Mood: on fire
Now Playing: everyone who thinks journalists who do their jobs in North Dakota should stay out of prison should sign this petition.
Zebra 3 Report by Joe Anybody
Sunday, 16 October 2016
Breaking: ND Prosecutor Seeks "Riot" Charges Against Amy Goodman For Reporting On Pipeline Protest
Mood: on fire
Now Playing: everyone who thinks journalists who do their jobs in North Dakota should stay out of prison should sign this petition.
Monday, 19 November 2012
what is open publishing - Archive.org Wayback save
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Open publishing is the same as free software
The full rave
Open publishing is the same as free software.
They're both (r)evolutionary responses to the privatisation of information by multinational monopolies. For software it's Microsoft. For publishing it's CNN. For both software and publishing it's AOL Time Warner.
Free software is a gift to humanity. If you have a piece of free software, you can give it to someone else for free. You can charge for free software, but once someone else has a copy, they can give away as many copies as they like. So free software often comes at no charge. Let's call it free beer. But this alone is not free software. Free software is also free as in free speech, not just free beer.
It's about software freedom. A software liberation movement. The source code, the genetic blueprint, the internal mechanics are open for others to see (hence free software is also called open source). So others can take it and change it and pass on their changes to other people. The product is freely available, and the process of production is free and transparent.
If someone doesn't like it, they can take it and change it. The one thing they can't change is its freedom. The only strings attached are there to stop people from tying it down. The strings of freedom are called the GNU copyleft, a beautiful subversion of copyright law that guarantees freedom for a piece of code and all its mutations.
The means is the end. The journey is the destination.
You might think this process wouldn't produce anything truly creative, awe-inspiring, staggering, huge, complex, simple, small, pedantic, reliable, random or enjoyable.
If you thought that, you'd be drastically underestimating what humans get up to for fun. Because all of those adjectives apply to free software. Geeks like to joke about what free software needs to do next to achieve world domination.
Microsoft doesn't think this joke is very funny. Microsoft is one of the biggest corporations in the world. Microsoft spends billions of dollars to pay programmers to keep their software closed and internals secret.
Free software is overwhelmingly written by volunteers. Free software runs the internet and Microsoft does not. The number and diversity of people using free software is accelerating.
Microsoft usually responds to such threats by buying them out and assimilating them. But free software cannot be privatised. Free software is not frugal with its genetic code. Free software spreads itself like a benevolent microbe after an evolutionary leap forward.
Microsoft assumes people are stupid and holds focus groups to determine exactly in what way are they stupid. They then pay a small number of people a lot of money to engineer that stupidity into software. Sometimes this works well, because everyone is stupid sometimes. But it doesn't cater well for everyone being smart.
Free software assumes people are smart and creative and can choose for themselves to swim in the shallow or the deep end of the technology pool. Even the geekiest programmer might want to have their feet planted on the bottom sometimes, and the freshest beginner might make the biggest splash diving into the deep end.
Free software programmers still manage to eat despite giving away their code.
Software is information. So are news stories. So are opinion pieces. They can be easily copied and shared. Maybe information wants to be free?
Under the dominant multinational global news system, news is not free, news is not open. It is very expensive. It is highly secretive.
To see the news you need to pay with money or with your time spent watching ads (usually for cars) or both. To create the news you need to pay expensive public relations consultants. To write the news you need to obey corporate news values, making stories on a production line, for maximum advertising impact at minimum cost. To edit the news you need to be a global stock market newswire service or a multinational media company. To distribute the news you need to have one of 6 TV transmission towers in a city of millions.
Media corporations assume the viewers are stupid. In their eyes the total creative potential of the audience is Funniest Home Videos. Creative people do not buy more stuff, they make their own. This is a problem for media multinationals. They do not trust their audience to be creative. It might be bad for profits, bad for executive salaries.
But it's OK. The audience doesn't trust the corporate media either.
This situation has led to rampant confusion and alienation of society. We are disconnected from ourselves and our ecology. Our planet is functioning as a global ecosystem more than ever before due to the global nature of human activity, yet the humans don't have any way of communicating with each other. Systemic problems go unseen and unsolved by billions. Only the issues that are important to sell ads or grease the stock exchange have reliable global news impact.
What we have is a very complex system within which the humans have recently gained enourmous power but as yet they have no correspondingly powerful network of communication infrastructure to support it. We have no neural network to process information. Not so much a global village as a global megaphone.
Then the internet was added to the global communications pool. If you can read the internet, you can also write to it. If someone else has told a story on the internet, you can choose to hear it. Information flows between the net and other communication systems: the phone, the TV, the radio and newspapers, forming a much more balanced web of information transfer. This is a global village where you can climb out of the traffic jam and bump into people on the electronic street and have a chat.
The internet makes possible open publishing on a citywide and global scale. Citizens finally have access to the same cheap and powerful two-way global communication that colonial governments and multinationals have had access to for centuries.
What is open publishing?
Like free software, with open publishing the news is often distributed at no charge. There are no ads to eat up your time and corrupt the content. But that is not the most important thing.
