Tuesday 27 December 2011

I'm passing this on because it worked for me today...

I'm passing this on because it worked for me today... Dr Oz on TV said that to reach inner peace we should always finish things we start, and we all could use more calm in our lives. I looked around my house to find things I'd started and hadn't finished...so I finished off a bottle of Merlot, a bottle of Chardonnay, a bodle of Baileys, a butle of wum, tha mainder of Valiuminun scriptins, an a box a chocletz. Yu haf no idr how fablus I feel rite now. Sned this to all who need inner piss. An telum u luvum. Wuv U gies!

Monday 19 December 2011

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Damn You Auto Correct

Damn You Auto Correct Reveals 9 Funniest Texts of the Year (via @Mashable)


Wednesday 23 November 2011

Top ten myths about introverts

This was trending on Twitter and apparently Facebook yesterday.  According to the last Meyers Briggs I did, I'm an introvert.  Not sure about all of these, but many are spot-on!


Thursday 17 November 2011

Stop Internet Censorship!

Stop Internet #Censorship! Sign the global petition @Avaaz urging the US Congress to reject the #Blacklist Bill #SOPA

Friday 28 October 2011

Free speech

I can't recall who I was having the conversation about free speech with recently... but this article pretty much says it better than I could!


For the record, my personal views of Andrew Bolt best remain unpublished.  But allowing a judge, or Parliament, to decide what an individual can or cannot say, is not something that's ever going to sit comfortably with me.  I like this paragraph in the article best:

Democracy depends on the free flow of information and ideas. Opinions must be shared in 'a free and open encounter' because it is the competition between ideas that produces the truth. As Fredrick Siebert explained: 'The true and sound will survive. The false and unsound will be vanquished. Government should keep out of the battle and not weigh the odds in favor of one side or the other.'

Monday 3 October 2011

Facebook's New Timeline & Perceptions of Privacy (via tamaleaver.net)

Everyone's Facebook profile will disappear on 6 October 2011, replaced with a Timeline. I've already changed mine and while the Timeline is very, very different, it's also pretty cool once you get used to it. This is an excellent post by one of my lecturers which covers some of the changes and privacy implications. Worth a read.


Thursday 15 September 2011

Regrets, I've had a few...

 This morning one of my friends wrote this on Facebook:

If tomorrow was your last day what would you regret having NOT done...? Lives come and go every second of the day ...make sure your list of regrets is short.

Words to live by.  And in fact, words I HAVE very deliberately lived by for much of my adult life.  Thankfully, I've gotten to the age I am now and I can truthfully say that I have very few regrets.  I've been to most of the places in the world that I wanted to travel to (with a couple of notable exceptions).  I've gone almost to the top of my chosen profession, and now looking back I'm comfortable with my choice to step away when I did and not go that one extra step right to the top.  I've had a healthy number of personal relationships, gotten married and had two fantastic kids, when the time was right for me (and I've managed to stay married so far).  I've said almost all of the things that I've ever wanted to say to the people I care about.  I've made some fantastic friends that I don't see or speak to as often as I'd like, but I know they'll be there for as long as we're both alive.  I've lost touch with a few long-term friends in recent years too, but I'm OK with the choices I've made.  I can say quite calmly and with no regrets that I don't get along with my mother and probably never will.  I've partied hard in my youth, had a go at all the sports I've ever wanted to try, and I've been at the MCG when my footy team won a Grand Final.

There are some things I haven't done yet.  I've never finished a degree, although I'm working towards that now.  I've never been to South America, and I desperately want to.  One thing I've always regretted is about to be remedied, when I finally get to go and watch a band that I've always loved, who disbanded years ago, reform for a reunion tour.

Then there are the more difficult things, the moral choices and the purely selfish things you'd love to do, that pull you up and make you think.  Generally, these are things you're torn about because of the impact they may have on others.  For instance, I would dearly love to take off and backpack my way around South America for 3 months, like I did in Europe and North America years ago - but 3 months away now would be very difficult for my family.  I would love to throw myself full-time into building my own business, and do it properly - but again, too difficult for my family, too many other obligations.  I would love to relive certain parts of my youth that I won't go into here, but I would struggle morally with some of them now.

