Recently I ran across this story about a picture that was taken from a photographer’s Flickr site and was being used around the world. He was not being compensated. It is both an amazing story of how something can go around the world from just being good and how at times people’s work is stolen. The video is 10 minutes long and is well done. The back story and video link is available here at

Notice what I have done above, I clearly indicated where the information is located. I could have just as easily gone into YouTube and gotten an embed link to put into my blog. I also could have just as easily downloaded the video and edited out the credits. But that is an insult to the people who created it. I am basically stealing their time and effort.

I know that some of my readers are more familiar with audio video system integration than with photography. The same thing occurs there and other places as well. It might not be a picture it could be a grounding scheme or a user interface panel just for a sample. Perhaps it is finding information on a manufacturer’s website and including it in your information package. Often manufacturers are okay with that, if you are using the information to sell and use their products. However that does not always happen.

Last year I was very surprised when someone called me to complain about a training video I did that was on YouTube. I was not surprised that I got a complaint, rather I was surprised that it was on YouTube. I did not upload the video there. I uploaded it to my work website. Not a huge deal as it was information about our products, however it then started to sink in. This website had taken someone else’s work, made some edits, and were then presenting it as their own work. They even placed their company logo over the video as well.

Someone else was supplicating all of the time and effort placed into the video. I understand how anything on the Internet is capable of being copied. Basically that was what annoyed me the most was that the effort put forth to collect and present the information was not being recognized someone else was just taking it.

That seems small, no one harmed, right? That is somewhat correct. My company paid for me to make the video and the product was still being promoted. However what happened if it was not a sales tool but rather a picture of a landmark, a presentation about a topic, a system design, or a configuration file for a piece of equipment.

The information is being provided without compensation to the creator or even acknowledgment. Basically that person’s time, effort, and knowledge is being stolen. If it is licensed under Creative Commons terms the creator expects certain respect in the process. If it is not expressly stated that it is okay to use, it should not be used.

The best example is someone who is creating a presentation or proposal and need a picture of a movie theater. I found a nice theater image on Wikipedia taken by Fernando de Sousa from Melbourne, Australia and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license. That license requires attribution. Mr. de Sousa is a professional photographer. He takes pictures for compensation. He shared his work, the results of his skill, equipment, experience, and knowledge. All that he asks for is credit. Will you provide it?

Think about it another way. You went through the process of creating a proposal for a project. You outlined the equipment and process you are going to use. You provided information about why you chose that approach. The person you made the proposal to decides not to hire you. Instead they take your proposal package and use it to create the project themselves. Would that annoy you? Would you expect compensation? How about if all you asked for was attribution?

So I ask everyone to please respect the Intellectual Property, time, effort, and knowledge that is provided on the Internet and provide attribution at least. Don’t take credit for other people’s work.

I am off to go place watermarks on my stuff, if you would like to use an image without it, just ask.

Also known as “The Disconnected Challenge” or “Offline Challenge”. It has become more of an issue since everything has gone to the “Cloud”. What happens when one cannot connect is something to be considered

October 4, 2020

Another blog post written at 32,000 feet as that is when the issue hit me. I have various electronic devices as my dedicated reader knows. I have previously talked about various data access connection challenges. This new challenge is not one of my own doing. It is a poor user experience or use case definition. This problem was illustrated by Amazon and their Kindle applications, but it does not apply to just them. This challenge happens to many applications beyond this example.

I have found a time where the electronic delivery of a book advantages outstrip the disadvantages I previously outlined. This happened with a “for Dummies” book. At work, I am on a software implementation team rolling out a new application package. I wanted the “for Dummies” book for the application. I looked at Amazon and the book was available both in paperback and in Kindle form. The Kindle form was substatianaly less expensive, but the key item was I could get literally instant delivery. While on a conference call I was able to purchase the book, take delivery of it, and reference it during the call. It was very powerful and better than using the Internet search tools as it has high signal to noise and no rabbit trails.

The next day I had a business trip, I had my analog reading material and my electronic versions. On the plane flight I started to truly ready my newly purchased book. It was also the first time I had started to explore some of the Kindle application features. I saw that there were sections of the book that were underlined. Not underlined texted, but a dashed underline. I was not sure what it was at first, but I found out that it meant that other readers had highlighted that passage. The idea of crowd sourced highlighting was intriguing for me; it helps to know what areas one should pay attention to.