Open publishing means that the process of creating news is transparent to the readers. They can contribute a story and see it instantly appear in the pool of stories publicly available. Those stories are filtered as little as possible to help the readers find the stories they want. Readers can see editorial decisions being made by others. They can see how to get involved and help make editorial decisions. If they can think of a better way for the software to help shape editorial decisions, they can copy the software because it is free and change it and start their own site. If they want to redistribute the news, they can, preferably on an open publishing site.
The working parts of journalism are exposed. Open publishing assumes the reader is smart and creative and might want to be a writer and an editor and a distributor and even a software programmer. Open publishing assumes that the reader can tell a crappy story from a good one. That the reader can find what they're after, and might help other readers looking for the same trail.
We trust the audience and it seems that the audience trusts us in return.
Open publishing is playing at the opposite end of the trust spectrum to the corporate media.
We are not working to convince people that this is a good way to do things. We are providing a space in which people might decide themselves if this is a good way to do things.
The journey is the destination.
Open publishing is not new. It is an electronic reinvention of the ancient art of story telling.
Open publishing is free software. It's freedom of information, freedom for creativity.
Open publishing is overwhelmingly done by volunteers.
Who will do the investigative journalism? How will people give a perspective from overseas? What will provide a sense of overview, connectedness and common identity? Will anyone get paid for their work? What will become of motion pictures? Of musicians? Where will be the sustained efforts by hundreds of people?
I am hoping the above questions about open publishing have already been answered by free software. And partly by indymedia, and thousands of other open publishing websites. Open publishing is merely taking an existing trend and identifying it, amplifying it, and strategically applying it to weak points in the global monopolies on power and information.
The pyramids are awe inspiring. They were also built by slave labour. We've evolved as a species. We can do a lot of amazing things without brutal Egyptian slave handling techniques. We can do without new pyramids.
We are in the middle of a mass extinction of species. We need to figure out how to live in harmony with the ecosystem of this planet before the ecosystem goes into negative feedback and kills lifeforms by the billions. We're not going to get there by sacrificing our lives for the motor car, trading our human rights for shoes, killing our people for drug companies, hiding our creativity for the multinationals.
We can do better. Forget the pyramids. Bypass world domination.
Free software is wiring the globe. Open publishing just might help us use those wires to save the planet.
footnotesExamples of open publishing:
Note that while slashdot.org has many open publishing features, and was an important inspiration for open publishing, I don't think it really is open publishing. Significantly, the stories (as opposed to the comments) are taken from reader contributions, but are processed behind closed doors.
By the way, none of the above four sites would exist without free software. I guess it's one more reason why open publishing is free software.
Obviously I think we can learn a lot from the free software movement. One idea we haven't developed much yet is an open publishing copyleft, similar to the free software copyleft. The copyleft defines how the information can be shared, hijacking the copyright laws to ensure that the free information may only be re-used in a free context. This encourages growth of free spaces, autonomous zones, as the process of sharing information is spread along with the information itself. This may be a key part of what we need to define open publishing to ourselves and potential collaborators. It doesn't have to be legally watertight to be useful. That can be evolved in later, The most useful thing would be to start playing with the definition. This is partly what we are doing with our work on defining the indymedia network. But I think we will also need to define how we share chunks of information smaller than that involved in total membership of the network. And the basic chunk of information is a story and the copyleft license that applies to it.
The most interesting idea to me so far in this area applied to news stories is the idea that a story can be reused anywhere, but only if all readers/viewers exposed to it, can easily identify and reach the source of the news story. For example by a subtitle on the picture with the web address of the indymedia site the story came from. This means the viewer can not only verify the original version of the story, but also add their own creative juices to the flow. This would help ensure that whereever the story goes, there is a solid link back to the working parts, the raw process that made it possible and allows new people to contribute and mutate and evolve.
This does involve giving up the right to demand payment for every copy made. Free software sacrifices the same thing and it turns out there that it really works. We need to try it for news stories and documentaries, and see if it works equally well.
One key point is that yu can still charge for copies of copyleft information. You just can't stop someone else from giving away the copy they bought, including access to the source materials. And the source materials have to be available for no more than the raw cost of distribution.
And it turns out that people still do buy free software. An awful lot of it in fact.
And that in addition, the reputation of free software spreads very quickly if it is good. Which benefits the software project by providing more feedback, more volunteers to help improve it, and in some cases more money.
The analogy for a video documentary would be placing it under copyleft so that anyone could copy it as long as the copy prominently said it was copyleft and any viewer could find a link back to the source (e.g. the indymedia web address for the city it came from). But the video maker could still charge for copies to be made. They could charge especially high rates for multinational TV networks that want copies urgently for example. The TV network would have to pay if they wanted the footage quickly without chasing down someone else who had it and was willing to copy it fast. And regardless of how badly they edited the piece, because of the copyleft license, they would legally have to give over some of the attention of their viewers to a web address for the source. That viewer attention is an extremely valuable resource for the network, because it is extremely powerful. It can also be powerful for us. If they fail to give the web address, they can be sued for the value of that viewer attention. That's quite a liability.
There are ways to play the system. I'm not sure if this would work, but it might be fun and I think it's worth a try!
Update April 2003: I just discovered these great creative commons licenses, which I think could be perfect for the job.
Ideals and reality: many of the things I say above are ideals. They do not match reality exactly. But they are useful as a way of thinking about different approaches.
