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Creative Commons FTW…oh wait

I like to think I walk the walk, not just talk the talk.  You know, I don’t go downtown unless I must, I bike to work.  I buy organic foods. <rant>I use GNU/Linux and don’t sit behind my Mac talking about how great FOSS is (yeah, I’m calling you out).  I believe in compromise and personal priorities, but recently I’ve gotten more and more frustrated by people not getting out of their comfort zones and making excuses.  Personal priorities are often excuses.  If you don’t believe in FOSS, that’s fine, but don’t claim to like it and then not actually support it.  It’s like saying how you love the earth and then driving 30 miles to work. It’s CRAP (I’ll keep this family friendly, but, um crap isn’t exactly what I want to say).

But hey, I’m not a zealot. I’m really not. I just don’t want people fooling themselves and (potentially unintentially) fooling others. </rant>

That’s not the point though.  Last night we were talking about how “hippie” people were.  Look, I’m more comfortable with the word socialist than 99.9 or so people in this country.  I’m pretty left, but I’m way too angry to be a hippie.  I said, hey, I listen to punk and metal, not hippie music.  The retort was that I listen to “open” punk which is pretty hippie. I like the fact that people are accusing me of listening to Creative Commons music.  I do, actually, that feels like a great compliment…but is it true?  Now, I’ve been a Last.fm user for over 4 years, so there’s a lot of legacy data out there, but let’s take a look.  In the last 7 days, 3 of my top 15 artists were Creative Commons…only one over the past three months though and none in the last six months or the last year (unless you count NIN…sure, let’s count them).  If you look at the all-time stats, Severed Fifth (Jono Bacon’s “band”) rolls in at 347.  Holy Pain and Predator both roll in at 444.  And since we’ve been counting NIN, they roll in at 76.  After finishing the post (before publishing) I realized there might be a couple of other bands in the top 500 and sure enough Gråsuggorna and No Se both roll in at 304.  Obviously, this is all subject to change.

Also, I should note that many people believe that -NC (non-commercial) is non-free and by a strict definition it isn’t.  I, on the other hand, am much less cozy with -ND (no derivatives).  I’ve been meaning to post a blog on the -NC topic, but suffice it to say that while I believe in copyleft and freedom in software, software is a tool. Art is art…unless it’s marketing.  There’s a time and place for marketing, but let’s not confuse the two.

Back to the point, even though NIN is so high *because* of their new Creative Commons albums, it’s also so high because of a large back catalog of non-Creative Commons stuff.  Essentially, there are five bands in my top 500 (all in the lower half). This maks for some convenient math; 1%.  This hardly qualifies me as listening to “open” punk.  By the same logic, I listen to rap. Though there are only 4 bands (unless you include Limp Bizkit and maybe others), The Beastie Boys (88), Eminem (69), Dr. Dre (357) and Cypress Hill (226) have a *much* higher average. I have a total tracks played number so I could do some other stats, but I don’t want to beat this to death.

The point of all of this (including the rant) is to challenge us all to do a better job.  Fighting the good fight takes a lot of energy.  It takes energy I often don’t have after a long day at work.  We need to encourage each other and work together.  Is there something I can do to help you migrate to GNU/Linux? Is there something I can do to help your Creative Commons’ music?  Since we need all the help we can get, I guess I’ll work with you Mac fan boys too.

One last thing for music fans and Apple fan boys alike. If you think audio editing is just for the fruity among us, come see Tom Ray of Lorenzo’s Music give a presentation on audio editing in Linux on August 18th.  I’d love to give you guys and gals some more links, but like usual I’m running up against bed time and a long to-do list.

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Open Everything Madison & Sweden news

My posts are often reflective and questioning, but nearly as often informative.  The “Where are we going?” question is much more interesting to me than the “Where have we been?” question.  I am, however, tasked with writing about Open Everything Madison on Saturday (as well as Berlin and Hong Kong), so I’ll try to post something substantial about that.  Of course, I’m already much more interested in the next Open Everything Madison.  You can see the planning for the next OEMad at http://openeverything.us

OEMad 2008

Aside from our poor job with documentation and the functional, but less than ideal, handoff from Berlin, I’d say the day was an overwhelming success.

Some of our documentation can be found at various twitter accounts.  Search for oemad and you should find them.  There’s also the Google search for oemadDebriefing notes are found on the main site as well as Articles and Resources.  Some pictures are at Flickr but as of posting Non-Profit Tech’s photos are not being indexed.