I had a discussion with a friend the other day, who said that if you spend too much time thinking about consequences then you never get to do anything you want to do.  This is true.  What's also true is that if you don't consider consequences, things can go wrong and people can get hurt.  Balancing your own desires with the needs of those around you is tough.  Having children changes you.  Until I had kids I was pretty selfish and I did what suited me.  Once you have a child, you want to do what's right by them.  Unfortunately, you lose a little (or a lot) of yourself in the process, and you do start missing out on things, which leads to regrets.  The challenge is finding the balance.

Thursday 1 September 2011

As recently as 1979, a 6 year old could...

From one of my favourite blogs about NOT being a "helicopter parent", Free-Range Kids - a list from 1979, of things that a 6 year old should be able to do, to assess school readiness. The pertinent point is this:

"Can he travel alone in the neighborhood (four to eight blocks) to store, school, playground, or to a friend's home?"

Good grief!  Here's me stressing about my 8yo walking home from school, with a friend, less than 500m!  And without revealing too much, I wasn't far off that age in 1979, and I remember walking to school, more than a kilometre away and across a railway line that had no bridge!  Time to get a grip... :>


Thursday 4 August 2011

If Famous Thinkers Quoted Herald Sun Readers

To celebrate 12 months of cutting and pasting comments from articles on the "Herald Sun" website, AKTIFMAG asked some of the world's most famous thinkers to give us their favourite Herald Sun Reader quote. The following are numbers 45-30 as we count down to number one.


Cold Chisel! Cold Chisel!! Cold Chisel!!!!!!!!!!!

I don't believe in regrets. But one regret I've always had was never seeing Cold Chisel live. PROBLEM SOLVED!!  Tickets went on sale at 9am this morning, and by 9.04am I had 2 tickets in my hot little hands - well, Inbox.  Seriously cannot WAIT for 24th November!!!!

Friday 29 July 2011

eBay is now officially a joke if you're a seller

Saw this article in The Age today and was only vaguely interested, which tells me a lot.  I've been using eBay for almost 10 years, and have loved it for most of that time.  Last week I listed some excess furniture - only 1 item sold after the 7 days. I then put exactly the same items, for exactly the same price, on Gumtree, which is completely free, and all but 1 item was sold within 3 hours.  I suspect that removing listing fees is eBay's idea of competing with sites like Gumtree, but increasing final value fees, especially after removing the ability for sellers to leave negative feedback, makes it even more of a buyer's market than a seller's market.  Problem is, what will they do if they lose all their sellers?  After my Gumtree experience they've pretty much lost me, which I thought would never happen.

Monday 25 July 2011

No Harvey Norman, No

So we got our brand new dining set delivered on Friday. Our brand new, made-in-Australia, timber chairs, dining set. Delivered in boxes with "Made in China" on the side, fabric chairs and the table legs in a separate box that *I* was expected to assemble. After an all-things-considered-fairly-polite phone call, said dining set was removed on Sunday and the search is on again. No Harvey Norman, No.

Friday 22 July 2011

A visualization of US Debt in 100 dollar bills

Awesome, but a little scary...

Thursday 26 May 2011

MediaWatch: Cocky prankster gets the boot

MediaWatch on ABC1 is one of my fave shows and this piece from this week's show cracked me up:

Cocky prankster gets the boot
Here are screen-shots of the quiz and answers.


Thursday 21 April 2011

Via Mumbrella: Fairfax Media is to drop its controversial use of autoplay video

It's amazing what the threat of loss of advertising dollars can do to change a company's silly ways!  As detailed previously in this blog, Fairfax have until now insisted that users LOVE it's autoplay video "feature", and refused to remove it.  Some net users have figured out ways to stop it, thereby preventing the embarrassing sound of an autoplayed video while sneaking a look at the paper in the office.  But last month one of Fairfax's advertisers announced that they weren't going to run their client's videos on the Fairfax network because their own surveys indicated that 96% of users found the autoplaying of video annoying.

So imagine my surprise (!!) when Mumbrella reported this morning that Fairfax is now planning on dropping the autoplay videos in favour of "exciting new video formats".  One can only wonder at what stupidity they'll come up with next.