I wanted to see what other features were available. My brain needed a little break from thinking about business practices. I was going to use that time to browse through the help file and see what other features were available that I might not be using in the Kindle application. I was airborne when I wanted to do that. I had no Internet access on that flight. As a result of not being connected to the Internet the help file was not available.

That seems very counterintuitive, why would an electronic reading application not include a help file with it? Think about that for a moment. Something that is designed to read document while disconnected from the Intenet is not able to read its own help file while not connected. It is not just Kindle that has this design flaw. Cloudreader, Nook, and iBooks for iPad do not have a help file that is readily available. I am sure that I can continue to list others as well. It also occurs with applications for workstations.

Not all applications are that short sighted. Two applications on my iPad have help that is available offline. iAnnotate and DocsToGo install their help file as a document you can read from within the applications.

Makes perfect sense to me. An application that is designed to be portable, should have supporting documentation that is portable. So for those of you involved in the design and creation of applications, think about the user that is not connected to the Internet. They might want to refer to the supporting documents; you should make it easy for them. The fact that I turned to the help file already means that the application is not intuitive enough. Do not compound the issue by making it difficult to find the help.

Also this concept applies to those of you who are creating custom control interfaces using software created by others. On more occasions than I would care to count I have ended up troubleshooting a control system and having to guess. These guesses could range from what are the IP addresses to connect to the system to what the control system is using for the backend to how to get help.

For the application users, I recommend that you try out your applications before you are traveling with them or disconnected from the Internet to make sure you understand how to use it. The help files might not always be available.

Well the fasten seatbelt sign just came on….

<note this post was recreated after a website crash, good thing I backed it up>

Since writing this post in 2010, I have gone awy from JungleDisk. I found that it was using up too many clock cycles in the background. I am now using AWS and ChronoSync.
October 4, 2020

I have found a few things out over the past few weeks that I figure I will share with you my faithful reader. I have had a logic controller failure on my MacBook Pro which meant that I was sans laptop for approximately 10 days. The day after I received it, less than 12 hours later, the cable modem at my house failed.

So between not having my personal laptop and then Internet access being a car ride away, I discovered some items along the way.

  • Backing up Data is important, but one also needs access to the data

There are a few other tangential things I have found out as well, such as changes to my photography workflow, online instructions should not be the only instruction, unfettered Internet access can be a key item but those will be separate posts.

Using my backup solutions none of my data was in jeopardy, however using that data was the challenge. I have been using JungleDisk as my incremental off site backup solution. It works very well for me, but has some choices along with it that I was not fully aware of when I made them. Using a block copy approach I could reduce the amount of bandwidth and storage space I use, however this does not come without its tradeoffs. By making this choice I would be unable to browse the files online, I would have to actually restore them using the client software. At the time I did not think that it was a big deal as I figured I could always just install the client on another computer and get all the data back.

A key item here is that it is my off site backup. Too many people think that just having a backup is sufficient. It is not as there are other things to consider than just a hard drive or computer failure. One has to think of other ways that Data can be destroyed: “Someone stole my car! There was an earthquake! A terrible flood! Locusts!!“ Having the data off site makes it much less likely that Data will be lost.

I could have just installed the client on another computer and get all the data back that still was not going to solve all my issues. As a result of not being able to browse the contents, I am going to change my approach yet again.

Some items will be backed up using block copy, other items will be backed up using file copy, and still other items will be backed up to either Mobile Me’s iDisk or to my Dropbox account. You might wonder what data would go to what place and how to keep it all organized, well that is actually fairly easy as long as I make the right decisions when starting. Just by putting files into different locations on my computer they will be backed up in different ways. Placing items into the Documents directory will place them on JungleDisk, placing items in the Dropbox folder will be on Dropbox obviously (still waiting for selective sync before 100% happy with it), and items stored in iDisk will be on MobileMe iDisk.

