Some Creative Commons Pitfalls

CC Logo Indicating Some Restrictions

CC Logo Indicating Some Restrictions

ZDNet Asia featured an article discussing 3 common myths associated with the Creative Commons license which I thought worthwhile here. While it is patterned after FOSS licensing, it is nevertheless important to point out common misinterpretations of CC licenses in the interest of promoting respect for creative works. The article provides legal perspectives on these myths.

The first deals with the jurisdiction of the license. While it is thought of that CC licenses apply in the U.S. alone, there are countries which have ported the license to different copyright legislations. To my fellow Filipinos still in the country too, the Philippines is among those which have “completed ‘ports’ of the license.”

The second deals with the legality of the license. It is based on a legal framework which means that inappropriate usage of a given material is still illegal. Unlike the copyright however, the work is shared and can be used under certain conditions specified by the author. Like the copyright, the work’s author retains the rights “regardless of whether Creative Commons is applied.”

The last myth deals with the common misconception that a work can be used as long as it’s not for profit. While I’m tempted to render this common sense fodder, I simply can’t. At least not until I get to understand how this fits in the bill of fair use. Add the fact that there might be implications on what can be considered as fair use when jurisdiction is applied and I have to say that I absolutely have no idea there.

So one is better off reading what the license has to say of what usage it deems proper just as I have done in a paper I submitted in the past semester. Not only does that accord respect where it is due, it has a lot to say something about the intentions of someone intending to make use of something under the CC umbrella.

When still not sure, better get the author’s explicit permission as they would rather take the time to answer such requests than deal with infringing persons, inadvertent or not.

Towards the Horizon Further

It seems there’s nothing wrong with how I did the previous semester. I’m now expecting at least decent grades to keep my status in the program safe. No worries unlike the previous semester in short.

Having IS295a as my only major subject this coming semester, I have to start thinking about the final project required of MIS students before graduating the program. I have some ideas in mind already and I thank the people at the UPOU kapehan for leaving the trails from previous discussions there. For now, I’m reading on related stuff to give me an idea on how much I would score on innovativeness, creativity and usefulness.

As for those MIS classmates from IS201 who have been asking what to expect from the next semester, I gave a rather vague answer in the forum. That is, IS215 is a lot like IS214 in terms of the requirements–4 FMA’s and a 170 multiple choice type of final exam–and IS226 is a web programming crash course. With that said, I discouraged people from enrolling in 9 units again if they already took up 9 units the past semester and found it too difficult to manage their studies among their routines.

To anyone who might find that still unclear, here’s an attempt to explain what’s in store for the student further without getting me in trouble.

While the requirements for IS215 and IS214 seems similar, the resemblance ends there. I can say that while there were tons of concepts to be remembered in IS215, there are even more concepts in IS214. However IS215 outdoes IS214 in terms of the requiring the student to think analytically. Sure there are a number of algorithms discussed in IS214 too but even those taken collectively doesn’t beat having to think of coming up with stuff given just a sequential storage and crude assembly-like language.

So if one were the I-can-remember-tons-of-information kind of person, then IS214 would be easier. If one were the I-hate-having-to-memorize-because-I-was-made-to-analyze type of person, then IS215 would be easier.

I find no point in contrasting IS201 with IS226 however. Taken per se, one is entirely different from the other. The former deals with computer ethics while the latter with Web Technologies. Sure there may be times when both disciplines overlap, (e.g. “How do I go after someone who lifted of my content?”, “How would I be liable if I use this graphic?”) but the amount of time and effort to be spent in either subject depends on the ability of the student involving different skills. IS201 is more on writing and interaction on issues while IS226 is about putting those technologies to use.

So I would imagine someone with the intention to shift to the field of IT having more difficulty learning a whole bunch of technologies and making use of them to come up with the requirements. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised that the student who is almost exclusively a programmer at work would somewhat find IS226 somewhat to his or her liking.

A caveat is in order here though. I’ve been a web developer for many years prior to taking up the course but still had my share of difficulties in managing time in the subject. I may have done web applications in the past but none of those were cross-browser compatible. That’s because businesses tend to limit browser support to the most popular browser, IE, especially when a cross browser compatible site carries a heftier price tag with it or given an idea of the composition of its user base. I’m not complaining though, it makes life easier at work really.

The inexperience on web standards took its toll when I was a student of the subject though. While I already knew of the soup that’s XHTML, CSS and Javascript, it took a more rigid approach and more refinement before my deliverable passed the HTML and CSS validator at W3C. Before I forget, don’t even think of passing off that obfuscated tabled layout.