For example free software and open publishing are not actually free of charge, but the charge is reduced to the bare cost of distribution. This is hundreds of times less than the previous cost of purchase, which tended to include the cost of luxury cars, houses and jets for multinational executives. There is a real difference.
Another important point with free software is that programming is a skill in very high demand, which gives programmers an unusual amount of power as a group of people at this point in history. Historically I think this has lead to great social change. A flaw in this rant might be that programmers may become far less in demand and that story tellers and journalists are already in oversupply in economic thinking.
However, once we turn down various patterns of overconsumption, we can create a virtuous circle that gives us more leisure time, greater quality of life for both us and people living in other countries poorer (financially) than ours (I live in a rich country, this is written for a rich country audience). For example, getting rid of a car creates a huge amount of leisure time because you no longer need to spend all that time earning enough money to sit in traffic jams. Again, this is simplistic, there are urban planning issues to consider, but I believe a lot of it is cultural and information exchange is part of changing our culture to be more responsive to our own needs as well as the planet's.
In other words, with any luck and lots of hard work and fun, things might just start falling into place in time to grow and evolve as a species and a global ecosystem.
It seems many parts of society are being privatised. Health, water, communications, community media. Being owned by the government or a non-profit is no guarantee. Sometimes there are some benefits from privatisation. But I'm not convinced it's the only way to get such benefits, and there are heavy costs. Particularly in poorer countries, where prices for basics (such as water in Bolivia) can become suddenly way out of reach.
Free software can't be privatised.
Especially copyleft free software.
Corporations can use it, improve it, but they can't get an exclusive hold of it, they can't deny others from using it and changing it.
Can open publishing be privatised? I think the right definition will be strong protection against privatisation. But the large effects of the subtle difference in licensing between copyleft and BSD shows how important the definition can be. Let's play with a few and see which ones work best.
All the fuss about sharing music and dotbombs in the mainstream media is hiding an important trend: the most successful internet sites rely on the creativity of their users, not on professional producers as was the tradition with earlier electronic media.
These are all sites with very big audiences, and they all facilitate creativity, rather than have their staff create it directly. Of course, when anyone can contribute, you have a problem where users need to figure out what things they can trust. Most of these sites are successful because they've figured out some neat ways of helping that to happen, often using some sort of user-ratings system (user-editorial). So these sites all have some of the spirit of open publishing.
On the old one-way systems, community media was the exception. On the net, community media is very much a part of the mainstream.
Yes, there have been stories showing that AOL users spend most of their time just using AOL services, implying that people are happy to stay in AOL corporate land. However, those stories did not reveal what those users were doing. I reckon they'd be doing email, instant messaging, and just a little browsing. Since they use AOL tools to do email and messaging that counts as AOL time, so in fact a better indication of the diversity of their surfing would be found by looking just at the time spent browsing. The rest of the time they're spending communicating with other users. Every time in the past that a closed network has been tried, it's failed when faced with the internet (the biggest example was compuserve). So AOL may be closer than anyone else to creating a shopping mall version of the net, but they're still a lot further away than they'd like you to believe.
People want to communicate, they want to be creative. TV is a technology that can't handle such things very well, yet we've managed to convince ourselves after decades of TV that we need professionals to do our story telling.
Imagine if you tried to sell phones but they could only dial Pizza Hut or send messages written by Hallmark? Nobody would buy them (it's been tried: a very early marketing idea for the telephone had people using it to listen to opera). People are social animals, we want to use our communication tools to talk to other people. The only reason this didn't happen with TV, is because TV technology is one-way only.
So just because TV didn't live up to idealistic expectations, doesn't mean that the net has to follow the same path. The net is a fully two-way technology, and that makes a very big difference. The reason you mightn't hear about this trend is because a lot of the internet commentary we see is still coming from the old one-way media.
For more on this point, see my rant Is the internet elitist?.
Indymedia is struggling to cross a threshold in the size of its audience and in the sheer number of indymedia collectives. Many indymedia groups are also grappling with what to do when they are not covering a major event.
As the size of the audience goes up, so does the number of people posting stories, and therefore the number of stories that are more annoying than useful to most readers. A classic example is the rising tide of american postings on sydney indymedia. The posters don't seem to realise that we are quite capable of clicking on an american indymedia site if we wish to hear american news.
Open publishing I think has been very important in helping us to find new ways of organising media, often taking advantage of what the internet makes possible. A crucial part of Seattle Indymedia's success in Nov 99 was the automated online open-publishing newswire. I think what indymedia needs to get to the next level is automated open-editing.
Just as open publishing allows any readers to also write stories, open editing allows any reader to help sub-edit other people's stories. They might help sort stories by whatever criteria they think are important, or rewrite story summaries, translate to different languages, or compile groups of stories into a feature. Changes would be tracked so that original authors do not get trampled on. Much of this is already happening, but automation would turbo-charge it.
Done well, it will clear a lot of bottlenecks and allow a lot of exta creativity to plug into the network. It will make the sites more approachable for new readers, and more useful for activist media hacks. I think it could have a similar impact to open publishing. All we need is some geeks to implement it.
