Saturday, May 26, 2012

Fun On Friday #146: Facebook fool

It was this article that particularly caught my eye: Criminally Stupid.

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins by
International Money Pile in Cash and Coins,
a photo by on Flickr.
Clearly the robber in Criminally Stupid has never had an Internet safety lesson, or if he has, it wasn't very effective! It made me wonder if funny news stories like this could be used as a starter to more serious topics.

Backbytes in general is worth a read. Other recent stories that amuse me include An education in tweeting, The very definition of a geek, and They know where you live.

What's your favourite?

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Fun On Friday #145: Make your own guitar

The genesis of today's post was a link that drifted past from one of my facebook contacts titled Stunning 3D-Printed Guitars Will Blow You Away [PICS]... and "stunning" barely does it justice. It lead to a post on Mashable that has pictures and a description of guitars created by a 3D printing process. (For all my nerd readers, the process is called selective laser sintering.)

More detail, and some bigger pictures, can be found on the ODD site - a site with the tagline: "Strange stuff you just want". And want it I do. Although, at $3000 New Zealand dollars, I can want it as much as I like while knowing I'm not going to get it! The Spider is spectacular but I think I'd prefer the Atom.

Much as I would love to have a go at printing my own guitar, I doubt anyone will give me a 3D printer to play with but perhaps I could find something a bit more low tech...

And in fact, I found something that fitted the bill perfectly... and I found it by accident. I hadn't bookmarked the 3D Printed Guitar page and when I went to look for it, I found the Paper Guitar website instead.

It has to be said that the paper guitars on this website do not look like are easy to make but they do give detailed instructions along with the paper plans. I fancy having a go at the Les Paul Custom Black. (If you are asked for a password, enter paperguitar.)

If you think that's too difficult and the 3D printed guitar is too expensive, my final offering is instructions on how to make a guitar out of a shoebox and elastic bands.

Remember to post pictures if you have a go at any of these projects.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Copyright - Walking the tightrope

I have posted here on a number of occasions about copyright, mostly to say how complicated it is - particularly in the digital age. I have also had the occasional rant about the entertainment industry and how their stance is at times counter-productive and sometimes even downright stupid. Here's an example I came across recently. You can decide for yourself if it falls into the latter category...

The example comes from David Colarusso.When I talk to students about the value of digital video in the classroom, I almost always refer them to David's Tabletop Explainer series of YouTube videos. In fact, I usually show them his How To Build An Electric Motor... video (a cross between Blue Peter, Heath Robinson and The Gadget Show!). Recently, I learned from his facebook page that one of his YouTube videos had been taken down because FOX filed a copyright claim against it. You may have to be logged into facebook and/or a friend of David's to see his post, but essentially it shows how he responded to YouTube by claiming "fair use". Thankfully there is a happy ending and the video is now back up:

I think it is a great video. It draws you into some reasonably complex physics in a way that is entertaining and accessible. The animation of the arrows falling is brilliant and the mix of clips and explanation is engaging. Clearly, there is material from the film Speed in the clip but why on earth did FOX feel the need to ask for it to be pulled? In what way was it damaging their profits or their product?

I suspect that what happened was some automated process found the clip and the take down request was generated automatically because when David challenged the request (which I suspect led to the clip being viewed by a person rather than a process), they released their copyright claim. (Again, you may be able to see the image and comment from David from his facebook page.)

The question remains though - is it worth FOX and other copyright holders perusing a zero-tolerance approach to use of their material on YouTube or is such an approach largely counter-productive?