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2008 October

flickrleech

Cameron Parkins, October 10th, 2008

flickrleech is a great tool for those looking to search a large number of flickr photos at once – by utilizing Flickr’s API, flickrleech is able to display 200 images per page rather than the standard 10. As pointed out by Alvin Trusty, it simply “makes scanning for a picture much quicker.”

While flickrleech has been around for a while, a new update has added the ability to search for photos by CC license. For those who scour Flickr searching for the perfect CC-licensed image, this functionality should mean less time spent searching and an immediately wider selection to choose from. Check it out for yourself here.

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Two MIT OCW Courses Reach Million Visit Milestone

Jane Park, October 10th, 2008

A long-standing provider of open courseware, MITOpenCourseWare reached a million visit milestone yesterday for two of their online courses: 8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics and 18.06 Linear Algebra. The courses are two of MIT’s most popular to date, taught by renowned professors Walter Lewin and Gilbert Strang. From MIT’s media coverage on Lewin:

Professor Lewin is an international webstar. He is well-known at MIT and beyond for his dynamic, inspiring and engaging lecture style. His courses are also among the most downloaded at iTunes U. 8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics explains the basic concepts of Newtonian mechanics, fluid mechanics, and kinetic gas theory, and a variety of interesting topics such as binary stars, neutron stars, and black holes.

On Strang:

Strang is a 50-year mathematics veteran whose teaching style is recognized internationally. Linear Algebra introduces mathematical concepts that include matrix theory, systems of equations, vector spaces, and positive definite matrices. “Everyone has the capacity to learn mathematics,” says Strang. “If you can offer a little guidance, and some examples, viewers discover that a whole world is open.

8.01 Physics I: Classical Mechanics offers lecture notes, exams with solutions, complete videotaped lectures and their accompanying transcripts under CC BY-NC-SA. 18.06 Linear Algebra offers (interactive) Java applets with sound in addition to video lectures and translations into Chinese, Portuguese, and Spanish, also under CC BY-NC-SA. CC BY-NC-SA allows for these kinds of adaptations and derivations of material—and translation is a crucial step in broadening access to a global audience. 

There are other and more interesting ways to adapt material, however, and we are curious to know how the visitors constituting the 1,000,000+ hits of these two courses (and others) have actually used the materials. Since educational needs vary contextually, it would be beneficial to know what types of adaptations are being made beyond translation. Of the 600 visits per day that these courses average, how many of them result in derivations? These, and other questions (such as visitor demographic, global reach, etc.) are things to consider as the OCW project continues to expand and evolve. The future impact of OER lie in the ways information is conceptualized, organized, and related; simply offering up free content on the web is no longer enough—remember David Wiley’s quote from OpenEd 08: “If my students can Google it, I don’t have to teach it.” As progressive models of OER develop and evolve, it will be interesting to see how OCW’s scope and impact also grows.

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RecombinaSOM: Brazillian Remix Contest

Cameron Parkins, October 8th, 2008

RecombinaSOM is a remix contest taking place as part of the São Carlos’s Federal University’s multimedia festival, “Contato“. The festival’s theme is recombination and will feature a number of discussions on new forms of licensing and exchanging content among audiovisual/music producers. RecombinaSOM itself will is being hosted by both ccMixter and overmundo, their collective effort being billed Overmixter:

Contato’s theme and curatorial leading concept in this edition is “Recombination” – a remix contest as well as the Creative Commons initiatives (already part of the daily routines of “Radio UFSCar”, one of the Festival promoters), fit well together. Beyond these facts, the copyright debate (one of the debate’s theme of the Festival) will join participants of the multimedia Brazilian website “Overmundo” (Golden Nica – Ars Eletronica winner) and CTS (Centro de Tecnologia e Sociedade da Fundação Getúlio Vargas), an institution that coordinates Creative Commons in Brazil.

The Contest will be host by ‘Overmixter”, a partnership between CCmixter and “Overmundo”, and will bring samples from the bands that are participating in the festival and material from the festival audio identity. The contest organization also will record and share samples during the festival – live presentations at the radio, live material from the gigs and more. 10 remixes chosen by the public will be part of the “Radio UFSCar” daily programming during he following three months and the first place remix chosen will be part of a compilation the station releases once a year called “Transmissoes Independentes” (its first edition is available on Jamendo). The compilation had 2 thousand copies downloaded this year and the media is distributed free of charge.

To find out more about what is going with Creative Commons in Brazil, click here.

