Most of us like well-respected people. They’ve usually worked hard to get where they are and have found some way to give back to society.
Unfortunately, even these people might have made a mistake or two in the past. And if those end up on the Internet, they’re hard to erase.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t try of course…
Recently, we stumbled upon a series of DMCA takedown requests which kindly request Google to remove various inconvenient links. While copyright has little to do with it, this route is worth a shot, they likely thought.
The senders have a lot in common. They all note that they’re “well-respected” in the society that they come from and accuse several websites of using their “image and name” to attract attention.
They were also all convicted of fraud, but that’s probably a coincidence.
Take radio talk-show host Warren Ballentine, for example, who describes himself as an artist and motivational speaker. While we would like to link to his Wikipedia page for some background, we’re hesitant to do so, as that’s one of the allegedly offending websites.
“I am a well respected person in the society that I come from, the US, and other parts of the world where I am known as an artist and motivational speaker,” Ballentine wrote to Google.
“However, recently, there are a number of websites that utilize my image and name to attract traction for people go through their content. I want Google to remove such sites from the search. Thanks.”
Unfortunately for Ballentine, Google decided not to honor his request. Perhaps because the content he linked to in the DMCA notice is not infringing on any copyrights?
This means that the various news reports and the Department of Justice’s press release on his conviction for engaging in two mortgage fraud schemes remain online.
Oh, and the aforementioned Wikipedia entry remains unscathed too. And the same applies to various unrelated links to other Warren Ballentines, which were inadvertently included in the takedown requests.
But perhaps the true reason for the notices is to cover up the past? It wouldn’t be the first time that someone tried that, and this failed attempt appears to be part of a series, as we hinted at earlier.
Over the past few weeks, there have been several similarly worded takedown requests from well-respected people who have been convicted of fraud. Such as this one, from tax fraud convict Monica Morgan, and several others from pension fraud convict Chauncey Mayfield, which haven’t gone unnoticed.
According to the information provided to Google, these people submitted the requests themselves. However, since the language is nearly identical, it appears to be a coordinated action.
It’s clear that the DMCA takedown requests all target mentions of their mishaps, as well as other unrelated links that rank well for their name. While this urge may be understandable, copyright law is not any help in this case.
In fact, abusing DMCA notices usually backfires, whether someone’s well-respected or not.
From the pomegranates of Caravaggio and the pears of Paul Cezanne to the oysters of Edouard Manet, sculptural arrays of food have claimed their place in the history of the still-life. Delightful and surprising compositions take us from the realm of ordinary meals and into the world of fantastical feasts, but in photography, constructing these delectable balancing acts can prove a bit more difficult than it might be with a paintbrush. For our latest Offset group show, we’ve pulled together a collection of outstanding sculptural food photographs that whet our aesthetic appetites.
In speaking with some of these photographers, we learned some insider tricks about how to make these seemingly impossible configurations come to life. Kristin Teig, for instance, employed the expertise of food stylish Rowena Day, who stabilized a stack of precariously balanced scones using a skewer that ran vertically through the heap. The method, she explains, was to keep the scones from looking stagnant by avoiding aligning them along a perfect vertical line. For Mark Platt, the process required a great deal of persistence. The blueberries he shot were chosen by himself and his stylist for their size relative to one another, then stacked to enhance their natural appearance.
All photos featured in this post can be found on Offset, a new curated collection of high-end commercial and editorial photography and illustration from award-winning artists around the world. Offset is a category partner on Feature Shoot.
If you are one of the lucky people to be sporting a Microsoft Band, you should start checking for updates using the Microsoft Health app.
Today, Microsoft is pushing out Firmware version 10.2.2823.0 to presumably all Band owners. What does it do? Unfortunately, nothing concrete and there appear to be no new functions. Instead, we get the old 'general fixes and improvements' line from Microsoft.
“By playing in a band,” was my answer.
Now, I am not suggesting that all web designers should run out and join a rock and roll band (although there is a glaring shortage of songs about the CSS box model). I do know, however, that many of the skills I honed while playing in a band have contributed to my success as a web designer — as much as, if not more than, my ability to write clean code or design an attractive web page. In this article, I’ll describe how being in a band taught me to be a better web designer.
Speaking To The Audience
As a professional web designer, you are going to be required to speak in front of people. This includes clients and colleagues to whom you will need to present design concepts and explain your reasoning for the decisions you made in those concepts. If you’re afraid to speak in public, which many people are terrified of, then this is going to significantly limit your ability to communicate effectively in your job.
Being the frontman for a rock band, I had plenty of chances to speak to audiences. Many times I had to improvise and think on my feet if something went wrong on stage. This was perfect practice for presenting in front of clients and handling unexpected questions.