Someone new to the whole programming-the-web thing will definitely find Firefox and these plugins helpful though. Personally, I’ve used Firebug and Fireshot over there and I can say it works like a charm. Note though that it was still Firefox 2 for me then. I’m having trouble keeping my Firefox 3 sessions last long enough without crashing them so I can’t say that I’m recommending that record-setting attempt for now.

So should someone from the IS201 people find this post, (as my dashboard seems to suggest,) I hope that was more of help.

On Pauses and Breaks

A month ago, all I looked up to was the end of the semester. I thought much of the stress would come to a halt. I thought a lot of the pressures would ebb with school at a standstill.

I never couldn’t have been more wrong.

I’ve never seen problems at work pile up this much in the last couple of years. I’ve almost forgotten how the end of the day felt this much of a relief. Watching television doesn’t help either as there’s nothing much there except the pardons for those once controvertial persons convicted with life imprisonment, the worldwide ripples of the Wall Street problem and more social, political and economic problems everywhere.

So to try lighten up the mood, here are some things to contend with the seriousness of the times though.

  • 150 Best Online Flash Games – Just dumped it here for easier access come the time when I can bum more and worry less. I wish that time comes soon enough though as I can’t even remember when was the last time I’m driven nuts at work.
  • Earth from Above – I might not be even a step on the way towards good photography but I do appreciate good snapshots when I encounter them. I have to admit too that it was pretty relieving to see the planet in different and awesome angles.

On Best Practices

The previous semester had me pouring a good deal of time and more than a pound of neurons into an ethics portfolio as part of the requirements for a class in computer ethics. It was then when blogging and my internet journeyman experience came in handy. I was surely thankful all those times and effort I put into writing and wandering around in cyberspace turned out to yield something to my favor after all.

For instance, here’s the Sept 3 Dilbert strip which turned out handy in one of the pages of my submission:

Boss: We will be adopting the best practices in our industry, just like
everyone else.
Dilbert: If everyone is doing it, best practices is the same thing as mediocre.
Boss: Stop making mediocrity sound bad!
Dilbert: Sorry.

Apart from the humor, it sure proves to be a worthy old-content kicker here too.

Even on a Lazy Weekend

I guess it will be quite some time before finance people talk about something else.

The Wall Street mess has pretty much set off the alarm for markets to scramble for contingencies. This as the ordinary person is left to wait and see how its ripples will affect one who doesn’t bother with stocks and financial instruments more directly in danger of the scare from that part of North America.

That and more material on the topic coming in since the weekend has me dumping somewhat newer perspectives about it here.

  • Here’s a look at the credit culture and consumerism according to Ellen Tordesillas and Randy David. I’m not exactly clean credit-wise but I’m happy that I’m well in control. Consumerism has never been a problem with me though.
  • Here’s one of foreclosure’s many faces in the US. This one is set in Southern California. The inability of borrowers to pay off housing debt is one factor leading up to the downward spiral of the American economy.
  • Mortgage giant Fannie Mae is one of those big names in the queue of falling dominos this millenium has lined up so far. Here’s a Washingtonian Magazine article in 2002 pointing out the “potential risk to taxpayers” should it fall. The reference there was taken from this article which takes a look at the implications of the seemingly prescient read.
  • Finally here’s an interesting read which criticizes all the talks and write-ups on the current financial crisis in US paralleled with the Great Depression of 1929.

Yup. I still have a lot of time in my hands.

Alternative to an Alternative

I switched to Firefox way back mainly because of a lot of reasons adding up to my over-all discontent on Internet Explorer. I was glad I made the switch then. Enhanced usability, less pop-ups and faster loading of pages was all too good reasons to have me consider another browser for my needs.

Add the fact that I get plugins to serve my purposes had me contented for long. Throw in Firebug for tinkerking HTML, XHTML, JavaScript, CSS and real time DOM values in browsing sessions, and Fireshot for handy page or window screencaptures and Firefox has a happy customer in me. The fact that there are more plugin goodies for firefox out there all the more emphasizes how much IE pales in comparison with Mozilla Foundation’s baby.

With persistent and erratic crashes of my browsing sessions with Firefox 3 these days however, I decided to look elsewhere. At least for now.

Larry was right in pointing out those crashes. Firefox 3 does prove to be more of an annoyance than a step forward in terms of internet experience. The next logical stop for me then would be Opera.

