104 billion for Facebook, the people briefed on the negotiations said. Instagram’s co-founder Kevin Systrom first broached the number, one of the people said.
At $104 billion, the value is roughly in line with where the company has traded at times on the secondary market, where shares of the privately held company have been selling for as high as $40.
While Facebook executives didn’t promote the higher value, the figure helped the Instagram team assess the deal. When Facebook goes public, Instagram’s chief executive and investors could yield some extra profit on the shares of the social networking company. The reverse is true if Facebook doesn’t fare well in its initial public offering.
Previous Internet deals may give Instagram shareholders some cause for optimism. Amazon.com, for instance, bought Zappos in 2009. Amazon gave the shareholders of the shoe retailer 10 million shares, worth $807 million, plus some cash and additional restricted stock units. Those 10 million shares are now worth $1.9 billion.
While deal talks won’t dictate Facebook’s eventual price in the market, the acquisition could offer some insight on how the management team may be valuing the social network ahead of its highly anticipated I.P.O. The company, which is currently in the process of making final changes to its prospectus, is expected to go public next month, people with knowledge of the matter have said. The price of the offering will be determined by several factors, like market demand and the volatility in the equity markets.
With the Instagram deal, Mark Zuckerberg, 27, is also acknowledging the enormous value he has created in the eight years since starting the company.
Founded in his Harvard dormitory in 2004, Facebook has became the world’s largest social network, with more than 845 million users and some 250 million photographs uploaded each day. While it was not the first social Internet company, it has quickly become the largest. At $104 billion, Facebook is worth more than LinkedIn, Twitter, Groupon and Zynga combined. In 2011, Facebook booked a profit of $1 billion on $3.7 billion in revenue.
The Instagram deal, which was described as an “important milestone” by Mr. Zuckerberg, underscores how important mobile has become to Facebook’s ambitions.
With Instagram’s star rising, Mr. Zuckerberg moved quickly on the deal. On April 5, Instagram closed an investment round that valued it $500 million with a group of venture capital investors, including Sequoia Capital, Thrive Capital and Greylock Capital. The next day, Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Systrom, Instagram’s co-founder and chief executive, talked about the outlines of a deal. After a hectic weekend of discussions, the deal was finished on Sunday, and Mr. Zuckerberg unveiled $1 billion transaction the next day his Facebook profile page.
“We don’t plan on doing many more of these, if any at all,” Mr. Zuckerberg said, referring to big acquisitions. “But providing the best photo sharing experience is one reason why so many people love Facebook and we knew it would be worth bringing these two companies together.”
The battle between the Obama and Romney campaigns about whose candidate is the most understanding toward the unemployed, women voters and more has turned to another bloc — dog-lovers.
The latest round centers on an old claim by President Obama that, as a child, he tried dog meat. The Daily Caller ignited the exchange on Twitter with a blog post Tuesday, referring to the excerpt from the president’s best-selling novel “Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance.” In it, Obama talks about growing up in Indonesia and being “introduced to dog meat” and other exotic foods like grasshopper.
The post follows Democrats pouncing on Mitt Romney in January after he acknowledged the family dog, Seamus, made a vacation trip from Boston to Canada in a kennel carrier atop the car roof.
Obama adviser David Axelrod promptly tweeted a photo of Obama sitting in a car beside first family dog Bo.
“How loving owners transport their dogs,” Alexrod tweeted along with the picture.
Romney aide Eric Fehrnstrom tried to turn the Axelrod Tweet to his advantage after the Daily Caller blog — using the Obama-Bo picture in a Tweet with the message: “In hindsight, a chilling photo.”
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt tweeted in response: “What’s the next attack@EricFerhn and the (Republican National Committee) will surface on a 6-10 year old?”
WASHINGTON, April 18 |
WASHINGTON, April 18 (Reuters) – It’s either an amusing way
to follow the 2012 presidential campaign, or the death rattle
for meaningful political discourse in America.
WASHINGTON, April 18 (Reuters) – It’s either an amusing way
Either way, top campaign aides to Democratic President
Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney have taken to
Twitter with relish, in daily verbal battles that underscore how
negative – and silly – the campaign could be during the next
The battles on the social media website, generally sparked
by a “tweet” from either Obama adviser David Axelrod or Romney
adviser Eric Fehrnstrom, create what amount to several news
cycles in a single day, with waves of messages – each of them
less than 140 characters.
