Thursday, February 08, 2007

Day 4, Identity Theft


The letters from OptOutOnline have come back now.  We are now on the blocked list for Equifax, Experian, Innovis, and TransUnion.  This means once we sign and send the letters off, we are

You have new Picture Mail!

off the the mailing lists for offers of credit or insurance.  If we do nothing, we are off the lists for five years.

I'll be sending these letters back.


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Grantmaking and Web 2.0


The business of grants is all about relationships.  Grantmaking networks are a variation on the social network.

Last week I was in Great Falls Montana and today I was in Salt Lake City.  In both cases I was intersecting with individuals who are interested in TourWest--WESTAF's grant program. 

In Montana, they have developed a culture of co-operative block booking--the activity of several presenters working together to bring in an artist or artists who then tour from place to place.  Often block booking is the only way to get a high profile performer to come to your community.  These block booking networks are social networks that rely on one another to resell product--the show. 

Networking for a shared purpose is occuring online more and more.  For example, on Revver, you can create collections of other people's media and make 20% off all ad revenue when someone watches that video from your placement.  Interestingly, Revver has not created a method for you to see/know who has syndicated content.  I would think that it is in everybody's best interest to be able to network with those who have similar content and to collaborate.

In Utah, one of the things I observed immediately as the grant writing workshop began was the need of the participants to begin a social network.  Where do you present?  Who are you working with?  Do you want to work together?

This brings my thinking to Web 2.0 and the impetus for humans to form groups.  I believe that there is an opportunity to create a Web 2.0 site that fosters presenters need to network.  Some work has been done on this by the New England Foundation on the Arts with Matchbook.  

Taking this one step further, it seems to me that presenting activities of these groups can be directly related to the grants that they apply for.  For example, an application in TourWest is more competitve when the applicant can demonstrate block booking activities with the artist(s) they are bringing in.  It would be interesting to create a Web 2.0 system that would allow virtual booking conference where there is strong communication between the presenting parties.  A mashup could put the location of each booking on a Google Map and indicate dates.  The explosion of APIs make this concept viable and relatively inexpensive.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Ties That Bind


I have been working on a site for the Colorado Council on the Arts providing Folk Life resources for classroom use.  Originally the project was to be a little static site--no more than 20 pages--that would have served the purpose that they needed.  However, in the last few weeks I have been working to "Drupalise" the site.

Using Drupal, I am enabling the content owners to be able to simply edit content on the site using TinyMCE once the site is set up and properly configured.  In addition, if they ultimately decide that the content ought to have a life of its own, they will be able to use forums and blogs in core to really engage teachers and students in the classroom.  If they want to add content in the future, it will be relatively simple.

In the case of Ties That Bind, I have been digitizing old audio tapes for the council which are being converted into MP3s using Audacity--one of my favorite open-source audio capture applications.  These will be linked to the appropriate content page. 

The full text of Ties are in PDFs, designed by my friend Cristina Arnal.

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Steve was Tuned


Steve was tuned yesterday. He needs a second tuning in about a month--he was so badly out of tune that the first step was a pitch adjustment. A couple of pins need to be replaced, but the piano tuner said that Steve was in great shape--worth at least 4 times as much as we paid for him and perhaps as much as 5 times.

Anyway, I played Steve for about an hour tonight--boy am I EVER rusty. But it felt pretty darn good.

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Save The Internet


Once again, the cable and telecom industry are quietly trying to do away with open-ness, fairness, and equality on the Internet.  We were successful at scuttling Ted Steven's wacky plan to allow the big guys throttle through put based on what ever criteria they deemed fit.

That's the good news.  Thanks to all who emailed, faxed, or called a congress person.

The phone and cable companies have started lobbying congress again to try and topple the idea of Net Neutrality.

Why is Net Neutrality SO important to the Arts and to the non-profit industry as a whole?  Any of our organizations that rely on the Internet for marketing, if you sell products or online services, if you use the Net in any way to further your agenda then it is critical to keep it flat.  The telecoms and cable companies want to dictate HOW FAST content is served up based on criteria that has never been explained.  Personally I think that they plan on charging a surcharge--protection money--for you to ensure your content is served in a timely way.

If you want to help out, go to Save The Internet and read up on the issues.  Then write, call, fax, email your congress people and let them know what you think.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Identity Theft, Day 3, your wallet or purse


Never carry more than your bare minimum needs in your wallet or purse. The items recommended by the DA were:

1) One Credit Card

2) Your Driver's License

3) Your Health Insurance Card

Put the other items in a safe place where you can get at them when you need to.

I'm not sure I can get that spare in my wallet, but when I went through it I was able to remove ten cards without any problem at all.

The DA recommended that you use one of those wallets that are on string that you put over your shoulder. I use a similar one to carry my passport when abroad. If you must carry your wallet as a regular wallet, put it in the front pocket of your pants, not the back pocket. If you have a purse, never leave it unattended even for a second. Never have it open with your wallet hanging out the top of it. Would be thieves watch you like a hawk before deciding you are a worthy mark. If you make thievery difficult, they will choose a simpler target.

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