Being able to communicate clearly and confidently is one of the primary skills I look for when hiring web designers for my team. It’s also one of the skills ignored by many new web designers who are more focused on the technical aspects of the job.
Short of becoming a frontman or -woman in a band, how can you sharpen your presentation skills? Many colleges and universities have classes in public speaking that you can enroll in, even if you are not a full-time student at the school. You can also seek out industry meet-ups that allow you to get some experience presenting in front of your peers, or you can join an organization like Toastmasters International2, whose mission is to help create more confident public speakers.
Meeting The Fans
Throughout my career, my most consistent source for new customers has been referrals from existing clients. When I speak to those new clients, the number one reason for the referral has nothing to do with my grasp of responsive web design or some other piece of knowledge I possess — it is because I was enjoyable to work with and be around. This is something that also helped my band back when we were active.
My band was not the greatest in the world — far from it, in fact. Still, we had a dedicated following who came to all our shows, in some cases traveling significant distances to do so. Those fans made the trip to see us because we tried to make our shows fun and enjoyable by always being personable with them. We genuinely appreciated the support of our fans, and that was obvious in how we treated them.
Your clients are awesome. They keep you in business. By showing them your appreciation and by making sure that you do great work for them, while also making the process of engaging with you for that work enjoyable, you do your part to build long-term client relationships5 that will help fuel your future success.
Tailoring Your Set To Your Audience
Whether you are rocking out onstage or presenting to clients in a conference room, you want to make an early connection with your audience. When my band would play shows, we would adjust our set list to the audience we were playing for. If a crowd was unfamiliar with our music, we would make sure to play a recognizable cover song early in that set to give the audience something they were familiar with right away. I now do the same thing in client presentations.
Before I meet with a client, I try to first schedule a call to ask some questions and get some insight into what I am walking into. You’d be amazed at the kind of inside information you can find out on these calls, including what is most important to that company. I can then use that information to tailor my presentation to address those important topics early on and make that all-important connection.
Different set lists for different shows is something every band uses. Similarly, learning how to prepare different presentations and approaches for different clients will allow you to hit the right notes in those conversations.
Time For Practice
My time playing in the band coincided with the early years of my career as a web designer. By default, I became my band’s webmaster and was responsible for designing, developing and also maintaining the various versions of the band’s site over the years. The practice I got doing this allowed me to try new things and experiment in ways that I was unable to with my client work at the time. Those experiments and practice taught me so much, helping me to grow as a web designer and eventually bring new skills back to the office and into my client work.
Even if you are a seasoned web professional, side projects and work outside of your normal client responsibilities can play an important role in your career. Look at Dan Cederholm and what he helped to create with Dribbble8 or Elliot Jay Stocks and his 8 Faces9 publication. Side projects can not only give you a reprieve from your normal work, but in some cases those projects can become so fulfilling and successful, that they can become your normal work!
Even if a side project does not become a smashing success for you, the ability to challenge yourself in ways that would be inappropriate for paid client work is undeniably beneficial to you, regardless of what stage you are at in your web design career.
Making Friends In Other Bands
Many of the shows our band played, especially early on, were through friendships we had with people in other bands. Those bands would add us to the bill, giving us a chance to get some experience on stage and begin to build our own following of fans. In web design, this equates to the benefit of befriending other web designers and agencies.
If you work as a freelance web designer, making friends with other agencies can be a great source of work for you as those agencies may sometimes need to bring in extra help to handle certain projects.
Agency-to-agency relationships can also be greatly beneficial to all involved. Web design is an incredibly multifaceted profession, and there may be certain aspects of the job that your agency does not excel at. By partnering with other companies whose strengths complement your own, you can provide a more complete set of solutions to your clients and take on projects that you may otherwise have had to turn down.
Success in web design is often a group effort. While there are certainly lone designers who do the work all on their own (just like there are solo artists who play every instrument on their albums), learning to work with a team is a critical skill for many web professionals.
Working well with others is not always easy. In a band, each member will have different opinions as to how a song should go, but if you do not work together and find ways to integrate those different points of view, then there can be no harmony. The same holds true in a web design setting. Designers, developers, content writers, project managers, and other team members must all work together towards a common goal: to create an amazing website.
My time playing in a band is something I will always remember, in part because my experiences from that time helped me learn skills critical to my success as web designer today, including:
The ability to speak clearly and confidently in public.
A lesson in how being enjoyable to be around makes people want to be around you (this works for both rock band fans and web design clients).
The importance of tailoring your set list (or your presentation) to make an early connection with your audience.
How side projects, and the chance to practice and experiment outside of your normal client work, can help you grow as a web professional.
How making friends with other web designers and agencies can help you get better work, in the same way that making friends with other bands can help you land better gigs.
That success is a team effort, and to truly make great music (or websites) together, you need to learn to play as a group and not as a solo act.
