Definition: Entasis, Cella, Conditional or Situational Ethics, Renormalizing

Cella

Inner chamber of a temple in classical architecture, or a shop facing the street in domestic Roman architecture

 

Entasis

A slight convex curve in the shaft of a column, introduced to correct the visual illusion of concavity produced by a straight shaft

 

Conditional or situational ethics

Ethics that vary pending conditions and/or situations, intentionally by people rationalizing it out, or unintentionally as in hot-cold empathy gap

 

Renormalization

Procedure in quantum field theory by which divergent parts of a calculation, leading to nonsensical infinite results, are absorbed by redefinition into a few measurable quantities, so yielding finite answer

 

Would You Use a Kindle Knowing Amazon Tracks Your Highlighting?

I read a story today about how Amazon, the famous online store and maker of the Kindle e-book reader, has announced it will track what its Kindle readers highlight.

WOW!!!

That’s pretty brazen, if you ask me! Never mind doing it secretly, but announcing it as well! Never mind a nice competitor in Apple not doing any of this stuff (so far as we know).

Your Kindle has an Internet connection with which you can download books and upload payment information and such. It’s a two-way street.

One of the things you can do with your Kindle as you read is to highlight passages. It’s a pretty nice feature you wouldn’t want to do to your books as it’s irreversible in book form, can’t be turned off, and can be annoying later on or to another reader. However, with that two-way street for information exchange, your Kindle sends information of what you highlighted to Amazon, who compiles it and does who knows what else with it. You can bet they’ll use it to help market to you as well. That can be nice, to some extent, if they are right to recommend books you like, but you’re bound to waste some money sooner or later on a bad or bad intent recommendations pending how good their algorithms are at figuring you out.

But what if this information gets into the wrong hands? Or more likely and worse, what if it is subpoenaed by the wrong party?

Oh, let’s say you’re somehow a suspect for a crime. Would anything you might have read and highlighted be used to cast your character to a jury? What if you liked crime novels? They’d have lots of choices. Your love for crime novels now becomes your motive instead of just an innocent interest many people share. And chances are, you might have highlighted some darn good passages others also loved and maybe thought this would be a cool way to commit a crime.

What then?

Or what if someone were able to hack Amazon’s site and get access to their database? Really. It’s not that hard for the people who really want to do it. Wanna take bets the Chinese government is already in there? 🙂

But if all that is too fictitious for you, how do you feel about having your highlighted passages read sent to a retailer?

If you ask me, why are people worried about “big brother” government with this kind of crap going on?

To be fair, though, Amazon isn’t the only one doing this sort of stuff. Just read Super Crunchers by Ian Ayres. Yes, I realize I just linked to the Amazon website, and I’m sure they did as well. Everybody is doing this sort of digital tracking. Credit cards companies are looking at your spending patterns to try and figure out in how many years you might divorce (if you’re married), for example, to appropriately market to you leading up to it, through it and after it. It gets that complex. But it is possible because humans are rather predictable on the whole, which is also the reason why you have stereotypes.

On top of this, Amazon just released a Kindle multiplatform application that will do far more than just track your highlighted passages!

So my question for you on this matter is then:

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Just some other neat things I learned today below from my favourite week daily read, Social Studies from the Globe and Mail.

Digital output volume
“Humanity’s total digital output currently stands at eight million petabytes – which each represent a million gigabytes – but is expected to pass 1.2 zettabytes this year,” The Daily Telegraph reports. “One zettabyte is equal to one million petabytes … The current size of the world’s digital content is equivalent to all the information that could be stored on 75 billion Apple iPads, or the amount that would be generated by everyone in the world posting messages on the microblogging site Twitter constantly for a century. … As a result, the digital universe is forecast to expand by a factor of 44 over the next decade,” according to an annual survey by technology consultancy IDC.

Email apnea
“Today we’re more wired to snap – especially when using computer keyboards,” Nance Guilmartin writes for Careerbuilder.com. “There’s even a physiological trigger pulling us into e-mail shootouts; it’s called ‘e-mail apnea.’ Thought leader Linda Stone, formerly of Microsoft and Apple computers, coined the phrase after researching a phenomenon she observed while people were under the influence of computing. The urge to quickly react (without considering what you or they may have misunderstood) can affect you – whether you are the person sending the initial e-mail or the one who receives it. Stone noticed we hold our breath while cranking out e-mails and doctors confirmed her suspicions. When we hold our breath, the brain is momentarily oxygen-deprived and hits the flight or fight response, fuelling a more emotional reaction to the words shooting out of our fingers.”