The Opera Browser

The Opera Browser

The said browser had its roots early on during the early days of the IE-Netscape browser wars and is still on its feet after so many years. These days it has the lead in mobile browser usage. While I’ve used the browser sparingly then mainly to come up with screenshots for my web programming class, it’s only now that I appreciate what it lays on the table. I’m pretty much obliged to say that I’m still learning the ropes hereas there seems to be indeed a lot of cards from this direction.

Like Firefox, it takes pride in fast loading of web pages as much as in its adherence to web standards. Unlike Firefox though, its latest release was more than a step forward in the browser race. Throw in Dragonfly for us Web Developers and Opera has just shifted its contention among big names in desktop browsers up a notch.

Division by Zero

What is any number divided by 0? Undefined. What is 0 divided by 0? Indeterminate.

How are the two different? Here’s a math forum page informally and discreetly explaining “undefined” as something where the answer does not exist while “indeterminate” as something that “if it pops up somewhere, you don’t know what its value will be in your case.”

Either take that or go read what Prof. Arsham has to say about the ordeal that is division by zero. The article presents cultural, historical, mathematical and psychological perspectives on the number representing nothing. Aptly entitled the Zero Saga, he summarizes the whole point of going at length about the common misconceptions involving dividing by zero:

If one does allow oneself dividing by zero, then one ends up in a hell. That is all.

And he holds his case against others well, such as when he retorts the following when a reader writes of the fact that dividing 1 apple into 0 equal parts still yields an apple:

Have you really attempted in doing so? I am sure you failed, Right? So do not conclude anything.

And in quite the similar vein, someone asks:

If you interpret 20/5 =4 means that if you take 5 oranges from a total of 20 oranges in your fridge you can do it 4 times. Then if you take 0 oranges from 2 oranges (2/0) you can take it infinite number of times (that is, it does not end but surely exists/continues).

He then points out the absurdity of the operation in his response:

If you “take 0 oranges from 2 oranges”, it means 2-0=2. Repeating this operation again and again is nonsense. Once is enough, right? Otherwise eventually you get tired of counting this repetition, beyond that is infinity which you have never reached.

Prior to encountering the read, I never realized how much zero made things much more difficult for us with its introduction in the 13th century. Sure I still remember the additive inverse and difficult stuff stemming from consequences brought about by 0’s existence back in college. But it still took that piece touching lots of the higher math topics to have me pondering how much a seemingly insignificant number caused that much trouble in the number system.

Impact on a Walled Street

One of the big things I never got to lay a finger on here during my long hiatus is the Wall Street crisis. By now, even those who aren’t into finance, economics or current events would’ve at least heard the ordeal over that side of North America. By now too, a lot of experts would’ve said their pieces on the unfurling of big names there.

So I guess what’s left for me to do is to leave some takes on the event much in the same vein as I used to back at highfiber.

For starters, here’s a rather simple explanation of the rudiments of what’s actually going on there. To those who got lost in the plethora of jargons spewed by analysts and experts on the matter, the article would be a good starting point. The author goes in depth and detail on the economic and financial fundamentals of the matter using as simple a language as is accomodating to the ordinary fellow. It traces key concepts stemming from the credit subprime of last year to that which rattled big names listed at Wall Street just recently.

For someone who digs the wider view, here’s Prof Bello’s take on the financial crisis. Aptly titled “A Primer on the Wall Street Meltdown,” he explains the latest unraveling of capitalism with the political and economic contexts placed in perspective. While some would directly limit the focus on the real estate woes the American economy experienced last year, he goes on to discuss the factors from last year leading to the most recent turmoil in Wall Street.

For the one sick of all the gravity mainstream media dons regarding the topic these days, here’s Craig Ferguson’s take for a good laugh. Thanks to leelock for the find btw.

On Smooth Cuts

Pattern welded Damascened steel sheath knife

And now for a bit of history.

It has oftentimes been the stuff of legend that the Muslims had a weapon that supposedly gave them the advantage over Christian counterparts during the crusades. The former is said to have swords strong enough to cut “through European swords and even rock.” That is, the Damascus sword prided itself of strength and sharpness.

Two years ago, its molecular properties have been studied by a group from the University of Dresden. The result? The blacksmiths of yore were inadvertently using nanotechnology as the carbon nanotubes found in the study indicate. More on the article here.

I found the succeeding comments of interest too. For example, there was one who pointed out another supposed inadvertent nanotechnology in history: this time in stained glass. I haven’t read the link given yet though.

The image here is linked from the given wikipedia article. Yup, that was pretty lazy of me.