Brian's Take on Tech

Bringing you info about technology, and how it impacts your life for better and worse.   -Brian K, Community Partnerships Supervisor


You Don’t Need to Pay Me, I Work for Hope –Wrap Up

This week we will take a look at three more sites and I will give you my final thoughts.

First we will look at two blogging platforms.

Exhibit Five 

Blogger wouldn’t allow anyone to use my content, would they? 

Answer: Depends on how you define anyone.  Google does have rules in place regarding copyright infringement but as you can see below you are pretty much in charge of blowing that whistle on your own. That said, Google themselves retain rights to your posted works. 

From the Source:

“We respond to notices of alleged copyright infringement and terminate accounts of repeat infringers according to the process set out in the U.S. Digital Millennium Copyright Act.

We provide information to help copyright holders manage their intellectual property online. If you think somebody is violating your copyrights and want to notify us, you can find information about submitting notices and Google’s policy about responding to notices in our Help Center.” 

Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps). Some Services may offer you ways to access and remove content that has been provided to that Service. Also, in some of our Services, there are terms or settings that narrow the scope of our use of the content submitted in those Services. Make sure you have the necessary rights to grant us this license for any content that you submit to our Services. 

Exhibit Six 

So Tumlbr protects me better? 

Answer: I will let you be the judge. What I do like about their policy is that while some of the verbiage remains the same, they specify the intent. See below. 

From the Source:

When you transfer Subscriber Content to Tumblr through the Services, you give Tumblr a non-exclusive, worldwide, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable right and license to use, host, store, cache, reproduce, publish, display (publicly or otherwise), perform (publicly or otherwise), distribute, transmit, modify, adapt (including, without limitation, in order to conform it to the requirements of any networks, devices, services, or media through which the Services are available), and create derivative works of (including, without limitation, by Reblogging, as defined below), such Subscriber Content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating the Services in accordance with their functionality, improving the Services, and allowing Tumblr to develop new Services. The reference in this license to "derivative works" is not intended to give Tumblr itself a right to make substantive editorial changes or derivations, but does enable Tumblr Subscribers to redistribute Subscriber Content from one Tumblr blog to another in a manner that allows Subscribers to, e.g., add their own text or other Content before or after your Subscriber Content ("Reblogging").”

 

Explanation of purpose

“When you upload your creations to Tumblr, you grant us a license to make that content available in the ways you'd expect from using our services (for example, via your blog, RSS, the Tumblr Dashboard, etc.). We never want to do anything with your content that surprises you.

Something else worth noting: Countless Tumblr blogs have gone on to spawn books, films, albums, brands, and more. We're thrilled to offer our support as a platform for our creators, and we'd never claim to be entitled to royalties or reimbursement for the success of what you've created. It's your work, and we're proud to be a part (however small) of what you accomplish.”

 

Now a quick look at Pinterest.

Exhibit Seven

Pinterest is basically a free for all, right? 

Answer: This answer is a little different because of how we use the service. Most people use Pinterest for what is called “deep linking,” your pins link users to specific content in sites you think may be of interest to them. For example, rather than linking to a recipe website you link them directly to the recipe that caught your attention. In this form of use there is no infringement because you are linked to the original source. Here comes the BUT, but you do have the ability to post unique content and when you do the policy is similar to many of the services that claim rights to use your content in a way that supports their service – including the right to modify your content.  

From the Source:

You grant Pinterest and its users a non-exclusive, royalty-free, transferable, sublicensable, worldwide license to use, store, display, reproduce, re-pin, modify, create derivative works, perform, and distribute your User Content on Pinterest solely for the purposes of operating, developing, providing, and using the Pinterest Products. Nothing in these Terms shall restrict other legal rights Pinterest may have to User Content, for example under other licenses. We reserve the right to remove or modify User Content for any reason; including User Content that we believe violates these Terms or our policies.

Final Thoughts

My purpose here was not to throw companies under the bus for their practices. As businesses they have the right to do what is best for their bottom line. My goal was simply to get people thinking. Think about the license agreements you are “signing” though I certainly wouldn’t be opposed to companies making it a little bit easier to understand. 

What I want people to think about is the real value of what they create.  Should it really be free?  The severe storm outbreak last weekend is a great example. The media agencies barely had to lift a finger to get the story.  Sure they sent a handful of people into the field but we did most of the heavy lifting for them. We stood in harm’s way to get the shot of the tornado barreling through the neighborhood tossing houses like toy blocks; filming wind gusts that folded trees in two, in downtown St. Louis.   How much in commercial residuals do you think CNN is going to send out to the people who took that footage? Answer:   Not a dime.  If they are lucky they might get their name mentioned on national television.

Think about your newspaper.  How many jobs have they cut? How many have replaced that lost content with blogs? Some would say this is the democratization of information.  That is what used to think, until I thought long and hard about who reaps the benefits of this new information economy. 

You Don’t Need To Pay Me, I Work For Hope - Part 2

Today we will look at two more services many of you may use and what you give up when you agree to their terms. 

Exhibit Three

I love sharing my photos on Flickr, they can’t use those, right?

