China blocks web 2.0 web sites

Forbes has an interesting article about the web 2.0 situation in China.

Forbes: Facebook and Twitter have been blocked here in China since the unrest this year in Xinjiang, and some Chinese Twitter clones are blocked as well. Why is this the case, and do you see the controls loosening up in the near future?

Anti: Web 2.0 Web sites like Facebook and Twitter can offer the public firsthand information, even faster than a government news agency like Xinhua. In fact, the July 5 Urumqi riots news was spreading first on Twitter hours before the first Xinhua English news piece. The Chinese government believes that the situation in Urumqi and other cities would be out of control if they can’t control the information flow. That’s the basic logic behind their decision to block Twitter and other Web 2.0 Web sites.

But this wide-scale blocking costs a lot. Discontentment in cyberspace could lead more common Chinese netizens to try to protest if all of their favorite social networking, photo sharing, video and microblogging services are blocked in the long term. And this crazy-wild blocking also harms the investment environment, which now almost makes China a Web 2.0 hell for investors. So China may loosen up the blocking in some sense.

The political reasons behind this policy are fairly clear given the recent events in Iran. Yet the risks are huge for China’s social media and tech industries as mentioned above. Can China really expect to compete in a world where Americans and others use social media to revolutionize business, news and education? The Chinese run the risk of falling way behind.


The Beatles have arrived!

The Beatles new “Rock Band” video game launched today, and I can’t think of a better topic for our first post here at Linked and Loaded. We want to cover the new media revolution, and is there a better symbol than this new video game? Sure it’s not really a Web 2.0 powerhouse, but video games have become a constant feature in our lives and have influenced many of the new media developments in the past 30 years.

The game is getting great reviews as one might expect. Jason Zingale writes:

What ultimately makes the game so unique, however, is its presentation. Though The Beatles themselves look a little cartoony, it’s all done with the understanding that the game is more of a fantasy-based reality than a factual retelling of their history. That would certainly explain why there’s no mention of Stuart Sutcliffe or Pete Best, why some songs that were never performed live are on the set list for certain venues, or why Ringo is shown playing some songs at Abbey Road (like “Back in the U.S.S.R.”) that he never actually recorded. The psychedelic dreamscapes that the band is transported to during their Abbey Road sessions, meanwhile, are almost too stunning for their own good. I found myself often missing notes just because I was staring at the visually seductive environments meant to depict the band’s musical transformation during their later years, and for the diehard Beatles fan who thinks they know their music inside and out, you can even better appreciate the dreamscapes by turning off the scrolling notes.

The attention to detail doesn’t end there, either. Every song is prefaced by never-before-released audio clips of in-studio chatter, while Overdrive (the score multiplier you earn during each song) has been aptly changed to Beatlemania. Heck, there’s even an option to turn up the audience volume to “realistic” levels, making it virtually impossible to hear anything you play. That might not be enough for some people, who will likely be turned off by the all-too-brief Story Mode, but then again, they’re probably not real Beatles fans. Anyone that does like their music (and you’re in the minority if you don’t) will enjoy every second, because while the set list may feel a bit short at only 45 songs, nearly every one is better than a majority of the stuff in the “Rock Band” and “Guitar Hero” vaults. It’s the least you’d expect from a band as popular and prolific as The Beatles, but to see Harmonix so successfully translate the spirit of their music to video game form is almost beyond belief. Forget about ponies. You’re gonna dig this game.

Now, if we can only get The Beatles on iTunes!


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