Archive for October, 2008

Why I am choosing Public Domain over Creative Commons

October 28th

I’ve always been a strong advocate for Creative Commons as an alternative to Copyright- a license that is AUTOMATICALLY APPLIED without your permission to your works in the absence of any explicitly contrary license.

For many years all the photos I’ve taken on this website I have licensed as [CC] Creative Commons with conditions of attribution or non-commercial use. This means that others are allowed to use my photos as long as they aren’t making money from them and include my name to indicate the original author.

But the internet is a funny thing you know. Some kind, respectful people use my photos and my name for their websites, and I find them on search engines and am genuinely grateful. The vast majority of my images however end up hot-linked from MySpace and Friendster, Stumble Upon, forums, etc. This uses my bandwidth and they are never credited to me. Other photobloggers will know what I’m talking about if they’ve ever checked their referrer logs.

For these people, I sometimes changed the image they were hot-linking to. Suddenly their myspace would turn into a pornographic image involving a german shepherd which I found amusing, but apart from being as rude as the person lifting my images, it was probably legally ambiguous. One day I found a US police department was using one of my images, but it too was promptly removed when the PD’s homepage began serving dog pornography.

So anyway, back to Creative Commons. There was one time through sheer co-incidence I discovered one of my images was being used commercially by a large gadget manufacturer. It was evident from their product information pages that a photo of mine was being used on a major products packaging. I called them and told them about the Creative Commons license and how I specified non-commercial use. In this instance they were in a bind, caught red handed. They were nice enough to open their wallets and pay me for it’s use. I was nice enough not to overcharge them.

Images in my gallery will now show a Public Domain license.

Images in my gallery will now show a Public Domain license.

I’ve come to realize however, that although I think I’m a decent photographer which the gear and the knowledge to take nearly professional photos I don’t do it for monetary gain. I’m a web developer and an IT worker. I think its great that Creative Commons has allowed a massive amount of cultural material an opportunity for fair use and reuse, especially when google and FlickR and other online media and search databases throw their support behind indexing the media. But I think that a lot of work currently indexes as “non commercial” creative commons has limited commercial value and their authors should consider public domain as a real viable alternative to creative commons and copyright.

There are some exceptions - my MUSIC / AUDIO will remain [CC] as will the PORTRAITS gallery simply because I don’t have the model release forms to allow those images to enter the public domain.

Also, I don’t really care anymore if some company, individual, web designer, musician, artist or police department want to use my photos. What’s more, I encourage others to do the same. I’m no Ansel Adams, so why pretend I am by throwing a non-commercial license on my work? I don’t know how to make money of my photos.. why would I? I would be hugely surprised if anyone made any substantial money of any of my photos and if they somehow contributed to someone else success I would be happy to have made a contribution to culture that might not otherwise have happened with my old Creative Commons licensing.

And thats why I am choosing Public Domain over Creative Commons.

Mount Warning Walk, Map & Description

October 26th
Mount Warning is a popular mountain walk particularly for those people who want to be where sunlight firsthits the Australian Mainland each morning. For that experience you have to wake up pretty damn early though and hike through the darkness. You’ll have to decide if that’s something you’d like to do, personally I can’t think of anything worse than trekking in the cold darkness and missing the magnificent subtropical rainforest.

A GPS Map of the walk to Mt Warning

A GPS Map of the walk to Mt Warning

The walk will take you 1.5 hours if you are fit and eager, but a more average pace will get you there in 2.5 hours. The return trip is about an hour downhill. Leaving from the car park, stick to the tracks and make sure you have plenty of time and light for the return trip. There is a warning marker at the halfway mark that advises you to turn back if it is 1pm in winter.

I used the iPhone GPS and there is mobile signal once you reach the higher areas. Click here for a Google Map of the trip. I collected a few stats from our little walk with Ian and Jane and a few photos. Remember at the end just before the summit, there is a section of chain that you’ll need to use to move up the fairly sheer rockface. This is where the elderly, the unfit and the very young will become unstuck so make sure you are prepared for this.

Notice how our speed drops at the final peak!

Notice how our speed drops at the final peak!