Friday 8 April 2011

Living My Life Faster - 8 years of JK's Daily Photo Project

I must confess, I'm not entirely sure what would inspire someone to do this for EIGHT YEARS... but the end result is kinda cool all the same. :>

'Star Wars (John Williams Is The Man)' a cappella tribute medley

'Star Wars (John Williams Is The Man)' a cappella tribute medley - Corey Vidal and Moosebutter


Monday 4 April 2011


Joshua, telling me about the set of triplets at his kinder...

Josh: "Mum, what's a triplet?"
Me: "It means their Mum had three babies in her tummy, all at the same time, and they were all born on the same day".
Josh: "So... like twins?"
Me: "Well, yes, except twins means 2 babies, and triplets means 3".
Josh: "How did she fit them all in?  I wouldn't mind having a look in there!"

Sunday 3 April 2011

How to steal like an artist (and 9 other things nobody told me) - by Austin Kleon

Every so often you read something that helps to set you back on the right track.  After months spent rushing here, there and everywhere, trying to juggle kids, building a house, study, work and just having a life, I'm struggling.  And then I read this, and it helped.  So today, I am going to 1. finish an essay, and 2. go with the family to the footy.  Tonight, I will 3. make a list, and prioritise.  And try not to be so anxious.  And that's all. :-)

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Choosing a Digital Camera for Your Child: The Complete Guide

We lovers of photography who also have children usually don't have a problem pointing a camera at our kids time and time again. Many of us have entire hard drives dedicated to such pictures! As kids get older and they see their parents handling cameras, many get curious and want to emulate them.

If you know you want to introduce your child(ren) to the joy of photography from a young age, there a number of means, and a number of age ranges, to consider!


Monday 14 March 2011

Email / Gmail for kids

My child #1 is a 7yo in Grade 2 and the class is currently learning how to use email, on an internal school system, which means they can't send/receive email outside of that network. According to a 2009 Optus Family Communication Survey, over half (55%) of Australian children outsmart their parents in technology knowledge by the time they are 13 years old. Being the sort of geek I am, I set up Gmail accounts for my kids when they were young (so I could get good usernames!). So last weekend I decided to teach #1  how to use Gmail, and thought I'd share my setup process for anybody else that may be interested.

I chose Gmail for a number of reasons:
  1. I use Gmail, and like to think I understand it.
  2. I believe it's better to give kids tools and teach them to use them properly and safely, and supervise them - rather than locking everything down and giving them a challenge you don't want them to try to beat!
  3. In my experience, Gmail's spam filters are pretty good, and very few spam emails get through.
  4. It allows me to set up a POP/IMAP download into my own email. This means that I receive a copy of every email that is sent/received from the account.
  5. It allows me to authorise #1's account within my own, so I can access it at any time.
Here's how I set it up.
  1. First, follow Gmail's standard sign-up process to create a new account.* (If you haven't already created an account like I did, you may like to do this with your child so they feel like they have some input in the process.) Think about an appropriate username for a kid, something they can remember but also something that they can potentially keep forever. A childhood nickhame may not be appreciated when said child becomes a teen, and a surname may change. Initials are good, or a first name with some numbers. I don't recommend using a surname in an email address - it's easy enough to add this information in the "Last Name" field if you really want it on display. There's no rule that says you HAVE to give these big corporations all of the information that they demand. **
  2. Once the account is setup, log into it and click on Settings.
  3. On the General tab - Browser connection - set this to Always use https. This is more secure, but if you have trouble accessing Gmail from your browser you may need to go back and turn this off.
  4. Labels tab - I hide Chat because I'd prefer #1 didn't use it at this stage. I show Inbox, Sent Mail, Drafts, All Mail, Spam and Bin and hide the rest.
  5. Accounts and Import tab. Assuming that you have your own Gmail account, under Grant access to your account you can add your own email address here. You may need to click on an email link to confirm this. The next time you log into Gmail online your email address at the top-right of screen will be a link, and clicking on the dropdown arrow beside it allows you to view your child's account.
  6. Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab - ensure that POP is enabled. (If you prefer to use IMAP, ensure that that is enabled instead.) This allows you to configure your child's email account within your own email application (such as Outlook, Eudora or Entourage). Click here for instructions on how to setup POP or IMAP for Gmail within common email applications. Make sure that you look for an option like Leave a copy of messages on the server within your email application account settings, and enable it - this means that if your email application downloads the email before your child gets a chance to, it will still be there for them. (If you are familiar with Rules or Filters within your email application, you may also like to create a rule/filter to move your child's email to a separate folder).
  7. Chat tab (just in case your child does find it and starts using it) - click on Save chat history, and set Auto-add suggested contacts to Only allow people that I've explicitly approved to chat with me and see when I'm online.
  8. Web Clips tab - turn it off.
  9. Don't tick any of the options for Google+, Buzz or anything else that links the email account to anything else resembling social media.
  10. Lastly, on the Themes tab - let your child choose the look they want.
Once Gmail is setup, it's time to add some Contacts. At the top left of the screen are 3 tabs - Mail, Contacts and Tasks.  Click on Contacts. A new button will appear - New contact. Setup yourself as a Contact, and anybody else you are happy for your child to exchange emails with. Initially I setup parents and grandparents only, and only demonstrated how to send an email to a Contact.

