He also has sent up the call for people to tell the FCC how horrible of an idea their current attempts at smashing Net Neutrality really is.
Bring Reading Rainbow Back for Every Child, Everywhere
LeVar Burton is attempting to raise funds to re-start Reading Rainbow as a multi-pronged internet venture, targeting tablets and the internet. Which seems incredibly smart to me. I’ve seen the recent upcoming generations and at least a good portion of them are being weaned on tablets. Being on the web will make it very accessible for schools to incorporate it in the classroom. Not that this campaign mentions it, but this could also be the step to getting it back on television.
Either way, look it over, and see what you can afford. This is definitely one of those projects worth donating to.
So here is a hilarious video about a technology someone is developing that needs some financial support.
Personally I’d love to see this, or something like this, instituted. We are at a time where technology can solve a significant amount of our problems but we’re being held back by commercialism and the need to make a profit. For profit corporations, who have the capital do things like this, can’t because it wouldn’t be economically feasible, but we, as a society, can use crowdfunding to give money to the people who are willing to make today and tomorrow a better place, even if they don’t make a profit.
That isn’t’ to say I’m not hesitant myself. Their prototypes honestly look kinda ugly close up, and the LED idea is really neat but I’d like to see actual pictures of the LED system, in broad daylight, and up close. But when I think about it, asphalt really isn’t all that pretty either. And there are questions of maintenance. How often will streets need to be cleaned to keep them energy-efficient, for example? Plus there are people who staunchly feel solar technology is the savior people like to make it out to be. What happens when newer technology comes out?
The best I can say is that these questions will be addressed, or this will never catch on, but we won’t find a perfect solution, nor any solution without trying. Solar panel technology been progressing steadily in both efficiency of energy gathering and efficiency of cost over the last decade. The proposed hexagonal system appears modular enough to be upgradable as newer breakthroughs are made. Cleaning might be easily done with current street sweeping technology.
Ultimately I think this could be a significant investment in the future, and it is worth taking a gamble on.
While I have yet to experience this change, there has been plenty of people talking about it across blogs and YouTube itself. What is Google doing?
They’re replacing the like button on YouTube videos with a Google Plus button.
One of the reasons why is because professional YouTube users rely upon not just views, but likes, in order to gain revenue. Plus YouTube’s new initiative to launch actual produced channels like Geek and Sundry, are going to use likes similar to television ”Nielsen” ratings.
This means that Google is effective sabotaging YouTube’s rating systems by trying to market their social network. And while I like Google Plus, it is not unlike trying to fill out customer service review survey for that especially helpful phone rep who helped you fix that problem you were having, only to learn you need to sign up for the company’s newsletter before they’ll let you take the survey.
I’ve done this before as well. I don’t own cable. I don’t see the value in it anymore. I like watching certain shows and I’d rather pay for the right to watch those certain shows. Some shows, I have checked every single possible paid site for access to what I want and found nothing. Now I understand that there is still a fallacy here. A viewer is not entitled to watch a TV show whenever they want and obviously HBO doesn’t want their show available via streaming.
However the real situation is that piracy isn’t going to go away. HBO (in this case) is in an open courtyard sitting on a huge pile of diamonds, loudly exclaiming that you’re only allowed to buy a diamond from them if you run the obstacle course over there. Around HBO are streaming sites begging to offer money to hand deliver the diamonds with HBO refusing. Behind HBO are the piracy, carefully stealing the diamonds and then hand delivering them for free. And the only defense HBO has against the pirates is to really just shout at them and maybe start harassing the people he catches with a diamond.
The analogy is flawed but perhaps you see my point? You can’t sell ice to an Eskimo. In a world of streaming and direct access, not providing such features will lead some level of people to piracy. This goes back to one of the reasons I talked about in a prior post about piracy. In a world where things are easily copied, you need to provide a better service and quality to compete.
Neil Gaiman brings up some really good points for books. But I’d like to expand the conversation to all media and fill in a few gaps I think he missed.
Thoughts on Digital Piracy across all media
What should have been said above is “Mileage may vary”. But I’ll get to that in a minute.
Piracy does something really interesting in my opinion. It puts the power and control in the hand of the consumer rather than the distributor. What I mean by this is that consumers, thanks to piracy and actual legal forms of free media distribution, are allowed to consume content, then decide to support the content by paying money. It says “Here. View this. If you like, please realize that the person who made it needs money in order to make more like it. Pay them.”
