Stripes

A couple of people have noticed the new look for the weblog, including the stripes. They’re now mentioned in my will.

After much fussing around, I took my color sampling of the photo and used it to create five stripes, each with a different color sampled from the photo, and created a stretch header. I also removed the comment graph. I found the graph to be too distracting, in more ways than one. First of all, it cut across the photo. Secondly, it was like watching your favorite aunt’s heart monitor as she lay on a hospital bed: will it beat, or not? Will it? Won’t it? Will it? Won’t it?

Really, the only heart that should beat in this space is my own.

My next twistie is I’m adding metadata using the RDF in the EXIF portion of the photos in order to drive out a footer to go with the header image. Remember, I can drop my photos into a folder and they’re automatically included, code pulling out color, size, and now metadata in order to ‘present the page’. Is the information cached? Sure–within the photo, each of which becomes a little mini-dataset.

Posted in Technology | Tagged , | 6 Comments

Women, the Niggers of Weblogging

It’s unfortunate that the incident I wrote about in the post titled Respect has been reduced to Michael and I having a beef with each other. We’ve hardly exchanged any words with each other to be seen as having some long time squabble. I’ve commented on ‘some’ posts at TC — but mainly when others I read have pointed to his weblogs and what was said interested enough to respond. Frankly, I tend to respond more to Duncan Riley’s posts, and Marshall Kirkpatrick before him.

I don’t believe I’ve commented on anything related to ‘feminism’ or bias against women in his weblog. I may have noted the hostility of some of his readers to women, but that’s something I would note with anyone. Frankly, I would expect any of you to do the same.

Yes, I’ll repeat that: I would expect any of you to do the same. If you disregard such as typical and not worth the hassle, then, frankly, I haven’t a clue why you’re reading this weblog.

To reduce what I described in “Respect” to a ‘spat between two people who know each other’ does me a grave injustice. No, it does women in weblogging a grave injustice.

If we can’t write on these issues without someone saying that our views on other topics are based on the gender of the participants, then we women have been grossly marginalized. We’re effectively shut up from making any comments about the obvious belittlement of women, either because we’re supposed to be afraid of turning off our readers (“Oh god, she’s on that again”), or because we’ll be compartmentalized into a person who …who hates men or a person who …writes only about women–or something else along these line; supposedly, then, only capable of having one narrow view of the world.

This effectively cuts us off from other discussions, which only adds to the growing problem of visibility for women. Can we not see how insidious this behavior can be? And how frustrating it is for those of us who have spent years pointing out such behavior?

What’s worse is, do I see those of you who talk equality saying, “This is wrong?” Of course not, because those who don’t (pick one): believe it’s a spat between parties; assume its a way of getting attention and links; it’s not fun; it’s not worth the hassle; it’s not about technology, or whatever hobbyhorse is ringing your bell today. What a crappy attitude to have. No wonder this environment is, frankly, so screwed up.

In a comment to my post, Respect, Sheila Lennon linked a YouTube video that I think perfectly sums up this attitude. If you can leave off typing code, or baking a cake, or taking pictures long enough, you might want to give it a glance.

Oh, and it features a guy, in case you’re wondering.

Update

Jeneane wrote a post on this at the same time, titled Casualties of Casual Dismissal that makes telling points.

Second Update

I hesitated to update this post again, since the title seems to have caused undue pain and discomfort, and people aren’t (or can’t because of work filtering) viewing the video to get the context of the quote. However, I did want to specifically thank Rogers for his spirited defense, and Eric Rice for his video.

Posted in Diversity | 31 Comments

Soft Strategy

Sam Ruby wrote, Jackass 2.5 is available exclusively on SilverLight and my first thought was, “Hey! IE 8 must be shipping!” Then I clicked the link and realized he was talking about a movie.

Sam brought up Jackass the movie because of an issue of the video element in the HTML5 specification, and whether user agents should, or should not, be required to support the “free” video compression technique, Ogg Theora. Interesting to see the inner workings of the group. Now what group was this?

Oh, yeah. HTML5. Anyway, Sam also writes:

Fundamentally, Microsoft’s strategy is sound. Ignore standards that you find inconvenient, and focus on producing and enabling the production of content people want. While my humble site can’t compete with the likes of Jackass 2.5, I do have a few people who follow my site. I’ve switched my front page to HTML5 despite the fact that this means that MSIE7 will therefore ignore virtually all CSS. ..Perhaps if a few more HTML5 advocates did the same, people would eventually take notice.

I was inspired to go to XHTML, in part, by Sam’s earlier fooling around with SVG and XHTML. So I’ll give HTML5 a shot.

In five, six years. Or so.