For 100 Naked Women, London-based photographer Nadia Lee Cohen takes a bold approach to body positivity, shooting nude portraits of dozens of women of varied shapes and sizes bearing it all for her camera.
Inspired in part by campaigns like Free the Nipple, a movement seeking to end discriminatory censorship of the female body, as well as recent Instagram activists who have used the platform to protest bans on parts of the female anatomy, Cohen approached friends who she felt radiated self-assurance and individuality. Other women who participated in the project responded to casting calls sent out by the artist over social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. The overwhelming number of women who wanted to experience the liberating process of being shot nude was humbling and empowering, explains Cohen, noting that many of her subjects had never modeled before.
In shooting non-models in a stylized fashion setting, Cohen hopes to confront the fashion industry’s unrealistic portrayal of the female form. Her aesthetic, she says, is deeply influenced by cinema, and in the vein of Cindy Sherman, her images emerge like single instants from a larger filmic narrative. Her models, ultimately, are playing characters, and element of role-play, she mentions, often allows them to open up in ways they otherwise may not have. Much of the brilliance of Cohen’s work lies in her presentation of raw, naked reality in a heavily stylized and staged manner.
A comfortable setting is a key element to the photographer, who works with an all-woman team and encourages her subjects only to reveal as much as they feel secure exposing. Of course, the project also motivates the women to step out of their comfort zones, but Cohen explains that the experience “enabled them to exclaim ‘fuck it I only live once,’ strip off [their clothing], and pose for the camera.”
Unlike traditional nudes, female bodies often veiled with a sense of romance and passivity, Cohen’s naked women are bold, colorful, and in-your-face. Here, their nudity becomes something that they use to confront the sexism that still pervades so many facets of our society. Cohen continues to photograph women, traveling frequently from London to Los Angeles in search of sitters. When completed, the project will be published as a book by Sturm & Drang.
Gisele Loves You–Today is Valentine’s Day and to celebrate the holiday Porter Magazine has made a video with its cover star Gisele Bundchen. Captured by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin, the Brazilian model says “I Love You” in five different languages–English, French, German, Dutch and Portuguese. Seems like the perfect gift for any fashion lover; check it out below.
HTC today unveiled its newest device, the HTC One max, a 5.9-inch smartphone that includes a dedicated fingerprint sensor. Unlike the convenient home button location of the fingerprint sensor in the iPhone 5s, the One max’s sensor is located on the back of the device, near the camera.
The sensor is activated via a swipe and can be programmed to recognize three different fingers. Each finger can be tied to a different function, allowing quick access to frequently used apps. One finger, for example, can unlock the phone, while another might open up the camera.
While that sounds useful in theory, reviews of the HTC One max have likened its fingerprint sensor to little more than a gimmick. While the iPhone 5s received rave reviews for the Touch ID’s utility and ease of use, the One max fingerprint sensor appears to be less functional due to its location and the need to wake the phone from sleep before use. The Verge has a detailed review of the feature, calling it an "exercise in frustration."
Firstly, it's placed in exactly the wrong place. Sitting immediately below the camera lens and requiring a swipe, it pretty much compels you to smudge the lens every time you want to identify yourself. The need for a vertical swipe is also problematic, since your hand’s natural position is at an angle to the sensor, demanding an unnatural and uncomfortable motion to activate it. Inevitably, that leads to regular failures to recognize your epidermic signature.
Equally enervating is the fact that you have to wake the One max from sleep before swiping to unlock it. The whole point of these fingerprint sensors is to speed up security processes, not make them more finicky, and that’s exactly where the HTC One max fails. There's plenty of potential here, as you can enroll up to three different fingers and assign each an app to launch, but that only works from the lock screen — why not universally? As it is, the fingerprint scanner implementation here is clumsy, awkward, and comfortably in line with the long history of failed attempts at making this technology work.
Pocket-lint agrees, noting the difficulty in using the fingerprint scanner without swiping the camera lens.
But it's irritating that you have to press the standby button before you can swipe to unlock the phone, so it's a two-stage process and we'd much rather it was one.
Much as we hate to say it, the fingerprint scanner on the iPhone 5S is much better when it comes to unlocking: you press the button, it scans, and you're in. It's one process. On the HTC One max, we suspect that some will find it fiddly from the off, and disable the feature in favour of regular on-screen security.
In addition to a finger print sensor, the One max features a 1.7Ghz quad-core processor, a 1080p display, 16 to 32GB of expandable storage, a 4-megapixel UltraPixel camera with an f/2.0 aperture, and a 3300 mAh battery for up to 25 hours of talk time.
The smartphone will be available on Sprint and Verizon later in October.
The photocopy club are going to Hong Kong for their first OPEN SUBMISSION Exhibition of 2013!
