Apple finally offers movies for rent in the UK Hope youre feeling rich

Back in January, Steve Jobs introduced film rentals in the US. Some people swooned. Other people figured out that if you could figure out the software to rent films, you could use that same system to rent music. But no matter on the latter. We were promised films for rent in the UK, but no word on when it would happen.

Now, it’s happened:
movies from major film studios including 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Paramount Pictures, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. (MGM), Sony Pictures Television International and Lionsgate UK are now available on the iTunes? Store in the UK

Well, that’s nice. You’ll be able to get films such as I Am Legend (passable; Charlton Heston’s version, The Omega Man, was just as good, or bad. The picture link goes to Philip French’s review.). Anyway:
The iTunes Store in the UK features over 700 films available for rent or purchase, with titles available for purchase on the same day as their DVD release

700? That’s nearly as many as your average Blockbuster. And how much do they cost?
iTunes movies are available at ?6.99 for library title purchases and ?10.99 for new releases. iTunes Movie Rentals are ?2.49 for library title rentals and ?3.49 for new releases, and high definition versions are priced at just one pound more.

How does that compare to the US? Over there, you’ll find
iTunes Movie Rentals are priced at $2.99 for library titles and $3.99 for new releases, and high definition versions are just one dollar more with library titles at $3.99 and new releases at $4.99.

Is it just me, or is this pricing differential just completely taking the piss? Let’s generously assume that Apple is not gouging us on the price here, and that it’s doing its pricing based on wholesale pricing by the (generally, US-based) studios. How can they explain the fact that new releases cost the equivalent of $7 – where in the US they sell for $4. That’s on a product that’s already been made, which needs no translation (unlike, say, software), where making new copies costs nothing. For library rental, the comparison is $5 in the UK vs $3.

Sorry, but this continuing differential in pricing – which has been pretty much ironed out for hardware (once you allow for 17.5% VAT in the UK) and is falling for Apple’s software – still lingers in media (iTunes tracks at 79p – or $1.60 – vs 99c anyone?). It’s bad, and if I needed to point to anything that comprises a barrier to a wholehearted acceptance of the Brave New Digital World, this would certainly be a big part of it. (DRM being the other part, but mostly Apple’s keeps out of the way. Pricing doesn’t.)

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WowWee its a chimpanzee

“Animatronics are primed to invade the living room in the form of a hairy, interactive digital toy: the Alive Chimpanzee by the toy robotics maker WowWee,” reckons The New York Times.

“Don’t hide the bananas just yet. This chimp is only a head and bust. But its face is eerily realistic to the eye and touch. Roughly life size, the chimp has hidden touch sensors, stereo hearing and infrared sight. It can track objects with its watchful eyes and be startled by loud noises.”

The Alive chimp-head costs $149.95 from The Sharper Image.

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Twitter road trips USA send us travel tips for Maryland to Maine

The time has come: it’s the final TwiTrip and this time we’re heading east.

With five successful road trips done, the last in our series goes from Baltimore, Maryland, to Bar Harbor, Maine. The loose plan for the 800-mile week-long trip is to take in Philadelphia and Boston on the way, via Connecticut. After all, state-hopping is surely the best thing about this tightly packed corner of the US.

For those not yet familiar with the setup of a TwiTrip, the idea is that all our moves are guided by you, the reader, in real time. That’s everything: from where we stay to where we eat and break the journey. You don’t have to be on Twitter to get involved: you can also leave a message on the daily live blog, or on GuardianWitness.

Clearly this region, in and around New England, played a huge role in American history, but history doesn’t tend to make for good live-blogging, so I want to focus on the now. Take me to places that help me understand the area’s identity – or identities – in 2013.

At this point, I also have to hold my hands up and admit that my knowledge of Baltimore and Philadelphia rests mostly on The Wire and the early works of Will Smith. In Philly, is “a place called the Plateau” still where everybody goes in summertime? And how about in early fall? See, I told you I need help.

Maine is another mystery, but it sounds idyllic, with its rocky coastline and autumn foliage. I’m dying to get stuck into the seafood. Chowder, crab cakes, lobster: where can I try the very best? And, of course, we’re also going to need to know where to find the top Philly cheesesteak and Boston cream pie.

