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Art Appreciation


The question of the day is 

Do you need to agree with an artist’s lifestyle or politics to appreciate their art? To spend money on it?

And to me the answer is obvious. You do not need to AGREE with an artist but you do need to understand that art is not made in a vacuum and there are external factors that affect artists and their creations. To appreciate art you need to be able to appreciate the person i na sense. Art worth spending money on is created in a social/political/existential moment and is an extension of that moment by it’s facility as a document. A piece of art, at it’s maximum, is a testament to a moment in the life of an artist. To appreciate something and to agree with it are two different actions and you can appreciate an artist, their skill, technically and conceptually. You may appreciate the way in which the artists conveys a commentary, it may be skillful and deft, original and sharp but you may not agree with the topic or even the style of conceptual conveyance. To appreciate, you don’t have to like whats being “said” but you sure do need to like the way it’s being said. This happens in music all the time, we all listen to music we don’t agree with, we even spend money on that music, learn the words and everything. But for some reason the ability to appreciate this in art makes us, as humans, feel deep. I’ll leave it at that. 

By the way, i really like these artists (super short list).

Retna, Gaia, ROA, dickchicken, Conor Harrington,

Real Short List. But do your homework kids! 


Devele-Com an ISP for developing nations.


Starting a Networking/ISP/telecom business has been a dream of mine for a while. Being the internet, networking, computer security nerd that i am i think the ultimate in life satisfaction is to provide cost effective and secure internet solutions to individuals and businesses. The catch is i want to be able to provide these services in developing countries. The first installations of Devele-Com, ideally will be in South Africa and Brazil. I’m still doing research about the climate of the market in both of these places and just getting there will prove to be both a challenge and huge opportunity.

Why South Africa and/or Brazil?

These countries are part of the G20 Countries, Brazil is currently the 6th largest economy in the world and is exhibiting growth faster than most developed countries.  Both countries’ economic positions are showing extraordinary resilience to the world-wide slowing of economic growth way ahead of the European Union. Brazil is at the forefront of growth (along with Mexico) in Latin America. Many local Brazilian companies are now turning into multinationals by way of growth and providing agricultural and manufacturing opportunities to the world.  In 2010 conomies like China and India outpace Brazil in pure GDP percentage points with 10.3% and 8.6% respectively to Brazils 7.5%. I think the technology sector of Brazil has not been fully tapped, the Brazilian government has implemented a national broadband plan this will bring internet access to millions of people and i believe that bringing access in the form of fiber optic cable, switches, servers, cell phone towers, devices and solutions will only foster business and international opportunity. Although GDP growth for 2011 was less than half of 2010 at 3.5% the South American behemoth is still showing more promise than most european countries and currency stability than many other latin american countries.

There is also a lot of opportunity to provide some kind of wi-fi or wi-max option for people to be able to opt into in their home cities. There is a movement happening in the US of municipality provided broadband access and Brazil is currently and quickly implementing a national broadband plan to accomodate the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics. Municipality based access challenges the established providers (Verizon, ATT, Comcast etc here in the States) to provide higher speeds and quality of service at lower prices. They obviously do not like this kind of competition and have been lobbying very very hard to prevent it. Check out this map to see which states have been legislating against municipal broadband. The municipal broadband model could work very well using some kind of medium wave technology like Wimax and having subscribers register the MAC address of their device and pay money to subscribe to the service. This would work especially well in areas like India and South Africa where the cell phone is the dominant device for accessing the internet. Tablet computing (with cellular data) will undoubtably take off in these countries where covering large distances with cell phone towers is more cost effective than laying many kilometers of cable and people already are invested in smaller devices rather than laptops and desktop computers.

Whats your plan Offie, Mr. Smart Guy? 

Big talk about laying fiber optic cable in foreign countries is sexy, but less realistic in the early years of this project. The main focus and scope of this particular project is to provide network solutions for individuals and small to medium sized businesses as well as server space and help desk service for subscribers. I would like to provide affordable entrepreneurial infrastructure for people interested in starting their own businesses and even business training if i can partner with the right non-profit.