Then it's time to show them how to use it! Gmail is fairly simple:
  1. Click on the Compose mail button
  2. Hit the first letter of the Contact you are sending to and when the suggested name pops up underneath, click on it.
  3. Type in a Subject.
  4. Type in a message.
  5. Click on Send.
I fully expect that #1 will eventually figure out how to access the Settings and change things, and send email to people other than those on the Contacts list. But for now we are just happy and a little bit proud, to be allowed to use something so "grown-up", even if only when Mum is there. #1 also understands that I can access the account, that I get copies of all messages and that any misuse may result in losing the account.

For more information about kids and the Internet, please visit KidSafety.net.au, a site I created for a school assignment last year.

* January 2013 - Please note, Gmail will now actively prevent you from creating an account if the date-of-birth you enter is under 13 years of age. Yes, the entire world is subject to the whims of the United States government's nanny-state COPPA law. Never mind if parents WANT to take responsibility for their own children online. Never mind that many 12 year olds are more competent using a computer than a lot of adults I know. Anyway... just so you know.
** I know of many people who choose to provide a different date-of-birth, for instance, on social media, in the interests of avoiding identity theft. Just saying.

Friday 11 March 2011

I think I have a phobia...

Now, before I go on, I don't agree with phobias.  The Oxford English Dictionary defines phobia as "an extreme or irrational fear of or aversion to something".  I like to think of myself as a logical, rational thinker and I've always thought that living your life in fear is nonsense, it's all in the head and you should just talk yourself out of it.

Well, now I'm a bit stuck.  My husband loves flying, I don't mind it - although I do get a bit nervous about the landing part - but I don't think that counts as a fear of flying.  So when he announced a few weeks ago that he had to go to Singapore on business, and he could arrange a 2-for-1 airfare if I'd like to go,  and his mother was happy to come and stay with the kids for a few days, and it was probably the 4th time he's asked, and I haven't gone previously - I thought it might be nice to have a long weekend away.  Problem is, since then all I can think about is - both of us flying together, without the kids, if something happens to us... I can't even say it!  I've turned into a nervous wreck!

My husband thinks I'm bonkers and jokingly asked if we should do as the Royal Family do, and fly in separate planes.  My friend thinks I'm bonkers and offered to go in my place if I didn't want to go.  I'm confident I know what the response will be from a whole bunch of different friends and family...

According to the above definition, this is what a phobia feels like.  So what should I call it, and how do I fix it?!  Because this is bullsh*t!


Well, whaddya know - I'm not alone!




Thursday 10 March 2011

Photoshop Tutorials To Suit Your Taste

Geek personified... but some of these are VERY awesome :>

Sunday 6 March 2011

McSweeney's Internet Tendency: Angry Birds - Letters from the Front Lines

This is seriously one of the funniest things I've seen in ages!