It's a bit like web search engines. Altavista was much better than all the rest back in the late 90's, but then the web got too big, Altavista's approach became ineffective, and google stepped in with an enhanced method for making sense of the net without imposing entralised order or missing things out. Interestingly, google introduced the idea of weighting search results by the number of pages that link to each other. Which is a bit like the user highlights stuff that some of us have been talking about for indymedia.
Google deals usefully with the explosion of information and diversity on the web in a way that heirachical and even simple raw search methods do not. Expect a similar leap in the impact of indymedia if and when open editing starts to kick in.
For more on open editing see:
I think my rants could do with some open-editing.
What's in the open publishing and open editing toolbox?
Hopefully at the bottom of a news story in the near future you'll see tools like these:
Now the tricky part is how to balance the creativity of the audience with the very small percentage of people who want to disrupt a creative space.
There may be different stages to go through. This is because of the ratios of audience participation (see below) change as the audience size increases. A smaller audience might have a more cosy feel, and therefore a higher percentage of creative contributors. A larger audience will tend to cross a threshhold where disruptive people are numerous enough to have a major effect.
There is also the difference between live coverage of a major event, as against ongoing coverage of a place or an issue.
So the default needs to be that people can contribute material that other audience members get to see straight away.
Then take away a small number of posts that are dangerous to the site as a whole. For example spam or viruses or items that attract lawsuits. Individual collectives will have to figure out where to draw the line.
For the rest, it's a matter of priority. For a busy site, a new article would need to go through various checks to get onto the front page. A key tension pops up during live coverage of an event, between the need to check stories and the desire to see news come through quickly. But presumably if there is a big audience for a live event (indymedia's audience usually explodes during such times) and therefore more people to help with open editing, and thus ways for important news to get to the front page more quickly. News junkines will drill down to the latest news, and we need exactly those people to help highlight stuff for wider viewing.
The main thing is that the checks on a story's priority can't involve too many built-in delays (e.g. waiting seven days for votes to come in from a fixed collective) if you want a flexible system. Ideally any ratios used are tied to some sort of rough average of the current audience and the number of stories and contributors.
Another thing to consider is that some stories have a short lifetime, maybe hours or days, and others - considered opinion pieces, deailed issue coverage - might be relevant for much longer.
But what checks do we need? Can we build some sort of rough framework that can stretch to fit these various scenarios?
Let's start by trusting most readers to be able to judge when a story is important and interesting enough to recommend other people look at it. That's when they might choose to highlight it on their personal highlights page. The cool thing about this is there's no need to verify that action, because that page is owned by that user, and any people they choose to share write access with.
Some readers might only highlight stories that many people think are useless. Well, that's still useful in a way, and it doesn't really harm anything at that point.
The next stage is how to use those highlighting choices (or other editorial choices like revisions and translations) to change the priority of a story.
This is where you need to try and weed out abuse of the system. Any such weeding of course needs to be documented in an open way (use free software, show logs of changes to an article's status, list the editorial actions a user has taken, require comments for such actions, and finally allow anyone to rummage through the bin).
A helpful characteristic of abuse is that (almost by definition) it seems to be remain a very small percentage of the audience. So a major tactic is to try and encourage as large a section of the audience as possible to get involved in open publishing and open editing, and for the collective running a site to set a good example using those tools. A healthy plant is less likely to be attacked by parasites.
Another tactic it to require independent and random confirmation. You should not be able to bump up the pirority of a story if you contributed it. You should not be able to (easily) organise a small group of people to bump up each other's stories. Tactics for doing this include handing out votes to random users, and limiting the number of votes (based on some formula tied to the audience and contributor numbers for that day or week).
Another tactic is the idea of karma. People who contribute to the site can build up a reputation within the software, so that they are trusted a bit more, or a bit less. You don't want to go too far with this or it encourages a clique and starts to leach diversity.
formulas for open publishing audience sizes and participation
1%, say, of your audience at an open publishing site will contribute stories
0.2% will help with open editing, including weeding out spam
0.1% will contribute stories with closed publishing
0.1% will contribute spam with open publishing
0.01% will help with closed editing
the figures are guessed, but they give an idea of the ratios, and are roughly based on my experience, e.g. with large mailing lists, and the statistics for www.indymedia.org in early 2002.
open publishing/editing also implies for me that it's encouraged and easy to use and well designed.
so if you only have 10 people in your audience, open editing isn't useful, and on average only 1 person is contributing stories.
if you have 1000 people in your audience (which actualyl translates to a lot of hits) then you have 100 people contributing stories, which is starting to get interesting.
if, say, it turns out you need 100 people doing open editing for it to be useful (no good if only one person is making ratings) then u need an audience of 10,000.
if anything, these percentages are actually a bit high. they probably decay a bit as the audience gets bigger. closed systems will tend to hit a hard limit, beyond which communication amongst the team becomes very tough, or increasingly heirachical, especially if the team is working long distance. lots of other factors of course too. and of course "open" and "closed" are pretty vague, in fact there's a full range between them, so a more open system will tend to push the numbers up, and a more closed one will push them down.
The New York Times says communication is making the world less tolerant. But while they mention the internet at the beginning of the story, most of the piece is actually about global television. If anything, this makes the case for open publishing stronger. It's not just whether communications are global, but how they are global.