The campaigns’ latest dive into pettiness came late Tuesday,
as Fehrnstrom and Axelrod jousted over the issue of … dogs.
Fehrnstrom clearly had been waiting for a chance to return
zingers from Axelrod over Romney’s much-publicized family trip
to Canada in 1983, when Romney transported the family dog,
Seamus, in a crate that was strapped to the top of the Romneys’
The episode, during which the dog lost control of his
bowels, has been lampooned by Democrats who have portrayed
Romney as an uncaring former corporate executive.
Axelrod mocked Romney’s campaign by tweeting a photo of
Obama in the presidential limousine with his dog, Bo.
“How loving owners transport their dogs,” Axelrod wrote.
Fehrnstrom struck back late Tuesday after The Daily Caller,
a conservative news website, reminded its audience that in his
book “Dreams from My Father,” Obama had described being fed dog
meat when he was living in Indonesia between the ages of 6 and
As The Daily Caller’s post was making the rounds on Twitter,
Fehrnstrom re-tweeted Axelrod’s photo of Obama and Bo but added
a new caption: “In hindsight, a chilling photo.”
Meanwhile, waves of dog jokes (and fake dog meat recipes)
lit up Twitter, in messages that were as crude as they were
As trivial as it all might seem at a time when the United
States faces continuing economic uncertainty at home and a war
in Afghanistan, the campaign advisers also are quick to wrangle
over budgets, taxes and other issues more likely to show up in
an exit poll than dogs.
Axelrod and Fehrnstrom told Reuters on Wednesday that
Twitter can quickly communicate a campaign’s message – and keep
“Can it be silly and cheap at times? Absolutely,” Axelrod
said. “Can it also be a useful tool? Yes. I think it is both a
way to quickly communicate to the media, and a way to share
information and ideas more broadly.”
Fehrnstrom said the new medium is a valuable tool.
“Twitter is another channel of communication,” Fehrnstrom
said. “It wasn’t around for the last election but it is now, and
we intend to open and make use of all the different channels. A
lot of reporters use it, it’s popular with people age 30 or
above, not so much with the younger crowd, but it’s a place
where stories can incubate before breaking out into the
So will any of this chatter actually influence voters’
decisions in November?
Probably not, said Larry Berman, a political analyst and
dean of the Honors College at Georgia State University.
“I pay no attention,” Berman said. I “suspect this
fascinates inside-Beltway folks, (but) it will have little
impact or significance.”
(Editing by David Lindsey and Eric Beech)
(Mashable) — Twitter announced an internal patent agreement on Tuesday that it says will empower designers and engineers — as well as hopefully begin a movement to quell the tech world’s rash of patent infringement lawsuits.
Publicly revealed in a blog post and dubbed the Innovator’s Patent Agreement (IPA), the policy pledges that Twitter will not pursue offensive litigation over patents without the consent of the employees who created them.
If someone else sues Twitter over a patent, however, the company can use patents awarded to employees or former employees to defend itself.
The IPA has been greeted by many developers as an important step away from the “patent trolling” that many tech companies have been accused of recently — most notably Intellectual Ventures, founded by Microsoft veteran Nathan Myhrvold, as well as Yahoo.
In an opinion piece for Wired, Upcoming.org founder and former Yahoo employee Andy Baio called the suit “an attack on invention and the hacker ethic,” explaining why support for Twitter’s IPA has been strong.
Take, for example, the popular “pull-to-refresh” function found in Twitter’s iPhone app. News that Twitter had moved to patent the technology — credited to Loren Brichter, founder of Tweetie, which Twitter acquired in 2010 — stirred some consternation among techies that the company could pursue aggressive litigation down the line.
The new IPA — which applies retroactively to patents the company has already filed and still gives designers and engineers ultimate power after they leave Twitter — essentially rules that out. Brichter endorsed the move in a tweet on Tuesday:
In Twitter’s blog post, vice president of engineering Adam Messinger says the company has begun to “reach out to other companies to discuss the IPA and whether it might make sense to them, too.” Twitter also posted a draft of the agreement to the online open-source archive GitHub as a way to further spread the word.
The move to more formally adopted agreements like Twitter’s appears to have already gained some traction among tech companies, as well as developers: Foursquare’s engineering lead Harry Heymann said he’s a “big fan” of the move; Facebook has expressed support for the idea; and the British startup Multizone committed to following suit with this tweet:
@nuxnix: @adam_messinger the IPA is a great innovation. We will adopt it @multizone as we have been struggling with exactly this issue. Thank you
Do you applaud Twitter’s IPA? Do you think software patents should exist in their present form? Let us know in the comments.
