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How Can Canadian Government Help Open up Digital Media?

I came open a blog on the OpenMedia webpage that questioned why the government does not have more involvement in creating open access to digital media in Canada.  Michel Geist, Law Professor at the University of Ottawa, proposed that although Canadians are making progress in collaborating our digital media; i.e. the National Film Board of Canada who launched the NFB screening room in January 2009, starting with 500 available films has nearly tripled since then too almost 1’500 films freely available, and although, the NFB project has been very promising, success stories are few and far between.  The internet is incredibly lucrative for creators and consumers and producers, but the question remains, what the government can do to help make Canadian digital media more readily accessible?

Until recently, internet communications were only accessible to a privileged class, and while more and more Canadians now have access to digital media, Canadians are still not provided with universal assess to Canadian new media.  Geist suggested several points necessary to make open media possible, whereby the internet should have certain rules of the road, including net neutrality and traffic management guidelines so that all content can be afforded and have equal opportunity, not falling victim to limited access. Furthermore, a key issue in opening up new media is digitization, it was noted that Canadian Policy makers have made no attempt in keeping a comprehensive Canadian digital library.  Government does not appear to see the necessary importance in preserving national content for future generations or making the content more readably accessible. Geist compared Canadian open media to Europe, who in 2005, launched i2010 action plan.  Europe provides direct access to more than 4.6 million digitalized books, newspapers, film clips, maps, photographs, and documents from across Europe, whereas, Canada is still stuck at the starting gate.

Geist suggested that Canadian policy to open media should include opening government data, as well as removal of crown copyright and the adoption of open licensing.  We should be figuring out how to open data.  Geist pointed out that Canadian  cultural policy has longed focused on the creation of culture and finally the government is making a shift to the creation of new media and digital platforms.  With open digital access, Canadians will have an abundance of knowledge and culture at their fingertips.

Opening the many closed doors of the digital world is problematic due to copyright policy.  Creators must not only receive proper compensation for their work but also have the opportunity and flexibility to create.  Therefore, Geist suggested that Canada implement WIPO treaties, implementing treaties ensuring that we link circumvention to copyright infringement.  He also recognized the need for fair dealing, building flexibility without lose fairness.  Open media should be fair dealing, not free dealing.

The digital world opens new doors to the challenges of the past, offering new opportunity for creators, consumers and Canadian business.  Canadian citizens are stepping up to make this important transition occur.  Organizations, such as OpenMedia have been established to help build a new media ecology.  In an email received from the group they emphasized that they work to empower, educate and engage Canadians to advance their communication interests, values and rights.  They want people to be connected to social change organizations, and online news outlets.  OpenMedia has a general interest in public education and change.  Participants within OpenMedia include civil society organizations, labour groups, academics and activists all across Canada, all with a common interest to provide free online sources for Canadian citizens, and with government backing Canada will soon transition into completely different media environment.

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Sports a View

Sports the View from the Bar

A typical Saturday evening at the local Sports Bar, where to

sit where could be the best place for you to watch the game,

any game Hockey, Baseball, Basketball,Boxing, UFC Mixed

Martial Arts. Why and how we choose our seats says a lot

about what type of sporting fan you are diehard or just

there to enjoy, as well as why the owners place the

televisions where they do how they layout their space.

         These business’s take a lot of time to place there

televisions in an aesthetically pleasing position for their

customers enjoyment and pleasure. This is how Slack

and Wise describe a concept of “cultural space: a space

unique to a particular way of life, articulation, or

assemblage” (137). How much effort goes into preparing

a space that encompasses what different groups are

looking for the diehards sitting at the bar closest to

the action as well as the service best seat in the house

for them. The social sports fan farther back so that they

can watch at a distance but still spend most of their time

communicating with others in their group.

      There is I am sure a perfect seat for each of us where

we can be as close with an event as well as close with those

enjoying it with us. This area is as much a part of each person 

as it is with the group and their needs as a whole. Business’s

understand this and cater to as many groups as possible to

make sure no person or group fells as though there is no place

for them in the Pub, Sports Bar, Social club.

Works Cited

Slack, Jennifer Daryl., and J. Macgregor Wise. Culture & Technology: A Primer. New York: Peter Lang, 2007. 135-47. Print.