Boston will be the only place I’ve already visited, but that was over 10 years ago, when I tumbled head first into every tourist cliche: I sat inside the Cheers bar (even though only the exterior was featured in the TV show) and I caught the train to Cambridge to have a look at Harvard from the outside – both were about as exciting as they sound. Please save me from making such fruitless journeys again.

Finally, I’m a strong believer in the idea that the people make the trip, so I’d love you to point me in the direction of some interesting local characters. A restaurant or guesthouse owner perhaps, or a gregarious shopkeeper with plenty of stories about their neighbourhood and local life. The sort of people who are real personalities and who other tourists could meet, too.

Luckily, I’ll be travelling all the way with Greta Rybus, a brilliant photographer based in Maine, who has an online project whoimetblog.com, featuring portraits and short interviews with fascinating “ordinary” people. We’ll be sending her into overdrive to do as many as possible in a week, and she’ll also be taking over the Guardian’s Instagram feed.

If you know this part of the US and have some tips to share, please get in touch. Or, if you fancy a trip in the future, let us do the groundwork and you can follow in our footsteps.

Either way, join us online on 23 September, when we’ll be waking up in Baltimore, ready to hit the road.

? For more information on holidays in the USA, visit DiscoverAmerica.com

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Montilla, Andalucía, is sherrys secret cousin

Stick a pin in the centre of a map of Andalucía and you might well hit Montilla. Geographically this is the heart of Spain’s deep south, with Seville to the west and Granada over the mountains to the east. But as I thunder up the deserted motorway towards Córdoba from Málaga airport, I nearly miss the undulating vineyards that are the source of Montilla-Moriles fortified wines. And as most of the wineries are small affairs in the folds of the sierra, they, too, remain under the radar, as discreet as their brands. Only the determined traveller finds them – but I discover the effort pays off.

Moriles, to the south, is one half of this D.O. (Denominación de Origen) classification but the town of Montilla is the boss, on the edge of a rolling sierra of white limestone, where the pedro-ximénez grape flourishes. A close cousin of sherry in strength and flavour, Montilla-Moriles wines are not easy to track down. You can order a fragrant, dry fino, a nutty amontillado (named after Montilla), a voluptuous palo cortado or a figgy oloroso in Cordoba, but they’re rare further afield. Only 10 of the 170 producers export their nectar.
Montilla-Moriles wines have a distinct taste, and are mostly drunk locally. Photograph: Alamy
So it’s supremely rewarding to stop off here, tour a bodega or three and bask in a mellow little-visited vino-world (bodegas such as Gonzalez Byass in Jerez are visited by thousands of tourists a day). Earthy, authentic and just about surviving the economic storms, the area is at its liveliest in the grape harvest in late August and early September (Spain’s first of the year), when the hills hum with activity and party-time kicks off in Montilla.

My first destination is Lagar Blanco, a few miles east of town, owned by agronomist and oenologist Miguel Cruz. As we twist through the chalky hills, he explains the importance of climatic extremes (from furnace-like heat in summer to bitter cold in winter) for the grapes and how this wine can be dated back to the Romans.
At the summit of Cerro San Juan, his immaculate lagar (wine press) commands fantastic views, but it is in the lofty, whitewashed interior that I begin to appreciate the complexities of the wine process, from the naturally sweet grapes to the solera system of ageing, where younger wine is added to old as it ferments in the casks. The tour ends on a high note, with a tasting of delicate fino straight from the barrel, followed by a 20-year-old amontillado that is pure heaven – and only ?12 a bottle.

Different style, different hilltop, different wines – this time Lagar La Primilla, between vineyards and olive groves. The first things you see at this family winery are two giant Ali Baba-style tinajas (earthenware jars), local icons of grape-juice storage that today are supplanted by huge cement containers. Cheerful Charo Jiménez leads the visit through this typically Andalucían establishment, part home, part winery, with a courtyard ablaze with geraniums. Although the wines do not match the exceptional quality of Lagar Blanco, it is a delight to sip them in the cosy tasting-room, accompanied by plate after plate of homemade tapas drizzled with their own olive oil, brought out by Charo’s niece.
Vineyards near Montilla. Photograph: Alamy
Montilla is a busy working town spilling downhill from its medieval heart, short on postcard prettiness but proud of its bodegas, its 16th-century convent where unseen nuns sell biscuits through a revolving hatch, and its workshops where oak wine casks are still made by hand. The two imposing buildings on the main street are Alvear (the oldest bodega in Andalucía, founded in 1729) and Pérez Barquero (1905). Tours take in silent, shadowy “cathedrals” where hundreds of barrels of wine, some decades old, are stacked to the rafters.

