Tuesday 30 December 2008

Social Media trends - 2009 - from TrendsSpotting, via RRW

Over the next few days, TrendsSpotting is publishing a series of trends and predictions from what they call "influencers and experts" Their first issue is on Social Media.

Thanks to Read Write Web for the source

Monday 29 December 2008

Creative Commons and the public domain - James Boyle

As my tweet [see the right hand column] notes, I am in the middle of reading The Public Domain, Enclosing the Commons of the Mind , by James Boyle. The book is available from Amazon - but the whole thing is also available as a free download, here. Boyle's his publisher are agreed giving away the pdf will increase sales, not decrease them. No less that Larry Lessig has offered a review on Amazon.

The site is definitely worth a visit - as is this video on the Creative Commons.

Jesse Dylan’ A Shared Culture: the video explains the importance of Creative Commons: For more read Chapter 8 of the Public Domain

Saturday 27 December 2008

Spain opens expo on 'new vision for water'

Note - it is showing the new youtube ad format - you can kill this my clicking the little command in the bottom right hand corner.

Have spent the last hour or so playing in www.twine.com. Joined some groups [ twines/threads] and went to see what was happening. This You Tube video popped up. Thought I might share it

More on Twine when I have learned to drive it properly - but even though some commentators , though supportive of its vision, have doubts as to whether it is ready for the big time, I think it is definitly worth a visit.

Friday 26 December 2008

iPPR - Thinking for Tomorrow

Over the next three weeks - while NZ is on holiday - I have a mind to post links and pointers to some of the people and places that come across my desktop.

The first is from the newsletter from the UK iPPR - The Institute for Public Policy Research.

ippr e-newsletter 19 December 2008

"ippr has launched a brand-new series of arguments and debates about some of the major policy and political challenges of the coming decades.

The Politics of Recession
The first of the Thinking for Tomorrow events was a roundtable discussion with Labour's Jon Cruddas MP on 'The Politics of the Recession'.

In a conversation with a panel including Martin Kettle from the Guardian and Rupa Huq from Kingston University, Jon maintains that the banking crisis and emerging economic recession signal a major watershed in our political life.
Download the podcast.

Tomorrows Capitalism Series
The second lecture in ippr's Tomorrow's Capitalism series 'The Crisis of Capitalism' took place last week"
Note on Ippr
The Institute for Public Policy Research is a UK "progressive think tank", producing c research and policy ideas for a just, democratic and sustainable world.

Tuesday 23 December 2008

Holiday greetings from Auckland, Aotearoa

So, it's time. The holiday season is upon us. Here in Auckland, New Zealand that means bucket and spades and Christmas, and maybe, if you are lucky, a visit from the guy with the white beard and the black boots. 

More likely, it also means a trip to see the family, and then a mad rush to get to the holiday station to rest and recuperate.

Here at McGovern Online most people are already out the door. I, along with co-director Helen Smith have a few more things to do, and then we too will slip on the catch, enter the pin code for the alarm  and head out down the stairs.

The McGovern Way
It's been a fabulous year in lots and lots of way. Once again we proved that value of the golden rule - find great clients - build really great relationships, and then carve projects out of a common sky/purpose.

I know the coming year will/might/could/ be hard work for some people and some places. However, I am also convinced there is a plenty of scope for collaboration and common purpose. 

Blog lines 
We re-open our doors on the 12th January. Naturally, I will be checking in long before then.  I am also  hoping to share any bits of gold/fun/inspiration I come across. 

I wish everyone a happy holiday and a wonderful New Year when it comes!


Note to the image - Candle in a Dark Room  - Colin McCahon - In Shifting Light Exhibition
I am hoping Auckland Art Gallery will forgive my using one of their collection images. I chose it out of love and respect  - both for the work , my love for my adopted home, Aotearoa. 

The work, is currently on view at the fabulous exhibition, Shifting Light. Also on view is the truly stunning Urewera Triptych. If you have time over the holidays this is  just a must see. Details of Shifting Light, here.   Gallery blog, here.

Monday 15 December 2008

Broccoli Kitten

Thanks to fellow Twitterer Erica Lloyd, TV3, for this one. Classic.

Thursday 11 December 2008

Copyright in a Digital Age - Battle of Ideas - Nov 2008

The sessions from the November 2008 Battle of Ideas from the Institute of Ideas are starting to filter onto Fora TV. Now in its fourth year, the Battle of Ideas began in the UK as a vechicle to create a new generation of public intellectuals as well as creating a space where they can meet and have their ideas held to account.

