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May 19, 2008

Creative Commons and Privacy

Last year, Virgin Mobile Australia decided to use Creative Commons-licensed images in an advertising campaign. The campaign, dubbed “Are You With Us Or What”, featured photographs taken from Flickr, which were overlayed with taglines and a plug for Virgin’s cell phone service.

While most of the photos were of car accidents, graveyards, Christmas decorations or other non-human subjects, one ad found itself at the center of a legal storm.

The ad in question featured Alison Chang flashing a peace sign. The photo, taken by Justin Wong, was licensed using Flickr’s “select a license” feature under a Creative Commons by attribution license, which allows commercial use.

The problem was that, while the photographer had allowed commercial use through his license (though he later claimed to be unclear about the terms), it only covered the copyright of the work itself. Chang nor her parents had signed a model release, meaning the use potentially violated her right to privacy.

The result is that her parents sued on her behalf in a case that is still ongoing.

So what went wrong and how can others avoid a similar misstep? The answer is actually fairly simple.
read more

May 5, 2008

Podcast 2008.2: An exclusive interview with Duncan Riley on his exit from TechCrunch

Duncan Riley, the former owner of The Blog Herald, has left his gig as a blogger for Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch, the number one blog in the blogosphere.

In this exclusive interview with Duncan, we talk about how he landed the gig at TechCrunch, his thoughts on working with Mike and the gang, some observations about the Web 2.0/VC situation in Silicon Valley, and what his future plans are. We’ll also get into the Full Feed v. Partial Feed debate and talk about a few other topics as well.

You can subscribe directly to our podcast feed in order to receive our show each day that it is released. For iTunes users, you can subscribe directly via iTunes.

Update: Duncan has announced his departure in a final post over at TechCrunch.

Michael Arrington has a post up at TechCrunch about Duncan’s departure now. He also outs Duncan’s new venture at Inquisitr.

And now, on with the show. Notes after the jump….

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April 28, 2008

What Orphan Works Could Mean to Bloggers

The orphan works legislation, last seen in 2006, now has the attention of Congress again with two similar bills, one in the House and one in the Senate. These bills, should either of them pass, could have a drastic impact on copyright holders both within and outside of the United States.

But what should bloggers expect from this bill? How can Internet-based authors work to avoid having their work becoming “orphaned”?

The answer depends heavily on the kind of work you do and how much protection you want for it. However, what is clear is that at least some bloggers have a good reason to be concerned and should consider taking steps now to avoid a problem down the road. read more

April 18, 2008

Groundbreaking Blog Viral Marketing: Obsidian Blackout Event

JC Hutchins, 7th Son Obsidian podiobook anthologyJC Hutchins has been breaking rules even before he started his blog in an attempt to give away his science fiction novel, 7th Son, which publishers didn’t want, as a free podiobook, one of the first audio books published as a weekly series of podcasts. He has come up with a variety of interesting viral campaigns to promote his book, blog, podcasts, and writings, turning his unpublished book into the most popular podiobook series in history, and becoming a specialist in the true sense of social networking and marketing. His innovative online self-marketing techniques attracted St. Martin’s Press, and his book will finally be published in 2009.

Tapping the creativity of his fan-base, Hutchins is breaking rules again by asking people to become victims and make history.
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April 13, 2008

Podcast 2008.1: Shel Israel v. Loren Feldman

Podcast 2008.1: Shel Israel v. Loren Feldman

In this edition, we take a look at the drama between Shel Israel and Loren Feldman.. we’ll also talk about some weekend stories here on The Blog Herald.

You can subscribe directly to our podcast feed in order to receive our show each day that it is released. For iTunes users, you can subscribe directly via iTunes.

And now, on with the show. Notes after the jump….

read more

March 4, 2008

NowThen offers Brits photo messaging and blogging services

A new startup has launched in the UK which offers a cost-effective way for mobile phone users to send photos to a large group of people at once, or to include on their blog.

The primary aim of the service is to allow anyone to snap a picture on their camera phone and send it, for the price of a single multimedia message, to their friends’ mobile phones. It also stores all the photos you’ve taken on your profile page.

However, it also includes the ability to embed a widget on your Facebook profile, or any web site where you can use the <EMBED> code — and that includes blogs.

Of course, the service isn’t unique — other photo blogging / moblogging sites already exist — but the mix of sending to a closed, but ultimately large, group of contacts as well as sharing online is an interesting one. It’s pretty cheap, too.

Over two thousand people are already using the site. Three-quarters of the UK population now own a camera phone, so the phenomenon of snapping photos on the move is only going to increase. As social networking and blogging also increase, services like NowThen will become ever more popular.

It’s early days for the service at present, but my initial tests suggest that it works fairly well. It takes a few minutes for photographs sent to the service to be available on your profile page, after which any widgets you’ve placed on a web page will update.

It’s not clear exactly how the service is going to be funded. Posting a photograph to a widget is of negligible cost (though scaled up there could be some significant hosting fees) but sending mobile messages to a large number of people, at no cost to the original sender, might be a harder one to sustain.

Perhaps limits will be imposed, a la Twitter. Concentrating on the moblogging aspect would certainly be cheaper and reach a huge audience.

Anyone in the UK who wants to give the service a go can visit NowThen.com, sign up and activate their phone, then start sending photos.