But I zip round the corner to the 80-year-old Taberna Bolero. Here I sample succulent Huelva prawns followed by tender pork cheeks cooked in a reduction of oloroso, all washed down with the house fino. It’s lunchtime, the place is packed, and the narrow, beamed bar, plastered with vintage photos, reverberates with guttural Andaluz, while every local without exception knocks back fino.

It makes me wonder if perhaps there is little reason for Montilla-Moriles to export their wines. Maybe they prefer to preseve them as one of Spain’s most intoxicating secrets, in all senses.

? Lagar Blanco (+34 696 875391, lagarblanco.es) tour, tasting and tapas ?8pp, plus ?10 an hour for translator if needed, lunches available. Lagar La Primilla (+34 616 111392, laprimilla.es) tour, tasting and tapas ?12pp. Taberna Bolero, Fuente Alamo 9, has house fino from ?1.20. Stay at Hacienda La Vereda (+34 957 335301, haciendalavereda.es), 15 minutes south-east of Montilla with doubles from ?55. For tailormade bodega tours try Bacus Travel & Tours (+34 957 022063, bacustravel.es) More information on Montilla wines at rutadelvinomontillamoriles.com

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Ballmer admits mobile failures but promises devices to be proud of

Steve Ballmer has admitted that Microsoft “missed a generation” on the mobile side but insisted that the company’s upcoming Windows Phone 7 – which has garnered “really quite nice reviews” – “give you a set of Windows-based devices which people will be proud to carry at home, and which will really fit and support the kinds of scenarios that enterprise IT is trying to make happen with the phone form factor.”

In his speech to the company’s Worldwide Partner Conference, which brings together companies that sell, develop and use Microsoft products, Ballmer, head of the company for the past 10 years, said that slates devices and mobiles are “certainly an area where, how do I say it, we feel all of the energy and vigor and push that we have ever felt to innovate, to drive hard, to compete.”

But without naming any of the rivals who have overtaken Microsoft’s mobile sales – such as the iPhone, launched in 2007, which Ballmer initially dismissed, or Android, the Linux-based mobile platform from Google which now outsells both Windows Mobile (soon to be superseded by the incompatible Windows Phone) and Apple’s iPhone – Ballmer insisted that Microsoft is focussed on getting the IT functions within organisations to offer Microsoft solutions to staff: “So, I encourage you, and certainly we’re going to reach out vigorously to work together with you, and to drive enterprise IT, as well as the consumer, the people who work for the businesses we serve, they’ve got to come into IT and say, I want a Windows 7 slate. I want a Windows Phone 7. And we’re absolutely hell-bent and determined to drive that volume with IT as well as with the end consumer.”

Ballmer made no mention of the abrupt cancellation last month of the KIN social networking phones, which were meant to be the result of its billion-dollar acquisition of the Danger mobile company.

Now the company has unveiled a number of services to go with Windows Phone – whose release date is still not set. Windows Phone Live, a companion online service, was announced today. Pitched in the same territory as Apple’s paid-for MobileMe, used for over-the-air synchronisation of iPhone contacts and calendars, it is intended to provide remote synchronisation, remote wipe, and a central location for pictures, contacts, calendar and notes within 25GB of storage. But unlike MobileMe, Microsoft will provide the service free to all Windows Phone customers – apparently for the duration of the phone contract.

Beta versions of the Windows Phone development tools were made available: the new API is nearly feature-complete, with updated push notifications and accelerometer interfaces. The Community Technology Preview back in March allowed for feedback from the development community and Microsoft have said it has been “blown away by the early apps”. Pre-productions devices will be shipped later this month to selected developers, as well as deployment and testing labs in major cities. And earlier this week a group of Polish students were the first non-developers to get pre-production Windows Phone devices.

Appreciating that having applications ready for the launch of the devices later this year is essential to success, Microsoft is running a virtual live class for interested developers in the platform.

There are rumours that HTC – which used to be the biggest licensee of Windows Mobile, but has recently turned towards Android – will launch the first Windows Phone 7 handset in the UK, to be called the HTC Gold, though there is no confirmation from mobile networks or from HTC. There are also

“leaks” claiming there will be models called the HTC Mondrian and Mozart, also running Windows Phone 7 on 800 x 480 screens without a QWERTY keyboard, with Internet Explorer Mobile 7.