One of the slashdot comments on the story points out another problem: that viewers are most attracted to conflict.
Conflict is a basic element of good drama. If everyone in a story just gets along, it's a boring story. This is an issue that indymedia must deal with. So far the most popular indymedia coverage is of big conflicts with authorities during large protests. If we want to get away from that, we need to find a way to present the interesting conflict in a story that still presents positive possibilities rather than being all negative. Conflict and creativity. Co-operation and competition. We need to find a good balance between these extremes.
Content is not king. I've been saying this for years, but nowhere near as elloquently as Andrew Odlyzko does.
What does this mean for open publishing? Why bother making the process of creating content open if the end product doesn't matter that much?
Because what does matter is communication, social interaction. And open publishing means the process of creating content is opened up for people to engage in. Automated software and the web make this accessible and possible for much greater numbers of people than ever before, despite the best, noble and admirable efforts of community media.
And that process of writing news, publishing it, commenting on it, editing it, that engagement of people in the fundamental task of telling a good story, of sifting through which stories are important, and having a good old chinwag when the storyteller finishes. That process, may turn out to be more important than the story itself. That process is what may open up new opinions, new opportunities, new action for social justice. That the process is open, that more people get in and help do it. That is what would strengthen the fabric of our society, to enable us to repair the wrongs and improve all our lives.
One thing I've been saying for a while is that the net is a communications crutch. Our cities have cut us apart and made it hard for people to come together and communicate. Shared space is all given over to cars and commerce. People don't feel safe meeting other people in public.
So the net is like a crutch, we are leaning on it heavily as we communicate and find each other, helping us to meet people with common ground, and figure out who we humans really are. But there's nothing like meeting in the flesh. So one day with any luck the crutch will fade away to a minor role, when we fix our cities and our lives, and find society in the street and buildings and open spaces of our lives.
indymedia, internet and the global middle class
most of the people I have met through indymedia are white, middle class, from an english speaking background. people like myself.
most, but not all.
a lot of indymedia depends on the internet, and i think the internet is a middle class tool. that still makes a potential audience of hundreds of millions of people around the planet.
and i think many of those people are ignored in the mainstream media, dominated as it is by just 6 corporations. many of those middle class people are ignored in elections, where the president of the USA is voted in by just 1% of the planet's population.
i think when you criticise indymedia and the net, it's important to remember what we had before.
which is better? the corporate media, or indymedia? television or the net?
there are obvious limits to what can be done with a mostly middle class audience. by sheer numbers alone, it cannot be the sole basis for planetwide democracy.
the USA, for all its faults, did a lot of good things by empowering its middle class, rather than leaving all the power with the royal family.
throughout US history, people have been saying that more should have been done to respect all the people's rights. there is a very tragic history of what happened instead, what is still happening. but atleast, atleast they did as much as they did. after all, some people's battles were won. to say otherwise is to write off all the achievements, diversity, and people of the USA. i think we can acknowledge what's good, without ignoring the bad.
nowadays, with power gone global, i feel creating more power among a billion people has got to be better than leaving it in a handful of mega corps.
in fact i think one reason the US government has gotten so crazy over the last hundred years is because power went global, but democracy did not. which means even within the USA, and within other "western democracies", national democracy is meaningless and feels obsolete.
how can we do even better?
i think part of it is teaching people who have resources about the people who have not. and another part is sharing those resources.
many indymedia collectives are consciously working on this. they setup media centres and train people how to use them. they print out stories and distribute free papers. they collaborate with radio stations. there are links to resistance groups in poor countries, collaborations between north and south.
these sorts of things must be done before indymedia can really call itself a people's media. this truly democratic media would be a crucial part of achieving real democracy and human rights for all 6 billion people on the planet.
meanwhile, you can write off the global middle class if you like.
i am more optimistic.
the more i think about what the US and other middle class democracies have done to the poor people of their countries and of the world, the more i worry about global media democracy.
even middle class democracy these days can be a bit of a sham, but that doesn't make it any better to leave out the poor of the planet.
i still think indymedia has got to be a step in the right direction, but it still leaves so far to go.
but being conscious of this dilemma and caring about it is an important step to finding solutions and fixing it. let's atleast not pretend that indymedia is for "everyone" just yet. but make sure we acknowledge what we have done, and keep working to expand the circle of diversities of all kinds.
Lots happening in blogspace.
Emergent democracy talks about how to bootstrap our global decision making to a level that can cope with global complexity. And has some details and speculations on how a blog-like communication structure may help to do that.
Key author of that piece, Joi Ito, later blogged that journalism has to change as well as it is part of democracy. That's why I'm linking it in here.
Many ideas in here are shamelessly ripped off from other places. I really should credit those places and people. Or, if you like an idea in here, please assume I ripped it off, and do a web search and find it (actually you might have to wait a few years for search engines that can actually find ideas as opposed to phrases).
The above article describes the first of three crazy ideas for webcasting. For more of my rants, see my home page
You can copy and distribute this article, as long as you include the web address of the original (http://www.cat.org.au/maffew/cat/openpub.html) in a way that the whole audience can see. Please let me know if you do reproduce it somewhere, especially if you make changes to it.