The key to this approach is to make sure that a file is stored in one location and only one location for live Data. I have often encountered problems where two files have the same name, but different time stamps or on different computers, so how do I know which one is current. Since all of these items are backed up to the “cloud” of the Internet I do not have to worry greatly about the loss of data. I still do backups to DVD and secondary hard drives every so often so that I am not completely at risk. For items that I want to make sure I backup in more than one location, well I have not hit any yet, but using ChronoSync to keep a “Backup” directory in sync is my plan. This will allow me to create a directory in one of the other storage locations that is labeled KeyJDBU (Key JungleDisk Backup items), then I can use ChronoSync to decide what to copy into it and keep in sync.

This approach of also having the key items in iDisk or Dropbox will also allow for the items to be browsable without having to restore all the data. It still does not solve another key issue, do I have the access to the programs to use the data once restored? I found that quite often the answer was no. Most of this situation was my own fault as I chose what format to store the Data in. Once again I could reinstall and have the data back, but that would take a while; especially with the licensing headaches some companies have put in place (that means you Adobe). I am now considering how to handle that issue.

So I use SmugMug to host my photos as they have some really cool features and people there. I also started following a few of them on Twitter, and there was a tweet that just made my head hurt, so I sat down to do the math on it. Okay, I also used Wolfram Alpha to help with it.

The Tweet from Baldy stated:

Whoa! Vincent LaForet‘s new Canon Mark IV vid on SmugMug used over 20 terabytes of bandwidth in 300,000 views in 14 hours.”

So I started to try and figure out how many megabits/second that was so I could compare it to typical network connectivity that I am more familiar with, 100BaseT or Fast Ethernet, and Gigabit Ethernet. Well it just became amazing.

  • First I converted 20TB to megabits
    • 20TB= 20,000,000,000,000 bytes = 160,000,000,000,000 bits =  160,000,000 megabits.
      Yes, that is 160 Billion megabits
  • The next thing was to convert hours to seconds
    • 14 hours = 840 minutes = 50,400 seconds
  • Now to convert to megabits/second
    • 160,000,000 megabits/50,400 seconds = 3,174 megabits/second = 3.2 gigabits/second.

So that is pretty freaking fast at to how quickly the data is coming out.

Wolfram Alpha had cool comparisons to put it in context. It is approximately equal to the text content of the Library of Congress. It is approximately equal to 1/8th of the  estimated data content of the surface web (~~ 170 TB ).

Dang no wonder they are in need of 2 TB  of flash memory for a server. You can see the picture and Don MacAskill CEO of SmugMug here

A few days ago I posted a Tweet that said, “signal to noise is important, not just in audio but in life”. That post was an amalgam of someone’s tweet commenting on the palaver at their job result of the amount of Tweets I was getting from one stream. I realize that the single stream is not an indictment of all who Twitter, Twitterers?

I figured I would post here what I learned from a quick study over the past week.  I am following 40 streams, 32 posted something in the past week, there were a total of 522 tweets, or an average of 16 tweets over the past week. However there was one person who posted 208 Tweets in one week, the vast majority of which were very repeative and redundant. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a graph worth?

40% From one stream
40% From one stream

In addition the person also put down an identifier so that they would trend and are getting much of the information from AlertDeck. So that person is not being followed now. The disappointing part is that they actually have something valuable to say; they have just started adding to much noise in trying to market themselves.

My warning is that marketing via Twitter can be done, but if there is no content everything gets turned off. Stay tuned… I might decide to reveal who the offender is.

Oh yeah, I have also decided that Apple’s iWork’s Numbers ’08 is not very powerful when it comes to collating data as I still had to do much manually instead of just doing a Pivot Table in Excel. I also still can’t activate half my applications…

This post was originally written in August of 2009. The concepts still remain true. I have since added rule number 4 in 2013. You can find that one at I am always reviewing the rules. These rules still apply for me.

I was chatting with friends over some fine adult beverages and talking about one of their blog posts. I shared with them my three rules for life; and they said I had to write about them, so that is this entry. Some people have heard these rules before, but that points to the importance and applicability of the rules for many many years now. So here are the three rules:

  1. I am not prejudiced, I hate everyone equally.
  2. If you are not sleeping with me, I don’t care who you are sleeping with.
  3. Don’t see anyone you work with, without their pants on

So at times it seems like these don’t really make sense until you start thinking about them as they actually apply in daily life. Let’s take a look at each rule.