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Ubuntu FreeCulture Showcase Winners Announced

Greg Grossmeier, October 7th, 2008

The Ubuntu FreeCulture Showcase, which was announced back in August, has now come to an end and the winners revealed.

Congratulations to both Andrés Vidau and Andrew Higginson! Their winning submissions will be on over a million Ubuntu users’ desktops!

Andrés won the audio division with the song “Patas de Trapo” which you can download here. From the Ubuntu Fridge News Announcement, “Patas de Trapo is a track that was born in a one-track side project, and in collaboration with guitar player Mauricio Barron, current member of indie rock band A Colores.”

Andrew Higginson won the video division with “Stop Motion Ubuntu” that you can download here. This winning submission is Andrew’s first use of motion video as medium instead of still images.

Go check out all the submissions at the FreeCulture Showcase website. And remember, Ubuntu will be doing this again for the next release so start thinking of what your entry will be.

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CC Talks With: Colin Mutchler

Cameron Parkins, October 6th, 2008

Colin Mutchler is one of the original CC success stories. Back in 2003, he posted his song, My Life, to Opsound under a CC BY-SA license. A month later a violinist name Nora Beth added a violin track, calling the new work My Life Changed. It was one of the first instances of CC facilitating unsolicited collaboration, laying the ground work for the amazing remix culture we have seen develop over the past 5 years. Mutchler has since expanded his resume, working on photography and media production as well as his music. We caught up with him recently to find more about what he has been up to since we last checked in – needless to say, it has been a while.


Colin at work… circa 2008 | activefree CC BY

Can you give us some background on yourself and your music? How did you get started as a musician? What are your major influences?

My first 7 years in Bellingham WA were filled with my parents’ sounds from the Grateful Dead and George Winston. But it wasn’t until I first started playing guitar in college that I began to write lyrics, initially inspired by people like Ben Harper, Ani Difranco, and Bob Dylan. Silvio Rodriguez was also an influence ever since I lived in Bolivia in 1998. Then when I saw Saul Williams in the movie Slam in 1999, it became clear that the most powerful voices of our generation would come through Hip Hop and spoken word. Other influential voices for me were Sarah Jones and Alix Olson. For a while I imagined myself becoming a kind of folk-hop version Mos Def and Talib Kweli (still do), but with a full time job in digital marketing and a vision for a crowdfunding media tool for social entrepreneurs, I’m still fighting that daily choice to actually be an artist and musician.
Read More…

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Latam Commons 2008

Jane Park, October 6th, 2008

Santiago, Chile: ccLearn is hosting a three day conference on “open licensing, open technologies, and the future of education in Latin America” from November 19th to the 21st. The conference is split up into three meetings over the three days. 

Nov 19 is for Creative Commons International, where CC affiliates will meet to discuss the latest developments in licensing and other CC-related issues. Though this day of the conference is only CC, the latter two days are open to all. From the Latam Commons 2008 invitation:

“We are writing to invite you to join us in Santiago, Chile, on Nov 20-21, for a ground-breaking meeting about open licensing, open technologies, and the future of education in Latin America. The meeting on Nov 20 is called Latam Commons 2008: Creative Commons, Open Education, and the Public Domain. It is being co-hosted by ccLearn, the education division of Creative Commons, and Derechos Digitales.”

You can register for the Nov 20 meeting on Open Education here. Registration is free and open to anyone until we reach our capacity of 60. So register now to reserve your spot.

Derechos Digitales is also hosting a seminar on the public domain on Nov 21, to which everyone is welcome.” There is no attendance limit on this day.

“Latam Commons 2008 is expected to include representatives of different organizations and projects in open education from throughout the Latin American region. The meeting will be a participatory gathering in which all attendees will be able to discuss a range of issues relevant to open education in Latin America, with the goal of developing a broad understanding of major education issues in the region and a focused vision of how open education and widely available educational resources can address these needs. As the workshop will be dynamic and discussion-based, we are inviting anyone interested in these issues to attend and contribute.

Please visit the registration page at: http://accesoalacultura.cl/registros-cclearn/ You can sign up for one or both of the meeting days at this site. Registration is free, and some meals will be provided for all registered participants. Visit the meeting wiki (http://derechosdigitales.org/wiki/Creative_Commons_Learn) for additional information about travel, lodging, and the meeting agenda.

This meeting is intended to catalyze conversations and projects that will continue after the meeting is over, and to build relationships among people and organizations so that we can bring our collective energies and resources to bear on common challenges for open education. Future meetings are already planned, and we look forward to seeing the progress on this global effort that grows out of Latam Commons 2008.

