The Graveyard

The Lair Of Gary James

Posts Tagged ‘free culture’

The What For The What

Posted by BigWords on April 16, 2016

There’s a whole list of things which are pending, though the most useful – for most people – is going to be the uploading of the majority of non-fiction reference material. Covering literature, film, television, music and more, the material is all of the information which is currently difficult to easily access and utilize. I’ve tried looking, especially for the film and television references, but it seems that the oft-used line “everything is online these days” simply does not hold up. The majority of the material is on the ‘weird and esoteric’ end of the scale, and I’m not entirely sure what can be done with the majority of the facts there are, so people can get access to that as soon as I get time to convert everything into a format that isn’t painful to deal with.

A make-or-break part of my decision to step back into the fray was centered on this. Information. Some people have an instinctive recoil when there is talk about putting a lot of information online, as if the dissemination of materials intended to educate, enlighten and enrich was a bad thing. Well, those people are going to have a hard time over the next year or so, because there are a few hard drives which are full to bursting with reference material.

Along the way I also managed to get a lot of the comics scanned and cleaned up a little – there are about two hundred thousand scans so far, and I expect that to increase a lot once I get through a lot of the things which are sucking up my time at the moment. Those are likely going to find a home on an image hosting site which doesn’t have restrictions of the amount of material one person can upload, but I’ll look into ways of getting a torrent up and running from the HQ. Maybe a cloud hosting thing for the zipped files – that’s for once I have free time, and at present there is no free time.

Something which was suggested in passing, and which I heartily approve, is an easier way to look up books. I have lists and lists and lists here, and there are titles which not only aren’t mentioned on the internet, but whose authors appear to have been ignored completely – I found passing references to some of the books in BMC back-issues, and there are a few reference encyclopedias which have (concise and rather terse) entries for the authors. Given that they deserve some love, I’m going to see if I can get a bunch of the public domain texts up online for free use – I checked PG for the titles I am thinking about, and there aren’t copies available there.

Almost What With The What?

There are times when I have mentioned “almost free use” here, and I want people to note that it doesn’t mean people will have to pay for things that I am making available online. The phrase is merely the easiest to put together, otherwise I would trip myself up in the technicalities and have a massive headache. Better just to go with the phrase as is, however cock-eyed that may be. So yeah, it isn’t an indicator that there is going to be anything more than “when used, this needs credit given and a link placed to source.” It’ll save me trying to figure out various rights uses and blah-blah-blah. Do what thou wilt.

People wonder why I am so stressed all the time – so many things to do, so little time to get everything done.

The Thing For The Thingamajig

At some point I am going to sort out the website, as that is on the list as well. All the information is still here, along with a whole bunch more. I pulled a lot of the biographical material from my handwritten notes rather than using what was present in books and magazines about comics, which have an error rate that makes my head hurt too much thinking about. There’s a duplicate copy of some information lurking on the deep web – and no, I have no idea of the .onion address – but that is an unofficial reproduction rather than an official mirror.

Until things get back to normal…

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Building The Best Library

Posted by BigWords on September 18, 2009

There’s a big reshuffle going on here at the moment, with piles of books and stacks of boxes being shifted back and forth. In the midst of the chaos it became clear that there are serious gaps in my collection, so starting here I’m going to see what I need – with the assistance of anyone who wants to chime in with a recommendation. The first stack that came to hand was – not entirely surprisingly – computer books.

I have managed to get through quite a few of the …For Dummies books, and as useful as they are I guess I don’t react as well to the format as others. They feel like light reads despite their subject matter, and there are better books being published with computerly writings. For the record, the following are the ones I have held on to

Java For Dummies by Barry Burd (4th edition, 2006)
Windows Server 2008 For Dummies by Ed Tittel & Justin Koreic (2008)

No, I don’t have as much as a clue as to why those two in particular remain, the second especially so because I would rather poke my eyes out with a rusty spoon rather than use most Windows products, but remain they do. I must have read something in those books that I thought would make a good prompt, but for the life of me I can’t remember what made me refrain from handing them off to someone else.

