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lördag 27 november 2010

Science at the dinner table

Here is a humoristic video about benefits of science and the internet. Thought it was pretty funny.


Annual Question 2010: How is the Internet changing the way you think?


in January the Edge, an organization "aimed to bring together people working at the edge of a broad range of scientific and technical fields", posed the annual question 2010, which is according to the founder John Brockman:


121 scientists, authors and professionals outline the answer - among others Nicholas Carr, Yochai Benkler, Robert Shapiro and Evgevny Morozov. A really good collection of qualified opinions. Enjoy!


onsdag 24 november 2010

New device for social media

We may not only looking for or try to invent something new for the social media based on laptop or PC. We could think by jump out of the box. Why can't we design something new for social network or media that could replace or improve the PC?

Like a forum, or blog or facebook, there must be some brand new way that can totally change our life like years ago facebook changed us.

Check this.

Also, there is a new device called "ippi" that just invented by Swedes, this so called "enlarged cell phone as large as you want" device really be loved by senior people. It is divided into two parts. One is called the basement, which is connected to TV screen, and with a sim card and SD card, like a cell phone without screen. The other part is a remoter. When SMS comes in, it bling blings, you can just read it on your TV screen by simply press the button on the remoter!

This is a brand new device not only for senior people obviously. it is really convenience and may someday replace the fixed phone.

Check this out:

It's in Swedish, because it is only sold in Sweden right now. Even you can not find in other Nordic countries.

But really brilliant!

/Xiaoyi Liu

Nov 30 (13-15) open KTH Seminar on "Network Visualization - Overview, State-of-the-Art and Challenges"

Seminar - Network Visualization - Overview, State-of-the-Art and Challenges

Tuesday, 30 November 2010, 13:15 at Torget, Lindstedtsvägen 5, floor 6

by Prof. Andreas Kerren, Computer Science, Linnaeus University, Växjö


The visual analysis of large and complex network data is one of the most challenging disciplines of information visualization with various application fields. A prominent example is the generation of huge data sets in the life sciences by high-throughput experimental techniques, e.g., DNA microarray experiments. Since the manual analysis of this data is costly and time-consuming, biologists are now turning towards computational methods that support data analysis. The information in many experimental data sets can be either represented as networks or interpreted in the context of networks that are used, for example, to guide further experiments. Similar observations can be made in other scientific fields, such as social network analysis.

Aim of this presentation is to provide an overview on how the interactive visualization of networks can support a better understanding of the network topologies themselves as well as of so-called primary and secondary data which is mapped onto network elements. Here, I will focus on selected interaction techniques and visual representations and exemplify them by means of state-of-the-art visualization tools. Finally, I will conclude this talk by illuminating the most important challenges in the field of network visualization.

Privacy in social media (Wed Dec 1)

Several seminar groups chose to discuss the question about why we choose to upload so much of our personal stuff to Facebook despite the service's flimsy privacy and ownership assurances.

I mentioned that two students at media technology will present their bachelor's thesis on a related topic next week. The date and time for Dhavyd and Amel's presentation is Wed Dec 1 at 13.00-13.30 in seminar room 1635 (top floor in building E).

The presentation will unfortunately be in Swedish, but some of you still might find it interesting to attending the presentation/defense of "Privacy in social media: A study of young people's privacy on Facebook". Here is the English-language abstract (the English language needs to be fixed in the final version of the thesis, but it is still more relevant here than the better-written Swedish-language abstract):

Social media combines social interaction and user‐generated content. One of the most famous and used social media is the Web site Facebook, which is based on people make contact with others, share interests by different groups, post photos, and more. A subject that is often debated in the context of the social media rampage is how the privacy is considered.

The concept of privacy is not yet defined in the Swedish legislation. Under the European Convention the personal integrity or personal liberty is about "freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers". In our own environment, we have noticed that many people tend to publish much information about their privacy on the Internet. Thus we ask ourselves: "What are the views of people for privacy on the Internet?" This question we try to answer in this report.

Since young people constitute a large proportion of users on Facebook, we chose to examine how young people in secondary school age think and act on social networks, especially Facebook. We conducted three focus groups, at Tullinge gymnasium in Botkyrka, where we asked a number of issues including surrounding their usage and behavior on Facebook. We, however, tried not to pay us only at our own affairs and let the conversations take different directions, depending on what young people themselves raised.

Most of the focus group participants pointed out that Facebook has become a trend and we felt that there was an undertone about why they feel compelled to join because "everyone is there" (more in Section 6.2).

