Any cursory glance around the media from good old newsprint to the rolling 24 hour media machines, reveals a staggering 70% of the items to inform, educate and amuse us are directly or indirectly related to the advance of technology in general and digital in particular.
9 Recent Examples from One Day’s News
1. *** The short-lived Assistant Police and Crime Commissioner for Kent, 17 year Paris Brown caused a rumpus by allegedly posting crude comments about her private life on Twitter.
She was appointed to ‘represent young people’s views in policing’ and she may well be doing that. Personal comments on her sex life, drug taking and alcoholic abuse while at work may be what young people want to hear about and share.
But many voters in Kent felt two things. One, that social media is not appropriate for such revelations and two, £15,000 is too much salary for the role! She finally agreed and resigned in floods of tears. There, there!
2. *** April’s Aintree race had a story from the sidelines about how an internet bookmaker was apparently the victim of a £20,000 extortion scam run by Iran and including mysterious Russian hackers.
Cyber-extortion has recently joined the list of cybercrimes that are on the relentless growth. Hacked customer data is at the heart of it and police fear that many companies simply pay up to their blackmailers rather than risk their customers knowing security has been compromised.
3. *** From the world of health, patients who access the General Medical Council website to check doctors’ records are unaware that details of medical practitioners before October 2005 are not shown.
That may not matter much, but it transpires that dozens of doctors have been discioplined for criminal convictions, botching operations and general regulatory infringments. Many are now practising again, secure in the knowledge their pasts are secret. Patients want clarity, though.
4. *** Of course another bad Facebook story is doing the rounds. Users of the hungry social media giant are quietly being charged a tenner for sending a message to celebrities and other people not in their friendship circle.
It appears that Facebook is trialling a sliding scale of fees depending on the perceived popularity of the celebrity. So a message to Tom Daley costs £10.68 but to Laura Trott is a modest 71p.
Other Facebook issues:
Facebook Is Bad for Your Health, But Good For Your Self-Esteem, 29 January 2013
5. *** Don’t let’s forget Amazon in the news. The Kindle and other e-readers have created new markets for writers, and many are excited about that development. However, it is reported that Amazon’s plan is to exploit its’ current 60% domination of the digital book market by eliminating rivals.
Amazon’s workings control every single bit of the process increasingly, from actual production through to selling and reselling, and certainly how they are promoted/discussed/reviewed.
They bought up IMBd and developed it to add knowledge to films and TV shows; they monitor traffic (100 million regular users) to sell films, box sets and other advertising. Data from IMBD also helps their Lovefilm rental business.
They have acquired Zappos, online shoe sellers and Diapers.com, baby retailers … and so it goes on. We knew all that, but it’s always good for a recycled news story to raise concerns about Amazon’s growth.
Also a good read:
Is a Kindle the Best Way of Firing the Reading Habit? 19 December 2012
6. *** Estimates on the number of road users by 2035 in a government survey are sky-rocketing. They predict the number of cyclist will decline, apart from major cities, despite the beneficial Olympic/Paralymic legacy.
Instead, we will see van traffic on motorways and trunk roads increase from 12 billion a year to over 20 billion, with cars up to 90 billion.
There are all sorts of reasons for this, but the main one is a direct consequence of online shopping growth requiring many more deliveries.
Another bike/road story:
Cycling Rides Up a Storm of Controversy, 27 February 2013
7. *** The pace of development of 3D printing picks up with news that the US Navy is print parts for planes and ships now, in a bid to save money and to make more efficient repairs.
3D printers can now print real objects in a wide variety of materials, including metal, concrete and plastics. They are thinking big, and planning to replace engine parts, cutlery and even, it is reported, replacement body parts for injured military personnel.
Should the NHS be planning the same thing? In the USA one man has already had 75% of a replacement skull 3D printed from high-performance thermo plastic and fitted!!
Late Christmas Pressie: A 3D Printer, 19 December 2011
8. *** Couples approaching retirement can now go online and take a Relate survey to ‘put their marriages to an MOT test’. They feel it is an effective preparation for ‘silver separation’ from work and careers.
As many people, especially men, find themselves defined by their work, it makes sense to consider how they will relate to their nearest and dearest. Even if they have to work much longer than previous generations.
9. *** And even unto death, the internet is ready to serve. Author Iain Banks has revealed he has but a few months left to live via the web and is keeping followers posted. Many observers think this reflects man’s ancient need to deal with death in some sort of ritualistic way, if not always religious.
it certainly shows how the web is people’s first and often only method of communication these days.
The Net and Death:
Will Your Digital Afterlife Make a Good Novel After You Are Dead? 10 September 2012
Image: Michael Beaton