While the DoJ is apparently banging on cable company doors to ensure the Internet's pipes stay free of anticompetitive interests, a dynamic duo in Washington are doing their part to try and formalize what we should expect while virtually traversing said pipes. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Representative Darrell Issa (R-CA), two key Congressional members in the fight against SOPA, are back with a draft for a "Digital Bill of Rights" -- and they're asking for your help to finalize the document.
Our beloved Fallout grew from the barren seeds of Wasteland, a post-apocalyptic RPG created by Interplay in 1988. But while Fallout may be the unofficial successor to the stand-alone Wasteland, an official successor is now waiting in the wings. Brian Fargo, Interplay founder and executive producer for both Fallout and Wasteland, has raised over $1 million in KickStarter funding for Wasteland 2 -- and he's bringing his old design friends along for the ride.
The tool was used to good effect to solicit video and text questions when YouTube interviewed President Barack Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper earlier this year. An early adopter, singer-songwriter Kina Grannis is using Moderator to crowdsource the lyrics of her next song.
“You set the parameters for the dialogue, including the topic, the type of submissions, and the length of the conversation. Watch as submissions get voted up or down by your audience, and then respond to the top-voted submissions by posting a video on your channel,” YouTube wrote on its official blog.
“The platform operates in real-time, and you can remove any content that you or your audience flag as inappropriate. You can also embed the platform on your own website or blog.”
The New York Times, Stanford and Howcast are among the 12 users YouTube invited to set the ball rolling.
A virtual world has to be based in an imaginary setting, right? Wrong. An upcoming virtual world called Project X is likely to please those who find current virtual worlds too surreal or outre. Micazook, the start-up behind Project X, wants people to turn its virtual world into a replica of our planet piecemeal. It closely resembles Google Maps with Street View, save for the fact that users can interact with each other using 3D avatars.
Members can further bring Project X closer to the real thing by lending 10 to 15 minutes of their precious time in creating the buildings themselves – from building a virtual copy of your entire neighborhood to a famous local landmark. The developers want the users to contribute to Project X with the same zest as they display on other crowdsourced sites like Wikipedia. However, Micazook has every intention of profiting from its creation and to this end plans to impose a 30% levy on each virtual item sold. Furthermore, users will need to shell out $4.99 each month for each building they want to own.
As Project X is a browser-based virtual world, it requires a plug-in to deliver hardware-accelerated 3D graphics. It is due for a change of name before its beta launch a “few weeks” from now.
The guys and gals at Woot have added another portal to their stable of daily deal sites. The deals.woot site is a bit of a departure for Woot. All their preexisting sites feature a product chosen by Woot employees, but deals.woot is a user driven site akin to a Digg for bargain shopping.
Woot has made waves in the tech/geek community by offering a daily deal, which is sometimes an insanely good value. More recently, Woot has expanded to various specialized portals like shirt.woot, wine.woot, and sellout.woot. The new site uses an algorithm to bring the users’ favorite deals to the surface for all to see. The top of the landing page, however, isn’t user driven. It is populated by sponsored deals.
Woot explained the sponsored links saying, “OK, yes, companies pay a little something to be Sponsored Deals. But we don’t allow just any old crap in this section… If we find the deal compelling enough that our members will appreciate us bringing it to their attention, we’ll feature it here.” If you’re the type that enjoys a good tech bargain (and who doesn’t?) check it out at deals.woot.com.
Wikipedia has become one of the largest crowdsourcing projects in the world since its debut about 8 years ago. It is also the fifth most popular website, garnering over 325 million visitors each month. Even with all this success, some are afraid for the future of the online encyclopedia. In recent years, volunteers have been leaving the site in huge numbers.
In the first three months of 2009, the English-language Wikipedia experienced a net loss of over 49,000 editors. Compare that to the same period a year earlier when only 4,900 editors were lost. The Wikimedia foundation is aware of the losses, but believes the wiki will be able to continue.
As for the cause, there are two basic schools of thought. The first is that users are becoming weary of the hostile environment Wikipedia can be. Some may not want to engage in heated debates about content. Add to that the increasingly restrictive rules Wikipedia has had to set forth to combat vandalism and you may have a recipe for desertion. Others feel that there just isn’t that much work left to do. Many articles have already been written and rewritten, leaving little for the average editor to add.
Whatever the cause, we can only hope that knowledge continues to be aggregated in Wikipedia. Where do you come down? Is Wikipedia withering on the vine? Or has it just reached a level of maturity that requires less tending to?