© 2011 MASHABLE.com. All rights reserved.
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Find the church by going online — the 21st-century version of sighting a steeple on the horizon. Beyond their website, Christ Fellowship has a Facebook page to give it a friendly presence in social media.
You can download the worship program by scanning their customized-with-a-cross QR code. The worship services are streamed online from their Internet campus — with live chat running so you can share spiritual insights in real time.
Afterward, says senior Pastor Bruce Miller, “someone will ask you, ‘How did it go? Did God help you, today? How can we help you?’ Just like we do when people come to our building in McKinney. We are here to help people find and follow Christ, wherever they are starting out from.”
And wherever they are in the digital world.
Christ Fellowship Church
Sermons by Bruce Miller, senior pastor of Christ Fellowship Church in McKinney, Texas, are part of the streaming worship service offered by the church’s Internet campus.
Christ Fellowship exemplifies most of the latest ways churches dramatically extend their reach of church beyond any one time or local address. Such congregations signal “a willingness to meet new challenges,” says Scott Thumma, of the Hartford Institute for Religion Research. He’s the author of a study by Faith Communities Today (FACT) of how churches, synagogues and mosques use the Internet and other technology.
FACT’s national survey of 11,077 of the nation’s 335,000 congregations, released in March, found seven in 10 U.S. congregations had websites, and four in 10 had Facebook pages by 2010, Thumma says.
The use of QR codes is too new to be measured yet, Thumma says. He recently began tracking churches that stream their worship — about 1% of congregations, Thumma estimates.
Future surveys may also measure the explosion of digital applications. Christ Fellowship has an app for donating online and another one for swapping goods and services to help others in the community — 2,100 people at the Texas church campus and God knows how many online.
Believers have always been early adopters every new form of communication since the first printed book was the Gutenberg Bible. Centuries later, examples abound beyond individual congregations. A sampling:
•Pope Benedict XVI‘s annual World Communications address emphasized the importance of a Christian presence in the digital world. The Vatican has a Web TV channel and had a Twitter campaign during Lent.
•Confession: A Roman Catholic App — released for the iPhone a year ago by www.littleiapps.com, a U.S. company — has been downloaded more than 100,000 times. Sacraments can’t be done virtually so “you are not YouTube-ing or e-mailing your confession,” says Patrick Leinen, a co-founder of the company.
The app is a “personalized examination of conscience,” an aid that prompts you through the required pre-confession soul searching. Then you can bring your notes right in to meet the priest, Leinen says.
•The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, a pioneer in print, radio, television and satellite-broadcast outreach for decades, now employs search-engine algorithms to steer people toward salvation.
Their Internet evangelism project, launched last fall, scours search engines for people who enter phrases such as, “Does God love me” or “Does God answer prayers?”
The results page includes a paid listing that highlights a website introducing Christ, www.PeaceWithGod.jesus.net.
People who sign on to the sinner’s prayer on that page turn up in a real-time scroll of the latest “decisions” at www.SearchforJesus.net, a page that explains the Internet ministry.
•You can sing along with a new tablet hymnal from Church Publishing. In March, the Episcopal Church‘s publishing house released eHymnals for the iPad and other digital readers.
With the infinite reach of technology, “people are able to confront God in unique ways even if they are hundreds of miles apart,” says John Mark Reynolds, director of the honors institute at Biola University, a private evangelical school south of Los Angeles in La Mirada, Calif. Biola held a conference on blogging two years ago. It updated to a Web-focused conference last year and this summer the conference will zero in on digital technology.
No matter the technology, the overall focus remains the same, Reynolds says.
“How can the Christian Church utilize the tools media has given us without being subsumed by them? You don’t want delivery to become everything,” he says.
Technology should ultimately be an enhancement, not a replacement, for gathering in person for worship, discussion, debate and service to others, Drew Goodmanson says.
Goodmanson is chief executive officer of Monk Development, which helps churches use the Internet to fulfill their missions. He appreciates that “you can have a digital Bible in the palm of your hand or connect with others in prayer any time anywhere.”
Nevertheless, Goodmanson says, “Jesus would not have a Facebook page. He wouldn’t be stopping in an Internet café to update his status.”