I am not prejudiced, I hate everyone equally.

This one is fairly self explanatory; it is my sarcastic/sardonic take on “treat everyone equally”. It seems simple, but you would be amazed at how often people forget that everyone is a person to some degree. My recent trips have reinforced that opinion. I was on a plane full of people flying to LA and there were many children on the plane, all of them – no matter the race, ethnicity, nationality …etc – had trouble using their inside voices and respecting others. So I disliked them all on the plane, as all that I wanted to do was work and then sleep since I couldn’t work. It did not matter their background, they all annoyed me. So it kind of shows how one has to look past the outer skin and see the person for their behaviors and actions; that is what one should be judged on.

If you are not sleeping with me, I don’t care who you are sleeping with.

Everyone kind of goes, “huh?” to this one. However I have found that many people talk about others romantic life and activities. This can be such phrases as “I can’t believe that she is going out with him…” “That person is gay” “I can’t believe that they are getting married” etc. My answer is that I just don’t care, I have other things to worry about. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston getting married, then getting divorced, then Angelina… etc. well how does that impact me? Why should I worry about it. That is one level. The other one is the amount of time people spend gossiping about others personal life. An example being the amount of conversations that was garnered when my wife went out with a male coworker when she worked at the same company. Let’s see I trust my wife, I know the person she went to lunch with, I know he is in a relationship… etc. so why should I care – let alone anyone else I work with. This plays into the other item, he happens to be gay, but since he isn’t sleeping with me and isn’t sleeping with my wife – why should I care who he is sleeping with. But this causeed a huge stir of gossip at my office. Now to follow this completely, since I sleep with my wife I would care if she was sleeping with someone else.

Don’t see anyone you work with, without their pants on

This one applies in two ways, one obvious and one not so obvious. Now before I go into this, in the previous paragraph the astute reader will notice that my wife was working at the same place as I am. However she got the job as a temp after we moved up because of me – so it doesn’t really apply. Also she was in a different part of the building and I would only see here once a day – heck we didn’t even carpool due to the different work schedules. The rest of it still applies, don’t mess around at work. I do not know of many that it has ended well for. That does not mean that people can not meet at work, develop a relationship and then one of them leaves the job – I know many that it has worked for. And there also the case like I had where there is no interaction during the work day, they founded the company together… etc. The other one is that at the end of the day, especially when traveling for work, one wants to be able to get away from work. So when traveling having to share a hotel room with someone is something I won’t do anymore. It also reinforces not to bring work discussion “home” if you are involved with a coworker. I need some time off.

Now that you have seen the rules, I am not going to say that they apply for everyone, each person has to find their own code and rules to live by. These are the ones that work for me. Obviously I can continue to explain how these rules may or may not apply – but they are my rules. Just like an opinion, they can’t be wrong; they can be malformed, objectionable to others, based on incorrect assumptions/ascertions/beliefts …etc. but they can not be wrong.

I have a fourth rule that is currently under review, has been for a couple of years which I am still testing the application… so who knows there might be an addition.

I have gotten a Playstation3, I also have PS2, PS1, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo GameBoy, Windows, and Mac. So to so I have various gaming environments. So there have been some games that are available on multiple platforms and I have had a chance to try a few of them. On the PS2 I enjoy playing the SSX series of games. It is an EA Sports game and fairly fun. So when I saw it available at a reasonable price for the Nintendo Wii I figured I would try SSX Blur.

I was surprised at how different it was compared to the other versions. I realize that part of it is the change in the controller interface. The programmers I think were trying to use the advanced control options of having the accelerometers control the trick interface. For instance rather than use the controller as an analog for the board alignment, rather one has to shake the controller in a pattern to pull a trick. However it is not intuitive.To do a trick, one draws a heart with both controllers; there is one for each hand.A completely different experience than pressing square while using the D-Pad.

There are times that the accelerometers do work wonders, most often when used as an analog for another control. For example I downloaded a demo for the Playstation3 of a golf game. It was abysmal compared to the Wii Sports Golf where one uses the Wii Controller as a golf club. So it proves that it is not the controller that is flawed, but rather the application of the interface and technology.