Libraries Plus
“Recently, I attended the opening of the freshly refurbished Harlesden Library,” Rose Rouse writes for The Guardian. “Emerging from its swaddle of scaffolding, this Edwardian building in northwest London had mysteriously acquired a four-letter suffix. Harslesden Library is now Harlesden Library Plus,” The library offers more services but seems to have fewer books. The fad of adding “plus” has spread to other libraries, government initiatives and even everyday speech – the Labour manifesto is described by its author as Blair Plus. “It goes back to added value,” says former management consultant and philosopher Robert Rowland Smith, “or at least the illusion of giving some. It’s like a shop cutting up chicken and selling it for more, even though there is actually no more chicken.”

I’m surprised this novel column on May the 4th didn’t mention anything about Star Wars Day. May the 4th be with you! Get it? 🙂

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Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 6.8

How to Record Videos Off YouTube with Replay Media Catcher and Some Reposting Strategies

Have you ever seen a video on YouTube you wanted to use that had embedding disabled so you can share on Facebook or other social media platforms? What about wanting to have just a part of a video for your use? How’s about a version to use on your blog that won’t be taken down in the early stages of the battle by certain people to have certain videos removed? If you answered “yes” to any of the questions, or are curious about them, this post is for you.

Attempts by some to disembed videos happens all the time with the public posting stuff that are probably copyright violations, but so what? If the video is hot, there’s a whole bunch of people out there posting or reposting to thwart the efforts of those trying to remove the video, and to get views for their accounts. Those who try to prevent video posting or embedding usually fail in the end cause they can’t keep up with the reposters, but they don’t seem to learn. Your ethics here are only good for yourself.

Some examples of videos I’ve used that have been at the centre of such removal battles include these three within two months of this posting:

The first or subsequent versions I had were disembedded or removed. However, a quick 2 minute or less search yielded another one to replace the codes with and that was that. I actually just replaced the Taylor Swift interview on The View video in that post. They’re still trying! It’s just the way the world is these days and these people trying to take down the videos should just “get with it”.

In another situation, often, the best part or the part you want to share with someone is not the entire video. Or maybe someone’s corrupted the video with their add-on advertising and so on. Or maybe you only want the portion of Susan Boyle singing during her Britain’s Got Talent 2009 debut, rather than the entire segment. It’s annoying to have to use the whole video in those instances. They’re all good reasons to get your own version of a video.

Getting a video you like for your own use so you don’t have to let it load every time, or for when you don’t have Internet access, is another good reason, too. Convenience!

If you’ve encountered any of these situations, you can get around them a variety of ways using video capture software. It’s like how you can take a screen shot of what you view, then paste into a photo editing program to capture pictures or video stills you aren’t able to download or get otherwise. Only here, you’re doing it with entire videos, using a method similar to how you record music off the radio.

A good list of video capture software can be found at All Streaming Media. However, I want to share my experience with one called Replay Media Catcher by Applian Technologies. The demo is free at the previous link. They don’t even request an email! It’s very easy to use and works completely for YouTube, which is really where pretty much all the good videos worth sharing is anyway. Videos on other site only have 75% capture, but which may include the good part you want anyway. It seems to be the best of the bunch listed at All Streaming Media, with an Editor’s Choice approval. I don’t doubt it!
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To download the software:

  • Download the 13 MB software (version 3.11 is that size) at Replay Media Catcher (download right on page of link).
  • Double click on the downloaded file to install.
  • Click a few things like Agreeing with their terms of use that you probably wouldn’t read and you’re done.
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To open the software

  • Find it in your Start menu in Windows XP, or however your operating system starts programs, and open it like you open any other program.
  • You get a little screen asking for a code, for which you click the “Continue in Demo Mode” button.
  • Then comes a screen asking if you want to start recording now. Click NO.
  • You should then get the operating screen that looks something like the one below. The rest is below, but is really just opening your video, letting it load, clicking record in Replay Media Catcher, playing the video, clicking stop here when done and then closing out the video. It’s just like recording music off the radio in a lot of ways. Don’t let all the little steps below deter you.