The Ultimate HTML Reference by Ian Lloyd (SitePoint) covers code, so any other – similar – books aren’t necessary unless they offer something really different. What ‘something really different’ would be, I have no idea, but if there is something I should be reading then I’ll find out soon enough.

The bare bones ‘n’ facts are important, but context is king, right? History lessons:

A Brief History Of The Future by John Naughton
Being Digital by Nicholas Negroponte
Encyclopedia Of Cybercrime by Samuel C. McQuade, III
Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig
The Microsoft Way by Randall E. Stross

And that about covers the computing books. I know I’m missing some important texts, but that’s all there is at the moment. Fiction takes up a larger portion of my collection, so the non-fic grouping needs fleshed out with some good stuff. Any suggestions are welcome.

Note: I haven’t included the Photoshop books or gaming books, because they would really need sections of their own.

Posted in Misc., Over The Line | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Something For Nothing…

Posted by BigWords on August 11, 2009

It used to be said that there is no such thing as a free lunch, but the days of having to trudge down to the shops for the product you want is long gone. There are ways and means to get your hands on all kinds of things, not limiting the methods of getting material to torrents but I’ll get to those in a while. The straightforward downloads are equally as easy to get your hands on as the torrents, so there is no reason to ignore them.

First off there is the previews and downloadable samples which companies sometimes place on the net. Vertigo (DC Comics’ adult imprint) has .pdf files of some of its’ comics available, just head to the Graphic Novels list and click on titles with #1 after the name. I recommend The Sandman unreservedly, and you should be picking up the collected volumes.

If you are a Marvel fan then Mile High has a badly-outdated page of “previews” on their site.

For books there isn’t a better free resource than the Project Gutenberg collection, which has documents available in a number of formats. With 25,000 completely free e-books it has become an invaluable source for public domain books.

So many people have uTorrent (or a similar program) on their computer now, so there’s no point in trying to pretend that you don’t know anything about it. The question becomes: what can you legally download? I have looked around, and it seems that there is quite a lot out there that is completely, absolutely 100% fine to leech. Just don’t tell anyone that I pointed out where to get all this stuff…

There’s a plentiful supply of public domain films over at Public Domain Torrents, including such ‘classics’ as The Killer Shrews, Reefer Madness and Carnival Of Souls. I didn’t say they were all good, but they’re more entertaining than a certain mega-budget movie released in cinemas recently… Night Of The Living Dead is on the site, and if you don’t have the DVD make sure you have the digital copy. Oh, and buy Dawn Of The Dead while you wait on it finding its way to your hard drive.

The Corporation, a Sundance winner no less, is available to download legally, though I should add that the special edition DVD is well worth the money.

Wired Magazine’s Creative Commons CD (143mb on disk). It’s sixteen tracks (mp3 format) of great music, and costs absolutely zilch. How much better does it get than that?

Jamendo has an amazing number of tracks available for leeching, though not a brilliant selection if your tastes run to more obscure and strange artists.

God Wants You Dead, written by Sean Hastings (founding CEO of Havenco – the company that set up the world’s first public datahaven on the sea-platform nation of Sealand) and Paul Rosenberg (author of the cypherpunk classic A Lodging of Wayfaring Men.)

Lawrence Lessig’s Free Culture is also available as a freely downloadable torrent. You should already have a copy of this, and buy a paper copy as well, just to show your support.

Time Management For Anarchists #1 by Jim Munroe and Marc Ngui. The 22 page comic is difficult to describe but worth the bandwidth. Download this, then head over to No Media Kings to learn more about the project.

LegalTorrents also have Sherlock Holmes, Tom Sawyer, Beowulf and other classics, but you should have bookmarked Gutenberg a looong time ago for all of your free reading material.

Join in, and leave links with any comments. I’ll put up a page with a list of free stuff when I have a few dozen links together.

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