I’m both saddened and elated when I tell interested people about Creative Commons, Free Schools and Really, Really Free Markets.  Of course I’m saddened that these are more ubiquitous terms in our language, but mostly it’s a positive feeling.  I’m always scared that my political leanings (which I think free schools and RRFMs show) will feed the “open source is communism” argument.  As companies like OpenNMS, Red Hat and MindTouch clearly show, that’s a bunch of bunk.  As a technology person first, I fear that the benefits of open source code are lost to the politicized “freedom”.  Clearly I’m a fan of both.  At the moment I’m having trouble finding a succint list of the benefits of FOSS, so if you’re up for a longer read, check out Albion, one of the oldest sites on the Web.

It’s also incredibly disheartening to see people interested in free culture being down on Creative Commons liscensed music.  I listen to plenty of non-CC music, but I think at an event promoting openness, CC music should be played.  Or maybe other bands that promote openness that might not license CC.  I don’t know much about Radiohead, because that’s not the type of music to which I listen, but I think I’d be ok with their music playing.

We pretty much stuck to the schedule.  It wasn’t exact, but close.

We broke up into two groups for the 1:30pm-2:30pm Open Knowledge section and I (along with the other organizers) went with the Education and Libraries group.  Having a professor there was very beneficial.  As I mentioned above, I introduced a lot of people to the idea of free schools.  If you think free schools are weird, just remember that’s the only diploma former USC professor Cory Doctorow has.

The 2:30-3:30 Creativity, Innovation, and Economic Opportunity section was a lot of fun.  We had a small group to discuss Art, Content and Property and we mostly discussed music; Radiohead, Girl Talk, Creative Commons, Nine Inch Nails and Jamendo.

By the time we got to the technology part of the day (a little later than 3:30) everyone was starting to get tired.  But technology and openness are so easy, the discussion was still good.  One of my friends that attended most of the event said that keeping it a cohesive event and him not coming just for the technology portion certainly made it more interesting.

After the event and cleanup, four of us went out to get Sushi on State Street and of course the conversation continued.  After that, I headed to DevMadHouse at Extra Bold Portfolio Studio on Pickney St and 4 of the 6 people there had also been at OEMad, so the conversation continued and being a hack fest, centered more upon technology.  At DevMadHouse there was no schedule to adhere to and we had the venue all night so conversation was even more fluid.  There was some good conversation about FOSS in industry and whether Google is to be trusted with their Microsoft-like “embrace and extend” of OpenIDPhotis always makes sure I don’t live in a FOSS bubble, which I suppose is a good thing.  Also of note that weekend was MadXmasAbe and Jonathan went, leaving the rest of us behind at DevMadHouse and then returned. Photis came to DevMadHouse after MadXmas.

OEMad 2009

As mentioned above, there are complete and changing notes on OEMad09 on the wiki.  As much as I’d like to rehash all my ideas on that site so you have a single source of info, I don’t think that’s a good use of my time.  Please check out the site. However, here are some of my biggest ideas: open gaming (actually either playing games on Linux or FOSS games on other platforms), open food (we could make it!), open hardware (building!) and live music.  Getting a local documentary film maker to do a documentary on the process of making an open event happen would be totally cool too.  Please, please, please share your ideas for the next event either here or especially at http://openeverything.us.

Calling it OEMad first off might be a misnomer as I think there’s a good possibility it will be in Milwaukee.  Nothing is set in stone though.  Potential names would be Open Everything Wisconsin or Open Everything MidWest.  If there is any traction from Minneapolis or Chicago groups, we may not be able to claim OEMidWest.  Time will only tell.

Yesterday at work I asked a non-attendie what we would have to do to get him to come to the next one.  This is really the person in which I’m interested.  Linux needs a critical mass.  I’m ok admitting that part of why I support FOSS are selfish reasons.  I support universal healthcare for much of the same pseudo-altruistic reasons.  It’s not just for me, but also the institutions and people I care about. For instance, I hate to see my alma mater’s (NCSSM and UNC) throw money away at proprietary software.  Still, I’d say that’s a somewhat selfish motive.

Back to the point, he said “Open Strippers” half joking but we did have an interesting conversation then about Creative Commons and the idea of a performance.  A conversation that easily applies to live music performances and theatre.  I also mentioned the Girls and Geeks discussions at BarCampMilwaukee. Of course, there’s also open source sex.  So, I wonder what we could really make happen in this regard.  Not just the sex regard, but bringing people in the door who are lazy, unmotivated or simply uninterested in openness (or just don’t know it yet).  Of course, it’s the “just don’t know it yet” crowd in which I am really interested.

