Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Copyright Law fun and games

The evolution of copyright and the (often bad) laws that flow out of that evolution, especially when it comes to how it gets interpreted on the Internet, usually doesn't lend itself to a funny, insightful article.

But that's exactly what Cory Doctorow (of Boing, Boing bloggin fame and noted science fiction author) accomplishes in this lengthy piece written for Internet Evolution which bills itself as "The macrosite for news, analysis and opinion about the future of the Internet." I highly recommend the site if you're interested in this sort of thing.

But back to Cory's article, titled "Big Entertainment Wants to Party Like It's 1996."

Here's a sample, about some of the stuff that's been happening here in Canada:
It's not that these companies can't get their laws on the agenda, and not that they can't cook the process to make it run favorably for themselves. For example, when Canada was considering its own version of the WCT, the entertainment giants saw to it that the parliamentarians in charge of the process only talked to multinational entertainment giants, without conducting any kind of embarrassing public consultation. They wouldn't even talk to the Canadian record companies -- just the multinationals.

The proposed laws -- Bill C60 and Bill C61 -- were complicated and took a lot of explaining. But here's what didn't take any explaining at all: "Your government is about to introduce sweeping, controversial regulations to the Internet, and they won't talk with anyone except the jerks who are suing all those music downloaders in the States about it -- they won't even talk to Canadian record companies!"

This made the Canadian lawmakers who backed the proposal look like sellouts (which they were); made the laws look like conspiracies (which they were); and made the geeks who cared about this stuff look like heroes (which they were). The complicated story about the law became a simple story about the process.

Here's the link to the full article.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Voting for change in BC

Voters in BC have a chance to make Canadian electoral history on May 12. (See my earlier post on this topic for more background on this issue.)

They'll be choosing a new provincial government, of course, but for some people, that's almost beside the point. What really matters is that they'll also be voting in a referendum on whether to adopt a new way of electing politicians in the next provincial election.

The process is called a single transferable vote (or STV).

Yesterday, the pro-STV campaigners put out a new TV ad, which they're hoping will help influence voters. You can see the add here or watch it below and donate to the cause, if you're interested.

I've got a campaign sign up on my lawn. I've been a fan of proportional representation for years. It's an idea whose time has come and I hope this time the referendum passes.

If you're interested in this issue, there are some websites that are dedicated to explaining the process, such as:
British Columbians for BC-STV
Fair Voting BC
Fair Vote Canada

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Internet is getting crowded

It's amazing how busy a weekend can get around tax time. Which is a weak way of explaining why the updates have been slow the past few days. I've got a couple more deadlines to work through, then we should be back to regular postings.

In the meantime, I've been enjoying the amazing speed of my brand new 24" IMac, which arrived last week. I can't believe how much fun its been doing regular things, like surfing the Internet or playing with pictures (when I probably should have been working on my taxes!)

It's another wonderful procrastination tool, although I'm finding that the diversions aren't taking as long, which leaves me back with the task at hand far quicker than I'm used to.

Unfortunately, according to this article I came across this morning, all this extra speed I'm now blessed with may be a moot point in just a year or two. A study by a US think tank is predicting that the Internet's explosive growth will overwhelm the infrastructure, forcing people to accept slower speeds and limited capacity. This is not a good news scenario, especially for those of us who have come to depend on the Internet to handle our work - heck our entire life's - activities.

Here's an excerpt:
Internet users face regular “brownouts” that will freeze their computers as capacity runs out in cyberspace, according to research to be published later this year.

Experts predict that consumer demand, already growing at 60 per cent a year, will start to exceed supply from as early as next year because of more people working online and the soaring popularity of bandwidth-hungry websites such as YouTube and services such as the BBC’s iPlayer.

It will initially lead to computers being disrupted and going offline for several minutes at a time. From 2012, however, PCs and laptops are likely to operate at a much reduced speed, rendering the internet an “unreliable toy”.
Link to full article.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Susan Boyle means for all of us

Like most of you, I participated in the global phenomenon that was Susan Boyle's YouTube version of her now-famous performance. (If, by some chance, you haven't seen it, you can see the video here.)

Since my first viewing of it (and yes, I teared up - actually, I cried like a baby) I've been wondering what the incredible response from around the world to this lady from Scotland really means. So far, I haven't come up with any blinding insights, but today, I did come across a blog post from Bob Cringlely that does a good job at tackling some of those questions, so I thought I'd pass it along.

Here's the link.

