Thursday, January 18, 2007
The Arts, Web 2.0, and Security
Web 2.0 offers an amazing way to post, collaborate, and engage a user base. The Arts Industry is fertile soil for a potential explosion of Web 2.0 usage. One of my favourite NPT companies, Compumentor, is a leader in the push to promote these kinds of technologies out to Non-profits. I have come to believe that Web 2.0 will become so entwined in the non-profit experience that our community will forget what it was to be stuck in Web 1.0. Those who don't embrace it will find themselves resonating less and less with target communities.
Don't just rush to get a Web 2.0 friendly site up and running though. Think about where it will be hosted, what kinds of data you will accept, and be cautious about security. It wouldn't take much for someone with foul intentions to upload a virus laden attachment just waiting for a hapless user to download it and open it. Beware of links added to a Web 2.0 site by a user--not the site owner--as they could lead to a site designed to load some kind of malware on your computer.
If you host your Web 2.0 site with an ISP, that removes one level of security issues from your internal network (not that I think hosting your Website from your local network is a good idea.) At least your internal systems can't be breached that way. There are many great hosted offerings from companies like Bryght (I have no affiliation, although one support site I'm managing is hosted by them) that will set up an environment that one can work from.
Decide if you will allow attachments, then limit the kinds of attachments that can be uploaded to your system. Never allow PHP as an allowable input format.
Make sure that you have the TIME to run a Web 2.0 site. You must be willing to care and feed these kinds of systems. It is essential that you review all posts and comments even if you don't filter the material before it is posted. Some security experts indicate that you should always review materials prior to allowing them to be posted. While this is a prudent action, it flies in the face of the interactive nature of Web 2.0 which feeds on a culture of instant gratification.
The trick to having a successful Web 2.0 site is to plan, plan, plan. Then choose a platform that will suit your organization. Post to it regularly--at least once a day if possible. Review all comments to ensure they fall within your guidelines. Remove inappropriate content, but be careful not to stifle true free speech.
Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Goodbye MacAddict, Hello MacLife
I purchased the first issue of MacAddict from a newstand many years ago. I thumbed through the pages and came the conclusion that I needed a subscription. Over the years the magazine has been a little kookie, irreverent, and often quite funny. I've watched quite a few writers come and go. It was one magazine that I always looked forward to getting in the mail. The magazine always came with a CD that had all sorts of great little games, utilities, shareware, and freeware. I discovered Ambrosia Software because of MacAddict and wasted a good number of hours playing Escape Velocity and then, later, EV Nova. I learned about new products and gleaned information regarding upcoming hardware. This magazine saw me through an LCIII, Bondi Blue iMac, TiBook, iMac 1.8 Ghz G5, and a Macbook Pro. It started out under the publisher "Imagine", which later turned into "Future".
Starting with the February edition, MacAddict is now MacLife. The first issue is much slicker than MacAddict used to be. It seems to reflect a changing demographic of Mac users. Perhaps with the Mac becoming more mainstream, the magazine decided it better follow suit. The cover stock is thicker and the articles are pretty straight laced compared to the old format.
I mentioned that I subscribed after the second issue. Well, a while back I let my subscription lapse. The magazine sent me a copy anyway with a chiding reminder...and NO CD. That was just a kicker. I'm sorry to say, it seems the new format won't have CDs either.
I'm looking forward to seeing if they can keep the amazing momentum they had in the past. MacAddict apparently had the second highest readership of any Apple magazine. So the rebranding is a risk. I remember the hoo haw when the magazine changed its logo.
I will keep my judgement of the new format to myself for the time being. I am eager to see what they do with it.
Monday, January 15, 2007
I've started taking our old negatives to Costco--film taken pre-digital camera. Costco will digitize and put your pictures on CD for $2.99 a set of negatives. That comes to roughly $0.12 per picture. I have a few motives here.
1) Archiving pictures from our past--Ultimately even the pictures Paula and I took as kids.
2) Revisiting experiences from our past. I use iPhoto almost daily. If I want to take a gander at our vacation to Cancun or Anchorage it takes mere seconds. If I want to look at anything pre-2003, I really have to pull out physical albums. That really never happens.
3) There are a bunch of pictures I know that I would like to have up on Flickr. In some ways, Flickr has become my defacto image management tool. I make extensive use sets to classify my pictures. Actually, some of the pictures my wife took and a very few private pictures were taken by my parents.
Currently I have 5195 pictures on Flickr 3281 are public. Why 1914 private pictures? I tend not to make my snaps of friends and family public unless I have permission from them. A lot of the time I forget to ask and so the pictures languish. That said, because the vast majority of the pictures I take these days are never printed, I need multiple copies.
All pictures that I post on the Internet are being embedded from Flickr these days.
ZAPP(tm) is a Web based art fair application and adjudication tool I helped WESTAF build about three years ago. I have taken to recommending to applicants that they create Flickr sets of pictures. They can make them private, but as flicker doesn't limit the size or number of images you can store--this gives the applicant backups AND a set of images technical support at WESTAF can see if the applicant allows it. It can also act as a central location if the artist applies to multiple adjudication systems.
Flickr is one of my favourite Web 2.0 applications.