Posted in Technology | Tagged | 1 Comment

Respect

Lane Hartwell has posted a statement addressing some of the misconceptions about the use of her photo in the Bubble 2.0 video. For instance, one misconception is that she’s suing Richter Scales. She wrote:

It has been erroneously reported in various media outlets and blogs that I have either filed or am in the process of filing a lawsuit against The Richter Scales. This is simply not true. At no point has there been any talk of filing a lawsuit on my behalf. To make matters worse, I have yet to be contacted by even one of these media outlets or bloggers to verify the authenticity of my supposed lawsuit.

Lane is actually easy to communicate with via email, which leads one to wonder if people have gotten so used to twittering, they’ve forgotten there are other forms of communication.

Tara Hunt had two good posts on this: Tragedy of the Commons: Lane Hartwell vs. Richter Scales and Mobs with Pitchforks and Mis-information. Tara speaks as a person who was busted herself for using photos and art without permission. She writes:

Whether or not Lane invoking the DMCA is legal or not isn’t really what matters here and making it about ‘hurt feelings’ belittles what is really at stake here. What is at stake here is that the continuance of individual abuse of the privileges of the works put into the commons will lead to fewer of those works being put into the commons.

That is the point. Perhaps because we have a knee jerk reaction to the term, DMCA, we tar and feather any use. However, Lane trying to protect the integrity of her photography is not the same thing as Disney trying to preserve the Mouse in perpetuity. If we overreact about copyright abuses from corporations to the point where we deny the validity of copyright for individuals, then we’re not good neighbors in a village sharing a commons–we’re nothing more than the Horde looking to sack the village; reacting petulantly, even violently at being denied our goodies. The issue is less one of copyright than it is one of respect. Lane deserves the respect due a person in her craft.

Respect also plays in a sub-thread that ended up slowly emerging from the original discussion. In Mathew Ingram’s post on this topic, as I wrote previously, Michael Arrington wrote in a comment to me that the only reason I was supporting Lane, was because she was a woman:

Mathew is right, you are wrong. But since Lane is a woman, it really doesn’t matter what she did as far as you are concerned. She’s a woman, so she’s right.

I was flabbergasted. I never once thought about Lane’s sex when forming my opinion. Any of you who have read me for years know that copyright has been an issue near and dear to my heart, and I’m actually a copyright supporter–not the Disney type of copyright, but copyright as it was originally intended.

Several people did respond to the statement, both in my comments, in a post that Jeneane Sessum wrote and also in Tara’s posts. She didn’t specifically mention this in her second post, but Tara did allude to this:

I’m really put off that there are so many people spreading, but also believing, bad rumors in this case. I’m sure the many men behind the Richter Scales don’t want a mob sent out to harass a woman whose photograph they used. None of this was done in malice: the photograph used, the request for credit.

Why the maliciousness now? From uninformed bystanders?

We didn’t introduce the topic of gender in this discussion, but now that it has been introduced one can’t help wonder: given the rather astonishingly harsh criticism of Lane Hartwell is there a possibility that some of it goes beyond just our reaction to the DMCA term? Could this also have something to do with Lane Hartwell, being a woman, asserting her rights against a bunch of guys?

I don’t believe this of Richter Scales, the originators of the video. They seem truly unhappy that they’ve caused this unfortunate consequence, and didn’t attribute the photographers as they should. But when I read the following at a post Michael Arrington wrote, after leaving the comment directed at me at Ingram’s, I have to question the emotional context of some of this protest.

The real issue here is that Hartwell’s feelings were hurt. She wanted attribution in the video, and the creators ignored her. Attribution and people’s feelings are not things copyright law considers; rather, it sets forth the rules under which copyrighted works may be or may not be used by others.

The real issue here is that Hartwell’s feelings were hurt. (Also see the the comments to this post describing Michael running into Lane at an event yesterday.)

Haven’t we seen this before? When a woman reacts to an event, her reaction is reduced to one of ‘feelings’, rather than rights or laws, or even common decency? Lane Hartwell did not react as a woman whose feeling were hurt. She reacted like a professional photographer, frustrated with people stealing and using her photos without giving her credit or asking permission, who then contacted the transgressors. When the group who created the video responded that their use was fair use, rather than respect her wishes, or even contact her directly about the use, she then hired an attorney who specializes in IP law to work with her to resolve this issue. An attorney, I might add who represented, pro bono, ThinkSecret when sued by Apple looking for the names of ThinkSecret’s sources. Perhaps we might want to give him the benefit of the doubt that a) he’s not evil, b) he knows what he’s doing, and c) Lane knows what she’s doing.

Agree with Lane’s move, don’t agree–there is nothing wrong with having an opinion on this issue. However, when we start advocating violence, plotting how to destroy her career, or belittling Lane’s actions because she is a woman than, frankly, we have more problems in the commons than whether we get to view a funny video, or not.

Michael Arrington considers me …one of the most unpleasant people he’s ever known. Fine, great, perhaps I am. I, however, didn’t bring up the ‘gender card’, but when it’s played on me, I sure as hell am not going to fold and leave the game.