We found in focus groups that young people were very willing to share their private life and most of them are not worried about what they post on Facebook. To some extent, they rely on the chosen security settings, but we noticed that many of them were completely unaware of some potential hazards (Section 7.2). Although it said the majority of participants in the focus groups that they do not need any kind of help to understand such dangers in social media. They would, however, like to see such assistance to the young teenagers who are just beginning to participate in such forums. We note however that even the elderly who seem to be more experienced and knowledgeable need help, but not as much as the younger ones.

We concluded that young people in today's society tend to publish much about their private lives, but often depends some parts of this behavior on ignorance about what impact certain behavior could lead to.


The Electro Wars

If you plan to visit the on going film festival here in Stockholm I would recommend anyone who takes the course to visit a screening of Electro Wars, especially if you are into electronic music. The documentary covers the remix culture including aspects such as bedroom producing, genre blending and "blog house".

While the film is low budget and intentionally follows few, if any, conventional guidelines of documentary filmmaking, it still offers an interesting and thought-provoking insight into the electronic music genre and community. The focus is on the American scene, I would personally prefer if the European scene would be covered at a larger extent, since I believe it is in many ways further developed. Either way, it is one of very few up-to-date documentaries on the electric music scene, and it is definitely worth a watch!


Nov 25 (13-15) open KTH Seminar on "Supporting Online Civic Engagement and Deliberation"


Colloquium - The Living Voters Guide: Supporting Online Civic Engagement and Deliberation

Wednesday, 24 November 2010, 13:15 at Torget (Lindstedtsvägen 5, 6th floor)

by W. Lance Bennett, Olof Palme Professor 2010 at Department of Political Science, Stockholm University,
Professor Alan Borning, Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Potsdam, Germany

Project description

Both professor Bennett and professor Borning are visiting European academic institutions from their departments at University of Washington in Seattle:
Professor Bennett from Departments of Political Science and Communication,
Professor Borning from Department of Computer Science & Engineering


Public engagement and deliberation play key roles in democratic society. Yet, there are significant problems in both of these areas at present, both in America and elsewhere. Civic engagement is uneven at best, and thoughtful public deliberation about major issues is often displaced either by apathy or shrill and extreme voices. Another important trend is the decline of traditional mass media, and the simultaneous rise of alternatives such as blogs and social networking tools for political engagement as well as other purposes. Yet, civic discourse in these media is often shrill and disrespectful as well.

In a new research project, funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, we are investigating the design, implementation, deployment, and testing of innovative ways for citizens to communicate with each other and with elected officals about civic issues. Our first major activity has been the Living Voters Guide (, a citizen-generated guide to a set of ballot measures in the recent election in Washington State. The system includes a number of novel features designed to encourage more respectful listening and engagement with diverse opinions, while at the same time providing an alternative to both the official voters' guide and those of existing (partisan) organizations. In our colloquium, we will first present an overview of the landscape of civic participation and new media, followed by a more detailed look at the Living Voters Guide and our findings so far.

tisdag 23 november 2010

Long Live the Web

This week, the article Long Live the Web: A Call for Continued Open Standards and Neutrality by Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of the Web) has been published in the magazine 'Scientific American'.
In the article, he talks about the future of Internet, anti-piracy legislations and the Network Neutrality.

As those were some of the topics discussed in the last lecture/seminar, I invite you to read such a notable article and comment with your thoughts.


torsdag 18 november 2010

Online networks vs online communities (Nov 25)

- Online networks vs online communities
- Daniel Pargman
- Assistant Professor of Media Technologies, Department of Computer Science and Communication, Royal Institute of Technology (KTH)
- Stockholm University (Frescati campus), Thu Nov 25 (13.00-16.00), Dept. of Political Science, room F702
Online networks vs online communities

Some researchers have made the connection between social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube) and a modern (western), personalized, fast-paced, hypermobile, multiple-affiliation, rich-networked, ”friendster” society (Bennett and Segerberg 2010). In tems of Tönnies’ (1887) well-know dichotomy "Gemeinschaft" - community - and "Gesellschaft" - (modern) society - (Asplund 1991), this seems to represent a continuation that goes “beyond” his ideas about fluid, modern late-19th century Gesellschaft; a “Gesellschaft-plus” society?

In a previous text in this seminar series (“Small change”, 2010), Malcolm Gladwell conflated all kinds of social media and point out how networks (social media) and hierarchies (for example high-risk social activism or even terrorism) in many ways are opposites. His point is that social media does not really entail social change, as summarized by the subtitle of his text; “why the revolution will not be tweeted”. To him, the strong ties between people engaged in high-risk endeavors (for example political activism for unpopular causes) are the opposite of the large networks of weak ties that are typical of social media "armchair activism" which to him represents “all talk and no action”.

