A little while back, I heard the news that Automattic, the folks who develop WordPress, acquired a couple of new services. One of these is called “IntenseDebate”:http://intensedebate.com, a dynamic commenting system that’s compatible with several different blogging platforms. Initially, I’d installed it on “Reclaimer”:http://reclaimercomic.com as a test drive but pretty quickly removed it again. At that point I didn’t feel it was ready, and my readers confirmed my opinion (rather vocally, I might add).
I recently pulled _Burnout: Paradise_ back out of its box and plunked it down in the tray. The reason? My wife bought me a 26″ HDTV for Christmas, which is a huge step up from a 13″ SDTV. Turns out, you can actually see the streets and cars of Paradise City a lot better on a bigger screen. And let me just say, _Burnout: Paradise_ in HD is absolutely stunning to look at.
A lot of reviews of _Speed Racer_ hail it as yet another example of just how far the Wachowski brothers have fallen since _The Matrix_. But I have a hard time identifying anything about the flick to criticize. It’s cheesy and campy, sure, but it’s artistic, fast-paced, and a whole heckuvalot of fun. The Wachowski brothers have a knack for creating unique aesthetics and wrapping a story inside them. The colors of _Speed Racer_ are gawdy, but that just adds to the appeal. On top of that, the camera angles and visuals are flashy and very anime-esque. The story itself is a feel-good tale of family values and doing what’s right. I’ve watched _Speed Racer_ a handful of times now, and it’s a delight to watch every, single time.
The downside to wearing contact lenses is that some days I forget which ones I’m wearing. So, when I reach up to rub an itch away from my eye, I either end up pushing my contact lens up under my eyelid (very uncomfortable) or leaving a big, greasy smear on my glasses.
It’s rather disturbing when you step into your small horse barn to feed the animals and realize that it’s humid, but that the _reason_ it’s humid is because all that urine is evaporating. The thought that then runs through your head is, “Ewwww, I’m walking through a fine mist of horse pee!”
It’s a thought that’s best left unthunk.
I’m pleased to announce the official launch of “Halo 3 Webcomics”:http://halo3webcomics.com, a collective for other Halo 3 comics writers to share their stories. It’s my opinion that one of the biggest barriers to publishing a webcomic is affordable hosting. I’m donating space on my server for anyone who wants to publish a Halo-based webcomic to set up shop and get to work writing comics. Already, there are three comics that are either new or have transferred to Halo 3 Webcomics:
Anyone who wants to write a Halo webcomic but hasn’t been able to acquire hosting is welcome to contact me at email@example.com. In the meantime, check out the comics above and add them to your regular reading.
Anyone who knows me knows how much I love digital media. Most of my hobbies involve something to do with the Internet in one form or another, and just recently I reworked “my photoblog”:http://photos.shamuswrites.com with a new theme and fresh photos updating every day.
The trouble comes in with dishonest folks who like to ‘borrow’ other people’s photographs and pass them off as their own, especially in order to earn a quick buck off someone else’s work. My wife has urged me on a number of occasions to add a watermark over all my photos in order to protect them from just such unscrupulous antics. My biggest complaint with watermarking photos is how disfiguring they are. For me, watermarks ruin any enjoyment a viewer will get from seeing the image. I know I certainly hate looking at photographs that have been watermarked, no matter how stunning the shot. I certainly don’t want to do that to anyone who might potentially enjoy my own photos.
On my photoblog, I have a brief bit of legalese in the footer. It’s a “Creative Commons”:http://creativecommons.org clause – specifically, an Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 clause. This basically says that anyone is free to use and modify my photos, so long as proper credit is given back to me, the photos are not used in any commercial ventures, and they share the photos under the same license under which I have released them.
I’m a big proponent of sharing media around the Web. It’s a whole new world out there, and there’s a lot of great content being created and shared by others. It’s a global community that’s made all the better by people who create and share and build on each other. That’s part of why I’ve been a fan of Creative Commons almost since its inception. It allows for greater ease of sharing content while still protecting one’s rights to their own work.
One of the things I’ve been toying around with the last couple of days is adding a little Creative Commons image to all of my photos. I’ve automated the process with a batch action in Photoshop, but what it essentially does is add the smallest Creative Commons license image to my photos with a copyright date and my name. Below is an example of one such image (click for a larger view):
The idea behind this is to put some identifying mark on my photos (per my wife’s suggestion) while keeping the intrusive footprint in the image as small as possible. I’d be interested in some feedback, especially those of you most familiar with copyright law and the Creative Commons license. Is something like this even necessary? What’s the best way to protect digital photographs from content theft, since there’s negative to prove your ownership of said images?
Did anyone get to observe the “conjunction of the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter”:http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2008/12/01/venus-the-moon-and-jupiter/ “last night”:http://www.universetoday.com/2008/12/02/conjuction-images-from-dec-1-08/? We were mildly overcast here in Indiana, but in some ways that actually worked in our favor since the clouds blotted out all the stars and let only the light from those three heavenly bodies through. I kept wishing I had a camera to snap a few pictures of my own, but those two links above should give you a roadmap to photos that others have taken – though I daresay that no picture will ever be able to completely do justice to the view. Isn’t astronomy cool?!