SAN JOSE, Calif SAN JOSE, Calif. – Congratulations, recruit! It’s time to learn the ropes of your Facebook engineering job./pp Take a seat at one of Facebook’s long, white desks and look at the piece of paper taped on your monitor: “Welcome to Facebook!”/pp Underneath, printed in big, bold, red letters, are slogans like: “We Hack Therefore We Are,” or “Move Fast and Break Things.” Within days, your software code will be in front of our more than 845 million users./pp And so begins the six-week journey of a new employee class in Facebook’s “Bootcamp,” an experience shared by every engineering hire, whether they are a grizzled Silicon Valley veteran or a fresh-faced computer science grad. Since 2008, hundreds of Facebook’s engineers have passed through Bootcamp, which may lack the physical tests of military basic training but does provide the same kind of shared experience and cultural indoctrination into the world’s largest social network./pp Bootcamp is one part employee orientation, one part software training program and one part fraternity/sorority rush. When new engineering recruits are hired at Facebook, they typically do not know what job they will do. They choose their job assignment and product team at the culmination of Bootcamp, a program that exemplifies Facebook’s adherence to founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s “Hacker Way,” an organizational culture that is supposed to be egalitarian, risk-taking, self-starting, irreverent, collaborative and creative./pp Each new recruit needs to take a deep breath. Within a few days, all are expected to be pushing live software updates out to the better part of a billion users. If a Bootcamper crashes part of Facebook doing that, well, it won’t be the first time./pp “I would describe it as a way for us to educate our engineers not only on how we code and how we do our systems, but also how to culturally think about how to attack challenges and how to meet people,” said Joel Seligstein, the head of the Bootcamp program, who might be described as Facebook’s answer to Yoda. “We like to teach what’s important very early on, on Day 1. I would say it’s even more of a cultural program than it is a teaching program.”/pp From “the HP Way” at Hewlett-Packard to Google’s sense of what’s “Googley,” company culture is a mainstay of Silicon Valley life. With workplace perks like free gourmet food and other amenities, life at Facebook doesn’t look much different on the surface from Google, Zynga, Twitter or many other young, fast-growing Internet companies./pp But Facebook takes its zeal for culture one step further. It plasters the walls of its offices with slogans like “Code Wins Arguments” and “Move Fast and Break Things,” Facebook’s version of Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book of quotations. Rather than top-down commandments, however, employees are encouraged to tweak those messages or add their own opinions in chalk or paint, a ritual called “Hacking the Space.”/pp Within the company, it is an article of faith that the culture of constant change embodied by those sayings differentiates Facebook from its competitors, and will allow the company to remain nimble even as it goes through a landmark initial public offering of stock this year./pp “It’s a quasi-religious iconoclasm,” said David Kirkpatrick, author of “The Facebook Effect,” a 2010 book about the rise of the social network. “Facebook takes its culture deadly seriously. They know the pace at which they arose and became dominant in their field was even faster than Mark Zuckerberg expected. They also know that things on the Internet are constantly changing at an extremely rapid rate, and the only way any organization can stay alive is to be unbelievably dynamic.”/pp Nothing encapsulates that culture better than Bootcamp, a program started in 2008 by Andrew “Boz” Bosworth, a burly and gregarious Saratoga, Calif., native with a map of California tattooed on his forearm who was one of Zuckerberg’s teaching assistants at Harvard. One of the keepers of Facebook culture, Bosworth started Bootcamp when Facebook’s engineering organization passed 150 people, a threshold known as “Dunbar’s number,” the maximum number of people with whom humans are believed to be able to maintain stable social relationships./pp Almost immediately after reporting for Bootcamp, new hires get assigned by Seligstein to work independently on a few real software bugs and problems, between lectures and other Bootcamp activities. The expectation is that some of their code should be ready to go live within days – one way Bootcamp tries to unlearn habits that don’t fit with Facebook’s urgent, ship-it-now culture./pp The program is so important that Zuckerberg included an explanation in his “Hacker Way” letter on Facebook’s philosophy that accompanied the company’s IPO filing in February./pp “There are a lot of folks in the industry who manage engineers and don’t want to code themselves, but the type of hands-on people we’re looking for are willing and able to go through Bootcamp,” Zuckerberg wrote./pp /pp Now that Facebook is growing so fast – about one-third of the company’s roughly 3,200 employees have been hired since the start of 2011 – Bootcamp has become a critical way to expose new hires to the company’s values and culture./pp Beyond all else, Facebook executives say, employees have not just the freedom, but the obligation, to try new things and fail, because “shipping code” – adding new software that runs the website – as quickly as possible is crucial to the company’s success./pp What other Silicon Valley companies “don’t do is let their employees take risks, and have failure be OK,” said Jocelyn Goldfein, a Facebook director of engineering. “I think that is part of the secret sauce at Facebook. I didn’t understand this one until after I got here – that the tolerance for failure, that ‘Move Fast and Break Things,’ is actually what keeps us open to continue to innovate.”