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BBCs new political site launches

? Here’s an interesting new development from the BBC, which is
launching a ?1m political website, called Democracy Live, which allows you to search and dissect videos from parliament – inspired, apparently, by the likes of They Work for You.

? The legal mess surrounding Skype is nearing a conclusion, reports GigaOm, with the possibility of an agreement over the peer-to-peer technology that eBay didn’t buy.

? A couple of very interesting pieces on TechCrunch about the manipulation of social networking sites that certainly leave a bad taste in the mouth: including accusations of unethical business tactics among a number of social gaming advertising companies, and this piece from a Facebook advertising specialist who used to run spam operations.

You can follow our links and commentary each day through Twitter (@guardiantech, or our personal accounts) or by watching our Delicious feed.

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Now for the science bit How to make fluids dance

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This excellent video from Make magazine details the basics of DIY cymatics – that’s the study of visible sound to you and me. Everyone knows that you get ripples when sound’s blasted against water, or motion when you put sand on a drum skin. But what about other objects?

Well, bring together a speaker and some cornstarch mixed with water (a non-Newtonian fluid) and you can get some truly funky effects as the liquid turns solid and dances to the frequency.

You may remember mucking about with sound waves at school, but this is truly excellent. Anyone fancy giving it a go?

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Craigslist on PR offensive over sex industry links

Craigslist is trying to head off a growing revolt across America by meeting with senior officials concerned about the site’s relationship with the sex industry.

Jim Buckmaster, the chief executive of the classified ads website, met today with attorneys general from several US states including Connecticut, Illinois and Missouri. The talks come after officials from Chicago and more recently South Carolina attacked the website for taking money for “erotic services”.

The meeting – which Craiglist described as “cordial and productive” – was intended to broker a new deal between the website and officials around the country over the way it operates.

Currently Craigslist demands payment for each advert in its erotic services category, but also requests credit card details and telephone contact details – which have often proved helpful to law enforcement.

However, that level of scrutiny has not satisfied some officials: one police official in Chicago said that the site is the country’s “single largest source of prostitution”, while the South Carolina attorney general gave Craiglist 10 days to remove sex-related posts from its sites aimed at users in the state.

The situation has been exacerbated by the case of Boston’s so-called “Craigslist Killer” – who met with a string of sex workers through the website, assaulting one and murdering another. Twenty-three year old medical student Philip Markoff has been charged with the crimes.

In a statement on the Craigslist website, Buckmaster said that he hoped for a positive outcome:

We share the AG’s interest in minimizing misuse of craigslist. We’re optimistic this goal can be reached while preserving all beneficial aspects of a site relied upon by tens of millions of Americans, and without compromising the quintessentially American values of free speech embodied in our Constitution.

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Former Becta workers invited to join LinkedIn group

Becta may be gone – or at least going, given that the government is withdrawing its funding – but it is not forgotten. If you’re a Becta alumnus, there’s a LinkedIn group for Becta staff, contractors and partners.

Set up by Paul Wareing, it says that “It is not a prerequisite that you have a particular view on Becta, but more that you have shareed the experience of working with or in it.

“It is expected that you will share the values and aspirations and common culture of Becta. Though not so much the official strategy of any given time as the general belief in the potential of technology.”

At present it’s already got 86 members – some way short of the 240 staff (+120 contractors) on Becta’s books.

There will also be a website at a future date to be determined.

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Internet Porn Worse than crack

“Internet pornography is the new crack cocaine, leading to addiction, misogyny, pedophilia, boob jobs and erectile dysfunction, according to clinicians and researchers testifying before a Senate committee Thursday. Witnesses before the Senate Commerce Committee’s Science, Technology and Space Subcommittee spared no superlative in their description of the negative effects of pornography,” reports Wired News.
Mary Anne Layden, co-director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Cognitive Therapy, called porn the “most concerning thing to psychological health that I know of existing today.”

“The internet is a perfect drug delivery system because you are anonymous, aroused and have role models for these behaviors,” Layden said. “To have drug pumped into your house 24/7, free, and children know how to use it better than grown-ups know how to use it — it’s a perfect delivery system if we want to have a whole generation of young addicts who will never have the drug out of their mind.”