Replay Media Centre

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To record a video:

  • Open your browser and go to the video you want to record. The video should start playing if it’s in YouTube.
  • Click on Pause and move the time slider all the way to the left at the start if you want the full video. If not, move it to the play time when you want to start recording. Then let the video load fully. This full preloading is not the exact instructions given by the Replay Media Catcher page, but I find it works best to let the entire video load before recording so uploading disruptions don’t ruin your recording.
  • In your menu bar at bottom (or wherever you have it), click back on the Replay Media Catcher button to get back to the software and screen seen above.
  • Click the Start Recording button.
  • Click back to your browser via the button for that software in your menu bar.
  • Click play on the video.
  • Click the button for Replay Media Catcher in your menu bar to bring that screen back up on top.
  • Move it out of the way of your video.
  • Put your mouse over the Stop Recording button, where the Start Recording button is in the graphic above, ready to click on it when you want to stop recording.
  • Switch back to your browser and close out the page with the video, or close out the browser. This is important if you want to do extract your video in Replay Media Catcher. Otherwise, it seems to maintain a link to the page and you can extract your video.

That gets you the video on your hard drive, but it is in some temporary storage space you can’t access. It is a permanent storage space, though, meaning you can exit out of Replay Media Catcher and shut down your computer and come back to find it again. However, until you get it out of that space, you can’t use the video.

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To extract your video
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  • Click on Tools at the top and choose Video History from the drop down menu.

Video History

  • Click on the video you want in the list. WARNING: This software records any video you watch on the Internet, whether the software is opened or not. The record button only seems to allow for some more control, so be careful what you watch knowing this!!! The only good thing about this is it separates the videos you watch so it’s not all one big video, but it only records what you watch so if you don’t watch the whole thing, not the whole thing is recorded. I was testing my Roger Federer video on my blog and had watched just part of the video at the end of this post shared on Facebook to test for this post. The software recorded them both even though it was closed!
  • Click on the Diskette button second from the top at right and it saves your file to your My Recording folder (in Windows XP), within the My Documents folder. It should tell you otherwise where it saves the file. Now it’s ready for use and is as good as the source! See sample of recorded video.
  • Click the Trash Can button third down from top to rid of the video in the temporary storage so you can free up disk space. Trash anything else you don’t want.

With your file, in Adobe Flash Video format or FLV extension, you can upload it to YouTube as is. That’s another lesson but I’m sure you can figure it out as YouTube does a pretty good job to make it easy. You just need to create an account on YouTube and follow their instructions there. The FLV extension doesn’t seem to be the most natural for YouTube. It took something like 10 minutes to process my upload. Maybe that’s normal. I’ve never uploaded a video on YouTube till now.

Getting the sound off the video as an MP3
With Replay Media Catcher, you can also extract just the sound track for those videos for which you can’t buy the soundtrack, whether that’s the Liverpool FC fans singing You’ll Never Walk Alone, or Susan Boyle singing her Britain’s Got Talent debut in that electric atmosphere of people in shock and egging her on.

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Smart Reposting
Finally, a few points about smart reposting to give some longevity to your repost in the war between posters and those trying to take down your video. Well, they’d be trying to disembed it to prevent easy social media sharing (what you probably want to do most in reposting), because taking it down is another war altogether that they have with YouTube.

  • Repost on some other site if you can. YouTube is still the king of video sources, by far, for sure. That is the reason it sometimes is the only focus of those trying to take down the video. However, other video sites like Vodpod have a decent audience, and your video still shows up on searches outside that community. Using the Kanye West VMA 2009 incident video on VodPod, I’ve never had to replace it.
  • Repost using as few appropriate key words as you can, like maybe VMA incident without using the words Kanye West Taylor Swift. This won’t get you all the search results, but it’ll likely keep the video up longer from those searching to take it down. Meanwhile, you can use it for your blog or share it with all your friends, and they can further share it, without worrying about it being taken down. Basically, it’s for you and your friends to hustle rather than search engines and such, but this is a different motive than trying to get views. If you are just using it somewhere you can set it up with text, like on a blog, then really, who cares what it’s called? Call it Software Test, like I did, or something even obscure nobody will ever search while looking for the topic of your video.

Hope all this helps! Go be a rebel!

Flesch-Kincaid Grade Reading Level: 7.3

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