Friday 4 March 2011

NET204 - Week 1

In this first stage of the course we are reading to develop a background to the broad area of Internet Communities and Social Networks, particularly looking at virtual communities. It is important that you give yourself sufficient background knowledge of this area as we move into stage 2 next week.
Your first readings
There is quite a bit of reading for this relatively short (one week) stage of the course, but look at all these readings, and try to develop a background of knowledge around virtual communities to build on in stage two.
(2011). "Virtual Community." Retrieved January 19th, 2011, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_community.
Wellman, B., & Gulia, M. (1999). Net Surfers Don't Ride Alone: Virtual Communities as Communities. In P. Kollock, & M. Smith (Eds.), Communities and Cyberspace. New York: Routledge.
Available: http://www.chass.utoronto.ca/~wellman/publications/netsurfers/netsurfers.pdf

Katz, J. E., Rice, R. E., Acord, S., Dasgupta, K., & David, K. (2004). Personal Mediated Communication and the Concept of Community in Theory and Practice. In P. Kalbfleisch (Ed.), Communication and Community: Communication Yearbook 28 (pp. 315-371). Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum.
Available: http://www.comm.ucsb.edu/faculty/rrice/A80KatzRiceAcordDasguptaDavid2004.pdf

Ridings, C., & Gefen, D. (2004). Virtual Community Attraction: Why People Hang Out Online. Journal of Computer Mediated Communication, 10(1).
Available: http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol10/issue1/ridings_gefen.html

Having completed the readings have another look at the Wikipedia article on the subject. What do you think is wrong or missing with this article? Please post your responses to the blackboard discussion area. This will be the focus of the review of learning essay in Stage 6.
Wellman & Gulia wrote their article more than a decade ago when the World Wide Web was still in its infancy (and many of the works they reference were written before the World Wide Web was developed) , and Web 2.0 was not even thought of. How well do you think their arguments apply today? Once again post your responses to the blackboard discussion area.
It's difficult to say what hasn't already been said on Blackboard but I agree with what most people pointed out - that the focus of the Wikipedia article "Virtual Community" appears to be more on the virtual and less on the community.  As Wellman & Gulia say in the "Net Surfers" reading - "It is the relationship that is the important thing, and not the communication medium".  Considering they said that in 1997, it's not a new idea but the Wikipedia article seems to miss that.
With regard to Wellman & Gulia's own article - I think that many of the themes of this article still makes sense today but much has moved on, and I would actually question one or two points as being "true" even back then.  As a somewhat addicted IRC participant during much of the 1990's including the period this article was written, I take exception to the statement "Yet Net users usually trust strangers".  I don't recall this - if anything, we were all very wary of claims people were making about themselves. Privacy was a different thing back then. IRC allows everybody to use a nickname and nobody I met on IRC ever used their real name or gave away much more about themselves to strangers than "I live in Melbourne, Australia".  Of course, once we got to know people, many of whom knew each other IRL (in real life), we would share more - but trust was a very delicate thing and I think people are generally more likely to trust strangers now than they were back then.

Some of the things in the article that I think are no longer relevant:

- Overall the article implies a fairly clear divide between the online and offline worlds, which did indeed exist in 1997 but is not very clear any more.

- The statements "a survey of 'Web users' in Spring, 1995 found that women comprised less than one-fifth of their sample" and "about two-thirds of the sampled Web users had at least a university education, had an average household income of US$59,600, and three-quarters lived in North America" are obviously now incorrect.

- The statement "people are usually based at their home, the most local environment imaginable, when they connect with their virtual communities" is clearly not true any more, as people embrace mobile technologies.

However, I highlighted a couple of things that I think still make sense today:

- The authors suspicion that "as on-line communication becomes widely used and routinely accepted, the current fascination with it will decline sharply. It will be seen much as telephone contact is now and letter writing was in Jane Austen's time: a reasonable way to maintain strong and weak ties between people who are unable to have a face-to-face encounter just then" seems pretty accurate.

- The final statement - "scientists talk about the evolution of the information infrastucture, ... [we don't] talk about ... the technology.  We talk about ethics, law, policy and sociology .... It is a social invention" - seems to be more accurate than that Wikipedia article!