And if you have any more insights, please add them to the comments.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A silent protest speaks volumes

My photo for today is not one that I took. Instead, I'm posting one from last weekend's IV Peoples' Summit, held in Trinidad & Tobago, at the same time as the political leaders were attending the V Summit of the Americas.

Common Frontiers Canada's coordinator, Rick Arnold, was in Trinidad and I was helping him post his materials to a special website we created for the Summit on the Common Frontiers website. (I'm the webmaster for the CF site.)

This photo was taken by Rick and shows a silent protest being staged by some of the participants.

If you'd like to learn a bit more about the IV Peoples' Summit, visit the special CF site. You can also see some more photos from the event at the CF Photo Gallery.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Last one out, turn out the lights

I spent last Friday touring local Victoria media outlets with the Vancouver Island chapter of the Canadian Public Relations Society (of which I am one of the Board members.)

It was an interesting day, especially given the kinds of pressures that a lot of the media outlets are feeling these days. Ironically, our tour of the local paper, the Victoria Times Colonist, didn't work out quite as planned. We were supposed to see the press in action (that's a view of it in the photo) but it wasn't running in the afternoon. (It's usually printing flyers or something at that time of the day.) The silence of the place was deafening.

There are a lot of people out there predicting that newspapers like this one will be out of business very soon. I wonder...

I'll have more pics from our tour later this week.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Time for a major upgrade

For those of you that have been following my 1aDay posts, you'll notice that there's been an interruption recently. I've been battling some computer problems which have affected my ability to edit photos.

My trusty Apple Powerbook laptop, which is my primary computer, is getting cranky. My photo software resides on this computer but in recent days, the colours on my monitor have gone wonky. I'm still able to work on it, but the colour shifts are all over the place, which makes adjusting photographs a bit of a crapshoot.

So, I've decided that it's time to upgrade the computer I use for my photo and web work. Today, I ordered a new 24" IMac, just like the one pictured here. It's a nice machine - very fast, with an outstanding monitor. Needless to say, I'm pretty excited and looking forward to its arrival. That should be sometime this week, assuming that Fed Ex can find its way to the Island.

I'll be sure to let you know when it arrives.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

This is a commercial that will make you smile

You may have already come across this T-Mobile TV Spot, but I hadn't seen it before. It's a great piece of theatre - all designed to look spontaneous.

There's a really interesting backstory to the making of the commercial, which you can find here. I read the backstory first, then tracked down a copy of the video and watched it. I'm not sure which order is the better way to do it. I don't think it matters.

I loved the way that the dancers involved the bystanders. I'm not sure how I'd react if I was a part of it, but I suspect I'd enjoy it.

Here's the link to the video clip.

And here's the link to the story in Boards magazine.

You'll enjoy this.

UPDATE - If you were having any trouble with the links above, I found a copy of the commercial on YouTube. You can view it below. Click on the HQ button at the bottom for the best quality.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A good day

A good day
Originally uploaded by Dave Traynor
I want to put together a set of photos from our trip to Haida Gwaii last summer. It's been a long time between being there and starting to work on the photos.

As I was going through some of them (the majority of the photos were taken with my wife's camera, but I did have mine along with me) I was struck by just how gorgeous the weather was when we were there.

We had arrived expecting the normal weather the Queen Charlottes' provides in the summer - lots and lots of rain. Instead, we were treated to a week of glorious sunshine, warm weather and little wind. It as a perfect setting for a kayaking adventure.

We had chartered a boat to transport us around, the Anvil Cove. That's it anchored off in the distance in this photo. It's a great way to kayak - especially when you're a relative rookie with issues about sleeping on the ground, etc. The bunks in the Anvil Cove were perfectly good at night, and the cook onboard fed us great meals.

I like this photo because it sums up the best parts of the trip. The weather, of course, and the spectacular, unspoiled wilderness. Most of the time we felt like we were the only people in the whole park.

I recommend a visit to Haida Gwaii, if you haven't been in your life. It's worth it.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Fallen forest

Fallen forest
Originally uploaded by Dave Traynor
The forest has many moods. When there has been cutting, the logs lay where they fall. This isn't logging for profit. The cuts are being done by the local municipality to bring down winter storm damage and remove trees that could cause damage or are a threat to people using the parks.

But in the early morning light, they create a mysterious landscape that I enjoy. This photo is an attempt to recreate that feeling by playing with the colours and texture of the photo. A photograph can be many things. It is a record of what we saw but it can also be a view into what we see. Snapshots capture what we're looking at and today's cameras do that beautifully. But when we are in a photo, we experience the sounds, smells, heat, cold, light, dark, taste - information that we retain in our memory, whether conscious or not.

