Spark 114 - May 23 & 25, 2010

On this episode of Spark: Facebook privacy, video game localization, and universal translators. To listen to the whole show, download the MP3 (runs 54:00).

Facebook and privacy


Recently, the popular social networking website Facebook changed its privacy policy. That has some people worried that once private information may now be public. Others ask, "What's the big deal?" This week, Spark looks at Facebook and privacy from several perspectives.

First, Nora talked to Philip Moscovitch and Andrew Jones from the Spark community for their views on Facebook and privacy. (Runs 7:50)

Next, Nora interviewed David Wasieleski about this business ethics of social networking sites like Facebook. (Runs 7:01)

Finally, cyborg anthropologist Amber Case explains why Facebook is "sticky" and how its design decisions encourage participation. (Runs 8:10)

We contacted Facebook to participate in this episode. A representative was not available to talk to us this week, but Facebook has agreed to an interview on next week's show. We look forward to bringing you that interview next week.

Grammie's cell phone


Cyrus Farivar considers himself typical of the Millenial Generation. He has profiles up in all the most popular social networking places, and on his own blog. And if you catch him in a vulnerable moment, he may even confess to you that he keeps his cell phone near the bed while sleeping. Cyrus loves his connected lifestyle. So much so, that he wants to share it with his 88-year-old grandmother. (Runs 6:46)

Dude, where's my universal translator?


The universal translator has long been a science fiction staple. You see it in Star Trek, and The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The universal translator is one of those magical gadgets that can let you understand anyone, no matter what language they're speaking.

But why does it remain science fiction? We already have all the pieces we'd need to build one. We have computers that can turn human speech into text. We have software that can translate text from one language to another (think of Google Translate or Babelfish). And we have computers with voices that can talk back to us. So in theory, shouldn't we be able to glue all these technologies together? (Runs 15:07)

Video game localization


Video games, of course, are a global business. But the content of video games (the storylines, the dialog, the jokes) don't always travel so well. That's where Diana Díaz Montón comes in. She's a video game localization specialist. (Runs 4:51)

Episode Details

Music and sound effects used in this episode: You can receive Spark automatically by subscribing to any of our totally free podcast feeds: For more information (and instructions) visit [Original images by altemark, TenThirtyNine, chrisdlugosz]


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