My photos are mostly CC-BY

I wasn’t huge fan of the Creative Commons until shortly after I started writing for Wise Bread.

For illustrating Wise Bread posts I liked to take my own photos, but for some things I wanted an image that I couldn’t easily take myself. For those things I used Flickr’s powerful search facility and deep pool of licensed photos.

Because I was using photos for a commercial purpose (to illustrate articles posted to a personal finance site that was heavily monetized so they could pay their writers), I avoided photos that were not licensed for commercial use. And because I and the site were retaining rights to the posts, I avoided photos with a “share alike” license.

I quickly came to love the fact that there was this vast library of images generously donated by their creators, and quickly felt that I owed it to them, and the world in general, to share my images on the same terms.

After the new owners of Flickr broke everything that was great about the site, I started hosting my photos myself at images.philipbrewer.net, using an open-source tool called Lychee. And shortly after I started using it, Lychee added the facility to mark photos as creative commons licensed.

Nearly all of my photos are licensed CC-BY, which allows anyone to use, remix, and share those photos, provided they provide attribution to me. (Ideally mention my name and link back to my blog, to my images site, or to the photo itself—whatever makes most sense for your use of the image.)

Licensed CC-BY.

I mention all this primarily to let people know that those photos are available for use, because finding creative commons licensed images is no longer so easy as just searching at Flickr. Creative Commons has a search facility, but it doesn’t point at the wider web, just at certain “partner platforms.”

Licensed CC-BY.

Still, if you see one of my photos and want to use it, know that it’s probably licensed with a CC-BY license. (The main exception is photos of family members, which I don’t license. Properly speaking all the license does is grant a license to the copyright for that photo. Any model release needs to be negotiated separately with whoever appears in the photo. But I figure that’s a nuance that many image users just skip over, so to avoid issues with people using photos of me or my family inappropriately, I just don’t license them.)

This photo does NOT have a creative commons license.

If a photo is not licensed (and it’s not of me or a family member), that’s probably just an oversight on my part. Let me know and I can almost certainly fix the licensing almost immediately.

Licensed CC-BY.

I would be delighted if people would start using my photos on my images site the way they used to use my photos of Flickr.

Facebook and Instagram: Even worse than Twitter

Whenever I tweet about a company, I like to go ahead and tag the company in the tweet, so they can see what I’m saying about them. Besides that, I’ve a natural inclination toward brand loyalty (for companies whose products I like), so I like to keep up with what the company is doing, and twitter is a good way to do that. (Not nearly as good a way as an RSS feed, but that’s neither here nor there.)

The upshot is that I’m not infrequently searching for a company’s twitter handle—and just lately, I’m pretty often not finding one. More and more companies are limiting their social media presence to Facebook and Instagram—both of which are terrible choices.

Facebook is very bad. It tries to monetize passing on information! It deliberately holds back information that the company wants to share and that I want to see, specifically in order to pressure the company to pay up.

Instagram may be even worse. It is inherently about sharing pictures, whereas information is often best presented as text. Worse yet, it won’t share links, which is almost always what companies (should) want to do, if they’re trying to tell me about the sorts of things I want to hear about.

Twitter is a bad company that provides a service which is bad in many ways, but at least it will show me all the tweets of the company I’ve followed, tweets which can include text and links as well as pictures.

The photo at the top is of a donut I bought this morning at Industrial Donut—the latest company I noticed limiting its social media presence to Facebook and Instagram.

Not posting clickbait. Really.

My brother complained that the two posts I put up earlier this morning (where I shared links to interesting articles) amounted to clickbait. I deny it categorically. This is actually a Twitter issue.

As evidence, let me point out that Micro.blog gets it right, that Facebook has the link right there, and so does Google+. Of course my RSS feed includes the link.

For reasons I can only guess at, Twitter is stripping the link out of the post before sharing it.

Given that he is quick to criticize Twitter for its many similar misfeatures, I was a bit surprised that Steven aimed his criticisms at me rather than at Twitter in this case.

Still, there’s a silver lining. I had already added the link to my microblog at micro.blog to the “social media” menu at the bottom of the page, but writing this post prompted me to notice that I hadn’t gotten it added to the list of social media links on my Contact page. Fixed.

The future

Like most of my friends, I’m distressed and depressed about the prospects for our country.

I’m not going to back away from the fight. I hope and expect we will use the tools and tactics that the Republicans so ably demonstrated to block as much evil as possible. I also hope we’ll be much more strategic than they were. They seemed more interested in making the Obama presidency a failure than in advancing their own agenda. The Democrats may prove more capable at making some progress—letting the Republicans “succeed,” when they’re doing something we’d also like to do.