Copyright in a Digital Age
This session, at the Royal College of Art, was attended by Helen Smith of McGovern Online, [small prize for spotting her in the audience] It explores the vexed question of copyright in the digital age.

The Panel
The panel consisted of • Shirley Dent • Cia Durante • Andrew Gowers • Tania Spriggens • Sandy Starr.

The debate
I found the debate a little mixed both in terms of reach and depth. On the one hand there was the fairly predictable, and dare I say, superficial response from the DACS representative Tania Spriggens, who claimed that if we didn't protect the rights of the artist], then not only was this a travesty of economic justice, we were also failing to acknowledge that artists need a special kind of protection and a special kind of economic status

I thought this kind of special pleading was long dead - but apparently not. Sanity prevailed from an audience member [actually an old friend Tam McGibbon] who neatly challenged this pretention by asking "as a former artist now painter and decorator, why should he, once he had painted a room yellow and magnolia, expect a further fee every time someone walked into the room."

Nailed the conundrum of analogue and digital rights for me in one!

Andrew Gower - Gower Review
On the policy layer I liked the contributions from Andrew Gower [Gower Report on IP - copies here] who quietly brought into the frame the tension between individual and public good which all to often never gets to the top of the page in these kinds of debates.

I especially liked his point that the rights of the artist/creative needs to be balanced against an acknowledgment of a double public good - one which recognized that artist gets both their inspiration and subsequent acknowledgments from the public store of intellectual and artistic history.

He also made the compelling point that the current system was in a the grip of a crisis of legitimacy and it was totally time we made progress in changing that. In short, it's broke and no amount of "getting cross from nursie" was going to fix it.

Sandy Starr
Quoting Harold Bloom's, The Anxiety of Influence, Sandy Starr, almost successfully, asked the audience to go two/three steps higher up the abstraction ladder by asking that people acknowledge that, arguably, all creativity comes from the common store , and that it would help us manage the consequences of this if we separated out the notion of moral as opposed to economic IP rights.

Once we had done this, we might retain the artists moral legitimacy to new ideas and expressions, but it was unlikely, in the long run, we could sustain the notion of an economic right to the ongoing form and expression of an idea.

As can be imagined the latter was a little problematic for some - especially the artist Cia Durante, who made up the last of the panel.

Cia Durate - total star.
Curiously, although she opened with a strong set of personal anecdotes which re enforced the argument for the economic rights of the artist, by talks end , in contrast to some others, she was the one who had shown the kind of intellectual and creative honesty which all sides need to demonstrate in order to move past the obvious impasse between public good and private benefit.

More specifically, not only was she totally aware of how much her work was influenced by others she was smart enough to emphasise the reverse was also true, and as a consequence very happy to help create a community of practice which acknowledged her work while not necessarily compensating her, provided that the latter got taken care of in other ways.

Given that she was the one person on the panel who probably needs the money, I thought her comments the most principled of all.

But don't mind me - go have a listen/look.

Creative Commons?
I was of course waiting for someone to bring in the Creative Commons framework, even if it was only to have a pop at it. I waited and waited, until finally, as part of the questions and answers [which by the by, form the bulk of the session] one audience member asked the big question - how do we get past all this to start talking about other kinds of rights frameworks? Here we go , I thought - but no.

There is one mention earlier - but its pretty hidden/ brief - like someone stuck on a desert island idly waving to a far away passing tanker way way out in the offing.

Wednesday 10 December 2008

More good news on Creative Commons from Australia

I am very grateful to Jessica Coates Project Manager Creative Commons Clinic Queensland University of Technology for spotting and then reporting on the CC list that the the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is going CC - and under an Attribution-only licence, no less.

From the ABS website

"Creative Commons provides a spectrum of licensing for the use of intellectual property between full copyright and public domain – in essence 'some rights reserved'. The ABS is poised to introduce Creative Commons licensing for the majority of its web content.

The relevant Creative Commons logo (which will link to the Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence) will be included at the bottom of every page on the ABS website"
The context to this is huge, both for Australia, and by implication and example, New Zealand, As Jessica  notes, ' The ABS conducts the annual Australian census, and is the holder of all official Australian statistical data. It's been providing all its resources for free for a number of years, but under a limited re-use licence. The decision to go one step further and allow complete reuse of its material - even for commercial purposes - heralds a great opportunity for the Australian community, researchers and business, and hopefully will lead to a great leap in the use of and innovation based on this rich resource"

Couldn't agree more - now for Stats New Zealand  to follow suit!