My plan has 3 tiers

1. Municipal Broadband

2. Business Infrastructure

3. Green energy/self sustainability

South Africa and Western Africa is especially ripe for the Business Infrastructure tier. Helping individuals and small teams of people start their businesses by renting them adequate and functional; space with reliable access to power, telecommunications, a computer or tablet, the time and space to network and make connections and acquire accounts. Our goal is to enable mutually beneficial trade with countries who will benefit from receiving great products and services while developing mations benefit by receiving fair prices for their good and services paid to them in a relatively strong currency.

Green energy and self sustainability is kind of self explanatory. We are looking to utilize every kind of Renewable and green energy to provide reliable electricity for our facilities and if possible to be able to provide this service to neighbors and possibly help set-up other businesses and homes with green energy solutions. But we have to get our solution up and running first.

Next Steps

My next steps are to first visit both Brazil and learn portuguese as well as visiting South Africa, spending time in these places, finding suitable locations that are in need of this kind of development and where my dollars will go the farthest. Finding some second and third tier cities that are exceptionally livable and affordable (with good surfing). I am applying for a teaching fellowship in South Africa next summer and while i’m there i’ll be on the group, hopefully in Capetown scoping the Technology scene and making contacts. I’m constantly looking for more information about what is happening in these countries in the telecom, networking and economic arenas. My ultimate goal is to have a business in a foreign country and get paid in american dollars (or euros) and to afford and comfortable lifestyle with plenty of time to do the things i love like cycling, surfing and traveling.

Fair Use and Educational Non-Profits


Copyright Symbol

In April 2008 3 publishers brought a suit against Georgia State University for their use of copywritten content claiming the university went well beyond fair use provisions in itʼs distribution of e-reserve holdings for students.
In assessing the use of e-reserves by Georgia State the judge considered Section 107 of the U.S. Copyright Act which describes fair use along 4 axes.

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

In the decision, the Judge weighed the educational use and impact on the potential market/ value fairly evenly and found the use to be more beneficial in an educational setting than effecting the market potential of said texts. This ruling is not merely a “if you can pay for it, you should” decision. The judge is saying that students should have open access to sections of material that are deemed important to their understanding of a topic or course of study and the limits sought by the publishing companies would effectively rule that no chapters would be eligible under fair use.
The judge found that a 10% limit, whether a single author book or edited text, is allowed to be used over the course of multiple semesters and years and conversely the judge also finds that licensing for digital copies of works and individual chapters was not readily available, although Georgia State pays reproduction permissions for photocopied works, their main method of distribution was/is digital and there was no permission fee collection for digital copies. Further more the publishing companies could not provide their own proof of ownership and certificates that proved transfer of copyright ownership were not allowed as evidence.
It seems as is Georgia State slipped the bullet on these two particular points and publishing companies will be quickly digitizing their holdings and making new holdings available digitally nearly instantly they are available in print as to make this a mute point in the future. It seems that publishing companies will also be increasing the diligence with which they record their holdings prior to making them available for licensing by academic and research institutions.

Georgia State University logo

Georgia State University bested their copyright woes narrowly

The e-reserve system also terminates access for students at the end of the semester which also provided a degree of leeway for the University rather than providing digitized copies that students are able to save permanently. The Publishing companies regularly cite the 4th clause and the implication that copyright infringement will lessen the desire of people to become authors and of authors to publish their works. The publishers claimed that GSU’s use of sections of work, generally less than 10%, lessened the sustainability of the publishing industry’s ability to release academic works. Although understandable this remains to be seen as publishers have taken a reactionary stance on the digital use of any parts of a published work. They have asked for the most draconian measures, which have not generally applied to print and essentially want to disallow reproduction in part for non-profit and academic use. Whgile Judge Evans stated that permission fees are not a substantial part of the Publishers revenue, she dismissed this argument as “glib” (pg 84).

Further more the Judge sets out a mandate for publishers and institutions alike.

If publishers do not license in a way that facilitates reasonable educational use in the digital environment, the fourth factor will, she seems to be saying, cease to favor them.

As interpreted on the Duke university Library Blog. As someone who works in a school i hope that this encourgaes publishers to provide much more comprehensive, flexible and accessible titles. I feel that companies like Inkling are at the forefront of accessibility but Kindle, iBooks and even Kno are making inroads on features such as offering single chapters, providing equivalent ebooks with matching sections and pages, providing enhanced content and flexible ownership models. Although ebooks differ slightly from the course reserve model that GSU utilizes we have many upper level elective courses that can benefit from this ruling and allow us to continue to create and provide course readers within the limits of Fair Use.