$Id: openpub.html,v 1.23 2006/01/21 06:42:39 maffew Exp $
Sunday, 29 January 2012
TWITTER TIPS FROM JOE ANYBODY
Now Playing: TWITTER TIPS FROM JOE
TWITTER TIPS FROM JOE
Saturday, 31 December 2011
Wednesday, 21 December 2011
Information [links] from "Diary of a Waking Buterfly"
Mood: not sure
Now Playing: Links and Tags
LINKS AND TAGS
Antonio Gramsci Barack Obama Capitalism Christianity Class Consciousness Democracy Egypt Fascism Film Gender Germany Imperialism Ireland Islam Jesus Karl Marx LGBTI Liberalism Libya Links Love Martin Luther King Jr Marxism Materialism Music Poetry Propaganda Quotes Race Racism Religion Repression Resistance Revolution Sexism Sexuality Socialism Solidarity State Terrorism Utopianism Video Vision War
Thursday, 21 July 2011
CNET web tool suggestions for social media users
Now Playing: web tools - worth knowing about sooner or latter
50 new tech tools you may have missed
Thursday, 23 June 2011
Capitalist Corporate Big Brother Censorship - Apple's Video Kill Switch
Mood: don't ask
Now Playing: Apple's Strike Against Free Speech - Kill Switch for Camera Phones
Published on Wednesday, June 22, 2011 by Save the Internet
Apple's Pre-Emptive Strike Against Free Speech
So you think you control your smartphone? Think again.
Late last week reports uncovered a plan by Apple, manufacturer of the iPhone, to patent technology that can detect when people are using their phone cameras and shut them down.
Apple says this technology was intended to stop people from recording video at live concerts, which should worry the creative commons crowd. But a remote "kill switch" has far more sinister applications in the hands of repressive governments. And it further raises concerns about the power new media companies hold over our right to connect and communicate.
Imagine if Apple's device had been available to the Mubarak regime earlier this year, and Egyptian security forces had deployed it around Tahrir Square to disable cameras just before they sent in their thugs to disperse the crowd.
Would the global outcry that helped drive Mubarak from office have occurred if a blackout of protest videos had prevented us from viewing the crackdown?
What would we know of Neda had it not been for one witness holding up a cellphone?
This is more than speculation. Thousands of people across the Middle East and North Africa have used cellphone cameras to document human rights abuses and share them with millions via social media.
In a February speech, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton credited the viral spread of a cellphone video depicting the shooting death of a young Iranian woman named Neda for bringing world attention to the human rights abuses of the regime.
What would we know of Neda's shocking death had Iranian security forces disabled that camera?
Social Media's Wild West
But here's the rub. The First Amendment and Article 19 of the U.N.'s Declaration on Human Rights don't really apply to the corporations that build these cellphones and run these social networks. Free speech rules don't apply to Silicon Valley.
And while platforms such as YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Flickr might enable individual expression more than governments do, many governments are at least accountable by law for protecting your right to speech and assembly.
The social networks are only beholden to their terms of service, which in most cases extend them the power to take down your communications "for any or no reason."
That's why Flickr got away with taking down the photographs and files of Egyptian security officers, which were posted by a local activist wanting to draw attention to their crimes. That's why Amazon.com could kick Wikileaks off its hosting platform after it released a series of diplomatic cables that exposed abuses of power by American agents. And that's why Facebook could shut down the pages of any anonymous political protester who decides to use the network to build a community of like-minded activists.
Rochester: Where using a cellphone camera will get you arrested
"Hosting your political movement on YouTube is a little like trying to hold a rally in a shopping mall. It looks like a public space, but it's not," writes Ethan Zuckerman of Harvard's Berkman Center.
"Even if YouTube's rulers take their function as a free speech platform seriously and work to ensure you've got rights to post content, they're a benevolent despot, not a representative government."
A Pre-emptive Strike
What Apple is proposing to develop is worse in many ways. Its cellphone camera kill switch can be used as a pre-emptive strike against free speech.
In its patent application, Apple describes the technology as making it impossible to capture video or pictures at events where cameras and video recorders are prohibited. Your phone determines whether an image includes an infrared beam with encoded data. This data is sent from an emitter that directs the cellphone or a similar device to shut down image capture. Disabling emitters could be mounted on stages, throughout public squares or, conceivably, on police helmets.
While the technology might not be available now, the grave consequences of its use far outweigh any worry Apple and its entertainment industry allies have about video piracy.
More than ten thousand people have already signed a letter imploring Apple CEO Steve Jobs to pull the plug on this technology.
Smartphones like the iPhone and Droid are becoming extensions of ourselves. They are not simply tools to connect with friends and family, but a means to document the world around us, engage in political issues and organize with others. They literally put the power of the media in our own hands.
Apple's proposed technology would take that power away.
Source URL: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/22-8
Monday, 13 June 2011
Video Conferencing - Is your Network Ready
Now Playing: 7 Ways to Preparing Your Network
Seven Ways to
Prepare Your Network
Seven Ways to Prepare Your Network for Videoconferencing
More workers are embracing desktop video and videoconferencing as they become accustomed to visual communications. Video and collaboration tools can lift the burden of distance, allowing people in different offices to collaborate as if they were in the same room. Workers can manage their real-time communications and move seamlessly between voice, video and instant messaging as needed. With easy-to-use integrated collaboration tools, organizations can cut travel costs and improve productivity.