SWEDEN!

I bought a Flickr Pro account in anticipation of the Sweden trip this summer.  I figure this way I can post Christmas photos too.  I get a new camera for Christmas, so I suspect I’ll be taking a lot of pictures!  The Sweden trip will be 7-9 days.  My travel partner is wanting a shorter trip and I’m wanting a longer one, so I think keeping it at 9 days includes two weekends if you leave on the right days.  It will depend on what sort of deal AAA can help me with.  She is interested in dancing, the outdoors and visiting the cities.  I am interested in fotboll, ishockey and metall (probably any English speakers can make those out…especially if you know me).  So, I’m definitely looking for suggestions, both for her and for me.  We’ll also probably be visiting Helsinki, Finland.  I don’t know if we’ll have time to visit Copenhagen.  It’s so close, but we don’t want to feel rushed.  I’d kinda like to go north of the artic circle just for the experience.  That might make it so Siberia doesn’t interest me as much.

Well, typing all of that with a broken arm wasn’t entirely pleasant, but I’m glad I did it and I hope you enjoy.  If I had the time, I’d re-read for typoes, but whatever, release early, release often.  If you stop by, please leave a comment!

What’s up next?

You’ll notice on my blog is that I ask a lot of questions. I’m looking for help to solve problems. I like to bounce ideas off of people. I stretch the rules and think outside the box, but it can be hard to know where the box is if you don’t get someone else’s opinion.

Without further ado, I’ve been thinking about this for a while.  What am I going to do with my life?  This does have to do with technology, as no matter what I do technology will be involved.

1. Option A: Law School

Interestingly enough, I just got a facebook notification about this.  Columbia, NYU, Cornell, Alabama, UNC and, alas, Duke are all in consideration here.  I’d be interested in Intellectual Property (IP) law and working with Software Freedom Law Center.  Columbia, Cornell, NYU and Duke (spelling it incorrectly like this is so difficult!) are in a different class than Bama and UNC and among those two Bama is ranked higher.  I’m sure Bama would be more conservative than UNC and I haven’t lived in Tuscaloosa in 17 years, but it’d certainly be more familiar than Cornell.  Cornell is where Greg Graffin, lead singer of Bad Religion got his PhD and don’t think that doesn’t have something to do with me considering them.  Living in NYC (Columbia or NYU) could be cool, but it also could be a nightmare.   While Raleigh and Madison are both of decent size, I lived downtown neither.  I’ve enjoyed Chicago the two times I’ve been since moving to Madison.  Those two times account for quite a bit more time in Chicago than I’ve spent in NYC.  I went once, but it was a whirlwind.  I had great company for the trip and a fantastic tour guide, but it just wasn’t Chicago.  Perhaps the beautiful weather in Chicago and the rainy weather in NYC had something to do with that.  But, I think if I got in to Columbia or NYU I’d be an idiot not to go…the question is do I want to work hard enough to be a serious contender for those schools?

Of course, it’s not all about overall rankings.

I enjoyed Boston more than NYC (I was there longer, so maybe that’s why) and Boston U is highly ranked in Intellectual Property Law.

And, there’s the dark horse, environmental law (this will come up again later).

I’d be happy to go to any school on those lists, but just based on those lists, that’s 18 schools, not including my two state schools, UNC and Bama.  Establishing state residency in NC again will be somewhat dependent upon how long I stay in Wisconsin, but I’ve graduated from the state university system three times (NCSSM and UNC twice), so it’s not like I’m not at home in NC. Both my parents are Bama alums and as I understand it (by way of my father) children of alums pay in state tuition.  Hey, maybe I can help turn Bama blue! …ha.

I’ve already cleared going to dook (ok, I had to do it) with some of my biggest Tar Heel fan friends.  Just as long as I don’t start cheering for them I’m fine…and my UK family would disown me if I did that anyway.  Speaking of the great state of Kentucky, there are a couple law schools there at UK and Louisville.  I like Louisville.  I haven’t spent any time in Lexington, but my blood still runs Wildcat blue.  But, I can’t apply everywhere and it’s just three years of my life.  I can always move back to Kentucky or NC after I finish law school…you know, if I do that.

