My stuff isn't free

Why do some of my friends and contacts[1. Especially from Flickr] swipe my photos without asking or giving credit? Everyone who has gone through high school have written essays requiring citation of their sources.

The same applies with photos. Furthermore, according to Section 1202 of the U.S. Copyright Act[2. via Photo Attorney], cropping or cloning out watermarks is illegal.

My Flickr profile only says: “No use without permission.”

I don’t like embedding watermarks in my whole photos. Now I understand why some photographers do that and it’s not their fault.

I’m not just making a big deal out of this. Jim M. Goldstein and Merlin Mann would agree with me.

Because I have a nice camera

The other day, I got a comment from a photo I took of them.

“Wow, you must have a nice camera!”

“Um, thanks,” I grimaced.

I think I know what they mean. Then again, let’s go through some analogies that have probably been exhausted.

  • To a chef: “Wow, this dish tastes fantastic! You must have an awesome oven.”
  • To a painter: “That piece looks immaculate! Your paint and brushes must be exquisite!”
  • To a writer: “I loved your novel – what version of [insert document processor] do you have?”
  • To a musician: “I loved that song! Your guitar has to be expensive.”
  • To a baseball slugger: “You’re an impressive hitter. Where did you buy your bat?”

Let’s go about this another way. Let’s say you watched a terrible indie film, and your friend was the leading role.

“So, how’d you like it?”

“I really liked the costumes.”

Look. It’s the tool, but only to a certain extent. Those are backhanded compliments — an insult in disguise. You might have the best intentions, but…no. Stop it.

More elaboration? Read the post and comments, too:

  • Eric Cheng — “You must have a nice camera: Part 1 and Part 2

Don't let email spammers verify you

Automatically viewing images from specific people in your Thunderbird address book is fine.

But, don’t add your own email address(es) into your address book and check that box. If a spammer ever gets your email address, and you open that email, images displayed inside the email will verify you.

Allow remote images in HTML mail within Thunderbird

I lasted about a year in minimizing spam. It’s starting to trickle now, but I hope it doesn’t get any worse.

For further information, read “Privacy basics [for] Thunderbird” at mozillaZine.

I know about Gmail. They appear to have the best spam filters[1. Compared to the other free webmail providers]. If you’re not paranoid about Google seeing everything, they’re the way to go. Do you have your own domain but want Gmail hosting? Look at Google Apps.


My DSL connection has returned

An AT&T data comm technician arrived today a little after 2pm. I was told the line wouldn’t support the “Elite” speed of 6 Mbps, which was one of the reasons why my connection “broke.”

After a phone call and restoring my account to the “Pro” speed of 3 Mbps, all was well. Sort of.

My modem wouldn’t connect, but his spare modem would. I can’t complain. It gave me about 11 years.

I had to order a standard DSL modem from AT&T, which should arrive by Thursday. Lame.

Fortunately, Chris Lin had a backup one[1. Specifically a 2Wire HomePortal 1000HG, which has a built in wireless router]. I drove to his place to pick it up, chatted for a bit, and accepted a few brownies[2. “I have half a pan of brownies left over and I’m starting on a cheesecake recipe. What to do…” via Twitter] before going home. Thanks man!

I won’t use his DSL modem permanently. I have a Linksys WRT54GL router[2. Flashed with DD-WRT] I’d prefer to use. Plus, Chris told me that the built-in wireless router in the 2Wire DSL modem/router isn’t good.

Although it was pretty stupid having to wait a week, it’s good to be connected at home again.

[amtap amazon:asin=B000BTL0OA]

I'm without internet at home

Consider me off the grid until further notice. AT&T[1. Which hasn’t been down since August 2006] is tripping out. To make matters worse, a scheduled technician can’t come out until next Monday, April 27th.

I did try to escalate it for Wednesday, so we’ll see what happens.


Update 4/21/2009 10:15pm — AT&T left me a message on my answering machine. My attempt to escalate a technician visit was declined due to a full workload. Fail.

In addition to the few days I work, I’ll be mooching WiFi at AT&T hotspots (e.g. Starbucks), friends’ places or the library until then.

Facebook’s ridiculous new Terms Of Service and alternatives

I eased my stance on uploading photos to Facebook awhile ago because most of my friends there weren’t necessarily using Flickr.[1. I limited myself to uploading photos of my friends.] But, the recent change to their Terms of Service (TOS)[2. On their website, it’s also called “Terms of Use.”] is unacceptable.

From Consumerist:

Facebook’s terms of service (TOS) used to say that when you closed an account on their network, any rights they claimed to the original content you uploaded would expire. Not anymore.

Now, anything you upload to Facebook can be used by Facebook in any way they deem fit, forever, no matter what you do later. Want to close your account? Good for you, but Facebook still has the right to do whatever it wants with your old content. They can even [sub license] it if they want.

I feel that I have no choice but to close my account.

But where can you go without Facebook?


Update 2/16/2009 10:25pm — Here’s more insight across the web:

Update 2/16/2009 11:54pm — A couple more?

Update 2/17/2009 10:20amJim Goldstein analyzes Facebook’s new Terms of Use to explain why this affects you. He also gets interviewed by Joe Vazquez of KPIX (San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose). Definitely one of the most thorough.

I forgot to mention another service: (or WordPress if you have your own domain name and server). They won’t take your intellectual property.

My Facebook account is deactivated. (Why deactivated? Because they don’t let you delete your account.)

I do need to create a terms of use page here, which will tell anyone not to upload my photos to Facebook.

Update 2/17/2009 8:38pm — Oops. You can delete your account through this link. Just make sure you’re 100% positive because there’s no turning back. (via Jim Goldstein / PlagarismToday)


The backlash against Facebook’s updated privacy policies is about to expand. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) is preparing to file a formal complaint with the Federal Trade Commission over the social network’s updated licenses, PC World has learned.

“We think that Facebook should go back to its original terms of service,” says EPIC Executive Director Marc Rotenberg.

EPIC expects to have its complaint submitted to the FTC by the end of Tuesday. [PC World / Yahoo News]

[via Jim Goldstein on Twitter]

Why is Netflix instant streaming a BONUS feature?

Netflix Instant Streaming - STOP CHOKING!
View on Flickr

The last two Saturdays, Netflix streaming was dead. Today, on a mellow Tuesday afternoon, it died for a short period.

To quote Benjamin from Netflix (via Thomas Hawk):

Watch Now is a bonus feature for Netflix subscribers.

What? Where does it say that on the Netflix website? Their Terms of Use page?


Continue reading Why is Netflix instant streaming a BONUS feature?