Reasons why it works
I just came across this article about how Harper Collins is suing Open Road claiming copyright infringement. Open Road is publishing as an eBook Jean Craighead George’s storyJulie of the Wolves. Harper Collins already published this as a book back in the 1970s.
Random House did this back in 2001 but was shot down in two court cases that ruled that eBooks were not the same as books, and therefore prior contracts about publishing books did not include the rights to digital publishing. These cases, however, ended up having a settlement between the ePublisher and Random, likely because Random threatened to continue appealing and most eBook publishers are small operations that can’t handle sustained court cases.
I personally suspect HC is attempting the exact same thing as Random. They know precedence is against them but they are hoping to either overturn the rulings, and therefore not have to renegotiate to turn their back library into eBooks, or at least sue every eBook publisher who has already contracted with the original estates or authors for settlements and licensing agreements out of court. HC unfortunately may have a chance due to the wording of their prior contracts due to wording. The contracts included a clause which gives HC the exclusive right to publish “in book form” as well as the right to exploit future technologies “now known or hereafter invented,”. The argument will be that this implicitly includes a grant of electronic rights–even though those rights did not exist when the contract was signed.
If the courts rule in favor of this, contracts are going to get very scary here soon. Adding the “now known or hereafter invented” clauses will start appearing everywhere and it is going to be up to the courts to really start to decide if something is a new media, or just a “future technology” of the same media.
The following is a presentation from SIGGRAH 2011, a conference on computer animation and visualization. This is a demo and has some technical jargon but I think you’ll find the images interesting.
What is Kickstarter
So some amazing stuff has been happening over at Kickstarter. For those of you unaware, Kickstarter is what is called a crowd funding site. It’s a place where content creators can post up a project they need funding for and a target money goal. People pledge money, usually for rewards of some kind, and if the target goal is met within thirty days, the money is collected. It is basically like how charities work, except it isn’t giving money to charity but to a project of some kind. In this way new (and current) designers can get the funding they need to create products without having to go to banks or major corporations to fund them and sell off their designs or such.
I like to personally fund online comics looking to print their books, board games, the occasional documentary that I like, and sometimes video games. Usually I only pay a few extra dollars to get a final version of the product along with some nick-nacks and recognition in the product’s credits.
So Kickstarter has been around for a while and, as such, has a few records it keeps. Like most funded within the span of a day. Most funded over the span of the entire campaign. Most money in category. Most money overall. Records like that. Think of it kinda like world records for the Olympics, except more, or less, impressive depending on your views.
Order of the Stick
So around last week I stumbled upon on of my favorite webcomics, Order of the Stick, hosting a Kickstarter to re-print a lot of their physical volumes of the comic. Since I was missing a few of those books due to a loaning incident, I decided to pledge. What was amazing about this was that the original goal was set at a little over $57,000. They were just shy of that by the first day but by the second day they had broken $96,000, nearly double. It is now nineteen days in, and they are over 1000% funded, sitting at $602,457 with 8,175 backers.
Which is amazing. Utterly and completely amazing. It has put them at the top of their category (comics) by leaps and bounds, (the next highest being a little over $100,000). They would have broken the top five of all time, except for a man you may know the name of called Tim Schafer and his company you’ve likely heard of, Double Fine, deciding to drop into the race.
Their Kickstarter is about creating and documenting a Point and Click adventure game, in similar style of The Secret of Monkey Island or Day of the Tentacle. You know the games all us old-schoolers keep begging him to bring back but modern publishers won’t touch because it simply won’t sell? Well with a lofty goal of $400,000, within twenty-four hours, Tim and Double Fine managed to raise $1,310,745 with 35,871 backers, shattering so many records it wasn’t even funny.
Yes. They raised over a million dollars for a point and click adventure game in less than a day.
Your Support Wanted
Honestly both of these projects should be congratulated. And both should be supported, hence why I’m linking their status pages below.
OotS’s Kickstater is complicated to understand but well worth it if you’re a fan of OotS. I’d love for you to pledge because the next major prize is a new expansion for the board game version of OotS which I would personally like to have. Additionally with each major update, Rich Burlew, the creator, updates a comic containing the OotS characters playing around with the chart that has been mapping the entire money-raising deal and the extra rewards he has been handing out for the over funding. Double Fine’s is a less interactive but simpler Kickstarter Campaign but the video is well worth watching and you’ll receive a highly interactive video game designed by some of the best adventure game minds still alive.
Here’s the video from the Double Fine Kickstarter campaign.