Thursday, May 31, 2007

Real governments in avatars

Finally it had to happen: real governments having their offices in a virtual world. Although it has been widely reported that Sweden is the first country in having an embassy in Second Life, the Swedish have been beaten by the tinny archipelago of Maldives, which opened its own embassy in the virtual reality place several days ago. Furthermore, the Swedish embassy plans to mainly give tourist information while the embassy of Maldives will "offer [the country's] viewpoint on issues of international concern, and to interact with [its] partners in the international community", which is what real embassies actually do...I don't want to know what the International Court of Justice's take will be on this or whether the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations would apply there, but we will have to wait and see how any international disagreement is solved there...

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Does Microsoft's purchase invalidate claim against Google

When few weeks ago Google announced that it was buying DoubleClick for u$s3.1 billion the main competitors, specially Microsoft, cried foul and asked to regulators around the globe to check for the legality of such acquisition (saying that it was not legal and contrary to anti-monopoly laws) but, in addition to contradicting its own position in other matters, recent moves by Microsoft and Yahoo! seem to help Google overcome the regulatory hassle. Microsoft acquired Aquantive, a company that advises agencies and website publishers on putting adverts online, connecting buyers and sellers, paying 85% more per share than the relevant closing price (a deal worth u$s 6 billion), leading to an analyst quoted in the BBC to say that he worried that "Microsoft has become Google-tunnel vision" following what Google does without a proper analysis as to whether it fits into its core business. On the same line Yahoo! purchased the remainder 80% of Right Media Exchange it did not already own for u$s680m, and it seems unlikely that on the face of such trend towards consolidation of the market, in which they are taking part, Google's competitors could ask for or imagine that Google's acquisition to be voided.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The return of the browsers' wars?

Not being very technically savvy, I've trying to understand why since the last Firefox update and the release of the Internet Explorer 7.0 many websites stop functioning properly with Firefox (funnily enough, Microsoft's website works perfectly with Firefox...). It could be thought that there is some mistake in the Mozilla Foundation's browser, but it seems that the problem originates in websites been designed to work only (or properly) with some component that are proprietary to Microsoft. If the creator/owner of a website is supposed to have an incentive to allow people using whatever they want to use to access its website in order to attract more traffic, one only can wonder what other incentive may have received in order to benefit only one browser (and from whom)...Again, this reasoning could be based on simple ignorance, but something does not look good around here...Anything related to art. 81 of the EC Treaty?

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Back in London (and some fair use stuff)

After five months as visiting professor at Webster University in St. Louis, MO, I am back in London (the official title is E. Desmond Lee Visiting Professor of Global Awareness and I keep it until the beginning of the next academic year, vg August).
Just arrived and I recieved the link to this video from St Louis (thanks to Debra Carpenter).