Friday, March 25, 2005

Denver to Boston Airfares

Checking airfares to Boston from Denver for an upcoming business trip boasted some interesting results. Apparently United has some unique ideas on how to emerge from bankruptcy....

....and you even have to CHANGE planes.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Open Source and the Arts Community

I’ve been working in arts and culture in one fashion or another for my entire professional life in Canada and the United States. I’ve worked for experimental dance as a marketer/copy editor. I’ve been a historical interpreter for an antique fort made into a living museum. I’ve managed a book store. I’ve co-ordinated an arts festival focusing on Appalachian culture. I’ve worked as a lighting designer and technician for theatre houses. I’ve taught copyright law for artists as a continuing education trainer. For the last six years, I’ve worked as a the lead architect and strategist for a series of Web based initiatives for an arts service organization.

Arts organizations are continually looking for ways to save money. Conservation and stewardship of resources is a continual focus. This has caused some some cross sections the arts community to operate much like the open source software industry. It is common for different theatres, for example, to share costume stores, lighting instruments, and space. A dance company could work with an acting troupe.

One of the ways that we conserve resources where I work, is to produce software using open source platforms and tools that we then are able to market to other organizations. Products that we produce cross polinate allowing us to create new varieties of products which are better than the original parts. We work in legal partnerships, loose partnerships, and on our own depending on the needs of a given project. We recruit others in the industry to help us test and make proofs of concept, by bartering—you help us test and you can make use of the software for free for a certain period of time.

What’s of particular interest, at least to me, is that it seems that very few arts organizations are turning to the open source community to stretch resources. One argument seems to be that open source has no support. While it may be true that open source probably doesn’t have a toll free number, the community using that product often provides better support than a commercial venture. It may take a tiny bit more effort on the arts organization’s part, but I believe that the benefits are worth it.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Firewire Drive

In February, I posted that I was having trouble with my Firelite hard drive. I tried purchasing a replacement and it wouldn't mount on my TiBook or my iMac. I returned the drive thinking that it might be defective and got a replacement for that drive...which didn't work either. I've pretty much given up on the Firelite drives even though I think that the size is perfect. I think that they perhaps aren't sturdy enough for the rough and tumble travel that I put them through. That said, the first drive I had lasted nearly two years.

I ended up purchasing a new hard drive enclosure. The drive itself was fine.

I use external drives for a variety of things. I usually have some kind of Web project that I'm working on available. Right now I'm doing a little folk arts project that includes audio and video files. I also will bring some TV shows that I've downloaded from my ReplayTV to catch up on what I've recorded. I will carry files of my artwork that I'm working on. Long and short is that I NEED reliable portable storage.

Alright. What do I think of this enclosure. First off its is very sturdy. It is larger than I like to carry around, but I'll cope. It still is small enough to slip into a corner of my briefcase. It has both USB 2.0 and Firewire which is great. The Firelite drives have one or the other. It sports an on off switch, which I love. It has an activity light on the front that is bright blue when the drive is idle. It is bright enough that you could signal ships at sea with it. It is, perhaps, TOO bright. The little enclosure also comes with a plethor carrying case.

All in all, I like it a lot. We'll see how long it is able to put up with my abuse.

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