Widget Hunt - UK Telegraph et al

For a while now, and for lots of reason, including some project work, I've been out hunting widgets. Apart from the normal instances, I'm looking for examples of same which " do more than one thing" - i.e. examples which are moving more towards the RIA end of the spectrum.
Anyway, as part of this, I came across this puppy from The UK Telegraph.

Telegraph on Widgets
They also have some other examples here , plus a handy summary page of the territory, here. 
If you have some to share - then definitely interesting in hearing about them

Wednesday 3 December 2008

Creative Commons - yes we can!

“Except where otherwise noted, content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License. Content includes all materials posted by the Obama-Biden Transition project. Visitors to this website agree to grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, royalty-free license to the rest of the world for their submissions to Change.gov under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.”

See here for the full release

Monday 1 December 2008

Jorn Utson, Sydney Opera House Architect tribute

I have just caught up with the news of the death of the Danish architect, Jorn Utson, the man who designed the Sydney Opera House, but who, astonishingly, never ever saw the finished building.

I still find this odd - for sure, the original dispute with the city fathers must have been bitter and depressing to any architect struggling to complete the vision against escalating costs.
Moreover, the original reaction from the good people of Sydney might well have put him off.

However to keep it all going for all those years, while later accepting a commission [with his son] to finish the interior as planned speaks to some kind of rapprochement, why not 'come on down' and have a look at the real thing?

Who knows - maybe old age just caught up with him, and it was too late. Whatever the story his legacy sits in Sydney Harbour as a daily reminder of one of the great masterpieces of 20th century architecture.

Great buildings are personal
I say that, not just out of some kind of automatic tribute, but, like I suspect many other people, as a token to my own very personal relationship with this building.

It's not just that it's beautiful - it's the way it speaks to you - especially up close, and especially on a hot sunny day - the way the tiles gleam - almost sweating in the heat, like some kind of wonderful avatar for the Australian landscape, and the peoples who settled on it.

The picture is one of my own. My tribute. I took it, as so many others have, as my own personal record of a quiet moment marvelling at the intimacy of my reaction to the gleaming tiles above my head.

There will be thousands more on Flickr to joining the current eighty three thousand odd. You can even check the photostream being assembled by the BBC as its own tribute.

Finally, if you have a taste for more of the story of the project and the architect, head over to the newly launched, and totally brilliant Sydney Sidetracks from the ABC. including the ABC footage of Utson's resignation, the subsequent opening ceremony and citizens reactions.

There is also a parallel audio exhibit with archival ABC radio footage including interviews with some of the workmen, citizen reaction etc.

Go to the flag for Circular Quay and The Rocks and then, when the map refreshes, the Opera House link - sorry, couldn't find a direct link. Blame my current fevered brain - but had to get this one up - inspiration and genius needs recognising.

YouTube has some ABC footage of the opening concert. I'd prefer the ABC put up the Sydney Sidetrack clip - better still I would love them to give people like me an embed option on the Sydney Sidetracks site?

Then they make sure they retain brand and source recognition? Curiously, they offer a Quicktime download, so it is going to go viral anyway - why not manage that possibility? Creative Commons anyone?

Update 2 - More on Sydney Sidetracks.
ABC have also partnered with some other key cultural/ heritage partners - Powerhouse Museum, State Library of NSW, National Film & Sound Archives, Museum of Contemporary Art, the City of Sydney Archives, and the Dictionary of Sydney.

Seb Chan of the Powerhouse did a great interview on the project with Sarah Barns the producer and researcher for Side Tracks.

In the interview she quotes one of her influences as Alex Morgan [Hunt Angels, et al] Given this post started of as a tribute to one of Sydney's great physical icons, I thought it would be good to see digital can give its own space to the context/tension between the physical and the intangible.

“It is all too easy to fall into the trap of believing that the cultural essence of Sydney lies embedded in its architecture. It’s structures, buildings and monuments. I find this method of interpreting the past, this reliance on concrete and real estate, a faulty and unsound foundation upon which to build an understanding of the forces that shape the distinctiveness of the city…I sense that there is another city lying undiscovered beneath these bloated, familiar carcasses and that cultural interpretation by architecture is too impoverished to satisfy a secret desire to connect to something of Sydney’s past that is more elusive, more sensual, than a pile of bricks and mortar.” Alec Morgan (2004)

Seems like there is room for both kinds of imagination - much more on the interview - here