What do we want from this environment? Where only those who are popular are allowed to determine the ethics of our interactions? That webloggers can speak softly in weblogs, but nastily in comments, Twitter, and backchannels and all is well? Where women can be so easily and so frequently belittled with nary a raised eyebrow? Mobs can be whipped up and turned loose without a thought to the consequences?

That only the little people get called out for their actions?

Weblogging is ten years old today. Huzzah! Now, what do we want from this environment? Because what we’re getting is something I don’t value anymore.

update

Lane Hartwell has issued a more detailed statement:

A photo of Owen Thomas that I shot under contract for Wired News was used without my permission in a music video created by the Richter Scales. I own the copyright to the photo and, as I do in every instance where I find my work used without my permission, I contacted the band, told them my work was copyrighted and asked why they had used it without contacting me to license the work.

The band’s response was that upon receiving my complaint, they contacted an attorney who told them they had the right to use my work without gaining permission, paying a licensing fee or giving me credit. They said the video was a parody and thus the unauthorized use of my image was protected under something called “Fair Use”. Normally when I contact someone about my work, they apologize and remove it immediately. Because they didn’t, and mentioned talking to a lawyer, I felt it necessary to talk to a lawyer myself. Despite reports to the contrary, I have not sued the band. I spoke with a lawyer to clarify my standing on the issue of copyright.

I suggest you read the whole thing. Especially those of you saying Lane’s feelings were hurt, she should never work again, and generally dwelling on her evilness.

There’s also a thing in the commons called an ‘apology’.

Posted in Diversity | Tagged | 20 Comments

Friday Stuff but on Sunday

I realize my job here is to create entertaining stuff for you, but the muse isn’t on me. I’ll leave you other people’s creative stuff.

  • From the Indiana University anthropology department, The Museum of Weird Consumer Culture. Fake testicles for your dog. I kid you not. (via Metafilter).
  • Fish genetically engineered to taste like fish. Huh. From Malaria, Bedbugs, Sea Lice, and Sunsets.
  • Missouri hereby apologizes for subjecting the world to Senator Kit Bond. Waterboarding is like swimming…. No, not everyone in Missouri is an idiot.
  • If you thought that was bad, during the ice storm recently, our Republican governor warned against price gouging, which is illegal. Instead of having us turn in culprits to the state’s Attorney General–Jay Nixon, a Democrat who happens to be running for governor next year–Blunt advised people to tell the Better Business Bureau or the Chamber of Commerce. Yes, and next time you come across a drug dealer, let Walgren’s know…
  • Jeffrey Zeldman, on the call to disband the CSS working group because of the Opera lawsuit:

    Apple and Microsoft and Netscape and Sun and Opera have been suing each other since the W3C started. What lawyers do has never stopped developers from Apple and Microsoft and Netscape and Sun and Opera from working together to craft W3C and ECMA specs.

    And even if this time is different—even if, just this once, the existence of a lawsuit will stop a working group from working—I’m not sure it’s practical or advisable to cut browser makers out of the equation. For one thing, have you seen what the W3C comes up with when browser developers aren’t involved?

    I can attest to this. I diligently followed the RDF working group’s effort. No browser developers were involved in it. Turned my hair white.

  • Granny Hackers make History. Good story but…granny? If I ever get a chance to meet Tim Berners-Lee, I’m calling him Grandpa. (via Michael Bernstein)
Posted in Technology | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Nullifiers

One thing I’ve discovered this weekend, is there are some people who suck the life out of a discussion. They use their popularity, their rank, their legions of fans, to overwhelm and crush any opposition. No, crush is a melodramatic word. They nullify opposition.

Sometimes they’re sweet in their weblogs; sometimes they’re not. Typically they’re held up for admiration and respect, and given accolades and affection by many. Yet there’s a dark side to them, a seeming need to control everything around them.

When they become involved in a discussion, the focus changes from the topic to the person. I don’t know about others, but it almost invariably leaves me going, “Why do I continue doing this?” They take what joy I have in this space, this writing, and they taint it, corrupt it.

People complain about trolls, but anonymous people who come into a space and leave a bit of snark are nothing more than the buzz of a bug. Flap your hand, chase them away. No, these people are never treated like trolls. Ostensibly, they don’t act like trolls. But when they’re done, if the discussion is not dead, it’s certainly been redirected. And they’re satisfied; they have control. Even if all their control brought, was discord.

I’m not perfect, I know that. This is more observation than proclamation. People read Techmeme to see what discussions to get into. From now on, I’m going to read it to see which ones to avoid. It’s not a healthy place for me.

Posted in Society | 7 Comments

Snowed

snow scene

No way, mom.

Zoe and snow

Posted in Environment | 1 Comment