Source: New Pirate Bay Proxies Spring Up
Source: New Pirate Bay Proxies Spring Up
Two Twitter accounts associated with Anonymous have claimed responsibility for a denial of service attack on the Interpol website, which is currently out of commission. The international law enforcement agency arrested 25 suspected hackers in more than a dozen cities across Europe and Latin America today. Interpol’s “Operation Unmask” followed what it called “a series of coordinated cyber-attacks originating from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain.”
The @anonopshispano account called for the attack at 1:54 p.m. Pacific time. The worldwide news account @AnonOps first tweeted “TANGO DOWN” at 2:43 p.m. Pacific time. It published a second message five minutes later, proclaiming that “#Anonymous is not a criminal organization.”
Interpol’s statement on Operation Unmask cites attacks on Colombian government websites, Chile’s national library and a Chliean electric company. Police from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain carried out the arrests, seizing 250 computers and mobile phones, as well as credit cards and cash. Suspects ranged in age from 17 to 40.
At press time, the Interpol site is struggling to recover, but it is no longer completely down.
— Anonymous Hispano (@anonopshispano) February 28, 2012
— AnonOps (@anonops) February 28, 2012
— AnonOps (@anonops) February 28, 2012
If you think the smartphone you own today makes you more worldly, more cosmopolitan, then take a good look at this five-color geopolitical world map as perceived by BrowserRank.com. Using data compiled from StatCounter’s latest projections of mobile operating system usage country-by-country (the firm detects browser usage, and then backtracks from there to decipher mobile OS), BrowserRank paints most of the world cyan. Cyan, it turns out, is for Symbian.
Wait, wait a moment… Isn’t Symbian dead? Didn’t Nokia reach a deal with Microsoft? Even though Windows Phone is not represented on this chart (it’s not the most popular mobile OS in any single country), if you’re Microsoft, you might not be feeling in too bad shape right now. Nokia’s presence – even its outgoing one – dominates Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Brazil.
If anyone at Google knows how to play the classic game of Risk, she can look at this map and conclude the game is nowhere near settled. The little rainforest of green in northern South America is now BlackBerry’s only island of respite. But Android has a lock on Chile, Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina, as well as a booming presence in Eastern Europe, as well as Spain and Portugal, South Korea and Taiwan. If Google could amass some ammunition, it could launch a serious attack against Brazil and the Baltic States, and then Russia, India, and China. That sea of blue is up for grabs.
That is, if the game is Risk. These past few weeks, the ammunition that Google has been working to amass is in the form of intellectual property. Its plan to acquire Motorola Mobility (MMI) is closer to settled, with regulators in the European Union and the United States signing off on the plan this week. From an American vantage point, it’s as though the deal is already done, and Google is out to attack Apple.
From a global vantage point… Apple is not the objective. Territory is the objective.
According to StatCounter’s statistics, Android smartphones and tablets enjoy an impressive 58.2% market share, with iOS devices hovering at about 32% after a mild decline in Q1 2011. MMI has a major presence in Taiwan, which is one reason why the Google deal must still clear Taiwanese authorities. But for many in that country, their crown jewel is HTC.
So while American analysts have cast a skeptical eye on whether the many partners in the Open Handset Alliance will continue to be treated equally, Focus Taiwan‘s take is that whatever helps Android helps HTC. At least reporter Jeffrey Wu reached that conclusion after evaluating both U.S. and Taiwan financial analysts’ reports, and citing those which conceded the deal would not hurt HTC all that much.
If things turn negative for HTC in the short term, according to Wu’s read of a Morgan Stanley report, it could always turn its attention to building more Windows Phones. If you combine that logic with Wu’s take on Nomura Securities analyst Aaron Jeng’s report, you could conclude this: As Google amasses MMI’s patents to build up its defense, then the companies that benefit from that protection will include those that are not tied to building Android phones exclusively. So Windows Phone, by way of HTC and others, could feel the benefit of the proverbial rising tide.
Meanwhile, China Post – which, surprisingly, is published in the same country – takes a completely opposite view. Based on Reuters’ talk with Yuanta Securities analyst Bonnie Chang, it spun a completely different theory, which goes like this: Google probably doesn’t want to run a manufacturing operation; it just needs the patents. So if the move ends up benefitting a Taiwanese firm seeking patent protection to get into the Android game, such as Huawei, it could end up selling MMI’s manufacturing arm to Huawei. On the other hand, if HTC starts leaning more toward the Microsoft camp, Google could choose to hang onto MMI and use it to compensate for market share that HTC and others might siphon off. Call it an option play.
Perhaps no country is more emblematic of how ripe the cyan part of the world is (Symbian territory) for takeover, than Argentina. As As StatCounter’s numbers confirm, the holiday period saw an extremely sudden rise in Android phone popularity, whose cake was effectively iced in December by the government’s decision there to block sales of foreign-made phones, including Apple iPhones, in a move described as temporary in the midst of that country’s struggling economy. Research In Motion stated in July that it intends to open a factory in Argentina, though progress on that matter has been slow.
In a solid analysis of the situation for Lanacion.com, the Web site for Argentina’s national newspaper (English language translation here), Ariel Torres argues that whether it realizes this or not, Google needs a hardware division. It made its fortune through advertising, certainly, but while that was lucrative for its day, it might not remain so for very long. Android’s future cannot be tied to that of a company whose business isn’t really Android.
Argentina’s sudden ban on foreign smartphones gave Android an artificial window of opportunity – one which might close if the economy picks up. Torres keys in on the possibility that the infusion of Motorola’s knowhow into Google’s philosophy could change the company’s culture. Such a change might not only give MMI an advantage in producing the most desirable Android phones first, but present a challenge for a manufacturer whose phones are mostly imported – thus subject to the government ban. MMI does produce a version of the Droid Pro in Tierra del Fuego.
