Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Back To The...Wait...

How would you like to be exactly like Marty McFly? 

Yeah, me too.

And now with Nike's initiative to re-create McFly's self-tying shoes from Back To The Future 2, you could be!  ABC News has posted an article that says Tinker Hatfield, a shoe designer at Nike, is trying to replicate these sneakers, which the movie predicted would come out in 2015.  ABC states, "The website Sole Collector reported that when...asked about the futuristic sneakers, Hatfield replied, "'Are we gonna see power laces in 2015? To that, I say YES!'"

Apparently this isn't a new idea to the company.  Nike released the Nike Mag Air in 2011, which didn't have self-tying laces but did look " they were taken from the movie prop room" (ABC).  

The 2011 Nike Mag Air sneaker
ABC also said: "Nike made only 1,500 pairs [of the Mag Air] and auctioned them off, with all the proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s disease research."

Now here we are, at the beginning of 2015, and all I can hope is that Nike pulls through and delivers us Marty McFly's fabulous self-tying sneakers. Do you think they can pull it off?

International CES Las Vegas

Wish List: a food printer, levitating speakers, and a smart fridge magnet.  So I can print designs on my food, decorate to the music coming from those speakers, and text my mom that I just got home.

You may be thinking: Um...what?

I'm being completely serious!  These three gadgets and more are currently making their 2015 debut at the International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which runs from January 6-9.  Lots of new technology is being shown off at this show, including new cars.  Business Insider writes: "Daimler...rolled its electric-powered Mercedes-Benz F 015 through the streets of Las Vegas without a driver to show how four occupants can converse face-to-face while leaving the driving to an on-board computer."  How awesome is that?  It's like a limo, only with the driver in the back talking to the other passengers!  

Another really cool gadget I read about was the food printer, created by XYZprinting, which is a company that builds 3D printers.  The LA Times states that the printer, "enables professional bakers and at-home cooks to create three-dimensional design[s] for icing decorations and cookies."  And OregonLive says: "Users can...import designs from the web or use a USB drive to upload their own designs."  It's not hydrating a pizza like in Back To The Future 2, but I'm sure Marty McFly would agree that this 3D printer is pretty darn cool!
The XYZ Food Printer at work, courtesy of OregonLive

The two other gizmos I mentioned at the beginning showed up at the CES as well.  A "smart fridge magnet that can make phone calls, receive digital messages, and play music" (the Invoxia Triby) was on display, as well as the Axxess CE Air2 speaker, which "avoids the waste of amplification energy by pushing sound waves off of a desk or table by levitating in the air" (OregonLive).

What do you think of all this new technology?  Many comments on the article I read think that these items will be discarded soon enough by consumers who purchase them.  What do you think?

Am I Ignoring A Copyright?

I recently was checking up on my YouTube channel to see how things were going, and I was notified that I had not one, but three copyright claims on some of my music video covers.  Honestly, I am very annoyed that some company decided to pick on my videos.  The content I put on my YouTube does not copy any music illegally, and I work very hard to ensure my music doesn't sound like another cover I've heard before.  The way I put together my covers is simply me being creative, not copying another's work! (And just for reference, a music cover is a rendition of a song that another person makes.  I've done seven covers:  "I Will Follow You Into The Dark", "All The Pennies", "Love Song", "Ghosts", "Manhattan", "I Will", and "La Vie En Rose.")

Take my "Ghosts" guitar cover, for example.  I got the idea to cover this song when I heard it on a CD in my car.  I thought, "Oh, this sounds really nice!"  So I took my dad's guitar and started learning it from chords I found on  My family went camping later on, so I took the guitar with me to record the music, and I (no joke) sat on a log near our camp site while my mom filmed me with her iPhone.  My strumming patterns were completely original, the chords found on a public website with no copyright issues, and yet the company "BMG Rights Management" seems to believe that I have copied their song in my video.  Am I in the wrong for feeling annoyed by this?  I had no intention of making my cover sound like a song owned by this company and I explicitly state in my video's comments that: "I do not own the lyrics or melody to "Ghosts" by Laura Marling.  I do not claim ownership to the lyrics.  All credit goes to the rightful owner(s).  No copyright infringement is intended."  

Watch the video here.

I know many YouTubers that make musical covers on their channel.  For example, Dodie Clark (doddleoddle) makes ukulele covers on some very popular songs (Shake It Off, Count on Me, Blank Space, Roar, etc.).  I make videos just like she does, yet I am receiving copyright claim issues on my covers.  I don't know how I can make it clearer to the claim agencies that my covers are my take on different songs, but I'm hoping they will understand that I do not mean to copy anyone at all!

These 15 Pictures Will Blow Your Mind

Let's be serious here: I'm guessing there were a lot of you that looked at the title of this post and felt intrigued by it, if just for a second.  From what I've observed on the internet, many websites such as BuzzFeed and Dose employ this method of "catchy titles" to attract attention from people like you and I.  The funny thing is, their articles might not be as original as you think.

An article I read in the January 5th edition of The New Yorker explored the originality of the website Dose, which is an "...aggregator of viral content...."  "17 People You'll Hate For Being So Damn Photogenic" and "Someone Left This Dog Outside During A Rainstorm...Then This Happened" are two of many posts the website has published, along with the post the New Yorker focuses on: "15 Photos of People From All Over the World Next to How Much Food They Eat Per Day."  I looked the post up on Dose and scrolled through it.  Photos showed many ethnically different people with the food they ate daily, and included individuals from places such as Yemen, Botswana, India, the United States, Outer Space, and more.  It seemed like a pretty cool post, until I read what The New Yorker had to say about it.  The magazine pointed out something I wouldn't have noticed otherwise: something called a "'hat tip'" (or H/T) at the bottom of every Dose post.  Most people don't recognize this (I certainly didn't), but it is very important to add in, because it credits the original source of the information or photos showed in the Dose post.  Because, as I soon realized, Dose is not an original website.  The site shows you "'...entire lists that are ripped wholesale from other Web sites and passed off as their work...'."

The New York Times article traced the hat tip given at the bottom of the "15 Photos" Dose post through Elite Daily, UrbanTimes, Amusing Planet, and finally to a "...2010 radio interview with Faith D'Aluisio and Peter Menzel, the writer and...photographer behind the project."  According to The New Yorker, "The Dose post, which received more Facebook shares than its precursors, briefly mentioned D'Aluisio and Menzel (though D'Aluisio's name was misspelled).  But their book, "What I Eat" [published August 10, 2010], went unmentioned, and they certainly did not share in the advertising revenue."  I thought this was interesting, especially when I checked up on the Dose post this morning.  The New Yorker article I read, published January 5, 2015, was so influential in pointing out the flaws of Dose that the website changed its hat tip at the bottom of the post to a full paragraph at the beginning of the post, in which they corrected their spelling of D'Aluisio's name and also gave a full explanation of D'Aluisio and Menzel's book "What I Eat."  They also linked the paragraph to an Amazon page where you could buy the book.  

What I found interesting about this was the amount of time it took for Dose to change its crediting.  The radio interview with D'Aluisio and Menzel was in 2010, and nothing changed on the post until a national magazine outed it five years later.  It took five years for the author and photographer to get the credit they deserved, and I find this unfair.  I do think that Dose finally showed the proper credit when they updated the post, but the amount of time it took for them to change the post is appalling.  I think that Dose should have taken the time to research where their information came from in the first place.

Do you think that Dose should be allowed to essentially copy and paste other people's articles to their site as an "aggregator of viral content", or should they be required to backtrack through websites to find the primary source?