Word Count: 299

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Position paper 4

Position paper 4: The 21st century library

James Siddall

March 2010

What modernizing changes need to occur in the 21st century library? Perhaps the books need to be ditched and replaced with new shiny digital records and interactive touch screens. Shall we no longer use our inside voices and turn a quiet reading space into a public gathering center? Or maybe the city could develop a new type of museum filled with “ancient” printed text behind enclosed glass cases for the new generations to understand a time passed.  What if no changes are needed? Are things fine the way they are? These are some of the topics and questions that our two librarian guest speakers attempted to address two Fridays ago, on March the 12th.

Chris Koth, who works at the newly developed North Vancouver Lonsdale Library, started by touching upon how his particular branch was implementing new features and changes such as e-books.  However, he focused mostly on whom the Lonsdale Library caters to, with a focal point being meeting the needs of the large immigrant population without access to computers.  Chris also pointed out that books are still first in demand, which I found interesting (and slightly reassuring), dampening the rumor that print is passé.  Although Mr. Koth’s talk was interesting, much of it was concerned with the needs of North Vancouver residents, which is a group I am not among.  I found that what he had to say was concerned with less of the 21st century library and revolved more around his clientele, which left the talk sounding a bit like a sales pitch.

Our classes’ other guest was George Villavicencio who, with video clips from the movies Time Machine and Star Wars, won me over straight away.  Everybody knows that students always revel in popular culture moments during class time.  That along with free cookies and coffee turns a Friday afternoon English class in to a party.  Alas, the clips ended in what felt like seconds, my cookies were in my stomach and the talk began.  Nevertheless it wasn’t all bad.  Mr. Villavicencio is quite an eloquent speaker and is fun to hear get passionate about his work.  George was particularly excited about the Capilano University Library’s future plans to move all books and documents upstairs, leaving the ground floor open for gathering with peers and acquiring assistance from tech support and writing centers. In addition, he wanted to keep a balance of print and technological gear, supplying the demand of everyone’s needs.

I feel this is the type of change that is required to ensure the 21st century library continues to hold a prominent role in society.  The modern library must encompass both the old and new, combining books with computers and study with social activity.  By doing this, each branch can serve as a link: connecting the population to whatever information or service that may be required.  In this way libraries can stay relevant to all walks of life, be it old or young, bookworm or social butterfly. If this goal can be achieved nobody has a need to fret. The books will on the shelves and the computers will be hooked up, ready for facebook.

Word count: 534

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FreeGeek

FreeGeek

Free Geek is a non-profit company that recycles and reuses computers. FreeGeek does a many number of things to help recycle old machinery and reuse them. They dispose of technological equipment in a way that is ethical and safe to the environment, they create and use free and open software, and they promote the use of this software. They also provide a learning centre to educate the community about recycling and reusing technology that is either free or very low cost. Their main goal is to reduce to the impact that technology and electronics puts on the environment. They aim to dispose of the technology that cannot be used, in a way that is safe to the environment. I think that this non-profit organization is a great asset to communities. It allows people to learn about different technologies at a very low cost. It creates an opportunity to be a part of something that is purposeful in trying to right the wrongs that we have created for our planet, and while doing so, it bring the community together. It’s an all-ages centre, so children can start learning at a young age that it isn’t necessary to always have the “newest” computers. It’s possible to have a “new” computer by reusing and refurbishing old parts to build a computer. It’s a great learning tool for children, that hopefully will lead to other decisions in their lives regarding recycling and having less of an impact on the environment. Another interesting thing that FreeGeek offers is the open software’s. Not only is a great way to save on money, but it also gives people the opportunity to
actually learn how to first of all, create a software that works for them, and secondly, it allows free communication between software users. There isn’t a limit of how times you are able to load the software on different computers – there are less restrictions. Open software’s are also more durable against virus’. As someone who is smack in the middle of the technological revolution, this idea of recycling and reusing electronics is something that interests me. If I am able to learn how to save money, and help the environment at the same time, I feel that this is a great learning opportunity. As more and more people become involved with this idea and this non-profit group, I believe that we will come to learn and believe that new isn’t always better – that indeed one persons trash is another’s gold.