I also downloaded a demonstration version of Civilization for the PS3. I really enjoy playing it on the computers (both Mac and PC), so I figured it could be cool on the PS3. However I was surprised at how different the experience was between using the computer screen and mouse and using the video game interface and the screen resolution. It was just not as familiar and intuitive to me. Perhaps it was the fact that I am used to something else.

I think it just goes to prove that the interface has to be adjusted to the environment that it is being used within. So the interface for a video game that one has to look at a large area, such as Civilization, having more control over the view is the key. The use of a controller for a sports game, the control use should be analogous to the way the object on screen is moving. This has not always been the case, such as why does pressing the “X” button cause the object to jump, that dissociation is easier to compensate for than drawing a heart in space makes the object flip upside down.

After all that, all that I have to say is don’t assume that the experience will always be the same as the human interface changes.

I am about two months in on changing from my personal Windows laptop that was showing its five years of use. It was having stuck pixels and it was slow. It does not support WPA encryption, it has two megabytes of memory, an 80GB hard drive, and well it has had a rough life. So the L&T Jennifer got me a MacBook Pro at the end of July, 2007. It has been a little bit more of a change than I expected to migrate operating systems.

On the plus side, iTunes is a lot more integrated with the OS than it is with Windows. This is not really that surprising given that the iPod and iTunes was designed to sell more Macintosh computers. I have found that iTunes and iPod synchronization is a little better than it is on the Windows machines. Now as to what the differences are, that is harder to quantify but I perceive the differences to be a few things. It seems that the iPod sync process is faster on the Mac. I am using the USB port on both operating systems. Yes, I know that USB is a standard and the speed should be the same but the Mac OS seems to be faster to the iPod. Yes, they are both USB 2.0. It also seems to handle using the iPod as a disk better than Windows does.

On the negative side, it seems that stuff is too integrated into using the Apple software and the .mac service. An example of this is trying to send a page from Safari using Microsoft Entourage results in an error window saying that one can only send the link, not the content.

Why I am using Entourage you may ask, well to be honest I am not 100% sure. When I installed Microsoft Office it installed with it. I might try migrating over to Mail to see if it is any better. What is interesting is what happens when one gets a file with a PowerPoint included. When I double clicked it to open in Entourage, the result was a window telling me that I had to authorize iWork.

Click for larger image
Click for larger image

Kind of interesting that it did not just open up PowerPoint. Rather I had to save the file and then open it through PowerPoint. It appears to me that the way the software association is setup is that one should just be using the Apple software or else it is not as integrated.

Then comes the fun of the Internet. I am still looking for a good FTP client. I have tried a few and well they all seem to have their little flakiness. I am still looking for a good client. I think that the next one I am going to look at is FileZilla as I am pretty happy with it on the Windows machines. Of course next I have to figure out what the version to use is. I also have found that Safari does not work as well as Firefox on some websites. An example is the control panel for my website, this includes the admin panel as well as Blog entries. Also Safari does not work with the Google toolbar, which I have gotten to like quite a bit. The chat stuff seems to work better on the Mac, but that is mainly due to iChat and Adium. I highly recommend Adium, I like it better than Trillian that I use on the Windows machines.

I am very happy though with the speed of Adobe Creative Suite 3 under Macintosh instead of Windows. I am comparing it to my work laptop which is about equal in power. It just seems to work faster.

I am a little disappointed by some of the stuff that is not as available on the Mac. I can not find a mapping software package that works with Mac. So I have a Garmin GPS but if I get rid of my Windows machine I will have no way to program it or load maps. I also have not been able to find a batch download program for SmugMug.

I have already purchased VMWare’s Fusion but still have not pulled the trigger on installing it yet, cause I have to have an install CD of Windows XP and all my XP installs are OEM and I am not 100% sure that they will work.

What is interesting is that while talking with the L&T Jennifer, she is not having any of these issues. I think that is mostly because I am a little bit more of a power user. Maybe the Mac is a better personal machine and Windows is a better work/power user machine.

Back to looking at FTP clients so I can download my website to back it up before doing a major update…