February 22, 2008

The Dangers of Relying on Online Tools and Services

Bloggers aren’t exactly shy when it comes to adapting online tools and services, it’s one of the strengths of the blogosphere I’d say. Social networking and things like that are quickly integrated, and put to good use (i.e. pushing traffic to your projects), as they come along and fill a void. We all know there’s a bunch of online video services that wants to be the next YouTube, some of them even letting you share a buck on their ad sales going with your uploaded clip. Very nice of them. And then there’s Flickr and friends, giving you the opportunity to not worry about image bandwidth.

Why host yourself when you can upload to an online service, and embed? Why should you take the bandwidth costs from your hot viral video?

read more

February 4, 2008

The Dangers of Offloading Images

Previous on my site, I discussed the benefits of embedding images into your blog rather than hosting them yourself.

But while there are many reasons to embed your images, there are also reasons to think twice before doing so. Posting your images on a third party site, such as Flickr, PhotoBucket or Webshots provides you some protections, but also costs you some rights. By introducing a third party into the equation, you subject yourself to a whole new set of licensing terms, some of which may cost you dearly.

That’s why, before uploading your image or other media to your favorite hosting site, it is worthwhile to take a moment and understand what rights you are giving up and decide if it truly is worth it. read more

January 17, 2008

Four in five who listen to podcasts do so at home, in their entirety, survey suggests

Preliminary results from a survey carried out by the Radio Joint Audience Research (Rajar) — the official body in charge of measuring radio audiences in the UK — suggests that four in five people listen to podcasts at home.

The Press Gazette has gleaned some interesting snippets of information from the UK-based survey, the full results of which are due to be published later this month.

Results suggest that 4.3 million adults have downloaded or subscribed to a podcast, with 80% listening at home on their computer, rather than a portable media player.

On average, each listener downloads one or less podcasts per week, while the most popular time to listen to them is the evening. Most people do listen to the complete podcast, even though it’s much easier to skip and miss sections as compared to a traditional radio program.

(Via The Press Gazette)

January 10, 2008

photoFlow – The Sleek and Easy Path to Flash-based Photo Navigation

It’s no secret that creating sleek and usable interfaces in flash is a big pain in the head. Whether your the average run-of-the-mill blogger who wants to add a little bit of flashy animated navigation or a seasoned web designer working on a tight deadline – creating flash navigation from scratch is almost a death sentence. Unless you really know the inner-workings of animation design, designing visually stunning animation in flash seems far from achievable (or at least not without effort).

Fortunately, there are a number of readily available flash components that you can avail and can make the job of creating professional animated interfaces really easy and fun while achieve quality results. Today we look at one of such components – Flashloaded‘s photoFlow.

photoFlow is a flash component that showcases photos in 3d stack effect, complete with realistic physics-based flipping animation and reflection. This is similar to an already loved interface prevalent in iTunes and OSX Leopard. For this review I was able to play around with Actionscript 2.0 version of the component. Here are some of the key features of photoFlow:

  • Easily update images using the Component Inspector, ActionScript or an XML file
  • Adjustable flip speed, spacing between stacked images and image size
  • Customizable perspective view and reflections
  • Option to flip images as a slideshow
  • Add links/hyperlinks to each image
  • ActionScript events to perform an action when an image has loaded, is selected, etc…
  • Images can be external or included in the library
  • Mouse wheel image flipping (Windows only)
  • Optionally display a name for each image
  • Option to set the number of images to preload
  • Option to automatically scale images to fit or to fill the defined size
  • Zoom in on selected image or on all images on mouse over
  • photoFlow can open on a pre-defined image
  • Customizable background color and opacity
  • Option to start flipping from left-to-right or right-to-left
  • Supports sound effects for image flipping
  • Built-in preloader
  • Light weight (weighs only 18kb with the scrollbar)

Setting up photoFlow was really straightforward and easy. It took me less than 30 minutes to get an actual working photoFlow interface after installing it through Adobe’s Extenson Manager. photoFlow comes with very thorough and easy to understand instructions that walks you through a basic setup to explaining more elaborate integration points through actionscript events.

One roadblock that I ran to while setting it up was that I forgot that I had the actionscript 2.0 version and proceeded to make an Actionscript 3 project – in which case I couldn’t find the photoFlow component in the Components panel. So it’s important to double check whether you have the Actionscript 2 or 3 version of photoFlow before you make a new flash project.

Aside from that everything was a breeze in using the component. There are a lot of settings to play around with. You can even opt to either manually load files through the component options or load via xml for more advanced users. Skinning is also no problem as you can customize the look of your photoFlow component. Animation and transition of photos can be tweaked to your liking including perspective and depth of the reflection.

All in all photoFlow is one topnotch flash component. Easy to setup, install and tweak – photoFlow is an excellent tool for those who want to setup quick but elegant photo galleries for portfolios, photo albums and even as navigation for a product catalog. photoFlow would definitely cut your time in figuring out how to do stuff and just get you right to creating and designing. It’s something I definitely would consider next time I had to make a flash-based interface.

photoFlow costs $59.95 for the ActionScript 2 version, and $79.95 for the AS2 and AS3 version. Licensees of the AS2 version can upgrade for $20.

Asst. Editor’s Note: this is a sponsored post written on request by Flashloaded.