Answer: see highlights below – the upshot is that your photos, video and audio are better protected than anything you write.

From the Source:

“Yahoo! does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Yahoo! Services. However, with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services, you grant Yahoo! the following worldwide, royalty-free and non-exclusive license(s), as applicable:

Section a. omitted – only applies to Yahoo Groups

b. With respect to photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services other than Yahoo! Groups, the license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publicly perform and publicly display such Content on the Yahoo! Services solely for the purpose for which such Content was submitted or made available. This license exists only for as long as you elect to continue to include such Content on the Yahoo! Services and will terminate at the time you remove or Yahoo! removes such Content from the Yahoo! Services.

c. With respect to Content other than photos, graphics, audio or video you submit or make available for inclusion on publicly accessible areas of the Yahoo! Services other than Yahoo! Groups, the perpetual, irrevocable and fully sublicensable license to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other works in any format or medium now known or later developed.”

 

Exhibit Four

Can Facebook use my photos in their advertising?

 Answer: Depends on your settings, the upshot is that the more locked down you have your account the less you are giving them permission to use.

From the Source:

“For content that is covered by intellectual property rights, like photos and videos (IP content), you specifically give us the following permission, subject to your privacy and application settings: you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, royalty-free, worldwide license to use any IP content that you post on or in connection with Facebook (IP License). This IP License ends when you delete your IP content or your account unless your content has been shared with others, and they have not deleted it.”

 

Stay tuned. Next week we will be looking at blogging services and Pinterest. 

You Don’t Need To Pay Me, I Work For Hope

I just finished reading a book by Jaron Lanier called “Who Owns the Future” and while this is no way a book review, his book did give me some things to ponder. Lanier’s basic argument is that we are all being foolish by giving (and taking) each other’s intellectual content for free. He argues that by sharing our works and thoughts we are driving revenue to a smaller and smaller group of elites and destroying the middle class in the process. While I don’t necessarily agree with everything he has to say, he does make some compelling arguments and got me questioning whether free information is a good idea.  

While I could pontificate on this for hours I will spare you, kind of. Rather than one long-winded post, I am going to break this up into a short series and I am going to try to keep my opinion out of it. Each post will be two examples of licensing agreement language and what it means to you; focusing on sites and services you probably know.

So here we go.

Exhibit One

I just signed up for Google Drive what did I give away?

Answer: pretty much everything

From the Source:

Some of our Services allow you to submit content. You retain ownership of any intellectual property rights that you hold in that content. In short, what belongs to you stays yours.

When you upload or otherwise submit content to our Services, you give Google (and those we work with) a worldwide license to use, host, store, reproduce, modify, create derivative works (such as those resulting from translations, adaptations or other changes we make so that your content works better with our Services), communicate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute such content. The rights you grant in this license are for the limited purpose of operating, promoting, and improving our Services, and to develop new ones. This license continues even if you stop using our Services (for example, for a business listing you have added to Google Maps).

Source: http://www.google.com/policies/terms/

Exhibit Two

I was just asked to speak at a TED Conference, I wonder how much I will be paid? In addition to the live speech my talk will be accessible to all and viewed thousands if not millions of times. That has to be worth something right?

Answer: You’ll have to report it to the IRS (your ticket and accommodations have monetary value) but no money will ever see your pocket. TED does not pay its speakers; it does however put them up in a nice hotel and doesn’t kick them out of the conference when they are done speaking.

What you are really banking on here is the hope that your talk will be a hit and lead to a more lucrative future. For example, Sir Ken Robinson’s first TED talk is one of their most viewed talks of all time. To see him speak live will now cost your organization $50,000 a session. By the way, if you read the second paragraph you will find that your talk isn’t even guaranteed to make it on the website.

 From the Source:

 “TED does not pay speakers. We do, of course, cover travel costs and provide excellent hotel accommodation -- as well as a covetable pass to all four days of TED. Most speakers stay for all four days of the conference, soaking up the inspiration, and connecting with other fascinating attendees, who range from rocket scientists to concert pianists. Other TED goodies include the famous gift bag, the TED Book Club, a beautiful Program Guide with a full page devoted to each full-length speaker, and a virtual-DVD stream of the conference soon afterward. We're committed to creating an experience that's tremendously fulfilling and beneficial on all sides.

An additional benefit of speaking at TED is that your presentation may become a TEDTalk, part of our beautifully produced, broadcast-quality video podcast series. Offered free to the public, TEDTalks have proven extraordinarily effective at spreading ideas.”

Source: http://support.ted.com/customer/portal/articles/301777-what-do-you-pay-speakers-

So what are your thoughts so far? Will it change your online behaviors? Will it make you start reading the fine print?

I Can Do This And So Can You

There is a growing culture of Makers in our country who are not only expanding and honing their talents but who also want to share their experience and knowledge with you. The result is multiple media streams that demystify projects making them doable for most of us. Maker projects cover almost any topic and vary greatly in their goals; some are artistic expression, others are about saving money and a large subset focus on being environmentally responsible.  

