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do you hear the birds talking?

do you hear the birds talking? published on No Comments on do you hear the birds talking?

 

birdman4I do because I am listening to Noisli.

Long ago, I used to listen to language learning lessons while doing my daily work.  Then, the daily work started demanding a little more of my cognitive abilities and I switched to listening to music.  Now, I can only manage chamber music in the background because excess input, along with all the other stuff I’m staring at-reading-writing-adding, breaks my head.

My initial method for bringing a little serenity to my desk environment was to make sure my desktop backgrounds were all simple and expansive nature, like a field of flowers or the interlacing branches of a tree.  I can’t remember where I read about it first, but this article:  “How Nature Resets Our Minds and Bodies” explains how looking on nature alleviates stress and focuses attention.  I also don’t know if the photographic projections of nature on my computer screen are any real type of stand in; time will tell.

In addition to the visuals, I have added some ambient nature noises to my day.   Noisli is my number one right now, but I have also scoped out the nature sounds at ambient-mixer and the simplicity of iSerenity.

Someone is talking about endometriosis

Someone is talking about endometriosis published on No Comments on Someone is talking about endometriosis

It’s been almost ten years since I was handed my diagnosis of endometriosis.  It felt fake and half hearted, a ‘your symptoms match, regardless of anomalies, so here you go’ type of right-off after years, and many different doctors, worth of investigation.  The solutions to living with it were even less acceptable in my view, but I went along with them for a while until it came time to go back to the doctor to renew my prescription.  It’s something I live with; something my husband lives with along side of me.  It is something that only women who know the other has it too ever talk about.

That warm kind of connection, the ‘you know about this too,’ is what I felt when writers on the Conversation started posting about it:

If I haven’t meantioned the Conversation before, then I have been lax.  It is a group blog of academics commenting on current events and it is quickly replacing my news and popular culture consumption.

Terms and Conditions aka why I left Facebook

Terms and Conditions aka why I left Facebook published on No Comments on Terms and Conditions aka why I left Facebook

Hello!  How are you?  Me, I’m keepin’ on and experiencing yet another bleed from my professional life into my personal one.  This semester has sent me quite a few more requests for copyright guidance than last semester.  Sometimes the answers to these questions actually involve contract law, which is a different beast entirely – as any electronic resources librarian can tell you.  What companies put in their contracts can make allowances for more or less use than copyright law allows.

And, I hear you saying, yeah, so what.  How is this a personal issue?  Our memberships, customer accounts, use of software and apps are all regulated by terms and conditions or EULAs (End User License Agreements) that are meant to govern our uses and interactions (beyond just copyright).  Some companies are putting crazy things in their EULAs now a days.  Example one:   Palmer vs. Kleargear, where-in Company A declares that they can hold you financially liable and take various actions against you, like ruining your credit, if you tell your friend they suck.  That was an extremely simplistic summary but the truth is no less scary.  Example two:  EULAs that explain that your download of a free media player means your agreement that their constituent will take over all your browser programs and change the settings for your search and home pages (you know who you are!).

Given these happenings, I have been trying to be more mindful of what I am actually agreeing to by using websites and services.  I had a read of Facebook’s terms and conditions (that were supposedly updated over the holidays), and decided that what they said was not for me.  I couldn’t agree, and since using the service equated agreement, I have deleted myself from Facebook.  I’ll miss all the friend creeping, but bye.

American Manifesto – Boing Boing

American Manifesto – Boing Boing published on No Comments on American Manifesto – Boing Boing

 

American Manifesto by Todd Thyberg via Boing Boing is a fabulous piece of thoroughly cited education.  How can we hope to play our part in our country if we don’t know the facts?  And how can we call it our country if we don’t play our part?

Librarians Against DRM | ReadersBillofRights.info

Librarians Against DRM | ReadersBillofRights.info published on No Comments on Librarians Against DRM | ReadersBillofRights.info

 

Librarians Against DRM | ReadersBillofRights.info.

Where you cannot disappear and you have no privacy

Where you cannot disappear and you have no privacy published on No Comments on Where you cannot disappear and you have no privacy
necessaryandproportionate
Necessary & Proportionate

I just finished watching The Last Enemy.  It took me back to the days when I would troll the literature section for stories about dystopian futures.  Most of those stories were commenting on issues happening in the world already and The Last Enemy is no exception.  It is a fabulous mini-series even if you don’t think Benedict Cumberbatch is as hot as the internet thinks he is.

The Last Enemy turns its microscope on identity tags and surveillance systems.  I think I may have only imagined that it was set in the future, but in reality, many of the privacy infringements brought up in the series have roots today.  Even an amateur sleuth with a Google search can turn up a surprising amount of information on a person.  Governments with access to phone location, call frequency, internet activity records would have no problem painting a complete picture of any individual’s movements, associations, and beliefs.