The exhibition will take place at our pop up gallery in the heart of Hong Kong’s HABOUR CITY CENTRE. They will be doing zine workshops as well as the exhibition for 2 weeks at the start of September!
SUBMISSIONS ARE NOW OPEN! The exhibtion will take place between the3rd and the 15th of September 2013. Want to be apart of their first international exhibition? Then send your submissions to our Hong kong Base at:
THE PHOTOCOPY CLUB, WOWOHHO SPACE, UNIT B, 14/f BLOCK A, UNIVERSAL INDUSTRIAL CENTRE, 23-25 SHAN MEI STREET, FO TAN, N.T, HONG KONG.
The theme is ADVENTURE and the OCEAN. DEADLINE 1st OF SEPTEMBER!
Now it’s time for another Instalment of our fruitiest feature ‘Bad Banana’s Friday‘. If you’ve been following us, I’m sure you know the drill by now, if not, it’s simple. We’ve asked Bristol based photographer and the creator of Bad Bananas,Campbell Sibthorpe to introduce a new photographer to OGA on a Friday. To accompany the image Campbell will ask one question to the introduced photographer. In this instalment our chosen photographer is Garrett Lockhart currently based in Nanaimo, Canada. Now it’s Q&A time……
Question: What get’s you most excited about photography?
Answer:‘I think what gets me most excited about photography is becoming friends with new people doing seriously cool stuff; this never fails to get me inspired to make more art.’
There is a weak copyright monopoly reform bill happening in the United States Congress at the moment.
This bill is not about the copyright monopoly at all, and at the same time, about everything that the monopoly actually is. It is the Unlocking Technology Act of 2013.
The bill, which was presented to the U.S. Congress three days ago, makes it legal to unlock devices such as phones that you own, and do what you like with them. Let’s take that again, because it is jaw-dropping: the bill reforms the copyright monopoly to make it legal to tinker with objects that you own. It has nothing to do with BitTorrent, MKVs, streaming, or what we normally associate with the activity of sharing culture outside of the copyright monopoly distributions.
The bill is about your ability to take your phone to a different wireless operator. Your own phone, that you bought and paid for. Your legal ability to bring your own property wherever you like, without breaching criminal law and risking jail. How on Odin’s green Earth did this come to have to do with the copyright monopoly?
Few contemporary discussions put the spotlight like this one on how the copyright monopoly is not about rewarding artists, but is a political war on property – on our ability to own the things we paid for. (I won’t say “bought”, as that implies we actually own them.) The copyright monopoly is dividing the population into a corporate class who gets to control what objects may be used for what purpose, and a subservient consumer class that don’t get to buy or own anything – they just get to think they own things that can only be used in a predefined way, for a steep, monopolized, fixed price, or risk having the police sent after them.
This is not a free market. This is the opposite of a free market. The copyright monopoly stands in opposition to a free market, and in opposite to property as a concept.
Some people insist on deceptively calling the copyright monopoly “property”, which is categorical nonsense every bit of the way. Two people can’t both own an object in full; this is part of the very definition of property. Obviously, the idea that you could own the jacket you’re wearing while I could own its color is both asinine and nonsensical, just like the idea that you can own a CD but I can own the laser-etched pattern of grooves carved into it.
Yet, the copyright monopoly maximalists insist on calling their monopoly “property” in continued and deliberate deception. When you press them on how this goes counter to every known definition of property, they usually fall back to a stupid statement along the lines of “property is whatever we define it to be”, which avoids basic statements of fact on the nature of property, and goes to reveal the true intent – redefining property to something that creates two new classes in society: the corporate masters who own property, and the citizen serfs who get to use things they pay for in ways that are strictly defined and constrained.
To illustrate the absurdity of this, imagine a carpenter that had the legal right to send you to jail if you used his chairs in ways he disapproved of, after your having bought those chairs.
This is what the copyright monopoly was always about. The phone-unlocking issue is not an oddity or an outlier; it lies at the very heart of the monopoly’s philosophy. The copyright monopoly was always about control over other people’s property, and always about preventing creativity and innovation that could threaten the incumbents.
The copyright monopoly hurts creativity, hurts our economy, hurts our entrepreneurs – and most importantly, it is an affront to the most foundational concepts in society, such as the right to tinker with your own property. It needs to be questioned, dismantled, and abolished.
About The Author
Rick Falkvinge is a regular columnist on TorrentFreak, sharing his thoughts every other week. He is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party, a whisky aficionado, and a low-altitude motorcycle pilot. His blog at falkvinge.net focuses on information policy.
Harry Watts has exhibited across the UK and internationally, being selected by Italian Vogue for solo exhibitions with Salvatore Ferragamo in London and Madrid. Harry is currently working on the series FINDS. Along with this he manages the studio for photographer Ewen Spencer and freelances for Martin Parr.