If you have any questions about fair use check out Standford page on Fair Use, Copyright and Public Domain. This is a great guide for librarians and an opportunity to talk with your students and peers about the changing landscape of Intellectual Property.

Vanguard Video Editing


Video edit of Vanguard Conference footage.
I am becoming more proficient at editing and the aesthetics of editing. Now i’d like to be a better filmer and know how to REALLY manipulate the camera. I have a photo background so it shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Let me know what you think of the filming, the editing and the video as a whole.

Introduction to iPad Apps


As part of our iPad rollout, educators at our school have the opportunity to take iPads home for the summer before we receive our pads and laptops for the upcoming school year. To help dispel some of the techno-paralysis; you know the “WTF do i do with this thing” look, I created a quick list to get people started with iOS and iPad apps that are useful and functional and good-looking. I wanted to give our new iPad adopters a little kickstart to their summer usage.

A lot of technology trainers and professional development people skip the part where people (especially self proclaimed ‘luddites’) have to use the technology as if it were theirs before they can even think about what to do with it for work. I have been emphasizing that point ad infinitum. I want them to take this iPad home and use it as if it were theirs, read books, look at dumb youtube videos, plan your vacation with the kayak app. All of these things will increase their familiarity, just do SOMETHING.

Of course i don’t call their youtube videos dumb, but c’mon lolcatz?

Check my list and see if there are any apps that you would reccomend or prefer for iOS/iPAd newbies.

Flashcards and Quizlet


I have been playing with the Flashcard Deluxe app on my ipad recently. It’s a cool and fairly intuitive app that lets you add up to 5 “sides” to a flashcard which is incredibly cool. I also like the fact that you can download sets of premade cards from I am spending a couple hours really testing this out today because i think our students could benefit from a flashcard app especially with all of their anxiety about standardized tests. Using the pad and flashcards deluxe could relieve some of that anxiety. It looks like a robust program in conjunction with quizlets.
it provided the “embed” code” as if you could embed their games into your own website, the url even says embed. But i will leave these up here because i still like the games. The first is a link to spanish I vocabulary and the second is a game called “Scatter” where you match images with their descriptions regarding the French Renaissance.

Pretty Cool. I know we will be able to integrate this into our “educational ecosystem”and use them with the iPads. Comment and let me know how you would utilize this site or any other cool flashcard web applications.

The HP Slate Missed the Point.


HP Slate
The Slate is missing out.

The HP slate has been touted in front of consumers for a longer time than the iPad has even been announced. The very first HP slate photos are NO different than the shots we are seeing of the device now. The specs sound enticing, atom z processor, 2 gb of ram and an Ed card slot. The slate was starting to sound promising, 14 months ago. But now, with the iPad getting stronger by the day, it’s strong and growing selections of apps and now the impending 4.2 ios release is going to rocket the adoption of the iPad across business structures; from non profits to fortune 500’s.

One of the most disappointing aspects of the HP slate is the lack of any innovation regarding touch in the operating system. It seems as if the software developers relied on the meager touch features in windows 7; including the onscreen keyboard. It seems like it took hp a whole year to install windows 7 on the slate.

HP totally missed the direction in which tablets are going and how companies have to innovate. They should gave been taking cues from the google android operating system and it’s huge success as a free operating system, the success of the proliferation of app store services, and how controlling the app store is a huge cash cow. If you have ever bought an hp you already know they do not do software well, at all, ever. In the age of blockbuster tablets (a.k.a the very near future) interfaces have to be customized for the platform making the most of the small specialized processors and the touch interface. Hp completed neither of these objectives.

I can’t imagine who would shop in an app store full of hp bloat ware.

By no means an I saying verizon’s or AT&T’s developers are not overstepping the tasteful boundaries of modification to include abysmal amount of bloatware on their hardware platforms and locking you into their traditionally walled off content.

in short HP totally missed the boat this tablet is much more like the orignal mid 90’s tablets. I am hopeful the Samsung tab will be an open platform that is extensible and connects with lots of different peripherals. Providing a wide open platform like windows is perfectly fine but if you are not adding value through interface innovation and application development your are not taking place in the tablet revolution.