Please direct any questions or concerns to Ahrash Bissell, Grace Armstrong, or Claudio Ruiz. We hope to see you in Santiago.”

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Zemanta

Cameron Parkins, October 6th, 2008

Zemanta is an online platform for finding and adding “relevant images, smart links, keywords and text” to blog postings. Available in numerous incarnations (Firefox add-on, WordPress Plugin, etc.), Zemanta queries the text of a blog post against their own “proprietary natural language processing and semantic algorithms” to formulate media recommendations.

Images are pooled from Wikimedia Commons, Flickr and various stock photo providers – as a result, a large number of the photos are CC-licensed. The Zemanta interface displays what license a photo is released under before it is added to the post, making it clear to bloggers what permissions are allowed. You can read more about what Zemanta does here – it is a simple and efficient way to add rich media to blog posts and best of all, its free.

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Presidential candidates show support for “open debates”

Eric Steuer, October 6th, 2008

Two recent posts on Lessig’s blog show that both of the major party US presidential candidates support the idea of debate footage being available to the public for free and legal use.

Last Thursday, Lessig posted a letter of reply he’d received from Trevor Potter, the general counsel of the McCain-Palin campaign. The letter says that the campaign “supports [the] suggestion that those who may own rights in the debate video dedicate those rights to the public domain.” Potter continues: “Barring that, copyright holders should at the very least give utmost respect to principles of fair use by allowing non-commercial use of debate excerpts, thus ensuring that spurious copyright claims do not chill vigorous public discourse.”

Then, on Saturday, Lessig blogged that Barack Obama had reaffirmed his support for open debates, which he’d earlier established during the primaries via a letter to DNC Chairman Howard Dean. Obama’s letter asks that debate footage “be available freely after the debate, by either placing the video in the public domain, or licensing it under a Creative Commons (Attribution) license.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

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Bill Enabling Community Colleges to Establish OER Pilot Program is signed into law

Jane Park, October 6th, 2008

Last week, a bill enabling the California Community Colleges to integrate open educational resources (OER) into its core curriculum was signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger. AB 2261 authorizes the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges “to establish a pilot program to provide faculty and staff from community college districts around the state with the information, methods, and instructional materials to establish open education resources centers.” The program would provide a structure by which community college faculty and staff could vet and repurpose OER in order to create high quality course materials and textbooks for college students. The resulting materials would themselves be openly licensed or available in the public domain so that they could be further adapted and repurposed for future and individual contexts. High quality OER would also set a new and much needed economic standard for publishers, who currently charge exorbitant prices for college textbooks. According to the LA times, textbook prices accounted for almost 60% of a community college student’s educational costs last year.

This legislation is spearheaded by Assemblyman Ira Ruskin and Hal Plotkin, President of the Foothill and De Anza Community College District’s Governing Board of Trustees. Hal writes,

This is the first legislation that puts the state of California squarely behind those of us who are working to create free, high-quality, vetted public domain — or “open” — educational resources for community college students, who stand to save literally hundreds of millions of dollars over the coming decade as a result.

The scholar David Wiley has observed that introducing Open Educational Resources into the public education system is the most significant development since the establishment of Land Grant colleges and universities in the mid 1800′s.

What’s also wonderful is the knowledge that, even in these difficult days when our system seems so very broken, an ordinary citizen like me can still offer up a useful idea and see it enacted into law.

See the news article on this here, and the latest version of the bill here. The Foothill-De Anza Community College District in Silicon Valley is a leading institution in the open education movement; they established the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources (CCCOER) last year, which exists “to identify, create and/or repurpose existing OER as Open Textbooks and make them available for use by community college students and faculty.”

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Phlow Magazine Releases “Nivel del Mar”, Free CC-Licensed Netlabel Compilation

Cameron Parkins, October 3rd, 2008

Phlow Magazine, a weblog about netlabel music culture, recently celebrated their one year anniversary by releasing Nivel del Mar, a free compilation of CC BY-NC-ND licensed tracks from various netlabels. Clocking in at one hour, 22 minutes, and 55 seconds (epic), Nivel del Mar is described as a ‘chill out compilation’ that aims to feature the the best sounds of netlabel culture. You can download it here for free.

Outside of reporting on netlabel culture, Phlow Magazine produces a podcast and has a huge archive of CC-licensed tunes available on their site.

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