Despite the 130 year that separate them, both Tönnies and Gladwell both paint a picture of society moving in a direction away from strong hierarchies and small groups of people united by strong personal ties (i.e. communities) and towards loose networks and large groups of people connected by weak personal ties (i.e. networks).

I have personally on the other hand seen social media been used in quite different ways in order to satisfy our needs for connection and community (Pargman 2005). This would seem to represent a movement in the “other” direction; towards rather than away from "Gemeinschaft". The best example of how people subsume their individual autonomy to become part of, and for the greater good of the collective, are so-called "guilds"; instrumental, goal- and action-oriented groups inside massively multiplayer games such as World of Warcraft (Lin et. al. 2003).

This leads us to the following questions:

- How can our understanding of these phenomena progress beyond simple causal relationships between individual, media and society?

- How can we further our understanding about different characteristics / uses / "affordances" of different digital media in terms of communities/ hierarchies and networks?

- What does a model that can account for the existence of both tight online communities and loose online networks look like?

- For what purposes and under what conditions do these different forms of organization emerge and thrive on the Internet?

Literature. There are no less than nine texts recommended for this seminar.

- Two texts are repeated references to texts from previous seminars in the seminar series (Bennett and Segerberg, Gladwell)
- One text is a short newspaper article (Thente)
- One text is optional (Granovetter)
- The three scanned texts on Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft are all relatively short
On Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft
- Asplund (1991), “Essay about Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft”, pp. 37-53 [in Swedish].
- Bauman (2001), "Community: Seeking safety in an insecure world", pp. 1-5
- Nisbet (1953), "The question for community", pp. 69-77

On "Gesellschaft-plus" society (repeat use of literature from previous seminars)
- Bennett and Segerberg (to be published), "Digital media and the organization of collective action".
- Gladwell (2010), "
Small change: The revolution will not be tweeted". The New Yorker.

On strong and weak ties
- Granovetter (1973), "The strength of weak ties".

On communities and online games:
- Pargman (2005). "Virtual community management as socialization and learning". In P. van der Desselaar, G. De Michelis, J. Preece and C. Simone (eds.). Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Communities and Technologies, Milano, Italy, June 2005, pp. 95-110. Dordrecht: Springer.
- Lin, Holin et. al. (2003) "
Exploring clan culture: social enclaves and cooperation in online games". Digra 2003: Level up Conf. Proceedings.
- Thente, Jonas (2010) "Wow! I låtsasvärlden finns riktiga affärsnäsor". Dagens Nyheter, Aug 30.


Three texts are available online and five texts are available in Bilda. To get the sixth text (Bennett & Segerberg) please contact Alexandra Segerberg (

tisdag 16 november 2010

The slyness of Zuckerberg

Isn´t it kind of smart of Zuckerberg to realease a new system of information gathering while the movie telling his story is played in the theaters. Facebook will offer a new messging system just for the benefit of the user.

BBC wrote something quite interesting.

E-Mail is dead, isn´t it?




for all of you who are getting more out of a book by listening instead of reading it, there is also an audiobook of Benkler's "Wealth of Networks" and there are two versions (both legal), just take a look at it:

Best, Anna.

torsdag 11 november 2010

Movie recommended "The Social Network"

I think many of you have heard about it. "The Social Network" was produced based on the true story about the founders of Facebook. It is also one of high-ranking movies at cinema now (Ranking point is 8.4 on IMDb). This movie fits our course so much, so it's worth to go to cinema and watch it with your friends or classmates recently! :) Following is the trailer, hope you like it and have a nice weekend!

Xin = Sinbar :)

onsdag 10 november 2010

The surprising truth about what motivates us

All groups chose to discuss "what motivates unpaid peer producers?" at the seminars this week.
You might want to check out this 10-minute YouTube video:


fredag 5 november 2010

Introduction to FLOSS, for the media technology student, from a technical guy

During the lecture today, I noticed how nobody seemed to recognize Richard Stallman among the three bearded gurus on that one slide to identify them. I knew, of course; it was even the only one I could name without mistake, but I wanted to assess just how much the class as a whole knew about Free software. Maybe others did as I thought and we ended up with nobody answering, but nonetheless, I have decided to put up a little post on this blog to give a few pointers to those of you who'd like to learn a bit more about FLOSS.

Oh, and by the way, FLOSS stands for Free, Libre, and Open-Source Software. It is the neutral term that ought to be used to refer to the whole movement so as not to vex anybody, though, in all honesty, it is probably not that popular except among hardcore FLOSS advocates and fans who can't live without being Right-On-The-Internet(tm).

So, you are a media management student or otherwise a non-computer scientist; but you're not a random user either, you want to know more about FLOSS culture? Where do you start?