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Apple in the kitchen, Delicious retreats, Wikileaks and Amazon and more

Presently, this is how you get Apple in the kitchen. Photo by TeppoTK on Flickr. Some rights reserved

A burst of 11 links for you to chew over, as picked by the Technology team

Alcatel-Lucent Dashboard Gives WP7 Devs App Headlights >> Open API Service
Windows Phone 7 developers do not automatically get analytics about how their apps are doing.

Apple’s ‘Kinected’ Kitchen — InformationWeek
“In March, inventor Timothy R. Pryor assigned his interest in three patents and 10 patent applications covering methods for interacting with automobile telematics equipment and home appliances over to Apple.
“Executed on March 30, 2010, and recorded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on May 3, 2010, the transfer of intellectual property — presumably for a significant fee — suggests that Apple is making a serious effort to develop products related to home and vehicle systems automation.”

Google Maps & Label Readability >> 41Latitude
Intriguing comparison: why is it that Google Maps are easier to read than Bing’s.

Ben the Bodyguard. Coming soon to iPhone? and iPod touch
Intriguing if you scroll down the page.

Update to the Save interface >> delicious blog
“Yesterday we released a major change to our primary action on Delicious and (not surprisingly with a change of this scale) you all immediately responded by giving us some really great feedback on what you liked and what you didn’t.”
But mostly what they (and we) didn’t. What’s really unexplained is what Delicious hoped to get out of this change, which has so many UI flaws (no resizable box for notes, for example) that it would make a good case study in Getting It Wrong Through Insufficient Testing For Irritancy On Humans.

ATOC Conveniently Blames Cost, Correctness, Security & Commercials for their Authoritarian Actions | Malcolm Barclay
The pressure continues on the Association of Train Operating Companies to make its data more easily available.

Wikileaks and Amazon Web Services: some thoughts >> Joseph Galarneau
The chief operating office of Newsweek points out that the internet’s very unlike the world of print publishing: “The power of the press can be dramatically limited when the power to the press is disconnected. Outside the newspaper industry, few publishers actually own their own printing presses. U.S. courts rarely exercise prior restraint (orders that prohibit publication), and most printers rely on their customers to shoulder the legal liability if there are disputes. But as Amazon’s silencing of Wikileaks demonstrates, the rules can change when media companies move on to the Internet, with its very different methods of publishing.”

Internet Advent Calendars >> Tumblr
More online advent calendars than you can shake a.. er.. mouse at.

FBI Arrests Alleged Head of Mega-D Botnet Operation >> threatpost
“The FBI has arrested the man that they allege is behind the notorious Mega-D botnet, which at one point accounted for nearly a third of all of the spam on the Internet. The arrest came to light this week after the man was caught entering the U.S. last month on his way to a car show.”
All the bathos you could ever want all in one place.

What if Google had to optimise itself for… Google? >> MeanGene
Painfully true examination of how Google would look if it took its own advice about optimal design. “I am Feeling Lucky in my Internet Search.”

US embassy cables: browse the database #wikileaks #cabletgate>> guardian.co.uk
Neat visualisation.

You can follow Guardian Technology’s linkbucket on delicious

To suggest links, tag articles on delicious.com with “guardiantech”

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Can eBay sales predict the Superbowl winner

You’ll recall the theory of the wisdom of crowds, and the tests that have shown that people allowed to bet in large numbers can be better predictors of when things will happen – the capture of Saddam Hussein, the development of new technology – than just taking a few eggheads and locking them in a room and pushing pizzas (or caviar) under the door.

Now the latest hypothesis in need of testing: do sales of goods on eBay indicate who’s going to win the Superbowl?

If you don’t know what the Superbowl is, it’s like Aussie Rules football but with mattresses tied to your shoulders, and adverts every other minute. Or Rugby Union where they put the ball in and then start the scrum. With mattresses tied to your shoulders.

But enough explanation. The Bowl happens this Sunday, and is between the Seattle Seahawks (in which Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen has a stake) and the Pittsburgh Steelers. (The names are meant to be traditional: Seattle’s a port, so the team probably only narrowly missed being called the Seadogs, which wouldn’t have sounded right at all; and Pittsburgh was the city where smelting was done, to make steel. QED.)

eBay being eBay, it’s seeing tons of trades in merchandise for the two teams. And that’s being tracked by Mpire, which at the time of writing has the Seahawks ahead of the Steelers by $146 to $99.99. Because the two teams don’t meet during the normal play season, because they belong to parallel leagues (the NFL and the AFL), there’s no previous form to measure them by; only such data as we can pluck out of cyberspace. We’ll return after these messages..

