Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sunday tidbits: More on accidental photo tagging, "competing with free", and the significance of "EpicWin"

I have some odds and ends today, to start your Sunday afternoon, your "day of rest".

First, I’ve written in the past that I never tag other people’s photos.  I have noticed, however, that on a few occasions Google (and perhaps other search engines) have indexed images from my blogs as such, to appear when a person’s name or a place is entered.  Generally, they are higher definition (1 meg or more) images with good lighting and technical focus (not hard today with inexpensive digital cameras, maybe questionable on some cell phones).  I do, when permissible, photograph at live performance events.  For films, this isn’t usually allowed (for copyright reasons, except in post-film panel discussions), but I often add images that I took myself of the area in which the film’s story takes place. Sometimes I add and attribute images from Wikipedia (most can be used legally this way).  There is at least a remote chance that an image might not actually match the individual or place searched for, although I haven’t actually encountered this error yet.

Second, it occurs to me that I’ve never quoted Hollywood’s mantra, “You can’t compete with free”, a battle cry (of self-prostration) screaming for the downstream-liability strengthening of SOPA or Protect-IP.  Sure, but there is double entendre.  True, a film or music company can’t compete with free copies of their work that come close to the original in technical quality, after illegal uploading and inviting illegal downloading  (paid for by parasitic “sponsors”).  But I fear something else.  Both Hollywood and the news business may fear they can’t compete with very small ununionized or low-cost companies or individuals (without employees) who can leverage their productivity with technology to an incredible level.  Mark Cuban once admitted that to me in a reply to an email posted on his blog.

Third, there is an article in the February 2012 Popular Science by NYC journalist Matthew Shaer, “The Game of Life” (p. 54 in print), link  that poses the question “Will keeping score of absolutely everything make you a better person?”, and then describes a week-long life experiment  with an app called "Epic Win" (iTunes "legal" sales link is here ) where everything you do gives you points.  It’s like getting a grade on a week-long laboratory exam in organic chemistry (remember that course, with the preps?)  What’s interesting or ironic is that the writer, who looks very strong and virile in the mag photos (like late 20s -- [and, yes, I actually paid for a printed magazine copy in a 7-11-- I do that sometimes]), talks about his visit to North Carolina to visit his fiancé – when getting married and raising a family is about everything else in life besides “getting a grade” (even to prepare for "Judgment Day") .  I was just pondering that last night when I wrote my posting about my previous stabs at writing a publishable novel – which is hard “ For the First Time” (The Script – here) .  You can live in your own world, with a lot of fantasy, and your own definitions of “measure” – and make it sound compelling. The individual contest really can make “family” sound like an afterthought. But that’s not what most people really experience.

I also have to say, the author of the article sounds really wired in to modern gadgets.  I came from an earlier generation. I never needed everything online or monitored by technology. 

There is an "EpicWin" site, that I don’t know if it’s the same thing. “Everything counts”.  I’ve heard bosses say that at work. Teachers and professors say it to students.  Milah and Korben have a YouTube video based on it as follows:

One other thing I want to reiterate about Popular Science.  Right before 9/11 (in early September 2001) it ran a curious story about the possibly existential threat that could be posed by small EMP devices.  The article has disappeared from the Web.  Maybe Shaer will want to track this down and write another story on it.

Update: March 2, 2012

On the NBC Today show, visitors were discussing the practice of deliberately tagging a photo with someone at an event when the person is not in the photo and was not at the event. 

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