The Trouble with Bright Girls

Interesting article about the difference in the way girls and boys view challenges.  From the Huffington Post:


Sunday 27 February 2011

Facebook 1976 « How to be a Retronaut

From Retronaut, a cool site I just found today

Saturday 26 February 2011

Monday 14 February 2011

WEB207 - Topic 2.4 - Spreadability

In order to get started thinking through this area, when reading, please consider:

1. What made the Old Spice campaign so effective?  What risks were there to the Old Spice brand in embracing participatory culture in the hands of a marketing team?
2. What does a ‘spreadable’ media actually mean? Does the vast array of options mean that ‘going viral’ is the only way to compete with ‘mainstream’ media, or does that distinction no longer make sense?
3. Have you ever participated in a conversation about spreadable media? If so, how did you participate? (For example, have you ever forwarded a funny email or shared a link at an hilarious ad or other video?)


Saturday 12 February 2011

WEB207 - Topic 2.3 - Mobile Media & Apps

In order to get started thinking through this area, when reading, please consider:
1. Do smart phones, tablets and other highly portable devices fundamentally change our relationship to and with media? Are we now (and will we increasingly become) part of a nexus of perpetual web media creation and consumption?

2. While the iPhone and smart phones in general are iconic of black-box convergence (ie all technologies coming together in one device), on the basis of the reading and your experience, will one device ever be the ‘norm’?

3. How important are apps? Are these just programs for new types of computers, or is app culture a markedly different approach to buying software? Indeed, are apps just software or has the distinction between programs and web media forms become even less clear?

During the lecture there was some discussion about Apple's completely controlled environment where "they've done all of the thinking for you" and a user gets a "guaranteed experience", versus Android's open-source system that lets you get under the hood and tinker and do what you like.  The analogy that immediately sprang to mind was the old "Mac vs PC" debate, which had exactly the same parameters.  Poor Apple Tongue out

1. xx


Thursday 10 February 2011

WEB207 - Topic 2.2 - YouTube Creativity & Participatory Culture

In order to get started thinking through this area, when reading, please consider:

1. Based on these readings and the unit so far, how would you define participatory culture? What are its most important elements?

2. While the YouTube slogan ‘broadcast yourself’ is emblematic of participatory culture and of web 2.0 technologies, are they two things separable? Do the tools enable the culture or does the cultural need drive the construction of the tools (or do we need a more complex question)?

3. The word ‘creativity’ is used a lot to talk about what amateurs and non-professional content creators are doing on YouTube, but what exactly is being created? What sorts of creativity are at work? Why do they matter?

1. We read a fair bit of Jenkins about participatory culture in MED104 - I would define participatory culture as culture where the general public participate by being content producers, not just consumers.

2. There is a difference between "participatory culture" and "Web 2.0 technologies" but I think they develop symbiotically - in simple terms, the technologies are the tools that enable the culture, but the tools are created as cultural needs emerge.

3. Burgess (2008) says "Viewed from the perspective of cultural participation rather than marketing, videos are not ‘messages’, and neither are they ‘products’ that are distributed via social networks. Rather, they are the mediating mechanisms via which cultural practices are originated, adopted and (sometimes) retained within social networks."  So I would say that there is content being created on YouTube, but it is also changing cultural values.


Tuesday 8 February 2011

Monday 7 February 2011

Sunday 6 February 2011

Volkswagen Commercial: The Force

My kids loved this - very clever ad, no dialogue at all but so very effective.

Saturday 5 February 2011

Julian Assange Speaks

The Wikileaks saga has transfixed the world, with politicians and punters alike stunned by the intriguing revelations from the leaked US embassy cables. At 6pm (AEDST) on Friday 4th Februar 2011 Julian Assange, Wikileak's founder, spoke via videolink to Australians at an event in Federation Square, Melbourne.

The man Sarah Palin said should be hunted as a terrorist and whose activities Julia Gillard pre-emptively judged as "illegal" is at the centre of the debate over freedom of speech. You can watch him speak on an internet video stream here.

With only 4 days before Assange faces court on extradition charges, this could be one of the only chances to hear directly from the man at the centre of the Wikileaks controversy.

EDIT: I previously had this as an embedded video but couldn't stop it from autoplaying when the page was loaded so I've changed it to this link instead:

Friday 4 February 2011

Cyclone Yasi so powerful it blew Queensland 2000 km South!

