Archive | July, 2005

Easy Web Video Publishing

Steev points out two good open source web applications–Broadcast Machine and Osprey–for easily uploading and sharing video, either by downloading directly from a server or with BitTorrent.

I’m interested in this not just because of its obvious use for independent media, but also because I’m trying to set up a video portal at work, so that anyone at the university (or even on the internet) can see what video we have available for streaming in all subject areas we produce video for. Due to copyright and other restrictions (like privacy concerns), we can’t make every video available to everyone. But I still think it would be very good for people to see what is potentially available for instructors and students.

We have a very simple pilot database already in development, but it seems to me that it would be nice not to have to re-invent the wheel. Further, one of the applications, Osprey, uses a standard metadata scheme based on Dublin Core.

The value in using a standards-based metadata scheme is that we could more easily integrate our database of materials with others, inside our outside our university.

I think we may do a test install of Broadcast Machine, and may try out Osprey, too.

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It’s Not About Choice Alone, but How Many Choices; or, Is There Truth in Legislation Naming?

Media Access Project’s Howard Feld give us his assessment of the so-called “Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act” recently introduced into Congress:

I’ve just read through the “Broadband Investment and Consumer Choice Act” (72-page pdf available here) introduced by Senator Ensign (R-NV) (and co-sponsored by Senator McCain, to my intense disappointment). In the name of deployment of broadband, consumer choice, free markets, yaddah yaddah yaddah, the bill strips the states and local governments of any consumer protection function and frees your local monopoly providers to serve you! Oh, and without the danger that your local government might decide to supply a pesky competitor. After all, we wouldn’t want you, the local citizen, to decide to foolishly waste your own tax dollars! We, the federal government, know best! Ain’t federalism grand? Except, of course, when it isn’t . . .

I love the ideology of the “Freedom of choice” as it gets trumpeted in advertising and politics, as if that were the greatest freedom a person could have. In times when the Soviet Union was alive, the meme got replayed perpetually in comparisons to the dearth of consumer choices available to Soviet citizens–no Coke or Pepsi or RC–as exemplars of our American capitalist freedoms.

But freedom of choice is not the same as freedom. Who chooses what the choices will be? Who constrains those choices, and why?

Is it freedom of choice to choose between getting kicked in the balls or kicked in the ass?

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