Altitude graph

Altitude graph

These rainforest trees are giants.

These rainforest trees are giants.

The view from Mount Warning

The view from Mount Warning

Apple Macintosh Review from 1984, COMPUTE! magazine

October 18th

In a strange set of circumstances I wont bother going into now, I found in my hands a copy of COMPUTE! from 1984 that I’d rifled through decades ago, copying large chunks of BASIC code for my VIC 20. I sat up and read the magazine and giggled at the kitschy advertisements for expensive and massively outdated technology.

One article that made for particularly interesting reading though, given the year, was a column by David D Thornburg, one of the original developers at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, he has gone on to write a number of technology related columns and books. This one however, practically overflowed with the conviction that Macintosh would reshape the marketplace. Indeed, he gushes such that the kind of praise he heaps upon the Apple Macintosh may be one of the earliest examples of the rabid apple fan culture that we’ve all come to know and love. Fittingly, David wrote this as part of his regular column “Computers and Society”. I’ve reproduced the article in full here as my scanner has trouble with the magazine fold, and the article is also archived here, although is truncated in parts.

Here is the review :

A Bright New Apple

This refreshing one-step-forward is the Apple Macintosh - a computer designed for anyone to use. Macintosh is reasonably priced ($2500 including display and disk drive and operating system software - IBM, please note). But more important than Macintosh’s system price is the almost intuitively simple manner in which it is used.

I maintain that any COMPUTE! reader can master Macintosh in 30 minutes. It is, by far, the easiest computer I have used since I worked at the Xerox Palo Alto Research Center. PARC was the spiritual home of some of the software ideas so masterfully implemented in Macintosh. This computer is designed from the ground up to be responsive to the user’s way of doing things, rather than forcing the user to bend to the arbitrary constraints of the computer.

To take just one example, suppose you want to edit a letter you have written with the MacWrite word processor. Once you can inserted your disk, your screen shows you a set of icons representing the various items stored on the disk, with their names beneath them. These items might be documents, pictures, programs, schedules etc.

You use the mouse to move the cursor to the icon representing the document you want to edit and with a couple of clicks you have automatically loaded the word processor which has automatically loaded the document for you to edit.

Truly Innovative

Macintosh is, quite simply, a civilized machine. After working with it for a while, I found myself quite intolerant of my other computers. The Macintosh is qualitatively distinct from any other personal computer. It has defined a new tier of the market.

This definition had happened not because of its 32-bit architecture, its 1 to 2 million instructions-per-second speed, or its price, but simply because of its functionality. For years the industry has been telling us that computers are easy to use. Macintosh finally came out to fulfill that promise.

But will Macintosh be successful? I hope so. Apple appears dedicated to supporting third-party software developers, and several powerful languages are available for users who like to create their own programs.

Back On The Right Track

There is another reason I hope Macintosh is successful. This country was built on the concept that people with good ideas could compete in the open marketplace. This spirit of open competition guaranteed not only that the customer got a good deal, but that technology would improve as newer and better products were developed.  If, by pure force or corporate identity, we can be convinced to drop our high standards of cost-effective performance, we can kiss the free enterprise system goodbye. 

Macintosh is more than a computer - it is a statement in response to the clearly stated needs of the consumer. How will we respond?

(David. D. Thornburg, Associate Editor - COMPUTE!)

Global warming is caused by .. daylight savings?

October 3rd

This was in Wednesday’s Border Mail (Albury Newspaper, Australia). Way to lower the Albury’s average intelligence quotient mate!

Car Accident on the Coast Road Oct 2 2008

October 2nd

Around 10am this morning two cars collided between Lennox and Byron Bay on the coast road. The SES were cleaning up and the police were all over the scene though I’m unclear if anyone was seriously injured. I managed to take this on my camera phone as I passed by, this car was clearly in bad shape.

Be careful people! Today I saw someone (european tourist?) pull out onto the wrong side of the highway into oncoming traffic before realizing their mistake and pulling over. It’s holiday time again and there are people everywhere so it’s worth slowing down and just being a little more attentive than usual.

Car Accident near Lennox Head

Car Accident near Lennox Head