Sometimes a photo can bring those memories back. That's what I'm experimenting with here. It will take awhile for me to understand how the various options available through this new software work and how they can affect the image you'll see. But I've got lots of time and lots of memories to work with.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Spring colours

Spring colours
Originally uploaded by Dave Traynor
More photos of flowers. This time, a lower perspective gives us an interesting horizon. These flowers are alongside a ditch but shooting up from the bottom of the ditch, combined with a little work back in the digital darkroom gives us this shot. Could be a day at the beach near Parksville...

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Time to catch up

I've fallen behind in my postings for my 1aDay collection. So today, I'm posting four photos, which show some of the reasons why I like living here in Victoria.

This first photo is called "A Pink Boulevard" and shows the TransCanada Highway, looking southeast towards downtown Victoria. (Click on any of the photos to see a larger view on my Flickr site.)

What I like about this is the rows of cherry trees in full bloom on the boulevard. They add a nice touch to the morning commute.

Too bad they can't stay that colour year-round.

The second photo on this catch-up day is called "Bike Commuter Heaven." It's taken from the same flyover I was standing on in the previous picture. It shows the Transcanada on the left and the Galloping Goose Trail on the right.

The Galloping Goose Trail is an old rail line that runs from downtown Victoria all the way to Sooke. It's become a vital part of the trail system in this area and all kinds of people commute to work on it every day. It's also popular with walkers and roller skaters, of course.

Normally, this photo would show a biker on the trail. But wouldn't you know it - I waited 15 minutes (while my dogs tried to figure out what I was doing) but not a single biker came along! Of course, once I got to the other side of the bridge, a big pack of bike racers went flying by. That would have made for a great shot...

Number 3 on my list is a shot I call "The Weed Bed."

It's another example of the kind of stuff that pokes up all over the place in this area. No one tends these plots. They just are there.

This one sits behind a big secondary school not far from our house. The school is built near a large outcropping of stones, from which you can get some great views of the surrounding area. And throughout the area, there are these patches of colour at this time of year.

Yellows, purples, greens - a riot of colour almost everywhere you look. I don't know whether the kids that go to this school appreciate the view. It doesn't seem like it's that big a deal to them, judging from the piles of garbage that have built up in the rocks. It looks like plenty of people like to hang out there and eat lunch. I just wish they'd use the trash cans near the back doors when they were done.

Finally - my fourth picture today is called "The Side of the Road."

This is a view of the TransCanada, showing the kind of stuff that grows along the road here. Not everywhere, of course. And not all of it is natural. A lot of trees are planted. But it's amazing how much colour appears in the ditches and on the sides of the rocks along the roads.

If you look closely, you'll catch a glimpse of Roxy wandering into the photo. She's not usually at the side of the road - at least not unless she's on a leash.

I hope I'm not boring you with these pictures of the spring colours here in Victoria. I know I'm going to get some grief from those of you that are still dealing with the dregs of the winter. But hey, it's spring now everywhere - officially. And I'm seeing the colours around here in a different way, now that I'm wandering around with a new camera. It's a great way to enjoy your neighbourhood.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Reaching for the light

Reaching for the light
Originally uploaded by Dave Traynor
I'm starting down a new road with my photography. I'm the proud owner of a new Nikon D90 but I discovered that my existing development setup wasn't able to work with the RAW file format that the new Nikon put out. I use an older version of Photoshop, which can't read the new files.

This is a major bummer but fortunately, I've come up with a solution. I just got a copy of Adobe Lightroom, which lets me load up the new files from my Nikon and work on them. I've got a lot to learn about how to use it, but so far, it's working out. This is my first effort at developing a final image through Lightroom, without even opening Photoshop.

While this will work for some photos, I'm still able to do my final imaging in Photoshop with my old Powerbook and I can hold off getting a new MacBook for awhile anyway. And it's going to be awhile, now that I've decided to get the new camera.

Oh, the joys of technology. Everytime you do one thing, something else needs to be's a never-ending loop. (But I love it!)