2. Option B: Business School

UNC’s Kenan is definitely top choice for this, though I could be persauded differently.  If I fall in love with Madison, UW’s always right here (which is true for law school too).  I don’t like capitalism, but I recently read an article in Harvard Business Review that made me think about a kind of capitalism with which I can deal.  Kenan has a sustainability curriculum that I like.  And it’s not just about the environment, but also about society as they say the curriculum “helps executives and future business leaders understand how social and environmental considerations are changing the competitive landscape of business”.

3. Option C: PhD

UNC is the clear choice here. I’m familiar and it’s the #1 program in the country. Red Hat and IBM are close as well as of course ibiblio.  I don’t think this requires a lot of discussion.  My dad is a professor.  I like academia.  It’s been a part of my life almost since birth and since birth if you include HS education.  I also very much like The Triangle.  I’ve honestly not considered other programs but should I need to for whatever reason, UW does has a SLIS program.  I’d have to find out how much open information work they do here in Madison before knowing if I’m interested, butI don’t see that happening.  I think the biggest knock against the PhD is how long it takes to get.  I could add 6 letters after my name in the time I could add 3…but “Dr.” holds a lot of weight in a lot of circles.  Maybe the reign of anti-intellectualism terror is over in the US, and it’ll mean even more.

4. Option D: Åbo Akademi University

(or some other program abroad)

I don’t know much about the programs in Finland and with the potential of 8 years of less stupid politics in the US, now seems like the wrong time to leave the country…except that now perhaps our standing in the world will be restored.  Perhaps it’s a much better time to leave the country!  I’ve never been to Europe, but I’ll probably be going to Finland next summer…definitely Sweden.  So, perhaps this will rise on my list or perhaps it’ll drop off completely.

Interdisciplinary Master’s Degree Programme Environment and Sustainability

The programme will start in August 2009 provided that permission is granted by the ministry of education.

So, I’ve long been interested in saving the environment (this has already come up a couple times). This is one of the things that drew me to computers…saving paper and ink…as well as gas going to the library.  Computers of course take electricity but I think there’s a lot that can be done in the way of green power.  I think it’d be fun to be one of the first people in a program, defining the legacy.  I wouldn’t be in the first class, but within a few years of it. Looks like I’ll be able to do this one without learning Swedish (emphasis added):

“This interdisciplinary Master’s Degree Programme is given by the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences. When graduating, the student receives a corresponding degree from the faculty of the student’s major subject…

Subjects marked * offers main subject studies taught in English, the remaining subjects are taught in Swedish:

  • Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences:
    Environmental Biology*,
    Environmental Geochemistry,
    Organic Chemistry*
  • Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences:
    Political Science*,
    Public Administration*,
    Economics,
    International Marketing,
    Management and Organization,
    Accounting,
    Public Law
  • Faculty of Arts:
    History*
  • Faculty of Theology:
    Theological Ethics and Philosophy of Religion
  • Faculty of Education:
    Environmental Education*

Subsidiary subjects taught in English are:

  • Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences:
    Political Science
    Public Administration
  • Faculty of Arts:
    History
  • Faculty of Theology:
    Theological Ethics and Philosophy of Religion”

It’s be interesting to take some Biology courses again…I know, I know, I’m a glutton for punishment.

Master’s Degree Programme in International Human Rights Law

One of the reasons I’m so interested in FOSS is because of human rights and equality.  Obviously I’m also interested in law (see option A).  If you are going to study international law, what better way than to spend a couple years in another country?  This is cause for concern though, “The programme is open to applicants holding a Bachelor’s degree in law or another Bachelor’s degree with at least 45 ECTS in law or other subjects relevant to the legal protection of human rights.”  I took an environmental advocacy course as an undergrad I think would count, but other than that I’m not sure.

Master’s Degree Programme in Electronic and Mobile Commerce

The fact that this is in the Department of Information Technology and Business is what makes this a viable option for me.  “The Department of Information Technology is situated in the Turku Science Park, in the ICT building, where research groups and academic programmes meet, interact and collaborate with ICT companies – many of which are multinational and well known (Nokia, Siemens, Ericsson, etc.).”

Also of note “The programme leads to a Master of Science in Economics and Business Administration degree (Ekonomie magister).”

….OR….I could change career paths altogether and work in music or sports, but I’m not really considering that very seriously.  I do have Twitter feeds set up for both though at https://twitter.com/douglasawhsport and https://twitter.com/douglasawhmusic.  Working in technology in sports or music would be an ideal job.  ESPN need any system administrators?