Whether it be art, cooking, home improvement projects or just simple crafting I find that too many people don’t have enough faith in their abilities to take on the challenges. Most people will just pay someone to do the job for them or admire the talents of others with mumblings of, “I wish I could do something like that.” In most cases you can. Of course there are things you may not have the talent to take on but in reality a lot of projects that look complicated are doable once you break them down into smaller bites. So what does this have to do with technology? I’m getting to that.

In the past decade or so we have seen a Maker movement growing in this country, although I think of it more as a Doer movement because we aren’t always building from the ground up; sometimes we are fixing things or modifying them to our needs. The recession seems to have magnified this movement as fewer and fewer people can afford more consumerist routes to what they desire. Coupled with and enhancing this movement is the geometric growth of social media. Social media has created a culture where we share everything; sometimes this is very, very bad but sometimes it’s fantastic because out of this desire to share has come the sharing of knowledge and processes.

Websites like Instructables.com and Makezine.com create virtual environments where people can share their projects and ideas with others. In the case of Instructables they come with step by step instructions for you to replicate their work. If you knit or crochet there is Ravelry.com, an online community that shares patterns and instruction with the community that helping to keep your motivation up through chat, project swaps and challenges. In addition to the dedicated sites simple searches on YouTube can uncover thousands of how-to videos covering almost any subject. Right now my youngest daughter’s favorite is Nerdy Nummies where the host does geek-themed baked goods. The point is that there is something out there for everyone.  Of course if you aren’t a digital person there is always your local library – I guarantee our catalog is filled with how-tos on nearly every subject under the sun.

In the end each person has to answer for themselves whether the effort and time is worth the cost savings and personal satisfaction. What’s important is that people answer that question from the standpoint of their own values, not whether they are up to the task. Support is out there and our digital culture is helping make it more accessible and supportive than ever.   

Other maker / crafting websites not mentioned above.

DIY Network - Home Improvement How-To & Remodeling Projects

eHow | How to Videos, Articles & More - Discover the expert in you.

Craftster.org - A Community for Crafts and DIY Projects with Free ...

 

Wonder How To » Show & Tell for Creators & Doers

Family Fun With Technology

It’s August and if you have kids in your home there is a highly likelihood that their favorite phrase at this point in the summer is, “I’m bored.” So if you are looking for a relatively affordable way to break the summer boredom and do something that is fun, educational and healthy I might have something for you – have you ever heard of geocaching?

Geocaching is basically a technology based treasure hunt. Using a GPS unit and coordinates provided at the geocaching.com website you can scour the city looking for hidden caches. They come in all a variety of sizes from film canisters all the way up to large ammunition boxes. Right now over 2000 caches reside in the Fox Cities area to keep even the most ambitious family busy for some time, and if you find all of the caches around here there are more scattered all over the world.

It is easy to get started. The first thing you need to do is set up an account.  A basic account at geocaching.com is absolutely free and will fill the needs of most users. You may need to purchase is a GPS but if you have a smart phone you can download apps that will turn your phone in to a geocaching machine. I use c:geo, a free Android app, it has a nice interface that makes most things really easy, but it’s not perfect. The compass page that acts as your guide is not very accurate. In fairness it may be a problem with my phone and not the app. You can also choose to spend ten bucks and get the official geacaching app which is available to both Android and Apple users.

Many geocachers prefer a dedicated GPS. As I stated earlier the smart phone didn’t seem to have great accuracy whereas even our oldest handheld unit works great. The catch with a hand held unit is that coordinates need to be downloaded or manually entered into the units. For what it’s worth, you can get a decent handheld GPS unit for about a hundred bucks these days. If you have a car mounted GPS units you can also use that if it has battery power. The problem is that they do not typically have a compass page so you would have to use the actual coordinates to figure out when you were getting close.

Once you have an account and a GPS unit in hand you can start your search. From geocaching.com you can set up your query of local caches. In this case I searched within 25 miles of zip code 54911. After removing the caches we had already found the result was 2188 possible caches. Each cache is listed with size, difficulty, type of terrain and when it was last found to help you choose your targets. There is even a button to click that automatically sends the coordinates to your GPS unit if it is hooked up to the computer via USB. 

Here are some recommendations from 8 years of experience geocaching with my family.

1.  Look for full size caches. These will have small toys and knick knacks in them that the kids can trade. Since the idea is to trade, not simply take, you will also need a supply of items to take with you. We usually raid the kid’s rooms beforehand for Hot Wheel cars, Little People, yo-yos, or happy meal toys. You get the idea, cheap and plentiful things that will not be missed. Pencils and pens are also good swap items.

2.      Hike for it. If you are trying to get some health value out of this stay away from car caches. Many geocaches can be found simply by pulling over to the side of the road and hunting within 20 feet of the car – which kind of kills the healthy part. The caches’ description will give you an idea of where items are hidden, so choose accordingly.

3.      Stick to easy caches your first couple times out so the kids don’t get frustrated and the corollary rule, let them find some of the caches. 

4.     Model behavior. Set an example for your kids. Never dig. Be careful about trouncing on the plants. If you really want to set an example, try a concept called “Cache in Trash out.” In other words leave the area better than you found it by carrying out trash that was left in the woods. 

AddThis