Monday, April 06, 2009

A Sunday outing on the ocean

Sunday was a good day for a paddle here on the Island. The sun was out and the air was warm. People were walking everywhere and kayakers were out in force. This group was making their way past McAuley Point, on the south tip of the Island. It's a favourite dog walking park the year round.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Five years of Uploads and counting

It's been five years since I started The Daily Upload. Let's see, five years at 365 uploads a year -- that's 1,825 posts. But wait a minute ... looking back over my posts, I see that I'm actually only up to 567, including this one. So maybe I should have called it The Once Every 3 Days or so Upload. More accurate perhaps, but not that as catchy.

My first posts were actually made on April 3, 2004, so I've missed my own anniversary by a couple of days. But we're in the ballpark. I put up three posts that first day. Two were about the 2004 version of March Madness, while the third pointed to a report about the Spanish train bombings in Madrid. I'll reprint theme all here, since they're pretty short.

Hurray for March Madness

The NCAA Final Four is on. This is what basketball is all about. The skill level of the players and the coaches - heck, even the referees - is something to behold. I've played basketball or been involved with it for most of my life, and it's weekends like this that convince me that it's still the best sport out there.
posted by Dave @ 7:20 PM

There's an interesting story here about the Spanish bombing.
Bomb Rocks Madrid Suburb (
posted by Dave @ 8:28 PM

Let's all get ready to party

The Final Four is down to two. What a pair of games they were...Georgia Tech and UConn on should be great!
posted by Dave @ 8:38 PM
I've covered a lot of topics in these past five years. There have been some very personal posts, plenty of comments on current events and a few opinions. I've pointed to funny things going on around me and sad things too. But reading through some of my past posts its clear that this is a personal journal.

When I created The Daily Upload I wrote a description of what it would be - and it's still the same one that's at the top of the page today:
This blog is where I track things I’ve read or heard in the wider world. Like you, I read the paper, visit websites, read blogs, listen to podcasts, watch TV, chat with smart people, put up with others, etc. It all adds up to the substance of my thoughts and opinions. And then I use this blog to share them with you.
From humble beginnings the worlds' wisdom flows... always downhill, of course.

I'm looking forward to the next five years.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Defeating the purpose

Defeating the purpose
Originally uploaded by Dave Traynor
It's Saturday morning. At some point during the night or early in the morning, someone walking by this garbage can at the entrance to the park stuffed it full of old clothing. As the day progressed, dutiful dog owners and people out for a walk passed by and deposited their bags full of dog crap and empty coffee cups on top of the clothing.

OK, it's good that you're picking up your garbage. But come on...who do you think is going to clean up this mess during the weekend? It's obvious that the can is full. Adding stuff to the top just means that it's going to look ugly for days. Thanks to cutbacks in the parks department, it might be a week or more before someone from the municipality shows up to empty the container. And by that time, there's going to be junk and dog poop all over the place.

The irony is that just about 20 metres away is an even bigger garbarge can, that's nearly empty. All people need to do is on to that bag for another few steps and they can dump it there.

There's an underlying problem here that is larger than just some dog poop piling up beside a garbage can. It's that people aren't willing to take enough responsibility for things in the community, like keeping it clean. That's not something that you have to turn over to a paid employee. Just pick up that garbage and make sure it gets put somewhere. Democracy isn't easy - it's hard work. We all need to do our part.

Friday, April 03, 2009

The berries of spring

The berries of spring
Originally uploaded by Dave Traynor
Every day, the berries are getting redder. I think of holly with Christmas but that's because where I come from we only find it in flower shops.

Here, it's everywhere.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Always a good choice

Always a good choice
Originally uploaded by Dave Traynor
You can never go wrong shooting a picture of a Golden Retriever. This is Roxy, our ever-faithful, always-ready-for-a-walk, Golden. Like every other Golden we've met, she really is this happy. And when you're looking for a shot to show off your new camera, a picture of the dog is always a good bet.

PS - Kelly, this one is for you.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Bending but not breaking

A lot of trees in the forest have been broken over the past couple of years. The wind has played havoc with trees that had withstood severe weather for many, many years.

But this one, and another standing not too far away, appear to have escaped the wrath of the wind, perhaps by giving in to it. I'm not sure what causes a tree to grow like this, especially when there don't appear to be any others in the immediate vicinity. But they've certainly angled off to the north.

Whatever the cause, it seems to have worked. The winds are blowing right now here on the West Coast, along with rain and even what appears to be snow pellets (yuck!). But the trees just stand and take it, waving slightly and waiting for warm weather to arrive. I hope it comes soon.

Earth Hour in Pictures

The Big Picture has some pretty impressive photos of what Earth Hour looked like last weekend, from around the globe. The one on the right is from Hong Kong.

Link to The Big Picture.