Accustomed to high-definition television and streaming media, workers have high expectations for quality video experiences in the office. Proper planning and preparation can help organizations avoid surprises when deploying IP voice and video and ensure a quality user experience.
Workers want high-quality video, and without the proper preparation, organizations can slow the adoption of an important productivity tool for today’s distributed workforce.
Here are seven considerations to prepare your organization’s network for IP video and voice.
Monday, 4 April 2011
Video Editing tools from YouTube
Now Playing: Brand New Tools for Video Editing
Xtranormal lets you to turn anything you type into a fully-animated CG movie. Set up your scene, type in your script, and animate it instantly. Easily share something funny... by Xtranormal
Tell a story with your digital content. Mix pictures, videos, maps, text, music and watch Stupeflix produce a stunning video in a few seconds. It's fast, easy, and free to ... by stupeflix
GoAnimate is a fun app that lets you make animated videos, for free, in just 10 minutes, without having to draw. You can even create your own cast of characters. There ar... by GoAnimate
Wednesday, 9 February 2011
No Internet due to the nGovernment "shutting it down" - Suggestion are here
Now Playing: How to Communicate if the Government Shut Down the Internet
February 9th, 2011
(LibertyNewsOnline) – Scenario: Your government is displeased with the communication going on in your location and pulls the plug on your internet access, most likely by telling the major ISPs to turn off service.
This is what happened in Egypt Jan. 25 prompted by citizen protests, with sources estimating that the Egyptian government cut off approximately 88 percent of the country’s internet access. What do you do without internet? Step 1: Stop crying in the corner. Then start taking steps to reconnect with your network. Here’s a list of things you can do to keep the communication flowing.
NOTE: If you have advice to add, please log in and Aadd your comments.
MAKE YOUR NETWORK TANGIBLE
Print out your contact list, so your phone numbers aren’t stuck in the cloud. Some mail services like Gmail allow you to export your online contact list in formats that are more conducive to paper, such as CSV or Vcard, and offer step-by-step guides on how to do this.
BROADCAST ON THE RADIO:
CB Radio: Short for “Citizens Band” radio, these two-way radios allow communication over short distances on 40 channels. You can pick one up for about $20 to $50 at Radio Shack, and no license is required to operate it.
Ham radio: To converse over these radios, also known as “amateur radios,” you have to obtain an operator’s license from the FCC. Luckily, other Wired How-To contributors have already explained exactly what you need to do to get one and use it like a pro. However, if the President declares a State of Emergency, use of the radio could be extremely restricted or prohibited.
GMRS: The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is a licensed land-mobile FM UHF radio service in the United States available for short-distance two-way communication. It is intended for use by an adult individual who possesses a valid GMRS license, as well as his or her immediate family members… They are more expensive than the walkie talkies typically found in discount electronics stores, but are higher quality.
Family Radio Service: The Family Radio Service (FRS) is an improved walkie talkie radio system authorized in the United States since 1996. This personal radio service uses channelized frequencies in the ultra high frequency (UHF) band. It does not suffer the interference effects found on citizens’ band (CB) at 27 MHz, or the 49 MHz band also used by cordless phones, toys, and baby monitors.
Microbroadcasting: Microbroadcasting is the process of broadcasting a message to a relatively small audience. This is not to be confused with low-power broadcasting. In radio terms, it is the use of low-power transmitters to broadcast a radio signal over the space of a neighborhood or small town. Similarly to pirate radio, microbroadcasters generally operate without a license from the local regulation body, but sacrifice range in favor of using legal power limits.
Packet Radio Back to the ’90s: There do exist shortwave packet-radio modems. These are also excruciatingly slow, but may get your e-mail out. Like ham radio above it requires a ham radio license because they operate on ham radio frequencies.
Set up a phone tree: According to the American Association of University Women, a phone tree is “a prearranged, pyramid-shaped system for activating a group of people by telephone” that can “spread a brief message quickly and efficiently to a large number of people.” Dig out that contact list you printed out to spread the message down your pyramid of contacts.
Enable Twitter via SMS: Though the thought of unleashing the Twitter fire hose in your text message inbox may seem horrifying, it would be better than not being able to connect to the outside world at all. The Twitter website has full instructions on how to redirect tweets to your phone.
Call to Tweet: A small team of engineers from Twitter, Google and SayNow, a company Google acquired recently, made this idea a reality. It’s already live and anyone can tweet by simply leaving a voicemail on one of these international phone numbers (+16504194196 or +390662207294 or +97316199855) and the service will instantly tweet the message using the hashtag #egypt. No Internet connection is required. People can listen to the messages by dialing the same phone numbers or going to the Twitter account, speak2tweet.
Alex Jones and infowars.com have a telephone number for people to listen to his radio show by phone, in case the internet goes down, or if you don’t have internet. The phone in listen line is 512-646-5000.
If you need to quickly send and receive documents with lengthy or complex instructions, phone conversations may result in misunderstandings, and delivering the doc by foot would take forever. Brush the dust off that bulky old machine, establish a connection by phone first with the recipient to make sure his machine is hooked up, then fax away.