@ChasLicc Cyclone Yasi so powerful it blew Queensland 2000 km South!


Thursday 20 January 2011

WEB207 - Topic 2.1 - Remixes & Mashups (& Copyright)

In order to get started thinking through this area, when reading, please consider:

1. Lessig argues that video, audio and other forms of media should be remixable in the same way that textual sources can be cut-up, such as citations in an essay. Should different media forms have different copyright restrictions; does taking a 10-second ‘quote’ from a feature film in a remix video equate with quoting 50 words form a published book in an essay or a published article in a journal?
2. If some remixes and mashups should be legal, even using copyrighted works, can we define what’s ‘remix’ and what’s just copying? Does remix involve fundamental changes in form, in length, in meaning or something else? If you had to offer a legal boundary between a legitimate remix, and an authorised copy, could you?
3. Should the intention of a remixed work matter? For example, in the US, ‘fair use’ means that political expression is largely protected, even using material under full copyright. So, for example, the ‘prezvids’ Tryon discusses are ‘legal’ as long as their intent (as political expression) is obvious. Australia, however, doesn’t recognise the same right of political expression.  Do you think intention matters (and if so, how do you ‘prove’ the intent of a piece of media)?

1. I tend to agree with Lessig - copyright does have a purpose, in ensuring that people do not copy another person's work in it's entirety and reissue it as their own.  But culture grows and is enhanced by basing new ideas on previous ideas, and currently the pendulum between fair use and copyright is swinging very firmly in the direction of copyright - and by extension, the bottom line of commercial entities..  In MED104 I read this article by Steve Collins, who refers to the story of a woman who uploaded a video of her baby son dancing in the kitchen, and she was issued with a takedown notice because of music playing in the background!  Completely ridiculous.  At the end of the day I think the defining factor is commercial consumption.  If you copy somebody elses work and subsequently profit from it then you should be subject to copyright assessment.

2. I think it's very difficult to offer a legal boundary between "remix" and "copying".  Again, I would probably go with the "commercial consumption" assessment.

3. Australia may not recognise political expression but they do recognise "parody or satire" under Fair Dealing provisions.  I suppose if somebody was copying a segment of my work and using it for some kind of racist or hate message then I would want to have a way of objecting.


Monday 17 January 2011

WEB207 - Topic 2.0 - Creating Reflective Web Media

  1. Listen to the 2.0 lecture and read over the details for assignments three and four.

  2. Skim over topics 2.1 though to 2.4 - think about which elements interest you the most, and what you might like to focus on for your Reflective Web Media Creation and the related Pitch.

  3. There are four videos below. Some have content that relates to this unit, but all are in a format and style that would make an appropriate Reflective Web Media Creation. Think about how these videos were probably constructed. What techniques were likely used and how long would it have taken to make each one? Do you think any of these videos show a style you might like to try and utilise? How else might you approach the format of your Reflective Web Media Creation?

Core Viewing:
Consider these four videos:






Thursday 13 January 2011

WEB207 - Topic 1.5 - Photography

1. As the introduction to this week's coursework says, "From a professional, elite and almost mythical media form, as it becomes web media photography has transformed into one of the most accessible and most banal of media forms, second only to text".  However, as Sturken says, "technologies interact with people and the forces of politics, economics, and other aspects of culture in various social and historical contexts, resulting in changes not only in the technologies themselves but also in social practices and uses".  Cobley and Haeffner quote Chalfen (1987) who says that "technological innovations are, and will continue to be, less important than culture's contribution to providing a continuity in a model and pattern of personal pictorial communication".  So while photography is now ordinary and everywhere, it's very ubiquitousness has resulted in many social and cultural changes.

2. Cobley and Haeffner quote Feldges (2008) who identifies four main genres of domestic photography - idiomatic micro-communication (where the main aim is to capture non-verbal communication such as a snapshot of a child's face on a swing), macro-communication (which is a bit vague and arty), the presentational spectacular (big, bright, clear nature-style sort of shots) and the scientific idiom (for example, closeups of a drop of water landing in a pool).  Considering that I've never heard of any of these descriptors and I personally think the majority of photographers today are just happy snapshot snappers, I'm not convinced that means that most users have a better understanding of what makes a good photograph at all - there are an awful lot of poorly framed, poorly lit and poorly taken photos out there.