/pp “Can you think of another site that routinely pisses off such a large percentage of their customers?” she asked, referring to the user outrage that greets every Facebook change. “But you can think of lots that had plenty of happy users, and eventually dwindled into irrelevance.”/pp Even though she was a longtime manager at VMware and high-profile hire in 2010, Goldfein went through Bootcamp like everybody else. By her first week, she said, she had shipped more software code at Facebook than she did in her seven years at VMware./pp And, as has happened before, a fellow Bootcamper, working on one of the software bugs that new recruits are typically assigned to fix, made a mistake that crashed part of Facebook./pp “That was a really scary experience for him,” Goldfein said. “But no one said, ‘You idiot; you don’t belong here.’ They said, ‘Hey, you tried, and here’s what we’re going to do to try to fix it, and this is what you’ve learned.’ That experience of having people rally around you is really tremendous, and what it teaches you to do to is rally around other people.”/pp /pp A Bootcamp class, which can range from three to 40 new engineers, doesn’t look much different during the program from any other group of Facebook engineers. There are lectures and talks from top executives like Vice President of Engineering Mike Schroepfer, and Bootcampers learn about the various product groups in preparation for deciding where they want to work. But for the most part, they work independently mastering Facebook’s software code base, the long tables that support their large monitors cluttered with cans of Red Bull and Starbucks iced coffee./pp One current Bootcamp attendee, Ali-Reza Adl-Tabatabai, was most recently the director of the programming systems lab and senior principal engineer at Intel Labs./pp “You have people coming into the company – they are engineers, but within the week, you are allowing them to change a part of the product that then becomes visible to millions of users,” said Adl-Tabatabai. “One thing that really surprised me was how open the culture is. It seems there are no secrets inside.”/pp An early lesson in Bootcamp is that it’s fine for any employee to walk up to Zuckerberg or Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to talk about an engineering problem or a company issue./pp “That is actually very hard to teach people,” Seligstein said./pp But it is a significant lesson./pp “What makes (Facebook) flat is that Zuck is very hands-on with the product,” Goldfein said. “When he wants to find out what’s going on in his organization, he doesn’t go talk to the VP, who talks to the director, who talks to the manager, who talks to the engineer. Zuck goes and talks directly to the engineer.”/pp THE “HACKER WAY”:/pp CEO Mark Zuckerberg and others at Facebook believe the company’s culture is an important element of its success. A look at some of Facebook’s key internal values:/pp -Egalitarian: Facebook lacks hierarchical titles like “principal engineer” or “senior engineer.”/pp -Flat: At no time should there be more than three layers of management between an engineer working on a product and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Even for a major product like Facebook’s new Timeline feature, engineering teams begin as a dozen people or fewer./pp -Just Do It: Engineers are expected to tackle problems on their own accord, to build a prototype that fixes a problem, rather than debating how to do something, or spending too much time trying to get it perfect./pp -”Hackathons” and “Hack-a-months”: Every few months, Facebook engineers pull an all-nighter called Hackathon, trying out software ideas that sometimes turn into real products. Employees are encouraged to do temporary tours with other product teams, something called “Hack-a-month.”/pp FACEBOOK SLOGANS/pp Starting with Bootcamp, Facebook recruits are exposed to a series of slogans that are intended to encapsulate the company’s values. Among the sayings posted on red-letter posters around any Facebook office are:/pp -Move Fast and Break Things/pp -What Would You Do If You Weren’t Afraid?/pp -The Foolish Wait/pp -Our Work Is Never Over/pp -We Hack Therefore We Are/pp -Are You Fearless?/pp -Done Is Better Than Perfect/pp -Code Wins Arguments
Google co-founder Sergey Brin has taken to his Google+ page to clarify his rather unflattering opinions about Facebook and Apple and how they impact the Internet.
