Jan 31 2008

True life

Jamie Barrows
My Life on the Internet

When I saw this pic, I just had to post it. It was too much like my real life. I spend all day at work at my computer and then come home andv spend more time on a computer

Jan 24 2008

Life is so fragile

Jamie Barrows

Yesterday my sister in law got in a car accident. She was only a few miles from home when her car spun out of control and smashed into a guard rail. Thankfully she came away from it with only a gash in her forehead and a mild concussion. The gash required a trip to the emergency room for some stitches, but that is minimal compared to how bad it could have been.

All of that just reminded me how fragile life is. Every day we get up and take our trains, buses, and cars to work. And each time could be our last time. We get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget how quickly it could all be taken away. I know I don’t think about it until something like this happens.

Jan 10 2008

People are the issue

Jamie Barrows

I’ve been reading a programmers blog called Coding Horror recently. It can get pretty technical in some of it’s articles, so if you aren’t into programming I wouldn’t recommend it. If you are into programming, it really is a great blog and one you should start reading. Despite the programming focus, the latest article I think is one that applies to a lot of different industries. Not just IT based ones. So I thought I would post about it here.

The article is called, No Matter What They Tell You, It’s a People Problem. The gist of the article is that the main reason why software projects fail is a lack of a cohesive team. It’s not the only reason, but it is a big one. And it’s a reason that is hardly ever looked at or considered. No one wants to think that the reason their project isn’t going well, is because they don’t like or can’t get along with their coworkers.

Here is a quick excerpt from the article that I thought was really telling.

“Do you like the company of your teammates on a personal level? Do you respect your teammates professionally? If you were starting at another company, would you invite your coworkers along? Do you have spirited team discussions or knock-down, drag-out, last man standing filibuster team arguments? Are there any people on your team you’d ‘vote off the island’ if you could?”

So who would you vote off the team in your office?

Jan 3 2008

Copyright – Hoarding vs. Sharing

Jamie Barrows
Broken Safe

I had an interesting discussion with a friend of mine the other day. My friend is an amature photographer. And he is quite good. He was showing me some of his pictures, and I asked him if he had posted them anywhere on the Internet. His response was that he had a few low resolution images posted on his webpage, but nothing with a high resolution. Plus he only had a few of his large collection posted there.

Now my friend isn’t into the latest Internet trends. He is computer literate, but a lot of Internet culture and services just pass him by. So I started telling him about Flickr and the ease with which he could post his pictures on the site. I described the community benefits of the site, and I stressed the offloading of bandwidth and hosting costs for large pictures. My assumption being that bandwidth and hosting space were the reason why he hadn’t posted very many pictures on his site.

His response was not at all what I had expected. Though maybe I should have. Now that I think about it, I think his response may be typical of how most people not in the computer industry and coming from his background would respond.

What he said was, “If I post my pictures on Flickr, it would make it easier for people steal them.” He then went on to explain that his photos were quite valuable. In fact, he had already managed to sell a few of them to the local newspaper. His worry was that by posting his images on the internet for anyone to access, he would be reducing their value because they would be easier to “steal”.

News StandI didn’t try to convince him otherwise, but I do think he is wrong. He thinks the Internet would reduce the value of his photos. The truth is that at worst would have no affect on the value, and at best it would increase the value.

Right now his photos only exist on his local computer. He knows about them, and knows what they contain. No one else, other than a few local reporters, knows they exist. From the perspective of most of the world, his photos and his expertise as a photographer do not exist at all. Because they can’t find him and have no way of knowing he or his photos exist.

If he posted the photos on Flickr, or any one of the many other photo sharing sites, people could find them. They would be categorized, indexed, and searchable by the whole world. The pool of potential buyers for his photos would become huge and nearly unlimited. His photography skills would be displayed and advertised to the world. Which would make his photos, and his skills more valuable than they ever could be with him pitching them only to local reporters and newspapers. And it wouldn’t cost him anything.

Will people “steal” his photos? Of course they will. But would the people who “steal” his photos have ever bought them in the first place? I really doubt it. If they aren’t the kind of people who would honor his copyright terms in the first place, then they are unlikely to to be willing to buy his photos.

So if they take his photos off of Flickr and use them without paying him, he isn’t really any worse off than he would be if they hadn’t taken them. In fact, he might even be better off because more people will see the images. And reputable publications will attempt to track down the owner before using the images. So the “stolen” photos actually become a form of advertising for his portfolio and his skillset.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think he should ignore violations of his copyright. After all, if you don’t attempt to enforce your copyright there is no incentive for anyone to ever honor it. The point I’m trying to get across, is that you shouldn’t let concerns about potential copyright violations drive what you do with the images you own. Because the benefits of sharing the images, far outweigh the protections you get from hoarding the images.

By the way, the images I use on this blog come from morguefile. A great site for free images and amature photgraphers.