You may not need a fax machine to send or receive faxes if your computer has a dial-up fax application.
NON-VIRTUAL BULLETIN BOARD
Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the virtual world that we forget about resources available in the real world. Physical bulletin boards have been used for centuries to disseminate information and don’t require electricity to function. If you are fortunate enough to be getting information from some other source why not share it with your friends and neighbors with your own bulletin board? Cork, magnetic and marker bulletin boards are as close as your nearest dime store and can be mounted just about anywhere. And if push comes to shove you can easily make your own with scrap wood lying around the house.
Getting back onlineWhile it might be relatively easy for a government to cut connections by leveraging the major ISPs, there are some places they wouldn’t get to so readily, like privately-owned networks and independent ISPs.
FIND THE PRIVATELY RUN ISPs
In densely populated areas, especially in central business districts and city suburbs there are multiple home WiFi networks overlapping each other, some secure, some not. If there is no internet, open up your WiFi by removing password protection: If enough people do this it’s feasible to create a totally private WiFi service outside government control covering the CBD, and you can use applications that run Bonjour (iChat on Mac for example) to communicate with others on the open network and send and receive documents. **needs more clarification
If you are a private ISP, it’s your time to shine. Consider allowing open access to your Wi-Fi routers to facilitate communication of people around you until the grid is back online.
RETURN TO DIAL-UP
According to an article in the BBC about old tech’s role in the Egyptian protests, “Dial-up modems are one of the most popular routes for Egyptians to get back online. Long lists of international numbers that connect to dial-up modems are circulating in Egypt thanks to net activists We Re-Build, Telecomix and others.”
Dial-up can be slow. Often, there is a lightweight mobile version of a site that you can load from your desktop browser quickly despite the limitations of dial-up. Examples: mobile.twitter.com, m.facebook.com, m.gmail.com.
Most wireless routers, PCs, laptops, and even some ultramobile devices like cellphones have the ability to become part of an “ad hoc” network, where different “nodes” (all of the devices on the network) share the responsibility of transmitting data with one another. These networks can become quite large, and are often very easy to set up. If used properly by a tech-savvy person, such networks can be used to host temporary websites and chat rooms. There are many internet tutorials on the internet for ad hoc networking, so feel free to google some.
Apple computers tend to have very accessible ad hoc functionality built in, including a pre-installed chat client (iChat) that will automatically set up an ad hoc “Rendezvous” chatroom among anybody on the network, without the need for an external service like AIM or Skype. Ad hoc network-hosting functionality is built in to the Wi-Fi menu.
Windows computers have several third-party ad hoc chat applications available (such as Trillian) and setting up an ad hoc Wi-Fi network is almost as simple as on a Mac.
Linux operating systems, of course, have plenty of third-party apps available, and most distros have ad hoc network-creation support built in.
BUILD LARGE BRIDGED WIRELESS NETWORK
Using popular wireless access point devices like a Linksys WRT54G, you can create a huge wireless bridged network — effectively creating a Local Area Network (LAN), or a private Internet that can be utilized by all users within range using a Wi-Fi enabled device.
You can also link multiple devices together wirelessly, extending the range of your network. Most access points will cover a 100 meter area and if your wireless device is built to support the 802.11n wireless standard, you will get almost a 500 meter coverage area for each access point.
To build a wireless bridge, check out the dd-wrt wiki, and learn how to configure Linksys WRT54G as a wireless client using this Anandtech thread.
A used DS family device can be purchased inexpensively. In addition to wi-fi, the DS supports its own wireless protocols. Using Pictochat, it is possible to chat with nearby DS users without having any DS games. Unfortunately, the range is quite short.
Some games, such as the fourth generation Pokemon games, support mail items. Thus you can send your message under the guise of just playing a game. Mail items can be sent through the Internet if you can get on the net and you and your partner(s) have each other’s friend codes.
The original DS and the DS Lite do support the Opera web browser, but finding the game card and memory pack may be very difficult. Starting with the DSi, Opera is downloadable.
Your computer has the ability to set up your own INTRANET. This was done BEFORE the internet was popularized in two ways: Your computer dialed up other computers and sent them the contents of a message board, or local people people dialed into your computer. A nationwide system can be set up this way with a central location sending to many cities then each city sending out the info locally.
If you’re going to post government secrets on your work-around site, you may want to set up an untraceable account. Really, you only need a mail drop, an assumed name, a prepaid credit card you can get at many stores to set up service.
GET SATELLITE ACCESS
You can have very, very slow internet if you have something similiar to an Iridium phone, which would allow you to do dial up at 2400 baud, which at least gives you e-mail. This will also work when your government has shut down GSM and telephone access, and will work pretty much anywhere on the planet. If you’re in the right place, get yourself KA-SAT access which is satellite broadband and will not be routed through any internet exchange that certain local governments may monitor or block (unless that government is part of EU or er … Uncle Sam.
BACK TO BASICS
Make some noise: Have an air horn or other loud instrument handy. It may just come down to being able to alert people in your local geographic area, who would otherwise be unaware of an emergency. You may also want to learn a bit about Morse code and have a cheat sheet available.
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