Brin on Sunday was featured in a wide-ranging feature on The Guardian, discussing his thoughts on the Internet and freedom across the Web. He touched on a host of topics, including government censorship and entertainment industry crackdowns, but it was his comments on Facebook and Apple that garnered the most attention.
“You have to play by their rules, which are really restrictive,” Brin told The Guardian. “The kind of environment that we developed Google in, the reason that we were able to develop a search engine, is the web was so open. Once you get too many rules that will stifle innovation.”
In a Google+ posting this morning, Brin backtracked a bit on his criticism of Facebook and Apple, saying that the article was “a short summary of a long discussion,” adding that he believed his “thoughts got particularly distorted in the secondary coverage” of the story.
“So to clarify, I certainly do not think this issue is on a par with government based censorship,” Brin wrote of the Facebook and Apple mentions. “Moreover, I have much admiration for two of the companies we discussed — Apple and Facebook. I have always admired Apple’s products. In fact, I am writing this post on an Imac and using an Apple keyboard I have cherished for the past seven years.
“Likewise, Facebook has helped to connect hundreds of millions of people, has been a key tool for political expression and has been instrumental to the Arab Spring,” Brin continued. “Both have made key contributions to the free flow of information around the world.”
Still, there’s no love lost between those companies. Brin has a vested interest in seeing Facebook open up more of its content to the Web, and Apple’s proprietary approach has consistently run against Google’s best interests.
But in the end, Brin believes that keeping the Internet open — and ensuring governments get their hands off of it — is an integral component in the Web’s future success.
“But regardless of how you feel about digital ecosystems or about Google, please do not take the free and open internet for granted from government intervention,” Brin wrote. “To the extent that free flow of information threatens the powerful, those in power will seek to suppress it.”
Adam Hollioake, the former England allrounder, has made an emotional appeal for the return of stolen cricket kit belonging to his late brother, Ben.
Ben Hollioake’s cricket kit was stolen from his parents’ home in Perth, Western Australia and was among their most treasured possessions following his death in a car accident ten years ago.
Adam Hollioake told ESPNcricinfo that, by Wednesday night in Perth, Western Australia police had recovered “two small bags” of kit, but that much remains missing, to the revulsion of cricket figures in both England and Australia who have launched a mass campaign on social media to recover all of it.
The West Australian newspaper has reported: “It is understood the secure parking area of the apartment building where Ben’s parents Daria and John reside was broken into sometime between 6.30pm on Tuesday and 8.45am today.
“Police said a storeroom within the First Avenue address in Applecross had been forced open and boxes searched. The thieves then removed Ben’s cricket bag before fleeing with their loot. Just before 6pm police said they had executed a search warrant and as a result had recovered some of the items.”
Adam Hollioake sounded distraught when he took to Twitter in a plea for help to recover Ben’s old England gear, including sweaters, shirts, helmets and bats.
“I need all my Facebook friends twitter followers to trawl eBay any other site where these little maggots might be trying to sell his stuff,” Hollioake tweeted. “Let’s make sure they have stolen a ticking time bomb!! I am a fair dude and if someone comes to me wants food or drink they can sit at my table eat with me…But you upset my Mumma and I will f*** your s*** up!!!
The appeal brought an immediate response with a host of cricket figures expressing their anger.
Stuart Broad, the England allrounder, tweeted: “His old playing shirts and stuff must mean so much to his family. To think that someone could have the nerve to rob them is sick.”
Broad’s England bowling colleague, James Anderson, said: “Can’t believe someone would steal Ben Hollioake’s England kit from his parents house. Please help get it back.
Ben Hollioake, before his death at 24, promised to be one of the most charismatic England cricketers of the age, briefly drawing comparisons with Ian Botham after a thrilling debut, at 19, in a one-day international against Australia at Lord’s in 1997. He was killed in a car accident in South Perth in March 2002.
After some of the equipment was discovered, Adam Hollioake tweeted his thanks. “Can’t thank you all and the media for the amazing response to my bro’s stolen kit,” he said. “Without u there is doubt we would have retrieved any of his kit back.
“You are all truly amazing on behalf of my family i would like to thank you all. Don’t mess with my friends on twitter…they r all badass ”
I cant thank you all the media for the amazing response to my bro’s stolen kit…without u (cont) tl.gd/h1dh89
— Adam Hollioake (@adamhollioake) April 18, 2012
Anybody with information on the crime can contact Western Australia police or Adam Hollioake @adamhollioake on Twitter