There are smart and aware people out there fighting on behalf of us all to make sure balance is maintained between our rights to privacy and the ability of our leaders and protectors to guarantee that right, among others, and our safety.  EFF has great news on Increasing Anti-Surveillance Momentum and the Necessary and Proportionate Principles.  They are part of a group that has created  International Principles on the Application of Human Rights to Communications Surveillance, a document that can help our leaders evaluate whether or not a surveillance law is infringing on our rights.  Of course, we shouldn’t ignorantly stumble on expecting someone else to take care of us, should we?  So, there are also plenty of resources at the two links above to teach you how you can take action.

unicorn

unicorn published on No Comments on unicorn

unicorn026So, a unicorn is a mythical single horned horse, or, if you are familiar with Gone in 60 Seconds, which I admit to seeing way too many times, a unicorn is that un-obtainable thing that you are always chasing after.

Right now, I feel as if my unicorn (re Gone in 60 Seconds) is feeling completely normal.  This is the entirety of my boo-hoo:  chicken pox as an adult sucks.

Okay, on to other updates:  I did not complete the NaNoWriMo challenge of 50,000 words in November, but I did get a start on what will be the most complex and character heavy novel I have ever thought up.  I have no reason not to finish it, so it will be finished.  Finishing it may even create a comprehensive character guide, ’cause I like them all so much.

I am working on new pages for Levi Levi and am looking forward to sending him to the past (not just in a flashback).  Apologies again for the long silence there.

And I am flexing my web design muscles on a business site, pro bono.  Do ya’ll know of any code/design widgetty thingy that creates forms based on a grid system and has awesome logic that will add/subtract fields based on previous choices?

Kill The Apostrophe

Kill The Apostrophe published on No Comments on Kill The Apostrophe

When I talked about my enjoyment reading a master of language talk about language, I was not actually ascribing to the strange and overly picky arguments that erupt when someone publishes a grammatical error on the web.  I kind of ignore all those because they seem pompous even if there are careers and jobs based around them, and they could eventually affect how kids learn language in school.  They happen often online and with vehemence, rage and extensive arguments.  Sometimes they even result in movements like Kill The Apostrophe.

Do we need an apostrophe?  Would getting rid of it simply make more our language more complex by making contractions into words of their own right that would evolve separately from their root?  Usually changes to language don’t affect the people or understanding of people living during the change, but what about one hundred years from now?  Two hundred?  Whatever grammar, spelling, and definition changes may happen in my life time, none of them even approach the magnitude of downgrading Pluto’s classification.  Pluto, you are still a planet to me.

TPP = bad government

TPP = bad government published on No Comments on TPP = bad government

If you want a rundown on why TPP is bad and why fast tracking it through Congress is bad then read:  The Most Nefarious Part Of The TPP Proposal: Making Copyright Reform Impossible | Techdirt.

If you want more information on what’s wrong with TPP then look here:  EFF:  Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement.

The TPP is being written completely in secret so fast tracking it through Congress will mean our representatives could be agreeing to things they have not had the chance to discuss and the people have not had the chance to consider.  Wikileaks has pieces of this agreement if you want to double check the people telling you to question the people telling you it is good.

If you want to contribute your voice to those apposing Fast Track and the TPP:  EFF can help you.

Big Deal Big Money – Common Cause

Big Deal Big Money – Common Cause published on No Comments on Big Deal Big Money – Common Cause

Big Deal Big Money - Common CauseEvery company has meetings where people sit around and throw out ideas for how to make more money without providing any new/improved service or product.  It looks like Verizon’s idea is to effectively cripple the internet by monetizing access to certain web sites.  Big Deal Big Money – Common Cause explains the situation with a vibrant and clear infographic (part of which is copied here) and links you to ways to take action.

Somehow, getting more information on how big companies buy government support with vast amounts of money makes the government’s recent struggles with budgeting even more ridiculous.  I mean, if it could get any more ridiculous.

Too bad, too, I was just talking about how much I liked Verizon’s phone service.  Looks like every business is susceptible to bad business practices.

Congressional Copyright Hearings

Congressional Copyright Hearings published on No Comments on Congressional Copyright Hearings

Congress is finally reviewing copyright as it stands in the USA.  But, according to the latest news, they are not including creators in the process.  Oh, they’re involving copyright holders, yes.  The ginormous companies that have inherited, bought, or had signed over the copyright to thousands upon thousands of creative works will have their say, but I doubt that these companies and agencies accurately represent the opinions and beliefs of the creators who make the products in the first place.