Google Currents is a new tablet app launched today that makes reading of syndicated web content easier, faster and more enjoyable than almost any other interface you can imagine. It’s like Flipboard but for RSS feeds. People are going to love it. That’s the nice way to describe it.
You could also call it the sterilization of the social web. Just like today’s new Twitter redesign makes things nice and pretty for non-technical users – Google Currents is infinitely friendlier and more accessible than any RSS reader – even Google’s own Reader. Unfortunately, in the current application that ease of use comes at a great cost: Google Currents does away with many of the best parts of the social web. It sings a catchy tune, but there’s far less life inside the experience. It’s not just a bummer, either – it’s a threat to what’s great about blogging.
Back in the good old days, when you were reading a blog – it would often link to one or more other blogs that made a good point or had published a good article. You could click over to that new blog and check it out. If you liked what you’d just discovered, and you weren’t scared of orange icons, you could subscribe to receive every new article that new blog ever published in an inbox called an RSS reader. It was like magic – your universe could be explode with new people and sources of information.
Google Currents doesn’t let you do that. If you’ve got a Google Reader account from the hard old days you can add one subscription at a time to Currents, but if you discover something new out on the web at large – clicking the RSS icon does nothing. It’s like an empty smile – not a portal into a world of potential learning and fun – just a dead link. It’s a violation of an important universal law to kill an RSS link, but that’s what Google Currents has done. Those feeds, promises of new relationships easily entered into so easily, were awfully messy anyway weren’t they? Surely you’d prefer one of the hand selected recommended feeds back in the safe confines of the Currents interface.
Those untamed pioneers who subscribed to RSS feeds in a feed reader (and shaved their face with a wagon wheel) sometimes swam in what was called a river of news. A River of News is a beautiful thing. Let’s say you were reading the fabulous group blog on humanities Crooked Timber (one of my early favorite blogs and still going strong!) and you looked at the sidebar of the page. There you’d find what was called a Blogroll, where bloggers would like freely to other blogs that they liked. There is no place for such frivolity in Google Currents, of course, you will read the stripped down primary content and nothing else.
You might click on a link in the blogroll, heck you might click on every link in the blogroll, and you might find one, two or twenty other humanities blogs you found inspiring. Then you’d click on the orange RSS icon (not anymore! not in Currents!) and you would enter a sacred but lightweight pact to have delivered to you every article that those blogs published in the future. You wouldn’t have to visit their pages and see if they published anything new – you’d just open up your feed reader (a messy, noisy, unpretty thing) and be exposed to The River of News. The newest posts from every blog you’d ever subscribed to, all in a stream, in the order they were published in, with the very freshest article at the top.
You cannot do that in Google Currents.
Maybe in your feed reader you’d put all those Humanities blogs in a folder titled “Humanities.” Maybe you’d click around and discover other blogs about Finance, Argentina, old movies, new movies, fast cars, loud-talking women – whatever the case was, one blog would link to another blog and another and you could, with a click, fill up your universe with birds of many feathers.
Then you could open up your feed reader and say “Universe! Show me the latest deep thoughts from the world of Finance! From my favorite sources on Argentina! From 5 loud-talking women I’ve never met but have grown to love because I never fail to receive their latest blog posts inside my precious feed reader!”
Maybe that day you’d meet a new one and you’d subscribe.
Then one day you’d read an article inside a feed that made you want to post a comment. You’d click through to the web page and you’d pour out your thoughts and feelings. And you’d read the considered perspectives of other people from all around the world who posted comments.
Not in Google Currents you don’t. At least when reading the approved sources (called “Editions”) you cannot click through to the websites the articles have come from. You cannot read comments, you cannot post comments, you can only swipe fruitlessly at your iPad wishing you could find a place to engage in the community that is a blog but instead finding that another discussion-free article from the same source has slid into your field of vision. You might feel disoriented, you might feel alone, you might feel like someone who grew up in a broadcast media world who once was no longer rendered silent and alone but now who is so again. You might cry a little, or start to scream for help. (I wouldn’t blame you.)
You might try to bookmark an article with Delicious, but you cannot – there is only Pinboard. You might see the section titled “User Generated” and run there with high hopes – but you’ll find that it’s just a bunch of professionally produced video content posted to a site cynically named “You Tube.”
Back in the old days, all that clicking around, free subscribing, commenting and reading comments – that was the stuff that gave new little blogs a reason to live. You could have ten readers and if they posted comments and new people came around sometimes and sometimes stayed – that is like the breath of life for new bloggers. Take that away from them and just put the best big blogs in a pretty box and what have you got? The death of blogging is what you’ve got. You’ve got some bloggers like me today who will have thousands of silent readers enjoying this blog on their iPads – but you won’t have as many bloggers like me 7 years ago, finding my first small communities online in the network of independent blogs and their comments. That means fewer voices, less diversity, less discourse and democracy, less vigorous debate, less defense of and dignity for the formerly voiceless.
It’s not all bad, of course. When you look at a trending topic there is an “About” tab, offering up expository content about current events. It’s a much friendlier way to read content than RSS readers, which for some sad reason scared away most of the world.
I’ve got some respect for Justin Bieber – I watched his movie in 3D and learned that he’s a seriously talented musician. When someone dulls their capabilities in order to reach a larger audience, though, you have to wonder what that means for the message that could have been communicated by full-throated exploration of what’s really possible.
It is awfully clean looking though, isn’t it?