Having said that, I must say that distress and depression are not a good look on me. Nor are anger and bitterness. And those are the things I find when I watch the news, listen to the radio, read articles on politics, and increasingly when I read my Twitter and Facebook feeds.

So, while not backing away from the fight, I do hope to back away from the outrage. That’s going to mean changing the way I interact with both news media and social media.

I’m going to follow fewer links—so often they go to articles calculated to produce outrage, and I don’t need more outrage. It’s a fine line, because there has been and will be much that is deserving of outrage. Yet: I do not worry that I will suffer from outrage deficiency.

My hope from this is that I will gain many things: time, attention, equilibrium, equanimity. These things will be used: For movement, for family, for study, and for my work—writing (both fiction and non-) and joining Jackie in her volunteering at local natural areas.

Yesterday Jackie and I walked at Forest Glen. The leaves are mostly down, covering the ground so thickly that some places it’s hard to find the trail. But with the leaves down, you can see much further into the forest:

img_20161111_115100065_30884514346_o

Not a link to my year in pictures

Google gave me a link to my year in pictures. And they have a lot of my pictures, because they have all the pictures I took with my phone. (But not the pictures I took with my camera, which is what I use if I’m planning to take pictures.)

However, the video that Google produced is hilarious, because way over half the pictures I took with my phone were taken to document the condition of the various apartments we moved into.

Whatever Google’s algorithm for selecting pictures is, it’s is pretty good—many of the pictures they selected are the better ones. So half the pictures Google shows me are pretty good pictures of Jackie and Barbara and Rosie and fall color and interesting things we did.

But about half are pictures of damaged carpets, damaged tiles, damaged plaster, damaged trim, damaged closet doors, etc. Here’s one:

IMG_20140802_105258908
Preexisting carpet damage in our winter palace

But, now that I think about it, maybe that’s fair. Maybe that’s a pretty good representation of my year.

I’m so glad we’re done moving.

Bruce Schneier removing anti-security features

Security expert Bruce Schneier wrote last week about some changes he was making to his blog to remove some anti-security features. Reading over his list of changes, I was pleased to see that I’d mostly avoided adding anti-security features to my blog in the first place.

  • No offsite tracking. Although I’ve experimented with them a couple of times, I don’t have “like” or “share” buttons on my blog posts, so your visits here are not automatically transparent to Facebook, Twitter, Google, or other social media sites. It means you’ll have to copy the link yourself if you want to share my posts. I’d be delighted if you did, so I hope that’s not too onerous.
  • No offsite searching. Similarly, the site’s search facility runs right on the site itself, just doing an SQL query of the database that holds the content of my site. Doing a search here doesn’t expose your query to anyone else. (I once looked to see if I was logging queries and couldn’t find them; as far as I know, doing a search here doesn’t even expose your query to me.)
  • No offsite feed. I also run the RSS feed for the site right on the site, and always have. I thought for a while that I ought to use feedburner, but I never got around to it, and now it’s clear that laziness led me to the right choice.

Any attempt to keep internet activity private is probably hopeless, but that’s no reason not to try.

Less social media, more blogging

I’m glad I have a Facebook account, so I can see what my friends are doing (or obsessing about). I enjoy reading my Twitter feed, for the occasional brilliantly pithy comment. I’m pleased with Google+, because it solves two big problems with Twitter (by letting me group the people I’m following into categories and by eliminating the arbitrary 140-character limit).

And yet . . .

Sunset out the window of the study

I’m glad I have a Facebook account, so I can see what my friends are doing (or obsessing about). I enjoy reading my Twitter feed, for the occasional brilliantly pithy comment. I’m pleased with Google+, because it solves two big problems with Twitter (by letting me group the people I’m following into categories and by eliminating the arbitrary 140-character limit).

And yet, whenever I post anything substantive in any of those venues, I end up regretting that I didn’t post it here, and just link to it there.

There are several reasons, but they’re all related: the material is harder for me to find, harder for me to link to, harder for me to relate to all the other stuff I’ve written (and am going to write). When I post it somewhere else, the material is less useful.

So, I’m going to re-center my social writing here. I’ll still use Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to comment on what other people write, and I’m sure I’ll occasionally use them to post brief items that I think will be of interest to my readers in those places in particular (and to re-share interesting bits in the place where I find them). But my substantive social writing will be here.