Well, first, a disclaimer: I'm a technical person, and a dormant FLOSS actor (that is, I've had no significant contribution to whatever project), so my view, beside being my own and not that of any larger greater entity I might ever belong to, is biased towards a technical perspective. But it may actually a good thing, for a serious introduction to the topic, because, as you will come to understand if you stay around long enough, if there is one thing that unites people in FLOSS communities, it is the technique. There is a wide variety of views among members of these circles, either users or contributors: from the paid pragmatic programmers who work on open-source for a living, to the political activist such as Stallman; from the money-conscious manager who wants to save on licenses he won't have to buy to the Apple-level 15-year-old fanboy who's got his first penguin tatoo without his parents' approval. In the end, the only thing that everybody agrees upon is that the FLOSS development model brings them some sort of benefit, be it cost-cutting or (perceived) self-elevation.

It was a long disclaimer, but it is as far as I go, with my own interpretation. The rest of this post will give you a few names and pointers to things and people you may want to check out to enrich your FLOSS culture in whatever way you may see fit.

You may want to visit Wikipedia for complete definitions of the terms FLOSS, Free software and Open source. But beware, Wikipedia is very well-informed on the subject, so you may just end up not knowing where to look at for basic information. In essence, it all deals with software for which the source code is available to a wider audience.

So, what kind of software do you find under that denomination? Well, here's just a few well-known projects (read: FLOSS organizations that "produce" software, in a broad sense) you may or may not have heard of. You can easily search any of them on Google or Wikipedia.

  • the GNU project;

  • Linux;

  • Mozilla (mainly known for Firefox and Thunderbird);

  • Apache software (including the Apache web server);

  • the various BSDs (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, etc.);

  • (OK, this is getting obscure...);

  • Ubuntu (and now it's getting ridiculous, so I'll stop);

  • etc.

Beside software, you may be more interested in the people. Well, this is where my technical background kicks in: I am only aware of those who write or have written some code at some point in their life. People such as Eben Moglen, though a major Free software advocate, I've hardly ever read. Here again, a list of a few you may want to look up:

  • Richard Stallman, head of the GNU project, who wrote the GNU manifesto, a historical view of Free software you may want to check out (if you can read Benkler, it'll be fine...);

  • Eric Raymond, famous for the Jargon file, a hacker culture dictionary, and The Cathedral and the Bazaar, an essay on the open source development model that, again, you may want to read (of particular interest to this course, in my humble opinion, is the 11th chapter, entitled The Social Context of Open-Source Software);

  • Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux;

  • and finally, included for trolling purposes, Theo de Raadt, another cult leader, a.k.a. authoritative figure of the OpenBSD project.

That's about it! Enjoy your ride in that stranger world, if you are new! (And then you might want to reread this post to check the jokes you didn't get. :p) Feel free to criticize, comment or otherwise correct me if you're actually an old hacker lying in the shadows in wait of my making a mistake. ;)

Wikipedia Academy Nov 25-26 (in Swedish)

The Royal Library will organize Wikipedia Academy (program here) on Nov 25-26.

The program looks interesting and it's free to attend. It's all in Swedish though.

torsdag 4 november 2010

Twitter revolutions (Thu Nov 11)

Twitter Revolutions? Addressing Social Media and Dissent
Christian Christensen
Professor of Media & Communications Studies, Department of Informatics and Media, Uppsala University
Stockholm University, Thu Nov 11 (13.00-16.00), Dept. of political science, room F702

In this seminar, I will take a particular geo-political event – namely the Iranian elections of June 2009 – and discuss the ways in which the use of social media before, during and after these elections can point us in the direction of a number of “trends and research challenges” in relation to such media. In short, I would like to link the events in Iran from last summer to three specific trends (and challenges) for researchers: (1) to problematize and critically analyze what are called “Techno-Utopian” and “Techno-Dystopian” discourses in relation to social media; (2) to consider the affordances and materialities of social media in relation to what Cresswell has labeled Sedentarist and Nomadic Metaphysics; (3) to use the recent events in Iran as a springboard for re-thinking and re-theorizing what is meant by terms such as “political speech” and “acts of dissent,” and to do so with an eye toward what Downing called, “internationalizing media theory.”

Popular Articles:

Gladwell, William
Small Change: Why the revolution will not be tweeted.

Christensen, Christian
Le Monde Diplomatique
Wikileaks: Three Digital Myths

Christensen, Christian
Le Monde Diplomatique
Iran: Networked Dissent

Evgeny Morozov
Iran: Downside to the "Twitter Revolution"
Dissent - Volume 56, Number 4, Fall 2009, pp. 10-14