I’m not examining big business’ dealings with copyright; that is not my rant.  At the risk of stepping into shoes way too big, I’d rather offer myself up as representative of creator and user.  Ever since I started studying copyright to expand my professional skills I have become exponentially more interested in how the initial purpose of copyright has found a home within my urges to create and my drive to consume.

First of all, copyright is all about creation.  It is meant to give creators enough credit and remuneration to encourage continued creativity, and it is meant to provide the public with enough access to copyrighted materials to encourage more widespread creativity.  That is it, just two parties, the creator and the user, and the law.  Third parties are introduced when managing copyright over a work becomes something the creator wants to farm out, and yet third parties are all we ever hear about these days.

I come from an age of pirates and I work in library services that function in very narrowly defined exceptions to copyright.  I know that sharing an mp3 of the “Happy Birthday” song is actually making a copy of the digital file, not lending your CD and then getting it back from your friend (i.e. no copy made).   And that copy, in the traditional print media language of US copyright law, is a violation because it has taken away the right of the creator to make money on the sale of the copy…in theory.

What I see in how I use and offer up creative products is that copyright law is completely inapplicable to a digital world.  More than that, it is inapplicable to a world were easy duplication of a thing is possible for any member of the public.  Copyright law is ill suited to any world with copy machines, scanners, printers, or cameras.  Copyright law was formulated for a world where a town’s three rival printers/publishers fought for authors whose names would sell copy.  It was created to curtail businesses from reproducing and selling work printed by a rival business, and it’s power was placed in the hands of the author.  Somewhere along the line the power was turned over from the author, the creator, to the business.  This is the heart of the whole problem.  When power migrated to the businesses, businesses stepped between creator and user.

Creators want to get their work out there.  You can see this in every art blog and online fiction site.  Artists and writers regularly offer up their creations to search engines, lurkers, and devoted fans online.  Creation is an act of communication between the artist and the world.  Without a waiting world, there could be no communication.  The most common issue I have ever seen raised by a creator on the internet about their work (or digital copies thereof) being linked, shared, transported, used, and copied by others has been in regard to attribution whether or not they have specifically adopted a rights statement that says so.  I share this feeling.  In fact, the only way people can find you, the artist, in the pixel polluted world of the internet is if people share your stuff and talk about you.  And still the reason why I love the internet is because, should I become well known, it is the users who have chosen me.  The only way the same amount of people could find me without the internet is if a publisher or agent took a liking to me and pushed my goods.

As a user, I want to make sure the creators whose stuff I love and use are encouraged to do more.  I want to spread the word about how awesome they are and encourage other people to follow their progress as well.  And when they sell a printed volume of stuff I have seen in excess online I want to buy it, because I am greedy, and because I want them to know that I want more out of them.  I will give them money, directly, just to ensure they complete that next project (which is why we have sites like kickstarter), and I care less whether they are published through a reputable publisher.

There are people out there who abuse the openness of creativity, who take advantage of a creator’s proffered communication to the user.  There always have been.  This is why copyright law was created, not to regulate the interaction between creator and user but to regulate the business who plans to co-opt a creation and sell it, without the creator’s involvement or sanction, in order to compete with its business rival.

How topsy turvy are we then, that the businesses are helping our government decide how we, as creators and users, interact with each other?

Select articles:

EFF’s:  “Real Copyright Reform Starts With Listening to Users, Not Just the Usual Suspects”

Tech Dirt’s:  “Next Two Congressional Hearings On Copyright Reform Show The Exact Wrong Approach”

Some thoughts on Murder She Wrote

Some thoughts on Murder She Wrote published on 1 Comment on Some thoughts on Murder She Wrote

Yup, that’s right.  It has been my go to background show for all things packing and unpacking and now I’ve just become addicted to it.

NCIS-ers, remember when Timmy got sent to that women’s prison and then trapped in a riot where the only way to keep the peace is for him to solve the murder before the authorities busted everything up?  Jessica did it first – with Adrienne Barbeau, no less!  So maybe, Jessica solved an Amish murder after Harrison Ford, but she did it before Neve Campbell!  She’s uncovered toxic waste, helped Russians defect, gone to the circus, stood in as the madame of a brothel, run afoul of MI6, foiled a voodoo curseteamed up with Magnum P.I. and she even has a look-a-like Irish twin! 

If it’s a murder mystery or a slasher movie plot, Jessica has done it:  murders at a snowed in ski lodge, anyone?  Hauntings by an executed witch?  And, I’m only up to season 7; there are 12 of these duders!  I wonder why I hadn’t been paying attention when Mom and I used to watch Murder She Wrote every week.  I am waiting for aliens, ’cause they’ve just got to be coming.

who

who published on No Comments on who

WhoAreYouThe move is moved.  That is, all of our stuff is now at its new location and some of it is even unpacked.  Most of it maybe – can I say most of it?  I have been alternately hopeful for the final product and overwhelmed by stuff. Liberal applications of Murder She Wrote barely take the sting away.