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The Unabomber

In Ted Kaczynski’s essay ‘Industrial Society and its Future’, otherwise known as the Unabomber’s manifesto, he was concerned with the amount of dependence our society puts on technology. He said the industrial revolution created “psychological suffering” for the human race and would cause severe damage to our world in the near future. Kaczynski was a radical and an example of someone who resorts to violence as a way of getting his message out in the world.
Because Kaczynski hated the government so much he felt he had no choice but to use violence to get his point across. But, it seemed like Kaczynski was opposed to technology and the violence and isolation it could lead to, so there must have been a reason he fell prey to his own opposition. Although Kaczynski denied insanity, he clearly had some type of antisocial personality disorder as well as schizophrenia, which led to the use of sixteen bombs throughout his life killing three people as well as injuring twenty three others.
Some bombs are used for psychopaths with a need for control, for others they’re used merely as weapons. For the Unabomber they were used as an attention getter, something to make people know who he was so they would listen to his manifesto. This made him dangerous, but not crazy. His ‘craziness’ ended with his paranoid personality, leaving his behaviour and actions solely on his shoulders. So how right was he in his quest for the world’s attention and was there another way to get it besides using violence on innocent people who did not share his views in life? Kaczynski said no, that if he hadn’t used the bombs people would have merely read his essay once, then forgotten it forever.
Technology was used as a way to help the Unabomber with his mission, which is a little ironic because of how against the progression of technology he was. It actually also helped his point about society becoming threatened by the growing dependence on technology, and as a result the lack of reliance on the people. By using his bombs, he could control the government, while also fulfilling his ultimate goal of getting the attention of society.
Though it is not clear why Ted Kaczynski felt the way he did, it is clear that while he wasn’t insane, he was delusional in his attempt to control the government by using irrational and unethical means to make his point. Although we can relate or recognize Kaczynski’s arguments we cannot morally as an individual or as a society condone it. Resorting to violence is never the answer and like it is seen with the Unabomber can only end badly leaving you alone, imprisoned, or worse, dead.

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Technology as a Cause for Good

It is impossible to say whether technology has helped our society more or rendered it useless. What matters more than the technology we’ve created as a whole is how people use it against our society. When people created the various technologies we use today, they probably weren’t creating them to cause horrible acts of violence inflicted by either them or other human beings wanting to create terror in our world. It doesn’t depend on the technology created to cause an act of violence, but rather who takes that technology and puts it towards a cause for worse or for better.
Guns and gun control is a good example of a cause of technology. People say that guns are killing people and they were created as a tool to inflict violence. Does this mean that the inventors of guns created them to wreak havoc and cause unbearable acts of violence in the world? The answer is no, probably not. They may have been made in a response to violence, for safety and protection, but probably not to cause violence. The slogan that the National Rifle Association has come up with in response to gun control is, “Guns don’t kill people, people do,” and although I personally don’t like the idea of guns everywhere in our world, this slogan is more accurate then “guns kill.” If a person wanted to commit murder and guns no longer or never existed, he or she most likely would find another way of carrying out the crime, probably a more brutal way like strangulation or blunt force trauma of some kind.
People will always find a way to criticize the technologies that were created, for good or just in general. The invention of the computer and later the internet is a good example. It was created to connect the world and share information to everyone no matter where they lived. Critics are now saying people spend too much time on the computer and are beginning to lack social interaction. Although this may be true, it is ironic because social interaction was what the internet was supposed to help with in our society.
New things will eventually always be created, whether related to technology or not, and some people will use these things for good, and others for worse. In relation there will be people who criticize new creations and others who learn to accept and enjoy them. Therefore it is not up to us as a society to stop technology, but rather learn from the mistakes we may have made in the past and try to encourage people to use technology for good and never for bad.

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Capilano University Cinephile Collective

It’s the most anticipated launch since the iPad: the recently formed Capilano University Cinephile Collective announces its first meetings of 2010. This student group is recruiting new members and writers. Anyone with an interest in talking about, critiquing, or writing about film is welcome. The energies of the collective will be devoted to launching an on-line pdf film journal in Spring 2010. Just like the iPad, the Cinephile Collective easily fits and rotates in your hand to adjust to your sitting position, projects its images in full colour, and offers a much more “intimate” experience than the standard clunky laptop! It also has extended battery life to accommodate frequent viewings of those longer 3-hour arthouse cinema masterpieces. For more information contact Adam Cook at soldierofcinema@gmail.com or Culture Net faculty member, Brian Ganter (bganter@capilanou.ca), who is acting faculty advisor for this new student group.

OPENING 2010 EVENTS
First Screening: Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, Feb. 9th, 1pm @CSU Lounge
First Meeting: Feb. 11th, 12:30pm @ Maple Room 102

Hope to you see you there!

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