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Microsoft admits to zeroday threat to IE6 and IE7

Microsoft has published Security Advisory (977981), confirming reports of a “zero day” vulnerability in Internet Explorer 6 SP1 and IE7. If you were thinking of upgrading to IE8, this would be a good time to do it. Microsoft says there have been no known attempts to exploit the security hole, but this could change at any time.

The vulnerability, published via the BugTraq mailing list, was described by Vupen Security:

This issue is caused due to a memory corruption error in the Microsoft HTML Viewer (mshtml.dll) when retrieving certain CSS/STYLE objects via the “getElementsByTagName()” method, which could allow attackers to crash an affected browser or execute arbitrary code by tricking a user into visiting a malicious web page.

Its suggested solution is: “Disable Active Scripting in the Internet and Local intranet security zones.” Because so many sites use JavaScript, an alternative would be to change the security zone setting to High so that you get a prompt before scripts are run. You can also add trusted sites to the Trusted zone.

The vulnerability affects browsers running on both Windows XP and Vista, but it’s potentially more dangerous on XP. Vista runs IE7 in Protected Mode where exploits can’t do as much harm.

Microsoft also points out that: “This vulnerability is more difficult to exploit successfully if Data Execution Protection (DEP) is enabled for Internet Explorer.” Microsoft has a one-click Fix It that enables users to turn DEP on, if their PC has the feature.

Presumably Microsoft will release a patch, but it remains to be seen whether it will make it in time for next month’s Patch Tuesday on 8 December or release it as an out-of-cycle update once it has been tested.

Symantec noted: “The exploit currently exhibits signs of poor reliability, but we expect that a fully-functional reliable exploit will be available in the near future.”

Some bad guys deploying a reliable version of exploit on a few prime sites would certainly get people’s attention.

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Twitter Gladwells social media argument laughable

Twitter founders Ev Williams and Biz Stone have derided Malcolm Gladwell’s contention that the effect of online networks on social change is greatly exaggerated, saying his argument is “laughable”.

Williams, who stepped down as chief executive of the social networking site last week, said Gladwell’s New Yorker article was “entertaining but kind of pointless”, while Stone said it was “absurd” to think that social networks were not “complementary to activism”.

The pair are the latest to launch a riposte to Gladwell’s dismissal of social networks, after the article – subheaded “Why the revolution will not be tweeted” – began to make waves on Monday 4 October.

Williams said: “It was a very well-constructed argument but it was kind of laughable.

“Anyone who’s claiming that sending a tweet by itself is activism, that’s ludicrous — but no one’s claiming that, at least no one that’s credible. If you can’t organise you can’t activate. I thought [the article] was entertaining but kind of pointless.”

In his argument, Gladwell cited the American civil rights movement of the late-fifties and sixties as an example of social change that was based on intimate friendship, suggesting that the “weak ties” connecting people online were not of the same influence.

“Enthusiasts for social media would no doubt have us believe that [Martin Luther] King’s task in Birmingham, Alabama, would have been made infinitely easier had he been able to communicate with his followers through Facebook, and contented himself with tweets from a Birmingham jail,” Gladwell argued.

“But [online] networks are messy: think of the ceaseless pattern of correction and revision, amendment and debate, that characterises Wikipedia. If Martin Luther King, Jr had tried to do a wiki-boycott in Montgomery, he would have been steamrollered by the white power structure.

“And of what use would a digital communication tool be in a town where 98% of the black community could be reached every Sunday morning at church? The things that King needed – discipline and strategy – were things that online social media cannot provide.”

Stone, the co-founder of Twitter, said on Monday: “The real-time exchange of information — a service like Twitter — it would be absurd to think it’s not complementary to activism. When it really comes down to it, it’s not going to be technology that’s going to be the agent of change. It’s going to be people; it’s going to be humanity.”

The pair did, however, hold back from the kind of hyperbole heaped upon Twitter for its role in last year’s Iranian election protests, saying that no one had intimated that ‘the revolution will be tweeted’.

“It’s always been our goal to reach the ‘weakest signals’ all over the world, such as the recent usage in Iran and Moldova,” Williams said.

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