Almost a decade ago now, back in a time where vanity pages on geocities where hip and Facebook or flickr weren’t even a neuron firing in their designer’s minds, I put up a bunch of “silly” pictures on my homepage as a mockery of this trend to put useless personal stuff on homepages (some trend, uh ?). These pics are digitized X rays. The irony is that, what was meant as a joke ridiculing the uselessness of most homepages turned out to be actually useful to some. Over the years, I received quite a few usage request on these X rays, mostly on the skull one. Most were for educational uses, a couple where even for art. And judging by my site logs, many are referencing the images from their own pages.
And just today, I received an email from Michael Berkowitz, a retired teacher who had asked me for permission to use the skull image in his science transparencies back in May 2006. Today he’s asking me the same thing but for CD ROMs. For one thing, I really appreciate that he would make the effort to reach me again about it, even more given the use he makes of it. But also I’m very glad that this joke ended up being one of those cool things about the Net, that you have no idea how useful whatever you make available will really be.
Back in 2006 my friend Claude Chastagner and I wrote a short piece on file sharing, which was a short version of an article which we wrote for the Revue Française d’études américaines. In this short version we equated the music market to the water one, mp3 and downloading being the equivalent of tap water (i.e. essentially free) and CDs being bottled water (i.e. what you’re buying is less the product itself – music – than added service – a long lasting medium, immune to viruses and other computer-related mishaps).
I’ve been browsing around Gerd Leonhard‘s previous writings (warning, the man’s a Net-junkie and has an account for every social site in existence), and I’m proud to see he had the same idea (though he developed it much more). His Water Like Music Manifesto is a must-read.
(edit: Gerd Leonhard came up with this back in 2005, Claude and me in 2006 – given I’ve been maintaining a close watch on the subject, I think it’s safe to say I came across it somehow 🙂 )
On another note, this quote from Feargal Sharkey, who attended the debate “The Big issue – how can music and ISP work together” at the MIDEM seems to show that there’s still work to do : “It seems we are surrounded by an ever-growing chorus of pseudo-intellectual cyber professors who will have us believe that their vision of reality is nothing short of the high altar of intellectual thinking. And to challenge those viewpoints and assumptions is nothing short of heresy and treason.”
Then again I can see how hard it is for non-tech people to understand that their business has suddenly turned into a computer engineering problem.
This year I have to luck to be accredited for the MIDEM as a photographer, which allowed me to attend a talk on how ISPs and Music distributors can work together. Very interesting, it seems the music companies are finally getting a clue. Check out Gerd Leonhard’s Pirates Prison Project.
A sign of the times : the “official bag” handed to the press (with docs and stuff in it), is Fair Trade (with a Max Havelaar label) and made of certified organic cotton.
Lots of iphones. Lots. And netbooks.
Finally, first time shooting from the Red Carpet. A tricky exercise. It’s probably nicer when the temperature is above 10ºC.