3. Sturken's reading finishes with this: "images and media forms are no longer so tightly bound to the idea of representing a real, and visual technologies are no longer as pervasively regarded as replicating or objectively performing the work of the eye".  Which essentially means, you can't really "trust" photos to be a factual source of reality any more.


Wednesday 12 January 2011

WEB207 - Topic 1.4 - Games

1.  Costikyan refers to Chris Crawford's 1982 book "The Art of Computer Game Design" and makes the distinction that "A puzzle is static.  A game is interactive."  But you can interact with a game without it being social - ie. single player chess games, or Solitaire, or Sim City, or Bejeweled.  I think a social game is one where a level of either collaboration or competition between individuals is involved.

2.  As Stew says on Blackboard this week:

When we strip away the whizbangery, Doom is arguably just 'Cowboys and Indians' (mechanic = shooting), Bejewelled is just 'snap' (mechanic = pattern recognition) and Pacman is just 'chasey' (mechanic = evade)

So while many of the games themselves are based on the same mechanics as pre-digital games, the fact that they can be played simultaneously across the internet with hundreds or thousands of other people at the same time makes them different.

3. I don't agree that games can change the world, fundamentally.  I tend to agree with this week's lecture, that life isn't a game and that games don't generally have consequences, but real life does and for that reason it's important to separate play from real life.  Having said that, games can teach people certain skills such as collaboration, problem solving, hand/eye coordination, etc.  An example would be fighter pilots, who play fighter pilot games to help them train for real-life flying of a plane.  But the consequences within the game if they mess up, are different to the consequences if they mess up in real life.


Wednesday 5 January 2011

Bargain online shopping sites I've found (thanks Gerry Harvey)

Following on from yesterday's post, there has been plenty of online discussion and a rather large Twitter smackdown directed at Gerry Harvey, which has been somewhat amusing.  According to Assistant Treasurer Bill Shorten in the Age today, ''Online retail sales account for about 3 per cent of all retail sales in Australia and it is estimated that between 20 per cent to half of these sales relate to overseas purchases'', which the Age interprets as "meaning overseas online sales could be as little as 0.6 per cent of total retail sales."  Of course, now that Gerry & co. have chosen to spend $200k on spreading the word and consumer's reactions are now splashed across every newspaper in the country, it's only a matter of time before more people clue in on how much cheaper it can be to shop online and that percentage rises.
Here's some of the things I've learned this week:
  • Appliances are much cheaper online (and they're Australian).  OK, I already knew this but let's spread the word!
  • BookDepository.co.uk has free worldwide shipping and their book prices are WAY lower than anything you can find in Australia (thanks Herald-Sun).
  • Eastbay.com has loads of running shoes and free shipping if your order is more than US$75.
  • If you're into designer, online outlets in the US such as Shopbop are awesome.
And the old favourites:
  • Amazon.com rocks, always (got a box set of the Chronicle of Narnia a few weeks ago at almost half the price of any Australian retailers).
  • eBay can be great for bargains, but know your brands and beware of fakes - always read a seller's feedback before you bid.
I'll add more as I come across them in the media.
Nicky xo

Tuesday 4 January 2011

Australian retailers greed

This is the type of nonsense that I woke up to this morning:


Led by a bunch of fat-cat millionaires and multi-millionaires who are suddenly seeing their MASSIVELY overinflated margins being slowly chipped away by *gasp* that nasty old Internet.

Today I bought a new washing machine at Appliancesonline.com.au price - $596, including free delivery and removal of the old one. Harvey Norman price - RRP $899. Gerry Harvey, you may be a millionaire but you are also a moron - it's not "overseas" retailers creating an uneven playing field, it's your own over-priced stores full of under-trained staff who "just have to go and ask someone" that are the issue. GET WITH THE PROGRAM AND BUILD A DECENT WEBSITE... and stfu. Thank you.

PS: Just found this article at Delimiter that says it better than I can!

PPS: I'm still giggling at the irony that the Australian government introduced a GST 10 years ago, with no obvious thoughts about the concept of international retail, even though it was at least 5 years after eBay was well and truly established...