Even after my initial realization:  When what you love gets lost in what you have, I am still stripping away layers.  It will be awesome when it is done.  I promise.

Finishing off the apartment will have to be on hold while I get my librarian on at ALA this weekend.

This picture accidentally looks like a friend of mine.

Murder She Wrote is the continuous background entertainment of choice for packing and unpacking.  And now I may be getting addicted.  It’s a TV actor surprise around every corner!

This is now officially rambling.

When what you love gets lost in what you have

When what you love gets lost in what you have published on 4 Comments on When what you love gets lost in what you have

I’ve mentioned that I’m moving.  I’ve been packing boxes here and there for weeks now.  The moving company I hired has packing tips, a FAQ, and a blog all talking about the best way to move.  Getting an early start is on one of those lists, and so is the admission that packing things for one’s self invariably leads to moments of delay and nostalgia.

It’s dawned on me, in my many delighted discoveries amid the jumble of my own stuff, that what I have has been hiding the things I have that I love.  It is a myriad of circumstances that has amounted to the stuff I have now and I have been feeling suffocated by it for sometime.  I like to weed out the ‘it’s ok’ from the ‘I love that so much’ at regular intervals, and I have fallen behind in this chore.  I think utilitarian and aesthetically pleasing should be the same.  I think that everyday plates and fine china should be the same.  I think a thing is useless if it is not used, no matter how expensive or precious it may be.  And I think that useful things are only necessary-evils (perhaps unnecessary) when their form and construction does not delight the user.

I am not a minimalist.  I love mementos.  I am the kid who could not pass by a shiny object in a parking lot without picking it up and evaluating its potential to come home with me.  But I do not simply collect all things teddy bear (OK, I did when I was 10).  The things I gather about me are varied in appearance, not easily predictable, and precious because they mean something to me.  This goes for a growing personal library as well.

But, how often have I bought a book because it was of passing interest and/or I really did not want to leave the store without a purchase?  How many of the things around me am I keeping because someone at sometime gave them to me and I don’t want to run the risk of insulting them?  How many things do I have that are precious to someone else and not me?  These things that I don’t care so much for have been blocking my view to the things for which I do care very much.  They are not rubbish; they are not entirely lacking in meaning, but they could be much better put to use by someone who would like them better than I do.

I have been walking into my apartment and heading for one small corner every evening.  My stuff lives in the rest of the apartment, not me.  When I bring home any new precious object, I keep it on the coffee table, in a semi-conscious effort to keep it from being swallowed up by everything else.  How have I let it get this way?

I am packing boxes, sorting things as I go and making piles of things to go to donation.  I am packing boxes, becoming excited at the coming opportunity to use all my great stuff when I unpack it.  All my great stuff has been here the whole time, and I had forgotten.  My view of it had been blocked by everything else that has been here too.

I have stored things before, boxes that traveled around with my mother because I could not take them to college with me.  Extra stuff that didn’t have a place and ended up in a bin in the closet.  I have often proclaimed that if I didn’t remember what was in it, then I didn’t need any of it anymore.  That should go for drawers and shelves and closets too.  Can you shut your eyes and imagine every thing in the cupboard next to the stove?  How about the coat closet?  If you went there and looked would you say ‘Awesome!  I forgot all about that; I gotta use it now!’ or would you say ‘oh, yeah, I forgot about that, I’m always moving it out of the way?’  I found way too many, ‘oh, yeah’ items and I don’t want to move with them.  I don’t want them in the way of the ‘Awesome!’ things anymore.

I feel like Sarah in the Labyrinth, with my stuff distracting me from what’s really important (only there’s no hermit woman over my shoulder and I haven’t eaten a wormy peach-’cause that’s nasty).

Heavens help me, I’m reading the news

Heavens help me, I’m reading the news published on No Comments on Heavens help me, I’m reading the news

I hate to get all serious and controversial, but I see a growing global trend of preposterous legalities.  There has recently been a man in Australia jailed for buying/watching animated sex involving characters like children.  It shouldn’t be surprising given Australia’s zero tolerance position (that and more found in this wikipedia article:  legal status of cartoon pornography depicting minors).   But a whole cacophony of details make this story icky all over.

Before we launch into the meat of them let’s consider how damning the man’s legal/behavior history is with previous convictions for assaulting teenagers.  Now that we’ve considered that let’s stop thinking about it.  It is not the point here.Continue reading Heavens help me, I’m reading the news

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